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Heroin Epidemic: What Can Be Done?

Heroin EpidemicRecent research published by the National Institute of Health has demonstrated that results for drug addiction treatment are greatly improved when treatment is of adequate length. According to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse): “Individuals progress through drug addiction treatment at various rates, so there is no predetermined length of treatment. However, research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length. Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes.”

Unfortunately, many people with traditional programs drop out of treatment which becomes the limited factor for success. NIDA states, “Because successful outcomes often depend on a person’s staying in treatment long enough to reap its full benefits, strategies for keeping people in treatment are critical. Whether a patient stays in treatment depends on factors associated with both the individual and the program. Individual factors related to engagement and retention typically include motivation to change drug-using behavior; degree of support from family and friends; and, frequently, pressure from the criminal justice system, child protection services, employers, or family.”

Glen Petcavage, Executive Director of Narconon Colorado states that in contradiction to NIDA and significant volumes of research about adequate length of treatment being 90 days or greater, third party payers, insurance companies are paying for shorter stays frequently less than 28 days of residential care. Thus we have public policy, the private insurance industry (which is unregulated in the area of addiction treatment) not paying for treatment which is indicated by the most compelling clinical evidence. NIDA states that, ”Unfortunately, managed care has resulted in shorter average stays, while a historical lack of or insufficient coverage for substance abuse treatment has curtailed the number of operational programs.”

While the policy of insurance companies paying for somewhat less than adequate treatment at least the solutions exist for those who can augment what their health insurance policies will cover. The real costs of addiction are much greater than the cost of treatment – emotional and physical pain, stress on the family, lost income, legal fees, cost of drugs and health care for the addict, etc. all add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars for an addict’s habit that has not been rehabilitated. According to NIDA, the return on investment for treatment is a $4 to$7 return for every dollar spent on treatment.

Prescription Overdose

According to a study from NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) which is a branch of the NIH (National Institute of Health) 50% of all heroin addiction begins as prescription drug abuse: “pain killers” like Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Percoset, Lortabs and Vicadin, to name just a few. Prescription Overdoses also eclipsed the Overdose deaths from Heroin and Cocaine combined. Thus, not only are direct deaths from prescription drug abuse massive but the second biggest source of drug overdose deaths, heroin, owes 50% of its addicts to prescription drugs. Thus it is clear that drug overdose deaths attributable to prescription drugs are clearly the vast majority of the 43,000 drug abuse overdose deaths that occurred last year here in the United States.

Glen Petcavage, the Executive Director of Narconon Colorado, a residential drug and alcohol rehab states that it is clear that admissions for heroin and prescription opiates are sky-rocketing due to the enormous rise in prescription drug abuse and its offspring, heroin. Sadly, for many, real help necessary for many is just not available as governments and insurers are still coming to grips with the enormity of the problem. Treatment for heroin addiction has escalated dramatically over the past five years.

To make matters worse the price of heroin has dropped from prices ranging around $70 gram (a gram being an average daily dose of heroin) to as low as $10 per gram. An addiction that used to cost perhaps $800 weekly now costs as low as $70 weekly. The combination of low heroin prices and availability and route of introduction via easy-to-take prescription painkillers has created a flood of new users.

Effective public policy still lags far behind the problem. Recent legalization of marijuana, another gateway drug for heroin, belies the lack of legislative understanding of today’s drug addiction epidemic. Likewise, government funding and support of effective treatment also lags. Meanwhile, most of the heroin is brought in from foreign countries. Afghanistan produces 70% of the poppies which are the raw ingredient used in manufacturing heroin. Besides Afghanistan, smaller quantities of opium are produced in Pakistan, the Golden Triangle region of Southeast Asia (particularly Burma), Colombia, Guatemala, and Mexico. Ironically, under the Taliban regime Afghanistan’s opium production had dropped by an amazing 94% in the year 2000. One year after American and British troops invaded Afghanistan and removed the Taliban government heroin production leapt back to its original levels. Again, another clear indication that U.S. drug policy and U.S. foreign policy are not coordinated. What happened in Afghanistan is a stinging example of the United States’ inept handling of drug policy.

The End is the Beginning

The End is The Beginning – My experiences with drugs and finding my life at Narconon Colorado.

It all started in May of 2013 in my condo in Vegas. Ok, it actually “started” sometime in 1990 in California. For our purposes here, I’ll start in 2013, in Las Vegas. I woke up at some, nondescript time, lying on my couch. I found myself unable to move and very thirsty. As I stared up at the ceiling I became increasingly aware of my new found paralysis and began to panic. This gave me the answer to the ages old question- What must that guy in the Metallica One video (the war vet with no arms, legs, sight, hearing, etc.) feel like? Answer- Hell on earth.

Before I go on, let me back up a bit. You see, I had been on about a week long meth and heroin binge with some so called friends. In the world of getting high, friends are hard to come by so you take what you can get. One guy, I’ll call him Bubba, let me stay at his parents’ house when we decided that some unknown forces were stalking my house and posed immediate personal danger. I stayed there for four days, didn’t sleep, barely ate and did enough speed and tar to fill Marianas Trench. Afterwards, I let Bubba drive us back to my place in my car.

A little background on Bubba. Bubba was, in every sense of the word, a thug. A 36 year old career criminal, white supremacist, addict, sociopath, Bubba was the epitome of someone you NEVER, EVER want to be in your house alone with. So, after an hour or so of staking out my condo to make sure no one was lying in wait, we went inside. Bubba was convinced that someone had been there and insisted on searching high and low (operative word- high) for something? Anything? Hell, I don’t know. I was too tired to care. The last thing I remember was Bubba offering me part of his milkshake.


I have to back up a little more. I had recently been involved with this girl, call her Anna, and her friends, call them psychopaths. They were into all the hottest tweaker, heroin baby crap like fraud, theft, confidence scams, and the like. I don’t know why but I guess they had their allure to someone like me that consumed lots of drugs and didn’t have a job. Anna was especially alluring and sexy to my meth strained eyes so I hung out with these sharks for a few days. Or was that weeks? Anyway, they tried and tried to get one over me and steal everything I owned. They even tried to drug me.

Drug me? Ha, that’s either a misfired joke or the worst exercise in futility ever. I was an expert level drug user/ abuser since 90’ and I had a tolerance form HELL! Let’s see, I had been taking Xanax and other benzodiazepines for about 13 years; been doing meth since 90’; enjoyed “Platinum Card Member” status at the opiate hotel for at least ten years; and I have a good relationship with just about every pharmaceutical out there. Given their resources and what was available to chemically nock me out at the time, I calculate that they would have to spend at least $2000 over their junkie budget to render me unconscious and steal my $600 worth of electronics. That’s’ just dumb. Even for tweakers.

Anyway, I mention this because, after several hours of trying to move while lying there on my couch, it occurred to me that my phone was missing. As soon as I could walk I discovered that my wallet was also gone, along with my MacBook, my Galaxy Tablet and a host of other items including several expensive watches. Eventually I found that everything I had owned that had some value was missing. I flew into a withdrawal fueled toxic psychosis rage and called the police. Then I called my Mom. In retrospect I should have reversed the order of those calls.

The cops came and I explained the situation like a paranoid junkie. This led to me getting to try out a new, shiny pair of hinge cuffs. When I couldn’t answer the cops’ questions like a clear headed person they beat the shit out of me in front of my Mom. After hours of threats of taking me to The Clark County Detention Center, they let me go. Oh yeah, they got a hold of my heroin princess roommate and told her what happened and that I may have done this as an excuse to go into her room and steal her stuff. I had no argument because I was on drugs and couldn’t form logical sentences.

The next day I found out that Anna and her three psychos had come over to party while I was asleep. Anna had woken me up and attempted to seduce me. When that failed, she opted for giving me a high volume GHB cocktail. That explains the memory loss. That explains the paralysis. That explains the theft. Why did this keep happening to me?

This is what you get when you are forced to socialize with the parasites and filth that inhabit the drug world. Looking back at all the so called friends I had during my 20 plus years of getting high has taught me some very hard lessons. One of the most important of these is that everyone you associate with, all your “friends” you have while getting high will stab you in the back, cut out your liver and help your family find the perfect grave to bury you in. They’ll do it with a smile too. Your death means more drugs for them AND they get to keep all the stuff they stole from you.

Maybe I should mention that this sort of thing happens all the time. It’s weird how logic and reality twist when you’re on drugs. There’s a sort of retrograde amnesia/ justification process that leaves the user with the feeling that they are lucky to have survived something like this again. At least they are still alive to smoke this bowl or do this shot. It’s an acceptable loss (everything you own) as long as you can still char broil your consciousness with your drug of choice.

Back then, this shit scared me out of my mind and nearly killed me 100 times over. Back then I couldn’t explain it all in a way that made sense to my family or sober friends. Still, I tried and tried. It wasn’t until that day in my Vegas condo, after the police left, that I finally found the words to say to my Mom that would forever change my life and get me out of that Hell hole.

“Mom, I need help or I’m going to die.”

That evening, at my Moms’ place, she and I found Narconon on the web. Narconon was different for many reasons. First, they had absolutely nothing to do with 12 step programs. Second, it was in Colorado which was a place I’d wanted to go to anyway (not Vegas). Third, the program made sense to both of us. They had a beautiful residential facility in Colorado with good amenities. The program seemed to focus on teaching me how to actually live in this world and how to communicate with everyone in it, including myself. My lack of being able to do these things had built the foundation on which my two decades plus of drug addiction would rest.

I was on a plane in two days.

To med detox, at Narconon.

I had tried rehab before. 12 step, Rational Recovery, etc. Both of those were 30 plus day inpatient services and they worked great, for about a week afterwards. Both times it seems that I left feeling awesome and I was sure that I would stay sober for ever and ever but, somehow my motivation petered out in about a week after I got home. I was like a high speed train running on fuel made from good intentions- pretty sweet at the start but kind of empty when the power of positive thinking fades. It’s back to smoking, snorting, popping everything in sight. Back to lying, cheating, stealing and dodging friends, family and cops alike. Back to weighing 130 pounds and looking like a zombie from Dawn of the Dead.

The thing that makes Narconon different is you actually learn that in order to live in this world you have to be able to receive and deliver communication in a way that is beneficial. If you’re going to reach out and talk to another you need to know how to do so in a meaningful way that gets your ideas and intention across. Most importantly you need to listen so that other people know you hear them and that you understand what they are saying. Sound simplistic? Well, it is and it isn’t. Anyone can tell you that to drive a car all you need to do is turn the steering wheel and work the pedals. It is an entirely different thing altogether when you are actually barreling down the freeway at 90 miles per hour.

So learning to communicate and learning to drive are kind of similar. If you don’t know how to do either one the result is the same- you crash. If you crash in a car, you can heal, take drivers ed and learn how to drive correctly while your car insurance fixes or replaces your wreck. If you crash when you try to communicate, you lose face and integrity and feel horrible. Over time, you keep bottling this shit up inside yourself until you get either defensive or withdrawn. Then, you start lashing out. One of the most miserable creatures you’ll ever encounter is a one who can’t ever be heard and fails to communicate. It leads to failure after failure. Dropping out from school, lost jobs, shattered relationships are always the result when one can’t get their point across or understand that of another. It always seems that this pain can be readily dulled by self-medicating with drugs. Of course, that only leads one further down the Hell hole.

At Narconon, I was amazed that no one ever told me that I had a problem or that I was sick. In fact they never actually said that I had difficulties with communication. They just showed me how to do it. Better yet, they let me try and learn from the results! It didn’t take long before some of the things that had plagued me throughout life just vanished. I had always HATED talking in front of groups of people. Well, at Narconon I learned some very simple but very powerful techniques that made speaking in front of people as easy as talking to a close friend. I had always had problems getting others to understand what I was trying to say. I also never seemed to be able to live up to what I said I would do. Basically, my intention and my ability to confront were shit. Through careful practice of proven techniques Narconon helped me change that for good.

Another thing I learned at Narconon was the importance of completing cycles of action. I had spent my life starting things and losing my drive and motivation. Then I’d stop and go onto something else. This created a gargantuan pile of unfinished projects and failures. During my program I got my intention in check and learned to use it. I also learned how to communicate that intention to others and to make it real. I didn’t just learn that I should finish what I start; I learned how to do it. Always.

Now, with nearly 30 years of putting toxic chemicals into my body you’d think that my bloodstream would be a cesspool and that my body would be a fortress of chemical filth. Actually, you’d be right. Thankfully Narconon has a program that actually is able to detoxify and rid your body of all the crap you accumulate from using drugs. It is called Sauna. I’ve been in saunas before but I can tell you this- after several weeks of a therapeutic nutrition/ vitamin program while sweating in their special sauna I really do feel better than I ever remember feeling. Really. I started sleeping eight hours a night and getting up without an alarm clock. I now eat three meals a day which is a major win considering that I had been diagnosed with hypoglycemia and told that I needed six meals every day. My supposed asthma disappeared and I actually got most of the hearing in my left ear back. I’m serious. I had traumatic hearing damage back in 1995 that rendered me half deaf. Now I can actually hear in stereo again. For me, that is solid proof. All the maladies I had been diagnosed with are gone. It’s not a miracle it’s just that doing drugs can cause all kinds of symptoms. Also, when you’re on drugs you are sick all the time. Pretty soon you start believing that you should be sick. Once you thoroughly clean out your system and clear your head those symptoms go away. That and the fact that your body starts working the way it was supposed to goes a long way towards making one healthy again.

The Narconon program really helped me to see how I’d been living for what it was. I learned how to confront my life and the mistakes I’d made and to make up for them. Best of all I learned to move on and really have a life I can run and control. A life where I have the tools and understanding to make things happen the way I want them to. I am finally at cause over my life and this world and not just a victim of the effects of catastrophe, humiliation and regret. It’s funny how I used to imagine what it would be like to live a genuine, fulfilling life.

Every once in a while I’ll see a post on Facebook or get an email that reminds me of those brain dead days I spent while on drugs and I’ll think about those vultures and albatrosses I used to hang out with. Those thoughts never last long. I can’t picture myself even talking to the parasitic leeches that infest the drug world. I know who I am and who I want to be around and there’s no room for losers. Since I sobered up I have a great job and an awesome place to live with amazing friends. The world is no longer scary to me and I actually enjoy each day and look forward to the next. Even better, now I know things happen for a reason. Most of the time, I know that reason is me.

So many times I thought, no, I actually believed that I had reached the end of my life. I’d lose everything and have to start again. It usually didn’t take long before I would lose again, each time going further down and closer to the real end of life. Now I can actually say thank you to my family and thank you to Narconon for helping me turn an end into a real beginning.

Mike T. 1-7-2014

Dual Diagnosis

The Science of Addiction – Dual Diagnosis

The terms Dual Diagnosis and Co-Occurring Disorder are used to describe situations where people have both a substance abuse problem and a mental disorder. While the relationship between the two can be complex, they are often considered in the following ways:

  • Self-Medication – People with underlying mental disorders (e.g. bipolar, panic attack, depression, etc.) will often seek to minimize the pain or discomfort they feel by self-administering drugs or medications. While this may offer some, temporary relief, it is usually the case that the symptoms return after the drug effect has worn off. This leads to re-administering with increasing frequency.
  • Drugs and alcohol can worsen the mental illness. This can happen both when the person is taking the drug and during withdrawal. Chemical changes brought on by the drug may exacerbate existing problems.
  • Drugs and alcohol may bring on or create new symptoms. Chemicals like these cause changes in neurochemistry and can bring on symptoms of mental disorder (e.g. paranoia, depression, panic attack, etc.) in people with far lesser mental disorders. They can also create these symptoms in people not normally suffering a mental disorder.

It is important to note that both substance abuse and mental disorders have their own set of symptoms and effects. One may mask or exacerbate the other. Also, when one gets worse so will the other. While there may be an underlying mental issue, the abuse of drugs and alcohol will only complicate the matter.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently published the following figures:

  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.
  • 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
  • Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either drugs or alcohol.

It is also important to understand that long term drug abuse brings with it many symptoms of mental disorder. These can even be seen as actual underlying mental problems if a person does not disclose their drug use when seeking treatment from a physician.

Take the case of a long term methamphetamine user who, at the request of their family, saw a psychiatrist for help with their apparent depression. They patient does not tell the doctor about their meth use and is mistakenly diagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on powerful medications. These combined with the meth and other drugs make for a dangerous, neurochemical cocktail. Thus, the symptoms are compounded and the addiction goes untreated.

The Narconon Colorado Program is designed to address the whole spectrum of causes and effects of addiction. We offer and award winning drug free withdrawal program at the beginning of treatment followed by our proven sauna detox. This combined with our multi-step approach to learning life skills and building a happy, drug free life is why we have the most successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation program available.

“I have spent most of my life in and out of a deep, dark depression so I guess that I am sort of an expert on the subject. I have tried to get relief from this Hell many different ways including therapy, psych meds, drugs, drugs and more drugs. I am here today to tell you that I am now happier and more alive than I’ve ever been. I can’t even imagine taking a poisonous substance again. I am so happy with the way my life is going and I can finally enjoy every day.”
-Mike T

I Thought I Knew About Withdrawal

In 2003 I was working as a manager for Dell in Las Vegas. Every year there is this huge, consumer electronics convention and that year, Dell had a prime spot. As a market leader, I was selected to work the convention, along with several of my staff. I remember thinking what an honor it was to be selected to represent Dell at such a huge event.

The first morning of the event I was driving my 95 BMW to the convention center when, out of nowhere, I was rear ended by another car. I was knocked unconscious and my car was totaled. Apparently, EMTs took me to the hospital where I was later picked up by my mother.

This began a long series of doctor visits where I was prescribed every opiate painkiller my insurance could pay for. The problem was that I had damage to my elbow, back and neck so I was put on hydrocodone, oxycodone, and a host of benzodiazepines. Soon, I developed crushing migraines so the Doc put me on 1800 microgram fentanyl suckers as well.

I lived like this for two years. I was constantly high unless I ran out of meds. This led to me seeking drugs from street dealers and became a major strain on my finances. My drug use also put immense strain on my relationships as I drifted in and out of euphoric clouds and withdrawing torment.

Finally, my family had enough. My mother was the one who took me around town trying to find an outpatient rehab facility. We found a doctor who convinced me to go cold turkey and so off I went to my apartment to detox, by myself.

To quote Sam Neil for Event Horizon: “Hell is just a word. The reality is much worse.” I came to understand that quote as my withdrawal consumed me. I was in a twitching, convulsing, vomiting place way beyond misery. What’s worse is it seemed to go on and on without end. I was collapsed in a shivering pile on my couch, begging for my roommate to shoot me, for a solid month.

Opiate withdrawal was the most awful Hell I had ever gone through. I never even imagined that a human body could produce that much agony or that much vomit. Describing withdrawal any further is almost kind of pointless. You pretty much have to experience it to truly understand. At any rate, it took me two, full months to recover enough to have a life again.

Fast forward to 2013, I was in Las Vegas working on a serious, double barrel meth and heroin addiction that I had for the last ten years. When I finally reached the bottom of that one, my Mother came to my rescue once again. This time she wasn’t going to let me do things on my own. That had obviously not even come close to working so she did some research and found Narconon Colorado. I guess that it was a combination of being older, seeing things for what they were and not wanting to die that made me decide to give Narconon a try.

Keep in mind that I had been on meth, heroin and Xanax up until the day I boarded the plane to med detox. When I got there I was tapered off the Xanax and kept busy until my flight to Colorado. That’s where I learned about drug free withdrawal. I was mentally geared up for another agonizing bout of extreme sickness and not looking forward to the future.

I didn’t really sleep the first night. That day, the withdrawal specialists kept me busy getting oriented into my present time environment. We did lots of exercises and took plenty of walks. I was given tons of fluids and vitamins along with some great meals. We worked so much during the day that I hardly even noticed when it got dark outside. Still, no soul shattering misery to speak of.

I did finally sleep that night despite some crazy drug dreams about myself in the third person perspective. The next day, more exercises, walks, food and comfort from the caring staff. After four days, I was let out of withdrawal to begin the rest of the Narconon Colorado program.

There was no vomiting, no convulsions, no headaches and no gut wrenching twitches. Best of all, there was no killer depression that always seemed to accompany withdrawal. The staff was really great at getting me out of my head and making me laugh. I swear I hadn’t laughed like that in fifteen years. I guess that I had such a haze running through me from all of the drugs that I couldn’t really experience life. After four days I was learning what it was like to be sober around real people who actually gave a damn about me. Wow, who knew…

I had always had this idea of withdrawal being torture so I never really tried to go without drugs. When I got out of drug free withdrawal I kept asking people when the Hell was going to kick in. They just smiled and said “You’re doing great.”

When I look back I know that it wasn’t just me. All of the others I was in withdrawal with had similar experiences. Many of the people I was in the program with were heroin or other opiate addicts and they seemed to have very mild, at most, withdrawal symptoms. Any sleeping issues were remedied by the sauna detox program.

So, if you are on the opiate roller coaster and are afraid to stop because of the withdrawal I have this to say. It doesn’t have to be Hell. You don’t have to suffer for days and weeks on end. The people at Narconon Colorado know what they are doing when it comes to getting people off drugs without pain. I know what I’m talking about here because I have been up and down on drugs for twenty years. I have tried everything else and I can honestly say that Narconon Colorado actually helped me get free of those demons without pain.


Suboxone – A Treatment For addiction

If you watch TV at all you have seen the ads for the myriad new medications that are constantly being marketed by the pharmaceutical industry. You may have also seen these ads in some form or another on the Internet or in your email inbox. For whatever ailments people have there is always a new drug that is being advertised as the “be all, end all” cure.

No matter what the drug is it seems that there is always a rather long, laundry list of unpleasant side effects. Nausea, dizziness, headache, rash, fever, bloating, muscle spasms, bleeding, memory loss, seizure and coma are but a few of the unexpected effects one may suffer from.

It is important to note that not all medicines are advertised on TV. When is the last time you saw an ad for Methadone? With that in mind try and guess what medication is outselling Viagra. It’s a drug called Suboxone. Suboxone is actually two drugs – the partial opiate agonist Buprenorphine and the opiate blocker Naloxone. Suboxone is commonly prescribed to opiate addicted individuals, along with a weaning down process. It used to be that if you had a severe heroin addiction and wanted to get clean the addict was prescribed Methadone. One trades the addiction to and illegal drug (heroin or opiates) for a legally prescribed highly-addictive medication. A medication that is not without significant side-effects.

Suboxone was designed to replace or to stand beside Methadone as a drug replacement medication. If taken as prescribed, an opiate addicted person can rid themselves of their addiction to heroin very quickly. There is no question that Methadone and Suboxone are also very addictive and they also have significant health consequences.

Here is one addict’s story:

“I remember one Christmas when my wife’s mother asked me to hang some lights on the edge of the roof of her two-story house in Vegas. I lugged a massive ladder out of their garage and proceeded to hang the lights. Once I finished I started climbing down and missed a rung only to plummet onto the driveway. I was taken to a hospital and a few hours later I was being discharged with a prescription for Oxycodone.

I filled my scripts so many times I lost count, going deeper and deeper into a six-month opiate haze that I ultimately couldn’t seem to find my way out of. Finally I asked my regular doctor for help and he prescribed me Suboxone. That along with my doctor’s kind words of reassurance gave me hope of no more endless days of sickly, drooling agony.

I quickly decided that I could continue to get high if I crushed the Suboxone pills up and snorted them. Pow! I was off like a rocket for four months. I traded one addiction for another.

I did finally manage to get off of Suboxone by switching to Heroin. It was cheaper and easier to get. Why did I switch to Heroin? Well, the euphoric effects of the Suboxone wore off and I got tired of paying for doctor visits and scripts. That and after four months on one of the strongest opiate painkillers available (Oxycodone) I really wanted to be high again – what is called cravings.

Doctors don’t tell you about that. Remember that doctors are busy and have limited time with their patients. Some doctors even assume that their patients will just follow their orders and take stuff as prescribed. This is what I have discovered about Suboxone (Buprenorphine/ Naloxone):

Suboxone has been shown to be effective in the treatment of mild to moderate opiate addiction in certain people. I think Suboxone should be taken only as prescribed by your doctor in a weaning down process. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the following effects:

1. The high wears off and you start seeking other, drugs.

2. People keep asking you for one of your pills.

3. You start trading your pills for heroin.

4. You begin crushing and snorting your pills.

5. Your wife/ husband leaves you

6. You are unable to pay your bills resulting in the power being turned off, etc.

6. You lose your job and you start selling drugs or other illegal activities to support your habit and life-style.

7. You get arrested / need of a bail bondsman.

8. Homelessness

It can cost you your life – then of course, it’s too late.

Looking back I can see that I started down that long, twisted road to Hell with prescriptions including pain killers and the “cure” Suboxone. It’s hard to believe that something small and innocuous looking could be leading nearly to my death. Kind of like finding a bullet in a drawer; pretty harmless until you load it into a gun and give it to to someone who does not appreciate that they have a deadly weapon in their hand.

The point of all of this is that I don’t believe there are any magic drugs. I guess that when new drugs are researched there are bound to be negative side effects. If the good effects out-weigh the bad ones then the drugs go on the market. It is really up to the doctors and the patients to decide what is best for a given situation. Unfortunately it sometimes takes years before it is discovered that some drugs have effects which are quite deadly, like Thalidamide in the 1960s and many other drugs that are in the headlines quite regularly these days.

For me, I finally did beat my addiction before it beat me. I speak to a lot of addicts and their families and they usually say that replacing one addictive drug with another (for treatment) doesn’t make sense. I would agree. I would say that it is really just substituting one addiction for another. I finally did beat my addiction completely. I am not hounded by my past. I got my family, my self respect, my sanity and my happiness all back. It took a lot of work but the experience of fighting for all of that gave me a lot more than just my sobriety, I also got my life back. I think any addict can but I don’t think you will find all of that in a pill. I found it in the Narconon Colorado – A Life Worth Saving program.

– Mike T. former opiate addict

Suboxone Abuse

Suboxone – A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

Suboxone is quickly becoming on of the most widely abused prescription drugs available. The drug has effects similar to heroin or other opiates and can result in the same, harsh withdrawal symptoms as well. We have a specialized rehab program that is garaunteed to get people off of this drug and back into a happy, healthy life.

Drug Information:

Suboxone is a combination of the partial opiate agonist Buprenorphine and the opiate blocker Naloxone. Subutex is Buprenorphine only. These drugs were developed and marketed as addiction drugs to help opiate dependent people get off of hard, opiate drugs and begin to manage their lives. Buprenorphine was thought to be a safer alternative to Methadone with less risk of abuse. The opiate blocker Naloxone is included with Suboxone as added protection against further opiate abuse while the patient receives treatment. Buprenorphine is normally proscribed by a specially licensed doctor who has been trained to administer the drug and its’ weaning down process.

Suboxone/ Subutex is available in 2, 4, 8 and 12 mg pills and sub lingual strips.

Buprenorphine has become very common in a short period of time. With the ever increasing number of opiate addicted people in the US, the drug is prescribed more and more frequently and has become the go-to drug for dealing with opiate dependent people. Many people have had great success getting off of other opiates, including Heroin, with Buprenorphine. There is a dark side, however.


Buprenorphine has become a popular recreational drug as well as replacement for harder drugs such as Heroin or Methadone. An addict taking this medication is supposed to taper off of the drug over a period of time as instructed by a doctor. Once finished with the tapering regimen, the person should be free of their addiction with very mild to no withdrawal symptoms. The fact is that Buprenorphine does produce the opiate effects of euphoria, sedation, anti-anxiety, etc. It also causes tolerance and dependence and has crushing withdrawal symptoms as well.

Buprenorphine is seen as an easy alternative to a Heroin or prescription painkiller addiction. All a person has to do is go to a doctor and get a prescription. It is common to see people who have been on Buprenorphine for years, living in fear of the withdrawal if they stop.

Buprenorphine has also found its’ way onto the streets and has become just as easy to get as other painkillers like Oxycodone. Due to the long lasting effects (6 hours or more) many users prefer its’ high to other opiates.

Either way, prescribed or obtained illicitly, Buprenorphine has the same risks of addiction as other opiate drugs. Users quickly develop a tolerance and can become dependent on the drug. When they stop taking it they can experience harsh withdrawal symptoms that may force them to take other opiates.

What Can Be Done

Here at Narconon® Colorado, we are aware of Buprenorphine and its effects on the user. Our program has been proven to have great success with helping users get off the drug and learn to live healthy, drug free lives.

We have a 100% drug free withdrawal that gets users through withdrawal with relatively little to no pain.

Our sauna detox program is proven to rid the body of harmful toxins, restore nutrients and repair damages caused by drug taking and other environmental factors. Residues left behind from the drugs can cause the individual to experience drug cravings, anxiety and depression. A key point in successful drug rehabilitation is getting rid of these residues through supervised exercise and sweating in the sauna.

We have therapeutic life skills training to get people able to confront life and its’ problems without even thinking about using again. These include:

  • The Therapeutic TR Course
  • The Learning Improvement Course
  • The Communication and Perception Course
  • Objective Exercises
  • The Ups and Downs in Life Course
  • The Personal Values and Integrity Course
  • The Changing Conditions in Life Course
  • The Way to Happiness Course

“Before I came to this program I made some very bad choices. I am now learning why I choose to do that how to make things better. It’s going to take some time but by the end of the program I will learn how to live life again without drugs. I have to be strong for my daughter and give her the best possible life she can have.”
-Ashley H.

Drug Paraphernalia

Here are some common types of drug paraphernalia. These are the tools addicts use to get high. Some drug use lends itself to the accumulation of residuals such as wadded up foil, straws or pieces of brillo or Chore Boy cleaning pads. 

Meth Pipes
Crack Pipe
Chore Boy or Brillo Pad
Foil for smoking Heroin
foil wads
Used Heroin Foil
Rig for injecting drugs
Common syringe and cap
Cough syrup containing DXM
Rolling papers
water pipes
Pipes and bongs for marijuana

Prescription Abuse

Millions of Americans are dependent on prescription drugs. Many of these addicts are average citizens, with no prior history of drug abuse. They became “hooked” after first using the drugs for legitimate medical reasons. Now, having escalated their drug usage, they cannot stop. The destructive course of addiction rips at the thread of family fabric.

Most people who take prescription medications take them responsibly. However, those who take prescription drugs to experience a high are becoming a serious public health concern. Certain prescription drugs such as opioids, central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants can alter the brain’s activity and lead to dependence and possibly addiction.

The inability to stop using prescription drugs is a characteristic of addiction. Although most people would stop using a prescription drug if they knew it had destructive consequences, an addicted person cannot. After prolonged use of an addictive substance, the brain virtually becomes “re-wired.” At this point, the individual is not simply weak-willed. Instead, there are differences in the way their brain reacts to drugs from most people. Once started, they often cannot stop without help from outside sources.

Women are two to three times more likely to be prescribed drugs such as sedatives than men. They are also about two times more likely to become addicted. Senior citizens take more drugs than the rest of the population. This significantly increases their odds of becoming addicted. Finally, recent national studies show that the sharpest increase of prescription drug users for non-medical purposes occurred in the 12 to 17 and 18 to 25 age groups.

An estimated 9 million people aged 12 and older used prescription drugs for reasons that were not medically related in 1999. More than a quarter of that number reported using prescription drugs non-medically for the first time in the previous year.

Although prescription drug abuse affects many Americans, some trends of concern can be seen among seniors, adolescents, and women. In addition, health care professionals (including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, anesthesiologists, and veterinarians) may be at increased risk of prescription drug abuse because of the ease of access. These professionals also have the ability to self-prescribe drugs. Despite the increased risk, recent surveys and research in the early 1990s indicate that health care providers probably suffer from substance abuse, including alcohol and drugs, at a rate similar to rates in society as a whole. On average this is in the range of 8 to 12 percent.


LSD Abuse

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the major drugs making up the hallucinogen class. LSD was discovered in 1938 and is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals known to man. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains.

LSD AbuseLSD, commonly referred to as “acid,” is sold on the street in tablets, capsules, and, occasionally, liquid form. It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste. LSD is most commonly taken by mouth. Often LSD is added to absorbent paper, such as blotter paper, and divided into small decorated squares, with each square representing one dose.

The Drug Enforcement Administration reports that the strength of LSD samples obtained recently from illicit sources ranges from 20 to 80 micrograms of LSD per dose. This is considerably less than the levels reported during the 1960s and early 1970s, when the dosage ranged from 100 to 200 micrograms, or higher, per unit.

The effects of LSD are unpredictable. They depend on the amount taken; the user’s personality, mood, expectations, and the surroundings in which the drug is used. Usually, the user feels the first effects of the drug 30 to 90 minutes after taking it. The physical effects include dilated pupils, higher body temperature, increased heart rate and blood pressure, sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors.

Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in a large enough dose, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The user’s sense of time and self changes. Sensations may seem to “cross over,” giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic.

Users refer to their experience with LSD as a “trip” and to acute adverse reactions as a “bad trip.” These experiences are long – typically dissipating after about 12 hours.

Some LSD users experience severe, and terrifying thoughts or feelings. They may experiance fear of losing control, fear of insanity, fear of death, and despair while using LSD. Many fatal accidents have occurred during states of LSD intoxication.

Many LSD users experience flashbacks, recurrence of certain aspects of a person’s experience, without the user having taken the drug again. A flashback occurs suddenly, often without warning, and may occur within a few days or up to a year after LSD use. Flashbacks usually occur in people who use hallucinogens chronically or have an underlying personality problem. However, otherwise healthy people who use LSD can also have flashbacks. Bad trips and flashbacks are only part of the risks from LSD use. LSD use may manifest relatively long-lasting psychoses, such as schizophrenia or severe depression. It is difficult to determine the extent and mechanism of the LSD involvement in these illnesses.

Most users of LSD voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time. LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior as do cocaine, amphetamine, heroin, alcohol, and nicotine. However, like many of the addicts, LSD users build a tolerance to the drug. This means that users who take the drug repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug. NIDA is funding studies that focus on the neurochemical and behavioral properties of LSD. This research will provide a greater understanding of the mechanisms of action of the drug.

Since 1975, MTF researchers have annually surveyed almost 17,000 high school seniors nationwide to determine trends in drug use and to measure attitudes and beliefs about drug abuse. Over the past 2 years, the percentage of seniors who have used LSD has remained relatively stable. Between 1975 and 1997, the lowest lifetime use of LSD was reported by the class of 1986, when 7.2 percent of seniors reported using LSD at least once in their lives. In 1997, 13.6 percent of seniors had experimented with LSD at least once in their lifetimes. The percentage of seniors reporting use of LSD in the past year nearly doubled from a low of 4.4 percent in 1985 to 8.4 percent in 1997.

In 1997, 34.7 percent of seniors perceived great risk in using LSD once or twice, and 76.6 percent said they saw great risk in using LSD regularly. More than 80 percent of seniors disapproved of people trying LSD once or twice, and almost 93 percent disapproved of people taking LSD regularly.

Almost 51 percent of seniors said it would have been fairly easy or very easy for them to get LSD if they had wanted it.