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How Opioid Prescription Limits Hurt Chronic Pain Sufferers, medical marijuana

How Opioid Prescription Limits Hurt Chronic Pain Sufferers: Is Medical Marijuana Picking Up The Slack?

How Opioid Prescription Limits Hurt Chronic Pain Sufferers: Is Medical Marijuana Picking Up The Slack?

The U.S. Government has been making efforts to combat the dangerous effects of the opioid crisis. Regulation agencies like the Drug Enforcement Administration are calling for the reduction of opioid manufacturing and opioid prescription limits.

As a result, chronic pain sufferers fear the unintended side effects will come at the expense of their pain and suffering. That fear is not entirely without merit, as even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourages the misapplication of their guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain.

More, medical professionals fear that battling opioid prescription addiction with opioid prescription limits may encourage dependencies on other drugs like marijuana because of the ease of accessibility.

Opioid Prescription Addiction: A National Crisis

There’s no denying that opioid prescription addiction is dangerous. According to The National Institute On Drug Abuse, more than 130 people a day die in the United States as a result of an opioid overdose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the financial burden of opioid misuse on the United States is nearly $80 billion a year. This figure includes the cost of lost productivity, healthcare, and criminal justice involvement, among other things.

To battle the devastation of opioid misuse, the Drug Enforcement Administration continues to reduce the manufacturing of prescription opioids. Conversely, though, the DEA also continues to increase the amount of marijuana that can be produced for research by nearly a third. With more and more states legalizing the use of medical marijuana, chronic pain sufferers affected by opioid prescription limits are turning somewhere new.

Are Opioid Prescription Limits Creating Unintended Side Effects?

While the intent of opioid prescription limits on the part of regulatory agencies is a just and needed course of action, chronic pain sufferers who’ve relied on opioid prescriptions find themselves in limbo. Chronic pain sufferers believe the agency’s efforts toward opioid prescription limits to reduce opioid prescription addictions inadvertently takes away their ability to live pain-free, functional lives.

Likening themselves to diabetes sufferers who rely on insulin for a functional life, chronic pain sufferers now find their doctors cut them off cold turkey due to opioid prescription limits, and they’re suffering. Efforts to reduce opioid prescription addictions don’t necessarily offer alternative solutions for chronic pain sufferers. As a result, they’re turning to medical marijuana in record numbers.

This is somewhat concerning for many medical practitioners and board-certified pain managers. Research on the efficacy of medical marijuana pertaining to chronic pain is limited. Though growing, many pain managers don’t feel comfortable choosing marijuana as an opioid alternative yet, but opioid prescription limits then sorely reduce pain relief options for chronic sufferers.

Misapplication Of Guidelines May Lead To More Misuse

Even the CDC is concerned about the misapplication of their guidelines when it comes to pain relief for chronic pain sufferers.

In 2019, they released advice against the misapplication of their guidelines for opioid prescription limits. Concerned that chronic pain sufferers were not being treated appropriately, they advised on situations in which opioid prescriptions would be appropriate. They also recommended against cutting off opioids altogether, as many clinicians have taken their initial opioid prescription limits efforts to mean.

Worried about the risk to patients, the CDC doesn’t advocate abrupt tapering or discontinuing the use of opioids for chronic pain. They strongly recommend offering medication-assisted treatments for those with opioid use disorder when certified physicians recommend it.

Additionally concerning is the possibility of new dependencies on marijuana when opioid prescription limits prevent chronic pain sufferers from finding relief. Marijuana also has addictive properties, and the increased ease of accessibility may put chronic pain sufferers at risk of misuse as they self-medicate in the absence of prescribed opioids.

The Fine Line

Chronic pain sufferers feel limited in their options for relief. Opioid prescription limits force them to either suffer excruciating pain or sometimes, they turn to alternative pain management in the form of marijuana. Marijuana can lead sufferers to be dependent on it as well.

But, because nearly 2 billion people a year either abuse or depended upon prescription opioid pain relievers, regulating the prescription of opioid pain relievers is important too. This means there’s a fine line between advocating for the use of opioids for pain relief and having a concern about the propensity for dependence and addiction.

And as marijuana and opioids can and often do lead to dependencies and addictions, you need a place like Ocean Hills Recovery, where you can turn for holistic treatment and healing.

If you’re struggling with addiction, Ocean Hills Recovery is equipped with compassionate and experienced staff who are skilled in meeting your needs in successful and holistic ways.

You may have found yourself in a cycle you never thought you’d be in, and Ocean Hills Recovery has the tools you need to break the cycle of addiction. From detox to therapies to aftercare programs and family support, Ocean Hills Recovery will be there every step of the way. We will work with you through your treatment journey while you strengthen your ability and resolve to get your life back.

Make the call; we’re waiting to help you break the chains once and for all.

Celebrating The New Year Sober 2020

Celebrating The New Year Sober 2020

This entry was posted in Addiction Recovery on by .

Celebrating The New Year Sober 2020

There will never be a perfect time to get sober, but the beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to make some significant changes in your life. Celebrating the New Year sober could be the first step to living the life you are supposed to live. It could mean the start of better health, stronger relationships, and new career goals. Not only can you welcome in the New Year sober, but you can also work toward achieving sobriety for a lifetime.

Celebrating The New Year Sober: Triggers Are Everywhere

If you’re struggling with alcohol dependence or addiction, the holiday season is fraught with triggers. It’s a time of good cheer, which typically involves alcohol or other substances to ‘lighten the mood.’ New Year’s Eve without the traditional glass of champagne seems bizarre. It may seem that celebrating the New Year sober is impossible and waiting till after the holiday season makes more sense. However, the New Year is a great time to work on breaking the chains of dependence.

More than likely, having a clean slate is a motivation for you to start taking sobriety seriously. Research suggests that taking advantage of this motivation may be key to your long-term sobriety. Many others are taking on new changes in the New Year themselves. Because research also suggests that motivation is influenced by your social interactions, celebrating the New Year sober is not unusual or isolating. Yes, there may be triggers that tempt your dependence, but you’re also surrounded by others who are looking to make various changes in their lives as well.

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New Year Goals For Wellness And Health

It’s no secret that a new year is a perfect time to set goals for wellness and health. Many of us regret the indulgences of the holiday season. So, we look to the new year as a fresh start. Unfortunately, when you find yourself dependent on alcohol or other substances that affect your health, it’s even more important that you take steps to heal.

When you abstain from alcohol, you’re reducing the risks of damage to your liver and kidneys. Giving yourself quality sleep creates better health and wellness overall. Getting sober in the New Year can give you more energy to do the things in life you really want to do, and there’s no time like now for a new start.

Alcohol dependence damages your ability to form new long-term memories as well. Deciding to become sober in the New Year will help your brain function better and suffer less memory loss. You’ll also have less brain-fog and improved concentration and focus overall. The New Year is the perfect time to take new steps toward preserving your brain health and your memories, but it’s not always easy to stop cold-turkey.

A Sober New Year: Detox Is The First Step

When you suddenly abstain from alcohol, it creates an imbalance in your body. It’s used to a certain level of alcohol in your blood, and it’s used to balancing that blood alcohol with the release of different chemicals in your brain. This is where you may start feeling the symptoms of withdrawal, which may leave you feeling uncomfortable at best, and at worst, could be potentially fatal.

Alcohol detox is the first step to celebrating the New Year sober. However, it’s absolutely imperative that you don’t do it alone. There’s no way to know how your body will react to not consuming alcohol. Being surrounded by caring, compassionate clinicians and staff like those at Ocean Hills Recovery is critical.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, their goal is to help you detox safely and comfortably in their premier California facility. They’re familiar with the symptoms of detox and have effective research-based treatments that help manage your symptoms. Seeking help from a trusted rehab will increase the likelihood that you’ve begun sobriety for a lifetime. The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery is skilled in handling any complications you may have in the detox process. They work alongside you to created customized treatment plans to work toward long-term healing and sobriety.

Celebrating A New Sober Life

When you decide to celebrate the New Year sober, you’re choosing to celebrate a new life of sobriety. Ocean Hills Recovery works holistically to incorporate evidence-based treatment plans that tailor to your individual needs. Treatments include therapy, family involvement, 12-step methods, and community support groups to help you get your life and relationships back. The trusted staff will walk beside you. They will help you make positive lifestyle changes that will let you not just celebrate a new year, but a whole new you.

If you’ve been struggling with the control alcohol has on your life, there’s no time like now to break those chains and take your life back. Ocean Hills Recovery is ready to walk the new road with you.

Fentanyl Rehab Where is all the Fentanyl Coming From

Fentanyl Rehab: Where is all the Fentanyl Coming From?

Fentanyl Rehab: Where is all the Fentanyl Coming From?

Fentanyl is one of the deadliest drugs in the United States. It is responsible for more than 70% of the deaths from a drug overdose in 2018. Fentanyl rehab understands that addiction to fentanyl is extremely dangerous and impossible to overcome alone. The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery are experienced in helping those who are ready to commit to a life without addiction. With the support and guidance from our counselors, you will feel confident in your ability to overcome your addiction.

Now that many are left to cope with the effects of fentanyl, many are wondering where fentanyl came from in the first place. Fentanyl is a potent opioid that is directly contributing to the opioid crisis in the US. The drug, initially created to relieve pain in cancer patients, is not only easier to manufacture than other drugs but is significantly more addictive. Fentanyl’s popularity quickly rose when distributors discovered the intense and long-lasting high it can provide. Unfortunately, these properties are also what makes it so deadly.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl was originally developed in 1959 by Janssen Pharmaceutica. It is a powerful opioid medication that is used to treat chronic pain primarily in cancer patients and is most commonly prescribed as a transdermal patch. Today, there are synthetic variations of Fentanyl that can be created entirely from chemicals and produced in a lab.

Other opioids (such as heroin) are made with opium poppies and require land to grow the poppies, and time and other resources to manufacture the drugs. Since illicit Fentanyl can be synthesized in a lab, it is much easier to make, and it yields a much higher profit margin. According to Scott Stewart, an expert on terrorism and security issues, smuggling one kilogram of fentanyl is equivalent to smuggling 50 kilograms of heroin.

In addition to being easier to produce and more profitable to sell, many individuals suffering from an addiction to opioids seek it out because of the intense and long-lasting high it provides. Fentanyl is known to be 100 times more powerful than Morphine, and since it is less costly to produce, it is less expensive to purchase. This is what has led to the opioid crisis facing the United States today.

Where Does Fentanyl Come From?

The majority of Fentanyl is made in China. A shocking 40 percent of the global pharmaceutical output is from China, where there are an estimated 160,000 active chemical companies. Each company can produce and distribute fentanyl. With loose laws governing the production and distribution of fentanyl in China, it is relatively easy for it to be exported to the United States, Mexico, and Canada.  There are a few different ways fentanyl makes its way across our borders.

Primarily, it is sent to Mexico and smuggled into the US by the Mexican drug cartel. It is also common for Chinese vendors to send only the chemicals to Mexico. Then, the fentanyl is produced in super labs typically used for manufacturing methamphetamines. From there, it is often pressed into pills to look like prescription opioids or mixed with heroin to cut costs and increase profits for distributors. The director of cargo and conveyance security for Customs and Border Protection reported that only about 2% of vehicles and 16% of commercial vehicles are able to be inspected due to the shortage of officers and trained dogs. With a shortage of staff and trained dogs, it is nearly impossible to inspect every vehicle, meaning border patrol misses a large number of vehicles that are smuggling the drug.

Secondly, it is common for manufacturers to ship fentanyl directly to the U.S. from China via the United States Postal Service. There are an estimated 15% of packages shipped from China to the US are not electronically tracked, making it so that the senders cannot be traced. Many individuals are also able to purchase the drug on the dark web. Since such small quantities yield a high profit, the fentanyl can even be shipped in inconspicuous packages, such as letter envelopes.  With such large gaps at our borders and the use of the internet, Fentanyl is easily sent to American distributors.

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Fentanyl rehab: where is all of the fentanyl coming from?

How Does Fentanyl Affect the Individual?

Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and provides a euphoric and intense high for its users. Many people favor fentanyl over other drugs for its intense high and affordable price. They do not realize that it is much more potent and that the risk of overdose is higher than other drugs, such as heroin. The fact that many manufacturers mix fentanyl with heroin or sell it as prescription pain pills makes it even more dangerous to the user. A lethal amount of fentanyl is much smaller than a lethal dose of heroin. This means that more heroin users are accidentally overdosing on what they think is their typical dose of heroin. 

Aside from the dangers of overdose, opioids are also known to alter the brain chemistry of those who use regularly. The same is true of fentanyl. Regular use of fentanyl is associated with higher instances of severe anxiety, depression, and other mental health illnesses. It is only possible for most people to overcome their addiction to fentanyl with the help and support of an experienced fentanyl rehab facility.

Facts About Fentanyl Abuse

  • The majority of synthetic Fentanyl is manufactured in China and shipped to the United States.
  • Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than Morphine
  • In 2016, Fentanyl was involved in nearly 50% (19,413) of opioid-related deaths, up from 14% (3,007) in 2010.
  • Fentanyl is sold in several different forms, such as:
    • powder,
    • dropped on blotter paper,
    • in eye droppers or nasal sprays,
    • or made into pills that look like real prescription opioids.
  • Naloxone is a medicine that can be given to a person to reverse a fentanyl overdose.
  • Fentanyl addiction can be treated with medications such as methadone and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Overcoming Addiction with Fentanyl Rehab

For those who are addicted to fentanyl, quitting may seem overwhelming and even impossible. Because of its high potency, becoming addicted to the drug happens very quickly and can quickly lead to a lethal overdose. Seeking treatment for fentanyl addiction is vital for quitting. It is essential to know you do not have to face this struggle alone.

Overcoming fentanyl addiction is possible with the right tools.  For most people suffering from a fentanyl addiction, the use of medications like suboxone and methadone is beneficial, especially when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy and a supportive network.

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous and highly addictive drug. The abuse of Fentanyl has led to a public health crisis in the United States. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to fentanyl, it’s essential to seek help for recovery. With the right tools and a team of experienced counselors cheering you on, you will live a life free from the chains of addiction. Reach out to Ocean Hills Recovery today if you are ready to get started.

Alcohol and Depression Medicine & How Dual Diagnosis Can Help

Uncovering the Impact of Alcohol and Depression Medicine & How Dual Diagnosis Can Help

Uncovering the Impact of Alcohol and Depression Medicine & How Dual Diagnosis Can Help

If someone is dealing with anxiety or depression and takes medication to treat it, one of the worst things that they can do is to turn to alcohol. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 20 percent of people with a social anxiety disorder also suffer from alcohol dependence. What many soon realize is that alcohol and depression medicine don’t mix and can lead to a dual diagnosis that requires professional help. Not seeking help can create multiple problems, especially because of the effects that the combination of alcohol and depression and anxiety medication can have.

Why Do People with Anxiety or Depression turn to Alcohol?

People with anxiety or depression may turn to alcohol to try to relax and de-stress. Alcohol is known as a sedative and depressant that affects the central nervous system. At first, it may make you feel relaxed. However, when you continue to drink, your body builds tolerance against the de-stressing feelings, causing you to drink more. When this begins to happen, an addiction can form.

Many people with anxiety may turn to alcohol because it has many of the same calming effects as an anti-anxiety medication. When you drink, your blood alcohol level rises, which makes you feel good and calm. But, as those levels drop, you begin to crash and become depressed.

Alcohol also changes the levels of serotonin in the brain which can worsen anxiety. Once the effects of the alcohol wear off, you may feel more anxious than you did before you started drinking. This, combined with the depression and anxiety that is already occurring, is a recipe for disaster.

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The Dangers of Alcohol and Depression Medicine

Studies show that 12% of adults have reported taking antidepressants. When someone who is taking medication for depression and anxiety begins to drink as well, they are taking a dangerous risk that can be deadly. Some antidepressants cause drowsiness on their own – as does alcohol. When you combine the two, the effect is greater and dangerous.

There are many drugs used to treat depression, including one popular drug, Lexapro. It is prescribed to treat major depressive disorders and general anxiety disorders. Mixing Lexapro with alcohol can cause the following in some patients:

  • Decreased effectiveness of the drug
  • Increased anxiety & depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Liver problems

Lexapro can also increase the risk of suicide, especially in children, teens, and young adults. Since alcohol can also make people feel depressed when the effects wear off, it may also lead to increased suicide risk if you choose to drink while taking Lexapro.

Drinking while taking anti-depressants and medication for anxiety can affect your thinking and alertness and can be a deadly combination. Antidepressants and alcohol not only affect judgment, but also motor skills, coordination, and reaction time. This can impair your ability to drive and do other things that require you to focus.

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Those with Anxiety and Alcohol Addiction

When someone is dealing with a mental health issue such as depression or anxiety and battling an addiction, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) estimates that 17% of American adults have co-occurring disorders that fall under the umbrella of mental health and substance abuse.

It is crucial to treat mental health and substance abuse issues at the same time to achieve a long-lasting recovery in both areas. If a patient is only receiving treatment for a mental health condition, they will continue to deal with their addiction. Any treatment to ease the mental health issues won’t last long.

Those who only receive treatment for their addiction and not their mental health issues run the risk of those mental health issues remaining. This increases the chance of a relapse. When people only focus on getting treatment for the addiction without looking at what led to it, they will never learn to battle those demons and will continue to abuse alcohol.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, patients receive the tools they need to deal with their mental health and addiction issues. We use an integrated approach that combines the most effective parts of the 12-step program with many innovative treatments. Since each person’s addiction is different, their course of treatment will differ as well.

The Collaborative Treatment Program at Ocean Hills Recovery is a comprehensive method to address many symptoms and obstacles that a patient with a dual diagnosis must face. By giving patients a warm and nurturing environment and the support they need, they can learn to face their diagnosis and overcome it.

If you’re ready to take the first step in battling your mental health issues and addiction, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today or send us a message online. There are staff members on hand 24/7 to take your calls and help you begin your road to sobriety.

reputable addiction treatment in california

Finding Reputable Addiction Treatment in California and Why Some California Rehabs Are Being Shut Down

Why are California Rehabs Being Shut Down?

Finding reputable addiction treatment in California can be difficult for someone ready to start their sobriety journey. On the surface, it would appear that drug rehab clinics are a booming business opportunity amid the worsening opioid crisis across the country. However, many California rehabs are drying up or closing down campuses. What’s going on?

A few different reasons lie at the base of the issue. Some are the fault of the drug rehabs themselves, while others are just bad luck. The worst-case scenarios are rife with fraud investigations and lawsuits.

A Quick Boom, Followed by a Quick Bust

Before Obama’s Affordable Care Act, insurance companies were not required to pay for drug and alcohol treatment. Most people who entered rehab paid out of pocket.

When the ACA took effect, it mandated that insurers were suddenly responsible for reimbursing rehab costs for patients undergoing treatment. This meant that health insurers were now paying exorbitant costs. These millions of dollars were for patients in drug and alcohol rehab. At first, this was an enormous boom to the rehab industry.

After a while, however, insurers tired of this new setup and began pushing back. This pushback involved dramatically cutting back reimbursements made to rehab centers. In at least one case, a lawsuit alleging serious instances of fraud came forward.

Even without the allegations and fraud lawsuits, the endless well of insurance money dried up far too quickly for many rehab centers to manage. Rehabs were forced to cut back on staff, beds, and services in some locations and close others entirely.

Fraud and Kickbacks

Though these struggling rehab clinics hold state licenses and appear to be above-board, there are many concerns about fraud and other illegal practices under the surface.

For example, urine tests are the subject of concerns regarding some questionable business practices. Rehab clinics can and should perform frequent drug testing as a means of preventing slip-ups and relapses. However, clinics can run into danger when they perform excessive or unnecessary testing. This is especially the case when the rehab center owns the lab performing the drug tests.

Insurers worry this practice is nothing more than a means of generating even more income. When rehabs are ordering frequent tests, performing the testing in-house, and then charging insurance companies for reimbursement – there is cause for concern.

The Orange County Register reported in 2017, “In a federal lawsuit filed in Florida, United Healthcare accused Solid Landings of forging medical authorizations for urine tests to a company called Sky Toxicology, for which Sky paid Fennelly and Perry $30,000 per month each in kickbacks.”

The issue with excessive drug testing only scratches the surface of the problem with fraud and exploitation within California rehab centers.

Patient Brokering

California rehab centers have been the subjects of fraud investigations based on recruiting patients from out of state. This is often accomplished through a process known as patient brokering. A rehab pays a third party a fee anywhere from $500 to $7000 or more to recruit a patient into its facility.

Patient brokering is unfortunately easy to accomplish in California because of the way insurance has been made available through the ACA.

A person can move to California, purchase in-state coverage through Obamacare, and enter a rehab facility all within a day or two. The ease of this process creates the temptation for rehab clinics, as businesses, to market their services to potential patients across the country to get them to come to California for their rehab care.

If patients who followed this process were then treated to effective and reputable care, there would likely not be much of an issue. However, because rehabs in California can be opened by nearly anyone with the resources to do so, there is a significant gap in quality between most commonplace facilities and centers that care about providing reputable addiction treatment in California.

Patients who slide into the system using this method may find they have chosen a facility with little oversight. Unfortunately, patients may be referred to a rehab that cares only about running up astronomical insurance bills instead of providing quality care.

How Can You Find Reputable Addiction Treatment in California?

With the understanding that many of these questionable – or outright illegal – practices occur under the surface and away from the eyes of patients, how can you be sure you are choosing a reputable rehab facility for yourself or a loved one?

NBC investigated and found several key points that should be red flags to avoid in a rehab:

  • Generic ads or landing pages that provide very little information about programs
  • Any references to “referral fees” or brokers
  • Free, rent, travel, insurance coverage, or other services that would not likely be free in a reputable facility
  • Expensive lab tests on a frequent or daily basis
  • Little interest in the patient’s medical and treatment histories
  • Out of state referrals

Reputable rehabs, on the other hand, will be happy to share the details of each program they provide. They will also take detailed client histories and assemble all patient medical records and prior treatment records to make sure the program is a good fit.

If You Need Reputable Addiction Treatment in California, Start by Contacting Ocean Hills Recovery

With certification from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), Ocean Hills Recovery provides the best addiction treatment California has to offer.

By choosing a reputable facility like Ocean Hills Recovery, you will have access to safe and efficient detox care, psychotherapy, twelve-step programs, and more. Using proven holistic treatment methods, Ocean Hills Recovery helps you work toward recovery and genuinely cares to make your journey safe, healthy, and sustainable.  

Start your recovery today by giving us a call.




The Other Side of Legalizing Marijuana: Human Trafficking

The Other Side of Legalizing Marijuana: Human Trafficking

The Other Side of Legalizing Marijuana: Human Trafficking

As marijuana use and sales become legal and make a slow turn into a legitimate industry, there are a lot of people who stand to make profits and see this as a positive, beneficial move on the part of governments and business owners. We are in the middle of a zeitgeist that works to decriminalize and de-stigmatize the use and sales of marijuana. But, within the darker sector of the community, there is the other side of legalizing marijuana: human trafficking markets.

Here, we will examine cannabis farms and the practice of trafficking vulnerable workers to do dangerous work to harvest the product.

Legalization By The Numbers

The legalization of marijuana has gained favor steadily in America. According to an article in, back in 1969, only 12% of the population supported legalizing cannabis use; today, that figure has increased fivefold and tracks at well over 60%.

Its usefulness strengthened the case for legalizing marijuana in certain medicinal cases. Today, though still illegal in the US at the federal level, marijuana is legal in 11 of the states for recreational use. It is legal in 33 states for medical use. Regarding our neighbors to the north, the entire country of Canada has legalized marijuana. So it seems as though there is no slowing down the movement towards legalization.

Human Trafficking: The Darker Side

The dark side of new legalization efforts is the uptick of human trafficking to sell vulnerable people into a new form of slavery where they are taken to cannabis farms and forced to work against their will.

The practice is rampant in Vietnam. Targeted workers are usually immigrants or orphans. They are kidnapped outright, or Vietnamese gang members promise them a better life and then smuggled into London. Most of the journey takes place on foot, and the victims are often beaten so they will walk faster. Once in London, many are locked in houses or flats and forced to work harvesting marijuana.

Brutal Practices

Those willing to speak out about their time in slavery report dirty conditions of the camps they are forced to live in. All of the slaves are manipulated, controlled, and beaten. The work is dangerous, as it calls for mixing liquids and powders that are not safe to breathe in.

This process often resulted in dizzy spells reported by the slaves. The wires on the heating/lighting lamps are not safe to work with and would often result in electrocution or outright burnings. The windows were covered to block daylight, so slaves rarely know what time of day or night it is.

Fear of Retribution

Many wonder why more slaves don’t run away, fight back, or try to report their experiences. Before they can pull off an escape, many of the slaves are drugged with the actual marijuana they’re producing, with cocaine, or plied with vodka so their judgment is impaired and they are physically unable to escape.

The smugglers also hold each slave accountable for the debt incurred for their journey and travel time and threaten them if they don’t work long enough to pay the debt back. And, simply put, many of them are too frightened to speak.

Throughout their ordeal, most slaves are threatened with death—either their death or their loved ones. The slaves are also threatened with prison time if they try to escape and are so terrified that it never occurs to them that their captors don’t have the authority to do such a thing.

Slaves who do manage to escape are often hunted down and taken back into slavery before they can make any sort of permanent escape.

Consequences of Legalizing Marijuana

There are many negative consequences to legalizing marijuana, both on individuals and out in broader society.

If you or someone you know is having trouble with marijuana or any other drug, we encourage you to reach out. We have many different treatment programs depending on what your needs are and take great care to make sure our patients feel accommodated and well taken care of.

Give us a call today for help.

Dangers of JUUL

Understanding The Dangers Of JUUL

Understanding The Dangers Of JUUL

Vapers and marketers don’t see anything wrong with e-cigs, but the dangers of JUUL should not be ignored. E-cigarettes are often marketed as a safer alternative to smoking. But the truth is, they’re not. 

JUUL is a brand of e-cigarettes that look like USB memory sticks. They are a very popular vaping device among teenagers due to their sleek design. The fact that the JUUL device is easily rechargeable and comes with flavored liquid-filled cartridges makes it even more appealing. This new type of e-cigarette is climbing in popularity and is now about 68% of the $2 billion e-cigarette market.

JUULing has become increasingly popular at teenage hangouts and schools. As of October 2019, 18 deaths and more than 1,000 cases of lung illness are linked to the use of e-cigarettes.

High Levels of Nicotine

Heavy smokers already have a dependency on cigarettes, which are commonly referred to as cancer sticks. For them, JUULling can be helpful because this smoking method doesn’t involve the use of tobacco. E-cigarettes don’t contain tobacco or produce tar, but they are loaded with high levels of nicotine. The concentration of e-liquid in a JUUL-pod is 5% nicotine by volume, which is more than twice the amount of nicotine in similar devices.

Excessive nicotine intake gives rise to a surge of adrenaline. The immediate release of glucose speeds up your heart rate, disrupts your breathing pattern, and raises your blood pressure. As your body succumbs to the nicotine effect, you are likely to experience some of these side effects:

  • Increased risk of stroke
  • Certain cancers
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Respiratory side effects
  • Lung inflammation
  • Decreased immunity

Possibility of Addiction

As if the dangerously high levels of nicotine weren’t enough, there is also the possibility of developing an addiction to nicotine. Teenagers can unknowingly become exposed to unsafe levels of nicotine. This chemical increases the level of dopamine in your brain. Dopamine is a chemical messenger in your brain that controls the feelings of pleasure. Once nicotine is introduced and alters this chemical messenger, it’s harder to fight the urge to use it again and again.

According to experts in the medical field, nicotine gradually changes and impairs your brain. If you begin using JUUL devices regularly, there is a higher chance you will become less opposed to experimenting with stronger drugs, including illicit ones.

It also makes adolescents more susceptible to experiencing psychological disorders and behavioral issues. Therefore, e-cigarettes can send your life spiraling out of control.

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dangers of juul

Life-Altering Problems

E-juice comes in thousands of flavors. Apple pie, cotton candy, and gummy bear are among the popular choices. Although all these flavors may give you the impression that JUULing is fun and harmless, e-juice has enough chemicals inside it to cause long-lasting damage to the brain and the lungs.

The usual ingredients include propylene glycol, glycerin, nicotine, flavorings, and other additives. Formaldehyde is a by-product. However, since no agency governs the e-cigarette market, there’s a high level of uncertainty surrounding e-juice. That’s why you should ask yourself this one question: What are you really inhaling when you draw on your favorite e-cig? Most teenage users believe that they are only inhaling flavorings, but the available information proves otherwise. Until manufacturers and researchers can answer this question with certainty, you should err on the side of caution. Those flavorful vapors are more hazardous than you think.

Help Is Available to Save You From the Dangers of JUUL

Arming yourself with the dangers of JUULing should encourage you to steer clear of all vaping products. If you find you are already struggling with an addiction, contact the caring staff at Ocean Hills Recovery. A comprehensive approach combines conventional and alternative therapies to put you in the best position to lead a life free of addiction. The programs at Ocean Hills Recovery can be tailored to address your specific addiction, allowing you to regain control of your life.

Sobriety’s Reliance On Mental Health Treatment, mental health and drug rehab

Sobriety’s Reliance On Mental Health Treatment

Sobriety’s Reliance On Mental Health Treatment

The path to sobriety requires that you understand how your mental health relates to drug and alcohol dependency. Those who suffer from mental challenges, like depression and anxiety, often self-medicate with illicit drugs or drinking. People diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely as the general population to also suffer from substance disorder. In sobriety, however, the drug and alcohol coping tools are removed. This means you must expand your recovery efforts to mental health treatment in addition to your physical wellbeing.

The overlapping symptoms of substance abuse and mental illness make it necessary to involve a professional California dual diagnosis treatment center. Mental health and drug rehab go hand-in-hand. Working with certified substance abuse specialists will help you build healthy habits to overcome stressors and triggers that promote drug and alcohol reliance.

Drug Rehab and Mental Health Treatment

The process of simultaneously diagnosing a mental health condition and a substance abuse condition is known as dual diagnosis. For mental health and drug rehab patients, untangling the emotions attached to both conditions can lead to comprehensive, tailored treatment and long-term sobriety. More than 8.4 million people in the U.S. have both a mental and substance use disorder.  However, less than 8 percent of people are treated for both conditions. More than half (53.7%) receive no treatment at all.

The challenge with a dual diagnosis and continuing sobriety is that treating and eliminating one independent of the other typically doesn’t produce long-lasting results. Just because a patient stops drinking, doesn’t necessarily mean their symptoms of depression or anxiety will subside. It’s necessary to understand the two conditions and how they are codependent on one another. Only then can your drug rehab specialist develop a plan to treat both challenges.

Prioritizing your Mental Health and Drug Rehab

The first step to understanding how your mental health and alcohol reliance are related is through dual diagnosis. By choosing an experienced California dual diagnosis treatment center, you’ll receive customized care that addresses your personal challenges. During your journey toward mental health and sobriety, there are several lifestyle changes you can make to support yourself to long-term success.

1. Get some sleep.

Harvard research suggests sleep problems are particularly common in patients with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Make lifestyle choices that allow restful sleep to support your mental health.

2. Nourish your body.

Fueling your body with the proper nutrition allows you to think more clearly. It creates more energy for an active lifestyle and promotes vitamin and nutrient absorption for faster physical healing. As one of the leading dual diagnosis centers in California, Ocean Hills Recovery can help you develop an individualized diet plan to support your recovery.

3. Find support.

Ocean Hills Recovery offers customized treatment for each patient. Some patients who are working through a dual diagnosis prefer one-on-one counseling. Others opt for a more engaging environment. A 12-step recovery plan is group focused and allows you to connect with others who are facing similar challenges.

4. Discover new places and activities.

The road to recovery needs to lead you away from locations that drive the need for alcohol or drugs. Experience the outdoors and other new places to keep your mind clear and take time to focus on your mental and physical healing. Whether it’s a walk on a nearby nature trail or volunteering at your local animal shelter, find an activity that requires physical attentiveness and keeps your mind occupied.

5. Keep a gratitude journal.

As you discover the people, places, and things around you that you’re grateful for, write them down in a journal. Harvard research shows gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Jot down three to five things each day you’re grateful for. You’ll not only develop more positive emotions, but you’ll also be able to deal with adversity and build stronger relationships.

Finding Treatment for Mental Health and Drug Rehab

Dual diagnosis is the most effective way to ensure you receive proper mental health treatment while overcoming substance abuse disorder. The professional drug specialists at Ocean Hills Recovery can answer your questions. They will help you better understand how a tailored treatment plan can benefit you. One that addresses both your physical and mental wellbeing gives you a much higher chance at long-term sobriety. Contact our experienced staff today to learn more about our dual diagnosis program and how it can meet your needs.

Harm Reduction and Abstinence Recovery

Harm Reduction and Abstinence Recovery

Harm Reduction and Abstinence Recovery

Two of the most popular forms of addiction treatment are harm reduction and abstinence recovery. Each of these methods has benefits and downsides. It is important to remember that no single approach will work to treat every person. 

Addiction is one of the most common and most deadly diseases facing Americans today. According to a report from the Center on Addiction, over 40 million Americans meet the criteria for addiction— more than the number of people who are suffering from heart conditions, diabetes, or cancer. Shockingly, only 10% of those people seek help for their addictions, and fewer still can fully maintain recovery. Our mission at Ocean Hills Recovery is to help anyone who is suffering from an addiction fully recover and build a life free from the chains of addiction. Every addiction is different, and every person requires a personally tailored approach to treating their disease.

What is Harm Reduction?

Harm reduction is a relatively new method of treating addiction and is not widely accepted quite yet. In harm reduction, individuals are encouraged to reduce the harm caused by an addiction, without completely abstaining from their substance of choice. The idea of harm reduction began in the 1980s when the government started providing clean needles to users to combat the growing HIV epidemic. The idea is that instead of quitting a behavior entirely, one should learn how to manage their usage. They should learn to lower it so that it does not harm their health, relationships, or other aspects of their lives. Examples of harm reduction include methadone and suboxone use. These medications are a safer way for former heroin users to get the ‘fix’ their body craves but also provides a safer alternative.

Sam Nugraha, the owner of a rehab center in Indonesia, wholeheartedly believes in the harm reduction method. Sam recovered from his addiction using the abstinence method. He believes that harm reduction removes much of the shame surrounding relapse, and can save lives. Most individuals, unfortunately, relapse at some point during recovery. Nugraha believes that if one can talk to his or her counselor about their relapse and stay in treatment regardless, the likelihood of a patient dying during relapse is lower. The addicted individual will feel more supported and confident that they can still overcome their addiction, and thus are less likely to continue using. Nugraha also believes that every person has different needs and different goals. As long as a patient is still meeting their goal, and can drink responsibly, they should be able to do so.

On the other hand, many people believe that those fighting for sobriety are not able to drink in moderation and that this method is dangerous and harmful. The harm reduction method requires a person who has a history of an inability to control his drinking, to suddenly be able to control his drinking. For many, this won’t work, especially for highly addictive substances, such as heroin or other opioids.

What is Abstinence Recovery?

With abstinence recovery, a patient decides to stop abusing their drug of choice altogether. Many people follow a 12-step program (like AA) to achieve long term abstinence. There are other options during recovery, as well. In a clinical setting during abstinence recovery, individuals undergo intensive therapy and counseling to find and treat the root cause of their addiction. They work to accept themselves as they are, and admit that they do not have control over their addiction. Many people have had the most success when they can deal with trauma and mental health disorders that often accompany addiction. In addition to individual therapy, most patients find that group therapy is also a huge help in overcoming addiction. Learning from others is an essential component of the abstinence recovery method.

The addiction specialists at Ocean Hills Recovery believe that abstinence is the best way to prevent relapse and future substance abuse truly. They seek to get to the root of the issue to heal patients from the inside out.

Harm Reduction and Abstinence Recovery

Is one method better than the other? The answer lies within the individual. The general rule of thumb is that harm reduction is reserved for people who are considered ‘problem drinkers’ and who have not yet felt the damaging effects of alcoholism. Some people also believe that addiction to more deadly substances, like heroin, should be avoided altogether and that abstinence is the best method in those cases. Whether or not an alcoholic can properly heal and begin to drink in moderation is up to the individual. If a person has a history of drinking excessively, why risk the chance of the problem worsening? Why not just abstain altogether?

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we work with those who are suffering from addiction to heal— mind, body, and spirit. We take a holistic approach to health and wellness. We believe that life-long substance abstinence is possible. We work diligently to create a welcoming, judgment-free atmosphere. Our compassionate staff strives to meet the individual where they are at in life and to begin working towards a brighter future right away. While we do believe that abstinence recovery is the best method for most substance abuse patients, we are also aware of the high rate of relapse. We work with each of our patients so that they feel confident in their ability to leave recovery and live without addiction. If you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, please reach out to the professionals at Ocean Hills Recovery today.



Is Decriminalizing Drug Use the Answer to the Opioid Crisis

Is Decriminalizing Drug Use the Answer to the Opioid Crisis?

Is Decriminalizing Drug Use the Answer to the Opioid Crisis?

Finding the answer to the opioid crisis can bring with it many ideas about how to tackle this complex problem. Governments attempt to address the issue by passing laws that criminalize the possession of drugs. This tactic punishes those who are using harmful substances. Unfortunately, this can have the effect of unfairly targeting those who are in desperate need of active rehabilitation. Drug abuse is a multifaceted issue, one that can be made worse by punitive measures that penalize individuals struggling with addiction. It’s worth considering whether the answer to substance abuse is to decriminalize drugs instead of turning those addicted to drugs into criminals.

The Case For Decriminalizing Drug Abuse

For decades, America has fought the “War on Drugs,” tackling the problem by treating it as a criminal issue instead of a public health issue. Since the inception of this war, drug use has not decreased in any significant way. Having a deterrent of making drug use and possession a crime has not stopped individuals from using illicit drugs. Instead, it has had a profoundly negative impact on those afflicted with addiction. Individuals who are found to have drugs go to prison instead of receiving the drug rehabilitation they needed. An individual who is struggling with addiction now has to deal with this compounding effect. Not only are they dealing with the ramifications of their drug use but now their criminal history as well.

Individuals with drug convictions can have a more difficult time finding stable employment, which can make the idea of using again more appealing.

Defelonization is a step towards decriminalization. In 2014, California attempted to reduce the number of individuals going to prison as a result of drug possession with defelonization. Reducing the number of prisoners is providing savings for California budgets, freeing up money to use for drug rehabilitation programs. Opioid addiction treatment in California can showcase a more compassionate approach and can have measurable benefits.

Portugal’s Method of Dealing with Opioid Addiction

To determine whether decriminalization can be an answer to the opioid crisis, a notable example worth looking into is that of Portugal. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized all drug possession as a way to treat problematic drug use. Since making this policy change, arrests, disease, and overdoses have decreased while the number of individuals in drug treatment programs has increased by more than 60%.

Decriminalization has reduced the number of HIV diagnoses significantly. In addition, there has been a reduction in the cases of overdoses as well. These statistics are strong evidence that decriminalization may be a component in combating the drug abuse epidemic facing our country.

Opioid Addiction Treatment in California Instead of Punishment

For decades, the United States and many other western nations have treated drug abuse as a criminal issue. Unfortunately, this tactic overlooks the public health problem, which is inherent in the disease.

According to Columbia University, approximately 65 percent of prisoners have some form of addiction, yet only 11 percent receive any intervention while incarcerated. Directly tackling drug abuse from a policing perspective without offering appropriate and effective treatment options can leave affected individuals vulnerable to relapse.

Addiction is Not a Moral Failing

Government policies have taken the perspective that drug abuse is a moral failing, one that can be made right by putting in place harsh punishments. But this view can overlook the human component and can make a complex problem into an overly-simplistic one. Substance abuse disorder can be the result of many factors, including incidents of trauma, environment, genetics, and social factors.

Effective treatment modalities are ones that take all relevant factors into account to address the problem holistically. Often, substance abuse disorders can be the result of a variety of co-occurring issues. It is essential to tackle these causes with an effective treatment plan.

Opioid Addiction – Getting Help

If you are struggling with an addiction to opioids and are looking for answers, contact Ocean Hills Recovery for help. We offer a solution-focused approach to opioid addiction treatment in California, which is structured according to each person’s particular situation. We believe in compassionate solutions that work to empower and uplift individuals afflicted with this condition. Our programs offer practical options to help you achieve the life you deserve. Let the caring clinicians of Ocean Hills Recovery help you jumpstart the recovery process and keep you on the road to sobriety.