Views on drug and alcohol addiction have changed over time. While it was originally thought that addiction was a moral failing, much research has been done to disprove that theory. Later many thought it was purely a biological disease, but that view was also not complete. Today, many addiction experts view addiction through a biopsychosocial model that encompasses the biological, psychological, and social factors that lead to addiction. Using this model has allowed for new approaches for understanding and treating addiction. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand that addiction cannot be viewed in a tunnel and we are here to help you break free from your addiction in a holistic way.
The Science Behind Addiction
The biopsychosocial model of addiction recognizes that your addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It takes into account the potential genetic factors behind addiction and adds psychological and social factors. Social factors include things like the environment in which you were raised, the social norms, and your relationships. For example, if you were raised in an environment where using drugs was normalized as a way to cope, you will likely view using drugs in that way. Likewise, if your social circle relies on drug use as a way of socializing, you will see it in that way. Psychological factors include any co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. It can also include a history of trauma and any resulting PTSD. Biological factors focus on the genetic component of addiction and brain changes that occur from things like trauma. Having relatives with a history of addiction or other mental health disorders increases your risk for the same. It is the coming together of these three areas that create the possibility of addiction. Understanding these factors helps with the successful treatment of addiction.
How Does One Become an Addict?
While no one truly knows why one person becomes an addict and another does not, there is enough research available to draw some conclusions. Being genetically predisposed to addiction puts you at a greater risk of becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. However, it’s not a guarantee. Some individuals grow up around addicted family members and never use drugs and alcohol. Others begin using at an early age and never look back. Additionally, a genetic link is not a requirement. There are many who find themselves facing addiction who have no history of addiction within their family tree. The road to addiction can be viewed as a perfect storm between the different risk factors and the use of drugs and alcohol. If you never picked up a drug or a drink, it would not matter if you had all of the risk factors for addiction.
What Is the Best Way to Get Help With Addiction?
Everyone’s path into addiction is a little bit different and the same is true of the road out. How your road out of addiction is paved will depend on the drugs you’ve used, your patterns of use, any co-occurring disorders, and more. At 10 Acre Ranch, we’ve been providing Southern California with expert and caring addiction treatment for over 25 years. We understand addiction and we know how to treat it. Our mission is to rebuild lives, restore families, and improve communities. We are one of the leading rehab facilities in California and offer a wide range of programs that will meet your needs. We provide a warm and welcoming environment where we tailor healing to the whole person. We are committed to helping you break free from active addiction. Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!
As the opioid epidemic rages in the United States, the Food & Drug Administration has issued new warnings about kratom. Many people have begun talking about this widely used, natural supplement and its benefits and potential risks. Native to Southeast Asia and a member of the coffee family, kratom is seen by many as an all-natural supplement to help in a myriad of physical and mental ailments. Some of the purported uses include treatment for:
Opioid withdrawal symptom relief
Obesity & high blood pressure
As an energy boost
But many scientists and the FDA disagree with these claims. In a statement from September 11, 2018, FDA chairman Scott Gottlieb, M.D. claims:
“Science and evidence matter in demonstrating medical benefit, especially when a product is being marketed to treat serious diseases like opioid use disorder (OUD). However, to date, there have been no adequate and well-controlled scientific studies involving the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use withdrawal or other diseases in humans. Nor have there been studies on how kratom, when combined with other substances, may impact the body, its dangers, potential side effects, or interactions with other drugs.”
While there may have not been adequate study to substantiate either side of these claims, many leading scientists and addiction specialists are championing the concerns as expressed by the FDA.
To begin, the agency claims that kratom contains opioids, which is not entirely true, yet the relationship is virtually undeniable. Mitragyna speciosa is a tree related to the coffee plant, which is not from the poppy family, but according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), some compounds found in kratom affect opioid receptors in the brain. Perhaps this is why many sufferers of opiate addiction swear by its usefulness in helping manage their withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, the reasons for this are certainly indicative of the strong potential for addiction to kratom. Because kratom affects the same brain receptors as opioids do, it is essentially like substituting one opioid addiction for another one.
Kratom exhibits a high potential for abuse and can lead to further opioid addiction.
In a study published by Addiction Biology in June of 2018, one of the two psychoactive compounds in Kratom, 7-hydroxymitragynine (or 7-HMG) has a “high abuse potential that may also increase the intake of other opiates”. The study showed that the other of the 2 psychoactive constituents, Mitragynine (MG) does not have a high potential for abuse and can actually decrease subsequent opiate intake. Since kratom is a plant, certain strains can be bred to intentionally have more 7-HMG than occurs naturally, so someone that uses kratom should be warned. The harvesting and extraction of the plant before it is packaged can also be adulterated to some extent. This could pose dangerous consequences to unsuspecting users of kratom extracts and supplements.
The safety of kratom is a major concern that has been taken into account by the FDA. In November 2017 the FDA claimed that kratom was responsible for 44 deaths since 2011. These reports hold true the assessment that kratom is an addictive drug, with a high potential for abuse that can create various health problems, including death.
These same government agencies are also warning that kratom can deter people from seeking medication-assisted treatment (MAT) such as buprenorphine, naloxone and methadone. These substance abuse treatment medications are scientifically proven to reduce opioid dependence in addicts:
“Patients who were using opioid agonist medications at the 18-month interview were more than twice as likely to report abstinence as those who were not (80.0 percent versus 36.6 percent).” –National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
With this evidence aside, many people are currently using kratom as a self-administered, step-down treatment for opioid dependence. They might think this will help them steer away from opioid drugs like heroin, yet there is no research-based evidence to back up these claims.
Kratom is fairly unregulated in the US and as a result potential dangers associated with the product certainly do exist. For instance, nine of the 44 kratom-related deaths the FDA claims in their report, were from a string of overdoses in Sweden, where a mixture of kratom and tramadol (4) was the culprit.
While the FDA tries to classify kratom as an opiate, they may be only partially right. Compounds in the plant affect the same areas of the brain as poppy-based opiates do. The compounds in the plant have been shown to trigger respiratory depression, much like opioids do. This affects the brains’ ability to tell the lungs to breathe and is ultimately how many people die from opioid overdoses. They simply quit breathing, which can result in their untimely death.
Withdrawal symptoms associated with kratom further prove its addictive properties.
Just like most other drugs, kratom can result in a chemical dependency, when taken over a period of time. When a person quits using kratom, they can experience painful withdrawal symptoms. The side effects of kratom withdrawal can include: anxiety, aggression, nausea, vomiting, irritability, depression and even seizures.
Kratom is an absolutely harmful drug whose dangerous risks far outweigh any perceived benefits. Poison control center calls concerning kratom increased ten fold from 2010 to 2015. Just like other drugs, kratom must be taken in higher and higher doses to produce the desired effects over any period of use. Your body can develop a tolerance to kratom much like it can for opioids.
Since the market is relatively unregulated, different batches of kratom can be wildly different from the next, even when it comes from the same brand. This is why many kratom consumers themselves, actually advocate for better regulation of the supplement. They want whole, pure leaf supplements that are not adulterated with other compounds, as these mixtures can be extremely dangerous.
While kratom exhibits a potential for abuse and addiction, many people still make illegitimate claims on the benefits of the plant. Some people are led to believe that it can help treat opioid addiction, then they find themselves addicted to kratom. Hopefully with more research being done, we can fully understand the potential dangers of this natural supplement.
Drugs such as methamphetamines, marijuana, or heroin have long been a problem here in the United States as the war on drugs continue, even after decades of hard work, policing the illegal manufacturing, distribution, and selling of these products for illicit purposes. Synthetic drugs, however, are a newer problem that has swept across the county in recent history. Synthetic drugs, sometimes referred to as designer drugs or club drugs, are substances designed to mimic the effects of other drugs like marijuana or heroin, and they are chemically manufactured in a laboratory. They can be commercially manufactured for valid medical purposes and then diverted into illegal channels, or more commonly, they can be created in illegal clandestine labs with no chance to regulate the chemicals being used or the ability to determine the strength of the final product.
Synthetic drugs were first spotted here in America in December of 2008 when a large shipment of “Spice”, or synthetic marijauana, was seized and inspected in Dayton, Ohio. The majority of these synthetic drugs are created in foreign countries and then smuggled in through various avenues. The reason why these drugs are more difficult to detect is that many of the chemicals used in the illegal manufacturing process are made to circumvent standard tests for drug detection by law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Foreign manufacturers are often able to alter the molecular structure of these compounds in order to bypass the laws regulating these substances, therefore masking their intended purpose and avoiding enforcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The reason why these types of drugs are more dangerous is because most of the side effects are unknown, as the difference in the chemical structure can have varying negative effects on the brain and the behavior of the user who is under its influence. Due to the illegal manufacturing of these drugs, the strength is unregulated and can cause an unexpected overdose as the individual taking them is unaware of how much they are ingesting. Low prices, availability and misconception of the harmless effects of synthetic drugs have likely led to its popularity and subsequent substance abuse problem.
There are more than 300 newly discovered synthetic drugs on the market, with that number still rising, making it even more difficult to predict the side effects of each one. However, the most dangerous of these designer drugs that have been detected in America are listed as follows;
Fentanyl is the highest strength opioid on the market and is often used by dealers to dilute heroin on the streets. It is said to be 80-100 times stronger than morphine, making it a danger to someone who doesn’t know what they are using. It was first created as a skin patch for the pain management of cancer patients but now due to its high strength, it is also being cut down and sold as a super strength heroin. There is a high chance of overdose to unsuspecting users due to its potency and the unpredictable ingredients when manufactured and sold for illegal purposes.
Synthetic marijuana, also referred to as K2 or spice, are chemical compounds created to imitate the effects of marijuana. Synthetic marijuana strains, or cannabinoids, are perhaps the most well known across the country as its negative effects to users received widespread media attention. Made from dried and shredded plant materials that are then sprayed with chemicals, it is often colorfully packaged and sold as “potpourri”, a type of incense. It can be purchased from convenience stores, gas stations or glass pipe shops, making it easy to obtain and very misleading to the user as its readily available. There is a high chance of negative effects after exposure as many of these chemicals go unmonitored for the safety of human consumption.
Synthetic Stimulants, otherwise known as cathinones, are designer drugs like bath salts or molly. These substances were created to mimic the effects of other stimulating drugs such as ecstasy, MDMA, or methamphetamine. Bath salts, not to be confused with epsom salts, are chemically related to cathinone, a stimulating substance naturally found in the khat plant. The khat plant was once used to treat depression, diabetes, fatigue and various other ailments, but has since been banned from production in many countries due to its harmful side effects. Synthetic drugs containing cathinone are more lethal than the natural substance because of its increased potency and highly toxic side effects. Bath salts have been known to produce violent and psychotic behavior relating to self harm and cannibalism.
Molly is another synthetic stimulant that is more popular within night clubs or with members of the rave community. When the user is unaware of what chemicals are in the compound it becomes more dangerous when consumed with other substances such as alcohol or marijuana, and unfortunately in these settings it most commonly is. Sometimes this combination can even be lethal to the unsuspecting user. What was first confiscated as “pure MDMA”, cops have later found, more often than not, that the substance would test positive for varying amounts of cathinone. Thus, increasing the danger when using this drug.
While LSD itself is chemically derived in a laboratory and induces powerful mood altering changes, there are still designer drugs created to replicate its effects. These chemicals are even more harmful when ingested. Also known as phenethylamine, and called N-bomb or smiles on the street, synthetic LSD has had many negative effects to the user as they are unaware that they are not taking LSD, making it even more dangerous to those who are inexperienced. These drugs can cause hallucinations, anxiety and even death, leading to unwanted overdoses due to the unknown ingestion of these harmful compounds.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a chemical dependency to any of these substances listed above or are experiencing withdrawal symptoms of any kind, please contact a medical professional today to get help in managing the heavy detox and withdrawal symptoms. There is always hope for recovery and you do not have to go through this alone.
If there’s one thing Americans of all backgrounds, religions and political affiliations agree on, it’s that the United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic, one that is fueled, largely by opioids. While virtually everyone agrees that losing over 70,000 lives a year to the drug epidemic is a travesty, many people are looking to place blame where blame is due. Complicating things further it is no one person, place or thing that created the opioid epidemic. Many historical, socioeconomic and individual factors play a role in the crisis.
One reason people look to assign blame is they believe (sometimes rightfully so), that finding the one thing to blame is the first step to solving the problem. This may be partially true, but for an honest, successful solution to the drug overdose crisis, we need to look at every possible factor that plays a role in the growing problem. Being honest with the findings is the best way to address the multitude of issues that contributed to the crisis.
Illicit drug dealers and pharmaceutical companies are who most people automatically blame for the drug crisis.
Of course the first place people look to when placing blame for the opioid epidemic is the drug dealers and manufacturers. Since President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” in 1971, our strategy for dealing with the problems drugs cause in society was to go after the supply chain. In the nearly 50 years since this war on drugs was declared, we are nowhere close to solving the problems drugs have created in our society.
Certainly, drug dealers and big pharma have played a major role in creating the drug crisis in the United States. Many companies (including, most notably Purdue Pharma), have been found in court to have lied about the safety and efficacy of their prescription drug products. In the late 1990’s, Purdue aggressively marketed Oxycontin to doctors, claiming the extended-release of opioids would prevent misuse of the drug. This formula allowed the giant pharmaceutical company to receive FDA approval to put more opioids in each pill and we all know how that turned out.
The reality of Oxycontin was that it is much more prone to be abused or misused. People who developed a dependency to opiates found that the extended release formula could be bypassed by crushing up the pills and either snorting the powder or injecting the drug directly into their veins with intravenous needles. Because the oxycodone pills are so powerful, an addiction to opioids could develop very fast. Once the prescription ran-out, the addicted patients were forced to move on to street drugs like heroin, just to avoid the excruciatingly painful opiate withdrawal symptoms.
Even when someone successfully quit using opioids, they are highly prone to experience a relapse. A 2016 study found that people who are in recovery from opioid addiction experienced at least a 30% to 70% relapse rate within the first 6 months of their recovery. Fortunately, as a response to this contributing factor, the same pharmaceutical companies developed medications to help treat opioid addiction. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) can greatly help ease painful withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction and they can greatly lower the rate of further relapses into substance use.
Doctors who overprescribed opioids and other painkillers are also rightfully to blame for the drug crisis in the United States.
While it is certainly easy to blame drug dealers and multi-billion dollar corporations for the opioid epidemic, the problem equally rests in the interpersonal and professional relationships of patients and doctors in their local communities. A 2016 survey found that about as many Americans blame doctors for overprescribing opioids (34%) as they do the patients who abuse prescription painkillers themselves (37%).
Illicit drug dealers market street drugs like heroin, counterfeit versions of prescription opioids and various forms of fentanyl. However, according to SAMHSA data, fewer than 10% of prescription opioids are obtained from drug dealers or other strangers. Over 50% of the misused or abused pills come from family members or close friends, while only 25% are obtained with a prescription from a doctor or physician. While the problem of patients receiving multiple prescriptions from different doctors, this only represents 3.1% of the opioids obtained for non-medical use, whereas over 22% receive prescription opioids from only one doctor.
Our overall approach to pain management drastically changed in the 1970’s when pain became the “fifth vital sign”.
Before the 1970’s, the medical profession virtually ignored the importance of pain management in a patient’s medical care. The inclusion of the question: “was your pain adequately treated” on patient surveys brought about a sort of preoccupation within the medical community on how to provide adequate pain management. Pain became the “fifth vital sign” along with body temperature, blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate.
As a doctor, you certainly don’t want to see your patients suffer with pain symptoms. With a newfound focus on pain management, physicians and hospital administrators began aggressively treating pain symptoms, which led to a massive increase in opioid prescriptions.
We have to admit that opioids do serve as effective pain relievers and, when used appropriately, they can benefit the overall quality of health care services available in our society. Opioids do serve to benefit people who have recently undergone surgery, experienced a major bone fracture, cancer patients and other severely painful medical events. We cannot simply prohibit doctors from prescribing them appropriately.
Various forms of alternative pain management techniques are available, yet many doctors aren’t taught them in medical schools. The pharmaceutical industry provides massive funding to most of the medical schools in the US. This problem is compounded by the health insurance companies’ reimbursement policies. These policies make prescription opioids a much cheaper option for patients than other, alternative approaches to pain management, such as acupuncture, physical therapy or chiropractic techniques.
While it is easy for people to simply blame “big pharma” as the culprits of the drug overdose crisis in America, we think that is simply just the tip of the iceberg. Of course the Sackler family from Purdue Pharma, along with other pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson seriously downplayed the risks associated with their products.
Currently, over 2,000 court cases against opioid manufactures are pending in the US. These cases rightfully assert that “big pharma” may have intentionally misled doctors into prescribing more opioids, which most certainly played a role in the creation of the opioid epidemic. Yet opioid misuse is a much more complicated issue than that.
Drug abuse typically coincides with strong feelings of hopelessness, depression and despair. The states that are the worst-hit by the opioid epidemic also suffer from the highest rates of joblessness and economic turmoil. Until we address all of the underlying causes of the current drug crisis in America, we are going to be fighting an uphill battle.
Overcoming an addiction is never easy, yet there are people who do it every day. 10 Acre Ranch offers a full medical detox and recovery program that can help you, every step of the way.
Please call us today to speak with one of our addiction specialists and we can get you, your family member or loved one the help they need right away. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year. Call now:
Internal Purdue memos sought to sell higher doses of the drugs over long periods of time. This obviously made the company more money, while the higher doses also increased the likelihood of their patients to develop an addiction. Many internal emails have proven that the Sackler family cared only about their sales numbers, not the safety of the patients who were taking the drugs.
While the Sackler family was pushing blame onto people who helplessly became addicted to their drugs, they raked in billions and billions of dollars. The family fortune is said to have exceeded $13 billion dollars at the end of 2018.
The United States Congress reconciled both House and Senate opioid bills aimed at reducing the deadly toll of the nation’s top health care crisis: the opioid epidemic.
In the SUPPORT For Patients and Communities Act, Republican and Democrat lawmakers came to a rare agreement between both parties. The drug overdose epidemic claimed 72,000 lives in 2017 alone and roughly two thirds of those deaths were from prescription and non-prescription opioids. The bill will now head to the Senate as the House of Representatives almost unanimously passed the bill in a rare, 393-8 vote. President Trump is expected to sign this legislation into law before the midterm elections. This is a fairly large bill, that will cost the US billions of dollars but many argue that the bill doesn’t do enough to address the nation’s greatest public health issue. Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed a bill that would cost the US tax payer $100 billion over the next 10 years, as she argues this is what is really necessary to fully address the opioid crisis.
The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act takes a wide approach to the opioid epidemic from law enforcement, treatment and public health care measures.
We will talk about some of the major policy changes in the bill and the full-text of the bill is available here.
One of the greatest achievements of the new bill is a provision to allow Medicaid recipients to seek care at addiction treatment centers. The restrictions on Medicaid funding for substance abuse treatment had been long outdated and congress finally addressed this problem. Allowing Medicaid to help fund up to 30 days of inpatient rehab stays, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is going to help a lot of people get the help they desperately need. The bill authorizes a grant program through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to help communities develop opioid recovery centers. While the bill does address the lack of funding for increased access to treatment programs, many addiction specialists argue the bill does not do enough in this regard. While noting that the bill is not itself bad as it does a lot to address a multitude of issues, it is severely lacking on access to treatment, which many believe is the most important technique that could help solve the opioid crisis.
Another provision in the bill lifts restrictions on medications used to treat opioid use disorder and other types of addiction. This measure simply allows more medical practitioners to prescribe medications such as buprenorphine, used to help ease withdrawal symptoms in addiction recovery. As it stands today only 5 percent of doctors are licensed to prescribe this life-saving drug. Another medication, naloxone was addressed in this bill. One provision allows first responders greater access to the life-saving opioid antagonist which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
The major law enforcement provision of the SUPPORT Act is aimed at the trafficking of drugs through the postal system. Fentanyl that is illegally imported from Mexico and China has been blamed for many of the opioid-related deaths in recent years. One package seized in Philadelphia last June contained 110 pounds of fentanyl, valued at $1.7 billion dollars. This was estimated to be enough of the dangerous substance to kill the entire population of the state of Pennsylvania two times over. Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin, so it is easy to smuggle large amounts of the substance through the mail system. This bill makes it harder for people to sneak illicit substances into the US from abroad. The bill will require packages coming in from foreign countries to reveal their contents and where and who they’re coming from. While the bill is broadly aimed at targeting illicit drug suppliers, it includes protection for individuals looking to import cheaper prescriptions from overseas. This was in direct opposition to pharmaceutical companies’ requests to include enforcement against importing cheaper prescriptions from other countries.
While the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act does a lot to fight the opioid epidemic, there is still a lot of work to be done in the near future. The bill even authorizes research into opioid alternatives to pain management and penalizes drug manufacturers and distributors for overprescribing. A lot more could have been done to address the root causes of addiction and it should have offered greater access to outpatient treatment programs. However, while a lot of divisive partisan issues like funding were ignored in the bill, the Democrats and Republicans agreed on a lot of ‘second-tier’ issues that will definitely help save lives. Given the extreme divisiveness in American politics in the Trump era, this is a small political victory. Thankfully, everyone finally seems to want to work together in fighting this urgent national health crisis.
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10 Acre Ranch
September 28, 2023
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