Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) – The Clinical Process

May 31, 2014

20140531-010803-4083647.jpgBy Terence T. Gorski, Author

Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT) is an in-depth clinical psychotherapy process that is designed to four outcomes – The development of a core issue list, a relapse warning sign list, warning sign management strategies, and a recovery plan.

1. Core Issue List:

Each person completing RPT develops a list of the core personality and lifestyle problems that create pain and dysfunction while attempting to maintain long-term sobriety and responsibility.

These core personality and lifestyle problems lead a person back into patterns of addictive and irresponsible thinking and behavior during times of high stress and problems. Since these patterns are automatic and unconscious and are activated by situational triggers, the individual can feel confused and powerless as they successfully avoid or cope with high risk situations only to find themselves acting out in other self-defeating ways for apparently no reason. As a result, the failure to identify and address these issues increases the risk of relapse after initial stabilization and return to normal functioning has been achieved.

The Core Issue List identifies the core or central system of irrational or mistaken beliefs about self, others, and the world that leads to feelings of deprivation and hopelessness when practicing habits of sober and responsible living.

These Core issues are based upon the general mistaken belief that “I can’t have the good life, and be sober and responsible at the same time.” The “good life” is subjectively defined by primary childhood experiences that cause the individual to perceive, think about and respond to the world using an automatic cycle of deeply habituated self-defeating behavior.

The core issue list is developed from a careful and systematic analysis of information gathered from three sources:

(1) the client’s original presenting problems,

(2) the client’s life and addiction history, and

(3) the client’s recovery and relapse history.

The goal of completing these three assessments is to guide the client in answering two basic questions:

(1) “What did you come to believe that alcohol, drugs, and irresponsibility could do for you that you could not do for yourself while being sober and responsible?”

(2) “What problems did you come to believe that alcohol, drugs, and irresponsibility could help you to cope with or escape from that you believed you couldn’t deal with while being sober and responsible?”

The client is taught:

(1) To recognize the basic core issues that increase the risk of relapse, and

(2) To write clear statements that describe the general mistaken beliefs and the automatic and unconscious patterns of thinking, managing feelings and acting that is used when that core issue is activated.

The goal is to teach the client to understand and describe the problems that lead to relapse on three levels in clear, simple, and concrete terms.

These three levels are:

(1) The mistaken beliefs or assumptions about self, others, and the world that limit choices in life planning and problem solving;

(2) The automatic and habitual self-defeating thoughts, painful unmanageable emotions, self-defeating behaviors that are activated by the structure of mistaken beliefs; and

(3) The dysfunctional professional and personal relationships that result from the habitual use of those self defeating behaviors.

This allows the client to unmask the big lie of addiction – the mistaken belief that alcohol, drugs and irresponsibility is good for me, can magically fix me and my problems, and can give me a better life.

Applications: The core issue list is designed to both prevent relapse and improve overall effectiveness by teaching the following skills:

(1) The ability to reflect upon past experiences, accurately assign meaning to those experiences, and avoid the thinking errors and self-defeating behaviors that are the logical consequences of mistaken beliefs;

(2) Mapping out the habitual patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting that are related to those mistaken beliefs; and

(3) Understanding how problems with professional and personal relationships are the logical extension of those core beliefs.

2. Relapse Warning Sign List

Each person completing RPT learns how to develop a Relapse Warning Sign List that describes the specific sequence of events and the related irrational thoughts, unmanageable feelings, self-destructive urges, and self defeating behaviors that are acted out when the core mistaken beliefs are activated.

This warning sign list allows the client to describe in concrete and specific terms the subtle changes in thinking, feeling, motivation, and behavior that set the stage for addictive thinking. It also allows significant others to recognize and assign meaning to the subtle changes in communication and behavior and to intervene appropriately before addictive thinking patterns become rigidly reestablished.

Applications: The relapse warning sign list is designed to prevent relapse and improve overall effectiveness by teaching the following skills:

(1) Developing a list of progressive personal problems and behaviors that lead back into a pattern of addictive and irresponsible thinking and behaviors;

(2) Isolating the warning signs that will interfere with performance by writing a Warning Sign List.

3. Warning Sign Management

Each person completing RPT learns how to identify key or critical warning signs and how to use specific skills or tools to manage those warning signs in a way that stops the progressive pattern of self-defeating thinking and behavior.

The coping strategies related to RPT go beyond the situational management strategies learned at the RPC level. They involve recognizing and intervening upon the more subtle patterns of thinking, emotional management and acting out that set the stage for gradually more destructive behaviors.

Applications: The relapse warning sign management strategies are designed to prevent relapse and improve overall effectiveness by teaching the following skills:

(1) Clearly identifying intervention points in the progressive pattern of irrational thinking and self-destructive behaviors that can impair performance and increase the risk of mismanaging critical situations in a way that could lead to relapse;

(2) Learning specific skills for identifying and challenging irrational and addictive thinking patterns;

(3) Learning specific skills for responsibly managing unpleasant feelings and emotions;

(4) Learning specific tools and skills for recognizing and changing subtle patterns of self-defeating behaviors that can lead to serious long-term problems and eventual relapse; and

(5) Learning how to proactively invite others to support patterns of sobriety and responsibility and to point out self-defeating behaviors or problems that clients may be unaware of.

4. Recovery Plan

Each person completing RPT develops a recovery plan consisting of regularly scheduled activities that clearly support the ability to challenge the mistaken beliefs that perpetuate a self-defeating style of living and working.



Managing AOD Problems Among Addiction Professionals

May 30, 2014


Southeast Addiction Technology Transfer Center

Kay Gresham, Director
Facilitated by Terence T. Gorski, MA, MAC, NCAC II, CSAC
Proceedings Written by Pamela Woll, MA, CADP, Consultant 




To How To Develop A Relapse Prevention (RP) Plan

May 28, 2014”>20140528-233732-85052378.jpgBy Terence T. Gorski
GORSKI-CENAPS Web Publications
May 28, 2003

Terry Gorski and other members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team are available to train & consult on areas related to recovery & relapse prevention

People who relapse aren’t suddenly taken drunk. Most experience progressive warning signs that reactivate denial and cause so much pain that self-medication with alcohol or drugs seems like a good idea. This is not a conscious process. These warning signs develop automatically and unconsciously. Since most recovering people have never been taught how to identify and manage relapse warning signs, they don’t notice them until the pain becomes too severe to ignore.
There are nine steps in learning to recognize and stop the early warning signs of relapse.

Step 1: Stabilization:

Relapse prevention planning probably won’t work unless the relapser is sober and in control of themselves. Detoxification and a few good days of sobriety are needed in order to make relapse prevention planning work. Remember that many patients who relapse are toxic. Even though sober they have difficulty thinking clearly, remembering things and managing their feelings and emotions. These symptoms get worse when the person is under high stress or is isolated from people to talk to about the problems of staying sober. To surface intense therapy issues with someone who has a toxic brain can increase rather than decrease the risk of relapse. In early abstinence go slow and focus on basics. The key question is “What do you need to do to not drink today?”

Step 2: Assessment:

The assessment process is designed to identify the recurrent pattern of problems that caused past relapses and resolve the pain associated with those problems. This is accomplished by reconstructing the presenting problems, the life history, the alcohol and drug use history and the recovery relapse history.

By reconstructing the presenting problems the here and now issues that pose an immediate threat to sobriety can be identified and crisis plans developed to resolve those issues.

The life history explores each developmental life period including childhood, grammar school, high school, college, military, adult work history, adult friendship history, and adult intimate relationship history. Reviewing the life history can surface painful unresolved memories. It’s important to go slow and talk about the feelings that accompany these memories.

Once the life history is reviewed, a detailed alcohol and drug use history is reconstructed. This is be done by reviewing each life period and asking four questions: (1) How much alcohol or drugs did you use? (2) How often did you use it? (3) What did you want alcohol and drug use to accomplish? and (4) What were the real consequences, positive and negative, of your use? In other words, did the booze and drugs do for you what you wanted it to do during each period of your life?

Finally, the recovery and relapse history is reconstructed. Starting with the first serious attempt at sobriety each period of abstinence and chemical use is carefully explored. The major goal is to find out what happened during each period of abstinence that set the stage for relapse. This is often difficult because most relapsers are preoccupied with their drinking and drugging and resist thinking or talking about what happened during periods of abstinence.

Comprehensive assessments have shown that most relapsers get sober, encounter the same recurring pattern of problems, and use those problems to justify the next relapse. As one person put it “It is not one thing after the other, it is the same thing over and over again!”

A 23 year old relapser named Jake reported drinking about a six pack of beer every Friday and Saturday night during high school. He did it in order to feel like he was part of the group, relax and have fun. at that stage in his addiction the beer did exactly what he wanted it to do.

That all changed when Jake left school and went to work as a salesman. He had to perform in a high pressure environment and felt stressed. The other salesmen were competitive and no matter what he did they wouldn’t let him belong. He began drinking bourbon every night to deal with the stress. He wanted to feel relaxed so he could cope better at work. He consistently drank too much and woke up with terrible hangovers that caused new problems with his job.

Every time Jake would attempt to stop drinking he would feel isolated and alone and become overwhelmed by the stress of his job. Even when with others at Twelve Step Meetings he felt like he didn’t belong and couldn’t fit in. As the stress grew he began to think “If this is sobriety who needs it?” Each relapse was related with his inability to deal with job related pressures.

By comparing the life history, the alcohol and drug use history, and the recovery relapse history Jake could see in a dramatic way the recurrent problems that caused him to relapse. The two major issues were:

(1) the need to drink in order to feel like he belonged, and
(2) the need to drink in order to cope with stress.

It wasn’t surprising that Jake discovered that during every past period of abstinence he became isolated, lonely and depressed. The longer he stayed sober the worse it got. The stress built up until he felt that if he didn’t take a drink to relax he would go crazy or collapse.

Step 3: Relapse Education:

Relapsers need to learn about the relapse process and how to manage it. It’s not a bad idea to get their family and Twelve Step Sponsors involved. The education needs to reinforce four major messages:
– First, relapse is a normal and natural part of recovery from chemical dependence. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.
– Second, people are not suddenly taken drunk. There a progressive patterns of warning signs that set them up to use again. These warning signs can be identified and recognized while sober.
– Third, once identified recovering people can learn to manage the relapse warning signs while sober, and
– Fourth, there is hope.

A new counseling procedure called relapse prevention therapy can teach recovering people how to recognize and manage warning signs so a return to chemical use becomes unnecessary.
When Jake entered relapse prevention therapy he felt demoralized and hopeless. That began to change when he heard his first lecture that described the typical warning signs that precede relapse to chemical use. He felt like someone had read his mail. “Since someone understand what causes me to get drunk,” he thought, “perhaps they know what to do in order to stay sober.

Step 4: Warning Sign Identification:

Relapsers need to identify the problems that caused relapse. The goal is to write a list of personal warning signs that lead them from stable recovery back to chemical use.
There is seldom just one warning sign. Usually a series of warning signs build one on the other to create relapse. It’s the cumulative affect that wears them down. The final warning sign is simply the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Unfortunately many of relapsers think it’s the last warning sign that did it. As a result they don’t look for the earlier and more subtle warning signs that set the stage for the final disaster.

When Jake first came into relapse prevention therapy he thought that he was crazy. “I can’t understand it,” he told his counselor, “Everything was going fine and suddenly, for no reason at all I started to overreact to things. I’d get confused, make stupid mistakes and then not know what to do to fix it. I got so stressed out that I got drunk over it.”

Jake, like most relapsers, didn’t know what his early relapse warning signs were and as a result didn’t recognize the problems until it was too late. A number of procedures are used to help recovering people identify the early warning signs relapse.

Most people start by reviewing and discussing The Phases And Warning Signs Of Relapse (available from

This warning sign list describes the typical sequence of problems that lead from stable recovery to alcohol and drug use. By reading and discussing these warning signs relapsers develop a new way of thinking about the things that happened during past periods of abstinence that set them up to use.
They learn new words with which to describe their past experiences.

After reading the warning signs they develop an initial warning sign list by selecting five of the warning signs that they can identify with. These warning signs become a starting point for warning sign analysis. Since most relapsers don’t know what their warning signs are they need to be guided through a process that will uncover them. The relapser is asked to take each of the five warning signs and tell a story about a time when they experienced that warning sign in the past while sober. They tell these stories both to their therapist and to their therapy group. The goal is to look for hidden warning signs that are reflected in the story.

Jake, for example, identified with the warning sign “Tendency toward loneliness.” He told a story about a time when he was sober and all alone in the house because his wife had left with the children. “I felt so lonely and abandoned, he said. I couldn’t understand why she would walk out just because we had a fight. She should be able to handle it better than she does.”

The group began asking questions and it turned out that Jake had frequent arguments with his wife that were caused by his grouchiness because of problems on the job. It turned out that these family arguments were a critical warning sign that occurred before most relapses. Jake had never considered his marriage to be a problem, and as a result never thought of getting marriage counseling.

Jake had now identified three warning signs: To Develop A RP Plan:
-(1) the need to drink in order to feel like he belonged,
– (2) the need to drink in order to cope with stress, and
– (3) the need to drink in order to cope with marital problems. In order to be effectively managed each of these warning sins would need to be further clarified.

I then had Jake to write these three warning signs using a standard format and identify the irrational thoughts, unmanageable feelings and self defeating behavior that accompanied each. He wrote:

– (1) I know I am in trouble with my recovery when I feeling lonely and unable to fit in with other people; When this happens I tend to think that I am no good and nobody could ever care about me. When this happens I tend to feel lonely, angry and afraid. When this happens I have an urge to hide myself away so I don’t have to talk with anyone.
– (2) I know I am in trouble with my recovery when I feel unable to cope with high levels of job-related stress; When this happens I tend to think that I need to try harder in order to get things under control or else I will be a failure. When this happens I tend to feel humiliated and embarrassed. When this happens I drive myself to keep working even thought I know I need to rest.
– (3) I know I am in trouble with my recovery when I irrationally angry at my wife. When this happens I tend to think that I’m a terrible person for treating her that way, but a part of me believes she deserves it. When this I happens I tend to feel angry and ashamed. When this happens forget that the incident ever happened, put it behind us and get on with our marriage.

With this detailed description of the relapse warning signs Jake was ready to move on to the fifth step of relapse prevention planning, warning sign management.

Understanding the warning signs is not enough. We need to learn how to manage them without resorting to alcohol or drug use. This means learning nonchemical problem solving strategies that help us to identify high risk situations and develop coping strategies. In this way relapsers can diffuse irrational thinking, manage painful feelings, and stop the self-defeating behaviors before they lead to alcohol or drug use.

This is done by taking each relapse warning sign and developing a general coping strategy. Jake, for example developed the following management strategy for dealing with his job-related stress.

Warning Sign: I know I am in trouble with my recovery when I feel unable to cope with high levels of job-related stress.

General Coping Strategy: I will learn how to say no to taking on extra projects, limit my work to 45 hours per week, and learn how to use relaxation exercises and meditation to unwind.
The next step is to identify ways to cope with the irrational thoughts, unmanageable feelings, and self-defeating behaviors that accompany each warning sign. Jake developed the following coping strategies:

Irrational Thought: I need to try harder in order to get things under control or else I will be a failure.
Rational Thought: I am burned out because I am trying to hard. I need to time to rest or I will start making more mistakes.

Unmanageable Feelings: Humiliation and embarrassment.

Feeling Management Strategy: Talk about my feelings with others. Remind myself that there is no reason to embarrassed. I am a fallible human being and all people get tired.

Self-defeating Behavior: Driving myself to keep working even thought I know I need to rest.

Constructive Behavior: Take a break and relax. Ask someone to review the project and see if they can help me to solve the problem.

Now Jake is ready to move unto the sixth step of recovery planning. A recovery plan is a schedule of activities that puts relapsers into regular contact with people who will help them to avoid alcohol and drug use. They must stay sober by working the twelve step program and attending relapse prevention support groups that teach them to recognize and manage relapse warning signs. This is why I call relapse prevention planning a “Twelve Step Plus” approach to recovery.

Jake needed to build something into his recovery program to help him deal with job related stress. He decided to enter into counseling with a counselor who specialized in stress management, understood chemical dependency and had a background as an employee assistance counselor. By doing this Jake was forced to regular discuss his problems at work and review how he was coping with them. By identifying job related problems early, he could prevent getting overwhelmed by small problems that became overwhelming.

The seventh step is inventory training. Most relapsers find it helpful to get in the habit of doing a morning and evening inventory. The goal of the morning inventory is to prepare to recognize and manage warning signs. The goal of the evening inventory is to review progress and problems. This allows relapsers to stay anticipate high risk situations and monitor for relapse warning signs. Relapsers need to take inventory work seriously because most warning signs are deeply entrenched habits that are hard to change and tend to automatically come back whenever certain problems or stresses occur. If we aren’t alert we may not notice them until it’s too late.

The eighth step is family involvement. A supportive family can make the difference between recovery and relapse. We need to encourage our family members to get involved in Alanon so they can recover from codependency. With this foundation of shared recovery we can beginning talking with our families about past relapses, the warning signs that led up to them, and how the relapse hurt the family. Most importantly we can work together to avoid future relapse.

If we had heart disease we would want our family to be prepared for an emergency. Chemical dependency is a disease just like heart disease. Our families’ needs to know about the early warning signs that lead to relapse. They must be prepared to take fast and decisive action if we return to chemical use. We can work out in advance, when we are in a sober state of mind, the steps they should take if we return to chemical use. Our very life could depend upon it.

The final step is follow-up. Our warning signs will change as we progress in recovery. Each stage of recovery has unique warning signs. Our ability to deal with the warning signs of one stage of recovery doesn’t guarantee that we will recognize or know how to manage the warning signs of the next stage. Our relapse prevention plan needs to be updated regularly; monthly for the first three months, quarterly for the first two years, and annually thereafter.

Originally Published In: Alcoholism & Addiction Magazine: Relapse – Issues and Answers: Column 3: How To Develop A Relapse Prevention Plan: By Terence T. Gorski, September 25, 1989; 708-799-5000,
About the Author
Terence T. Gorski is internationally recognized for his contributions to Relapse Prevention Therapy. The scope of his work, however, extends far beyond this. A skilled cognitive behavioral therapist with extensive training in experiential therapies, Gorski has broad-based experience and expertise in the chemical dependency, behavioral health, and criminal justice fields.

To make his ideas and methods more available, Gorski opened The CENAPS Corporation, a private training and consultation firm of founded in 1982. CENAPS is committed to providing the most advanced training and consultation in the chemical dependency and behavioral health fields.

Gorski has also developed skills training workshops and a series of low-cost book, workbooks, pamphlets, audio and videotapes. He also works with a team of trainers and consultants who can assist individuals and programs to utilize his ideas and methods.

Terry Gorski is available for personal and program consultation, lecturing, and clinical skills training workshops. He also routinely schedules workshops, executive briefings, and personal growth experiences for clinicians, program managers, and policymakers.

Mr. Gorski holds a B.A. degree in psychology and sociology from Northeastern Illinois University and an M.A. degree from Webster’s College in St. Louis, Missouri. He is a Senior Certified Addiction Counselor In Illinois. He is a prolific author who has published numerous books, pamphlets and articles. Mr. Gorski routinely makes himself available for interviews, public presentations, and consultant. He has presented lectures and conducted workshops in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

For books, audio, and video tapes written and recommended by Terry Gorski contact: Herald House – Independence Press, P.O. Box 390 Independence, MO 64055. Telephone: 816-521-3015 0r 1-800-767-8181. His publication website is

Terry Gorski and other members of the GORSKI-CENAPS Team are available to train & consult on areas related to recovery & relapse prevention;,,



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Change! It’s Not Easy For Anyone

May 25, 2014

20140525-210010-75610584.jpgBy Terence T. Gorski, Author
December 29, 2013

“Do you think it’s easy to change? Alas, it is very hard to change and
be different. It means passing through the waters of oblivion.” —

DH Lawrence

DH Lawrence, also know as Lawrence of Arabia, was an incredibly disciplined man. He was a soldier, a warrior, a writer, and a philosopher. Reviewing this brief biography of DH Lawrence will put the man in more perspective and add more meaning to this quote.

Yet even such a man, with years of military discipline, living for months at a time in the harsh desert, having to adapt to unknown cultures — yet even such a man tells us that “it is hard to change and to be different!”

There are two issues:

(1) It is difficult to change and maintain the changes; and

(2) It is difficult to be different from most other people.

The pressure of he crowd is difficult to resist. As human beings, we are social animals connected with a group mind or a collective unconscious. We feel strongly the united emotional play of any groups that we are in.

DH Lawrence had a conceptual ability that was more advanced than those around him. He viewed of the world and life through a different pair of classes. He could see complex relationships and cause-effect changes of events that few other noticed. He was a difficult man to trick, or con, or persuade.

He maintained his unique world view, but again, he reports that it was not easy to “be different.” It is not easy to stand on your own values and speak your own truth to authority or to an angry mob.”

How difficult did DH Lawrence find it to develop a rational philosophy of life and not surrender it for a mere sense of superficial belonging. How hard was it for him to maintain his own ideas in the face of the social pressure of the tribe and the threat of the mob (group mind)? He put it this way:

To change and to be different from your fellows
“means passing through the waters of oblivion.”

We can all learn to change and embrace a sober and responsible way of life. It will be much easier to maintain that change if we surround ourselves with like-minded people.



Sharpening The Saw: The Role of Planning and Maintenance In Successful Living

May 21, 2014
imagesStephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People identifies a group of tasks that he calls Sharpening the Saw. These type of activities involve both preparation and maintenance. They don’t need to be schedules with a precise deadline. As a result they can get put on the back burner with no immediate negative consequences. Here are three general ways of thinking that might motivate you to keep your saw sharp.
(1) The general rule is that there is never time to prepare, but there is always time to get bogged down in fixing the problems that happened because you were not prepared.
(2) There is never time to do it right, but there is always time to fix the time-consuming cascade of problems that result from doing it wrong.
(3) Maintenance can always be put off until tomorrow, right up to the point of a critical meltdown in an important area of your life. Think about life as a car. You can put off changing the oil one-day-at-a-time, but eventually the engine starts having problems and eventually breaks down.
Don’t Get Stuck In The Middle Of The River
There was a man who was a bridge-builder on a tight schedule. He built the first section of the bridge, but didn’t have time to put in all the bolts on the support beams. To save time he took his tools and materials on the first section of the bridge, did not properly secure the bolts and then move his tools and equipment onto the third section of the bridge. By this time the first section of the bridge fell down behind him and he was so busy he did not even notice it — until he needed more supplies, turned around and found himself trapped on a middle span of the bridge high in the air with nowhere to go. He was trapped be half measures and the failure to plan and maintain.
How many of you know someone who never had time to spend with their spouse, until they found themselves communicating with an attorney after their spouse filed for divorce?There are five repeating steps in the cycle of successful living:
  • Get Ready,
  • Do It,
  • Clean Up,
  • Rest.
  • Start Again 


Molly – The Street Drug

May 15, 2014

imagesA street drug named Molly is becoming a common drug of abuse that is ripping apart the lives of young people and their families. It is important to learn about it. The depression or dysphoria which is part of the withdrawal process can be severe and contribute to suicide. Since the drug is most widely abused by teenagers, the risk of suicide during Molly withdrawal, coupled with the normal tendencies of adolescents to experience bouts of depression, can contribute to an elevated risk of suicide.

See the CNN Report on Molly:

(CNN) — The drug called Molly isn’t what most of its users think it is. If you Google “Molly,” many articles say the drug is “pure” MDMA, the active ingredient in Ecstasy.
Users often talk about the “purity” of taking Molly, as if it’s somehow better; after all, MDMA was originally developed as a medication to treat depression. But today’s Molly is most often not MDMA — in the last few years, the drug has become a toxic mixture of lab-created chemicals, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Here are nine things everyone should know about this rapidly changing party drug:

1. What is Molly?

‘2C-P’ and ‘Molly’ involved in overdoses Drug deaths spur fear of bad batch Hot party drug has deadly consequences Patient: Ecstasy eased my PTSD
Someone who buys or takes Molly now is probably ingesting dangerous synthetic drugs that have not been tested and are produced in widely varying strengths. The DEA says only 13% of the Molly seized in New York state the last four years actually contained any MDMA, and even then it often was mixed with other drugs. The drugs frequently found in Molly are Methylone, MDPV, 4-MEC, 4-MMC, Pentedrone and MePP.

2. What does Molly do?

The lab-created chemicals mimic the effects of MDMA; most of them are central nervous system stimulants that cause euphoric highs. They can also cause a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure, blood vessel constriction and sweating, and can prevent the body from regulating temperature. Some of the chemicals have been reported to cause intense, prolonged panic attacks, psychosis and seizures. After they wear off, the chemicals can cause devastating depression. Several of these compounds have caused deaths.

3. Who is using Molly?

Molly is being marketed to young first-time drug abusers between the ages of 12 and 17, as well as traditional rave, electronic dance music fans who may think they’re getting MDMA. “Our kids are being used as guinea pigs by drug traffickers,” says Al Santos, associate deputy administrator for the DEA.

4. What does Molly look like?

Molly can take many different forms, although it’s most often found in a capsule or powder. The DEA has also seen Molly applied to blotting paper, like LSD, and in injectable form.

5. What makes Molly so dangerous?

Molly is dangerous because of the toxic mix of unknown chemicals; users have no idea what they’re taking or at what dose. Unlike MDMA and other illegal drugs that have known effects on the body, the formulas for these synthetic drugs keep changing, and they’re manufactured with no regard to how they affect the user.

“You’re playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds because we’re seeing significant batch-to-batch variances,” Santos says.

For example, officials have found completely different ingredients in drugs sold in the same packaging. Santos also says the amount of active ingredients can be dangerously different, because “the dosing for these sorts of drugs are in the micrograms. The room for error is tremendous, and we’ve seen a lot of deaths with some of these compounds.”

The DEA has developed its own reference materials for state and local law enforcement because they were encountering so many different drug compounds they’d never seen before. At the DEA testing lab, technicians are constantly trying to unravel the chemical makeup of newly discovered drug compounds that have been seized.

What you need to know about synthetic drugs

6. Where do the chemicals come from?
Almost all the chemicals in Molly and other synthetic drugs come from laboratories in China. Chinese chemists sell the drugs online, and middlemen in the United States and around the world cut it with other substances, and either place it in capsules or sell it as powder. Other kinds of synthetic drugs can be sprayed onto plant material and smoked, such as synthetic marijuana.

But it’s difficult for law enforcement to keep track of all the chemicals. The DEA says it’s seen about 200 individual chemical compounds since 2009 and 80 new compounds since 2012. As soon as a compound is discovered and banned, another one is created to take its place.

Interestingly enough, the formulas for these drugs were discovered by legitimate scientists working on new medications. The formulas couldn’t be used as medicine because of the stimulant or hallucinogenic effects they had users, but the “recipes” for the drugs still remain.
Clandestine chemists have used the scientific literature to create hundreds of new chemical compounds for the sole purpose of getting people high. There is no known legitimate purpose for any of these chemicals.

Music festival canceled after 2 deaths blamed on drugs

7. How widespread is the problem?

Huge. The fastest-emerging drug problem in the United States is the synthetic drug market, which now includes Molly. The chemicals in Molly have been found in nearly every state in the U.S.
And it’s a multibillion-dollar business. In two days, the DEA seized $95 million off drug traffickers during a crackdown. It is a growing problem in Australia, New Zealand and Europe as well.

8. What’s being done about it? Why can’t the government just make it illegal?

Congress passed the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act in July 2012, which controlled 26 compounds by name. But there are hundreds of compounds, and every time the government makes one illegal, chemists alter the formula slightly to make it a substance that is no longer controlled.

U.S. officials say they are discussing the issue with the Chinese government, but most of these chemicals are legal in China.

There’s something (potentially dangerous) about molly

9. How can I tell if someone is using or has used Molly?

The effects can vary widely, depending on the chemical, but while users are under the influence, they may exhibit the following symptoms: sweating, jaw clenching, violent or bizarre behavior and psychosis.

After the drug has worn off, a user may show signs of depression or may not be able to get out of bed for an extended period of time.

Molly, MDMA, Ecstasy Withdrawal

Pierre the Mountain Climber

May 13, 2014


By Terence T. Gorski,

Pierre the mountain climber was known for three things:

– He didn’t believe in God;

– He hated to follow the rules; and

– He thought all he needed was himself.

One day Pierre, all by himself, took off in the early morning to break a new trail to the top of  the mountain. He smiled arrogantly because by nightfall a new trail would carry his name and his name alone. He friend pleaded with him: “It’s too dangerous to climb alone. It breaks our first rule of safety in mountain climbing never climb alone.

Pierre laughed and pushed his friend aside. “I’ve climbed to many heights all by myself”, he said. “This will be no different! I’ll be fine.” So Pierre set out all by himself. After climbing all day he found his new trail to the summit. He marked the new route carefully on his map and signed it with pride. This new route he had mapped would make the climb faster and easier. It would open the mountain to more tourists and everyone in the village would prosper.  It would make his name famous and he knew it.

Pierre started back down mountain. He couldn’t wait to let everyone know. If he hurried, the story would make the morning newspaper in the village. He was preoccupied with his success and in his hurry  he made a wrong  turn and got lost. The sun was setting. Darkness was engulfing him. He knew it would be a black and moonless night. He would be alone in the pitch black of the cold mountain night.

Fear knotted in Pierre’s stomach. “I never get lost!” He yelled at the setting sun. “Nothing can stop me! I’ll make it back even in the dark. In his fear, however, he broke the second  safety rule of climbing – don’t climb in the dark. All climbers knew that climbing in darkness was inviting death. The safe thing to do was to hunker down, tie off, and wait for morning. Pierre ignored the safety rule. After all, he hated rules. He kept climbing down, gaining momentum and  believing he could  reach the bottom safely.

It happened suddenly. His boot slipped from a foothold and he fell into the  darkness. Then, just as suddenly came the pain — a shooting pain from his rib that nearly caused him to pass out.  It took him a few minutes to get his bearings. Pierre was swinging in the air, his safety rope suspended from an out crop of rock above him. It was a long and hard fall that could have killed him. His safety line saved broke his fall and saved his life. A broken rib was a small price to pay in exchange for his life. He was too weak, however, to climb up the rope. There were no hand holds in reach.  He was too exhausted to move. He knew that he will soon freeze to death if he if nothing. But what could he do?

As he swung through the could air, the pain wracking his body, he realized he has only one choice left. It went against his professional and personal code, but there was nothing left to do — so he prayed. He prayed to God to save him.

Suddenly a strong and confident voice filled his head: “I will save you my son.” the voice said.  “Take your knife, cut the rope, and I will catch you.”

Pierre was horrified! What kind of God would condemn him to certain death. He knew that if he cut the rope the rope he would fall to his death. He ignored the voice and prayed again: “Is there any other God out there who will save me.” This time he hears nothing but a fearful and empty silence.

The next morning, the headline in the village newspaper read: “Pierre the mountain climber was found frozen to death swinging from his safety harness three-feet from the bottom of Hill Brier Cliff.”

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