Tag: California

What’s the Most Sober City in America?

Can You Guess?

Talking about sobriety apps and social sobriety seems almost redundant at this point! Lighthouse has already reported on a variety of ways people in recovery are using social media to help stay sober – what’s next?

Well, the fine folks over at Recovery.org figured it out! They recently put together a great article on the most popular recovery hashtags, the most sober cities, and the most sober states in America!

They also recorded the least sober cities and states. They took all this information from Instagram…so it may not be the most scientific. Still, it’s a pretty good cross-section of what recovery looks like online in 2015.

Find a breakdown of the most sober cities below, as well as some images courtesy of Recovery.org!

The Most Sober Cities

Before we list the actual cities, a quick note on how this list was calculated – it’s based on the number of times hashtags like #recovery and #sobriety were mentioned in a specific city.

Does Delray Beach top the list? Well, unfortunately not…but we are in the top 10!

  • 1) Costa Mesa, California
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  • 2) Los Angeles, California
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  • 3) San Jose, California
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  • 4) New York City
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  • 5) Murray, Utah
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  • 6) Pasadena, California
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  • 7) Heath, Ohio
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  • 8) San Diego, California
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  • 9) Delray Beach, Florida (hey, that’s us!)
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  • 10) Albertville, Alabama
most sober cities
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  • 11) Midvale, Oklahoma
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  • 12) Santa Clarita, California
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  • 13) San Francisco, California
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  • 14) Malibu, California
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  • 15) Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
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  • 16) Salt Lake City, Utah
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  • 17) Austin, Texas
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  • 18) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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  • 19) Simi Valley, California
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  • 20) Santa Monica, California

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The Most Sober & Least Sober States

Now that we know the most sober cities, it should be easy to guess the most sober states…right? Wrong!

Well, sort of wrong. Check out the list below to see what we’re talking about.

  • 1) Utah
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  • 2) California
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  • 3) Florida
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  • 4) Oklahoma
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  • 5) Nevada
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  • 6) Alabama
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  • 7) New York
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  • 8) Connecticut
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  • 9) Arizona
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  • 10) Ohio

Based on the list of the most sober cities, we assumed California would be first, Utah would be second…and so on. Turns out that isn’t the case.

While the sober cities list only measures the popularity of sobriety using #sobriety and #recovery, this list uses a ton of hashtags, including ones like #soberlife, #alcoholicsanonymous, and #wedorecover.

Once you add all those in, Utah becomes the clear winner. In fact, the popularity of recovery hashtags in Utah is over twice as much as California! And don’t even get us started on little old Florida.

Okay, now we know the most sober states…what about the least sober? Well, they are:

  • 41) Wyoming
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  • 42) West Virginia
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  • 43) Arkansas
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  • 44) Wisconsin
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  • 45) Montana
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  • 46) Iowa
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  • 47) Kentucky
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  • 48) North Dakota
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  • 49) South Dakota
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  • 50) Mississippi
most sober states
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It’s interesting that states like Kentucky and West Virginia – located in Appalachia and among the hardest hit by heroin and painkiller abuse – rank so far towards the bottom of #sober states.

You’d think those states hit hardest by the opioid epidemic would also have a thriving recovery community, right? Maybe a small recovery community, but still some.

Turns out that isn’t the case. What we can take away from that fact is the idea that recovery should be everywhere and anything we – men and women in long-term recovery from substance abuse – can do to make that happen is well worth the effort!

Where is Narcan Available Without a Prescription?

An OTC Lifesaver

If you’ve spent any time in or around the world of drug addiction then the name Narcan should ring some bells. It’s a lifesaving “overdose antidote,” which can completely clear the body of opioid molecules in minutes. It’s also been at the center of some serious legislative controversy lately.

where is narcan available without a prescription

Even mentioning Narcan, a brand name of the opioid antagonist naloxone, inspires fevered discussion. Proponents of this drug argue that it offers invaluable medical benefits to those struggling with heroin or pain pill addiction. Opponents argue that it allows addicts to avoid consequences of their addiction, that it allows them to continue using with impunity.

Adding fuel to the fire, bills for greater access to Narcan have been in and out of state and federal legislators for the past several years. States like New Jersey, hit particularly hard by the painkiller turned heroin epidemic, have increased access to naloxone dramatically. Well, in late 2014 another state followed suit.

In August 2014, CVS Pharmacy announced that it would soon make Narcan available without a prescription in all sixty of its Rhode Island locations.

What’s New Jersey doing to end the opioid epidemic?

A Battlefield of Overdose & Death

Rhode Island is typically thought of as a quaint, New England state. In fact, it’s often thought to embody everything that makes the Northeast a wonderful place to live – quiet towns, friendly neighbors, a relatively low cost of living, and scenic landscapes.

While all of this is true, it’s also in the midst of a deadly struggle with prescription painkillers and heroin. Rhode Island, like the rest of the United States, is besieged by the abuse of opioids and things have only gotten worse in the past six years.

137 people died in 2009 as a result of drug overdose. In 2010, that number jumped to 152. In 2011, it was 172. In 2012, it was 182. By 2013, the number of accidental overdose deaths had risen to a shocking 231. It was clear something needed to be done and fast. (All figures taken from Rhode Island’s offical website)

Enter Narcan. Although the chemical naloxone has been around for quite some time, it’s only recently gained popularity. States across the country have been implementing laws that make Narcan easier to obtain. Their reasoning is simple – it’s better for someone to overdose and receive naloxone than it is for someone to overdose and die.

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Well, Does it Work?

Although this line of thinking isn’t without its critics, it has, generally speaking, worked. While Rhode Island overdose death rates are still astronomically high (approximately 238 in 2014), lives are being saved left and right.

In 2014 alone, EMS responders administered between 118 and 159 doses of Narcan per month. That’s over 1,200 lives saved! It’s safe to say fatality rates would be much higher with this literal lifesaving chemical.

What about Narcan and other naloxone formulas being available without a prescription? Is this a good thing or not? Well, again, the answer is more complicated than simply being labeled good or bad.

Increasing access to Narcan for at risk populations (current or former IV opioid addicts) has led to fewer overdoses. The numbers in Rhode Island, and many other states like Washington, California, Connecticut, and New Jersey, back this up. However, some believe it’s led to complacency among addicts. That is to say that relatively open access to the drug may discourage addicts from attempting to get sober.

While this makes surface level sense, let’s dig a bit deeper. Does the availability of insulin make current or potential diabetics less likely to take care of themselves? Does the availability of cancer fighting drugs make those receiving them less likely to take other positive health measures?

Although those are rather extreme examples, the logic is the same. Access to a drug does not mean that drug is the only line of defense against a disease. In fact, many harm reduction projects (think syringes exchanges or free health clinics) encourage those receiving Narcan to seek professional help.

Again, there are pro’s and con’s to Narcan being available without a prescription. However, it seems to be having a positive impact on the world of addiction medicine. After all, a saved life is a saved life.

Why are more and more upper-middle class adults overdosing?

Why Did California Get Rid of Drug Felonies?

California Did WHAT to Drug-Related Crimes?

This past Tuesday marked the biennial routine of Election Day, when U.S. citizens go to the ballot box and cast their votes on public policy.

prop 47 California

By and large, most people don’t vote unless the issues are important to them. However, the past few Election Days have seen huge turnouts due to an issue that many people do care about – U.S. drug policy.

Here in Florida, the issue at hand was the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The ballot initiative, Amendment 2, just barely missed the needed 60% of votes to get passed.

Over 2,700 miles from our sunny state, there was another important facet of drug policy. California’s Proposition 47 sought to reclassify a series of non-violent crimes, downgrading them from felonies to misdemeanors. The crimes include shoplifting, fraud and, most notably, drug use. What’s more, the ballot measure was approved.

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Prop 47: Making Drugs Legal?

Prop 47’s success signals a massive shift in our understanding of how to treat, not criminalize, addiction.

Nothing could be more true. California has become a particular breeding ground for inmates, both violent and non-violent. While it’s certainly possible that every single punishment fits the crime, the facts suggest otherwise. In just over forty years, California’s prison population grew at more than 100x the rate of its residential population. Logically, this makes little sense. How could a state have more new criminals than new residents?

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What Prop 47 REALLY Does

The rationale of Prop 47 is simple – decrease the prison population. There are both practical and moral dimensions behind this reasoning.

Practically, it simply doesn’t make sense to have such a massive prison population. Feeding, clothing and supervising that many inmates costs time and money. Prison guards need to be trained and equipped, appeals need to be processed, etc. For a state that’s $500 billion in debt, this hardly seems an efficient use of public resources.

California drug policy

The moral reasoning, though, is even more important. Prop 47 doesn’t only deal with drug offenders. As people who’ve dedicated our livelihoods to overcoming addiction, this issue is extremely important to us.

In California, and across the nation, people are being jailed for non-violent drug crimes. Many, if not most of them, have serious substance abuse problems that go unattended in prison.

This isn’t even taking into account the appalling racial disparity in drug crimes is. To take just one small example, a study by the Sentencing Project found that 98% of crack-related convictions were ethnic minorities.

Crack cocaine differs very little from the powder form, used predominantly by whites. Yet, crack can carry a conviction of jail time almost twice that of powder cocaine.

Why Prop 47 Permanently Changes U.S. Drug Policy

Putting politics aside for a moment, let’s try to appreciate what Prop 47 can do and why it’s important.

It’s not about letting criminals “off the hook.” It’s not about excusing bad behavior, and it’s not even just about saving California taxpayers money. It’s about helping those that need help, which prison clearly doesn’t do.

The new law would be meaningless if it simply released non-violent criminals back into the world. Fortunately, that’s not what it will do. It will replace prison with a more effective solution, as the law’s text states:

“Net state criminal justice system savings that could reach the low hundreds of millions of dollars annually. These savings would be spent on school truancy and dropout prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services.”

Currently, plans are in place to do exactly that – divert money and resources to schools, social services, and addiction treatment centers. It’s in these places that our most pressing issues can be solved. These are the places where drug addiction can be prevented, treated, and recovered from. In short, these are the services that will allow us to heal our social problems rather than bandage them.

Is weed really the new heroin?

ryan miller

Written by: Ryan Miller, recovering addict located in Delray Beach, Florida. He writes for Drug Treatment Center Finder and Recovery Hub.

 

 

 

 

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