Tag Archives: opiates

Is My Doctor Responsible For My Opiate Addiction?

The US has the highest prescription of opioid drugs in the world. According to the Center for Disease Control, one out of 5 patients with non-cancer pain gets opioids prescription. The drug is a pain reliever, rehabilitation medication and used during surgery.

Aggressive Prescription Without Educating Patients

The Opioids craze began in the 1990s when pharmaceuticals marketed the drugs and aggressively highlighted the advantages but made no mention of the risks; ever since opioids have become a necessity in pain treatment. Doctors often prioritize patients’ recovery and may overlook any aftermath. Equally, doctors can identify an opiate addict just by observation.

Physicians’ contribution to the opiate addiction menace that has claimed many lives is subject to debates. Most proponents of opioids argue that there is no other alternative for pain treatment.

Nevertheless, the overarching issue is where to draw the line with opioid prescriptions. The federal and state government have tried to regulate the prescription of opioids. The state of Massachusetts adopted the law that limits the drugs prescription to a seven-day supply. Also, before prescribing the drugs practitioners have to check a database to ensure that it is not a repeat prescription. The physicians must screen the patient for addiction.

The Addiction Phase

The body naturally produces opioids that can heal normal pain. Prescription opioids, on the other hand, are more efficient in dealing with major pain. Unlike the natural neurotransmitters, prescribed opioids produce dopamine that regulates cognition, motivation, feeling of pleasure, movement, and emotion. It then overstimulates the system and trains your body to rely on opioids to function normally. In an attempt to imitate normal brain chemicals, the drugs generate abnormal messages in the brain. The drugs block pain receptors. When you stop using the drug, even a minor ache can feel extremely painful.

Dependency on opioids to function leads to addiction. As you continue to use the drugs, body functioning slows. Your body begins to react to prolonged use and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Some of the signs of withdrawal include;

  • Anxiety; – the hippocampus, the section of the brain that controls emotions overrides causing anxiety
  • Sweating; – hypothalamus can no longer properly regulate the body temperature hence you will sweat nonstop regardless of the body temperature
  • Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea; – the body tries to remove wastes through diarrhea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heartbeat rates

The choice to permanently deal with the opioid problem is entirely personal. Addiction is a choice and is treatable. You can reach out to the Genesis through 800-737-0933 to begin treatment in a serene environment that offers personalized quality care.

Does Vivitrol Really Work for Opioid Dependency?

Vivitrol, a form of naltrexone, is an opiate/opioid antagonist. This means that it works on opioid brain receptors in a manner opposite that of opioids. In other words, when a person takes an opioid medication, the molecules of that medication “fit” into receptor sites in the brain, very similar to the way a key fits into a lock. This causes the opioid effects such as pain relief and euphoria. Opioids can also cause unpleasant effects like nausea, and if enough is taken, can even cause life-threatening suppression of the brain’s breathing center. Opioid antagonists like naltrexone work to reverse these effects and/or prevent them from occurring.

Is Vivitrol Safe? Is it Effective?

Vivitrol is safe as long as you are not allergic to it. It must be used with counseling, and the patient cannot be actively dependent upon opioids when they begin therapy. Vivitrol is given only once a month. It’s a long-acting injection. As long as the patient stays compliant and keeps their injection appointment, Vivitrol is extremely effective. This is because the antagonistic effects of naltrexone in the brain totally prevent any “high” from opioids. Even if the patient weakens and takes them, they will feel nothing because the brain’s opioid receptors are blocked. Only one molecule can occupy a receptor at a time, and naltrexone has a higher affinity, or priority, for the brain’s opioid receptors.

 

Benefits of Vivitrol Therapy:

It’s Not Addictive

Vivitrol works by blocking opioid receptors, not by stimulating them. There is no danger of addiction to Vivitrol.

Helps Patients Break Their Addiction

Recovering addicts can focus on rebuilding their lives, knowing that “giving in to temptation” won’t have the desired effect. They know they can’t get high so they think about other things.

Steady, Automatic Dosing

Because Vivitrol is an extended-release injection, there is no need to take a pill or go to a clinic every day. It provides 24-hour blockage and therefore protection against any opioid-induced “high” for a full month.

Some Possible Disadvantages

Like any other medical therapy, Vivitrol isn’t perfect. For example, if the patient actually needed pain relief, say, due to an accident, because their receptors are blocked, they would not experience the pain relief normally provided by opioids. Also the success of Vivitrol depends upon the patient continuing to show up for their injections on time.

Looking for opiate addiction treatment? Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Why Do They Still Prescribe Opiates If They Cause Addiction?

The United States is currently facing an opiate addiction epidemic, with opiate-related deaths quadrupling since 1999. There were approximately 19,000 deaths linked to opiates in 2014 alone, and it is estimated that up to 36 million people abuse these substances worldwide. Despite these numbers and all the problems that opiate addiction can cause, many of them are still being prescribed by doctors across the country. Some would argue that prescriptions for medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin should be taken off the market, while others believe that these drugs are helpful as long as they aren’t abused.

Opiates are often prescribed to help patients deal with pain after suffering an injury or while they recover from a major surgical procedure. They have also proven useful for those living with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, endrometriosis, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. These are all painful chronic conditions, and many people who live with them need some kind of medication just to maintain a good quality of life. Should they be expected to go without medicine that they arguably need because so many people abuse their prescriptions?

The Dangers of Opiates

The thing that makes opiates so dangerous is that they produce an intense high that makes them very addictive. The short-term effects of these drugs include pain relief and a feeling of euphoria. The relief from pain is attractive to anybody living with chronic pain or even acute pain from an injury, while euphoria is a common desired effect of many drugs. Abuse of opiates can also cause people to become addicted in as little as three days. Some of the side effects of opiate abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • A depressed respiratory system

Long-term opiate use can cause problems such as chronic constipation, liver damage, and brain damage resulting from a depressed respiratory system.

With as dangerous and readily available as opiates are, should doctors stop prescribing them? Many people say yes, and the government has even encouraged doctors to avoid prescribing them. On the other hand, they do have their uses as long as they are taken as prescribed. Short-term opiate use can help people recover from injury and illness, but doctors need to make it clear that these drugs should only be used in the short-term.

If you believe that you are developing a dependence on opiates or you have struggled with substance abuse, there is help available. Contact us today to learn how you can recover from opiate addiction. Call Now 800-737-0933

Why and How Is Fentanyl Getting Into So Many Drugs?

America is in the midst of the worst drug epidemic in its history. Opiate addiction is ripping apart families nationwide, and addiction to harder narcotics like heroin is on the rise. If your family is one of those affected by opiate addiction, you may have heard of the dangers of a new, more powerful opiate called fentanyl. Unfortunately, overdoses on fentanyl have risen drastically over the past few years. So why and how is fentanyl spreading? In order to answer that question, you must understand what fentanyl is and does.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid, similar to drugs like oxycontin and morphine. In fact, all opiates are products of the poppy family of plants. Of course, this makes all of these drugs powerful pain killers. Fentanyl is roughly 10,000 times as strong as morphine, and used only in the most extreme and controlled cases for pain management. Unfortunately, as much as a quarter of a teaspoon of fentanyl is easily enough to kill a person, especially one with low or no tolerance to opioids.

 

How is Fentanyl getting into so many drugs?

As drug and law enforcement agents have become more educated on the dangers and ubiquity of opioids, they have cracked down on doctors over prescribing opiates like hydrocodone and oxycontin. Unfortunately, opioid addiction can begin as early as 2 weeks into a pain management treatment schedule, so even those with small doses of prescribed medication can become addicted. As control over prescription pills has tightened, addicts typically turn to the cheaper and more readily available heroin.

Unfortunately, drug dealers have begun cutting their supplies of heroin with small amounts of fentanyl. Fentanyl provides a stronger high for a much smaller dose, so dealers can make more money off of a smaller supply of heroin.

Why is Fentanyl put into so many drugs?

While drug and law enforcement agents have aggressively pursued the manufacturers and suppliers of street opiates like heroin, they have created another problem. Fentanyl is easier and cheaper to create than heroin, and offers a much stronger high for a much smaller amount. As addicts have a much higher tolerance to opiates than non-addicted patients, many of them will seek out the strongest drug possible: fentanyl. In order to stop fentanyl from destroying your community, it is imperative to stop opiate addiction from spreading in the first place with a visit to a rehab center.  Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Running Away From Addiction: Travel Out of State For Rehab

If you or a loved one are suffering from some type of addiction, you may be looking for options for treatment. Your focus is probably on treatment centers and programs close to home. While there are many good reasons to look for programs within your city, county or state, there are also some valid reasons to look beyond the borders to treatment facilities out of state.

You can easily find many programs around the country for the treatment of drug, alcohol or other addictions. Here ate a few reasons to look outside your home state for your treatment program:

  • A new setting gives you a new perspective.
  • You can get away from the negative influences in your life.
  • You may find programs with unique treatment options not offered in your area.

These are just a few of the benefits of attending a treatment center in another state. When you select this option, it can feel like a brand-new start.

 

How to Find an Out-of-State Rehab Program

If you’ve decided to try a rehab program in another state, you will want to do some research for the right one. You can do much of your work online. Many programs have their own websites, which will tell you about the services they offer and any special requirements.

You can also ask for a recommendation from a doctor or other professional. Their contacts often extend beyond local networks, and they can help you decide on the right program for your needs.

Look for reviews on the programs to find out from others what it’s really like. Testimonials provide a first-hand look at how it works and the pros and cons. While it should not serve as the sole basis for your decision, reviews can provide valuable information.

Contact the rehab center. Be prepared with a list of questions you may have about the facility and the programs offered. While you may not be able to tour the center in person, you should be able to talk to people and get answers to the questions you have.

Going away from home for addiction treatment can be a frightening concept. However, it can also give you a new start, which can be the incentive for you to keep going and win the battle against the addiction.

Call Genesis House Today:  800-737-0933

Why Do Opiates Cause Constipation?

Constipation is having hard stools, excessive strains when passing bowels, infrequent stools, partial bowel evacuation, unsuccessful defecation, or spending too much time passing stool. Constipation has two common classifications:

  • Primary constipation, which results from natural anorectal function or colon defects
  • Secondary constipation that occurs because of pathologic changes, for instance, intestinal obstruction and medications such as opioids

 

Low fiber intake, inadequate body fluids, physical inactivity, spinal cord compression, high calcium levels, kidney problems, or diabetes can lead to bowel dysfunction too.

Constipation can arise because of pharmacologically-based reasons including taking opioids. Opioids are analgesics used for pain relief. Unfortunately, opioids cause hard stools. 81% of patients on opioids to reduce chronic pain end up having opioid-induced constipation (OIC) or opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OBD), says Salix Pharmaceuticals.

How Opiates Cause Constipation

Opiates include prescriptions medicines for pain, methadone or suboxone, morphine, illicit opiate heroin, which doctors say leads to an opioid epidemic in the United States. Opiates change the way the gastrointestinal tract functions. The pain relievers prolong the time the stool takes to move through the human gastric system.

A person on the pain reduction drugs will have increased non-propulsive contractions across the jejunum or the small intestines midpoint. Consequently, the longitudinal propulsive muscle contractions can slow down affecting how food travels through the intestines.

Food that does not normally move through the digestive tract causes partial stomach paralysis or gastroparesis. Food will remain within the digestive organ for far too long. Further, the opioids cause the reduction of digestive secretions making the patient not have the desire to defecate.

The side effects of illicit opiates abuse begin in the brain with the victim experiencing hallucinations and later digestive issues such as hard stools. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication methylnaltrexone bromide -Relistor or naloxegol-Movantik can treat OIC. The two medicines reduce constipation arising from opioids without affecting the patient’s brain opioid receptors.

Other reliable IOC treatment methods include the use of stool softeners, usually the docusate sodium (Colace). Increasing fiber intake, eating more fruits, whole grains, and vegetables help a great deal. Also, request a doctor if you can use daily stool softeners or stimulant laxatives.

When the stool overstays in the intestines, the body will absorb all the water in it, making the stool too hard and unable to move.

We have helped thousands of people detox and recover from Opiate addiction.  Call us today to learn more 800-737-0933

 

Deadly Fentanyl Showing up in More Drugs

fentanylexhibitsXanax abuse is not as widely discussed as other prescription drug problems, but it is becoming more common. As if the drug wasn’t bad enough when people get addicted, now investigators have discovered that some drug dealers are manufacturing fake Xanax that has been combined with fentanyl.

Among opioid users, Xanax use is a well-known addition to their drug consumption since it produces a different type of high. It may be because of this, that drug dealers have decided to make their own form of Xanax, by mixing it with fentanyl, which is a powerful synthetic opiate that is often given to people who are recovering from surgery.

“Young adults in particular are at high risk for nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals, with estimates that nearly 3 percent of people between the ages of 18 to 25 have engaged in the nonmedical use of pain relievers in the previous month. The nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals represents a serious and burgeoning public health risk. Of great concern is that people may be turning to street dealers to purchase these pharmaceuticals and be exposed to dangerous counterfeit products,” said Annie Arens, a toxicology expert at the University of California, San Francisco.

This new drug combination is showing up in different parts of the country already, as there have been cases in Florida to California. Accidental overdoses are more common when the user is not aware of what they are taking. Many experts are very concerned because of the deadly combination of these drugs.

According to the DEA, fentanyl traffickers have been successful at expanding the market and introducing new drugs laced with it to the U.S. drug market. The National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) reported that there were 13,002 fentanyl exhibits tested by forensic laboratories across the country in, which is a 65 percent increase from the 7,864 exhibits the year before. There were approximately eight times as many instances in 2015 as there were during the 2006 fentanyl crisis, clearly demonstrating the unprecedented threat and expansion of the fentanyl market.

New York Takes Step to Curb Abuse of Opiates

nygovAll throughout the country, there is a Then lawmakers decided that sending people home with that many narcotics was dangerous, and limited the supply to thirty days. Now the New York State Assembly and Governor Cuomo have decided that a week’s supply is sufficient in most cases. The idea is that patients who have a legitimate prescription for opiates need to protect themselves and their families by only having a small amount of the painkillers in their home.

Public officials hope that this would prevent accidental or intentional overdoses or theft of the pills by family members or friends. It would also reduce the number of pills being prescribed overall and deter some forms of prescription drug fraud.

This new mandate is part of a larger piece of legislation that covers several different aspects of opiate addiction. One item that passed with the bill is coverage for naloxone. This means that insurance providers will be required to provide benefits for naloxone for addicts or families of addicts. Naloxone is a drug that, when administered shortly after an opiate overdose, can reverse the effects and has already proven it can help save lives. Another provision is to automatically approve coverage for 14 days of treatment, rather than the 7 or 10 that was previously the minimum.

Additional measures include providing more education about opiate addiction to doctors, as prescribing habits have been one of the reasons for the boom in this type of substance abuse. Physicians who are better able to recognize and deal with such problems can be extremely beneficial in helping to save lives as well rather than continuing to be unaware of the substance abuse they may be fueling.

While the bill is a positive step forward, some people are calling for even more action. “The heroin bill is just more of a beginning. There’s a lot of things the governor said he’ll do administratively. This is a growing epidemic that’s hitting all segments of the community. The heroin bill is just a beginning,” commented Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Of course addiction cannot be legislated out of existence, but for many treatment professionals it is refreshing to see policy makers taking this seriously and doing their part to assist. If you have a loved one in New York struggling with an addiction to painkillers or heroin, contact Genesis House now to see how we can help.

Fentanyl Increases Heroin Overdose Rates

fentanylAmong the largest number of drug overdose fatalities in history is a subset of opioid users, typically heroin, who unknowingly ingest fentanyl. The drug, which is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine, made headlines again when it was implicated in the death of Prince in Minnesota this year.

Fentanyl is so potent that it is typically prescribed to people with more severe chronic pain in the form of a transdermal patch that slowly releases the drug in small increments. It has been the source of multiple spikes in overdose deaths in recent years ranging from New Jersey to Michigan and Illinois to Massachusetts. Most recently, it has caused numerous deaths in New Jersey again as well as Delaware.

The Pacific Northwest has also had a long history with opiate addiction, and fentanyl has reared its even uglier head there as well. Just north of the border in Vancouver, British Columbia, officials have declared a public health emergency due to the overdoses in the area. According to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control spokesperson Jane Buxton, “We did a study – it was a year ago now – where we asked people what they do – what drugs they’d used in the last three days and asked them to pee in a pot. And then we tested it. And we found 29 percent had fentanyl in their urine. But of those, 70 percent didn’t know they’d taken fentanyl.”

People addicted to opiates wind up taking fentanyl when the heroin they’re using is cut with the drug. It is a way for dealers to dilute the heroin itself at first with other powders and then increase the potency by adding a small amount of the drug. If this at all comes as a shock to you, please remember that they’re intentionally selling highly addictive and deadly drugs to begin with, so it’s not like they’re really concerned about the health or wellbeing of their buyers.

If you have a loved one with a substance abuse problem, contact us to find out more about Genesis House and successful recovery.

Eastern States Continue to Struggle with Opiate Abuse

opiatesDrug use trends can often vary, such as by region, age, gender or population. While the trend of opiate addiction has continued to spread throughout much of the country, it has remained a serious problem especially in the Northeast for many years, particularly for heroin. Other Eastern states have had more of a problem with painkillers, but have seen a rise in heroin use as well.

One example is Pennsylvania, where heroin overdoses have reportedly increased over 300% since 2000. Perhaps the most shocking thing about this statistic is that some medical professionals are surprised that the number is that low. Emergency room doctors and law enforcement see the effects of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse daily and consider addicts lucky when they get arrested. Oftentimes the alternative to getting arrested is an overdose.

Many addicts admit that they started out abusing pills and then moved to heroin. “The common pathway to get to heroin if you ask some of these people we see in the emergency department…it’s prescription drug abuse,” explained Dr. Jack Devine, an emergency room physician. This is likely because heroin is easier to obtain and oftentimes cheaper, yet it provides the same high as prescription painkillers.

Of course Pennsylvania is not the only state to see such a spike in overdose deaths among residents, states all around the country are feeling the effects of the opiate epidemic. The Northeastern states seemingly hit the hardest include New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland. Many people from the region who seek treatment for their opiate addictions turn to Florida.

At Genesis House, we often have clients come to our facility from the Northeast and other parts of the country. Our campus-like setting in South Florida is an ideal place to begin recovery from an addiction to opiates or any other substance. If you or someone you love has a drug or alcohol problem, contact us today for more information about how we can help.