DARE to Challenge: Why Drug Education Programs Fail

Drug education programs are often seen as a critical tool in the fight against substance abuse. However, a growing body of research suggests that most of these programs fail to achieve their intended goals. This blog post will critically assess why drug education programs often fall short of their objectives, drawing insights from the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program as a case study.

Historical Context of DARE and Similar Initiatives

The DARE program emerged in the 1980s amidst a growing public concern over drug use among youth. The Reagan administration's "War on Drugs" was in full swing, and DARE was seen as a promising solution to prevent drug use and promote healthy lifestyles.

The Los Angeles Police Department developed DARE and initially implemented it in elementary schools in California. The program quickly gained popularity and spread nationwide, as well as in 50+ other countries, reaching over 1.5 million students annually. At its peak, DARE was practiced in 75% of US schools, costing hundreds of millions of dollars to run.

DARE's success was attributed to its focus on prevention, emphasis on law enforcement involvement and use of uniformed police officers as instructors. The program aimed to educate students about the dangers of drug use, provide them with refusal skills and instill a sense of drug resistance.

Intended Objectives of DARE and Similar Initiatives

DARE program discussion highlighting scare tactics and misinformation issues during a group rehab session

The primary objectives of DARE and similar drug education initiatives were to:

Missteps of DARE and Similar Initiatives

Despite the widespread implementation and popularity, DARE and similar initiatives have faced criticism for their effectiveness and approach. Some of the key missteps include:

The "Just Say No" Approach

DARE, one of the most widely implemented drug education programs worldwide has been criticized for its emphasis on a simplistic "Just Say No" message. This approach assumes that drug use is solely a matter of personal choice and that individuals can resist peer pressure by saying no. However, this message fails to address the complex factors that lead to substance abuse, like mental health issues, social determinants of health, and underlying trauma.

Overreliance on Fear-Based Tactics

DARE is also known for its scare tactics, which often exaggerate the risks associated with drug use. For example, the program claimed that marijuana poses detrimental health effects, has no medicinal value and causes lung disease and insanity. Such claims make it hard for gain the target audience trust. While it is important to educate young people about the potential harms of substance abuse, doing so in a way that instills undue fear can backfire. Misinformation or simply overstating the risks can lead to mistrust of the program and make it less effective in promoting healthy decision-making.

Ineffective Delivery Methods

The delivery of drug education programs can also impact their effectiveness. Traditional lecture-style formats may not engage students and may fail to promote active learning and critical thinking. Additionally, having police officers deliver the program can create a sense of fear or distrust among students, further hindering the program's effectiveness.

Failure to Address Underlying Issues

Drug use is often a complex issue with underlying causes such as mental health problems, trauma, or social and economic factors. Drug education programs that fail to address these underlying issues are unlikely to be effective in preventing substance abuse.

Lack of scientific accuracy

Some of the information presented in DARE and other drug education programs has been questioned for its accuracy and consistency with scientific research. This can undermine the program's credibility and make it less effective in influencing students' attitudes and behaviors.

Moving Beyond DARE: Evidence-Based Drug Education

Moving beyond scare tactics and misinformation to understanding addiction illustrated by a drug free sign on a school fence

Drug education has the potential to play a significant role in preventing substance abuse among young people. However, the effectiveness of drug education programs depends on their approach, content, and implementation. Traditional programs like DARE, which rely on fear-based tactics and lack evidence-based curriculum, have often fallen short of their goals. 

On the other hand, others like Above the Influence and Be Under Your Own Influence appear to be effective because they tap into the desire of teens to be self-sufficient and independent. Teens crave being autonomous, effective and independent. If they perceive using drugs as a way to showcase autonomy and independence, it becomes an uphill battle to discourage them against drug use. This explains why these two education programs led to a dip in marijuana use.

With that said, here are some more effective approaches to drug education based on research and a holistic understanding of addiction:

Emphasize Skill-Building and Social-Emotional Learning

Drug education should focus on teaching practical skills that empower students to make healthy choices and resist peer pressure. This includes teaching communication skills, refusal skills, problem-solving skills, and stress management techniques. Additionally, incorporating social-emotional learning programs can help students develop self-management, self-awareness, relationship skills, social awareness, and responsible decision-making.

Address Underlying Issues and Risk Factors

Drug use is often a complex issue with underlying causes such as mental health problems, trauma, social and economic factors. Drug education programs should not only focus on the immediate risks of drug use but also address these underlying issues. This may involve promoting positive social connections, providing access to mental health services, and addressing structural inequalities that contribute to substance abuse.

Use Evidence-Based Curricula and Teaching Methods

Drug education programs should be based on rigorous addiction research and incorporate evidence-based curricula and teaching methods. This means using teaching strategies that are engaging, interactive, and age-appropriate. It also means using curricula that are up-to-date and accurate, reflecting current scientific understanding of the risks and consequences of drug use.

Provide Ongoing Support and Follow-Up

Drug education should not be a one-time event. Ongoing support and follow-up are essential to help students maintain healthy behaviors and make positive choices. This may involve providing access to mentors, counselors, or support groups. It may also involve offering booster sessions or refresher courses to reinforce key messages and skills.

Foster a Positive and Supportive School Environment

A positive and supportive school environment can play a significant role in preventing drug use. As such, schools should create a climate of open communication, mutual respect, and positive reinforcement. It also means providing opportunities for students to engage in extracurricular activities, develop healthy relationships, and feel connected to their school community.

Involve Parents and Families

Household members play a crucial role in shaping their children's attitudes and behaviors toward drugs. Drug education programs should involve parents and families to provide them with the knowledge and skills to communicate effectively with their children about drugs. Additionally, creating strong parent-child relationships and fostering open communication at home can help reduce the risk of drug use among youth.

Adopt a Holistic Approach to Prevention

Effective drug prevention requires a holistic approach that addresses individual, familial, and community factors. This includes collaborating with schools, law enforcement agencies, community organizations, and healthcare providers to develop comprehensive prevention strategies that address the root causes of substance abuse and promote healthy lifestyles.

Drug education programs have often failed to prevent substance abuse due to their reliance on scare tactics and propaganda. Effective drug education should focus on understanding addiction and empowering individuals to make healthy choices.


The Allure & Danger of the Newest Designer Drugs

Fentanyl and its derivatives have become the leading driver of overdose deaths in the US. According to the CDC, more than two-thirds of the reported 107,081 drug overdose deaths in the country involved opioids, mainly illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Fentanyl is very potent – it is up to 50x and 100x stronger than heroin and morphine, respectively. But now, reports are showing that a group of new designer drugs hitting the streets may be more potent than fentanyl. 

New studies suggest that these illicit drugs may be 1000x stronger than morphine and may require more doses of opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to reverse an overdose. According to one study, patients overdosing on drugs like nitazenes needed two or more doses of naloxone. In comparison, those who overdosed on fentanyl only needed a single dose of the drug.  

What are Designer Drugs?

Designer drugs, also known as synthetic drugs, or new psychoactive substances (NPS), are substances created in a laboratory to mimic the effects of controlled or illegal drugs. These drugs are created by modifying the chemical structure of legally restricted or prohibited drugs, such as amphetamines, opioids, or hallucinogens, to produce substances with similar psychoactive effects but different enough to avoid being classified as illegal.

Designer drugs can come in various forms, including pills, powders, liquids, or herbal mixtures, and they are often marketed as legal alternatives to traditional drugs. Currently, there are more than 200 known NPS – though there isn’t a way for pharmaceutical or legal experts to determine the drugs’ chemical composition. Most are lab-produced in China, but some come from other countries and are smuggled into the US.

Examples of Designer Drugs

What Are the Dangers of the Newest Designer Drugs Hitting The Streets?

Bearded Asian male showcasing the health hazards and addiction risks of designer drugs with medicine spilling on table

While research into the effects and dangers of designer drugs is ongoing, we already know that NPS abuse is associated with severe consequences. Here’s a look at some common risks:

Unknown Ingredients

The chemical composition of designer drugs can vary widely, even within the same type of drug. Users may have no way of knowing exactly what they are ingesting or how potent it is. This makes it difficult to predict the effects or potential risks associated with these substances

Lack of Quality Control

Designer drugs are often produced in unregulated settings, such as illicit laboratories or underground markets. This lack of quality control means there is no oversight to ensure product purity or safety. Contaminants and impurities can be present in these drugs, increasing the risk of adverse reactions or overdose.

Unpredictable Effects

Designer drugs can produce unpredictable and potentially harmful effects on the human body and mind. Due to their varying chemical compositions, users may experience severe side effects, overdose, or dangerous interactions with other substances they may be using.

Unknown Long-Term Effects

Due to the constantly evolving nature of designer drugs and limited scientific research, the long-term health consequences of prolonged use remain largely unknown. Users may be exposing themselves to long-term risks that are not yet fully understood.

Physical and mental Health Issues

The use of designer drugs can lead to various short-term and long-term physical health hazards, including:

Designer drugs can also create severe mental health risks. These include:

Addiction and Dependence

Like traditional drugs of abuse, designer drugs carry addiction risks and can lead to physical and psychological dependence. Users may find it difficult to quit, leading to ongoing health and social problems.

Legal Implications

The legal status of designer drugs varies by country and jurisdiction. Possession, distribution, or manufacturing of these substances can lead to criminal charges and legal penalties.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting designer drugs can result in withdrawal symptoms, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and intense drug cravings. These symptoms can make it challenging for individuals to stop using the substances.

Why Are Designer Drugs Appealing?

Hard drugs highlighting addiction risks legal implications and the importance of drug awareness

Synthetic opioids are the main driver of the deadliest US drug epidemic. Despite this, people are still seeking and using these drugs. Here are some common reasons why designer drugs are appealing, especially to the younger demographics.

No Scent

Surprisingly, many people cite the lack of odor as one of the main reasons they opt for designer drugs. Drugs like meth and marijuana are easily identifiable because they produce a scent that can linger on carpets, clothing, and curtains. But NPS doesn’t have a smell. In fact, some have the best flavors and scents that are pretty enticing to young adults who want to abuse drugs undetected.

Novelty and Curiosity

Young people get drawn to new experiences and sensations. Designer drugs, with their constantly evolving chemical compositions, promise novel effects that differ from traditional drugs.

Marketing and Branding

Some designer drugs are marketed and branded with appealing names, packaging, and labels, which can make them more attractive to younger individuals. This branding may play on popular culture or trends, making the substances seem trendy, fashionable, and, in many cases, safe. Besides, NPS are readily available, especially through online markets and underground communities. The ease of access and discreet packaging make them appealing to those who may want to experiment discreetly

Designer drugs pose significant community threats, particularly to young adults drawn in by their allure. The best way to combat this issue is to prioritize drug awareness, staying informed about emerging trends, and education as key pillars of our preventive strategies efforts. 

Awareness is often the first step in prevention. Understanding the potential dangers and consequences of these substances can promote safer choices, reduce harm, and support a healthier, drug-free life. It also allows you to educate and empower others about the dangers of these substances.

It’s also important to understand the treatment options that are available for those struggling with designer drug addiction. Treatment centers like More Than Rehab offer comprehensive addiction care to support people on their journey to recovery. Don’t struggle alone. Let us help you regain control of your life.

(888) 249-2191

Music Therapy Strikes the Right Chord in Substance Abuse

Music therapy has been used for years as an effective therapy for people with a range of mental and substance use disorders. It employs evidence-based musical interventions to address a wide range of challenges, including substance cravings, motivation for treatment, and the emotional turmoil often associated with recovery. 

Music therapy in addiction treatment settings involves the skillful use of sound, rhythm, and melody by trained therapists. As the value of this alternative therapy is being explored by experts, treatment providers are finding ways to add this modality to their comprehensive treatment. Some common therapeutic music exercises used in music therapy include:

Music therapy modality recognizes that music has the power to heal, soothe, and inspire, making it a valuable resource in the recovery journey.

In this article, we delve into the methods employed in music therapy, the psychological and emotional benefits it brings, and how it has made a profound difference in the lives of many on their journey to recovery.

Music Therapy for Addiction Recovery

Music therapy as an effective method for addiction recovery showcasing a couple enjoying and playing acoustic guitar together at home

Music therapy, a field that employs the power of music as medicine, has emerged as a potent ally in the battle against substance use disorders (SUDs) and addiction. With over 20.4 million people affected by SUDs in the United States alone and hundreds of thousands of drug and alcohol-related deaths every year, the need for effective and holistic healing has never been more critical. 

Music therapy offers a harmonious and holistic approach to substance abuse recovery. Its ability to address the emotional, psychological, and physical aspects of addiction makes it a powerful tool in helping individuals overcome the challenges of addiction and work towards lasting sobriety. Here’s a quick look at how music therapy helps in substance abuse recovery: 

Provides a Powerful Outlet for Emotional Expression and Release

Many people with addiction issues have difficulty expressing their emotions verbally. Music allows them to convey their feelings, whether it's pain, anger, sadness, or joy, through rhythm, melody, and lyrics. This emotional release can be cathartic and help them cope with the emotional turmoil often associated with recovery.

Samantha, a music therapy beneficiary, says music therapy has helped her see the meanings of the songs and that she loves it because she’s free to talk about how she feels. “I can cry, I can just be myself, and it’s amazing,” she told 10News.

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Recovery from addiction can be incredibly stressful. One has to deal with cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and the challenges of rebuilding their lives. Music has a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety.

Listening to soothing music or engaging in music-making activities can help patients relax, cope with stressors, and stay focused on their recovery goals. 28-year-old Aposporos is a good example of how music helps relieve stress. She started using opiates when she was 8 years old and had been in and out of rehab three times.

Enhances Motivation for Treatment

Motivation is a critical factor in addiction recovery. Music therapy can boost motivation by helping patients connect with their inner desires and aspirations. Through music, they can explore their strengths, values, and reasons for wanting to overcome addiction. Creating music or engaging in music-based activities can also instill a sense of purpose and commitment to the treatment process.

Self-Reflection and Insight

Addiction often stems from complex underlying issues and triggers. Music therapy encourages self-reflection and insight by prompting individuals to explore their experiences through music. Analyzing song lyrics, writing their own songs, or improvising music can lead to a deeper understanding of their addiction-related behaviors, triggers, and coping mechanisms.

Elevates Mood and Offers Inspiration

Uplifting songs, motivational lyrics, or musical experiences that create a sense of joy can provide much-needed emotional support. This is especially crucial since recovery is often emotionally taxing.

Group Support and Connection

Group music therapy sessions offer a sense of community and connection among those in recovery. Collaborative music-making activities, like drumming circles or group singing, promote social bonding and a sense of belonging. This support network can be crucial in maintaining long-term sobriety.

Methods Employed in Music Therapy

Music therapy techniques in addiction recovery showing a group of people engaged in drumming

There are many methods used in music therapy, each serving a distinct purpose. Music therapists will assess patients to determine the method or combination of methods that will be most effective in helping them achieve their therapeutic objectives. 

Compositional Music Therapy

Compositional music therapy is where the patient and therapist work together to create an original, permanent musical model. It provides a creative outlet for emotional expression, helps clients process their feelings, and fosters a sense of accomplishment when they complete a composition. It can also enhance self-esteem and self-expression.

Improvisation Music Therapy

Improvisation music therapy encourages spontaneous music creation without pre-planned melodies or structures. The patient and therapist engage in musical dialogue, responding to each other's musical cues. This method emphasizes the process of music-making rather than the final product and can promote self-expression, creativity, and emotional release. 

Receptive Music Therapy

Receptive music therapy involves listening to carefully selected pieces of music in a therapeutic context. The therapist chooses music based on the patient's goals and needs. The patient actively listens to the music, paying attention to the emotional and physiological responses it elicits. Receptive music therapy can boost relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and help patients connect with their emotions. 

Re-Creative Music Therapy

Re-creative music therapy focuses on recreating existing music, either by playing or singing songs. Patients learn to play instruments or sing songs they enjoy, or that hold personal significance to them. This therapy enhances musical skills and can be ideal for those who have an affinity for music or a desire to learn an instrument. 

Why is Music a Powerful Medium for Healing and Transformation?

Music's power as a medium for healing and transformation is rooted in several underlying principles that contribute to its effectiveness in therapeutic settings. These principles highlight why music holds a unique and profound place in the realm of healing and personal growth:

Music Therapy at More Than Rehab

At More Than Rehab, we believe that healing and transformation extend beyond traditional therapeutic approaches. Music therapy is one of the most powerful recovery tools that complement our comprehensive addiction treatment programs. It instills hope, motivates change, and reminds our clients that recovery is not just about overcoming challenges—it's also about discovering their inner strength and potential. Contact us today to explore our music and sobriety programs or other recovery options.


Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Sobriety

The recovery journey has many challenges that can test even the most resilient person. For some, the process feels like learning how to walk again as they grapple with the overwhelming fear and uncertainty of navigating life without the crutch of alcohol or drugs. But as the saying goes, knowledge is power, and understanding the hurdles ahead is the first step in overcoming them.

With that said, here are some common roadblocks and detours on the path to sobriety:

Friends and associates who use

One significant challenge you might encounter is the presence of friends or associates who continue to use substances. These connections can act as triggers, making it difficult to resist the pull of old habits. Being around people who use drugs or alcohol can evoke nostalgia, peer pressure, or even a sense of missing out.

To overcome this, it's important to communicate your commitment to sobriety with your friends and, if necessary, distance yourself from those who don't support your recovery. Surrounding yourself with a positive, understanding, sober support network can help you navigate this challenge.

Developing New Coping Strategies

Without substances, you must develop new coping strategies for stress, anxiety, and other emotions. This can be particularly challenging as using drugs or alcohol might have been your go-to method for escaping difficult feelings. You'll need to explore healthier alternatives such as mindfulness techniques, exercise, creative outlets, and seeking professional help through therapy or counseling. While finding what works best for you might take time, discovering these new coping mechanisms is a crucial part of your journey.

Finding a Purpose

Sobriety often prompts a search for meaning and purpose in life. Without the numbing effects of substances, you may start questioning your goals and aspirations. It's common to feel lost or unsure about your direction.

To overcome this, reflect on your passions, interests, and talents. Setting small, achievable goals and engaging in activities that bring you joy can help you find a renewed sense of purpose. Volunteering, pursuing hobbies, or exploring new career paths are great ways to connect with your inner values.

Triggers and Temptations

Triggers, which can be people, places, emotions, or situations that remind you of substance abuse, are significant hurdles. These triggers can evoke strong cravings, putting your commitment to sobriety to the test. It's important to identify your triggers and develop strategies to manage them. This might involve avoiding certain places or situations, creating a plan for how to handle cravings when they arise, and practicing mindfulness to stay present and focused on your recovery journey.

Stigma Surrounding Addiction

Another significant hurdle you might face is the stigma of addiction. Society's judgmental attitudes and misconceptions about addiction can lead to feelings of shame, isolation, and even self-doubt. Overcoming this challenge requires education and open conversations to break down these stereotypes. Seeking out communities and support networks that understand the complexities of addiction can help you combat the stigma and build a stronger foundation for your recovery.

Financial Constraints

Heap of money chained with padlock highlighting recovery roadblocks and financial constraints on the path to sobriety while seeking help

Addiction can often strain your finances, leading to debt and financial instability. In recovery, you might need to address these financial barriers while navigating rehab services, therapy, and other recovery resources. Creating a budget and finding ways to manage your financial situation and the cost of rehab can alleviate stress.

Lack of Support

Having a supportive network is crucial in the recovery journey. However, only some have a strong support system in place. It can be disheartening when loved ones don't fully understand your struggles or provide the necessary encouragement.

In such cases, seeking support from recovery groups, therapy, or online communities can help fill the gap. Connecting with individuals who have similar experiences can provide a sense of belonging and encouragement.

Psychological Struggles

Addiction often comes with underlying psychological issues such as anxiety, depression, trauma, or other mental health challenges. Addressing these issues alongside your recovery is essential. It might require seeking specialized treatment, therapy, or medication. It's important to recognize that recovery is not only about abstaining from substances but also about healing your mind and addressing the root causes of your addiction.

Loss of Motivation

You may experience a loss of motivation or complacency in your recovery journey. This can be a natural part of the process, but it's important to address it promptly. Setting new goals, celebrating small victories, and reminding yourself of your progress can reignite your motivation. Also, seeking new experiences and learning opportunities and connecting with others who have successfully navigated similar challenges can help renew your sense of purpose.

How to Navigate Roadblocks and Detours on the Path to Sobriety

Navigating recovery roadblocks and detours requires resilience, determination, and a strategic approach. Here's a guide to help you navigate these challenges effectively:

Acknowledge your Challenges

The first step is recognizing and accepting the challenges you're facing. Understand that setbacks are a normal part of the journey, and acknowledging them empowers you to find solutions.

Build a Strong Support System

Businessmen assembling gears from puzzle pieces symbolizing the teamwork and strategy needed in seeking help and overcoming recovery roadblocks with rehab services

Surround yourself with people who understand and support your recovery. This can include friends, family, support groups, therapists, sponsors, or mentors. Having a reliable support network can provide encouragement, guidance, and accountability.

Identify Triggers and Plan Ahead

Recognize your triggers, whether they're places, people, emotions, or situations that could tempt you to use substances. Create a plan for handling these triggers when they arise, including coping strategies and contacting your support systems.

Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Replace your old coping mechanisms with healthier alternatives. Engage in activities that bring you joy, such as exercise, hobbies, meditation, or journaling. These activities can help manage stress, anxiety, and other emotions without relying on substances.

Educate Yourself and Others

Learn about addiction, its effects, and your treatment obstacles. Educating yourself can help you understand your struggles better and also enable you to educate others, reducing stigma and fostering a supportive environment.

Seek Professional Help

If you're dealing with mental health issues, trauma, or other psychological struggles, consider seeking help. Therapy, counseling, and medical support can address underlying causes and provide valuable recovery tools.

Set Realistic Goals

Break down your recovery journey into achievable goals. Celebrate even the smallest victories as they contribute to your overall progress. Setting goals gives you a sense of purpose and direction, boosting your motivation.

Stay Mindful and Present

Practicing mindfulness helps you stay focused on the present moment and prevents you from dwelling on past mistakes or worrying about the future. Mindfulness techniques can assist you in managing cravings and stress.

Find Your Purpose

Rediscover your passions, interests, and values. Engage in activities that align with your newfound sense of purpose. Exploring new hobbies, volunteering, or pursuing a career change can help you find fulfillment beyond substance use.

Celebrate Progress

Reflect on how far you've come and your positive changes. Celebrate your milestones and successes, no matter how small. Recognizing your achievements can boost your confidence and motivation.

Remember, each individual's path to sobriety is unique, and progress might not always be linear. Patience, self-compassion, and seeking support from professionals, support groups, and loved ones can help you overcome these recovery setbacks, ultimately leading to a fulfilling life in recovery.


Why Distancing Yourself From Old Friends Can Help You Avoid Relapse

When in recovery, it is important to distance yourself from any friends or associates who may be triggers for your substance abuse. Relapse is always a risk, but by avoiding temptations, you can greatly reduce the likelihood of falling back into old patterns of abuse.

It's not easy to distance yourself from old friends, especially if you have known them for a long time. However, if you are trying to avoid relapse, it is often necessary to take this step.

The reason is that old friends can be a stumbling block in your recovery process. They may remind you of past use, making you feel tempted to start using again. In addition, they may not support your sobriety, making it more difficult to stay on track.

This blog post will highlight the dangers of hanging out with old friends and how to communicate with them without becoming sucked into risky behaviors and addiction.

Understanding Addiction, Peer Influence, and Relapse

Many people who overcome addiction fall back into old habits when around others who still abuse substances. This is often referred to as "relapse." According to the National Institute on Drugs Abuse, relapse is a normal part of recovery, happening about 40-60% of the time.

There are many risk factors for relapse, including:

  1. Co-occurring medical or mental health conditions
  2. The severity and consequences of addiction 
  3. The individual motivation, coping skills, and support system
  4. Insomnia and other withdrawal symptoms
  5. Boredom 

Negative peer pressure is also a risk factor for relapse among those recovering from substance use disorders. Peer influence can encourage use or trigger feelings of loneliness and social isolation. On the other hand, positive peer pressure can steer you in the right direction of recovery. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the role that people within your circles can play in causing relapse and take steps to protect yourself from the negative influence of peer groups.

What are the Dangers of Hanging Out With Old Friends?

Relapse is a very real danger for anyone in recovery from addiction. While it may be tempting to spend time with old friends who still use drugs or alcohol, it is important to remember that these relationships can be toxic and trigger a relapse.

National Institutes studies have shown that individuals in recovery are more likely to relapse if they spend time with people who are still using. Sometimes, all it takes for relapse is the sight of drugs or people that trigger memories of how it all felt. Another reason is one may feel pressure to use, to fit in. This is why it’s important to avoid old friends and forge new relations that will serve as a positive influence.

How to handle meeting an old friend while in addiction recovery

It's not easy to know what to say when you run into an old friend while in recovery. You may be worried about how they will react or think of you. However, it is important to remember that your addiction does not define you.

Recovery is a process, and it is okay to take things one day at a time. Here are a few tips for how to handle meeting old friends while in recovery:

Be honest about your current situation

If you feel comfortable, let them know that you are in recovery and doing your best to stay on track. It is okay if you don't want to share the details of your recovery journey, but be sure to communicate that you are not currently using any illegal drug or alcohol.

Practice what you'll say ahead of time

If you are worried about what you will say, it can help have a plan in mind. You might want to rehearse conversation starters or have an idea of how you will respond to questions about your addiction and recovery.

Be prepared for any reaction


Some of your old friends may be supportive and understanding, while others may not know how to respond. Be prepared for either outcome and remember that everyone is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all response to this situation.

If your old friend is supportive, that is great. If they are not, that is okay too. Remember that you are not alone in this journey and that there are people who care about you and want to see you succeed.

Don't be hostile or judgmental

When you meet an old friend, you should stay calm and non-judgmental. If your friend is still using drugs or alcohol, try not to be hostile or aggressive. Instead, reiterate your commitment to sobriety and let them know that you're there for them if they need help. By taking the high road, you can set a positive example for your friend and pave the way for a healthy, supportive relationship.

Life after treatment involves forging new relationships

When you are trying to break the connection with old friends, you need to find new ones who will support your sobriety. Here’s how to go about it: 

  1. Reach out to your close family and friends and let them know what you are going through. Most of them will be happy to support you and even connect you to their network of better friends. 
  2. Join a sober community or group to find others going through the same thing as you who can offer support and advice. Many support groups and communities in the United States - including Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. You can also ask your addiction treatment center to recommend groups or communities near you.
  3. Finally, stay active and involved in your recovery. This will help you stay focused on your goals and give you something positive to focus on. 


Distancing yourself from friends and acquaintances who still use drugs or alcohol is one of the most effective relapse prevention plans. While difficult, it’s an important part of staying sober. A strong support network of recovery-minded friends can make the process easier.

If you’re having difficulty controlling the urge to use, you can get help. Treatment programs exist to help people on the verge of relapsing regain control of their lives.


How Is Rehab For Meth Different Than Other Drugs

Meth is a powerful drug and one of the hardest to overcome. This makes meth addiction treatment a challenge compared to alcohol or other drugs like cocaine and marijuana. A full recovery from meth needs an extensive meth addiction treatment plan, which comprises patient assessment, detox, therapy, and aftercare (support groups).

Detox purges the physical presence of meth from the body and helps user adjust to normal functioning without the drug. Therapy addresses psychological damage done by meth abuse and also arms the patient with coping skills to maintain long-term sobriety. Aftercare involves support groups that help keep the recovering user in line and accountable.

Methamphetamine, also called crystal meth, is a highly-addictive stimulant with short and long-term health effects. Meth abuse may also result in substance use disorders and mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

This article discusses meth addiction treatment in detail, and how rehab for meth is different than other drugs.

How is rehab for meth different?

Rehab for meth is different than other drugs because it typically involves four steps. These all need to be completed to make a full recovery. The steps are; patient assessment, detox, therapy, and aftercare.

On the other hand, treatment for most drugs, including cocaine and alcohol, mostly incorporate two steps; detox and therapy.


Meth addiction treatment: outpatient vs. inpatient programs

If you or your loved one decide to seek treatment for meth addiction, you will have to choose between the inpatient and outpatient programs. Your choice will significantly depend on personal reasons as well as the extent of addiction.

Outpatient treatment would be ideal if you have a weak addiction and didn’t get a dual diagnosis. You can also opt for it if you have work or school obligations.

Outpatient treatment programs are part-time. Therefore, you can select hours that allow you to continue performing your day-to-day activities. Most treatment centers require their patients to spend at least 12 hours a week at the rehab facilities for counseling and detox.

Inpatient treatment is recommended if you have abused meth for an extended time. Most chronic abusers usually experience extreme withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, relapse is pretty common

Inpatient rehab centers provide a stable environment where you get meth addiction treatment without the danger of relapse. The program can last for 1-3 months, depending on the severity of the addiction and individual needs.

Meth addiction treatment: The steps in treatment.

Although treatment of meth addiction is challenging due to the drug’s addictive nature and psychological factors, several treatment options are available. Most treatment facilities offer treatment options that deal with both substance addiction and mental health conditions as a package. This is commonly called co-occurring disorders, or a dual diagnosis. 

Every meth addiction treatment plan has four steps; patient assessment, detox, therapy, and counseling. 

Patient assessment

Before your doctor prescribes treatment, you will undergo a patient assessment. The assessment determines your addiction level and the type of care you will need. You will also undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine whether or not you have underlying mental health issues that require treatment.



Detox is the process where methamphetamine is expelled from your body. Usually, methamphetamine abuse builds your tolerance and leads to physical dependence. Therefore, when you decide to quit, you will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Most medical practitioners usually recommend medical-assisted detox because it is safer and has proved successful. Additionally, doctors can monitor your vital signs and prescribe drugs to make the withdrawal stage bearable. For instance, your doctor can prescribe benzodiazepines if you panic or become agitated as your body adjusts to functioning without meth.


Therapy is the next step after detox. Most treatment centers adopt Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on changing your behavior to halt unhealthy patterns. 

During CBT, you will learn the underlying reasons for the meth abuse and drug-free ways to deal with stress. Additionally, you learn to recognize your emotional or environmental triggers, stop the negative impulses, and use healthy coping mechanisms.

CBT has proved effective in treating meth addiction and co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression.

Matrix model

Some treatment centers opt for the matrix model, a 16-week behavioral treatment program for meth addicts. The matrix model combines behavioral therapy, family therapy, drug testing, drug-free activities, and a 12-step component.

Support groups

For you to retain your sobriety, you need aftercare. Support groups are an aftercare method that works for most people that previously struggled with drug addiction.

The two most common support groups for recovering meth addicts are; Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.

These support groups give recovering meth addicts a sense of belonging, mutual trust, and friendship with people who have similar experiences.

Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have a 12-step-programs that aim at personal growth and relapse prevention. In this program, members inventory their day-to-day lives. They also make amends with those they hurt due to their addiction and support other recovering addicts by disclosing their personal experiences.


Support groups are free, and anyone recovering from meth addiction can join. You can also get a sponsor of your gender to guide you through the 12 steps.

Alternatively, you can opt for Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART), a model that incorporates CBT and 12-step programs elements.

Using medication to reduce meth cravings

Although the FDA has not yet approved medication that helps with meth cravings, a few successfully reduce meth cravings in most patients. They include;

1. Bupropion - several clinical trials have concluded that bupropion can reduce meth craving in patients who have a less severe addiction.

2. Dextroamphetamine - medical trials on the effect of dextroamphetamine in meth addiction treatment found that patients who used the drug were less likely to relapse.

3. Nicotine - small amounts of nicotine may prevent meth cravings in people whose meth addiction is not severe.

4. Rivastigmine - a recent study revealed that this drug might be effective in reducing meth cravings.

5. Naltrexone - studies show that naltrexone may prevent meth cravings and inhibit meth-seeking behavior.

Do treatment facilities use any medication in meth addiction treatment?

Most treatment facilities use medication during detox and treatment for meth addiction. However, the type of medication varies with each facility.

At the moment, there aren’t any FDA-approved medications for meth addiction treatment. However, rehab centers may prescribe medication that offers promising results in managing withdrawal symptoms and reducing meth cravings.


Why should you get treatment for meth addiction?

Using crystal meth has significant social, medical, and psychological effects. They include but are not limited to:

Start your recovery journey today!

Meth addiction is challenging to treat, but it is not impossible. With the proper treatment, you or your loved one can make a full recovery and live a healthy, drug-free life.

At MoreThanRehab, we offer high-quality, individualized treatment for meth addiction. We offer both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Our qualified staff will walk you through every stage of your addiction recovery. 

Call us today to start your recovery journey. 


Press Release: Now In-Network With Cigna

More Than Rehab Drug Treatment Fills the Void as Cigna Drops Treatment Centers in Texas Area

Press Release Jan, 1 2020.

As the drug epidemic worsens, accepting insurances of different types is key to providing care to addicts when they seek help. Bryan, TX is home to More Than Rehab, a substance abuse treatment center just outside Houston that aims to get people away from triggers in the major cities, so that addicts can recover. Recently, the insurance giant, Cigna has parted ways with several treatment centers in the Texas area. Fortunately, More than Rehab was there to help Cigna covered addicts find treatment. They recently went in-network with Cigna, ensuring more people can be accepted for their industry leading care.

Recently in Texas, drug users have been reaching out to More Than Rehab for alcohol & meth abuse. The decision to cover more individuals comes from a recognition that drug users are choosing different drugs of choice, and many of these users need the most available options for rehab payment coverage. “Alcohol is readily available everywhere and is socially reinforced & while meth continues to be a problem, more people have realized their addictions could kill them in those choice drugs.”, says CMO Steve Trevino. “While we see addictions from all types of drugs, we want to help those seeking change, and being in-network with Cigna allows us to do just that.”

More Than Rehab has programs specifically for meth and alcohol rehabilitation that use evidence-based drug treatment. This has improved countless lived with EMDR, CBT, & other psychological counseling to get users away from drugs with proven methods. Often the barrier to stellar treatment is coverage, even more so in Texas where certain drugs of choice are more common for migrants & labor workers. In some cases, meth can be seen as a job performance enhancing agent, while drinking at work remains an age-old problem for employers & employees alike. Being in-network with an insurance company allows a lower cost to the addict for treatment, which is needed more than ever because of the epidemic.

If you or someone you know is seeking treatment for drug abuse, reach out to More Than Rehab at 888-249-2191 or go to morethanrehab.com.

What is the Best Drug Rehabilitation?

Finding the best addiction treatment program for yourself or a loved one can be a confusing process for many. With so many treatment options available, it is difficult for some to find the best drug rehabilitation program that will suit their individual needs. Finding the best drug rehabilitation for your addiction can be one of the most important health care decisions you make in your entire life. Addiction to drugs or alcohol can quickly become a deadly disease. You have a lot of options available to help you, but we want you to make an informed decision on which program will offer the best care for yourself or a loved one.  

What are the different drug rehabilitation treatment types available to cure addiction?

Drug and alcohol medical detox

For most people, a full medical detox will be the first step of their alcohol or drug rehabilitation program. Before your treatment begins, you want to make sure your body and mind are prepared for the often intense withdrawal symptoms you may experience when you first stop using drugs or alcohol. This is why rehab programs will require you to complete a full detox before you begin your stay at a residential drug rehab facility.

Going through a full detox will rid your body of harmful toxins that were built up from past drug and alcohol abuse. The detox will help you get beyond the physical challenges of addiction, such as acute withdrawal symptoms, before you begin to address the mental and behavioral components of your addiction.

Physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms happen for most people when they first stop using drugs or alcohol. Many of these withdrawal symptoms can be eased with the help of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), beginning in the detox phase. These medications are designed to immediately make you feel more comfortable, while reducing your cravings for alcohol and drugs. MATs are considered to be science-driven, evidence based treatments, as they can also help prevent a relapse later on in your recovery from addiction.


Inpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation

Ongoing treatment is essential beyond an initial detox when a lifetime of sobriety is your ultimate goal. Entering an inpatient drug rehab facility will help you work through the psychological and emotional problems that contributed to your substance use disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), individual and group counseling, 12 step programs, physical activities, family counseling and a variety of other techniques are employed to varying degrees in nearly every inpatient addiction treatment program. Some inpatient drug rehab programs last an average of 30 days, while others go up to 90 days or more, depending on the severity of the addiction. Some research has shown that the longer a person stays in a treatment program, the more positive the results will be:

"However, research has shown unequivocally that good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length. Generally, for residential or outpatient treatment, participation for less than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and treatment lasting significantly longer is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes.

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Inpatient drug rehab programs offer a comfortable group housing arrangement for others who are in similar stages of recovery. These settings are a good start for many people who just recently quit using drugs or alcohol. Inpatient rehab offers the patient a chance to get out of their daily routine, and really focus on the most important thing for their personal health: learning how to stay sober.

Inpatient rehab is absolutely essential when someone has an addiction to multiple substances or an underlying mental health issue that may have contributed to their substance use disorder. When someone has past trauma, it is likely this had heavily contributed to the reasons the addiction developed in the first place. Many have suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness that caused them to self-medicate in an attempt to feel “normal”. This is referred to as a dual diagnosis, and will require more intricate treatment techniques.  

Outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation

Outpatient rehab offers most of the same forms of treatment as an inpatient facility does, but it allows the flexibility for someone to get treatment for their addiction, while continuing to live at home, go to work or attend school while in rehab. This being the case, it is important to find an outpatient clinic near you.

Most outpatient clinics offer daily individual, group and family therapy sessions, coupled with various other forms of treatment. In many ways, outpatient care is no different from inpatient treatment, you just don’t live at the rehab facility. Typically, most would recommend an outpatient treatment facility to someone who has already completed 30 to 90 days of inpatient rehab.

Outpatient facilities offer patients the opportunity to extend the length of their treatment, while providing a continued foundation for their success in sobriety. Outpatient rehabilitation is also a great way to learn techniques to reduce cravings and prevent a relapse while having the chance to test them out in real world situations. Remember that sticking with a long-term strategy while in recovery is the key to achieving positive outcomes in your addiction treatment.

While the differences between inpatient and outpatient treatment are fairly straightforward, the differences in results will be determined by the individual needs of the patient. The goal of all of these programs is ultimately to help you build a new lifestyle that doesn’t include the use of alcohol or drugs.


Finding the best drug rehabilitation in the Houston, Texas area

A long term substance abuse problem can have devastating consequences not only for yourself, but for your friends and family members as well. It is never too late to start an addiction recovery program but the sooner you act, the easier it will be. When an addiction goes untreated, the addict is prone to worsening health conditions and at a great risk for an accidental overdose death.

Every 11 minutes, someone dies from an opioid overdose in the United States. As the opioid epidemic rages on, the lives of many Americans are at stake. If you’re reading this, odds are this epidemic has hit close to home for you as well. Know that immediate help is available. At More Than Rehab, we are available to help you 24/7. All you have to do is pick up the phone and make that first call:


What is it Like to Work in a Drug Rehab?

Many people wonder what it is like to work in a drug rehab facility. For most addiction specialists, the career path is a rewarding one. You get to help people rebuild their lives, often times from the bottom, back on up. You know the old saying: “rock bottom is a great place to build a new foundation”. But, what is it really like to work in a drug rehab or detox center? What does the typical workday entail? Many of our clients end up showing a very real, motivated interest to work as an addiction specialist once they complete our program and maintain sobriety for a period of time. We champion this type of attitude, because many people who currently work for drug rehabilitation centers are recovering addicts themselves.

People who work in the field of addiction recovery are often in high demand. With over 70,000 people dying from drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2017, the need for qualified alcohol and drug abuse counselors will likely remain high for years to come. Also, with increasing government funding and public resources being devoted to helping people who are struggling with addiction, job demand will surely continue to rise. If you choose to work in a drug rehab, the experience will be a highly rewarding one as you will be directly helping people who need your help, literally every single day you go into your workplace.


A variety of career choices are available in the substance abuse treatment sector.

A wide variety of career options exist in the field of drug abuse treatment and relapse prevention. From administrative support to medical detox doctors there is a wide array of possibilities for someone who wants to work in the field of substance abuse treatment. Depending on your qualifications, you potentially have numerous job possibilities available to explore. Some positions in different states have different requirements, but even our rehab center has a maintenance guy. Many treatment centers have a head chef and other support staff which wouldn’t necessarily require a professional medical degree. The first step to seeking a career in addiction and drug abuse treatment is deciding exactly how you would like to help people who suffer from the disease of addiction.

Doctors, therapists and addiction counselors are among the most common careers at a drug rehab center.

A typical addiction counselor will likely be a licensed psychiatrist, or have a master’s degree in counseling. Most master’s programs offer fields of specialization, like one in substance abuse and addiction. Some facilities have medical directors who oversee the detox process and can prescribe medication-assisted treatments (MAT) to help ease the withdrawal symptoms experienced throughout detox and early recovery. Many of these doctors are psychiatrists who specialize in treating mental health disorders. This enables them to look for any underlying mental health issues that may be contributing to an addiction. This is typically referred to as a dual diagnosis. The field of psychiatry requires at least 11 years of medical training, usually more.


Psychologists can call themselves doctors if they have a PhD, but they are not medical doctors, meaning that they cannot prescribe medications. Working in a drug rehab center, a psychologist will work to understand the underlying causes of addiction through group and individual therapy sessions. These techniques include cognitive behavioral sessions where the psychologist will teach patients how to cope with withdrawal symptoms and identify triggers associated with their abuse of drugs. The psychologist will also develop a comprehensive relapse prevention strategy for their patients. They can also lead family group therapy sessions where they attempt to heal any broken family relationships.

To become a certified addiction counselor (LCDC) in Texas, the state requires at least an Associate’s degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling, and 4,000 hours of supervised work experience. A full list of requirements can be found at this link: Texas Human Services Guide

Psychiatric nurses, addiction therapy nurses and detox specialists.

Many people will prefer careers that focus on the direct, day to day care of a facility’s patients. These positions focus on personal treatment for the patients as they go through detox, adjust to withdrawal symptoms and they can even administer medications to their patients. These nurses are instrumental in tracking the progress of the treatment, helping make recommendations for continued care. They will often consult the physician on the progress of their individual clients on a daily basis. Throughout their daily routine, nurses and detox specialists try to make the clients feel as safe and comfortable as possible. This is a great job opportunity for a person who wants to feel a direct impact on their client’s lives. Typically, these types of jobs are in the highest demand in the addiction treatment and rehabilitation sector.

Social workers, case managers and sober companions.

Like nurses, these staff members work closely with patients and their families as they transition into and out of treatment. A social worker or case manager is a professional who typically first determines the client’s initial, and individual needs for treatment. They will formulate a plan of action for each client and even work closely with the families of people who are struggling with addiction. A social worker will typically have a Master’s degree in social work.


Sober companions typically help those in recovery transition from inpatient treatment programs, back into their daily routines. Often referred to as “sober coaches” these people can provide around the clock support for someone as they reenter society. They will even come into your home and help you identify potential relapse triggers and make sure there is no more substances or residues you could use to relapse and get high again. These positions can sometimes require certification, but most just ask for experience in managing addiction recovery. This experience can be personal experience, so this is a great position for recovering addicts who want to begin work in the field of substance abuse treatment.

Administrative and support staff.

Another great entry point for someone without the required degrees, certification or schooling is in some sort of administrative support role. This can be anything from answering phone calls at the drug rehab facility, keeping books and financial records for the facility, or doing data entry on patient files. Answering the phones and speaking to prospective clients is a very rewarding process. You get to be the face of the treatment program and you are the first to offer them support in their time of great need.

While working in the field of recovery from addiction may not be for everyone, if you’ve read this far, odds are you are considering going to work at a drug rehab center. We strongly encourage anyone that has a desire to help people to look further into the field of substance abuse treatment and addiction services. The world needs your help. Eight people die per hour, each and every day from drug overdoses in the United States. To combat this, we desperately need more help. Your help.


How to Celebrate New Years Eve Sober. Tips for Recovering Addicts.

The holiday season for most recovering addicts can be the hardest time of the year, especially on New Year's Eve. Holidays in the United States are quite often characterized for their excess. Excessive partying, binge drinking, even excessive spending and worrying about debts and other responsibilities can cause a great amount of stress during this time of year.

As the year comes to a close, Christmas decorations are coming down and many people in recovery may be experiencing stress about the biggest party night of the year: New Year’s Eve. For many it is a conundrum of questions: avoid parties altogether? Or risk experiencing loneliness, guilt and shame by staying home alone? While there is no clear cut answer for these questions that would be suitable for everyone in recovery, there are positive and negative aspects to both of those strategies. Each one can release a unique set of triggers, so the best thing you can do is be prepared for either scenario.

Have a Plan to Stay Sober:

If friends are asking you to go to parties for New Years Eve, you may be fearful that the champagne toast at midnight may be too much temptation for you to resist. Maybe you’ll run into an old friend who you used to get wasted with. Or you could see a past lover for the first time since your newfound sobriety. Either way parties can set you up for temptations and triggers that many in recovery programs are not ready to overcome yet.

If you have plans to stay home alone for the big night, this could be a potentially stress-inducing situation as well. Leaving yourself alone and isolated when everyone else is being social and celebrating can cause negative thoughts and emotions, which can be triggers in and of themselves. The loneliness can lead toward guilt and shame, which is no fun to experience alone. Many tend to either romanticize their past substance abuse, only remembering the good times or beat themselves up over their past mistakes, suffering alone in grief while everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves.

Again, preparation is essential so you are not caught off guard, without a plan. While many people experience major FOMO (fear of missing out) on New Year’s Eve, there are plenty of alternatives to celebrating with alcohol and drugs. Think about how good you'll feel on the first day of the new year, if you aren't in bed all day, nursing a nasty hangover. While that sounds like a positive plan, you should be mindful of your strengths and weaknesses in your recovery. It is a good idea to keep yourself away from potentially dangerous situations, so let’s explore some alternatives to celebrating the new year without alcohol or drugs.

Enjoy a night on the town.

Plan a night out with a close friend or relative that positively affects your mental stability and health. Go out to dinner, or a movie and enjoy time away from the house. These are good options because in these scenarios, drinking alcohol isn’t the primary focus of either of these activities. You could also go to an amusement park, grab a cup of coffee, or go to a fun kid’s attraction like miniature golf or a video game arcade. Many of these places don’t serve alcohol, but even if they did, you wouldn’t notice because the activities there are so much fun. Hanging out with people who understand your struggle and your desire to remain sober is key.

Enjoy a night at home.

You don’t want to isolate yourself alone on New Year’s Eve, so take the chance and invite people over to your house to play games, watch movies or even eat some really good food. Staying in with friends or family will definitely help you keep your mind off of partying on the biggest party night of the year. Just make sure you have good company to keep your night a positive one. If you do not have anyone to come over, make a plan to have someone to talk to if you need it. This could be a sponsor, friend or relative who cares about you.

Volunteer for a local charity.

If you don’t have anyone to come over or spend your evening with, this would be a great opportunity to help your community. You might even meet other like-minded people in the process. Volunteering your time can have a very positive impact not only on your community but on your mind and soul as well. There’s nothing as rewarding as helping someone who is less fortunate. If you love animals, many animal shelters accept help with people coming to walk dogs and pet cats. These activities help the animals maintain social skills while they await adoption. Spending time with pets is also going to make you feel good as well.

If you do find yourself going out with friends to a party, or any place where alcohol is served, there are some things you can do to help you get through the night sober. Bring your own drinks to the party and always have a non-alcoholic beverage in your hands. This will greatly help reduce the temptations that may come up at a social gathering. Being prepared with an exit plan is another good strategy to help keep you sober during the new year’s celebration. It is important to remember that you are responsible for your own sobriety. If triggers surface at the party or a bar, do not be afraid to simply leave.

Being honest with yourself and your needs throughout your recovery journey is essential to continue working the program. Having a plan is an essential component of any successful sobriety. Be mindful of relapse and have a relapse prevention plan in mind. Let your friends and family know when you need help. Devise a comprehensive relapse prevention strategy and do not be overcome with temptation.

Looking at your recovery during times of celebration can help you maintain your sobriety and keep you away from drugs and alcohol. If you need help throughout any step of the process, do not hesitate to call us. We are here for you 24/7.

(888) 249-2191