Tag Archives: Drug Treatment

Fighting Drug Addiction with Religion

A great deal of drug addiction treatment research is focused upon different ways to fight off relapse during and after drug rehab.[i] Therapeutic treatments, talk and behavior therapy, support groups, individualized therapy, exercise, meditation, medical treatment are all part of well-rounded, holistic drug treatment programs. Religious focus during treatment can come in the form of a spiritual focus or a guideline for living based on a specific religion. No matter your denominational affiliation or lack thereof, adding a spiritual/religious component to you or your loved one’s drug treatment program can produce positive results.

12 Step Treatment and Religion

12 step treatment programs have as their foundation a recognition for the need of a Higher Power in life.[ii] The second step in the 12 step treatment program aimed at eradicating active drug and alcohol use and addiction speaks for itself: “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”

12-step groupThis Power is generally defined as God, but many keep it vague. They choose a Higher Power to which they give up control based on any number of things. Some who are raised in Christianity, Judaism or Hinduism opt for God simply because God is powerful in these religions. Others choose the Earth or evoke the Goddess in favor of a more maternal power. Still others have a comical take and assign their Higher Power the name of a favorite childhood super hero or fictional character. The point is not the name but the idea that you are no longer in control of your life; that when you took over control, you ended up “hitting bottom” due to drug addiction. The hope is that your Higher Power wants you to be healthy, happy and emotionally stable. Giving up control to this entity rather than trying to do end your addiction alone is helpful during all stages of recovery.

Drug Addiction Recovery and the Moral Treatment of Self and Others

The religious aspect of 12 steps and traditional treatment generally goes beyond the Higher Power and includes a focus on giving back.[iii] Volunteering your time and energy to help others is advised, as is working your way through the steps so that you can become a sponsor and help someone else work their way through the steps.

The idea is to focus on something beside you. The act of living with a focus on other people’s needs gets you out of your own head and allows you to build self esteem by making choices that are meaningful to others. When you realize that you are valuable to others, you begin to treat yourself and your body more valuably, making you stronger against the temptation of relapse.

Religion and Life after Drug Rehab: A Guideline for Living

One of the benefits of drug rehab is that there are others there who understand your struggles and are there to help you make each and every decision. From what to eat to when you eat it, how to spend your free time, what to focus on during treatment, and how to fight off relapse when you return home, you have a team of people coming alongside you at every step of the journey. When it’s time to go home, however, many feel lost without that same level of guidance. Religious principles and a continued focus on growing in your faith can provide extended support and guidance to help you stay committed to your new life free from the control of drugs and alcohol.

If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol addiction, we are here for you. Call our toll-free helpline 24 hours a day to speak to an admissions coordinator about available treatment options.

[i] National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Treatment Approached for Drug Addiction,” July 2016. Accessed March 20, 2017. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-approaches-drug-addiction

[ii] Alcoholics Anonymous. “The Birth of A.A and Its Growth in the U.S. and Canada,” Copyright 2017. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/historical-data-the-birth-of-aa-and-its-growth-in-the-uscanada

[iii] Michael Miller, M.D. FASAM. “The Relevance Twelve-Step Recovery in 21st Century Addiction Medicine,” American Society of Addiction Medicine, February 13, 2015. Accessed March 20, 2017. http://www.asam.org/magazine/read/article/2015/02/13/the-relevance-of-twelve-step-recovery-in-21st-century-addiction-medicine

Drug Addiction Education for Parents

When it comes to teen drug addiction, prevention usually comes in the form of talking to teenagers about the dangers and health issues that result when drugs are an issue. The risks of drug addiction, drug overdose, teen pregnancy, and disease through unprotected sex, as well as death due to accident or negligent behavior, are the primary focus at high schools, teen centers, and other anti-drug venues.


While this has had an effect on the perception of drug and alcohol danger, it has only marginally decreased the incidents of use and possession of drugs among teens. Perhaps another approach to disseminating information about the risks associated with drug abuse and addiction is to educate parents and caregivers.

Drug Addiction Education: Never Assume

There are a few assumptions that we, as a community, tend to work under. One is that parents are knowledgeable about the dangers facing their children. It is assumed that parents are functional themselves and if there were any drug use in the home, it would have been figured out long before the kids reached high school.

Unfortunately, children are often more knowledgeable than their parents about drugs and alcohol, their availability, use, and the risks of addiction. While arming teenagers with the information they need to protect themselves, it is helpful for those who are still straddling the fence to have parents at home who can reinforce what they’re learning at school.

Parental Drug Addiction Education Tactics

There are a number of different ways to get the information to parents that they need to protect their kids. Sending home flyers with the kids or emailing them directly to parents may be helpful. Including short informational sessions for parents at school events such as school plays, band or choral concerts, can be beneficial as well. Back-to-School Nights at the beginning of the year for parents can include a short segment on drug problems, drug addiction, what to look for, and how to help your child.

What Parents Need to Know About Teen Drug Addiction

There is quite a bit of information that parents need to know about teen drug addiction in order to best help their children stand strong against drug abuse. These include:

  • The mechanisms of peer pressure and specific things kids can say to stand up to it
  • What drugs look like so that they will know it when they see it
  • Slang terms for drugs and getting high so that they will know when their children are talking about it
  • The signs and symptoms of specific drugs of addiction so that you know what drugs to look for
  • Drugs that are prevalent in that particular region
  • Locations of local drug trade, such as where people go to buy different drugs so that parents can make sure their children don’t frequent these places

Increasing the communication between parents and teenagers starts with a conversation in which both sides are knowledgeable. Giving parents the same – and more – information to talk intelligently to their children can help them know the signs, know what to look and listen for and help their kids avoid dangerous places.

Should Drug Addicts Be Allowed to Get Organ Transplants?

Organ transplants remain unreliable in America with thousands of wait-listed people dying each year before they get a transplant. For people with a history of addiction, the ability to get an organ is even more uncertain as many hospitals and states interpret rules for getting a transplant in different ways.

The medical science behind organ transplants is decades old, but the guidelines governing who gets a transplant are still murky. Before the 1984 National Organ Transplant Act, transplant centers and surgical teams made their own decisions about who qualified for a transplant. Even with a current national registry and rules that require transplants to be based on medical criteria, there is plenty of wiggle room in the system allowing individual centers to make final determinations.[1]

Surgery with doctors and nursesOn the most basic level a person needs access to a physician to get a referral for a transplant. Even with a referral, several factors govern acceptance, including a history of substance use. Transplant center staff choose who is accepted; some allow a history of addiction, while others do not.[2] Studies show people with a history of addiction rarely relapse after receiving a donor organ. Around 6 percent of alcoholics and 4 percent of illicit drug users relapse after an organ transplant. Many people with a history of substance use are susceptible to organ disease, particularly liver diseases. Without a new liver, these patients die.[3]

Considering how difficult it is for anyone to get an organ transplant, particularly someone in recovery, it’s difficult to imagine someone receiving two transplants due to relapse. Ethically, the idea of giving a person two transplants is complicated when the number of available organs is limited.

One case of a woman in western Australia illustrates the complexity of the issue. Claire Murray, 24, received a liver transplant after a history of heroin and amphetamine use. After relapsing to heroin use, she needed a new liver, but could not get approval for a new one in Australia. After an emotional campaign by her family, she received a $250,000 interest-free loan from the western Australia government to undergo an experimental live liver transplant in Singapore. Murray died due to complications from surgery, making the case even more gut wrenching and complicated.[4]

Should Threat of Relapse Prevent a Transplant?

Some activists point to the fact Murray wasted her opportunity with her first liver transplant as proof patients who relapse shouldn’t get a second chance. A former drug addict has a difficult time getting onto a transplant list, period. Some organizations won’t include anyone with a history of drug and alcohol use, especially if relapse is an issue.

The ethical considerations of any organ transplant make judgment calls difficult. For example, who decides what kind of substance use should keep someone off the list? Some hospitals allow patients who smoke or drink alcohol on the list but prohibit patients who use medical marijuana. Some believe the United States needs to standardize organ transplant guidelines and develop a list of medical criteria that governs who is put on the waiting list.

Even without standard guidelines, many hospitals are more open to offering transplants to recovering addicts. Moderns research into addiction and the psychological elements of the disease take away some of the moral stigma that governed past transplant decisions.

Are There Other Viable Options for Drug Addicts?

For most, though, if denied a spot on the transplant list, there are no other options. Some believe the current status is justified while others see the system as flawed.

Providing treatment for drug addiction is a good option for those who hope for a transplant organ. Learning how to live without drugs and alcohol is a benefit for anyone struggling with addiction, but doubly so for those with co-occurring disorders like liver disease.

Michael’s House is an evidence-based provider of addiction treatment with experience treating addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. For questions about finding the right treatment for you or your loved one, call our admissions coordinators today.

[1] Minelli, Erin & Liang, Bryan A. (2011). Transplant Candidates and Substance Use: Adopting Rational Health Policy for Resource Allocation. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. Retrieved Mar. 27, 2017 from http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjlr/vol44/iss3/4

[2]Caplan, A. (2014). Bioethics of Organ Transplantation. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine. Retrieved Mar. 27, 2017 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3935394/.

[3] Wiley-Blackwell. (2008). Former Substance Abusers Rarely Relapse After Organ Transplantation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved Mar. 27, 2017 from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080204111816.htm.

[4] Sapienza, Joseph. (2010). Family, friends farewell Claire Murray. WAToday. Retrieved Mar. 27, 2017 from http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/family-friends-farewell-claire-murray-20100413-s5rk.html.

Job Market Review: Drug Dealers in Gangs and Drug Addiction

A little bit of online research revealed some unhappy numbers for crack dealers and hopeful crack dealers. The lure of being in a gang and selling drugs to move up through the ranks and gain “respect” often ends one of two ways: prison or death. Either way, drug addiction plagues those who sell drugs as well as those close to them, including their families.

Selling Drugs: How Much Money Do They Really Make?

Drug deal going downDespite what you see in movies, dealing drugs is not as lucrative as you might think. It seems that a researcher who had access to a certain gang’s records and finances found out that the average crack dealer on the corner only makes about $4.57 an hour.[1]

Second, the occupational hazards of the job are very harsh. The annual death rate was marked at about 7 percent, a number that increases to 25 percent after four years. (Why the increase? Perhaps disgruntled customers or competition tend to target those who have made a name for themselves?)

Even if you made thousands of dollars an hour, remember you can’t spend it from the grave. When you sell drugs, you either die or go to jail.

The Myth of Drug Dealing and Sales

No matter how you add it up, being a crack dealer (or a drug dealer of any kind) isn’t going to do much for your financial standing. Unfortunately, kids are seduced by glamorous depictions of rich drug lords on TV, Hollywood and in their own communities. They think that if they put in the time that they, too, will one day be driving fancy cars, wearing lots of gold and buying houses for their mother. The fact is, that very few people profit off of selling drugs. The people who do make a profit are high up in the chain. The fact is that making it to the top of a drug business alive is practically impossible. An article in the New York Times states that crack business is really a modern, brutalized version of a 19th-century sweatshop.[2]

Drug Addiction Among Drug Sellers

Drug dealer snorting cocaineOne of the biggest issues of individuals selling drugs is the development of their own drug addiction. Ready access to large amounts of drugs (and large amounts of money) in the midst of high emotional stress often leads to drug addiction.

Another issue is having legal problems. Whether it is getting caught for the crimes they have to do to supplement their income since they’re using more drugs for personal purposes or for selling drugs, drug dealers are no longer eligible for drug addiction treatment through drug court. When selling or violence is an issue, no drug court will give you drug addiction treatment instead of prison.

Healing Drug Addiction and Getting Out of Selling

If you struggle drug addiction, the time to stop is now. Rates of death are as high among drug addicts as they are among drug dealers, if not higher. Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic. Get the help you need. Call Michael’s House today to speak with an admission coordinator who will answer all of your questions.

[1] http://cw39.com/2014/12/10/average-drug-seller-doesnt-make-minimum-wage-says-anti-drug-web-site/ Average Drug Seller Doesn’t Make Minimum Wage, Says Anti-Drug Site.

[2] http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/26/nyregion/selling-crack-myth-wealth-special-report-despite-its-promise-riches-crack-trade.html?pagewanted=all Selling Crack: The Myth of Wealth — A Special Report: Despite Its Promise of Riches, The Crack Trade Seldom Pays. Kolata, Gina. Published November 26th, 1989.

Why Don’t People Get the Drug Addiction Treatment They Need?

Drug addiction is one of the biggest problems we face today. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users.[1] This statistic doesn’t include prescription drug abuse. Based on these statistics, it is clear that millions of people need help for drug abuse.

Addicted man thinking of treatmentDrug use creates a variety of physical, psychological, financial and social problems. When an individual decides to get high, it affects not only the drug user but also their family, friends, co-workers, and community.The impact of addiction can be far reaching. Cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and lung disease can all be affected by drug abuse.[2]

If you get high while on the job, you are more likely to get injured or do lackluster work. You are also more likely to operate an automobile under the influence and put the lives of others on the road in danger. Despite this fact, only ten percent of those with drug problems seek the treatment they so desperately need. Why is this number so low?

The producers and researchers of the hit HBO documentary series Addiction performed a survey to look closer at drug addiction. What follows are the fascinating results.[3]

Why People Don’t Seek Treatment

  • 94.4% did not feel that they needed treatment
  • 4.1% felt like they needed treatment and did make an effort to get it
  • 1.4% felt like they needed treatment and did not make an effort to get it

Even more interesting are the responses from those individuals who did seek treatment, but did not receive it. These individuals stated the following reasons for not getting treatment.

  • 44.4% said cost/insurance barriers kept them from getting treatment
  • 21.2% said they were not ready to stop using drugs
  • 21.1% named other access barriers
  • 18.5% said they were afraid of the negative stigma of drug addiction treatment
  • 9.4% said they did not know where to go for treatment
  • 3.8% said they did not have time for treatment
  • 0.4% said they thought treatment would not help them

You may think you don’t need professional help and that your substance abuse is not a problem; just talk about it with us. We can help you. If you struggle with drug addiction—in any form—please know you can seek professional treatment. On many occasions, substance abuse treatment is covered by your insurance. With the Affordable Care Act of 2008, it became mandatory for many employers to cover a portion of substance abuse treatment.[4]

If you’re not sure, just give us a call. One of our professionally trained substance abuse counselors or admittance coordinators will walk you through the process so you can get the information you need about the recovery process. Please don’t allow any of the reasons above to stop you from getting the help you need. We offer treatment plans to fit your needs. It’s time to move past drug abuse and get healthy again.

[1] https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUHresultsPDFWHTML2013/Web/NSDUHresults2013.pdf Results from 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Summary of National Findings.

[2] https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse Medical Consequences of Drug Abuse.

[3] https://www.hbo.com/addiction/pdf/USATodayPoll.pdf USA Today/HBO Addiction Poll.

[4] https://www.samhsa.gov/health-financing/implementation-mental-health-parity-addiction-equity-act Implementation of the Mental Health Parity Act.