Narconon Addiction Treatment Admissions for Prescription Drugs Reflect Rising Abuse and Overdose Problems in America
Across the country, the number of people entering Narconon drug rehab centers shows increases in prescription drug addiction, matching the national pattern of growth in this category of abuse, treatment and overdose deaths.
According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overprescribing and abuse of prescription drugs have been climbing. Following right behind those statistics are addiction and overdose death statistics. While a decade or so ago, the main drugs killing people through overdoses were drugs like heroin and cocaine, these days far more people are being killed by prescription drugs – drugs that were intended to make life bearable for people with chronic pain or other serious conditions.
Mirroring this shift is the pattern of admissions to addiction treatment at Narconon drug recovery centers across the country. In the thirteen rehabs in the US that use the standardized Narconon addiction treatment protocol, the common pattern is an increase in the number of prescription drug addicts, as many as half of all admissions at some centers.
“The number of people needing to recover from prescription drug addiction – especially painkillers – has reached epidemic levels,” warned Bobby Wiggins, drug education specialist for the international headquarters of Narconon, located in Los Angeles. “More young people are abusing these drugs as well, so much so that abuse of prescription drugs threatens to overtake the use of marijuana by teens.” Mr. Wiggins cited the National Survey on Drug Use and Health by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which reported in that in 2009, nearly a million 14 and 15 year olds had abused a prescription drug at some point in their young lives. This is nearly eleven percent of all children of this age.
“Young people see their parents using these medications and then may see the drugs being abused in television shows and movies. Young people who feel they are stressed or anxious or are just curious or bored may take a few pills for their own use,” Mr. Wiggins explained. “But as the young people get older and have more means and freedom, this occasional use can become abuse and addiction very easily.”
The CDC report reviewed the number of drug overdose deaths in the US between 1999 and 2008 that were related to prescription drugs and then noted that opiate pain reliever use contributed to the largest number of drug deaths. Out of 36,450 drug overdose deaths in 2008, a specific drug or drugs were named in 27,153 deaths. Opiate pain relievers were responsible for nearly 74% of these deaths. Non-Hispanic whites and American Indian/Alaska Natives were the hardest hit, with three times the deaths of Hispanic whites or African Americans.
According to SAMHSA, there were 142,000 people admitted to addiction treatment facilities for problems with pain reliever addiction in 2009. But of all those who need treatment for addiction, fewer than 10% actually get treatment. Of those who did not receive treatment, only about one in twenty felt that they needed help with addiction. The remainder did not see the problem even though they fit the criteria for dependence or addiction. This means that there are probably around a million and a half Americans struggling with addiction to OxyContin, Roxicodone, hydrocodone (sold as Lortab, Lorcet or Vicodin), morphine, methadone, or the many other drugs on this list.
“The solution to this problem is multi-faceted,” reported Mr. Wiggins. “The CDC encourages the states to implement greater controls over opiate prescribing. The public must be better educated on the dangers of prescription drug abuse and there must be effective drug rehabilitation available.”
SAMSHA data gathering also found that in 2008, nearly four times as many of those people entering treatment for the second, third or more times reported pain reliever abuse as repeat admissions did in 1999. This follows the trend of broader prescribing and abuse followed by higher numbers of those addicted.
Mr. Wiggins concluded, “The cycle of addiction is broken when treatment eliminates the key factors that have been discovered at Narconon: guilt, cravings and depression.” At Narconon rehab centers around the world, seven out of ten graduates remain drug-free after they go home, whether they are getting help for alcohol, heroin, cocaine or prescription pain relievers.
Narconon Spokesperson says Suboxone Is Just One More Drug Following a Path that Drugs Designed to Handle Substance Abuse Traditionally Follow
A December 2011 story out of Eastern Pennsylvania tells us that out of 100 people who were recently busted for drug trafficking, a substantial number of arrests involved prescription drugs rather than street drugs. That in itself is not surprising, but one particular prescription drug stood out, Suboxone. It is used by doctors to treat addiction to opiate drugs. “Suboxone is a schedule III drug. It is an addictive narcotic and now we know it is available on the street, despite controls and cautions of the FDA,” says Bobby Wiggins, senior Drug Prevention Specialist at Narconon International.
The story is similar to what happened with Methadone once it was released as the miracle solution for heroin addiction decades ago. Methadone clinics sprang up everywhere. In some states fleets of mobile methadone clinics began criss-crossing cities and counties to save addicts from heroin addiction. At first Methadone was a hero. Its claim to fame was that people addicted to illegal heroin no longer would have to engage in criminal activity, because they could get a longer lasting, legal fix at their local methadone clinic.
Today, even though still dispensed from clinics, Methadone is also a dangerous street drug responsible for more overdoses than traditional street drugs and capable of causing more brutal withdrawal symptoms than the drugs it was designed to supplant.
Suboxone has become a medication of choice because doctors need a solution for record numbers of patients hooked on painkillers they or other doctors administered. Suboxone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 as an addiction-treatment medication. It’s a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. It’s an opioid blocker that works to discourage its user’s desire to abuse heroin and oxycodone-based medications like Percocet, OxyContin, Vicodin and the like.
Suboxone (brand name) and its generic versions are prescribed by primary care physicians. That means patients take a quantity of the drug home in either tablet or film form. It also means that it can easily be abused.
All Suboxone illegally trafficked today is procured directly from doctors who are specially certified to dispense it. Physicians apply for a special waiver to prescribe it, with approved applicants limited to 30 patients in their first year and no more than 100 patients total. Patients seeking addiction treatment may travel a substantial distance to meet with a doctor approved for a buprenorphine (Suboxone) waiver. There are 732 doctors approved to prescribe buprenorphine in Pennsylvania alone, multiply that by fifty states, and the potential supply of drugs is substantial.
What happens when Suboxone is on the street? It is the perfect stopgap between fixes for a heroin addict not able to get his hands on his drug of choice, since it prevents the withdrawal symptoms from kicking in. Authorities worry that the drug’s illegal use is supporting addicts, and it is also putting youth at risk who nab supplies from family medicine cabinets in pursuit of the high it gives.
In upstate New York last spring, ten indictments of Buffalo and Niagara Falls residents were for operating a prescription drug and cocaine distribution ring following a year-long multi-agency investigation. The focus was on the sale and re-sale of prescription drugs, such as Suboxone and Lortab, another narcotic pain reliever administered by doctors.
Individuals were coached in how to exaggerate their opiate addiction symptoms to get their prescribing doctors to give them maximum Suboxone prescriptions, which were then sold on the street. Medicaid Pharmacy Benefits covered the costs of most of the prescription drugs purchased.
Once Suboxone was a carefully monitored narcotic sanctioned by the FDA. The status of the drug is changing even as more and more doctors prescribe it. Criminal activity is now part and parcel of its story. It is also known to be addictive with its own very severe withdrawal symptoms. Overdoses, especially in combination with other drugs, can and do occur. We do not know yet if it will gain a rap sheet as long as that of Methadone. “Ultimately, trading one addiction for another is not a solution. The person who has become addicted to pain medication needs help to fight the addiction, not another drug to take its place,” says Wiggins.
For information on how the Narconon Program successfully handles pain killer addiction without the use of any drugs, contact 800-775 8750.
Narconon International Urges Alertness to the Capacity of Fine Festive Wines to Intoxicate
Going home for the Holidays can be a fun time with family, friends, nostalgia, and gifts. Unfortunately it can be a disaster when people forget that even the finest vintage beverage can turn deadly when mixed with driving.
“It is all too likely that blood alcohol content (BAC) of guests following holiday parties where alcohol has been served will be well above the limit where it is safe to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and drive home,” says Bobby Wiggins, senior Drug Prevention Specialist at Narconon International.
Quality expensive wines are often relied on to be traditional harbingers of holiday good cheer. The doorbell rings, the host answers and is handed a gaily wrapped bottle of wine. All the guests assembled anticipate the moment it will be uncorked and the first glasses poured. The furthest thing from anyone’s mind is that this could be the advent of a tragedy that plays out only hours later when guests leave for homes near and far.
Driving fatality statistics confirm that people who decide to drive even though their blood alcohol content is over the limit are putting themselves and others at risk on the highway. The Centers for Disease Control reports that every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes.
In Europe, trends are monitored by the European Transport Safety Council. Per a 2010 report, drunk driving remains one of the top three causes of road deaths throughout the 27 countries of the European Union. The council states there is “massive underreporting” in this area and estimates that alcohol related deaths make up to 25% of all road deaths (11.5% per statistics).
We haven’t been hanging out at a bar. We are not staggering or even from our point of view even tipsy. No one is urging us to take a cab for our own safety. We simply enjoyed a fine wine with the sumptuous dinner that was prepared and a few merry toasts poured throughout the evening. However, Wiggins tells us there is a factor that is often overlooked by hosts and guests alike.
“People who drink fine wine do drink it for the buzz as much as any of its other qualities. Experiencing that buzz equates to reduced faculties. It doesn’t matter whether the alcoholic beverage used to get the buzz was a can of beer, distilled liquors mixed or straight , cheap or the fanciest of wines,” says Wiggins.
There is no dispute of this. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Departments of Transportation (DOT), Health and Human Services (HSS), National Consumers League, and the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, to name a few, all strive to end the myth that some alcoholic beverages can get you more drunk than others. The fact is that the quantity of alcohol is the same whether it is found in a glass of white or red wine, a bottle of beer, or a shot of whiskey or other distilled spirits, straight or in a mixed drink. The size of the container varies, but the alcohol content remains about six-tenths of an ounce of pure alcohol in each case. The potential for getting drunk is the same.
Wiggins points out that often we have to suddenly maneuver our own car to avoid a “crazy (out of control)” driver for whatever the cause. We, not the other driver, are able to avoid the eminent crash. We have full control of our vehicle, but with a few glasses of wine in the picture it could end very differently.
Wiggins says, “We urge everyone to be alert to the intoxicating properties of their favorite wines and to take precautions to ensure that impaired drivers stay off our streets and highways. We also know that amongst those who drive under the influence are habitual users, and we sincerely hope that those who suffer from alcohol addiction are able to find a way to restore happiness in their own families this holiday season.” Narconon International with its worldwide network of rehabilitation centers is ready to help if you or anyone you love are alcohol dependent or struggling with dependency on any street or prescription drug.
Seizures of Amphetamine -Type Drugs Rocket around the World, Revealing Proliferation of Production, Sales and Abuse, According to UN
Narconon International President reports that the Narconon drug rehabilitation program helps offset growth in amphetamine-type stimulant abuse by providing addicts a way to recover effectively.
Around the world, it’s cocaine, heroin, marijuana and prescription drug abuse that normally grab the headlines. It appears that more attention should be paid to amphetamine-type stimulants. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are the up-and-coming drugs across the world, attracting users faster than any other type of drug.
Clark Carr, President of Narconon International, commented, “Addictive and damaging amphetamine-type drugs have long been the scourge of the Western United States, and now they have picked up speed in their distribution to new regions of the world. The only good news to this situation is that Narconon® has been successful rehabilitating such stimulant addicts.”
The new UN report, the 2011 Global ATS Assessment, observed that ATS drugs such as ecstasy, amphetamines and methamphetamine are now the second most widely used drug after cannabis. What makes the fight against these drugs harder is that they are completely synthetic, so they don’t need proximity to growing fields of opium poppies or cannabis. A drug manufacturer just needs a supply of precursor chemicals, plentifully manufactured in China, India and other areas. Even if a precursor chemical is not available, it’s possible to get other chemicals that are more readily available and synthesize the precursor.
ATS have been typically manufactured close to consumer markets, meaning that little transport is involved. This makes it harder to track and seize the drugs. As international organized crime groups seize this growing opportunity to reap profits from the addiction and destruction of others, the patterns of production and trafficking have begun to shift. With the involvement of organized crime groups, international manufacturing and distribution networks are being developed that share suppliers, resources and personnel.
The UN report notes increases in ATS manufacture and use in Indonesia, Malaysia and Cambodia, countries that were previously transit countries for this type of drug. Countries with criminal drug manufacturing groups that seem to be jumping on the bandwagon include Japan, Republic of Korea and Thailand plus several countries in West Africa.
In Southeast Asia, seizures of pills made of ATS rocketed up from 32 million in 2008 to 93 million in 2009 and 133 million in 2010. The fact that ATS can be ingested and doesn’t need to be injected makes it more popular with people who associate the drugs with a modern and dynamic lifestyle, or for people who feel like they need these drugs to cope with long hours or extended physical labor, such as truck drivers.
“Many people see little hazard in using these drugs as part of a club or music scene,” said Mr. Carr. “They underestimate the dangers and addictiveness of the drugs. ATS can be very quickly addictive for many people. Indeed, methamphetamine and ecstasy use can in some cases create severe cravings after just one use. It is possible to need drug rehabilitation services after just a short period of use of ATS”.
Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers located on six continents offer a long-term program that has good success with those addicted to ATS. One of the key features of this program is a sauna sweat-out detoxification procedure that enables the recovering addict to flush out drug toxins that remain behind after drug use. These residual toxins have been found to have multiple negative effects in body and mind.
When residues are flushed out using a combination of nutritional supplements, moderate exercise and time spent in a low-heat sauna, life can recover the brightness that was lost during drug use. This process is called the Narconon New Life Detoxification Program and is part of every person’s drug recovery at a Narconon center.
“One of the most damaging and dangerous effects of ATS addiction is that the person trying to achieve sobriety is hounded by long-term drug cravings,” added Mr. Carr. “The crushing fatigue and depression that follow stopping these stimulants are also deterrents to long lasting sobriety”.
“Fortunately, cravings, fatigue and depression are no match for the Narconon drug rehabilitation program. As residues from these drugs are flushed out, recovering addicts report restored ability to think clearly and improved mood and greatly reduced cravings. Around the world, seven out of ten Narconon graduates remain sober after they go home, even those recovering from ATS addiction.”
Internationally, the problem will be solved by putting international crime organizations out of business, by educating young people on why they should avoid drug use and by rehabilitating those who get trapped in addiction. Narconon centers provide education as well as rehabilitation to prevent young people from becoming drug users as the United Nations continues to bring international attention to this growing problem.
For more information on the Narconon Rehab and Detox Program, please visit www.narconon.org
For immediate assistance call 1800-775-8750
Narconon® staff regularly encounter teenage enrollees whose lives have gone awry due to addiction. Enrollments include a steady flow of young people who have fallen into unhealthy patterns of using and abusing drugs and alcohol according to Bobby Wiggins, director of Drug Prevention at Narconon International.
When looking for causes, a significant contributor to increased addiction amongst adolescents turns out to be parents who are not paying enough attention. “Assuming that sons and daughters are not at risk of succumbing to the drug culture when they are actively engaged in social media is not a safe assumption,” says Wiggins.
The latest CASA (National Center on Addiction and Drug Abuse) at Columbia University study concludes that parents bear the burden of “preventing drug and alcohol abuse among their children and teens” – including staying on top of social media activity of their teen age children.
The 16th annual National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse: Teens and Parents reports on yet another source of peer pressure that pushes young people toward drug and alcohol use. Findings state, “American teenagers who spend time on social networking sites are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs. Compared to teens that spend no time on social networking sites in a typical day, those who do are five times more likely to use tobacco; three times more likely to use alcohol; and twice as likely to use marijuana.”
The CASA report further reveals, “Seventy percent of teens report spending time on social networking sites in a typical day compared to 30 percent of teens who say they do not.” The study of 12 to 17 year olds shows that by far the largest majority are engaging in a freewheeling exchange of opinions, ideas and trends. “40 percent of all teens surveyed have seen pictures on social networking sites of their peers “getting drunk, passed out, or using drugs.” Half of teens who have seen these images on social networking sites first saw such pictures when they were 13 years of age or younger; more than 90 percent first saw such pictures when they were 15 or younger.
The CASA survey underscores the importance for any parents or caregivers of children to not only be alert to what is transpiring on the computer screen or hand held devices, but also that they must be on the same page about the messages they send to teens. One of the findings states: “Teens whose parents don’t agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drug use are more than three times likelier to use marijuana, and three-and-a-half times likelier to expect to try drugs in the future, than teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drug use. Teens whose parents do not agree completely with each other on what to say to their teen about drinking alcohol are twice as likely to use alcohol as teens whose parents agree completely on what to say about drinking.”
“The loss to the nation’s bright, young people who get caught up in drugs is one of the biggest tragedies we allow”, says Wiggins. “In our centers, we see that these same teens caught up in adolescent use of marijuana and other drugs once they complete the Narconon Drug Rehab Program exhibit qualities of leadership and high creativity any parent would be proud of. We see that parental pride when their sons or daughters graduate.”
Adolescent drug abuse is a growing problem. It can be handled.
For more information on the Narconon programs, please visit http://www.narconon.org/.
Statistics Show the Danger in Waiting for an Alcoholic to Hit Bottom, Narconon Advises to Get Help Before it is Too Late
When someone is addicted to alcohol, everyone around the alcoholic suffers. Wives, children, parents, co-workers, employers, even neighbors and friends suffer right along with the addicted person. Not only that, the entire community suffers. Other drivers are endangered, even pedestrians are at risk and law enforcement personnel are forced to pick up the broken pieces of alcohol-damaged lives, day after day.
There are some people who claim that you can’t help an alcoholic until they hit bottom. That they have to want to recover and ask for help before you can get them to walk through the doors of an alcohol rehab.
Tragically, some people die before they hit that rock bottom. Other people go through rehab, even multiple times, but failed to find the right rehabilitation center for them and so finally succumb to the problem.
In just the last several months, there has been a number of high-profile alcohol related deaths such as with Amy Winehouse, while earlier this year Gerry Rafferty died after a decade or more fighting alcoholism. One of the latest celebrities to fall is Jani Lane, lead singer of the 80s rock group Warrant, who died August 11, 2011 as a result of his alcoholism.
And while he is still alive, the mayor of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Bob Ryan, is currently under censure by some people in his community after he was involved in a drunken brawl at a bar. He publicly admitted his alcoholism and stated that he was getting treatment.
In 2010, former US Representative Charlie Wilson died of cardiac arrest; three years earlier he had received a heart transplant after decades of alcohol consumption damaged his heart. Dozens more people could be added to the list from sports, entertainment or political circles.
But these are just the high profile problems. For every celebrity who falls, there are thousands of ordinary people who struggle with the same kinds of problems, without the headlines or paparazzi. The World Health Organization states that 2.5 million deaths a year are caused by alcohol consumption.
Bobby Wiggins, spokesperson for Narconon International, explained that it is not necessary for a family to wait until an alcoholic is arrested or suffers a catastrophic loss before getting them into alcohol rehab. “Admittedly, it can be hard to get through to an alcoholic that they need help just due to the nature of alcoholism,” Mr. Wiggins stated. “Families should know that an alcoholic does not have to ‘hit bottom’ before get help. One of the benefits of working with a highly experienced drug and alcohol rehabilitation program like Narconon® is that they have access to interventionists. When a person can’t control their drinking, the right time for them to get help is right now, before there can be an arrest, an accident or a death.” Narconon is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of drug abuse and alcoholism through rehabilitation services and drug education.
Mr. Wiggins explained that many people come to Narconon centers around the world with the help of an interventionist. Many of their centers maintain working relationships with interventionists who are able to reach out and save the lives of addicts who desperately want to stop using drugs. Together the center and the interventionists are able to offer the degree of help an intensely dangerous condition like alcohol requires.
For more information on the Narconon program, contact 800-775-8750 or visit www.narconon.org.
Starting in 2003 in the UK, Amy Winehouse began to publish a series of albums that would bring her awards, riches, accolade and millions of fans. But after a few years in the limelight, Amy began also to struggle with cocaine, heroin and alcohol abuse that took her to the edge of illness and self-destruction time after time. Finally, on 23 July 2011, she lost the struggle, with the final condition that caused her demise being undetermined as of a week later.
Over the course of this eight years, Amy’s struggles were highly visible, as she appeared at concerts unable to stand steadily or perform up to her usual standard. In 2007, a concert tour was cut short after a disastrous appearance in London in which she arrived nearly an hour late and walked off the stage at one point, leaving her backup singer performing for her.
Amy had a stormy marriage to Blake Fielder-Civil who himself admitted that he introduced Amy to heroin and cocaine. In 2007, Fielder-Civil reported that Amy went into seizures and stopped breathing after a three-day celebratory bender on alcohol, heroin and cocaine. Fortunately, she recovered from that bout and continue to perform and record. Early in 2008, she attended a rehab program for two weeks but then relapsed after discharge. In paparazzi photos, Amy’s appearance varied between a dangerous scrawniness and a healthier look, like the one she displayed while staying in Saint Lucia in early 2009. While in Saint Lucia, Amy claimed that her whole marriage to Fielder-Civil had been based on drug-taking but that she was clean again. However, later in 2009, Amy’s father reported that she was again in rehab.
In June 2010, she was again in rehab but left after a week. Video footage of her performance in Belgrade soon after she left rehab showed a star who was utterly unable to perform, to sing, even to hang onto a microphone.
At the end, her family stated that it might have been a total alcohol withdrawal, decided on by Amy after a doctor warned her to cut out alcohol abuse, that triggered a physical firestorm that she could not survive.
Narconon® drug educator and spokesperson Bobby Wiggins explained how alcohol withdrawal could have caused her death: “A body subjected to a heavy, daily burden of alcohol adjusts to the continuous presence of alcohol,” he explained. ‘The body’s adjustment to alcohol or drugs is referred to as tolerance, and is marked by the need to take more alcohol or more of a drug to get the same effect as before. The sudden cessation of alcohol consumption can trigger life-threatening symptoms such as high fever and seizures.”
These symptoms are referred to as delirium tremens or DTs, and also include severe tremors, hallucinations and confusion. The death rate from DTs runs from 1 percent to 5 percent, which is why those who have been severely alcoholic go through the initial steps of rehab under close medical supervision. “It is obvious that Amy should have had professional help and supervision to recover from her addiction to alcohol and her periodic use of drugs” Mr. Wiggins added. “At Narconon drug and alcohol rehab centers, we know that a safe, long-lasting recovery depends on choosing a drug rehabilitation facility with an excellent record of success.”
Even a person headed for one of the scores of Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers around the world may need to detoxify under close medical supervision before they actually start their rehabilitation program, if they have been drinking heavily beforehand. But then once they are through that step, they have a chance at lasting sobriety by participating in the long-term, residential, holistic program that is characteristic of all Narconon centers. No substitute drugs are ever prescribed; in fact the only drugs on the premises are the ones needed for medical conditions. Only nutritional supplementation, counseling and life skills training in communication, decision-making, safe lifestyle choices and personal moral codes are used to bring about a recovery.
“The Narconon program is effective because we help each person, in their counseling and one-on-one work with the staff, get to the root of the problems that led them into addiction,” Mr. Wiggins commented. “At Narconon, we know it takes longer than one-week or one-month terms of rehab to rebuild a life that has been destroyed by drugs. If Amy had made the choice to stay in rehab for three months or longer, she might have had a chance at recovery that could have saved her life.” The Narconon drug and alcohol recovery program has been saving lives from drug and alcohol addiction since 1966.
For more information on Narconon, contact 1 800-775-8750.
Narconon Addiction Specialists Urge Parents to Stay Alert to Synthetic Pot and Its Risks
On March 1, 2011, the DEA took steps to change this. They evoked emergency powers to put a year-long ban pending testing on five lab-manufactured chemicals contained in these products, JWH-018, JWH-073, CP-47,497, JWH-200, and cannabicyclohexanol. Each substance is a designer drug that mimics the primary psychoactive ingredient, THC, found in marijuana. The chemicals are sprayed onto herbal plant matter that is packaged and sold as aromatic incense. But did this ban solve the problem?
“Unfortunately, the DEA can only ban specific psychoactive chemicals,” explains Bobby Wiggins Drug Prevention Specialist of Narconon International. “As soon as the banned compounds are no longer found in the product, vendors are right back in business. The problem is manufacturing labs are able to make tiny alterations in the molecular structure of the THC-like derivative compounds used, which allows them to replace banned chemicals with new ones that have similar, but possibly more potent properties that are outside DEA jurisdiction.”
Case in point, even as 30 states work to block the sale of K2, an incense product that led to psychosis severe enough to prompt a healthy 18-year-old athlete to shoot himself in the head, K3 arrived on the scene boasting that it was 100% free of banned chemicals and legal in all 50 states. Of course, the new product’s packaging also reads, “not for human consumption.”
Synthetic marijuana has been around for almost two decades but it was largely ignored as few people were impressed by its properties. But In late 2008, herbal incense products started showing up from Europe containing traces of a psychoactive chemical known as HU-210. The compound is a Schedule I controlled substance that can be from 100 to 800 times as potent as THC.
In 2009, Germany banned the sale of another herbal incense-type product, “spice,” because tests revealed it contained JWH-018 and another potent chemical, CP-47 497, developed by a drug company in the 1980s for research purposes. Its effects are three to 28 times more potent than THC.
According to the U.S Department of Justice, between March 2010 and December 2010, U.S. poison control centers received over 2,700 synthetic cannabinoid related calls from 49 states. It’s too soon to say if long-term use of THC derivatives cause permanent harm, but so far there is evidence of damage to the lungs, brain, heart, and other vital organs. Attributed deaths in 2010 were nine.
“With authorities hampered, the burden falls heavily on parents to keep this drug out of kids’ hands,” says Wiggins. “Kids might reason that it is okay because they aren’t breaking any laws, but they are messing with very potent and addictive drugs. If you suspect your son or daughter could be using synthetic marijuana or other drugs, get help”
For more information on the Narconon programs visit www.narconon.org.
Narconon International President Acknowledges Betty Ford’s Role in Opening American Eyes to Addiction Problems
The passing of former First Lady Betty Ford provides an opportunity to not only reflect on the leadership role she played while she was in the White House, but also the change in attitude and awareness she engendered regarding substance abuse and addiction.
One day a suburban housewife in Alexandria, Virginia and only months later serving as First Lady, Betty Ford experienced enormous stresses and pressures along with her husband. She rapidly assumed her new role and became a prominent advocate for women’s rights and the handicapped. Her husband’s absences, her responsibilities as a Senator’s wife and head of household and physical problems culminated in her being prescribed Valium. In 1964, when she began taking this drug, its addictive nature was not acknowledged. She relied on it to reduce her pain from a shoulder injury and arthritis. The addiction to Valium that she developed was complicated by the continuous alcohol consumption that was customary by all attendants at her social and political meetings.
After Gerald Ford left the Presidency in 1977, the sudden cessation of social and political obligations allowed for an aggravation of her addiction to Valium and her use of alcohol. It was obvious to the Ford family that she needed help to overcome these addictions. Bravely realizing that millions of other Americans were suffering the same problems she was, she publicly faced these demons, as she had her breast cancer in 1974. She was successfully treated at the Long Beach Naval Hospital and disclosed the details of her treatment then followed this with a chronicle of her recovery in her 1987 memoir, A Glad Awakening.
But simply overcoming her own addiction was not adequate for Betty. She recognized that taboos on talking about substance abuse, addiction and rehabilitation were preventing those who were addicted from receiving treatment. She followed her public statements on her recovery with effective action, co-founding the Betty Ford Center in 1982. At the Betty Ford Center, half the beds were always reserved for women suffering from addiction. The center has served many high profile individuals who needed treatment for substance abuse, including Elizabeth Taylor, Robert Downey, Jr, Drew Barrymore, Johnny Cash, Billy Joel, Keith Urban and Kelsey Grammar.
Narconon International President Clark Carr commended Betty for her role in changing American attitudes about drug addiction. “Before Betty went public with her treatment for addiction, this wasn’t a problem people discussed openly,” said Mr. Carr. “Now there are many more treatment options and the social stigma of addiction is much reduced which makes it easier for people to reach out for help. Betty started this ball rolling by being open about her treatment. This was an heroic action on her part.” Narconon is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of substance abuse and addiction through drug and alcohol rehabilitation and education.
“Without Betty’s leadership, the work of Narconon to educate people on the extent of the substance abuse problem in this country would be more difficult,” Mr. Carr added. “We owe her a debt of gratitude and pledge to continue to support this cause until we have a world free from addiction to alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs.”
For more information on the Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation and education programs, call 1-800-775-8750.
Narconon® Drug Prevention Experts Want Parents to Understand Why Teens Who Drink Are At Serious Risk – Regardless the Tragedies They Witness Resulting from Drinking and Driving
Recently Ryan Dunn, 34, who found fame in the Jackass movies originating on MTV, took his life and the life of a pal, Zachery Hartwell, 30. Dunn found fame by exhibiting his willingness to do the unthinkable so it could be captured on film for others to laugh about. He had a huge fan base amongst teen aged boys because of his willingness to try anything, especially if it was gross, and live to laugh about it. It was a message that his MTV and big box office crowds alike genuinely appreciated, and judging from the outpouring of sentiments at his death, loved him for.
But there were no cameras rolling when his Porsche topped 130 mph, hit a guard rail, careened into the woods and burst into flame. Dunn was driving impaired by an alcohol content double the legal limit in Pennsylvania where the crash occurred at 3 a.m. on Monday morning after weekend partying.
“Parents hoping that gruesome crash might deter their sons or daughters from getting behind the wheel when they are under the influence of alcohol will be disappointed,” says Bobby Wiggins, Drug Prevention Specialist of Narconon International, “Once someone is drunk, they are too numb to make a connection that would prompt avoiding the risk of drinking and driving.”
There is good science backing this statement. The person who is drunk experiences what has been called, “alcohol myopia” which has been identified as what is behind alcohol’s stress-reducing effects, and what also leads to addiction. Simply stated, it is impairment of perception and thought.
The behaviors that can be expected when someone is drinking heavily fall into three categories: a) drunken excess: the tendency for those who drink to behave more excessively, b) self-Inflation: the tendency to inflate self-evaluations, and 3) drunken Relief: the tendency for people who drink to worry less and pay less attention to their worries.
All of these behaviors can be attributed to alcohol myopia, which increases a person’s concentration upon immediate events and reduces awareness of events which are distant (hence the reference to myopia which is nearsightedness).
When excessive drinking amongst teens spikes, drunk teens oblivious of future consequence put them and their friends at risk. Case in point, Fourth of July weekends annually have caused emergency room visits to double for teen aged boys as documented by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report is culled from SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, a system that monitors drug-related hospital emergency department visits around the country.
“This is why the only defense parents have is drug prevention. They must see that their sons and daughters have the information needed to combat peer pressure to use alcohol,” says Wiggins. “Ryan Dunn did not have to die or take another young man’s life. His crazy stunts would not have killed him, but alcohol could and did, because he was blind to risk.”