Letter from the Surgeon General Regarding the Opioid Epidemic

7 Sep

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Dear Colleague,

I am asking for your help to solve an urgent health crisis facing America: the opioid epidemic. Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses. I meet families too ashamed to seek treatment for addiction. And I will never forget my own patient whose opioid use disorder began with a course of morphine after a routine procedure.

It is important to recognize that we arrived at this place on a path paved with good intentions. Nearly two decades ago, we were encouraged to be more aggressive about treating pain, often without enough training and support to do so safely. This coincided with heavy marketing of opioids to doctors. Many of us were even taught – incorrectly – that opioids are not addictive when prescribed for legitimate pain.

The results have been devastating. Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled and opioid prescriptions have increased markedly – almost enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills. Yet the amount of pain reported by Americans has not changed. Now, nearly 2 million people in America have a prescription opioid use disorder, contributing to increased heroin use and the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.

I know solving this problem will not be easy. We often struggle to balance reducing our patients’ pain with increasing their risk of opioid addiction. But, as clinicians, we have the unique power to help end this epidemic. As cynical as times may seem, the public still looks to our profession for hope during difficult moments. This is one of those times.

That is why I am asking you to pledge your commitment to turn the tide on the opioid crisis. Please take the pledge. Together, we will build a national movement of clinicians to do three things:

First, we will educate ourselves to treat pain safely and effectively. A good place to start is the TurnTheTideRx pocket guide with the CDC Opioid Prescribing Guideline. Second, we will screen our patients for opioid use disorder and provide or connect them with evidence-based treatment. Third, we can shape how the rest of the country sees addiction by talking about and treating it as a chronic illness, not a moral failing.

Years from now, I want us to look back and know that, in the face of a crisis that threatened our nation, it was our profession that stepped up and led the way. I know we can succeed because health care is more than an occupation to us. It is a calling rooted in empathy, science, and service to humanity. These values unite us. They remain our greatest strength.

Thank you for your leadership.

Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A.

19th U.S. Surgeon General

Parenting in Recovery: How to Prevent Addiction in your Children

31 Aug

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Raising children in this day and age is difficult to say the least. Parents try to set good examples for their children every day but still struggle to do the right thing in each situation. Raising children as a recovering addict is even more difficult. How as parents can we shelter our kids from the horrors of addiction? Are there parenting methods to help prevent this? What can you do?

  1. Teach by example
    Each child is different and has their own individual set of needs. Some children learn by observing while others will jump right in and learn by experiencing things firsthand. As a parent we need to be cognizant of these differences and engage each child in the best manner possible. Above and beyond this we as parents need to teach by example. Don’t drink, even casually, in the presence of your children. By not using drugs yourself and discussing the consequences of using and abusing substances with your children you will instill an effective deterrent in them.
  2. Be open and ask questions
    If you have had any addiction problems in your life it is best to be open and honest about them and more importantly discuss with your kids what you did proactively to change your life. Make it clear that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Lead by example.
  3. Your influence has limits
    You can only do so much. There are limits to your ultimate influence on your children and the outside world will have a major effect on them by itself. We do not come from perfect families nor do we always know what the right thing to do is in any given situation. You just have to do your best to be an effective leader for your family. The ultimate hope is that by showing your family how you live your daily life, always seeking to better yourself and make informed decisions, in turn they will do the same.
  4. Exude love for yourself and others
    When children see how your treat yourself and others around you they learn how to deal with life’s myriad of situations. If they see you get out of control, angry or depressed they may learn to deal with similar situations in negative ways. Do your utmost to stay calm and mindful of each situation and your family will hopefully do the same.

Dr Michael Stone MD: Why I opened Cornerstone 32 years ago.

26 Aug

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In 1983 many of my patients in the hospital where I was employed were being discharged early due to the insurance companies refusing any further treatment. I felt that many of my patients, although medically safe to leave the hospital, were in no way ready to go home. So, I decided to open a sober living house in order to continue to help them after they were discharged.

In those days the hospital was charging $1200/day plus doctor and other charges to the insurance. When asked to leave the hospital I transferred a few to my first home. The cost was then $20/day – food and care included. We soon named the house Cornerstone of Southern California and proceeded to license it with the state of California.

Over the past 32 years we have become the best, most ethical, family owned and operated addiction treatment system. We now have 16 fully licensed and certified Recovery Homes in the surrounding cities of Santa Ana, Orange and Tustin.

Unfortunately, over the years many facilities have sprung up doing very questionable treatment practices and are mostly owned by investment teams and bankers with an extremely strong profit motive and not only poor ethics but also taking part in blatantly fraudulent business practices.

Cornerstone of Southern California takes great pride in our ethical treatment and has not and will never be a part of questionable or outright fraudulent practices. Cornerstone was founded to help addicts find lasting sobriety and after 32 years we will continue to promote ethical treatment practices and effective treatment programs.

 

Recovery Success: What Happens After Detox?

18 Aug

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If you can’t stop taking a drug even if you want to, or if the urge to use drugs is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm, you might be addicted. The NIDA has put together some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you think about drugs a lot?
  2. Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug usage but couldn’t?
  3. Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without the use of drugs?
  4. Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
  5. Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
  6. Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
  7. Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
  8. Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
  9. Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to pay for drugs?
  10. Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
  11. Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
  12. Has using drugs hurt your relationships with other people?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, you might have an addiction. People from all backgrounds can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.  Read more HERE.

Cornerstone: Helping Opioid Addicts since 1984

10 Aug

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Cornerstone has been helping opioid addicts since our inception in 1984. We understand the disease of addiction and understand the added difficulties in recovery when it comes to opioid street drugs and prescription drugs. The opioid epidemic has been out of control in this country for years and only recently have we seen some action taken by our government to fight back against this rising tide of addiction. Cornerstone is well versed in the use of Suboxone in opioid detoxification and in long term Suboxone maintenance. Our affiliated addiction medicine physicians can prescribe Suboxone when it is deemed necessary and understand the intricacies of long term maintenance. If you or a loved one suffers from opioid addiction to any of the following substances please reach out to us today:

How do I know if I am addicted?

26 Jul

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If you can’t stop taking a drug even if you want to, or if the urge to use drugs is too strong to control, even if you know the drug is causing harm, you might be addicted. The NIDA has put together some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you think about drugs a lot?
  2. Did you ever try to stop or cut down on your drug usage but couldn’t?
  3. Have you ever thought you couldn’t fit in or have a good time without the use of drugs?
  4. Do you ever use drugs because you are upset or angry at other people?
  5. Have you ever used a drug without knowing what it was or what it would do to you?
  6. Have you ever taken one drug to get over the effects of another?
  7. Have you ever made mistakes at a job or at school because you were using drugs?
  8. Does the thought of running out of drugs really scare you?
  9. Have you ever stolen drugs or stolen to pay for drugs?
  10. Have you ever been arrested or in the hospital because of your drug use?
  11. Have you ever overdosed on drugs?
  12. Has using drugs hurt your relationships with other people?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, you might have an addiction. People from all backgrounds can get an addiction. Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young.  Read more HERE.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment at Cornerstone of Southern California

16 Jun

 

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While residential treatment is the most effective and comprehensive form of addiction rehab, IOP treatment can be effective in individuals after a residential rehab program. Many people have maintained careers and families throughout addiction and need to ensure the continuity of those aspects of their life during treatment. This is when IOP may be the right choice for intensive rehabilitation structured around work, school, home life and other obligations. Within IOP treatment, clients still receive staff and peer support while maintaining their access to the community.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment, known in the field as “IOP” can be offered as a primary treatment program by a Cornerstone clinical staff member or through an outside medical assessment conducted by a licensed Addiction Medicine professional. IOP is only recommended for those clients who do not require a medically-supervised detox program prior to admitting. A good IOP program allows clients in recovery to continue their therapy, part-time, while still maintaining a normal schedule outside the treatment setting. Essentially the IOP program is made to accommodate a client’s normal work and family life. In Cornerstone’s Intensive Outpatient Program, all clients receive individualized treatment through group therapy as well as being assigned an individual counselor who will meet with them 1-on-1 each week. Our groups are kept to 15 or less and cover a myriad of topics which can include:

Relapse Prevention Education
Management of cravings and triggers
Understanding addiction and the recovery process
In depth explanation of the 12-step program
Co-occurring disorders
Family dynamics and Codependency
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome
Socialization in sobriety

Cornerstone’s 1-on-1 counseling sessions are private sessions where more personal issues can be discussed that may not have been addressed in the larger group therapy sessions. Our intensive outpatient program is structured so that more attendance may be required in the beginning of IOP treatment than later when the client’s strength in their recovery program has been established. The intensity of the first few weeks in a recovery program helps clients successfully navigate their most fragile period of sobriety with more support and guidance.

Our IOP program will allow clients to continue to live in their own homes while continuing treatment. Clients are able to go to work or to look for a job, and can begin rebuilding their personal lives while maintaining the help and support they receive from our program. Clients are responsible for participating in group or individual therapy according to their scheduled treatment plan.