Opioid Epidemic 2020: It’s Real and It’s Happening

Opioid Epidemic 2020: It’s Real and It’s Happening

If you pay attention to the news, you know that the United States continues to face an opioid crisis.  Data from 2018 shows that 128 people die from overdosing on opioids in the United States every day, and sadly, we continue to face an opioid epidemic in 2020.  The 2020 opioid epidemic effects are not limited to public health but reach over into social and economic welfare.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total financial burden of prescription opioid misuse in the United States exceeds $78 billion each year.  This cost does not include illicit opioid use. If you have found yourself misusing opioids that have been prescribed to you or have made the switch to illegal opioids such as heroin, Thrive Treatment is here to help.  

What Are Opioids?

The word opioid is a term describing a class of drugs that includes both legal and illegal drugs. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are examples of prescription opioids. These medicines may be prescribed for different reasons, but the most common reason is to treat pain. Fentanyl is a prescription opioid but is also made and sold illegally.  Heroin is an illegal opioid.  All of the opioids are chemically related and work on the body in the same way.  Opioids don’t just treat your pain; they also release dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure. Long-term opioid use can change the brain’s pathways as the user develops a tolerance from long-term use. 

Why Is There an Opioid Crisis in 2020?

The opioid epidemic in 2020 has resulted from years of the pharmaceutical industry inaccurately representing prescription opioids to medical professionals. Companies such as Purdue Pharma assured physicians that prescription opioids were not addictive.  Having been reassured and, in some cases, incentivized, healthcare providers prescribed opioids freely. Most people can indeed take prescription opioids for a short time without developing an addiction.  It is also true that there is a risk of addiction. 

Because of the euphoria that comes with the pain relief, there is a risk for misuse. Too many patients were not educated about the dangers of taking opioid pain relievers and the critical need to store these drugs properly.  By not securing the opioids safely, many adults provided their teenaged children with access to opioid drugs to misuse. The pharmaceutical companies’ misrepresentation and the lack of education provided to patients contributed significantly to the current opioid epidemic in 2020. 

In some cases, patients found themselves switching to illegal forms of opioids such as heroin or illicit fentanyl.  A doctor’s refusal to prescribe more opioids, the cost of prescription medicine, and increasing tolerance to opioids can all lead someone to turn to illegal opioids. Much of the research shows that the misuse of prescription opioids often leads to heroin use. It is the use of heroin or illicit fentanyl that is even more deadly.  With no marked dose, the risk for overdose is significant.  

How to Get Help With Opioid Abuse

Finding the right fit for treatment is a critical part of getting clean and sober. At Thrive Treatment, we believe in treatment that blends modern and traditional practices rather than one specific modality. We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put you on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  

We have what is needed to provide you with an individualized plan to help you succeed in sobriety, both during your inpatient treatment and beyond. Our intensive outpatient program in Santa Monica can help you manage the delicate work-life-sobriety balance you’re looking to find.  Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

What Drugs Are Smoked In A Glass Pipe?

what drugs are smoked out of glass pipes

Drugs can be ingested in various ways, and this makes it more confusing to determine if a friend or family member is using.  Some drugs are swallowed as pills, some are snorted through the nose, some are injected, and still, others are smoked.  Some drugs, such as cocaine, can be taken in more than one way.  While the choice of drug is the major factor in what the effects are, the way the drug is taken will impact how quickly the effects are seen. While you might see changes in behavior in your loved one, you might also notice different items that might cause you to wonder if drug use is occurring. 

Glass Pipes Explained

Drugs that are smoked are sometimes rolled in paper, while others are smoked out of pipes.  Pipes can be made out of tin foil, metal, glass, or other materials.  Glass pipes allow users to inhale their drugs of choice.  Interestingly enough, some glass pipes are nearly works of art, and some users may opt to collect different pipes during their drug use. Even more, pieces that may look like a work of art, such as a flower in a glass, may serve a dual purpose as a pipe. Some may be so cleverly disguised that people don’t even realize what they have purchased. Other times, the items are intentionally disguised in an attempt to hide their true purpose. 

What Drugs Are Smoked in a Glass Pipe?

Drugs that are smoked in a glass pipe include cocaine, marijuana, opioids, and methamphetamines. Crack cocaine is often smoked in a glass cylinder pipe. Heroin and methamphetamine vapors are inhaled after being heated in the bowl of a glass pipe.  Marijuana is usually smoked out of a metal pipe, glass pipe,  or out of a bong. A bong is typically made out of glass, but can also be made out of plastic.  Bongs usually have a bowl outside of a vertical tube, with water being in the bottom of the pipe to serve as filtration and can vary quite a lot in size. The long-term use of drugs can change the pathways in the brain which can make it much more difficult to stop using. Smoking drugs in a glass pipe can cause long-term damage to the lungs and other parts of the body.  

How to Get Help With Addiction

If you or someone you love has a problem with addiction, the first  step is to identify a problem.  Once the problem has been identified, it is crucial to start talking with professionals to find the treatment that is the best-suited to the individual.  Different drugs cause different withdrawal symptoms and additional risks during withdrawal.  Because the symptoms and risks are not the same across all drugs, it is imperative to seek professional help – especially during detox to preserve physical health.  At Thrive Treatment, we have physicians on staff to monitor an individual’s progress from the time treatment begins right through until it’s time for discharge to aftercare. Once detox is complete, the focus changes from stabilizing physical health to creating a life in sobriety. 

Get Help Today at Thrive Treatment

At Thrive Treatment, we believe in treatment that blends modern and traditional practices rather than one specific modality. We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put you on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  Located in Santa Monica, we have what is needed to provide you with an individualized plan to help you succeed in sobriety, both during your inpatient treatment and beyond. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

What Is the Most Popular Drug With Teens?

popular drugs for teens

The most popular drug with teens varies by demographics and often changes annually. Nonetheless, there are a few substances that remain popular amongst teens. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), alcohol remains one of the most abused substances by teens in America. In fact, close to 60% of seniors in high school abuse alcohol on a regular basis. 

The Effect of Alcohol on Teens                                       

Alcohol has been proven to have several negative effects on teenagers’ mental and physical well-being and development. Some of the consequences that teens face consist of memory impairment, isolation, difficulty concentrating and cognitive, stunted brain development, and increased violent and impulsive behavior. Additionally, research shows that students who abuse alcohol use are less likely to finish high school or go to college. Additionally, people are also more likely to develop an addiction if they start drinking at an early age.

Other Popular Drugs Amongst Teens

Although Alcohol seems to be steadily the most popular drug with teens is not the only popular substance that teens abuse. Research shows that marijuana is also another substance on heavy rotation amongst teens. Although the use is not as high as alcohol, almost 40% of seniors in high school use marijuana frequently. Similar to alcohol, this statistic is declining, however, marijuana use still remains a problem for teens. 

Sadly, many teens appear aloof regarding the consequences of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. It’s important that the consequences of substance abuse are not only known but also taken seriously and considered carefully. Fortunately, some sober living and treatment programs collaborate with schools to ensure that these consequences are discussed and that students are made aware. 

Why Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Matters

Why Dual-Diagnosis Treatment Matters


Self medication is a real issue for millions of Americans. When it comes to dual diagnosis issues, of a substance use and mental health disorder, many people turn to self medication as a means of coping on their own, most often through more substance use. This couldn’t be more dangerous. Not only can self medication increase the complications of addiction– it can also make an additional mental illness much more severe.

In addiction recovery, dual diagnosis treatment is defined as a recovery method that “blends the most successful aspects of mental health care and substance abuse treatment.” Dual diagnosis treatment provides holistic care for clients who are battling addiction and another mental illness– sometimes an illness that was a direct result of or contributing factor of addiction. Oftentimes, a mental health diagnosis like depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar, and more was present long before addiction, but went undiagnosed or untreated, inspiring a deep need to cope with unmanageable feelings.

The relatively new entry of dual diagnosis treatment in the addiction recovery space speaks to its importance. Previously, if a client came to an addiction recovery center with other mental illnesses, there was little that could be done to help with the additional mental illness. Even if the best treatment plan was put in place for the individual, whether or not they recovered wasn’t a sure bet. It depended on the severity of and complications surrounding the additional mental illness. Would the client be able to cope in a normal group setting? Would the rules and regulations of the addiction treatment center be feasible for him or her? The answers were often up in the air. Likewise, if a patient were to report to a mental health facility and was also addicted, many times they’d be sent away and told to treat their addiction before seeking help for another mental illness.

By combining the best practices from the medical and counseling worlds, dual diagnosis treatment offers a solution to this conundrum. Moreover, quality dual diagnosis treatment options, like the ones in place at Thrive Treatment℠, work wonders not just in treating addiction or another mental illness with medicine, but in really diving deep to untangle what’s going on below the surface.

Dual diagnosis treatment matters because addiction is much more than simply craving a substance. As The Big Book says, addiction is spiritual, mental, and physical. In the same vein, treatment has to be more than simply stopping cravings. It’s got to be able to get to the root of the issue.

Thrive Treatment℠ is a premier outpatient addiction treatment center in Santa Monica, California. We offer advanced dual diagnosis treatment options for clients dealing with more than one mental illness. By combining state of the art research with quality counseling and brilliant medical practitioners, we make addiction a thing of the past. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to see how we can help you today.

Why Treatment Only Does As Much As You Let It

Why Treatment Only Does As Much As You Let It

Imagine you just won a million dollars. Maybe you struck it big in the lottery, or maybe the company you work for just got bought out and that was your cut. Maybe you sold some stocks. Anyway, you have a million extra dollars to your name now. What if, instead of spending it or investing it, though, you just let it sit there, and never claimed it? What if it wasn’t for any particular reason, and you didn’t have an ulterior motive for doing it? What if you just didn’t claim it?

Addiction treatment is a lot like that million dollars. It has the potential to change our lives, but it can’t do anything for us unless we take the steps to claim it. That doesn’t mean just deciding to get treatment either, or, in the case of outpatient treatment programs, merely deciding to show up. It means making a conscious effort to learn and grow through through therapy and activities, doing everything we can to practice implementing what we learn, and adjusting our attitude to one of positivity and action.

Are you saying treatment can only do so much for me?

Yes, and no! As The Big Book says, collaborative treatment is one of the only foolproof ways to get rid of our addiction for good, but the effectiveness of treatment stems entirely from how much effort we are willing to put into it. Recovery itself is a lifelong process, and initial treatment itself is a very small part of it. Still, simply attending treatment often isn’t enough, and, even if we do manage to beat our addiction while minimally participating, we run the risk of not fully fixing the problems that caused our substance use in the first place. Effort is paramount to any successful treatment, and The Big Book says as much: “Without a willing and persistent effort…, there can be little sobriety or contentment for us.”

So, how do we make the most out of treatment, and truly take advantage of all of the many benefits it has to offer? Besides effort, attitude is huge.

Effort and attitude

Let’s be honest. Before entering treatment, we often have very little, if any, reason to think about effort or attitude. We know that attitude and effort are both two very important ways of getting past our addiction and into a treatment center, but we balk because addiction, is, in fact, still in control of our mind. It typically takes a number of people– including family members, friends, and loved ones– to get us to take the plunge into addiction treatment. It’s normal to push what we know is right and necessary to the side when we’re dealing with an illness that literally changes the way we think.

Once in treatment, however, our mindset should start to shift, because, as The Big Book describes, “to get over drinking [or other addictions] will require a transformation of thought and attitude.”

We must realize that treatment, for all it’s worth, merely provides a platform for us to make our own discoveries about ourselves, and to uncover the spiritual maladies that drove us to continued substance use in the first place. Our therapists, peers, and mentors can help us with the strategies we need to do this, but it’s up to us to make the effort. Think about it: even the best physician in the world can’t help us if he or she doesn’t know what our problem is. In order to get the care we need, we have to first explain what’s going on to them, or, at the very least, open ourselves up for a diagnosis. Treatment is the same way! In order to get what we need out of it, our attitudes must reflect that we’re willing to put in the work that’s required!

How do I change my attitude, and put in the effort?

Just like with anything, an attitude change starts with the heart. As The Big Book states, “…it is an attitude which can only be changed by a deep and honest search of our motives and actions.” We have to ask ourselves: “Why are we here, in treatment? What do we hope to get out of it?” We all have a reason for addiction treatment, but sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that reason in order to keep going. No doubt, by going to treatment, we’ve made some sacrifices, committed ourselves to some significant life changes, and devoted ourselves to getting better. Remembering the steps we took to get to this point, and keeping them at the forefront of our minds whenever we’re feeling discouraged or not up to the challenge can make all the difference in adopting the right attitude! As for putting in the effort, having the right attitude helps take care of that. Once we’ve come to terms with the fact that the only people that can conquer our addiction is ourselves (and that treatment, like anything else, takes work), we’re inclined to put in the work we need to in order to see the results we want. Attitude, effort, and the effectiveness of our recovery are all inextricably intertwined!

Thrive Treatment℠ is an outpatient addiction treatment center located in sunny Santa Monica, California. We’re here to help our clients make the most out of treatment and the rest of their lives by providing them with community, instruction, and support. Call us today at (888) 975-8474 to see what we can do for you!

Training our Minds with Treatment

Training our Minds with Treatment

We can train our minds to do a lot of incredible things. For example, there’s Santa Claus. Admired by millions of us since we were kids, it’s hard to believe that someone we all know to be completely made up could still encourage us to spend so much money and make so much time for him. It’s because we’ve trained our minds to accept and appreciate the spirit of Saint Nick, even though we know he’s merely a figment of our imagination.

In treatment, we have to train our minds in much the same way. When we were addicted, we were weak and unable to resist whatever addiction threw at us. As The Big Book says, we were powerless against addiction.

Now, in treatment, it’s time to train our minds to recover that power. As The Big Book states, we “had to find a power by which we could live, and it had to be a Power greater than ourselves.” The greatest difference is that the chains of addiction that treatment can help us break are quite real. If we can learn how to believe so fervently in our imaginations even years after we know better, imagine how much stronger we can train our minds to recover our power over a very real sickness, if we only try!

So how do we train our minds to find that power?

By humbling ourselves and latching on to the instruction, fellowship, and support of the treatment community. We have to train ourselves that in order to truly beat addiction, we must fight it with help. The Big Book mentions the dangers of trying to recover on sheer willpower alone, and warns us to seek help and fellowship from others in recovery. After all, the more people that can help us share our burden, the less weight we’ll all feel like we’re carrying, right?

Humans are inherently social, but we can also be very stubborn and independent. In treatment, we’ve got to coax that social side out and remind ourselves that recovery is a lifelong journey, and unity and fellowship are our companions.

This holiday season is the perfect time to train our minds and to remember the importance of fellowship, unity, and collaboration in recovery!

Thrive Treatment℠ is a premier outpatient addiction treatment program in sunny Santa Monica, California. We help our clients conquer addiction by teaching them how to process and discard the self-defeating thoughts that can often keep them stuck. Call us right now at (888) 975-8474 to get started!

Becoming Recovery Warriors

Becoming Recovery Warriors

Addiction treatment is very much like war. We face an enemy that’s cunning, bold, and uses evasive tactics to try to hit us where it hurts, but each strategy we learn, tool we make, and activity we master in treatment is a numbing blow to addiction’s head.

It’s important that we adopt this warlike mentality each and every day we wake up in treatment. As The Big Book says, everything we’re taught in treatment is merely a suggestion, and we aren’t actually required to do a thing (“A.A. does not demand belief; Twelve Steps are only suggestions.”) That means the job of getting the information we need and learning the skills and strategies to overcome addiction rests solely on our shoulders. Addiction treatment can lead us to the water, but it simply can’t make us drink. After all, if treatment could make us better without our involvement, it would be more like mind control, and not really treatment at all!

Becoming a recovery warrior in treatment means resolving to put our best foot forward in every activity we’re presented with. That means we have to train ourselves, constantly, to be malleable, honest, and willing to get our hands dirty within our own past and in our headspace. We have to realize that treatment isn’t meant to be fun or easy. We have to tell ourselves, as The Big Book tells us, that “pain is the admission price to new life,” and truly remember that when times get hard, we get uncomfortable, or we begin to doubt ourselves.

When we’re addicted, we have little, if any control over our lives. Now, in treatment, it’s time to take that control back, and we’re the only ones that can do it. Everything we do in treatment, the effort we make and the mentality we adopt will directly affect just how well we transition out of treatment and back into the real world. We already know just how dark and unforgiving the world can be, so there’s no time to waste in treatment. It’s time to buckle up our bootstraps, shed anything that may be holding us back, and really push ourselves to be just a little better every day. If we get better one day at a time, we’ll see amazing results before long.

Let’s make today our first day of warrior training.

Thrive Treatment℠ is located in beautiful Santa Monica, California, and we’re determined to make recovery warriors out of every single client that walks through our door. We believe that life isn’t just meant to be lived. It’s meant to be conquered! Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started right now!

Finishing Strong at the End of the Year

Finishing Strong at the End of the Year

As the year comes to a close, many of us have the pleasure of being able to look back at a very successful 2018. For some of us, we transitioned from addiction to treatment and sobriety. Others gained the courage to get treatment and are now making incredible progress through their treatment programs. Whichever situation we’re in, it’s important that we don’t let up on our recovery progress simply because it’s the holiday season.

As The Big Book says, recovery is lifelong, and even if we aren’t actively in treatment, we should constantly be making an effort to encourage others to get treatment and spreading the good word about the recovery community.

For those of us that are in treatment, these last few weeks of the year mark the perfect time to get started on New Year’s resolutions early. Let’s resolve to open ourselves up more, to be more malleable and willing to dig deeper to uncover the maladies lurking deep inside. The Big Book says that honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness are the pillars of recovery. Is there more we can do in treatment so that the strategies we’re taught will be even more effective? Can we resolve to share more about our own struggles so that others can apply the solutions to their own lives?

If we’ve recently graduated from treatment, let’s use these last few weeks of the year to reach out to someone we know or think may be struggling with addiction. If we aren’t close to them already, we can use the holidays as a great way to get to know them better. Invite them to a casual meetup with alumni friends, or let’s start a conversation about our own experiences with substances and recovery to encourage them to open up more. There are a ton of incredibly innovative ways we can use the holidays to encourage just one person to get help!

The end of the year is a perfect time for us to bolster our progress in the recovery process and meet even more people to invite to the treatment community. If you’re struggling with addiction, the holidays are also a great time to get the help you need. Thrive Treatment℠ is a premier outpatient addiction treatment center with the tools you need to learn how to shed addiction for good this holiday season. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to get started with Thrive right now!

Enjoying a Sober Holiday Season

Enjoying a Sober Holiday Season

For many people, the time right between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the happiest time of the year. Family members are happier, friends are friendlier, and strangers don’t seem as strange. For others, though, the holiday season can be tough. Some of us have lost loved ones, experienced devastation, or just had some rough times during the holidays, and each new year brings with it the pain of the last.

No matter what our mood or what we’ve experienced in the past, it’s important that we do everything in our power to make this holiday season one that’s peaceful, restful, and free from substances.

One of the best ways to enjoy a sober holiday season is to have strategies in place to prepare for it. Attending a session at the treatment center, calling for one more meeting of the alumni  group before a big break, or even scheduling regular calls and checkups with a peer from treatment as the holidays begin to ramp up are all great strategies.

Once the season is upon us, we can keep ourselves busy with fun, stimulating activities and events. Many treatment centers like Thrive Treatment℠ host holiday events where graduates, current clients, and families can come enjoy themselves and share in some good, clean fun. Aside from treatment centers, there are many community centers, churches, and volunteer organizations that participate in all sorts of charity events, fundraisers, and potlucks during the holiday season. Taking part in these would be a great way to meet new people and avoid spending the holidays at home or around the wrong people or places.

Finally, we can enjoy a sober holiday season by avoiding known risks. Certain relatives might not be the best to hang around if they “just can’t help” spiking the eggnog. If office meetings are more like liquor fests, making a quick appearance or not attending at all can nip a potential problem in the bud before it happens. If we’re at a social event, we don’t always have to have a drink in hand. Remember, the bartender may not know we aren’t supposed to be drinking. We don’t want a mere social habit to spell trouble down the road!

The holidays can be a peaceful time for all of us, as long as we know how to enjoy them safely. Remembering the strategies we learn in addiction treatment can help us make the right decisions even when we’re in some compromising situations. Thrive Treatment℠ is an outpatient addiction treatment center in Santa Monica, California that focuses on teaching clients those strategies through innovative methodology. Call us at (888) 975-8474 to see how we can help you today.

Being Open-Minded in Recovery

Being Open-Minded in Recovery

Some of us can be really, really, really stuck in our ways. We all know those people that, no matter what the new innovation is or how much better another way is, will still opt for the classic methods they’ve always used, whether they work or not. Heck, some of us probably are those people!

While there’s nothing wrong with tried and true when it comes to things like fixing the car or preparing the family’s world famous sweet potato casserole, the addiction treatment facility is one place where we should strive to be as open-minded and willing to try new things, hear new advice, and practice new strategies as we can. The Big Book makes it very clear: “Willingness, honesty and open mindedness are the essentials of recovery.” This means that in order to recover effectively, we can’t close ourselves off to new ideas and new ways to solve our problems.

Treatment is where creativity and ingenuity is championed, because there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to our individual and often complex problems. Practically everything we do in treatment is based on teamwork, discussion, and input from our mentors and peers, and the environment fostered within the treatment community is nothing if it isn’t collaborative. Here at Thrive Treatment℠, for instance, every single outpatient treatment program we offer is accompanied by a generous helping of group activities, therapy sessions, and discussion-based assessments– all of which ask us to consider different approaches, try different strategies, and adopt different ways to deal with some of the same problems. It may be art therapy one day, yoga therapy the next, and cooking classes the next!

We need to be willing and ready to step outside of our comfort zones to make the changes we want to see in our lives, because many times outside of our comfort zones is where the best answers lie. It’s human nature to want to stick with what we know, but the safety, familiarity, and comfort of what we know doesn’t always allow us to develop as we should. As The Big Book says, given the choice between being comfortable and building character, we’re wired to always seek comfort. Knowing comfort doesn’t always breed solutions is half the battle. Now all we have to do is make the effort to step outside of our comfort zones!

Thrive Treatment℠ is a premier outpatient addiction treatment program in sunny Santa Monica, California. We help our clients conquer addiction by teaching them how to process and discard the self-defeating thoughts that can often keep them stuck. Call us right now at (888) 975-8474 to get started!