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.

Celebrating Progress and Looking Back at National Recovery Month 2017

Every September, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) sponsors National Recovery Month to raise awareness and understanding of mental health and substance use disorders, and celebrate people who are living in recovery. As we head into October, we wanted to reflect on Recovery Month and the importance of educating the public about drug addiction, treatment and recovery.

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Heroin(e): A Harrowing but Optimistic Look at the Opioid Epidemic

A new documentary has been added to Netflix’s lineup and it's worth a watch. Heroin(e), directed by Elain McMillion Sheldon, follows three brave and compassionate women as they battle addiction in the City of Huntington, West Virginia – the overdose capital of the country. In 2015, the city’s overdose rate was ten times the national average.

The film shines a light on the nation’s opioid epidemic in a very personal way. The women – a fire chief, a missionary and a drug court judge – are compassionate, funny and smart and they form strong bonds with local people struggling with addiction. This allows for real and well-rounded depictions of the struggles and triumphs associated with substance use disorders, not often shown on TV.

There is education and a healthy debate around the overdose reversing drug naloxone, honesty and understanding around relapse, and a humanizing portrayal of people struggling to overcome addiction and stay sober.

Heading into Netflix season, we suggest everybody touched by addiction adds this to their queue and shares it with a friend –especially since Massachusetts is also well over the national average for overdose deaths.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, call Spectrum Health Systems today and an admissions counselor will find the right course of treatment for you. We can be reached 24/7 at (800) 366-7732.

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Opioid Epidemic Declared a National Emergency

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 35,000 people across America died from heroin or opioid overdoses in 2015, and a study released by the University of Virginia on Aug. 7th concluded the mortality rates were 24 percent higher for opioids and 22 percent higher for heroin than previously reported.

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Is Binge Drinking Considered Alcoholism If You’re A College Student?

Fall is around the corner and for many young people, it’s almost time to ship off to (or return to) college. They pack up their rooms, kiss mom and dad goodbye, and venture to a campus where they are testing out the freedom of (almost) adulthood. For most colleges and universities across the U.S., drinking alcohol is intertwined within the student culture, even though the legal age to consume alcohol in the U.S. is 21. Although beer pong and keg stands are ritual behavior for some college students, where do we draw the line between casual drinking and alcoholism? How do you know when to approach a fellow student about their over-the-top drinking?

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Help, Not Handcuffs: Finding an Ally in Blue

They’re some of the first to arrive at the scene when there is a critical overdose, a person in need, or a troublesome situation. While some find comfort with the men and women on the front lines of the opioid epidemic, it can be a contentious relationship for others.

For someone struggling with an addiction, asking for help in general can be daunting, but asking for help from the police sounds like a one-way ticket to jail. On the contrary, many people suffering from addiction and searching for help are finding some of their best allies in their local police force, and that relationship is spreading around the country.

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Fatherhood and Addiction

There has long been a stigma surrounding women struggling with addiction, and mothers in particular. Mothers are more apt to shy away from recovery treatment, in part because they are not aware of the problem they may have with substance abuse, but also because they feel guilty for leaving their children behind while they seek treatment for themselves.

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Shane’s Story: From Shame to Sobriety in Three Months

Shane’s first encounter with the law was at the young age of fourteen, when he was caught stealing a vehicle with his friends. This wouldn’t be the last time he would run into such trouble. By this point, he had already experienced a lifetime of ups and downs, including past traumas and a strained relationship with his father.

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The Next Big Thing: “Grey Death” Heroin

The latest fatal heroin mix, “grey death,” is taking the streets by storm and its users in mere minutes.

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The Opioid Epidemic is Affecting the Nation’s Youngest and Most Innocent

The nation’s opioid epidemic is affecting everyone, and we mean everyone – even those not yet born. An increasing number of children today are born into families and environments that revolve around an addiction to opioids. These children often grow up in horrible living conditions while being raised by opioid addicted parents. Many later suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result.

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The Next Big Thing: Imodium and Anti-Diarrhea Drugs

Substance abusers who can’t get their hands on opioids are reaching for a drug many people would not expect - diarrhea medicines. Imodium and other anti-diarrhea drugs, which they call the poor man’s methadone, are being abused by those looking for their next high, as well as those in recovery who are looking to soften the withdrawal systems. The active ingredient, loperamide, can be toxic and even deadly when consumed in excess amounts, and especially dangerous if mixed with other drugs.

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