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.

What to Do When Your Loved One Refuses Treatment

When someone you love says no to drug and/or alcohol treatment, feelings of hopelessness, frustration and worry are common and understandable. This type of situation can be extremely scary for friends and family of an individual suffering from a drug or alcohol problem.

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How Recognizing and Putting a Stop to Enabling Can Help Your Loved One Overcome Addiction

To enable is to give (someone or something) the authority or means to do something, usually out of love or to be helpful. While an enabler means well with their actions in most cases, when it comes to substance abuse, being an enabler can prolong a loved one’s addiction and allow them to push recovery further away. Most enablers don’t realize their actions could be hurting someone they love who is struggling with addiction, rather, they may feel that their actions are out of love, concern and protection.

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The Impact Addiction has on our Veterans

Dr. John Renner, a Spectrum Health Systems' board member and associate chief of psychiatry for the VA Boston Healthcare System, sits down for a Q&A

Veterans returning home from combat are at an increased risk for substance abuse. Many turn to substance misuse (drinking, drugs, or smoking) as a way to cope with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, about 1 in 10 returning soldiers seen in the Veteran’s Administration (VA) have a problem with alcohol or other drugs.

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Three Ways to Identify Addiction

Identifying the Issue: Three Signs Commonly Found in Substance Use and Addiction

Addiction can happen to anyone. A next door neighbor, best friend’s son, cousin, or even mom and dad. Addiction knows no boundaries; it sees no race, gender, geography or economic status. Becoming addicted doesn’t always start with wandering down a dark alley with someone offering drugs. It’s as easy as going to the hospital for knee surgery, and without ever intending to, developing a dependency for pain killers that’s so powerful, no matter how hard an individual tries, is nearly impossible to stop without help.

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Why Addiction Needs to be Brought Out from Under the Rug

There are many misperceptions in our society about people experiencing an alcohol or drug problem. They're called addicts, even failures. They are weak, lazy and have no self-control. They are homeless. They are worthless. They can’t be trusted. Would you be able to admit to yourself or to others that you are experiencing a problem, knowing this is how you would be judged?

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Multiple Pathways Exist to Support Long-Term Recovery

For most individuals suffering from addiction, recovery is a lifelong process. Addiction is a chronic disease and relapse is an ever-present threat. Some individuals find that it’s helpful to access multiple pathways when it comes to supporting their sobriety.
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A Father’s Letter: What I’ve Learned at Learn to Cope

Learn to Cope is a non-profit support network funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health that offers education, resources, peer support and hope for parents and family members coping with a loved one’s addiction to opiates or other drugs.

Founded by Joanne Peterson in 2004, the organization has become a nationally recognized model for peer support with more than 7,000 members and numerous chapters located throughout Massachusetts. We often refer parents to this important resource knowing they’ll be in the company of individuals who can relate to the needs of a parent looking for answers and support.

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Heroin Use In New England

Beginning in the 1990’s, availability and abundance of powerful opioid painkillers led to a new population struggling with opioid addiction throughout New England. While regulatory efforts to reduce the supply of painkillers entering the illicit market were often successful, heroin quickly became a substitute for prescription opioids as its price saw dramatic decreases over the last decade. Heroin is a highly addictive drug that continues to contribute to the staggering number of drug overdoses in New England.

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What is Narcan?

NARCANBy now we’ve all heard about naloxone, or Narcan as its commonly called in the news, but what is it really? And should you have some on hand if you or a loved one is suffering with opioid addiction? Narcan is a very effective medication used to reverse the effects of a potentially fatal opioid overdose. Historically Narcan was most often administered intravenously or subcutaneously, but as its popularity has grown amongst first responders and other emergency medical personnel, it is now found in auto-injectors (like an epi-pen for allergic reactions) and nasal applicators. The advent of nasal Narcan in particular, allows lay people to use it, making it an invaluable tool for those of us who have loved ones struggling with opioid addiction or are struggling with the disease ourselves.

Availability

Narcan is a drug and therefore it’s regulated by the FDA in the United States. While it is not a controlled substance, it is a prescription medication which a doctor can prescribe for you (like that epi-pen we mentioned earlier). But many states have responded to the nations growing opioid crisis by issuing what is in essence a standing prescription for the drug, so anyone can go into a pharmacy and purchase it directly from the pharmacist without a prescription written in your name. Laws differ from state to state and are changing quickly, but the LawAtlas keeps a very good collection of current laws where you can check the status of laws in your state.

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Another Day, Another Chance Can Lead to Path of Recovery

"This correspondence is forwarded from a Massachusetts Correctional Institution" was stamped on the back of the envelope containing a letter from a client whom I've worked with across multiple treatment episodes over the last eight years. My first reaction was relief that she was alive, because I recently heard that she had relapsed.

As I read her letter, I learned of her most recent relapse and the ensuing emotional, physical and legal hurricane that followed. During a two week lapse she lost her car, her apartment, her freedom, and twice, her life. One overdose was reversed by a friend's nasal naloxone (Narcan). The next overdose was reversed at the emergency room and left her with several broken ribs.

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