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113 Albertans die from fentanyl overdoses in first quarter of 2017

The Canadian Press Published Friday, May 19, 2017 7:38PM EDT Last Updated Friday, May 19, 2017 9:09PM EDT EDMONTON -- Alberta Health says 113 people died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl in the first three months of 2017. That's compared to 70 deaths in the same period in 2016. The government says there were 51 deaths in the Calgary zone and 36 in the Edmonton zone in the first quarter of the year. RELATED STORIES Inmates claim Ontario detention centre plagued by fentanyl-related overdoses Drug checks at B.C. supervised injection site found 80 per cent contained fentanyl Party drugs increasingly being laced with fentanyl Ontario woman handed six-year prison sentence for selling fentanyl 'He was black and green': Vancouver man extinguishes burning overdose victim New law aims to reduce drug deaths by encouraging people to report overdoses PHOTOS fentanyl A test strips used to check for presence of illicit fentanyl in such drugs as heroin, crystal meth and cocaine in this undated handout images provided by Vancouver Coastal Health. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Vancouver Coastal Health) Since Jan. 1, 2016, 476 people have died from an apparent drug overdose death related to fentanyl, with an average of 95 per quarter. This includes 50 deaths where carfentanil, which is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, was detected -- 29 in 2016, and 21 in the first quarter of 2017. Liberal Leader David Swann, who is a doctor, says the government's approach is not working and again called for the government to declare a state of emergency and hire a chief addictions and mental health officer. Swann also says there must be more public education, better access to harm reduction, including opiate replacement therapy and safe injection sites, especially outside of major urban areas. "With each quarterly report, we are seeing the death toll rise," Swann said in a news release. "Now, is the time for the government to admit its approach isn't working, put away its pride, and join with all opposition caucuses and numerous stakeholders, and declare a state of emergency." Video Link ---- http://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1129336

Drugged Driving Surpasses 'Drunken" Driving Among Drivers Killed in Crashes.

Driving under the influence of drugs was deadlier in 2015 than driving while drunk, a new report found. Still, some safety experts caution that drunken driving remains a bigger problem and say that drugged driving needs more research.

Positive drug tests were more common than the presence of alcohol among the fatally injured drivers who were tested in 2015, according to the report (PDF)released Wednesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a nonprofit funded by alcohol distillers.
Of those tested, 43% of motorists who died were under the influence of drugs, the report said. This number surpassed the 37% of motorists who died who tested positive for alcohol in the same year.
 
"Data in the report showed that for the first time, there are more dead drivers for which we have test results that are positive for drugs than there are who were positive for alcohol," said James Hedlund, an independent safety expert with Highway Safety North in Ithaca, New York. The new report adds to earlier research conducted by Hedlund that addressed behavioral highway safety issues, including drug-impaired driving.

 

 "As states across the country continue to struggle with drug-impaired driving, it's critical that we help them understand the current landscape and provide examples of best practices so they can craft the most effective countermeasures" to combat the issue of drug-impaired driving, governors association Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said.

 

 

 

'Drug impairment is a complicated topic'

Driving while impaired is illegal in all 50 states. However, laws and interpretations vary about the definition of drug impairment. Testing practices can also vary amongst states, and there are no uniform laws to determine how often testing is used and what drugs are screened for.
Of the more than 400 drugs that the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tracks, marijuana accounted for 35% of positive tests reported, the new research said. Although usage laws vary -- marijuana for medical purposes is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia, and laws permit recreational use in eight states and DC -- driving while impaired at any level is illegal anywhere in the United States.
Amphetamines accounted for 9% of substances detected, and more than half of the positive tests in the report were caused by "other drugs." These figures reveal the wide range of known and unknown substances that can contribute to drug impairment.
Colorado's troubles with pot
Colorado's troubles with pothttp://www.cnn.com/2014/07/10/opinion/sabet-colorado-marijuana/index.html
Currently, there are no drug field tests comparable to a preliminary alcohol screening using a breathalyzer. Law enforcement officials are trained to recognize signs of drug impairment and can make the decision to take a driver into custody for further testing.
"Drug impairment is a complicated topic," Hedlund said. "Drugs can affect people in different ways. Some things make you super excited, and some things slow you down."
The report acknowledged that "many officers are not trained to identify the signs and symptoms of drivers impaired by drugs other than alcohol." The International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offer specialized training courses to teach law enforcement officials how to recognize the behavioral signs of drug impairment, but the courses are not required. Often, a full evaluation cannot be done during a roadside stop.
Officials hope that this report will bring more attention to the need for more training and resources to combat this problem. For drivers, Hedlund said, "it's illegal to drive while impaired by drugs in the same way that it's illegal to drive while impaired by alcohol. And you just plain shouldn't do it."

Alcohol: 'Our biggest highway safety problem'

Russ Rader, spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, is skeptical of the report's findings and said alcohol remains the bigger concern.
"There's no question that alcohol remains our biggest highway safety problem," Rader said.
Although the impact of alcohol has been studied for decades, drug impairment and driving has only recently been studied, he said, and the current evidence is weak.
The report cautions that these data do not paint the whole picture. The authors note that only 57% of drivers who were killed in car accidents were tested for drugs. That figure, critics say, is reason enough to be wary of taking this conclusion too seriously.
"There are a couple of problems with drawing the conclusion that drugged driving is now somehow a bigger problem with alcohol," Rader said. "For one, there isn't very consistent testing for drivers who are killed in crashes with regard to drugs."
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He's concerned that the new report could detract from efforts to curb alcohol-impaired driving and shift funding instead toward driving under the influence of drugs. Nobody knows how to address the problem of drug-impaired drivers, he said.
"We don't have a good handle on what to do about it, but we do know how to address alcohol impairment," which remains a major problem, he said. "Another problem, particularly with marijuana, is that people often combine the two, so how do you separate them?"
Although critical of the report's findings, Rader said there is no denying that drug-impaired driving is an issue, but "we need research."

"If somebody's impaired," he said, "they are impaired."

Source: CNN 

'It's coming': Lessons from Vancouver in Canada's opioid crisis To watch video, you need an Adobe Flash Player Update.Please click to download. Get Adobe Flash player W5: 48 Hours W5 crews follow volunteers and medical professionals scrambling to save lives as fentanyl grips Vancouver’s downtown east side. CTV News Channel: Canada's fentanyl crisis Jon Woodward gives a preview of his W5/CTV Vancouver investigation into Canada's fentanyl crisis. 279 279 Emma Jarratt, Brian Mellersh and Jon Woodward, W5 Published Saturday, April 22, 2017 7:00AM EDT VANCOUVER – It’s 8:30 p.m. on a chilly, West Coast evening and Jessica is dancing in an alley. In a squeaky, childish voice she twirls and twirls. Nonsense pours from her mouth. Her thin jacket is a blur of red against a grey concrete wall covered by graffiti. She’s on cloud nine – far away from this place – 20 minutes after she and her friend Patricia took a hit of what they think is heroin. But there’s no way to be sure. RELATED STORIES W5: What happened when we witnessed a possible overdose Opioid crisis: 25 per cent of St. Paul's ER visits are overdoses PHOTOS '48 Hours' airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on CTV W5's investigation '48 Hours' airs Saturday at 7 p.m. on CTV. Jessica dancing (W5) Jessica, in a Vancouver alley, 20 minutes after taking what is believed to be heroin (W5) Jessica on pavement (W5) Moments later, Jessica drops to the pavement, growling and rocking side to side. A Narcan (or naloxone) kit A Narcan (or naloxone) kit that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose when administered three-to five minutes of the onset of symptoms. Jon Woodward with Dr. Daniel Kalla Jon Woodward with Dr. Daniel Kalla at St. Paul's hospital, the closest emergency room to Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. Three-quarters of overdose calls in the area end up at St. Paul's. “Everything except heroin,” says Jessica in a relaxed, sing-song voice. “I honestly can not tell you the last date since I’ve done real heroin.” With stronger, cheaper synthetic opioids such as fentanyl being cut into street drugs, there’s no way to know how much is too much, that could lead to an overdose that could stop her breathing. And suddenly, Jessica drops, motionless, to the pavement. “Jess? Jessica! Jess,” shouts Patricia, who runs down the alley to where she’s lying. “Are you all right?” There is a moment when it seems like she won’t wake up. But then Jessica’s legs curl up, crab like, contorted over her head. She begins to growl and purr, rocking from side to side, oblivious to the cantaloupe-sized rat that’s just run by her. It could have been a lot worse. Jessica is one of at least 6,000 drug users who call Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside home. And she lives in a province where in December five people a day died of drug overdoses. Here, in the alleys, among the overflowing dumpsters, the smells of decay and dark figures slumped in piles of rags, is Canada’s ground zero in addiction. In B.C., 922 people died of an overdose in 2016. But it’s an epidemic that has already spread across Canada with upwards of 1400 deaths last year. That includes addicts, but also teenagers looking to have a good time. They die because they think they have taken cocaine, or the party drug ecstasy, or a prescription painkiller, but it turns out to be something else. Usually the synthetic opioid fentanyl, a synthetic pain killer whose name has become synonymous with death. As of this year, fentanyl has been joined in the streets by it’s even more potent cousins: carfentanil and W-18. Together they form a lethal trifecta that’s ravaged emergency care resources and is forcing policy makers to rethink what addiction is. “I talked to one user, about a month ago, who came in on an overdose and I started to tell him about the risks,” recalls Dr. Dan Kalla, the head of the emergency room at St. Paul’s Hospital, which handles most of the overdose cases in the region. “He said, ‘you don’t need to tell me, I woke up beside my girlfriend who was dead’ the week before. He’s aware that this drug killed her; he’s still using that drug and almost dies of it himself. To me that speaks of the incredible hold this thing has and the senselessness of it.” Kalla compared the opioid crisis to AIDS. At its peak in 1994 in B.C., AIDS killed 267 people – while more than three times as many people died from overdoses last year in BC. Kalla, like many others on the frontlines of addiction, says it’s time for Canada to advance past the 1971 “war on drugs” mentality, that addiction is more complex than being reckless or a degenerate and requires a new and radical approach. A W5 investigation of those new approaches shows health care workers scrambling to catch up to the astonishing death toll. There are new, specialized paramedics that just handle overdoses. Officials have deployed an army-style mobile medical hospital. And another clinic has opened that offers prescription heroin, paid for by the government. Vancouver’s main supervised injection site, Insite, has been operating since 2003. It’s now been joined with unofficial volunteers looking to watch users inject and save their lives if something goes wrong. It all may be making a difference: the number of deaths has dropped to three a day in February. It’s still a lot. But the turnaround could point the way for the rest of the country, which don’t yet have these supports. Health Canada has approved three supervised injection sites in Montreal, but they have yet to open yet. And Toronto’s three sites are expected to open this summer. Those on the ground who have to see these deaths up close have a message for the rest of the country. “Prepare for it, it’s coming,” says Dr. Kalla. “This toxic, lethal drug is out there and it will take hold in other communities, I guarantee it. Be prepared.”

An Addiction Recovery Checklist

 

A list of important skills and goals for your first year of recovery. Use it as a reminder and to help you stay on track in the days and months ahead.

 

   Accept that you have an addiction.

   Practice honesty in your life.

   Learn to avoid high-risk situations.

   Learn to ask for help.

   There are many paths to recovery. The most difficult doing it alone.

   Practice calling friends before you have cravings.

   Become actively involved in self-help recovery groups.

   Go to discussion meetings and begin to share. You are not alone.

   Get a sponsor and do step work.

   Get rid of using friends.

   Make time for you and your recovery.

   Celebrate your small victories. Recovery is about progress not perfection.

   Practice saying no.

   Take better care of yourself.

   Develop healthy eating and sleeping habits.

   Learn how to relax and let go of stress.

   Discover how to have fun clean and sober.

   Make new recovery friends and bring them into your life.

   Reevaluate your lifestyle periodically to make sure you remain on track.

   Deal with cravings by “playing the tape forward” What will happen if you start?

   Find ways to distract yourself when you have cravings.

   Physical activity helps many aspects of recovery.

   Deal with post-acute withdrawal symptoms.

   Develop strategies for social environments where drinking is involved.

   Keep a gratitude list of your recovery, your life, and the people in it.

   Say goodbye to your addiction.

   Develop tolerance and compassion for others and for yourself.

   Begin to give back and help others once you have a solid recovery.

   See yourself as a non-user.

Relapse and Prevention

The Stages of Relapse

Relapse is a process, it's not an event. In order to understand relapse prevention you have to understand the stages of relapse. Relapse starts weeks or even months before the event of physical relapse. In this page you will learn how to use specific relapse prevention techniques for each stage of relapse. There are three stages of relapse.(1)

  • Emotional relapse
  • Mental relapse
  • Physical relapse

 

Emotional Relapse

In emotional relapse, you're not thinking about using. But your emotions and behaviors are setting you up for a possible relapse in the future.

The signs of emotional relapse are:

  • Anxiety
  • Intolerance
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Not asking for help
  • Not going to meetings
  • Poor eating habits
  • Poor sleep habits

The signs of emotional relapse are also the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal. If you understand post - acute withdrawal it's easier to avoid relapse, because the early stage of relapse is easiest to pull back from. In the later stages the pull of relapse gets stronger and the sequence of events moves faster.

Early Relapse Prevention

Relapse prevention at this stage means recognizing that you're in emotional relapse and changing your behavior. Recognize that you're isolating and remind yourself to ask for help. Recognize that you're anxious and practice relaxation techniques. Recognize that your sleep and eating habits are slipping and practice self-care.

If you don't change your behavior at this stage and you live too long in the stage of emotional relapse you'll become exhausted, and when you're exhausted you will want to escape, which will move you into mental relapse.

Practice self-care. The most important thing you can do to prevent relapse at this stage is take better care of yourself. Think about why you use. You use drugs or alcohol to escape, relax, or reward yourself. Therefore you relapse when you don't take care of yourself and create situations that are mentally and emotionally draining that make you want to escape.

For example, if you don't take care of yourself and eat poorly or have poor sleep habits, you'll feel exhausted and want to escape. If you don't let go of your resentments and fears through some form of relaxation, they will build to the point where you'll feel uncomfortable in your own skin. If you don't ask for help, you'll feel isolated. If any of those situations continues for too long, you will begin to think about using. But if you practice self-care, you can avoid those feelings from growing and avoid relapse. 

Mental Relapse

In mental relapse there's a war going on in your mind. Part of you wants to use, but part of you doesn't. In the early phase of mental relapse you're just idly thinking about using. But in the later phase you're definitely thinking about using.

The signs of mental relapse are:

  • Thinking about people, places, and things you used with
  • Glamorizing your past use
  • Lying
  • Hanging out with old using friends
  • Fantasizing about using
  • Thinking about relapsing
  • Planning your relapse around other people's schedules

It gets harder to make the right choices as the pull of addiction gets stronger.

Techniques for Dealing with Mental Urges

Play the tape through. When you think about using, the fantasy is that you'll be able to control your use this time. You'll just have one drink. But play the tape through. One drink usually leads to more drinks. You'll wake up the next day feeling disappointed in yourself. You may not be able to stop the next day, and you'll get caught in the same vicious cycle. When you play that tape through to its logical conclusion, using doesn't seem so appealing.

A common mental urge is that you can get away with using, because no one will know if you relapse. Perhaps your spouse is away for the weekend, or you're away on a trip. That's when your addiction will try to convince you that you don't have a big problem, and that you're really doing your recovery to please your spouse or your work. Play the tape through. Remind yourself of the negative consequences you've already suffered, and the potential consequences that lie around the corner if you relapse again. If you could control your use, you would have done it by now.

Tell someone that you're having urges to use. Call a friend, a support, or someone in recovery. Share with them what you're going through. The magic of sharing is that the minute you start to talk about what you're thinking and feeling, your urges begin to disappear. They don't seem quite as big and you don't feel as alone.

Distract yourself. When you think about using, do something to occupy yourself. Call a friend. Go to a meeting. Get up and go for a walk. If you just sit there with your urge and don't do anything, you're giving your mental relapse room to grow.

Wait for 30 minutes. Most urges usually last for less than 15 to 30 minutes. When you're in an urge, it feels like an eternity. But if you can keep yourself busy and do the things you're supposed to do, it'll quickly be gone.

Do your recovery one day at a time. Don't think about whether you can stay abstinent forever. That's a paralyzing thought. It's overwhelming even for people who've been in recovery for a long time.

One day at a time, means you should match your goals to your emotional strength. When you feel strong and you're motivated to not use, then tell yourself that you won't use for the next week or the next month. But when you're struggling and having lots of urges, and those times will happen often, tell yourself that you won't use for today or for the next 30 minutes. Do your recovery in bite-sized chunks and don't sabotage yourself by thinking too far ahead.

Make relaxation part of your recovery. Relaxation is an important part of relapse prevention, because when you're tense you tend to do what’s familiar and wrong, instead of what's new and right. When you're tense you tend to repeat the same mistakes you made before. When you're relaxed you are more open to change. 

Physical Relapse

Once you start thinking about relapse, if you don't use some of the techniques mentioned above, it doesn't take long to go from there to physical relapse. Driving to the liquor store. Driving to your dealer.

It's hard to stop the process of relapse at that point. That's not where you should focus your efforts in recovery. That's achieving abstinence through brute force. But it is not recovery. If you recognize the early warning signs of relapse, and understand the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal, you'll be able to catch yourself before it's too late.

We teach relapse prevention here at Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre.If you or a loved one is struggling, give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

Helping a Loved One

What to Understand Before Talking to a Loved One

Before you talk to your loved one about treatment options, you need to approach him about the drug problem. It's important that you don't confront your loved one in a way that will cause an argument. It's common for those abusing drugs to get angry easily, so you need to approach the situation with care.

It's natural to be afraid to approach your loved one about drug use, because of the uncertainty of how he will react. However, it could be a life-changing effort for you to overcome your apprehensions and work towards finding the substance abuse help he needs. A variety of addiction treatment centers and therapeutic approaches exist to best match the specific needs of each individual.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

People who use drugs tend to show sign of drug abuse in every aspect of their lives. The symptoms of drug abuse vary depending on the person and the substance. Common symptoms include:

  • Using drugs to get rid of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Tolerance to the substance.
  • Continued use of drugs even though you know it's hurting you.
  • Neglecting family obligations and financial issues.
  • Decline in physical appearance and health.

Can Addiction be Cured?

Drug abuse usually begins when people using drugs develop a tolerance for the drug. This causes them to use drugs in higher quantities and more frequently to get the highs they are looking for. When you use drugs for a prolonged period of time, your body develops a chemical dependency to the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, addiction occurs when the chemical dependency is combined with a strong desire to use the substance.

Treatment programs help drug users by getting them off drugs and stopping the chemical dependency.

While some recovering drug users report that they experience urges to use the substance they were addicted to months after treatment, inpatient treatment gives the person the tools he needs to live a happy and healthy life.

(National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre is here to help. We are a 10 bed facility with a 28 day program for men in the Toronto area just outside Bolton, Ontario. 

Give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

One Day at a Time

Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/ARARecovery and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Another-Road-Addiction-Recovery-Centre-552853641565055/

Welcome Aboard!

All of us here at Another Road would like to take the opportunity to welcome Jessica Ricci to our therapeutic team. Jessica will be onsite at Another Road two days a week for group and individual counselling sessions. Here's a little bit about her, welcome aboard Jessica!

Jessica Ricci
Registered Psychotherapist, BA, MA, RP

...

I find it helpful to know about my clients, so in turn I am offering some background into myself to help make an informed decision for those who wish to pursue their therapeutic journey here. I bring six years of therapy, counselling, and support granted through a wide variety of clinical environments. Beginning into this field I wanted to be involved in many different environments in order to bring a wealth of experiences to clients. Some of these experiences include hospitals, social service agencies, child mental health organizations, residential treatment facilities, provincial correctional facilities, school boards, and private practice.

As a trained mental health professional I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology. Also, as a general member of the Ontario Association of Consultants, Counsellors, Psychometrists and Psychotherapists, I adhere to the rigorous standards outlined by the code of ethics and standards of practice of the OACCPP. I am also a registered member in good standing with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

I have undertaken a number of crisis deescalation courses to support clients through all stages of crisis (pre-crisis, crisis, and post-crisis), as well as pursued ASIST training in order to provide appropriate care to clients at risk of suicide.

Benefits of a stay at Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre

For the majority of individuals, drug addiction cannot be overcome until professional drug treatment is sought. Drug rehabilitation fosters recovery by offering the following benefits to those struggling with drug addiction:

  • Personalized Treatment Plans: Drug rehab programs perform thorough diagnostic testing, psychological assessments and physical exams to ensure tailored drug treatment for patients. Core therapies are adjusted to work with individual learning styles, personal histories, drugs of choice and durations of chemical dependency to ensure successful recovery.
  • Group and Family Therapy Sessions: Patients receive peer empathy, input and support through 12-step meetings and participation in process groups. Because family relationships often contribute to – and suffer from – a member’s substance abuse, family therapy sessions have also become a core component of most drug treatment programs.
  • Practical Life Skills Training: Patients also learn practical life skills to enable them to live out sobriety in a drug-free, healthy, productive way. Recovering drug addicts learn communication techniques, anger and stress reduction skills, time management and organizational instruction in order to forge positive coping techniques and lifestyle foundations in sobriety. Additionally, patients learn nutritional guidelines, participate in daily fitness routines, and are assigned on-site responsibilities to help build healthy habits, schedules and bolster overall wellness.
  • Individualized Therapy: The psychological portion of drug addiction is addressed through one-on-one therapy sessions, aimed at uncovering emotional reasons for substance abuse. Childhood traumas, low self-esteem, negative belief systems, and secondary mental health conditions are addressed and analyzed in the safe haven of personalized therapy, allowing addicts to understand and heal psychological factors that may have contributed to addiction.
  • Transitional Planning: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40 to 60 percent of those facing drug addictions will relapse. Transitional planning allows patients to collaborate with addiction specialists in anticipating – and proactively finding solutions for – potential temptations for drug use after treatment. Environmental, social, career and interpersonal triggers are assessed, and patients are given referrals for therapists, physicians and 12-step groups to provide encouragement and support during ongoing recovery.
  • Aftercare Services: Modern best practices in the drug rehabilitation treatment field include aftercare services, aimed at following up with addicts even after they graduate a recovery program. Check-in calls, alumni events, and telephone or online support networks allow alumni to continue their recovery even after relocation back home.

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

Mixing opioids and alcohol may increase likelihood of dangerous respiratory complication

Taking one oxycodone tablet together with even a modest amount of alcohol increases the risk of a potentially life-threatening side effect known as respiratory depression, which causes breathing to become extremely shallow or stop altogether, reports a study published in the Online First edition of Anesthesiology, the peer-reviewed medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA). Elderly people were especially likely to experience this complication, the study found.

"Unfortunately, we're seeing more fatalities and people in emergency rooms after having misused or abused legally prescribed opioids, like oxycodone, while having consumed alcohol," said Albert Dahan, M.D., Ph.D., study author, professor of anesthesiology and head of the Anesthesia and Pain Research Unit at Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands. "Respiratory depression is a potentially fatal complication of opioid use. We found alcohol exacerbated the already harmful respiratory effects of opioids."

Oxycodone is commonly prescribed to treat chronic pain and can be highly addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 2 million Americans abuse opioids. Additionally, every day 78 people die from opioid overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A growing number of reports indicate that many of these opioid-related deaths involve other substances, often alcohol.

In the study, researchers examined the effect taking oxycodone in combination with alcohol had on breathing in 12 healthy young volunteers (ages 21 to 28) and 12 elderly volunteers (ages 66 to 77), who had not been chronically taking or who had never taken opioids. On three separate occasions, volunteers were given one 20 mg oxycodone tablet combined with an intravenous infusion of ethanol (alcohol). To allow researchers to continuously evaluate the safety of participants, the amount of ethanol was increased with each visit - from placebo on the first visit, to concentrations of 0.5 g/L (approx. 1 drink in women and 3 drinks in men) during the second visit and 1 g/L (approx. 3 drinks in women and 5 drinks in men) during the third visit as measured through the volunteers' breath. Baseline respiratory measurements were taken before drugs were administered. Resting respiratory variables, minute ventilation - the amount of air the volunteers breathed per minute - and the number of times volunteers temporarily stopped breathing were obtained at regular intervals during treatment.

One oxycodone tablet reduced baseline minute ventilation by 28 percent, while the addition of 1 g/L of ethanol caused minute ventilation to further decrease by another 19 percent - a total decrease of 47 percent. The combination of ethanol with oxycodone caused a significant increase in the number of times volunteers experienced a temporary cessation in breathing - ranging from 0 to 3 events with no ethanol versus 0 to 11 events at 1 g/L of ethanol (measured by breath). Overall, researchers found a synergistic effect between opioids and alcohol on breathing and, most importantly, on the number of times an individual temporarily stopped breathing. This was especially true in the elderly population, who were more likely to experience repeated episodes where they temporarily stopped breathing. The authors note, this was likely due to the older volunteers' inability to recover quickly and lack of physiological reserve.

"We hope to increase awareness regarding the dangers of prescription opioids, the increased danger of the simultaneous use of opioids and alcohol, and that elderly people are at an even greater increased risk of this potentially life-threatening side effect," said Dr. Dahan. "Ultimately, people should know that it is never a good idea to drink alcohol with opioids."

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction give us a call 844-680-9269

 

Reference:

Rutger van der Schrier, M.D.; Margot Roozekrans, M.D.; Erik Olofsen, M.Sc.; Leon Aarts, M.D., Ph.D.; Monique van Velzen, Ph.D.; Merijn de Jong, B.Sc.; Albert Dahan, M.D., Ph.D.; Marieke Niesters, M.D., Ph.D., Anesthesiology, doi: 10.1097/ALN.0000000000001505, published 7 February 2017.

Meditation for Addiction Recovery

Alcoholism and drug addiction are complex conditions that plague millions of people.  Recovering from them requires a comprehensive treatment plan. For many recovering addicts and alcoholics, that plan typically includes talk therapy, support groups, and, if warranted, medication. However, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices, particularly meditation, can provide a vital source of additional support during recovery. Keep reading to better understand how meditation can be very beneficial for anyone working to overcome their addiction.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice that goes back thousands of years.  Often used to enhance spiritual connection and enlightenment, the practice essentially involves quieting the mind and concentrating on a specific thought or idea. Meditation is usually done in a quiet place.  While many who practice it do it alone, it can also be done in a group setting.

There’s no set time frame for a meditation session; it can be done for just a minutes or an hour or two.  Meditation can be done any time of the day.  However, many – if not most – individuals who meditate regularly strive to do so at the same time each day.  It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of spiritual or religious beliefs.  In fact, many people who meditate do it to relieve stress and feel more centered – with religion having no connection to their practice.

Relation to Rehab

Many treatment centres have included meditation in their overall treatment plan. Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre is one. It’s not used in place of other therapies.  Instead, it provides powerful additional support for addicts in recovery. Part of the value of meditation is that those in treatment can practice it even after the initial recovery period is complete.  This makes meditation a valuable tool they can use to stay sober for the rest of their lives.

In general, meditation is a practice that allows a person to focus on any number of things. For example, addicts may use it to slow down their breathing and calm their nerves then they’re feeling anxious or stressed. This helps reduce the negative feelings that compel alcoholics and drug addicts to reach for substances.  It may also be used to connect in spiritual ways during recovery. Many individuals use meditation to connect with a higher power through prayers or mantras. Feeling connected to a higher power has helped many addicts stay on the path of recovery.

It’s easy to learn. Any recovering alcoholic or addict can learn to calm his or her mind with meditation. Some learn the techniques in rehab or during counseling sessions. However, the art of meditation can also be learned at wellness centers or from religious groups. There are also meditation how-to guides available through books and websites. For those interested in learning the techniques through yoga, it’s crucial to find a place that incorporates meditative practices; some yoga classes, like those in fitness centers, may focus only on the physical movements.

It can be done anywhere. This is one of the most valuable aspects of using meditation for addiction recovery. Since stress is one of the primary triggers for relapse, meditative techniques are particularly beneficial because they can be done whenever and wherever stress is felt. Meditation can be used to lower the body’s acute response to stress at home or in the workplace, so recovering addicts are less likely to feel the tension and strain tempt them to drink or use.

Meditation may also reduce the cravings that can trigger a relapse. For instance, a recovering alcoholic can meditate when he finds himself in the parking lot outside a bar. Calming the mind for a few minutes may provide the distance needed to make a reasonable and healthy decision about whether to step into that bar or find the nearest AA meeting.

We promote and practice Mindfulness techniques here at Another Road.

We are a 28 day rehab for men with addiction problems located in the Toronto area in Bolton, Ontario.

 

 

Dealing with Shame

Shame is so painful to the psyche that most people will do anything to avoid it, even though it’s a natural emotion that everyone has. It’s a physiologic response of the autonomic nervous system. You might blush, have a rapid heartbeat, break into a sweat, freeze, hang your head, slump your shoulders, avoid eye contact, withdraw, even get dizzy or nauseous.

Why Shame is so Painful

Whereas guilt is a right or wrong judgment about your behavior, shame is a feeling about yourself. Guilt motivates you to want to correct or repair the error. In contrast, shame is an intense global feeling of inadequacy, inferiority, or self-loathing. You want to hide or disappear. In front of others, you feel exposed and humiliated, as if they can see your flaws. The worst part of it is a profound sense of separation — from yourself and from others. It’s disintegrating, meaning that you lose touch with all the other parts of yourself, and you also feel disconnected from everyone else. Shame induces unconscious beliefs, such as:

  • I’m a failure.
  • I’m not important.
  • I’m unlovable.
  • I don’t deserve to be happy.
  • I’m a bad person.
  • I’m a phony.
  • I’m defective.

Chronic Shame in Addiction and Codependency

As with all emotions, shame passes. But for addicts and codependents it hangs around, often beneath consciousness, and leads to other painful feelings and problematic behaviors. You’re ashamed of who you are. You don’t believe that you matter or are worthy of love, respect, success, or happiness. When shame becomes all-pervasive, it paralyzes spontaneity. A chronic sense of unworthiness and inferiority can result in depression, hopelessness, and despair, until you become numb, feeling disconnected from life and everyone else.

Shame can lead to addiction and is the core feeling that leads to many other codependents’ symptoms. Here are a few of the other symptoms that are derived from shame:

  • Perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem
  • People-pleasing
  • Guilt

For codependents, shame can lead to control, caretaking, and dysfunctional, nonassertive communication. Shame creates many fears and anxieties that make relationships difficult, especially intimate ones. Many people sabotage themselves in work and relationships because of these fears. You aren’t assertive when shame causes you to be afraid to speak your mind, take a position, or express who you are. You blame others because you already feel so bad about yourself that you can’t take responsibility for any mistake or misunderstanding. Meanwhile, you apologize like crazy to avoid just that! Codependents are afraid to get close because they don’t believe they’re worthy of love, or that once known, they’ll disappoint the other person. The unconscious thought might be that “I’ll leave before you leave me.” Fear of success and failure may limit job performance and career options.

Hidden Shame

Because shame is so painful, it’s common for people to hide their shame from themselves by feeling sad, superior, or angry at a perceived insult instead. Other times, it comes out as boasting, envy, or judgment of others. The more aggressive and contemptuous are these feelings, the stronger the shame. An obvious example is a bully, who brings others down to raise himself up, but this can happen all in your mind.

It needn’t be that extreme. You might talk down to those you teach or supervise, people of a different class or culture, or someone you judge. Another tell-tale symptom is frequent idealization of others, because you feel so low in comparison. The problem with these defenses is that if you aren’t aware of your shame, it doesn’t dissipate. Instead, it persists and mounts up.

Healing Shame

Healing requires a safe environment where you can begin to be vulnerable, express yourself, and receive acceptance and empathy. Then you’re able to internalize a new experience and begin to revise your beliefs about yourself. It may require revisiting shame-inducing events or past messages and re-evaluating them from a new perspective. Usually it takes an empathic therapist or counselor to create that space so that you can incrementally tolerate self-loathing and the pain of shame enough to self-reflect upon it until it dissipates.

(Psych Central)

Are you or a loved one ready to make a change? Give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

Principles of Effective Treatment

The following key principles should form the basis of any effective treatment program:

  • Addiction is a complex but treatable disease that affects brain function and behavior.
  • No single treatment is right for everyone.
  • People need to have quick access to treatment.
  • Effective treatment addresses all of the patient’s needs, not just his drug/alcohol use.
  • Staying in treatment long enough is critical.
  • Individual counseling and group therapy are commonly used forms of treatment.
  • Multiple modalities of behavioral therapies work best.
  • Treatment plans must be reviewed often and modified to fit the clients changing needs.
  • Treatment should address other possible mental disorders.
  • Treatment doesn't need to be voluntary to be effective.
  • Family counselling during and after treatment is key.

Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre is a 28 day residential rehab for men with alcohol and drug problems. We are located near Toronto in Bolton, Ontario. Give us a call 844-680-9269

 

Be Honest

An addiction requires lying. You have to lie about getting your drug, using it, hiding its consequences, and planning your next relapse. An addiction is full of lying. By the time you've developed an addiction, lying comes easily to you. After a while you get so good at lying that you end up lying to yourself. That's why addicts don't know who they are or what they believe in.

The other problem with lying is that you can't like yourself when you lie. You can't look yourself in the mirror. Lying traps you in your addiction. The more you lie, the less you like yourself, which makes you want to escape, which leads to more using and more lying.

Nothing changes, if nothing changes. Ask yourself this: will more lying, more isolating, and more of the same make you feel better? The expression in AA is – nothing changes if nothing changes. If you don't change your life, then why would this time be any different? You need to create a new life where it's easier to not use.

Recovery requires complete honesty. You must be one-hundred percent completely honest with the people who are your supports: your family, your doctor, your therapist, the people in your 12 step group, and your sponsor. If you can't be completely honest with them, you won't do well in recovery.

When you're completely honest you don't give your addiction room to hide. When you lie you leave the door open to relapse.

One mistake people make in the early stages of recovery is they think that honesty means being honest about other people. They think they should share what's "wrong" with other people. But recovery isn't about fixing other people. It's about fixing yourself. Stick with your own recovery. Focusing on what you don't like about others is easy because it deflects attention from yourself.

Honesty won't come naturally in the beginning. You've spent so much time learning how to lie that telling the truth, no matter how good it is for you, won't feel natural. You'll have to practice telling the truth a few hundred times before it comes a little easier. In the beginning, you'll have to stop yourself as you're telling a story, and say, "now that I think about it, it was more like this..."

Show common sense. Not everybody is your best friend. And not everybody will be glad to know that you have an addiction or that you're doing something about it. There may be some people who you don't want to tell about your recovery. But don't be reluctant to tell the people close to you about your recovery. You should never feel ashamed that you're doing something about your addiction.

Another Road is a 28 day rehab for men with alcohol and drug problems. We are located in the Toronto area in Bolton, Ontario. Give us a call 844-680-9269

Successful Recovery

At Another Road we believe that successful recovery from addiction involves re-integrating the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of life that have been disrupted by addiction. We accomplish this by providing a safe, stable, and comfortable environment, delivering a range of treatment options, which include proper rest, a healthy nutritious diet, individual counseling, group therapy, an introduction to meditation and mindfulness, and participation in outside activities which promote an alcohol and drug free lifestyle.

During your stay with us our team of qualified and experienced counselors and therapists will work with you to create a personalized recovery plan that will ensure your success in maintaining recovery from addiction.

Ready to take control of your life? Give us a call and come see us. 844-680-9269

Another Road Addiction Recovery Centre is located in the Toronto area just outside Bolton, Ontario. We are a 28 day, 10 bed rehab for men with drug and alcohol problems.