Tag Archives: opioids

Detox Program

Why Detox Alone Won’t Cure Drug Addiction

Detox ProgramPerhaps, you are like a number of parents with a drug dependent off-spring. You decided that going cold turkey was the best way for your child to kick the drug habit. Consequently, the drug dependent kid is locked away in their home, detoxing on their own. This is a bad, life threatening decision. The fact is that detox alone won’t cure drug addiction. The primary purpose of detox is to remove all the drugs out of the system and cleanse the body. Thus, giving the body time to heal and recover from the addiction. However, drug addiction is also a behavioral problem too. Therefore, cleansing the body and treating the person’s mental addiction is important.

Mind & Body Focus

The sobering fact is that detox in combination with treating the addictive drug behavior is vital to complete recovery. Detox alone does not end the addictive behavior. Often, the individual is unable to handle the negative symptoms that are a part of detox. They return to drugs to handle the withdrawal symptoms. A professional detox program will help your child to free their body from the drugs and clean all the toxins out of their system. An in house detox program will help the individual with their withdrawal symptoms too. However, complete drug treatment requires that the individual changes his addictive behavior. Clearly, getting free of the addictive behavior is a twofold process.

Treating Emotional Side Of Drug Addictive Behavior

Certainly, it takes a professional rehab center or private counseling to focus in on the emotional side of drug addictive behavior. The fact is that the drugs have a very strong effect on the brain’s wiring. It’s vital to focus on rewiring the brain. Generally, this involves focusing on the emotional and mental aspects of drug addiction. Rehab centers work with the individual in group sessions, private sessions, to help the individual start to heal and to clear their mind. The fact is that a professional detox program primarily focuses on healing the body, while a complete rehab treatment requires changing the addictive behavior and building resistance to drugs mentally too.

Detox is the first step to complete rehabilitation. Detox cleanses the body and prepares it for the next step. If you have a child or another family member that is addicted to drugs, a rehab facility might be required to completely end the dependency on drugs.

Call Genesis House today to get started with your first step 855-818-6740

Connection Between Opioids and Marijuana Use Among Teens

prescription painkillersResearchers may have found evidence that prescription painkiller use is linked to early marijuana use. This information comes at a time when multiple states are in the process of legalizing marijuana, or considering putting the issue on the ballot for a future election. And while no state is looking to make marijuana legal for adolescents, it would seem that legalizing marijuana would make it easier for teenagers to obtain the drug, as has been demonstrated in the rising numbers in Colorado.

In a recent survey, 11,000 children and teenagers were asked a series of questions related to their drug and alcohol use. Included in these questions was whether they had used prescription opioids in the past 30 days and if they had ever used marijuana. After the data was collected, it was discovered that out of 11,000 participants, 524 had used prescription painkiller in the last month. Of those 524 children and teenagers, 80% had also used marijuana.

While this certainly does not mean that if you use marijuana you will definitely use painkillers, it does a show a link when it comes to drug experimentation (i.e. gateway drugs) and poly-drug use. There was also a correlation with alcohol and tobacco use, indicating that these substances that are becoming increasingly available to young people are contributing to further drug use.

On a policy level, our nation is continuing to send mixed messages to America’s youth. For a long time marijuana and cocaine were major focuses of prevention efforts, yet prescription drug and synthetic drug use has surged. Now we’re working to keep kids away from prescription drug abuse but telling them that smoking weed is okay when you’re old enough.

All of this seems to be missing the point of teaching kids and adults how to live without seeking out drugs for external stimulation. Without it, the patterns will continue to repeat, even though the types of drugs may change over time.

The Start of the Painkiller Epidemic?

OxyContinA recent investigation published by STAT news found what appears to be evidence of the beginning of the prescription opioid epidemic, and how efforts to stop it were thwarted by the maker of OxyContin 15 years ago.

Officials from the West Virginia state employees health plan saw a rise in the number of deaths related to oxycodone, and requested to have OxyContin placed on a list of drugs that required pre-authorization. Instead, the drug’s maker, Purdue Pharma, apparently paid off the pharmacy benefits management company via “rebates” to keep it on the regular list of easily accessible drugs. This action, combined with the fact that the drug maker was hiding information about OxyContin being more addictive than other similar drugs, started one of the worst healthcare crises in the last century.

Since that time, the number of deaths tied to opiates, including painkillers and heroin, has skyrocketed to 28,000 lives lost in a single year.

Tom Susman, who headed West Virginia’s employee insurance agency back then, stated, “We were screaming at the wall. We saw it coming. Now to see the aftermath is the most frustrating thing I have ever seen.” Unfortunately, their efforts fell on deaf ears and were chewed up by a corrupt pharmaceutical business. Now West Virginia has the highest incidence rate for opioid fatalities.

Given this and so many other stories that have risen in recent years about the drug company’s involvement in the opioid epidemic, it seems like more should be done to help save lives today. The White House recently asked for over $1 billion in new spending to treat the opiate abuse crisis. Rather than passing that off onto Congress (who gets the money from all of us taxpayers), a much better resource for that funding should come from pharmaceutical giants who make billions off of these drugs, including the ravages left in their wake.

Some Doctors Hesitant to Prescribe Naloxone

narcanAs naloxone, a medication that reverses an opioid overdose, has gained more publicity, doctors are being urged to prescribe it as a preventive measure to patients who are also given narcotic painkillers. The thought behind this is that the risk for overdose is so great that even patients who do not abuse these drugs are at risk of this possibility.

However, some doctors rejected this idea. The fear was that their patients would be offended if given a prescription made popular by its use on heroin addicts. The survey, however, showed different results.

“Some providers have voiced concern that prescribing naloxone to patients could result in negative patient reactions. We found that this was rare. Even among the few with a negative initial reaction, all but one patient still wanted naloxone again in the future,” explained Dr. Phillip Coffin, a co-author on the study.

Doctors are placed in a difficult position. They are required to treat patients to the best of their ability, though there is still the human element of additional thoughts and feelings. Oftentimes doctors may agree with a decision like prescribing naloxone to painkiller user in theory, but they have to weigh that decision with the potential backlash of offended patients. And while the survey shows that patients are generally not offended, the question still looms for many of them.

This hesitation is even more important when one looks at the origins of the prescription painkiller problem today. When the epidemic was still in its infancy, most doctors were not educated enough on the potential for dependency and abuse, and nobody was prepared for the levels of addiction that ensued. By the time the full ramifications were realized as a nation, it was too late.

Since then, the medical community has increased its efforts to minimize the amount of harm caused by opioids. Doctors are now being required to enroll in more addiction education classes, limits are being placed on the number of pills that are given out in hospital emergency rooms, and prescription drug monitoring programs are being used more widely.

Officials Study Pain Treatment Alternatives to Reduce Opioid Addiction

alternatives for treating painWith much of the national focus in the substance abuse treatment and prevention field being on opiate addiction of late, researchers throughout the United States have been looking for alternatives to pain medication. This has lead to examination of treatments including magnets, electricity and non-narcotic medications.

A new study shows techniques like yoga, massage or meditation are so effective at handling chronic pain, that they could be an alternative to pain medication for many. This is important because the painkiller epidemic has continued to spread throughout the country thousands of people are losing their lives each year as a result of prescription opioid addiction.

Integrating a more holistic approach to managing pain is something that has gained more popularity over the years, and lately among medical doctors as well. The healthcare profession has come under scrutiny for the over-prescribing of narcotics, and now many are taking action to help reverse the trend, including a recent plea from the U.S. Surgeon General.

According to researchers, certain holistic methods are more effective than others. The studies show that patients who suffer from back problems are likely to benefit from yoga and acupuncture. Patients who report neck pain are likely to feel pain reduction if they receive massage therapy. Chronic migraine sufferers were also studied, it was discovered that these patients saw relief from the implementation of breathing and relaxing techniques.

“We don’t believe these approaches will be the entire answer, but may be used as an adjunct to help reduce the reliance on opioid medications and associated side effects. What we wanted to get from this review is to understand evidence-based approaches for pain management,” explained Richard Nahin, lead Epidemiologist at National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

The hope is that more research will be conducted to locate more effective ways to manage pain, while still providing effective care to patients. As too many people still become addicted to prescription painkillers, it is necessary to decrease the number of pills available to addicts and provide less harmful ways of addressing their symptoms. This research, combined with an increased focus on effective drug treatment strategies, will hopefully save future generations from succumbing to the prescription painkiller temptation.

Dangerous Combination of Opioids and Benzodiazepines Becoming More Common

journalsatA new study shows that more and more people who check themselves into treatment with an opioid addiction are also been abusing benzos. Benzodiazepines are sedative drugs that are usually prescribed to treat symptoms of anxiety, and brand names include Ativan, Klonopin, Valium and Xanax. These drugs are also among the most abused prescriptions on the street.

According to the data gathered by researchers out of Boston, forty percent of the study subjects admitted to dual benzodiazepine and opioid use or had both drugs in their system at the time of admittance. As part of the study, which was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, the researchers polled users on the reasons for their benzodiazepine use. Many of the users stated that they took the anti-anxiety medication because of increased feelings of anxiety. Only a small amount of users stated it was to get high. This information points to a dangerous spiral that often accompanies opioid addiction.

Many people who are addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers feel intense amounts of anxiety. This can come up for a number of reasons. Some people feel anxiety due to the emotional toll of lying to their families, shirking their responsibilities, or spending large amounts of money. Other people feel anxiety because of the physical side effects from the opioids. Despite the reasons, many opioid addicts seek out benzodiazepines on the black market or from doctors, ignoring the dangers in mixing the drug with opioids. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines can increase a person’s chance of developing a more serious dependency as well as increase risk of adverse health effects such as seizures, organ failure and overdose.

“Prescribers continue to need education on the risks of combining opioids and benzodiazepines, but another important target audience is drug users themselves. Some opioid users may never cross paths with a health care provider in their pursuit of opioids and benzodiazepines, and therefore may be missing out on the diagnosis of psychiatric symptoms and alternative treatments for anxiety or depression,” commented Michael Stein, lead researcher on the study and chair of the Boston University School of Public Health.

Researchers are eager to spread this information to the public, in the hopes that it will reach those who deal with addiction on a more personal level. Family members who are aware that their loved one is mixing the two drugs may be inspired to help push for treatment. The addicts themselves are likely to be unaware of the dangers of taking benzodiazepines and opioids. Lastly, doctors must continue to be more vigilant in their prescribing habits to avoid setting up their patients for troubling situations.

Are More Controls on Prescription Painkillers Causing an Increase in Heroin Use?

prescription drugsAlthough everyone seems to agree that the prescription drug and heroin addiction problem in the United States have reached devastating levels, there are conflicting opinions still about what continues to fuel the problem as well as what are the best ways to fix it.

One way has been for lawmakers and other officials to put more restrictions on painkillers, as the explosion of these drugs on the market has a direct correlation to the rise in heroin use as well. However, some people claim that more restrictions on these drugs actually drive people to seek out heroin, and therefore don’t agree that more controls equal less people becoming addicted.

There is growing evidence, though, that indicates there is real progress being made by addressing the prescribing habits of doctors and limiting prescription drug fraud through monitoring programs.

Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) looked into the theory that more restrictions on prescription painkillers leads to more heroin addicts and they did not find sufficient information to support this belief. In fact, they found that deaths from heroin use were on the rise before the 2009-2011 era when many of the painkiller restrictions were put in. And, even though there are plenty of documented cases where people who were addicted to heroin firs started with painkillers, there has been a major influx of cheaper, stronger heroin coming in from Mexico that has also greatly contributed.

Of course, legislative or policy changes alone will not have enough of an impact on the problem, though they can continue to help limit access to some of these drugs. The more effective routes are through implementation of better prevention programs for people of all ages and more treatment diversions so people can begin their recovery.

If you know someone who is addicted to prescription drugs, heroin, or any other kind of substance, contact us today to see how we can help.

Innovative Prescription Drug Disposal System Helps Cut Down Misuse

deterraThe prescription drug problem in America has gotten so bad that every avenue used to reduce it should be explored. A lot of attention has been placed on prescribing habits, preventing over dose fatalities and treatment. There has also been more use of prescription drug monitoring programs and growing participation in drug take-back days.

These events are coordinated through local law enforcement agencies and many pharmacies where collection sites are set up for people to be able to dispose of their unused medications. The reason for this is that it is common for people who abuse drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines to get them from friends and family members. It is also better to get rid of old prescriptions if you have young children in the house to prevent their exposure to them.

One of the problems with the current methods of prescription drug disposal, whether done at home or through collection sites, is finding an effective way of destroying the medications without harming the environment as well. Most at-home methods involve putting the pills in coffee grounds or cat litter, or worse, just flushing them down the toilet. However, the first two don’t fully absorb the drugs and the latter puts them into the water supply.

Recently, a company called Verde Technologies launched a product designed to safely and effectively dispose of prescription drugs. Based in Minneapolis, MN, Verde’s Deterra Drug Deactivation System uses a patented carbon base in a biodegradable pouch that absorbs the chemicals and renders them inactive. The bags come in multiple sizes, capable of disposing a small volume of pills (15), liquid or patches all the way up to larger containers that can dispose of 2,400 pills at a time. This range allows for individual use at home all the way up to law enforcement, hospital and other institutional use.

Aside from disposing of extra pills from old prescriptions, there are many other ways that we can address prescription drug abuse, including becoming more aware of alternative methods to treat symptoms to reduce the number of drugs being used. Of course, for those who become addicted, effective treatment is just a call away at Genesis House.

President Signs Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act

carawhitehouseLast week President Obama signed into law Senate Bill 524, which is also known as the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA). It is targeted primarily at the nation’s opioid problem, and has been praised as a bipartisan effort to begin to work together toward providing more solutions to the plague of heroin and painkiller addiction.

However, in addition to the acknowledgment, the President also expressed discontent regarding the lack of funding being provided by Congress. He commented, “Given the scope of this crisis, some action is better than none. However, I am deeply disappointed that Republicans failed to provide any real resources for those seeking addiction treatment to get the care that they need…My Administration has been doing everything we can to increase access to treatment, and I’m going to continue fighting to secure the funding families desperately need. In recent days, the law enforcement community, advocates, physicians, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle have also joined in this call.”

In an NPR article about the Bill’s passage before it was signed into law, Senator Lamar Alexander (R – Tenn.) said that they have been increasing funding for treatment. “Our friends on the other side say, you have to fund it. We are funding it. And they helped fund it. We’ve increased funding for opioids already by 542 percent.”

Although it seems like there is a long way to go, hopefully the two parties can set their differences aside to help save more lives. The issue shouldn’t be a political one, and each side should look to come together to find ways to provide more funding for treatment. If one side is unwilling to spend more, but the other side is unwilling to cut elsewhere, then there should be a compromise of somewhere in between.

Older Americans Becoming More Prone to Substance Abuse

prescription drugs for older adultsWith all of the talk about young people getting hooked on heroin and other opioids in recent months, one of the fastest rising age groups for substance abuse is adults aged 50 and older. In fact, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, illicit drug use has nearly tripled among older Americans in the past dozen years or so.

Substances of particular note include alcohol and prescription drugs. A recent article in the New York Times points out several reasons that these people have become more susceptible to drug dependency. Among prescription drugs, painkillers and anti-anxiety medications were the most common in creating problems.

Along with joint pain and other symptoms associated with getting older, there are additional health-related issues that make it easy for people in this age range to get prescriptions for. What makes it difficult for the doctors is not being able to tell just how much pain or anxiety they are feeling, so they often have to take their patients’ word for it. It doesn’t take long for a dependency to develop, especially for an already-weakened system. In as little as seven to ten days someone can get hooked on their pills and experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking them.

When these people do become dependent and start abusing them, their relative age and position in life makes doctors and pharmacists less suspicious of them. This more trusting attitude can lead to prolonged doctor-shopping and prescription drug fraud.

More efforts to curb this type of behavior have come in the form of new prescribing recommendations from the CDC for opioids as well as better use of existing prescription drug monitoring programs.

If you have a loved one dealing with a drug or alcohol problem, contact Genesis House today to see how we can help.