Author Archives: ohr_guest

Should We be Using Fentanyl for Lethal Injections

Should We be Using Fentanyl for Lethal Injections?

Should We be Using Fentanyl for Lethal Injections?

Back in the 1970s, California Governor Ronald Reagan, who would later serve as president, became one of the first public officials to advocate using lethal injections to execute criminals who were on death row. Reagan speculated that the process would be no different than a veterinarian putting down a horse. In the mind of Reagan, a man or woman sentenced to death would go to sleep and never wake up. A range of drugs have been used over the years, and the first use of fentanyl for lethal injections took place in 2018.

The Execution Cocktail

States have never used a single drug to execute condemned criminals. The process has always involved the use of a cocktail of at least three different drugs. The specific drugs have varied across states and across time. In general, the first drug administered puts the condemned person to sleep. Other drugs are then used to paralyze and then stop the heart of the condemned. Most states have been reluctant to put inmates to death, and this reluctance has grown in recent years. 

While capital punishment IS legal in the state of California, in March 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom halted further executions with an official moratorium. 

Within a few months in 2014, prison officials botched two executions. On one occasion, the phlebotomist charged with administering the drugs intravenously failed to find a vein. The condemned inmate died of a heart attack after struggling for several minutes. The other inmate was administered the wrong drug.

Drugmakers have rebelled against the use of their drugs in lethal injections. This action by drug manufacturers has led states to resort to other options for carrying out lethal injections. One of those options that some have suggested is the use of fentanyl, a readily available opioid.

Nebraska Uses Fentanyl

In August 2014, Nebraska became the first state to use fentanyl for lethal injections. The condemned man, Carey Dean Moore, did not attempt to stop his execution. However, two drug companies did because they wanted to avoid the stigma of having their drugs used in executions. The state turned to fentanyl, which is a drug that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.

The Dangers of Fentanyl

The fact that a state has used fentanyl for execution should show how potent and deadly the drug can be. Fentanyl is intended for the relief of extreme pain, but when used outside of its intended use, it can lead to death.

Over the past few years, there has been a massive spike in the number of deaths attributed to people overdosing on fentanyl. From a relatively small number of fatalities as recently as 2013, the number of deaths tied to an overdose of fentanyl rose to more than 28,400 in 2017. This should not be surprising given the fact that the drug is now a component of an execution cocktail. Even when the drug does not kill, it can bind to opioid receptors in the brain or cause a person’s breathing to slow or stop altogether.

The fentanyl crisis has now reached California, and there is a danger that its effects could spread. If you or someone you love has issues with fentanyl addiction, it’s possible to get help. We’re dedicated to assisting people who have problems with addiction, and we strive to provide a holistic approach. In addition to offering a detox program, we also provide individual and group counseling that will support you and your loved ones in your struggle. We’re committed to helping people defeat their dependency on fentanyl, so be sure to contact us today.  

NOTE: While capital punishment IS legal in the state of California, in March 2019, Governor Gavin Newsom halted further executions with an official moratorium. 

Dating Someone in Recovery

Dating Someone in Recovery

Dating Someone in Recovery

Learning about a history of substance abuse can put a damper on the first date. However, dating someone in recovery can work out surprisingly well.

A little understanding goes a long way, so don’t rule out a relationship just yet. Here are some guidelines.

Be Open-minded

If you don’t know anything about addiction, take time to educate yourself. This disease has nothing to do with a lack of willpower or moral failure, and the fact that your love interest sought help speaks volumes.

People in recovery have a significant advantage over some of those other fish in the sea: They’ve worked on their issues, they know they have issues, and they’ll continue to work on their issues.

Recovering substance abusers are learning to be brutally honest. They’re tackling the root causes of addiction, which may include low self-esteem, heartbreak, or sexual abuse. They’re trying to process negative emotions in healthy ways. They’re learning to respect themselves and others. Most are getting fit and eating right.

In short, they keep getting better.

Ask Questions But Think About Them First

To avoid striking a tone of interrogation, respectfully admit that you have some questions. He may tell you to fire away. She may ask for more time before going into details.

How long has your love interest been sober? Most experts recommend at least a year of sobriety before starting a serious relationship. People in recovery have serious work to do, and rushing things is a trigger for relapse.

Is your date actively involved in recovery groups and counseling? If you’re willing, ask how you can be of support.

As in any new romance, not everyone is comfortable talking about personal issues right away. However, someone who refuses to open up over time may not be ready for a relationship. Honesty is critical in battling addiction.

Ask Yourself If You Can Handle the Baggage

While everyone has baggage, addiction can throw life into chaos. Your date might be grappling with financial disarray, a damaged reputation, or legal problems. Family relationships may be strained. A bitter custody battle may be dragging on.

Know thyself, first and foremost. If you feel like you’re in over your head, there’s no shame in saying so.

Resist the Temptation to Coddle

Romance can easily cross over into codependency if a well-intentioned partner assumes the role of caretaker. That’s the last thing someone in recovery needs.

You may be on dangerous ground if caretaking becomes compulsive, if you feel responsible for your partner’s success or failure, or if you tend to rescue rather than lend support. Putting your own needs on the back burner is another red flag.

Codependency isn’t good for anybody. For the recovering substance abuser, it shifts accountability to the partner. Accountability is crucial in recovery. For the partner, it’s draining, isolating, and emotionally destabilizing.

Guard against codependency by seeing your friends, engaging in hobbies, and setting aside time for self-care.

You can undoubtedly cuddle, but don’t coddle.

Prepare for the Likelihood of Relapse

Relapse, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, relapse rates are between 40 and 60%.

Ask your date about personal triggers to substance abuse. Triggers might be certain emotions, social settings, or even people. You can’t be expected to babysit, but you can be sensitive to environments that aren’t safe for your date. Are you willing to leave a fun party early or skip the wine at dinner if your partner seems anxious? Recovery must come first.

Is relapse a reason to end the romance? It all depends on how your partner responds to it.

People who are serious about recovery remain positive and bounce back stronger than ever. A flippant attitude, denial, deception, or self-pity, on the other hand, should give you pause.

Seek Help While Dating Someone in Recovery 

Dating someone in recovery can be an eye-opener. If you suspect that you may have a problem of your own, we can help.

Every day, professional rehab equips people to reclaim their lives. Experienced, compassionate caregivers love setting people on the path to recovery.

If you or someone you love needs help, don’t wait another day to call

Can You OD On Antidepressants

Can You OD On Antidepressants?

Can You OD On Antidepressants?

When you think of a person overdosing, antidepressants are probably not the first thing on the list of drugs you would think of. However, as with most other prescription drugs, it is possible to OD on antidepressants.

The National Institutes of Health has noted that the number of deaths due to antidepressant overdose has risen steadily over the past decade with the number reaching over 5,200 in 2017.

Safe and regulated use of antidepressants can make a world of difference for a person who is struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or other mood issues, but it is essential to follow a doctor’s instructions closely.

How Someone Can OD On Antidepressants

Because the effects of an antidepressant are often not immediately visible, it can be easy for some people to think that more is better. This is especially true since the prescribed dosage amounts may seem small.

However, antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, and tricyclic antidepressants, or TCAs, can be very dangerous when consumed in large quantities. Before the discovery of SSRIs, it was a regular occurrence for people to accidentally or intentionally overdose on TCAs.

It’s important to remember that all antidepressant drugs take time to begin working. The medicine must build up in your body before it can genuinely produce noticeable effects. Most of these drugs must be taken for at least two weeks before you feel a difference, but this is a process that you cannot speed up by merely upping your dose.

Taking more than one antidepressant or mixing your medication with another person’s are two other common ways that it’s possible to overdose. Your doctor may prescribe more than one antidepressant, and for some people, this is an effective treatment. However, there is a chance that your body may not tolerate the addition well, and this can lead to overdose symptoms.

As with any prescription drugs, taking someone else’s medication is highly dangerous and should never be done. This is especially true for antidepressants because someone else’s dosage will be specifically tailored to his or her needs, and mixing that medicine with your dosage and body chemistry can lead to severe complications.

Symptoms of Antidepressant Overdose

General overdose symptoms can be difficult to notice at first, but they will worsen over a few hours. Signs to look for include the following:

  • Rapid or fluttering heartbeat
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations

Aside from the general danger of overdosing on prescription medication, taking too many antidepressants can also lead to another life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. When too much of the chemical serotonin builds up in the body, it can be fatal if not treated in time.

Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may include any of the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Twitching
  • Irregular eye movements
  • High body temperature
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Deep sadness
  • Abnormal sweating

Antidepressant overdose is dangerous, and it requires immediate medical treatment. Doctors will often pump a person’s stomach, administer activated charcoal to absorb excess medication, and give intravenous fluids or other medicines to help keep the person stable during recovery.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

Antidepressants can have an amazing impact on your life if you struggle with mood disorders, but it’s crucial to follow the exact dosing schedule given by your doctor.

If you struggle with addiction or thoughts of suicide, there is help for you. Remember that you’re never alone. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255), followed with a call to a trusted rehab center, and give yourself a chance to get clean and start down the road to a happier, better life.


sober curious and how it became cool to get sober

Sober Curious? How It Became Cool To Get Sober

Sober Curious? How It Became Cool To Get Sober

Maybe you’ve heard the trendy term ‘Sober Curious,’ and wondered just what that meant. It’s a term coined for what is becoming a subculture of people who not only want to get sober but want to embrace an entire dry social scene that seems to be popping up more and more. But is it really ‘cool’ to get sober? Or, is there a more dangerous undertone to getting sober being the newest trend to try?

Sober Is The New Black

In 2014, Scottish housewife and mom Rachel Black bravely shared her story of alcohol addiction and recovery. In her book, Sober Is The New Black, she detailed her regular cycle of juggling all the roles she had as a woman, wife, and mother. At the end of each day, she ‘rewarded’ herself with wine until she realized that her wine intake grew each day, and was no longer a treat but a must. She found life harder to cope with and in turn, drank more until she realized she needed help to get her life back.

And she wasn’t alone. Research shows that millennials are drinking considerably less than generations before them. Many claim the new trend to ‘get sober,’ is a result of more people being sober curious—wanting to know what life without alcohol and the health issues it can bring is like. This new curiosity comes almost as a direct revolt against what has come to be known as a given in most Instagram or other social media posts. In fact, in 2016, French researchers shared they’d created an ‘influencer’ profile on Instagram to prove that the inclusion of a social drink was the norm. When the profile was exposed, the fear over just how easily people became desensitized to alcohol in everyday life encouraged more to become sober curious.

The Sober Curious Movement Presumes Choice

While it’s positive that research suggests millennials may be drinking less, the problem is that the sober curious movement presumes it’s a natural choice to get dry and that being sober is a lifestyle choice.

Sean Mahoney is the author of Now That You’ve Stopped Dying. He calls the sober curious movement a trendy one and one that doesn’t take into serious account that an alternative to sobriety is often death. He sees those exploring the Sober Curious movement as people who don’t necessarily need to get sober, but who consider it for the other benefits of abstaining from alcohol. Those benefits include better brain and liver function, as well as weight control and more money in your pocket.

He says that the Sober Curious are interested in hanging out with their friends in bar culture, but not necessarily wanting to drink in excess. They are tired of feeling the pressure to drink heavily at work or social functions just to fit in and don’t want to do it anymore.

And those are all excellent reasons for abstaining from alcohol.

Continued after video:

The Problem With The Sober Curious Movement

The problem for those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism, though, is that resisting or abstaining from alcohol isn’t a trendy or cute fad to try. Getting sober and abstaining from alcohol is a must for those suffering from alcoholism. If you don’t, Mahoney says that you will not only lose relationships, jobs, and money…you may end up losing your life.

The Sober Curious trend presumes that all you have to do to abstain from alcohol and get sober is decide it’s not the lifestyle you want. It doesn’t factor in that alcoholism is a disease. It also glamorizes getting sober as ‘being cool,’ but doesn’t highlight that while some may be drinking less, they’re turning to other substitutes as fill-ins. Researchers are looking at the relationship between looser marijuana laws and the decline of alcohol sales, while other research suggests that some may substitute food indulgence with alcohol. Both have their own set of problems, and introspection into either phenomenon rarely looks at the structure of the disease of alcoholism itself.

Recovery And True Healing Wait For You

The compassionate and experienced staff at Ocean Hills Recovery knows that to get sober, you have to want to be more than part of the current social media campaign or trend. For those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism, to best achieve sobriety, you’ll need more than an Instagram hashtag.

Ocean Hills Recovery will look at you as an individual, and customize a treatment plan that will address your mental and physical needs. Their goal is your long-lasting sobriety, and they will work hard to help you learn how to take your will and your life back. They offer individual and group therapies, medical interventions, and multi-step programs. They’ll walk through each step of treatment with you in their calm and comfortable residential setting, and you’ll have the tools you need to maintain sobriety for a lifetime. You need to take the first step.


Alcohol's Effect on Your Body When You Have an Autoimmune Disorder

Alcohol’s Effect on Your Body When You Have an Autoimmune Disorder

Alcohol’s Effect on Your Body When You Have an Autoimmune Disorder

Regularly, positive stories are published about alcohol’s effect on your body. Consuming limited amounts of alcohol has shown to reduce occurrences of heart disease, stroke, and gallstones. A team from the Oregon Health & Science University found alcohol could bolster the immune system and its responsiveness.

However, for individuals who have an autoimmune disorder, alcohol consumption can exacerbate the disorder’s symptoms. Further, the consumption of beer or wine may hide underlying health issues. In some instances, individuals felt worse after quitting alcohol; one sign the immune system had been impacted by alcohol.

What are Autoimmune Disorders?

The immune system is a defense system developed by organisms to protect themselves from disease. To work, the system first must be able to identify a variety of threats, known as pathogens. Pathogens include viruses and parasites.

An effective immune system can determine the difference between harmful pathogens from a host’s own healthy tissue. Once dangerous threats are identified, they are “marked” so the body’s white blood cells can attack and eliminate them.

Autoimmune disorders cannot identify healthy tissue from pathogens. The result is a defense system that attacks and damages the organism’s own healthy cells. Autoimmune disorders include:

  • Lupus
  • Psoriasis
  • Vasculitis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Graves’ disease
  • Ulcerative Colitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
  • Guillain-Barre Syndrome
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy

The medical community does not know exactly what causes autoimmune disorders. It is believed one or more factors may play a role in who is struck by a disorder, including diet, genetics, infections, and chemical exposure.

Alcohol and Autoimmune Disorders

The hormone estrogen is known to trigger a body’s immune system. Alcohol, including wine, beer, and liquor, has plant-based estrogen as a part of the liquid chemical makeup. Individuals with an autoimmune disorder may experience flare-ups or reactions after drinking even small amounts of alcohol.

For individuals who drink heavily or abuse alcohol, the liver becomes unable to process toxins effectively. The result can be an increased level of immunoglobulins, antibodies that are supposed to mark harmful pathogens. This is usually a sign of an autoimmune response. Chronic alcoholism leads to antibodies identifying healthy cells as threats that cause white blood cells to destroy the wrong tissue.

Over time, alcohol abuse further cripples the body’s ability to protect itself. As the immune system’s functionality is continually interrupted, an individual’s white blood cell count may begin to decrease. White blood cells, the body’s search and destroy mechanism for ridding the body of harmful pathogens, start to become overwhelmed by unhealthy pathogens. Illness and disease become more difficult to stave off, and the body becomes sicker more quickly, more often, and for much longer than if the immune system is operating correctly.

Autoimmune Disorder Symptoms

Alcohol can trigger autoimmune responses or result in an autoimmune disease if the substance is abused. There are a few general symptoms which may indicate an autoimmune disorder:

  • Fatigue
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Hair loss
  • Skin rashes
  • Lack of focus
  • Achy muscles
  • Low-grade fevers
  • Numbness/tingling in hands or feet

Specific disorders have their individual symptoms. For example, type 1 diabetes can cause extreme thirst, fatigue, and weight loss, while inflammatory bowel disease has associated stomach pain, diarrhea, and bloating. Symptoms may come and go as many autoimmune diseases may go into remission when there is a lack of a trigger.

Seeking Support

Alcohol’s effect on your body can have lifelong consequences. Consuming alcohol when an autoimmune disorder is present increases the risk of severe health issues. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, contact your local hospital or speak with one of our professionals. The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery will work alongside you to find the right care and treatment plans that are best for you.

Having An Addictive Personality Isn’t a Real Thing

Having An Addictive Personality Isn’t a Real Thing

Having An Addictive Personality Isn’t a Real Thing

“I won’t get addicted, I don’t have an addictive personality” and “I can’t help it, I have an addictive personality” are statements that many people have heard at some point in their lifetime. While this can be about innocent things like sweets, caffeine, or TV shows, when you introduce drug addiction to the list, it becomes an entirely different conversation.

Addiction is a complex disorder whose cause cannot be isolated to just a personality trait. While it would make diagnosing addiction and treating it much easier, there is no single connection that has been identified to cause addiction (though some genes are believed to be linked to different forms of addiction developing). There are families where every member except one has an addiction, while others are addiction-free except for a single member. To put it simply, anyone can develop an addiction at any time.

What is well known is that addiction is profoundly affected by your environment. There are a variety of environmental factors that play a significant role in whether or not you become addicted to something, such as a stressful environment or unhealthy relationships. These can lead to behaviors that put you at a higher risk of abusing drugs to cope, eventually leading to an addiction. However, not all addictions are the same, and a misunderstanding of what addiction is can help explain the addictive personality phenomenon and why more people don’t seek addiction treatment before it is too late.

Damaging Effects of Addiction Stereotypes

One paper published argues that, at any given time, it is plausible that approximately 47% of the adult US population is showing signs of an addiction disorder. That means that nearly 1 in 2 adults in the US have some maladaptive behaviors associated with an addiction disorder. That number is in stark contrast to the documented 11% of adult males who are reported drug abusers.  So how can 47% of the population be considered addicted to something and yet, simultaneously, only 11% (approximately 22% when including females) of the population be addicted to drugs?

The problem comes down to damaging stereotypes associated with addiction. When people hear the word “addict,” images of criminals and degenerates come to mind. However, this is not the case for the vast majority of people suffering from addiction disorders. After all, are 47% of people on the streets, committing crimes, or fulfilling other stereotypes associated with addiction at any given time? Of course not! 

The behaviors of an “out-of-control” addiction versus a “high-functioning” addiction are very different. The very damaging, but sometimes accurate, picture of people putting their lives and family at risk to satisfy a craving is real, but it’s not the only picture of a person suffering from an addiction disorder. While that may be the stereotype, the fact is 47% of the US population is NOT putting their lives and family at risk to satisfy a craving – so what is an accurate picture?  Research tells us that there is no precise picture; that anyone, at any time, can show addictive tendencies or behaviors. There is no one personality or one trait that is the cause for someone’s addiction, or the severity of the addiction. 

What Is An Addiction Disorder?

If you are no longer thinking about the damaging image of the stereotypical drug addict, then you open yourself up to being more reflective about what an addiction disorder is and how it presents in different people. The fact is that anyone can become addicted to something. Things like family history and exposure to the substance can make addiction more likely, but it is a combination of many invisible stressors that combine to make an addiction disorder present itself in damaging ways to the user.

There is a difference between habitual and addictive behaviors. Often when someone is describing their “addiction” to television or drinking wine with dinner, they are commenting on their habit of watching TV every day or drinking wine with every dinner. The line between addiction and habit can get blurry, but frequency does not determine addiction. People spending excessive time working or on their hobbies would not be considered an addiction to most despite being more frequent than binge drinking on weekends, which can be seen as a problem or addiction. As a rule of thumb, if stopping the behavior causes physical or emotional issues to develop, or it begins to harm your life, it may be an addiction.

Addiction Treatment for All Personalities

Whether or not an addictive personality is real, we know one thing for sure: addiction is very real. If you find yourself struggling to kick an unhealthy habit or addiction, consider seeking addiction treatment before it gets out of control.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we’re well versed in identifying unhealthy behaviors and helping you put an end to it. We understand that addiction is not always in your control, but getting help is. Our holistic approach to mental health treatment ensures all aspects of your addiction – physical, mental, and spiritual health – are addressed for comprehensive rehabilitation.

Take your personality into your own hands and get help today. Call today to get started with an addiction specialist.

warning signs of suicide

Warning Signs of Suicide

This entry was posted in Dual Diagnosis and tagged on by .

Warning Signs of Suicide

Suicide is a major cause of death across all ages, sexual orientations, and all demographics. It is a harrowing experience for all of those affected, so we will take a look at some of the major warning signs of suicide that should give rise to concern.

According to, nearly 800,000 people in the world die from suicide each year. This amounts to one suicide every 40 seconds. It is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States alone. While these numbers count the deaths by suicide, lest we not forgot the number of suicide attempts. There is one death for every four attempts. Thus, suicide is a genuine and ongoing problem. This is by no means a comprehensive list of potential warning signs of suicide, but these are some of the main things to look for:

1. Sudden Withdrawal from Society

If you observe a person suddenly withdrawing from all social contact, this should raise a red flag. This can extend to avoiding friends and rejecting family outings. If someone is cut off from social connections, that is a sign that they may be feeling suicidal. According to, the exponential concern should be given if the events or contacts that a person has abandoned are things they typically really enjoy. 

2. Increased Substance Use

Whether it is drugs or alcohol, dependence, or abuse of either substance tells of a heightened need to escape reality. This could be considered the first step in a march toward suicide and should be noted as such. Abuse is also a sign that the user cares little about the effects or consequences of their actions and an ultimate detachment from their sense of well-being.

3. Harmful Behavior

This is a sort of follow-up to increased abuse of substances. Destructive behavior includes substance abuse, but it can also be generally risky behavior, driving recklessly, or unsafe sex. Engaging in any activities or practices that indicate not valuing their life is a good indicator that suicidal thoughts or actions are afoot. 

4. Changes In Sleep Patterns

This may be a little more difficult to observe, but if a person exhibits drastic changes in their sleeping habits, that should cause concern about possible suicidal thoughts. Sleep helps restore energy and renew spirits. But too much sleep can indicate lethargy and indifference. Changes include either sleeping too little or sleeping too much, depending on the person.

5. Feelings of Hopelessness

Loss of hope is hard to address, but it is essential to take note of it. Keeping hope alive and a person motivated to look positively toward the future is a tricky road to navigate because motivating factors differ from person to person. But, take notice if someone you care about exhibits feelings of hopelessness. A person who has little expectation for the future and sees no hope for improvement is apt to have an unwillingness to live. These symptoms are a big sign of suicidal thoughts and intentions and should be given merit. 

6. Declines in Hygienic Practices

This sign also exists on the same plane of not caring about the future or the value of one’s life. If a person stops brushing their teeth, showering regularly and abandons regular grooming practices, take notice. These are significant indicators that they no longer take pride in their appearance and have no investment in their future. Both are signs of suicidal thoughts. 

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we heed all warnings of suicides because struggles with mental illness, addiction, and suicide are inexorably linked. It is, therefore, an important subject to monitor for those of us devoted to recovery.

If you or someone you know is fighting suicidal feelings, it’s essential to know that you are not alone, and people are willing to help. A call to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, at 1-800-273-8255, can be the first step to maintaining help. 

Please share this infographic with others to help us notice the warning signs of suicide:

warning signs of suicide

Battle Against Fentanyl Overdose and Deaths

The Battle Against Fentanyl Overdose and Deaths

The Battle Against Fentanyl Overdose and Deaths

When distributors find a product that’s cheap to make and in high demand, supply instantly increases. Unfortunately, in the illegal drug industry, there’s no regulation on the risks imposed on users. After decades of use, the United States government deemed heroin unlawful in 1924. Despite its recent fatal rampage through the U.S., an even deadlier force replaced heroin. Fentanyl overdose quickly became an issue across the country, hitting some states much harder than others. In 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid-related deaths involved fentanyl.

From 2016 to 2017, California was one of three states that showed a significant increase in overdose deaths, prompting the state to be approved for Funding for Enhanced State Opioid Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS). This funding would enhance its surveillance activities, including linking data sources, improving the timeliness of nonfatal and fatal overdose data, and CDC-approved innovative projects.

While California worked with the federal government to curb the distribution, use, and deaths caused by fentanyl, the synthetic opioid is still largely to blame for making 2017 one of the worst years for drug overdose deaths in the state. Preliminary numbers show California’s overdose deaths from the synthetic opioid fentanyl increased by 57 percent in 2017, killing 431 people, according to the state’s Opioid Overdose Surveillance Dashboard.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin and can be 100 times more potent than morphine. In its legal form, fentanyl is a prescription often prescribed to patients with severe pain, particularly after surgery or for those battling cancer. When found in an illicit form, fentanyl is a white powder that can take a pill form or be laced into other drugs, like methamphetamine, counterfeit Xanax or crack cocaine, for a stronger high.

Fentanyl Overdose and Use by Sex, Race

Rates of drug abuse are lower in women than men. Studies show adult men are 2 to 3 times more likely than women to have a drug abuse/dependence disorder. However, women tend to increase their rate of consumption of alcohol, marijuana, opioids, and cocaine more rapidly than men.

From 1999 to 2017, the death rate from drug overdoses among women aged 30–64 years increased by 260 percent. Drug overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased, according to CDC. Among women, the average age at death for synthetic opioid drug overdose deaths is 44.2.

By 2016, the rate for male drug overdose deaths was 2.8 times the rate for females, at 8.6 (per 100,000 population) compared to 3.1, respectively. Some research suggests men are more likely to use drugs alone. When it comes to fentanyl use, that increases a man’s chances of an overdose and death.

Rates for drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl by age group show young adults, ages 25-34, suffering a lethal overdose most frequently at 13 deaths per 100,000 population. Those aged 65 and over report the fewest fentanyl-involved deadly drug overdoses (>1).

While more whites die due to fentanyl overdose than blacks or Hispanics, the death rate for blacks is increasing more rapidly. For 2015, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley calculated that the opioid-related overdose mortality rate for whites was 12.2 per 100,000, nearly twice the rate for blacks (about 6.6 per 100,000). However, between 2000 and 2015, the opioid death rate increased 51 percent among whites but 87 percent among blacks.

Continued after infographic:

fentanyl overdose and death, fentanyl addiction treatment

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Health experts suggest women are more likely to seek and enter drug rehab for fentanyl abuse because they go to the doctor more frequently. Abuse experts say every encounter with a medical professional offers the opportunity for the addict to seek help and for the doctor to recognize signs of addiction and provide assistance.

As you search for the best California drug rehab center either for yourself or a loved one, it’s essential to know what type of support you can expect. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we rely on customized drug treatment programs for each patient. We take into consideration the patient’s history, learning style, and individual responses to treatment.

Whether you’re attempting to overcome a reliance on fentanyl or you want more information for a loved one who needs professional drug rehabilitation assistance, our courteous staff is ready to answer your questions.


Encourage Someone in Recovery

Ways to Encourage Someone in Recovery

Ways to Encourage Someone in Recovery

For family members and friends of those in drug and alcohol recovery, it can be easy to forget that the recovery process is a lifelong commitment. Learning to encourage someone in recovery doesn’t end when they leave a California rehabilitation center. It’s important to commit yourself to understand the daily struggles of a recovering individual and help them heal without slipping into an enabling role.

A federal report released in late 2016 reveals one in seven Americans will face substance addiction challenges. Alarmingly, only 10 percent of these individuals will receive the help needed to break the substance abuse. Research also shows support, not enabling, has a positive effect on one’s recovery. In fact, a lack of support from family has been directly linked to one’s frequency of a relapse. As a loved one of a recovering individual, you can take the necessary step to educate yourself on how to be the model of support your family member or friend needs.

Tips to Encourage Someone in Recovery

Emerging from recovery can make an someone feel very vulnerable and isolated – a duo that can quickly lead to relapse without the support of family and friends. As you strive to show your support, use these tips:

Be inclusive: Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin performed an isolation study with rats. The researchers concluded humans are similar to the rats in that “social isolation leads to addiction more quickly, and it’s harder to extinguish.” While encouraging someone in recovery, it’s important to physically be around them. Invite them to events, include them in outings, and don’t allow them to fall into a pattern of isolation.

Create an environment for success: Create a living environment that promotes sobriety and healthy recovery. Remove all drugs, alcohol, and paraphernalia from your home or your loved one’s home. Think beyond the obvious. Even empty wine bottles or photos can act as a trigger, so removing these items will allow the individual in recovery to focus on the future, not the scarred past.

Find new adventures: Build a healthy future by enjoying new adventures together. Find a hobby that neither of you has tried. From painting to kayaking, keeping your loved one engaged and physically active will help ward off boredom, which breeds temptation. Ask them for recommendations and commit to building those experiences.

Explore family therapy: Engaging with your loved one in regular family therapy sessions is much more supportive than constantly reminding them to find a support group. Play an active role in the ongoing journey of sobriety. Perhaps your friend or family member is more likely to take part in a support group or speak with a counselor if you tag along. Offer your support through your time.

Practice self-care: Supporting and encouraging someone in recovery is a major responsibility. While you want to offer your time and emotional strength, you must remember to take time to refuel. Explore support groups for family members of addicts or specifically schedule time frequently to make yourself a priority. If you’re not at your best mentally and physically, you can’t possible offer your best to someone else.

Supporting and Encouraging Someone Is Not the Same as Enabling them

As you explore the journey of recovery with your family member or friend, remember that your goal is to offer support, not enable them. It’s never easy to see a loved one struggle, but constantly pulling them out of bad situations – paying their bills, bailing them out of jail, or allowing behavior that violates your boundaries – is not a form of support.

If you need guidance or education on addiction, the Ocean Hills Recovery treatment center is happy to connect with families. Our drug and alcohol treatment center in Dana Point, CA offers personalized recovery plans for each patient. Explore our treatment options today and be prepared to confidently encourage someone in recovery.

Treating Self-Injury and Addiction With Dual Diagnosis California

Treating Self-Injury and Addiction With Dual Diagnosis California

Treating Self-Injury and Addiction With Dual Diagnosis California

Learning to express difficult emotions like anxiety, frustration, anger, and sorrow can be hard for some people. Whether through fear of reaching out for help or habitually internalizing those emotions, those who find it difficult to cope with troublesome times or people may turn to self-injury as a way to release the pain. Research shows that self-injury and addiction often go hand-in-hand, making dual diagnosis California facilities even more crucial for those battling self-harm or addiction.

Self-injury is the practice of individuals who intentionally hurt themselves, often through cutting, as a release or outlet for their suffering. Contrary to popular belief, self-injury is not a suicide attempt, but rather, a way to seek solace from certain circumstances or perceived difficulties. The most common methods of self-harm include:

  • Skin cutting (70-90%),
  • Headbanging or hitting (21%-44%)
  • Burning (15%-35%)

Most people who engage in self-injury harm themselves in more than one way. While research indicates about 4 percent of adults in the U.S. actively self-injure, the numbers are much higher for adolescents. Approximately 15 percent of teens report some form of self-injury. Studies show an even higher risk for self-harm among college students, with rates ranging from 17 to 35 percent.

Self Injury And Addiction

As a friend, loved one of someone suffering through addiction, it’s important to note that reliance on drugs or alcohol is not self-harm. While the physical results of addiction and self-harm are both harmful to the body, it’s crucial for a professional dual diagnosis California treatment center to treat both conditions.

Certain drugs may cause a person to seek self-harming behaviors more strongly than other substances. The two conditions could be practiced simultaneously, or the individual may alternate between the two behaviors. Both drug abuse and self injury are used as a way to escape pressure, unpleasant experiences and difficult life circumstances. Research indicates adolescents who self-injure, are four times more likely to abuse drugs in young adulthood. In addition, those who practice self-injury are at an increased risk of abusing more than one substance and experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Those who abuse certain types of drugs, particularly amphetamine (like prescription Adderall and Dexedrine, illicit ecstasy) and benzodiazepine (like Valium and Xanax) have been linked to self-harm behaviors. The risk of self-injury is higher in females, especially problem drinkers, who often combine alcohol and self-injury.

Dual Diagnosis California Treatment Center For Self-Injury And Addiction

Self-injury is often a symptom of a mental health disorder, which makes treating the underlying cause a crucial step in stopping the behavior. Dual diagnosis treatment centers, like Ocean Hills Recovery, are dedicated to comprehensive assessment and specialized care. Dual diagnosis is the recognition, diagnosis, and treatment of two separate mental or physical diseases or issues. Treating a patient as though self-harm and addiction are one disease will not support the patient through long-lasting recovery.

When a patient enters dual diagnosis treatment with the caring staff at OHR, they will receive the proper care needed to treat each issue. Our dual diagnosis treatment combines social, medical, spiritual, and psychological interventions to ensure the greatest possibility of success in recovery.

It’s important to discover the past or ongoing traumas that trigger self-harm and addiction. Working through the pain and fear of experiences allows the patient to develop healthier ways of dealing with difficult emotions. Without a proper dual diagnosis, the patient is much more likely to fall back on harmful and dangerous coping methods.

Ocean Hills Recovery in Dana Point, CA provides dual diagnosis treatment options for those who abuse substances and harm themselves. The supportive, experienced and compassionate recovery specialists at Ocean Hills Recovery can walk you through the steps of the dual diagnosis program and guide you toward a life of sobriety and good health.