For Professionals

Sunrise Ft. Lauderdale Opening Soon

These are drawings of our new Gold Coast facility, currently in the last phase of construction.

We will be opening in late Spring at 2331 N.E. 53rd Street, Ft. Lauderdale.  (954-491-9700).


Easy Does It

Every so often — too often — I run across a newcomer with a few months or even a couple of years, who has decided to become an addiction professional or otherwise involved in the field, and help save all the poor folks who are still “out there.”

It scares the hell out of me.

The last thing a person in early recovery needs is more stress, and let me tell you: going back to school, working as a tech and picking up contact hours, and then the life of a newly-hatched counselor or therapist is not conducive to good, long lasting recovery.  As much as it seems like these things would enhance one's understanding of the disease and the recovery process, the exact opposite is true.  It puts us directly in a position of being unable to see the forest for the trees, distracts us from the steps, practicing the principles, and generally focuses us on other people at a time when we should still be focusing on ourselves.  Not only that, but it can fool us into believing that we know all that we need to know about recovery.  I'm here to tell you that is rarely the case even for old-timers. I learn new stuff every day — often from newcomers who have done the research for me and lived to tell about it.

Goodness knows that if several folks with good recovery hadn't gone on to become professionals and been there to help me, I'd be dead. I like to think the same is true of my efforts, in at least a few cases.  But, without any exceptions that I can think of, the truly good counselors and therapists are the ones who had several years of recovery under their belts before they became immersed in the field.  I'm sure this isn't the case with all, but I am willing to state unequivocally that it is true of most.  The experience that makes recovering people some of the best therapists needs time to develop, and if you don't have the fundamentals down for yourself, then you don't have anything to give to others.

So all you folks who are living in the fast lane, holding down a job or two, maybe trying to raise kids, and planning to hit the books — please think about what you're doing.  I've seen that kind of recovery end abruptly, sometimes years down the road.  And you know what?  It's really hard for those folks to get back.

Take care of yourself, or you won't be able to take care of anyone.  And remember, anything you put ahead of your own recovery, you are likely to lose.


Research on drug use goes down the toilet

Analysis Of Waste Water May Be The Key To
Determining Community Drug Use

Sewers don’t lie. People may be less than forthright about what they put into their bodies, especially if that includes illicit drugs, but a chemical analysis of what comes out of their bodies removes all mystery. According to drug and addiction researchers, analysing wastewater for remnants of illicit substances provides the only truly objective indicator of drug use patterns in a community.

“Whatever you think about drugs, people need to have objective data so they can at least have an informed discussion,” says Caleb Banta-Green, a research scientist at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute in Seattle.

Read More…

New powerful painkiller has abuse experts worried

Far be it from me to comment in public about the ethics and morals of people I haven't even met, so the less said the better.

NEW YORK (AP) — Drug companies are working to develop a pure, more powerful version of the nation's second most-abused medicine, which has addiction experts worried that it could spur a new wave of abuse.

The new pills contain the highly addictive painkiller hydrocodone, packing up to 10 times the amount of the drug as existing medications such as Vicodin. Four companies have begun patient testing, and one of them — Zogenix of San Diego — plans to apply early next year to begin marketing its product, Zohydro.

If approved, it would mark the first time patients could legally buy pure hydrocodone.


Why are the blood alcohol limits for drivers so low? I can function perfectly well after a few beers.

Q.  Why are the blood alcohol limits for drivers so low?  I can function perfectly well after a few beers.

A. Alcohol, aside from its addictive qualities, also has a psychological effect that modifies thinking and reasoning…. — The American Medical Association, in an official statement issued July 31st, 1964

We now know that having a drink of alcohol inhibits the executive functions of our brains.  The inhibiting mechanisms that control judgement, decision-making, and overall self-control are the first things affected by alcohol.  That’s why we experience that feeling of “freedom” when we’ve had that first drink: the feeling that we can relax, that we don’t have to hold the reins quite so tightly, that enables us to be a little more daring, take a few more risks, makes us more handsome, more beautiful and wittier (at least in our own mind), and that convinces us that we can drive just fine, thank you very much.

The abilities to drive skillfully, operate machinery, and carry out other dangerous activities that require judgement, decision-making and self-control are the very first things that we lose when we drink.  As you can see from the table below, other critical skills aren't far behind.  Combine that with the poor judgement that can make driving seem like a good idea, and we have a recipe for potential disaster.

Blood alcohol limits are set where they are because long experience and tens of thousands of blood tests on drivers involved in crashes and other driving escapades have shown that higher levels greatly increase the potential for trouble.  It’s that simple.  We may believe that we can drive better after a few drinks but, recall that good judgement is the first thing to go.  For a similar reason, the legal drinking age is held at 21, because younger drivers have not yet developed the judgement skills needed to drive with maximum safety, and certainly don’t need further impairment.  (The physical skills associated with driving have nothing at all to do with judgement and emotional stability.)

In the table below, “‘The second column lists behavioral areas by the first BAC at which 50% of the behavioral tests indicated impairment. That is, the point at which the majority of behavioral tests showed impairment. Note that, with the exceptions of simple reaction time and critical flicker fusion, all driving-related skills exhibited impairment by 0.070 g/dl in more than 50% of tests.” [The table was simplified for easier interpretation. The original can be found at the link shown.]



First BAC at Which 50% or More of Behavioral Tests 

Indicated Consistent Impairment

0.100 Simple Reaction Time, Critical Flicker Fusion
0.060-0.069 Cognitive Tasks, Psychomotor Skills, Choice Reaction Time
0.050-0.059 Tracking
0.040-0.049 Perception, Visual Functions
0.030-0.039 Vigilance
0.010-0.019 Drowsiness
0.001-0.009 Divided Attention

In the case of alcoholics and other addicts who use drugs that depress the central nervous system, the risks are multiplied exponentially.  We become impaired even beyond others who have had a few drinks.  The ability of most alcoholics to “maintain” and appear relatively sober to others and themselves is a specific, learned behavior that does not translate to driving and other skills.  We learn to function in spite of being impaired.

There are countries where you can be put in jail for having car keys in your pocket if you’ve been drinking.  Our more reasonable DUI laws can be clearly shown to be not only for you own good but for that of everyone on the road.

Addiction Facts: Annual Cost of Addiction in US

The total cost of alcohol problems is $175.9 billion a year (compared to $114.2 billion for other drug problems and $137 billion for smoking).

This was more than 16 years ago, folks!

Economic costs of substance abuse, 1995. Dorothy P. Rice. Proceedings of the Association of American Physicians 111(2): 119-125. 1999.

“Trauma and Eating Disorders” : New York City Clinical Connection Training

New York City Clinical Connection training
Monday, November 7, 2011
Hazelden, 322 8th Ave., 12th Floor (entrance is on 26th Street)

Topic:  “Trauma and Eating Disorders” – reviewing the emotional and physiological correlates of PTSD and the connection of trauma to the development of an eating disorder with Courtney Shuneman, PsyD, Sexual and Trauma Recovery Program Therapist at Sierra Tucson.

Gary Winkel of Parallax Outpatient Treatment Center, with John Moriarty of Sunrise Detox (NJ) at the NYC Clinical Connection


Liz Guerra of Marworth Treatment Center

John Moriarty of Sunrise Detox Center (New Jersey) and Liz Guerra of Marworth Treatment Center at NY Clinical Connection