12 Step Austin IOP Austin Opiate Alternative Recovery Austin Sober Living Austin

Fentanyl, a Deadly Bate ad Switch Game

The United States Fentanyl Crisis

The opioid crisis in the United States has resulted in approximately 192 deaths per day. Oxycodone and heroin were not responsible for these deaths. The drug currently killing people is called fentanyl. Fatal drug overdoses significantly increased from 1999 through 2017 due to fentanyl. This drug is classified as a synthetic opioid between eighty and 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl has been used for many years in anesthesia cocktails and cancer patches to relieve pain. During the fairly recent past, fentanyl has become a viral recreational drug. 

The Centers for Disease Control has recently issued a report stating fentanyl is involved in more fatal overdoses than any other drug throughout the United States. In 2016, nearly one-third of all fatalities involved fentanyl. There was an increase of approximately 113 percent of fatal overdoses between 2013 and 2016. A minimum of two-thirds of the deaths related to fentanyl involved a minimum of one additional drug. This is partially due to drug dealers lacing cocaine and heroin with fentanyl to increase potency while cutting costs. 

This means when an individual purchases opioids, they are receiving a deadly combination. Fentanyl was involved in two of every five overdose deaths related to cocaine. Almost one-third of all deaths resulting from fentanyl involved heroin as well. Fentanyl overdose has become an extreme legitimate danger. 

The Truth About Fentanyl

Fentanyl works just like other opioids. The drug binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. These receptors control both emotions and pain. As the individual continues to use fentanyl, the brain adapts. The effects of the drug are weakened which results in the individual using larger quantities. This often results in dependency. Due to the potency of the drug, fentanyl is used for the treatment of chronic pain or severe pain resulting from surgery. 

Although a prescription can be written for fentanyl, the most common drug overdose is linked to the fentanyl produced in underground laboratories, manufactured into pills created to look like another prescription, added to nasal sprays and eye droppers, and even just sold as a powder. Drug suppliers and dealers are literally killing people to increase their profits. Fentanyl has a lot of harmful effects and symptoms. This includes:

• Anxiety

• Heartbeat changes

• Shallow and slow breathing

• Drowsiness

• Depression

• Seizures

• Confusion

• Chest, back and stomach pain

• Dizziness

• Itching

Continually using or overusing fentanyl can result in fainting, respiratory complications, depression and ultimately overdose, resulting in complications. 

The Fentanyl Epidemic

The opioid crisis in America is now a fentanyl epidemic spiraling out of control. There is a fentanyl overdose occurring every day. There were painkillers containing fentanyl created using counterfeit prescriptions by a man in Utah. He became a drug kingpin by mailing this deadly drug to people all over the United States. He will be going to trial, along with a small group of individuals, regarding allegations of using the basement of his home to send hundreds of thousands of packages with pills containing fentanyl. 

Issues the federal government’s prosecutors will bring to light: the drug is being imported from China, it is poorly manufactured in to fake pills that are then sold and dispersed throughout every state via the online black market, sequentially killing tens of thousands of people by drug overdose The allegations of the prosecutors state dozens of customers died from a fentanyl overdose. Despite this, the charges for the ringleader include just one death: an individual 21 years of age who died after snorting what was believed to be prescription oxycodone but was laced with fentanyl. 

The ringleader began as a workout buff and aspiring entrepreneur. He said he did not realize the danger of his actions and was simply trying to make money. He never saw the people he was harming, just the numbers on his screen. At the time he was arrested, the bust was one of the biggest in the country’s history. According to documents from the court, the raid on his home revealed thousands of pills, a pill press in the basement and garbage bags containing in excess of $1 million in cash. 

The group began two years previously, eventually including over a dozen individuals. According to the allegations of the court documents, they met the ringleader while working at an eBay call center. The partnership began with two men. They started out by importing steroids, then reselling them to their friends from the gym. Another man pled guilty for assisting in the development of the recipe and pressing the pills laced with fentanyl. The fentanyl was shipped to several homes of the group’s members directly from China. The authorities stated the residents were then paid to turn over the drug. 

The powder was allegedly cut, fillers added and then pressed into pill form. According to the prosecutors, stamps and dyes were used to replicate the appearance of legitimate pills. Public health experts have issued warnings regarding the danger of small drug trafficking networks. Fentanyl is being cut and mixed despite the fact just a few flakes can be deadly. Due to the amateur equipment being used, one pill may only contain a small amount of fentanyl while another may have enough to cause immediate death.

According to the prosecutor, the pills being shipped were poison in disguise. Average people purchased these pills such as someone who became addicted due to an injury or surgery. The pills were sold at a dark-web marketplace on the internet called Pharma-Master. Reaching the dark web requires a special browser and is frequently used for dark activity. The dark-web also has user-friendly sites a lot like eBay and Amazon. The court documents stated Pharma-Master is one of the more prominent dealers often processing as many as fifty orders per day.

The pills were counted, vacuum-sealed and shipped to homes throughout the United States in envelopes. According to the prosecutors, the packages had phony return addresses and fake invoices. Mailboxes throughout Salt Lake City were used to drop the packages so the group could hide from the police. Some of the orders were smaller while others contained thousands of pills. The prosecutors stated these were sent to drug dealers and gang members who sold them on the streets. The cost of making each pill was less than one cent yet the prosecutors said they sold on the street for $20.

Preventing Deaths from Fentanyl

Preventable injuries and deaths such as fatal overdoses are often referred to as accidental. This implies these deaths are unable to be prevented. Overdoses can be prevented when the individual can easily access the help they require. The third highest cause of death in the United States are preventable injuries. As the government attempts to establish control of the opioid epidemic, new chemicals are being produced to subvert the law. Enforcement and strict regulations are not enough to eliminate the market for illicit drugs or prevent access. 

Regulations are being pursued to decrease the fentanyl being received in the United States through China. The increasing demand for these types of drugs must also be addressed to ensure a real impact. This means the people must be educated regarding the true dangers including possible overdose and death resulting from fentanyl. The reasons individuals started using these drugs are just as important. If these reasons are not addressed, the war on illegal drugs will never end. 

12 Step Austin IOP Austin Recovery Austin Sober Living Austin Uncategorized

Positive Ways to Celebrate the Holidays if You’re in Recovery

The holidays are here with us. This time of the year is supposed to be peaceful and joyous. However, it can also be a time of sadness, tension, and depression, especially for people struggling with addiction. Feelings of hurt, loss of a loved one, shame, resentment, and guilt about the past can heighten such emotions.


Newly sobers may find it hard to navigate through these situations while living without the substance. Fortunately, the experience of spending quality time with family and having the right support can help to foster a positive environment for recovery. Unfortunately, if you are recovering from substance use, you may also be tempted to break away from your sobriety during the holidays.


While you may seek support from family and friends, take charge of your own sobriety. The holidays should be a reminder and a proof of positive things that can be achieved through serenity, sobriety, and service. Here are tips to help you to navigate through the holidays without a relapse.


Be thankful


Remind yourself of the positive steps you have made and how far you have come in your abstinence journey. The holiday season is the perfect time to reward yourself for your accomplishments. Celebrate the many hurdles you have gone through, no matter how small they may be.


The fact that you have taken actions and have the desire to change your life, even if you have just started your sobriety journey, is a positive step that should empower you to achieve greater things. To keep yourself in the right mindset, list all the positive things in your life, why you fought addiction and many other things you are grateful for.


Make preparations for staying sober


Everyone recovering from substance abuse should have a relapse prevention strategy. In your plan, describe the strategies you are using to support your rehabilitation during the holidays. For instance, if you communicate with your sponsor or a positive friend three times a week, make it seven times a week during the holidays. If you have certain cravings, draw anti-craving strategies. These could include things like reading anti-relapse literature, exercising, calling someone, or even praying.


On top of this, think about each day and fill it with things that empower or bring you joy. If you tend to get lonely, plan to surround yourself with positive people.


As you draw your plan, it is important to be realistic. Sometimes, you may need to be careful especially when some situations depend on the actions of others. It is best to avoid spending time with people who are a bad influence. For example, friends you used to drink together with before your rehab.

Have an escape strategy


Basing on previous holiday experiences, identify potential scenarios that may make you break away from your routine and draw a strategy of how you will respond to each scenario. Think about people that can support you in your journey and the ones who cannot. Also, decide on the things you can talk about and the ones you are not willing to discuss.


You may want to inform people about your situation as most people don’t stigmatize addiction anymore. But if you are not willing to be open about it, find a way to turn down alcohol or drugs. Know and rehearse your response even if it is a fake excuse.


If you are planning to attend social gatherings, always arrive early and depart early. This strategy will help you avoid awkward situations. In most cases, drug and alcohol use is more common as the party continues. Don’t worry about offending the host by arriving early because your sobriety is cardinal.


Mind what you drink


If you are attending social events, chances are that someone will ask you, “Would you like a drink?” It is, therefore, helpful to have a beverage with you to avoid such questions. Sometimes, you may also accidentally choose a wrong drink, only to realize when you have already swallowed. This does not mean that you have a relapse, but replace the drink immediately.

To avoid some of these awkward situations, you can bring your own drinks to social gatherings. This way, you will less likely to fall victim to any mischievous attempt to spike your drink with drug or alcohol. Keep in mind that not everyone will take your rehabilitation seriously.


Share support


Surround yourself with positive people during the holiday season. There are many people who struggle with recovery and who are in need of support. Plan to spend time with such people. When you support others in their struggles, you will take your focus elsewhere, thus paying little attention to your own struggles and shortcomings. As a group, you may even find ways of giving back to the society, for instance, visiting the elderly, volunteering service at your local church or charity, or even spending time with the less fortunate.


Seek help


To avoid being lonely or out of place when you attend social events, bring along a sober friend who understands your situation. If you are traveling out of town, have phone numbers of the right people in your support system.


Support and encouragement comes in handy during tempting times. If you are part of a support group or attending rehab sessions, make sure you do not miss all your routine meetings. Don’t allow the holiday mood to jeopardize your sobriety journey.

Celebrating with a loved one in recovery


If you have a loved one who is trying to overcome substance abuse, give them your support. If your family has holiday practices that don’t help in bringing the family together in a supportive way, make new traditions.


While everyone should treat relapse as serious as it is, watch out not to suffocate the recovering person’s ability to relish his or her moments of glory. Family members need to discuss with recovering loved ones about things that will make them comfortable during the holiday season. Here are a few tips that may help to accommodate recovering individuals during the holiday.


  • Ask the recovering family member if he or she is comfortable taking part in holiday celebrations. Help the person understand that it is okay to miss some events if that is best for his or her recuperation.


  • Find out the beverages that the recovering person prefers. Many recovering individuals may love non-alcoholic cocktails. However, be wary of some drinks because they can be a trigger for the newly sober. Beverages such as hot or iced tea, cocoa, coffee, or hotly spiced cedar are safer options.


  • Ask if the person would like to invite a friend who does not drink. Sometimes, recovering persons love to spend time with another recovering friend or someone who understands their situation, especially in social gatherings where alcohol is served.

Enjoy the holidays


Being the time for celebrations, don’t let your struggles prevent you from enjoying your holiday. Take it easy and celebrate your sobriety in style. Find activities that help you connect with body, mind, and spirit. Maintain your exercise routine, have plenty of rest, pray, and watch what you eat. Maintaining sobriety will help you experience the true spirit the holiday. Don’t be afraid to seek support when you feel overwhelmed and always keep communication lines open.

12 Step Austin IOP Austin Recovery Austin Sober Living Austin Uncategorized

Experiential Mondays ~ Enjoying Nature in Austin

Experiential Mondays at Omega recovery include activities like hiking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, horseback riding, and tons of other outdoor adventures. Nature has unique and healing qualities that people have benefited from since the beginning of time. Balance is key to recovery and a healthy life.  Adventure therapy in nature helps our mind, body and soul decompress from our stressful, high-tech driven lives.

Standing on Rocks - Experiential Mondays

Drugs and alcohol dull the senses and shut off the user from the surrounding environment. At Omega Recovery we believe a healthy recovery includes an awakening of the senses and reconnecting with nature.

Log - Experientail Mondays

Nature adventures help recovery by restoring energy and confidence. Nature clears the mind, instills hope, and helps a successful life become conceivable. The Barton Creek Greenbelt located in south-central Austin, contains over 800 acres of beautiful nature trails, with the main trail spanning almost 8 miles.

Julia - Experiential Mondays (1)

Clients connect and transform with adventure therapy and the magic of the Austin greenbelts. Experiential Mondays at Omega Recovery sends clients on a journey of self-discovery, healthy recovery and personal growth.

Overlook - Experiential Mondays

Nature helps us to look at ourselves honestly, with regard to our gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses. Spending time on trails in the greenbelt, rock climbing, swimming in Barton Springs, exploring the hill country are just a few of the ways to help us see our true potential, to develop self-love and accept ourselves for who we truly are. Moreso, we’re able to invision who we can become. Adventure therapy at Omega Recovery is a big part of our program and we continue to see it inspire emotional healing in our clients. To learn more about our programs, contact us at 512-387-9575.

12 Step Austin IOP Austin Recovery Austin Sober Living Austin Uncategorized

Rehab Tune-Up, Is It Time?


Anyone who has ever been addicted to a substance knows that fighting that addiction is a long-term battle. Fortunately, most choose to get into a rehabilitation center and gain sobriety. However, things do not necessarily get easier. A common misconception is that once someone has gone through their addiction recovery program and completed their treatment, they have recovered. This is not the case as recovery is not a one-time accomplishment. It is an ongoing journey with more than its share of speed bumps. It is a fight that you might have to battle more than once to win it.


As such, during the days, months, or even years after your treatment, one is still susceptible to slipping, relapsing, or falling back into their old ways. In fact, estimates show that over 40 percent of recovering addicts relapse. The unfortunate thing about relapsing, however, is that if the individual does not take immediate measures to curb it, they can quickly spiral down back the rabbit hole they had fought so desperately to escape.


Therefore, it is imperative that one notices these signs early so they can enroll for a rehab tune-up program to prevent them from falling back to addiction.

This article will discuss what a rehab tune-up is, how it helps curb a relapse, and how to tell when you or a loved one need a tune-up.


What is a Rehab Tune-up?


During your recovery after battling addiction, life may throw you curveballs or situations which make you reach for the drug or substance that you have worked so hard to fight off. In these moments, you might either slip and use, or feel a very strong urge to use.


If you do not take any preventive measures, you will risk relapsing. In a bid to prevent this from happening, drug rehab facilities often have tune-up programs that help you through those trying moments to ensure that your recovery is not compromised.


How to Know You Need a Rehab Tune-up


  1. You No Longer Go To Meetings, Therapy, Or Aftercare


Going to group therapies and meetings are one of the best ways of staying open about your experiences during recovery. It also allows you to be accountable. And like it was mentioned earlier, recovery is an ongoing learning lesson with no end. However, it offers you opportunities for growth. Therefore, if you find yourself or a loved one avoiding these environments that foster growth, it means that you are losing touch with what it means to be active in recovery, and are on the verge of resorting to old ways.


  1. Changes in Feelings and Attitudes


Relapsing does not always revolve around slipping and using. It can also be about the emotions you feel that might lead you back to the addiction. After completing your rehab program and going back into the world, unhealthy thoughts are bound to cross your mind.


For instance, a recovering alcohol addict might start thinking, “One beer for the night cannot be that bad. It is the weekend, after all.”


If you catch yourself thinking along those lines, take a step back and evaluate how far you have come. Think about the sacrifices, time, and money that your loved ones spent putting you through the program so you could get better. Think about the disappointment you will cause to yourself and your family if you were to relapse.


If the urges are still too strong despite being aware of the implications of relapsing, you need to visit a rehab tune up.


  1. Lying


Do you find yourself constantly making excuses for your behaviors? Are you avoiding the truth about your negative emotions and feelings? You always know when you are not honest about how you really feel, and this is a red flag. If you feel this way, seeking professional help will help you deal with those emotions.


  1. Depression


While everyday ups and downs are normal, a prolonged period of sadness is risky towards effective recovery. A lack of interest, motivation, concentration, and sleep are the most common signs of depression. If you notice these signs, do not sit on them as they will likely make you reach for the substance you have been avoiding. Contact the professionals.


  1. Overconfidence


After completing their rehab program, some addicts might feel that they can be in situations where drugs are present because they have been cured. If you feel this way, it means that you do not completely understand what the recovery process entails as putting yourself in such a situation is likely to trigger a relapse.


  1. Tunnel Vision


Do you find yourself directing all your attention to one area of your life? Are you neglecting other significant aspects of your life such as family and friends? This is a clear warning sign that you are on the verge of relapse. Taking some time in a rehab tune-up will help you realign your priorities.


  1. Irritation


Unfortunately, some recovering addicts might feel like abandoning their bad habits is a sacrifice, and that this gives them the right to be angry or demanding all the time. If you find yourself feeling like this constantly, it is imperative that you visit a recovery center.


Benefits of Rehab Tune Ups


  1. Breaking the Cycle


Someone on the verge of relapse is usually around settings or factors that encourage them to return to their habits. By pulling them away from these situations and allowing them to think objectively about everything that surrounds them, rehab tune-ups set the individual back on track.


  1. Dig Into Underlying Issues


At times, the individual might not know what is triggering them to attempt the substance again. They might be depressed without even knowing it. A rehab tune-up has resources that can help the individual to dig into those underlying issues while assisting them to build coping skills, so they do not have to use the drug or substance as a coping mechanism.


  1. Encouraging Newly Adopted Habits


Addicts are typically people with poor discipline and self-care habits. During the rehabilitation process, they are taught new constructive habits that will help them become better individuals. However, maintaining these habits or practices can be hard once they are out of the rehab center.


This makes them vulnerable to falling back to old habits. The benefit of going to a rehab tune-up, therefore, is that it reminds the individual of the importance of maintaining healthy habits in helping combat the compulsive nature of addictions.


A rehab tune up is not a one-off thing. Rather, it is something that a recovering addict might need more than once. Tune-ups are not the same as rehabilitation programs. This is because instead of treating the individual, a tune-up helps the person to stay on top of their recovery program. And because one cannot always be strong enough to resist temptations, a tune-up offers you solace and support when you are at your most vulnerable.
Are you a recovering addict and need some help staying on course? Serving the residents of Maui and its environs, Maui Recovery is the premier addiction recovery center in Hawaii. While our primary goal is to set addicts back on the right path, we also have programs geared towards helping recovering addicts to stay on top of their recovery. For people who do not have a full 30 days for rehab, we have customized 1 week rehab and 2 week rehab programs to address your addiction and its underlying issues. The 1 week rehab and 2 week rehab programs also take care of individuals looking to take a time-out so they can connect with their true self. Do you feel this would be beneficial for you? Feel free to contact us for further information.


Learn More about our Rehab Retreats at Maui Recovery.