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Forest of Hope Event in Baltimore County

As you may or may not know, September is National Recovery Month. There are local events all over the country celebrating recovery from addiction and raising awareness about the disease, to reduce the stigma. This Saturday, September 16, the Nikki Perlow Foundation has organized a unique way to commemorate the month. 

Alcoholism Treatment is NOT One Size Fits All

One of the founding concepts of Serenity Acres is that addiction or alcoholism is a complicated disease. Every patient is different, with individual needs and histories, and treatment for these diseases cannot be approached under a “one size fits all” mentality. Now, new research supports our approach of individualized treatment that is tailored to each person’s specific needs. 

Surgeon General to Speak in Harford County

Harford County, MD and Addiction Connections Resource, Inc. have teamed up to host an event that will allow community members to learn more about opioid addiction from one of the world’s leading experts. On Thursday, September 14, the former US surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, will be speaking at Bel Air High School in Harford County, MD from 6-7:30 PM. The event, “Facing Addiction in Harford County: A Conversation with the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy” will be a panel discussion and a Q&A on heroin and opioid addiction. Parents are encouraged to bring children that are in middle school or older to the event, so that they can also become educated on the dangers of opioid addiction. Questions can be submitted ahead of time to In addition to the former surgeon general, attendees will hear from Lieutenant governor Boyd Rutherford, as well as several other county executives and representatives. When Dr. Murthy was the surgeon general, he released a report, similar to previous surgeon general reports on tobacco, entitled ““Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health.” The report aimed to shed light on the truth about the addiction as a disease (not a weakness), and emphasize the need for both prevention and treatment. 

Possible Vaccine for Opioid Addiction in Development

While local, state, and federal officials are rapidly scrambling to find solutions to the opioid epidemic, science is working equally as hard. Much of the root of addiction lies in biology. Drugs, after all, affect the brain first and foremost. Those of us in recovery know that addiction also takes a spiritual, mental, and emotional toll, but addressing the physical danger of addiction would go a long way towards helping to stop this crisis. 

Naloxone Training Opens to Public in Howard County

With the number of opioid overdoses not showing any sign of slowing down, Maryland officials are clamoring to find solutions that will help. Naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication, is already in high demand across the country. First responders, school employees, and medical professionals are all being trained in the use of the drug to stop and reverse an overdose. This has already saved the lives of many, but clearly, more action is needed. In Howard County alone, ten opioid-related fatalities occurred in the first three months of 2017, which is double the number from the same time period in 2016. The opioid misuse prevention and overdose response program coordinator for Howard County, MD, is focusing her efforts on training individual community members (including parents) and groups on how to use Naloxone if they are present when an overdose occurs. 

International Overdose Awareness Day 2017

Thursday, August 31st is International Overdose Awareness Day. This day is an event held yearly to raise awareness of the overdose crisis and attempt to bring the truth about the disease of addiction into the light and reduce the stigma attached to it. It is also meant to provide a source of grief acknowledgement and healing through coming together for families and people who have lost loved ones to this vicious disease. Addiction destroys lives, breaks hearts, and steals happiness, and on International Overdose Awareness Day, we bring the truth into the light, and remember those we have lost. Wearing silver on this day is one way to show your solidarity for those in or affected by addiction. But it’s not the only way. There are events all over the country where people will be gathering to stand together. Below are the events in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Event descriptions are pulled directly from, and more information can be found there. But if you live outside the area, check the link, and see what is happening near you. Get involved. Show your support. And be a positive force to stand against addiction and the judgment faced by addicts and their families. 

Howard County Fights Back Against Addiction

In the first three months of 2016, Howard County saw five fentanyl-related deaths. The same time frame this year, that number was up to 11. Local experts attribute the spike to the increase in fentanyl being used to cut heroin. As we have discussed on this blog in the past, the presence of fentanyl can dramatically increase the potency of a batch of heroin, leading to high likelihood of overdose among users. Further, there have been ten heroin-related deaths in Howard County so far this year. 

Drunk Driving Program Changes the Game

Drunk driving legislation and punishment has historically focused on driving. Those convicted of driving under the influence are subject to license revocation, driving restrictions, and in-car breathalyzers that prevent cars from being started if the driver has alcohol in their system.But a different type of approach has recently been shown to be more effective. 

What is Cirrhosis, and How is Drinking Related to It?

If you are struggling with alcoholism, you probably already know some of the negative effects that excessive use of alcohol can have on your life. It can negatively impact your relationships, employment, living situation, self esteem, financial status, and so much more. Further, alcohol can wreak havoc on your physical health. Drinking to excess dehydrates you, and can lead to hangovers, vomiting, and blackouts. However, when most people think of the physical health effects of alcohol, they think of those occurring in the short term, or immediately during/after drinking. Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to significant liver damage, including cirrhosis. 

Addiction Treatment for Inmates in Howard County

Howard County, MD, is one of many counties feeling the heavy burden of opioid addiction. In the first half of 2017, 91 overdoses were reported, 26 of which were fatal. Many people addicted to drugs or alcohol eventually cycle through the correctional system, whether from possession charges, DWI/DUI charges, dealing/distribution, or other drug-related crime. Evidence has shown that treatment is more effective than just incarceration at rehabilitating addicts. 

Staying Sober Through Summer Temptations

Ah, summertime. Days get longer, temperatures soar, and opportunities for fun and enjoyment seem to be endless. But this is also a time of year that there can be temptations or sticky situations for people trying to stay sober. 

Sober Living Options- What’s the Difference?

If you have recently completed an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, or just feel the need for more structure for your life while you get established in recovery, you might be considering a sober living option. However, this can be a confusing process. Many addiction treatment centers offer comprehensive “aftercare planning,” which generally entails a counselor helping you sort through your options and find the best sober living fit for you. If you don’t have access to this type of assistance, you might be overwhelmed by the options and unsure of which is best for you. Here is a general list of sober living facilities, and the differences between them. 

New Drug Education Law will Create Changes in Maryland Schools

As we have noted before on this blog, a necessary step of combating the opioid epidemic is going to be more intensive education and prevention methods. Preventing the next generation of kids from experimenting with opiates could drastically reduce the number of addicts. Luckily, Maryland is taking this seriously. 

Recreational Cocaine Users at Risk for Addiction

Many drug users consider themselves “recreational users.” Maybe their drug use hasn’t gotten to the point where it has taken over their life. The path to addiction looks different for everyone, and some people are able to “hold their head above water” for longer than others. Maybe only using drugs occasionally or at parties. But as the current state of affairs in our country has taught us, the danger of addiction is very real, and no one is immune. A new study shows that some “recreational” drug users may not be as safe as they think. 

Safe Stations in Anne Arundel County Provide New Resource

Anne Arundel County, MD, is feeling the weight of opiate addiction, with unsettling numbers already emerging for 2017. A minimum of 354 overdose incidents have been reported since January, and 35 opiate-related deaths. However, county officials are recognizing (as many others have) that incarceration is largely ineffective at rehabilitating addicts. The fact is, most jail facilities don’t have the resources necessary to provide an addict with what they need to change their behavior and leave their old life behind upon release. Things like counseling, 12 step meetings, providing of sober housing resources, and providing of a solid recovery plan are just not in the budget in the jail system, but are integral to giving addicts an actual chance at recovery. In further attempts to help struggling addicts, Anne Arundel County is taking a new approach to giving addicts a safe place to ask for help. 

5 Signs that You Might Need Rehab

One big problem with drug or alcohol abuse is that you may not realize it’s a problem until it’s too late. Many people are able to hold their head above water, so to speak, for a certain amount of time. But the abuse of drugs or alcohol is never “ok”, and eventually, these behaviors are likely to destroy your life. Here are some of the top signs that you need rehab: 

How Much is Substance Abuse Costing Your Business?

If you are an employer, you probably know all too well that substance abuse can be a major problem in the workplace. It can lead to distracted or impaired employees, possible safety or security concerns, lost time and productivity, and undue negative impact on other employees. But in the rising tide of the opioid epidemic, these concerns are growing. As an employer, are you aware of the impact that substance abuse is really having on your business? 

Music Therapy for Addiction Recovery- Does it Work?

While individual therapy and group therapy sessions are undoubtedly critical to any substance abuse treatment program, many facilities (including Serenity Acres) are expanding their services to offer a variety of more unconventional and holistic therapies. Some of these, such as yoga, meditation, and massage, are fairly well-known, and the benefits are somewhat intuitive. After all, many people utilize these activities regardless of having an addiction, as they are known to provide considerable mental and physical health benefits. However, some lesser known therapies can be just as beneficial. One such therapy is music therapy. 

What Exactly Does it Mean to Have a Twelve-Step Sponsor?

Many people new to recovery have some hesitations about sponsorship. Some think that a sponsor is like a parent- someone who tells you what to do, and when to do it, and who to do it with. Someone who will dictate everything you do, and who might judge you for mistakes or slip-ups. Understandably, most adults don’t want to sign on for something like this. But the good news is, sponsorship is totally different from this idea. 

Possible Recovery High School Considered for Maryland

Back in the late 1970s, Phoenix High School opened in Montgomery County, Maryland, and was the first high school specifically for adolescents with substance abuse problems. Of course, the 70s and 80s were considered major times of risk for drug abuse, and the school was open until four years ago. However, the current climate in both Maryland and the rest of the country, what with the raging opioid epidemic, highlights a re-emerging need. 

Rash of Recent Overdoses in Anne Arundel County

Overdoses in Maryland have continued to rise over the last few years, despite increased awareness of the addiction problem and heightened efforts by law enforcement and state/federal officials to prevent addiction. But a recent rash of overdoses in Anne Arundel county, Maryland, suggests that a particularly lethal batch of heroin may have made its way into the county.  

Smokers Are at a Higher Risk for Relapse

Cigarette smoking is incredibly common in addiction recovery. Most people in recovery view cigarettes as their “one vice” outside of caffeine, and use smoking as a way to deal with life’s stresses- not to mention the social aspect. At any given 12-step meeting, you will generally find a huge crowd of people standing outside smoking and chatting. But while it is no secret that smoking is terrible for you, a new study shows it may be even more harmful for recovering addicts. 

Drug Courts Bring Hope to Harford County

Harford County, MD, is taking major steps to helping opiate addicts by incorporating The Adult Opiate Recovery Court pioneered by the District Court of Maryland. Harford County joins 36 other drug treatment courts in Maryland, and the statistics show it is well needed there. Harford County reported 290 heroin overdoses in 2016, 56 of which were fatal (compared to 201 overdoses and 27 fatalities in 2015). As in many other counties, while awareness and prevention efforts have increased substantially on the part of lawmakers and community activists, opiate overdoses continue to climb, making the need for solutions that much more urgent. 

In Maryland, Numbers of Drug-Exposed Infants are on the Rise

It is well-known that addiction impacts more than just the addict themselves. Families, friends, and employers all experience collateral damage from the ravages of addiction. But never is the case so much as infants born to drug-addicted mothers- and the numbers of these are growing substantially in Maryland. 

New Insurance Regulations Expand Access to Treatment

The continuing devastation of the opioid epidemic in this country has put pressure on lawmakers, law enforcement agents, and government officials to find ways to stop the barrage of overdoses and drug-related fatalities. But perhaps the most pressure has been put on the insurance industry, to make addiction treatment more accessible and feasible for those that need it. 

New Study Shows Earlier Intervention is Better for Opioid Addicts

When it comes to opioid addiction, the most beneficial approaches begin sooner rather than later. For example, the most ideal way to treat addiction is by preventing it from starting in the first place. Studies have shown that early intervention, education, and prevention programs in children and young adults can significantly reduce risk of substance abuse. But in the event that addiction does occur, a new study out of Yale University has revealed some important facts about providing treatment to opioid addicts. 

Serenity Acres in the News

Serenity Acres is continuing to grow and expand in the Maryland addiction treatment community. This growth means that we will be able to help even more addicts and alcoholics to recover! We are very excited about this, and would like to share some of the local and national attention that has helped Serenity achieve this growth. 

Why Relapse Carries an Increased Risk of Overdose

Unfortunately, relapse is a frequent occurrence in the world of addiction and recovery. Many people struggle with sobriety, and the temptation to pick back up again often wins out. But this can be dangerous, and even deadly, for some people. Opiate addicts in particular run a high risk of overdose when they use after a period of sobriety. Here’s why. 

5 Terrible Reasons to Avoid Going to Rehab

When you are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, it can be difficult to imagine that life could be different. Change is scary for everyone, not just addicts, and our misery can almost become comfortable. The day in and day out struggles are all we know- and most of us have been afraid to hope for anything different. But the truth is, people recover from their addictions every single day. Recovery is within reach for anyone who has the desire to be different, and the willingness to walk through their discomfort towards the bight shores of promise. The first step for many people is going to an inpatient addiction treatment center. When we are ruled by fear, our “addict brains” will come up with a multitude of reasons why we should put it off, or avoid going to rehab. Here are 5 terrible reasons to avoid going to treatment- and how to take the opposite action. 

Preclinical Research Shows New Possibility for Heroin Treatment

As the opiate epidemic continues to claim lives all across the country, scientists are scrambling to find solutions. While medications such as naltrexone and bupropion are certainly a huge step forward, and can be incredibly helpful in weaning an addict off of heroin or other opiate (and minimizing the uncomfortable side effects), they are problematic in themselves. Finding non-pharmaceutical and non-narcotic treatment options for recovering addicts is a major focus in much of the drug abuse research that is being conducted in universities, research facilities, and government agencies all over the country. 

Cognitive Impairments Could Hinder Prolonged Recovery

Addiction and alcoholism are closely linked with many physiological traits, which can significantly contribute to the cycle of addiction and relapse. Impairments in cognitive function, such as reduced impulse control, limited cognitive flexibility, and attentional bias, are a large part of these critical impairments. Reduced functioning in these critical areas can significantly impact one’s risk of not only initiating drug and alcohol use, but can also contribute to risk of relapse. A recent review article highlights the need for improvement in these critical brain functions if recovery is to be sustainable. 

Ways to Stay Busy in Early Recovery

Making the transition from a party lifestyle, where your main “hobbies” were centered around drugs or alcohol, to a sober life, isn’t always easy. Most of us had no idea how to have sober fun, or how to fill our time in productive and healthy ways. But it is important to find activities you enjoy. Not only does it help to develop your sense of self, as a newly sober person, but it also helps to distract you from temptation. The more time you spend sitting around and feeling bored, the less attractive a sober life might seem. Further, when you are busy and engaged in healthy, positive activities, you will be less likely to experience full blown cravings or temptations to go use. Here, we have a list of several options for when it seems like sober fun just isn’t a possibility! The important thing is to be open-minded- you never know what you might enjoy until you give it a try. 

New Measures to Address Opioid Addiction in MD

Maryland is no exception to the nationwide opioid epidemic that continues to rage. According to data released by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, from January to September of 2016, Maryland recorded roughly 1,468 overdose deaths. 738 of these deaths were fentanyl-related. Further, a recent article in the Baltimore Sun reported that Baltimore alone is home to around 21,000 heroin users. Federal and state officials have been desperately seeking solutions that would help Americans to heal from and avoid opioid addiction. Maryland here is no exception as well. The Baltimore City Health Commissioner, Leana Wen, has been outspoken on the crisis, and gained nationwide attention for her policies and tactics. Now Governor Larry Hogan and Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford are stepping up to the plate with new legislation that they hope will restore some health and peace to Maryland residents. 

Apps to Support Addiction Recovery

The age of technology provides us with many benefits, not the least of which is the app. Apps can do anything, from books, to music, to shopping, to operating lights and home devices. But apps can also serve a useful purpose in the health and wellness area.  

Study Shows Smoking is More Prevalent in Addiction Treatment

It is no secret that people in recovery from drugs and alcohol are pretty attached to their remaining vices. Endless cups of coffee, energy drinks, and cigarettes are all highly likely to be found in any given group of recovering addicts. But, just as well known are the dangers of cigarette smoking. 

Device for Opiate Addiction May Be On the Horizon

It is well-known that opiate withdrawal is one of the worst withdrawals you can experience. The level of physical, mental, and emotional discomfort is so extreme that even the thought of it prevents a lot of people from attempting to get clean. It is also one of the major reasons why people relapse and continue using, even in the face of serious consequences. Until now, medication (and recommended inpatient treatment with medical supervision) have been the mainstays of early opiate recovery. 

Ideal Nutrition Tips for Early Recovery

A recent article from US News and World report features recommendations from medical and mental health professionals on the ideal diet for recovering addicts and alcoholics. Now, this doesn’t mean diet in the conventional sense. There is no mention of Atkins, South Beach, Jenny Craig, or (shudder) Paleo. Their recommendations are more in line with giving your body the ideal nutrition it needs to begin the physical healing process, and promote your own recovery. 

Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania Prisons

A recent article out of York, Pennsylvania, highlights the efforts being undertaken to combat addiction in the prison systems. York is a well known hub of both heavy drug addiction, and of recovery. However, while Pennsylvania’s struggle with opiate addiction is not unique, their recent efforts to help prison inmates is certainly newsworthy. 

New Study Shows Importance of Aftercare Planning

At Serenity Acres, we have always believed in the importance of thorough addiction treatment, that absolutely must include aftercare planning and support following someone’s stay in inpatient treatment. Results from a new study out of New York University confirm just how critical aftercare is for promoting long-term recovery following treatment. 

How to Support an Addict During the Holidays

The holiday season is a wonderful time to celebrate with the ones you love. But it can also be a stressful time if you have a family member or friend that is an addict or alcoholic, trying to stay sober. Navigating this season can be difficult, but we have some helpful tips for supporting your loved one and promoting their recovery. 

Prenatal Smoking May Predispose People to Addiction

It is widely known that a range of factors may influence someone’s risk of becoming addicted to drugs. Genetics, environment, addiction in the family, propensity for risk-taking, age at which someone begins experimenting, and peer groups have all been shown to increase one’s risk of become an addict. A new study out of King’s College London has revealed yet another risk factor. 

New Podcast for Information on Addiction

A large part of the ongoing fight against opioid addiction in this country has been, and will need to continue to be, education, prevention, and awareness. While treatment is critical for those who are already suffering in the grips of an addiction, it is just as critical to spread awareness about addiction and try to prevent future generations from becoming addicted as well. 

Holidays in Recovery- Be Kind to Yourself

The holidays can be a difficult time for people in recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction. There are countless temptations and slippery situations that can come up, not to mention the emotional charge of the season. It is important during this time to make sure you are putting yourself and your sobriety first. 

New Approach to Treating Addiction in Pennsylvania

Many states around the country have major gaps in their state-organized addiction treatment programs. Many addicts are locked in a cycle of stays in treatment centers, with limited resources outside of that. But Pennsylvania is looking to take a more comprehensive approach.  

Sober Housing to Become an Option at UMD

Being young and sober can be difficult- particularly in college. The lifestyle at many colleges and universities often has a heavy focus on the “party” lifestyle- drinking, drugs, and parties being readily available. 

Feds Move to Ban Pink, a New Synthetic Opiate

As the opioid epidemic continues to rage in this country, the FDA and law enforcement agencies are continually uncovering new threats. Drug dealers and illegal drug production rackets are constantly coming out with new synthetic drugs to counter the anti-heroin measures and DEA regulations on established narcotics. 

Moving Towards More Treatment for Addicted Marylanders

There is a much-needed shift happening in the way people view addiction and adequate treatment. A recent article cited that in Baltimore city alone, at least 20,000 people are active heroin users, and many more are crippled by addiction to prescription painkillers. Roughly 10,000 others are receiving treatment for their addiction, but the majority of these are methadone or medicinal maintenance facilities, which provide limited counseling (due in part to limited funding and a supply that simply cannot keep up with demand. While drugs such as methadone and naloxone are certainly advantageous, and can serve to get a person off of street drugs, their use accomplishes little to nothing without adequate counseling and addiction treatment. Addiction is not only a physical disease, but a mental and spiritual disease as well, and all of these areas need to be treated in order to promote true recovery. 

Pain Management: Non-Pharmaceutical Alternative Solutions

As we are well aware, countless victims of the heroin epidemic started their path of addiction with legitimate prescriptions for pain-relieving drugs. Chronic pain is a condition that affects more Americans than the sum of those with diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, and is one of the most common causes of people having to go on long-term disability, affecting nearly every area of their lives. But what happens when the most commonly utilized solution for this is a gateway to a much bigger problem? 

Medicaid and Addiction Treatment for Lower Income Populations

If the addiction epidemic sweeping the nation has taught us anything thus far, it is that addiction does not discriminate. No one- no matter their age, job, gender, political affiliation, geography, or socioeconomic status is safe from the addictive properties of opiates. The landslide from prescription painkillers to more dangerous substitutes such as heroin and fentanyl has already claimed far too many lives, from all walks of life. But what happens when you can’t afford the treatment that could save your life? 

Maryland County Officials Host Tri-County Opioid Addiction Summit

This week, county executives from Howard, Harford and Anne Arundel Counties hosted a Tri-County Opioid Addiction summit to address the addiction problem that is showing no signs of slowing down in Maryland, despite increased awareness and efforts from county organizations, law enforcement, and treatment centers. 

Substance Abuse Prevention Programs in Anne Arundel County

Anne Arundel County, Maryland, believes that educating children and teens about the dangers of substance use and abuse is critical to reducing their risk of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. Prevention programs have been shown to significantly reduce drug and alcohol use in teens and young adults, which is critical, especially when younger and younger children are beginning to experiment- with most recent estimates starting at age 13. 

Dedicated Heroin Coordinators Hired in Maryland Counties

While awareness and government efforts towards addressing the heroin epidemic have increased tremendously over the last few years, due in large part to the staggering number of overdoses both in Maryland and across the country, the epidemic shows no sign of slowing down. 

Shame Doesn’t Help Addicts- And is a Harmful Approach

If you have been on the internet in the last week, you have likely seen the viral photo circulating of a couple passed out in the front seat of their car, after getting high on heroin. The reason the photo went viral is that their child was in the backseat. A quick google search will show you what I’m talking about if you haven’t seen it- but on principle, I’m not going to link to it from this page. 

How to Tell if Your Employee is an Addict or Alcoholic

Addiction in the workplace is a major problem in today’s society. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) gives several examples of how an employee’s addiction or alcoholism can affect the workplace, including lost productivity, absenteeism, injuries, fatalities, theft and low employee morale, and increases in health care, legal liabilities and workers' compensation costs. Obviously, these can negatively affect a company’s productivity and bottom line. Further, the opiate epidemic is so widespread that employees as individuals could be headed in a fatal direction. As an employer, knowing how to spot the signs of addiction or alcoholism, and being able to provide support and assistance, can not only benefit your company, but just might save someone’s life. 

Find Your Life’s Purpose- Drop Your Drug Addiction

Everyone is put on this earth for a reason. We have limitless potential- for love, achievement, success, happiness, and fulfillment. But in order to unlock this potential, we have to be willing to let go of what is holding us back and bringing us down. This includes life-threatening addictions to drugs and alcohol. 

Q&A Series: Are Addiction and Alcoholism Genetic?

Nearly everyone has at least one family member with an addiction of sorts. Whether it’s alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, or something else entirely, addictive disorders touch nearly everyone these days. But is addiction genetic? 

Federal Government Steps in to Effectively Ban Kratom

Kratom, a naturally occurring psychoactive herb, is on deck to be placed into Schedule I classification by the DEA. This means that they have no accepted medical use, and a high abuse potential- and possession or distribution will carry steep penalties under law. If approved, this functional banning of Kratom in the US will last for a minimum of two years, and would take effect at the end of September. 

5 Signs that Your Child Needs Inpatient Rehab for Addiction

Being a parent is no easy job. You worry about your children no matter what, and try to raise them to make good choices. To a certain extent, kids will be kids. Most teens experiment with drugs and alcohol. Adolescence is an age where kids have limited impulse control, and overly sensitive reward systems in their brains. But how do you know if it’s gone past harmless experimentation? 

International Overdose Awareness Day 2016- Maryland Events

International Overdose Awareness Day is a worldwide event that seeks to reduce the stigma of drug overdose deaths, and raise awareness about overdoses and addiction. It provides a chance for those who have been affected by addiction, or those who are grieving a life lost to addiction, to gather together in a community of support and caring. On August 31, 2016, wear silver to show your support- and if you can, attend one of these events in your area. 

York County, PA Begins Program Supplement to Narcan

While administration of the opioid overdose reversal drug, Narcan, is spreading like wildfire, the number of people who pursue treatment after being revived is not as high as law enforcement officials and the addiction treatment community would like to see. 

New Study Pinpoints At-Risk Adolescents for Adult Addiction

For many, drug and alcohol experimentation begins during the teen years. Increased freedoms, growing impulsivity, sensitive brain reward systems, and heavier influence of peers and social groups, all contribute to an increased risk for substance abuse during adolescence. But does this use in the teen years have more lasting influences? 

Amy Winehouse Foundation Provides Hope for Addicts

Five years ago, the famous singer and immensely talented Amy Winehouse passed away from alcohol poisoning. Sadly, this was just the end of a long road of drug addiction and alcoholism for the singer, who was notorious for her hard-partying ways. Her song, “Rehab,” in which she is refusing to go to treatment, was a realistic echo of her real life struggles. 

New Study Shows Promise for Non-drug Pain Treatment

A new study released by the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System's Center for Clinical Management Research, and the University of Michigan Medical School's Addiction Center, shows promising results for pain management that doesn’t rely on opiate medications. 

Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep in Addiction Recovery

Early recovery is a time when we need to focus a lot of effort on forming healthy habits. This can include taking up an exercise regimen, getting on a healthy diet, and making sure we are getting enough sleep. Sleep in particular is vital to getting healthy and beginning the process of recovering from addiction. 

Process of Sending Addicts to Treatment Instead of Jail

In Maryland as well as across the United States, there has been a recent push for sending people with substance abuse disorder to treatment instead of jail for nonviolent offenses. This process isn’t nearly as simple as a judge’s decision; there are many steps involved, and many parties that have to approve the assignment. 

Don’t Let Stress Interfere with Your Serenity- or Sobriety

Even though we get sober, life still happens. Some- a lot- of it is good. But inevitably, we will continue to face stressful situations. Surrendering outcomes and working a program of recovery are helpful in allowing us to stay sober throughout anything that comes up, but what are some other healthy ways of walking through stress? 

Drunkorexia- A New and Dangerous Trend Among College Students

A recent article on CBS News highlighted an unsettling trend, and more danger for today’s college students. We all know that binge drinking (5+ drinks in two hours for men, 4+ drinks in 2 hours for women) has long been an issue on college campuses across the country. Alcohol poisoning, hospitalization, arrests, and risky decision making are all too common. Further, an astonishing 44% of all college students have been classified as binge-drinkers consistently for the past 10 years. But what is Drunkorexia? 

Peer Recovery Support Provides Help to Addicts in Need

If the success of twelve step programs have taught us anything, it is that the value of peer support in addiction recovery cannot be underestimated. Many scientific studies have shown the importance of social support in addiction recovery, and within the recovery community. 

Operation Dry Water- Impaired Boating Crackdown in Maryland

Summer has officially arrived! But with it comes increased risk associated with outdoor drinking and drug use. This Friday, Natural Resources Police, the Coast Guard and other maritime law enforcement agencies in Maryland will participate in the increased enforcement weekend of Operation Dry Water. 

What Makes Inpatient Addiction Treatment So Expensive?

One of the most commonly cited barriers to going to treatment is the cost. Many don’t understand why inpatient rehab costs so much, but there is generally a relationship between quality of treatment and the amount a facility charges to provide treatment. The more a facility offers in terms of counseling, comfortability, activities, and holistic or alternative therapies, the higher that facility’s costs are, and the more they need to charge in order to continue to operate. 

Wise Selection: How to Avoid This Mistake in Early Sobriety

In early recovery, especially if you just got out of rehab or jail, almost every action you take either contributes to or takes away from your odds of staying sober. Attendance at 12 step meetings, staying current with any therapy, finding legitimate employment, and taking steps to improve your physical health can all help you through this risky time period. However, one of the biggest factors that will either make or break your recovery can be the people you choose to surround yourself with. 

Q&A Series: Is There a Link Between Suicide and Addiction?

In cases where someone makes the devastating choice to take their own life, one of the first questions typically asked is whether drugs or alcohol were involved. But is there a link between suicide and substance abuse? More specifically, does a history of substance abuse make one more likely to show suicidal tendencies? 

The Five Biggest Problems with Addiction Treatment

Apart from a select few facilities, addiction treatment in this country is coming up short. Though surely not from a lack of caring or good intentions, the majority of drug and alcohol treatment facilities are still using ineffective and counterproductive treatment methods, leaving many addicts in a constant cycle of treatment to relapse and returning to treatment- if they are lucky. So what are the problems that need to be addressed? 

PACT Program Gives Kids Cash for Staying Off Drugs

Jim Huger, founder and CEO of The PACT, says that the idea for the program came out of a desire to keep his own family out of the reach of drug abuse. The PACT is a web-based program, that provides parents with tools and an incentive program for their kids to stay off drugs. In an intro video on the website, Huger acknowledges the shift in influence from parents to peers as a child grows. The PACT is intended to provide kids and teens with a “tool against peer pressure”, rather than more traditional methods of encouraging them to “just say no”

Recovering Addicts Start Aftercare Nonprofit in Bel Air

One of the biggest concerns for recovering addicts is finding affordable and quality aftercare. Continuing in an aftercare program following rehab or inpatient treatment is hugely beneficial to maintaining sobriety “in the real world”. Some treatment centers provide aftercare planning, helping clients to establish a plan for when they leave treatment. But not all facilities provide this service. Further, money is often an issue for those who are trying to rebuild their lives. Two recovering addicts in Bel Air, Maryland, are trying to provide a solution for this. 

BMX Pro to Speak on Addiction at Salisbury University

The Family Addiction Awareness and Prevention Project is hosting an event on June 1 at Salisbury University to raise awareness about addiction and recovery. BMX Pro (turned motivational speaker) Tony Hoffman will be speaking to the crowd about his own personal struggles with addiction. The talks will be directed towards high school students and their parents, and will cover not only Hoffman’s own struggle and recovery, but the general toll that drug and alcohol addiction can have on families. Local public health officials and law enforcement professionals will be joining the conversation, to let families know how this disease is affecting the community, and how to aim for prevention. This free event, aptly titled “Paths to Recovery,” will take place at 7 p.m., June 1 in the Wicomico Room at Salisbury University.and will be open to all members of the public. For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office at 410-548-3100. 

Steroids- Are They Approved for People in Recovery?

One major benefit to getting sober is the improvement in general health and wellness. When we stop assaulting our bodies with drugs and alcohol, we not only look better, but feel better. Many people use this opportunity to begin working out and eating healthier, and use fitness as a way to relieve stress and improve self-esteem. However, addicts and alcoholics can take anything to the extreme- even something as positive as personal health. The use of steroids to gain muscle mass and attain a certain physical form is not new, but could put a former addict on shaky ground. 

Researchers Study Whether Byetta Can Help Cocaine Addicts

In February of this year, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found that an already FDA approved drug may be an answer to those individuals who are struggling with cocaine addiction. The drug, Byetta, is currently used for those who struggle with obesity and have Type-2 diabetes. Byetta is derived from a natural hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Past studies have shown similarities in the brain’s neural circuits when it comes to eating and using drugs. Matthew Hayes of the Nursing and Psychiatry school at UPenn tested this by comparing a high-calorie, more palatable chow to rats’ normal chow. The result was that when certain GLP-1 receptors in the brain were activated, intake of the more palatable meal decreased, while there was no change with the more basic chow. 

Drug Distributors Charged As Murderers For Overdoses

As the abuse of opioid painkillers and heroin continue to rise, overdoses have reached the highest levels in American history. While law enforcement agencies are becoming more treatment-focused towards addicts, they are cracking down on drug dealers and distributors. 

People Begin Abusing Anti-Diarrhea Medicine For Opioids

Recently a number of people have turned to anti-diarrhea medication as a way to either handle their withdrawal symptoms with their opioid addiction, or to get high when they have no other option. Specifically between the years 2011 and 2015 the Upstate New York Poison Control Center saw the abuse of many anti-diarrhea medication rise as much as having a seven fold increase. All these medications contained the drug Loperamide. Loperamide is an opioid that is most commonly known for the treatment of diarrhea. Though for addicts of opioid painkillers and heroin, it is just another means for them to get their fix in desperate times. 

Criminal Justice System Continues to Fall Short

While there have been many improvements made in regards to the collaboration between the criminal justice system and addiction treatment services, there are still many gaps to be filled. We have discussed how some police departments have taken it upon themselves to help addicts find the treatment needed to get better, recognizing that for many, treatment is a much more productive alternative than jail. But what about the ones that are still sliding through the cracks and getting caught up within the criminal justice system? What about the people that have served their time in jail, come out and find themselves right back in the same situations because of their unresolved addiction? 

Step Eight - Making An Amends To Yourself and Others

One of the things some people really struggle with when working their steps is making amends to those they hurt while in active addiction. This can be very challenging for some in recovery, since admitting they had a problem and asking for help in the first place was a big step. Or maybe they are just not ready to face those that they hurt and did wrong, and that is okay. Some do not see it as them wronging those in their life but rather it was others who harmed them instead. No matter the cause for hesitation, it is important to realize that the eighth step is more about the addict accepting responsibility where it is needed. 

Q&A Series: What do I bring with me to Inpatient Rehab?

Inpatient rehabs will typically vary in terms of what they allow clients to bring with them when they come for treatment. This is by no means an exhaustive list; simply a general idea of what you might expect when you begin to plan for your stay in treatment. You will be provided a list by your chosen facility, and the admissions team will be happy to answer any questions you have. 

Supervised Heroin Injection Sites- Is it a Good Idea?

It’s a devastating fact that heroin-related overdoses are killing people in record numbers. Everyone has opinions about how to best tackle the problem, and while the proposed solutions are varied, some are more controversial than others. One such proposal being put forth by some lawmakers is the idea of having supervised facilities, where heroin users can inject “safely.” 

Does Saturday Night Live Go Too Far With Heroin AM Skit?

It is common for SNL to make jokes of current events, and more often than not the subject matter is political. However, for many, their joking take on the heroin epidemic on April 16th took things too far. The skit featured Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was selling the (thankfully) fictional product, “Heroin AM.” “I want to use heroin, but I also want to get stuff done," Louis-Dreyfus states in the skit. The main concept of “Heroin AM” is that it gives you energy and offers you motivation to do daily activities, while still using heroin. To add onto that, caffeine and cocaine were thrown into the mix. So not only were heroin addicts targeted, but so were users of cocaine and caffeine. This seemed odd to many true fans of the showing, given that both Chris Farley and John Belushi died of an overdose combination of heroin and cocaine. 

Testing The Boundaries and Limits of Your Alcoholism

When you become sober you may begin to find yourself questioning whether or not it is possible for you to drink in moderation. You may feel stable enough at social gatherings as others slowly drink their beverage that you too are capable of the same. That having just one drink won’t hurt, and it will not lead to another drunk. As a problem drinker, prior to committing to full sobriety you may decide to test your limits and see if moderation is something that is possible for you. 

Police Departments Follow In Gloucester’s Footsteps

Recently we have seen that there has been more support behind finding addicts help above charging and convicting them. Not long ago the Gloucester Police Department of Massachusetts created an open door policy. Any struggling addict was allowed to walk through the door and state that they are struggling and want to get help for their addiction, without fear of penalty. As promised, addicts who came through the Gloucester Police Department were not charged but given the resources and connections needed to determine the best treatment options for them. 

Hoops for Hope- Recovering Addicts vs. Police in Charity Game

On Sunday, April 10th, 2016, the recovery community in Annapolis (and surrounding areas) joined together for a good cause. Hoops for Hope was an event that pitted Anne Arundel County police officers against a team of recovering addicts in a friendly game of basketball. The event raised over $1000 for Anne Arundel Community College’s Collegiate Recovery Center, as well as for the fifth annual Recovery Walk, to be held this September in Annapolis. 

Rehabs: Choosing the Treatment That’s Right For You

There are a number of different treatment styles available, making it hard to choose which may be the best option for you. Different facilities will offer different levels of care for their clients, all of which should be taken into consideration when choosing a treatment center. 

New York Takes A New Step Towards Fighting Opiate Epidemic

The state of New York is taking a new approach to how they plan to limit the amount of opioid prescriptions being used and abused. Beginning March 27th, all prescriptions must be sent electronically from the doctor prescribing the medication straight to the pharmacy. By doing so, the state is hoping to see a decrease in fake and stolen prescriptions taken to the pharmacies to be filled. As written by Alex Ellefson in his piece in the Bensonhurst Bean: “The Times reports that more controlled-substance prescriptions (27 million) were written in New York State than the number of residents (20 million). Meanwhile, the number of opioid-related deaths have skyrocketed during the last decade.” The number of deaths in New York State rose from 341 in 2004 to 1,227 in 2013. One can only imagine how much more it has risen since. 

Staying Strong In Your Recovery In Day To Day Life

For many, the hardest part of recovery is the beginning when you are just becoming sober. However, further down the road you may hit some other snags on a day to day basis. There are a number of ways to better avoid or deal with these snags so that they do not result in a relapse. 

UMD Studies Cocaine and Its Relationship to Strokes

It is not new news to anyone that the use of drugs can have an affect on a person’s health whether they have used for a long period of time or not. The University of Maryland recently conducted a study that revealed that those younger adults and adolescents who use cocaine are about six times more likely to have a stroke in comparison to the elder generations who may use the drug. However, the study did show that even those in their 30’s and 40’s still raise the possibility of a stroke every time that they use cocaine. The use of cocaine leads to elevated blood pressure, which makes a person more likely to have a stroke. 

Obama Holds Press Conference on Fight Against Opioids

In his final months of the presidency, Obama has made it a central mission of his administration to do as much as possible to assist those suffering in the opioid epidemic. In a press conference on March 29th, the president outlined several efforts currently underway that are treatment- and prevention-focused. 

Early Signs That May Lead To Your Loved One’s Relapse

of those around them realized it was going to happen before they did, maybe even you. During so it can be hard to convince your loved one that you realize they are approaching this because you may not have definite examples as to why. Though there are some definite indicators that can offer evidence that your loved one may be on his or her way towards a relapse. 

Tri-County Memory Walk for Those Lost to Addiction

Overdose has touched far too many of our lives. How many loved ones- parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends- have been lost to the disease of addiction? Serenity Acres would like to invite you to the second annual Tri-County Memory Walk. This event, held in Charles County, MD, is an opportunity for friends, family, and whomever else has been touched by addiction, to mourn those that they have lost. 

6 Common Myths about Addiction Rehabs and Recovery

When people begin thinking about treatment they refer back to people they knew and the things they heard to help them make a decision on where to go for treatment or whether to even go at all. Just as rumors spread throughout communities, the same can happen in regards to addiction treatment. Here are six common myths that you may come across. 

Corruption and the Addiction Industry

In an article that came out on Buzzfeed last weekend, the gritty truth behind Florida’s “rehab economy” was revealed, with at times shocking accounts from addicts, recovering addicts, patients, and professionals alike. Cat Ferguson, a news reporter for Buzzfeed, covered a lot of ground in this expose, and shed some necessary light on the problem with much of the south Florida addiction treatment industry- a business which brings in millions. Treatment is such a huge part of Florida’s economy that the service model offered throughout most of south Florida has been coined “The Florida Model”- a combination of intensive outpatient therapy, part-time employment, and room/board in a halfway house. 

Have You Made Your SO Your Higher Power? 4 Ways to Tell.

Part of working a program of recovery is finding a power greater than yourself that you can rely on for strength and guidance. This power can be anything from God to the Universe to Nature to any number of “powers”. However, many fall into the trap of assigning this role to a significant other, especially in early sobriety, when you are still seeking that power. Here are 5 ways to tell if you have made your significant other your higher power. 

Rehab- Here’s Why You Have to Want It for It to Work

When it comes to addiction treatment, there are many different choices and options. Inpatient, outpatient, luxury, hospital-style, detox-only, individualized or group- each has different qualities, and if you want to recover from your addiction, it is important to select the one that will work best for you. But here’s the catch- you have to want it. 

New Prescription Painkiller Guidelines Released by the CDC

Earlier this week, the CDC released a new set of recommendations for prescribing of prescription painkillers and opiates. These recommendations came out out of a systematic review conducted, which examined the effectiveness, risks, benefits, harms, values, preferences, and costs of prescription opioids. The full report can be found here, but the following are the recommendations suggested by the CDC for use in all medical prescribing practices: 

Tainted Heroin in Harford County, MD Drives Up Overdoses

The heroin and opiate epidemic is everywhere, and Maryland is no exception to its devastation. With Baltimore as a central heroin trade hub, these drugs seem to be all too easy to come across, and the devastation is clear. Nearly everyone these days knows someone who is addicted or has overdosed- those of us in the recovery community in Maryland see it constantly, and it is both heartbreaking and eye-opening. We need to be aware of the reach of addiction, and know how it is impacting our communities. 

Discussion of 20/20’s “Breaking Point: Heroin in America”

Last week, David Muir, anchor with 20/20, investigated the heroin epidemic, specifically in New Hampshire. The one-hour episode was heartbreaking, and yet another reminder that addiction knows no boundaries, and is an issue that we all need to be concerned about. We were reminded that 129 people a day die from drug-related causes, and drugs now kill more people than car accidents and guns. While there have been strides made at the state and federal level, particularly with the recent funding announcement, many treatment centers across the country have wait lists (sometimes weeks or months long), and access to addiction treatment is still limited to many sufferers. 

Maryland Gets 1.8 Mil. in Federal Addiction Treatment Funds

It is no secret that the United States is suffering from a heroin and opioid epidemic, with mass overdoses and deaths happening every day. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that, “Approximately 4.5 million people in the United States were non-medical prescription pain reliever users in 2013, and an estimated 289,000 were current heroin users. HHS also estimates the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain medications has nearly quadrupled from 1999 to 2013, and deaths related to heroin increased 39 percent between 2012 and 2013.” Luckily, there is enough awareness of this crisis that there is finally action being taken at the political level to attempt to give addicts a fighting chance at recovery. 

The Do’s And Don’ts When You Are Holding an Intervention

Holding an intervention to confront a loved one with an addiction can be challenging, especially when they are in denial about their problem. The most important thing that you need to focus on when holding an intervention is that it is only because you care about them and want them to get the help that they need. 

Why We Love Dual Diagnosis (And Why You Should Too)

The occurrence of mental health issues on top of an addiction is a common problem for many people. It has not been until more recent years that we have discovered that the best and most efficient ways to fight addiction along with a co-occurring disorders is through dual diagnosis treatment. While outpatient dual diagnosis treatment can be effective, the preferred method would be inpatient dual diagnosis treatment. That is ultimately because when a client enters an inpatient facility they are taken out of their normal environment that holds those cues and triggers that led to their mental illness and addiction in the first place. 

Baltimore County Encourages Safe After-Prom Alternatives

For many high school students, prom is an event to be remembered. It is one of the hallmark experiences of high school, and has become almost a rite of passage for adolescents. The dates, the dresses, the limos, the dancing- it all can add up to a magical evening. However, it can also present a serious danger, one that Baltimore County is working to prevent. 

EVENT: “Let’s Talk” Signs & Symptoms of Opioid Abuse

On Wednesday, March 9, there is an event in Calvert County to raise awareness of Opioid Abuse. The event, to be held in Prince Frederick, Maryland, is a workshop that will be led by Corporal Anthony Moschetto, the Drug Recognition Officer for the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office. 

You Might Be an Alcoholic or Drug Addict If...

Drugs and alcohol can take us to some pretty terrible places. Many of us, once we get sober, are astounded at the depths that we allowed ourselves to sink to when we were still living in active addiction. What we considered to be “normal”, and things that didn’t even phase us, are entirely foreign to the lives we get to live as long as we practice a program of recovery. Below are some experiences that provide a pretty clear argument for getting help, before it is too late. 

Q&A Series: How Long After an Overdose will Narcan Work?

For those that aren’t familiar, Narcan, or naloxone, is a drug that can be used to reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose, including fentanyl, morphine, and various prescription pain medications. It is currently available in both injection form and as an intranasal spray, and more information on Narcan can be found here

The Heroin Highway - From Baltimore, MD to Winchester, VA

It is no secret to anyone that Baltimore, Maryland is one of the larger hot spots for buying and selling heroin. Last week, February 15th through the 19th, Washington D.C.’s ABC News 7 On Your Side aired a series called the “Heroin Highway.” The Heroin Highway stretch begins in Baltimore on Highway 70 towards Hagerstown to Interstate 81 into Martinsburg, West Virginia and then continues into Virginia towards Winchester. 

Why You Should Not Assign Blame For Your Addiction

It is common for us as a societal whole to assign blame for things that are either beyond our control or that we just choose not to take responsibility for. With an addiction, it is just as easy to blame those around you, life events and everything else for your addiction. However, this blame game can not only harm your relationships with those you place the blame on, but it is just another way to avoid facing the real problem. 

Q&A Series: Can You Get Addicted to Suboxone?

Yes and no. While suboxone was originally created to treat opiate addiction, it can create its own host of problems, including physical dependence. You are still depending on a drug to get through each day, and rapid suboxone detox can cause withdrawal symptoms similar to heroin or other opiates. Side effects can include cold or flu-like symptoms, headaches, sweating, trouble sleeping, nausea, mood swings, and difficulty breathing.  

I'm Dating an Addict - Should I Stay or Leave?

It can be hard to accept that the person you are dating is an addict. In the beginning it seems fine that they drink or use drugs every now and again, but this is just because you may not have spent that much time with them thus far. As the relationship begins to grow, you begin to spend more time together and you may notice that their substance abuse is not just a frequent occurrence, but a constant one. As troubling as this is, you have grown to love this person and want to help. Or possibly, this person developed their addiction after you began dating. Either way, it is natural to believe that you can help, and that with your help they will be able to overcome their obsession with drugs or alcohol. 

Maryland Addiction Rehabs that Accept Medicaid

If you are living in Maryland, and struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, there is help available, regardless of your financial status. Finding treatment that accepts your insurance can be tricky, particularly if you have Medicaid. However, quality treatment is still within your reach. Here is a list of treatment facilities in Maryland, both inpatient and outpatient, that accept Medicaid for treatment costs. 

Can I Still Be Friends With People Once I Get Sober?

Coming out of rehab and back into the real world can be challenging, and you may find that a lot of your time in the beginning will be used to get settled back into your life. However, it will not be long before you will again be wanting to spend your time with your peers. More than that, you may want to spend time with your friends that you had when you were using. You will eventually find that this could prove to be quite challenging to the maintenance of your recovery. 

Eight Relatable Quotes About Addiction and Recovery

At times it can be hard to connect with those around you or to even find the right words to explain your struggles, especially to loved ones. If you are currently fighting your way through recovery, you may have already realized how many people you actually relate to and share your struggles with. However, if you are currently engulfed in your addiction it can be hard to believe that anyone could relate. Many people are able to find the words they have been looking for and connection through others. Here are several quotes about addiction that you can not only relate to but can offer insight on what it is like to have an addiction. 

When Your Loved One Returns Home From Being In Rehab

Whenever a loved one goes to rehab you may be at a loss for words or what to do when the time finally comes for them to return home. It is natural to be nervous and even frightened by this thought. Unless you have kept in close contact, you may not have any idea who is going to walk through your door. Whether or not they are true to staying sober following treatment, or have already made plans to go back out and use or drink again, try to minimize your expectations. Clear these thoughts from your head - erase every possible negative possibility. Have the hope and the faith that your loved one is returning home not only healthier, but happier than they have been in a long time. 

Super Bowl Sunday Brings Up Opioid Painkillers and Addiction

Every year during the Super Bowl, dozens of companies pay approximately $5 million to get a 30 second commercial spot during the big game. A majority of the commercials are humorous and geared towards food, beer, cars and anything else that can hold viewers’ attention during the breaks. This year there were a couple of advertisements done in regards to not just prescription drugs, but also addiction. 

How To Tell Loved Ones That You Don’t Drink Anymore

Now that you have achieved your sobriety, there are a few other things that follow along with it. For a while you may try to keep the fact that your are no longer drinking under wraps, but eventually the truth is going to come out and you need to be ready for it. Telling your friends and family that you are no longer drinking may seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t need to be. It is so often in instances such as these when we feel the need to have an explanation prepared, simply because not drinking seems to be something out of the norm, at least for us. However there are a number of people who go day to day without drinking. As hard as it may be, it is important not to overthink telling them too much or you will begin to automatically think the worst outcome is bound to happen. 

President Obama Proposes Bill To Fight Opioid Addiction

While we listen to the debates and see numerous election campaigns from our presidential candidates discussing what they are going to do about our current heroin epidemic, we know that they cannot always be held to their word. Meanwhile, our current President, Barack Obama, has already taken it upon himself to offer a lending hand to those struggling with addiction. Obama has submitted the request of $1.1 billion to assist in the payment of drug treatment for those who are addicted to prescription opioids and heroin. The money has been put in as a request for the upcoming fiscal year 2017 budget. 

6 Ways That Going To Rehab Today Will Benefit You Tomorrow

Making the decision to go to rehab is never an easy one, it is however necessary. There are a number of instances and situations that may lead you to believing that you need to go to rehab. You may realize that rehab is a good idea for you but still remain unconvinced. Here are several reasons why going to rehab now is the best thing you can do. 

How Do I Find the Right Addiction Therapist For Me?

After leaving treatment you may find that you are not 100% ready to go back into the world without a guiding hand to help along the way. So deciding to see an addictions therapist may be just the thing you need. You can base the appointments off of your schedule and you are able to let all your frustrations out. But where do you find this therapist, and how do you know if they are right for you? 

Tips on Substance Use Prevention for Teens and Adolescents

As substance abuse rates rise we find ourselves worrying about the health of our youth more than ever. That said, it is important to have preventive measures ready when your child comes to you with questions or gets to be that age where you know drugs or alcohol may be presented through his or her peers. You may come to learn that the school your child attends actually provides substance abuse education classes. This can be very beneficial, as it will teach your child all the dangers of use and abuse of substances, along with what to do when a situation arises where they are faced with the opportunity to do them. 

Serenity Acres Featured in the Capital Gazette

Recently, the CEO of Serenity Acres, Larry Adler, was featured in the Capital Gazette, discussing his thoughts on the state of addiction and treatment in the state of Maryland. The opinion editorial came on the heels of the final recommendations for Larry Hogan’s Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force were released. Larry provides an interesting perspective on this topic, because not only has he personally experienced the devastating effects of addiction, but he has made addiction treatment a career and priority in his life. Helping struggling addicts and alcoholics is a passion for him, and he is a firsthand witness to the benefits of addiction treatment. And in fact, that is exactly what this article suggests is needed. 

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Numbers Reach Highs

Over recent years, the number of infants that are born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is growing. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) is when a child becomes dependent on the drugs that the mother has used while the baby resides in the womb. According to an editorial by Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “between 2000 and 2009, the incidence of NAS increased from 1.20 to 3.39 per 1000 live births,1 and between 2004 and 2013 the total percentage of days spent in intensive care because of NAS increased from 0.6% to 4.0%.” These statistics are believed to be a response to and a result of the recent increase in the use and abuse of opioid-based substances. 

Kratom Tea - Could It Be Our Next Synthetic Opioid Drug

As we continue to look for solutions to the heroin and opiate epidemic a number of medications and remedies have been making their way to the surface. One of which being Kratom, produced by the East Asian Tree of the same name. In the past labors would chew the leaves for an extra energy boost. Today, the leaves can be found in numerous forms such as dried leaves, broken down to be put into capsules, or brewed as tea. 

Addiction and Politics- Where Presidential Candidates Stand

As presidential candidates begin to build their campaigns and offer promises to voters for their election, we see each candidate’s beliefs and differentiated opinions on every focus topic broached. However, this election is unlike many of the elections we have seen before as there is one thing that they all seem to agree on and that is to do something about the way we as a nation handle drug addiction treatment. For a number of the candidates this is something that hits home, as they have had a loved one who has struggled through the fight of addiction. As for others, they have simply come to realize the importance of working towards a better solution other than incarceration. 

Finding Your Higher Power in Recovery- Getting Over Your Doubts

When beginning your recovery it is easy to become overwhelmed. Many people in recovery find themselves using the 12 step program as a way to gain and maintain their sobriety. The second step calls for the alcoholic or addict to recognize a power greater than themselves that can restore their sanity. The original steps revolve around the idea that this Higher Power can be God, which for many works, but it is not limited to this conception. Twelve step programs should encourage you to find your own conception of a higher power. For some this connection with a greater power can easily be present, because they come into recovery with a pre established faith or belief. In this case, working the steps will only help to grow your connection with God, and this will help you to overcome your addiction

Don't Forget About Alcohol Abuse and its Threat to Society

Recently there has been a lot of news and media publicity based around addiction, specifically the heroin and opiate epidemic. Meanwhile, we are ignoring one of the most harmful substances that is rampant in our society on a regular basis-- alcohol. For many, alcohol is a way to relax after a long day of work. Having one, maybe two drinks on occasion can be acceptable for many. For others, however, it is an escape from reality. It is something they turn to on a regular basis to avoid facing whatever struggles that are currently present in their life. Yet, many of them see this as okay and justified because alcohol is legal. Compared to all the other substances floating around in our nation, alcohol is the one thing that is accepted everywhere. But alcoholism is real, and it affects massive numbers of people each year. 

Alcohol in e-Cigarettes Can Affect Motor Skills

The idea of smoking alcohol to many seems ludicrous and unlikely, until recently. A study was done by Yale University finding that while e-cigarettes do help with the craving of nicotine that smokers endure, they can also inhibit the smoker’s driving. The majority of “vape juices” (liquid for e-cigarettes and vaporizers) contain less than one percent of alcohol, but when an e-cigarette user used any vape juice that had a decent level of alcohol content, their motor skills were greatly impaired. In general, the amount of alcohol the vape juice contained would determine how affected the individual was. 

Suggestions for Finding Employment in Sobriety

Entering into a life of sobriety can be challenging, and may leave you questioning many things in the beginning. It is typically advised that in early recovery you do not go through too much change, however sometimes this change is necessary. One of the major things you may begin to look at is your current employment situation. A job is needed to make a living, and even more so if you have people that are relying on you. If you already have a job you may be completely happy and content with that, or you may find yourself asking if it is one that you plan to keep. If not, then it may be time for something new. If you do not have a job you may look at a number of different fields you may want to work in. 

Medicaid Begins Efforts to Fund Addiction Treatment

In the past, if someone with medicaid needed addiction treatment services, they would typically have nothing to rely on other than the services provided by the state and local government. Now that addiction awareness is rising, Medicaid is beginning to propose further coverage of treatment resources. Medicaid’s new plan will give those insured by it the chance to have 15 days covered a month of inpatient rehab. 

Harmful Effects of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse

It is often we hear about how drinking is bad for us, especially when we drink excessively. But when we think of the harm that comes from drinking, most can only call to mind liver cancer as the primary health consequence. In reality, there are a number of effects that long-term drinking can have on our bodies. 

Who Are You Hurting With Your Drug Use Or Drinking

It is no secret that with addiction, the person struggling goes through constant trials and is internally hurting throughout it all. But it is also true that the addict is not the only one enduring pain because of their addiction, but the loved ones and people around them on a regular basis. Sadly, it is usually not until recovery has begun that they truly realize the pain they have caused others. But how exactly are these people affected by the addict’s choices? What is it that they do that causes others so much pain? 

Tips for Beating Your Benzodiazepine Cravings

Ironically enough, highly addictive benzodiazepines are usually prescribed to us by our doctors. Benzos are typically prescribed for things like anxiety, depression or seizures. Benzos can range in length of their effects. Withdrawal from these drugs can include sweats, heightened anxiety, and can go as far as causing seizures. Benzo cravings can range from person to person but when they are there, like most cravings, they can be a challenge to ignore. However, there are some helpful suggestions to better avoid and deal with benzo cravings whenever they may occur. 

Reasons To Try Sober Living After Inpatient Rehab

Once you’ve completed rehab, you may feel at a loss on where to go from there. After all, there’s a number of options. You could go home, but then again it is risky to return to an environment that you previously used or drank in. Your other option is to try sober living, which is probably the best decision that you could make. Here is why: 

Taking the LEAD in Baltimore for Drug Charges

Created in Seattle 2011, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) is a program created for officers to assist those who are struggling with addiction rather than punish them. Many other diversion programs, while they assist the addict, still involve an arrest-- LEAD does not. This is only offered to low-level, nonviolent drug offenders; therefore, nothing goes onto the individual's criminal record. Participation in the program is up to the offender, and unlike other programs, abstinence from drug use is not a requirement. However, if the individual has a more serious charge, such as distribution of drugs, then they are excluded from LEAD. As for those who do enter the program and are incapable of completion a warrant will be issued for their arrest on the original offense that led to their involvement in the program. 

Helpful Suggestions for Your Sobriety Tool Kit

Life tools are a necessity for everyone and everyone has challenges that they face. Sometimes, we begin to feel down on ourselves or overwhelmed by life, and it may feel as though we lack the tools necessary to handle it. Here are some helpful tools for you to carry in your sobriety tool kit. 

Probuphine Implant: A New Frontier in Opioid Treatment?

Fighting addiction has been a process that many have been trying to simplify for years through the use of medications and other helpful alternatives. One of these alternatives is Buprenorphine, or probuphine (also known as Suboxone and Subutex). Buprenorphine is a narcotic that is used in treatment of both pain and opioid addiction. The substance is capable of reducing the effects of physical withdrawal, which, for many, is one of the most significant barriers to recovery. It is capable of blocking cravings and blocks the effects of opioid based substances when they are used. It also comes in many forms such as oral tablets, patches, film strips, and possibly soon, matchstick size implants. 

Addiction in the Workplace - What to Do if You See It

As an employer, it is part of your job to pay attention to your employees. Notice who is working hard versus who just makes the deadlines and who transitions between these two. There can be a number of reasons that lead to a drop in performance in the workplace. The easiest answer is that they got lazy. However, it may be the case that they are having problems at home, or maybe they are struggling with an addiction. If it is the latter, and an employee or coworker of yours is suffering from an addiction, it is important to realize this is not a lack of motivation they have but a disease. It is possible for them to be fired on account of substance abuse, but it does not have to be necessary. With some help, they can once again become productive employees. 

9 Ways to Increase Your Self-Worth in Recovery

There are multiple times in life when sometimes you just are not as chipper or confident in yourself as before, and these can be common while in recovery. Though as hard as it gets it is important that when this happens you try your best to rise above it. In fact, increasing your self-worth can be more simple than you realize. 

HBO Addiction Documentary, and Thoughts for 2016

To our readers:

Normally, we try to keep this blog informative and objective, providing readers with facts, figures, current events, and the occasional light-hearted post about recovery. However, we feel that sometimes it’s appropriate to step out from “behind the curtain”, and provide a more personal view. This is one of those times. 

Recovery in Maryland Prisons

In Maryland, drug offenders make up a total of 19 percent of the prison community according to an article published in the Washington Post. It is no surprise to anyone that many of those filtering in and out of the prison system are doing so because of drug-related charges. More than that, many of these are non-violent offenders. In the past, the justice system has tried to solve these problems with “Get Tough” policies, which imposed extreme and lengthy sentences for drug offenders. However, those policies were never proven to be effective deterrents. The demand for alternatives has been steadily increasing year after year in an attempt to find the best solution to the illegal drug trade. 

Reasons You Shouldn't Judge Addicts

Judgment from others is something that addicts have to experience day in and day out on a regular basis. While as a society we agree that you should never pass judgment on anyone, it is rare that many of us actually practice what we preach. The stigma of addiction is slowly going away but is far from gone, so how can we expect anything less than misplaced judgment from those who do not understand? That said, here are some reasons why you should never judge an addict. 

How Do You Know If You've Hit Bottom

Prior to rock bottom, your addiction engulfs you. Your drug of choice (DOC) is your life, your love and everything else is secondary, whether you like to admit it or not. While prior to this you may have acknowledged that you might have a problem, most of us operated with a fairly high level of denial. Your DOC is manipulative and maintains a hold on your attention. Maybe you are just not at that point where you are truly ready to let go of or admit to your addiction. Maybe you could admit to it but you’ve found comfort in your DOC. Then maybe you did eventually admit to it and try to stop, but it was all failed attempts. 

I'm Scared to Quit Drinking

It is often in life that we allow our fears to hold us back from achieving our goals. The same happens with addiction. When you are deciding to give up drinking there may be a thousand reasons that go through your head as to why that is not a good idea. You may even continuously assure yourself that you don’t have a problem, and that your drinking behavior is normal. However, over time you will eventually come to the realization and acceptance of your addiction. 

The Journey From Painkillers to Heroin

Typically when you go to the doctor the last thing you anticipate is leaving with an addiction to what he or she prescribed you. However, for some people that are prescribed opioid painkillers, that is the end result. Opioid painkillers, like Oxycontin and Vicodin, are typically what doctors will prescribe after a surgery, injury or in situations involving chronic pain. But what happens when the pain is relieved and the body craves more pills? And how long until painkillers are not enough? This is just the beginning of a dangerous path towards addiction. 

Preventing Tragedy in Our Communities

Patti McNulty, CAC-AD, is the holistic health practitioner at Serenity Acres. She also provides addictions counseling and family education to our clients and their loved ones. Not only does she have over 30 years of experience in the addictions field, but she also has extensive experience with trauma counseling. In fact, she was one of the first counselors on site in New York to work with the survivors and employees involved in the Flight 800 plane crash in 1996. With all the experience she has, it still hits close to home when she sees trauma and addiction in her own community. 

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Early Sobriety

Early sobriety, particularly your first year, is loaded with opportunities for either growth or setbacks. Whether you are fresh out of treatment, or getting sober only via a twelve-step fellowship, there are certain situations that you should be careful of. As the saying goes, “If you want something different, you have to do something different.” This may mean going against what you want or think you need, and listening to people who have more time in recovery, such as a sponsor. Below are five situations to be particularly mindful of as you begin your path to recovery. 

DC Needle Exchange Program

The needle exchange program (NEP) is a service offered to injection drug users so that they can receive clean, hypodermic needles at little to no cost. Because injection drug users hold an increased risk of acquiring blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis B/C and HIV, NEPs have been put into place to limit the spread of these diseases. 

Choosing the Treatment That's Right For You

There are a number of different treatment styles available, making it hard to choose which may be the best option for you. Different facilities will offer different levels of care for their clients, all of which should be taken into consideration when choosing a treatment center. 

Keys to Recovery

With so many sources of advice and concern, early recovery can be overwhelming. You will likely hear many different pieces of advice, and determining what will work best for you is a process. However, there are certain things that will consistently help any recovering addict or alcoholic. 

The Physical Toll of Crystal Meth

Crystal meth, one form of methamphetamine, is a highly addictive stimulant drug that holds a great potential for abuse. The drug may be administered orally, inhaled or injected and creates an intense euphoric feeling for the user. The intense euphoria causes many to get hooked right off the bat. With the continued use of crystal meth comes a number of negative physical effects and changes. 

Rehab Cost Guide

Whether we like it or not, money plays a big role in the treatment facility we choose for ourselves or our loved ones. You always want to make sure that you are getting what you pay for. However, while you may not want to spend too much money, you want to pick a facility you feel the most comfortable in. There are three different styles of treatment centers: hospital-style, home-style and detox centers. 

Collegiate Addiction Resources in Maryland

The college lifestyle is a big change for anyone entering into it. Students are faced with harder classes, more assignments, and pressures to figure out their life more than ever before. A lot of the times students will cram and live day-to-day to make it through, while some others find different ways of coping with the stress. It is no secret to anyone that college, for many, is not just a reason to get away from home, but a reason to drink and party without any supervision. That said, it is becoming more of an trend for schools to offer services and programs for students who fall dependent on that new lifestyle, and may be needing help with getting back on the right track. Just about every school has a counseling center for students in distress, but only a handful actually provide programs specifically for substance use and abuse. 

Surgery in Recovery- How to Take Meds Responsibly

Once you’ve gotten sober, it is important to maintain a healthy level of respect for your addiction or alcoholism. We need to remember that while we may recover, we will never be completely cured. The maintenance of sobriety is dependent on consistent and regular action in a program of recovery such as AA or NA, and working towards progress in ourselves while building reliance on a higher power. That being said, certain situations arise that are not preventable, and raise questions for many people in recovery. 

Addiction Resources for College Students

The college lifestyle is a big change for anyone entering into it. Students are faced with harder classes, more assignments, and pressures to figure out their life more than ever before. A lot of the time, students will cram and live day-to-day to make it through, while some others find different ways of coping with the stress. It is no secret to anyone that college, for many, is not just a reason to get away from home, but a reason to drink and party without any supervision. While many schools are cracking down on drugs and alcohol in response to an increase in substance-related incidents, the “party” mindset of many college students is not so easy to dispel. 

Gambling with your Sobriety

The National Council on Problem Gambling reports that over 5 million Americans meet the criteria for gambling addiction. Of these, 75% have had problems with alcohol, 38% have had problems with drugs, and 20% have either made an attempt at or committed suicide. These numbers are staggering, and reveal an important link between gambling and substance abuse disorders. Gambling addiction is defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “Persistent and recurrent problematic gambling behavior leading to clinically significant impairment or distress.”  

Hogan’s Heroin Task Force

In February of 2015, Maryland governor Larry Hogan created the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force in response to the heroin epidemic sweeping across the state. Heroin overdose deaths more than doubled in the state in just a few years, with 247 deaths in 2011 to 578 deaths in 2014. The problem is no longer limited to the inner city, either- rural and suburban counties across the state are suffering from the ravages of heroin addiction. 

Top 10 Maryland Outpatient Rehabs

Due to either preference or circumstance, you may have decided that you are going to opt for outpatient rehab rather than inpatient treatment. The reasons for making this choice vary, but oftentimes, people’s jobs, families, or other responsibilities make it difficult or impossible to spend 30+ days in an inpatient facility. While inpatient treatment provides the best possible chance at long-term recovery, if you are truly ready for sobriety, the right outpatient facility can help you to begin that journey. However, selecting an outpatient treatment facility can be overwhelming. Below are 10 outpatient rehab facilities in Maryland that all provide excellent treatment. 

6 Things that Won’t Keep You Sober

As addicts or alcoholics, we sometimes fall prey to the belief that some human power (either internal or external) will keep us sober. We think that because we have x, y, or z reasons (often good reasons, at that), that we will be able to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, with this belief usually comes with the neglect of our program of recovery- we think we can do it on our own, because we have good reason to. However, in most cases, this reasoning is false, and leads many addicts right into a relapse. Below are 6 things that will NOT keep us sober, no matter how much we believe they will: 

Inpatient Rehab Costs

Whether we like it or not, money plays a big role in the treatment facility we choose for ourselves or our loved ones. You always want to make sure that you are getting what you pay for. However, while you may not want to spend too much money, you want to pick a facility you feel the most comfortable in. There are three different styles of treatment centers: hospital-style, home-style and detox centers. 

Clean vs. Sober

Clean. Dry. Sober. These words all indicate the lack of drugs or alcohol in the body, but do they mean different things? Depends on who you ask. To a non-alcoholic or addict, these words are interchangeable. But to people who have suffered from addiction, there is an important distinction between these words. 

10 Best Books About Addiction and Recovery

A big part of recovery is about learning how to use and maximize the tools at your disposal- these tools can be things such as 12-step meetings, meditation, counseling, and fellowship with other recovering addicts or alcoholics. However, another tool can be as simple as relating to another addict or alcoholic’s story, and finding hope in their recovery. While meeting attendance is vital for this, an additional tool is by reading memoirs of recovering addicts or alcoholics. Some authors have come under fire for whether or not their accounts are 100% factual, or whether certain points have been exaggerated for the purposes of selling books. However, these stories can still be helpful and inspiring to read when you have quiet time, if only just to remind yourself the places addiction can take us, and that a solution is out there. 

The BRAIN Initiative and Addiction

The BRAIN Initiative, or Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, is a nationwide effort initiated by President Obama that seeks to use new and emerging technologies to advance our understanding of the human brain and its functioning. Ideally this initiative will lead to a greater understanding of (and possible treatment/prevention for) a wide range of brain disorders- including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, and even addiction. Does this mean an eventual “cure” for addiction might be possible? 

How to Repair Broken Relationships Once You're Sober

Recovery (and all its aspects) is a lifelong journey- if we stay sober and work a program, we are nearly guaranteed to stumble, succeed, fall short, reach goals, and experience the full spectrum of life, even the bad. For many of us, this is a hard fact to face and accept. If you are new to sobriety, whether in the rooms of AA or are in a treatment facility, there is probably a part of you that expects that if you cut out the drugs and alcohol, your life should be perfect and free of conflict. This includes the common expectation that once you get sober, your relationships will all be miraculously cured overnight. Parents will welcome you back with trusting and open arms, significant others will applaud our efforts and immediately move beyond past hurts, and friends/family members will be so thrilled that we are sober that they will (or should!) just forget about all the damage we have caused in the past. 

Oxycontin for Kids - Behind the Headlines

In recent news, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved administration of OxyContin for children as young as 11. OxyContin is the extended release form of oxycodone, a narcotic pain reliever that, in adults, has been used for pain management in situations of chronic pain or when long-term treatment is needed. The approval for children came in August of 2015, following the release of clinical trial data provided by the maker of OxyContin, Purdue Pharma LP, that indicated the drug’s safety for children with prior opioid history. This approval is for prescribing in situations where the child experiences chronic, long-term pain (such as in situations such as cancer or surgical recovery) when other medications are insufficient. On one hand, this is good news for children suffering from debilitating pain, allowing them to be more comfortable. However, this announcement has raised a red flag for many. 

Can Mindfulness Really Benefit Recovery?

Many treatment programs are beginning to offer a more eclectic range of therapy modalities. While it is critical to treat and heal the physical body in addiction recovery, it is just as important to treat the mind and spirit as well. One such technique is mindfulness training. Many people in early recovery, or undergoing their first stay in treatment, may discount this method, or wonder how it could possibly help them to stay sober. Hopefully we can help clarify this for you. 

Bring on the Netflix: Does Sobriety Mean No More Fun?

It is a common fear in addicts or alcoholics, particularly those that reach a bottom at a young age, that getting sober means never having fun again. For many people, by the end of their drinking or using, they were just totally unable to imagine life without drugs or alcohol, much less actually having FUN sober. Many had interests before beginning a substance abuse careers- hobbies, activities they enjoyed, sports, music, art, etc. But gradually, the addictions took over and those things they once enjoyed seemed less and less important. The primary (and oftentimes only) activity became getting drunk or high. At the point of being so beaten by their addictions that they are willing to try something different, many people are convinced that the fun is over. Sure, sobriety might be the only way out, but most were resigned to the fact that they might as well stock up on Netflix because, “what do you even do for fun without drugs or alcohol?” 

Substance Abuse Among Military Veterans

Members of the U.S. military, while regimented in many areas of their lives and career, are not immune to the perils of addiction that plague the civilian population. The unique stressors experienced by veterans and active duty members, including deployment, combat, and PTSD, can all contribute to self-medication and eventually addiction to psychoactive substances. The US Department for Veterans Affairs- National Center for PTSD cites the following statistics: 

5 Things You Need to Know About Heroin

The Heroin Epidemic sweeping the nation is a considerable cause for concern. More people than ever are overdosing or dying from opioid drug use, particularly heroin. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene released a report citing Drug and Alcohol-Related Intoxication Death statistics in 2014. Of particular significance is the fact that in Maryland alone, the number of heroin-related deaths increased from around 250 in 2011 to 578 in 2015- that’s over a 100% increase in just 3 years. Here are some of the facts about heroin use and abuse. 

5 Excuses Addicts Make to Keep Using

When we are still in active addiction or alcoholism, there are any number of things we will tell ourselves and others that attempt to justify our use, and to avoid having to make a change. Change is scary- for many of us, alcohol or drugs become like a relationship that we simply can’t break free of. As much pain as it causes us, and as much as it may cost us, we are so dependent on it (both mentally and physically) that we will go to almost any lengths to continue using. 

12-Step Meetings: What to Expect

The reasons for attending that first 12-Step meeting are varied. You might think you have a problem. Someone else might think you have a problem. Your attendance might be court-ordered. You may be going on the advice of a lawyer. Whatever your reasons for attending, you may be unsure of what to expect, or have certain expectations given to you by movies or television that are likely somewhat misconstrued. 

Project ECHO Turkey Trot

Project ECHO, Inc. is a Homeless Shelter in Calvert County that can accommodate men, women and families. It is one of only two shelters in the state of Maryland where entire families can stay together in the same facility. Residents stay at the ECHO House for up to 90 days in a safe, sober, substance-free environment. 

Vape Life - Are There Hidden Dangers?

All over the country, the “vaping” trend is exploding. What started as a method of smoking cessation, has become a cultural phenomenon. Vaping supply stores are popping up all over the United States. There are vaping expos, where vape manufacturers can showcase their products. There are even vape competitions, and participants (many sponsored by vape companies) attempt to produce the largest “clouds” (vapor emitted from inhaling off the vape). Many people have made the switch from cigarettes to “vapes”, but are these nicotine replacement devices doing more harm than good? 

DOs and DON'Ts of Dating in Sobriety

Newly sober? Then, like so, so many others before you, you are probably already on the lookout for a new boyfriend or girlfriend. Ideally, you will give yourself some time in sobriety to get your feet under you and focus on your own recovery before you dip your feet in the dating pool. However, eventually you will spot that special person across the room at a meeting- your eyes meet, maybe they ask where the coffee is, and like any good alcoholic or addict, you are already envisioning your engagement photos and planning a trip to the hardware store to make them a house key. Before you get too far ahead of yourself, consult this handy list of DOs and DON’Ts for dating in recovery!  

So You Love an Addict...What Now?

So, you love an addict or alcoholic. You are not alone in that. Millions of people across the country struggle with addiction or alcoholism. The lucky ones have gotten treatment and are in recovery, but the majority are still actively using. Most of those people have people in their lives that love them- parents, siblings, relatives, friends, significant others. This position is an awful one to be in, and leaves many questioning how to act, what to say, what to do, or whether they should walk away from the relationship. Watching someone you care about succumb to addiction, and seeing them become a shell of a person, is incredibly difficult and painful. 

8 Benefits to Being Socially Sober

For a lot of people in early recovery, that first big social event can be tough to get through! Whether it is a wedding, birthday party, dance, or even just a cookout, learning to navigate these functions without drinking or using can be tricky! We as addicts and alcoholics are so used to using outside substances to make us comfortable and social, that doing these things sober can be intimidating in early recovery! However, when you have doubts or fears, refer to the following list of reasons why being “socially sober” is a good thing! 

National Drug Take-Back Initiative

As the heroin and opioid epidemic rages throughout the country, law enforcement agencies all over are working with local communities on safety and preventative measures for trying to cut down on overdoses and deaths. One such measure is the National Drug Take-Back Initiative, this Saturday, September 26th. Local agencies and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its tenth opportunity in five years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. 

Fed Up! Rally

***Important update!! The FED UP! Rally, scheduled for this Saturday, has changed locations. The FED UP! RALLY WILL NOW BE HELD AT THE SYLVAN THEATER on the WASHINGTON MONUMENT GROUNDS on the NATIONAL MALL in Washington D.C. (same location as last year’s rally).*** 

Young and Sober

Keg Parties. Greek Life. Cheap alcohol. Tailgating. All combined with a new freedom and lack of supervision when thousands of students go off to college every year. 

Designer Drugs- One Step Ahead

You may remember the news stories from several years ago. People that were high on a compound known as “bath salts”, engaging in behaviors such as self-mutilation and “eating” the faces of others. If you were following the national media outlets, you might have been convinced that the “zombie apocalypse” had truly arrived. As it turns out, most of those people had no bath salts in their system, but it certainly brought the “designer drug” epidemic to the forefront of public awareness. It is important to take these news stories with a grain of salt, as naturally things can easily get blown out of proportion, but the fact remains that designer drugs are a significant public health concern, one that seems to be constantly one step ahead of the authorities. 

New Day Campaign

This blog was originally posted at Bruun Studios in late February, 2014. Subsequently, Peter Bruun has gone on to create the New Day Campaign, a Baltimore-based 2015 initiative using art to challenge stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness and addiction, making the word a more healing place. He has given his permission for the use of this content, to spread the word about this healing initiative. You can learn more by visiting 

Fentanyl- The Hidden Threat

One big problem with use and abuse of illegally obtained drugs is that the user typically has no way to tell exactly what they are taking. These days, most street drugs are cut or laced with any number of substances other than what the user thinks he or she has purchased. Sometimes, these additional substances can be as harmless as baby powder or baking soda. However, oftentimes there are other narcotic or stimulant additives that can make taking drugs a true gamble of life or death. 

PTSD: Symptoms, Signs, and its Relation to Addiction

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, better known as PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur whenever a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic, or life-threatening event. PTSD is most commonly associated with experiences such as military combat, but other experiences can lead to PTSD if a person was: 

New Law Equates Drug Distribution with Homicide

There’s a new law being proposed in Maryland that aims to give those in the fight against drugs much more leverage than ever. Maryland state lawmakers have proposed House Bill 222 which would allow prosecutors to charge drug dealers and manufacturers for heroin-related deaths. Under the new bill, dealers would face upwards of 30 years in prison for the distribution of both heroin and fentanyl (another drug which is often laced into heroin) in cases which a death such as an overdose occurs. 

Connection Between Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence

In 1997, the SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) guide for Substance Abuse Treatment and Domestic Violence declared the need for coordinated care in terms of treating co­occurring domestic violence and substance abuse. The guide notes that while there has been no direct cause/effect relationship established between them, that substance abuse is nevertheless a risk factor for domestic violence. Further, the panel of experts that created the guide conclude that “failure to address domestic violence issues among substance abusers interferes with treatment effectiveness and contributes to relapse.”  

Dartmouth College - Prohibition of Hard Alcohol

Dartmouth College is one of the eight Ivy League Schools in the United States. In January, 2015, they announced that they would prohibit all students from drinking or possessing hard alcohol on campus. While the school has made some progress in recent years with alcohol problems, the numbers still indicate some issues. According to the Huffington Post, “The Safety & Security office on campus, along with the Hanover police, were called to investigate student intoxication at least 64 times between Sept. 2013, and April 2014.” Colleges everywhere have been under fire to reign in alcohol-related problems, but Dartmouth in particular suffers from a persisting reputation as a “party school.” 

Freshman Nolan Burch Dies During WVU Kappa Sigma Initiation

On November 12, 2014, police officers were called to the Kappa Sigma fraternity house in Morgantown, West Virginia. Nolan Burch , 18, a West Virginia University freshman laid on a table, face blue, friends not able to detect a pulse. Police arrived to the house to find someone performing CPR on Burch in an attempt to revive him. Nolan Burch died on November 14th, two days after he originally lost consciousness. Medical tests showed that the 18-year-old had a blood alcohol level of 0.493 percent. As a comparison, the legal limit for an adult of drinking age in West Virginia is .08 percent. Nolan Burch was six times higher than the legal limit. 

Mad Decent Block Party: 2 Dead of Drug Overdoses

“Two concert-goers dead, more than twenty hospitalized, three arrested, and over fifty citations issued.” - This isn't the type of headline you’d expect from a place like Howard County, Maryland. But at this past year’s Mad Decent Block Party, that headline became the reality for this quiet Maryland suburb tucked between Washington D.C. and Baltimore. 

Drug Addictions: Crack Cocaine

The notorious crack cocaine is easily regarded as one of the most powerful illegal drugs in terms of producing psychological dependence. Crack cocaine stimulates key pleasure centers within the brain, causing a sense of extremely heightened euphoria. Cocaine – similar to the effects of heroin – can cause a quick rise in blood pressure, as well as an accelerated heart rate that could lead to death. Crack cocaine is 75% more pure than regular cocaine, leading to a quick rush that lasts for a few minutes, rather than the slower, milder high received when snorting cocaine. Tolerance to crack cocaine develops quickly, and takes more and more use to experience the same high that it once gave. 

Craig Ferguson: Surviving Substance Abuse

“Whether I or anyone else accepted the concept of alcoholism as a disease didn't matter; what mattered was that when treated as a disease, those who suffered from it were most likely to recover.” - Craig Ferguson 

Eating Disorders: Bulimia Nervosa

An eating disorder is defined as an illness that causes serious disturbances to the person’s everyday diet – eating very small amounts of food, overeating, etc. Women, though generally believed, are not the only ones affected by an eating disorder. Men can develop the same disorders as women, though it is less reported. More importantly, eating disorders can include more than just anorexia and bulimia, Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) is what we call eating disorders that aren’t bulimia or anorexia. EDNOS is the most commonly diagnosed eating disorder. 

Eating Disorders: Anorexia

Let’s be honest, we’re all self-conscious – at least to some degree. We’re a culture that glorifies beauty and idealizes perfection. We hold pageants to crown young beautiful women Miss (City), Miss (State), Miss America, Miss World, and even Miss Universe. We turn models into celebrities. 

Binge-Drinking: How Much is Too Much?

Sam Spady was 19 years old when she died. She was a sophomore at Colorado State University, and – throughout high school – she was an honors student, and captain of her school’s cheerleading squad.  

What Are Steroids?: Signs, Symptoms & Risks of Steroid Abuse

In 2005, the United States Congress famously conducted hearings and established an investigative committee to probe the use of steroids within Major League Baseball. The hearings included eye-opening testimony from several stars and former stare of baseball, including names such as Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Jose Canseco. Along with the testimony from the baseball players and league executives, the committee also asked several medical experts and parents of children who committed suicide after using steroids. It became clear that a larger motivation was at play for these hearings early on. The main motivation for the public spectacle that became of this investigation – the rising use of steroids among the nation’s children and young adults.  

Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Know the Signs and Symptoms

Being a parent in these times is hard. Think about it. No matter what you do, what you say, or how you raise your child, there is always someone – some “expert”, another parent, your own parents – telling you that you are doing something wrong. Not only does this make raising a child difficult, but raising a teenager can prove especially stressful in these times. 

Addiction Doesn't Define You

Let’s face it…we live in a society that loves to reduce people into labels. How many times have you ever asked someone to describe themselves only to have them respond with their occupation? We reduce ourselves into a singular noun that we’ve been conditioned to believe describe who we are as individuals.  

Drug Addictions: Benzodiazepine Abuse

Benzodiazepine is a growing drug problem in the United States, and is – unfortunately – often times a prescribed medication. In fact, Benzodiazepine (Benzos) calculated for 19.7% of all emergency department visits in 2010. Also according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), benzo-related emergency department visits increase by an alarming 141% between 2004 and 2010. Unfortunately, a lot of Benzo overdose deaths are accidental, and often occur when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Of the 22,134 deaths in 2010, nearly 6,500 of those were benzodiazepine related. 

Addiction: Substance Abuse in the Military

Despite your political stance, there is no debating that we have been a country at war for just over 13 years. On-going military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have placed an enormous strain on the nation’s military personnel and their families. As a result of long and multiple deployments, exposure to combat, physical injuries, an increase in traumatic brain injury (TBI), and post-traumatic stress disorder, the stresses placed on our troops can hardly be exaggerated. 

Addiction: Substance Abuse and Homelessness

It’s not surprising to most people that homelessness has a strong connection to addiction and substance abuse. In fact, it’s almost an expected pairing. In a 2008 survey, 25 cities were asked what their top three leading causes of homelessness were, and substance abuse turned out to be the leading cause reported by 68% of the cities in the study. Though the public does not usually empathize with those who are addicts and homeless, it is not always that addiction that causes a person to become homeless – it is rather an unfortunate habit that is picked up as a coping method for other pains and struggles. However, often times the addiction is the direct cause of homelessness. 

Substance Abuse and Pregnancy

The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, a report released every year by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), provided data regarding the rates of drug and alcohol use among pregnant women aged 15-44. In that year, 5.4% of pregnant women were current illicit drug users (and 14.6% of these were in the 15-17 year old age range). Further, 9.4% of pregnant women reported alcohol use, and 2.3% reported binge drinking. Being well-informed about the dangers of substance abuse during pregnancy, as well as where to turn for help, could prevent you from adding to these statistics!  

Employee Assistance Programs

It should come as no surprise that substance abuse and the workplace don’t mix! An employee’s substance abuse affects not only the but can have serious impacts on the work environment. The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports that drug abuse-related expenses cost employers $81 billion dollars annually. Further, a 2014 report released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated that 10.8 million full time employees have a substance use disorder. Luckily, there are programs in place, both at the federal and private level, which provide assistance for employees struggling with various issues that could impact their work.  

Addiction, Depression, and Suicide

According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression across the globe; that’s about 5% of the entire population. In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate the depression rate to be closer to 10%. Think about that – for every ten people you know, on average, at least one suffers from depression.  

Mel Gibson Recovery

October 2011 - The American Cinematheque Award, an award bestowed annually to a particular artist in the entertainment industry for their significant contribution to the art of motion pictures, selected to bestow the prestigious honor to the actor Robert Downey Jr. Other recipients of this distinguishment have included: Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Denzel Washington, Robin Williams, Al Pacino, Samuel L. Jackson, and several other household names. . 

Robin Williams' Fight With Addiction

August 11, 2014 – Social media exploded with the news that Robin McLaurin Williams had died. Within hours, rumors had already begun circulating that the legendary comedian and Academy Award winning actor had taken his own life. As fast as a tweet could be read, the world grew a little bit sadder. The actor we marveled at, the voice that so many had grown up with, the man who made us all feel it was somehow his mission to make us smile... was suddenly and tragically no longer with us. President Barack Obama said of Williams: "He was one of a kind. He arrived in our lives as an alien but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit." 

Eminems Triumph Over Addiction

In the world of music, the name Eminem has become synonymous with Hip Hop. As a rapper, producer, songwriter, and actor, Eminem has amassed a reputation that few other artists can dare rival. With 13 Grammy Awards, and having sold more than 115 million albums and records worldwide, Eminem is one of the best-selling artists of all time; achieving ten number-one albums on the Billboard 200 list, and being declared The King of Hip Hop by Rolling Stone Magazine. 

Inpatient Treatment For Children

As a parent, there is nothing in this world you love more than your child. After all, you brought them into this world. You carried them in your arms when they were young, you changed their diapers, you even took them to school their first day. You watched them grow and develop. You witnessed their first steps, and you remember their first words. You love your children. And because of that love, it pains you to see them in any sort of trouble. You know something is wrong. You can feel them slipping away. You want to help, but maybe you just don’t know how. Maybe you don’t even want to admit the severity of the problem – but you know something needs to be done. You know you need to do something. The first thing you need to do is recognize the problem. 

Inpatient Addiction Treatment Saves Lives

If you are reading this right now, then there is a good chance you may be going through some sort of difficulty in your life. For some, it’s alcohol - for others, drugs - and for even more, depression. Many times, it may even be a combination of any of those. According to a national survey on drug use and health, in 2007, 23.2 million people (about 9% of the U.S. population) over the age of 12 were in need of treatment for illicit drug or alcohol abuse. Of all those individuals, only 2.4 million (10.4% of those who needed treatment) received treatment at a specialty facility (i.e. hospital, drug or alcohol rehabilitation or mental health center). That means that 20.8 million people (89.6% of the people who needed treatment) did not receive it. And these estimates prove similar year after year. 

Does the world need harsher drug laws?

On November 6, 2012, Colorado passed Amendment 64 to its state constitution. This amendment outlined a new statewide drug policy that outlined new rules and guidelines for the cultivation, manufacture, sale, and personal use of marijuana for adults 21 and over. In essence, it was granted the same privilege as alcohol. On January 1, 2014, the first stores of their kind in the country opened their doors in Colorado. Just 5 months later, the state of Washington began issuing business licenses to marijuana retailers as well. 

Alcohol Poisoning: How Much Is Too Much?

In early 2015, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released a report stating that from 2010-2012, there was an average of 2,221 deaths per year from alcohol poisoning- that translates to 6 deaths per day from excessive alcohol consumption in the United States. These types of deaths are preventable! Knowing how much alcohol is safe for you to consume in a given time period, as well as what action to take when you suspect alcohol poisoning in another person, could very well save a life. 

The Role of Role Models

Growing up in today’s society isn’t easy. There’s so much pressure put on our youth to be the most attractive, the most athletic, or the most popular. Celebrities seem to be getting younger and younger, and media coverage of them is almost incessant. A child nowadays can’t go a day without being bombarded with pop-culture nonsense that shape and mold their perceptions of the world. 

What is Physical Addiction?

When people think about addiction, they often don’t realize that addiction doesn't simply come in one form. Not in the sense of what we become addicted to, but rather how addiction is able to take hold of us. Addiction tends to function more like a team; coordinating an attack on us from multiple sides. On one side you have psychological addiction, which attacks you on a more subconscious level. Infiltrating your mind, and affecting your mental and emotional well-being. On the other side, you have physical addiction. This is the addiction that you feel upfront. This is the addiction that attaches itself to your body and holds-on at the expense of making you feel miserable. 

The Hidden Cost of Addiction

Everyone knows addiction isn’t cheap. Drugs cost money, alcohol costs money, and the more you need something, the more you’re going to keep spending. But how much does addiction really cost? Not just in terms of money, but in terms of health, career, the law, and overall society. Let’s take a look at some of the hidden costs of addiction: 

Driving Under the Influence - The Preventable Problem

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some point in their lives. In 2009, approximately 10,839 people were killed in such crashes. An average of one alcohol-related driving fatality occurred every 48 minutes in 2009. On average, someone is injured every 90 seconds. An estimated 30 million people a year have admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol, and 10 million have admitted to driving under the influence of illicit drugs. In 2011, 226 children were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Of those, 122 (54% percent) were riding with the drunk driver. 

Overcoming Addiction - How can we Help?

If someone you love is battling with addiction, you’re probably dealing with an emotional whirlwind yourself. Anger, frustration, fear, guilt, shame, and confusion are likely all things you are experiencing. You just want to help them but you’ve yet to figure out how. If you suspect that someone you love has a substance-abuse problem, it’s important that you handle the situation carefully. You should be aware that their reaction to confrontation may not be pleasant, but your priority should remain finding help for them. But before you can discuss treatment options with them, the first step is to bring up the substance abuse in a way that is careful and loving as opposed to judgmental or confrontational.  

Drug Endangered Children

The Office of National Drug Control Policy defines a Drug Endangered Child as:
“...a person, under the age of 18, who lives in or is exposed to an environment where drugs, including pharmaceuticals, are illegally used, possessed, trafficked, diverted, and/or manufactured and, as a result of that environment: the child experiences, or is at risk of experiencing, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; the child experiences, or is at risk of experiencing, medical, educational, emotional, or physical harm, including harm resulting or possibly resulting from neglect; or the child is forced to participate in illegal or sexual activity in exchange for drugs or in exchange for money likely to be used to purchase drugs.” - Federal Interagency Task Force for Drug Endangered Children (2010) 

Drug Addiction - Where to get Help

If you’re struggling with drug addiction, sobriety can seem completely out of reach. But recovery is possible. The road to recovery often involves setbacks, so don’t give up just because previous attempts at getting sober have been unsuccessful. Being willing to ask for help is the first step, and will start you off in the right direction. 

Addiction Support Groups

Life isn’t easy. While a lot of joy and positivity can be found, there is also inevitably sickness, struggles, and passing on of loved ones. Support groups provide one way of coping with these situations when they arise, and when they seem too difficult to move beyond by oneself. Oftentimes people who are going through a tough time can feel isolated and alone, despite support from friends and family. In support groups, people who share in a common struggle meet regularly to share with one another, exchange coping strategies, and to feel a sense of community. The realization that others, too, are experiencing something similar or have been through it before (and survived!) can offer immeasurable hope and comfort. 

Underage Drinking and Peer Pressure

Adolescence is a minefield of social and emotional exploration. It’s where we test boundaries and learn through example. And that example, more often than not, is learned through the actions of those we are surrounded by the most – our peers. 

A Brief History of Heroin

The opium poppy, the plant from which heroin was developed, began to spread from the Sumerian civilization as early as 700 B.C. Opium spread throughout the ancient world via trade routes, and was first popularly documented in Greece, where opium was prescribed to people as a form of insomnia treatment. De Materia Medica, a medical text written in the first century A.D., heralded opium as a cure for insomnia, diarrhea, and nausea. 

How To Reinvent Yourself After Addiction

Anyone who has made the decision to accept treatment can tell you it’s a difficult journey. Your addiction showed you, and the rest of the world, a side of yourself you never want to see again. Chances are you may have some regrets, you may have even burned some bridges before you got to this point – but you’ve got to this point! You made the decision to make changes. You refuse to be another statistic. You chose to take back control over your life. 

Detoxing with Suboxone: Is it safe?

Opioid dependence - addiction to prescription painkillers or heroin - is a serious medical condition. Because of the ways opioids change the chemistry of the brain, withdrawal symptoms and the accompanying intense cravings can be intense and difficult to manage on your own. 

The Difference Between East Coast and West Coast Treatment

The United States is a vast country with hundreds of millions of people, hosting a myriad of problems, afflictions, and addictions. But it might surprise you to learn that depending on which part of the country you’re in, you very well could be exposed to a significantly different approach to drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment. With so many political, educational, and socioeconomic differences from one end of the country to the other, it’s not unreasonable to suspect the substance abuse problems on the east coast may not be the same as those on the west coast. 

Physical Addiction and Psychological Addiction: What’s The Difference?

When asked, most people can give a brief description of what addiction is. It’s even fair to say that many people may be or know someone who has struggled at one point with an addiction or dependence problem. But did you know that when a person is battling addiction, they’re very likely fighting two different types of the same addiction at once – Physical and Psychological. The line between the two isn’t always the clearest, and they can sometimes overlap – but the easiest way to tell the difference between psychological addiction and physical addiction is to think of it as one being controlled by the mind, and the other being controlled by the body. 

What Is Denial And How Can I Overcome It?

One of the hardest things a person can do is to look in the mirror and accept a reflection of themselves they don’t want to see. Sometimes that reflection can be painful. Sometimes it doesn’t fit into our view of who we are or who we want to be. It’s when we refuse to accept that reflection that we are creating a wall between us and reality called denial. However, following the tips listed below will help to take down that wall and live in the reality of our situation: 

When is the Right Time to Have an Intervention?

Someone you love has a problem. Maybe it’s obvious, maybe it isn’t. Maybe they’ve been behaving strangely lately, or they’ve been growing increasingly distant, or their priorities seem to have shifted for no apparent reason. Whatever the signs are, the person you love isn’t who they used to be. You think they may be suffering from an addiction. So the question now becomes, “When should I intervene and how do I it?” 

Addiction in Disguise - High-Functioning Alcoholics and Drug Addicts

There’s a stereotype that revolves around the word addict. We all tend to picture it when we hear that word. We see it on the TV and in the movies… the perpetual loser itching for his next “fix”. We see it on the streets when we commute to work… the vagrant begging for our spare-change. We cringe should we ever find out someone we casually know suffers from an addiction. But as with all stereotypes, the closer you look, the less generalization can be made. 

Can Heroin Addiction Be Cured?

Heroin is highly addictive, incredibly destructive, and notoriously difficult to quit. Derived from Morphine and first developed in the late 19th century as a pain reliever, Heroin found it’s way to becoming a controlled substance in 1914, and is widely considered to be the most abused opiate. Heroin comes in many forms. Heroin’s pure form is a white, bitter powder - although it can vary in appearance depending on manufacturing impurities and presence of different additives. 

At What Point Did My Drinking Become a Problem?

Am I an alcoholic, or do I just like to drink – or at what point are the two no longer mutually exclusive? It’s a tricky question that many of us might have to face at some point in our lives. At what point does having a drink become having a drinking problem? Will I recognize it before it happens? Am I too late? These are the tricky questions that we try not to think about; but they’re also the questions we often need to ask the most. 

Convincing Your Loved One to Accept Help

If you’re reading this, then chances are that someone you love needs your help. Whether it be a son or daughter who is slipping away to drugs, a husband or wife being drowned by alcohol, or even a close friend falling to the wayside by their substance abuse – the fact is, you’re not powerless to help them. It’s a common myth that for addiction treatment to work effectively, a person must enter willingly. The truth is, many addicts choose the path to recovery only after friends and family recognized the problem and chose to intervene. Your voice is more powerful than you think. You just need to learn how to effectively get through the denial and be heard. 

Dancing With Molly… EDM and the Drug Culture That Plagues It

Tomorrowland, Electric Daisy Carnival, Ultra, Shambhala, Movement, and Electric Zoo. These are just a few of the many, many music festivals dedicated to the ever-increasing phenomenon that is Electronic Dance Music (or EDM for short). Beginning in the 1980s as an underground movement, it wasn’t until recent years that EDM exploded into the forefront of mainstream music. Shifting a generation of music fans from the hip-hop driven popular music that dominated the 2000s, to the polished sounds of house, trance, dubstep, trap, and the dozens of other sub-genres that fall under the umbrella of EDM. To give an idea of just how large an industry EDM concerts and festivals are – in a 2013 report regarding the Ultra Music Festival held in Miami every year, the weekend event alone was estimated to boost the local economy by $79 million. 

3 Celebrity Addiction Recovery Success Stories

Let’s face it… We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture. It seems as though you can’t turn on the televisions nowadays without watching a famous face in trouble with the law, or suffering from some kind of meltdown – and usually, it always seems to be drug or alcohol related. We see it happen so much that, on some level, it sometimes feels expected. 

Art Therapy - A Creative Approach to Recovery

We all want to express ourselves. It’s an innate desire within all of us to want to be understood by others at some level. For most of us, it’s verbal. We communicate with our words through every day, social interaction. But for some of us who may be dealing with drug or alcohol addictions, that form of expression can seem nearly impossible. That’s where art therapy comes into the spotlight. Art therapy is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the use of arts, such as painting, drawing, pottery, sculpture, writing, and other forms of media to give people a safe, creative outlet to express their innermost emotions. 

What is Holistic Treatment?

Modern medicine is a fantastic thing. Advances such as X-ray machines, MRIs, CAT scans, and ECGs allow doctors to see inside the human body and detect problems in a way that normal observation never allowed. But what if not all the problems of the human condition could be detected by modern medicine? Often times, doctors are very good at telling you what is wrong with you – but not always able to tell you why. Holistic treatment is a different approach. It pinpoints the underlying cause of your issues by focusing on your life as a whole – body, mind, and spirit

Can an Alcoholic Drink in Moderation?

Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. Over 17 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than seven million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent or has abused alcohol. 

The Underground Silk Road

What kind of fantasy world would we live in if a family member, friend, or co-worker was an underground drug lord? Imagine if the “good samaritan” that he or she is, was behind a desk working a 9 to 5 by day and trafficking drugs and guns by night? Well, stop imagining because the makers of and other websites alike have seemingly turned this fairy tale into a very dangerous reality. The Silk Road was a underground market that allows anyone with an internet connection to buy or sell drugs online. The concept was basically “drug trafficking made easy”.  

Are Electronic Cigarettes the Solution?

The electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) is a battery powered device that is designed to mimic cigarettes through its unique electronic nicotine delivery system. In 2009, the unique smoking alternative began to be hugely popular, and has only increased since then. At that time, seemingly everyone had to have one as it was more about the image and less about the health benefits. Recently, reasons for using e-cigarettes have reciprocated as more and more nicotine addicts have used e cigarettes solely for health reasons. 

Nar-Anon: The Support System

Nar-Anon is a twelve-step program for people who are struggling with a loved one in addiction or recovery. It is a therapeutic place to go when you need to let out tears, experience, and even laughter, while providing hope, strength, education, and support for very genuine people who know what you’re going through. More often than not, you will see tentative newcomers who are uncertain about whether Nar-Anon is the right place for them. Seasoned veterans ensure their place by showing unconditional support. 

Chronic Pain Vs. Opioids

Anyone who’s suffered from chronic pain can tell you – it’s not just the pain, it’s the fear of pain that’s awful too. About 100 million U.S. adults are affected by chronic pain conditions - a problem that comes with a cost of between $560 and $635 billion annually in medical care and lost productivity.  

Alcohol Abuse and Social Anxiety

It is estimated that on any given year, anywhere from 2 to 13 percent of the US population are affected by Social Anxiety Disorder – the excessive fear of social situations. Of that group, 20 percent are reported to suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. 

Amphetamines: Fair or Unfair?

Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that is characterized by abnormally short attention spans, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. ADHD is widely prescribed for children or teenagers who claim that their poor grades are attributable to a lack of focus or retention. This disorder has been the focus of large amounts of research, both in its origin and optimal treatment. Amphetamines, such as Adderal or Ritalin, are have been shown to be effective in increasing focus and attention. 

Synthetic Marijuana

Synthetic marijuana is a designer drug that first gained usage and popularity in the early 2000's. Prior to its official ban and reclassification as a controlled-substance in 2012, Synthetic marijuana typically sold in stores as incense or other seemingly innocent products -- marked "not for human consumption", and under various name brands. It was created as a legal alternative to traditional marijuana. 

Self Diagnosis and Addiction

Nowadays, we all have a tendency to self-diagnose to a certain degree. Between listening to the opinions of our friends and family, our own observations, and the almost overwhelming amount of information available to us online; it’s become commonplace for people to turn to their own immediate resources and try to solve their own problems. 

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is when a person has both a mental disorder and an alcohol or drug problem. These conditions often occur together, however someone who initially has a mental disorder will often try to self medicate which can result in addiction. In particular, alcohol and drug problems mainly occur following depression and anxiety, but schizophrenia and other personality disorders can be the culprit as well. Identifying someone with dual diagnosis is easier said than done. 

One on One Addiction Treatment Therapy

Individualized therapy at Serenity Acres is the key to our success. Addiction treatment is not one-size-fits all. The purpose of individualized therapy is to surface the underlying cause of the patient’s addiction and motivate, encourage, and educate the client about the recovery process and relapse prevention. One on one addiction treatment allows the patient to go deeper into their personal experience than in a group setting, which is vital to the recovery process. 

Luxury Vs Warehouse Rehab

When it comes to deciding on a rehabilitation center, it is important to know the difference between luxury and “warehouse” rehab. There are clear contrasts between the two, and many people are uncertain of what these rehabilitation centers have to offer. Researching where you want you or loved one to go before you come to a conclusion is key when it comes to sobriety. 

The Power of Keeping a Journal in Addiction Recovery

When seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction at Serenity Acres, clients start with an intensive addiction recovery program after detox. They attend individual, group and family therapy and learn vital coping mechanisms and life skills. But what if the addict is not ready to talk? What if they haven’t made sense of their behavior? 

A Link Between Smoking and Mental Health

There is no one single reason why so many people who live with mental illness smoke. If nicotine can alter the brain, then this could explain why many people who smoke may be at risk for developing mental illnesses. In an article for the American Psychological Association (link here), Kirsten Weir discusses the relationship between smoking and mental illness, noting that having a mental illness places someone at a 70% greater risk for smoking than someone in the general population. 

Heroin Detox

Heroin detox is the process in which an addict makes the decision to abstain from heroin and the body rids itself of heroin. Within days, hours, or even minutes of this decision the addict will crave the drug which makes it very difficult for them to continue through the detox program.  

Benzo Detox

Detox is a process that starts when an addict decides to abandon their drug of choice and commit to sobriety. Benzodiazepines, similar to heroin, block a receptor known as GABA that our brain produces. This receptor is responsible for feelings of sedation and extreme relaxation, so when an addict stops using benzodiazepines, their physical state is far from relaxed. In fact, the addict can become extremely anxious. 

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox is the abrupt cessation of alcohol intake. It also helps a patient to navigate safely through the process of withdrawal after stopping consumption of alcohol. In most cases of detox, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will begin within 2 hours after the patient has his or her last drink. 

Benzodiazepine Relapse Prevention

Benzodiazepines and alcohol go hand in hand. They are both psychoactive chemicals that affect the brain very similarly. They are central nervous system depressants that can be extremely sedating when ingested. Accordingly, the relapse prevention plan isn’t vastly different and just like alcohol, stopping benzodiazepines cold turkey can be deadly. A key component to preventing relapse is developing a plan. 

Heroin Relapse Prevention

Relapse is the return to use of drugs after a period of abstinence. It is common in 66% of all patients who are attempting to stay clean for the first time. It is a process, not an event. Relapse is a process where an individual becomes unable to cope with life in sobriety. Although relapse is not a self-inflicted condition, it is triggered by a wide variety of problems that can be effectively treated. 

Alcohol Relapse Prevention

How does an alcoholic refuse a drink? It’s not as simple as “just saying no,” as any alcoholic already knows. Conquering alcohol takes a comprehensive plan to achieve long term success. 

Treatment for Benzo Addiction

Like alcohol, after long term abuse, stopping use of benzodiazepine cold-turkey is very harmful and can be lethal. Generally, the best way to treat benzo addiction is to begin with a gradual and medically supervised detoxification process, where the body is slowly cleared of the drug and toxins, and withdrawal can be monitored. Following detox, a regiment of assorted therapies and involvement in twelve-step programs provides the greatest defense against relapse. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Benzo Abuse?

A highly overlooked epidemic that is starting to catch up with our children today is the use and abuse of Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos, are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety and panic attacks. These drugs act on the central nervous system, and generally have a high potential for dependence. Long-term use can frequently result in addiction or abuse, and you should always follow a doctor’s advice on the necessary dosing. 

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin has been around since the late 1800’s. It was originally developed as a cough medicine by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, then later became used by doctors as a non-addictive treatment for morphine addiction. It was believed that if the heroin was injected directly into the veins of the patient, it bypassed the digestive system and therefore was non-addictive. 

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Heroin withdrawal is one of the most excruciating experiences an addict can face. The physical withdrawal is painful and uncomfortable, and the mental heroin withdrawal is just as awful. Withdrawal comes in two stages: acute and post-acute. 

Heroin Addiction: Is your loved one addicted to Heroin?

Heroin is an opiate drug derived from Morphine. It is highly addictive and very dangerous. Typically Heroin is smoked, snorted, or injected by the user. Heroin addiction, like many other forms of substance abuse, often is the result of co-occurring mental illness such as depression, anxiety, or personality disorders. If you have suspicions that your loved one is addicted to Heroin, there are several signs that you can look for that indicate this might be the case. According to the National Institute of Health, these are the main symptoms of Heroin addiction

Equine Therapy for Addiction Treatment

At Serenity Acres, we offer a variety of treatment options and modalities, including equestrian therapy. Equestrian therapy has been used for a variety of reasons, helping to treat things like physical disabilities, addiction, cognitive issues, and much more. Our equine therapy program allows clients to develop a relationship with horses by grooming, riding, and learning other basic horse care skills. Through spending time with the horses, our patients begin to develop an understanding of how to communicate non-verbally with the animals. 

Synergism And Addiction

Addiction often involves the use of more than one substance, such as prescription pain medications and alcohol. Taken separately and in excess the effects can be debilitating to one suffering from the disease of addiction, but taken together the results can prove even more deadly due to the biochemical process known as "synergism". 

Does Meditation Really Work?

You’ve probably heard that meditation can help with stress relief and other conditions. What you may not know is that there is actually clinical evidence that meditation is effective. The evidence shows that meditation may help to rewire the brain, effectively helping to modify behavior, cravings, and triggers. It is also being proven over and over again that meditation is very helpful in battling mental illness

Dissociative Identity Disorder

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is commonly known or referred to as multiple personality disorder. When we think of DID, we generally think of extreme cases. However, as with any disease or illness, there is a spectrum, from the mild to the severe. In the general public, it is estimated that up to 3% of the population is suffering from DID. In the substance abuse, eating disorder, and OCD population, it is believed that up to 5% of the population suffers from DID. 

Anxiety and Drug Addiction

One of the most common co-occurring disorders that we see is anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders come in many forms: panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress syndrome, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, and generalized anxiety disorder. 

Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

When someone is suffering from addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, but also has a co-occurring disorder, you likely know something is wrong but may not be sure as to the source or root of your concerns. These concerns are likely exacerbated by abnormal behavior and warped thinking patterns, and create a feeling of isolation within the afflicted person. 

The Signs Of Alcoholism

Am I an Alcoholic? That is a good question. Unfortunately only you can determine if you are or not. However if you’re asking that question, then chances are you at least may have a problem with drinking. There are signs that can help confirm a self diagnosis. 

Prescription Painkiller Addiction

Prescription pain medication addiction is a growing problem in the US. An estimated 5.2 million people used prescription pain relievers in 2006 for nonmedical reasons, up from 4.7 million in 2005, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. That’s more than twice the 2.4 million people the department estimates use cocaine nationwide. It is believed that nearly 5 percent of the total adult population in the Unites States abuses or misuses prescription drugs and painkillers, like OxyContin and Vicodin. 

Marijuana Addiction

We often hear that marijuana is not addictive. Not only is it addictive, but there are some very real consequences that come along with its use. A vast majority of people lean on the side that marijuana should be legal. Legal or not, marijuana use will eventually take a toll on the user. 

Women and Addiction

Though drug addiction affects both men and women, there are proven sex differences in how each processes drugs and progresses to addiction, often with different underlying causes. Serenity Acres treats both men and women with an emphasis on individualized treatment that deals with gender issues as well as other unique issues. Because we mix traditional therapy with holistic methods, our treatment is comprehensive and all encompassing. According to a report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women have a shorter history of abusing certain substances, but show a quicker progression from first use of a drug to developing dependence. As a result, women typically enter drug and alcohol treatment with more severe medical, behavioral, psychological, and social problems. 

What Is Addiction?

The average person may have a hard time defining what addiction truly is. Hopefully we can help you understand. “Addiction means using a substance repeatedly, despite knowing and experiencing its harmful effects. The person using the substance cannot control the urge to use it and needs increasing amounts to achieve the effect he craves. On abruptly stopping use of the substance, the person can experience withdrawal effects like watering of nose and eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, sleep disturbances, aches and pains and epileptic fits.” -World Health Organization (WHO) 

Why Do Some Succumb to Addiction and Others Do Not?

Why do some people become addicted? This is a great question. There are several key factors that will influence whether one will become addicted or not. More often than not, it is a combination of these factors that will lead to a greater chance of one becoming an addict. It should be said that the more factors one has, their likelihood increases. Those factors are: 

How long should I stay in treatment?

We always get the same question from prospective residents: How long will I/my loved one need to be in treatment? The answer is different for everyone, but generally speaking, we promote 90 days of inpatient followed by ongoing outpatient treatment. Addicts do not get sick overnight, the issues and problems that have led to their addiction in the first place have built up over time. 

Relapse, Really?

Why do you say I relapsed if I haven’t used any drugs? This is a question that we hear all the time. For so many in recovery they think of a “relapse” as using. When in fact that is not true. Relapse defined- occurs when a person is affected again by a condition that affected them in the past. This could be a medical or a psychological condition or both. In other words relapse is not an individual occurrence or event. Relapse is a process. When you have consumed that drug or drank, you in fact have “used”. 

RIP Betty Ford

Betty Ford was a pioneer in substance abuse treatment. The Betty Ford Clinic is world famous, and most treatment centers are built upon some of the same philosophies and treatment models that they made commonplace. The world lost a great woman, but fortunately her work lives on. 

When Should You Seek Help For Addiction?

We often get asked when is the best time to start treatment. For us, the answer will always be the same. If you’re asking that question, the answer is now. The longer you wait to get treatment, the harder it is to treat, and the higher your chances of adverse consequences and death become. 

Low Energy? Your addiction may be to blame

Many addicts and alcoholics in early recovery suffer from a chronic feeling of tiredness, which could be attributed to a number of factors. One such factor is simply due to the fact that in early recovery, a schedule of meetings and felllowship (in addition to any job or school demands) can keep the recovering addict quite busy. Most of us come into recovery having little to no actual social lives, and discovering the fellowship of sobriety, and learning we can actually have fun sober, can cause many to take these things to the extreme. While they are helpful, it is important to exercise moderation and ensure we are taking time to heal and rest. Other factors are more biological in nature. 

Holistic Drug Treatment

Holistic drug treatment is an alternative form of therapy used to treat addiction and other disorders. Although holistic medicine has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, it only started gaining popularity in the Western culture during the twentieth century. 

Maryland’s Drug Epidemic

If you’ve ever seen an episode of the HBO drama The Wire, you’d probably think of Baltimore as being a cesspool of drugs and crime. A city in which the flourishing of the drug dealers is only held in contrast to the desperation of its drug users. A casual drive away from its bustling downtown area and into its less affluent residential areas may even help to reinforce the perception as seen on the show. Rows of homes, either condemned or neglected into ruin; graffiti artwork displayed prominently on structure canvas; police cameras mounted high, monitoring neighborhood intersections. Without knowing too much more about Baltimore, one might walk away with the impression that the city was not only a reflection of the state itself, but a reflection of America’s notorious failure on the war on drugs.