Drug treatment experts urge people to kick deadly habits for the New Year

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. – Experts from Footprints Beachside Recovery Center, a rehabilitation facility specializing in alcohol and opioid substance abuse and addiction treatment in the Tampa Bay area, are encouraging people struggling with substance abuse and addiction to make positive changes for the New Year.

According to a new report published in Nov. by Trust for America’s Health, an estimated 1.6 million Americans could die from drugs, alcohol and suicide in the next decade. This estimation represents a 60 percent increase over the past decade.

“We are witnessing a surge in substance abuse across the nation. The most alarming statistic is the increase in deaths due to these issues,” said John Templeton Jr., president of Footprints Beachside Recovery Center. “We can’t express how important it is for people to get help before it’s too late.”

To help people in need, recovery experts from Footprints Beachside Recovery Center are offering treatment tips for dealing with addiction.

  • Alcohol - While cutting back can be a good start, heavy drinkers may need medical intervention, as the withdrawal symptoms from alcohol can include seizures and even be life threatening. This should never be attempted cold turkey. Medical intervention like a detox followed by a minimum 30 day treatment program with individual therapy can be very effective.
  • Opioids - If you or someone you know is abusing prescription pain killers or opiates like heroin, treatment should be sought quickly. Treatment for opioids is very effective and should include a medical detox to ease the symptoms and inpatient treatment to remove the user from their environment. Even for someone who is not intending on misuse, they should have a plan to get off of their prescription safely and that shouldn’t just be “quitting” once the medication runs out. We always recommend speaking with your doctor or an addiction medicine doctor who understands the pharmacology of substances and the effects on each person.
  • Stimulants - Prescription medications like Adderall and Ritalin are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but like all medication, they can be misused. Cocaine and methamphetamine are two of the most addictive street stimulants and can be snorted, injected or smoked. People who abuse stimulants should seek treatment due to the acute adverse physiological effects to the respiratory, cardiovascular and central nervous symptoms, and altered mental states, like suicidal ideation and neurological problems.
  • Smoking - Medications like Chantix and Zyban, as well as nicotine replace products like the patch, inhaler and nasal spray have also shown to be effective. Counseling and medication are both effective for treating tobacco dependence and using them together is more effective than using either one alone. The good news is that there are effective treatment options for smokers. In fact, there are more former smokers than current smokers.

About Footprints Beachside Recovery Center 

Founded in 2008, Footprints Beachside Recovery Center is a small, private, holistic substance abuse treatment center for adults and is located in Pinellas County, Fla. Footprints provides specialized treatment plans for patients from throughout the U.S. and around the world. Opioid addiction recovery programs at Footprints focus on ensuring safe withdrawals and often combine holistic treatment with medication assisted therapies to reduce cravings and provide more successful recovery outcomes for patients.

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O., a New York City Osteopathic Physician board certified in family and anti-aging medicine is sharing his top 10 ways to keep you strong for the transitioning season.


  1. Exercise on a daily basis: The minimum should be a half hour of walking continuously so as to increase oxygenation to tissues as well as deliver vitamins minerals and hormones to these cells.


  1. Be sure to get good deep restorative sleep: This should be at least six hours every night. Sleep deprivation not only makes us tired, but decreases function in almost all organs.


  1. Keep chemicals and preservatives out of the diet: We should eat as organically as possible, with the diet comprised of a variety of vegetables, fruits and good protein sources.


  1. Test your blood for vitamins, minerals, and hormones: Thousands of studies over many years have described that vitamin deficiency is correlated with degenerate disease we can give me in response among many others. This test will guide you as to exactly what nutrients you're deficient in, and what you should take. “There is no better test than this,” says Dr. Calapai.


  1. Do not smoke cigarettes: This is a no brainer for most, as they contain thousands of dangerous chemicals, which can lead to a low immune system.


  1. Be careful with exposure to alcohol: This can have the variety of effects that are hurtful to the body if done in excess


  1. Maintain a clean home environment: In areas where you spend the most time, make sure that surfaces are cleaned with products that can kill germs or viruses. Use HEPA filtration systems to capture particulate matter including dust, allergens or organisms that can make you ill.


  1. Wash your hands thoroughly and a few times during the day and avoid other people that have chronic infection, flu or a virus.


  1. Try to minimize stress, anxiety and irritability: Taking a break for a few minutes during a stressful day can make the stress response much less progressive.


  1. Lastly, be sure to visit your doctor for routine testing and physical exam inform: This ensures you are constantly aware of what is going on with your body.

About the doctor:

Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's. He has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham's, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at www.drcal.net

10 Lesser Known Ways Booze Impacts Your Body


We all know that alcohol wreaks havoc on the liver and sends kidneys into overdrive. We also know that after a night of libations the next morning is often met with a dull headache and at times nausea. While moderate consumption of alcohol can offer health benefits, the happy hour or weekend partiers who binge drink may see negative effects. Dr. Christopher Calapai, an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, who has worked with Mike Tyson, Mickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers, offers some sobering facts and 10 lesser knows ways booze impacts your body.


  1. Hair thinning, shedding and loss.

When you drink excessively (more than 3 drinks within a 3 hour period) there’s an elevation of estrogen in the body and a decrease of zinc. “A rise in estrogen leads to the hair loss and then the drop in zinc plus folic acid levels compromise healthy hair growth and maintenance,” explains Dr. Calapai.


  1. Voice loss, or changes.

Ever lose your voice after a night out of partying? Typically shouting over loud music and second hand cigarette smoke gets the blame. “What people don’t realize is that alcohol can cause dehydration leading to a dry throat and some constriction of the vocal chords. You really want to drink water in between cocktails,” advises Dr. Calapai.


  1. Cuts and bruises take longer to heal.

In 2014, a study published by researchers from the Loyola University Healthcare System showed that binge drinking reduces bacteria fighting white blood cells and hinders the production of a special protein that attracts them. White blood cells are essential for wound healing. Dr. Calapai says to pay attention to how you heal. “A simple cut should be gone within a day or two and a bruise should be fading within 3-5 days. If you’re drinking 10 or more drinks in one week you’ll connect the dots to delayed healing.”


  1. Chronic colds.

This is more evidence of a compromised immune system. If you typically kick a sore throat with some warm tea, chicken soup and a good night’s sleep; after binge drinking that same sore throat may escalate into strep throat. When the white blood cell count is low you may feel like your always battling a cold. “It’s so important to drink water and add vitamin E, C, zinc, selenium and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet to boost white blood cells and rid that run down feeling.”


  1. Always sleepy.

Alcohol causes disruptions to REM sleep, which sets in about 90 minutes after falling asleep and is the time for cellular turnover and restoration to the body. “You need the solid REM level sleep. When you don’t get it you lose the ability to concentrate and will feel that mid day lag. People attribute the sluggish feeling to being out late thinking they slept deeply but they fail to reach that optimal REM state.”


  1. Cystic Pimples and More Breakouts

Binging on booze or even consistent alcohol consumption over time, especially of sugary drinks with sodas and mixers, will cause insulin levels to spike. When insulin spikes you produce more sebum, which can trigger oiliness in skin. “Once you have high sebum production happening pores get clogged and that’s when the breakouts start to happen. Want to notice a significant change to your skin’s texture and clarity? Try cutting alcohol out! Even limiting alcohol intake to once weekly, 3 drinks maximum will help,” suggests Dr. Calapai.


  1. Chapped Cracked Lips

Dehydration is top cause of cracked lips. Alcohol dehydrates us and for many this leads to chapped, dry chapped lips. When you drink your system rids the body of water and for many with dry skin the lips feel tight and tingly. When alcohol hits the lips it has a drying effect on them. “Keep in mind that the ethanol found in alcoholic beverages can trigger lip ulcers which can linger for weeks. After a night of drinking try switching to 3 days of only drinking water, no sodas and no juices. You’ll notice your lips and skin get back to a better color and texture.


  1. Fuzzy eyesight!

When you drink you interfere with the way key vitamins are absorbed by the liver. Many of those vitamins are necessary to maintain eye health and eyesight. “If you’re deficient in vitamin B-1 eyesight can become weak and eye muscles can even experience paralysis. Other eye issues to be mindful of related to alcohol are permanent blurred vision because the eye muscle coordination gets weak. This is due to a slow down in communication between neurotransmitters in the brain and a delay in signals to the eye muscle,” explains Dr. Calapai.


  1. Facial redness.

Alcohol increases blood flow leading to getting red in the cheeks and nose. This is even more obviously seen in people who have fair complexions. There are tiny blood vessels at the surface of the skin and excessive alcohol dilates them. This is when you see broken capillaries on the face that look like red spider legs. “Once capillaries are broken you’ll need to see a dermatologist for a laser treatment which can be expensive,” warns Dr. Calapai. “Lysine, vitamin C, gapeseed oil are all things that you can use at home that may help,” he continues.


  1. Memory loss.

Ever notice how after a weekend of partying you may lose your keys misplace your credit card and forget key details on a work assignment. That spacey, forgetfulness is due to shrinking brain mass. “When you mess with neurotransmitters you’re messing with cognitive function which includes memory. Alcohol throws off brain chemistry in the hippocampus, a key spot in the brain helping us formulate memories. If you’re noticing blackouts where you forget leaving a party, how you got home or other details of the timeline, that’s a sign you’re drinking too much or too quickly,” cautions Dr. Calapai.


While it’s certainly ok to enjoy a cocktail, a beer or some wine, too much takes a toll.


Dr. Christopher Calapai, D.O. is an Osteopathic Physician board certified in family medicine, and anti-aging medicine. Proclaimed the "The Stem Cell Guru" by the New York Daily News, Dr. Calapai is a leader in the field of stem cell therapy in the U.S. His stem cell treatments have achieved remarkable results in clinical trials on patients with conditions as varied as Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction, frailty syndrome, heart, kidney and liver failure, lupus, MS and Parkinson's. He has worked with Mike TysonMickey Rourke, Steven Seagal, and Gotham's, Donal Logue; and as a medical consultant for the New York Rangers. Connect with him via twitter @drcalapai or at www.drcal.net




Many aspects of facial and body aging are inevitable and a fact of life. However, there are daily habits, motions and actions that we do that unnecessarily accelerate the aging process. While we are very fortunate to have so many non invasive advances in plastic surgery, many of them would not be necessary at younger ages if we negated some of the behaviors that cause wrinkles to appear prematurely. Dr. John Zannis is a New Bern, North Carolina board Certified Plastic Surgeon who breaks down some of these “off limits” behaviors.

Tanning Beds

Despite skin cancer warning labels and common sense, 45 percent of young women surveyed in a February 2014 study revealed they still use tanning beds. Here’s your wakeup call: Tanning beds blast you with 12- to 15-times more ultraviolet radiation than the sun, which means you’re that much more likely to get wrinkles, dark spots, thick leathery skin and cancer. And that cancer could be the deadly kind: Melanoma is one of the most common cancers diagnosed among young women, with more than 32,000 women expected to be diagnosed in the coming years.


Alcohol is a natural diuretic, so the more you drink, the more dehydrated you become. Dr. Zannis states that, “besides sapping the natural moisture from your skin, excessive alcohol also triggers rosacea outbreaks and exacerbates fine lines, acne, and wrinkles, all of which instantly make you look older. You don't have to swear off the bottle altogether, but by drinking less, your liver doesn't have to work as hard to flush out toxins and impurities from your body, and when it works more efficiently, you'll see the results in your skin.”


It’s certainly no secret that smoking is bad for your health. But did you know it’s bad for your looks, too? Dr. Zannis says that, “studies show that in addition to shortening your life by increasing your risk for heart and lung disease, smoking can activate enzymes that break down the elasticity of your skin. Even if you’re a closet smoker, the fine wrinkles and pallor that cigarettes cause can give you away — just one more reason to snuff out those smokes.”


You sleep with your face in the pillow

Sleeping on your stomach or on your side with your face smashed into the pillow can create wrinkles and accelerate aging. "The connective tissue and collagen in your face becomes weaker and less supportive with age," says Dr. Zannis. "So when you sleep on the same side of your face night after night, your skin won't smooth out or spring back as quickly as it did when you were young." Those crease lines from your pillow can become permanent. Sleep on your back or invest in a satin pillowcase to keep skin smooth.


Cleaning facial skin  too thoroughly.

After a long day, you want to get all the dirt, grease, and grime out of your pores by any means necessary, but this is a mistake that could cost your skin its youthful suppleness and glow. "When people use harsh soap in order to get a squeaky clean feel, they strip their skin of its natural oils and accentuate fine lines," says Dr. Zannis. Stick to a gentle cleanser and don't scrub, your skin will thank you later.

Aggressively removing your eye makeup.

Taking off your makeup at night is important, but you should do it gently. The last thing you want to do is rub, tug, or scrap the skin around your eyes to get that last little bit of mascara off. "You can cause broken blood vessels and puffiness," warns Dr. Zannis.

Sipping Through A Straw

“Yes, repeated straw drinking causes people to purse their lips and can create wrinkles from the repetitive muscle motion,” says Dr. Zannis. He adds, “Much like repeated frowning causes wrinkles on the upper face.”


Meet Dr. John Zannis - New Bern, NC Plastic Surgeon



Dr. Zannis is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio and studied Human Biology and Studio Art at Stanford University prior to entering Medical School. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.) from the University of Cincinnati College Of Medicine.


After medical school, Dr. Zannis received his formal training in General Surgery and Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina under the guidance of world-renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Louis Argenta. During this time, he performed over 5,000 surgical procedures and covered all aspects of plastic surgery including cosmetic surgery of the face and body, complex reconstructive procedures of face and body, cleft lip and palate surgery, hand surgery, facial and jaw fracture repair, and reconstruction following massive weight loss. He has given numerous national academic presentations and keeps abreast of the latest technologies in Plastic Surgery at symposia across the country.


His studies in art and art history in Florence, Italy cultivated a passion for the Renaissance and geniuses of that time such as Leonardo DaVinci. Dr. Zannis instills artistry and perfectionism into his practice of surgery. His keen interest in procedures like rhinoplasty stem from their sculptural nature and the challenge they pose: “Rhinoplasty is considered one of the most difficult surgeries to master.

The slightest adjustment to the nose’s framework can have a significant effect. The true challenge is knowing what needs to be altered and improving the aesthetics, without changing the uniqueness and personality of someone’s face.”


Outside of medicine, Dr. Zannis enjoys spending time with his wife and three children. He has a passion for travel, languages, painting, and guitars. “When I’m not operating or spending time with my family, I retreat to my workshop.”



Blood test may help identify fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, research shows

(COLLEGE STATION, Texas) — Researchers at the Texas A&M College of Medicine, the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and the Omni-Net Birth Defects Prevention Program in Ukraine have identified a blood test that may help predict how severely a baby will be affected by alcohol exposure during pregnancy, according to a study published today in the journal PLOS ONE. The findings could facilitate early intervention to improve the health of infants and children who were prenatally exposed to alcohol.

Fetal alcohol syndrome is a severe form of a spectrum of mental and physical disabilities, called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), that can affect children’s development with long-lasting consequences. In the United States and Western Europe, it is estimated that 2 to 5 percent of school-age children are affected by FASD. In some parts of the world, that number is even higher. Children and adults affected by FASD may have a range of symptoms, from physical changes like a small head and subtle differences in the face, to learning difficulties and behavioral issues.

Despite widespread prevention guidelines, drinking during pregnancy still occurs. This is partly because about half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and therefore many women might not realize that they need to stop consuming alcohol before the damage is done.

“It’s a huge problem,” said Rajesh Miranda, PhD, professor in the Texas A&M College of Medicine and co-senior author of the article, “but we might not realize the full scope because infants born with normal-looking physical features may be missed, making many cases difficult to diagnose early.” Consequently, there is a need for early biomarkers that can assist with predicting infant disability.

Utilizing a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as part of a consortium known as the Collaborative Initiative on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (CIFASD), the researchers looked at birth outcomes for 68 pregnant women enrolled in the study at two perinatal care clinics in western Ukraine. The team obtained detailed health and alcohol consumption histories and second and third trimester blood samples from each woman. The results indicated that moderate to high levels of alcohol exposure during early pregnancy resulted in significant differences in some circulating small RNA molecules, termed microRNAs (miRNAs), in maternal blood. These differences were particularly notable in those mothers whose infants showed some physical or neurobehavioral signs of alcohol effects in the first 12 months of life.

“Collectively, our data indicate that maternal plasma miRNAs may help predict infant outcomes and may be useful to classify difficult-to-diagnose FASD subpopulations,” Miranda added.







Part of the reason FASD may be difficult to diagnose is infants exposed to the same amount of prenatal alcohol may have vastly different outcomes.

“Although it is generally true that binge-drinking during pregnancy presents the greatest risk, not all women who consume substantial amounts of alcohol in pregnancy will have a child who is clearly affected,” said Christina Chambers, PhD, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine, principal investigator on the Ukraine project and co-senior author on the study. “That’s why we examined specific biomarkers in the mother’s blood in the second and third trimester of her pregnancy to determine if they are useful in identifying children who could benefit from early interventions.”

Although FASD cannot be cured, early diagnosis is vital. “Early diagnosis is important because it permits early intervention to minimize the harm due to prenatal alcohol exposure,” added Wladimir Wertelecki, MD, the research team leader for the study investigators in the Ukraine. “Good nutrition, better perinatal health care, lowering stress levels and infant care interventions can all improve the outcome of alcohol-affected pregnancies.”

The team’s next steps include repeating this work in other and larger samples of mothers and infants, and determining if these early markers are predictive of longer term developmental outcomes for children exposed to alcohol.

“If we can reset developmental trajectories earlier in life, it is a lot easier than trying to treat disabilities later in life,” Miranda said. “We hope this work will lead to a test that can allow health care providers to identify the mothers and infants most at risk and provide them with extra care for the best outcome possible.”




About Texas A&M University Health Science Center
Texas A&M University Health Science Center is transforming health through innovative research, education and service in dentistry, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and medical sciences. As an independent state agency and academic unit of Texas A&M University, the health science center serves the state through campuses in Bryan-College Station, Dallas, Temple, Houston, Round Rock, Kingsville, Corpus Christi and McAllen. Learn more at vitalrecord.tamhsc.edu or follow @TAMHSC on Twitter.


About UC San Diego Health

University of California San Diego Health Sciences comprises clinical and academic entities – UC San Diego Health system, the region’s only academic health system; UC San Diego School of Medicine, one of the nation’s top research-intensive schools of medicine; and the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Part of the University of California system, UC San Diego – founded in 1960 – is renowned for collaborative and cross-disciplinary research that transcends traditional boundaries in science, engineering and the humanities.

Extremely Active Rats Become Lazy when They Artificially Receive “Runners’ High”


COLUMBIA, Mo. – Past research has shown that the pleasure and reward centers of the brain are activated similarly by dangerous drugs as well as by exercise, which is why therapies have been developed for drug addicts that include lots of exercise. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that activating these pleasure and reward receptors in the brain could provide the “reward” of dangerous drugs without having to consume those drugs.

For the study, a team of scientists led by Frank Booth, a professor at the MU College of Veterinary Medicine, selectively bred rats that exhibited traits of either extreme activity or extreme laziness. The researchers then gave chemicals to the rats to either activate or shut off their mu-opioid receptors, which are the genes in the brains of rats and humans which release dopamine, a pleasure-inducing chemical. Greg Ruegsegger, a doctoral student in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and lead author of the study, says that when the receptors of the extremely energetic rats were activated, those rats were much less inclined to exercise.

“These highly active rats would run on their wheels constantly,” Ruegsegger said. “However, when we chemically activated their mu-opioid receptors, those rats drastically reduced their amounts of activity. Since exercise and addiction to substances follow this same chemical process in the brain, it stands to reason that activating these receptors in people with dangerous addictions could provide the same rewards they are craving without the use of dangerous drugs or alcohol.”

When MU researchers studied the brains of the rats, they found 400 percent more of the reward receptors in the extremely active rats than the extremely lazy rats. They believe this indicates that the extremely active rats were active to receive “rewards” from their mu-opioid receptors, which may explain why they voluntarily run such extreme amounts.

The researchers also used chemicals to shut off the mu-opioid receptors in the active rats, but found that it similarly reduced activity in the rats, though not as drastically as turning on those receptors in the active rats. Researchers found that activating and shutting off the receptors in the lazy rats seemed to have no significant effect on those rats’ overall activity levels.

This study was published in the journal Neuropharmacology.