Monthly Archives: February 2018

Addiction Treatment and FMLA

It is difficult to overcome drug or alcohol addiction without comprehensive treatment offered at treatment centers licensed for inpatient/residential programs. For individuals who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction while maintaining a regular job, it is natural to fear the possibility of being fired for taking time off for treatment. The concern is often about the financial hardship they may face if left with no job after treatment.

Although it is not easy for anyone to speak about addiction treatment with his or her employer, for those who wish to do so it is important to know that addiction is classified as a disability and viewed as such in the eyes of the law. It means that there is the legal protection of a nondiscriminatory outlook on employees who seek addiction treatment.

For those of you who may not know the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) created in 1993 can protect individuals that need to leave work for substance abuse treatment. Under the FMLA act, employees are entitled to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12 month period for any serious health condition or to care for an immediate family member suffering from a serious health condition. This includes substance abuse treatment as long as it is supported by a referral from a health care provider or a provider of health care services. Missed workdays due to employee’s use of the substance for which a proper treatment referral has not been secured does not qualify for FMLA leave.

Who is Eligible for FMLA?
Not everyone is eligible for the Family Medical Leave Act. Here are the eligibility requirements:

  • Work for a covered employer
  • Have worked for their employer for 12 months or more (non-consecutively)
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months preceding their medical leave
  • Work at a job where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles

In addition, some employers may require employees to use their paid leave for the treatment. Every state has different provisions, so it is best to discuss your specific situation with someone at the Human Resources department at your job or with a legal professional familiar with employment law. For the process to start, there are certain procedures that need to be followed to obtain the certification. For example, there are two forms, WH-380F, and WH-380E forms, that need to be signed by the treating doctor or health care provider.

Individuals who are waiting for FMLA paperwork to be processed must continue working their normal schedule as employers have the right to terminate employment for absenteeism. Provided all requirements and rules are followed, under the FMLA law, employees returning to work after rehab must be reinstated to their original job or an equivalent position. This allows returning employees not to have to worry about the loss of income and benefits while going through recovery.  Additionally, any bonus due to the employee prior to FMLA leave has to be honored upon the return of the employee.

It is worth mentioning that individuals seeking addiction treatment through an FMLA provision could still be impacted by some financial hardship, as the FMLA is unpaid leave. However, this hardship can be mitigated when the employer offers to substitute accrued paid leave (such as sick or vacation leave) for FMLA leave while the employee is in rehab for drug or alcohol addiction treatment. When this is not an option, there may be funding through private or disability insurance.

Addiction is tough, and deciding to seek treatment is a hard choice. None-the-less, individuals who are employed and are struggling with addiction will make a smart choice when they consider FMLA leave and explore the various options available to them. Thanks to FMLA leave, there have been many thousands of individuals who were able to enter a treatment program and change their lives.  They believe their recovery would not be possible if it were not because of the Family Medical Leave Act.

For information on Family Medical Leave Act or just to find out about the available options to you or someone you know who is considering entering rehab, please call our admissions office at 800-851-3291 for a free and confidential treatment consultation.

When is Alcohol Awareness Month?

Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month is celebrated each April since 1987. Created to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues 2018’s theme is: “Changing Attitudes:  It’s not a ‘rite of passage.'” This theme opens an opportunity for parents to reinforce that using alcohol is not a ‘rite of passage.’  In fostering “changing attitudes” parents can help kids understand that drinking isn’t a way to feel or be independent, “cool,” or to fit in society.  Young people can learn that alcohol is not necessary for having a good time and non-use of alcohol is a healthy and viable option.  Also, we can learn to respect another person’s decision of not to drink alcohol

April’s Alcohol Awareness Month is filled with local, state, and national events all aiming to educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among young people. These events also educate parents helping them understand the role they can play in giving their children a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.

During Alcohol Awareness Month local NCADD affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations sponsor a host activities related to alcohol use, abuse, and its consequences.

If you or your organization would like to plan and develop your own 2018 Alcohol Awareness Month events, NCADD every year prepares an Organizer’s Guide which you can download as a PDF on their website. Also, for a list of other organizations in the field and other resources please visit:

Can Alcohol Cause a Heart Attack?

Alcohol directly influences excitation of myocytes (cardiac muscle cells), and therefore provokes arrhythmias and possibly, sudden cardiac death. So in short, alcohol can cause a heart attack when it is consumed in large amounts. In addition, excessive long-term use of alcohol can increase the risk of developing an array of heart problems which may also lead to a heart attack. This is because drinking alcohol at this level can:

  • Raise blood pressure, which is one of the most important risk factors for having a heart attack or a stroke as it damages the heart by hardening and thickening arteries.
  • Weaken the heart muscle, which means the heart can’t pump blood as efficiently. It’s known as cardiomyopathy which is a condition when the heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick or rigid, and in rare cases, the muscle tissue is replaced with scar tissue. This condition can cause premature death, usually through heart failure.1 
  • Increase the heart rate due to problems in the electrical signals that produce a heartbeat. It’s known as tachycardia (increased heart rate). 2,3 Complications due to regular episodes of tachycardia, do vary depending on their frequency, length, and severity, but it can cause blood clots which often lead to a heart attack or stroke.4

  • Cause irregular heartbeat, which is known as a condition called arrhythmia. Arrhythmias can occur because of changes to the heart’s electrical system, which is often caused by blocked signals, abnormal pathways, irritable heart cells, medicines, and stimulants such as alcohol. Some of the common arrhythmias include the heart beating too slow (bradycardia), or too fast (tachycardia).5 Arrhythmias can cause cardiac arrest and stroke.
  • Cause atrial fibrillation (AFib or AF) is a heart condition that makes the heartbeat really fast and off-rhythm. Sometimes referred to as ‘holiday heart’ these disturbances were found to be more frequent after weekends or holidays like Christmas or New Year’s which are known to have higher alcohol consumption.6 AFib can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure, and other heart conditions.
  • Cause weight gain which in return causes the blood pressure and cholesterol to rise also increasing the risk of developing heart disease.

Binge Drinking Can Make the Heart Beat Irregularly

The name Holiday Heart Syndrome (HHS) was coined in 19787  by Philip Ettinger, for describing the occurrence of an acute cardiac rhythm disturbance in apparently healthy people after an episode of heavy drinking, leaving no cardiac disturbance with subsequent abstinence, leaving no indication of heart disease. HHS gets its name because the condition tends to increase around holiday times or after weekends when people tend to drink more8

Individuals experiencing cardiac disturbance (AF), feel breathless as the blood pressure rise. In fact, people feel like they might be having a heart attack – characterized by severe pain in the center of the chest.

According to the US National Library of Medicine AF, is the most frequent cardiac arrhythmia in HHS, and it has shown to be a major risk factor for stroke and increased mortality, indirectly suggesting an association between HHS and stroke or death, which may explain some of the sudden death cases commonly reported in alcoholics.


(1) British Heart Foundation website. Dilated cardiomyopathy. Available at:

(2) Shi, P., Chen, Y., Guo, M., & Yu, H. (2014). acute effects of alcohol on heart rate variability: Time-related changes and gender difference. Biomedical Engineering Applications, Basis and Communications, 26(3), np-np. doi:10.4015/S1016237214500483

(3) 7 Buckman, J. F., Eddie, D., Vaschillo, E. G., Vaschillo, B., Garcia, A., & Bates, M. E. (2015). Immediate and complex cardiovascular adaptation to an Acute alcohol dose. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 39(12), 2334-2344. doi:10.1111/acer.12912


(5) National Heart Foundation. Arrithymias. Retrieved from –

(6). Tonelo, D., Providencia, R., & Goncalves, L., (2013). Holiday Heart Syndrome Revisited after 34 years, 101(2)., 183-18/9

(7) Menz V, Grimm W, Hoffmann J, Maisch B. PubMed,1996 ‘Alcohol and rhythm disturbance: the holiday heart syndrome’, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 227-31. Abstract available online at:

(8) Ettinger PO, Wu CF, De La Cruz C, Weisse AB, Ahmed SS, Regan TJ (May 1978),. ‘”Arrhythmias and the “Holiday Heart”: alcohol-associated cardiac rhythm disorders’”,. Am. Heart Journal. Available at:

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is so much alcohol in the bloodstream that areas of the brain controlling basic life-support functions—such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control—begin to shut down. As BAC continues to rise even when a person is unconscious, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It is wrong to assume that an unconscious person will be fine by sleeping it off. Alcohol acts as a depressant, hindering signals in the brain that control automatic responses such as the gag reflex. Alcohol also can irritate the stomach, causing vomiting. With no gag reflex, a person who drinks to the point of passing out is in danger of choking on vomit, which, in turn, could lead to death by asphyxiation. Even if the drinker survives, an alcohol overdose can lead to long-lasting brain damage.

How Can I Identify Alcohol Poisoning?

Critical Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature), bluish skin color, paleness

What Should I Do If I Suspect Someone Has Alcohol Poisoning?

  • Know the danger signals
  • Do not wait for someone to have all the symptoms
  • Be aware that a person who has passed out may die
  • If you suspect an alcohol overdose, call 911 for help

What Can Happen to Someone With Alcohol Poisoning That Goes Untreated?

  • Choking on his or her own vomit
  • Breathing that slows, becomes irregular or stops
  • Heart that beats irregularly or stops
  • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
  • Hypoglycemia (too little blood sugar), which leads to seizures
  • Untreated severe dehydration from vomiting, which can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, and death

Alcohol Addiction:

Finding an Alcohol Treatment Center

How Much Is Too Much Drinking?

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol Treatment

Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcoholics Anonymous

What Is A High Functioning Alcoholic?

How Do I Know If I Need Alcohol Treatment?

Who Was Bill Wilson?

Binge Drinking

What Is BAC?

What Is Delirium Tremens (DTs)?

How Much Is Too Much Drinking?

Based on available scientific evidence and different references provided by a variety of public health authorities, below are guidelines on amounts of drinking and what is considered a low-risk and heavy or at-risk drinking pattern.

What’s “low-risk” moderate drinking?

  • Up to 1 drink unit a day for women
  • Up to 2 drink units a day for men
  • No more than 4 drink units on any one occasion

Although many people enjoy moderate drinking, tipping the balance between drinking for pleasant effects to drinking that can cause harm is based on a variety of factors such as age, gender, drinking experience, the amount of food ingested, and even ethnicity.

What’s “at-risk” or “heavy” drinking?

  • More than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 per week for women
  • More than 4 drinks on any day or more than 14 per week for men

This pattern of drinking too much, too often, is associated with an increased risk for alcohol use disorders.

Binge drinking:

  • 4 or more drinks within 2 hours for women
  • 5 or more drinks within 2 hours for men

Heavy drinking or binge drinking typically results in a blood alcohol content (or BAC) of .08% for the average adult and increases the risk of immediate adverse consequences including an overdose?

Alcohol overdoses can range in severity, from loss of balance and slurred speech to coma or even death. Research shows that underage drinkers are often at a higher risk for alcohol overdose as lack of drinking experience plays a big factor in this age group.

Drinking large amounts of alcohol can overwhelm the body’s ability to break down and clear alcohol from the bloodstream rapidly increasing BAC and significantly impairing brain function.

As BAC increases, so do alcohol’s effects—as well as the risk for harm. Even small increases in BAC can decrease coordination, make a person feel sick, and cloud judgment. This can lead to injury from falls or car crashes, leave one vulnerable to sexual assault or other acts of violence, and increase the risk for unprotected or unintended sex. When BACs go even higher, amnesia (or blackouts) can occur.

Although the “standard” drink amounts are helpful for following health guidelines, they often do not reflect customary serving sizes. In addition, while the alcohol concentrations listed are “typical,” there is considerable variability in alcohol content within each type of drink (e.g., beer, wine, distilled spirits).

Continuing to drink despite clear signs of significant impairments can result in a potentially deadly type of overdose called alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol Addiction:

Finding an Alcohol Treatment Center

What is Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol Detox

Alcohol Treatment

Inpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Alcoholics Anonymous

What Is A High Functioning Alcoholic?

How Do I Know If I Need Alcohol Treatment?

Who Was Bill Wilson?

Binge Drinking

What Is BAC?

What Is Delirium Tremens (DTs)?

Looking for Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) killed more than 42,000 people in 2016, more than any other year on record. Forty percent (40%) of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. While we are all still in the process of learning more about opioids in order to protect ourselves and our loved ones from opioid abuse, individuals who have become impaired by opioids, and their loved ones, are having a difficult time sorting out how and where to get treatment for this debilitating addiction. Although government help is available the demand is high and individuals are often placed on waiting lists. For those who seek private treatment, research is a must-do, as looking for an opioid rehab, you are not only looking into fulfilling treatment requirements but also you are looking for a safe and nurturing treatment facility where effective recovery programs are provided. We suggest you read an article we wrote under the title: “REHAB CENTERS – WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW WHEN CHOOSING ONE?” It can be a great point of start in case you are not sure about what to ask and look for in an opioid addiction treatment program.

In case you are interested in Florida Center for Recovery’s opioid addiction rehab program, we provide treatment for both men and women 18 and older, including specialized programs for expectant mothers, chronic relapsers and for individuals who are struggling with trauma through RAPID RESOLUTION THERAPY®. Below are a few highlights of our opioid addiction treatment which is offered in our Fort Pierce, a Saint Lucie County city.

  • Complete individualized approach to treat addiction and mental health disorders
  • All-Inclusive Inpatient Medical Detox
  • Medical and Psychological Evaluation
  • Addiction Treatment Assessment
  • Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Group and Individual Psychotherapy
  • Gender-Specific Counseling
  • Grief / Loss Therapy
  • Rapid Resolution Therapy® (Trauma Therapy)
  • Intensive Family Therapy
  • Relapse Prevention
  • 12 Steps & SMART Recovery® (Non 12 Step)
  • Biofeedback Therapy
  • Recovery Educational Workshops
  • Life Skills Training
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Spiritual Counseling
  • Yoga
  • Mindful Meditation
  • Bodyweight Cardio
  • Art Therapy
  • Drum Therapy
  • Recreational Activities
  • Aftercare Programming
  • Discharge Planning

Our detox services and addiction treatment programs are accredited and certified by The Joint Commission, which sets the standard for delivery of safe and effective care of the highest quality and value for our clients. 

For Our History Visit:

For Testimonials Visit:

For Licenses and Certificates Visit:

How to Recognize an Opioid Overdose?

It can be difficult to tell if someone is experiencing a substance-induced high or an overdose. The following is some information on how you could tell the difference. If you’re having a hard time telling the difference, it is best to treat the situation like an overdose by calling 911– it could save someone’s life.

If someone is really high and using downers like heroin, or pills:

  • Pupils will contract and appear small
  • Muscles are slack and droopy
  • They might “nod out”
  • Scratch a lot due to itchy skin
  • Speech may be slurred
  • They might be out of it, but they will respond to outside stimuli like loud noise or a light shake from a concerned friend.

If you are noticed that someone is getting too high, it is important that you do not leave them alone. If the impaired person is still conscious, walk them around, keep them awake, and monitor their breathing.

The following are signs of an overdose:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsive to outside stimulus
  • Awake, but unable to talk
  • Breathing is very slow and shallow, erratic, or has stopped
  • For lighter-skinned people, the skin tone turns bluish purple, for darker-skinned people, it turns grayish or ashen.
  • Choking sounds, or a snore-like gurgling noise (sometimes called the “death rattle”)
  • Vomiting
  • Body is very limp
  • Face is very pale or clammy
  • Fingernails and lips turn blue or purplish black
  • Pulse (heartbeat) is slow, erratic, or not there at all

If someone is making unfamiliar sounds while they are “sleeping” wake them up, especially if you know the person has a history of using or abusing opioids. Many people think the person is snoring, when in fact the person is overdosing. It is rare for someone to die immediately from an overdose and when people survive, it’s because someone was there to help.

The most important thing is to not panic and act right away! Click here for information on how to respond to an opioid overdose by SAVE ME acronym.

What is Coco Loko?

“Coco Loko” is a snortable chocolate powder that was designed and marketed as an alternative to dangerous street drugs. The company which manufactured “Coco Loko”, Legal Lean, received a letter from the FDA this past December, as a warning against the introduction of unapproved new drugs for sale, after parents, doctors, and government health officials raised concerns about the product. This letter included the product violations based on the product’s labeling, company’s website and promotional marketing materials. This product violation included:

  • Encouragement of drug abuse in individuals, including minors.
  • Undeclared drug ingredients (doxylamine)* that pose a serious health risk, because consumers with underlying medical issues may take the products without knowing the potential side effects or interactions.
  • Safety of listed ingredients taurine and guarana have not been evaluated for intranasal administration.

In addition, the company’s promotional materials depicted the product is intended to be used as an alternative to illicit street drugs. “Endorphin rush… Serotonin rush… Euphoric energy…”

At the time this warning letter was sent to Legal Lean “Coco Loko” was labeled as a conventional food and was also marketed as a dietary supplement on the company’s website; however, “Coco Loko” was intended for intranasal administration therefore not a conventional food or dietary supplement because it is not “a product intended for ingestion.”

It seems Legal Lean has taken action in regards to “Coco Loko”. Last we checked the product was no longer available for sale on the company’s website, but parents and loved ones should be aware of similar or new products that keep coming back to the market under different labeling and packaging, just like Bath Salts did awhile back. Also, the product may have been purchased before and be still in circulation. In any case, our recommendation is that if you find unusual products used by your young adult, which generally is not a product you find sold at your local grocery or department store, please do a little online research, which may surprise you.

*Although doxylamine  (API) is an FDA approved pharmaceutical ingredient product, it carries a warning against use with alcohol and requires physician consultation for use by individuals who have glaucoma, breathing problems, emphysema, chronic bronchitis and men with an enlarged prostate.