More Opiate Addicts Recover with Sober Living Housing

More Opiate Addicts Recover with Sober Living Housing | Transcend Recovery Community

There have been a few recent studies that confirm the incredible value that sober living homes have in a person’s ability to stay sober.

One study done in 2012 found that this is particularly true for opiate addicts, those who are addicted to either heroin or prescription pain relievers. The study found that the inclusion of sober living homes and day treatment programs in a person’s treatment plan greatly improves the chances he or she will recover from opiates. Typically, those who have completed detoxification struggle when they enter the early stages of their sobriety. For those who use detox as their only means of treatment tend to have extremely high relapse rates. Relapse rates within a month of undergoing detox are between 65 percent and 80 percent, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Yet, the study found that opiate addicts who were provided with drug-free recovery housing and day treatment programs right after detox were up to 10 times more likely to remain drug-free.

To arrive at these conclusions, researchers examined the experiences of 243 opioid addicts, primarily those with heroin addictions, after their release from detox. Of those in the study who had no follow-up housing or treatment, only 32 people were able to stay drug-free compared to 90 men and women who were able to stay drug-free with housing, and 121 men and women who remained drug-free who received both housing and day treatment. It makes sense that those with supportive living environments after detoxification would have more of a chance to stay sober. Environment, support networks, and mental health professionals around you can greatly improve the probabilities of staying sober.

Another study done 2011 found that sober living homes are an effective means for achieving sobriety when certain factors are in place. The study found that for 300 individuals a sober living home was an effective option for those in need of alcohol-free and drug-free housing. When individuals were involved in 12-step programs, had a strong network of support and were living in a drug-free environment, they tended to reach sobriety with few or no relapses. The study reaffirmed the importance of social and environmental factors in recovery.

In the lives of participants of the study, improvements were seen in the areas of alcohol and drug use, arrests, psychiatric symptoms and employment. It was clear from the study that there are certain factors that predict better recovery outcomes, such as high involvement in 12-step meetings, little alcohol and drug use among peers, and a low severity level for any presenting mental illnesses. The study also found that for those who were referred to sober living homes from the criminal justice system, they experienced similar outcomes when these same factors were present. However, they had a harder time finding and keeping work and had higher re-arrest rates. Of course, sober living homes are effective for almost any kind of addiction.

These research studies reveal the advantages of staying in a sober living home, extending treatment beyond simply detox. Here are some of the clear benefits of residing in a home for sober living:

  • Sober living homes are affordable, alcohol and drug-free environments that provide a positive place for peer group recovery.
  • Sober living homes facilitate individual recovery by providing an environment that allows their participants to become self-supporting.
  • Quality assurance in homes is maintained through a membership in a sober living coalition or network. Sober living homes must abide by a particular code of ethics. For instance, the Los Angeles County Sober Living Coalition has established regulations on how sober living homes run their businesses in Los Angeles.
  • Sober living homes are typically single-family homes in quiet, residential neighborhoods.
  • Sober living homes typically have regulations that ensure the safety and sobriety of its guests, of which the single most important rule is zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol.

Certainly, addiction is a challenging cycle to break. However, once treatment is done, the benefits of continuing to live in a supportive environment could be the one factor that makes or breaks long-term sobriety.


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The Current Status of America’s Opiate Epidemic

The Current Status of America's Opiate Epidemic | Transcend Recovery Community

In December of 1995, the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug known as OxyContin. The year it hit the market it earned $45 million for its manufacturer, Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma. As the years continued, the amount of money that the drug made continued to rise. Currently, this drug alone accounts for 30 percent of the painkiller market. However, the real danger is that the amount of people overdosing on the drug continues to rise.

OxyContin, also known as oxycodone, is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. OxyContin is used to treat moderate to severe pain that is expected to last for an extended period of time. OxyContin is used for around-the-clock treatment of pain. It often advised to avoid using OxyContin on an “as-needed” basis for pain. Rather, it is for long-term pain.

Although the drug has provided consistent pain relief for many people with back issues, and other painful injuries, OxyContin and other opiates are incredibly addictive. Sadly, there has been a large surge of addictions to painkillers in this country and the drug can be hard to break, as many news reports, articles, and television programs are revealing. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of heroin users almost doubled. In 2007, for example, 337 thousand people were addicted to heroin in America and in 2012 that number jumped up to 669 thousand.

In fact, as the number of those addicted to painkillers continued to rise, experts called the experience an epidemic. People weren’t only addicted to painkillers, they were also overdosing on them. Furthermore, as people were becoming more and more addicted to painkillers, they were also finding their way to heroin, which is also an opiate. Someone who is addicted to opiates may use either heroin or painkillers or both to get a fix.

Opiod that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. Heroin can be ingested through injecting, snorting, sniffing, or smoking it. Symptoms of using heroin include red or raw nostrils, needle marks or scars on arms, wearing long sleeves at inappropriate times, and medicinal breath. Long-term symptoms are loss of appetite, constipation, brain damage, and damage to the central nervous system.

Heroin is a dangerous drug, not only for being incredibly addictive, but also the drug essentially rewires the brain suppressing all instincts and slowing down the nervous system. In fact, heroin is one of the most difficult drugs to quit. Its dependence rating is high and the quickness with which you become you addicted is dangerous. The same is true with painkillers, if they are not being taken according to how they’ve been prescribed. They too can bring intense side effects, particularly when the high begins to wear off and there are the beginning signs of withdrawal. Some withdrawal symptoms and side effects include: burning in the stomach or chest, indigestion, nausea, no appetite, headache, sensitivity to light, exhaustion, insomnia, and difficult thoughts and feelings.

To get a clear picture of the current status of the American epidemic with opiates, research from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) can be used. For example, on January 12 of this year, the CDC released its 2013 Drug Overdose Mortality Data. This report shows no improvement in mortality rates associated with prescription opioids. And currently, opioids rank number one in terms of drug overdose deaths. Overall, deaths from all prescription drugs increased by 6% between 2012 and 2013. Furthermore, deaths from opioids increased by one percent, and heroin deaths went up by 39 percent.

Currently, statistics and research indicates that the epidemic is still underway. Although there are many people and organizations doing their best to put an end to the opiate addiction, by providing psycho-education, opening treatment homes, and more, it’s clear that America will need much more to overcome this national wound.


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Sober Living News: The DEA Reclassifies Hydrocodone

Sober Living News: The DEA Reclassifies Hydrocodone | Transcend Recovery Community

Hydrocodone is an opiate and one of those painkillers that millions of Americans are addicted to. Read the news, especially reports having to do with New England, and you’ll hear addiction stories of those caught in the nation’s heroin epidemic.

Hydrocodone is not heroin necessarily. However, because it’s often prescribed to relieve pain and frequently a drug that is abused, many who are addicted to painkillers will eventually make their way to using heroin. Both pain medication and heroin are both opiates and can produce the same high. However, heroin is becoming less and less expensive, allowing for an easy switch to heroin from painkillers. Between 2007 and 2012, the number of heroin users almost doubled. In 2007, for example, 337 thousand people were addicted to heroin in America and in 2012 that number jumped up to 669 thousand.

In fact, there are thousands of people needing sober living treatment in America who simply aren’t getting it. Even though many lives could be saved by residing at inpatient treatment centers and later at halfway houses, those who are addicted to opiates often don’t see a problem until it’s too late. In America, nearly 24 million people are addicted to alcohol or drugs. Yet only one in ten will get treatment.

To help curb the problem, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) ruled that it would reclassify all medical products containing the hydrocodone to Schedule II, which is a more restrictive class for more dangerous medication.  Their intention is to allow a smaller amount of hydrocodone into the market, restricting it so that less people can get their hands on it.

However, the truth is, that anyone addicted enough to need sober living treatment can search in the medicine cabinets of friends and family members and find some. Hydrocodone is frequently prescribed and often in high doses. It’s important to note, however, that when opioids are taken according to the way they have been prescribed, they’re considered to be safe. They will relieve pain and rarely cause an addiction. Yet, when these drugs are not taken according to direction, when they are abused, that’s when an individual can become vulnerable to addiction. And for this reason, the ruling is meant to keep hydrocodone medication away from those who aren’t meant to be using it.

Sadly, addictions to opioids are easy to develop, especially with regular use of tobacco, alcohol, and/or marijuana. It’s common for painkillers to become a door to the use of other drugs, which speaks to the general drug problem in America. With so many teens and adults needing treatment and sober living, there’s a clear problem in our country which invites a deep look at the cause of this widespread social problem.

Although the recent DEA’s ruling is meant to help solve this problem, there are 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain who might be affected by the more restricted classification of hydrocodone. For instance, the reclassification will make this drug harder to get for those who actually experience pain and who need a way to get relief. When the ruling goes into effect in October, pain medications with hydrocodone will only be prescribed for a 90 day period and patients will have to be seen by a doctor to get a new prescription. Furthermore, refills will not be able to be called into the pharmacy.

There’s no question that there is a drug concern in America, and the fact that the majority of those who need sober living treatment aren’t seeking it also points to a social issue. Perhaps the DEA ruling will help. Meanwhile, friends and family members will have to find their own solutions to keep their loved ones safe.


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