Men, Trauma and Healing in Recovery
Men in recovery from addiction often have a high prevalence of trauma in their past. Distressing events can vary, from physical abuse to the sudden loss of a loved one from gun violence. Incidents like these can be a contributing factor to the development of addiction and can also complicate the recovery process. Studies suggest that many individuals seeking treatment for substance use disorders have experienced traumatic events, such as physical or sexual abuse, combat-related incidents, accidents, or other life-threatening experiences.
Healing from these experiences and addressing co-occurring conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is crucial for men in recovery. When these things go untreated, men in recovery – even long-term recovery –may struggle with depression, anger, and issues with relationships.
How Trauma Impacts a Man's Relationships
The aftermath of abuse, neglect, or other life-threatening experiences can significantly impact a man's relationships, influencing their interactions and emotional well-being. Here are some ways in which it can affect a man's relationships:
- Trust issues: It can lead to difficulties trusting others, including romantic partners, friends, and family members. Past traumatic experiences can make it challenging for a man to believe in the intentions and sincerity of others, which can strain relationships.
- Emotional distance: Men who have lived through painful or frightening experiences, such as childhood abuse, may struggle with expressing their emotions and forming intimate connections. They may become emotionally guarded or detached as a protective mechanism, leading to distance in their relationships.
- Communication difficulties: Many men don't know how to talk about their feelings, and the emotional pain caused by traumatic experiences can hinder effective communication. Men may struggle to articulate their thoughts or avoid discussing upsetting events altogether. This lack of communication can create misunderstandings, resentment, and strained relationships.
- Intimacy challenges: It can impact a man's ability to engage in intimate relationships, both emotionally and physically. Men often fear vulnerability or have difficulties forming close emotional bonds with others.
- Emotional/Angry Outbursts: Many men who have experienced distressing incidents have issues regulating their emotions, making them prone to angry outbursts, anxiety, and other emotional storms.
Trauma has a lasting effect on its victims. People with substance use disorder often use drugs to numb the pain from these lasting effects. You're not alone if you're living like this, but there's a way through this by getting help and getting sober.
Men, Trauma, and the Justice System
Studies consistently indicate a high trauma and substance use prevalence among incarcerated individuals, especially men.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 75% of male inmates in the United States have a history of substance abuse or dependence. Additionally, studies have shown that many incarcerated men lived through traumatic experiences, such as physical or sexual abuse, neglect, or witnessing violence. In some studies, the rates of experiences among incarcerated men can be as high as 70-90%, with many also experiencing substance use disorders.
These statistics highlight the complex relationship between trauma, substance use, and incarceration. Consequently, there is a great need for more trauma-informed approaches and comprehensive interventions within correctional systems to address these underlying issues contributing to criminal behavior.
For many men, the stigma of seeking help independently is a barrier to treatment. As a result, treatment centers often refer them to therapy when they get help for substance abuse.
Getting Help for Trauma in Recovery
Therapy can help you learn to cope with addiction triggers that result from your traumatic experiences. You may need to learn new coping skills and work on bigger issues that result from your experiences.
Trauma-informed therapy is an approach that recognizes the impact of it on an individual's life and focuses on creating a safe and supportive therapeutic environment. It emphasizes empowerment, choice, collaboration, and sensitivity to potential triggers or re-traumatization. Therapists can provide a safe space for individuals to explore their experiences and work toward healing. A therapist can also recommend group therapy if you're a good fit.
Recovering From Trauma Is Possible
Healing from painful experiences is a personal and unique process. You won't recover overnight. Recovery is a lifelong process, and that's not a bad thing! You are healing your past and injured self and learning to care for and nurture your current being. Being patient and gentle with yourself is essential, allowing time for healing and seeking support when needed.
Recovery is possible, and with the right resources and help, individuals can regain control of their lives and begin to work on long-term healing.
If you have access, consider complementary and alternative therapies that complement traditional treatment, such as yoga, acupuncture, or art therapy. These approaches can help you process trauma, regulate emotions, and enhance your well-being.
You can also use self-care activities that promote relaxation and emotional well-being. This includes exercise, mindfulness or meditation, and journaling. For example, you may want to draw a bath on a lousy day or take a bike ride. Self-care includes activities that nourish your body, mind, or spirit and do not cause harm.
Try Sober Living In San Diego
Many people in early recovery find that sober living helps them strengthen their recovery and begin to rebuild their lives and relationships. In addition, sober living has tranquility, community, and a focus on the big picture: staying sober long-term. Learn more about what our homes have to offer by calling us!
The food service industry in California employs more than 1.4 million people, generating over $200 billion in economic activity annually. Many people make hospitality their career, which can be lucrative and fulfilling. However, it is also an industry with high rates of addiction. Workers in the food industry have the highest rate of substance use disorder among all industries.
Why Is Substance Use So Pervasive in the Food Service Industry?
People use drugs for many reasons, but when asked directly, they often say they use them to relax and unwind. Other reasons also may be at play, such as coping with mental health issues or trauma. Due to limited healthcare access, some people also use substances to deal with chronic pain issues.
One of the primary reasons for the high rates of substance use disorder in the food industry is the long working hours and the high-stress environment. Many workers in the food industry work long hours, including nights and weekends, which can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion. This exhaustion and the high-stress environment of working in a busy kitchen or restaurant can make workers more vulnerable to substance use disorders.
Substances are often more freely available in the restaurant and food industry. Many drugs, including alcohol, marijuana, and prescription opioids, are readily shared by coworkers or even customers. In some cases, workers may even be encouraged to use drugs to cope with the stress and pressure of the job.
Substance use disorder is a pervasive problem that affects many industries, including the food industry in California. Substance use disorder, also known as addiction, is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or profession.
How Substance Misuse Affects Food Workers On-the-Job
The consequences of substance use disorder in the food industry can be severe. Workers struggling with addiction may have difficulty performing their jobs, leading to mistakes and accidents. They may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence, which can lead to legal trouble. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite the harmful consequences. Here are some symptoms of substance use disorder that may be observed in people who work in restaurants:
- Changes in Behavior: One of the most common symptoms of substance use disorder is changes in behavior. This may include changes in mood, irritability, anxiety, depression, and agitation. Restaurant workers may also become more secretive, avoid social interactions, or become less reliable.
- Physical Symptoms: Substance use disorder can cause various physical symptoms, including changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and weight loss or gain. Restaurant workers with substance use disorder may arrive to work unkempt, smell alcohol or experience tremors, sweating, dilated pupils, and bloodshot eyes.
- Poor Work Performance: Substance use disorder can impact an individual's ability to perform their job effectively. Restaurant workers with addiction may miss work, arrive late, or leave early. They may also make more mistakes or have a slower work pace if they are under the influence. Additionally, they may have conflicts with coworkers, managers, or customers.
- Financial Problems: Substance use disorder can lead to financial problems, including spending money on drugs or alcohol and missing bill payments. Restaurant workers with addiction may even steal from their employers or coworkers to support their drug use.
- Legal Issues: Substance use disorder can also lead to legal problems, including arrests for drug possession, driving under the influence, or other criminal offenses. Restaurant workers may also lose their driver's licenses, making it difficult to get to work.
- Intoxication: A worker with substance use issues may come to work intoxicated or use drugs or alcohol on the job. They may take frequent work breaks.
Getting Sober if You Work in the Restaurant Industry
Many people who have been sober for significant amounts of time work within the restaurant industry, although they tend to stay away from bars and nightclub scenes. San Diego especially has a robust recovery community, and people work in all kinds of jobs and industries when they get sober. If you are getting sober for the first time, you may want to seek guidance from your peers in your next job endeavor. Staying sober is always the top priority.
Some people in 12-step groups even network for jobs through their support system. It’s a great idea to learn a new job alongside somebody who has been in recovery a while.
Sober Living San Diego
San Diego has so much to offer people new to recovery! We’re here to help you grow at a sober home every step of the way. Learn more about our homes, what our programs offer, and how you can start sober living by giving us a call.
The DEA recently warned about the growing use of “tranq dope,” a new street drug made from fentanyl and xylazine. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used medically for pain relief but also commonly used illicitly for its intense euphoric effects, and it is sold on the street. Humans sometimes abuse Xylazine, a horse tranquilizer for its sedative and hallucinogenic properties. The two drugs are now commonly sold on the street, primarily in urban areas, under the name “tranq dope.” And while it’s not a hugely popular drug, the combination still manages to cause overdoses. Many people who take tranq dope don’t know they’re taking it. Usually, they think they're taking fentanyl or another opioid.
What Are the Effects of Tranq Dope?
When combined, fentanyl and xylazine can produce various effects, including sedation, respiratory depression, and altered perception. Users may experience euphoria followed by heavy sedation. The combination can increase the risk of overdose, as both drugs can depress the central nervous system, leading to slowed or stopped breathing, coma, and death.
Tranq dope, or specifically, the xylazine used in the street drug, has also been known to give its users ulcers. (Xylazine has never been tested on humans.)
People who use tranq dope are also gambling with addiction. Both drugs are highly addictive, leaving some users hooked after the first high. The dangers associated with developing a substance use disorder from using fentanyl and xylazine are significant. Both drugs can quickly lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped. The risk of overdose and other health complications increases with prolonged or heavy use.
Symptoms of Tranq Dope Use
The symptoms of intoxication from a drug like tranq dope (a combination of fentanyl and xylazine) can vary depending on the individual's tolerance level, the amount consumed, and other factors such as the purity and potency of the drug. However, some common signs and symptoms of intoxication from opioids and sedatives like these include:
- Respiratory depression, i.e., slowed breathing.
- Pinpoint pupils
- Extreme drowsiness or sedation
- Confusion or disorientation
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination or motor function
- Low blood pressure and slow heart rate
- Bluish skin or lips due to lack of oxygen
- Coma or unconsciousness
Most people who take tranq dope will have overdose symptoms like those listed above. An overdose is a medical emergency and the best way to handle it is by calling 911 and administering Narcan.
Narcan aka naloxone, doesn’t always help with tranq dope overdoses because the xylazine is a sedative, not an opioid. However, Narcan does help reverse opioid intoxication, which can contribute to overdoses. Carrying Narcan can help reverse opioid overdoses.
Using "tranq dope" or any other illegal drug can have serious health consequences and be potentially fatal. Even long-term drug users have overdosed from tranq dope because of its intensity. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms of tranq dope intoxication, it is important to seek medical attention. Misusing any mind-altering substance is potentially dangerous.
Remembering that xylazine was meant for much larger animals than humans is important. It’s a horse tranquilizer and was not meant to be used recreationally. It can be very dangerous.
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Are you looking for a sober living home where you can learn to live life sober in a vibrant, welcoming community? San Diego can be a great place to get sober, with restorative beaches, parks, and other outdoor spaces offering scenic and tranquil environments conducive to recovery. Being surrounded by supportive networks, new neighbors and natural beauty can be grounding for individuals seeking sobriety. San Diego also has a strong and supportive recovery community with many 12-step meetings around town.
Learn more about what our sober living homes offer. Get in touch!
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a chronic disease that can significantly impact the brain and how a user thinks. Addiction occurs when an individual becomes dependent on opioids to function, both physically and mentally. Over time, addiction can lead to changes in the brain and body that can be difficult to reverse.
Opioid Use Disorder and The Brain's Reward System
One of the most significant impacts of opioid addiction on the brain is its effect on the reward system. These drugs trigger dopamine release in the brain, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. With repeated use, the brain can become dependent on the drug to release dopamine, developing tolerance and addiction. This can make it difficult for individuals to feel pleasure or reward from other activities, leading to a loss of interest in hobbies and relationships.
Other Brain Changes and Opioids
OUD can also change the way a person thinks and behaves. There is a science behind these changes. Misuse causes changes in the brain's prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making and impulse control.
Chronic opioid use can decrease the prefrontal cortex's volume, impairing decision-making and making it more difficult for the drug user to control their impulses. Many self-destructive behaviors that characterize addiction can be attributed to these changes. As a result, people with OUD exhibit behaviors that harm the individual and those around them in pursuing the drug or while high.
Opioid Use Disorder's Effects on the Body
In addition to its impact on the brain, opioid addiction can significantly affect the body.
Long-term opioid use can lead to respiratory depression, breathing issues, and even death. In addition, some people who overdose have heart trouble and lingering neurological symptoms. Chronic use can also lead to gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation, nausea, and vomiting. This can also lead to malnutrition.
When a person who is a chronic user tries to stop using or cut down, they usually have significant withdrawal symptoms. This can include bone pain, nausea and vomiting, sweats, and anxiety. This is why Medication-Assisted Treatment is considered to be the gold standard of care when it comes to to OUD. It can minimize the uncomfortable symptoms and cravings a person getting sober experiences.
Mental Health and Opioid Addiction
Addiction to opioids can also have significant social and emotional impacts. OUD can lead to social isolation as individuals become more wrapped up in chasing the high and spend more time in active addiction. You may notice a person with opioid use disorder becoming more withdrawn and spending more time alone.
A person stuck in the throes of active addiction may self-medicate painful or upsetting mental health symptoms.
The emotional toll of addiction can also be significant. People with OUD often strain family relationships and change friends when addicted. Privately, they may be wrestling with shame, guilt, and hopelessness.
Opioid use disorder (OUD) can be associated with a range of mental health issues, including:
- Depression: Individuals with OUD may experience symptoms of depression, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. These symptoms can be caused by changes in brain chemistry or may result from the emotional toll of addiction.
- Anxiety: OUD can also be associated with anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks, obsessive thoughts, or excessive worry. Anxiety symptoms may be triggered by the withdrawal effects or the fear of being unable to obtain or use their drug of choice. People who use drugs with anxiety tend to have a vicious cycle of panic due to the effects on their brains.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Many individuals with OUD have a history of trauma, which can cause PTSD. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and feelings of intense anxiety/hyperarousal or avoidance. In addition, many veterans and people who have experienced sexual trauma will use substances to self-medicate uncomfortable symptoms.
- Bipolar disorder: Some individuals with OUD may also have a co-occurring diagnosis of bipolar disorder, characterized by mood shifts from extreme highs (mania) to extreme lows (depression). People who are bipolar may self-medicate or take risks that they usually wouldn't when experiencing mania.
Individuals with OUD need comprehensive treatment addressing their addiction and co-occurring mental health issues.
OUD can have significant impacts on the brain and body. Substance use disorder can also cause mental health problems and exacerbate mental health issues you may already struggle with. Getting screened for mental illness during your recovery and paying attention to any new symptoms is essential. A psychiatrist can better assess your needs or help diagnose any disorder.
Sober Housing and OUD
Many people with OUD find that they can stay sober when they have structure, solidarity, and community with other people in recovery. Many people in sober housing choose to use MAT as a tool for their OUD. Sober living can give you a home to return to at the end of the day, meetings in and out-of-house, and a healthy, vibrant, spiritual environment to reflect on your recovery and future. Learn more about our homes and how we can help by giving us a call.
On Jan. 30, 2023, the Biden Administration announced it would end the COVID public health emergency, which could mean new issues regarding telehealth and Medication-Assisted Treatment when the order ends in May this year. MAT, especially buprenorphine, was expanded to online access for most people with opioid use disorder, giving greater access to desperately needed treatment for people in rural areas. Now, it appears that access to buprenorphine may be trickier than it seemed before.
The expansion has saved lives, and there have been repeated assurances by HHS, DEA, SAMHSA, and even the Biden Administration that telehealth buprenorphine patients won’t lose access to treatment. The truth, however, is murkier than it seems. It appears the DEA wants to put much stronger limits to telehealth treatment in place, which could cause unsurmountable access barriers for people who can’t go in person to get their meds prescribed.
What Will the Proposed Rules Do for MAT?
The new proposed rules, treatment advocates say, could cause more harm than good. While they say they’re not stripping access to treatment, the rules would make treatment much more difficult for vulnerable demographics. Patients will be required to have in-person exams and will not be able to continue to a fully virtual telemedicine care regimen. Patients already taking MAT will not be exempted; if their care began at a virtual clinic, they now would need to meet a treatment provider in-person to continue their care.
There seems to be little scientific reasoning behind this; unlike other treatment drugs, buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. It is less likely to be abused compared to other opioids due to its unique pharmacological properties and the way it is prescribed. Buprenorphine has a "ceiling effect," which means that after a specific dose, taking more medication does not produce any additional effects, making it less likely to be abused.
Increasing MAT Access Can Only Be a Good Thing
Many medical and professional societies have advocated for increased access to MAT, including buprenorphine. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), a professional society representing physicians, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals specializing in addiction medicine, has long argued for increased access to MAT to improve treatment for opioid addiction. The American Medical Association (AMA), the largest professional association of physicians in the United States, has supported efforts to expand access to buprenorphine as part of a comprehensive approach to addressing the opioid epidemic.
Other doctor organizations have recognized the importance of increasing access to buprenorphine to help combat the opioid epidemic and improve the treatment of opioid addiction. The American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Physicians, and American Osteopathic Association have written letters or papers supporting increasing access to buprenorphine.
Hundreds of organizations signed a paper asking the Biden Administration to make the emergency act telehealth provisions permanent last year; however, the DEA seems to have other thoughts about drug and MAT safety and administration.
Hopefully, the DEA will listen to these organizations and create a rule that’s fair and flexible so that patients can get the treatment they need with the fewest barriers possible.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you know in recovery is interested in sober housing options, we’ve got space in our safe, sober, friendly community. Learn more about your options and how our programs work by giving us a call.
The FDA recently approved a new OTC form of naloxone nasal spray, meant to be available for people to purchase via dispensers and other less conspicuous places without the input of medical professionals. Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal drug available by prescription and over the counter in certain states. In most localities, a user must take a training class to administer the lifesaving drug. Much debate surrounded removing the training requirements. For the FDA, the discussion centered not on using naloxone but on the importance of fine-tuning its instructions.
Advisory Committee Meetings on OTC Naloxone Nasal Spray
At a meeting involving the Nonprescription Drug Advisory Committee and Anesthetic and Analgesic Drug Products Advisory Committee, pharmaceutical giant Emergent BioSolutions presented data and newly developed labeling for an OTC form of its nasal naloxone spray. (Typically, people who are prescribed naloxone have to take a short training class or meet other requirements.)
New instructions were written to help people without healthcare training in emergency treatment. Still, FDA reviewers cited various issues, ranging from user errors like dialing 911 first (rather than administering a dose) to the possibility that each blister packaging may need to contain instructions should users discard the box.
The FDA will work closely with manufacturers to ensure the design is simple and effective for people who have never used it before. "The design of the entire user interface plays an important role in how effective the product is at reversing opioid-induced respiratory depression and preventing death and other serious outcomes," they wrote briefly before the meeting.
The FDA Committees issue opinions to the FDA, which are usually respected in final decisions. While OTC Naloxone is likely soon to be approved, there will still be barriers to access, such as cost and locality.
Benefits of OTC Narcan/Naloxone
Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a medication used to reverse opioid overdose rapidly. It works by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain and can quickly restore normal breathing in someone who overdosed on opioids. Narcan is typically administered by emergency medical personnel, but in recent years, some jurisdictions have made it available over the counter, meaning that anyone can purchase it without a prescription.
The benefits of Narcan being available over the counter include:
- Increased access: Making Narcan available over the counter can improve access to the medication, especially for those who may not have a prescription. The FDA has pointed out that price can still be a barrier, which must also be addressed through state or federal funding.
- Faster response: In specific environments, when Narcan is available over the counter, people can quickly obtain and administer the medication. This can be especially important when emergency medical services are not immediately available or every minute counts.
- Reduced stigma: Stigma is often a barrier to access. Making Narcan available over the counter can help reduce the stigma and help people understand that opioid addiction is a treatable medical condition.
- Potential to save lives: By making Narcan available over the counter, more people may be able to access the medication and potentially save lives in cases of opioid overdose. Studies have shown that increasing access to Narcan can save lives.
While Narcan can be a lifesaving medication, it is not a substitute for long-term treatment and support for opioid addiction. Most people need additional medical help after an overdose.
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, seeking professional help and support is important.
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If you or a loved one is looking for safe, stable housing as you continue your recovery, sober housing may be your best next step. Learn more about what we can offer by giving us a call.
Many people struggle with withdrawal symptoms even after their initial 90 days, which is the typical period of time to expect withdrawal symptoms. As a person's substance use moves further into the past, they may not initially notice that they still have some issues. However, many people struggle with PAWS in their first few years of recovery, especially if their drug of choice is an opioid. Without understanding the cause of their symptoms, it can be very frustrating and even detrimental.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a term used to describe persistent withdrawal symptoms that occur after the acute withdrawal period has ended. While people who use any substance may struggle with PAWS, it's commonly associated with opioid use. It can last for months or even years after an individual has stopped using opioids. PAWS can significantly hinder recovery and long-term sobriety without education and treatment. It can be incredibly frustrating for a newcomer to recovery to cope with PAWs for months or even years into sobriety.
Acute Withdrawal vs. Post-Acute Withdrawal
Opioids are highly addictive substances that can cause physical dependence. People who use opioids regularly have a body that has adapted to the presence of the drug. When they don't have it regularly, they can experience intense withdrawal symptoms. The acute withdrawal period typically begins within a few hours of the last dose. It can last for several days to a week. Symptoms of opioid withdrawal can include muscle aches, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, and abdominal cramps.
PAWS occurs after the acute withdrawal period. It is diagnosed by persistent symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. These symptoms can persist for weeks, months, or even years and can be challenging to manage. Additionally, PAWS can increase the risk of relapse, as some individuals may turn back to using opioids to relieve their symptoms.
Effective management of PAWS is crucial for long-term recovery from opioid addiction. Treatment options for PAWS may include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), behavioral therapies, and holistic approaches such as nutrition and exercise. Individuals in recovery need a healthcare professional or addiction specialist to help develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses their specific needs and helps to support their journey to long-term sobriety.
Nutrition in Post-Acute Withdrawal
Many treatment centers provide a holistic approach to treatment and recovery. However, nutrition can be essential in post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) and recovery from substance abuse. Here are some ways that nutrition can help:
1. Replenishing nutrients: Substance abuse can deplete the body of essential nutrients, and a healthy diet can help to replenish these stores.
2. Stabilizing blood sugar: Substance abuse can cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, contributing to cravings and mood swings. A balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and lean proteins can help to regulate blood sugar and improve mood stability.
3. Supporting the brain and nervous system: The brain and nervous system are particularly vulnerable during recovery, and adequate nutrition is necessary for their proper function. Consuming foods rich in vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and magnesium can help to support the brain and nervous system during recovery.
4. Boosting energy: PAWS can cause fatigue and lack of energy. Proper nutrition can help increase energy levels and support overall physical health.
It is important to note that everyone's nutritional needs are different. Therefore, consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian for personalized recommendations if you suffer from any health condition.
Living With PAWS in Recovery
A healthy lifestyle is essential for sobriety. Living with PAWS means taking care of yourself and learning to cope with life, even when you experience symptoms of it.
Many people experience PAWs and find relief with assistance. If you or somebody you love is experiencing longer-term anxiety, cravings, sleep issues, or other symptoms, it's essential to seek help. A medical professional can help rule out other disorders as well.
Many people in recovery also live with mental health disorders, which may have previously been masked due to substance use. Both of these disorders can cause challenges for people in recovery. You deserve to be treated for all your illnesses and live your best life.
Therapy and treatment groups can also help you work through the challenges of PAWS in daily life.
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If you're looking for a sober housing situation that offers support, structure and community, our houses may be for you! We offer a safe environment in a vibrant, thriving recovery community. Call us to learn more about your options.
Many people who get sober rely on Medication-Assisted Treatment as a tool to stay sober long-term. The FDA says that MAT is a “gold standard treatment” that can help people sustain their sobriety and get treatment. Yet there are still some people who view MAT with disdain or suspicion. Some of this is because they’re unfamiliar with it, and some come from beliefs that don’t mesh with the science, such as the idea that MAT is simply “trading one drug for another.”
5 Important Facts About MAT
What myths have you heard about addiction and MAT? Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusing information out there. Here are some of the essential facts to know.
- MAT is an FDA-approved treatment for opioid use disorder. It saves lives by preventing cravings that often lead to relapse and overdose.
- MAT is a superior treatment when it comes to preventing relapse and overdose. People who stay on MAT are less likely to relapse and more likely to complete long-term treatment programs.
- Doctors and other medical professionals decide what dosage of medication is appropriate for people with opioid use disorder. It is a medical decision between the patient and their doctor, not the treatment center or probation officer.
- People who use MAT as a tool for recovery use it alongside other tools. They often go to detox, then treatment, and continue to work on their recovery through peer support groups. Many of them come through the doors of our sober housing programs!
- MAT is a safe medication that has helped millions of people get – and stay – sober from opioids and other drugs. Most people taper off it within a year, but some chronic relapsers may remain on it for years. It does not cause any long-term harm, and dosages only go down, not up, after a patient is stable.
Understanding MAT and Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid use disorder is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. These deaths are tragic and preventable. MAT is an essential tool that can stop people from relapsing and exposing themselves to street drugs laced with fentanyl, the top cause of drug overdose deaths.
MAT can help people stay sober from opioids for years. It can remove the intense cravings that the brain generates when deprived of opioids. Because of this, people can focus on repairing and healing their lives from the havoc caused by addiction. They learn new coping skills and start to live life on its terms.
Consider Sober Housing as a Tool
If you or somebody you love is looking for a living situation after getting sober, we can help! Our sober homes offer structure as well as independence, with a focus on recovery. Our homes provide community, recovery activities, and safety for newly sober people. Learn more about how we can help! Give us a call at 760-216-2077.
Recently, a new law was added to the California books that requires public schools to keep a steady supply of Narcan, also known as Naloxone, in their emergency supplies. The opioid overdose reversal drug has become a vital public health tool as the drug supply has been inundated with fentanyl. However, schools aren’t the only way that Narcan has saved lives. People who don’t use opioids but live in California have begun to take the harm-reducing measure into their own hands. Several community members spoke recently to the LA Times to describe how they have helped save lives by carrying it on them when they’re out in their communities.
What Is Naloxone, And How Can You Carry It?
Naloxone, known chiefly by its brand name, Narcan, is an opioid-overdose reversal tool approved by the FDA. People who want to carry Naloxone on hand or keep it in their homes face few barriers thanks to California legislation.
The Department of Health Services in your county will be able to distribute fentanyl to people who want to carry it. LA County has made it a mission to hand out 50,000 doses in a year, including people living in encampments uniquely positioned to save drug-using peers.
People who don’t use drugs are still often in a position to save lives. Family members often come across an unconscious relative and try to administer CPR. Naloxone is the only thing that can reverse the effects of an overdose. Many parents and spouses of addicted persons now keep Naloxone in their homes in case of emergency.
Fentanyl Is a Public Health Emergency
Fentanyl has caused an uptick in deaths for Californians in the past three years. It's been found as an additive in almost every type of street drug. In 2021, 625 people died of an overdose in San Francisco, an uptick of 41%. So many people in the community see carrying Narcan as a way to help others stay alive long enough to find recovery. EMTs, people in recovery from addiction, and other empathetic people have revived overdose victims and helped them stay alive.
Narcan is just one tool to help fight the fentanyl epidemic. However, it’s a powerful one – saving a life is a priceless task. Once a person has been revived, they still need medical attention. Most likely, they will be given drug treatment options when in the ER. Some of them will take the chance and decide to get sober. Others will take a little longer.
Treatment centers and sober living homes in California stock Narcan as a preventative measure.
When a person is still alive and breathing, the chance for recovery is always there.
Consider Sober Living
If you are looking for a safe and vibrant recovery housing option, look no further! We offer structured living and independence, helping people build a new life in recovery. Learn more about how our community and homes can help you continue your journey in life. Call us at 760-216-2077 to explore your options.
Fentanyl is a dangerous public health hazard across America, becoming ubiquitous as an additive to street drugs. People who use Molly, crystal meth, and even marijuana may encounter the drug accidentally. Illicit drug users are not always careful, especially those who use drugs they consider "light" or recreational. While fentanyl is everywhere, not everyone who uses illicit drugs knows about it. This means many unsuspecting users risk being killed by the drugs they consume. Sadly, it's happening across the age spectrum, from high school to the elderly.
Fentanyl Overdoses, COVID-19 as Parallel Crises
Since the pandemic's beginning in 2020, more than 165,000 people have died from opioid overdoses. Over a million people have died from COVID-19. Because of this, three years of life expectancy has been lost among Americans collectively.
Now more than ever, fentanyl is a problem. It's become a common additive to street drugs not generally associated with opioids. Many people think they are taking party drugs or even stimulants like cocaine or crystal meth, only to be exposed to a toxic dose of fentanyl. Some of them overdose. Others may become addicted. Fentanyl is a potent drug, 50-100 times stronger than morphine. But it has also become a favorite among opioid users in California, especially in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.
With fentanyl use spiraling out of control, so are the opioid deaths among specific populations. Opioid overdoses among Black and BIPOC adults are increasing disproportionately in some parts of the country. In other parts of the country, such as California and Florida, a more significant proportion of people dying from overdoses are White. And the ages of the overdose victims tend to be younger adults, with almost 60% of OD deaths younger than 45 years old. However, no matter the demographics, it appears that fentanyl is at fault.
Counterfeit Drugs Also Driving Fentanyl OD Trends
Counterfeit pills have become such a problem that Los Angeles has created an entire campaign surrounding counterfeit pills. The slogan for the campaign is "Bad meds kill real people." The campaign aims to educate, prevent, and enforce the law regarding counterfeit pills that could be made from fentanyl.
"The manufacturers of these counterfeit medicines only care about making money at the expense of our most vulnerable communities and community members," Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a press conference this week. "These medicines contain no active pharmaceutical ingredients." Instead, the medications often contain a deadly dose of fentanyl.
Streety drugs that have been found that contain fentanyl include marijuana, cocaine, crystal meth, Molly/MDMA, LSD, Adderall, and cocaine.
Preventing Fentanyl Overdoses Is a Community Effort
Harm reduction and making treatment available are essential components of keeping people safe in the community. For example, harm reduction programs can campaign for public spaces such as libraries, community centers, and schools to carry Narcan, the opioid overdose reversal drug.
Recovery is also an option for people who use substances. A treatment program, including Medication-Assisted Treatment, can also help people quit taking risks and get sober for the long term. Sobriety has many advantages for people with substance abuse disorder, including better health and peace of mind.
Sober Living In San Diego
San Diego has a thriving recovery community with many vibrant 12-step meetings. In addition, our sober homes offer community, structure, and a sober lifestyle as you continue your recovery journey. Learn more about our programs by calling us at 760-216-2077.