Alcohol Topped List of Drug Addictions for Rehab Patients

Alcohol rehab numbers outstrip hard drugs

While alcohol was the major sole factor, Mr Pitts said 70 per cent of admissions also listed it as “among their reasons for seeking treatment” and this demonstrated how pervasive alcohol dependence had become across society. It was also viewed as an “easily accessible, socially acceptable and relatively inexpensive drug to self-medicate life’s difficulties and challenges for older people”, he said.

Amphetamine-type substances including ice and ecstasy accounted for 21% of Odyssey House admissions in 2009 (23% in 2008), while heroin and cannabis each accounted for 18% (19% and 18% respectively in 2008).

Methadone accounted for 8% of admissions, while gambling and other drugs like benzodiazepines, buprenorphine, morphine and cocaine accounted for 9%.

Alcoholism remains a huge problem. Rehabilitation programs for those with addictions to alcohol continue to have success but they also continue to have plenty of people in need of treatment. It is not a problem that society has been effective at dealing with. While we have some success there remains much to do.

Related: Top 10 Luxury Rehab CentersCombination Strategy to Treat Alcohol DependenceAlcohol Remains a Major Cause of Drug Rehab Admissions

Smokey Robinson Helping Fight Against Drug Addiction

Smokey Robinson

After 50 years, Smokey Robinson is still having fun

I speak at schools, churches, gang meetings, rehab facilities, telling people that drugs don’t discriminate. I was 39 years old and my life was going exactly as I would have it go. I couldn’t have written it any better. But drugs don’t care who you are, what you’re doing, where you are or where you’re going. When you open yourself up to them, you are vulnerable. And I was. You think drugs won’t get the best of you, that you will never become an addict. Ninety-nine percent of the people who start doing drugs do so with their friends. It’s a social thing and you call yourself having fun. Then you look up and fun has wiped you out like it did me. I did it for two years. I was a walking corpse, totally out of it.

Drugs are also a spiritual condition. If you don’t get your spiritual self together, you’ll never conquer them. I went to church and was prayed for; I gave it to God. I went to church one night a drug addict and when I came out of that church, I was free. That was May 1986. I haven’t even thought about drugs since then other than that I’m at war with them.

As Smokey Robinson shows not everyone needs rehab to remove drugs from their lives but many do. He has devoted himself to helping those that are struggling with drug addiction. And that is what those with drug problems need – a helping hand and allies to tell help them improve their lives.

Photo by jcrawford

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Representative Patrick J. Kennedy Spends a Month in Rehab

photo of Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy

Rep. Kennedy returns to Congress after month in rehab

After a four-week course of addiction treatment, Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy returned to Congress Wednesday with what he called “excellent” prospects for long-term sobriety – in large part because he sought help before he landed in the kind of trouble that has brought him criticism in the past.

In May 2006, a late-night car crash on Capitol Hill attracted harsh publicity and prompted Kennedy to enter an addition treatment facility and to acknowledge that he had been an alcoholic and drug addict for most of his adult life. Since then Kennedy had become a public face for recovery from addiction.

On June 12, Kennedy announced through his office that he had left the House for an indefinite period of time to enter a treatment facility. He has since disclosed that he underwent a 28-day treatment regime at Father Martin’s Ashley, a Maryland center well-known in recovery circles.

Kennedy said Wednesday that he hopes his decision to seek treatment was another “sign to people that this is a chronic illness not unlike a cancer that goes into remission but then becomes malignant again.”

He said, “This is a chronic illness that needs lifelong attention. You can’t ever be cured of it. It needs to be monitored on a day-to-day basis for your whole life.”

Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy Statement on His Drug Addiction (May 2006)

Over my 15 years in public life, I’ve felt a responsibility to speak honestly and openly about my challenges with addiction and depression. I’ve been fighting this chronic disease since I was a young man, and have aggressively and periodically sought treatment so that I can live a full and productive life. I struggle every day with this disease, as do millions of Americans. I’ve dedicated my public service to raising awareness about the chronic disease of addiction, and have fought to increase access to care and recovery supports for the too many Americans forced to struggle on their own.

This past Christmas, I realized that I had to seek help again so checked myself into the Mayo Clinic for addiction to prescription pain medication.

I am deeply concerned about my reaction to the medication and my lack of knowledge of the accident that evening. But I do know enough to know that I need to seek expert help. This afternoon, I’m traveling to Minnesota to seek treatment at the Mayo Clinic to ensure I can continue on my road to recovery.

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Improving Addiction Treatment with The University of Wisconsin – Madison

University of Wisconsin-Madison based program aims to better drug treatment

Green-Milon’s apparent success in overcoming her addictions is all too rare, experts say. Only about a tenth of the 24 million Americans who need drug treatment get it, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and at least half of them relapse.

Part of the challenge, scientists say, is that addiction, like heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, is a chronic condition; it changes the chemistry of the brain. But there’s another hurdle that’s getting attention: treatment programs, with their voice-mail systems and multiple forms to fill out, aren’t very patient-friendly, especially to people whose lives present many barriers to staying in treatment.

A national program, based at UW-Madison, is trying to change that by bringing process improvements to drug treatment. The Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment, or NIATx, attempts to get addicts into treatment quicker and retain more of them by making the programs more appealing.

24 million Americans need treatment for illicit drug or alcohol problems.
2.5 million get the treatment they need.
The economic cost of substance abuse exceeds $500 billion a year (including alcohol and tobacco; for just illicit drugs, it’s $181 billion).

The NIATx (formerly know as the Network for the Improvement of Addiction Treatment) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison is focused on improving the success of addition treatment.

Use what you learned in Walk-through exercises (See the NIATx Conducting a Walk-through guide for guidance) to identify problems in processes within your organization from the clients’ point of view. Consider changes to test based on that experience. Prior to starting, you should decide the parameters of the change project, including where (e.g., location) you wish to introduce the change, as well which clients (e.g., level of care, population) you expect to impact.

The PDSA Cycle is an efficient way to learn what will work in your organization, and should be the foundation of every change you make. The PDSA Cycle begins with a Plan, and ends with Action based on the learning gained from the Plan, Do, and Study phases of the cycle

They also offer many case studies on improvement successes by treatment centers.

Related: How Effective is Drug Addiction Treatment?Center for Substance Abuse TreatmentMethods to Treat Addiction

The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts

cover of the Narcotic Farm

The Narcotic Farm: The Rise and Fall of America’s First Prison for Drug Addicts is a book exploring an experiment to deal with addicted criminals.

The farm was the first place to look at drug addicts as patients that were in need of treatment instead of criminals in need of punishment. The farm did experiments to learn about addiction including on methadone (which is commonly used to try and ease the transition from narcotic addition today). Certainly the methods practiced on the farm were of debatable ethical ground however there was a great deal of learning and desire to learn and treat drug addition.

From 1935 until 1975, just about every junkie busted for dope went to the Narcotic Farm. Equal parts federal prison, treatment center, farm, and research laboratory, the Farm was designed to rehabilitate addicts and help researchers discover a cure for drug addiction. Although it began as a bold and ambitious public works project, and became famous as a rehabilitation center frequented by great jazz musicians among others, the Farm was shut down forty years after it opened amid scandal over its drug-testing program, which involved experiments where inmates were being used as human guinea pigs and rewarded with heroin and cocaine for their efforts.

Published to coincide with a documentary to be aired on PBS, The Narcotic Farm includes rare and unpublished photographs, film stills, newspaper and magazine clippings, government documents, as well as interviews, writings, and anecdotes from the prisoners, doctors, and guards that trace the Farm’s noble rise and tumultuous fall, revealing the compelling story of what really happened inside the prison walls.

Listen to an NPR podcast on America’s First Drug-Treatment Prison

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Hugh Masekela Fighting Against Drug and Alcohol Addiction

photo of jazz musican Hugh Masekela

Masekela’s message for ‘addictive’ SA

One of the biggest names in world music – trumpeter Hugh Masekela – has said the message behind his latest album Time is to help the fight against drug and alcohol addiction in his native South Africa.

Masekela himself is a recovering addict, having gone into rehabilitation six years ago before establishing an organisation to help those with similar problems in his homeland. And he told BBC World Service’s The Ticket programme that he felt a duty to help others suffering from the same problems.

“I myself am a recovering addict and alcoholic. Six years ago I came to England, took up counselling, and learned the psychology of addiction.”

Drug-busting Masekela calls a brave new tune

The project, called the Musicians and Artists Assistance Programme of South Africa (Maapsa), is a partnership between several South African celebrities, including musicians Jabu Khanyile and Family Factory, actress Connie Masilo and talkshow host Felicia Mabuza-Suttle. Masekela said: “This organisation will make South Africans aware that addiction is a dynamite powder-keg. In South Africa, people are often praised for being able to drink a lot. They think drinking is something to be proud of.”

Victor Ntoni, another respected musician, said alcohol and substance abuse among musicians was exacerbated by the increasing exploitation of artists in South Africa.

Mabuza-Suttle, one of the trustees of Maapsa, said that because she came from a background of alcoholism, she knew about the devastating effects of addiction on families.

Hugh Masekela Biography

As the brutality of the Apartheid state increased, Hugh finally left the country with the help of Trevor Huddleston and his friends Yehudi Menuhin and Johnny Dankworth who got him admitted into London’s Guildhall School of music. Miriam Makeba who was already enjoying major success in the USA later helped him with Harry Belafonte, Dizzy Gillepsie and John Mehegan to get admission to the Manhattan school of Music in New York. Hugh finally met Louis Armstrong who had sent the Huddleston Band a trumpet after Huddleston told the trumpet king about the bank he helped start back in South Africa before deportation.

With immense help from Makeba and Belafonte, Hugh eventually began to record, gaining his first breakthrough with “The Americanization of Ooga-Booga” produced by the late Tom Wilson who had been producer of Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel’s debut successes. Stewart Levine his business partner in Chissa Records went on to produce hit records for Hugh on Uni Records, beginning with “Alive and Well at the Whisky” in 1967 and then “”Promise of A Future” which contained the gigantic hit song “Grazing in the Grass” in 1968.

By the beginning of the 1970’s he had attained international fame, selling out all of America’s festivals, auditoriums and top nightclubs. Heeding the call of his African roots, he moved to Guinea, then Liberia and Ghana after recording the historical “ Home is where Music is” with Dudu Pokwana.

photo from Ritmo Artists

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Alcohol is a Major Cause of Drug Rehab Admissions

Alcohol major cause of drug rehab admissions, again

Alcohol has again topped harder drugs like ice and heroin as the addiction which drives the most Australians into crisis rehab. Seventy per cent of people admitted to the major not-for-profit rehab centre Odyssey House, based in Sydney, in the past financial year listed alcohol as among their reasons for seeking treatment.

For almost one in three (29%), alcohol was their primary addiction – up from 28% in 2006-07 and 20% in 2005-06. Amphetamines such as speed, ecstasy and ice accounted for 23% of Odyssey’s admissions in 2007-08 followed by heroin (19%).

Too many people continue to fall victim to alcohol and drug addiction. A big challenge for modern society is to do a better job of helping people lead healthier lives and avoid the ravages of caused by addition to drug and alcohol.

Related: How Effective is Drug Addiction Treatment?Study: Drug Treatment Success Rates in England

Colin Farrell Wanted To Be A Better Dad

Actor, Who Wanted To Be A Better Dad, Is Glad To Be Sober

“I knocked that on the head, I haven’t had a drop in six months,” the Irish actor said Monday on The Late Show With David Letterman. “It was tough. It was something that I did every day for about fifteen years so it was tough, yeah, absolutely.”

The 30-year-old actor said that he decided to get help when he realized his fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle was taking its toll on him and affecting his ability to be a good father to his two-year-old son James.

“It was horrible in one way, because I went away because I was pretty sick,” he said. “But in another way it was great, because it was a very safe environment with a bunch of people who were looking to sort out things in their life.” “But I don’t want to go back,” he added.

Colin Farrell: Drink and drugs nearly killed me

The Dublin-born star of Miami Vice was renowned for his wild lifestyle, but made the decision to enter rehab two years ago as he said he knew he was “dying”. “It was a fairly drunken life for 16 years so it was a tough life change, but I was dying and I’m one of the lucky ones in that so far I’m out of it,” he said.

“For me there was no choice. I was pretty sick. I went away for five or six weeks and that was a very safe environment and I began to come out of the haze that I had burrowed myself into so deeply. “I came back into the world and everything was in a degree of focus that I hadn’t experienced.”

“I don’t believe I have any chemical predisposition towards depression, but let’s just say I was suffering from a spiritual malady for years and I indulged it.

Farrell is now in a relationship with novelist Emma Forrest and seems to have put those dark tendencies behind him. “I’m glad I’m out of that cycle of my life, and I’m very lucky,” he admitted.

photo © Eric Charbonneau

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Rehab Reality Check

Rehab Reality Check by Jerry Adler, Newsweek, provides a good, very cursory, overview of rehab treatment options.

residential treatment programs for the middle and upper classes have proliferated across both the geographic and the therapeutic maps. Heated disputes have erupted between proponents of different treatment models. This is exacerbated by a growing rivalry between old-guard institutions like the Ford Center, with its comparatively austere campuslike ambience, and the new class of superluxury rehab centers in ocean-view mansions that supplement the traditional 12-step approach with acupuncture, massage, equine therapy and Native American Talking Circles.

To John Schwarzlose, president and CEO of the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the blurring of lines between “spa” and “treatment center” is disheartening. “They say, ‘We have 500-count sheets.’ It trivializes what we do.”

In fact, with a few exceptions most residential programs run along broadly similar lines. The typical stay is a month, which might not be optimal but is as much as most insurance plans covered back in the 1980s when the programs were designed.

The exact form of therapy, he says, is less important than just the fact of seeking treatment. A year after completing a rehab program, about a third of alcoholics are sober, an additional 40 percent are substantially improved but still drink heavily on occasion, and a quarter have completely relapsed

I discussed some of my thoughts on this in Should Rehab be Enjoyed?

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Eva Mendes on Rehab

photo of Eva Mendes

Eva Mendes Opens Up On Substance Abuse

Eva Mendes, who entered Utah’s Cirque Lodge for rehab earlier this year, recently spoke about substance abuse with David Colman for Interview magazine. “I”m not angry,” said the actress, who stars in the upcoming The Women (due out in September) and The Spirit (due out at Christmas). “I’m proud of people who have the determination and the fearlessness to actually go and face their demons and get better. This is a life or death situation.”

David Coleman: They’re going to have to change the name of it to “Alcoholics Unanimous.”
Eva Mendes: [silence]
David Coleman: I’m sorry, that’s a bad joke.
Eva Mendes: I’m not making jokes, because people die from this stuff. So, honestly, I think it’s a bit tacky that you made a joke. I’ve got to be honest.
David Coleman: You’re angry. Listen . . .
Eva Mendes: I’m not angry. People have died, and I’ve lost friends too–even recently. So I can be a little sensitive on the subject.

photo by Thierry Caro, 2008.

I think Eva is right in saying that people can forget that just because someone is a celebrity doesn’t mean rehab isn’t serious. At times the craziness around celebrity can make it seem like it is a joke. But the drug and alcohol addiction troubles anyone has can be serious and we shouldn’t lose that just because sometimes it seems like rehab is not taken seriously by some people (celebrity or not).

Related: Top 10 Luxury Rehab Centers (Utah’s Cirque Lodge is 9th)Should Rehab be Enjoyed?