Blog: News & Views from the Field

Knowledge can be empowering. Whether you are seeking recovery for yourself or someone else, we hope you find our blog topics helpful. Check back often or subscribe today.

International Overdose Awareness Day – Where it Began and Its Impact Today

According to the CDC, the first-known wave of opioid overdoses began with the rise of opioid prescriptions in the 1990s. At the time, many pharmaceutical companies and prescribers did not have enough research about the potency and addictive nature of these medications. As methadone and semi-synthetic opioid usage began to increase in 1999 and into the early 2000s, there was a second wave of overdose deaths involving heroin. The third wave began in 2013 with illicitly manufactured fentanyl which is often added to heroin or cocaine without the user’s knowledge.

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Client Story: From Addiction to Recovery to Mentorship

Over 21 million Americans struggle with addiction, but only ten percent of them seek help. Despite drug and alcohol addiction costing the U.S. economy over $600 billion each year, there are many barriers to treatment including transportation issues, work and family responsibilities, lack of insurance, and more. The most significant, however, is the limited number of beds which often results in long waiting periods before treatment becomes available. Seeking help takes an incredible amount of courage, and a lot of factors come together the moment an individual is finally ready. If turned away, that moment all too often simply passes. The need for immediate access to addiction treatment is growing as we see a rise in overdose deaths across the country.

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A Family Disease | 3 Tips for Loved Ones of People Struggling with Addiction

The impact of addiction spreads far beyond the person struggling with it. Too often, those closest to the person suffering are also going through their own struggle as a result, which is why we call addiction a family disease.

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Addiction and Long-term Care in the Construction Industry

Opioid use is uncommonly high in the construction industry, where workers face many physical hazards and are at an increased risk of getting injured. One study shows that construction workers are the most likely occupation to misuse opioids and cocaine. Compared to other industries in North America, construction workers are roughly six times more likely to become addicted to opioids.

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The Importance of Language in Reducing the Stigma Often Associated with Substance Use Disorders

Words matter, especially when we as a society continue to fight the stigma against those struggling with addiction. As we learn more every day about drug and alcohol addiction disorders, we also have to contend with the fact that helpful and educational terms change over time. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with, but it’s important for allies to those in recovery to stay up-to-date on the do’s and don’ts of addiction-related language. Let’s break down which words are helpful and others that may hurt people.

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1287 Hits

Three Things Dax Shepard is Teaching the World About Relapse

Recently, actor Dax Shepard shared a big secret with the world: he had relapsed after sixteen years of sobriety. On his podcast, Armchair Expert, he explained that he had been keeping an “enormous secret,” that he had been prescribed painkillers after a motorcycle accident and ultimately started misusing them. What started out as a prescription for OxyContin turned into a relapse.

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Slipping into Alcoholism: The Importance of Monitoring Your Intake During COVID-19

We’ve been talking a lot about the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic: the frustration of not being able to go out, the difficulty in trying to get certain items, and the simple boredom of being trapped inside day after day. But what we haven’t talked about is the fear and anxiety of everyday life and how we’re all coping with the stress and enormous change in our daily routines. Many people are turning to alcohol to help cope with the uncertainty of the pandemic. Whether or not you’re in recovery, this is a dangerous road to go down, and drinking to excess does nothing to address the underlying issues at play.

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How Westborough Firefighters Are Mitigating the Addiction Crisis Through Education

They see them every day in homes and in neighborhoods – overdoses. Day after day, they respond to calls and provide critical emergency services to people suffering overdoses or associated illness, transporting patients to hospitals and even providing help for people who ask for it. The Westborough Fire Department is tackling the problem head on by addressing opioid addiction and overdoses before they occur.

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The Challenges of Living with a Parent with a Substance Use Disorder

How it Affects Children and What Can Be Done to Help.

Anyone who has a family member suffering from addiction knows how painful it is to watch someone you love struggle with an all-consuming life-threatening disease. Challenges that come with living with someone that has a drug or alcohol addiction include mood swings and unreliability. For children whose parents suffer from addiction, these are more than just challenges. Often times, it comes down to a child being able to stay in their home or needing to live elsewhere.

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2151 Hits

Underneath the Opioid Crisis in America: From Each State’s Perspective

The opioid crisis in America is in the news every day and its deadly and pervasive effect on our society is well known. Interestingly, not all geographic areas are experiencing this crisis to the same degree. Region by region, the numbers vary drastically. For example, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, opioid overdoses increased by 30% in 45 states, between 2016 and 2017. In big cities specifically, particularly in the Midwest, overdoses were up by as much as 54 to 70 percent.

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Refining Addiction: Notable Changes and Future Implications

Language nuances change over time as society gains greater awareness and sensitivity regarding the struggles experienced by various groups of people. In the addiction treatment community, we’re well aware of the stigma often associated with the disease and its related vocabulary. The concepts of alcohol and drug dependency weren’t considered an illness until 1956. In fact, addiction wasn’t officially classified as a disease until 1987. The definition of addiction was revised in 2011 and the American Society of Addiction Medicine recently produced an updated definition yet again.

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How Has Addiction and Treatment Changed in the Last 50 Years?

Spectrum Health Systems was founded 50 years ago, and in that time, we’ve seen extensive strides taken in drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Much has changed, and much has stayed the same – some treatments still in use today were introduced as early as the 1960s. Before we jump into changes in treatment over time, let’s start by discussing the issue itself – addiction.

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How to Deal with Triggers in the Workplace

Many believe that addiction only affects the unemployed and homeless when, in reality, most are employed. In fact, of the estimated 96 million adults reported to have a substance use disorder, 72 percent are employed.

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2240 Hits

PTSD Awareness Day – June 27th

Back in 2010, Senator Kent Conrad spearheaded a campaign to create an official form of recognition of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) through a “day of awareness.” Senator Conrad was passionate about the creation of an awareness day as a tribute to North Dakota National Guard serviceman, Staff Sergeant Joe Biel, who took his own life in 2007 following two tours in Iraq. Staff Sergeant Biel’s birthday was June 27th, thus its selection as National PTSD Awareness Day. In 2014, the entire month of June was designated as National PTSD Awareness month.

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2964 Hits

Pride Month: How Addiction Impacts the LGBTQ+ Community

Pride Month is here! The month-long celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community is a time for fun, raising awareness and reflection. The LGBTQ community faces many hardships, from accepting their own identities to coming out to facing social and political adversity.

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Mental Health Month: The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Health Grows

While mental health has become a widely talked about topic in recent years, May is the official observance for mental health awareness.

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50 Addiction Facts in 50 Days to Celebrate 50 Years of Spectrum Health Systems

50 days from today, the team at Spectrum Health Systems will be celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary. Since our inception, we’ve seen a lot of positive changes in the addiction treatment field and recovery community. While many improvements have been made, there’s still much work to be done.

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Addiction and Depression: A Vicious Cycle

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.9 million Americans have been diagnosed with both depression and addiction. Each disease can be difficult to deal with on its own, so dealing with both at the same time is obviously more challenging. With depression being one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in the United States, it’s no surprise that many depressed individuals also suffer from a substance use disorder.

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The Importance of Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week

While the nation continues to confront the public health crisis that is addiction, events like Children of Alcoholics Awareness Week help remind us of often forgotten victims. Alcoholism remains a prominent issue in the US, and as a result, one in four children live in a family impacted by parental addiction.

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2765 Hits

Why Are Women Overdosing More Than Men?

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) contained some troubling statistics. Overdose deaths among women aged 30-64 have rapidly increased. From 1999 to 2017, the number climbed a staggering 260 percent. And the drugs causing them have evolved as well, with more overdoses being attributed to antidepressants, benzodiazepines, cocaine, heroin, prescription opioids, and synthetic opioids than ever before.

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3849 Hits