Tag Archives: prescription drugs

Who Will Be Told About My Medical Detox from Prescription Drugs?

America is currently mired in an epidemic of prescription drug abuse. The abusers are medical patients with a legitimate prescription from a physical condition, as well as individuals who are buying prescription drugs right off the streets from illicit drug dealers. The drugs don’t care who is using them. Drugs like amphetamines and prescription painkillers are dominating the headlines because of how easy it is for people to get access to these types of prescription drugs.

Because of the illicit nature of prescription drug abuse, there’s a lot of addiction sufferers who are hesitant to seek help. Their reluctance comes from two sources. First, they have legitimate concerns about the detox process that could expose them to some significant withdrawal symptoms. Second, they have concerns about getting involved with law enforcement over their illegal actiona.

The concern over withdrawal symptoms is legitimate. Depending on the substance of choice and the extent of someone’s addiction, there’s a real possibility the addiction sufferer would face the possibility of some very troubling withdrawal symptoms. Using prescription opiate painkillers as an example, here’s some of the more significant withdrawal symptoms an addiction sufferer might encounter if they suddenly decide to stop using:

  • Problems with nausea and vomiting
  • A sudden escalation in both heart rate and blood pressure
  • Severe muscle cramping throughout the body
  • Loss of motor control and the ability to concentrate on normal tasks
  • Hallucinations and nightmares that interrupt sleep
  • Tremors throughout the extremities
  • Body convulsions
  • Psychological difficulties with depression, anxiety and possible suicide

With these kinds of potential symptoms, it’s best that addiction sufferers get help with the detox process. Unfortunately, the fear of legal ramifications stops some people from doing just that. In the following sections, the discussion will focus on how a client’s privacy is protected during treatment.

Who Will Be Told About My Medical Detox from Prescription Drugs?

When someone enters rehab, it’s important that they have confidence in the staff members with which they will be dealing. It wouldn’t likely sit well with a potential client if they felt their privacy was not going to be protected. That’s why most rehab facilities maintain a strict adherence to a policy of protecting their client’s anonymity and right to total privacy.

When it comes to someone becoming addicted to prescription medication, there will be staff concerns about what has been transpiring. Staff members will be fully aware that the clients are doing things they are not supposed to be doing. Of course, it’s really not their job to be judgmental. A rehab facility’s job it to treat clients and give them a realistic opportunity to fully recover from their addiction illnesses.

With all of that said, there are circumstances under which a rehab facility may want to broach the subject of reporting prescription medication abuse. Three main reasons why this might happen include:

  • With the client’s written permission
  • If the client is still involved with an illegal enterprise involving prescription drugs
  • If the rehab facility’s staff believe the client’s welfare it at risk with further prescription drug abuse

Client’s Written Permission

There are circumstances under which a rehab therapist might request access to a client’s physician if the client is abusing prescription drugs for which they have a legitimate prescription. In such cases, the client could be asked to give written permission for the contact. The client might want to consider allowing such contact if they believe it would enhance their chances of a full recovery from their addiction.

Illegal Activities

When a client enters rehab, there’s a presumption they are ready to remove their involvement from any illicit drug activities. If a client were to attempt to secure or sell prescription drugs while in rehab, the rehab’s staff would have a responsibility to contact law enforcement.

Client’s Welfare is at Risk

Once a client enters rehab for the second or third time due to abusing their prescription drugs, there’s a possibility the rehab facility’s staff will reach out to the attending physician to report the problem. They would only take this unusual step if they thought the client’s welfare was at risk.

If you have any concerns about your privacy when getting treatment in our rehab facility, you should call us and discuss your concerns. You can speak with one of our staff members by calling us at 800-737-0933.

prescription drugs for older adults

I Need My Pain Medications, But I Want To Get Off of Them and Be Free But How?

When you have been in chronic pain, it can severely impact all aspects of your life. Trauma and injuries often necessitate pain medication. Any surgeries you may have had might have led you to need pain medication as well. Over time, pain medications, particularly opioid based medications, can lead to dependence.

When you become dependent on pain medication, if you stop taking the medication you will experience symptoms of withdrawal. This can happen to anyone who has relied on pain medication in order to relieve debilitating symptoms. Unfortunately, in addition to withdrawal symptoms, you may also experience a rebound of intense pain while you are detoxing from the pain medication. This can make it almost impossible to stop using on your own.

If you have found yourself experiencing withdrawal symptoms and rebound pain, you will need professional help from addiction specialists in order to recover from your dependence. The first step in your recovery will involve detoxing from the medication. During this period of time, you will need to be supervised so that the symptoms of withdrawal are minimized. Our addiction professionals will be able to provide supportive care during detox so that your concerns are heard and your needs are met.

How Can You Avoid Relapsing?

After your initial detox period, a longer stay in one of our facilities may be necessary. The longer you allow yourself to remain in treatment, the better your chances are for long term recovery. If you are experiencing a return of pain because you have stopped your medication, we will need to come up with a plan to manage your symptoms so that you will not relapse.

During your stay in one of our facilities, you will have opportunities for various therapies. Individual counseling can help you learn how to cope with stresses and triggers in your daily life without the use of addictive medications. You will be able to talk about your experiences and feelings which can help in your recovery. Group therapy may be helpful as well. It can be extremely empowering to know that you are not the only person who has struggled with addiction issues. You can also learn from others who may be further into their recovery about what is working for them, what they have learned, and what kinds of things have caused problems during their recovery.

If you or a loved one is currently struggling with an addiction to pain medication, call our addiction counselors today to learn about what we can do to help. We are here for you 800-737-0933

Drug Combinations can Trigger Accidental Overdose

We have seen it before in other celebrities, and now the recent autopsy report confirms that former WWE and reality TV star Chyna died from an accidental overdose involving several medications and alcohol.

The results of an autopsy have revealed that Chyna died from a combination of alcohol, pain medication and muscle relaxers. The toxicology report shows that Chyna, whose real name was Joan Marie Laurer, had taken diazepam, which is commonly called Valium and norazepam, a muscle relaxant.

The toxicological tests performed on Laurer also revealed that she had taken oxycodone, an opioid pain medication. The report also revealed the presence of oxymorphone, a synthetic opioid painkiller, in Laurer’s system. The 46-year-old had a history of drug abuse, and her mother told investigators that she was an alcoholic.

Her system also contained temazepam, a drug used to treat insomnia. It is given to patients who either have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. This medication is meant to be used only for a short time and only as directed by a doctor, since it has a high probability for abuse. It also comes with a warning that it is never to be taken with alcohol, since an overdose could be fatal in those circumstances.

Laurer was found by her manager on April 20, 2016, in her Redondo Beach home. The manager, Anthony Anzaldo, hadn’t heard from her since she sent out a tweet three days before. He went to Laurer’s home to check on her and discovered her body. The autopsy report noted that Laurer was discovered in bed next to a number of items, including her cellphone, iPad, pillows and clothing.

Investigators found several bottles of prescription medicines at Laurer’s home. They also found a green plastic grinder, a small wood box, a metal pipe similar to a cigarette and a blue glass pipe on a nightstand. In the bottom drawer of the nightstand, the investigators found an envelope containing blister pack of pills. An empty pack of pills was discovered on the nightstand. Some loose pills were found on the bedroom floor and on a table in the dining room.

People who use or abuse multiple prescription drugs and drink alcohol are particularly at risk of an overdose. Many of these medications slow down breathing and other organ functions and can cause respiratory failure. This is one of the many reasons why you should never wait to get help for a loved one who is struggling with an alcohol or drug problem. Contact Genesis House today for more information and assistance.

The Economics Behind the Illicit Drug Trade

illicit drug tradeAlthough the illicit drug market has a very complex system of production and distribution, it still follows very simple economic rules of supply and demand. Regardless of where drugs come from or how much they cost, as long as people are still seeking them someone will find a way to capitalize on their plight.

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s System to Retrieve Information from Drug Evidence (STRIDE) database is a program that collects information regarding all aspects of illegal drugs. This can include market price and drug purity. These two variables help explain what is going on behind the drug dealing scenes on the streets. For instance, STRIDE has been able to show investigators that drug prices tend to decline over time. There are a few potential causes for this decline, but one interesting one has to do with substitution. When certain regulations, law enforcement changes and laws get enacted regarding a certain drug, many users will switch to something else. This means that the demand for the original drug has dropped, thereby decreasing the price. This type of information can show investigators if policy-changes are working, and what drug the addicts have shifted their attention to.

Another important factor when it comes to analyzing drug trends is purity. Purity, as it relates to illegal drugs, means how much actual drug (like pure heroin or pure cocaine) are in the drugs being sold to buyers. Most of the time when someone buys drugs off the street, they are buying very little pure drug, and a lot of additives. Investigators are able to measure the purity of confiscated drugs to determine the current purity levels of the drugs reaching customers.

When policy makers and law enforcement can look at data, like that provided by STRIDE, and see different drug trends across the country, they are better equipped to handle the problems. However, the wildcard in the illegal drug trade has been the pharmaceutical influence. Prescription drugs have become such a problem in the U.S. and are creating as much, if not more, havoc in America. This shows that whether the drug started out as something legal or not isn’t enough of a deterrent for users.

One of the arguments of harm reduction advocates is that if you legalize all drugs, then it will remove some of the value because supply will be plenty and instead more money will be available for treatment and prevention programs. We will probably never know if this would work, but we could divert more funding away from the law enforcement side of the problem and instead invest it into providing more education and rehabilitation services.

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.

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.

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 first 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.