Gooden Center
A residential drug treatment center for men located in Pasadena, CA. The Gooden Center is a proud member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP).

(626) 356-0078
191 North El Molino Avenue Pasadena, CA 91101 US

map The Gooden Center

Archive for the ‘Addiction Awareness’ Category

The Spread of Fentanyl

Posted on: April 11th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Spread of Fentanyl

A dangerous trend has been growing in the U.S. with more people using a drug known as fentanyl, a type of opioid painkiller that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. With the opioid crisis continuing to grow, the use of fentanyl has become problematic especially because of its high potency and addictive nature. Fentanyl is turning into one of the most lethal drugs in the country, causing overdose deaths throughout the U.S.

One of the issues with fentanyl is that people who regularly abuse opioids may not be aware of how strong the drug is. Even heroin abusers can have too small of a tolerance to handle fentanyl because it is 50 times more powerful than heroin. People who have been in recovery but relapse with even a small amount of fentanyl can quickly overdose and die.

What is even more alarming is that many drugs including cocaine are now being laced with fentanyl. People may have no idea that this powerful opioid is mixed in with the drug they are using which can lead them to unwittingly consume too much. More and more cases of people unknowingly overdosing on fentanyl are causing concern.

Fentanyl Combined with Other Drugs

The issue of drugs being laced with fentanyl is a serious problem that is costing people their lives more often each year. Although not every state registers the drug combinations in an overdose, states like Connecticut have found that the number of deaths involving cocaine laced with fentanyl has increased 420 percent in the last three years. Heroin laced with fentanyl led to even higher death rates throughout the state.

An increasing number of dealers are adding fentanyl to cocaine especially in the New England area where seven percent of the cocaine seized by police included fentanyl last year. Although many people who purchase cocaine laced with fentanyl may not realize what they are buying, dealers have a specific reason for adding the drug. The purpose of adding fentanyl is for “speedballing” which is the combination of the rush of a stimulant like cocaine and a depressant like heroin.

The trend of mixing these two drugs is extremely dangerous because the effects of the two can be very harmful to the body. Fentanyl is so potent that even a small amount can affect the areas of the brain that control the breathing rate. Too much fentanyl can lead to slower, irregular breathing or even cause someone to stop breathing completely until they die.

When fentanyl is mixed with other drugs such as cocaine it can amplify its effects and cause it to act more intensely on a person’s body. Many EMTs who have revived patients after a fentanyl overdose claimed that they only used cocaine and were unaware of the opioid being in their system. The medication naloxone is used to revive people after an opioid overdose and first responders must be equipped with it in these cases to restore normal respiration.

What is Causing Fentanyl to Spread?

Some believe that cocaine laced with fentanyl may be an issue of accidental contamination. It could have to do with mistakes while packaging the drugs which lead to a small amount of fentanyl ending up in bags of cocaine. However, some including many in law enforcement, believe that the mixture is intentionally created by drug dealers.

They believe that cartel leaders are using the mixture as a way to expand the market of opioid abusers. When cocaine is laced with fentanyl it can become more addictive, causing people to use it every day instead of just occasionally. Adding opioids can make drug users crave and need the product more than they normally would because opioids are highly addictive.

Although this tactic may work in some cases it doesn’t take into account the lethal nature of the combination. For people with no tolerance to opioids, fentanyl can be so powerful that they quickly overdose and pass away even with a trace amount. This issue is causing alarm throughout states in the U.S. where overdoses have been increasing steadily.

Many areas that have been experiencing this issue believe that fentanyl laced drugs could be the next wave of the opioid epidemic. More alerts have been circulating to let people know of the dangers of getting drugs off the street. You may never know exactly what is in these drugs since dealers can sell them without consequences.

It is crucial for first responders and even users themselves to carry naloxone so that more lives can be saved from the dangers of fentanyl. Naloxone can help prevent a person’s opioid overdose from becoming a fatal mistake. Reducing overdose deaths is a major health issue in the U.S. and fentanyl is now a pressing problem that must be addressed.

My Family Member is an Addict and Homeless

Posted on: April 7th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

My Family Member is an Addict and Homeless

It is painful and devastating for loved ones when a family member has an addiction. It is even worse when they hit rock bottom and end up in a difficult financial situation. Homelessness is an unfortunate reality for many people that are struggling with a very severe drug addiction.

If you have a family member whose addiction has become so out of control that they have lost their job or their home then it is important to get them help as soon as possible. The chances of them surviving and getting back on their feet without any assistance are slim. However, it is important to have a plan about addressing their addiction before you step in and rescue them.

Taking your loved on off the streets is more helpful if you are able to give them the tools they need to get sober and become financially independent again. Avoid simply taking care of them or enabling them because it will only make the situation worse. Even though it may be difficult to talk about you need to get them into treatment for their own well-being.

There are many addiction recovery programs created for homeless people that need to get sober and find work again. Research all the available options so that you will be prepared to discuss treatment with your family member. You can take your loved one directly to a shelter or recovery program so that they can get the help that they need.

Addiction is a challenging issue and overcoming homelessness can make it even more complicated. However getting your loved one into treatment will be an important first step to help them re-enter society. Recovery can be a long and difficult process for them but with treatment and support they will be able to survive and live a fulfilling life again.

How to Get an AA Sponsor

Posted on: April 6th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

How to Get an AA Sponsor

The connections that you make in recovery can become an important element in ending an addiction. Having people you can rely on for compassion and support will make the whole process of learning to be sober much easier. One of the most crucial relationships that you can have in recovery is the connection you have with your sponsor.

An AA sponsor is someone who has successfully remained sober for a long period of time and can act as a mentor when you are getting through the difficult early stages of recovery. They provide knowledge, guidance, experience and sympathy for people who are just starting their journey to becoming sober. Sponsorship can be a critical tool in learning more about the practical aspects of quitting an addiction.

When looking for a sponsor the relationship can be informal but it is important to find someone with at least two years sobriety. The longer they have been sober the more effective their role as a mentor will be. It should be someone who is experienced enough to provide useful advice and pass on meaningful knowledge from their own life.

You can easily find a sponsor in your AA meeting as many people in these communities tend to reach out to newcomers to offer support. You might choose someone from the group that you feel comfortable with and you can rely on or someone might approach you and offer to be your sponsor. You can start with a temporary sponsor if you need immediate help until you eventually find your permanent sponsor that you want to be your long term mentor.

AA meetings are designed to be an open community where people can reach out for help. If you need a sponsor it won’t be difficult to find someone who is willing to support and mentor you.

 

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

Posted on: January 29th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Following a Wellness Recovery Action Plan

When you discover that you have mental health issues through a diagnosis it can be overwhelming to think of how it will affect your life. Even though mental health can be complex, it can be helpful for people to find ways that they can take action for their own well being. People need to have tools available to them to be able to manage their mental illness day to day.

A wellness recovery action plan is a way for people to work toward taking control of their mental health so that they are not always at the mercy of their symptoms. It is a process by which people can decrease their troubling thoughts and behaviors, increase their feelings of personal empowerment, improve the quality of their life and reach their goals. Many treatment programs offer their patients help through creating a wellness recovery action plan or WRAP that will be personalized to their needs.

In order to overcome personal wellness issues people need to be equipped with tools that make it easier to navigate daily life. A WRAP is a way for them to help figure out what tools they need and how to apply them to various situations that affect their mental health and wellness. Having an action plan helps people to feel more prepared and informed about their mental health problems.

Key Elements of an Action Plan

In the process of developing an action plan, patients will need to focus on a few key elements. They will need to make a list of things that help improve their wellness so that it is part of their toolbox whenever they are experiencing symptoms. Resources for wellness could include things like contacting friends or supporters, counseling, mindfulness exercises, relaxation techniques, journaling or other actions that they find personally help them feel better.

Once a patient knows what their wellness tools are they will know where to turn or what actions to take when they are feeling an onset of symptoms. Their action plan can also include ideas for daily maintenance so that they know what they need to accomplish everyday to maintain their wellness. They could incorporate some of their wellness tools as part of their daily routine so that they minimize stress and prevent triggers.

As part of their wellness recovery action plan, patients also need to know as much as possible about their own personal triggers. A trigger is some type of external circumstance, or event that can make you feel uncomfortable and lead to symptoms of your disorder such as anxiety or depression. When patients are aware of their triggers they can find ways to avoid them or manage them the best that they can.

In addition to recognizing triggers, patients must be aware of the early warning signs that their mental health is beginning to suffer. These could be internal, subtle signs that you feel worse than usual and the feelings could escalate if you don’t manage them with the right actions. It is important to take advantage of wellness tools any time trigger and early warning signs become an issue.

Handling a Crisis

Another crucial part of a WRAP is having a crisis plan in advance so that you will know what actions to take should you experience a difficult episode of your mental illness. Even with careful maintenance a crisis can occur at any time and you need to be prepared to handle it. You should be able to recognize signs of a crisis as early as possible so that you can ask caretakers or friends for support.

You should have a plan in place for you want to take over responsibilities for you during a crisis and what type of healthcare you will need. Make sure whoever is supporting you understands what they will need to do to provide you with care and what possible actions they should avoid for your wellness. You can also have a post-crisis plan so that you know what to do to get yourself well again and back on your daily maintenance plan.

You recovery action plan needs to take into account every possibility that could occur with your illness. From daily maintenance of mental health symptoms to a more intense episode, it is important to be prepared for absolutely everything. Having a crisis plan in place helps patients feel more confident about how to handle potential issues in the future.

A WRAP is something you can work on with your therapist or while you are in a treatment program. It will continue to be useful even after you have stabilized and are feeling better. No matter what stage you are in with your mental health, life can be unpredictable and a wellness recovery action plan can help you be ready for anything.

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

Posted on: January 20th, 2018 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Opioid Epidemic’s Effect on Children

The steady increase in the number of people abusing opioids and overdosing on prescription drugs has taken its toll on the U.S. However, it is not only the drug abusers themselves that suffer because of these substances but also the people around them. Children are greatly affected by the opioid epidemic when their parents or caretakers lose control of their drug use.

From the early days of pregnancy even until they reach high school, children with parents who abuse opioids are at risk for a number of problems. Prenatal drug exposure can give children health problems and unfortunately this trend has been increasing in the U.S. More expectant moms addicted to opioids have been placing their babies for adoptions out of fear that they will not be able to provide parental care for them.

Children born to moms who have been abusing opioids have to experience withdrawal symptoms upon birth because the drugs are in their system as well. Prenatal exposure to opiates causes the worst withdrawal effects compared to other drugs. Adoptive parents often have to decide whether to adopt a baby that has been exposed to opiates due to the birth mother’s addiction.

Addicted Parents and their Children

Even for parents that were not addicted to drugs at the beginning of their child’s life, their behavior can have a dramatic impact on a kid at any age. Even previously great parents can become distracted and unavailable to children when they are dealing with an opioid addiction. Once the drugs take hold they will find it more and more difficult to be present for raising and caring for a child.

Parents can become addicted to opioids for variety of different reasons but many of them simply get hooked on prescriptions after surgery or pain issues. Once an addiction escalates they may start to disappear from their child’s lives and end up neglecting them at key stages of their development. Many of these parents struggling with addiction still care about their children but find it hard to balance parenthood with the things they are going through.

Unfortunately many kids now are either dealing with parental neglect or they are reeling from the aftermath of a parent’s fatal drug overdose. The recent opioid epidemic has sent a flood of children to foster homes after losing their parents to an addiction. In many areas of the country the number of children in court custody has increased and even quadrupled in certain cities.

Mainly because of the opioid crisis, studies revealed that there were 30,000 more children in foster care in 2015 than there were in 2012 which represents an 8 percent increase. In 14 states, the number of foster kids rose by 25 percent between 2011 and 2015. The problem became so severe in states like Texas, Florida and Oregon that kids had to sleep in state buildings because there were no more foster homes available.

Many states are low on federal child welfare money and are struggling to find a solution to the sudden influx of foster kids in need of care. The states hit hardest by prescription drug abuse and high overdose rates are not able to accommodate every child that has been orphaned by drug addicted parents. With the opioid epidemic continuing to increase, the problem is only getting worse for kids.

Long Term Effects on Youth

Even for children who still live with addicted parents, the effects on their development can be severe. Children in households where parents struggle with substance abuse are more likely to experience long-term effects of neglect or abuse than other children. Having an addicted parent is considered a type of early trauma exposure that can have serious repercussions on their mental health.

Children with addicted parents are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders including their own issues with substance abuse and illnesses like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. Living with an addict can have a profound impact on a young person’s mental health. There have also been reports of an increase in teen suicides that are closely linked with the opioid crisis.

Kids with parents who suffer from addiction are exposed to neglect and sometimes abuse and violence. Growing up in this environment can make them more likely to struggle academically and socially as they get older. Parents who don’t get help for their addiction are potentially creating life-long problems for their children.

Opioid addiction is on the rise but it is possible for people to recover and lead more stable lives while providing better parental care. There are many treatment centers that can offer help for anyone struggling with a dependency on prescription drug. If you or someone you love has a problem with painkillers then contact a treatment facility near you to get help.