In our second look at the drug issue in America we decided to bring in a special guest. Dr Michael Provines is the COO for two Jacksonville, Florida drug treatment facilities. Also joining us on the panel was author Armando Aldazabar. Armando has two very drug-centric books in print What You Are Turning Me Into and Cocaine Memoirs, he himself has managed to steer clear of problems with drugs, but he has lost friends and family to them.

This weeks subject was addiction and recovery. The road from addiction to recovery is often a very rocky one. Some addicts give up merely by their own will, others seek medical assistance, a 12 step program, or both.

I asked Dr Provines what trends he is seeing in today’s drug use. His conclusions were identical to those of attorney Mitch Stone (our guest last week), cocaine is down, meth and crack are holding steady, and on the upswing is prescription drug abuse.

Although certainly not the focus of the discussion the Michael Jackson case did get a mention. Michael Jackson we are being told died of an overdose of a ‘hospital use only’ drug Propofol. I, and most of the media, had been led to believe that Propofol had only one use, a drug used to induce unconsciousness, as in knock you out. Dr Provines prior to becoming involved in the drug rehabilitation area was a specialist in the area on anesthesiology and he had some very interesting observations about Propofol which might well explain Michael Jackson’s use of it.

Propofol is addictive, however this is the first case that Dr. Provines has heard of that is outside of the medical industry. Given in small doses it induces a state of euphoria, a high. The problem with it though is that it has a very short half life, meaning that the high does not last very long. Could it be that Michael Jackson was not using it as a sleep aid, but rather as a means of getting a high?

I also asked Dr. Provines if there was a particular age group that was more prevalent in his recovery clinics. That, he explained is very substance dependent. Alcohol because of its social nature tends to occur in the age group 35-50, whereas much of the prescription drug abuse is the the late teen to late 20 age group, meth, crack and cocaine tends to lay somewhere between the other two groups.

We also discussed some options that users, and families have if they do want to seek treatment, Dr Provines supplied us with two help line numbers to his clinics, and pointed out his lines are open 24/7 and his operators would be happy to explain the options available. Those numbers are 800-511-9225 and 800-730-7549.

If you have a loved one, or know someone that has a drug problem, either prescription or street I recommend that you listen to this program. I worked for over 6 years in an environment where we had many addicts, and I have to say that I learned more yesterday talking to Dr. Provines for 90 minutes than I did in my entire 6 years.

You can listen to the entire program here.

Simon Barrett

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