What is Naloxone (Narcan)?

photo of a bottle of naloxone

What is Naloxone (Narcan)?

photo of a bottle of naloxoneNaloxone, sold under the brand name Narcan, is a drug used to counteract the effect of opioids. It is most often used to reverse overdoses, giving people time to make it to the hospital and emergency care. Naloxone, which was first approved in the 1990s, is estimated to have saved tens of thousands of lives in the United States. It’s also available for free or at a low cost, via the drug’s distribution website and through many pharmacies. In most cases, you don’t even need a prescription.

An estimated 1.6 million people have an opioid use disorder. A further 10.3 million abuse prescription pain pills, heroin, and other illicit opioids. Naloxone exists to give those people the opportunity to recover from an overdose and to get the help they need to live. That’s crucial, considering over 70,000 people in the U.S. die from opioids each year. The CDC and the World Health Organization recommend Naloxone as first line treatment, marking it among the safest and most effective drugs in its type.

History of Naloxone

Naloxone or Naloxone Hydroxide was first patented in 1961. It quickly hit markets and was used in clinical trials of efficacy across North America. In a 20-year study, the drug reversed over 10,000 overdoses, giving patients time to get to the hospital. This study was crucial in opening Naloxone available to the “take-home” public, resulting in legislation that now allows families and addicts to pick up doses or order them online. In 2017, take home naloxone had been available for 20 years, with a consensus that it saved lives where available – but with too few people educated in using naloxone, more effort in education and availability would have to be done.

Today, Naloxone is available in most pharmacies and at most clinics for a low cost. In addition, you can get it for free at many shelters and drug shelters. Availability, of course, depends on region. However, you can always look for pickup options on the Narcan website.

What is Naloxone and How Does It Work?

Naloxone is an opioid agonist. It prevents opioids from binding to the brain. This means that when taken, the drug can actually cause the individual to go into withdrawal. That can be dangerous on its own, so it’s important to call 911, even if you have Naloxone on hand. In most cases, Naloxone is administered using a nasal spray which should successfully pull the individual out of an overdose within about 2-5 minutes. If it doesn’t, you’re recommended to give them a second dose.

Naloxone typically works for 20-30 minutes. After this, the individual may need a second dose. However, many people simply don’t call 911 for drug emergencies. While that often relates to the police showing up with ambulances, doing so could save a life. Currently, ambulances are called just 10-56% of the time during overdoses. Simply calling an ambulance after administering Naloxone ensures that the dose is enough, that follow-up treatment is handled, and that the person overdosing is monitored until they are out of the window of danger.

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Medication Assisted Treatment

photo of a man and doctor during Medication Assisted TreatmentWhile Naloxone is primarily used to reverse overdoses, it’s also used in Medication Assisted Treatment of MAT. Here, it is commonly administered with Buprenorphine. The idea is that someone using naloxone cannot get high off of an opioid. Buprenorphine includes a 1:20 mixture of Naloxone and Methadone. This allows the individual to take the methadone to relieve cravings and to reduce withdrawal symptoms, while preventing them from getting high. Naloxone is also poorly orally absorbed and is poorly absorbed through a patch. So, if the patient attempts to inject the methadone, the Naloxone takes effect, and they go into withdrawal instead.

This has allowed Buprenorphine to be used as a maintenance therapy, with little supervision by doctors.

Naloxone may also be used as a maintenance therapy on its own. However, in most cases it is not. In addition, taking Naloxone while addicted can cause significant problems, such as paranoia, cold and flu symptoms, and spasms. Therefore, it’s important to seek out therapy and behavioral treatment when starting Naloxone therapy.

Does Naloxone have Side Effects?

Naloxone, like any other drug, has a full list of side effects. They are:

  • Pain at injection site
  • Burning sensation at injection site
  • Hot flashes
  • Sudden onset withdrawal
  • Sweating
  • Arrythmia (low chance)
  • Allergies (low chance)

Naloxone is also completely non-addictive. Long-term users experience only slight increase in tolerance. However, with no other addiction profile, this drug is safe to take long-term with buprenorphine. However, buprenorphine is usually recommended for 3-6 months – so extremely long-term usage should never be a consideration.

In addition, with no overdose risk, Naloxone is safe to use, even by amateurs. In fact, if someone is not responding to a first dose, the recommendation is to give them a second one. And, if your ambulance does not show up within 20 minutes, it’s recommended to monitor the affected person and administer a new dose if symptoms of overdose start to reappear.

Essentially, Naloxone is one of the safest and most effective drugs for treating overdose, as listed by the World Health Organization.

Who Can Get Naloxone?

Naloxone is sold over the counter and for take-home use across most of the U.S.

It’s also FDA approved as a pill, a patch, an injection, and a nasal spray. The nasal spray is the most recommended, as it is the easiest to administer, even under stress. It’s also easier to use without complications than an intramuscular shot. However, both are readily available under two major brands. Narcan and EVZIO. Both are low-cost, widely distributed at pharmacies, shelters, and drug shelters, and easy to use. You can check online on Narcan.com to see where you can acquire the drug in your area.

Eventually, Narcan is a safety device. You have it on you to ensure that yourself or a loved one is safe in case of an opioid use disorder. If you’re already getting opioid addiction treatment, Narcan is a lifeline to prevent you from relapsing. In either case, the drug is safe, readily available, and it will help.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about the drug rehab admissions process. We’re here to help you recover.

Popular Heroin Slang: Terms Heroin Addicts Say While Using

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More and more Americans every day are realizing that the disease of addiction truly knows no bounds. There are no rules or limits on who it will affect– regardless of age, gender, social status, or race, people from all walks of life can become addicted to things like drugs, alcohol, sex, food, or even gambling. Many who develop these addictions can allow them to take over their lives. One of the most addictive drugs out there is heroin. If you suspect someone you know may be addicted to the drug, we will present some popular heroin slang words they may be using to hide their addiction.

An addiction to drugs or alcohol occurs when a person becomes physically and/or psychologically dependent on a substance, such as alcohol or heroin. When an addiction is formed, something that can happen even after just one time of using, the person suffering is unable to stop seeking and using drugs or alcohol because of the chemical changes that happen in the brain once an addiction develops.

The opioid epidemic has sadly made addiction fairly common in the United States.

A recent study found that 1 out of every 7 people will struggle with a substance abuse disorder of some kind throughout the duration of their lives. In recent years however, heroin or opioid abuse has drastically increased. Data collected from 2017 shows that 130 people in the United States die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2016 alone, more than 948,000 Americans tried heroin for the first time, a number that has been on the rise since 2007. It is estimated that nearly 25% of people who try heroin will become addicted, adding to the growing concern of the opioid crisis.

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Many who become addicted to heroin, began with a simple prescription for opioids from their doctor. Addiction is not a moral failing. It is a treatable disease.

If you suspect a loved one might be abusing heroin, there are many signs you can look out for that might indicate they have a problem. Heroin is usually seen as a white or brown powder, but it can appear as a black, sticky substance. Heroin is a very powerful substance when abused, and is similar to morphine, causing many physical symptoms and other signs to appear. These can include:

  • “Track marks” or injection sites
  • Pinhole pupils
  • Skin infections or excessive itching
  • Finding paraphernalia such as needles, burnt spoons, glass pipes, lighters, belts, or rubber tubing
  • Scabs or bruises from picking at the skin
  • Delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness or nodding off at random times throughout the day
  • Decreased attention to personal hygiene
  • Shortness of breath

Of course, these are just a few signs or symptoms to look out for if you suspect a loved one of an addiction to heroin. There may be other warning signs that you may want to look out for. For instance, many addicts develop a type of “slang” language that is meant to conceal drug use from those who may suspect they might have a problem.

The term “slang language” is meant to describe words or phrases that are informal, and whose meaning is only known by a certain group of people. Slang language can be used for many reasons, some groups use it to form a certain identity or, for others, there is a more illicit purpose. As mentioned, many addicts use slang language in order to hide their drug use from others and since heroin is illegal, there are many slang words that have been created to refer to the drug without arousing suspicion.

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Heroin is derived from the poppy plant found in Asia, Mexico and Columbia.

Slang Based Upon the Appearance of Heroin

 

  • Black Pearl
  • Black Sheep
  • Black Tar
  • Brown Crystal
  • Brown Rhine
  • Brown Sugar
  • White Junk
  • White Nurse
  • White Stuff
  • Salt
  • Spider Blue
  • Dirt
  • Diesel
  • Golden Girl
  • Red Chicken

Heroin Slang Based Upon Location Of Origin

 

  • Chinese Red
  • Mexican Horse
  • Mexican Mud

Slang For Low Quality Heroin

 

  • Bad Bundle
  • Crap
  • Crop
  • Flea Powder
  • Garbage
  • Ragweed

 

Slang Terms Based Upon Packaging

 

  • Bag
  • Balloon
  • Bindle
  • Blue Hero
  • Brick Bum
  • Burrito

 

Slang Names Based Off The Word Heroin

 

 

  • Big H
  • H
  • Charlie Horse
  • Galloping Horse
  • Capital H
  • H Caps
  • Heavy
  • Helicopter
  • Hero

Drug death from fentanyl. American opioid crisis

Other Slang or Street Names for Heroin

 

  • A-Bomb
  • Antifreeze
  • Tootsie Roll
  • Smack
  • Ballot
  • Basketball
  • Fairy Duster
  • Life Saver
  • Noise
  • Scag
  • Smack
  • Bozo
  • Bonita
  • Butter
  • Aunt Hazel
  • Beast
  • Hombre
  • Old Steve
  • Henry
  • Helen
  • Hercules
  • Rambo
  • Witch
  • George Smack
  • Dragon
  • Boy
  • Charlie
  • Morena
  • Junk
  • Snow
  • Chiba
  • Chiva
  • Skunk
  • Tar
  • Number 4
  • Number 3
  • Number 8
  • Poison
  • Dog Food
  • Curly Hair
  • Doggy
  • Doogi
  • Hats
  • Heaven Dust
  • P-funk
  • Patty
  • Sweet Jesus
  • Thunder
  • Modela Negra
  • Puppy
  • Pure
  • Raw
  • Sticky Kind
  • Mojo
  • Mole
  • Chinese Food
  • Engines
  • Whiskey
  • Comida
  • Coffee
  • Chorizo
  • Black Paint
  • Black Olives
  • Cardio
  • Cement
  • Coco

 

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Heroin is a particularly dangerous drug that is easy to develop an addiction to.

Slang Terms For Heroin Combined With Other Drugs

 

  • Dynamite, Bellushi, Boy-Girl, Goofball, H&C, He-She, Primo, and Snowball- used to describe heroin mixed with cocaine
  • Primo, Chasing the Dragon, Dragon Rock, Chocolate Rock, Eightball, Moonrock- all terms meant to describe heroin mixed with crack cocaine
  • Screwball- refers to heroin mixed with methamphetamines
  • H Bomb- a mixture of heroin and ecstasy
  • Neon Nod- heroin and LSD (acid)
  • Chocolate Bars- a mixture of heroin and xanax
  • Atom Bombs or A bombs- slang for a combination of heroin and marijuana
  • El Diablo- can be used to refer to heroin by itself, but can also refer to a combination of heroin, cocaine, and marijuana
  • LBJ- refers to heroin mixed with LSD and PCP
  • Cheese- mixture of cold medicine and heroin
  • China White- fentanyl and heroin, a highly dangerous combination
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies- MDMA (ecstasy) and heroin
  • Cotton Brothers or New Jack Swing- mixture of morphine and heroin
  • Meth Speed Ball- Meth (methamphetamine) and Heroin
  • The Five Way- a deadly combination of marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, rohypnol, and alcohol

Keep in mind that some slang words may mean something else depending on different factors like location and age, as these have been known to change, but the intending meaning is usually pretty close to the same. This is also not an all-inclusive list, as there are many other names for heroin on the street. We hope that this helps you decide whether or not your loved one may need help with an addiction to heroin.

If you are not sure what steps to take next, then please do not hesitate to reach out to us for help! We have many addiction specialists that can help you figure out the next plan of action if you suspect that a loved one needs help with their substance abuse problem. Or, if you yourself are struggling, then there is no shame in getting help. We know how difficult it can be to get sober, even if you really want to stop using drugs or alcohol. We can help give you the tools necessary for a healthy and sober life!

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What is Kratom? Cutting Edge Treatment, or Addictive Drug?

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UPDATED APRIL 14TH, 2020

 

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:

  • Pain-management
  • Opioid withdrawal symptom relief
  • Depression
  • Obesity & high blood pressure
  • Anxiety
  • As an energy boost
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Is kratom dangerous? Many scientists and government agencies say yes.

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.

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Many people claim an array of benefits from kratom, yet the research is limited.

 

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.

Most Dangerous Synthetic Drugs in America

 

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.

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Finding the best inpatient drug rehab in SoCal is possible.

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 

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

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

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.

  • Synthetic LSD

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.

Who is to Blame for the Drug Crisis?

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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.

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“Big Pharma” drug manufacturers most certainly played a role in the drug crisis, by overselling the benefits of opioids and downplaying the risks. Yet there are various other factors that contributed to the opioid epidemic in the United States.

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.

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Are doctors, physicians and other medical professionals to blame for the drug crisis? While some doctors ignored the warnings others may have been intentionally misled.

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.

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Opioid manufactures, over-prescribing doctors, insurance policies and patients themselves have all played major roles in the drug overdose epidemic. Now that we know, it’s time to start fixing the problem.

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:

 

877-228-4679

 

 

2019 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day: Saturday, April 27th. Find a Collection Site Near You.

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On Saturday, April 27th, 2019 the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is hosting the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This event aims to provide for the safe and confidential disposal of any unused, expired or unwanted prescription drugs that you may have in your home medicine cabinet. Collection sites will be fully operational between 10am and 2pm.  The collection is completely confidential, with no personal information collected and no questions asked.

Besides removing drugs from potential abuse, the program aims to help to educate the public about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse. On the DEA’s website for National RX Take Back Day, you will find a national list of collection facilities available in California for Saturday, April 27, 2019.  There is also a link to find year-round collection sites in your local area.

Prescription drug abuse is a major concern across the United States as many communities are struggling with the ongoing opioid epidemic. In August of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control released their annual summary of drug overdose deaths in the US. In the report, the CDC shows that over 72,000 people have died in the US from a drug overdose in 2017.  This is the largest number of recorded overdose deaths ever. Factor in the other 630,000 people who have died from a drug overdose since the late 90’s, and we see a growing problem that shows no signs of slowing down. Since the late 1990’s, pharmaceutical companies have been aggressively marketing prescription opioids such as Oxycontin, Percocet, codeine and even fentanyl. This major problem for many Americans begins as a medication, prescribed by a doctor and in several cases turns into a heroin addiction.

As opioid prescription rates are currently in decline, the problem of misuse of prescription drugs is constant and the health risks are dangerous and deadly. It is estimated that last year nearly 11.5 million Americans used a controlled prescription drug without a prescription from a doctor, according to the DEA. This study states that 40% received the pills from a family member or friend. Sometimes this occurs by the person visiting your home and raiding your personal medicine cabinet. Medicines that are accessibly placed in a bathroom or other location are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse and abuse.

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This seemingly innocent accessibility of drugs at home or in garbage bins can be very dangerous when they sometimes find their way into the wrong hands. This certainly is a huge contributor to substance abuse in your community. The DEA’s National Take Back Day is a way for you to turn in your unwanted and unused drug prescriptions in a safe, confidential way. National Take Back Day is the perfect opportunity to clean out your home medicine cabinet and be assured that your old medications and pills are disposed of safely and securely with the expert help of the proper authorities.

Some facts about prescription pharmaceutical drugs:

  • -Prescription drug abuse causes more than half of the deaths from overdose in the US.
  • -Non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs is the second most abused illicit substance, close behind marijuana.
  • -It is unsafe to simply throw prescription meds away in the trash. This makes it very easy way for people to steal them and sell them on the streets of your local community.
  • -The majority of teenagers in the United States who abuse medications and prescription drugs, get them from the medicine cabinets of their own home, or the homes of family members and close friends. 
  • -Pharmaceutical prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as illicit street drugs when taken without a medical doctor’s supervision.
  • -Flushing unused prescription drugs down the toilet is a very bad idea.  It can contaminate rivers and streams and your local community’s water supply. Proper disposal helps to protect the environment and it could help save someone’s life.
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In October of 2018, at a prior RX Drug Take Back Day, collection sites received over 450 tons of prescription meds from 5,839 locations nationwide. This is the agency’s 8th year of the program. The DEA will be holding these events twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall.

If for any reason you are unable to make it to the National RX Drug Take Back Day, or the event has already passed, click this link to find out where you can find other, year-round disposal sites for your expired, unused or unwanted prescriptions:

On Saturday, April 27, 2019 the DEA is hosting an anonymous, confidential and safe way to dispose of your unused prescription medications. Participants are asked to remove labels or black out personal information before you drop them off at a collection facility. Find locations in California and more information on year round sites here:

https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/NTBI/ntbi-pub.pub?_flowExecutionKey=_c2D824ED8-7C29-BCF5-325E-6D874980C592_k91966A3B-739F-8010-46B0-CE524C868467

If you do not find your area listed at the link above, contact your local law enforcement officials to see if they participate in the event.

What is Inpatient Drug Rehab?

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As an effective form of addiction treatment, inpatient drug rehab is intended to help individuals stop the often destructive, compulsive behavior of abusing drugs and alcohol. Inpatient drug rehabilitation involves living at a residential addiction treatment center, over a period of time. The average stay at an inpatient treatment center typically lasts from 30 to 90 days or more, depending on the severity of the addiction.
Ongoing treatment is essential to help ensure a full recovery from the devastating grip of an addiction.

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Can I Tell if Someone is on Benzos or Xanax?

benzodiazepine-Xanax-signs-of-abuse-prescription-drugs

Just like many other types of addictions, an addiction to Xanax will affect nearly every aspect of the person’s life. A typical addict will let their personal relationships deteriorate, while often isolating themselves socially. Job loss, financial hardship and legal troubles are common with those who are addicted to benzos. Developing a chemical dependence on Xanax can lead to many dangerous situations. Since benzodiazepines are sedatives, it is generally unsafe to operate an automobile, even when on a prescribed dose from a doctor.

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The Opioid Crisis: How The Sackler Family Made Billions, While America Became Addicted to Oxycontin.

opioid-Sackler-family-Perdue-Pharma-Oxycontin-overdose-deaths

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.

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