24/7 Support Line

(954) 526-5776
Menu close

Self-medication of Chronic Pain Linked to Substance Use Disorders, Says Study

Self-medication Linked to Substance Use Disorders

Many in recovery cite the use of drugs and alcohol as a self-medication tool. Whether the ailment in question is emotional in nature or physical pain, many turn to easily accessible drugs and alcohol in an attempt to decrease the experience of pain. Unfortunately, when any illicit substance – including legal pain medications like OxyContin and Percocet – is used without a doctor’s supervision, the result can often be addiction, a disorder that comes with a slew of problems of its own.

According to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, self-medication for chronic pain is exceedingly common. A whopping 87 percent of participants who exhibited the criteria of a substance use disorder diagnosis reported experiencing chronic pain. Specifically, about 51 percent reported using drugs in an attempt to manage pain, and 81 percent of the people who reported painkillers as their drug of choice said that they misused the substance for the purposes of pain management.

Additionally, 38 percent of the people who struggled with heavy drinking said that they drank with the intent to manage pain, and 79 percent of the participants who were “high-risk drinkers” were also using alcohol to self-medicate pain.

Dr. Daniel Alford was lead author of the study. In a news release, he said: “While the association between chronic pain and drug addiction has been observed in prior studies, this study goes one step further to quantify how many of these patients are using these substances specifically to treat chronic pain. It also measures the prevalence of chronic pain in patients who screen positive for illegal drug use and prescription drug abuse.”


Why Do People Self-Medicate Pain?

Why are so many people choosing to take the risks that go along with illicit drug and alcohol use to manage pain when there are safer, medically supervised options? The reasons vary from person to person and may include:

  • Financial constraints: It can get expensive to attend physical therapy sessions, purchase painkillers, and make big lifestyle changes (like eating healthily in order to attain a healthy weight) to manage chronic pain. Many feel that they simply do not have the funds to do all the things that will help them to truly overcome ongoing pain and turn to cheaper, easier resources – like drugs and alcohol.
  • Inadequate treatment: Sometimes, physical therapy sessions, attempts to manage weight, and prescribed medication do not adequately manage pain. Even with best efforts and close attention to doctors’ orders, some feel the desperate need to escape chronic pain by any means necessary – even illicit drugs that are highly addictive.
  • Anonymity: For others, the issue is a desire to keep their medical issues a secret. Rather than go to the doctor and document ongoing medical issues, they prefer to attempt to manage the problem on their own.
  • Ease: In some cases, especially for those with busy schedules, it can be easier to attempt to self-medicate chronic pain rather than try to schedule physical therapy sessions and doctors’ visits.
  • Another issue: For others, chronic pain was not the original reason for using drugs and alcohol. In some cases, it is psychological stress or trauma that they are self-medicating, but many cite chronic pain as the issue because they believe it is a more legitimate cause.

Said Dr. Alford: “Pain should be treated as part of the long-term strategy for recovery. If drugs are being used to self-medicate pain, patients may be reluctant to decrease, stop, or remain abstinent if their pain symptoms are not adequately managed with other treatments including non-medication-based treatments.”


Holistic Management of Chronic Pain?

Many experts believe that there are viable solutions for chronic pain that do not involve the use of addictive drugs – or if they do, then only in the smallest doses. For most people, this means making use of a range of different holistic measures, treatments, and lifestyle changes, and working closely with a team of professionals who are trained in chronic pain management. From radiofrequency ablation to spinal cord stimulators to infusion therapy, there are many medical treatments that can effectively help to address the underlying issues causing the chronic pain rather than simply altering the person’s experience of ongoing pain through drug use.

Additionally, there are a number of other holistic treatments that can help to reduce stress, improve relaxation, and aid in better sleep and body functioning that can in turn have a positive effect on the ability to manage chronic pain or minimize that pain, depending on the cause. For example, if joint pain or lower back pain is an ongoing issue and you are significantly overweight, it will help to begin eating more healthfully and slowly get your weight down to a healthier level. Back pain lessens and pressure on joints is alleviated when you have less body mass; plus, you will sleep better as well.

Other holistic measures that may be able to offer you some respite from pain include:

  • Yoga practice
  • Meditation
  • Tai chi
  • Aromatherapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage and bodywork
  • Gentle exercise (e.g., walking or swimming)

Though these may not be enough – especially right away – to completely eliminate the experience of pain, they may serve to get you to a point where only the lowest dose of painkillers is necessary and for just a brief time, or where over-the-counter pain medications may be more appropriate for your needs.

Drug addiction will only worsen quality of life in the long run. The brief respite provided by a high is not as sustainable as the long-term relief provided by alternative medicine and holistic treatment options.

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

Managing Grief in Recovery #OnePulse

Managing Grief in Recovery

When a gunman took the lives of 49 people at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, Americans joined together in mourning. For some, this was a deeply personal loss – a close friend or a family member passing horrifically and unexpectedly. For others, the incident triggered a wave of grieving – for the state of the world in general, the individuals who lost their lives, and the fear and anxiety that come with knowing that it will likely happen again.

Grief after a tragedy is normal. In fact, there are few things that are designated as an “abnormal” response in the weeks and months following a great loss. Sleeping all the time or not at all. Avoiding social situations. Skipping out on work. Forgetting to shower or eat. Crying or not crying. People process grief differently, and there is no right way to get through the initial phases of transition into a life defined by a new status quo.

When you are in recovery, however, there are a few things you must avoid when grieving – namely, drinking or using drugs – and when you are in crisis, it can be one of the most difficult times in your life to stick to those principles. But it is possible.

Reach out for Support

If you are struggling with staying sober due to grieving, do not delay in reaching out for support. Though your first instinct may be to curl up at home or avoid contact with anyone, fight that instinct and immediately connect with your therapist or another substance abuse treatment professional, preferably one who you have been working with and who knows you. You can benefit by:

  • Talking about how you are feeling and focus on getting help to function in day-to-day life
  • Sharing about the person you lost or how a tragedy like the Pulse mass shooting is impacting you
  • Brainstorming about ways to handle specific issues that are difficult for you
  • Just getting out of the house, making it to therapy, and being with someone else for an hour

It is important to connect with other people regularly even if not frequently. A sponsor, a friend, a family member – check in from time to time as you begin to process your loss.

Stages of Grief

Though everyone’s experience with grief will vary, there are generally certain emotions, or stages, that people often encounter in the process. These include:

  • Denial: It is natural to first respond to news of a tragedy with denial. “It can’t be that bad. The news must be wrong.” Avoiding discussion of the topic in an attempt to process it more slowly is often one of the first stages of grief.
  • Anger: When it becomes clear that it is impossible to deny the loss, anger is often the next reaction. Why did it happen? Who is to blame? The bearer of the news is often in the line of fire, as are others who are close.
  • Bargaining: Trying to figure a way out, how to fix the situation, or how to prevent it from happening again is normal as people try to regain control over their lives.
  • Depression: Grief and sadness can manifest in a number of different ways. People may worry about how they will go forward in light of the loss and how their lives will change. Internally, they may also struggle with saying goodbye to their loved one.
  • Acceptance: In time, most people will come to accept the passing of their loved one. Though they may never truly “get over it,” they will learn how to live with it. For others, however, this stage does not come easily. It is then that treatment is recommended.

Signs of Grief Disorder

Complicated grief can occur when the initial phase of intense grief symptoms does not pass within a few months. For those who continue to live in a state of heightened grief for months on end, it can mean a diagnosis of complicated grief disorder. Signs of complicated grief can include:

  • Inability to focus on anything but the passing of their loved one
  • Refusing to let go of reminders of that person
  • Intense pain over the loss that persists
  • Difficulty accepting that the person is gone
  • Feelings of numbness, bitterness, hopelessness, irritability, and/or an inability to connect with others
  • Inability to trust others or to enjoy spending time with others

Terrorism Spawns PTSD

It is important to note that tragic events like the Pulse shooting do not have to impact someone on an immediate level to trigger symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in an individual – and in that person’s family members as well as first responders and rescue workers. Losing someone in a terror event or having a terrorist attack strike friends, in your neighborhood or in a group that you identify with, can trigger PTSD symptoms. Many who experience these issues turn to drugs and alcohol in an effort to manage symptoms, a behavior that will only make it more difficult to process the trauma. If PTSD is indeed the cause of symptoms, it is important to seek immediate treatment.

Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders

Those who continue to drink and use drugs regularly and heavily in response to a trauma or loss are at risk of accident under the influence, including accidental overdose as well as the development of a substance use disorder. This can further exacerbate the underlying grief issue, making it necessary to seek treatment for both problems at the same time.

If you are struggling after the experience of a trauma, reach out to Recovery First today to find out how we can help.

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

War on Drugs Statistics

The War On Drugs Statistics

  • In 1980, 40,000 people were incarcerated on drug related charges. Today, it’s over 500,000 people accounting for a total inmate population of 2,300,000
  • It costs over $25,000 per year to pay for a prison inmate. That accounts for $34.5 million per day to support drug charge related inmates.
  • The United States spends $754.00 per second to fight the war on drugs. Since 1971 we have spent over a trillion dollars.
  • The number of illegal drug users worldwide is 28 times the population of New York City accounting for 230,000,000 people worldwide.
  • The cocaine market is estimated at $88,000,000,000 and is 3.5 times the revenue of the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL
  • In the United States, people snort 149 lines of cocaine per second
  • Americans consume 22 tons of heroin per year.
  • The heroin market is estimated at $55,000,000,000 per year
  • 68% of the guns seized at drug crime scenes come from the United States
  • A coke user with a $75 a day habit can save over $250,000 in 10 years
  • A heroin user with a $50 a day habit can save over $180,000 in 10 years
  • There are over 10,000 addiction center in the United States to help you. Recovery First is one of them.

 

 

Source: visualcapitalist.com

 

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

9 Things About Marijuana Addiction

9-Things-About-Marijuana-AddictionMarijuana legalization carries serious dangers with it; like marijuana addiction

Since the early 1950’s and 1960’s the U.S. Federal Government classified marijuana in the same category as LSD. Reason being that marijuana must remain an illegal substance because it serves as a gateway drug and promotes drug exploration.  Even with legalization, the majority of Colorado residents admit to having wine with their legal marijuana.

60% of high school seniors think pot is safe and 23% of them used marijuana in the last month. More high school seniors reported using marijuana over alcohol or tobacco. A whopping 16 million Americans use marijuana and over 11% of those 16 million define themselves as marijuana addicts. Marijuana addicts have found that marijuana is interfering with their lives and they have been unable to cut back and cut free.

Over the years, vast amounts of marijuana’s negative effects have been documented and reported by marijuana addicts.

Here are 9 things about marijuana addiction that we know and can confirm from test data:

  1. Marijuana is addictive and is dangerous for alcoholics and drug addicts in recovery. Marijuana has been linked to being a cause of relapse for many.
  2. Marijuana causes impaired motor skill function. Most marijuana addicts have poor eye-hand coordination and suffer from a loss of balance.
  3. Marijuana / THC has become much stronger over the years resulting in stronger and more potent pot.
  4. Marijuana is a gateway drug and has introduced many users to stronger and more dangerous forms of drugs.
  5. Heavy use of marijuana causes psychosis. Delusions and hallucinations are common for those who suffer from marijuana addiction.
  6. Marijuana is harmful to young people. Changes to the brain, while smoking pot, have been well documented. IQ loss and memory loss problems are common.
  7. Smoking marijuana can cause bronchitis and other breathing related illnesses such as lung cancer, asthma and emphysema. Pot has two times more carcinogens than tobacco.
  8. Marijuana use can lead to addiction. It is dangerous and a user can become dependent and suffer from marijuana withdrawals.
  9. Marijuana addicts report paranoia and anxiety. Even after exposure to a small amount, users report feelings of anxiety, mood swings and increases in food cravings.
About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

April Is Alcohol Awareness Month for Underage Drinking

As April Comes To A Close, Alcohol Awareness Month Was A Success For Underage Drinking Concerns

April Is Alcohol Awareness Month for Underage DrinkingDuring the month of April, local and state officials did a great job for Alcohol Awareness Month. This years theme, “Help For Today. Hope for Tomorrow” was sponsored again by NCADD (The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependance, Inc.). The NCADD went the extra mile to raise awareness for underage drinking and the direct effects it has on our youth and communities across the country.

While news of the heroin and opioid epidemic continue to grab headlines, we often forget that alcohol and underage drinking continue to be a major problem in our society. Over 6,500 people, under the age of 21, die each year in alcohol related accidents and far more are injured.

Here are some interesting facts about underage drinking in America:

  1. Alcohol is the #1 drug of choice for underage young people. It kills more kids than all illegal drugs combined.
  2. Every day over 7,000 youngsters, under the age of 16, take their first drink of alcohol.
  3. Underage drinking costs the United States a whopping $62 billion dollars every single year.
  4. 1/4 of all children are exposed to alcohol disorders within their families.
  5. Over 1,700 college students are killed every year by alcohol related events. One college student dies every 4.65 days in the U.S. because of alcohol.
  6. If a teenager starts drinking before age 15, he or she is 4X more likely to become an alcoholic before the age of 21 years old.

Typically, when it’s time to celebrate parents have to make tough decisions about serving alcohol to minors. This critical decision carries serious liability not only for the underage person who is drinking but more importantly the person (such as the parent) who provides the alcohol to the minor. Even if a parent does not directly serve a minor, just knowing that the child was “raiding the liquor cabinet” carries serious legal consequences. Parents also have a responsibility to collect a youths car keys if the parent suspects the youth is intoxicated.

Parents and the media need to be aware that alcohol use is still dangerous without a motor vehicle. Suicide, drownings, accidental overdose deaths and alcohol deaths are just as common as mixing alcohol and driving.

This year, colleges, churches, schools and may other organizations sponsored activities that created awareness and promoted families to get help for alcohol related issues and alcohol addiction. This is something that needs to continue all year round to protect our children and keep our communities healthy and safe.

 There are 4 ways to combat underage drinking:

  1. Reduce the availability of alcohol to minors – for example, properly securing all the alcohol in your home.
  2. Enforcement of laws and regulations regarding underage drinking – for example, local bars or liquor stores that sell minors.
  3. Changing cultural misconceptions and behaviors through education.
  4. Stop glorifying underage drinking and drug use in the media
About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

State Funded Addiction Treatment In Peril

State Funded Addiction Treatment In PerilNot Enough Money For Drug Treatment As Heroin Use Continues To Rise

As politicians and lawmakers look for solutions to the explosive heroin problem, state funded addiction treatment centers say states are not providing them with enough funding to carry on.

Drastic and deep budget cuts continue to plague state run drug rehabilitation centers making the problem even worse. Continuous cuts are hurting the system so much that there is a possibility of losing the state run addiction treatment centers once and for all. Centers are constantly battling to get funding from the state and every year facilities are lobbying to keep the same budgets from the prior year without any increases.

Services are currently denied to tens of thousands of people across each state and the number is growing. Budget cuts are forcing drug and alcohol abusers into emergency rooms, courts and welfare systems which are already operating at critical mass.

 State Sponsored Drug Treatment Centers Will Be Closing

Due to the stay cuts, many treatment centers will simply cease to exist. Many places have just reached the point of no return and no longer have fund to continue. State run treatment center costs continue to go up and budget availability continues to go down. State run providers on operating on 1990 budgets and have not seen any increases in almost two decades(1). The net result is tens of thousands of people are missing out on treatment due to budget stagnation or budget cuts for addiction treatment.

Priorities are mixed up because it costs roughly $24,000 a year to keep someone in a prison cell for a year. The average cost for drug treatment and addiction treatment is only $4,000 a year.

States and drug treatment centers need to find a way to work together and overcome budgetary constraints. Across the board, heroin and opioid use are skyrocketing while state budgets continue to be reduced. This is putting a tremendous strain on emergency response teams, emergency rooms, fire departments and local police as they try to cope with existing resources.

Sources:

Journal Gazette

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

The Brain Changes In Young Marijuana Users

Marijuana UseBrain changes are directly related to the amount of pot smoked

A new study by researchers in Boston, Massachusetts has shown that even moderate use of marijuana can cause changes to the brain and brain functions. The changes to the brain were more pronounced in young marijuana users.

The findings from Northwestern University Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School conclude that low to moderate marijuana use directly effects the brain anatomy.

The test population was 20 people who ranged in ages from 19-25 years old. They subjects categorized themselves as recreational pot users who smoked between six and eleven marijuana joints per week. The researchers scanned the brains of the test subjects and then compared them to twenty other participants who did not smoke marijuana. The differences between marijuana users and non-marijuana users was very apparent.

What is the Nucleus Accumbens

The nucleus Accumbens is a region of the human brain. Each brain hemisphere has its own nucleus accumbens. Research has shown that the nucleus accumbens plays a vital role in pleasure including laughter, reward, learning, fear aggression, impulsiveness and addiction.

When brain scans were compared between the two test parties, marijuana users had larger nucleus accumbens than non pot smokers. The size of the nucleus accumens was also larger with those who smoked the most amount of pot during the test study. In short, the more a test subject smoked, the larger the nucleus accumbens.

Drug addiction was omitted from the study and the focus of the research was to gather data on light to moderate pot smokers. The tests suggest that young people are extremely vulnerable to marijuana because their brains are not full developed or matured. The study did not focus on how marijuana effects brain function.

The concern is young marijuana users are interfering with important decision making functions at the most important times of their lives. Marijuana does alter the brain and when you are choosing a college major, starting a career or making relationships marijuana use will effect those outcomes. There is now evidence that youngsters have cognitive abnormalities with marijuana use.

Source:

The Journal of Neuroscience

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

Physicians Are Leading Source Of Prescription Opioids

Physicians Are Leading Source Of Prescription Opioids

Physicians continue to dole out prescriptions for extremely high risk drug users

Latest data released from the CDC and JAMA confirm concerns over high volume prescription drugs. Most people assume that those who overdose from opioids get the drugs from friends or family. However, the latest data suggests that the source was actually from their physicians.

These finding continue to illustrate the easy access patients have to opioids via their doctors. Health care providers must increase screenings and drug monitoring programs to identify patients and physicians for abuse. State drug monitoring programs are essential to spot trends and patterns with specific physicians who are abusing the system. The data shows that those who abused opioids for over 200 days were those at highest risk of overdose. Out of those who did overdose, 27% of them overdosed from valid prescriptions. Those who “scored” drugs from friends and family were four times as likely to get drugs from a dealer or another stranger.

Overdosing on prescription opioids are quickly eclipsing other medications. The people at highest risk are 1) Those who got drugs from friends and family for free (via legal prescription) at 26% 2)Those who got drugs from friends and family in exchange for money (via legal prescription) at 23% 3) Those who got drugs from a drug dealer at 15%.

Test results show a direct correlation in high risk patients. Opioid use is increasing via a larger amount of prescriptions. Large amount of prescriptions are leading to a higher volume of abuse and overdoses. In a four year analysis, some states are showing a 32% rate increase and corresponding opioid prescriptions.

The AMA and Physicians must obtain and compile more data to:

~Fully track drug overdoses and define patterns of opioid abuse

~Spend significant money on R&D to develop non-addictive opioids

~ Develop better drugs to combat opioid addiction

~ Better patient management, including education and patient counseling for opioids

~ Stronger enforcement of those who are over-prescribing opioids to high risk patients.

~ Proper use of medical claims and paperwork to spot prescription abuse

~ Increase legislation and licensing for “pain clinics”

~ Increase access and funding for substance abuse treatment centers / drug rehab.

~ Educate parents to lock up drugs in the home.

Physicians take a Hippocratic Oath to uphold a number of professional ethical standards. However, all eyes are focusing on Federal and State agencies to solve the abusive problems of prescription Opioids. All agencies must work in unison to properly solve this issue.

Sources:

CDC

JAMA

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

11 Sober Habits After Drug Rehab

11 Sober Habits After Drug RehabHere are eleven things you can do to increase your chance of a successful recovery. Sobriety is a challenge but these tips will give you an edge for long lasting drug or alcohol recovery after rehab:

  1. Clean House – Audit your friends list and get rid of bad influences. Remove those from your life who are negative or bring trouble.
  2. Exercise regularly – Exercise is critical for the mind and body. Not only is it good for you, but it is a terrific way to blow off steam and decompress.
  3. Sleep – Getting at least 8 hours of sleep is important. Getting enough sleep is also required for your immune system to operate effectively.
  4. Eat Properly – Avoid caffeine and sugars. Do not eat anything packaged and start cooking your own foods using farm fresh ingredients.
  5. Look Good – Feel Good. Studies have shown when you take pride in your appearance it boosts your confidence and performance.
  6. Get Outside – You can learn a lot from nature. Get outside and start running, hiking, swimming or walking. Stop and observe all nature has to offer.
  7. Network – Join clubs and groups that you enjoy. Computer Clubs, Golf Clubs, Reading Clubs and Hobby Clubs are a great way to meet new people and keep your mind off things.
  8. Think and Reflect – Take a few minutes before the day begins to meditate or concentrate on self improvement and dealing with things that have been stressing you out.
  9. Surround Yourself – Circle the wagons and surround yourself with friends and loved ones. Share ideas and share whats on your mind.
  10. Make peace with the past – Forgive yourself and others. Learn to forgive and let go of failures.
  11. Take Responsibility – Stand up for yourself and take accountability for your actions. Face your fears and get out of your comfort zone.

Following these guidelines, once out of drug rehab, will put you on the fast track to a successful recovery. At Recovery First, all of our clients are educated and provided with coping mechanisms prior to leaving drug rehab or alcohol rehab.

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

Colorado Is Ground Zero For Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana AddictionColorado Generated $135 million from Marijuana Sales

Colorado finds itself under the microscope since passing Amendment 64. Amendment 64 amended Colorado’s constitution outlining a statewide drug policy for marijuana. Enacted as Article 18, section 16 of the Colorado State Constitution, the law explains the personal use and regulation of marijuana for adults over 21. It also addresses the cultivation, manufacturing and sale of marijuana. Marijuana stores opened on January 1st, 2014 and a new industry was created. Since January 1st, 2014 over 37 stores have opened(1). Since inception, over $135 million dollars of tax revenue was generated and people are curious about how the tax windfall will be spent.

Many questions remain about how Colorado will handle the legalization of marijuana and the effects of drug legalization on the population.

Some of the common questions are:

  • How do I educate my children about the legalization of marijuana?
  • How should a parent react if their child comes home stoned?
  • Is marijuana a gateway drug and are we creating a new generation of drug addicts?
  • How do we combat marijuana addiction?
  • What are the long-term health problems of prolonged marijuana use?
  • Is it legal to smoke marijuana in public places?
  • Can someone be arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis?

There are no easy answers to these questions but the world is waiting for answers.

2014-2015 Projections Show Marijuana Generating $777 million

According to Colorado’s Joint Budget Committee, the tax revenues will be broken out accordingly:

  • $45.5 million for youth drug use prevention education
  • $40.4 million for drug abuse treatment
  • $12.4 million for public health issues
  • $3.2 million for law enforcement agencies
  • $1.8 million or regulatory oversight
  • $0.2 million for statewide coordiantion
  • Addional $40 million for school construction via 15% excise tax.

The people of Colorado remain candid about marijuana legalization and the effects it might cause. Colorado has not created a new source for drugs by legalizing it, they effectively removed the black market sources that were supplying marijuana. They expect drug use increases to be rather small because there was never a supply shortage to begin with, Colorado just switched the suppliers. Marijuana has always been readily available and inexpensive prior to legalization. For decades, it has been easier for teenagers to get weed than buy alcohol.

The uncertainty remains how legalization will effect future use and abuse. Did removing the black market suppliers help or hinder Colorado? About 20% of Americans smoke pot. The real problems are alcoholism, pills and opiates. But again, does marijuana addiction open the door for further drug and alcohol exploration? Evidence has not been conclusive that cross addiction is enhanced by marijuana addiction. Older people often drink wine and smoke marijuana. The two go hand in hand.

With the new law in place, 21 or older can buy up to one ounce of marijuana with ID. Non residents may buy up to a quarter of an ounce. People may share the drugs but money is not allowed to exchange hands. Public smoking of marijuana is prohibited.

Colorado residents are allowed to grow up to six pot plants at home but it must be enclosed and secured.

Colorado drivers can be fined for driving under the influence of THC if they test positive for 5 nanograms.

Colorado Is Ground Zero For Marijuana Addiction

Many questions still remain about how legalizing marijuana will effect us today and in the future. While this is a hotly contested subject, Colorado will be in a unique position to obtain, analyze and review vast amounts of data regarding the legalization of marijuana. Most people do not have enough information to make an informed decision but it is clear the Colorado will be ground zero for marijuana legalization across the United State of America. Everyone will be watching.

Sources: Addiction Pro

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More

Parents Fight For Drug Rehab To Be Paid For By Insurance

Parents Fight For Drug Rehab To Be Paid For By InsuranceLike many other states, Long Island finds itself in familiar territory battling explosive heroin and drug use.

As Long Island, N.Y. continues to fight the problem on the streets, parents have taken it to the politicians in hope of change. Parents have been pressuring officials in Albany to pass a bill that would require inpatient drug rehabilitation to be paid for by health insurance.

Parents and Senator Hannon are trying to pass a bill that will require insurance companies to cover more drug rehab treatment options. The Albany Insurance lobby is trying to discourage the bill based on the premise that it would significantly increase the cost of health care coverage. Most states, 43 of them, have laws that require insurance plans to cover drug rehab.

But the stigma associated with drug addiction often requires individuals to fight with their health insurance carrier if they deny coverage. The bottom line is group health insurance carriers are required to follow state law. It is important to research you state laws before you contact your carrier and do not take no for an answer. Every insurance plan is different and every level of coverage is different.

If an insurance carrier covers drug rehab, it is likely there will be a portion of the treatment they will not pay for. The New York Senate Task Force is examining the expanding problem of addiction in New York and Long Island. The task force is looking at the growth of heroin and opiod addiction and how to overcome hurdles regarding treatment and insurance coverage. In New York State, insurers do not have a standard definition of “medical necessity” which allows them to operate in a gray area and approve and deny coverage at will. Do not forget that health insurance is a business.

Is Drug Rehab Covered?

With Obama Care, the health insurance market place has to offer 10 essential health benefits: These essential health benefits include at least the following items and services:

  • Outpatient care—the kind you get without being admitted to a hospital
  • Trips to the emergency room
  • Treatment in the hospital for inpatient care
  • Care before and after your baby is born
  • Mental health and substance use disorder services: This includes behavioral health treatment, counseling, and psychotherapy.
  • Your prescription drugs
  • Services and devices to help you recover if you are injured, or have a disability or chronic condition. This includes physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, psychiatric rehabilitation, and more.
  • Your lab tests
  • Preventive services including counseling, screenings, and vaccines to keep you healthy and care for managing a chronic disease.
  • Pediatric services: This includes dental care and vision care for kids
  • Specific health care benefits may vary by state. Even within the same state, there can be small differences between health insurance plans.

From the description on healthcare.gov it does appear that drug rehab treatment should be covered.

About The Contributor
Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff, American Addiction Centers
The editorial staff of Recovery First is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers. Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands... Read More