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Does “The Cloud” Make It Harder To Treat Addiction?

Addiction and Treatment Addictive Behaviors blog Drug Addiction


images-6 Anyone who has been in the addiction treatment field for the past couple of decades has seen how technological advances can influence the delivery of treatment. Our experience is that like most things, there is an upside and a downside to all of it. On the one hand, application-filled mobile devices have allowed people in recovery to gain access to 12-step and other mutual help meetings, connect with others in recovery and even manage sobriety day counts. On the other hand, instant access to the internet can unleash a torrent of relapse behaviors among addicts who are trying to remain sober. For many in recovery behaviors like obtaining illicit substances and finding sexual partners are only clicks away on a mobile device or laptop.

A frequent intervention for people re-entering the community used to be to get rid of cell phones and /or delete nefarious contacts from the directory so that obtaining drugs would be harder to do. Not a 100% guarantee against relapse, the action of purging contacts was itself a way to communicate one’s dedication to recovery. Unfortunately, now that we have “The Cloud” getting rid of addiction-related contacts is not so easy. In fact, it is practically impossible. No cell phone? No problem, just get a new phone and sign in with a google account and all of the old contacts magically appear. Of course it is possible to go a level deeper and delete contacts from gmail and other accounts, and this is what must be done if those in early recovery want to rid those influences from their social networks.


Scott Bienenfeld, M.D.

The Marijuana Legalization Saga Continues…

blog Marijuana Legalization

Alaska, Oregon, & D.C. Jump On The Bandwagon…Florida Does Not

marijuana mapSo…now you can legally use marijuana recreationally in Alaska, Oregon and D.C (although it is still considered a crime to sell pot in D.C.) Those states recently joined Washington and Colorado on the legalization bandwagon.   Interestingly, in Florida, a bill that would have legalized medicalization of marijuana was not passed. Clearly, the debate about whether or not pot should be legal rages on and the results of legalization will soon be revealed.

Recent data has already shown that in states where marijuana is legal, deaths from opioid overdoses have been reduced.

Wow…Florida…It is very interesting that Florida, a state awash in opioid overdose deaths has that gall to not pass medical marijuana legalization. In 2007, Florida was identified as one of the states with the most serious proliferations of pain clinics, prescribing large quantities of painkillers with little medical justification to do so. In our program, we see many clients who tell us that they went to Florida in order to get painkillers because they are so easy to obtain there. In 2010, Florida was home to 98 out of the 100 physicians who dispensed the highest quantities of Oxycodone directly from their offices. Between 2003 – 2009, overdose deaths from opioids increased 61% in Florida. What is our Fear of Marijuana? Why are we willing to criminalize marijuana but look the other way when it comes to alcohol? Florida is the perfect example the drug policy is about moral posturing and not health.

Scott Bienenfeld, MD
Joe Schrank