FL Serenity Ranch Recovery CEO Convicted

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Following a six-week trial, the Serenity Ranch Recovery network CEO, Sebastian Ahmed, was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison. After a trial that lasted over a month, a federal court in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, convicted him of several crimes, including health care fraud and money laundering.

Fraud in the Serenity Ranch Network

While the people who came to him needed help for drug or alcohol addiction, the services provided by Serenity Ranch Recovery weren’t meant to keep them sober. The sober home network, like many others in recent years, was a moneymaking venture. Patients tended to be young, addicted adults who were still on their parent’s health plans. They were typically addicted to “hard” drugs such as Oxycontin or heroin.

Rather than receiving treatment, most young people were left to languish with a few 12-step meetings and little else. While this took place, Mr. Ahmed billed the …

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In England, Soaring Alcohol Abuse During Pandemic

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In England, the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) is warning that addiction treatment services might become overwhelmed due to the number of new referrals. Like many places, the coronavirus has caused massive shutdowns and isolation among the population. There have also been layoffs. And there has been a huge uptick in alcohol abuse among a weary and isolated population.

When people feel desperate, or despair, they may turn to using alcohol or other substances. The RSP says that “soaring” alcohol use is a threat to public health.

Why the escalating alcohol use? For one thing, alcohol is one of the few addictions where you can abuse without stigma. It’s usually easy to get ahold of, too. In England, numbers have shown that in June, at least 8.4 million people self-reported abusing alcohol to some degree.

Addiction Services Meeting Multiple Needs

During the pandemic, the addiction services available to …

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Coalition Delivers Naloxone to Sober Housing

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A nonprofit coalition has worked to deliver 155,000 doses of the opioid overdose-reversal drug, Naloxone, to recovery homes in five states hit hard by overdoses. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit treatment centers and individuals with addiction issues particularly hard this year. Many states have reported that their rate of overdose deaths are now in the double digits.

Overdose deaths have been attributed to a storm of factors. More people are relapsing than ever, buckling under the weight of closing resources and added stresses of COVID-19. They are also using opioids alone more often, which can cause them to overdose without calling for help.

Coalition Wants to Save Lives With Naloxone

The Clinton Foundation has partnered with Direct Relief International and other nonprofit and public health groups to address the silent epidemic of overdoses that have been taking place since the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a part of these efforts, President Bill …

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Fentanyl is a Big Public Health Threat

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While many people in the medical profession are concentrating on flattening the curve and finding a vaccine for COVID-19, the opioid epidemic is quietly taking lives. What’s even worse is that as there is a lesser supply of street drugs due to shut down borders, fentanyl is pervasive.

Fentanyl Overdosing Startlingly High During COVID-19

COVID-19 has presented many challenges for the recovery community. Some treatment centers have been forced to stall or upend their admissions processes, leaving people with nowhere to go. Some sober homes essentially evicted residents overnight. Some people, unable to get to 12-step meetings, may end up relapsing. And all the while, US borders shut down, stifling the flow of drugs like cocaine and counterfeit Oxycontin from overseas.

It’s also true that people with opioid use disorder are vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic. If they are actively using drugs, they’re taking physical risks by going out around …

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WA Addresses Post-Treatment Homelessness

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Homelessness has always been an issue for people new to recovery. After all, it usually takes hitting bottom for a person to seek recovery options. While recovery is still possible, and many treatment centers still offer services, there are more challenges for people seeking recovery than ever. One major problem that people face when they leave treatment is finding a place to live. For so many recovering addicts, finances are tight or nonexistent, and possessions are lost entirely or are in storage. While Medicaid can usually pay for drug treatment, there is a fear of homelessness upon completion of programs.

In Washington state, during the height of the pandemic, they are rushing to close this gap and help people in recovery stay drug and alcohol-free in a space of their own. Thousands of young people with addiction and mental health issues are left homeless every year after completing programs.…

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Addiction Rural Community Action Guide Now Available

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The Trump Administration released a new tool today meant to help rural community leaders to build a community response to the addiction crisis, which has killed tens of thousands of people in the past ten years.

What is the Action Guide?

The Rural Community Action Guide has research and background information to help community leaders understand more about addiction and the addiction epidemic. In rural areas, there are often few resources available to help people with addiction problems. Many people with an addiction or mental health disorder may feel isolated or desperate. Yet addiction has become widespread throughout small-town America.

In the guide, local government and community members can learn more about recommended action steps, and best practices when it comes to small towns and rural communities.

 “Families and communities in rural America have been hard hit by the crisis of addiction, and face unique challenges in developing effective responses …

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FDA Warns CBD Products Can Be Dangerous

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The proliferation of CBD products in the “wellness” industry seemed to happen overnight. CBD, a byproduct of marijuana and hemp that does not get users “high”, has been marketing as a cure-all to everything from arthritis to anxiety. Some sellers even claim that CBD can help fight cancer by lowering inflammation levels. Now, the FDA is stepping in and warning users and manufacturers that these products not only may be modern-day “snake oil” but also can cause real damage to some people’s health.

What is CBD, Exactly?

CBD, also known as cannabidiol, is a chemical that’s found in all types of cannabis, even the male plant which is not smoked or used as a drug. Instead of getting a user high, CBD is supposed to have a host of health benefits and has been proven to help with rare seizure disorders in children. However, that’s where the clinical testing has …

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Scientists Explore Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) to Fight Addiction

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Addiction is costly in many ways. It can cost relationships, families, jobs, and lives. The stigma of addiction can cause people not to seek help, and it seems that the stigma is international, just like the disease of addiction itself.

China has been experimenting with different solutions for addiction for years. People often go to the research doctors out of desperation. A recent article by the Associated Press detailed the desperation a man named Yan, in China, felt when over the years he became addicted to crystal meth and, eventually, heroin. His father wanted to help but was tired of watching him bounce in and out of drug rehabilitation. He gave him a choice between another trip to drug rehabilitation, or to try Deep Brain Stimulation surgery. “Of course, I chose surgery,” Yan said. “With surgery, I definitely have the chance to get my life back.”

China’s Research into DBS

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Purdue Pharma is Exploring Bankruptcy

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Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, is exploring the idea of bankruptcy to protect itself from over a thousand lawsuits filed across the country blaming them, in part, for the opioid addiction crisis that has claimed thousands of lives in states across the US.

The manufacturer of Oxycontin, as well as the Sackler family that controls the majority of the company, say they are under duress due to the massive litigation they face by counties, cities, and states. They have been repeatedly accused of misleading doctors through marketing and sales pressures, without mentioning the risks of addiction or downplaying those risks entirely.

The bankruptcy type that Purdue is considering is Chapter 11, which would stop the lawsuits from moving forward as Purdue settles the trials under the direction of a bankruptcy judge. Purdue hired law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP for restructuring advice last August, making litigants nervous about …

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Border Patrol Nabs Largest Fentanyl Bust Ever

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Last week, the federal government announced one of the largest fentanyl drug busts ever, containing 254 pounds of the synthetic drug.

The bust occurred at the Nogales, Arizona border onboard a truck that hid the pills under cucumbers. Alongside the powerful opioid, there was also 354 pounds of methamphetamine. Both drugs have been on the rise in America the past few years, with fentanyl deaths outpacing other opioid deaths rapidly. At its current pace, according to US Customs and Border Control, the opioid epidemic kills ninety people a day.

The fentanyl in the seizure is valued $3.5 million and is twice the size of a haul discovered in a truck stopped by state troopers in Nebraska in 2017.

Fentanyl is quickly becoming one of the deadliest opioids in the United States, and it often comes to the US via China, passing through US Customs undetected. Last year, the opioid task …

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