Drug Abuse

Drug Take Back Day in New Jersey: Saturday Oct 26

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day – Oct. 26, 2013

On Saturday, Oct. 26, the DEA will be holding National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you will be able to anonymously dispose of your excess prescription and over-the-counter medications at any of numerous collection sites. In the Morristown, NJ area, more than 90 collection sites will be made available to you.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is intended to help people to safely dispose of their excess medications. As we know, unused medication can be a dangerous lure for those who suffer from drug problems. Additionally, if you attempt to dispose of prescription or over-the-counter medications yourself by flushing them or pouring them down the drain, you can damage our water systems. If you throw away your unused medications, animals or plants can be harmed by them as well.

Here is a list of Drug Take-Back locations in Northern New Jersey:

Northern New Jersey drug take-back locations.

Northern New Jersey drug take-back locations.


Allendale: Allendale Police Department
Allendale Police Department, 290 Franklin Turnpike, Allendale NJ, 07401, NJ

Bayonne: Bayonne Police Department
Bayonne Police Department, 630 Avenue C, Bayonne NJ, 07002, NJ

Bergenfield: Bergenfield Police Department
Bergenfield Police Department, 198 North Washington Ave., Bergenfield NJ, 07621, NJ

Berkeley Heights: Berkeley Heights Police Department
Berkeley Heights Police Department, 29 Park Ave., Berkeley Heights NJ, 07922, NJ

Bernardsville: Bernardsville Police Department
Bernardsville Police Department, 166 Minebrook Rd., Bernardsville NJ, 07924, NJ

Bloomfield: Bloomfield Police Department
Bloomfield Police Department, 1 Municipal Plaza, Bloomfield NJ, 07003, NJ

Bloomingdale: Bloomingdale Police Department
Bloomingdale Police Department, 101 Hamburg Turnpike, Bloomingdale NJ, 07403, NJ

Bound Brook: Bound Brook Police Department
Bound Brook Police Department, 226 Hamilton Street, Bound Brook NJ, 08805, NJ

Stanhope: Byram Twp. Police Department
Shop Rite, 90 Route 206, Stanhope NJ, 07874, NJ

Carteret: Carteret Police Department
Carteret Police Department, 230 Roosevelt Ave., Carteret NJ, 07008, NJ

Cedar Grove: Cedar Grove Police Department
Cedar Grove Police Department, 525 Route 23, Cedar Grove NJ, 07009, NJ

Chester: Chester Twp. Police Department
Chester Twp. Police Department, 1 Parker Road, Chester NJ, 07930, NJ

Clark: Clark Police Department
Clark Police Department, 315 Westfield Ave., Clark NJ, 07066, NJ

Cliffside Park: Cliffside Park Police Department
Cliffside Park Police Department, 525 Palisade Ave., Cliffside Park NJ, 07010, NJ

Cranford: Cranford Police Department
Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Ave., Cranford NJ, 07016, NJ

Staten Island: Dea New York Division
Richmond University Medical Center, Main Lobby, 335 Bard Avenue, Staten Island NY, 10310, NJ

Brooklyn: Dea New York Division
New York City Police Department Brooklyn 68 Precinct, 333 65Th Street (Bay Ridge), Brooklyn NY, 11220, NJ

New York: Dea New York Division, 10 Precinct
New York City Police Department Manhattan, 230 West 20Th Street Chelsea, New York NY, 10011, NJ

Staten Island: Dea New York Division, 123Rd Precinct
New York City Police Department Staten Island, 116 Main Street (Tottenville), Staten Island NY, 10307, NJ

Staten Island: Dea New York Division, Chris Hollie
Staten Island University Hospital South Campus, 375 Seguine Ave (Lobby), Staten Island NY, 10309, NJ

Staten Island: Dea New York Division, Chris Hollie 718-226-1911
Staten Island University Hospital North Campus, 475 Seaview Ave (Lobby), Staten Island NY, 10305, NJ

Staten Island: Dea New York Division, Precinct 120
New York City Police Department Staten Island, 78 Richmond Terrace (Stgeorge), Staten Island NY, 10301, NJ

Staten Island: Dea New York Division, Precinct 122
New York Police Department Staten Island, 2320 Hylan Avenue (New Dorp), Staten Island NY, 10306, NJ

New York: Dea New York Division, Precinct 7
New York City Police Department Manhattan, 19 1/2 Pitt Street Lower East Side, New York NY, 10002, NJ

Brooklyn: Dea New York Division, Precinct 84
New York City Police Department Brooklyn, 301 Gold Street, Brooklyn NY, 11201, NJ

East Hanover: East Hanover Police Department
East Hanover Police Department, 2 Deforest Ave., East Hanover NJ, 07936, NJ

East Rutherford: East Rutherford Police Department
East Rutherford Police Department, 117 Stanley St., East Rutherford NJ, 07073, NJ

Edison: Edison Police Department
Edison Police Department, 100 Municipal Blvd, Edison NJ, 08817, NJ

Essex Fells: Essex Fells Police Department
Essex Fells Police Department, 255 Roseland Ave., Essex Fells NJ, 07021, NJ

Fairfield: Fairfield Twp. Police Department
Fairfield Police Department, 230 Fairfield Road, Fairfield NJ, 07004, NJ

Florham Park: Florham Park Police Department
Florham Park Police Department, 111 Ridgedale Ave., Florham Park NJ, 07932, NJ

Somerset: Franklin Twp. Police Department
Franklin Police Department, 495 Demott Lane, Somerset NJ, 08873, NJ

Garfield: Garfield Police Department
Garfield Police Department, 411 Midland Ave., Garfield NJ, 07026, NJ

Glen Rock: Glen Rock Police Department
Glen Rock Police Department, 1 Harding Plaza, Glen Rock NJ, 07452, NJ

Hackettstown: Hackettstown Police Department
Hackettstown Police Department, 215 Stiger St., Hackettstown NJ, 07840, NJ

Haledon: Haledon Police Department
Haledon Police Department, 510 Belmont Ave., Haledon NJ, 07508, NJ

Hasbrouck Heights: Hasbrouck Heights Police Department
Hasbrouck Heights Police Department, 320 Boulevard, Hasbrouck Heights NJ, 07604, NJ

Hawthorne: Hawthorne Police Department
Hawthorne Police Department, 445 Lafayette Ave., Hawthorne NJ, 07506, NJ

High Bridge: High Bridge Borough Police Department
High Bridge Borough Police Department, 99 West Main Street, High Bridge NJ, 08829, NJ

Highland Park: Highland Park Police Department
Highland Park Police Department, 222 South 6Th Ave., Highland Park NJ, 08904, NJ

Hopatcong: Hopatcong Borough Police Department
Hopatcong Police Department- Lobby, 111 River Styx, Hopatcong NJ, 07843, NJ

Jersey City: Hudson County Sheriff'S Office
Hudson County Sheriff'S Office, 257 Cornelison Avenue, Jersey City NJ, 07302, NJ

Oak Ridge: Jefferson Twp. Police Department
Jefferson Twp. Police Department, 1033 Weldon Road, Oak Ridge NJ, 07438, NJ

Kearny: Kearny Police Department
Kearny Police Department, 237 Laurel Ave., Kearny NJ, 07032, NJ

Kenilworth: Kenilworth Police Department
Kenilworth Police Department, 567 Boulevard, Kenilworth NJ, 07033, NJ

Livingston: Livingston Twp. Police Department
Livingston Twp. Police Department, 333 South Livingston Ave., Livingston NJ, 07039, NJ

Mahwah: Mahwah Police Department
Mahwah Police Department, 221 Franklin Turnpike, Mahwah NJ, 07430, NJ

Manville: Manville Police Department
Manville Police Deparment, 2 North Main Street, Manville NJ, 08835, NJ

Maplewood: Maplewood Police Department
Maplewood Police Department, 1618 Springfield Ave., Maplewood NJ, 07040, NJ

Maywood: Maywood Police Department
Maywood Police Department, 15 Park Ave., Maywood NJ, 07607, NJ

Mendham: Mendham Borough Police Department
Morris County Police Academy, 3 Cold Hill Road South, Mendham NJ, 07945, NJ

Metuchen: Metuchen Police Department
Metuchen Borough Hall, 500 Main Street, Metuchen NJ, 08840, NJ

South River: Middlesex County Sheriffs Office
Middlesex County Sheriffs Office, 701 Livingston Ave., South River NJ, 08882, NJ

Middlesex: Middlesex Police Department
Middlesex Police Department, 1101 Mountain Ave., Middlesex NJ, 08846, NJ

Midland Park: Midland Park Police Department
Midland Park Police Department, 280 Godwin Ave., Midland Park NJ, 07432, NJ

Milltown: Milltown Police Department
Milltown Police Department, 39 Washington Ave., Milltown NJ, 08850, NJ

Montclair: Montclair Police Department
Montclair Police Department, 647 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair NJ, 07042, NJ

Morris Plains: Morris County Prosecutor'S Office
Stop & Shop Supermarket, 245 Littleton Rd., Morris Plains NJ, 07950, NJ

Randolph: Morris County Prosecutor'S Office
Randolph Town Hall, 502 Millbrook Ave., Randolph NJ, 07869, NJ

Mountain Lakes: Mountain Lakes Police Department
Mountain Lakes Fire Department, 400 Blvd, Mountain Lakes NJ, 07046, NJ

Mountainside: Mountainside Police Department
Mountainside Police Department, 1385 Rt. 22 East, Mountainside NJ, 07092, NJ

New Brunswick: New Brunswick Police Department
New Brunswick Police Department, 25 Kirkpatrick St., New Brunswick NJ, 08901, NJ

New Providence: New Providence Police Department
New Providence Police Department, 360 Elkwood Ave., New Providence NJ, 07974, NJ

North Arlington: North Arlington Police Department
H&B Pharmacy, 98 Ridge Road, North Arlington NJ, 07031, NJ

North Brunswick: North Brunswick Police Department
North Brunswick Police Department, 710 Hermann Rd., North Brunswick NJ, 08902, NJ

North Plainfield: North Plainfield Police Department
North Plainfield Police Department, 263 Somerset St., North Plainfield NJ, 07060, NJ

Nutley: Nutley Police Department
Nutley Police Department, 228 Chestnut Street, Nutley NJ, 07110, NJ

Ogdensburg: Ogdendburg Police Department
Ogdensburg Police Department, 14 Highland Ave., Ogdensburg NJ, 07439, NJ

Palisades Park: Palisades Park Police Department
Palisades Park Police Department, 275 Broad Ave., Palisades Park NJ, 07650, NJ

Piscataway: Piscataway Police Department
Piscataway Police Department, 555 Sidney Road, Piscataway NJ, 08854, NJ

Rahway: Rahway Police Department
Rahway Police Department, 1 City Hall Plaza, Rahway NJ, 07065, NJ

Ramsey: Ramsey Police Department
Ramsey Police Department, 25 North Central Avenue, Ramsey NJ, 07446, NJ

Whitehouse Station: Readington Twp. Police Department
Readington Twp. Police Department, 507 Rt. 523, Whitehouse Station NJ, 08889, NJ

Ridgefield: Ridgefield Borough Police Department
Ridgefield Municipal Building, 604 Broad Ave., Ridgefield NJ, 07657, NJ

Ridgefield Park: Ridgefield Park Police Department
Ridgefield Park Police Department, 234 Main St., Ridgefield Park NJ, 07660, NJ

Ridgewood: Ridgewood Police Department
Ridgewood Police Department, 131 N. Maple Avenue, 2Nd Floor, Ridgewood NJ, 07450, NJ

Ringwood: Ringwood Police Department
Ringwood Police Department, 60 Margaret King Ave., Ringwood NJ, 07456, NJ

River Edge: River Edge Police Department
River Edge Police Department, 705 Kinderkamack Rd., River Edge NJ, 07661, NJ

Rochelle Park: Rochelle Park Twp. Police Department
Rochelle Park Police Department, 151 West Passaic St., Rochelle Park NJ, 07662, NJ

Succasunna: Roxbury Twp. Police Department
Roxbury Recreation Center, 72 Eyland Ave., Succasunna NJ, 07876, NJ

New Brunswick: Rutgers Unitverity Police Department
Rutgers Student Center- Community Policing Office, 126 College Ave., New Brunswick NJ, 08901, NJ

Rutherford: Rutherford Police Department
Rutherford Police Dept., 184 Park Ave., Rutherford NJ, 07070, NJ

Hillsborough: Somerset County Sheriff'S Office
South County Public Works Garage, 410 Roycefield Rd., Hillsborough NJ, 08844, NJ

Somerville: Somerville Police Department
Somerville Police Department, 24 S. Bridge St., Somerville NJ, 08876, NJ

South Plainfield: South Plainfield Police Department
South Plainfield Police Department, 2480 Plainfield Ave., South Plainfield NJ, 07080, NJ

South River: South River Police Department
South River Police Department, 61 Main Street, South River NJ, 08882, NJ

Sparta: Sparta Twp. Police Department
Sparta Twp. Police Department, 65 Main Street, Sparta NJ, 07871, NJ

Summit: Summit Police Department
Summit Pd, 512 Springfield Ave., Summit NJ, 07901, NJ

Teaneck: Teaneck Police Department
Teaneck Police Department, 900 Teaneck Rd., Teaneck NJ, 07666, NJ

Waldwick: Waldwick Police Department
Waldwick Public Safety Complex, 15 E. Prospect St., Waldwick NJ, 07463, NJ

Warren: Warren Twp. Police Department
Warren Twp. Police Department, 44 Mountain Blvd., Warren NJ, 07059, NJ

Long Valley: Washington Twp. Police Department
Washington Twp. Police Department, 1 East Springtown Road, Long Valley NJ, 07853, NJ

Washington Township: Washington Twp. Police Department
Washington Twp. Police Department, 350 Hudson Ave., Washington Township NJ, 07676, NJ

Watchung: Watchung Police Department
Watchung Police Department, 840 Somerset St., Watchung NJ, 07069, NJ

Wayne: Wayne Twp. Police Department
Wayne Police Department, 475 Valley Road, Wayne NJ, 07470, NJ

West Caldwell: West Caldwell Police Department
West Caldwell Police Department, 21 Clinton Road, West Caldwell NJ, 07006, NJ

West Orange: West Orange Police Department
West Orange Town Hall, 66 Main Street, West Orange NJ, 07052, NJ

Westfield: Westfield Police Department
Westfield Police Department, 425 E. Broad St., Westfield NJ, 07090, NJ

Woodbridge: Woodbridge Police Department
Woodbridge Police Department, 1 Main Street, Woodbridge NJ, 07095, NJ

Wyckoff: Wyckoff Police Department
Wyckoff Police Department, 1 Scott Plaza, Wyckoff NJ, 07481, NJ

Krokodil Drug (desomorphine) in the USA: Why It Matters

Krocodil has been observed since early reports such as this one from Russia in 2011, when the practice of deriving crude desomorphine from codeine using petro chemicals emerged from Siberia.

Krocodil has been observed since early reports from Russia in 2011, when the practice of deriving crude desomorphine from codeine using petro chemicals emerged from Siberia.

We are hearing reports that the dangerous and hideous drug krokodil is here, in the US. Initial reports of possible krokodil use started 2 years ago, but this week we are facing what may turn out to be the first confirmed death from krokodil in Oklahoma, after several reports in Illinois.

In 2010 we first heard graphic reports of “Krokodil” abused by addicts in Russia. The horrific images and stories of addicts so lost to hope that they willingly inject themselves with visibly destructive chemicals, while drug dealers watch them die, drew media attention. To addiction treatment professionals, this was evidence of the severe end game of an addict abandoned by society, left to rot, and powerless under the forces of chemical addiction and commercial manipulation.

Krokodil, or desomorphine, is an opioid derived from morphine. It is also known as dihydrodesoxymorphine, once sold under the brand name Permonid. When codeine was deregulated in Russia a few years ago and sold over the counter, addicts seeking lower cost opioid highs experimented with codeine-containing medicines. They used any available chemical solvents to formulate desomorphine from codeine products, including gasoline, kerosene, paint thinner — or the cheapest of all: red phosphorous scraped off the heads of matches pulled from “free” matchbooks given away with cigarettes.

Krokodil is made from over the counter products containing codeine. The Russian government returned codeine to controlled status in 2012, reportedly due to the abuse of krokodil.

Drug users injecting krokodil are expected to live less than a year or two, due to the severe damage caused by injecting the drug. The horrific skin damage that leads these addicts quickly to disease and death, is caused by the solvents injected into the skin. The solvents cause blood vessels to burst, interrupting blood flow to the skin around injection sites on the arms and legs and wherever the addict injects, killing the skin.

While the media seems fascinated with the imagery of deformed and hideous addicts literally falling apart as they continue to inject, what is the real problem with krokodil? It comes down to two main issues: economics, and substance abuse treatment policy.

Krokodil is the cheapest high these addicts can find, by far. That economic fact… that these addicts cannot afford any other satisfaction from their addiction than an obviously suicidal injection of krokodil, tells the primary story behind the drug. The consequences of injecting krokodil are clear to all who witness it, which we can see from the Russian reports. Addicts surrounded by other addicts dying of the consequences, continuing to inject it. Krokodil is a high of last resort. And that fact highlights the second reason we must pay attention to krokodil: co-occurring mental disorders are behind many addictions, and must be treated.

The addicts we see with krokodil have abandoned all hope. They see no alternative to life under their addiction, except death, and choose death by krokodil over death by something else. This behavior reflects the mental state of the extreme addict left alone to die of addiction.They accept that since they have no hope, and no help, and are dying, they will die one way or another, which may include via the damage done by krokodil.

“While one can say the krokodil addict died of infection or another consequence of the skin damage caused by injecting desomorphine mixed with toxic petro chemicals, I can equally state they died of untreated mental illness, concurrent with terminal addiction”.Ira Levy, Sunrise Detox in Florida

We eagerly await news from the scientific and policy agencies on these current reports of krokodil in the US. As the investigations get under way, we hope that everyone will look at the true root causes of the problem, which is untreated behavioral disorders associated with the disease of addiction, and the economics of drug abuse and treatment.

No addict in the US should ever be left alone to conclude there is no hope, and our society should not allow the criminal conditions of drug sale and encouragement witnessed in the early Russian video reports about krokodil.

NJ Drug Problems Reach Epidemic Status

As I have mentioned in previous posts this has now reached “Epidemic” status in New Jersey. The NJ Authorities now say “no community, however affluent or remote, is immune to the circumstances and impact of this trend. ” According to the 2010 report there were 843 drug related deaths , of which 402 were solely attributed to prescription drugs. The total number in 2011 jumped to 1008!  The results of a 2 year investigation are being released today, with a press conference this morning.

I have previously highlighted how we  need to enforce the prescription monitoring bill already passed here in the state. We have already committed resources to add substance (drug, alcohol) detox facilities in the state, with full facilities under construction Sunrise Detox Toms River and Sunrise Detox Cherry Hill.
How is this epidemic affecting the States Economy ?  According to the old report “Beyond the devastation of lost lives, law enforcement authorities at multiple levels told the Commission that the drug trade and the resulting imperative of addiction have produced spikes in burglaries and other crimes of theft all across New Jersey”
We will find out shortly what they've learned since 2010, but the inside chatter suggests it won't be good. All of the bad numbers are way up, in some cases to unbelievable levels, and while some of the “good numbers” are also up (such as the number of treatment beds planned by Sunrise Detox), most are not up nearly enough.In many areas of drug abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment, the old way of doing things is no longer adequate. “More” of the same will not achieve the desired results. The 2010 report ended with that idea for moving forward:
The record of this investigation demonstrates that the challenges posed by drug abuse have taken on disturbing new dimensions that call into question the conventional wisdom regarding gateway drugs and addiction, and the adequacy of current medical oversight and law enforcement strategies. We now live in a State where the abuse of legitimate prescription pills serves increasingly as a route to the unlawful world of heroin, which is cheap, widely available and so pure it can be used without the junkie stigma or mess of needles while producing a high matching or exceeding that of any legitimate pharmaceutical painkiller. This tangled intersection of legal and illicit narcotics constitutes a crisis whose multiple consequences are plain for all to see: the countless deaths and damaged lives, the spiking crime, the subverted recesses of the medical and pharmaceutical professions, the exploitation by gangs and other criminal elements.”

Ocean County Heroin Deaths

Donna Weaver wrote an article for The Press of Atlantic City entitled “Ocean County surge in heroin deaths spurs action to prevent tragedies“. She noted that Ocean County, NJ is on track to double the number of drug-related deaths on record for 2012. Already this year there are 54 deaths on record (53 at the time of that article). In just one 8 day span during April, 9 people died of heroin overdoses in Ocean County.

I've been actively involved in some of the prevention and awareness efforts in Ocean and Monmouth counties. There are many rumors of “bad” heroin coming out of Philadelphia, being sold in Atlantic City area. There are stories of “good” and “bad” heroin, with some people wishing it were simply a problem of identifying the bad stuff from the good stuff. But this issue is much more complicated than that. All heroin is “bad stuff”. No matter who you are, your heroin dealer is not the most trustworthy source of safe, reliable medications.

The “heroin problem” in Ocean and Monmouth and other counties in New Jersey is part of a broader drug problem, involving prescription drugs prescribed by doctors. I added a comment to that article:

The surge in heroin-related deaths in Ocean County is not an isolated event. The rise in prescription drug misuse and the abuse in New Jersey over the past several years is now feeding into a heroin trade, as the prescription opiates and opioids (pain killers) become harder to obtain legally.

I’m a drug detox professional with Sunrise Detox in Morris County, and I collaborate with substance abuse treatment centers throughout New Jersey. I participate in the Ocean County Center for Prevention’s Prescription Drug Misuse working group (part of the DART Coalition). Sunrise Detox is opening a drug detox facility in Toms River later this year, to meet the growing demand for prescription drug, alcohol, and increasingly heroin addiction in Ocean and Monmouth counties.

Drug users, parents, loved ones, and community leaders need to recognize the strong connection between opioid prescription drugs (painkillers like oxycodone) and heroin. In many ways, heroin is a cheaper and more accessible form of the same drug, but heroin brings in additional risks associated with illicit manufacturing, irregular purity, and unknown dosing, all of which increasingly brings tragedy to NJ families who previously thought they were “only” dealing with a pill problem.

It is essential that we raise awareness of the signs of drug addiction epidemic in New Jersey, and help people get into treatment as early as possible. Currently medical intervention is restricted to those already too far along the addiction pathway. We need changes to the laws to enable medical assessments and early treatments for those showing signs of serious dependency, before they are tragically addicted to the most dangerous street drugs like heroin.

At Sunrise Detox we treat New Jersey residents who come to us with substance abuse issues that have gone out of control. Not all of the problems are recreational drug use. Many of them started as innocent prescription drug use. Pain killer use sometimes leads to mis-use and then abuse. The powerful prescription opioid medications are addicting, and act the same way in the body as heroin does, creating a cycle of addiction that is uncontrollable. For many, the only solution is to get medical assistance (medical drug detox) as soon as possible, and then the support and counseling needed to repair damaged lives, relationships, and expectations.

 

1,000 New Jersey Residents are in Substance Abuse Treatment, Every Day

In New Jersey on any given day, nearly 1,000 people are in a clinic or hospital receiving substance abuse treatment. Most have entered a detox program (Sunrise Detox in Stirling services over 100 individuals every month) for what is typically a week to ten days of medically-supervised treatment. The initial detox is needed to stabilize them medically, so they can prepare for rehab or another treatment plan. The rest are in hospitals, also receiving detox before further treatment.

People are often surprised by the high numbers. Nearly 1,000 moms, dads, workers, professionals… one thousand New Jersey residents every day, getting treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction. Nearly half (42%) are in for heroin and prescription pain killers (heroin is an opiate, and many painkillers are synthetic opiates known as opioids, also highly addicting). Over 30% of the rest are in for alcohol abuse (dependency).

These data are from 2010. The trend lines for both alcohol and opiate abuse have increased dramatically since then, so today's numbers are likely to be even higher.

Celebrity Rehab: Addiction Kills 100 Americans Every Day

Following the death of Mindy McCready, there has been buzz about deaths from addiction. McCready was the fifth cast member on Dr. Pinsky's “Celebrity Rehab Show”  to die from either suicide or overdose.  This seems unusual to many people, some of whom think the statistic reveals something about the show. But the unfortunate truth is people die from addiction every day. Addiction kills.

According to the Centers for Disease Control,  100 people die from drug overdose every day in America.

More than 12 million Americans report using prescription pain medication without a medical reason. Even more frightening — 55 % of prescription drugs taken off label are acquired from a friend or family member.

The number one cause of death with prescription painkillers is respiratory failure. Breathing stops, due to the overdose.  In January of 2012 I urged for increased adoption of prescription drug monitoring programs.  Thankfully, more  states have adopted these programs following Florida and New Jersey. According to the National Conference of State Legislators, 43 states have now passed or filed Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs.

But prescription drugs aren't the only path to death by sedation after overdose. A 2011 World Health Organization report claimed that alcohol related deaths now outnumber deaths from AIDS worldwide. More than 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol. In the former Soviet Union, 1 in 5 deaths are related to alcohol. Alcohol,  according to the W.H.O., also accelerates 60 different types of diseases.

What are we missing here? The disease of Addiction is a deadly epidemic that we need to look at further. Medical detoxification, treatment and a strong aftercare are only the beginning. On a daily basis I personally wonder why we as a society are not doing more. Why aren't we taking more preventive measures for this serious problem we face.

As an addiction professional I am reminded daily that addiction kills. I know only too well of the countless lives of celebrities, famous people, sons, daughters, mothers, and husbands that have ended way too early. People like you an me.

 

 

Denial on the street: “But officer, I slowed way down!”

There's an old cop joke about the guy who rolled through a stop sign, then complained to the officer who stopped him, “Hey, I slowed way down, what's the difference?” Supposedly the officer says to the guy, “OK, fine. I’m going to take this flashlight and hit you on the head. When you want me to slow down, say ‘Slow down!’, and when you want me to stop, say ‘Stop!’”

I answer a couple of dozen emails and blog comments a week, dealing with various aspects of addiction and recovery. Every now and then it becomes clear that someone wants me to cosign a desire to experiment with using again. Most often it’s folks who want to know if I think it would be OK for them to have a glass of wine at dinner occasionally, or folks who have stopped using some drugs but want to go on using another (usually marijuana). So I think it’s time to write a few words about this particular form of denial.

Of course it’s denial! Here’s someone who has had enough problems in their life from using alcohol or other drugs that they have quit, or are trying to. In most cases it is safe to assume it hasn't been the easiest thing that they’ve ever done. Presumably they went through that for a reason. Yet they come to a website that is obviously about encouraging recovery, and inquire if I think it’s OK for them to mess around with their recovery.

Sure, it’s OK, because there’s no recovery involved. If we aren't convinced that we need to remain clean and concentrate on learning to live in such a way that our desire to use is minimized and hopefully eliminated, then we aren't in recovery — whether or not we’re clean. It’s that simple. No such thing as partial pregnancy, and no such thing as being partially in recovery. It’s quite possible that we don’t need to be in recovery. But, if that’s the case, why did we come to the site?

If you think you have a problem, do whatever you can to solve it. Don’t mess around. If you don’t think you have a problem, then live it up. Eventually things will become clear, one way or another.

But don't tell this old cop that you want to slow down.