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Monday, May 21, 2018

Study: Smoking Pot Before Age 15 Ups Risk of Abuse

smoking potMore research confirms what addiction experts already know: Smoking pot is a big deal, and especially if you start at a young age. 

A new study by Université de Montréal researchers found that smoking marijuana at the start of your teens ups your risk of having a drug abuse problem by age 28 by a whopping 68 percent. The odds were reduced by 31 percent for each year of delayed onset of cannabis use in adolescence, noted the researchers.

While the frequency with which study participants consumed cannabis and other drugs played a role, those who started before age 15 were at higher risk regardless of consumption rates. And these rates may even be higher, considering that the potency of cannabis products increased over the last two decades, said researchers. 

What’s more, the study revealed that the earlier boys were involved in gangs, drank alcohol, got into fights, stole or vandalized property, the earlier they used cannabis and the higher their odds of having drug abuse issues by 28. Those who started drinking at 17 were also at an increased risk for an alcohol problem at 28.

These findings make it even more important to take steps to prevent or reduce cannabis use as early as possible, noted the researchers. "It may be important to implement these programs by the end of elementary school to prevent early onset of cannabis use," said UdM doctoral student Charlie Rioux, who conducted the study under the supervision of professors Natalie Castellanos-Ryan and Jean Séguin. "Since peer influence and delinquency were identified as early risk factors for earlier cannabis onset and adult drug abuse, targeting these risk factors in prevention programs may be important, especially since prevention strategies working on the motivators of substance use have been shown to be effective."

Sobriety College at Hope Academy
If you are or someone you love is a college student struggling with a a drug or alcohol use disorder, Hope Academy may be the ideal rehab program for you. Our peer-based program provides the safety and support you need to succeed in school and at sobriety. To learn more about our sobriety college, call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Fentanyl-Laced Cocaine Causes New Risk for College Students

fentanyl-laced cocaineThe synthetic drug fentanyl, which is 50 to 100 times more potent than opioids like morphine and heroin, is showing up in more street drugs and more headlines than ever before. This is partly because more Americans are dying due to these synthetic drugs than opioids, according to a recent report in the journal JAMA

And experts say college students who use cocaine to party and study may be particularly at risk.  Just like many prescription pill abusers turn to heroin for a cheaper high, many cash-strapped students have begun to trade in the study drug Adderall for easy-to-access cocaine – and they may be unknowingly getting fentanyl, too. 

Most college students have no idea where the drugs they share with friends come from or what’s really in them. Experts have said that fentanyl is being used as a cutting agent in almost every drug. “If you are using any substance, you don’t really know what you’re getting. Fentanyl can be mixed with it — and it can kill you,” health commissioner Dr. Mysheika W. Roberts, told WOSU public radio. 

Students who seek cocaine and end up with fentanyl-laced products are at an increased risk of the respiratory depressant effects of opioids because they have no tolerance. This can happen in mere minutes. And students don’t tote around Naloxone to reverse an overdose – and even if they did, they may not realize that since fentanyl is so powerful, the standard one to two doses of naloxone may not be enough. 

So what’s the solution? Of course, your safest bet is to seek support and treatment if you find yourself or your friend or roommate using and abusing drugs. 

Getting Help for Drug Abuse
For information about Hope Academy's young adult substance abuse treatment program, or to begin the admissions process for a loved one, call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Top Mental Health Challenges Among College Students


mental health challengesDid you know that one in four students are struggling with a diagnosable mental illness and yet 40 percent don’t seek help? Your mental health matters and if left untreated, could impact your academic, social and family life and lead to serious and even life-threatening health conditions. 

Luckily, more and more campuses are taking steps to help students take better care of their mental health – but you can play a pivotal role, too. 

Your first step is to learn and recognize the red flags. In honor Mental Health Month this month, here are some of the most common mental health issues among college students today. If you spot the signs in yourself or in someone you care about, don’t wait. Remember, you’re not alone and help is out there. 

Depression: According to one study, depression is the number-one reason students drop out of school. 
  • Changes in sleep habits  (sleeping more or difficulty sleeping)
  • Appetite changes (loss of appetite or overeating)
  • Sadness
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Hopelessness
  • Powerlessness
  • Trouble concentrating and paying attention
Anxiety: According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, nearly 75% of those affected by an anxiety disorder will experience their first episode before the age of 22. 
  • Feelings of stress and apprehension
  • Irritability
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Fearfulness
  • Sweating and dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle pain and tension
  • Headaches
  • Frequent upset stomach or diarrhea
Suicide: Suicide is the second most common cause of death among college students, with someone between the ages of 15 and 24 dying every two hours and 12 minutes.
  • Difficulty handling schoolwork
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits 
  • Low energy levels or a feeling of being drained
  • Feelings of hopeless or being trapped
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Emotional outbursts (crying or being easily irritated) 
  • Changes in relationships, including sexual promiscuity
  • Self-destructive behavior (substance abuse, cutting)
Eating disorders: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder are the most common eating disorders. Nearly 50% of individuals with an eating disorder are also abusing drugs and/or alcohol, which is a rate fives times greater than the general population. 
  • Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
  • Excessive focus on healthy eating
  • Withdrawing from normal social activities
  • Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight
  • Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
  • Excessive exercise
  • Leaving during meals to use the toilet
  • Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
  • Expressingdisgust, shame or guilt about eating habits
  • Eating in secret
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Young Adults
At Hope Academy, we conduct a series of tests upon admission to determine if mental illness is causing or complicating substance abuse. Once we gain a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s individual health challenges, our addiction treatment team develops a customized program. To learn more, call 866-930-4673. 


Monday, April 23, 2018

How to Talk to Your Teen If You Suspect Drug Misuse

talking to teen drug misuseReading headline after headline about our current opioid epidemic can leave parents feeling frightened and even helpless. But there’s good news: If you think your teen is using and abusing drugs, you can make a difference and you don’t have to break the silence alone. 

The NCADA offers some do's and don'ts for starting the conversation and helping your loved one get back on a healthy path. 

Your first step: Don’t blame yourself. Just because your teen has used drugs or alcohol doesn’t mean that you are a “bad parent” or that they are a “bad kid,” say NCADA. And remember: Your primary goal is to address the unhealthy behavior, express your concern and get him or her professional help.

What to Do...
Take the time to get your thoughts together and decide what you want the outcome of the conversation to be. A few more pointers from the NCADA:
  • Stay calm and stick to the facts.
  • Express to your child how important your relationship with them is to you. Use “I care” messages.
  • Offer examples of specific behaviors that concern you. “Last week, you went from being happy to being extremely crabby without any warning.”
  • Discuss how this problem is affecting your relationship: “I feel like I can’t trust you anymore, and I’m afraid to leave you at home by yourself.” 
  • Tell your teen what needs to change or what you’d like for them to do: “I want you to start seeing a counselor to get help.”
  • Know your limits and recognize when professional help is necessary.
What Not to Do...
Timing is everything, so don’t confront your child when he or she is under the influence or when you or your child is angry. A few more tips, according to NCADA: 
  • Don’t label with words like “addict.”
  • Don’t argue or debate with your child.
  • Don’t feel guilty. 
Opioid Addiction Treatment for Young Adults
Young adults (age 18 to 25) are the biggest abusers of prescription opioid pain relievers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And early intervention is the most successful treatment. If someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t wait to get help. Call today: 866-930-4673.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Springtime Things in Orange County

springtime things in orange county
Spring has sprung and there’s no shortage of seasonal things to do in Orange County. Here is a quick look at a few uplifting activities to remind you just how fun a sober life can be:

Celebrate Earth Day. Whale watching, beach cleanups, animal feedings – there are plenty of ways to give back and celebrate the earth in Orange County. Or, gather your friends and arrange a DYI project with some recycled crafts. 

Hit the beach. OC is blessed with some great beaches and spring is the perfect time to breathe in the coastal air. 

Take a stroll along the water or just relax with a riveting read. Or, check out one of these fun events: 
  • Newport Beach Film Festival, April 26-May 3: The best of classic and contemporary filmmaking from around the world.
  • Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, April 27-29: Sailors brave the brisk waters for a race to Ensenada, Mexico.
  • Newport Beach Jazz Festival, June 1-3: A three-day celebration of jazz from world renown artists and award-winning musicians.
Take a hike. Explore the rustic, natural side of Orange County by hiking along one of the many meticulously kept paths nestled in the canyons, slopes and mountains of the region.

Head to the farmer’s market. There are some great farmer’s markets in the OC and spring is the perfect time to try a few near you. Load up on fresh seasonal produce like strawberries, fava beans and asparagus.

Indulge in sweet strawberries. Strawberry nachos or strawberry popcorn anyone? Get ready to listen to live music as you sample an assortment of strawberry creations at the annual California Strawberry festival, May 25-28. 

And, of course, another way to enjoy spring in Orange County is to just get outside and play – whether you gather some friends for a game of Frisbee in the park or volleyball on the beach. Soak up the sun and have a fun, sober spring season! 

Sober Living Year-Round
Learning to make better choices is a key element of the young adult recovery program at Hope Academy. Our clients, ages 18-26, receive clinical treatment as well as one-on-one coaching in healthy nutrition, exercise, relaxation, and coping skills. This helps them to recognize and manage their addiction triggers and cravings, and make healthier life choices. To find out more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sober Hobbies to Help You De-stress

sober hobbies
Finding a healthy way to deal with stress – both during college and as you embark on your sober future  – is a key component of recovery. Here are a number of sober hobbies that have been scientifically backed to help relieve tension and help you relax. Try one (or a few) and see what works for you. 
  • Yoga: Sure, this might be an obvious choice, but it’s a proven one. Yoga teaches us to use the power of breath to stay calm. This ancient practice has also been linked do a reduction of levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and symptoms of anxiety and depression. 
  • Coloring and drawing: Whether you invest in an adult coloring book and fancy pencils or spend a few dollars on some white paper and crayons, coloring and drawing is a great relaxation technique that can help you stay in the moment and stay calm. 
  • Writing: Journaling or expressing your thoughts and emotions via writing is a proven way to identify any stressors and then let them go. Try it: Take 15 minutes each day and write freely without censoring yourself. 
  • Reading: Getting lost in a good book is a great way to escape from the stressors of daily life. Studies show that reading can help to lower your heart rate and ease tension in your muscles.
  • Gardening: Digging in the dirt can lower your stress hormones, improve your mood and keep you in the moment. What’s more, being outside in the fresh air and sunshine can boost these effects even more.
  • Hiking: Similarly, enjoying the great outdoors and nature via hiking can help reduce stress and help reduce rumination, or obsessing over negative thoughts. And since hiking is an aerobic exercise, you’ll also benefit from the feel-good endorphins released in your body. 
Finding Emotional Support at Hope Academy
A host of emotions inevitably arise as you begin working toward your sobriety goals. The professionals at Hope Academy can teach you to manage these feelings without resorting to substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.


Monday, April 2, 2018

It's Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month
Each April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month in an effort to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. 

This year’s theme, “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a ‘rite of passage,’" is aimed at educating adolescents about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, as well as parents on the important role they can play in teaching kids to have a healthy attitude regarding alcohol. 

As part of the month-long campaign, NCADD put together some must-know facts and figures to help spread the message. Here are a few: 
  • Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
  • Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
  • More than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.
  • Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
  • Drinking by persons under the age of 21 is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits.
  • The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
  • Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.
  • A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.
  • Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse 
If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, Hope Academy can help you get the help you need today. To learn more about our young adult alcohol rehab, call toll-free today: 866-930-4673.


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