DEA Takeback Day

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 22, 2023

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is April 22, 2023, from 10 AM to 2 PM. The biannual event provides a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused prescription drugs. The event also helps educate the public about the potential abuse of prescription medications and why taking them back is essential.

DEA Take Back Day Image

Anyone with access to a drop-off location can get rid of unused medicines in a free, anonymous, and easy way. Take Back Day collection sites will accept OTC medicines, medicated lotions/ointments, pills in any packaging, and even pet medications.

Inhalers, needles, IV bags, medical waste, and blood sugar equipment are not accepted and should be disposed of properly in medical waste containers. Illegal drugs should also not be brought to a Take Back collection site.

Every event collects almost a million pounds of unwanted, unused, or expired medications. The most recent event in October 2020 yielded 492.7 tons (985,392 lbs.) across over 4,500 collection sites.

Can’t You Just Flush Medicine Down the Toilet?

Some medications may be flushed when Take Back Day or permanent Controlled Substance Public Disposal Locations are not available. These medications may be especially harmful — or fatal — to children and pets.

Remember to only flush medicines on the “flush list” if a take-back option is not readily available.

Does Flushing Medication Pose a Risk to the Environment?

FDA environmental authorities state most medicines in water result from elimination from the body through urine or feces. The FDA and EPA also state there has been no indication of environmental effects due to flushing medications.

The FDA adds that the risk to humans from accidental exposure to these potent medications far outweighs the environmental risk based on available data.

Can I throw medicine in the trash?

Your pharmacist can provide you with instructions regarding medicine disposal. It’s not ideal, but there are certain precautions that you can take for many medications to be tossed in the trash. For OTC medicines, look inside the packaging for special disposal instructions.

Inhalers can be dangerous if punctured or thrown into a fire or incinerator. To properly dispose of these products and follow local laws, contact your trash and recycling facility.

If no authorized collection sites are available, and no Take Back Days are scheduled in your area, you can follow these steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:

1. Take medicines out of their original container, and do not crush or decapsulate.

2. Place them in a sealed container, such as a zippered plastic bag, and mix with a substance such as dirt/mud, used coffee grounds, or cat litter. Mix them up well and ensure the bag is sealed to prevent it from leaking into the trash, then throw the bag away.

3. When disposing of empty prescription bottles or packaging, do so separately, and black out any personal information, including the prescription number, doctor, dates, and number of refills.

Why use a Take Back Day event instead of disposing at home?

These events do a lot to rid prescription drugs in a responsible, environmentally friendly manner. Tens of millions of pounds of drugs have been disposed of over the past 20 years.

The purpose of National Take Back Days is to give people a day, time, and place to just bring the unused medications and be done with it. Not everyone has access to proper disposal methods, so this provides an excellent opportunity to do the right thing.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 6.4 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. Many of these drugs were found in a friend or family member’s medicine cabinet. That’s why National Drug Take Back Day urges the proper disposal of prescription drugs — and, hopefully, saves lives.

If you or someone you know is facing mental and/or substance abuse disorders, help is available. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service (SAMHSA) Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, which is free and confidential, will help to find resources in your area.


Drug Addiction vs Drug Dependence: What is the Difference?

Drug addiction and drug dependence are terms that people often use interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between them. While they are both forms of substance abuse, addiction refers to the psychological need for drugs and alcohol, while dependence means that there is a physical need.

Drug addiction or dependence does not limit itself to illicit narcotics and opiates. Instead, we often see both roles expressed when medical professionals prescribe pain killers and benzodiazepines to treat pain and anxiety.

Is It Possible to Only Be Physically Addicted to Prescribed Medication?

Yes, you can be physically dependent on drugs without being psychologically addicted. But both issues, whether dormant or active, must be addressed for the individual to move on in a healthy, happy way. Failing to do so means there is chance for relapse or re-addiction to the medications from which doctors weaned them in the first place.

Let’s take a closer look at the difference between the two terms.

What Is Drug Addiction?

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) defines the term addiction as the chronic demand for drugs, both illegal and legal. What makes it different from dependence is that the brain is more highly involved in craving drugs. Persistent drug use can alter the brain’s structure and chemical makeup so that its response to receiving drugs hits the reward center of the brain. If you do this enough times, then your mind ‘believes’ that this is what it needs to survive.

What Is Drug Dependence?

Drug dependence is a behavior that can actually become a catalyst for drug addiction. Dependence refers more to the physiological need for a particular drug. For example, a person might be ready to quit smoking cigarettes or drinking caffeine, but they find it difficult to stop due to the physical dependence on these substances. Most individuals find it to be far too stressful to approach withdrawal symptoms, so they tend to feed the physiological dependence, which can turn into a full-blown addiction.

Drug Addiction or Drug Dependence: Determining Your Current State

It can be challenging to determine if you are addicted or dependent on drugs. The truth is that only a licensed medical professional can provide you with the diagnosis you need. Ultimately, it comes down to the symptoms you experience. For instance, what type of reaction did you have when you stopped taking the medication? Did you experience withdrawal symptoms? If so, that is the first sign of drug dependence.

However, drug addiction grabs hold of our mental capacities, and we can actually use our brains to justify our actions related to drug use. It’s the primary reason why addiction may be difficult to treat in some individuals. Again, check-in with yourself and ask the following questions:

Am I emotionally ‘out of sorts’ when I am not able to take drugs?

Do I constantly think about getting more drugs before I even run out?

Have I lashed out at loved ones and friends when I don’t have what I need?

Do I secretly take more drugs than prescribed, or I admit to?

Am I willing to engage in illegal activities to obtain the drugs that I am taking?

Do I continue to take the drugs or medications despite the damage it is doing to my life?

Again, only a doctor or licensed addiction counselor can say for sure what level of addiction or dependence you are exhibiting. However, if you can answer yes to any of the questions above, you may have an addiction. Your doctor has treatment options available. The most important thing to do is seek treatment and stay aware.


Healthy Habits for the New Year to Aid Addiction Recovery


close up photo of yearly planner beside a pen

The new year is always the perfect time to make changes in your life. It’s a new beginning; a fresh start. Writing a list of New Year’s resolutions can be what prompts you to desire major life changes, but sticking to that list can be a different story altogether.

Substance addiction is physically and mentally crippling. Addiction is a chronic condition-an illness. You often lose control over your own life. Addiction can also make you out of touch with your priorities given enough time. If you’ve made the decision to wean yourself off of narcotics or alcohol, you’re moving in the right direction.

At the core of substance abuse recovery is breaking your toxic attachment to detrimental elements of your life. Purging yourself of the physical substances is just a start – Holistic recovery requires a health-centric mindset and a positive outlook on life. In order to avoid relapse to your former compulsions, you have to cultivate and maintain healthy habits. Replacing damaging negative habits with a positive healthy routine can add a whole range of value to your life, outside of addiction recovery.

Let’s take a look at some of the practices and habits you can start developing this year.

Nutrition and Fitness

The key to a healthy mind and a fit body is a balanced diet and regular exercise. As cliché and well-known this fact is, there’s a reason this habit has a proven track record. Your body is going to be ridding itself of harmful chemicals during your recovery period. The constant damage done to specialized cells inside your organs requires repair and your body needs an ample amount of nutrients at regular intervals to do this.

Avoid junk food as much as you can and eat whole foods. Make sure you get the right intake of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

person pouring vegetable oil on vegetable salad

Regular exercise helps your body build resistance through strong bones and muscles. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a strict workout regimen. For example, jogging every day and doing cardio on alternative days can have a visible boost of your physique. Swimming, outdoor activities (hiking, trekking, etc.) or sports work too. A combination of the right foods and fitness will keep your body fit – and a healthy body contributes largely to a healthy mind.

One thing to keep in mind is that many gyms or fitness centers have New Year’s-related special rates and offers, so it’s the perfect time to join and get into a fitness routine.


Busy hands and an occupied mind can steer you away from the impacts of addiction recovery. Explore your interests and develop a hobby that keeps you busy. It doesn’t necessarily have to yield a monetary income, but can open up interesting avenues down the road.

What are your interests? What are you most passionate about? 

You may have a lifelong passion for music. This might be the perfect time to learn to play an instrument. Gardening, pottery, cooking, animal care, and painting are other options to consider. If you’re intent on developing employable skills, enroll in a course at a local institute. Many courses are offered on a semester basis, so new classes are generally available to begin in January. If you don’t want to do anything formal, even offering to take your neighbor’s dog on a daily walk can help lift your spirits.

paintbrush near paint pallet


Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Avoid judgmental and cynical people. Refuse to engage in self-deprecating rhetoric or pointless arguments. Constant interaction with upbeat and energetic people will rub off on you eventually. Train your brain to pick out the positive aspects of every situation. Always ask yourself what you can do to make your environment more positive. A close-knit circle of understanding family and friends can work wonders on your psyche.


Regardless of whatever substance it is that you’re breaking away from, you’ve come a long way. You’ve worked hard and developed willpower that ultimately will help you kick the habit.

Take a moment out of each day to reflect on your journey. Recognize and give thanks to everyone involved in the process of your addiction recovery, the primary person being yourself. It can be your family, friends or even your NA/AA sponsor. Maintain a journal of your daily experiences. Whether you’re reading this post and gathering ideas of how to start or you’ve almost made it out of the dark tunnel, and you have much to be thankful for.

If you can spare time on the weekends, you could volunteer at the local soup kitchen or animal shelter. Giving back to the community fills you up with an appreciation of all that is great in the world.


Be aware of your emotions, mental well-being, and ambitions. Use this situation as an opportunity to explore your inner workings. Practice mindful meditation every day. You could start with about 2 to 5 minutes each day and increase the duration as you get better at it.

man and woman doing yoga

Mindfulness and a calm temperament will most certainly help keep your mind in the clean. The compulsion to indulge in self-destructive habits can be effectively countered by living in the present. Redefine your definition of ‘fun.’ Recovery need not be a painful and morose process.

You’re transforming as a person – take solace in that! Make this year the year that you start or stick to your recovery and build some healthy, lasting habits along the way.


two champagne glasses near baubles

Tips To Help You Stay Sober During the Holidays

The holidays are a wonderful time of year, but they can also present challenges for those in recovery. No matter what substance you are in recovery from, here are some things to keep in mind as you head into the holiday season.

General Best Practices

Don’t let this busy time of year keep you from attending your usual recovery meetings, support groups, or doctor’s appointments. Keep doing whatever you are doing that keeps you clean and sober. A routine can be very helpful during the recovery process.

Take care of yourself by eating healthy, drinking water, getting plenty of rest, and exercising.

man on treadmill

Limit your commitments. Learn how to say NO.

Talk to your sponsor or friends who encourage you.

When you feel cravings due to holiday stress, take a walk. Getting outside will get you away from anything that might be tempting, and the natural light can actually reduce stress.

Plan fun holiday activities. If you are just sitting around bored, you are more likely to make poor choices.

Make time to help others during this time of year. Studies have shown that participating in community service can actually aid in your own personal recovery, while having the added benefit of giving your time and attention to someone else’s needs.

Parties and Gatherings

The holiday season is full of many potential events – work-related gatherings, holiday parties, and New Year’s celebrations. All of these gatherings have the potential to provide more temptation than usual, as they are often accompanied by alcohol. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

people toasting

If you are hosting a holiday dinner or party at your house, you have the right to not serve alcohol. You could make some fun “mock-tails” as an alternative.

Family gatherings can be very stressful. If tensions mount, you can step outside for a short walk or drive to clear your head. Have a backup plan.  Removing yourself entirely from the situation may be the best choice for your long-term sobriety.

Before you attend any gathering, talk it through with your sober support system and have an escape plan. And always remember, just because there’s a party doesn’t mean you have to go. Avoid people, places, and things that do not support your recovery.

Practice refusal lines such as: “I’m taking a medicine I can’t use with alcohol”, or “No, thank you. I have to drive later”.

If you can bring a guest to a party, bring a sober friend that you can lean on for support.

Carry a soda so that you know you have something safe to drink.

Bring your own car. That way if you start to feel uncomfortable you can easily leave.

If the party is starting to lose control, leave!

Plan to spend New Year’s Eve with people who don’t use drugs or alcohol, and eliminate any temptation before it has a chance to begin.

Hopefully these tips will help you during the busy holiday season. You have worked hard to start your recovery process. Don’t allow your rehabilitation to be derailed by the stresses of the holidays.

group of people toasting with shot glasses

Recognizing the Lesser Known Signs of Overdose

Knowing the signs of an overdose can save someone’s life. By learning what an overdose is, you can recognize its signs and help someone who consumed more harmful substances than their body could take.

assortment of pills on table

What exactly is an overdose?

An overdose occurs when the body can’t process the amount of alcohol or drugs an individual has ingested. Someone who overdoses can experience symptoms that are potentially life-threatening.

With alcohol and drug abuse affecting millions of people in the United States alone, chances are you could be a potential witness to someone experiencing an overdose. By learning to recognize the lesser known signs, you may be able to help the person who has overdosed.

Alcohol and drug overdose symptoms are often different, even though there may be some overlapping as well. Here are the most important signs for both substances.

Drug Related Symptoms

Approximately 70% of overdose deaths in the U.S. are attributed to opioids. These may be prescription or illicit, and people overdose because they take more drugs than their body can handle. Besides opioids, hallucinogens, stimulants and inhalants can also cause someone to overdose. Moreover, many cases are deliberate, as a result of a suicide attempt.

Symptoms to look for include the following:

• Confusion — the person appears confused and disoriented when they overdosed

• Vital sign changes — changes in breathing and other vital signs are another sign of an overdose. A person’s respiratory rate can be very fast or very slow.

• Appearing sleepy — a person who overdosed nay appear very sleepy, and you may have a hard time trying to keep them awake.

• Coma — sometimes, the person may appear so asleep that they won’t wake up even if you shake them. This is an emergency sign and you should mention it immediately when you call 911.

• Cold and sweaty or hot and dry skin — another sign of an overdose is skin that is sweaty and cold or hot and dry.

• Vomiting, nausea, and/or stomach pain — Vomiting, severe nausea and stomach pain can be signs of an overdose. In some cases, there may be blood in the vomit or stool.

• Agitation and psychosis — these are further signs of an overdose, and you should remember to think about your safety if the person becomes aggressive.

person on bed who has possibly overdosed

Alcohol Related Symptoms

An alcohol overdose occurs when a person ingests so much alcohol that areas of their brain that control basic functions that support life, such as heart rate, breathing, and temperature control start to shut down.

Alcohol overdose may cause permanent brain damage or even death, so it’s important to recognize the symptoms and get help right away if you are witnessing someone who overdosed on alcohol.

Symptoms to look for include the following:

• Difficulty remaining conscious — the person may fall asleep or be unable to wake up, even when you shake them

• Mental confusion

• Seizures

• Vomiting

• Slow or irregular breathing — a person who overdosed on alcohol may breathe slowly or irregularly. This typically refers to fewer than eight breaths per minute.

• No gag reflex — alcohol overdoses cause dulled responses, and gag reflex is very important, because it prevents choking

• Low temperature and pale skin

• Delirium

If you suspect that someone has overdosed, do not wait for that person to have all the symptoms. Call 911 immediately. While waiting for help, do not leave the intoxicated person alone. They may be at risk of choking or getting injured from falling. If the person is vomiting, help them lean forward to prevent talking and if they are unconscious, roll them onto their side.

What to do when you see an overdose?

The best course of action is to call 911 if you believe you are witnessing an overdose. Call without delay and then do your best to keep the person awake, by stimulating or shaking them if necessary. Don’t forget to collect any pill bottles or other paraphernalia so the medical professionals can get an idea about what the person took.

sign that reads Dial 911

Remember to think about your safety, too. A person who has overdosed may be aggressive, so if that is the case, call 911 and don’t try to restrain them in any way, because you may end up hurting yourself.

If a person who has overdosed receives help in time, they may have their stomach emptied and given medicines to counteract the drugs in the system. Medical professionals can also improve the patient’s vital signs, which is why it’s particularly important to call 911 and get help as soon you will recognize the signs of an overdose. Hopefully this information will never be needed, but it’s always better to be prepared and vigilant.

Person holding several white pills in hand

What is Vicodin and Why is it So Dangerous?

What is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a prescription drug that is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is an opioid that is generally prescribed as pain medication that works on brain cells to alter physical sensations and the body’s response to pain. Hydrocodone is a synthetic opioid that activates the same neuro-receptors in the brain as highly addictive drugs, like heroin.

Woman seated with hand on her head looking in pain

Acetaminophen is also a pain reliever. It is, however, much less potent when compared to the narcotic effects of hydrocodone (as it is a non-opioid drug). It enhances the pain-relieving effects of hydrocodone, and it is an antipyretic – which means it has fever-reducing properties. The ingredients basically work in tandem to block pain signals from the brain.

What is Vicodin Prescribed For?

Vicodin is prescribed for pain relief. The pain can stem from causes including accidents, age-related issues, and diseases.

General Information about Vicodin

Vicodin is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the DEA. It was increased from a Schedule III drug in October 2014. Vicodin has concerning abuse and addiction potential – one that can cause liver failure, brain damage, and death. This is why the DEA raised the risk levels surrounding this drug.

The FDA also curbed the manufacturing of Vicodin pills with more than 325 mg of acetaminophen in March 2014 to protect the public.

Vicodin also goes by other names – Norco, Hycet, Lortab, Lortab Elixir, Virdrocet, and Xodol.

Precautions to Be Taken

Precautions should be taken before using a Vicodin prescription. Since it is a combination of an opioid and a non-opioid, it tends to react with other drugs, substances, and medical conditions. Keep the prescribing doctor aware of all the conditions you suffering from. Patients who are allergic to Tylenol or people who have recently been under the influence of alcohol, tranquilizers, sedatives, or narcotic medications should stay away from Vicodin.

Alert your doctor of liver cirrhosis, alcohol dependency, kidney disease, drug addiction, heart conditions, low blood pressure, gallbladder or pancreatic disorders, dehydration, asthma, diarrhea, severe constipation, brain tumors, etc. These conditions themselves, or the drugs used to treat these disorders, might react negatively to Vicodin, which may result in dangerous consequences.

Woman with head on table with glass of alcohol beside her

The most common drugs that can have adverse effects are antifungal medicines, antibiotics, heart or blood pressure medication, seizure medication, HIV/ Hepatitis B drugs, cold and allergy drugs, motion sickness medication, diuretics, COPD medication, other opioid pain medicines, sedatives like diazepam, lorazepam, Xanax, Klonopin, Versed, muscle relaxers, etc.

Another concern is patients using Vicodin along with prescribed medication for mental health disorders like depression, insomnia, or anxiety.

This list of medications and disorders is by no means exhaustive – it’s always best to consult with a proficient doctor.

The most common symptoms of mixing Vicodin with other drugs are slow and shallow breathing, extreme dizziness, loss of consciousness, drowsiness, impaired judgment, nausea, and other undesirable effects.

Patients should never start, alter, or mix their dosages without prior approval from a registered physician.

The Dangers and Risks Associated With Vicodin

Vicodin is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the world. Overdosing on Vicodin has several very dangerous side effects and can even be fatal.

Another thing to keep in mind is possible allergic reactions to Vicodin. Symptoms manifest in the form of swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat. These symptoms are typically accompanied by difficulty in breathing. The acetaminophen content can also cause skin allergies like rashes, redness, and severe blistering.

Side effects include coma, shallow or obstructed breathing, infertility, easy bruising, reduction of surface blood clotting speeds, missed or irregular menstrual periods, impotence, loss of virility, impaired brain functioning, loss of memory, confusion, dry mouth, indigestion, vomiting, and others.


The facts pertaining to Vicodin use may seem extreme, but it’s important to know all of the risks associated with any medication that contains an opioid. If a person in your life shows signs of addiction to Vicodin, it’s imperative to obtain professional help immediately.

healthy diet plate

The Importance of a Healthy Diet During Opioid Addiction Recovery

Are you new to recovery and looking for advice that will help you stay the course and remain sober? While in recovery, especially recovery from opioid addiction, many people turn to less-than-healthy coping mechanisms, including overeating junk food, to provide comfort from withdrawal symptoms. However, eating a healthy diet can make it easier for you to stay in recovery and set yourself up for long-term success.

person holding colorful vegetables

Read on to learn more about the importance of diet during opioid addiction recovery.

Why Does a Healthy Diet Matter?

There are plenty of benefits that come from making healthy decisions with regards to your food and drink. Here are some of the greatest advantages a balanced diet will provide during opioid addiction recovery:

Combat Nutritional Deficiencies

Long-term drug abuse can increase your chances of experiencing certain nutrient deficiencies. This includes deficiencies in vitamins like vitamin B6, thiamine, and folic acid, which can lead to anemia and even neurological issues.

Promote Hydration

When you’re in the early stages of recovery, you’re more prone to dehydration. Eating healthy foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables, and drinking plenty of water will help you to stay hydrated and can minimize certain withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, and muscle cramps.

Reduce Stress on the Liver

Drug abuse puts a lot of strain on your liver, one of your body’s primary detoxification organs. By eating a nutritious diet, you can give your liver a break and start improving your health from the inside out.

Improve Cognitive Abilities

Junk food might be appealing and satisfying in the moment, but its positive effects are often short-lived. After an initial sugar rush, you’ll likely find yourself feeling lethargic and foggy. To avoid this and promote better cognitive abilities, focus on eating a healthier and more balanced diet with occasional treats mixed in.

woman holding bowl of noodles and greens

Improve Digestion

Finally, healthy eating can improve your digestion. During recovery, you might experience withdrawal symptoms like constipation or diarrhea. A balanced diet can reduce these symptoms and help you to feel better, faster.

What to Eat During Recovery

Okay, you’re convinced that cleaning up your diet could provide some benefits to your recovery. Where do you start, though? What kind of foods and drinks should you be consuming?

The following are some of the most nutritious options to add to your meals:


Remember, dehydration is very common during recovery, especially in the early stages. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water (at least half your weight in ounces per day).

glass of water overflowing

You might want to add an electrolyte powder to your water, too. This helps to promote better hydration and ensures your body is able to utilize all that you’re consuming.

Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables provide you with extra water. This is especially true of foods like cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, oranges, apples, and melons.

In addition to being hydrating, fruits and vegetables are also loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Antioxidants promote healing and help to protect your cells and tissues from damage caused by free radicals.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates like whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, peas, lentils, and beans will provide you with long-lasting energy and won’t lead to a quick crash the way high-sugar foods (think cookies, crackers, candy, etc.) will. They contain fiber to help you feel full, and many are fortified with additional nutrients (including B vitamins) to make up for any deficiencies you’re experiencing while in recovery.

High-Quality Protein Sources

Protein sources like chicken, beef, turkey, eggs, and fish will help to provide your body with additional nourishment, including some vitamins and minerals that you can’t get from fruits and vegetables alone. They also will help you to stay fuller longer and support muscle growth and maintenance.

Healthy Fats

Include plenty of healthy fat sources in your diet. This includes things like fatty fish (salmon, sardines, etc.), avocados, and olive oil. These healthy fats are great for your brain, add flavor to your food, and will make your meals much more satisfying.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds are good sources of healthy fat and protein. They add some crunch to your meals, which can increase the satisfaction factor, and they contain lots of beneficial nutrients, including minerals like zinc and magnesium.

nuts and seeds arranged in a pattern

Make a Healthy Diet a Priority

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons to focus on eating healthfully when you’re going through opioid addiction recovery. It might be tempting to numb your feelings with processed, high-sugar, or high-calorie foods, but they won’t provide the kind of long-term benefits you’re looking for.

text "scam alert" against brown background

How to Avoid Addiction Rehab Scams

Approximately 19.7 million adults in the United States struggle with some kind of addiction. Are you one of them? Interested in seeking help but unsure of where to look? Unfortunately, addiction rehab scams are more common than you might think. Read on for tips to help you to avoid them while searching for help you on your sobriety journey.

fence signs of encouragement

What Do Drug Rehab Scams Look Like?

The following are some examples of rehab scams that might show up when you search for treatment:

● Detox facilities touted as rehab programs, even though they only offer detox and no other treatments or resources

● Herbal remedies (pills, herbal supplements, etc.) that sellers claim will “cure” addiction

● Programs that guarantee success and promise patients will not relapse when they leave

Short-term rehab programs can also fall into the category of rehab scams. There are facilities that claim to treat addiction in a very short time frame (as little as two weeks in some cases). Most programs that have the highest success rates will take at least 1-3 months.

Many of these short-term facilities have “patient brokers” working for them. These individuals prey upon people who are seeking addiction treatment, often hanging out in social media groups or answering phones for addiction hotlines, and encourage them to seek treatment at a specific facility. The broker then receives a commission for each new patient they recruit.

A big problem with this model, in addition to its predatory nature, is the fact that most people who go through the programs don’t receive quality treatment and relapse after they’re discharged. This leads to a vicious cycle in which they relapse, seek help, are recruited by another patient broker, and end up at another subpar “treatment” facility.

While laws have been enacted over the last few years in states like Florida, New York, Utah, California, and Arizona, many of these programs are still operating throughout the country.

How to Avoid Rehab Scams

As you can see, there are lots of ways that you can potentially get scammed while you’re trying to recover. It’s important to be vigilant during your search to ensure you actually get the help you need and deserve.

Here are some tips that will help you to avoid rehab scams:

Look at Program Length

One of the most important things to consider during your search is the length of the program.

Remember, the average program lasts between one and three months. If a program is shorter than that, that’s a red flag. It takes a while for someone to begin to detox and get their recovery journey off to a good start, after all.

Choose Comprehensive Treatment

Ideally, your program will be comprehensive in nature. It should include more than just detox which, although it’s an important step, is only the beginning.

There should also be different types of therapy (individual, group, etc.) as well as the opportunity to receive physical care (including access to medications if needed) from trained medical professionals. Or, if the facility offers Medication-Assisted Therapy, (or MAT), they should provide you with resources to make your recovery more comprehensive.

Ask About Staff Qualifications

If you find a program that seems promising, research to learn more about the people who are running it.

What are their qualifications? What kind of education have they received? How long have they been part of this field? Is a medical professional associated with the practice? If you can’t find any information about them or their credentials, be wary of what they’re offering.

Doctor reviewing chart while sitting at desk

Be Wary of Homeopathic Treatments

Natural or homeopathic remedies aren’t inherently bad. If a program places too much emphasis on “all-natural” treatments or uses a lot of phrases like “getting rid of toxins” or “natural detox,” that can be a bad sign.

If you want to try a more holistic approach, look for a program that offers those options, but make sure it is run by licensed professionals. The program should also meet the other criteria on this list.

Beware of “Too-Good-to-Be-True” Promises

Finally, steer clear of any program that makes promises that seem too good to be true. No program, no matter how experienced its facilitators are, can guarantee that everyone who participates in it will get and stay sober. There’s simply no way to back up that kind of claim, and to do so is dangerous.

Avoid Rehab Scams and Get Help Today

There are rehab scams out there, but there are also plenty of legitimate programs that can help you to overcome your addiction and begin recovery. Keep the tips outlined above in mind and you will have an easier time finding a program that is a good fit for you.

group of friends hugging

Tips For Finding Friends During Recovery

While you’re in the recovery process from drugs or alcohol, you may discover that parts of your previous lifestyle don’t suit you anymore. One of the harder realizations that many people have is that the friends they once surrounded themselves with are no longer healthy influences to have in their lives.

Yet, it’s not so easy just to cut out old friends, because it’s still so critically important to have a strong support system around you to help you through your recovery. However, the process of seeking out new, healthier friendships can be tremendously healing and meaningful to you, and it is well worth pursuing. Here are a few ways you can try to find new friends as you walk through your recovery journey.

four men sitting on ground laughing

Meet Friends at Meetings

There is nothing that bonds people as well as going through a hard time together and being able to understand one another’s struggles on a real level. That’s why one of the best places to find new friends during recovery is in the recovery groups you are already participating in. Whether it’s NA, AA, group therapy or elsewhere, the people who you are already seeing, bonding with, opening up to, and communing with regularly are a great choice for possible new friends.

Think about whether there is anybody in particular in your recovery group(s) who you feel a connection to. Maybe you’re a similar age, are from the same place, or have had like experiences in your past. Whatever it may be, you can use this common ground to form a basis for a new friendship. Since you’re already spending time together, it should be natural to progress into friendship. Just try asking this person to grab a coffee or go on a walk with you before or after a meeting. They’re almost certain to appreciate this opportunity for a new, healthy connection as much as you do.

man speaking in front of a group

Find Friends Through a New Hobby

A great side effect of going into recovery is that you tend to get back a lot of free time that you would once have spent on unhealthy habits. In order to make the most of this newfound free time, consider committing some of your newfound time to a hobby. Whether it’s something current that’s caught your eye, something you’ve always been curious about, or a hobby from your childhood that you want to get back into, hobbies are great because, in addition to giving you something productive to do with your time, they’re also a wonderful way to meet new people.

Try choosing hobbies that involve other people, like joining a recreational sports league, a knitting circle, a book club, or taking a class. That way, you’ll have an easy way to meet other people who already share an interest with you. Mutual hobbies can easily lead to friendship as they give you something to talk about and do with a new friend. So try out a hobby and strike up a conversation with somebody there who seems interesting.

Make Social Media Social

Although it’s called “social,” social media can actually be quite isolating if you don’t make an effort to use it in a way that serves you. It can be all too easy to while away long hours scrolling through feeds of images and videos of strangers doing things you can’t imagine yourself ever doing. But if you choose to do so, you can also use social media as a tool to meet new friends and make connections.

woman holding a smartphone

Start by looking for online groups that are local to your area. That way, you can get in contact with new people you wouldn’t otherwise meet in the course day-to-day life but still save the possibility of easily meeting one day in person if you find yourselves connecting and wanting to get together. Often, groups like this will have regular meet-ups in person specifically for the purpose of allowing their members to make an actual connection. In fact, there are some social media, like, that exist specifically for this very purpose. For more tips on how to use social media wisely while in recovery, click here.

Don’t Be Shy

Unfortunately, making friends as an adult can be challenging. We just don’t have as many opportunities to run into likeminded people in our age group as kids and students do. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. All it takes is making an effort and committing to actually putting yourself out there. So why not give it a shot? After all, there’s almost nothing to lose and so very much to gain, including the possibility of building a new, healthy support system of people who care about and help your recovery and well-being.

woman looking sad while drinking wine

What Is Addiction Transference?

When a person addicted to a substance or behavior struggles to conquer that addiction, they may use another addictive substance or unhealthy behavior to help them cope with recovery from their first addiction. As a result, these two addictions “cross” or “transfer.” This phenomenon is called “addiction transference.”

The nature of addiction makes it an extremely common occurrence that can result in more harm than good or even turn one addiction into a combination of two or more simultaneous addictions.

In fact, this is why many addiction recovery programs request that their participants eliminate the use of all addictive substances rather than only one.

Examples of Addiction Transference

Maybe you’ve seen addiction transference occur in the real world in someone you’re close to. You don’t have to consider addictions only to drugs, alcohol, or smoking. Eating, extensive immersion into television or video games, or even some shopping habits can all be considered unhealthy behaviors with the potential for addiction.

Let’s look at few hypothetical scenarios:

Maybe you know a coworker who has been struggling to stop smoking. Over time, she’s discussed with you how she has cut back on how much she smokes throughout the day. She’ll do well for a little while and maybe not smoke for a couple of days at all, but then she’ll return once again to smoking a cigarette for relief.

Finally, she tells you, she has figured out a way to distract herself from smoking. Whenever she craves a cigarette, she says, she occupies herself by browsing the internet for shopping deals. As a result, she has incurred some significant debt on her credit card due to superfluous purchases.

In more serious cases, addiction transference can lead to major health complications and even death when the replacement addiction is something like drug addiction.

For instance, consider a friend who has been an alcoholic for years and is struggling to cut back on alcohol and then to eliminate his alcohol use entirely. However, his body is so dependent on the way that alcohol makes him feel that he experiences withdrawal symptoms when he stops drinking. He finds himself incredibly anxious, he shakes, and he can feel his heart racing.

Since opioids are also known to be a depressant like alcohol, a friend of his recommends that he use an opioid substance to calm his nerves and “replace” alcohol while he acclimates to not drinking. However, this person soon finds himself as addicted to the opioids as he was to alcohol.

While both of these examples are vastly different, they are both valid examples of addiction transference.

Treating Addiction Transference

Can addiction transference be treated? In some ways, yes. Given the wide variety of “transferals” that can happen, however, it’s understandable that a treatment plan will be unique to each individual situation.

Treatment with Healthy Distractions

For instance, during recovery from one addiction, a person can still take advantage of the “distraction” provided by another preoccupation. However, instead of indulging in too many sweets or in excessive shopping, a person can distract themselves from their addiction cravings with a healthy habit that will occupy their mind and fill their schedules.

A person could “transfer” from one addiction to fixating on a positive life change. They could decide to go back to school, learn a new language, begin planning out a small business idea, take up a new hobby like crochet or photography, or focus heavily on learning how to take care of their body with diet and exercise.

Sometimes, heavily attaching to a healthy area of distraction and focus can be enough to prevent relapse and encourage success.

Professional, Medical Treatment

In some cases, it’s not enough for someone struggling with addiction to distract themselves with positive life changes, and they may need to treat the possibility or existence of addiction transference by working carefully with a 12-step program, addiction recovery support group, or through Medication Assisted Treatment.

By working with professionals, an individual can find cohesive support both physically and mentally as they recover from addiction. In these treatment centers and programs, they will find the support and accountability they need in order to avoid addiction transference or to address it if it has already occurred.


In fact, we’d argue that the best way to treat addiction transference is with education and preparedness, both of which can be obtained from addiction recovery specialists and medical professionals. Asking friends and family for help is also encouraged, as they can assist in monitoring for damaging behaviors used as crutches.

Still, there is no replacement for advice from a medical professional, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a specialist for help if you have noticed any of these behaviors in yourself or in a loved one.