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Matt Hawk


BS CADC-II ICADC

After graduating from the program in 2008, Matt works to help others find a new way to live life, free from drugs and alcohol. Matt is an Internationally certified drug and alcohol counselor and has written extensively on addiction and evidence-based treatment. You can follow him on Linkedin.

Articles by this Editor


What Is Addiction?

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines addiction as a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by... well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal.”
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Alcohol Detox

Though alcohol is a legal substance, it is also highly addictive, capable of causing life-threatening dependencies. An addiction to alcohol affects the body, mind, emotions, behavior, and every facet of the person’s day-to-day life. Yet, many individuals unfamiliar with alcohol addiction might not know what to do when they find out their loved one is hooked on alcohol. To start, they should know that alcohol detox is the first step in recovering from an addiction to alcohol. This page outlines what alcohol detox is, why it’s so important, and how to get information on the right alcohol detox for a loved one.
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Holistic Alcohol Rehab

Alcohol rehab affects every part of a person’s life. Without a thorough and holistic approach to recovery that includes the body, mind and spirit, sobriety could end up being short-lived. Learn the many facets of holistic alcohol rehab that can change an addicted person’s life for good.
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Residential Alcohol Rehab

With alcohol freely available nearly everywhere, a residential alcohol rehab with around-the-clock support gives a recovering person a better chance of achieving lasting sobriety. All the support they need while rebuilding life skills and recovering personal integrity are available whenever it's needed.
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Drug Detox

When someone finds out a family member or loved one is addicted to drugs, they might not know what to do to get them help. If they do not have experience with drugs and alcohol, they may feel at a loss for solutions. For many drug addicts, a drug detox will be the first thing they need to do to get clean. This page defines what a drug detox is, explains why drug detox is so important, and answers frequently asked questions about the process.
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Holistic Drug Rehab

Many people seek holistic drug rehab for their recovery from addiction, because it offers a well-rounded approach to addiction, including healthy detoxification and life skills training.
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Long-Term Drug Rehab

Because addiction often exists for years or decades before a person goes to rehab, short-term rehab often fails to provide enough repair and recovery time. Long-term drug rehab gives a person enough time to detox, receive counseling and learn strong new sober living skills.
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Non-Twelve Step Drug Rehab

Twelve Step programs help many people but are not for everyone. Many people who tried Twelve Step programs and failed found that the Narconon drug rehab program provided the solution they were looking for.
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Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Drug Rehab in Oklahoma

This largely-rural state in the heartland of America struggles with problems relating to fentanyl, methamphetamine and prescription drugs. Now that marijuana is available in the state, this seems to increase the problems suffered by Oklahomans. What drug and alcohol rehab options are available to those in Oklahoma?
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Addiction Treatment Should Focus on Individuals, Not Drugs of Choice

A recent study found that 75% of people who come forward and seek addiction treatment are hooked on more than one drug at the time of entry into a treatment facility. Given that most addicts use more than one drug, an effective public health response may be to shift away from focusing on the types of drugs being used and instead focus on the people using them.
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Alcohol and Your Immune System

Most people understand that alcohol consumption harms critical organs in the human body. People understand that excessive drinking can damage the liver, kidneys, and heart. However, very few people know what alcohol does to the body’s immune system.
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Alcohol Consumption and Chronic Pain

A recently published scientific paper highlighted how alcohol contributes to chronic pain. Contrary to the commonly held view that alcohol numbs or dulls pain, researchers found that chronic alcohol consumption makes people more susceptible to pain sensitivity.
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Alcohol May Speed Alzheimer’s Progress in the Brain

A new study shows that, for people already at risk for Alzheimer’s disease or who are in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, alcohol consumption may worsen symptoms and speed up the onset of the disease. These findings are another clear indicator of why people should not consume alcohol.
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Are Date Rape Drugs Still a Threat?

Reports of drug-facilitated sexual assaults are being received by law enforcement all over the country. To keep themselves safe, women and men should know what drugs are being used and how they are administered, both on college campuses and in cities.
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As the Holidays Approach, Learning the Signs of Addiction Could Save a Life

With the holidays around the corner, people should familiarize themselves with the signs of substance abuse. Most Americans will spend quality time with family members in the coming weeks, potentially with loved ones they don’t see often. Given those unique circumstances, the holidays present an opportune moment to intervene with loved ones if they misuse drugs and alcohol. But first, people must be educated on the signs and symptoms of substance abuse.
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Buprenorphine May Reduce Illicit Drug Use—But Is That Enough?

Tens of thousands of American medical practitioners are licensed to dispense buprenorphine formulas to those in addiction recovery. But is providing this medication enough? Shouldn’t there be solutions for the loss of emotional, thinking, and social skills? We take a thorough look at this important topic.
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Drug Use and Cardiac Complications Go Hand-in-Hand

A paper published by the European Society of Cardiology found a connection between drug use and serious heart complications requiring intensive cardiac care unit treatment. Further, the research indicated addicts might experience long-term health complications even after ceasing drug use.
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Even One Alcoholic Beverage is Harmful to Your Brain

For decades, American medical institutions held that one to two alcoholic drinks per day for men and one per day for women was okay. It was perceived that risks associated with alcohol did not set in until an individual exceeded that level of “moderate” consumption.
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Long-Term Health Risks after Years of Alcohol

There is no doubt that drinking to excess creates harm and risk, both for the person consuming alcohol and for those around him or her. Unfortunately, young people are not only drinking more alcohol, but they’re also consuming alcohol at a younger age.
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New Arrivals on the Illicit Drug Market in America

New synthetic drugs are the wave of the future—and the present. Every year, a long list of new drugs is detected by law enforcement. Buyers may not even know what they are getting as these new substances may be camouflaged. This ignorance can result in their death.
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New Science: No Amount of Alcohol Is Healthy

A new set of research data sheds doubt on the old narrative that moderate alcohol consumption may help some people guard themselves against experiencing diabetes or obesity. According to growing evidence, no amount of alcohol consumption provides drinkers with any health benefit or a net health gain.
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One Drink Is One Drink Too Many

A research paper published in September 2022 showed that even one alcoholic drink has the effect of “priming the brain” for addiction. While the biological side of alcohol dependence is just one contributing factor to addiction, it’s worth noting the effect that one alcoholic beverage has on brain chemistry.
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Ten Ways Cannabis Negatively Affects Users’ Health Outcomes

Cannabis is often labeled by its supporters as a health solution. However, the negative physical and mental effects of cannabis are not often discussed by advocates pushing for its legalization. It’s important to consider the many well-documented negative short-term and long-term health effects of using cannabis products.
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What are the Effects of Using Cocaine?

Cocaine addiction is on the rise, as are cocaine-related deaths. Cocaine has also made headlines recently, given that fentanyl is increasingly mixed into cocaine batches and sold to addicts without them knowing. The result? Across the nation, people are being exposed to readily available fentanyl-tainted cocaine...
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What Are the Effects of Using Meth?

As the opioid epidemic continues to spread across the U.S., Americans face a new threat, the risk of the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl being mixed into non-opioid drugs like meth. Given the changing drug landscape, becoming educated about opioids and avoiding them is no longer enough to keep one safe.
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What Exactly Is Khat?

The drug is not too common in the U.S. (although that is difficult to determine because the U.S. does not record statistics on khat usage). However, about 20 million people worldwide use khat for its stimulant-like and mind-altering properties.
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Why You’re Not Yourself When You Drink, Part 1

There are many aspects connected to alcohol consumption that may cause people to behave poorly. Alcohol is a mind-altering substance, and it affects people in different ways. However, new data shows alcohol consumption may affect all drinkers in at least one way that is the same for everyone, i.e., by significantly inhibiting areas of the brain responsible for maintaining attention.
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Why You’re Not Yourself When You Drink, Part 2

The idea that “you’re not yourself when you drink” has been around for decades. Alcohol is a mind-altering substance; when people drink it, it changes them mentally, emotionally, and physically. Alcohol affects everyone differently, and its effects become dramatically worse the more someone drinks and the more often they drink.
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Why You’re Not Yourself When You Drink, Part 3

Alcohol is a mind-altering substance that affects those who consume it in myriad ways. Because alcohol’s effects differ from person to person, it can be challenging to predict or isolate how alcohol will impact those who consume it. However, researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia have found a direct relationship between alcohol and self-control.
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CDC Releases New Guidelines for Opioid Prescribing

The CDC’s 2016 opioid prescribing guidelines were important because they advocated caution and a conservative approach to prescribing. But in November 2022, the CDC updated its recommendations, softening its guidelines for doctors prescribing oxycodone and other painkillers.
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Florida’s Revolutionary Pilot Program Offers Immediate Support to Overdose Survivors

Florida’s CORE Pilot Program offers immediate support to overdose survivors. In this program, first responders will bypass conventional emergency facilities and take the survivor to a specialized facility for stabilization and immediate referral to a drug rehabilitation service. The program offers a more certain path to breaking the cycle of addiction and reducing the risk of future overdoses.
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High Potency Cannabis Linked to High Risk for Health Problems

It is generally accepted that the more potent a drug is, the more powerful and severe its effects on users. So why is cannabis being treated like the same drug used by previous generations? The cannabis of today is not the cannabis of yesteryear. The serious health problems today’s users face stand as evidence of that.
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It’s in the Water, Opioid Use so Widespread that Tests Now Detect Trace Opioids in Water Supply

From Appalachian wastewater to the Puget Sound, California groundwater to rivers and streams, scientists across the nation have begun detecting trace elements of opioids in water supplies. The presence of opioids in the water could harm individuals who do not want to have any opioids in their bodies and who have a right not to have their bodies influenced by such chemicals. Further, the findings have alarming implications for wildlife if fish, mussels, and other marine life now must evolve to adjust to increased levels of opioid chemicals in the water.
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Kratom Is Not a Safe Alternative to Opioids

In recent breaking news, a woman who bought kratom supplements died from taking them, and a jury in a wrongful death lawsuit ordered the supplement company to pay the woman’s family $11 million. While awareness around kratom has gone a long way from the initial perception of the drug as a safe alternative to opioids, more work is needed to educate the public on the risks people face when they use kratom.
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Marijuana Exposures Among Colorado Children on the Rise

The increase in child and adolescent cannabis exposure is a clear downside of cannabis legalization, yet the issue is rarely discussed. This article reports on the problem as it is currently developing in Colorado, while also touching on other health-related harmful effects of cannabis legalization...
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Most Americans are Open to Non-Opioid Pain Relief Post-Surgery

A survey published by Orlando Health showed that 68% of Americans would be willing to try alternatives to opioids for post-surgery pain. Given that opioid prescriptions are one of the most common ways Americans become addicted to drugs, these findings suggest medical institutions should put in more effort to make alternatives to pain relief available to patients.
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Prevention Does not Work Without Treatment, the Story of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) rose to prominence in the early-2000s as a watchdog system for curtailing overprescribing and the diversion of pharmaceuticals into the hands of addicts, not patients. Twenty years later, research shows PDMPs only work when drug rehab is included for those addicted. When rehab is not included alongside PDMPs, addicts seek hard street drugs, and overdoses follow.
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Reducing Alcohol Consumption During the Holidays

Drinking alcohol is a part of the holiday festivities for many people. However, just because alcohol consumption during the holidays is an accepted cultural occurrence, that does not make it a good or healthy thing to do. Studies increasingly show alcohol as having harmful effects on people’s health, and CDC data increasingly shows alcohol as contributing to serious societal health issues and a growing number of deaths annually. Given these findings, Americans should do everything they can to reduce their alcohol consumption during the holidays.
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Additional Challenges Faced by Addicted Veterans

Drug addiction affects everyone differently. While such a crisis is unique to the individual, certain demographics face challenges one might not find elsewhere. For example, military veterans who become addicted to drugs and alcohol often feel disinclined to discuss their problems or seek addiction treatment.
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Alcohol-Related Harm Escalates During Winter

Colder and darker climates are associated with heavier alcohol consumption, more frequent instances of alcohol poisoning, and a high risk for alcohol-related car crashes. Not only are people more likely to drink, they are more likely to drink in greater quantities, more often, and in dangerous ways. Inclement weather and poor driving conditions make drunk driving during winter even more dangerous, and the cold weather has the potential to prevent drinkers from being as aware of how much they’ve consumed and the effect the alcohol is having on them.
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Alcoholic Liver Disease Deaths are on the Rise

It’s not often discussed, but the frequency with which alcohol is consumed and the volume by which it is consumed have both increased considerably in recent years. Further, newly published research suggests a direct connection between increased frequency and volume of consumption and a newly reported increase in alcoholic liver disease fatalities, as such fatalities now represent nearly half of all annual liver-related fatalities.
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Animal Tranquilizer Xylazine Linked to Overdose Deaths in Michigan

Since 2019, there have been 171 verified overdoses in Michigan that were traced back to a non-opioid animal tranquilizer called xylazine. That number is likely an undercount, but it is the most recent number Michigan toxicologists have published. Often without addicts knowing, drug dealers lace the tranquilizer into other drugs to create an extended high. Unfortunately, combining xylazine with other drugs increases users' risk for an overdose.
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Clandestine Labs in the U.S.? Illicit Fentanyl No Longer Just a Transnational Trafficking Problem

When illicit fentanyl production first became a serious problem in the United States, it was almost entirely a trafficking problem, with the fentanyl being made in Mexico and China and then trafficked to the U.S. But according to recent DEA reports, many clandestine labs have cropped up on U.S. soil, labs which are making the potent synthetic opioid and distributing it locally, especially in the form of counterfeit pills.
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Drug Overdoses Climb During the Winter Months

Research shows winter is the worst season for drug overdoses in states where the temps drop and snow sets in. Cold weather, social isolation, hampered travel, slower emergency response times, and other factors all make this season more dangerous for drug users. All of those factors combined increase the urgency for those who struggle with drug addiction to enter qualified residential drug treatment centers as soon as possible.
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Further Consequences of Drug Addiction Emerge

Researchers at the University of New England found that the rate of opioid-related cardiac arrests has risen dramatically and is now on par with the rate of cardiac arrest from other causes. The research sheds light on yet another major health risk connected to opioid addiction, i.e., the risk for suffering a potentially fatal heart complication.
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Get Clean for Them: At least 10 Percent of Children Live in Households with at Least One Addicted Parent

Research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shows about one in eight children live in a household where at least one of their parents regularly abuses drugs and alcohol. Given what is known about the intergenerational nature of addiction, this means at least 12.5% of U.S. youths are at extremely high risk for developing addiction later in life simply as a result of their at-home living situation.
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How Do We End the Demand for Drugs in America?

There’s much discussion about saving lives from drugs. But what would it take? It’s time to take a good hard look at the steps that would have to be taken to bring about a drug-free nation. The various fronts on which this battle would need to be fought are reviewed and evaluated.
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Illicit Use of Ketamine on the Rise

Ketamine has been used recreationally in the U.S. for some time, but only recently have usage rates increased significantly, and only recently has the drug become a major drug of concern. Law enforcement offices are reporting spikes in ketamine busts and seizures, and hospitals are increasingly reporting ketamine chemicals in ER patients.
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Is the Addiction Treatment Gap Opening or Closing?

Around 80% to 90% of people who need drug and alcohol addiction treatment do not receive it, and for those who do, it is sometimes inadequate to provide them with the tools they need to overcome their addiction. And in addition to the people who accurately perceive they need treatment, millions more aren’t seeking treatment at all, even though they need it.
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New Data Tracking Fentanyl’s Rise Has Lessons for the Future

A new research paper published by the CDC tracked a 300% increase in overdose deaths caused by fentanyl between 2016 and 2021. According to the study’s authors, this is the single sharpest increase in drug-related deaths in such a short amount of time since America’s addiction epidemic began in the early 2000s.
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Opioid Users Are Overwhelmingly Exposed to Fentanyl

A survey out of New York City found something quite alarming. According to the survey, about 80% of IV drug users in New York City tested positive for fentanyl, but only 18% intended to use that specific drug. These findings showcase the harmful issues of fentanyl being laced into the drug supply, how most addicts don’t go looking for this drug, and how many users end up getting it in their system anyway, almost always without knowing.
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Parents: Getting Rid of Expired Pills Can Save Kids

A significant percentage of young people undergo their first exposure to mind-altering drugs by simply consuming leftover medications they found in the family medicine cabinet or elsewhere in the home. Because it is far easier to prevent someone from using drugs than treat addiction once the person is hooked, families should commit to creating substance-free homes.
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Small Group of Doctors are Responsible for a Majority of Opioid Prescriptions

Even as opioid prescribing rates decline, a few thousand doctors are still responsible for the significant overprescribing of opioids to the broader public. With that in mind, the American people will not overcome the opioid epidemic until all doctors and prescribers agree to adopt more conservative, cautious prescribing guidelines as outlined by the CDC.
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The Addiction Treatment Gap Continues to Widen

When the opioid addiction epidemic began in the early-2000s, only about one in ten addicts could find treatment, a disturbingly low figure. Unfortunately, the gap between those who are addicted and never get help and those who suffer from addiction but do get help continues to grow.
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The Shocking Role of Methamphetamine in Rural Overdose Deaths

New research has chronicled the alarming rise in methamphetamine-related deaths over the last few years. In the findings, analysts were able to identify where in the U.S., meth-related deaths have been occurring the most. The overwhelming majority of them are happening in rural counties across America. So what has caused the spike in rural methamphetamine overdoses?
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What Is the Scope of Opioid Use Today?

Opioid addiction has stood at the center of the American drug addiction crisis since the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies began aggressively promoting opioid painkillers to doctors and patients. But what is the scope of opioid addiction today?
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Will Ketamine Be the Next Major Drug Trend?

According to a recent report, illicit ketamine drug busts and seizures by law enforcement skyrocketed by 349% between 2017 and 2022. Ketamine has been in use for years as a tranquilizer medicine for veterinary practices and hospital applications, but now the sedative is a major drug of choice among addicts and recreational drug users.
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Without Sufficient Drug Treatment of Addicts, Current Overdose Plateau Will Not Last

Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest a slight leveling-out in overdose deaths across the U.S. This has led some to believe the worst of the addiction epidemic has passed. Unfortunately, no leveling-out or even a downturn in overdoses will become stable and lasting if effective treatment options are not made available to the 23 million addicts at constant risk of an overdose.
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Young People at Potentially Highest Risk Ever for Drug Abuse Harm

A recent study has shown that since 2020, youth harm from drug abuse has skyrocketed. Further, this harm has occurred in a very peculiar way. While overall drug use rates have mostly stayed the same for young adult demographics, the harm from drug use (accidents, injuries, overdoses, and fatalities) has skyrocketed. Primarily because of the types of drugs being used, substance abuse is now far more dangerous for young people than it used to be.
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Understanding Alcohol Rehab

When someone finds out they have a family member or loved one addicted to alcohol, the priority must be getting that person into a treatment center. But where does one begin? What is alcohol rehab, and what modalities of treatment are available? This page defines alcohol rehab, summarizes the common forms of treatment, and answers frequently asked questions.
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Drug Abuse and Drug Rehab in Clearwater, Florida

Florida may be considered an excellent vacation spot and the perfect location for a memorable Spring Break. However, despite its upbeat reputation, Floridians are struggling with drug addiction and overdose losses the same as the rest of America.
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Understanding Drug Rehab

America's problem with addiction may have slipped from the headlines but it is taking more lives than ever before. Selecting the correct level of care in a drug rehab program needed by each individual is an essential part of returning Americans to sobriety.
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Drug Rehabilitation in Ojai

Ojai and Ventura County suffer from the problem of addicted residents just like the rest of California. More effective drug rehab facilities are needed to help individuals in this area break free from dependence on the river of drugs traveling through the state.
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Residential Drug Rehab

For most people seeking sobriety after years spent addicted, a residential drug rehab offers 24-hour-a-day support and supervision. This full-time support system enables many people to succeed in the early days of recovery when cravings may still be an issue. As they receive counseling and build strong sober living skills, they gain their own ability to maintain their sobriety.
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Drug Addiction and Drug Rehab in San Diego

The millions of people who live in the city and county of San Diego need to know that drug rehab will be available when they need it. Effective drug rehab can begin to reverse the growing drug overdose losses suffered by those who live in this area.
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