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The Difference Between Addiction Treatment and a Sober Home

The Difference Between Addiction Treatment and a Sober Home

When it comes to addiction treatment, there’s much that is misunderstood.  South Florida is receiving more negative press than ever before in regards to the drug addiction industry

In case you missed it, journalist Megyn Kelly covered issues plaguing the South Florida recovery community in an NBC News Investigation piece. While the piece did an excellent job exposing the bad apples of the addiction industry, it left out important pieces of the puzzle.

To begin, addiction treatment and sober homes are not the same.  The piece mentions sober homes and recovery centers interchangeably. This can lead to some confusion as there are differences between the two.

Toward the beginning of the piece, Kelly describes Palm Beach County as the “recovery capital of America” and notes that “some 400 addiction treatment centers are luring thousands of young people.” Soon after, the piece cuts to an overdose occurring in a sober home. This insinuates that sober homes and residential treatment are the same, or connected to one another. In this article, we will specify some of the differences between a sober home and addiction treatment.

What is Addiction Treatment?

There are many well-regarded addiction treatment facilities that have operated for decades in South Florida.  When a client first comes to Florida for treatment, typically they go to residential treatment.

Addiction treatment facilities are more regulated than sober homes. Addiction treatment facilities provide around the clock treatment for clients seeking help. Detox is the first level of care for a drug or alcohol treatment program. In this stage, the client is monitored and guided through a safe medical detox.Once medically detoxed, the client enters the residential treatment program. During this stage, the client receives a custom treatment program which includes a combination of therapy, group classes and more.

In addiction treatment, there are licensed mental health professionals and physicians involved in helping clients get sober. There are different levels of care at treatment centers, including detox, residential, day/night treatment (sometimes referred to as partial hospitalization), intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment.

Residential addiction treatment can last anywhere from 30 to 90 days and in rarer cases longer. Outpatient programs are different from sober homes in that they provide the varying levels of therapeutic care, but the client does not stay overnight.

What are sober homes?

On the other hand, sober homes are essentially homes where groups of people in recovery live together. Sober living units are privately owned and are free of a lot of the regulations needed to open a residential treatment facility.

Fewer restrictions mean people with bad intentions can open a sober home to cash in on the opioid epidemic occurring throughout the nation. Almost anyone can open a sober home, although regulations are being implemented to change this.

While some sober homes are stricter and have tough guidelines such as regular drug screenings, and mandatory meetings, others are not. Some sober homes are simply that: sober homes. These houses are bought and marketed for those who leave addiction treatment and they are not always created by people with the best intentions.

So why do people go to sober homes?

Instead of returning home, many clients will go to sober homes for guidance in maintaining their sobriety. Sober homes give clients a taste of what it will be like to maintain their sobriety on their own. They typically are not the first stop on the road to recovery. Sober homes provide a smoother transition into the real world.

While some sober homes are operated by the same people who run treatment centers, others are not. A sober home typically has a house manager who helps oversee all residents. Living in the sober home helps a person in recovery take charge of their life by learning to pay rent, buy their food, and abide by rules sober. Due to a variety of factors, more people are not going to addiction treatment as their first stop. Some are going to detox and then immediately to a sober home. This creates challenges as sober homes lack the structure and guidelines of an addiction treatment center.

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Truth about Sober Homes vs. Addiction Treatment

South Florida offers vast amounts of recovery options, and with that comes those who take advantage of a booming industry.

Unethical practices happen in illegitimate sober homes and corrupt treatment centers.  However, legitimate and accredited treatment centers are out there that do support recovery. Not all addiction facilities in South Florida participate in these illegal practices.   Furthermore, the media suggests that Florida has the worse overdose rates of anywhere else, and this is not correct. Areas like Ohio, West Virginia, and others are much higher.

It is important to understand the difference between a sober home and residential treatment. A person in a sober home is living more independently than someone in treatment. The original purpose of a sober home is to be a smoother transition in the recovery process.

Overall, addiction treatment is the first step in treating addiction, not sober homes. There is a difference between the two and it is important that people know the difference. Please make informed decisions when choosing a treatment center for you or a loved one. We can help you in this process. Do not wait. Call now.

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What Are the Side Effects of Xanax?

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax?

Xanax is a brand name of the drug Alprazolam; one of the most popularly prescribed medications in the country, and yet it is associated with plenty of side-effects and very serious health problems. In the benzodiazepine (benzo) category of medications Alprazolam is the most prescribed and often most abused substance on the list. Xanax is used to treat:

It is also prescribed to be used as a muscle relaxer, stress reliever and sleep aid. However, it has earned its name on the DEA list of schedule IV controlled substances, and comes with a laundry list of side effects. These side effects will vary in frequency and intensity depending on many factors. Some are more common, while others are indications of a more serious health risk.

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Common

The more moderate side effects of Xanax include:

  • Ataxia
  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irritability
  • Feeling light headed
  • Slurred speech
  • Fatigue
  • Memory impairment
  • Weight gain/loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in appetite

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Less Common

There is a very extensive list of side effects people have reported in connection to Xanax that are less common. Some of these side effects of Xanax include:

  • Abdominal/stomach pain
  • Body aches
  • Drastic behavioral changes
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Cough
  • Decreased frequency and/or volume of urine
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Ear congestion
  • Fainting
  • Fear
  • Headache
  • Hyperventilation
  • Irregularities with eyes
  • Restlessness
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Itching
  • Joint pain
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Nausea
  • Painful urination
  • Rash
  • Hallucinations
  • Shaking/Shivers
  • Sweating
  • Swollen joints
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Uncontrolled movements
  • Unpleasant breath odor
  • Wheezing
  • Yellow eyes or skin

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Severe

There are also some side effects that are listed that are more severe than others. Some of these should be taken extremely serious, and can be signs of a much more severe and potentially life-threatening condition.

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Vomiting Blood
  • Chest pains
  • Breathing problems (deep and slow or fast)
  • Ear pain
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling unusually cold
  • Hearing loss
  • Lack of feeling or emotion
  • Loss of control of limbs
  • Nightmares
  • Numbness
  • Severe sleepiness
  • Swelling
  • Seizures

In 2012, a study released by SAMHSA found that benzo drugs like Xanax accounted for around 35% of drug-related visits to hospital emergency and urgent care facilities.

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax works very fast and has a relatively short half-life, which causes withdrawal symptoms to begin very rapidly once the individual discontinues their use, which is why a Xanax addiction detox program is so important. Most people will start to feel withdrawal symptoms within 12 hours once they stop using Xanax, and those symptoms will peak within 3-4 days. Residual and long-term symptoms of withdrawal can even last for up to months at a time.

Going through a medical Xanax addiction detox program is so important because of the severity of some of these symptoms, especially in combination with other substances such as alcohol which will increase the discomfort. The most common withdrawal symptoms from Xanax include:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle aches
  • Tension in the jaw and/or teeth pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Numbness in fingers
  • Tingling in limbs
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Alteration in sense of smell
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Cramps
  • Tremors
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hypertension
  • Sweating
  • Fever
  • Impaired respiration

There are other side-effects that happen when combining Xanax with other substances, especially with other depressant type drugs such as alcohol. When combining Xanax with alcohol, it can create even more serious health problems, like:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Intoxication
  • Severe sedation
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Withdrawal from either substance can be risky, but the combined effects can be lethal.

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Important Factors

When it comes to the Xanax side effects, or side effects for any drug, there are important factors that come into play. For instance, the amount of the substance used matters. If someone takes a higher dose of Xanax more frequently, they will most likely experience side effects different than someone who takes lower doses less frequently. The method of use can also impact the side effects.

Also, any additional substances or medications being used along with Xanax can cause the side effects to become more severe. Someone combining Xanax with other sedatives may experience side effects in a different way than someone combining Xanax with stimulant drugs.

Finally, side effects may also vary for anyone dealing with pre-existing health conditions or co-occurring mental health disorders. If an individual already has kidney or lung problems, their side effects may be very different than someone who is physically healthy but struggles with a mental illness like bipolar depression.

What Are the Side Effects of Xanax: Addiction

Out of all the side effects for Xanax, addiction is definitely a serious problem. Developing a physical dependence that then evolves into a substance use disorder can not only cause extensive damage to the individual’s life, it can exacerbate all other side effects and symptoms.

Extended use of a drug like Xanax can cause new health problems. With the brain, benzo drugs can cause malfunctions in coordination and damage brain cells. It can affect how the brain operates and have lasting psychological effects. One of these can be the cravings for the drug, as well as dramatic mood shifts.

Some research published in 2016 actually suggests that long-term use of benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax significantly increases the risk for brain, colorectal, and lung cancers.

Addiction is something that doesn’t only manifest in a physical form. Drug addiction also takes a mental and emotional toll. All the effects can be extremely difficult to overcome, and can even be dangerous when unmonitored. Anyone trying to overcome Xanax addiction should attend a safe medical detox program. Even with some prescriptions of symptom controlling medications, a quick detox can be very tough and uncomfortable. A drastic drug detox should never be attempted without medical supervision.

With Xanax addiction treatment, there should be a strong medical staff to assist in a comfortable transition from active substance abuse. There should also be levels of personal and professional therapy and a specialized team dedicated to designing an aftercare program that meets the specific elements of a long-term recovery plan. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

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Autopsy Reports Reveal Carrie Fisher Had Drugs in System Before Death

Autopsy reveals Carrie Fisher had cocaine, ecstasy, and heroin in her system before death

Six months after Carrie Fisher’s death, new reports reveal the cause of death.

Coroner’s officials ruled that Fisher died from sleep apnea and a combination of other factors. The “Star Wars” actress fell ill on the plane last year, but investigators could not determine what impact drugs had on her death.

New Toxicology Reports

Now, toxicology reports reveal that Fisher had cocaine in her system and could have taken cocaine three days prior to the December 23 flight on which she had a heart attack. Fisher died four days after the flight.

The reports also say traces of heroin, other opiates, and ecstasy were found, but they could not determine when Fisher took these drugs. The findings were based on toxicology screenings taken when the “Star Wars” actress arrived at a Los Angeles hospital.

The full report contains a detailed explanation of the results, such as why investigations believe cocaine was taken by the actress at least three days prior to her flight. It also states that while heroin is detectable in the system for a briefer period of time, investigators could not determine when Fisher took it or ecstasy. Toxicology tests also found opiates in Fisher’s system, including morphine, although reports state this could be a byproduct of heroin.

“Ms. Fisher suffered what appeared to be a cardiac arrest on the airplane accompanied by vomiting and with a history of sleep apnea. Based on the available toxicological information, we cannot establish the significance of the multiple substances that were detected in Ms. Fisher’s blood and tissue, with regard to the cause of death,” the report states.

Other Potential Factors

Among the factors that contributed to Fisher’s death was the buildup of fatty tissue in the walls of her arteries, a condition known as atherosclerosis.

A phone message left for Fisher’s brother, Todd, was not immediately returned. Todd Fisher said in a statement Friday that he was not surprised

“I would tell you, from my perspective that there’s certainly no news that Carrie did drugs,” Todd Fisher said.

Carrie Fisher has been open about her drug use to the media and wrote about her struggles extensively. Many of the drugs were prescriptions by doctors to help Fisher overcome her mental health conditions, Todd Fisher noted. Fisher had long battled drug addiction and mental illness.

Fisher started smoking marijuana at 13, used LSD by 21, and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 24. Doctors treated her with medication and even electroshock therapy.

“I am not shocked that part of her health was affected by drugs,” Todd Fisher said.

So what was the cause of Fisher’s death?

Todd Fisher believes it was a combination of Fisher’s heart condition along with her smoking habits, and the medications she took.

“If you want to know what killed her, it’s all of it,” he said.

Carrie Fisher opened up in 2016 about her life-long struggles with insecurity. She admits she dealt with it extensively in the original “Star Wars” movie in the 70s. She even admitted to an affair with co-star Harrison Ford, at only 19 years old, in which she felt tremendous guilt.

Furthermore, Fisher has revealed challenges with body image after gaining weight. Before filming “Star Wars: Episode VII”, Fisher admits she was told to lose 35 pounds.

Fisher’s life has not always been easy. However, we will always love and appreciated her work.  Addiction is a disease and should be treated as such. Fisher’s struggles are not a reflection of who she is as a person. She struggled with the disease of mental illness and addiction like many do. If you struggle with the same issues, please reach out. We want to help you before it is too late. Call now. 

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American Anxiety: A Mental Health Epidemic?

American Anxiety: A Mental Health Epidemic?

The American Generation X faced high rates of depression, but it seems now the millennial age is plagued with an outbreak of American anxiety.

Anxiety on an occasional basis is a pretty standard part of the human experience. When we are faced with difficult tasks, frightening news or even critical decisions, we will naturally experience some form of anxiety. There is a big difference between these feelings of worry and a developed anxiety disorder. With serious anxiety disorders the feeling isn’t fleeting, it can linger and grow worse over time. Anxiety disorders can cripple our ability to complete everyday activities, and it can take many forms, such as:

  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Of course our outside world can have a drastic impact on these feelings, and our ability to face them. Here in America some believe that anxiety has evolved with society and now impacts more and more people. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  • Anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults age 18 and over in the United States, accounting for 18% of the population
  • GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) affects 6.8 million American adults
  • Panic Disorder affects 6 million American adults
  • Social Anxiety Disorder affects 15 million American adults
  • Specific Phobias affect 19 million American adults

Other disorders are closely related to anxiety disorders, such as:

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)– affecting 2.2 million
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)– affecting 7.7 million
  • Major Depressive Disorder– affecting 15 million

This doesn’t even begin to address the various related disorders that often co-occur with anxiety disorders, such as eating disorders or substance abuse. So is American anxiety a mental health epidemic?

An Anxious Nation

Earlier this month there was an article in the New York Times entitled “Prozac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax” In the piece the author recounted how American society has seemingly grown into a nation where an anxiety diagnosis is now as common as a diagnosis of depression. The author, Alex Williams, suggests:

“Anxiety is starting to seem like a sociological condition, too: a shared cultural experience that feeds on alarmist CNN graphics and metastasizes through social media.”

Williams includes some pretty damning numbers to support the conclusion, such as:

  • Anxiety disorders are now more common than depression on college campuses, which has always been the leading mental health disorder among university students.

The National Institute of Mental Health reports:

  • 38% of teenage girls have an anxiety disorder
  • 26% of teenage boys have an anxiety disorder

Politics and Anxiety

If anyone out there is like me, this one may hit close to home. Every time I come across a story about the state of national affairs, or even about a controversial piece of legislation in another state, it gives me pause. I am not going to point the finger at anyone, but needless to say I am an idealist and I think we could do much better. My anxiety flows from the intensity with which some people attack those they cannot compromise with, and what that may say about our future. Politics frequently contribute to many people’s anxieties.

Another article on anxiety was published in the New York Times back in April of this year, where the author looked at the issue of American anxiety from both a social and generational view, comparing the issues of past generations with the social construct the newer generation of Americans face today. With wondering what to worry about, some would say to pick your own panic flavored poison. From the side of political anxieties people could choose between:

  • Economic anxiety
  • Racial anxiety
  • Cultural anxiety
  • Demographic anxiety

In the grander scheme of things, American anxiety was the “profound unease” and the more our politics seem to revolve around our racial, economic or cultural differences the more unease sets in.

While the news is constantly informing us of another contention with legislation on education, health care and immigration, we are also dogged by the drama of foreign influence and relations. While no average American is in control of such things directly, we can easily adopt anxieties over these outcomes, especially in the current political climate. Far too many have developed the “us VS them” attitude of party politics, and it only fuels more anxiety through division and distrust.

Technology and Anxiety

Of course the concept of smartphones and social media comes hand in hand with examining how American anxiety has reached such heights. We have these constant tools of connectivity that some have said simultaneously make us feel more detached. When social media, instant messaging and texting has us on the constant look out for communication, validation or distraction we can easily become far too reliant on technology for peace of mind. On top of that, studies have indicated people develop an urge to constantly check their phones for updates and interactions. This need to be tethered to our iPhones has fed into our nervous behavior.

Another new wave of technology, if you can even call it that, is the hand-held toys specifically designed for people dealing with fidgeting. We all remember stress balls, and now a recent phenomenon of the “fidget spinner” device has seen incredible spikes in sales. These types of toys were originally developed to help children with anxiety, ADHD or autism. These toys come in various shapes and designs to replace the incessant clicking of a pen or tapping of a finger. Lately children, adolescents, and young adults appear to use these toys. One may see it as a fad taking off, but could these tedious decoys be actually serving a purpose by alleviating anxious feelings?

Is the seemingly ridiculous popularity of “fidget spinners” happening because more people are subconsciously trying to overcome their own anxieties?

Anxiety and Substances

Anxiety is notably a product of uncertainty. Many of us addicts use to seek out a measure of escape or comfort. So when we are looking to diminish our anxiety, wouldn’t it make sense that we ask for some semblance of certainty? Some might argue substances, legal or otherwise, provide some much needed consistency. I know personally, as someone who struggled with serious anxiety for years, that I would try to use drugs to be numb to the fear. However, I ultimately found that the drugs and the drinking fed my fear, which in turn exacerbated my anxieties.

Anti-anxiety medications, like Xanax, are some of the most prescribed drugs in America. It is possible to become convinced that a pill can fix everything, especially in a world where pills are everywhere and we are so used to instant gratification. And yet, many of these pills are potent and dangerous; they come with their own baggage. Xanax may be helpful to some, but it is also one of the top prescription drugs being abused in America.

Others will seek out a way to dull their anxieties through illicit substances. They may seek a calm release from their nerves through abusing alcohol or drugs, especially depressant drugs or “downers”. Opioids, such as OxyCodone or heroin, are the most commonly abused depressants next to alcohol. In the midst of an opioid epidemic, we may be seeing how growing rates of American anxiety have fed into a devastating drug addiction crisis. With mental health and substance use disorders, dual diagnosis treatment becomes essential.

Underneath all of this is a constant fact; American anxiety is real. What are we most worried about? That may be subjective. Freud explored the concept of “anxiety neurosis” which we today commonly call GAD. This Freud describes as a fear that could be attached to any appropriate idea. So no matter what our circumstances, we could attach fear to it and then it would become our focal point to the extent it may be debilitating. The fear is there, even in the home of the brave.

For those struggling with substance use disorder and an anxiety disorder, dual diagnosis treatment with a holistic approach can make all the difference. For someone to create lasting coping skills and break out of self-destructive and counter-productive habits, holistic treatment can be a game changer. If you or someone you love is struggling please call toll-free now.

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How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System?

With prescription drug abuse being one of the biggest issues facing the country today, there is an increasing need for education and awareness as to what these drugs really are and how powerful they can be. One of the prescription narcotics most commonly abused is Xanax, a name brand medication in the Benzodiazepine (Benzo) category of depressant drugs. This medication can be very helpful to those who use it accordingly, but it can also be seriously addictive and even life threatening.

So in taking a closer look at specific substances, we want to of course answer the question- how long does Xanax stay in your system.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Understanding Alprazolam

Alprazolam is the generic name for a potent, short-acting anxiolytic drug in the benzodiazepine class. Xanax is actually a brand-name for Alprazolam, and is typically the most commonly known version. Alprazolam is frequently utilized in the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as:

The drug binds to a number of specific sites on the GABA receptor of the brain, and elicits responses as a:

  • Anxiolytic (Anti-panic)
  • Sedative
  • Muscle relaxant
  • Anti-convulsant
  • Amnestic
  • Antidepressant

While there is some debate about people building a tolerance to the anxiolytic effects, there is a clear indication that tolerance to the sedative effects will build in a couple days of using the drug. Thus, withdrawal symptoms can occur after only a few weeks of use if the drug is suddenly stopped.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Side-Effects

There are various possible side-effects that may occur while taking Xanax or any Alprazolam drug. Some possible adverse effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Slurred speech
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Urinary retention
  • Skin rash
  • Respiratory depression
  • Constipation

These side-effects can be uncomfortable and some are more common than others. However, probably some of the greater risks come with prolonged use, which can lead to severe dependence and withdrawal.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Withdrawal

Another reason people as how long does Xanax stay in your system is to determine how long the withdrawal periods are. Once the body has developed dependence on a drug, withdrawal or “rebound” symptoms can make it extremely difficult to discontinue use. Some common symptoms of withdrawal from Xanax include:

  • Rebound anxiety
  • Panic
  • Hallucination
  • Insomnia
  • Moodiness
  • Tremors
  • Nightmares
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

Some of these seizures and other reactions can actually become life-threatening, making Xanax withdrawals some of the most dangerous one can experience.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Overdose

When asking- how long does Xanax stay in your system- you may be concerned about the risks of overdose. An Alprazolam overdose can range from mild to severe depending on how much of the drug has been taken. One of the primary problems with an Alprazolam overdose is that it creates an excessive depression of the central nervous system. Some of the signs of Xanax overdose are:

  • Dizziness
  • Impaired balance
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hypotension
  • Drowsiness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Fainting
  • Coma
  • Death

These risks may be more or less serious depending on a number of factors, including if Xanax is taken with any other substances.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Half-life

As with all drugs, and even most chemicals or substances that enter our bodies, there are a number of factors that influence how long it takes for Xanax to leave the body, such as:

  • Metabolism
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Body fat content
  • Age
  • Health of the liver
  • Kidney health
  • Amount of the drug taken
  • Length of time using the drug

Typically Xanax has a half-life of 9-16 hours, meaning it takes a healthy body 9-16 hours to get rid of half of a dose of the drug. Because of the half-life, the drug will typically be out of the systems after 4 days. However, this is usually just for the occasional consumption. Xanax can stay in the system for a week or longer for frequent or heavy users depending on the above factors.

How Long Does Xanax Stay in Your System: Detoxing

A huge problem with drugs like Xanax is that a lot of people assume these prescription narcotics are safer because they are not street drugs. Yet, Benzodiazepine drugs like Xanax are commonly connected to serious health issues. Beyond that, the dangers of addiction and the potentially fatal withdrawals are exactly why these medications are not nearly as safe as some people like to think they are.

Because of the risks of Xanax withdrawal it is crucial to seek out safe medical supervision for the detox process. Because Xanax can be present in the body for over a week for long-term users, it is important to have a means to monitor the complications Xanax withdrawal may cause. This is especially true if the individual has been using other substances in combination with Xanax.

Detoxing does not have to be what stands between someone who is suffering and a full recovery from this progressive and far too often fatal disease. If you want to get Xanax out of your system in a safe and effective way, a medical detox is the best choice. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

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