drug addiction Archives -
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War on Drugs or Human Rights: Philippines President Resists Investigation

War on Drugs or Human Rights: Philippines President Resists Investigation

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte proclaimed a bloody war on drugs back in June of 2016. As of 2017, the murderous “drug war” resulted in the deaths of more than 12,000 ‘suspects’, according to Human Rights Watch in the World Report 2018.

Each time his violent anti-drug campaign is questioned, President Duterte responds by harassing and threatening critics. From the beginning, officials have publicly reviled, humiliated and even jailed human rights advocates. Some contest that not only has Duterte resisted calls to end this bloody war on drugs but has actually gone on to use populist rhetoric to ridicule activists from investigating his chaotic crusade.

Recent remarks from American President Donald Trump are also being brought into question as he seems to believe executing drug dealers is a reasonable approach. Transcripts from a call Trump had with Duterte actually say that he was praising the Philippines President for encouraging carnage in his own streets.

A new report states that President Duterte has actually told his police and soldiers not to participate or cooperate in any probes against his militant anti-drug warfare. Will the Philippines President continue to resist any attempts to curb his brutal campaign?

Extrajudicial Killings and the Bloody War on Drugs

Firstly, let us clarify what an extrajudicial killing is (also called extrajudicial execution). This is when a person is killed by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Essentially, these executions bypass due process and are mostly regarded as unethical. The Philippines bloody war on drugs is truly horrific considering their president has:

  • Urged citizens to kill suspected criminals and drug addicts
  • Ordered police to shoot-to-kill
  • Offered bounties for dead suspects

President Duterte has even admitted to killing suspected criminals personally, and all of which seems to fit right into the category of extrajudicial killings. Duterte was a mayor in Davao for more than 20 years. During that time, he stalked the streets with the infamous Davao Death Squad in attempts to find and kill suspected drug criminals.

This is all pretty terrifying. Especially when you consider that out of the estimated 12,000 deaths:

  • Approximately 4,000 occurred during police led operations
  • The rest- estimated 8,000- we killings by “unidentified gunmen”

A huge factor to remember is they aren’t only killing suspected dealers, but also drug users or suspected addicts. When most of the world is working to make help available to those who desperately need it, this president thinks murdering addicts will eliminate the drug problem.

There has been mounting pressure from local and international entities to investigate the thousands of slayings by police. But in a speech delivered to elite armed police forces in Davao City, Duterte stated:

“When it comes to human rights, or whoever rapporteur it is, my order to you: Do not answer. Do not bother.”

Duterte defends his order toward security services, saying:

“Who are you to interfere in the way I would run my country? You know very well that we are being swallowed by drugs.”

This definitely is not the first time President Duterte has made some harsh comments while pushing back against outside influence.

Zero Tolerance for Any Interference

In 2016 a lot of things happened concerning the bloody war on drugs in the Philippines. We won’t break down the entire timeline. However, we encourage everyone to do a little reading into the series of disturbing events. At one point, the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard was formally invited by the Philippines government to investigate the controversial deaths. Then, President Duterte had an abrasive change of heart, saying he would “slap” Callamard if she began her investigation.

Not only did Duterte attack outside influence, he also encouraged police to attack human rights advocates in the Philippines. He has reportedly told the police to shoot these individuals “if they are obstructing justice.”

Duterte publicly condemns the official Commission on Human Rights. He has even threatened to abolish this entity entirely, despite it being mandated by the country’s constitution. It seems as though the government of the Philippines is prepared to stop at nothing to continue waging this gruesome war on anyone and everyone connected to drugs. Now that means going to war with those fighting to defend their human rights.

Examining the International Outcry

Last Tuesday, Duterte said he would accept the UN investigation into his brutal drug policies. However, he claims that Callamard is biased and that he will not cooperate if she was leading the investigation.

In February, another examination into the war on drugs in the Philippines was opened by the International Criminal Court (ICC). While this examination could eventually lead to charges of crimes against humanity, the process itself could take several years. By then, how many more victims could this ongoing onslaught claim? If Duterte continues to instruct law enforcement and military to resist investigations, how much harder could it be to stop the killing?

Human rights groups have said many of the killings by police have been outright executions. However, law enforcement officials deny these allegations. Even with surveillance footage that contradicts their claims.

So far, the killing has not stopped. Between December 5, 2017, and February 1, 2018, almost 50 people suspected of using and selling drugs were killed by officers.

The drug problem is serious; there is of course no denying that. Opioid overdose rates in America have continued to rise, and death rates related to drug use continue to be a leading cause of death in the US. However, the majority of experts agree that our own war on drugs was extremely flawed and ultimately failed, especially concerning the more punitive aspects, and it was not nearly as violent or aggressive as the actions we see now in the Philippines. If all of this teaches us anything, we should be able to see that aggressively attacking and executing addicts and suspected drug dealers is not going to solve this problem.

The best resource we have at our disposal when facing the addiction epidemic in America is innovative and effective treatment opportunities. Fighting the opioid crisis doesn’t mean fighting the addicts. Recovery means treating the underlying issues and helping as many people as possible find a way out. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Recent Study:  Energy Drinks Could Lead to Drug Addiction

Recent Study:  Energy Drinks Could Lead to Drug Addiction

Red Bull? Monster? Rockstar?

These are all names of some of the most popular energy drinks on the market. Energy drinks are loved by many, however, those who love them most are usually young. Could energy drinks make a person more susceptible to drug abuse or alcoholism later in life?

Shockingly, there is a potential connection between those who consume energy drinks regularly and those who abuse drugs or alcohol later in life.

Researchers at the University of Maryland discovered that young adults who regularly drink highly caffeinated energy drinks continuously were significantly more likely to use cocaine, abuse prescription stimulants and be at risk of alcoholism.

“The results suggest that energy drink users might be at heightened risk for other substance use, particularly stimulants,” said researcher Amelia Arria. The study was published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine in June.

Researchers discovered that 51.4 percent of the 1,099 participants fell into the group with a “persistent trajectory” which means they sustained their energy drink consumption over time. This prolonged use increased the risk of drug addiction and alcoholism, the study determined.

The “persistent trajectory” group were the most likely to be using stimulants and drinking heavily by 25. Those in the “intermediate trajectory” also had an increased risk of risky behavior compared to those who drank much less or never drink caffeinated beverages at all.

For a while, some in the treatment industry warned how these energy drinks could negatively affect those trying to recover from drug and alcohol abuse. They said that drinks often serve as a convenient replacement for a high.

Energy drinks contain a combination of caffeine, vitamins, and herbs. They are easily accessible in any convenience store or supermarket. Redbull and Monster dominate the energy drink market that averages about $50 billion in sales worldwide.

The five-year study controlled for factors such as the effects of demographics, sensation-seeking behaviors, other caffeine consumption and prior substance use.

“Because of the longitudinal design of this study, and the fact that we were able to take into account other factors that would be related to risk for substance use, this study provides evidence of a specific contribution of energy drink consumption to subsequent substance use.”

Despite these results, it is still unclear what biological mechanism connects energy drink use with later stimulant use. More research is needed to understand this fully.

“Future studies should focus on younger people because we know that they too are regularly consuming energy drinks,” Arria added. “We want to know whether or not adolescents are similarly at risk for future substance use.”

With all this said, should energy drinks be regulated? As of right now, it is very easy for anyone to consume energy drinks. Arria suggests policy interventions to help minimize the negative long-term impact.

“Energy drinks are not as regulated as some other beverages. One policy implication is to consider options for regulating the maximum amount of caffeine that can be put in an energy drink,” she said, according to USA Today.

“Parents need to be aware of those risks when their child or adolescent or young adult wants to make a decision about what sort of beverage to consume. They need to be aware of the potential risk.”

Energy drinks are great once in a while. However, like everything in life, too much of a good thing can become dangerous. What are your thoughts on this study? Are energy drinks harmful? If you are struggling with mental illness or substance abuse, please do not wait to seek help. Call now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Author: Shernide Delva

What are the Side Effects of Cocaine?

What are the Side Effects of Cocaine?

Cocaine is a strong stimulant categorized as a Schedule II controlled substance, commonly abused as a recreational drug. While this infamous substance has been illegal for recreational use for decades, it hasn’t lost too much of its popularity on the illicit market. But do people really know how dangerous this drug is?

Cocaine not only harms the individual physically, but also harms their psychological and neurological health. Not to mention their personal and professional lives. So what are the side effects of cocaine?

What are the Side Effects of Cocaine: Short Term

This stimulant creates an intense but short-lived feeling of euphoria that is often immediately followed by some uncomfortable side-effects. This is typically why people who use the drug experience such intense cravings for more. Ultimately, there is an assortment of short term side effects of cocaine, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • High body temperature
  • Contracted blood vessels
  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Nausea
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Hyperexcitability
  • Irritability
  • Intense euphoria
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Depression
  • Intense drug craving
  • Panic and psychosis
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures and sudden death

That last one is especially important because this is something most people fail to realize about cocaine. The reality is, no matter how much of the drug is used or how often, cocaine can cause a stroke, heart attack, seizure or respiratory failure resulting in death with even the first use of a seemingly insignificant amount.

What are the Side Effects of Cocaine: Long Term

Like any other substance put into the body over an extended period of time, a powerful drug like cocaine can cause long term side effects. Some of these long term side effects are directly correlated to the method of use such as:

  • Sniffing cocaine can damage tissues in nose, causing the loss of the sense of smell, sniffling, nosebleeds and hoarseness
  • Injecting cocaine can cause infectious diseases and abscesses, or allergic reactions and collapsed veins
  • Smoking cocaine can cause respiratory failure

Other more general long term side effects of cocaine include:

  • Permanent damage to blood vessels
  • Malnutrition
  • Weight loss
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Hallucinations
  • Sexual problems
  • Reproductive damage and infertility (for both men and women)
  • Disorientation
  • Apathy
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and mood disturbances
  • Increased frequency of risky behavior
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Severe depression
  • Tolerance and addiction (even after just one use)
  • Liver, kidney and lung damage

What are the Side Effects of Cocaine: Health Risks

Cocaine is extremely destructive to the body. Just a few examples of how the side effects of cocaine ravage the body include:

  1. Heart health

Cocaine can impact you heart health in a number of ways. The drug causes inflammation of the heart muscle, increases heart rate and increases blood pressure while constricting the arteries supplying blood to the heart. This can lead to heart attack, even in young people without heart disease.

Cocaine can also trigger a deadly abnormal heart rhythm called arrhythmia.

  1. Lungs

The most common way cocaine is used is through snorting because the method sends the drug quickest to the brain to be absorbed. But snorting cocaine can cause a variety of serious lung issues, like:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Edema
  • Hemorrhage
  • Infection

Chronic cocaine users often have shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, and chest pain.

  1. Brain

The side effects of cocaine on the brain can constrict blood vessels, resulting in strokes. Again, it can happen with even young people without other risk factors for strokes. Cocaine’s impact on the brain also causes seizures and can lead to bizarre or violent behavior. Chronic users can even experience bleeding inside the brain and swelling of the walls of the cerebral blood vessels.

Some studies have indicated that cocaine use also harms the gray and white matter in the brain, impairing cognitive functioning.

  1. Lungs and respiratory system

Snorting cocaine damages the nose and sinuses. Regular use can cause nasal perforation. Gastrointestinal tract. Cocaine constricts blood vessels supplying the gut. The resulting oxygen starvation can cause ulcers, or even perforation of the stomach or intestines.

  1. Kidneys

Long term use of cocaine can cause sudden, overwhelming kidney failure through a process called rhabdomyolysis. Cocaine is also nephrotoxic, meaning users will do damage to the kidneys simply by introducing the substance into the body. In people with high blood pressure, regular cocaine use can accelerate the long-term kidney damage caused by high blood pressure.

The metabolite of cocaine called Cocaethylene also damages kidneys.

What are the Side Effects of Cocaine: Withdrawal Symptoms

Common withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Agitation and restless behavior
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Tremors
  • Nerve pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Intense cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Generalized discomfort or uneasiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Vivid and unpleasant dreams
  • Slowing of activity

All of the side effects of cocaine indicate that a safe medical detox supported by experienced professionals in the field of addiction treatment can be a pivotal turning point. While detoxing off of any drug can be a frightening concept for those who do not know what to expect, it often means the difference between a life worth living and suffering from a fatal illness.

Addressing the withdrawal symptoms and side effects of cocaine addiction is an important piece of getting better and getting your life back. All you have to do is take the first step. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Ralph Bailey: From Suicidal to Star Palm Healthcare Employee

Ralph Bailey: From Suicidal to Star Palm Healthcare Employee

Just over five years ago, Ralph Bailey was in his home about to attempt suicide. His addiction had spiraled out of control, and he did not believe he could ever live a day without drugs and alcohol. Then, in a moment Bailey describes as a“divine intervention,” his sister happened to come by the house and stopped him.

The next day, Bailey checked into Palm Partners Treatment Center, a Palm Healthcare facility. Now five years sober, Bailey is a valued employee at Palm Partners and speaks regularly to clients about his journey overcoming his addiction.

Recently Bailey was a guest on The Real Deal On… with Dug McGuirk.  Surrounded by lights and cameras, Bailey describes the feeling of sharing his story as a “full circle” moment. He remembers a time when the cameras were on him for an entirely different reason.  He was under investigation.

“I remember back in 2010 when I caught a case, and the FBI came in with pictures and audio of me, and it looks just like this.” He says looking around the room.  “Now, when I say full circle, it means I went from being prosecuted with these cameras and microphones to actually sharing my experience, strength and hope with these same microphones and cameras.”

Reflecting Back on his “Death Date”

When Bailey first walked into Palm Partners on May 12, 2012, he was broken. In fact, Bailey says the most important day of his sobriety is not the day he entered treatment, but the day he attempted suicide.  He refers to this day as his “death date.”

“I was broken to the point where my sobriety date is May 12, 2012, but I always tell my story with my death date which is May 11, 2012. What I mean by that is May 11 is the day I decided to commit suicide,” he says.

At this point, Bailey had struggled with addiction most of his life. He did not believe he could live without drugs and alcohol, but he did not want to continue living like he was.  Therefore, suicide seemed like the only way out.

 “I didn’t like where I was, and I didn’t want to go back to where I’ve been, and I was too scared to move forward because I could never picture living life without drugs and alcohol, so my plan was to end it all.”

In a moment that Bailey describes as a “divine intervention,” his sister happened to stop by the house and prevent the whole thing from happening.

“For me, it was totally divine intervention because I was successful at everything and it just so happens that for my suicide attempt, I got stopped.  My sister came over to my house and stopped the whole thing. That’s when I broke down and told her I needed help.”

To his surprise, his sister told him the entire family knew about his addiction. Up until that point, he thought his addiction had been a secret for the past 20 years.

 “She gave me the biggest hug and said ‘This is what the family’s been waiting to hear. You wasn’t fooling nobody,’ And the whole time, I’m thinking I had everybody fooled [and] nobody knew I was getting high.”

Learning to Cope Without Drugs

From an early age, Bailey struggled with abusing drugs and alcohol. He started around eighth grade and said he could not remember a time he did not use drugs and alcohol before his sobriety date.

“I can’t picture a time when I didn’t live without either one, and that’s what got me here.”

Still, like many, Bailey did attempt to get sober on his own.

“I did what everybody tries to do which is the detox on the couch.” He laughs.

Like most who attempt this method, he was unsuccessful. He did not know how to cope with the emotional and physical withdrawals of not using.

 “It worked out good for a couple hours until boredom came in, until I didn’t know what else to do besides use drugs and alcohol, so I had nothing to fill the void when I tried to stop and that’s kinda related to my attempted suicide because I didn’t know what to do so that’s when I finally said enough is enough”

Bailey credits the staff, especially the therapists at Palm Partners for helping him learn how to fill the void.

“They’re the ones that made me realize I had more than just a drug and alcohol problem. I had anger issues. I had family issues.”

Bailey entered treatment in his 40s, a later stage of life compared to many in treatment, but he did not let the age of those around him affect his recovery process. Instead, Bailey says he wanted to make up for all the time he had wasted.

“I’ve wasted so much time in my life,” he says. “At that point, I didn’t care if I was getting clean with 18-year-olds, 20-year-olds; my main concern was the end result. As long as that was the same, it was all I cared about, but the main thing: I was tired. I had enough”

Starting Over On a Clean Slate

Furthermore, Bailey says he went to treatment as a “blank sheet of paper” and allowed the therapists and staff to provide him “new blocks to build on.”

“I took everything I knew and threw it out and started over,” he says.

The therapists at Palm Partners gave him the toolbox he needed and allowed him to realize he had the tools all along.

That’s why I always say be honest with your therapists while you’re here because they can’t help you if you don’t tell them what’s wrong.”

At treatment, Bailey learned valuable lessons like how to deal with life when it does not go the way you want:

“Incidences like not getting your phone or incidences where you want to do something and you can’t should be a tool as ‘Alright, well how am I going to cope with wanting something that everybody has and I can’t have mine?’ That’s the same [lesson] that helps me stay clean. ” 

Bailey says the times he could not access his phone taught him patience and helped him realize ineffective character defects addicts struggle with.

 “Addicts, first we are manipulative, and then when manipulation doesn’t work, we’re crybabies,” he affirms. “We throw temper tantrums when we don’t get what we want, but we can’t do that in the real world.”

Navigating Grief: Learning to Change Your State:

One of the most powerful lessons Bailey shared in the interview was how he dealt with the death of his brother. After hearing his brother had passed away, he did what most would not think to do at that moment: jumping jacks.

“I had to do something to change my state,” he explains.

In that moment of despair, Bailey remembered something he learned from clinical director Dr. Beley about the way the addict’s mind works.

“Your brain automatically wants to take care of you. It doesn’t want you to feel any pain, but you have a five-second window to make a decision before you go back to what’s comfortable,” he says.

Bailey remembered the way the brain operates in regards to pain.  He knew if he did not change his state immediately, his mind would retreat to what was most comfortable.

“If I didn’t start doing jumping jacks right away, my brain would automatically click to get high because that’s how I cope with things so, in order to stop that, I started doing jumping jacks and was able to change my state and then actually think and dissect everything that’s going on. Then start with a clear head and then move forward.”

“It is so huge to be able to change your state. You have to,” he says.   

Ralph Bailey went from a hopeless drug addict to an inspiration of strength to those struggling in recovery.  Throughout the interview, Ralph Bailey further elaborates on the importance of having a higher power, going to meetings and giving back. He talks about positive affirmations and further defines how to overcome negative situations through changing your state.  We highly suggest you listen to the full interview for more on his journey.

“I never realized I was in a cocoon. I flourished, I came out of it, and it’s like wow, “he concludes.


If you are currently struggling in recovery, just remember that it is never too late to seek help. Even if you believe otherwise, recovery is possible. You do not have to live every day wondering where your next high will come from. Instead, you can regain control of your life like Ralph Bailey did. We want to help you. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

 CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: From Janice Hemmer and Palm Healthcare

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help: From Janice Hemmer and Palm Healthcare

Every member of the Palm Healthcare Family, from the administrators behind the scenes to those on the front lines along with a dedicated clinical team, are committed to helping support and educate anyone looking for help when struggling with a substance use disorder. Given the recent issues facing the nation, including the addiction crisis and the concern for ensuring safe and effective treatment, our clinical staff has chosen to speak to everyone out there looking for answers in their own words, hoping to shine new light on some difficult conversations.

To learn more about how to handle the difficult emotions and situations parents and family members face with an addicted loved one, download our FREE e-book

“What is the Difference Between Helping and Hurting”

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Here we have some crucial information from Janice Hemmer, Tischler LCSW, ACSW, CAC who is the Senior Program Director of Palm Healthcare, with 21 years experience in the field of addiction.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

    Nearly every day, you can find an article in the media or online that discusses the addiction epidemic facing the United States and the state of drug and alcohol treatment today. Stories of patients being taken advantage of by unseemly “Sober Homes” and news reports of overdoses are rampant. To some degree, it is a good thing that the media is shining a light on this insidious problem. After all, people who only want to make a quick buck by manipulating those in dire need of help are out there in force. We do need to make sure that the issue is addressed and we should never stop trying to force these criminals out of the system. However, are media outlets and sensationalism scaring people away from the professional and reputable treatment programs that produce real long lasting results?

It is vital to remember that addiction is a neuro-biological disease. Addicts need professional medical intervention and psychotherapy to address the true causes of their addiction. It is incumbent upon the professionals in the treatment community, and the media, to educate and inform people about how to properly vet a treatment facility or program. To that end, the remainder of this article will focus on what patients and their families need to know to get their addicted loved one into an effective treatment program.

Here are some important questions you should ask about any treatment program, along with the answers you should be looking for.

Level of Credibility

  1. What credentials does the program have?

Your state requires that addiction treatment programs be licensed, it is important to check with the state about the current validation of any license. Additionally, organizations such as “The Joint Commission” and “Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities” or CARF ongoingly audit treatment programs to ensure that they are meeting the highest possible standards. 

  1. Content of programming: What theoretical models of treatment do they follow?

There are a variety of treatment modalities available to behavioral health professionals. These can include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Therapy, Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders, Life Skills and many others. A reputable program will design a treatment regimen that is suited to your specific issues.

Level of Transparency

  1. Pre-Screening

Does the intake coordinator inform you of any tests or procedures that you must submit to before or during the admission process (Blood tests, urinalysis etc.)? Do they ask questions about your medical history? Do they discuss all possible costs that you may incur while in the program and how that will be handled?

  1. Family Involvement

Does the facility offer a family program that encourages family members to become involved with your treatment and invested in a positive outcome? Do they educate the family about the goals of treatment and involve them in the discharge planning procedures? Good programs know that the cooperation of family members is a big factor in sustaining recovery. Oftentimes, families need to understand the clients level of functioning and how to avoid behaviors that might inadvertently interfere with the recovery process.

  1. Does the program allow you to tour the facility?

You should be able to see the environment that your loved one will be living in during treatment. Do they discuss their rules and day to day expectations?

Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. While it is important to be vigilant in your search for a reputable program and to educate yourself as much as possible about addictive behaviors, don’t let the stories about scammers scare you or your loved one away from treatment. There will always be those who try to take advantage of people. Just remember that a big part of treatment is learning how to identify and avoid people who exhibit those behaviors. Due diligence goes a long way towards securing treatment for yourself or for those you love. It is well worth the effort.

Janice Hemmer- Tischler LCSW, ACSW, CAC

For more information on how to find a safe, ethical and effective addiction treatment program make sure to explore more of our Palm Healthcare Company website. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398

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