The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for people with substance use disorders (SUD)—both in active addiction and in recovery. Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recently described the dilemma in a video conference: “We immediately can recognize the unique challenges of COVID-19 for people having an addiction.
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A little over a year ago, we reported on this blog that nearly one in four active-duty service members had at least one prescription for an opioid at some point in 2017. Many military veterans were on opioids as well. Most of them were not necessarily misusing the drugs, of course, but the prevalence of opioid pain relievers in the military was still reason to be worried. After all, the overprescription of opioids has been widely blamed for the addiction epidemic still plaguing the United States.
LeeAnn Gumulauskas, IOP Coordinator for Diamond Healthcare, talks about five ways to engage spirituality as an essential part of recovery.
Veteran addiction physician Dr. Melissa Lee Warner has rejoined The Farley Center, the nationally renowned addiction treatment program, as director of its professionals program. Warner previously served as Farley's medical director from 2000–2013. She returns to lead and continue the ongoing augmentation of Farley's longstanding professionals program that thirty years ago was one of the first in the country to address the needs of specific professionals and their unique needs.
Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an agreement with Millennium Health, an accredited specialty laboratory, to combat the drug overdose crisis using near-real-time drug testing data.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major challenge for people in recovery. Many 12-Step meetings have closed as social-distancing rules prohibit events of 10 or more people. At the same time, levels of anxiety across the nation are way up because of the deadly outbreak.
Connection is the opposite of addiction, says addiction author Johan Hari, but connecting with other people is a bit difficult at the moment. We’re in the middle of a global health crisis that requires social distancing and self-isolation to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and similar 12-Step programs have been criticized for many years as too overtly religious. One of the most frequent complaints about the system is its use of appeals to a “higher power.” Some people with alcohol use disorder (AUD) try AA meetings but feel they can’t get past “the God part.” By that they typically mean the references to “God, as we understood Him” in steps three and eleven, for example.
A lot of dubious information about the purported health benefits of so-called kratom can be easily found on the internet. Various websites claim that Mitragyna speciosa (kratom, biak, ketum)—an Asian tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family—can be used to help with anxiety, cough, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, high blood pressure, pain, and even to lessen symptoms of opiate withdrawal.
The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota rates kratom “unsafe and ineffective.”
Saulo Ortiz has an unusual approach to mental health therapy. The licensed clinical social worker and motivational speaker likes to connect with clients via hip-hop.