Internet Substance Abuse Course is a Good Place to Get “Clean”

by Mike Miller June 25, 2013

Every once in a while a book comes along that has the opportunity to change people’s lives. “Clean” by David Sheff is one of those books.

Addiction swallows lives whole, and not only with overdose, illness and concentric cycles of rehab and relapse. As reported in

I don’t know about you, but the books written by those who have actually lived with and through addiction are the most compelling. There is nothing like personal experience. You cannot learn in a classroom or even a counseling office everything you need to understand what an addict goes through.

That’s why I respect the work of Sheff and his son, Nic, the addict. Perhaps you know the Sheff best for their 2008 bestseller “Beautiful Boy.”

In the last five years the two have written a small library of memoirs centered on Nic’s battle with substance use, with two by Nic (now 31, and sober).

Now comes “Clean,” less memoir than guide for those just entering the terrain

In “Clean,” Mr. Sheff traces the trajectory of addiction from cradle to rehab and beyond with the same question in mind: How does a promising clear-eyed kid from a good family wind up in an inconceivable sea of trouble?

In tomorrow’s blog entry we will continue to look at Sheff’s book “Clean” and try to understand addiction as an illness that requires medical attention.

Parents Need Online Drug Classes Too

by Mike Miller June 23, 2013

This is the fifth in a series of blogs looking at both the increase in abuse of prescription medications in the United States, and parents’ attitudes toward use and abuse of meds.

In each of the previous blogs we examined the parental attitude that use and abuse of prescription drugs is less dangerous that other illicit drugs. As reported in

Not only are parents less concerned that with cocaine or even marijuana or alcohol use, but are actually complicit in their behavior.

Here’s a fact - a parent’s medicine cabinet is the repository for 56 percent of the prescription meds teens say they are abusing, with nearly half of parents acknowledging that there are no barriers to access at home.

Here’s a real doozy - 20 percent of parents actually admitted to willfully giving their teen a prescription med that they had on hand, for which their child had no prescription.

Here’s what parents need to know - kids who start abusing when they are very young are much more likely to have an addiction problem as adults. Parents need to intervene. They need to control supply by locking up their medicine cabinets and throwing out old expired drugs. And they need to constantly weigh in, starting at very young age, even if they think they have the greatest kid in the world. They need to tell their child about the risks, and make clear how upset they will be if their child abuses these drugs.

Parents, please enroll yourself in a 16-hour online drug class. Take this class with your child. Be a good role model.

Parents and Teens Need Substace Abuse Course, Part III

by Mike Miller June 21, 2013

This is the fourth in a series of blogs looking at the problem of prescription medications and focusing on parents’ either denial of the problem or naiveté at how dangerous it really is.

Are parents oblivious to the fact that using prescription medications not prescribed is the same as using any other illicit drug? I do not think so. As reported in

As a counselor for both in-class and online drug classes I know that parents are aware of the dangers. There is something deeper psychologically involved. I have yet to see any official studies, but I think there is a combination of denial and more likely a hope that these prescription meds will not become a long-term addiction. They engage this attitude part in hope and part in lack of true information about how addictive and dangerous these substances are.

In one survey, 16% of parents also said they think prescription drugs are less dangerous than street drugs.

Perhaps this explains another survey finding: While about four in five teens said they had discussed both alcohol and marijuana use with their parents and almost one-third said they had talked with them about crack/cocaine, only between 14% and 16% said that the topic of painkiller/prescription drug abuse had ever come up.

Online Drug Class is First Step in Staying Off Opioids

by Mike Miller June 20, 2013

Have you ever heard of Opioid Replacement Therapy? The odds are that if you or someone you know does not, or has not, had a problem with opioids you never have heard of this therapy.

What is an opioid?

Everyone knows about the most dangerous illegal substances out there and heroin is always at the top of that list. Heroin is classified as an opioid, which is a psychoactive chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors. Opioid receptors are found in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract, making them especially lethal.

Opioids have been around for a very long time due to their painkilling and sedation effects and are among the world’s oldest known drugs. Opioids are used for medicinal purposes. Codeine, Oxycodone, and morphine are a few of the most common painkillers used to treat acute pain and/or to wean users off more severe opioids.

The problem is that these medications are highly-addictive and are being used both by patients and addicts for un-proscribed purposes – namely to get high!

Since so many people become addicted to opioids each year, something known as Opioid Replacement Therapy has become increasingly popular.

Opioid Replacement Therapy is a medical procedure or replacing an illegal opioid drug, such as heroin, with a longer acting but less euphoric opioid. The substituted opioids are most commonly methadone and buprenorphine and are taken under medical supervision.

The primary objective of this therapy is to help an opioid addict regain a normal life. This is done while being treated with a substance that stops him or her from experiencing withdrawal symptoms or drug cravings.

Opioid Replacement Therapy has proven successful for those with a slight addiction to a prescription pain pill that had following a hospital visit. If they can nip the problem in the bud, perhaps it will never develop into a full-blown addiction.

There are also many addicts who find themselves referred to Opioid Replacement Therapy programs as a last resort to overcome a heroin addiction.

In addition to helping individuals, it also helps to lower the overall costs for society that are a result of drug-related crimes and subsequent prosecutions.

Parents and Teens Need Alcohol and Drug Class, Part III

by Mike Miller June 19, 2013

This is the third in a series of blogs exploring the problem that both parents and kids have with prescription medication. Do you know someone who has a problem with prescription medication? Odds are pretty good that you do.

How can it be that parents are not concerned when they find out their kids are using prescription medications? Is it a sigh of relief that they are not on heroin? As reported in

Now, if cocaine or heroin use was going up the way prescription drug use is parents would certainly be freaking out. And they should be now, because prescription drug abuse is no better.

Among the findings: one-third of teens think there’s nothing particularly wrong with the notion of using prescription medications that were never prescribed for them to tackle a specific injury or illness, with almost one-quarter believing that their parents are more concerned about street drug use than the misuse of prescription drugs.

As a counselor for both in person and online alcohol and drug classes and a parent myself, the fact that so many parents are non-chalant about prescription drug use is alarming to say the least. I will recommend a serious 8-hour online drug class for all parents.

Drug Classes Can Educate Teens and Parents, Part II

by Mike Miller June 17, 2013

If you are socially aware at all you are informed about the current problem Americans have with prescription medications. From our nation’s elderly population to adults to children, the abuse of prescription medication abounds. There is no race, religion or age band excluded from its grasp.

A recent survey involving nearly 3,900 teens currently enrolled in grades 9 through 12 at public, private and parochial schools, along with more than 800 parents who participated in at-home interviews was yet another conclusive report that abuse of prescription meds is on the rise with our nation’s youth. As reported in

From my perspective, one way to look at this is that we’ve got a real public health crisis. And it’s not getting better. In fact, it’s getting deeper and more complex.

Parent Involvement Necessary

The key here is that kids and often their parents are buying into the myth and misunderstanding that prescription drug abuse is a safer way to get high, a safer alternative to street drugs, and that they can control it. What astounds me is that kids say that they don’t think that their parents are going to be upset if they know about this, and sadly parents are essentially saying the same thing.

Are parents that naïve? Can they be that valueless that these drugs are addictive and very dangerous? We will explore these questions in another blog.

Nation’s Drug Czar Will Continue to Promote Drug Classes

by Mike Miller June 15, 2013

When I read about the United States Drug Czar’s avowal to continue the fight against addiction despite recent laws passed by Washington and Colorado legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes I asked myself – who the heck is our drug czar?

The nation’s drug czar said the legalization of marijuana in Washington state and Colorado won’t change his office’s mission of fighting the country’s drug problem by focusing on addiction treatment that will be available under the federal health overhaul. As reported in

Gil Kerlikowske, director of the National Drug Control Policy, has developed a strategy that includes a greater emphasis on using public health tools to battle addiction and diverting non-violent drug offenders into treatment instead of prisons.

Insurance Companies Responsible?

The key to the administration’s efforts to deliver health care to drug addicts is in the federal health care overhaul because it will require insurance companies to cover treatment for substance abuse disorders, as they currently do for chronic diseases like diabetes. That change could lead to addiction treatment for several million more people.

Treatment shouldn’t be a privilege limited to those who can afford it, but it’s a service available to all who need it. Will the insurance lobby be able to overturn this aspect of the legislation?

The strategy outlined by Kerlikowske also supports a greater emphasis on criminal justice reforms that include drug courts and probation programs aimed at reducing incarceration rates. It also will include community-based policing programs designed to break the cycle of drug use, crime and incarceration while steering law enforcement resources to more serious offenses.

I like what I am hearing from our drug czar. It seems like he is the right person for the job. If he can help make insurance companies responsible without raising our rates that would be a super-human job.

How Badly Does Ozzy Osbourne Need a Substance Treatment Class?

by Mike Miller June 13, 2013

When you think of Ozzy Osbourne what comes to mind? For me it is biting the head off a live bat in concert and serious drug and alcohol abuse. I am unsure how many alcohol classes, drug classes or DUI classes the rock legend has taken in his career, but I assure you it is not enough!

Hey, Ozzy -- in case you didn't know, the missus isn't too thrilled with you right now. After all this time Sharon finally has issues with these issues? As reported in

Despite the rumors that their marriage is on the rocks, Sharon said she would not divorce Ozzy but she is not only unhappy but devastated by her husband’s persistent substance abuse.

Everybody knows he’s been struggling with this his entire life, but the most recent concern is a hidden addiction to prescription medication. He also has been hiding his drinking.

Somehow, through all the years of addiction Sharon has managed to keep her sense of humor. In an interview she said, "We’ve dealt with worse and we will deal with it and this too shall pass. Otherwise my husband will be taken to the hospital to get my foot removed from his backside.”

What do you think of the Osbournes' latest family crisis? Does this entire family need online drug abuse classes? Do you think Ozzy will succumb to his addictions? I look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Swagger, Pro Wrestler, Could Benefit from a 24 Hour Drug Course

by Mike Miller June 11, 2013

For those of you who think professional wrestling is a total farce, just try going through the charades they go through week-in and week-out. While the matches are choreographed by some of America’s finest choreographers, make no mistake, there is extreme physical impact on pro wrestlers’ bodies.

There is no denying there are many addicted to prescription medication, alcohol and other drugs. For such a wild bunch they manage to stay relatively clean with respect to getting caught.

Wrestler Jack Swagger, who lost his shot at the world heavyweight championship this week to Alberto Del Rio, is set for trial in Gulfport for his arrest back in February for driving under the influence of marijuana after a taping of the TV show "WWE SmackDown."

The 30-year-old Swagger’s real name is Donald Jacob Hager. Not too intimidating, right?

Swagger lost a match for the world heavyweight title Sunday at WrestleMania 29, at which Del Rio retained the title at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The night of Swagger's arrest, he had been at the Coast Coliseum in Biloxi for a "SmackDown" taping. Police first caught him speeding, clocking his 2013 Ford Taurus at 55 mph in a 45-mph zone.

Police said they found a small amount of marijuana in the car and suspected he was driving under the influence of pot.

Swagger was arrested on misdemeanor charges of DUI, speeding and possession of marijuana

This was his first offense. I hope he takes a solid level 3 24 hour online drug class and decides to keep his body clean of chemical substances.

Do Pets Need Drug Classes Too?

by Mike Miller June 9, 2013

As strange as that headline reads, don’t laugh. This is not some “Half Baked” notion.

In the 1998 classic movie “Half Baked” with Dave Chapelle, he and his pals get their Rottweiler so high that he jumps out a window after getting the munchies.

There was a “stoner” in my neighborhood growing up who used to blow marijuana smoke into his dogs face. We thought it was cruel then. We did not even realize that marijuana is toxic to dogs.

I say this is not funny because a recent study of veterinarians in Colorado, one of two states to have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, say they have seen a dramatic spike in the treatment of marijuana in pets.

Is it because the dogs are getting into people’s stash or the additional second-hand smoke from all the reefer?

One clinic in Colorado Springs estimates they have seen a 30% increase in the number of dogs they have seen who are suffering from exposure to marijuana. They have almost 20 patients per month coming in from marijuana-related incidents.

Does that number seem ridiculously high for one vet clinic?

Dogs become agitated after consuming the drug. It affects not only their coordination , but their mood as well. If a canine ingests enough THC they can have seizures and even die.

Pet owners beware, this can cost you up to thousands of dollars if your pet becomes hospitalized.

Do dogs need drug classes or is it their owners?