Category: Addiction Recovery Tips

Addiction in the Workplace: Part 2

Addiction does not discriminate and can affect people from all walks of life ranging from fast food, factory and construction workers to the most heralded professionals – doctors, lawyers, judges and politicians and everyone else between. For someone who has never had to deal with addictive disorders in their own families, dealing with a substance abusing co-worker can be an eye-opening experience.

Related Blog: Addiction in the Workplace, Part 1

Substance abuse has several tell-tale signs. While, independently, these may not be issues for concern, the combination of two or more may point to a substance abuse problem. The list includes:
     – Poor attendance or tardiness
     – Periods of time during the workday where the person cannot be found
     – Physical attributes such as chills, perspiration, weight loss and physical deterioration
     – Increased aggression, anxiety, depression or paranoia
     – Excessive talking or irritability
     – Lack of energy, poor attention span or lack of motivation
     – Carelessness – making repeated mistakes
     – Involvement in accidents – either while on duty or off-duty from work
     – Being unreliable
     – Unwilling to follow directions/argumentative
     – Giving elaborate and unbelievable excuses
     – Disregard for safety (for self and others)
     – Inconsistent work habits – either quality or productivity levels

If you supervise someone you suspect of using drugs, check with your corporate human resources department or policy manual on the steps to take. If your company does not have guidelines in place, you may be able to require the employee to submit to a drug test to alleviate/confirm your suspicions.

Of course, if you work in a profession where lives are at stake, it is imperative to report your concerns following corporate guidelines. However, in most office settings, there are some suggestions:

  • Identify with the person and show concern. Say you have noticed a change in behavior and express your concern for their safety and that of other workers.
  • Describe your observation of their behavior, using specific days and times rather than saying “you always” and other similar phrases.
  • Connect the behavior to the alcohol or drug use (or suspected use).
  • Urge the person to get help and offer information about how to get it.
  • Tell the person you will no longer hide the problem for him or her, but do not make idle threats. Be willing and able to follow through.
  • Explain how the person’s problem use affects you and others at work.
  • Reconfirm your concern. You do not need to get him/her to admit he/she has a substance problem.
  • You must stand your ground with your co-worker, be consistent with your actions and be willing to follow through on any threats you make.

If you or someone you know is seeking residential substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways at 855-349-5988 to learn more about our 28-day and extended care programs.

Addiction in the Workplace: Part 1

When most people begin abusing drugs or alcohol, they are often employed and able to function balancing all of life’s roles. Sometimes, the effects of substance abuse appear at work before family members notice. Attendance and punctuality are often the first signs of a problem, but job performance and peer relationships can also be indicators.

Many companies offer Employee Assistance Programs linking employees with local treatment resources. When outpatient treatment is insufficient, individuals seeking treatment should verify their employer’s substance abuse policies before seeking residential treatment. In many cases, employees can apply for leave from the Family Medical Leave Act to protect themselves during their time away from work and in treatment. Typically, this leave is unpaid. Again, before pursuing this option, the employee should become familiar with the company’s policies. While an employee cannot be terminated because of the request to seek treatment, some company policy’s state that any employee with a substance abuse problem will be terminated.

-Related blog: Trauma and Addiction

If you or someone you know is seeking residential substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways at 855-349-5988 to learn more about our 28-day and extended care programs.

An Accredited Rehab Center

When you bought your home, you made sure you were in a good school district. When you selected medical professionals, you did homework to make sure you were in good hands. When seeking substance abuse treatment, it is important to select a program/facility that is accredited.
What does it mean to be accredited? The short and simple answer is accrediting authorities set a standard of how services are to be rendered, qualifications of counselors and staff and how clients are to be treated. In reality, the scope goes much deeper. When an agency decides to apply for accreditation, they make the choice to not only meet and exceed the standards set by the accrediting authority, but to invite them back on a regular predetermined basis for re-evaluation. At the end of a visit, the agency is generally presented with a report card where improvements may be necessary.
In the State of Florida, accreditations can be done by one of four agencies – the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), the Council on Accreditation (COA), the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). For opioid (most prescription drugs, heroine) treatment programs, the State accepts accreditation only from CARF and JCAHO.
Pathways, through parent company First Step of Sarasota, Inc., has been accredited by CARF since 1995. Accreditation occurs every three years. This fall, CARF will visit and survey Pathways and all First Step programs, ensuring they meet CARF standards. In 2011, the agency received very high marks from CARF and no recommendations for improvements.

About CARF:
The CARF International family of organizations, including CARF, CARF Canada, and CARF-CCAC, is an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services.
Through accreditation, CARF assists service providers in improving the quality of their services, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards.
The accreditation process applies sets of standards to service areas and business practices during an on-site survey. Accreditation, however, is an ongoing process, signaling to the public that a service provider is committed to continuously improving services, encouraging feedback, and serving the community. Accreditation also demonstrates a provider’s commitment to enhance its performance, manage its risk, and distinguish its service delivery.
Providers who seek accreditation are willing to have every aspect of their facility analyzed, from intake processes to client records and personnel files. No stone is left unturned.

Valium: Abusing Prescription Drugs

Like its sister drug Xanax, Valium is prescribed to individuals suffering from panic attacks and anxiety. It is also prescribed as a muscle relaxant and sedative. Over time, abuse of Valium replaces some important chemicals that the brain normally produces. If you stop taking valium, the brain can no longer produce these chemicals at the same rate, which leads to the chemical dependency of Valium. Valium is one of the most abused prescription drugs available. According to a 2010 SAMHSA study, more than 2.6 million people used this drug for non-medical purposes.

Physical Symptoms of Addiction

Those who are addicted to valium often exhibit clumsiness, mood swings, depression and possibly aggression and violence. Overdoses occur when the drug abuse makes the user unable to remember things they have just done or said. Overdoses can be fatal or send the user into a coma. For those using more than the recommended doses of valium as a minimum, a medical detox is recommended. If a user takes valium and worries about becoming dependent on it, he or she should speak to his doctor about tapering back the prescription and therefore the need for the drug. Valium is also incredibly dangerous when combined with any alcohol whatsoever. Unintentional overdoses resulting in death are far too common when valium and alcohol were imbibed in any close time frame.

Old Drug Does Not Mean Safe Drug

Valium has been a commonly prescribed tranquilizer to battle everything from serious anxiety issues to the more commonplace neuroses plaguing the average student, housewife or career person. It has been used by Americans for over 40 years, and for that reason of familiarity is mistakenly considered “safe”, because everyone knows someone who takes it. Some of our mothers went nowhere without their valium.

Pathways Answered the Call

Pathways has been a community leader in the professional treatment of addiction disorders including valium abuse for more than 30 years. From the beginning days of detoxification, through the weeks and months of the recovery process, many people find the road to a new and better life. Over the years, the Pathways program has been at the forefront of developing holistic treatment programs sophisticated enough to treat the associated disorders that clients often have along with addiction.
The Pathways complex in Sarasota, Florida is a former motel which was totally renovated to house Pathways clientele and offers attractive rooms, swimming pool, volley ball court, exercise and weight room, dining room and laundry facilities.
Admission Requirements for Pathways are necessary to ensure a safe, secure environment for all clients:

  • All clients must be 18-years of age or older.
  • Medical stability is mandatory.
  • No client may enter Pathways under the influence of alcohol or any drugs whatsoever. Everyone is tested, and anyone testing positive will be referred to residential detoxification prior to admission.
  • All admissions must be mentally stable and compliant with medications.
  • Clients must be able and willing to participate in all clinical activities.
  • All payment arrangements must be made prior to admission, through insurance coverage or personally.

If you believe you or someone you love may have an addiction problem, please download our Addiction Symptoms Download. Our programs include treatment for addictions to alcohol, prescription drugs, marijuana both synthetic and original, cocaine, crack and heroin. Some addicts have multiple addictions, and our facility can help them return to a productive, caring lifestyle for their health and their families’ welfare.

5 Tips for How to Talk to Substance Abuse Patients About Treatment

Before you approach someone about a substance abuse problem, practice what you plan on saying. Find someone who can play the role of the substance abuser or practice the dialogue in your mind. This way you’ll be prepared for what might be a dramatic discussion. Let’s take a look at a few tips on how to talk to someone with a substance abuse problem.

How to Start

Begin the conversation with a statement of empathy like, “I care about you”.  Be straightforward and tell him that the only reason you want to talk is to help him. It will set the tone for the rest of the interaction.

Explain Your Concern

Once you’ve shown the addict that you are talking with him because you care, transition into your observations of his behavior. Talk about what you’ve seen and how it impacts your relationship, the home or the workplace. Be very specific and use concrete examples like “You’ve missed three days of work in the past three weeks”.

State Your Desires

And Ask For His Be sure to outline exactly what you want to change in terms of the addict’s  behavior. Be very specific so that he knows your intended goals. Say something like “I want you to attend counseling sessions two times a week and not consume any drugs or alcohol prior to those meetings”. Ask him if he shares similar goals and find out if he has ideas of how to change his ways.


Don’t turn the conversation into a one way monologue. Most people who are asked to sit down for a serious conversation like this will want to provide  rebuttals for your statements. When this occurs, remain quiet and listen. Be  sure to repeat some of the addict’s words so that he knows that you are listening and that you actually want to engage in a real dialogue. Pauses to gather your thoughts are acceptable. Make sure that you respond with carefully thought out statements that indicate your true thoughts and feelings.


Help Tell your friend or family member what you are willing to do to help him.  Let him know that he is not alone. After you tell him what you can do to help, tell him how you’ll go about doing it and when it will happen. This gives him something to look forward to and makes him feel less alone. If you need more information on this, please contact us so we can help.

Best Substance Abuse Treatment Referral Sources for Physicians

Substance abuse treatment physicians are in business and would wish to remain open and profitable. To make this happen, they need to get patients in huge numbers. One way to ensure an ever flow of clients is depending on referral sources. In this case, where can a physician get the best referrals for drug abuse clients?

Here are the 5 best referral sources:

  • Past clients-a physician who does thorough work with a client can bank on goodwill to get referrals from that customer. If the client was satisfied, he/she would be willing to suggest the same physician to a friend or family. This is why a good physician will always get favorable responses and references from clients he/she served some times in the past.
  • Friends and relatives-friends and family are in the best position to refer other friends to a physician. They know what he/she does and they will be more than willing to refer someone to the substance abuse physician. This is the actual thing to do to family and friends.
  • Fellow physicians-a good drug abuse physician will ensure a good relationship with other practitioners in the same field. This is one way to ensure he/she gets references from them. Drug abuse treatments need a teamwork approach and that is why a physician may refer a client to another physician. The cycle continues and one remains in business.
  • Mental hospitals and centers-hospitals and clinics that deal with mental cases are in a better position to refer clients to private physicians. As a physician, one needs to establish some network and goodwill with such health institutions. This network and mutual understanding will lead to reference of clients from both sides.
  • Health insurance companies-a great deal of medical referrals comes from health insurance companies. The insurers refer their policy holders to health care practitioners that they have had contact with. A good drug abuse physician should be able establish a working relationship with insurance companies. This relationship is able to draw references from both sides and it is a win-win situation for both parties.

Most of all, to get referrals from the above sources, a physician has to be licensed and accredited by the relevant authority. This is a sure way to ensure that clients get the best service.

For more information, please contact us.


The Super Easy Way to Screen Substance Abuse Results

Substance abuse tests are not only done in public and private laboratories but also can be easily performed at home. Drug screening at home is sometimes far more reliable, convenient and very affordable. The home run tests will give one results for variety of substance abuse as well as the history of the abuse. Here are 3 super easy ways to screen for substance abuse results. The results are instantaneous and all that’s needed is to wait for a few minutes.

  • Hair substance screening-this method is easily performed and can give results for up to three-month period history. The better part is that it can be used to test not only for one substance abuse but also a couple of others. There is a guideline on how to appropriately collect the hair without risking the accuracy of the results. Afterwards, the sample should be send to a trusted laboratory service through fast mail or the instant courier method. To maintain the confidentiality of the situation, the results may be conveyed through phone or the internet. Only the one who performed the tests will be able to receive the results and decide what action is to be taken.
  • Saliva substance screening-this is the easiest and fastest way to get drug test results. It may take up to three minutes, which is comparatively fast. It’s also used to test for a variety of substance abuse hence a reliable method. The method has an accuracy of approximately 97% and this is way better to getting results one can believe in. In fact, this is the main reason why this method is so popular among parents and schools. The only disadvantage of this way is that it can only be used to test for a drug abuse that has happened in less than 12 hours. This is still good news since there are other methods for longer period tests.
  • Urine substance screening-results from this method can be obtained instantly depending on the time the victim used the drugs. A full test is performed at home and there is no need to send the sample to the laboratory. This method can detect drug abuse for up to one-month history. It’s efficient and reliable if performed with care.

With these super easy screening methods, one can boost the fight against drug and substance abuse right from his/her home. No rocket science needed. For more information, please contact us.

3 Substance Abuse Screening Tools for Physicians

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has created an elaborate Physicians’ Outreach Initiative called NIDAMED that provides physicians with three unique resources for substance abuse screening. These tools will empower physicians to screen patients for illicit drugs, non-medical prescription drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Physicians are important to the addiction identification and recovery process as they can stop drug use before it turns into a potentially fatal medical problem. Numerous studies indicate that a physician’s screening, intervention and consequential referral can decrease drug, alcohol and tobacco use.

The three screening resources are a comprehensive resource guide, an online screening program and a companion quick reference guide. These screening tools are designed to help physicians identify potentially dangerous addictions and behaviors. Here is a deeper look at each of the three screening tools:

Online Screening Program
This web based screening tool is designed with an interactive element. The website provides a series of questions for physicians to answer according to their patients’ responses. Once the questions are completed, the online screening tool develops a “substance involvement score” that indicates whether the patient will need minimal intervention or a high level of intervention. The online screening program is simple to use and can be utilized while the patient is at the physician’s office for his normal visit.

Clinicians Resource Guide
This comprehensive guide has been designed to reinforce the NIDA Drug Use Screening Tool. It offers extensive instructions on how to perform biological specimen screens. The guide also offers extensive instructions as to how physicians can make optimal use of the screening tool, how to approach screening result discussions with patients, how physicians can initiate a brief intervention and the referral of substance abusers to addiction specialists, abuse treatment facilities and counselors.

Quick Reference Guide
This handy guide is small enough to fit in a coat pocket and offers instructions on how to use the NIDA Drug Use Screening tool. It also provides a summary of the tool with an outline of its questions. It explains how the substance abuse scoring system works and describes what steps should be taken after substance abuse is identified.

To learn more about alcohol and drug abuse recovery click here.

Communicating with Someone Who Has an Addiction

It is not usually an easy task to speak with someone about their addiction and is not something we are necessarily born with knowing how to do. The shock alone of finding out that a loved one has an addiction can greatly hinder communication skills.

Communicating can be especially difficult if you have been enabling their addiction, whether knowingly or unknowingly and if they have been lying to you about it or are in denial.

There are, however, changes you can make in the way you communicate with them, which will put an end to enabling but will still show you care.

  • Always Be Kind- Actions can certainly speak louder than words so showing you care through your behavior can be a great ingredient to successful interaction. Always act with compassion and kindness.
  • Listen- Someone with an addiction is more likely to confide in you if you do not interrupt or criticize them even though you may not agree with their behavior. You can find out more about addictions here and try to understand what it is like from their point of view.
  • Be Consistent- Remaining consistent in your message is key so what you are trying to get across is not misunderstood. For example, if you believe a loved one has a smoking problem, don’t offer them a smoke or bring them around smokers.
  • Be Predictable- Surprises can be stressful and in turn, stress feeds addiction. Though addicts can be unpredictable, you can set a good example by being predictable in your words and actions.
  • Show Love or Concern- No matter how severe the addiction, always let them know you love and/or care about them or at least have their best interest at heart. This does not mean, however, that you will be passive about their behavior. Set limits and follow through in order to show you do not make empty threats if necessary.
  • Support the Process of Change- Standing by an addict when they are in need is huge. For example, by attending family/group counseling with them, they may see that you are also willing to look at yourself and make changes, which in turn, will help motivate them.
  • Their Way- Though being clear about what is acceptable, offering in ways to help that they would like will provide comfort and trust.
  • Seek Information on Where to Get Help- Often the biggest obstacle in an addict seeking help is feeling ashamed or the fear of being reported for their addiction. Offer to help find and share information on where to get help and also get help for yourself in order to know how to best aid them.
  • Limits- Always let an addict know your limits and if they are unwilling to change and you feel you cannot help anymore or live with them, gently let them know. If a person doesn’t know how much their addiction bothers you, they have no reason to change. Counseling can be a good place to talk with them about this.

If you have any questions or concerns about your loved one, please contact us.


Integrated Screening Tool- 5 P’s for pregnant and child bearing years

The traditional diagnostic criteria and screening tools for determining whether alcohol or substance abuse is an issue with a pregnant woman has proven to be slightly insufficient. This has led to two expansions to the criteria: the addition of one’s partner as a variable in determining if a problem exists and beginning the screening and treatment process before the woman is pregnant. Whether the woman is already pregnant or simply could become so, the following five P’s are valuable screening tools to employ in a clinical setting.


If the woman’s parents had drug or alcohol abuse problems, the likelihood is far higher that she will develop them at some point. Since a child tends to later pattern the behaviors of their parents when the child grows up, one of the most powerful screening tools available to identify the potential for alcohol or drug abuse in a woman is to learn if her parents had such problems.
People tend to mimic one another, and this is particularly true in peer groups. Particularly when the woman is an adolescent, peer mimicry is a major contributing factor to habits of all kinds. In the cases of alcohol and drug abuse, this potential is especially strong when a woman largely associates with people who practice these behaviors.
Studies have shown that one’s partner affects behaviors like smoking. When one partner has an alcohol or drug problem, they are both more likely to attract a similar partner and more likely to reinforce this behavior on a regular basis.
Pregnancy is a time when a woman’s health is of the utmost importance. However, it is also a time when there is a lot of stress. These stresses can trigger escapist behaviors, which often include heavy alcohol consumption and drug use. Both of these behaviors can have long-term health impacts on the child as well as being a negative influence on the child’s future life, which is why the mother’s cessation is so important.
Has the woman in question had a drinking or drug abuse problem at some point in her past? This is perhaps the most powerful of all screening tools, as people tend to repeat their past patterns more often than they pick up new ones.

Residential substance abuse treatment may be able to help change the future. Interested individuals can find more information and start the healing process today.