Simple Recovery's Blog

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cocaine Use: From Recreation to Addiction

People who use “hard drugs,” cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine for instance, are taking a huge risk. But, just because someone is using those types of drugs does not necessarily mean they are addicted. You may be thinking that nobody gets into a situation where such drugs are being used without be touched by the disease, and in many cases that is true. However, there is such a thing as a recreational hard drug user.

On every weekend, in practically every major city, young adults congregate to imbibe alcohol and, in some cases, use cocaine in a complementary fashion. Given that stimulants like cocaine allow individuals to drink more without experiencing the sleep inducing qualities of alcohol, one can say that mixing the two substances is a logical choice. After all, Friday through Sunday is not that much time, and people want to make the most of it. While that last sentence is accurate, it is in no way an endorsement of such a practice.

There is a fine line between recreational use and addiction, but it is not always clear to users when that threshold has been crossed. There are thousands of Americans who use cocaine a couple times a week who may have already developed the disease of addiction, but since they only use in social settings they can convince themselves that they do not have a problem.

Recreational Cocaine Use

Researchers at McGill University found that non-dependent cocaine users experience cues that result in a release of dopamine in the region of the brain believed to promote compulsive cocaine use, according to a news release.

The study, published in Scientific Reports, indicates that there may be people who view themselves as recreational cocaine users could actually be closer to addiction than they think. "The study provides evidence that some of the characteristic brain signals in people who have developed addictions are also present much earlier than most of us would have imagined," says Marco Leyton, an expert on the neurobiology of drug use and addictions and professor in McGill's Department of Psychiatry.

Cocaine use causes a release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter tied to the brains reward system, according to the article. Over time, just seeing certain things associated with cocaine use can result in the brain craving the drug. Once that occurs it is vital that one try to stop using cocaine, if you have trouble with that, then it is vital you seek help immediately before the disease of addiction progresses any further. The switch from casual use to the brain craving a drug can happen in a short period of time after initiation. Professor Leyton says the research highlights the "importance of providing help early" to avoid the repercussions typical of addiction.

Cocaine Treatment

Cocaine is a drug that remains prevalent, despite the rampant opioid addiction rates in America. It may have seemed like the drug had disappeared, but in fact it was just talked about less. If you are one the many people with untreated cocaine addiction, please contact Simple Recovery today. The longer one waits, the worse it gets. Always.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Opioid Overdose Reversal Training Imperative

In the United States, we are in the midst of the most serious addiction epidemic that we have ever faced. What began as seemingly harmless opioid painkiller prescribing, quickly ballooned into a scourge of addiction the likes of which have never been seen before. Overprescribing led millions of patients with no history of addiction down a precarious road, once hooked many patients began visiting multiple doctors every month to sustain their habit. Before anyone could comprehend what was actually happening in America, the seed of opioid reliance and subsequent dependence had been planted. And now it is deeply rooted in our culture.

It is a fact that we make up a small fraction the global population, yet Americans consume the market share of all prescription opioids on the planet. People in the U.S. have come to think that opioids are the answer for any form of pain, with very few turning down such drugs when offered by a doctor. To be sure, not everyone who is prescribed opioids abuses them, but having so many painkillers out there in medicine cabinets is a huge liability. Many opioid addicts today, initiated use by being given a pill from a friend or family member. Or they took them without permission.

While prescription opioids continue to be a pervasive problem in the U.S., there are several other substances being abused at exponentially greater rates than before. Government crackdowns calling for a more reserved approach by doctors when it comes to prescribing, had the effect of reducing the number of drugs prescribed. But, on the other hand such mandates did not address the root of the problem...addiction. Faced with an increase in obstacles for acquiring prescription opioids, many addicts turned from the doctor's office to the streets to acquire what they needed illicitly.

The Road to Heroin

Painkillers purchased on the street are expensive, and in many parts of the country difficult to obtain. Heroin, on the other hand, is in many ways more pervasive on the black market, cheaper to buy and often stronger than oxycodone. Switching from prescription opioids to heroin, if nothing else, was a logical decision. Yet, one that was fraught with peril.

Heroin, like OxyContin, is a drug that easily leads to overdose. In the U.S. around one hundred people succumb to an overdose every day, from both painkillers and heroin. However, unlike prescription drugs, most heroin users have no way of gauging the potency of what they are taking. Making it extremely difficult to dose properly; just a little bit too much and one can find themselves walking a tightrope between life and death. What’s more, heroin is often cut with a drug that is almost hundred times stronger than morphine, and there is a good chance the name of the drug is in your lexicon. Fentanyl. The painkillers can dramatically increase the potency of heroin, users rarely know that what they are using is mixed with a narcotic that causes severe respiratory depression. Overdose is, in many cases, a forgone conclusion.

Reversing An Overdose

It is widely accepted that the best tool to change the state of opioid addiction in America is treatment. Unfortunately, many people lose their life to an overdose before they have an opportunity to recover. Which is why it is of the utmost importance that every household, that has active opioid addicts residing, has the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone on hand. It is absolutely vital the friends and family members of addicts be trained in administering the miracle drug.

With each year that passes, more and more cities and states lighten the restrictions on acquiring naloxone, otherwise known as Narcan. People who are trained and equipped with naloxone can save lives, friends and family are usually the first on the scene of an overdose. Police and EMTs often arrive too late to administer the drug.

New research conducted at Boston University involved an analysis of nearly 41,000 people who were trained to use naloxone, HealthDay reports. The findings indicated that family members used the antidote in about 20 percent of 4,373 rescue attempts, with an almost 100 percent successful reversal rate. Evidence of why such training is vital in this most deadly epidemic. The study was published in Drug and Alcohol Review.


If you have experienced an overdose, we implore you to seek addiction treatment. The likelihood of experiencing another potentially fatal overdose is high. If you have not had an overdose before, it is not a question of if, it is a question of when. Please contact Simple Recovery today, to begin the lifesaving journey.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Addiction: Self Will Run Riot

self will
Addiction is, among other things, typified by a number of behaviors, routines and rituals all in service of the disease. Whether your drug of choice is alcohol or drugs, much of one’s time in active addiction is spent planning and preparing for their next drunk or high. Hours of the day can easily be spent making certain steps to ensure, that when all is said and done, euphoria will be achieved. And once it is, a switch is usually flipped sending the mind back into what will be required of one to ensure they are able to experience the same desired sensations again. The disassociation from one’s internal demons providing a brief respite from the symptoms of the mental illness known as addiction.

In treatment centers and the various rooms of recovery it is often said that drugs and alcohol are but symptoms of a much greater problem. Self will run riot. A burning desire to affect and control not only yourself, but those around you as well. All things in your sphere of existence. In reality, believing that you can control the world around you is the ultimate example of selfishness. But, it is merely a delusion.

Those who have been working a program of recovery learn pretty early-on that the only person who can affect any actual change is oneself. Equipped with certain tools and the support of others, one can manage to mitigate the constant needs of self-will that precipitated and propelled one into the death spiral of active addiction in the first place. A dangerous force that causes people to burn every bridge in service of such a destructive need.

Reigning In Self Will

A lot of focus in recovery is directed towards exercises in selflessness. The fall to rock bottom is usually evidence enough that your way of living wasn’t working. That the only true outcome of the unachievable desire to rule over one’s sphere of existence was pain and suffering. In recovery, however, it is greatly important that one channel some of the energy that has long been focused on your needs alone to the needs of others. Being of service to something greater than yourself.

People new to recovery, generally, learn early on that the world does not, in fact, revolve around them and their desires. You learn that such misperceptions often fuel the fire of this most serious mental health disorder. Being an active participant in a program of recovery teaches you that the inside of your head can be dangerous, and the ticket out is following the suggestions of those who came before you, volunteering to help where help is needed and being there for your peers when they need you to be. Being unable to do such things is often a good sign that self-will is still running the show.

Even If You Do Not Want To…

Reigning in self-will is not easy. It usually takes some time in early recovery to be able to translate the writing on the walls. The driving forces of active addiction that need to be addressed in recovery, if it is to take. Others in recovery will suggest that you take certain steps, adopt different ways of looking at things and at times do things that you are averse to in more than one way. They will urge you to not let fear of this new way of living be a catalyst to relapse. Such suggestions, being the way to keep the monkey wrench in the gear works of the pernicious cycle of addiction. Just as one had to do various things to ensure a fix for the day while “out there,” the same must be done in recovery to achieve the goal of long term sobriety.

The light of recovery is felt by being of service to something bigger, a higher power and the others in your support network. This cannot be achieved without the help of others, and they need your help, too. When one makes the courageous decision to recover from alcohol and substance use disorders by way of treatment, they are deciding to no longer be ruled by fear and self will. At Simple Recovery, you or a loved one is taught about the power of community in recovery. Addiction is typified by solitude—recovery by community. Please contact us today to begin the life changing journey of recovery.

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