All posts by pjdhanoa

Alcohol Deaths = 1 in 10 Adults…

Alcoholism

A new report implicates alcohol account for a whopping 10% of deaths among adults. That’s a huge number: we all know 10 people so one of them will die before their time as a result of drinking? Kind of puts it all into perspective. In a time when the culture is dominated by conversations about the perils of legalizing marijuana, alcohol stealthily moves among us like a quiet series killer. Somehow, we never talk about the toll this product on families, schools, businesses and American life as a whole. Why don’t we? What is it about alcohol that has made it such a sacred cow? Is it just who we are? The history of alcohol is storied and lengthy in America, and if there is anything known it’s that prohibition doesn’t do much of anything other than fuel crime and violence. But what can reduce rates of alcohol consumption? There is one simple answer that Americans hate: higher taxes. Many states haven’t raised taxes in generations, Wyoming’s last tax raise was in 1935, yes THAT 1935.

Rebound Brooklyn is committed to not only helping people out of the ditch they fall into with drinking but also examining the ditch itself. One of our metrics about recovery is “civic responsibility” and advocating for at the minimum a national dialogue on alcohol would fall into that category. # alcohol kills!

NPR Article: Excessive Drinking Causes 10 Percent Of Deaths In Working-Age Adults

      • Joe Schrank
      • Scott Bienenfeld, M.D.

Marijuana Legalization: An Interesting Look

Marijuana Legalization

http://time.com/2912265/this-marijuana-food-truck-can-get-you-high/

Colorado and Washington now feature legitimate businesses that were, just a few short months ago, a criminal offense and a serious one at that. Now it seems that a wry sense of humor has brought the marijuana smoker out of their smoke-filled cars, houses, and dorm rooms. Is there an upside to this for recovering people? Sure there is! And with a whole bunch of potential that is as of yet unrealized. All recovery and drug policy is successful to the degree that we as a culture are honest about it.

Marijuana policy is inherently dishonest because it perpetuates the myth that criminality prevents use and potential impairment. New laws in some states are bringing all of that out of the closet, and with it the potential to be honest about intoxication. What the recovery community isn’t doing is demanding a “recovery tax” on all forms of intoxication. The amount of revenue that could be put to use for treatment and sustained recovery programming is unknown but it would be huge, certainly more than what is currently available. As a bonus, taxation is a barrier to accessibility, and does much more to reduce rates of use than “happy go lucky” fantasy campaigns like “just say no!”.

At Rebound Brooklyn, while do have a bottom line of profitability, we also have a bottom line of helping people, and this is why we have a deep commitment to doing “pro bono” work. By taxing intoxicants, we can fill the coffers for treatment, recovery and “second chance” legislation, and thereby reduce rates of use. Seems like a paradox (and maybe it is) but there is a 12 step slogan which goes: “surrender to win”. Maybe it’s time for a macro level surrender?

      • Joe Schrank
      • Scott Bienenfeld, M.D.

Urban Outfitters Hairroin Salon

Heroin Addiction

It’s nothing new for a retail operation to stir controversy. It helps sales. The old adage is “there is no bad publicity”. As a promotion for their new flagship store in New York City, which includes a hair salon, “Hairroin” Urban Outfitters is giving away pens shaped like a hypodermic needle. Nice, right? Especially considering their mainstay customer, suburban white kids who fancy themselves future hipsters living in Brooklyn and writing song lyrics on the back of their trust fund check envelope. Vulnerable youth desperate to separate from their parents and find this just the item to make them feel that way. As the tsunami of heroin addiction, overdose and death continues to be a black plague in the suburbs with no sign of letting up, this is a really cheap shot. Certainly Urban Outfitters is guilty of nothing but insensitivity and poor taste. Heroin addiction doesn’t correlate to cheap crap sold in a chain store at the mall, it is a complicated brain malady with a million variables but this certainly doesn’t help.

Emmy winning actress and recovery advocate, Kristen Johnston, says this on the subject, “I believe in freedom of speech and certainly love a sense of humor but this troubles me, we would never see a tshirt that reads ‘Aids ain’t so bad’…why is addiction still viewed as such a joke, it’s life and death”. Daily there are about 114 overdose deaths in America, it kills more than car accidents. Many of those dying are young adults with a serious mental health issue that requires treatment if there is hope for remission and a normal course of development. It isn’t fashion. Urban outfitters is treating this like the latest cut of jeans or style of sunglasses, fodder for the mall culture. Daily at Rebound Brooklyn we see young men and women addicted to opiates, many of them are the lucky ones who have survived an overdose and have another chance at life. If Urban Outfitters wants to draw attention to themselves in the drug culture, why not provide free Narcan kits and training (an emergency measure in an overdose crisis) at their new shiny store? How about a tshirt sale to support a pro bono treatment bed in an adolescent facility? There are certainly ways to slice out their piece of the addiction/recovery pie without this egregious “pen”. I can’t even imagine the person who thought is up: “wait! Wait! I’ve got it! A pen that looks like a heroin needle for the new Hairroin salon!” Maybe their marketing department is shooting dope? I can’t imagine who this makes sense to as a good idea. If the overdose calamity has a chance to improve, it will take a concerted effort from many areas of the community and that includes you Urban outfitters. #urban outfitters

      • Joe Schrank
      • Scott Bienenfeld, M.D.

Video Game Addiction

Addictive Behaviors

http://www.cnet.com/news/south-korean-government-to-debate-game-addiction-law/

Is it real? Can people actually be addicted to video games? Where does the idea of being “addicted” end, and is it ever used just as an excuse for any bad behavior? Internationally, “I have a disease” seems to have become a modern day way to relieve people of responsibility. Could the US see a similar problem?

Regarding video games, addictive mechanisms are certainly in play, and technically people can be addicted to anything. Current research focuses on the reward system in the brain. The cultural aspects of it are less clear. We have seen trends in the culture where proclaiming oneself an addict is in fashion, the card to be pulled when someone asks for accountability. The treatment plan for a video game addict may in fact be more than the “off switch” and there have been special programs to treat this behavior. The truth is, though we don’t like to admit it, these addictive behaviors are a “spectrum” phenomenon that range from mild to severe. We all have tendencies, the question is whether or not there is functional impairment, that impacts our lives to the point where we need to do something about it. The policy in South Korea seems extreme. Rebound Brooklyn treats a wide swath of addictive behaviors as well as addiction to substances. Often times there are psychiatric underpinnings of these behaviors. Our program, with it’s strong emphasis on psychiatric issues, can help. #video game addiction.

http://www.cnet.com/news/south-korean-government-to-debate-game-addiction-law/

The Death of Michael Jackson

Drug Addiction

Five years after his death, there are still looming questions about what went wrong. There were clear mental health issues including what seems to be a severe addiction. It was ultimately drugs that took the talent from the world but what about the other people around him? What about his family? We may never know the details of what happened to the King Of Pop but this offers a chance to discuss what does impact many families: denial and avoidance kills. When we look the other way, hope for the best, stay on the pay roll and tell people what they want to hear we are all culpable for the result. Dr. Conrad Murry stood trial and was convicted, but do others have a role? I say they do. I say, families should get help long before the crisis hits. Rebound Brooklyn has a comprehensive crisis management and intervention staff. We have a strong family component to our treatment plans and skilled therapists to help the entire system. RIP all those who are a causality of systemic denial.

Early Death is Not Cool

Addiction in the News

France’s Bean Cobain, (the daughter of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love) knows first hand the devastation left behind by addiction and mental illness. Only a baby at the time of her father’s death, she never knew him. Suicide was the end result of his struggle with addiction and bipolar disorder. Cobain had stern words for singer Lana Del Rey, admonishing her not to romanticize early death. Rock and Roll has long had a romantic notion that death gives “street cred”. The “27-club” has become lore with the many young people who have died at that age, but one doesn’t have to be famous for this to be a problem. We see this often in the addiction treatment setting: At Rebound Brooklyn, we have many young adults who have a vaguely romantic notion about living hard and dying young. Part of this notion is ego and working through that in therapy is critical for long-term, sustainable recovery.

    • Joe Schrank

What Is Naloxone and Why Do We Carry It?

Prescription Painkillers

It’s hard to listen to the news these days and not hear something horrible with regards to the nationwide problem of drug overdose deaths, many of which involve prescription painkillers and/or heroin. The statistics are stark: Deaths from drug overdoses have more than tripled since 1990 and the problem is only getting worse. In fact, around 2011, the number of drug-overdose deaths in the United States surpassed deaths from motor vehicle accidents. That’s right – you have a higher chance of dying from a drug overdose than from a car accident. In 2008, more than 36,000 people died from drug overdoses, and about 15,000 died from painkillers!

Certainly, the meteoric rise in narcotic painkiller prescriptions has fueled this epidemic. One study indicates that enough painkiller prescriptions were written in 2010 to medicate every American daily for an entire month. Further complicating matters is the fact that the nation’s heroin epidemic has also skyrocketed, contributing to the death toll. Many people who start out addicted to painkillers switch to heroin because it is often a lot cheaper to obtain, and usually easier to acquire.

At Rebound Brooklyn, we recognize that addiction to opiates, either prescription drugs or heroin, is a dangerous and often fatal problem, the result of acute overdose, which causes respiratory collapse and ultimately, death. Until recently, there was little to do for an opiate overdose victim other than call 911 and perform CPR if necessary while awaiting the ambulance. Huge numbers of overdose victims die on the way to the hospital, or waiting for help to arrive.

A long-known treatment for acute opiate overdose is administration of a medication called Naloxone or “Narcan” which immediately reverses opiate overdose and “wakes” the person up, preventing death. Formerly, only available in hospital settings, Naloxone is now available in easy to administer kits that laypeople can use to save lives. Kits are being provided to police officers, fire fighters and others who are often “first responders” to suspected opiate overdose scenes. Minimal training is involved, and the ability to administer Naloxone immediately “in the field” can be a lifesaver for thousands. At Rebound Brooklyn, we carry and are trained to administer Naloxone in the event of a suspected opiate overdose, and while our hope is that we never have to administer it, the fact that we have Naloxone, and are prepared in the event of an emergency is a very comforting thing.

From Nora Volkow, M.D. :
http://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2014/02/naloxone-potential-lifesaver

American Journal of Public Health Article:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2661437/

Detection Dog Finds New Line of Work in NYC

blog

08Great article about our very own “Mik” The Drug Detecting Dog!!!!

Click Here:

http://www.bestinshowdaily.com/blog/2013/07/detection-dog-finds-new-line-of-work-in-nyc/

A problem can’t be dealt with unless it is known what the problem is. “Mik” our retired police dog can find any drug in any environment. Once the problem is identified we can help with the plan to deal with it. Mik can also screen any environment for safety when someone returns from treatment or begins a new life in recovery. He can also screen work environments and schools. www.nycdrugdog.com

I Just Got a DUI — Now What?

blog

By Joe Schrank and Scott Bienenfeld, M.D.

dui

If there is anything we can all agree upon in the world of drinking, it’s that drinking and driving don’t mix; we’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would argue against that. It seems like a simple boundary yet, thousands of new Yorkers each year are faced with DUI charges. New York has strict boundaries and penalties with regards to this offense.  Furthermore,penalties increase with each offense and could even include fines and/or jail time. In addition to the law, there is the immense guilt, shame and social stigma that come with a DUI.

A DUI can put tremendous strain on one’s personal relationships and family life. It can mean lost time from work and it can create financial burdens. The best way to avoid all of this is to take a cab, but that doesn’t always work out perfectly. So, what do you do if you do have a DUI?

A legal issue for sure, it is also an opportunity to take a good hard look at your own drinking habits. After all, these messes don’t happen after too many sodas or glasses of water!  Also, by the time a person is stopped for driving under the influence, they have probably driven drunk at least ten times.  Hence, there are a number of reasons to employ help after being convicted of a DUI. For one, it will help your legal issues. From a legal standpoint, the judge usually wants to know that the individual deserves the public trust when operating a car, and many judges like the idea that a person can receive treatment and get better.  Often times, lawyers look for the loophole or the semantics of how to best protect their client (and rightfully so), but they may not think to recommend treatment and that may not serve the client in the long run.

If there have been prior offenses, the stakes are higher and convincing the judge may not be so easy. Intensive outpatient treatment for substance abuse could be the level of care that would give the individual the comprehensive support needed for the best outcome. Furthermore, multiple offenses point to a greater likelihood of substance abuse issues. Going into court armed with consistent attendance and participation in mental health treatment will never hurt a case, it can only help. More than helping your case, it may help you and your family.  Below is a list of tips to follow if you are convicted of driving under the influence.

 

I Just Got A DUI – NOW WHAT?

DUI 1

 

 

 

 

Follow these 8 tips

1.  Don’t  Panic: Yes, it is scary, but don’t panic – it never helps.  Remain calm, and consider your options – you have many.

2.  Find A Good Lawyer: Like any other profession, there are good, great and sketchy ones out there – take the time to find a good lawyer who you trust, and you feel you can work well with.

3.  Consider Treatment: Judges are very often amenable to the idea that when people get treatment, they get better.  Entering a reputable treatment program run by a medical doctor can go a long way towards reducing your sentence.  Many lawyers forget to recommend this!!

4. Be Open To The Idea That You May Have A Drinking or Drug Problem: For each DUI a person is stopped for, they have probably driven drunk at least 10 times.  This is a red flag that may indicate a more serious problem with alcohol!

5. Limit Your Driving: The last thing you want is another moving violation of any kind.  If you live in an urban environment, take mass-transit.  If you enter treatment, try to find an urban-based recovery program where you do not have to drive – it is a lot easier that way!

6. Form Your Advocacy Team: A team approach always works best.  Substantiate your claims of improvement with professional help – laypeople’s opinions are way less impactful on judge’s opinions.

7. Educate Yourself About State and Local DUI Laws: You may not be a lawyer, but you can still be an informed consumer.

8.  Do Not Lie To The Judge: Honesty is the best policy and lying usually only causes more problems in the long-run.