Nalexone (Narcan) has been hailed by law enforcement officials and addiction care specialists as a valuable resource in helping reverse the effects of near-fatal opiate overdoses. Introduced into the public consciousness last year when police officers and community groups in various states started carrying it for overdose response calls, Nalexone has indeed saved the lives of numerous overdose victims who would have stopped breathing altogether had it not been for the drug’s intervention. What happens, however, after the victim wakes up? A recent article outlines the post-overdose obstacles that victims face as they endeavor to manage their opiate addiction and enter recovery[1].

The Struggle for Many to Get Treatment

The piece describes that initial moment of clarity that overdose survivors experience when they first wake up, as well as their next-day struggles to manage their cravings and abstain from further use. It also describes the logistical obstacles that many face in their pursuit of treatment. For example, officials in Ocean County, NJ, where according to data from law enforcement opiate-related fatalities have more than doubled since 2013[2], report that overdose victims are rarely tracked. They are simply given a list of addiction care programs upon discharge, of which they rarely take advantage.

Assessing Obstacles to Opiate Addiction Treatment

Before addressing New Jersey’s treatment access problem, it’s helpful to look at what’s going on in the rest of the country. It is an unfortunate reality that often the biggest obstacle to getting treatment is the patient that needs it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 23 million needed treatment for substance abuse in 2013 but only 2.5 million actually received it[3]. While there are certainly institutional and economic roadblocks in place that can often delay the treatment process, the reluctance of patients to treatment on their own cannot be overlooked when discussing this issue.

Common Self-Imposed Roadblocks

The nature of chemical dependency is that it renders the system reliant on a constant and continued supply of drugs and/or alcohol to feel normal and satisfied. This cycle often causes the patient to fear withdrawal above anything else even death. Many addicts also suffer from the denial that they even have a problem to begin with and getting them to enter treatment can be extremely difficult, if not impossible. Other external factors that can impede recovery include lack of financial means and a weak family support structure. According to Mayo Clinic, lack of family involvement is one of the leading risk factors for the development and continuation for addiction.[4] Without the support, not to mention the checks-and-balances system of a loving family, patients are exponentially more likely to relapse. It’s important to choose a treatment facility that can effectively incorporate family involvement into their care services so patients’ loved ones can learn about the biological disease of addiction as well as their role in the recovery process, while their family member is still in treatment.

Insurance: The Vital Role Companies Can Play

Increased access by insurance companies can make a significant impact on deciding who gets treatment and who doesn’t. According to the 2010 United States Census, 84 percent of Americans are covered by health insurance[5]. While most are covered, many are still finding a hard time accessing care. In the meantime, however, there are organizations that work hard to pair suffering addicts and their loved ones with effective treatment resources. The good news is that the addiction care landscape is becoming more refined and intuitive every day, and experts are working hard to address each patient’s individual care needs.

While reviving from an overdose is an important first step in facilitating their road to recovery, it’s by no means the last. Once an addict is given that second chance it is incumbent upon them, their loved ones and their care provider to see that they make the most of it and work toward lasting sobriety.

The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center is committed to helping individuals find quality chemical dependency treatment for their loved ones. Don’t wait another second watching your loved one succumb to drug or alcohol abuse. Call one of our representatives today so we can help you start the healing process.






Last year Bronx nursing home Jewish Home Lifecare launched an experimental program to help deal with the rising rate of addiction among the elderly population. The program was developed in response to the large number of baby boomers with substance abuse issues entering their advanced years. Patients over 60 who are entering the facility for physical rehab after hospital-stays are now screened for addiction and substance abuse, and are offered treatment if the tests reveal chemical dependency. Initially eight beds have been set aside for patients of the program, but Jewish Home Lifecare is expecting to get around 480 patients per year once it gains momentum.

Drug Abuse a Growing Problem among the Elderly

The program is one of the first in the area to address the worsening problem of addiction among senior citizens. A 2009 study in the journal Addiction[1] predicts the number of addicts over 50 is expected to reach almost six million by 2020. Many older Americans ramp up their drinking as they get older because they think they’re past the age which alcoholism is a threat. Many may do so out of an inability to cope with the aging process. Others start abusing painkillers for an age-related condition and wind up developing an addiction. Experts are optimistic about the program’s success and hope it will be copied in other areas. As more and more baby-boomers are becoming senior citizens, individuals over 65 are becoming the fastest-growing group in the country. They’re also facing increased exposure to prescription opioid abuse.

An Easy High

The medical profession seems overly ready, if not determined, to prescribe prescription pain medications to elderly patients. In 2013 the most commonly prescribed drug under Medicare wasn’t a blood pressure drug or cholesterol medication; it was hydrocodone acetaminophen (the generic form of Vicodin)[2]. Not only was hydrocodone the most commonly prescribed medication, it was administered at more than twice the rate of the second-place drug, Simvastatin. Over eight million patients were prescribed the drug in 2013 from 691,000 care providers. More than 50 percent of these prescriptions were written by family-practice and internal-medicine physicians. Most of them were written for chronic pain.

Adding Fuel to the Fire: Unforeseen Damage

It has become impossible to ignore that the country is in the midst of a fierce prescription opiate epidemic. According to the CDC, Americans filled approximately 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012[3]. This is enough to give every American adult a bottle of pills. Despite the overwhelming evidence of the dangers of these drugs, the medical community is dispensing them to seniors (the most physically vulnerable population) more than any other segment of the country. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, persons over 65 comprise only 13 percent of the American population yet account for more than one third of total outpatient spending on prescription medications[4].

Health officials have been concerned about the escalation of the senior painkiller abuse for years. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 30 percent of patients between the ages of 57 and 85 use at least five prescriptions. SAMHSA also reports that ER visits due to adverse reactions to prescription medications have risen 480 percent since 2005[5].

Tramadol: No Longer the “Safer” Alternative

In addition to hydrocodone, drugs like oxycodone and tramadol commonly factor into painkiller abuse among seniors. SAMHSA reports that ER admissions due to adverse reactions to tramadol rose 145 percent between 2005 and 2011 and that patients ages 65 and older accounted for 35 percent of these visits[6]. Recently reclassified as a Schedule IV controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration, tramadol was initially thought to have a lower risk of addiction than other painkillers, particularly for older adults. In light of recent evidence, however, experts have reconsidered this position.

Tramadol users can experience a variety of adverse reactions, especially when the drug is mixed with other medications, including racing heart, seizures, high blood pressure, increased body temperature, respiratory problems and lightheadedness. As with any new medication, it’s imperative that patients disclose all current medications they’re taking to your physician to decrease the chances of an incident.

Increased Risk of Health Problems

The aging process makes one especially vulnerable to the perils of opiate withdrawal. Even in cases of non-abuse, prescribing physicians must pay special attention to the efficacy and the side effects of these powerful drugs. A joint study conducted by the University of the Nevada School of Medicine and the Sierra Nevada Healthcare System[7], revealed a variety of specialized challenges for seniors in coping with the effects of opioids, including:

  1. Changes in body composition such as increases in adipose tissue, decreases in lean body mass and decreases in body water can significantly affect drug distribution.
  2. Decreased gastrointestinal transit time can significantly alter the rate of medication absorption.
  3. As people get older, the rate at which they’re able to expel these medications through urinary flow (glomerular filtration rate) also becomes slower, rendering patients vulnerable to lingering side effects.
  4. Aging can reduce hepatic blood flow and volume which can decrease metabolism of drugs.

The authors of the study also suggested that tramadol should actually be avoided in elderly patients, and that prescription opioids, in general, should be prescribed at 25-50 percent the rate of which they’re prescribed to younger patients.

Viable Alternatives to Prescription Painkillers in Treating Chronic Pain

With mounting evidence to indicate the growing dangers of prescription opioids, many elderly  patients are looking for effective but less harmful forms of pain relief. There are a variety of alternative therapies that offer relief from various stages of chronic pain, including:

Massage – Massage therapy is commonly used to ease joint and muscle tension. It can also be helpful in anxiety and pain-related conditions like chronic headache and fibromyalgia.[8]

Acupuncture – Acupuncture has been used to relieve pain for over 2,000 years and endures as a viable form of pain management in clinical settings.[9]

Biofeedback– Biofeedback teaches patients to be mindful of their bodies and actively regulate normally involuntary biological functions like heart rate, blood pressure and muscle tension. It helps patients reduce their stress-related pain.[10]

Chiropractic Care – Chiropractic medicine provides effective short-term relief for chronic pain while improving flexibility, sleep and posture. It has been shown to be effective in various pain-related conditions, including lower-back pain, neck pain, carpal tunnel and headaches.[11]

As our loved ones begin to rely more and more on medication to ease their age-related pain, there’s a real danger that they could wind up developing chemical dependency. It is critical that we do all we can to limit our parents’ and grandparents’ intake and seek prompt treatment in the event of substance abuse. Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches offers a specialized treatment program for older patients, which addresses the unique withdrawal concerns associated with the aging process. Don’t let your elderly loved one suffer in pain and indignity. There is hope, we can help.












A New and Dangerous Drug Abuse Trend on The Rise

By now it’s clear to law enforcement officials, prevention advocates and regrettably the loved ones of overdose victims that synthetic drugs are posing an increasingly greater risk in the United States.

Though fairly new to the consumers, authorities have already seized millions of doses of these drugs, as well as tens of millions of dollars in cash belonging to distributors. One of the new and more deadly synthetic recreational drugs flooding the landscape is called Spice.

Also known as K2, Spice is a potpourri-like substance meant to emulate the effects of synthetic marijuana. Many drug abusers have gravitated toward Spice and other synthetic drugs because they rarely appear in drug test results.

Misleading Advertisements and Packaging

Unsurprisingly, Spice is said to be all natural and perfectly safe by distributors; however, recent episodes of violence, hysteria and paranoid delusions linked to the drug indicate the contrary. A case in Texas involved an individual who was high on Spice when he killed and started eating his cocker spaniel. Another one in Phoenix, AZ involved a man who was accused of beating his infant daughter after smoking it. Additionally, two Tucson, AZ high school students recently overdosed with near fatal consequences. [1]

Members of communities in which Spice has become a problem have called for prevention and education programs to alert potential users of the consequences of all synthetic drugs.

Calls to emergency personnel related to synthetic drug overdoses increased to over 13,000 in 2011 from just over 3,000 in 2010. [2] Use of these drugs is tantamount to playing Russian roulette. Poison control officials have described these drugs as the worst they’ve ever seen and have reported users turning aggressive, violent and psychotic. [3] 

Potential Side Effects Include:

  • Severe Intestinal Distress
  • Hallucinations
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Violent Behavior
  • Long-Term Heart Problems

What Can Be Done?

In July of 2012, the House of Representatives and President Barack Obama passed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act, [4] which broadly prohibits many of the chemical ingredients used to concoct these drugs; however many, including DEA officials claim that the law may not do enough. [5]

While it limits access to necessary ingredients and accounts for interstate and internet sales, synthetic drugs have managed to linger, proving that education, enforcement and prevention must be available at the local level as well. Many communities have already started offering workshops for parents and children on how to avoid synthetic drug abuse.

One of the biggest obstacles to ridding the nation of the scourge of synthetic drugs is that chemists remain ahead of legislation. Every time one ingredient or substance is banned, the synthetic drug manufacturers find a new way to reformulate the drug using legal substances. [6] This puts lawmakers in a constant state of playing catch up.

Get Help for Yourself or a Loved One

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to synthetic cannabinoids or any other synthetic drug, addiction treatment is the best option. Allow us to find you the help you need. Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime at 800-784-6776 or through our online form and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.







Cover Image: By English: Lance Cpl. Damany S. Coleman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

New York legislators are grappling with how to deal with the plague of heroin that has been devastating suburban and rural youths statewide. The state, like so many others, has been struggling against heroin abuse for years, but the most recent development seems to be a cruel irony. Poorer families, so long the greatest victims of the drug trade, are actually in a better position to get treatment for addicted family members than more affluent ones.

The problem is that many private insurers refuse to cover long-term inpatient addiction care, unlike public low-income provider Medicaid. While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) includes a mandate requiring insurance companies to provide some form of coverage for addiction services, the mandate is inherently vague and leaves the details up to individual providers.

Several states across the country have taken legislative actions to try and curb this problem. They are looking for ways to get insurance companies to offer coverage for inpatient care, either through legislative mandates or in a compromise reached through open discussion.

Battling Addiction and Insurance

In theory, an insurance company is supposed to make life easier for individuals in need of medical services. In actuality, however, this is not always the case as many addicts looking for treatment often find themselves stonewalled by their providers. Many insurers deny coverage for rehabilitation deemed necessary by physicians, employing a controversial and unpopular “fail first” strategy. [1]

This approach gives addiction recovery patients the lowest level of care and requires them to fail first before the level of treatment is improved. Not only has this method proven ineffective for a large majority of individuals, it also falsely assumes that an addict will remain motivated to seek treatment. Many substance abusers have just one opportunity to get sober and save their lives. Requiring them to initially run through a gauntlet of ineffective treatment options is quite literally putting their lives in danger.

Thirty Days is Usually Not Enough

Even when addicts are granted addiction treatment at an inpatient facility, many insurance companies will not pay for more than 30 days of treatment. While a month may be effective for some recovering addicts, the general rule is that the longer the stay in rehab, the better the long-term results. Many industry experts and professionals recommend stays of at least 60 – 90 days for optimal results. [2] Most families aren’t in a position to pay for the extra needed addiction recovery services.

While both the ACA and Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act mandate that insurance companies provide treatment for addiction and mental disorders at the same levels they provide for other medical conditions, loopholes, vagueness and poor enforcement have allowed insurance companies to dictate treatment as opposed to doctors. [3]

Several Treatment Options Available

Whether you’re looking for inpatient residential treatment, outpatient services or long-term addiction rehabilitation options, we can help. Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime at 800-784-6776 or through our online form and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.





For over two decades, Molly has been the preeminent party drug of teens and millennials. With pop culture’s glamorization of the illegal substance in a variety of songs by artists ranging from Rick Ross and Kanye West to Miley Cyrus and Rihanna, the drug’s popularity continues to rise.

Molly, the abbreviated name for Molecule, is a more pure form of the substance methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), available in crystalline or powder form.  Originally, a staple at most clubs and raves in the 1990s and 2000s, the substance is now more mainstream and used in many types of social situation.


Ecstasy, another form of Molly, was first created in 1912 by German chemist Anton Köllisch. MDMA was hardly utilized until the 1970s when pharmacologist Alexander Shulgin resynthesized the chemical to be used by psychotherapists. Shulgin trained thousands of therapists on how to integrate MDMA into their treatment programs, prompting their patients to vocalize their deepest thoughts. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) never approved the substance for human use. The drug has now trickled into everyday society and is being used for recreational purposes. [1]

The FDA states that Molly binds to serotonin transporters in the brain, altering the brain’s neurochemistry creating a dangerous and unpredictable tornado of possible side-effects. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported that in some states, there has been a 100-fold increase in the number of combined arrests, seizures, emergency room mentions and overdoses, related to Molly, between 2009 and 2012. [2]


The DEA has dubbed Molly as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This means that Molly is associated with no medical use and has a high potential for misuse. Since the drug is formulated illegally, no set standards of what ingredients and amounts to compose the concoction exist. Leaving users of Molly unsure of what they’ve ingested. Users take Molly for its prolonged “euphoria.” However, due to its recent rise in popularity, the medical community and the general public are searching for its long-term effects. A variety of known short-term side effects include:

  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Muscle Tension
  • Teeth Clenching
  • High Body Temperature: This can lead to organ failure and death
  • Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure


Countless teen deaths have been attributed to this highly dangerous substance from California and Florida to Virginia and New York. One of the most dangerous factors coinciding with Molly usage is that the people, mostly teenagers, using the substance believe it to be safe, which it is not. Molly is particularly dangerous because most people mix it with additional substances such as alcohol and caffeine, creating a dangerous and deadly mixture.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Molly, contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC).  Molly can cause death with just one use, don’t be another statistic. Please call (800) 784-6776 or contact us through online form. We will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.





With each passing year, teenagers are beginning to experiment with alcohol at a younger age. Although the legal drinking age is 21, the average age an American girl has her first drink is 13 and the average age for a boy is 11. [1] Information such as this has prompted countless studies to determine the effects of children beginning to abuse alcohol at such a young age.

Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh recently conducted a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychological Science. The study involved the effects of teenagers drinking in social settings and when they drink in isolation, by themselves. Interestingly, the child who is more likely to become alcohol dependent and further abuse the substance later in life are the teenagers who drink alone. [2]

The study found that the fewer people a person drinks with, the more that they will drink. The study was comprised of over 700 teenage participants in their mid-20s. The participants were questioned on their teenage drinking habits and those answers were compared with their current alcohol consumption behaviors.

The study resulted with researchers concluding that 39 percent of the teenage group were solitary drinkers. Those solitary drinkers were 50 percent more likely to have developed an alcohol dependence by the age of 25. These findings aid in creating the correlation between solitary drinking and alcoholism.


Research supports that not only are solitary teenage drinkers more likely to become alcoholics, they are also more likely to do so at a younger age. Mistakenly, many children believe that alcohol is safe due to its legality once a person turns 21, however, they couldn’t be more wrong. Due to a variety of stressors, children are turning to the bottle, instead of coping with their issues in a healthy manner.

Kasey Creswell, assistant professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, states, “They seem to be using alcohol to self-medicate as a way to cope with negative emotions and, importantly, this pattern of drinking places them at high risk to escalate their alcohol use and develop alcohol problems in adulthood.” [3]

Alcoholism is the number one substance abuse problem in the United States. [4] There are approximately 12 million alcoholics in America. These staggering statistics portray a bleak landscape for the future of American if alcoholism continues to run rampant among our families and our communities. Alcoholism has a wide range of negative effects that can last a lifetime. Floundering relationships and deteriorating health along with extreme, negative physical consequences, are just a few ways that alcohol can destroy a person’s life.


If you are striving to defeat addiction and enjoy a life of sobriety, contact The National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center. Our organization maintains a comprehensive database of the leading substance abuse treatment centers across the country. A member of our team will speak with you, recommend the most effective, and cost efficient rehabilitation program that will aid you in becoming sober. For more information please call, (800) 784-6776.






Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), an extremely emotionally-debilitating mental condition, can cause nightmares, flashbacks, aggressive behavior and acute anxiety. Many PTSD traumatized individuals turn to alcohol to combat these symptoms. This often leads to the dual condition of alcoholism and PTSD, which is much more difficult to address than each separate disease.

A recent study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Veterans Administration produced some promising results for treating combined cases of alcoholism and PTSD.[1]

Professional consensus regarding the combination of PTSD and alcoholism has been that treating them simultaneously can have negative consequences, as the alcoholism is usually a result of self-medication to deal with the PTSD, and any further exposure to the source of the trauma – such as intense therapy – will only result in exacerbating the alcohol use.

The University of Pennsylvania study, however, shows that it is possible to treat both diseases simultaneously.

Alarming Numbers

The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AAETS) released the following disturbing statistics related to the combination of PTSD and alcoholism:

  • 60 – 80 percent of Vietnam veterans seeking PTSD treatment also have alcohol use problems.
  • Veterans over the age of 65 with PTSD are at higher risk for a suicide attempt if they also have drinking problems or depression.
  • War veterans with PTSD and alcohol problems tend to be binge drinkers, which are individuals who consume excessive alcohol in a short time period (In a two hour window, four drinks for women and five drinks for men).
  • 10 – 50 percent of adults with PTSD and alcohol use problems have other serious mental disorders.[2]

Alcoholism and PTSD lead to other issues

For an individual suffering from both drinking problems and PTSD, other mental and physical health complications are likely to occur. According to the National Center for PTSD, the other issues include:

  • Panic attacks, extreme fears or worries, or compulsions
  • Mood problems, such as depression
  • Attention problems
  • Behaving in ways that harm others
  • Addiction to or abuse of street and/or prescription drugs
  • Long-term physical illness such as diabetes, heart disease, or liver disease
  • Ongoing physical pain[3]

The lethal combination can also lead to incarceration, homelessness, broken family ties and chronic employment problems.  With the long line of avoidance symptoms for each disease, an effective treatment regimen can be lengthy and difficult.

Promising Results

In an eight-year experiment, researchers monitored a group of over 150 people with PTSD and alcoholism and split them into several groups. The participants were selected through advertisements for individuals seeking treatment and doctor referrals. Once they passed the stringent selection process, they were assigned various forms of therapy for the PTSD and either naltrexone for the alcoholism or a placebo. Across the board, the participants in the study severely cut back on their consumption of alcohol.

The researchers behind the study hope the results will lead to increased efficacy in the treatment of comorbid PTSD and alcoholism, which has become increasingly common in the United States, especially among war veterans.

Contact the National Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Information Center (NASAIC) anytime toll-free at (800) 784-6776 or through our online form, and we will recommend the leading drug and alcohol rehab centers for you or your loved one.