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Heroin and Fentanyl are Bad Partners

by James Heller 13. February 2014 08:36
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides a variety of heroin treatment options because the drug is so highly addictive, unpredictable, and deadly.  Now the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has released a warning about fentanyl-contaminated heroin.  So we are passing this warning on to the public, and reminding heroin addicts and their loved ones that help is just a phone call away.
 
 
Even if it was possible to satisfy an addiction by using the same amount of heroin every day, it would not guard against overdoses.  Drug dealers don’t have testing labs to ensure purity of the heroin they sell to their clients.  In fact, dealers are more likely to cut the purity of the heroin they sell or add another drug to boost the potency.  Addicts gamble every day, hoping to get the perfect fix, and praying that it won’t be their last.

SAMHSA is trying to get ahead of an epidemic by warning that fentanyl is being used to increase the potency of heroin in Eastern states of the United States.  Fentanyl is a very strong opioid pain killer, and mixing it with heroin increases the risk of severe injury or death.  It is possible that the use of this opioid cocktail is to blame for 39 deaths in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island from the start of 2014 to February 6th.  That’s more than 1 death every day since the year began.

SAMHSA is asking everyone to review their Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit at this link:
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides services that all have a goal of abstinence.  Medical Detoxification is a systematic withdrawal using medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms.  Vivitrol injections reduce cravings for heroin after detox when the body is no longer opioid dependent.  For individuals who have relapsed multiple times, we offer Methadone Maintenance or Buprenorphine Maintenance coupled with counseling to keep you on the road to abstinence.

All of our heroin treatment options include counseling.  We offer individual and group sessions, and we include family in treatment whenever it’s possible.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.
  
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Let's Learn from Hoffman's Death

by James Heller 4. February 2014 14:09
Philip Seymour Hoffman died of a heroin overdose on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, 2014.  This generation lost a great talent, who delivered impeccable performances in Capote, Charlie Wilson’s War, and The Master.  Heroin addiction doesn’t care about people with the disorder, though, and it isn’t shocking when a life is lost.

Philip Seymour Hoffman 2011

Friends and associates in the entertainment industry posted their sorrow over the loss on social media.  Many of them said they were “shocked” while sharing other painful emotions. These were written by individuals who knew him well and who worked with him in the past.  

He had 3 children under the age of 11, and he was found dead because a friend went to his apartment to find out why he had failed to pick them up that morning.  According to a New York Daily News article, a mix of 50 full and empty bags of heroin were found there.  This indicates that heroin addiction doesn’t care about family members either, and it took a father away from his children.

Here is the final entry in Hoffman’s IMDb bio on 02/13/14:

On February 1st (sic-2nd), 2014, Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in an apartment in Greenwich, Connecticut. Investigators found Hoffman with a syringe in his arm and two open envelopes of heroin next to him. Mr. Hoffman was long known to struggle with addiction. In 2006, he said in an interview with "60 Minutes" that he had given up drugs and alcohol many years earlier, when he was age 22. In 2013, he checked into a rehabilitation program for about 10 days after a reliance on prescription pills resulted in his briefly turning again to heroin.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

No note was left in the apartment, so the going assumption is that the heroin overdose was accidental.  If that’s true, and we can accept that it is, he was at least intent on using a lot of heroin in the near future and probably believed that he could control dosages.  This is common thinking for addicts.  He thought he could live a normal life with his addiction in tow.  But addiction always takes the lead.  He may even have been looking forward to a great day with his kids all the way up to when his body succumbed to the heroin intake.  

It’s difficult to judge the honesty of an addict, especially one who has immediate access to his drug of choice and any place in the world to hide out and use it.  We don’t doubt that he was a decent person, but that’s beside the point.  It’s possible that he was nursing a habit for some time.  But let’s consider that he was clean for over 20 years, and take him at his word.

Addicts who relapse can’t use the same amount of a drug that they had used before they got clean.  They need to build tolerance again, which takes time.  But addiction in action is not logical.  If this was his first time using after some clean time, then his body could not have handled the amount of heroin his addiction needed to be satisfied.  This could still be the case if he had been using heroin for several months.  Sometimes the addiction just can’t be satisfied and the chase for a high results in tragedy.
With heroin use comes some noticeable physical and behavioral changes.  Anyone close to that person could notice that there is a problem.  Very few of them will say anything, though, when the addict is a celebrity or in a position of power.  This is tragic on two levels because the addict doesn’t get help and dies, and fans might gloss over the unnecessary end as being an accident.  Nobody learns about the horrors of heroin addiction from this scenario.

If Hoffman had been using for some time, then those who knew him should not have been shocked over the overdose.  This is certainly not meant to blame anyone, given that most Americans are just not educated about this drug.  Heroin may be good at filling a void in an addict’s soul, but it is downright dangerous to the human body.  Heroin addicts are destined for death if they don’t get help.  The addiction does not allow a person to regulate use and enjoy life.  Heroin is strictly a killer.

We need to learn from this and take action.  Heroin addiction is never in a casual state, and requires treatment.

Our facilities offer medical detoxificationoutpatient, and residential treatment for heroin addiction.  Treatment options include Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) using Vivitrol during abstinence or Methadone/Buprenorphine Maintenance for harm reduction after multiple relapses.  Many of our heroin addiction treatment services are covered by Medi-Cal or Medicare, for those who qualify, and we accept all forms of insurance.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.
 
Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Drug Overdose Awareness

by James Heller 30. August 2013 09:30
Do you know what to do in the event of a drug overdose?

How can you prevent drug overdoses?

What can you do if you or a loved one is an overdose survivor?
 
 
More Americans die from drug overdoses, each year, than from automobile accidents or firearms.  It’s a growing problem that seems to be occurring under the radar of most individuals.  Awareness of the problem is the first step to reversing this trend, so please continue reading and share this with your friends and family.
Sadly, most people think of street-bound heroin addicts when they hear “overdose”.  But the highest percentage of these deaths involves prescription painkillers.  Much of the time, the drugs are obtained legally from a physician, but the patient either becomes addicted or accidentally takes too high of a dose.  It often comes as a shock to loved ones who didn’t think it could happen with legal drugs, or they just ignored the problem all together.

Saturday, August 31st, 2013 is International Overdose Awareness Day.  Tarzana Treatment Centers encourages you to become educated about prescription drug abuse and addiction, how overdoses can occur, and what you can do to prevent them.  It is also important to know what to do in the event of an overdose, and how to be or live with an overdose survivor.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed some material which can get you up to speed.  The tool kit is free and you can find it at this link:
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides a wide array of treatment services for opiate addictions.  Medical Detoxification systematically cleanses the body of opiates in preparation for further addiction treatment.  We also provide two forms of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) with Methadone Maintenance and Vivitrol.  Vivitrol is a post-detox medication that reduces opiate cravings, and Methadone Maintenance is meant for addicts who have had multiple relapses and need a little more help on the road to total abstinence.
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Drug Overdose after Rehab

by James Heller 30. July 2013 09:36
Celebrity deaths grab the public’s attention like almost no other news story.  The loss can be mourned by millions, and a certain voyeuristic opportunity emerges that tempts many to learn more about the private lives of famous people.  These elements are especially true when drug and alcohol abuse are involved.  Sadly, though, the important lessons from these are skimmed at best.
 
 
Corey Monteith, of Glee fame, died from a drug overdose after a recent stay in rehab.  He had problems with substance use since he was a teen, and was quite public about it.  So his latest treatment episode would come as no surprise to drug treatment professionals, which goes the same for the overdose.  Heroin addiction is driven by cravings that can arise at any time for years into recovery, and very few individuals can stay clean for life.  
Mr. Monteith’s relapse-rehab-death journey is similar to many overdoses.  It doesn’t always follow the same pattern or involve the same drug, but the accident occurs based on the same science.  It’s called an accident because the recovering alcoholic or drug addict has no intention of overdosing; they are only trying to satisfy a craving.  They will drink as much alcohol or use the same dosage of drugs they did “safely” before rehab, but the body is no longer tolerant of the substance.  

Tolerance to alcohol and drugs builds slowly over time with increased use and is lost very quickly after medical detoxification.  The body returns to somewhat normal operations because it doesn’t need to counteract the effects of substances.  It can’t just snap back to the former state of tolerance.  So, when an addict in recovery suddenly hits the body with the same amount of alcohol or drugs that they last used, the body can’t adjust quickly enough and will shut down in one way or another.  
Heroin is a major culprit in overdoses, mainly because opiate cravings can be overwhelming for addicts in recovery.  That’s the bad news.  The good news is that Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT) are available to reduce cravings and minimize overdoses in early recovery.  Methadone Maintenance helps addicts with multiple relapses to focus more on recovery, with a goal of abstinence.  Vivitrol treatment reduces cravings after medical detoxification so abstinence can be maintained.

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Medication Assisted Treatment services that include Methadone Maintenance and Vivitrol treatment.  Clients are assigned addiction counselors who will guide them toward a life of long-term abstinence.
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.


Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Rise in pain pill overdoses among women

by James Heller 10. July 2013 08:51
Women are being lost to drug overdoses in greater numbers than ever.  In the first decade of the 21st Century, the annual rate of fatal prescription drug overdoses among U.S. Women has increased over 400%.  Opiate cravings drive pain killer addiction, so a very good solution is to reduce them and start treatment.
 
 
Almost 48,000 lives were lost during the ten years mentioned above.  It’s a statistic that continues to rise every year, and the victims are from all walks of life.  These are your friends and family, co-workers, and others with whom you come into contact every day.  Vicodin and Oxycontin prescriptions, and other opioid pain killers, have increased at almost the same rate as the overdoses.
These drugs do wonders for pain sufferers, in the short term that is.  The problem is that a small percentage of individuals who are helped by these medications become addicted to them.  Some doctors will continue to prescribe them to a patient for months and even years.  And some patients will “doctor shop” and get the prescriptions from several doctors to support the habit.

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol and Methadone Maintenance treatment to reduce opiate cravings.  Vivitrol is a monthly injection of Naltrexone that reduces cravings.  After medical detoxification, patients abstain from drug use during Vivitrol treatment and meet with counselors.  Methadone Maintenance reduces cravings and allows individuals with serious addictions to focus on recovery without the strong urge to abuse medications.  These are successful forms of Medication Assisted Treatment that we have provided for several years.
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol Dependence and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

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Drug-Related Death

by James Heller 2. October 2009 11:36
Drug addiction is a disease that can result in death.  The subject is certainly not pleasant to discuss. However, in order to save lives we must face this fact.  More people need to be aware that drug treatment helps to prevent drug-related deaths.

Drug abuse and addiction results in death from several consequences.  Overdose is the obvious one.  These days it isn't just the addict who injected too much heroin.  Even those who use prescription drugs, like pain killers and benzodiazepines, ordered by their physician can accidentally overdose and be lost.

Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines affect the heart, causing possible heart attacks.  And the erratic behavior of these users can lead them to destructive activities that can cause serious injury and death.  The sad thing is that most of these users are seeking to be in that state of mind.

We've all seen individuals say they are okay to drive after an evening of alcohol abuse.  Driving under the influence of drugs is equally dangerous.  Drug users tend to actually believe they drive better on drugs, though, because of the false notion they are more attuned to things around them.  Sadly, DUI and other factors of drug abuse leads to lost innocent lives.

Drug addiction leads individuals to commit crimes that harm innocent bystanders.  The impaired mind of a drug addict only seeks to satisfy its need for more of the drug of choice.  It is selfish and lacks remorse if when life is lost in the pursuit of its needs.  This, above all other reasons, should persuade anyone of the urgency to get drug addicts into treatment.

Treatment helps drug addicts to stop using drugs and learn how to live productively without them.  When drug detox is complete, entering residential rehab or outpatient treatment gives addicts a chance to understand why they use drugs and what may trigger a relapse.  It is urgent that treatment is sought before a life is lost.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has released a report from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) about drug-related deaths in the United States.  A portion is below, followed by a link to the full report.

-- Begin external content --

DAWN is a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related deaths referred to medical examiners and coroners in selected participating metropolitan areas and states.  Although the DAWN data cannot be extrapolated to the entire United States, the information can be helpful for analyzing the nature and scope of substance abuse-related deaths in the areas it covers.
 
For example, analysis of the 2007 DAWN Report reveals that among the 10 states participating fully with DAWN, rates of drug-related deaths ranged from a high of 21.0 deaths per 100,000 population in New Mexico to a low of 5.9 deaths per 100,000 population in Virginia.  The rate for the State of Oklahoma saw a 79 percent increase from 2006; while Vermont's rate dropped 12 percent. 
 
-- Source: https://dawninfo.samhsa.gov/pubs/ --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides medical detoxification, and residential and outpatient treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with drug addiction, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.