To prevent alcohol and drug addiction by offering education, prevention and recovery to individuals and families, regardless of ability to pay.


The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey revealed some good news and some areas of mounting concern.  The survey indicated that the abuse of cigarettes and alcohol among 8th to 12th graders continues to decline significantly.  The areas of concern are with the continued increase use of marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications.  The increased use in marijuana reflects the growing efforts across the country to legalize marijuana for medicinal use.  In some quarters this remains a highly controversial issue and certainly has many of us in the treatment field concerned specifically when it comes to young, developing brains. 
NIDA defines Prescription Drug Abuse as “. . . the intentional use of a medication without a prescription; in a way other than as prescribed; or for the experience or feeling it causes.”  According to the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services nearly 3 million teenagers and young adults (those ages 12 to 25) become abusers of prescription drugs.  56% of the 6 million new abusers are over the age of 18.
NIDA estimates that 7 million people were current non-medical users of psychotherapeutic drugs in 2010 (equal to 2.7% of the U.S. population). The medications most often abused are:
Pain relievers – 5.1 million
Tranquilizers – 2.2 million
Stimulants 1.1 million
Sedatives – 0.4 million
In 2010, nearly 1 in 12 high school seniors reported the nonmedical use of Vicodin and 1 in 20 reported abuse of OxyContin.  They are most likely to obtain these medications from friends or relatives.  A White House study released in 2012 revealed a 400% increase in treatment admissions for prescription pain relievers between 2008 and 2010.
At Sun Street Centers, Men’s Residential we have seen an increase in admission among young men between 18 and 25.  Most notably in 2011, when we almost doubled our 2008 enrollments for opiate dependence. 
Prescription drug abuse most often begins at home.  It may begin as curiosity or result from the use of a prescribed substance nonmedically after the initial need has passed.  One young man at Men’s Residential says he was simply curious about what the Vicodin left over from his sister’s tooth extraction would feel like.  That led to wondering about anti-anxiety medications and an eventual prescription for Xanax.  It was relatively easy to obtain prescriptions for anxiety medications, which he preferred over opiates.  By the time he entered college he had first-hand experience of a wide variety of medications available in friends’ family medicine cabinets.  Without any awareness of the possibility, abuse became dependence – curiosity turned to insatiable need and the journey from innocent curiosity to full-blown addiction was complete.  College and all its promises lost to the mounting pressures of obtaining the drug, not for its effects, but now to ward off withdrawal.  As the abuse became more evident obtaining prescriptions became harder; as often happens this led to “street” transactions and the eventual use of heroin.
The RX Risk: Roughly 1 in 9 youth abused prescription drugs in the past year. Young people are abusing prescription drugs at alarming rates. These drugs act on the same brain systems as illegal drugs and pose similar risks for dangerous health consequences, including later addiction.

Top Graph: Past Year Drug Abuse Among High School Seniors Graph. After marijuana, prescription and over-the-counter medications account for most of the past-year use of commonly abused drugs among high school seniors. Data for past-year use of prescription and over-the-counter medicines include the following: Vicodin (8%), Adderall (6.5%), Salvia (5.9%), Tranquilizers (5.6%), Cough Medicine (5.3%), OxyContin (4.9%), Sedatives (4/3%), and Ritalin (2.6%), a combined total of 37.2%. Data for past-year use of illicit drugs includes the following: Marijuana/Hashish (36.4%), Synthetic Marijuana (11.4%), Salvia (5.9%), MDMA (Ecstasy 5.3%), Hallucinogens (5.2%), Inhalants (3.2%), and Cocaine (any form, 2.9 %).
Bottom Left Image.About 1 in 9 youth or 11.4 percent of young people aged 12 to 25 used prescription drugs nonmedically within the past year. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2010)
Bottom Right Graphic.Twenty-five percent of those who began abusing prescription drugs at age 13 or younger met clinical criteria for addiction sometime in their life. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2010)

What can you do?

Dispose of un-used medications promptly and properly.  Please do not flush any medications down the drain.  See the attached circular on proper disposal. There are pharmacies in Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Sand City, Marina, Salinas and Soledad which will take back prescription medication for disposal.
Talk to your children about the use and abuse of prescription medications.  Be a good example by not sharing your prescription medications with them or others. You can find tips on having these conversations by clicking on the highlighted links, read Time to Talk for tools to talk to preschoolers and grade-schoolers, Teen Culture or tips with teens, and view sample conversation starters.
Talk with your physician about non-narcotic pain control.  Not all pain is equal.  Why start with an opiate/opioid medication if an extra-strength over-the-counter might be as effective?  Seek counseling to augment depression and anxiety symptoms; medication alone is often no as effective as the combination of therapy and a medication regimen
Seek treatment and support individuals in recovery: If you or someone you love needs help with substance abuse, find a treatment center near you.
Find community support for yourself.  Addiction is a lot like mushrooms, it flourishes in the dark.  Shed light on the issue. 

Alcoholics Anonymous: MontereyPenínsula    831-373-3713 ; Salinas/San Benito 831-424-9874
Narcotics Anonymous: MontereyHelp Line 831-624-2055 ; Salinas Help Line 831-758-1630
AlAnon/AlaTeen: Monterey 831-373-2532 ; Salinas 831-424-6207
NarAnon: Help Line 1-888-688-7834



Base Laddu Recipe


  • 2 cups chickpea flour (besan)
  • 1 cup clarified butter (ghee)
  • 1 cup white sugar, or to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped pistachio nuts
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped cashews


1. Stir the chickpea flour and clarified butter together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the mixture smells toasty, about 10 minutes. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
2. Stir in the sugar, pistachios, and cashews until evenly mixed. Form the mixture into small balls the size of large cherries. Use some pressure when forming the balls so they don't come apart.

Apple Tango Recipe Drink

Peel grapefruit and orange and remove all the seeds and pith. Core the apple and chop coarsely. Place all the fruits in a blender until smooth. Chill in the refrigereator for about 30-45 mins. Pour into a jug, add lemon juice and syrup and stir well to mix. Fill glass with ice shavings or ice cubes, pour and garnish according to your liking.


Almond Joyous Recipe Drink

1 cup light coconut milk
1 1/2 cups chocolatet Sorbet
2 fresh bananas frozen and sliced
2 tbsp grated coconut (optional)
1 tsp coconut extract
3/4 tsp almond extract

Combine the coconut milk and sorbet in a blender. Add the bananas, coconut (if using), coconut extract, and almond extract. Blend until smooth.

Serves 2.

To freeze bananas: Peel bananas and seal in a plastic bag. Freeze. When ready to use, remove from freezer and slice.

4th of July

Variously known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
Women's Equality Day August 26

The date was selected to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. This was the culmination of a massive, peaceful civil rights movement by women that had its formal beginnings in 1848 at the world’s first women’s rights convention, in Seneca Falls, New York.

The observance of Women’s Equality Day not only commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, but also calls attention to women’s continuing efforts toward full equality. Workplaces, libraries, organizations, and public facilities now participate with Women’s Equality Day programs, displays, video showings, or other activities.

Labor Day, September 3
The first Labor Day was held in 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches. This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.

Copyright © 2012 Sun Street Centers, All rights reserved.

Newsletter Editor: Rocio Tovar
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