Monthly Archives: December 2016

drug epidemic in florida

The South Florida Drug Epidemic in 2016

What a year 2016 has been for everybody! Earlier this year we lost David Bowie on top of many other talented musicians and actors shining under the Hollywood spotlight. This year we had a presidential election that shocked the United States and will bring about some big surprises and changes to come. This year was a bit of an emotional doozy and has come to an end with many falling in love and many being heartbroken. One way or another, 2016 has come and gone and we are left looking at all the pieces that created this puzzling year. We are left looking at all the deaths and misfortunes as we sit and wonder, “what happened?” Of all these pieces, one occurrence worth taking note on was the rapidly growing drug epidemic in South Florida and the rest of the United States. Addiction and alcoholism are imminent threats that have taken their slaves and grown tremendously in numbers over the past two decades. With specific chemicals flooding the streets and accessibility to narcotics growing, it’s truly baffling to predict what 2017 has in store for the ranks of us chemically dependent individuals.

Dawn of the Dead Living and the Living Dead

One of the larger issues to be focused on is the introduction of Carfentanil to the sunshiny state. This is a narcotic that is essentially guilty for the terrifying increase in Florida overdose rates in 2016 specifically. It is the most potent opioid used commercially for large animals typically and never meant for human consumption. The smallest dose of this narcotic can bring a 2,000-pound elephant down and out cold. It is reported to be one hundred times stronger than Fentanyl which for years used to be one of the biggest enemies to opiate addiction. That’s saying something right there. Carfentanil makes regular Fentanyl look like child’s play. So this substance used for large mammals as such, it’s now being cut into heroin to make it stronger and to stretch dealers’ supplies. That being said, the heroin hitting the streets today is nothing like it used to be and is a lot more dangerous. Individuals with the most promising of futures wind up in the middle of this war zone of a drug epidemic in South Florida. The increase in drug overdoses since the drug hit the street is jaw dropping.

The ironic thing about South Florida is that the area is literally the number one recovery capital of the world. The amount of addicts and alcoholics arriving to South Florida for help every day is alarming. Although it is not airborne or contagious for that matter, addiction is spreading like wildfires. Too many human beings are making their way down to the bottom of the panhandle state for help but are winding up in hospitals and body bags as they introduce themselves to the potent drugs that aren’t anything like they were back home. The reality of the situation is that many come down to South Florida for help but end up being in worse situations than if they had stayed in their hometown doing what they’d been doing. That alone is one of the saddest parts of this epidemic. There are so many promising people that are really looking for help and wind up talking to the wrong person at the wrong time. The disease of addiction and alcoholism want us dead and it’s getting its way. Many personal friends have overdosed in 2016. Some of these friends recovered out of the hospitals they were revived in and some of these friends took their last breaths this year. One way or another, the numbers are higher than they have been any other year previously. It is projected that by the end of this year, the 12-month total of those who have died of drug overdoses involving heroin and other opiates will exceed 800 in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties when combined together. That number is just opiate induced overdoses alone. Drugs like “Flakka” that started their own tornado of chaos are nothing in comparison to something like that of Carfentanil and the heroin that is running things right now. It’s amazing how there is always a bigger, badder enemy out there than what’s really staring us in the eyes.

heroin overdose

Of the three counties mentioned above, all three have nearly doubled their overdoses for the year when in comparison to 2015. For 2016 specifically, drug overdoses- death or not, have increased by nearly 200% since the previous year. Those numbers don’t lie and are likely to increase in 2017. This is the reality of addiction and alcoholism. We have addicts/alcoholics all over that are seeing this drug epidemic in South Florida take place and are still willing to participate in it. The reality of the matter is that there will always be a supply and demand for getting high, regardless of what issues are taken care of and what ones stay on the market. If Carfentenil is removed and taken care of somehow, the next big thing will show face and replace it. Unfortunately there is not really a solution to this problem at hand. The solutions that do exist can be hard to implement completely. Treatment is not always accessible and finding and arresting all the dirty doctors can be like a long drawn out page of “Where’s Waldo?” The best way to combat such a crisis is to educate and promote the dangers and statistics. The statistics are real for a reason. It doesn’t mean one is guaranteed to be on one side of things or the other. We as addicts, alcoholics, and individuals in general are the ones that decide what side of things we want to be on. We control our own destiny. That’s the fact Jack and it really boils down to simply decide- do we pick life or death?

Make 2017 Your Year

The drug epidemic in South Florida and the whole nation is ever increasing but only if we as beings give it the power. Drugs and alcohol suck us addicts and alcoholics into a whirlwind of chaos that we typically haven’t the tools to escape. It gets pretty miserable and the consequences continually build up like a failing game of Tetris and eventually the game ends. Choose the right side of the statistics. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.

are blackouts from alcohol bad

Alcohol Blackouts: What Happens To Your Brain

It’s the weekend and finally time to go out and enjoy the evening with a few friends. The night is still young! The rendezvous point is a little pub down the street and you think “why not.” It’s fun here and there to fiddle with a little bit of grandpa’s cough syrup. We’re speaking of course in regards to hooch, the sauce, liquid bread, the devil’s juice, or most commonly known as booze or alcohol. It’s that humbling liquid courage we crave so badly that makes all of our problems disappear…temporarily that is. But it’s fun to dabble a little bit every now and then with such elixirs right? I mean sure that’s the idea. Drink a little bit here and there to unload the stress or maybe when the time for a celebration calls I suppose. Seems logical and simple when put like that, but then we throw those of us who have alcoholic mindsets into the mix, and now you have a different solution to that equation.

Addicts and alcoholics generally love to do everything in excess. Anything that fills a void and gives that feeling of being whole and not lost in this ever-changing world we were cast into. So, unsurprisingly, the taste of alcohol sparks something inside of us and we choose to drink more than your average fellow. We are also probably the most experienced with alcohol blackouts due to the nature of our ways and the disease embedded in our DNA if you will. Regardless of the fact, most people who have ever gone out to some sort of festivity or another have experienced one of these neurological shutdowns.

Time Keeps on Slipping into the Blackout

Often times, those of us who had been binge drinking or gone out for a night on the town with some friends, we ended up getting just completely blindsided by these alcohol blackouts and could not fend for ourselves most likely. End up waking up in a random place that is not your bed, or your home sometimes for that matter. Items might be missing from our purses or pockets. Sometimes there are stains on our clothing including but not limited to the food and drink that went in our bodies, or stains from when they were coming back out. (Insert imagination right here) Not a pretty thought- I know, I know. Despite that little graphic image and the physical aspect, what’s going on upstairs in the brain is usually pretty detrimental. I mean for starters, I know this will be a shock for some folks, but alcohol kills. Yeah, I said it. It enjoys shutting organs down that try to play the game and process the liquid death we are pumping into our stomachs. Kidneys, liver, the heart, the brain and more at some point will start to succumb to the powers that be.

woman in an alcohol blackout

In a sense of words, when we end up disappearing from consciousness, many aspects of our brains are affected from this excessive drinking. Usually, these blackouts are due to alcohol blocking certain receptors in our brains and disrupting all sorts of communication between different parts of the mind- specifically referring to the hippocampus.  The specific neurons beings transmitted to and from there help create long-term potentiation. LTP, as it’s called, takes a key role in developing memory. During an alcohol blackout, the brain loses the ability to learn and store information almost. The receptors being blocked help to prevent the brain from creating new memories of any sort. This is why when we finally sober up- we have no recollection of the time period and what we were doing. It becomes a mystery unless somebody is there to inform us of the tragic events that surely transpired. The thing is, when somebody gets to the point of blacking out, they are usually extremely intoxicated. A lot of the time, alcohol blackouts and poisoning will coincide with each other. A person will lose all cognitive and rational thought as they habitually down more of the liquid. Blacking out can be extremely dangerous due to impaired motor function and horrible judgment. But not to be fooled, this is not something that only happens to alcoholics. Yes, we are more prone to going through it, but this can happen to anybody with a low tolerance or even just a knack for binge drinking.

The idea behind alcohol blackouts isn’t so much about how much alcohol was consumed, but more so about how quickly it was ingested. Essentially, in a nutshell, your brain, and the receptors are becoming flooded from the alcohol going into your blood stream. What happens is the liver and kidneys aren’t able to process it as quick as the body would like and so then, the brain kind of just drowns itself for a little bit. The hippocampus, as mentioned earlier, just kind of shuts down and stops processing things at full capacity. Hopefully, most who are reading this can understand why this is and can be so detrimental to the brain over the course of time.  

Studies have shown over and over the awful decisions individuals are more prone to making in correlation to being blackout inebriated to that of somebody sober or even more sobered up. The assessments made in such a state of intoxication are usually that of off-kilter and on the “poor choice” side of things. Research has shown that individuals are more likely to fight, drive drunk, or engage in regrettable sexual conduct than if they were at a point of complete consciousness. You’re there, but you’re not there. At the end of the day, pounding down the booze should just be a no-no. Some can drink a little here and there and then some of us can’t. Really, it all boils down to what effect it is you’re chasing from drinking it.

Clearly Looking for Clarity

Blacking out and continuously letting alcohol take advantage of you can put anybody’s feathers in a ruffle. Addiction and alcoholism don’t give you a choice. They force you to take the facts as they come and there isn’t a pause button to this movie. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

addicted to tramadol

Tramadol Addiction: Don’t Be Fooled by This Lesser Regulated Drug

Pain- it happens to us all. Generally speaking, there are two types of pain. The first example of pain is when you’ve been dating somebody for quite some time and the person up and exits from your life. No sign or warning, just packs up and you are left to pick up the pieces and wonder “why.” To some, this would be called heartbreak. This example is emotional pain. Then we have the example of somebody you’ve been seeing for quite some time and the person gets angry one day and stabs you in the heart. This is another form of heartbreak. This example is what we call physical pain. So when something like this occurs, said victim will go through surgery, rehabilitation, etc etc. Said person will usually be prescribed some form of opiates for pain relief and take these painkillers as prescribed to numb the open wound in their chest cavity that is hurting a tad. THEN you have people like addicts and alcoholics. We enter recovery, getting clean and sober, and have unfortunate physical pain delivering accidents happen to us. Life is unpredictable. In some extreme cases, opiates would be acceptable under medical supervision or something. My scenario was extreme for the record. For the addicts and alcoholics around the world, there were certain alternatives to pain that were viewed at as acceptable for a while. Tramadol was one of these until Tramadol addiction became a very real thing.

Watch What You Eat

For starters, Tramadol is a synthetic opioid with very weak to little mu-opioid activity occurring in the brain. The best comparison I can give it to actual opiate painkillers is like comparing O’Doul’s non-alcoholic beer to a real beer. Even non-alcoholic beer has that small fraction of a percentage of alcohol in it. So it’s not a real opiate painkiller and has been viewed upon as the safer alternative for years. This fact may still very well still stand, but it doesn’t invalidate the fact that there are individuals all around the world having to detoxify off it and go through the very same trials and tribulations that opiate addiction brings. Everyone’s body handles the withdrawals a little differently, but most experience similar side effects as the time passes on. Some of the symptoms that pair along with detoxing from Tramadol mirror that of opiates and can include but are not limited to:  

  • hot and cold flashes
  • nausea and vomiting
  • upset stomach
  • loss of appetite
  • loss of ability to use the bathroom
  • insomnia
  • headaches and migraines
  • other body aches

Tramadol addiction has been reported as increasing over the last 15-20 years and the numbers are skyrocketing from the number of individuals turning to it for relief from whatever is causing them to hurt. This seems harmless at first but we can’t forget the fact that it’s alcoholic thinking that tends to get involved in such matters.

prescription pad with prescription bottle

For many, our addiction starts picking up on the fact that we are constantly taking this little white pill to numb away the physical pain that we are enduring. Believe it or not, subconsciously our addictions pick up on that and starts looking for other things to numb. We start associating this pain with emotional pain and other stressors going on in our lives. It sounds silly, but incidences like this happen every day to unsuspecting addicts and alcoholics. We tend to become addicted to anything that makes us feel good. Anything that can mask all the troubles and difficulties that are continually putting up walls for us, we’ll reach for it. Before you know it, you’re frustrated at work which you’ve flat out convinced yourself is making your back hurt more. The voice in the back of your mind says, “Take another pill to soothe this out.” The thing is that Tramadol also affects the same serotonin neurotransmitters that a lot of antidepressants trigger. So with that being the case, this pain killing agent is also a mood elevator in some instances. This right here is a prime case in point of how quick Tramadol addiction can slink out of the gutter and snag you into its grips. The mind starts playing tricks on us again and telling us that we “need” something to make us feel better.

With the chemical addiction numbers rising, it’s important to realize that human beings are very adaptive creatures. When you live in hot temperatures year round, your body learns to adapt differently than to that of somebody who lives in cold temperatures all year. This goes for dieting, weather conditions, and more. So when we consistently deliver the same thing to the body every day, it begins to expect it. Even if you’re not killing yourself, the body goes into something called survival mode and learns to adapt to this foreign object it’s eating daily. Once the body starts adapting, so does our tolerance. This is where the downward spiral of addiction really begins to decline quickly. In a nutshell, this is how any form of addiction picks up really. We start telling ourselves we need more and more of something just to get by. These things, of course, are usually not a necessity either, but we start letting our addiction do the talking. Knowing how to call yourself out and catch relapse in this state of mind is always important. Even if you’re not in recovery, it is still recommended to be careful when testing the waters with this non-narcotic painkiller. There are still other alternatives out there if you ask your doctor. There are also many natural remedies to ease the aches. Look into your options; don’t feed your alcoholism what it’s craving.

The Dangers Are Everywhere

Be it Tramadol or Morphine, addiction/alcoholism is a brutal disease that will take over every aspect of your life if allowed. The dangers of chemical dependency will always be present, but there is a solution to the battle at hand. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

can you withdraw from crack cocaine

Crack Withdrawals and the Mind

Everything we do usually has a beginning, middle, and an end. We all come into this world more or less the same way and start out from infancy as we travel through the years developing more and more as time goes by. This being said, at some point in time, everything was fresh to us. Even the things we know best and are most accustomed to today- they had a beginning. We make mistakes and hopefully learn from them or we don’t, and the world keeps spinning. Going into these mistakes, some of us find a taste for narcotics and alcohol. Maybe not a mistake at first, but once we fully immerse ourselves into our addiction and alcoholism- this is when the problems “begin.” See what I did there?  Moving forward. Regardless of whatever substance it is you decide to buddy up with, they will all turn on you and show you the qualities of a terrible friendship. They will create misery and strife for addicts and alcoholics specifically. Heroin will play its games, alcohol will create toil and trouble, but crack cocaine specifically will play with your mind until you are suffering from delusions and on the verge of psychosis. Crack withdrawals onset themselves into the game of addiction very quickly and in an uninvited manner so buckle up if this is the game you’ve been searching for.

In This Game, Your Turn Gets Skipped

Messing around with crack cocaine is something to not be taken light-heartedly at all. Speaking from experience, this is a narcotic of sorts that will turn your brain into mush figuratively and literally. Smoking crack is all fine and dandy, but the results of your addiction and the aftermath that occurs aren’t worth it in the least bit. When it comes to dealing with crack withdrawals, it is important to know that it isn’t anything like heroin or benzodiazepines withdrawals. It isn’t anything like nicotine or alcohol withdrawals. No, cocaine and crack cocaine have their own methods of making the addict/alcoholic miserable and in regret of their previous acts of debauchery. When coming off of the acclaimed substance, it’s wise to take note that the pain and torture is mostly mental with lesser physical issues. Now, of course, everybody is going to have a different reaction to it based on factors such as length of usage, their age, or even their height and weight. So for some, it may be more physically agonizing than for others. There will be sets of hot flashes on and off all day long while coupled with chills. This is your classic recipe for cold sweats which are mildly uncomfortable- for those who have yet to experience them. There may or may not be some nausea for some. For most, their skin will feel really sensitive and bothersome, and this will last anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. That about sums up the physical aspects, though. Much different experience than my old friend heroin has to offer.

withdrawal symptoms

Now onto the not so fun part as mentioned beforehand. The psychological aspects that take a hold of you while departing ways with this wretched drug can be very detrimental. For one, just like the speed of the drug itself, your thoughts are rapidly flying in every direction. Your brain kind of goes into panic mode as the thing it knows best is suddenly ripped out of its life. The crack withdrawals will have you struggling to concentrate. Even things that ordinarily seem like second nature start becoming difficult. For myself, speech impediments and stutters began to develop over the course of the first few weeks. All the coordination skills go out the window and everything is just off. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. These are issues that can be practiced on and regulate themselves for the most part. Some of these issues still follow me today even 5+ years later. Once again, though, these motor skill functions are the least of concerns. There will be anxiety and depression as well as mood swings and irritability. These will all come on and off while tangling up your emotions in a whirlwind of conflict and confusion. Even more so, unfortunately, the addict will have a tremendously tough time sleeping. When they do end up getting a few winks in, the aforementioned whirlwind of emotions appears in their dreams causing them to literally be depressed or anxiety ridden in their unconscious state. Once again, these are not only recorded medical facts but also translated through personal experience.  So now imagine this lack of sleep added to our equation of loss of appetite and not being able to function properly. Almost resembling a computer that’s freezing up or skipping repeatedly- were just off.

The more serious aspect of crack withdrawals is the reality change. Addicts and alcoholics coming off of crack cocaine will be living in a world of delusion. They may not think it at the time, but their thought process is extremely skewed as they teeter on the edge of suicide/self-harm for some. The emotions and thoughts flying around become overwhelming and make your basic day a difficult task to get through. Visual and auditory hallucinations will trail with the addict in early weeks. These effects can be mild for some and stronger for others- once again, depends on various factors. The short term effects can last anywhere from 1-3 months, and the long-term withdrawal symptoms can stick with the chemically dependent for up to a few years. Crack is a drug that will literally make the user insane as its chemicals melt away at the gray matter upstairs. Not for human consumption. Last to remember, the withdrawals are one thing, but some damages cannot be undone.

Speed Kills

Life likes to sneak up on people but addiction and alcoholism grab you up by the ankles and flip your whole world upside down. It gets old quick- but there are alternatives to being chemically dependent. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need detoxification, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.

will i relapse

What is the Likelihood I Will Relapse?

For those in recovery, thinking about it, or knows somebody in it- chances are that our usage and debauchery was starting to catch up to us and so some necessary steps were taken to keep the ball of life rolling. This process of sorts usually entails dropping all forms of drugs and alcohol from the table and enrolling ourselves into some sort of anonymous program. Then we start getting into action with working the 12 steps, getting a sponsor, and doing service work. It’s once we start putting in all this action that life begins to turn itself around. We start getting out of bed every day with a smile that is powered by hope instead of desperation. Life starts to become stupendous again and we question why we ever got high and/or drunk in the first place. Some of us float on the pink cloud of new found freedom for as long as we can, but the thunder looms in the background. One of the key things to remember in these circumstances is to remain humble and teachable. Addiction and alcoholism never fully disintegrate from that space in between our ears. There isn’t a cure that has ever existed and science has failed to do so yet. So the point being is that even after detoxification and all the meetings for a lifetime, our sobriety or clean time is never guaranteed. Relapse happens every day- from the guy who can’t put together 24 hours, or even to the man with 13 years clean as he puts his lips to the bottle. No amount of time can make us immune to the disease of alcoholism for us- the truly chemically dependent. The secrets lie within the steps and the fellowship.

Wait- Really?

Alcohol and drug setbacks are extremely common among substance abusers with some bit of clean time, but this also makes the act of using much more dangerous. When we get clean, our body regulates itself back to a normal state and our tolerances go back to zilch. Often times, addicts and alcoholics will go back to their drug or drink of choice and put their health at serious risk from the copious amount of chemicals they start ingesting immediately. The danger zone does increase, but this is also something that just happens. I say this so as not to provide a tool for justification, but more so as a tool to help the self-esteem of somebody who is really struggling out there. Yes, there are those who get clean and never relapse again and we can all applaud for those white chip wonders because that is a feat that doesn’t happen as often as one would hope. Then there are the rest of us riding this disease out. The addicts and alcoholics like myself who have had to burn our hands time after time after time until there were blisters upon blisters upon blisters. We didn’t get clean after that first attempt. Oh no, we had to bounce in and out of the rooms of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous for multiple years. Those of us who didn’t want to put in the effort and only half-ass it. Pick and choose our own specific recovery plan and tell the rest we know how to run our lives best. Well, it’s our best thinking that gets us to this point, so maybe listening to the advice of others couldn’t hurt right?

man doing drugs in the bathroom

The statistics and facts throughout the years seem to show the same results and addiction and alcoholism are becoming more and more of a concern in the medical field. They are beginning to be looked at and treated as more serious mental disorders due to the severity of casualties passing away in recent years to the grips of addiction. A study from the National Institute of Drug Abuse on alcohol abuse and alcoholism stated that approximately 90% of alcoholics will experience one or more substance reversions during a 4 year period after treatment. If that is the case, the odds are evidently against those of us in recovery. Unfortunately, there are even more odds to stack up against us when it comes to this battle of dropping the booze and various narcotics. Studies over the course of an 8 year period of 1,200 addicts/alcoholics done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information have shown many interesting facts. The first one being of that allotted amount of people, only one-third were able to stay sober with less than a year clean. You see, early sobriety is the most difficult generally speaking. It takes a while to find that groove. The study also goes on to show that for those who generate a year clean, less than half of them will relapse. Then it goes on to also show that if an addict or alcoholic can make it to ripe age of 5 years in sobriety, their chances of throwing that away are only 15%.

It’s pretty clear to most that the more time you put together, the stronger you will get at battling off your addiction and/or alcoholism. What a lot of individuals fail to realize is that relapse isn’t just the act of picking up a drink or a drug, but it is also the mindset the gets us there and also follows along with the usage. Relapse starts in the mind and is a conscious or subconscious thought process that has to be entertained. Beware of these thoughts and it will help you stay on track. It’s vital to remember that in the end, we cannot change the statistics. At the same time, we as individuals control our own destiny. So it’s up to us to decide in our hearts which side of the statistic we want to be on when chemical judgment time comes.

To be Clean or Not to be Clean?

In all actuality, there isn’t any risk of relapse if one cannot get away from the substances to begin with. Drugs and alcohol suck us addicts and alcoholics into a whirlwind of chaos that we haven’t the tools to escape. It gets pretty miserable and the consequences continually build up like a failing game of Tetris and eventually enough is enough. If you or a loved one is struggling with chemical dependency and are ready for help, please call 1-866-802-6848 or visit www.coastaldetox.com. We are ready to give you any suggestions possible and set you or your loved one on a path that we can all be proud of.