Substance Abuse: What You Need To Know

There’s a problem out there that affects thousands of people on a daily basis, can be life-threatening and is often not even talked about: substance abuse. The harmful use of drugs or alcohol is a condition which can negatively impact people’s lives, affecting their work, school and relationships in a silent way. Oftentimes people feel a lot of shame around substance abuse, so the problem goes unspoken and only escalates over time. The most important thing to know, if you’re concerned about your or a friend or family member’s drug use, is that there is help out there. Learn the signs, learn what can be done and you can turn a life around.

Know the signs of substance abuse

There are many signs of substance abuse or addiction, which can be confusing since they’re often the same symptoms of some illnesses. You might see someone with physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, runny nose and eyes, unusual odors, weight loss and dark circles from lack of sleep. The behavioral issues that come from substance abuse are often even more prominent and easy to identify. You might see unusual moodiness and irritability, silliness or hyperactivity, a loss of interest in previous activities or hobbies, neglect of responsibilities or even anger outbursts. The key thing to look for when looking at these signs is a change in behavior or physical appearance. If someone is changing over time and is consistent with these signs, you may be dealing with substance abuse. Wall NJ rehab centers are a safe space to bring someone who might be dealing with this type of problem.

How to find help for substance abuse

So what can be done if you or someone you know is dealing with a substance abuse problem? First of all, know that you’re not alone. The shame around substance abuse can be one of its more powerful and devastating effects, so realize that you are not the only one going through this. The next step is finding treatment for the abuse problem. Understand that this is a real illness, and not something that you should be expected to just kick on your own. For alcoholics, New Jersey alcohol rehab can help get your life back on track without using alcohol as a crutch. The Advanced Health and Education in New Jersey is dedicated to helping people get their lives back from the grips of drug and alcohol addiction and abuse. To beat this illness, you need the support of a community who cares and can help you take the steps needed to live a healthy life.

5 Great Reasons to Drive a Hybrid  

You’ve seen them all around: those quiet vehicles that slink around without making much more than a quiet humming sound. They’re hybrid vehicles, and they’re becoming more popular than ever. Because of their versatility, hybrids are more popular than all-electric cars and far more eco-friendly than standard fuel-driven cars. And they’re finally coming down in price so you can afford to become part of the hybrid movement yourself! Here are 5 great reasons to switch your current vehicle for a hybrid:

 

Unbeatable fuel economy

Ever think about that little acronym “MPG”? It means miles per gallon, and you’re going to get a whole lot more of them by driving a hybrid. Because a hybrid vehicle uses its electric motor in concurrence with the fuel engine, it uses a lot less gas so your dollars spent at the tank will go much farther. Less fuel consumption means more dollars back in your pocket, so think of your hybrid vehicle as an investment in your financial future.

 

Eco-friendly

It goes without saying that a vehicle that uses (and expends) less fuel and carbon emissions is going to be better for the environment. So when you make the switch from your standard vehicle to a hybrid, think of it as a bonus for both you and for the planet. These days it’s increasingly important to reduce our carbon footprint wherever we can, so take the step by going hybrid.

 

Low depreciation

Because they are designed to be sustainable for the long term, hybrid vehicles will hold their high value as opposed to standard vehicles which depreciate greatly as time goes by. And most hybrid cars come with extended warranties so you can be sure that you’ll be covered for at least 8-10 years.

 

Great selection

In the past, hybrid vehicles only came in a few styles, making them less appealing to people looking for a customised look. But today, there is such a wide variety of hybrid vehicles out there that you can get an SUV, saloon or 2-door vehicle all as a hybrid. You can browse hybrid cars by BMW to see their great selection available. You don’t have to decide between hybrid or style, because now you can have both; there are even hybrid pick-up trucks out on the market now!

 

Support the green movement

Buying a hybrid vehicle isn’t just making a good impact on the environment today. It’s making a statement to the automotive industry about your position and where your values lie. When there is a thriving market for hybrid vehicles, there will be more money for these companies to continue growing and supporting the environment. So do your part and know that your purchase is really an investment in a greater good as well.

Work and Travel: Living the Dream

For many people, the idea of working and traveling is a complete ideal. The ability to pursue their career while seeing different places in the world can seem like a dream come true. Indeed, this lifestyle can have many benefits, especially for people with a more nomadic tendency. There are many different types of work and travel, from corporate consultants to nomadic English teachers and farm workers. The type of traveling work that you choose depends on your interests and skills, but you can be sure that if you dream about it, you can make a traveling career a reality.

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Corporate travel

If you’re in the corporate world but sick of sitting at your cubicle all day, every day, you might want to consider integrating a position that allows you to travel. You definitely don’t have to leave behind your stable corporate job in order to feed that travel bug! Consider moving into consulting, a position where you will be needed in many different locations. Or speak to your manager about travel opportunities within your company. Oftentimes, people are needed to meet with clients at different branches around the country or around the world and expressing your interest to travel could be all you need to be on your way. If you do get into corporate travel, consider a travel management company to take care of the logistics of your trip, so you can focus on showing up at your best.

Teaching English

One of the most popular ways for would-be travelers to get out there in the world now is by getting certified to teach English as a second language. You can sign up for a TEFL course anywhere in the world, either at home or in the country you want to live in. We recommend a classroom course over online, to get the best experience and teaching practice. Then, you have the tools and certification to teach anywhere in the world! Some great places to teach English include Japan, South Korea, Prague, Spain and even Southeast Asia. And it’s a great way to immerse in the local culture and have a really unique experience getting to know the students in your school where you work.

Seasonal work

Another option that some people opt for abroad is working seasonal jobs. You can often find work picking fruit or working on organic farms, allowing you to travel and experience local life. This job is well-suited for younger travelers out of college, looking for an experience abroad. Other jobs with this sort of lifestyle include working in hostels as a receptionist or cleaner, where you can earn free accommodation and pocket money in exchange for several hours of work per day. You won’t get rich with money in this kind of lifestyle, but you’ll be rich with expereiences and memories for sure.

Getting into Forex: For beginners

Whenever you do anything with money involved, it’s important to pay attention and take things seriously. Especially if you are new into the forex market, and just getting into it, you’re more than likely starting from square one. That doesn’t mean that if you are new to trading, that you must be left in the dark! Learning to trade currencies has never been more easy now that that we have the internet’s vast information at our fingertips! There are free resources and educational tools out there- one example is over at ThinkForex, where Australian forex brokers provide demo accounts and free webinars. With so much to choose from, you might be wondering where to start. Here are some first steps you might want to take in figuring out your place in the forex market:

Finding a broker

One of the first steps is to pick a market maker that you will trade with. Some are smaller, some are larger- others might have tighter spreads. When dealing with different market makers, they will have their individual advantages and disadvantages but be sure to take notice on whether they are incorporated or off shore. Also, are they regulated, and if so, find out in how many countries. You’ll want to be mindful of how much excess capital they have, the amount of employees and whether they have sufficient phone support all hours of the day.

Do enough research

You’ll never want to start trading on impulse- you’ve just got to be able to justify the trades-and this happens with doing a lot of research. Many publications, articles and books are available for learning how to trade in the Forex market. There are even consultants that will help you and cover the basics of the market as a whole, analysis, and key news or events that are happening in the currency trading world. It always helps to ask around, and talk to other traders who can give you tips on how to find your strategy while trading.

Benefits of education programs

These programs can be online or live and they are great because you can get help on a more individual basis, rather than going with a one-size-fits-all book or article. Finding a mentor can help fasten the pace in your learning process because you are able to learn from their experiences and gain insight from someone who is successful at what you want to do. A lot of times this helps you to learn how to avoid the mistakes others have already made, possibly saving you time and whole lot of money.

It can be quite overwhelming at first when learning to trade currencies, but with the many resources we have available to us its not impossible to learn how to do it! Always remember to find a reputable broker, do enough research, and try it out yourself with a demo account. Learning the most you can about anything before putting money on the line is always a great decision, so do as much research and learning as possible on your journey into currency trading.

Best ways of getting a job in sound engineering

Live events come in all shapes and sizes, from sell out arena shows to much smaller and more intimate affairs. Whatever the size of the event, the work that goes on behind the scenes is just as important as the show that the audience finally gets to see and hear.

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Before the doors open and the curtain goes up, right through to the audience leaving and the lights being switched off, this is when the event crew prove they are the backbone of any production.

The smooth running of any event is down to a group of people that the audience hardly ever sees. Lighting crew, riggers, security personnel, carpenters and electricians, these are all professional men and women without whom the show would quite simply not go on.

Pressure

One of the most important members of any event crew is the sound engineer. Although in many respects skills are transferable from a role in a recording studio to a live stage, working on a live event means you only get one chance to get it right.

Each venue will have its own different dimensions and acoustics and the job of the sound engineer is to mix the live sound at each event tailored to fit each situation.

Work experience

There are three established career paths for a sound engineer: many start their careers in a small local venue where they learn their craft in-house and later move on to bigger and better establishments as their reputation grows.

There are those that were lucky to have been in the right place at the right time during that in-house period, where a visiting band has been impressed with the quality of their work and offered them a touring role.

Finally, there are those who started at the bottom with no training at all simply helping out friends who were in a band and needed someone to do the sound for them. Years later with the requisite skills under their belts they have forged their own well deserved reputations as a professional sound engineer.

Starting out as a sound engineer means being proactive, whether that involves getting to know the local promoters and venue managers, or sometimes simply talking to the sound engineers themselves.

Showing an interest can be all it takes to get that all important first foot on the ladder.

How to appeal to older renters

The demographics of the private rented sector (PRS) are changing. Young professionals and students are no longer the dominant group in the rental market, with a profound increase in the number of people over 30 choosing to rent their home. This is a trend letting agents need to be aware of as there are clear differences between what this group looks for in a home compared to younger generations.

A growing force

According to Countrywide, over 30s now account for 60 per cent of all PRS tenants. It found the number of renters in this demographic increased six per cent in 2013, with the biggest growth coming in the 41 to 50 age group, which rose by 2.2 per cent to account for 16.3 per cent of total tenants.

The organisation claimed the growing prominence of older renters is partly due to a fall in the number of young people living in the sector. It said the tough economic climate means many individuals under 30 choose to live at home for longer as they cannot afford to move out. Evidence of this is provided by the fact the number of renters in this group dropped by 5.8 per cent last year.

Countrywide stated: “Prospective property buyers who are unable to get on the housing ladder by the age of 35 are increasingly living in the private rented sector for longer.

“There are varying reasons why people rent for longer but many choose to do so because they enjoy the flexibility it offers their lifestyle, especially in terms of job mobility.”

Retirees

Perhaps one of the most striking elements of the growth of over 30s in the PRS is the number of retirees who are choosing to rent. According to Prudential, 26 per cent of retired people live in the sector, with the majority of these based in large cities.

The organisation believes this is motivated by finances, with 40 per cent of retired renters having sold off their house and moved into a rental home in a bid to pay off their debts. Close to one in five had done so to meet the costs of a separation or divorce, while nine per cent sold their home simply as a means of boosting their income.

Stan Russell, Prudential retirement expert, stated: “Renting in retirement can make financial sense and accessing property wealth to boost retirement income is a genuine solution for many.”

Such is the growing number of retirees in the rental sector that Peter Girling, head of Girlings Retirement Rentals, has called on the government to invest in developing more homes built with this group in mind.

Meeting demand

With over 30s now accounting for the majority of tenants, letting agents need to adjust their practices accordingly to cater to this demand. It is hard to make generalisations, as what a 35-year-old looks for in a property is likely to be quite different to that of a 55-year-old, so it’s best to judge each tenant on a case-by-case basis.

As a rule, renters in the upper region of this age group will be looking for quiet homes that are located away from main roads. Many of the people in their 30s who choose to rent will have children, meaning proximity to schools and safety would be top concerns when looking for a home.

The good news is that older renters tend to be wealthier, meaning there is the potential to draw in higher rents – always a positive for agencies.

5 key technologies that are transforming healthcare

The healthcare sector is an area that is constantly evolving, as new treatments and methods of care are always being developed. And in the last few years, the pace of change has been huge as new technology developments emerge.

Taking advantage of these will be crucial for healthcare providers if they wish to remain productive, keep up with evolving regulations and deliver the highest quality care to patients, And among the wide range of solutions that are now transforming the way these organisations operate, here are five that are already starting to benefit patients.

Big data analytics

Being able to analyse details from millions of data points can give physicians a much clearer insight into their patients’ health than they would have been able to manage in the past, allowing them to identify early warning signs that would otherwise go unnoticed. Effective use of big data analytics can also help providers spot wider trends and enable doctors to devise new treatments and take pre-emptive action to combat problems.

3D printing

The new generation of 3D printing technology has already proven useful in a number of ways in the healthcare sector, such as the creation of bespoke prosthetics and replacement joints that are much more accurate and comfortable for patients. But the technology goes far beyond this, with successful trials even creating new tissue and organs – with firms such as Organovo looking to make 3D-printed livers commercially viable by the end of this year.

Telemedicine

Tools such as faster broadband technology and videoconferencing are also changing the way in which patients interact with their physicians – with remote consultations now a much more feasible option. As well as being particularly well-suited for patients in rural areas who may otherwise struggle to be seen by the right specialists due to distance barriers, it can also enable doctors to consult with their peers for second options and more collaborative treatment plans.

Wearables

While many people consider wearable technology as limited to consumer devices such as smart watches and Google Glass, there are an increasing number of applications for these developments in the healthcare sector. Tools that are able to monitor and record numerous metrics in a patient – such as heart-rate, blood pressure and glucose levels – can not only provide doctors with greater insights into the overall health of a patient at all times, but they can also assist individuals with keeping an eye on their own treatments and medications.

Mobile devices

The use of mobile devices within the healthcare sector has increased greatly in recent years, with a 2013 study by Epocrates finding 86 per cent of clinicians used smartphones in their work, with 53 per cent also making use of tablets. A paper from HP on the subject noted tablets “[offer] today’s mobile health careworkers the ability to revolutionise the ways they work by making it easy to capture, access, and use information wherever the job takes them”, as well as reducing the time taken to access information and cutting the risk of data entry errors.

To find out more about how the latest technology can improve outcomes in the healthcare sector, visitwww.intersystemspartner.co.uk for further information.

Moving to an umbrella company

For a contractor, the quality of your work is the hugely important. It defines you as a professional and enables you to acquire the best contracts.

Some prefer to be able to focus solely on their work and find it difficult to manage other aspects of contracting, such as administrative tasks, tax calculation and chasing payments.

Working through an agency, means that you will be required to do these these things for yourself. This usually means working through your own limited company – this option means it is down to you to sort out taxes, payments and other important financial admin.

Doing this properly is very important, and as a result of this, sufficient time must be taken to ensure your tax calculations have been done correctly and that the correct documentation is filled out  correctly.

However, there is an alternative to doing this yourself and this is through the use of an umbrella company. This type of firm will manage your finances for you and ensure that it they are done correctly.

What’s more they will chase clients for your pay and make sure you get what you are owed, when you are owed it!

The simplicity of the service is one huge attraction for many contractors, however, there are also other benefits of working through this type of company. Many umbrella companies offer contractors’ insurance as a part of their service, ensuring that you are covered in the event of an accident or on-site incident.

Switching to an umbrella company is not a difficult process, however, you should be prepared for certain changes.

Moving from a limited company to an umbrella means you will now start to pay PAYE taxes. You may earn a little less due to these taxes, but you will save much more time in the long run. Using an umbrella also means you will not have to enlist the services of an accountant as your umbrella will take care of this for you!

When you are searching for an umbrella company the best place to start is by looking for testimonials regarding a particular firm. Have they been used before by other contractors and if so what did they think of the service? Online contractor forums can also be a good place to gather information on a particular company, but remember, forums are a place where people share opinions and experiences, so be aware that what you read is not certified fact.

Generally when it comes to choosing an umbrella company, the older the better! A firm that has been established for a number of years is much more likely to be both reputable and legitimate. Remember, you will be trusting your money to this company, so it pays to do some research beforehand!

Most of these types of firms offer a service called an umbrella company calculator. This allows you to work out what you will take home (after tax) when working through an umbrella. Each company will vary, so it is important to try out numerous calculators. Your decision should not be based on money alone, as the one that promises you the most may not necessarily be the best option for your line of work.

Thinking ahead for your retirement  

If you’re young, energetic and in good health, you’re in the perfect position to start thinking about retirement. It’s never too soon to begin making plans, but if you have left it until late in the day, that’s no reason to despair. Even with limited time or funds, good planning can make for a happy retirement.

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Financial planning

When considering retirement, the first thing you need to do is work out what your financial situation is. If you’ve worked in a government job, you’ll have been paying into a retirement fund automatically, and even if you held that job for just a short time there will be some money you can access. If not, examine your contracts of employment, past and present, to see if your employer made similar arrangements. You may also be able to access retirement funds from your trade union. If you still have some years of working life ahead of you, consider setting up a private retirement fund. It’s often possible to do this through an insurer.

 

Many people worry that they may be unable to retire because they don’t have enough money, but it’s usually possible to find a solution. Where money really makes a difference is in the quality of post-retirement life. What many people overlook, however, is that they may have other sources of money, such as a home which they plan to leave anyway or stocks and shares they had forgotten about. It’s worth speaking to a professional financial advisor to work out what your assets could be worth.

 

Lifestyle considerations

Once you’ve established that you can retire, the next question is do you want to? Simply reaching a certain age doesn’t make retirement mandatory. Retiring too soon can result in boredom and frustration. There’s no reason why your later years need to be empty, though, and if you give up work it might be time for you to pursue a different passion such as writing, painting or learning to play a musical instrument. Working out how to approach this ahead of time means you won’t suddenly find yourself plunged into uncertainty.

 

Housing options

In the long term, most of us become infirm, and housing choices in later life need to take this into account. It’s not an easy time to live alone in a remote location. Many people, however, prefer to remain in their own homes, especially if they have friends nearby and if it’s possible to arrange for home-based care as and when they might need it. Others move in with their children, sometimes helping out with tasks like cooking or babysitting and thereby making a contribution to the household.

 

If none of these things appeal to you, there’s a third option, which is life in a retirement community.  These can be fantastic places for gregarious people who want to retain their independent living in retirement, but know help is nearby should they need it. They’re also places where there’s usually plenty going on to keep you busy. Choosing to retire doesn’t mean settling for a quiet life.

 

 

 

The importance of ethical coffee sourcing

Globalisation, improved overseas travel and enhanced ecommerce have all played their part in opening up worldwide business channels, with international borders now seeming increasingly obsolete, in this respect.

One upshot of this has been the propagation of goods and services all around the world, making it easy for us to have what we want, when we want, regardless of whether or not it is manufactured down the road or on the other side of the world.

However, it has also meant the supply chain in many industries has elongated to the point that it becomes increasingly difficult to pinpoint exactly where a certain product came from and – more importantly – to look after that source.

At a time when, for many, it seems like the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, it has arguably never been more vital to give thought to our purchases’ origins.

This is particularly true of produce that is required to go through numerous processing stages, perhaps in different locations – something that is characteristic of the agricultural sector.

Given that coffee is traditionally cultivated and processed in developing countries between the tropics – in regions that may not be particularly wealthy – it is arguably more important than ever that coffee traders and buyers support ethical sourcing.

Implementing standards

One of the best ways of addressing the issues of a diluted supply chain and supporting those who put in the hard work at the source is to implement standards that can be applied to produce, once it has undergone stringent checks and scrutinisation. Then, whenever a consumer purchases an item with an ethical seal of approval, they know they are part of a responsible and sustainable trading chain, as opposed to one built on exploitation or inequality.

Fairtrade accreditation is one such standard, that aims to address not only social and economical standards, but also environmental ones too.

One of the key focuses of the Fairtrade stamp is ensuring a minimum price for farmers of agricultural produce, to ensure that market fluctuations – something that affects the coffee industry in particular – don’t leave growers facing higher production costs than what they are being paid for their efforts. Similarly, the Fairtrade seal of approval also aims to safeguard suitable labour conditions.

According to the Fairtrade Foundation, around 25 million smallholder farmers produce around 80 per cent of the world’s coffee, with most of these individuals living in remote, undeveloped areas, with a lack of access to the credit, resources and training they may need to support their own livelihoods.

Paying more attention

The importance of Fairtrade and ethically-sourced coffees, such as those sold by retailers like the Ethical Superstore, is increasingly coming to the fore, as consumers pay more attention to their conscience.

After the horsemeat scandal – which highlighted the importance of traceability – and shocking stories in the media of factories collapsing on top of workers and killing hundreds, shoppers appear to have woken up to the reality of what happens when they don’t care about the start of a supply chain.

If you buy coffee that has been stamped with the Fairtrade certificate, you know efforts have been made to link these farmers directly with buyers to cut out potentially corrupt middlemen, to ensure a minimum price for growers, to invest in better practices to improve the quality of their produce and, ultimately, to build better lives for all those who rely on that coffee.

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