OCARTA is an Oklahoma City based advocacy organization. It is a vehicle to improve the quality of life for the many Oklahomans suffering from substance abuse. As the first and only Peer-run organization of its kind in Oklahoma, it occupies a unique niche in the addiction and recovery arena.
The organization envisions far-reaching beneficial changes for the recovery community, addiction treatment and how addiction is viewed and by society at large.
OCARTA is a purpose-driven advocacy group, seeking reform in attitudes toward and cultural perception of addicts and those in recovery. Through education of economic, political and institutional interests benefiting from harmful and unproductive policies regarding addicts and those in recovery, the organization seeks beneficial change.
Changing attitudes is fundamental to lasting change is practices, policies and procedures. OCARTA seeks to be a voice for changing other’s perceptions of addicts and recovering people as an effective tool to change harmful and ineffective policies and practices
OCARTA encourages people to share their personal stories of recovery, using those stories of successful recovery as an impetus for social change. It seeks to empower its advocates to be active participants in changing the very workings of addiction and recovery in the culture of today.
It is evolving into an educational movement focused on expanding community recovery resources throughout the state of Oklahoma.
Ultimately, OCARTA envisions the local communities of Oklahoma demonstrating awareness, compassion and support for person affected by addiction and mental illness.
As the Director of Public Relations at Narconon Arrowhead I am honored to support OCARTA and its mission, and contribute to its long-range goals of improving addiction treatment and recovery.
The 2015 Rally 4 Recovery event is scheduled for April 23rd on the 2nd Floor Rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol. It is a free event, and all are welcomed to attend. Its purpose is to bring people together in advocacy, celebration and education. The event is highlighting funding as vital to keeping recovery a reality.
It is an opportunity for attendees to meet their legislators, and hear real stories of recovery told by recovery speakers. Lunch will be provided. Live acoustic music featuring Steve Brann and John Randolph will round-out the Rally 4 Recovery activities.
I very much look forward to speaking at this year’s Rally 4 Recovery. Meeting and speaking with Oklahoma legislators provides a unique opportunity for attendees to educate and advocate on behalf of all Oklahomans affected by addiction and recovery.
Narconon Arrowhead, located in Arrowhead State Park near Canadian, Oklahoma, is a long-term rehabilitation and education center. We know from years of experience in delivering drug prevention education to the Oklahoma communities that education is an effective and life-changing tool.
OCARTA’s focus on education as a means to bring about beneficial change in attitudes and methods of addiction treatment and recovery is filled with promise for a better future for Oklahoma communities and residents.
I look forward to representing our executives and staff at Rally 4 Recovery, and being part of its impetus for beneficial change in Oklahoma and beyond. We look forward to seeing you there.
For more information on OCARTA see their site at: http://ocarta.org/]]>
According to the newly released CDC report, the U.S. experienced around 44,000 drug-overdose deaths in 2013. Powerful and highly addictive opioid prescription painkillers were involved in more than 16,000 of those deaths.
Substance abuse costs the United States more than $600 billion annually. The cumulative financial loss accrues in healthcare, loss of productivity in the workplace and crime. A substance abuse program may cost on the average, $ 5,000. A year of incarceration, in comparison, costs more than $31,000. Imprisonment extols an even greater price in locations such as New York City, averaging and annual cost-per-inmate of $167,731 in 2012.
While the financial cost is tabulated in black and white, the cost in human loss, suffering and destroyed lives is not so easily measured.
Vermont recently implemented measures to address its heroin-abuse crisis. The heroin crisis in Vermont and nationwide was the subject of Governor Peter Shumlin’s 2014 State of the State address. Many initiatives addressing the heroin crisis proposed by the Governor were enacted, including grants to addiction clinics in efforts to reduce treatment waiting lists.
As a result, nearly 40 percent more Vermont residents are now seeking addiction treatment in comparison to a year ago.
Three federally-approved drugs are currently used to treat chronic addiction to opioids: methadone, buprenorphine and Naltrexone/Vivitrol. Methadone is the most used. While it is regarded by some to be a successful method of treating opioid addiction, the individual remains drug-depdendent on the substitute drug.
The states and the CDC continue to implement drug-overdose prevention strategies which include tracking the opioid abuse epidemic, increasing public health intervention, and providing prescribers with guidance, data and tools.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction treatment is directed towards helping the person achieve abstinence, and becoming a full participant in society. Abstinence infers the self-enforced restraint from drug or alcohol use.
Using a substitute drug to replace dependence on opioids such as prescription painkillers or heroin doesn’t fit the abstinence ideal.
According to NIDA, the drug addiction relapse rate after treatment is 40 to 60 percent. That is a red flag that the person is still struggling with substance dependency not successfully addressed in whatever form of substance abuse treatment they sought.
The addict or alcoholic knows the overwhelming physical and mental cravings for his or her drug of choice. They know the substance abuse-caused depression which drives their continued drug use. The addiction lifestyle itself creates even more depression. And every addict or alcoholic is trapped in their drug use by their guilt stemming from the harm caused to self and others.
Drug and alcohol treatment based on a true understanding of the mechanics underlying addiction would greatly assist in establishing workable treatment programs. A true understanding of the human mind and how it works, and the spiritual nature of man as opposed to the current brain and disease-based approach to treatment could yield fruitful results and rewards.
A dismal chance of long-term success when seeking sobriety does not fuel a desire to seek treatment.
Perhaps if treatment was uniformly workable, resulted in long-term stable recovery and the ability to participate in life and society without resorting to substance use or abuse, more people suffering from addiction would seek treatment. An addict knowing that he or she could truly make it, and go on to live a drug-free life could be the greatest motivation of all.]]>
America is seeing a changing landscape of heroin abuse. Formerly a drug found primarily in the inner cities, the demographics are changing. Suburban youth are now at risk of heroin overdose, with the Midwest, Northeast, South and Western regions of the country all affected.
Deaths due to prescription opioid analgesic (pain relievers/painkillers) received a lion’s share of the attention in recent years. At the same time, heroin abuse and overdose deaths steadily increased, but apparently were overshadowed by prescription pill abuse and its consequences. Yet there is a connection between the two.
According to study results recently released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), death rates from heroin overdose in the United States doubled from 2010 through 2012. The CDC information was collected from 28 states across the nation.
Nationwide demographics and trends evidenced in the CDC study revealed that deaths due to heroin-involved drug poisoning (heroin overdose) nearly quadrupled from 2000 through 2013. The study results also revealed that men are at higher risk than women.
The changing demographics and trends of U.S. heroin use and heroin-involved overdose deaths were highlighted by the CDC study. A decade ago, heroin-involved overdose deaths were primarily evidenced in a non-Hispanic black population. In contrast, the 2013 statistics evidenced a non-Hispanic white population aged 18 to 44 years experiencing the highest rate of heroin overdose deaths.
From 2000 through 2013, different regions of the U.S. experienced spikes in heroin-involved overdose deaths. The Midwest was most affected, with an 11-fold increase, followed by the Northeast reporting a more than 4-fold increase. The Southern region was next in ranking, with a 3-fold increase. The Western region of the nation experienced a 2-fold increase.
As more U.S. states pass laws to tighten-up on and prevent illegal prescription painkiller abuse, those abusing and addicted to these opioids often switch to heroin as a more easily obtained and cheaper alternative drug. Rising heroin abuse and overdose deaths are in this way linked to prescription drugs.
Drug prevention education goes far in preventing substance abuse and its consequences. Therefore Narconon Arrowhead, a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation program located in Southeastern Oklahoma, provides the following guide to preventing heroin abuse.
Important Heroin Abuse Prevention Facts
Those using prescription painkillers are accustomed to a controlled dosage dispensed in pill form. Heroin is an uncontrolled dose which puts the user at risk of accidental overdose.
Chances of heroin overdose increase with use over time, as the user increasingly impairs their body and health.
Differences in heroin purity can cause overdose. A user physically accustomed to a percentage of purity may end-up getting street heroin of higher purity. Using the same dose, but of higher purity heroin, could lead to overdose.
The majority of heroin gotten on the streets is “cut”, meaning it is not pure, and contains other substances. It can also contain other drugs. Street heroin is cut with substances such as starch, powdered mile, sugar or quinine. It can also be cut with strychnine or another poison.
Sharing needles or sharing other heroin-injection paraphernalia has its own risks of transmitting disease such as Hepatitis or HIV.
While it is best never to use heroin, it is vital to know and recognize the signs of heroin overdose. It is a life-threatening situation, and requires effective life-saving action.
The following are signs of heroin overdose:
Call 911 in the event of heroin overdose.
Learning the life-saving actions to take in the event of a heroin overdose are best done before one is faced with the life-threatening situation. Learn what to do beforehand so you can take the necessary life-saving actions until paramedics or other medical personnel arrive on the scene to help.]]>
A popular destination for spring breakers is the beautiful beaches of Florida. The more adventurous may head for Mexico. Regardless of destination, Spring Break poses its own challenges to sobriety, and safety.
Out-of-control parties, overindulgence in alcohol, binge drinking, marijuana, designer drugs, hard drug use—all the high-risk activities which pose a real danger to safety and well-being–are now a part of Spring Break.
In Panama City Beach, Florida, the “100 milers” arrive for Spring Break. Not college students at all, but adults in their 40’s who come from miles away to deal drugs, steal, and take advantage of young women foolish enough to be drunk or high.
According to one Fox News reporter who went to Panama City Beach last Spring Break to film and interview students, “it’s been taken to a dangerous level” in recent years.
A Sober and Safe Spring Break
While not all spring breakers indulge in the level of partying as those on Panama City Beach, there are basic safety and sobriety measures that go far in keeping Spring Break an enjoyable holiday.
The following guide can help you; your friends and your loved ones stay safe—and sober. While no alcohol and no drugs is always the safest and best choice, there are guidelines to follow if you do drink.
Let family and friends know your Spring Break destination and travel plans. Your expected departure date and time, and return date and time should be known to them.
Keep your valuables safe. Secure them in the hotel safe, or the locked trunk of your car.
Use extra caution when using the ATM. Use it in daylight hours, and have at least one friend with you.
Choose alternate activities to partying. Enjoy your vacation destination surroundings. Participate by sightseeing, dining-out, attending art or sporting events, or shopping destination-unique shops or markets.
Enjoy destination-related activities. A warm, beachside location invites beachcombing, swimming, sunbathing, or beach volley ball. A cold weather location invites skiing and other cold-weather sports. Each destination has its own special qualities and points of interest.
Drink mocktails: non-alcoholic beverages in the form of strawberry daiquiris or piña coladas. Many alcoholic mixed drinks—minus the alcohol– can be enjoyed. Get creative and enjoy.
If you traveled out-of-state for Spring Break, and intend to drink alcohol, familiarize yourself with drinking laws in your destination state. Know open container law and underage drinking laws, minimally.
If you do drink, be responsible.
Set your limits before you attend a party, and stick to them. Know beforehand if you plan to drink, and how much.
Do not drive if you have been drinking. Plan ahead for a designated driver to take you and your friends back to the place you are staying.
Come with your friends–leave with your friends is the rule. Watch-out for each other. Don’t leave with someone you do not know, and don’t let one of your friends do it, either. Stay together, enjoy sharing the Spring Break experience—and go home together, safe and sound.
Following these simple, common-sense guidelines can help you and your friends enjoy a safer and sober Spring Break.