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Mental Health Awareness: The Evolution – and Devolution – of the Dialogue

Mental Health Awareness: The Evolution – and Devolution – of the Dialogue

The recent mass shootings in America have spawned a new discussion around mental health. Unfortunately, it is a dialogue that is tearing down much of the progress we’ve recently made to raise awareness and destigmatize the topic.

In response to the tragedies in Texas and Ohio, our president has referred to the shooters as “mentally ill monsters,” suggesting that the mentally ill should be “involuntarily confined” to prevent such things from happening again. His myopic statement that “mental illness pulls the trigger” stands to perpetuate the idea that all people who have a mental illness are dangerous, when in fact, most are non-violent.

Much research has been done on the topic, and the findings show that only three to five percent of all violent acts are perpetrated by someone with a mental illness.

However, mental health experts are speaking out in opposition to this statement. They offer instead that people who suffer from mental illness are ten times more likely to be victims of violence rather than the other way around.

The Truth About Violent Behavior and Mental Health

Statistically, only one percent of all gun violence in the United States is perpetrated by individuals who have a mental illness. In reality, the most significant predictor of violent behavior is a history of violent behavior.

Experts believe that the rhetoric that the president is currently dishing out on the topic may further stigmatize people living with mental illness, and possibly discourage them from seeking help.

In 2006, a national survey revealed that 60 percent of Americans thought that someone with schizophrenia would act violently towards another person. A further 32 percent thought that people with major depressive disorder would be violent.

Scientific research reveals, however, that only a tiny percentage of mental health sufferers are violent. Perhaps more significantly, the majority of mental health patients who do commit violent acts also have co-occurring substance abuse issues or other factors that contribute to the behavior.

The History of Mental Health Awareness: Progress and Regression

Mental health has long been stigmatized. It has only been in the last fifty years or so that we have made some progress in this regard. As psychiatry and understanding of the nature of mental illness have progressed, the way we approach it has changed considerably, but the echoes of past persecution still linger.

The movement to deinstitutionalize began in the 1950s, changing an “asylum-based” system to care that is more community-minded, providing patients with a better quality of life. By the 1960s, health standards were passed to ensure that only people who posed a serious risk to themselves or others could be committed.

In the past decade, we have made significant strides toward gaining a better understanding of mental illness, in all its forms. The discussion sought to reveal the truth about mental illness and to refute the stereotypes that ultimately lead to the neglect of people who suffer from psychiatric illness.

Making the connection

We have gained a lot of ground in the effort to educate the public, and a lot of positive things have come from it, not the least of which is knocking down the idea that people with mental illness can’t hold a job, maintain an apartment, be a contributing part of the community, or build a long-term relationship of any kind. Without these basic needs being met, mental health will suffer – even for those of us who are sound of mind and body.

One in four people will require professional help for a mental health problem at some point in their life. However, this doesn’t mean they will seek out the support they need, largely because they fear what might happen or what people will think.

In recent years, many programs have evolved to address the issue. Celebrities, actors, and musicians have spoken out about their own struggles with mental health, encouraging people to seek help when they need it and calling for a more open, transparent, and nonjudgmental discussion.

How far have we come?

Based on the building awareness, the progress we have made towards reducing the stigma attached to mental health is significant. With a growing number of children and young adults affected by anxiety and depression, it is more important than ever to ensure they know they can have a safe discussion around what’s happening to them.

Statistically, anxiety disorders are affecting 25 percent of teens between the ages of 13 and 18, impacting their ability to enjoy life and thrive in their social groups. Medical science continues to advance in this area, but sadly, 75 percent of that group will never seek out or receive adequate care.

Changing the conversation

There is plenty of research to prove that talking about mental health improves health outcomes, boosts self-esteem, lends hope, and tells us we are not alone.

All over the world, mental health awareness has become a mainstream topic, with the entire month of May dedicated to changing the conversation. Green ribbons, and the hashtag #breakthestigma have entered our collective consciousness, clearing a pathway to wellness that has historically been a very rocky one.

School programs, mass media, film, television, and popular music have joined forces to destigmatize and create change where mental health is concerned – and it’s been working incredibly well. Tough issues, like body image, substance abuse, chronic pain, and depression were brought forward, and solutions, support, and understanding were applied. Finally, after decades of living in the dark, we were starting to make some headway.

Until August 2019, when one of the world’s most powerful men drew a line between a horrific and tragic crime and mental health.

Is it a public health crisis?

The National Council for Behavioral Health recently published a report that summed up their research into mass shootings.

The study highlights several characteristics of mass shooters:

  • They are men
  • They have anger or issues that relate to work, money, or close relationships
  • They are ambivalent about life
  • They feel that they are victims
  • They sympathize with others they see as being like them
  • They have a history of violence, domestic or otherwise

According to psychiatrists, these characteristics are representative of individuals in mental distress – which is very different from mental illness. This means that they are motivated by a life event or stressor that causes them to act out.

Because most of us can’t imagine a person in their “right mind” committing such acts, some assume that the person must be mentally ill.

If we are willing to accept that the reason for such violent acts is mental illness, it may well follow that we will see certain restrictions put in place that will restrict the movements and freedoms of people who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. It will then follow that anybody who suffers from mental health issues will likely not seek treatment because of it.

The domino effect from this would be deadly, but not from violence perpetrated against others. It will be self-harm, suicide, and unnecessary mental anguish – all of which could have been prevented.

Words have so much weight: They can heal, and they can also be weaponized. Which will you choose to wield in this next, all-important chapter in mental health awareness?

If you or a loved one is struggling with mental illness, we are here to help. Our alcohol rehab center in Long Beach provides trauma-focused treatment and resources for alcoholism issues. For immediate assistance, please call our Admissions Specialists at +1(562) 247-3520 or +1(866) 766-8776.

Is There a War on Pain?

Is There a War on Pain?

Back in 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for opioid prescribing. Aimed at mitigating risk, the recommendations sought to lessen the volumes of opioid prescriptions, thus reducing the incidence of opioid-related overdose and death.

With more than 115 deaths attributable to opioid overdose every single day, something had to give. However, the response has left many people wondering just how far things have to go before the remedy becomes more deadly than the underlying cause.

Are judges and insurers qualified to dictate medical treatment?

Though the guidelines were meant for doctors, they have influenced state regulators, disability administrators, and insurers, prompting them to start making some pretty tough across-the-board decisions that have had a significant impact on a very vulnerable population.

Many people who suffer from chronic pain and other debilitating conditions have since been denied access to these medications, and in some cases, this means losing the ability to cope with the daily tasks of living that most of us take for granted.

In one example, a man who had worked 25 years for GM was forced to retire early because of a back injury. His surgery failed—a not-uncommon occurrence—and subsequent therapies only worked for a short time or not at all. The pain medication he was prescribed worked consistently, allowing him to lead a relatively normal life, but a judge who was reviewing his workers’ compensation disability case decided that his medications should be reduced to an extreme degree.

Now barely able to walk or leave his home because of his reduced mobility and pain, this man’s life as an independent human being is in peril. His doctors, fearing that they will lose their license or ability to prescribe, will not intervene.

Unfortunately, his story is not unique.

“What we meant to say is …”

In June of 2019, the CDC clarified its position on opioid prescribing, recognizing that some physicians had misinterpreted the guidelines and had taken the recommendations too far. They iterated that patients undergoing cancer treatments or having pain following surgery should not be affected by the 2016 guidelines because such conditions fell outside the scope of the report.

They said that if doctors were to set hard limits on opioid prescribing that they were not applying the guidelines as they were intended. These guidelines, they stated, were meant to focus on primary care physicians who were treating patients with chronic pain.

So, what were their recommendations? It was suggested that:

  • Doctors should prescribe the lowest possible dosage of pain medication in every situation.
  • Avoid prescribing more than the equivalent of 90 “morphine equivalent units” per day.
  • If the dose was raised to that level, the rationale must be “carefully justified.”
  • Patients at or above that dose should be continued if deemed necessary.
  • Doctors should avoid abrupt tapering or discontinuation to prevent pain and psychological distress.

They also allowed as how hard-and-fast policies conflict with the ability to provide individualized assessments of the benefits and risks, given the specific circumstances of each patient.

Doctors sanctioned, patients at risk

Following the release of the 2016 report, many doctors were disciplined. Clinics and practices were forced to close, leaving a large number of pain sufferers out of options.

Though the guidelines have been revised, it has not helped those doctors who faced action during the crackdown. Some have even served jail time, arguably, just for doing their job.

The general consensus is that there is a lack of innovation in pain medication, and methods do not exist that will accurately quantify pain. This is a significant barrier in bringing new solutions to the table, and there is still a lot at stake.

Chronic pain is not a crime

While doctors have been let off the hook following the CDC’s 2019 review, chronic pain patients continue to feel the pinch.

When state regulators make decisions that affect how doctors can proceed, there is a ripple effect that is driving more profound disabilities in some chronic pain patients.

For instance, if an individual who suffers from chronic pain is on disability or workers compensation, they are subject to the decisions of an adjudicator. For non-acute pain, it is easy for such decision-makers to conclude that a long-standing prescription is no longer necessary because there has been little or no improvement in the patient’s condition.

Weighing the risks against the benefits, the conclusion is often that the medication should be drastically reduced, resulting in reduced mobility, increased pain, and ultimately, a significant decrease in the quality of life.

The state’s role in the war on pain

Across the nation, 33 states have responded to the opioid crisis by passing laws that limit opioid prescribing. In some cases, this means that doctors are limited to a three-day, five-day, or a seven-day supply. In Florida, physicians are required to register their practice as a “chronic pain clinic” to be able to prescribe more than a three-day supply of opioids.

Though the federal guidelines have been revised, doctors continue to fear disciplinary action at the state level, and many will refuse to treat or will drop patients with chronic pain; patients who now crowd the lobbies of pain clinics looking for relief.

Why adequate pain management matters

It is impossible to generalize chronic pain. Each patient’s experience is vastly different from the next, and if doctors aren’t part of the solution, they are part of the problem.

New approaches often delay adequate pain management, but they are aimed at developing a better understanding of what works well for the individual patient as opposed to applying a standardized solution. In other words, pain doctors are taking a more comprehensive and systematic approach, trying alternative therapies like physical therapy, acupuncture, injections, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and psychological counseling to shape the course of ongoing treatment.

Reducing the risk

When patients can self-manage their pain, either through behavioral modification, pacing, modified activities, or a combination of several modalities, it eases the burden, both on the medical system, and on the patient’s own health and potential for optimized wellbeing.

If pain can be managed in ways that either do not include opioids or if a combination of therapies result in decreased reliance on opioids, the risk to the patient is reduced, as is the potential for dependence and abuse.

The ultimate goal, no matter what treatments are prescribed, is to improve the patient’s quality of life, to support their independence, and help them maintain their productivity. In many cases, if their pain is well-managed, these patients won’t be forced to give up their jobs or the things they love to do. It helps them stay off of benefits and continue as a contributing member of society, and even if they do experience pain episodes that prompt them to intervene with opioid pain medications, the reliance on them is significantly reduced.

Many doctors, however, still need to be educated about pain and addiction. While most stakeholders can agree that regulators had to do something to address the opioid crisis—deemed the biggest public health crisis in history—a balance still needs to be struck between over and under-prescribing. At its core are a lot of good people in unfortunate circumstances, and they deserve a chance to live life to its fullest, just as much as anybody else.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction in Long Beach due o chronic pain, don’t hesitate to seek help. Rehab and detox facilities like Roots Through Recovery have programs that can help you combat addiction as well as any co-occurring conditions. Roots Through Recovery facility in Long Beach is easily accessible via South Bay, Catalina Island, and Orange County. Visit 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807 or call (866) 766-8776.

As “Thay” – Father of Mindfulness – Prepares for the End, We Honor His Gifts

As “Thay” – Father of Mindfulness – Prepares for the End, We Honor His Gifts

As TIME reported this week, in a matter of weeks, days, or possibly even hours, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh — known by his disciples as “Thay” — will no longer be among the living. Although his passing could be viewed as a tragedy for some of his followers, the monk’s impending next step in his spiritual journey is also shining a light on the wisdom and lessons he passed down to those who followed him over the course of his eventful life.

Thay, which is Vietnamese for “teacher”, a renowned spiritual leader, is perhaps best known as the “Father of Mindfulness.” His teachings have brought peace and joy to millions over his 92-year life, and they all stem from his early Buddhism beliefs that mindfulness goes hand in hand with living a content and fulfilling existence.

Mindfulness is one of the foundations of a mind-body-spirit, or whole person, approach. The practice of even one minute a day has been found to lower stress, increase focus and joy, and assist in improving mental health, substance use, and other related issues such as chronic pain [1] [2] [3]. For some people — including many of Thay’s pupils — the Buddhist principle provides life-changing results unlike anything they’ve ever tried before.

The process of becoming more aware of oneself and one’s surroundings physically, spiritually, and mentally is Thay’s own spin on a very simplified version of Buddhism. It also provided the basis for evidence based approaches for behavioral health treatment like Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and work in tandem with EMDR and other trauma therapies. Although it has enhanced the lives of everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Oprah Winfrey, committing to it fully is a lifelong process and should be practiced daily to achieve its full benefits.

Part of what makes Thay’s teachings so effective though, and largely why it works so well for clients at Roots Through Recovery, is that everyone can always become more mindful and no matter your commitment level, the noticeable improvements on your life are immeasurable. Regardless of where a person may stand within the Buddhist doctrine, self-improvement and mindfulness are two aspects that we believe can always help. So even as Thay’s life comes to an end, we will continue to honor his blessings to the world and keep his legacy alive.





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Synthetic Drug Use On The Rise In Long Beach

By Samantha Mehlinger, Editor

This article originally appeared in the Long Beach Business Journal on November 19, 2018

A growing concern among Long Beach health care providers, law enforcement and government officials is the growing use of the synthetic opioid fentanyl. The drug, which is adding fuel to the flames of the American opioid crisis, is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Although originally developed pharmaceutically to care for cancer patients, the drug is also produced illicitly, and is increasingly being added to other drugs such as heroin and cannabis, according to local drug abuse caregivers and city officials.

An academic study on synthetic opioid involvement in U.S. drug overdose deaths between 2010 and 2016 found that “heroin and synthetic opioids (primarily illicit fentanyl) are increasingly implicated in overdoses,” and that “synthetic opioids are increasingly found in illicit drug supplies of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and counterfeit pills.” The study was published in May in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although other synthetic drugs are used with more prevalence in Long Beach, particularly the stimulant methamphetamine, local officials said they were currently most concerned by fentanyl because it is often fatal.

“California saw a 57% increase in overdose deaths related to fentanyl in 2017. Opioid abuse was a Midwest and East Coast phenomenon for several years, but it has now hit California,” City Prosecutor Doug Haubert told the Business Journal. “We should prepare to see more deaths related to fentanyl in the near future.”

Haubert added, “Simply touching fentanyl with your bare hands can kill you. It can enter your system through the skin.”

Sgt. Tim Long, who leads the Long Beach Police Department’s (LBPD) drug investigations section, said that synthetic drugs are becoming more commonly used in Long Beach. “Synthetic drugs are growing in popularity because they are more potent than natural drugs; the effects on the user are enhanced, lasting longer and producing a maximum high,” he said in an e-mail to the Business Journal. However, he noted, “Long Beach has not yet experienced an elevated level of detrimental effects as [those] other communities are battling, due to the dedicated resources focused on prevention.”

Roots Through Recovery opened two years ago in Bixby Knolls, and provides outpatient drug addiction and mental health services. According to Noah Warren, partner and business development manager, the facility is treating an increasing number of patients exposed to the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Warren, right, is pictured at the center with Joshua Pannell, executive program and clinical assistant. (Photograph by the Business Journal’s Brandon Richardson)

The most commonly used synthetic drug in Long Beach is methamphetamine, and the “second runner up is fentanyl,” Long said. “Heroin derivatives, opioids, and depressant drugs are becoming more prevalent within local communities. Another synthetic making a small comeback is MDMA (Ecstasy). This synthetic is very popular with college students and youth,” he noted.

Synthetic drug use is not associated with any particular population, Long pointed out. “In the past, drug abuse may have been identified with specific populations. Today, drug abuse affects all walks of life,” he said. “There is no longer a specific population that can be absolutely identified with drug use and addiction. Any community can be affected by drugs today, as evidenced by the nationwide drug abuse epidemic.”

Haubert noted that, as a powerful depressant, fentanyl “slows the respiratory system to the point that it will actually stop, and you will die,” unlike methamphetamine, which acts a stimulant to the body.

Commonly sold in colorful packaging at California convenience stores before being outlawed in 2017, “spice,” a synthetic drug, is known to cause hallucinations, rapid heartbeat, paranoia and other adverse side effects. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)


Although referred to as synthetic cannabis, the drug pictured is not made with marijuana. Instead, it is manufactured by spraying a concoction of man-made drugs on dried plant material. (Image courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)


Noah Warren, partner and business development manager of Long Beach-based addiction and mental health treatment center Roots Through Recovery, said that it is easy and cheap to obtain fentanyl illicitly. Of concern to Warren is that he is seeing increasing numbers of patients who are testing positive for fentanyl, but who did not knowingly ingest the drug.

“When you’re buying something on the street, you don’t know what’s in it,” Warren said. “We’re finding that people are doing heroin that is cut with fentanyl. Or they think they are doing benzo[diazepines]s, like Xanax, but they are buying it off the street – and when they come to us they are actually testing positive for fentanyl. The danger in that is the synthetic opioids are so much more potent than . . . what the pharmaceutical companies are creating.”

Warren noted that fentanyl’s effects are so powerful that Narcan, a nasal spray used to revive individuals who have overdosed, sometimes does not work.

Long said the number one risk of synthetic drug abuse is overdose. “Users and addicts underestimate the potency of the drug, wanting a better high, and their body cannot adjust to the strength of the synthetic drug,” he said. “Medical synthetic drugs are designed for extreme applications such as pain management and surgical procedures. Used irresponsible and illegally, synthetic drugs can be deadly.”

Fentanyl is often used legally for in-home hospital care. “A home’s medicine cabinet is the ‘best’ and ‘number one’ source for synthetics drugs. Anyone, such as an immediate family member, house guest, neighbor or child, allowed in the home can be the vehicle for drug removal and theft,” Long said.

“Synthetic drugs are a concern regarding rising crime rates,” Long said. “They do pose a risk to responding police personnel and the public. Synthetic drugs can have abstract or unfamiliar symptoms. Synthetics can produce unfamiliar symptoms appearing to emulate a hallucinogen or various psychoactive behaviors. It greatly depends on the community it is affecting, how easily they are accessed, and the level of usage.”

Another prevalently used synthetic drug in recent years was spice, a synthetic drug meant to stimulate the same brain cell receptors as marijuana, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Typically, spice comes in the form of dried plant materials sprayed with a synthetic concoction of drugs. Before being outlawed in California in 2017, spice was commonly sold in gas station convenient stores and labeled as incense “not for human consumption,” according to Warren.

It is difficult to predict the effects of spice, because its chemical make-up varies from batch to batch, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Spice is known to cause extreme paranoia, hallucinations, anxiety, rapid heart rate, seizures and other detrimental health effects that, in some cases, many also endanger others.

According to Warren, spice has been a problem particularly among teenagers, who would smoke the same amount of the drug as they would marijuana, resulting in psychosis and seizures.

The prevalence of vaping – smoking substances through an e-cigarette – makes it more difficult to know what a person is ingesting and if it is illegal, according to Haubert.

As the city prosecutor, Haubert said, “I am concerned with how difficult it is for law enforcement to prevent the widespread distribution and use of synthetic drugs. Our streets are being flooded with synthetic drugs and there is no easy solution to stopping it.” He continued, “Without a doubt, any time you see an increase in drug use on the streets, you’re going to see an increase in crime in order to feed the habit.”

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, please reach out to us at (562) 473-0827.

Non-Opioid Pain Relievers Just as Effective as Opioids, Study Finds

Non-Opioid Pain Relievers Just as Effective as Opioids, Study Finds

As Dr. Gabor Maté pointed out on Tim Ferriss’ podcast recently, every three weeks, there are as many people dying from opioid-related overdoses in the United States as the number of casualties we saw in 9/111. This fact was straight from the report that came out of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis in November 2017, where the members reference the daily death rate of 142 Americans due to opioid-related overdoses2. There are many tragedies we could compare this death rate to paint the picture of how serious the crisis is, but the committee’s reference to 9/11 is significant because they go on to point out that after 9/11, the country came together to address what it decided was the cause—putting time, money, energy and resources behind the fight against terrorism. So why are we not responding with the same level of urgency to the opioid crisis that continues to take thousands of lives every few weeks? Why are we not considering opioid alternatives?

The argument for the last decade has been that the risks associated with prescription opioids such as addiction and health hazards including death, were outweighed by their benefit in treating pain (based on no long-term randomized clinical research). But what if they aren’t, and haven’t been all along? A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on March 6th, 2018 found that not only are opioids not better at treating chronic pain in patients, they are actually worse at treating chronic pain than non-opioids. The randomized study, conducted by Dr. Erin Krebs out of the Veterans Affairs health system, studied 240 chronic back, hip or knee pain patients who were prescribed either an opioid pain medication (i.e. morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone/acetaminophen) or a non-opioid pain medication such as acetaminophen (paracetamol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.

The two groups were studied over a period of one year, evaluated for pain intensity, adverse effects and pain-related function; the conclusion of which was that over 12 months:

  1. Groups did not significantly differ on pain-related function
  2. Pain intensity was significantly better in the non-opioid group
  3. Adverse medication-related symptoms were significantly more common in the opioid group3

These results nearly broke the internet on Tuesday as national news outlets like VOX, NPR, NBC News, U.S. News and CBS News who have been covering the epidemic for years unanimously agree that the implications of study turn the shaky foundation of the opioid crisis on its head. Could one conclude from this study, and the others that have found no increased benefit in using opioids to treat acute pain4,5, that we should then eliminate the use of opioids? Not necessarily. What this study does do, however, is set the stage for more research to be conducted in the future—a randomized, double blind controlled study with a larger sample size; it forces physicians, the medical community and the government to consider that the benefits associated with opioids might not outweigh the risks; and it provides patients with new information to make a more informed decision before they begin an opioid pain prescription regimen. I’ll have a Tylenol, thanks.

Roots Through Recovery uses natural methods of managing pain. Call Roots Through Recovery via (866) 766-8776 to schedule a FREE consultation with our team or visit us at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807.


Roots Through Recovery Celebrates a Successful First Year

Roots Through Recovery Celebrates a Successful First Year

On January 6, 2017, we opened the doors at Roots Through Recovery and brought a different kind of addiction rehab program to Long Beach. The Roots program is built on the belief that an experiential, exploratory approach to treatment leads to meaningful and lasting change from the inside out.

The therapies offered at Roots are as progressive and engaging as the philosophy itself and include drumming, breath work, music and art therapies, somatic experiencing, and mindfulness meditation. Research shows that these therapies, when used along with traditional therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy, engage clients in the recovery process and improve the outcomes of rehab. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that since there is no single pathway to recovery, a holistic rehab program is essential for successfully treating addiction.1

Roots Through Recovery’s business development director Noah Warren has seen firsthand how this holistic approach helps people recover from addiction for the long-term. “Our clients come to us in their most vulnerable state, emotionally broken and seeking answers, and oftentimes with very little hope or a vision for the future,” Warren says.

“Our program addresses substance abuse by treating the whole person—their mind, body and spirit—and helping our clients rediscover their passion and purpose in life.” By treating the underlying issues behind the substance abuse that led to the addiction, Warren says, Roots helps people discover who they really are and uncover their true potential.

What 2018 Holds for Rehab at Roots Through Recovery

The impact Roots has had on the recovery and professional treatment communities in Long Beach has been powerful, Warren says. During its first year, Roots opened up the facility to outside meetings in order to increase access, bringing weekly Refuge Recovery, Crystal Meth Anonymous and Codependency Anonymous meetings to the area. Roots’ Lunch and Learn series offers professional development to others working in the field. Guest speakers in 2017 included several leading authorities on addiction treatment, including Dr. Deborah Sweet and Bill and Linda Woodbury.

In 2018, three new programs will be added to the lineup at Roots. These include a family program and a medication-assisted treatment program, as well as an LGBTQIA-specific program that will debut in February. In addition to these programs, Roots will be enhancing trauma-based treatments, adding dialectical behavior therapy, neurofeedback and psychodrama.

Roots Executive Director Eric Johnston looks forward to the organization’s second year as much as he did the first. His vision for the future is clear: “I want Roots to become an industry-wide name that is known not only for its clinical programming, but also the human connection that we create through all of our services,” he says.

The human connection and individualized care are hallmarks of what has made the first year of Roots Through Recovery so successful. Nicole Koontz, director of client services at Roots, attributes this success to a small, intimate setting, the individualized one-on-one care and the trauma-informed modalities of care offered. “We are a family, and our clients can feel the love from day one. Our whole team is involved in the client’s care.”

One-Year Celebration at Roots Through Recovery

A celebration event on February 6 will offer guests a firsthand look at the various services offered through Roots. The festivities will include breakout sessions with several group facilitators, including a Drumming for Healing session, a guided meditation and a Somatic Experiencing group.

Speakers for the event include Todd “Z-Man” Zalkins, who was the best friend of the late Bradley Nowell, the lead singer of the band Sublime. Zalkins, a Long Beach native in recovery himself, will speak about addiction and how it affects individuals and families. An upcoming Roots Through Recovery eBook about Zalkins will focus on his own battle with addiction and subsequent recovery, the opioid crisis in Southern California and Zalkins’ involvement in conducting interventions for families struggling with addiction.

As Roots Through Recovery continues to build on its momentum in 2018 and beyond, additional services and activities will be implemented to enhance the recovery of clients in rehab. “Watching the clients go through these experiences is what really moves me, because it proves that our program is having a positive impact on them,” says Johnston. “We are on the verge of building a truly unique treatment experience.”

Visit us at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807 or call (866) 766-8776 for immediate assistance.