Drug Addiction Rehabilitation: What Works the Best?

If you look at the actual statistics, trying to quit opiates without help is almost impossible. Statistics show trying to quit "cold turkey" without any help, your chances of staying clean for one year are about 3 in 1000. In other words 997 people out of 1000 will go back to their addiction in the first year without help. If you go to intensive in-patient rehab for 30 or 60 days, your chance off staying "clean" for one year is about 17 to 20 out of 100. About 80% of patients who complete in-patient rehab end up back on drugs. If you quit with the help of  out patient "substitution therapy", with the drug buprenorphine, your chance of staying clean, assuming you also do counseling, is about 80 to 85 out of 100.  

As, you can see counseling and substitution therapy give you or your child the best chance of recovery. The reason is, addiction is a disease of brain chemistry. The associated emotional/behavioral issues are risk factors and need to be addressed, but without dealing with the biochemical issue, counseling has only limited value. You cannot deal with psychological and behavioral issues if you are constantly craving drugs. You have to relieve that craving and hunger before you can benefit from counseling. Therapists who promote, and sometimes demand, quitting opiates without substitution therapy are practicing archaic medicine. Do some people quit without substitution therapy? The answer is yes, only about 3 percent.  Clearly the odds are stacked against you. Addiction is more like diabetes than like a psychological disease. You would never consider telling a diabetic to quit insulin, even if lifestyle issues have been addressed. To a great degree we have a double standard when dealing with opiate addiction. Consider the statistics before rejecting substitution therapy. 

R. Santasiero MD

10 Things A Parent Can Do To Prevent Addiction

10 Things A Parent Can Do To Prevent Addiction

Our Blog post on The Rock Father Magazine:"In support of their new book, Addicted Kids - Our Lost Generation: An Integrative Approach to Understanding and Treating Addicted Teens, Drs Ron and Cherie Santasiero stop by to share their list of ten important tips to help parents prevent addiction with their children..."

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Percocet Addiction

Percocet Addiction

Percocet is only available by prescription and is a narcotic painkiller medication. It is mainly used to temporarily treat moderate to severe pain after injury or surgery.  If a person becomes dependent on and addicted to the drug, Percocet addiction treatment may be needed. Loss of appetite stomach pain and jaundice are some Side effects of Percocet. While these side effects may be alleviated by medical treatments, they are common and not necessarily signs of addiction or dependence.

However, a user can become addicted to Percocet in as little as a week.

Signs of Percocet Addiction

Even if a patient is not abusing the medication and is taking it according to the doctor's instructions, he or she may still become addicted to it. Signs of addiction include:
Indifference to activities he or she used to enjoy
Poor work performance
Emotional detachment
Taking more of the medication than prescribed, regardless of the consequences

If addiction is left untreated, it may lead to an overdose. 

Percocet Detox

A detox center can completely rid someone's body of the drug. When detoxing from Percocet, patients may experience withdrawal symptoms. Percocet withdrawal symptoms include:
Nasal congestion
Nausea and vomiting
Muscle aches
Medical professionals at Percocet detox centers start addiction treatment by helping patients deal with withdrawal symptoms as they stop taking the drug. Doctors usually reduce the patient's Percocet intake gradually over several days or weeks until the patient is completely free of the medication. This process usually minimizes or even completely alleviates withdrawal symptoms. During detox, doctors monitor patients to ensure that there are no complications. If any withdrawal symptoms occur, doctors may administer additional medication to treat the symptoms and make the patient more comfortable. Counselors or therapists may also be present at the detox center to help patients cope with mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and depression.

After a patient completes detox treatment, he or she may still need to enter a Percocet rehab facility to receive further addiction treatment and learn to live without the drug. Upon entering a rehab facility, patients will receive a medical evaluation. If the patient began taking Percocet to treat an illness or injury, doctors will work with the patient to come up with an alternative treatment plan. This treatment plan may involve medications other than Percocet, physical therapy or other medical procedures.
Patients may also receive a psychiatric evaluation after entering a rehab facility. If patients have any underlying psychiatric disorders that caused them to abuse the drug, a counselor or therapist will help them cope with these disorders and come up with a treatment plan that does not involve Percocet. Patients may participate in group or individual counseling. Group counseling will help the different patients connect with and support one another. They may participate in relaxation activities such as yoga, deep breathing or meditation.
After checking out of a rehab facility, patients may continue their treatment by attending regular counseling sessions or participating in an addiction recovery group. To achieve a complete recovery, Percocet addicts need support. 

How to build a Quit Smoking plan


Building a Quit Smoking Plan

One of the keys to a success is preparation to plan to quit and creating a quit plan.

Quit plans:

  • Can improve your chances of quitting smoking for good

  • Put together quit smoking strategies to keep you focused, confident, and motivated to quit

  • Will identify challenges you will face as you quit and ways to overcome them

These following steps will help create your own customized quit plan. Going through the steps, keep a record of your plan and have it readily available during your quit.

Pick a Date to Quit

For choosing a quit date, sooner is better than later. Many smokers choose a date within two weeks to quit smoking. This will give you enough time to prepare. Really think about your quit date. Avoid choosing a day where you know you will be busy, stressed, or tempted to smoke (e.g., a night out with friends or days where you may smoke at work).

Next Step: Circle your quit day on your calendar. Write it out somewhere where you will see it every day. This will remind you of your decision to become smokefree and give you time to prepare to quit.

Let Loved Ones Know You Are Quitting

Quitting smoking is easier with support from important people in your life. Let them know ahead of your quit date that you are planning to quit. Explain how they can help you quit. We all need different things, so be sure you let friends and family know exactly how they can help.

Next Step: Support is one of the keys to successfully quitting. However, it can be hard to ask for help, even from the people closest to you. Review tips on getting support to make sure you get the help you need.

Determine Your Reasons to Quit Smoking

Everyone has their own reasons for quitting smoking. Maybe they want to be healthier, save some money, or keep their family safe. As you prepare to quit, think about your own reasons for quitting. Remind yourself of them every day. They can inspire you to stop smoking for good.

Next Step: Make a list of all the reasons you want to quit smoking. Keep it in a place where you can see it every day. Any time you feel the urge to smoke, review your list. It will keep you motivated to stay smokefree.

Identify Your Smoking Triggers

When you smoke, it becomes tied to many parts of your life. Certain activities, feelings, and people are linked to your smoking. When you come across these things, they may "trigger" or turn on your urge to smoke. Try to anticipate these smoking triggers and develop ways to deal with them.

Next Step: Make a list of everything that makes you feel like smoking. Now, write down one way you can deal with or avoid each item on your list. Keep this list nearby during your quit. Having trouble with your list? Find examples of ways to deal with smoking triggers on this cravings page.

Remove Reminders of Smoking

Getting rid of smoking reminders can keep you on track during your quit. Smoking reminders can include your cigarettes, matches, ashtrays, and lighters. It may also help to make things clean and fresh at work‚ in your car‚ and at home. Even the smell of cigarettes can cause a cigarette craving.

Next Step: Throw away all your cigarettes and matches. Give or throw away your lighters and ashtrays. Don't save one pack of cigarettes "just in case."

Develop Coping Strategies

Nicotine is the chemical in cigarettes that makes you addicted to smoking. When you stop smoking, your body has to adjust to no longer having nicotine in its system. This is called withdrawal. Withdrawal can be unpleasant, but you can get through it. Developing strategies to cope with withdrawal ahead of your quit can help ensure you stay smokefree for good!

Next Steps:Behavior changes can help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal. . Remember that withdrawal symptoms‚ including cravings‚ will fade with every day that you stay smokefree.

Have Places You Can Turn to For Immediate Help

Quitting smoking is hardest during the first few weeks. You will deal with uncomfortable feelings, temptations to smoke, withdrawal symptoms, and cigarette cravings. Whether it is a quitline, support group, or good friend, make sure you have quit smoking support options available at all times.

Next Steps: Plan on using multiple quit smoking support options. Keep them handy in case you need them during your quit. Here a few options you may want to consider:

  • SmokefreeTXT: A mobile text messaging service designed for adults and young adults across the United States who are trying to quit smoking.

  • Quitlines: If you want to talk to a quit smoking counselor right away, call 1–800–QUIT–NOW (1–800–784–8669).

  • Quit Smoking Apps: Mobile phone applications can help you prepare to quit, provide support, and track your progress.

  • Support Groups: Visit your county or state government's website to see if they offer quit smoking programs in your area.

  • Friends and Family: Getting support from the important people in your life can make a big difference during your quit.

Set Up Rewards for Quit Milestones

Quitting smoking happens one minute, one hour, one day at a time. Reward yourself throughout your quit. Celebrate individual milestones, including being 24 hours smokefree, one week smokefree, and one month smokefree. Quitting smoking is hard, be proud of your accomplishments.

Next Steps: You should be proud every time you hit a quit smoking milestone. Treat yourself with a nice dinner, day at the movies, or any other smokefree activity. Plan out your milestones ahead of time and set up a smokefree reward for each one.

For more information on how to quit smoking and addictions in general visit: https://cherie-santasiero.squarespace.com/shop


Complications of alcoholism

Complications of alcoholism

Complications of alcoholism arise after long periods of heavy drinking or binge drinking, even though usually, drinking alcohol initially elevates the person's mood. A chronic drinker's nervous system will become depressed and the drinker will become sedated by alcohol. Alcohol may undermine a person's judgment; it can lower inhibitions and alter the drinker's thoughts, emotions and general behavior. Heavy regular drinking can have a serious effect on a person's ability to coordinate his/her muscles and speak properly. 

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Causes alcoholism

Causes of alcoholism or alcohol dependence?

Alcoholism is a gradual process which can take from a few years to several decades to become a problem - with some very vulnerable people addiction can come in a question of months. Eventually, over time, regular alcohol consumption can disrupt the BALANCE of the brain chemical GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which controls impulsiveness, as well as glutamate, which stimulates the nervous system. Brain levels of dopamine are raised when we consume alcohol - dopamine levels may make the drinking experience more gratifying. Over the long- or medium-term, excessive drinking can significantly alter the levels of these brain chemicals, making the person's body crave alcohol in order to feel good and avoid feeling bad. 

These risk factors may also be linked to causes of alcoholism and excessive drinking:


Alcohol and Drug Rehabs

What to Look for in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Rehabs

 In general, the longer and more intense the drug use, the longer and more intense the treatment you may need. When evaluating the many types of substance abuse treatment programs, remember that everyone is different with different needs.

Support and long-term follow-up are crucial to recovery regardless of a program’s length be it weeks or months. A quality treatment program addresses the emotional pain and other life problems that contribute to your addiction besides addressing the drug abuse.

You might see advertisements for programs in tranquil settings with gorgeous views when you start looking for substance abuse treatment. Amenities like that are nice to have, though they likely come with a big price tag. Focus on what is truly important: appropriate licensing, quality of care during the program, follow-up services, and staff credentials. Things to check include:

  • Program accreditation and licensing. Make sure the treatment program is accredited by the state it’s in.
  • The effectiveness of the program's treatment methods. Treatment centers should have at least some statistics on their success rates, preferably from an objective outside agency.
  • Type of aftercare services to prevent relapse. Is there a well-run aftercare program? Does it provide referrals to other recovery services and support groups in the community? Also make sure that a staff member will collaborate with you to create a discharge plan before you leave the program.

An overview of substance abuse treatment programs

Residential treatment – Residential treatment involves living at a treatment facility while undergoing intensive treatment during the day. Residential treatment normally lasts from 30-90 days.

Counseling (Individual, Group, or Family) – Works best in conjunction with other types of treatment or as follow-up support. Therapy can help you identify the root causes of your drug use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills.

Intensive outpatient program (IOP) – Not a live-in treatment program, but it still requires a major time commitment. Intensive outpatient programs usually meet at least 3 days a week for 2-4 hours a day or more. The major focus is relapse prevention. These outpatient programs are often scheduled around work or school.

Partial hospitalization – Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but have a stable living situation. These treatment programs usually meet at the hospital for 3-5 days a week, 4-6 hours per day.

Sober living – Normally follows intensive treatment like residential treatment. You live with other recovering addicts in a supportive drug-free environment. Sober living facilities are useful if you have nowhere to go or you’re worried that returning home too soon will lead to relapse.

Brief intervention – Only appropriate for those at risk for drug abuse or drug addiction, not those who have already developed a serious problem. Consists of several visits to a healthcare professional to discuss the harmful effects of drug abuse and strategies for cutting back.

Finding a substance abuse treatment program

Find out if your job offers an Employee Assistance Program with addiction counseling.

Call local health centers and known practitioners.

Call SAMHSA’s referral helpline

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an extensive listing of licensed, certified drug and alcohol treatment facilities. You can access the database in two ways:

  • Use SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator to search online.
  • Call the referral helpline operated by SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment:
    • 1-800-662-HELP
    • 1-800-662-9832 (Español)
    • 1-800-228-0427 (TDD)

Another place to look is your State Substance Abuse Agency. States often have their own listings, toll-free hotlines, and information about accreditation. You can also ask your doctor or therapist about programs they recommend.

Finding a substance abuse treatment program in other countries

In the UK:

  • Search NHS Support Services for rehab and counseling services in your area.
  • Addaction offers a variety of programs around the country including rehab, one-to-one counseling, and group sessions.
  • Action on Addiction offers residential and day treatment as well as aftercare programs.

In Australia:

In Canada:

Paying for substance abuse treatment in the U.S.

Substance abuse treatment costs vary widely depending on your individual treatment needs, your insurance, and the facility. Here are some tips to help you pay for treatment:

  • Check your insurance. If you have health insurance, call the number on the back of your card to ask about your mental health and substance abuse coverage. Find out what your out-of-pocket costs will be, including deductible and co-payment amounts.
  • Look into programs that offer sliding scale or reduced payment options. Check with your state’s substance abuse agency or call SAMHSA’s helpline (1-800-662-HELP) to ask about affordable treatment in your area.

Resources and references

Finding substance abuse treatment and help

Seeking Drug Abuse Treatment: Know What to Ask – Helpguide guide to the questions you should ask when searching for the right treatment for a drug problem. (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Addicted Kids; Our Lost Generation Drs. Cherie and Ronald Santasiero

Professional help for substance abuse treatment and recovery

In the U.S., search a directory of substance abuse services and treatment programs across the country, from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration.

In the UK, find local drug addiction support from the NHS, or call the 24-hour Frank helpline on 0800 776600 for more information about drugs and the different options available for help and support.

In Australia, find drug and alcohol services in each State/Territory from the Department of Health & Aging.

In Canada, find treatment services from Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse.




Addictions are the number one cause of death in the USA. Over 400,000 deaths from tobacco and over 100,000 deaths from cirrhosis, and hundreds of thousands of deaths from overdoses, infection, homicide, suicide and heart disease related to opiates and prescription. Drug addiction fact: drugs In 2008 the cost of addictions, including alcohol, tobacco and drugs, in the USA exceeded 500 billion dollars. This includes health, crime related costs and loss of productivity.

Drug addiction facts: Addictions are the cause of 90% of incarcerations and represent 50% of psychiatric hospital admissions.

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Are Electronic Cigarettes Tempting Non-Smoking Teens to Smoke?

Are Electronic Cigarettes Tempting Non-Smoking Teens to Smoke?

Enthusiasts say e-cigarettes are saving smokers from regular cigarettes, but they're also dragging teens into the habit.

For many, electronic cigarettes have been heralded by fans as quit-smoking devices, a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that the popular tobacco product could actually be tempting more youths into smoking. They say when they've tried smoking e-cigs, teens are more likely to switch to traditional cigarettes.

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I thought it would be interesting to see how many of you know what two drugs cause the worst withdrawal symptoms, those that can be life threatening..  "All drugs of abuse cause some psychological withdrawal, but usually not as bad as..." (from the book Addicted Kids).



"In 2010 the cost of substance abuse (alcohol, tobacco, and drugs in the United States, including health, crime-related costs, and loss of productivity, exceeded $600 BILLION." -

The National Institute on Druge Abuse, updated December 2013

Addictions are the number one cause of death in the United States, when you include all causes of disease related to addiction.

Addiction In Children; Have You Read "Addicted Kids" yet?

Hello everyone,
For anyone who has read the book, Addicted Kids; Our Lost Generation? We would love to know what you think, but especially if you have any questions. Dr. Ron answers most of the medical questions, and I am happy to answer the psychological/spiritual questions. Feel free to ask away. Don't be shy.