Pandemic blamed for Oregon’s 40% increase in drug overdose deaths

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Oregon saw a nearly 40% increase in overdose deaths this year, a jump that’s similar to the trend nationwide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blames the increase on COVID-19. It said the pandemic has hit people already struggling with substance abuse disorders hard.

CDC figures show Oregon reported 580 deaths from drug overdoses between June 2019 to May 2020 . For the whole country, there were more than 81,000 deaths. That’s equivalent to the entire population of Medford, and it is the highest number of overdose deaths in a one-year span the country has ever seen.

“Many people who are using substances, they may be hanging by a thread as is,” said Dr. Tom Jeanne, deputy health officer with the Oregon Health Authority. “Throw in a pandemic and all the disruptions, access to housing, access to health care and mental health services, stress from losing jobs and social isolation, all of those things just compound the already significant stressors that many of these people are facing.

“The COVID crisis also interrupted ways people with substance use disorder can get help, such as mental health services, 12-step programs and ambulatory visits.”

The Oregon Health Authority is reporting a 63%t spike in drug overdose deaths during the second quarter of 2020. The deaths appear to have peaked in May and then returned to near-monthly averages in June and July. Death figures for more recent months have yet to be updated, but early data indicates a worrisome increase in November.

While most Oregon deaths from overdoses involve opioids, troubling contributors include methamphetamines and the synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

The state said it is taking several steps to try to reduce overdose deaths. For example, the state is distributing the overdose prevention drug naloxone. It’s using real-time overdose surveillance data to mount immediate responses to sudden increases in deaths. And it’s providing methadone to patients through opioid treatment providers and it’s using people who’ve recovered from drug addiction to mentor those currently using drugs.

People using opioids on a regular basis are also being advised to reach out to treatment programs, hotlines, and mental health services.

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    Five overdose calls, including two deadly cases, hit Oxnard police in 10-hour stretch

    Oxnard authorities responded to five overdose calls — including two fatal incidents — during a 10-hour stretch starting Tuesday afternoon.

    The cluster of cases prompted the Oxnard Police Department to issue a news release that included resources for people struggling with opioid addiction.

    The spate of calls started around 3:35 p.m. Tuesday when police and emergency medical personnel responded to a suspected heroin overdose in the parking lot of a business in the 2300 block of North Rose Avenue, south of the junction with Highway 101, the department reported. A 40-year-old man died at the scene after crews attempted life-saving measures.

    The next two patients were revived with the use of naloxone, a nasal spray sometimes called by the brand name Narcan, which can reverse opioid overdoses. Patrol officers with many local law enforcement agencies now routinely carry and administer the spray.

    Shortly after 7 p.m., a  29-year-old man described as unconscious and not breathing at Rose Avenue and Highway 101 was revived by emergency medical crews using naloxone. Less than an hour later, a bystander successfully administered naloxone to a 49-year-old woman reported as unconscious and not breathing at Ninth and B streets, authorities said.

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    At around 11:26 p.m., officers responded to the 1200 block of South Victoria Avenue, south of Wooley Road, where a man was reportedly not breathing inside a business restroom. The 36-year-old man died at the scene despite live-saving efforts by medical crews.

    Two hours later, police officers administered two doses of naloxone and started CPR on a 29-year-old man, successfully reviving him. He had reportedly stopped breathing in a business parking lot in the 1900 block of North Rose, north of Gonzales Road.

    In 2019, 149 people died of drug overdoses in Ventura County, authorities have reported.

    Oxnard police have recently increased seizures of heroin and fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, the department noted. Addiction to prescription pain relievers has caused a sharp increase in use of heroin and fentanyl use in Ventura County because heroin is cheaper and more widely available than prescription pills, authorities said.

    Heroin is often laced with fentanyl, which is about 50 times stronger and can be lethal in very small doses. An amount of fentanyl equivalent to about three grains of salt could provide a fatal dose, according to police.

    “Very few people can say they do not know somebody who is not affected by the epidemic,” officials said in a statement, noting that opioid addiction can touch people from all walks of life. Naloxone kits are available for family members or others who live with a person struggling with opioid addiction from Ventura County Behavioral Health.

    Authorities urge residents to explore resources available from Ventura County Behavioral Health at www.venturacountyresponds.org.

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      Drug Overdose Deaths in 2020 on Track to Break Record

      Drug Overdose Deaths in 2020

      The Deadliest Year In the History of U.S. Drug Use

      While over 300,000 Americans and counting have died from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, another public-health disaster is taking more lives than ever before: drug overdoses.

      Overdose deaths in 2019 were significantly higher than 2018, jumping from 67,367 deaths in 2018 to 70,630 overdose deaths in 2019, marking a nearly 5 percent increase, according to a new report issued Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If that’s not grim enough, a separate health alert published by the CDC this week reports a “concerning acceleration” in overdose deaths for 2020, which provisional data show is on track to be the deadliest year for U.S. drug overdose deaths in recorded history. Complete data for 2020 is not expected to be available until some time next year.

      The CDC estimates that 81,230 drug overdose deaths occurred from June 2019 to May 2020. The largest overdose spike happened from March to May of this year, which coincides with the beginning of the pandemic when the economy collapsed, lockdowns were imposed and “social distancing” became a new way of life. In addition to unemployment and financial precarity driving up despair, public-health experts have also suggested that isolation during the pandemic has led more people to use drugs alone with no one around to revive them or call 911 if they overdose.

      “I’m horrified by the increases across the board,” Dr. Kim Sue, a physician-anthropologist who studies addiction at Yale University’s School of Medicine, told Intelligencer. “Even before the pandemic, the U.S. was going in the wrong direction.”

      Illicit fentanyl, an Über-potent opioid manufactured around the world in clandestine labs and used to adulterate heroin, is largely responsible for the soaring death rate, according to the CDC. While illicit fentanyl used to be concentrated in New England, it has rapidly spread across the Midwest and in recent years has made its way to the West Coast. In San Francisco, more people have died this year from overdoses than from COVID-19. In 2019, the city saw 441 overdose deaths compared to 621 so far this year, a 40 percent jump. Across the country, deaths are also steeply rising from stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine, the CDC found, and many deaths involve a combination of different kinds of drugs, not just opioids.

      America’s overdose crisis is proving to be a dynamic and ever-changing phenomenon that experts say has played out in three waves. The first wave began in the early 2000s and mainly comprised deaths from opioid pain relievers like oxycodone. After a crackdown on prescription pills, people flocked to a ballooning heroin market as pills became scarce and expensive. The third and much more deadly wave that sent the overdose rate soaring was driven primarily by powerful illicit fentanyl analogues that began to be used in heroin.

      Now the U.S. may be entering a fourth wave, or something more like a tsunami. Illicit fentanyl and stimulants such as meth and cocaine now account for the bulk of overdose deaths. From 2012 through 2019, the rate of overdose deaths involving cocaine increased more than three-fold, and stimulants like methamphetamine increased more than six-fold, according to the CDC. Trends in stimulant overdoses are also on track to worsen during 2020. Deaths involving cocaine increased by 26.5 percent from June 2019 to May 2020, while deaths involving stimulants such as meth increased by 34.8 percent during the same period.

      President Trump took credit in 2018 for a meager decline in overdose deaths, but they have skyrocketed even as the federal government made $3.4 billion available to states to fund addiction-treatment services and purchase the opioid-overdose-reversal drug, naloxone. A new report by the Government Accountability Office shows why that funding has made little impact: Over $1 billion in federal grant money meant for the opioid crisis has yet to be spent by states. Addiction experts cite burdensome bureaucracy, needless paperwork, and poor use of existing treatment infrastructure as reasons why so much federal money that was earmarked for the overdose crisis remains unused. “Bureaucracy is literally killing people,” Robert Ashford, an addiction researcher who studies recovery, tweeted. The latest pandemic-relief package contains another sizable investment in mental-health and addiction services. Experts also lament that federal grant money specifically intended for the treatment of opioid-use disorders wasn’t available to people who needed treatment for other substance-use disorders — such as stimulant and alcohol addiction.

      Yale’s Sue and many of her colleagues believe that America’s “drug war” approach is outdated and that it has caused more harm than it aims to prevent. Focusing on suing Big Pharma, ramping up trafficking busts, and sending people suffering from addiction to drug courts are “myopic” and “misguided” approaches, Sue said. “We have to innovate and pivot quickly, enacting evidence-based harm-reduction strategies to keep people alive,” she added.

      There’s a long list of policies and interventions Sue hopes to see in the near future. “I am heartened to see in the CDC report that drug checking, mobile buprenorphine or telemedicine, wrap-around post-overdose care, and diversion from jail or prison, are critical components of a novel and engaged response,” Sue said, adding she’d also like to see supervised consumption sites and much greater access to effective medications that treat addiction.

      Meanwhile, the Biden-Harris administration has yet to select a director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a.k.a. the “drug czar,” but whoever takes the job surely faces an uphill climb in their effort to prevent the crisis from getting even worse. If Biden keeps up the trend of hiring from the Obama administration and the Washington drug policy blob, America’s approach to addiction is unlikely to dramatically change anytime soon.

      “Why must U.S. drug policy be led by people who continue doing the same thing, putting a square peg in a round hole and expecting improvement?” Sue said.

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        The Best Mental Health Treatment Center in Southern California

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        Oak Forest Recovery Center is the best Mental Health Treatment Center in Los Angeles, Southern California. We help you with mental health through comprehensive treatment programs. Our intention is for clients to get better as they begin to understand trauma and how it has affected their lives. Clinical sessions help clients learn important skills for coping with emotional distress.  We want our clients to leave our program with a better understanding of themselves, an ability to change their destructive behaviors and tools to improve their relationships with others. 

        Levels Of Care

        Our program is divided into 2 separate levels of care – IOP & PHP. IOP clients participate in 3 hours of therapy per day. PHP clients participate in 6 hours of therapy per day. After an assessment of the level of care the client needs we design a customized clinical IOP or PHP treatment program that includes individual therapy and group therapy. When appropriate, we will also provide family therapy. Clients participate in treatment 5 days per week.

        Treatment Modalities

        Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) gives clients the ability to recognize how events/triggers can create thoughts, feelings and behaviors that cause negative results in their life. Through CBT new thought patterns and neural pathways can be created, inspiring positive outcomes in daily life.

        Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) helps clients learn how to tolerate overwhelming emotions and distress through emotional regulation and tolerance skills like mindfulness; intrapersonal skills development to build self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness helps clients understand who they are in relation to self. Interpersonal skills development like acquiring emotional intelligence and developing better communication skills to encourage healthy relationships with family and friends are also at the core of our curriculum.

        Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy treatment that was originally designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories. EMDR enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Repeated studies show that by using EMDR therapy people can experience the benefits of psychotherapy that once took years to make a difference. It is widely assumed that severe emotional pain requires a long time to heal.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body recovers from physical trauma.  When you cut your hand, your body works to close the wound.  If a foreign object or repeated injury irritates the wound, it festers and causes pain. Once the block is removed, healing resumes. EMDR therapy demonstrates that a similar sequence of events occurs with mental processes. helps clients disconnect from negative belief patterns and neutralize triggers connected to trauma and undesirable life events.

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          What is Sober Living Homes?

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          Sober Living Homes that are free from drugs and alcohol. Oak Forest Recovery is an addiction treatment center that offers High Structure Sober Living Homes, Drug & Alcohol Rehab Centers. A complete recovery ecosystem consisting of 5 gender specific sober livings and mental health/ trauma focused treatment center consisting of PHP & IOP levels of care. A new treatment paradigm through 360 degrees of safety and full immersion treatment.

          OFR 1 – Men’s House

          All inclusive 16 Bed men’s high structure sober living. Cash pay.

          5836 Fairview Place Agoura Hills, CA 9130

          OFR 2 – Women’s House

          All inclusive 12 Bed women’s high structure sober living. Cash pay.

          282 Manzanita Lane. Westlake Village, CA 91361

          OFR 3 – The Compound

          All inclusive 3 structures. Men & Women. IOP/PHP Insurance accepted.

          5836 Fairview Place Agoura Hills, CA 9130

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            When Does Drug Use Become an Addiction?

            Drug addiction is a complex and chronic brain disease. People who have a drug addiction experience compulsive, sometimes uncontrollable, craving for their drug of choice. Typically, they will continue to seek and use drugs in spite of experiencing extremely negative consequences as a result of using.

            Characteristics of Addiction

            According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by:

            • Compulsive drug-seeking
            • Continued use despite harmful consequences
            • Long-lasting changes in the brain

            NIDA also notes that addiction is both a mental illness and a complex brain disorder. Diagnosing addiction requires an assessment by a trained and certified professional. Talk to a doctor or mental health professional if you feel that you may have an addiction or substance abuse problem.

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              Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Treat Addiction?

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              Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy approach that can be used to help treat substance use disorders. CBT is commonly used to treat depression, anxiety disorders, phobias, and other mental disorders, but it has also been shown to be valuable in treating alcoholism and drug addiction. This is especially true when it’s part of an overall program of recovery.

              CBT helps people learn to better identify the negative and self-defeating thoughts and actions that can contribute to substance use. It is a short-term, focused therapeutic approach to helping drug-dependent people become abstinent.

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                How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) Works?

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                Rational emotive behavior therapy, also known as REBT, is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy developed by psychologist Albert Ellis. REBT is focused on helping clients change irrational beliefs.

                The Basic Steps of REBT

                In order to better understand how REBT looks, it is important to take a closer look at the therapeutic process itself.

                Identify Irrational Thought Patterns and Beliefs

                The very first step in the process is to identify the underlying, irrational thoughts, feelings, and beliefs that lead to psychological distress. In many cases, these irrational beliefs are reflected as absolutes, as in “I must,” “I should,” or “I cannot.” According to Ellis, some of the most common irrational beliefs include:

                • Feeling excessively upset over other people’s mistakes or misconduct
                • Believing that you must be 100% competent and successful in everything to be valued and worthwhile
                • Believing that you will be happier if you avoid life’s difficulties or challenges
                • Feeling that you have no control over your own happiness, that your contentment and joy are dependent upon external forces

                Holding such unyielding beliefs makes it almost impossible to respond to activating situations in a psychologically healthy way. Possessing such rigid expectations of ourselves and others only leads to disappointment, recrimination, regret, and anxiety. Rational emotive behavior therapy can be effective in the treatment of a range of psychological disorders, including anxiety and phobias. It can also help people manage specific behaviors, such as severe shyness and excessive approval-seeking.

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                  Overview of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

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                  Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Its main goals are to teach people how to live in the moment, develop healthy ways to cope with stress, regulate their emotions, and improve their relationships with others.

                  DBT can help people who have difficulty with emotional regulation or are exhibiting self-destructive behaviors (eating disorders and substance use disorders). DBT is sometimes used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

                  How It Works

                  DBT has evolved to become an evidence-based psychotherapy approach that is used to treat many conditions. DBT is used in three therapeutic settings.

                  Group settings where patients are taught behavioral skills by completing homework assignments and role-playing new ways of interacting with others.

                  Individual therapy with a trained professional where a patient’s learned behavioral skills are adapted to their personal life challenges.

                  Phone coaching in which patients can call the therapist between sessions to receive guidance on coping with a difficult situation they are currently in.

                  Each therapeutic setting has its own structure and goals, but the characteristics of DBT can be found in group skills training, individual psychotherapy, and phone coaching.

                  Acceptance and change. You’ll learn strategies to accept and tolerate your life circumstances, emotions, and yourself. You will also develop skills that can help you make positive changes in your behaviors and interactions with others.

                  Behavioral. You’ll learn to analyze problems or destructive behavior patterns and replace them with more healthy and effective ones.

                  Cognitive. You’ll focus on changing thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and actions that are not effective or helpful.  

                  Collaboration. You’ll learn to communicate effectively and work together as a team (therapist, group therapist, psychiatrist).

                  Skill sets. You’ll learn new skills to enhance your capabilities.

                  Support. You’ll be encouraged to recognize your positive strengths and attributes and develop and use them.

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                    What Is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

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                    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps people learn how to identify and change destructive or disturbing thought patterns that have a negative influence on behavior and emotions. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on changing the automatic negative thoughts that can contribute to and worsen emotional difficulties, depression, and anxiety. These spontaneous negative thoughts have a detrimental influence on mood.

                    Through CBT, these thoughts are identified, challenged, and replaced with more objective, realistic thoughts.

                    Types of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

                    CBT encompasses a range of techniques and approaches that address thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These can range from structured psychotherapies to self-help materials. There are a number of specific types of therapeutic approaches that involve CBT:

                    • Cognitive Therapy centers on identifying and changing inaccurate or distorted thinking patterns, emotional responses, and behaviors.
                    • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) addresses thoughts and behaviors while incorporating strategies such as emotional regulation and mindfulness.
                    • Multimodal Therapy suggests that psychological issues must be treated by addressing seven different but interconnected modalities, which are behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors, and drug/biological considerations.4
                    • Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) involves identifying irrational beliefs, actively challenging these beliefs, and finally learning to recognize and change these thought patterns.

                    While each type of cognitive behavioral therapy takes a different approach, all work to address the underlying thought patterns that contribute to psychological distress.

                    Cognitive-behavior therapy can be effectively used as a short-term treatment centered on helping people with a very specific problem and teaching them to focus on present thoughts and beliefs. CBT is used to treat a wide range of conditions including:

                    • Addictions
                    • Anger issues
                    • Anxiety
                    • Bipolar disorder
                    • Depression
                    • Eating disorders
                    • Panic attacks
                    • Personality disorders
                    • Phobias
                    • Problems with stress

                    Cognitive behavioral therapy is highly goal-oriented and focused, with the therapist taking a very active role. People work with their therapists toward mutually established goals. The process is explained in detail and people are often given homework to complete between sessions.

                    Impact

                    The underlying concept behind CBT is that thoughts and feelings play a fundamental role in behavior. For example, a person who spends a lot of time thinking about plane crashes, runway accidents, and other air disasters may avoid air travel as a result. The goal of cognitive behavior therapy is to teach people that while they cannot control every aspect of the world around them, they can take control of how they interpret and deal with things in their environment.

                    CBT Strategies

                    People often experience thoughts or feelings that reinforce or compound faulty beliefs. Such beliefs can result in problematic behaviors that can affect numerous life areas, including family, romantic relationships, work, and academics.

                    Identify Negative Thoughts

                    It is important to learn how thoughts, feelings, and situations can contribute to maladaptive behaviors. The process can be difficult, especially for people who struggle with introspection, but it can ultimately lead to self-discovery and insights that are an essential part of the treatment process.

                    Practice New Skills

                    It is important to start practicing new skills that can then be put in to use in real-world situations. For example, a person with a substance use disorder might start practicing new coping skills and rehearsing ways to avoid or deal with social situations that could potentially trigger a relapse.

                    Set Goals

                    Goal setting can an important step in recovery from mental illness and helping you make changes to improve your health and life. During CBT, a therapist can help with goal-setting skills by teaching you how to identify your goal, distinguish between short- and long-term goals, set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) goals, and focus on the process as much as the end outcome.

                    Problem Solve

                    Learning problem solving skills can help you identify and solve problems that arise from life stressors, both big and small, and reduce the negative impact of psychological and physical illness. Problem solving in CBT often involves five steps: identifying a problem, generating a list of possible solutions, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each possible solution, choosing a solution to implement, and implementing the solution.

                    Self Monitor

                    Also known as diary work, self-monitoring is an important part of CBT that involves tracking behaviors, symptoms, or experiences over time and sharing them with your therapist. Self-monitoring can help provide your therapist with the information needed to provide the best treatment. For example, for eating disorders, self-monitoring may involve keeping track of eating habits as well as any thoughts or feelings that went along with consuming that meal or snack.

                    Progress Gradually

                    In most cases, CBT is a gradual process that helps a person take incremental steps towards a behavior change. For example, someone with social anxiety might start by simply imagining anxiety-provoking social situations. Next, they might start practicing conversations with friends, family, and acquaintances. By progressively working toward a larger goal, the process seems less daunting and the goals easier to achieve.

                    One of the greatest benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy is that it helps clients develop coping skills that can be useful both now and in the future. CBT is one of the most researched types of therapy, in part because treatment is focused on highly specific goals and results can be measured relatively easily.

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