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

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Archive for the ‘Treatment’ Category

State of Emergency Called for Opioid Crisis

Posted on: August 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

State of Emergency Called For Opioid Crisis

Cases of opioid abuse and overdose have been rising drastically in recent years, causing widespread concern for the health of the country. Recently a white house panel created by Trump recommended that the president to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

His commission on the opioid crisis was created in March with Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie appointed to lead it. The panel held its first public meeting last month and just recently issued an interim report about the state of opioid addiction and abuse in the U.S.

The commission members wrote that the death toll for opioid abuse has reached an unprecedented level of 142 Americans dying every day. They believe that if the president declared the crisis a state of emergency that it would force Congress to focus on providing funding for treatment and prevention and empower the executive branch to take steps to reduce this loss of life.

Treating and Preventing Opioid Abuse

Within the report, the commission also proposed waiving a federal rule that places a strict limit on the number of people who can receive addiction treatment through Medicaid. They called for greater access to medications used to treat opioid addiction as well as legislation to allow states to use naloxone which is employed by first responders to reverse the effects of an overdose. They also emphasized prevention methods such as requiring “prescriber education initiatives”.

The main goal of declaring a state of emergency would be to allow Americans to take the crisis more seriously as an urgent matter affecting the country. A state of emergency would also mean that federal agencies would focus more attention and coordination toward the issue to save as many lives as possible.

Certain states have already taken the step to declare a state of emergency for the opioid crisis including Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia with Alaskan governor Bill Walker issuing a disaster declaration. Alaska’s health department found that the emergency declaration helped improve coordination between agencies and worked to expand access to naloxone.

Implications of an Emergency Declaration

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden believes a state of emergency may not be the right solution as it is usually reserved for national disasters and infectious diseases such as the H1N1 virus. He thinks the focus should be placed on improving prescribing methods and cutting down the flow of illegal opioids into the country.

However, those involved in anti-addiction groups across the country assert that a state of emergency could be a significant step in acknowledging how severe the crisis is currently and how much effort is needed to curb abuse and overdose deaths. They believe the opioid crisis needs national emergency funding and changes to regulations which could potentially save lives.

According to the commission’s report, an emergency declaration could give the government the power necessary to quickly expand access to inpatient treatment services and even lower prices for naloxone so that more people recover from overdoses. People are concerned about how the Trump administration might respond to the report because of their past record regarding policies to limit healthcare access for drug users. The administration had proposed in their health care bill (which recently failed to pass the senate) to cut funding for agencies addressing the opioid crisis.

The Opioid Crisis and Healthcare

The opioid crisis commission has been plagued by contradictions between the Trump administration’s policies and proposed solutions which emphasize expanded healthcare access rather than stricter Medicaid regulations. Their main concern is that the administration’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could be detrimental to dealing with the current level of opioid addiction. Members of the commission asserted that the crisis could become worse if the government makes it harder and more expensive to receive healthcare coverage for addiction treatment.

Threats to cut funding have made the situation difficult for key agencies who are tasked with responding to the crisis. The white house had initially proposed cutting 95% of funding to the Office of National Drug Control Policy as part of its new budget but eventually restored funding in a revised version due to backlash from both Republicans and Democrats.

Dealing with the crisis has also been hampered by leadership vacancies such as Trump’s decision to fire the US surgeon general in April. This position has not yet been filled and the CDC only recently appointed a new director after Frieden resigned in January.

If President Trump agrees with the commission and declares a state of emergency it will remain to be seen how his administration chooses to handle the crisis. Expanding access to treatment and prevention will be a key element in stemming the tide of overdose deaths in the country if the government decides to become more active in handling the emergency.

The Trump Administration and Mental Health

Posted on: July 24th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Trump Administration and Mental Health

President Trump and his administration have made it a mission to overhaul our current healthcare system and eradicate “Obamacare” which they believe was inefficient and problematic. Their new healthcare plan has passed the house but is still being considered by the senate and has not yet been voted into effect.

Trump is optimistic that his Senate healthcare bill to repeal and replace Obamacare will eventually be voted through when Republicans can agree on supporting its terms.

Many Americans are concerned about what the new healthcare plan will mean for the country’s public health in general but some are also particularly worried about mental health coverage. The expectation of Trump’s healthcare plan is that many Americans will lose their healthcare coverage through federal programs like Medicaid which will be dramatically reduced under the new bill.

Unfortunately for many people in need, the new healthcare plan will slash much of the resources that the Affordable Care Act had made more available for mental health, behavioral health and substance abuse.

Medicaid and Mental Health

Trump’s decision to reduce Medicaid will have a devastating effect on those who rely on it to provide treatment for mental illness or addiction. People are particularly concerned about the new healthcare bill and what it would mean amidst the opioid addiction epidemic that has taken over the country in recent years.

Medicaid is currently the single largest source of funding for mental health and substance abuse treatments. Much of the funding has been provided by Obamacare especially through its expansion to include low-income adults.

A significant portion of people with substance abuse and/or mental health issues have low incomes or are even homeless. Prior to the Affordable Care Act, most people with little income were ineligible for public insurance through Medicaid. Even those with lower middle class incomes who simply had inadequate insurance were unable to receive coverage for mental health until the ACA made significant expansions.

The Cost of Repealing Obamacare

The ACA made it possible for people with low incomes to have access to preventative and rehabilitative services for mental health or substance abuse issues. Previously, Medicaid would only cover issues severe enough to merit admission into an emergency room or institution. With better coverage, people were able to get help before their situation became a mental health emergency.

Previously, most insurance companies would provide more coverage for physical health problems and very little for mental health or substance abuse issues. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act passed in 2008 mandated that employer plans would cover medical and mental health or substance abuse services equally. The ACA also expanded that law to many people on Medicaid, ultimately covering mental health services for more than 30 million people.

Unfortunately, Trump’s new American Health Care Act would take away most of this coverage by cutting Medicaid expansion and reducing funding for low income adults. It would also allow states more flexibility to avoid parity rules and reinstate many of the old barriers for mental health care.

Who Will Lose Coverage?

While the current trend under the Obama administration has been to reduce the number of uninsured Americans to the lowest rates in over 50 years, Trump’s plan would reverse this trend and likely increase the rate of uninsured by 7.4%. The area of the country that would be hit the hardest by this new healthcare plan would be rural America which benefitted greatly from ACA’s expansion of Medicaid.

The new healthcare plan would also negatively affect senior citizens who will have to pay higher premiums, deductibles and co-pays if the bill passes. Lower income individuals will receive thousands of dollars less in tax credits which allowed them to afford healthcare under the ACA. Repealing Obamacare for many demographics will mean that they can no longer afford healthcare and will not be covered for medical or mental health services.

Those with mental health issues will be among those who are most affected by the change, especially the many Americans who received care through Medicaid. Although the American Health Care Act will not repeal the Mental Health Parity Act it will remove a mandate that required Medicaid to cover basic mental health and substance abuse services. As a result of this, 1.28 million people currently receiving mental health care through Medicaid will be threatened with losing these services.

The new healthcare plan proposed by the Trump Administration could cause problems for those in need of treatment for substance abuse problems including the millions of Americans addicted to opiates. Although Trump promised to fight the painkiller epidemic, his plans to end Medicaid coverage for substance abuse services will make it more difficult for people to receive addiction treatment.

Although many republicans support the bill, it remains to be seen how the new healthcare plan will affect Americans including many of Trump’s supporters.

Attending An AA Meeting On Vacation

Posted on: July 20th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Attending an AA Meeting on Vacation

While you are planning a long vacation it can be stressful to worry about how you will cope with the experience and still stay sober. Vacations are meant to be relaxing and a way to get away from your problems but unfortunately you are also away from the comforts of home and your usual routine. This can be difficult for people in recovery who are used to having certain resources available and a structure to their life that helps keep them sober.

The great thing about 12 step meetings though is that they really are available everywhere. You may have already had people in your local meetings who were visiting on vacation from different parts of the country. It is pretty common for people to find an AA meeting wherever they are so that they can keep in touch with their sobriety goals even while traveling.

Anytime you are going on a significant trip, or even a short getaway, you might consider looking into what types of AA meetings are available in the area. Being prepared and knowing you can go to a meeting beforehand can ease some of the stress of traveling.

Connecting with New People

The more you travel and find different AA groups the more connected you will feel with the sober community all around the country and even around the world. AA is even available on many cruise ships, so really almost any vacation can include a meeting or two if you really need it.

It may feel intimidating to have to start over with a group of people you have never met. You might have a special bond and rapport with the people in your local AA group and feel hesitant to try something new. But as you have probably experienced in your own AA group, twelve step meetings are always welcoming and offer support to anyone new to the group.

It can be very rewarding to open up to a new group of people in an entirely new city. It can even help you realize just how universal addiction and the process of quitting really is for everyone. No matter where you go, every AA group will understand what you each person is experiencing and be able to provide empathy.

Triggers During a Vacation

Almost every occasion for traveling can include some type of trigger that will make it hard to stay committed to your goals. Your resort might offer free drinks or classes like wine tasting. They might even unknowingly hand you a glass of champagne when you arrive to check in. These types of situations come up all the time and it is important to be prepared for them.

Being away from home can make it harder to handle the obstacles that come up during vacation. Going to at least one meeting or even attending them every day might be the best way to get through your vacation without struggling too much.

It is important to communicate about your sobriety to whomever you are traveling with. If you are on a trip with a big group of friends or more distant family members they may not be familiar with your situation.

To avoid any confusion or pressure tell them about your recovery and your need to attend meetings. Let them know that you might have to miss out on certain excursions or activities so that you can spend time at a meeting. You might feel bad about being on a different schedule but your sobriety should be the highest priority throughout your vacation.

How to Find Meetings

As soon as you know where your hotel is located you should start looking into meetings that are close by. You can search the AA directory on www.aa.org and type in the name of the city or zip code which will direct you to the websites of local AA resources. There are also several apps you can download to your smartphone such as the Twelve Steps companion app that includes a directory and a map function to help you get directions to a meeting.

You should try to find a meeting as close as possible to your hotel so that there will not be too many issues as far as transportation. Something within walking distance, a bus ride or quick taxi ride is the best option. Make sure that you are completely prepared by finding exactly where the meeting is and knowing how you will get there before you even leave for your vacation.

Even though looking for a meeting and talking to a new group of people may seem like it’s out of your comfort zone, most people find it extremely helpful while traveling. Discussing your vacation stresses and fears with the group will help you stay strong no matter what type of triggers you experience on your trip.

The Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab Treatment

Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

The Differences Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab Treatment

You may be thinking about rehab treatment for yourself or a loved one. One of the first questions may be what is the difference between inpatient and outpatient treatment? The following is a guide to the general differences between inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Inpatient or residential treatment is an intensive program for the treatment of drug or alcohol dependency. It requires the individual to live full-time at the treatment facility, typically for 30-90 days, but can be longer depending on the severity of the addiction or other underlying conditions. This physically removes the individual from the triggers that are found in the outside world in order to stabilize. Residential treatment is a good choice for someone who has previously been unsuccessful in overcoming his or her addiction or has relapsed.

Residential treatment is also a better option for those who require a medical detoxification due to the powerful physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with some addictions, requiring the oversight of medical professionals. If the patient has a co-occurring mental disorder, other addiction, or additional health issues, he or she is likely best managed in an inpatient facility.

An inpatient facility provides a highly structured environment, which includes regular meetings, counseling, therapy, mealtimes, and other activities. A patient will find substantial support by living in a therapeutic community with other residents facing the same struggles. Residential treatment provides a healthy environment, mostly free from outside distractions that otherwise could prevent the patient from focusing on his or her total well-being, including physical and spiritual health in addition to addiction recovery.

Inpatient programs tend to have a higher rate of success due to being isolated in a controlled, safe and secure environment away from the temptations and triggers that led to addiction in the first place. In this way, the patient gets to practice sobriety and become accustomed to abstinence without the negative distracting influences that kept him or her in addiction before he or she goes back to the stressors of everyday life.

Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment is ideal for the individual who has obligations like work, school, or family that prevent him or her from taking a substantial time off away from such responsibilities. Some people also prefer privacy and anonymity regarding their addiction and do not wish to explain a prolonged absence to an employer or others.

An outpatient facility allows you to attend to your obligations while simultaneously focusing on treatment either during the day or in the evening. It provides individual and group counseling as well.. Peer recovery and support is also a significant component due to the limited safeguards and the availability of some of the same triggers and temptations that may be available by remaining in the community.

Other benefits of outpatient treatment include the availability of supportive family and friends and the opportunity to immediately apply strategies for abstinence learned in rehab to one’s daily life. Outpatient treatment may also cost less due there being no expense required for room and board.

Special care must be taken with outpatient treatment to prevent relapse, however. If the patient is in an environment in which he or she is exposed to drugs or alcohol, the individual will be at a much higher risk of relapse.

Which is best for you?

If you want to know more specifically what the differences are in programs at a particular facility, call to get more details. A qualified professional can arrange an assessment to determine the best course of treatment for you or your loved one.

Breaking the Stigma of Treatment

Posted on: May 30th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments

Breaking the Stigma of Treatment

Crippling fear, embarrassment and shame are all complex emotions that many who suffer with addiction are subject to. There are untold reasons why those who know they need help with their addiction avoid going to rehab in Los Angeles. But treatment methods are continually evolving and becoming increasingly effective. Furthermore, what was once thought of as a social stigma is now becoming an acceptable and responsible choice.

Why Seeking Treatment is a Good Idea

Realizing that there is an issue helps set in motion the process of recovery. When you seek treatment, you can finally start to address the years of addiction that you have suffered through. Trying to kick the habits cold-turkey, won’t necessarily yield the results that you would want.

The odds of relapse are greater, because you’re not working with someone trained to help those who are serious about recovering from addiction. A rehab facility on the other hand have experienced personnel and psychologists needed to help you through your withdrawal and help you address the underlying problems behind your addictions.

Growing Social Acceptability

It wasn’t that long ago that those who went to rehab were considered social pariahs as soon as others found out. However, this attitude has slowly changed over the years wherein due to greater awareness via information campaigns, people with hidden drug addictions are now being actively encouraged to seek treatment with little in the way of significant social stigma.

What to do About Work

In California, an employer with at least 25 employees must give unpaid time off for those who enter rehab, with few exceptions (one notable exception is if taking that time off would create an unreasonable burden on your employer). You would then use your accrued time off, and your company would be required to keep your treatment and reason for leaving private. Upon return, though, you have to be able to perform your job duties and not pose a risk to others. California gives additional protections to employees, particularly for alcohol rehab.

It wasn’t that long ago when addiction was considered a moral flaw and “treatments” ranged from imprisonment to asylums. But as the years have passed, our attitude towards drug usage and rehabilitation has drastically changed. Likewise, our understanding of what causes addictions has made treatments far more effective. Seeking help is no longer a big social stigma; rather, it’s seen as a necessary step in the right direction.