Tag Archives: Drug Addiction

Drug Addiction is Selfish

The focus is often on how drug addiction hurts the addict, but the fact is, there are few acts more selfish than drug abuse and addiction.

Run-down urban areaThe impact on communities where the drugs are produced, the individuals coerced into trafficking the drugs across borders, the cost to the community where they are used and the family members who love the person living with addiction—all these costs add up in blood and torment as well as dollars and cents.

Here are just a few facts on the impact of drug addiction and abuse to others, according to the US Department of Justice National Drug Intelligence Center:[1]

  • The cost to society is estimated to add up to about $193 billion when the cost of lost productivity, crime and healthcare.
  • Drug-related crime costs society about $61 billion annually, including money spent on court costs, law enforcement and incarceration.
  • Healthcare costs caused by drug abuse and addiction add up to $11 billion annually between emergency services, inpatient drug treatment and drug use and prevention research.
  • More than $120 billion in lost productivity is caused by drug abuse and addiction each year.
  • Lost labor participation adds up to $49 billion annually.
  • Incarceration and related lost productivity costs about $48 billion each year.
  • Drug-related homicides add another $4 billion to the lost productivity cost.
  • The costs of running the criminal justice system to handle cases related to drug distribution and possession costs about $56 billion every year.
  • According to the National Drug Threat Survey (NDTS) 2010, crystal meth and crack cocaine are the drugs that primarily contribute to drug-related crime.[2]
  • Heroin was the drug that most contributed to property-related crime.
  • According to the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring Program (ADAM II), 60 percent of those arrested tested positive for drug abuse.[3]
  • Health effects caused by drug abuse impact society including parental neglect of children, drunk or drugged driving, exposure to toxic chemicals due to drug labs, hospitalization and emergency room visits.
  • Non-homicide admissions to the ER cost about $161 million annually. Hospital admissions cost $5.5 billion.
  • More than 28,000 people die each year in car accidents—almost 4000 of those were caused by driving under the influence.
  • Law enforcement agents and children are the most common victims of medical problems caused by accident, explosion and exposure to toxic chemicals created by crystal meth labs.

If drug abuse or addiction is an issue for you or someone you care about, don’t continue to put everyone else at risk. Call us today at our 24 hour, toll-free helpline for more information about our program and how it can help you to heal. We can connect you to the best treatment programs available and even check your insurance coverage for you. Please call today.

[1] https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs44/44731/44731p.pdf

[2] https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs38/38661/38661p.pdf

[3] https://www.nij.gov/topics/drugs/markets/adam/pages/welcome.aspx

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: Pros and Cons

According to CNN and a number of other news sources, Florida officials once took quick strides toward implementing a new program that would require potential recipients of cash aid and welfare to undergo drug testing when they apply. Some think this idea is great. Others are offended by the implications; therefore, it’s important to take a look at both the pros and cons.

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: The Pros

The way proponents of the new drug testing initiative saw it—and that includes the lawmakers who were signing it into policy—it’s not fair to ask taxpayers to pay for the drug addiction of those who are receiving welfare if they are, in fact, using those funds to buy heroin, cocaine, crystal meth, etc. Although most would consent that not all beneficiaries of government assistance are using illegal drugs, because some may, they believe all should be tested.

Drug deal going downFlorida’s Governor Rick Scott signed the legislation that would make it mandatory for adults who were applying for aid to undergo drug testing as part of the application process.

Said Scott: “It’s the right thing for taxpayers. It’s the right thing for citizens of this state that need public assistance. We don’t want to waste tax dollars. And also, we want to give people an incentive to not use drugs.”[1]

Two years later, the law was permanently blocked from being enforced in Florida.[2] However, currently there is proposed legislation reintroducing a similar idea but with a narrower focus, which would require testing only of those formerly convicted of drug crimes.[3]

Do These Pro-Drug Testing Arguments Stand Up?

The incentive not to use drugs is a positive aspect to the new legislation. If knowing that your cash aid depended upon your ability to produce a clean sample and pass a drug test could help you to stay clean, then it’s likely for you to be motivated to stop your drug use.

You would, theoretically, be able to spend your time going to school or looking for a better job that pays more than welfare and so more quickly reduce your need for state assistance.

Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients: The Cons

Some who would have to undergo the drug testing are offended by the implication that simply because you are having financial problems you also have a drug addiction. They say that the stigma against those who receive funds from the government is bad enough without making it worse with mandatory drug testing. Others say that it may stop people from seeking aid who need it to properly care for their children.

Do These Anti-Drug Testing Arguments Stand Up?

The only problem with these arguments is that, if welfare recipients aren’t abusing drugs, then the drug testing will actually serve to remove some of the stigma of implied drug addiction that many assume even without drug testing. Additionally, it should be pointed out that most jobs also require random and mandatory drug testing done sporadically throughout employment—not just at the time of application. This is actually far more lenient than others endure making the same amount at local retail store working part-time.

What do you think? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion on mandatory drug testing for welfare recipient applicants. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, we can help. Please call us at our 24 hour, toll-free helpline, 760-548-4032. We can connect you to the best treatment programs available and answer any question you may have. Please call now.


[1] http://www.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/06/01/florida.welfare.drug.testing/

[2] http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/drug-testing-and-public-assistance.aspx

[3] http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article138294058.html

Priest Accused of Drug Addiction and Other Scandals

Father John Corapi has been accused of drug addiction and sexual improprieties and has been forced to cancel multiple Catholic Charities fundraising events as a result. While the sexual misconduct may not surprise many readers, the reports of drug addiction may be somewhat scandalous.

The charges, made by a former employee, have rocked the Illinois county where Father John Corapi resides and all those who trusted the Father.

The Director of Catholic Charities is Frank Vonch. He says: “Obviously, we are devastated. We have been working for almost two years building support for this event and we have been looking forward to a very special day. The proceeds would have provided vital support to our many Catholic Charities ministries. But at this moment, I don’t know how we’re going to recover the expenses of our preparations, much less forgo the contributions we have been anticipating to help fund our programs for children.”

What does Father Corapi say about his alleged drug addiction and the other charges? He released a statement on his website that stated: “On Ash Wednesday I learned that a former employee sent a three-page letter to several bishops accusing me of everything from drug addiction to multiple sexual exploits with her and several other women

Drug Testing for Judges: Should It be Mandatory?

You have likely had to take a drug test at some point in your life. You may have had to take one before getting hired. You may have been randomly screened once or several times after beginning work. Many jobs require drug testing. One job that doesn’t is that of judge. The question is, should it?

Why Do Jobs Test for Drug Use?

Judges may not have to submit to drug tests, but a lot of us do. According to The Atlantic[1], “The best estimate is that about 40 percent of U.S. workers are currently subjected to drug tests during the hiring process.” Individuals who don’t get tested before hiring may still face random drug screens after. There are several reasons employers are eager to test for drug use.

Judge delivering verdictSafety concerns are some of the top reasons for on-the-job drug testing. U.S. News[2] shares, “Drug use, in general, is tricky for employers because it is difficult to know how long the effects may linger. Given the uncertainty, it is easier for employers to start with a drug test so that they may avoid any unnecessary risks brought about by habitual users of any drugs.” If someone drives a vehicle or operates equipment as part of their job, drug use can create serious risks. Alcohol, marijuana, painkillers and other substances seriously impact judgment and reaction time. Testing can increase safety.

Drug testing may also improve job performance. When you are using drugs, you are distracted at best. You are more likely to make errors, to create slack your coworkers have to cover, and to be absent from work for health or personal reasons.

Drug testing does more than create a safer, more productive work environment. It creates the promise of this environment.

The Society for Human Resource Management[3] (SHRM) explains, “Drug testing may even improve employee morale by demonstrating an employer’s commitment to providing a safe work environment and by keeping workers out of the awkward position of having to cover for drunk or high colleague.”

Workplaces with pre-employment screenings or random testing do not have to actually be safer or better to feel that way. Morale goes a long way toward creating healthy, happy employees. Even if drug testing doesn’t impact employee health and performance directly, it can indirectly create a better place to work.

Drug testing creates opportunities for healing. Losing your job because of drug use can be the wake-up call you need. It can cause you to take a closer look at your relationship with drugs and to consider treatment. It opens the door for conversations with loved ones, doctors, and treatment providers about options and next steps for recovery. If you job has employee assistance programs in place, you may be able to get help without even having to lose your job. Let a failed drug test or concerns about future testing provide incentive for recovery, a healthier life, and better future career prospects.

Why Don’t Judge Have to Take Drug Tests?

Workplaces and employees may benefit from drug testing. Employees are happier, and given opportunities to heal. Employers benefit from greater productivity and fewer accidents. State governments recognize that drug testing can be a good thing.

The SHRM explains, “A handful of states give employers a financial incentive by discounting workers’ compensation premiums when they test employees for drug use.”

More and more employers use testing during and after the hiring process. Despite the popularity of this practice and government recognition of its benefits, state officials and judges are exempt from testing. If drug testing is such a good thing, why is this the case?

As the American Bar Association[4] (ABA) shares, “Judges who use illegal drugs cannot provide the state and its citizens with fair and impartial trials.”

Judges do not operate machinery as part of their jobs. However they are required to be mentally focused and present. Drug use disrupts anyone’s ability to aware and make good decisions.

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse[5] shares, long-term drug use changes the brain. It directly affects a person’s:

  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Decision-making
  • Stress
  • Memory
  • Behavior

We all need to be able to learn, make good decisions, manage stress, and act appropriately. This is as important for judges as anyone else. A judge’s words and actions directly impact the lives of others. Drug use by state officials can have even further-reaching effects than drug use by other individuals. Judges need to take responsibility and hold themselves accountable. Addiction can affect any person in any job, and when it does, treatment becomes an urgent personal and public health matter. Drug use calls for understanding and action. Reach out to Michael’s House. Learn how to help yourself or a loved pursue a healthy life and long, successful career.

[1] https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/06/drug-testing-effectiveness/394850/. “The Pointlessness of the Workplace Drug Test.” The Atlantic. 4 Jun 2015. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[2] http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2017-01-17/how-to-handle-pre-employment-drug-testing-where-marijuana-is-legal. “How to Handle Pre-Employment Drug Testing Where Marijuana is Legal.” U.S. News. 17 Jan 2017. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[3] https://www.shrm.org/hr-today/news/hr-magazine/Pages/1110zeidner.aspx. “Putting Drug Screening to the Test.” The Society for Human Resource Management. 1 Nov 2010. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[4] http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/state_legislators_propose_mandatory_drug_testing_of_judges_and_other_state/. “State Legislators Propose Mandatory Drug Testing of Judges and Other State Officials.” American Bar Association. 1 Mar 2012. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

[5] https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-use-addiction. “Understanding Drug Use and Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Aug 2016. Web. 20 Apr 2017.

Race Statistics, Drug Addiction and Prison

Reports vary concerning the proportion of U.S. prisoners between whites, blacks and Hispanics. Some say that the proportions are nearly equal involving sentences of one-plus years in state prisons for a drug-related offense. The most serious offense for 206,300 of those 1,316,409 inmates involves illegal drugs. What might come as a surprise – due to sensationalized media reports – is that prison composition statistics from 1990 to 2014 actually reveal a reduction in the percentage of African-Americans among convicts overall.1

Disproportionate Number of Convictions: What Does It Suggest?

Hands on jail barsStill, while recognizing that men greatly outnumber women in the jails and prisons, the incarceration rate for black males remains 3.8 to 10.5 times greater at each age group than for white males and 1.4 to 3.1 times greater than the rate for Hispanic males. The largest disparity between white and black male prisoners occurs among inmates of 18 to 19 years of age. For black men in their 30s, one in ten is in jail or prison on any given day.2

“The main obstacle to getting black America past the illusion that racism is still a defining factor in America is the strained relationship between young black men and police forces,” observes John McWhorter, author of How the War on Drugs Is Destroying Black America. “The massive number of black men in prison stands as an ongoing and graphically resonant rebuke to all calls to ‘get past racism,’ exhibit initiative, or stress optimism. And the primary reason for this massive number of black men in jail is the ‘war on drugs.’”

Therefore, he concludes, if this war could be terminated, racial friction in the American social fabric “would no longer exist and our country would be a better place for all.”3

Imprisonment for Drug Use and Trafficking: What Is Gained and Lost?

Under harsh sentencing guidelines, such as ‘three-strikes and you’re out,’ a high proportion of young black and Hispanic men are imprisoned for life as a result of a history of untreated addiction and several prior drug-related offenses. This situation is leaving states to absorb the staggering cost of not only constructing additional prisons to accommodate the growing number of prisoners who will never be released, but also warehousing them into old age.

Furthermore, the collateral damage of these statistics is this: 1 in 15 African-American children, 1 in 42 Latino children, and 1 in 111 Caucasian children have a parent in prison. In some areas, a large majority of African American men – 55 percent in Chicago, for example – are labeled felons for life. Even if they make it out of the “big house,” felons typically find acquiring gainful employment very challenging.In addition, they may be prevented from accessing public housing, student loans and other public assistance.1

So, with history indicating that the challenges leading a person to prison – such as drug addition, alcoholism, untreated mental illnesses, and a lack of employment opportunities – are actually made worse by incarceration, prison time contributes not only to further financial desperation, but also a loss of family and social ties.4

Race and Ethnicity Factors Show Up in Drug Abuse Statistics

Reflective of the incarceration numbers above, recent statistics suggest that race/ethnicity makes a difference when it comes to the use of illicit drugs.

The U.S. government reports that these percentages of various people groups are currently abusing illegal drugs:

  • Those reporting two or more races: 14.7 percent
  • African Americans: 10.1 percent
  • Native Americans and Native Alaskans: 9.5 percent
  • Caucasians: 8.2 percent
  • Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders: 7.3 percent
  • Hispanics: 6.2 percent
  • Asians: 3.6 percent5

The numbers and percentages surrounding legal prescription drugs and other chemicals is less certain. Other reports, such as those involving opioid abuse, indicate that epidemic proportions already exist in the U.S. Naturally, as a result, the number of emergency services and incarcerations occurring due to such drug abuse, addiction and overdose continues to rise.6

A Quality Drug Rehab Program Can Break this Vicious Cycle

Regardless of the race or culture of an individual, studies show that the best way to help someone break free from the cycle of drug addiction and its consequences is to go through drug rehab for an adequate period of time.

Some jails and prison systems are incorporating such treatment into their programs. Shown to have marked success, many courts now dictate an assigned length of drug rehab to drug offenders in order to avoid a prolonged prison sentence.7

Lawmakers are also stepping forward. For instance, both houses of California’s state legislature passed bill SB 649, which gives judges and prosecutors the option of charging people convicted of drug offenses with misdemeanors instead of felonies; offenders can then be sent to substance abuse treatment centers instead of prison or jail.8

If you have a jail or prison record due to drug use and would like to avoid future legal, relationship and health problems, very likely the best thing for you to do is show the judge that you are determined to get clean by entering a drug addiction treatment program. Call us on our 24/7 toll-free line, and we will provide you with the information and guidance you need in order to do just that. We care…and it shows.

“Race and Prison”, Get the Facts, DrugWarFacts.org, http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Race_and_Prison#sthash.klEVezMW.dpbs, (last revised 2017).

“When It Comes to Illegal Drug Use, White America Does the Crime, Black America Gets the Time”, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/racial-disparity-drug-use_n_3941346.html, (September 18, 2013).

3 “End the Drug War, Save Black America”, Fox News Opinion, Fox News, http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/03/16/john-stossel-end-drug-war-save-black-america.html, (March 16, 2011).

Moore, Lisa D., Ph.D., “Who’s Using and Who’s Doing the Time: Incarceration, the War on Drugs, and Public Health”, National Center on Biotechnology Information, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374804/, (May 2008).

5 “Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations”, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, https://www.samhsa.gov/specific-populations/racial-ethnic-minority, (February 18, 2016).

6 “Inside a Killer Drug Epidemic: A Look at America’s Opioid Crisis”, The New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/opioid-crisis-epidemic.html?_r=0, (January 6, 2017).

7 “Treating Drug Abuse and Addiction in the Criminal Justice System: Improving Public Health and Safety”, National Center for Biotechnology Information, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2681083/, (January 14, 2009).

“California Bill Would Give Drug Users Treatment Instead of Prison Time”, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/11/california-drug-treatment_n_3909240.html, (September 13, 2013).

Having a Healthy Pregnancy After Drug Addiction

You’ve hit the bottom with your drug addiction, yet you’ve fought your way back up. Now you’re at the point where you are thinking about having a baby. Whether this is your first pregnancy or your fifth, you need to prepare your mind and body for this major change.

You also need to stay on track with your recovery plan. Here are a few valuable tips to help you have a healthy pregnancy during your addiction recovery.

Get a Strong Body for Pregnancy

When it comes to getting in shape, why wait until you are pregnant? Start your exercise habits now. Choose simple things you can do nearly every day such as walking, swimming, yoga, or other activities. Of course, when the time comes, you’ll need to speak with your doctor about exercising safely during the various stages of pregnancy.

Remember, exercise is an important part of your recovery plan as well. Exercise is a great way to keep your stress levels low all the time. When you have a tense day, exercise a great way to unwind. Working out helps your blood circulation, your energy levels, and even your mood. Each of these is vital to your continued addiction recovery plan as much as they are your pregnancy.

Good Nutrition is Essential

Nearly every drug addict or alcoholic has poor nutrition when they start recovery. Addiction isn’t a healthy lifestyle, so they aren’t getting regular well-balanced meals. Addiction can change a person’s appetite dramatically. Just two examples make this point – meth addicts typically lose a great deal of weight because of a suppressed appetite, and alcoholics can have weight problems because of the empty calories in alcohol. Proper nutrition helps the healing process. Nutrients supply the body with energy. They provide substances to build and maintain healthy organs and fight off infection.[1]

No matter what your drug of choice was, you’ll need to be sure you are on track with your nutrition before becoming pregnant. If you went to a treatment center that focused on nutritional counseling, you may be a step ahead. If not, talk to your doctor or a local nutritionist for some guidance.

Establish good eating habits well before your pregnancy so you can be as healthy as you can from the start. Once you become pregnant, you may notice some differences in appetite and food preferences. While these may be unavoidable, you can handle it all better if you have been sticking to a healthy diet. Plus, everything you eat will benefit your baby down the road.

Use Your Support Network

Pregnancy is a time of wonder, but it can also be a stressful time. Your emotions and hormones will likely take a roller coaster ride. Once the baby is born, some women struggle with their emotions. You want to take intentional steps to avoid drug cravings during times of stress. When you were a participant in substance abuse, you likely used drugs as a way to handle stress. Know that stress will likely be a trigger for you.

A trigger can be thought of as anything that brings back thoughts, feelings, and memories that have to do with addiction.[2]

Now is the time that you need to engage your support network. You need to have people around you that will encourage you after the baby is born. You may even want to arrange for some help after the birth so you can get enough rest. Watch for anything related to your relapse triggers – family issues, sleep loss, trouble focusing on positive things under stress, etc.

Healthy Pregnancy After Getting Sober

You can have a healthy pregnancy while in recovery. Just be sure you plan ahead to get a healthy start. Be prepared and do not overlook the support you need to have a healthy pregnancy. If you need some help, please know you can contact us at Michael’s House. We are here to help you live a life without substance abuse. Please reach out to us at 760-548-4032 now.

[1] https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002149.htm Substance Use Recovery and Diet

[2] Triggers and Relapse, a Craving Connection for Addicts. Jaffe, Adi. Published on March 17th, 2017.

Feeling Suicidal During Recovery

When you think about it, drug and alcohol addiction is like a slow suicide.[1] You may not want to end your life in the heat of the moment. But you do permit the gradual poisoning of your mind and body.

Some people also get strong suicidal thoughts and urges during their active addiction and subsequent recovery. Many people who become sober can stop the slow self-harm of addiction before much permanent damage is done. But too many die in tragic ways during an active drug or alcohol addiction. Understanding the risks of depression and suicide associated with addiction can help you or your loved one make the choice to get help.

Impaired Impulse Control and Judgment

Woman getting drunkWhen someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they go all the way each time. They drink to get drunk and use drugs to get high. When this happens, the physiological effects become overwhelming. And that is usually the point for the addict, because excessive intoxication is what it takes to escape reality every day.

Unfortunately, heavy drug or alcohol use also impairs the basic functions that allow a person to live safely. Judgment becomes distorted and unreliable. A highly intoxicated person can easily misjudge oncoming traffic, their risk for falling, or the wisdom of provoking an aggressive person. Impulse control is also reduced with high levels of intoxication. Part of this comes from the immediate side effects of the drug or alcohol. The person’s cycle of compulsive behavior and obsessive thoughts allow them to answer their impulses to drink or use drugs. This impulsiveness often disrupts other areas of a person’s life.

Impaired Judgment Increases Suicide Danger

When it comes to addiction, the risk of suicide multiplies in a scary way.[2] When poor judgment and poor impulse control combine, the despair and emptiness so many addicts live with every day is increased exponentially. At some point, multiple problems begin to pile up. The negativity of an addicted mind seizes the opportunity to drive the point home. Thoughts of, “I’m worthless, it’s all pointless, nobody would care, everyone would be better off if I ended it now, this won’t get better, there’s no hope,” spin out of control. A sober suicidal person may be able to reach out for help or at least stop themselves from taking action, but a highly intoxicated suicidal person is far more likely to act on an impulse that puts them in harm’s way. And if someone already has depression or a history of suicide, the pathway to suicidal thoughts and actions is even more likely. People who are intoxicated may make suicidal gestures in order to get attention. Unfortunately, they may die accidentally because they misjudged the risk of their actions.

Curb Suicide Risk by Getting Sober Today

The best way to reduce the risk of suicide is to get sober now. It may take a while for an addict’s life to really turn around, but the suicide risk will drop significantly. As things improve, a recovering addict may have less reason to consider suicide in the first place. But just to be safe, anyone with a history of suicidal thoughts or attempts should always have a safety plan as part of their larger recovery plan. Find out more about getting sober by calling us today at 760-548-4032.

[1] The Mayo Clinic. “Drug Addiction,” December 5, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/definition/con-20020970

[2] Carolyn C. Ross M.D., M.P.H. “Suicide: One of Addiction’s Hidden Risks,” Psychology Today, February 20, 2014. Accessed March 28, 2017.

Drug Abuse Makes You Stupid

The fact that drugs change brain chemistry and alter brain function, affecting the areas that control inhibition, logic, sight, hearing, and thought process is a concept that most people learn at an early age.

Elementary and middle students are accustomed to hearing that the impact drugs have on the brain are devastating, and the side effects of drug use can have a life-long impact. Understanding how drugs influence the brain can make saying “no” to the temptation to use easier.

Drugs and the Brain

The brain is a complex organ made up of many parts working together as a unit. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drugs can alter parts of the brain that are responsible for coordinating and performing specific functions.[1] This includes life-sustaining functions which can drive the brain to addictive behaviors.

The brain areas most commonly affected by drug abuse include the following:

  • Brain stem- the brain stem is responsible for heart rate, breathing, and sleeping.
  • Cerebral cortex- controls thinking, senses, and the ability to solve problems and make decisions.
  • Limbic system- the limbic system is the brain’s reward center and links together structures that control our ability to feel pleasure. The limbic system is activated by healthy life choices, such as eating and socializing, but it is also activated by drugs of abuse.

The brain’s communication system uses neurotransmitters to send messages to its various parts. When the brain is exposed to drugs, these neurotransmitters no longer function as they were intended to function. This can be a good thing when a person is in pain and uses prescription pain medication to change the way the brain responds to that pain. But when medications have been used for too long or in larger amounts that prescribed, the brain no longer produces its own neurotransmitters and needs the drug to feel and function “normally.” This type of dependence on a substance quickly leads to addiction.

Brain Xrays

Cocaine and the Brain

Cocaine is a drug that is particularly damaging to healthy brain function. Brain scans taken of a person who hasn’t used cocaine shows a fair amount of activity. Brain scans of a cocaine addict show almost no brain function. When that same addict stops using cocaine for a 10-day period, there is still minimal brain activity on the scan.

Only after months of abstinence does the brain scan show that brain function is returning and, depending upon the amount of cocaine used and how long the person lived as a cocaine addict, the brain still may not be functioning at normal capacity.

Cocaine Addiction Rehab

When it comes to cocaine addiction treatment or trying to maintain sobriety after stimulant addiction is that while there are few hardcore physical withdrawal symptoms, the psychological withdrawal from the drug is intense. It hits hard in the first few weeks of recovery and then returns a few months later. This pattern of cravings and compulsive behavior with cocaine addiction, crystal meth addiction, and addiction to prescription stimulant medication means that long-term residential cocaine rehab is the best choice for cocaine addicts.

Through inpatient treatment, you put a buffer between yourself and your connection: if you can’t get coke, you can’t use coke. Practicing this basic principle for as long as possible means you build up time without the drug, which is so important in drug addiction recovery. You begin to meet new people, experience new things, and learn how to get through the day without cocaine or other drugs. Reintegration back into the “real” world is much easier on those who have more clean and sober time at a drug rehab.

Rehab at Michael’s House

If you would like to learn more about our sober living program or long-term cocaine rehab program here in Palm Springs, California, contact us at Michael’s House today at 760-548-4032.

[1] The National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Drugs, Brains and Behavior: The Science of Addiction,” July 2014. Accessed March 28, 2017. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain

Carrie Fisher Abused Cocaine on Star Wars Set

Carrie Fisher recently said in an interview that she abused cocaine when she was filming “Empire Strikes Back” as Princess Leia. During the scenes set on the ice planet Hoth, Fisher says she used cocaine.


Fisher says: “I didn’t even like coke that much. It was a case of getting on whatever train I needed to take to get high.”

Fisher was 19 when she played Princess Leia. At 24, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and now, at 53, she is performing a one-woman show called “Wishful Drinking.”

She has been in and out of drug and alcohol rehab since she worked on the Star Wars series. She says: “I realized I was doing a bit more than other people and losing my choice in the matter.”

Fighting Drug Addiction is a Lifelong Battle

While Fisher isn’t proud of her past with drugs and alcohol, she’s under no illusions about her future. Getting clean and sober has been a lifelong battle for the actress and it’s one that she recognizes as something that doesn’t just go away.

Fisher says: ” I’ve been sober for three years now. I’ve been trying to get sober and stay sober for a long time. The longest stretch I’ve done was about eight years. Kicking drugs has been difficult. It doesn’t go away, it’s not like a virus.”

Drug Addiction, Relapse and Relapse Prevention

Once you’ve been through drug and alcohol rehab, kicked your drug of choice and learned how to live without drugs and alcohol, the real work begins: remembering to implement what you learned in relapse prevention each and every day. Fisher makes sure she doesn’t take her sobriety for granted; she even uses it as fodder for her performance. Not everyone can do that. But you can make sure that recognizing what you’ve been through is a part of your life. Service projects, 12 step meetings, sponsoring someone newly sober – all of these things remind you daily how you used to live, how far you’ve come and let you know that you’re only a relapse away from being back there again.

Finding a Network of Support in Drug Addiction Recovery

Refusing to isolate yourself at home or at your job and instead volunteering or attending 12 step meetings gives you more than just a reminder of where you used to be; it also gives you an opportunity to build a network of support for yourself. By choosing positivity, you draw positive people to you. These friendships and acquaintances provide a buffer between you and relapse after drug rehab. In the 12 step program, for example, you can ask for an acquaintance’s phone number and for permission to call if you feel tempted to use, but in some cases, it’s just enough to know that there are others out there that you can go to coffee with who are going through what you are experiencing. Surrounding yourself with positive people are clean and sober will help you to stay clean and sober yourself long after drug and alcohol rehab.

Call Michael’s House today to learn more about our drug and alcohol rehab program or our long-term sober living facilities here in Palm Springs, California.

Drug Overdose Death: Turning Tragedy into Hope

Aaron Selchow of Los Gatos, California, lost his best friend to a car accident during his senior year of high school. Over the next three years, Selchow self-medicated his grief with drugs and alcohol until July, 2010, when, according to Mercury News, he overdosed on methadone and died at the age of 20.[1] His friends were devastated, just as he had been when he lost his own best friend years earlier. But rather than succumb to drugs and alcohol to treat their depression, they have chosen a different route.

Fighting Drug Addiction and Drug Overdose with Organization and Hope

Woman contemplating death of friendMelissa Barnes, 19, is a friend of Selchow’s. “We lost Aaron because of drugs,” said Barnes. “Now we want to go out there and tell his story.” Barnes is president of Rally for Addiction. She and five other friends of Selchow started the organization in the hopes that they can speak to young people in a way that other organizations aimed at teen drug abuse but that are run by adults cannot.

Jessica Snee, 17, is vice president of Rally. “We have to figure out how to get into people’s heads,” she commented. “They need to realize what they’re doing and want to stop for themselves, not for us.”

On October 28, the group will hold a candlelight vigil at Oak Meadow Park in Los Gatos. The goal of the vigil is to promote awareness and to give others in the community an opportunity to remember loved ones lost to drug addiction.[2] “We want people to understand that drug addiction has to be out in the open,” said Barnes. “You don’t need to be ashamed. This is something that is killing our youth, and we need to unite to fight it.”

Support the Fight Against Teen Drug Addiction and Overdose

Vigils like this one cost money, and Rally members are working hard to raise the $5000 they need to hold the vigil by the date of the event. Because Selchow was a skateboarder, Rally members approached Jimbo Phillips, a Santa Cruz skateboard artist, who offered to design a board in memory of Selchow well below cost so that they can raise money for the event.

Their website, RallyForAddiction.com, makes these boards available to anyone who would like to support their cause. The design features a skull with dog tags rising from a grave with Selchow’s name, and the words “Remember Our Fallen Brother” and “You only get one chance at life.”

Get Help for Those You Love: Drug Addiction Intervention

If someone you love is addicted to drugs and alcohol, don’t let another day pass without trying to get him the help he needs. Drug intervention is one way to communicate to your loved one that his drug and alcohol abuse is deadly and reaching a crisis point.[3] By holding an intervention, you can help your loved one understand that drug and alcohol rehab is the only way to begin the journey to recovery.

If you need help finding a professional interventionist or a place for your loved one in drug rehab, contact us at Michael’s House today.

[1] Patty Fisher. “Fisher: Remembering Their Friends by Trying to Save Others,” Mercury News, October 3, 2010. Accessed March 29, 2017. http://www.mercurynews.com/2010/10/03/fisher-remembering-their-friend-by-trying-to-save-others/

[2] The Mayo Clinic. “Drug Addiction,” December 5, 2015. Accessed March 29, 2017.  http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/definition/con-20020970

[3] The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. “Intervention- Tips and Guidelines,” July 25, 2015. Accessed March 29, 2017. https://www.ncadd.org/family-friends/there-is-help/intervention-tips-and-guidelines