Experts in Young Adult Addiction and Trauma Treatment

For Admissions Call 866.831.9107

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Welcome Declines In Teen Prescription Opioid Abuse, Cigarette And Alcohol Use

Good news for all across the young adult recovery community is the discovery of a decline since 2013 in teen cigarette and alcohol use, as well as the abuse of prescription pain relievers. Stability was also recorded in rates of marijuana use. These are the positive findings of the National Institute on Drug Abuse's (NIDA) 2014 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey, which also measured the use of e-cigarettes for the first time.

The use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) was found to be high among American teens, with 8.7 percent of eighth graders making use of them in the past month, in addition to 16.2 percent of 10th graders and 17.1 percent of 12th graders. However, the last five years have seen significant falls - almost 50 percent - in daily cigarette use across all grades. 2.7 percent of eighth graders, for example, smoked cigarettes on a daily basis five years ago, compared to 1.4 percent of today's eighth graders.

The poll, which was carried out by researchers at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and measures eighth, 10th and 12th graders' use of and attitudes towards drugs, also found steady past-month use of smoked marijuana across all three groups - at 6.5, 16.6 and 21.2 percent respectively. However, daily use of marijuana was reported by almost 6 percent of 12th graders, while the majority of high school seniors also did not consider occasional marijuana smoking to be harmful.

Elsewhere in the survey, 2014 saw a continuation in positive downward trends for prescription and over-the-counter drug abuse. 6.1 percent of high school seniors said that they had used narcotics other than heroin - this category including all opioid pain relievers - in the past year, compared to 2013's 7.1 percent and the 9.5 percent peak recorded in 2004.

Rates of use of various illicit drugs other than marijuana were also scrutinized by the survey. There was, for instance, a fall in 10th graders' past-year use of MDMA, otherwise known as ecstasy or Molly, from 3.6 percent last year to 2.3 percent this year. Similar declines were seen in the use of inhalants, K2/Spice (sometimes referred to as synthetic marijuana), the hallucinogen saliva, bath salts and alcohol - all extremely welcome developments for the wider young adult recovery community.

NIDA Director, Nora D. Volkow, M.D., commented, "With the rates of many drugs decreasing, and the rates of marijuana use appearing to level off, it is possible that prevention efforts are having an effect. It is now more important than ever for the public health community to continue to educate teens, parents, teachers, community leaders, the media and health care providers about the specific harms of drug use among teens, whose brains are still developing."

Genetic Research Shows Link Between Obesity And Smoking

For many of those counselors running an addiction program that takes a holistic approach to recovery, there's no question of the importance of a suitably-tailored accompanying nutritional therapy program. Such beliefs are further affirmed by a recent study supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), buttressing the hypothesis of obesity and nicotine addiction having shared genetic and biological roots.

The research found that some gene variants with an influence on body mass index (BMI) also had a role in smoking behaviors. Associations between 32 BMI-influencing gene variants - known as single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs - and smoking were scrutinized by a team led by Dr. Thorgeir E. Thorgeirsson at deCODE genetics/Amgen in Reykjavik, Iceland. DNA was contributed to the study by some 50,000 Icelanders, and when the SNPs were taken as a group, they accounted for a modest, but significant fraction of individual differences in two smoking behaviors.

The behaviors in question were initiation - whether someone had ever smoked - and the number of cigarettes that were smoked per day, or CPD. The researchers found that the likelihood of a person initiating smoking was increased for SNPs that genome-wide association studies linked with higher BMI. These results were confirmed by the researchers' use of DNA data collected by three genomics consortia (ENGAGE, Tobacco and Genetics and Oxford-GSK) from a further 127,000 non-Icelandic individuals.

11 of the 32 BMI-associated SNPs, when considered individually, were found to correlate with smoking at the p < 0.05 level of statistical significance. 9 of these were linked to smoking initiation, 2 to CPD and 2 to both initiation and CPD. Also observed by Dr. Thorgeirsson and colleagues was that most of the SNPs associated with heightened BMI were also positively linked to smoking initiation or higher CPD, with both food intake and nicotine consumption potentially influenced by them.

The study does not merely shed light on the potential common origins of obesity and nicotine addiction, but also covers an apparent paradox in how smoking and BMI relate, with smokers generally having a lower BMI than nonsmokers, despite the BMI of heavier smokers being higher than more occasional smokers.

The first observation can be accounted for by the appetite-suppressing and metabolism-accelerating effects of nicotine, while the second may be partly explained by the study's finding that increased nicotine consumption and BMI may be simultaneously promoted by some SNPs. Whatever the situation, there's no doubt that the study has provided plenty of food for thought for many of those overseeing a nutritional therapy and experiential program.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

CNN Documentary Draws Attention To Synthetic Drug Dangers

A recent CNN investigative documentary, Deadly High: How Synthetic Drugs Are Killing Kids, has drawn attention to the continued threat posed by synthetic drugs to the health, wellbeing and even lives of young Americans, despite some encouraging developments and figures as of late. These include a decline in human exposure to bath salts, with the fewer than 500 cases reported in 2014 comparing to the more than 6,000 cases logged by the American Association of Poison Control Center in 2011.

Nonetheless, the need for the therapeutic adventure based programs in North Carolina that can assist young adults' recovery from the abuse of such drugs has not waned. Indeed, CNN draws attention to the tragic example of the high school soccer player and honor roll student in suburban Atlanta, Chase Burnett, who was found dead in his family's hot tub on March 4, 2012 - in close proximity to a package of synthetic marijuana.

Only on the day of the 16-year old's passing did his father, David Burnett, learn from Chase's friends that his son had tried synthetic marijuana. He told CNN: "What killed Chase was the synthetic cannabinoid poisoning, the marijuana. The chemicals that were sprayed onto the leaves shut his lungs down. He suffered a violent death. He asphyxiated and suffocated, and he obviously became unconscious ... and I found him in the hot tub."

A report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) revealed that over 28,000 emergency room visits in 2011 could be attributed to synthetic drugs. Also known as "designer" drugs, synthetic drugs are substances that have been chemically laced to mimic the highs of popular controlled drugs like cocaine and marijuana. However, whereas the two aforementioned regular drugs are derived from plants, synthetic marijuana consists of chemicals and dried plant materials. It has been known to be marketed as "potpourri."

Bath salts are another popular synthetic drug, and while they may resemble true bath salts like Epsom salts, they differ greatly chemically. The side effects produced by these bath salts - whether they are taken orally, inhaled or injected - are much like those of amphetamines. Noted physical effects of bath salts range from anger and violence to profuse sweating, heart palpitations and hallucinations, while the symptoms produced by synthetic marijuana are no less troubling, the most extreme including the loss of motor skills, physical control and seizures.

Such dangers only make it all the more essential for parents and guardians to talk to their children about synthetic drugs, particularly given their ready availability in retail. Such pre-emptive, educational intervention can help to prevent the need for therapeutic adventure based programs in North Carolina, as arises from even the most casual use of such immeasurably harmful substances.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Red Oak Recovery Is Excited To Announce The Addition of Lynn Wadsworth, MS, LPC, LCAS, To The Team As Family Therapist

Lynn Wadsworth, MS, LPC, LCAS, Family Therapist
Lynn Wadsworth, MS, LPC, LCAS, holds a Master’s degree in mental health counseling from Western Carolina University and is a licensed professional counselor and a licensed clinical addictions specialist.  She has over 20 years of experience working with adolescents, young adults and families and has received advanced training in the area of Internal Family Systems therapy and Emotionally Focused Family Therapy.

Lynn’s career has included work in a variety of treatment settings including residential treatment centers, therapeutic wilderness programs, inpatient hospitalization, youth detention centers and intensive outpatient programs.  Her experience also includes managing several adolescent addiction programs as well as providing psychiatric assessments in hospital emergency rooms.

“Lynn brings such compassion and caring to the people she works with,” explains Heather Schnoebelen, MA, LPC, LCAS, CCS-I, Executive Director of Clinical Services.  “Her ability to connect with individuals and support them in their process is unparalleled.”

Recently, Lynn’s primary professional focus has been providing support, coaching and family therapy to families with a child in a residential treatment program.  Lynn brings to this work a deep understanding and empathy for parents in crisis.  One of her goals is to create a safe and supportive therapeutic relationship with all parents in order to improve the overall health of the relationships in their families.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Red Oak Recovery Expands Expressive Arts Therapy Program

Espressive Arts - Red Oak Recovery®
Red Oak Recovery® has expanded their expressive arts therapy program as an additional means to reach their clients through experiential education.  Expressive arts allow for multiples avenues of creative expression, imagination, active participation, and mind-body connection where clients can take a closer look at their feelings, emotions, and thought processes.

Red Oak Recovery® includes varies activities in their expressive arts therapy program, such as music, writing, drawing, dance, psychodrama, horticulture, poetry, painting, and dramatic arts.  By including other ways to explore responses and reactions via artistic processes, clients often find opportunity for deeper exploration for growth, development, and healing.  It can also help bridge the gap between the unconscious and conscious mind by placing the primary focus on the process and letting yourself get lost in the creative flow.

Sarah Kim Wilde, one of the expressive arts facilitators at Red Oak Recovery®, explains, “Expressive arts encourages honest self-expression and allows for the exploration of difficult emotions that may be challenging to access, disclose and process through traditional talk therapy. It can also provide a healthy path toward positive emotional growth, allowing ample space for both profound insight and reflections of gratitude."  Sarah Kim holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theater with a minor in Directing from The Boston Conservatory.  She is a skilled performer and singer with both regional and national experience.

To learn more about Red Oak Recovery®, please visit our website or reach out to Mark Oerther, Director of Business Development, at 866.831.9107.