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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877-228-4679

Are Drug Implants the Future of Drug Addiction Treatment?

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One of the most common misconceptions about drug addiction revolved around the idea that addicts somehow lack a sense of self control and moral fortitude. However, decades of research and science have led experts to a deeper understanding of how addiction actually works. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite harmful consequences. Many people with addiction (or substance abuse disorder) have an intense, unrelenting focus on obtaining and using a certain substance, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, even to the point where it will take over their lives. Many addicts suffer job loss, homelessness, loss of personal relationships, and sometimes even legal trouble. Drug implants are a new development in the field of addiction treatment.

How addiction and human brain function are interlinked

People with a substance use disorder have chemically altered the wiring of their brain and how it functions, because of this many people have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. The majority of drugs work on an area of the brain commonly known as the “reward center”. When a person uses alcohol or drugs, chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. These chemicals are meant to train the brain for survival, increasing the likelihood a certain action will be repeated again in the future. Over time, with repeated use of drugs or alcohol, the brain begins to rely on this substance because it has been tricked into believing that it needs it in order to survive.

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Addiction tricks your brain into thinking it needs more drugs to survive or even function properly.

Additionally, the brain begins to associate certain things like people, places, or objects with this behavior and can be triggered even years after getting sober. This helps to explain why some people relapse after they have stopped using drugs or alcohol. Thankfully though, there are many treatment options available for those seeking help with a substance abuse problem.

How to find addiction treatment options for yourself, or a loved one in Riverside, California 

Making a quick search on Google for support groups will likely bring up hundreds of results for anonymous 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While these are offered in almost every city, for free, sometimes it just isn’t enough, especially for someone who is just getting sober for the first time. Alternatively, depending on the level of care needed, there are many drug and alcohol treatment programs available as well, such as medical detox, inpatient programs, outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, group counseling, and so on.

Factors to consider when trying to decide what level of treatment may be appropriate for you or a loved one will depend on many factors, such as: severity of addiction, type of drug used, quantity of drug being used, whether or not multiple drugs are being used at the same time, and how long they have been using drugs or alcohol. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our addiction treatment specialists for a personalized plan today!

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Our addiction treatment specialists in Riverside, California are available to take your call 24/7.

Unfortunately, addiction treatment is not one size fits all. Otherwise, that would make solving this disease a whole lot easier, and though there may be many tried and true treatment options available for anyone who may be suffering from an active addiction, there are still ongoing studies and clinical trials with the intention of solving this problem. Their passion is to find alternative treatment methods for those individuals who are more likely to benefit from their application. One of the methods that are currently underway, and is actively being studied, is the use of implants to treat drug and/or alcohol addiction. Below is a list of several different methods currently being studied that involve the use of drug implants that work to re-wire the addicted brain.

Naltrexone Drug Implants

Perhaps the most popular of this emerging field of science would be the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved treatment of naltrexone implants for addiction. Naltrexone is used to help combat heroin, or other opioid addiction, as well as an addiction to alcohol. An addiction to heroin, or prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, codeine, or Oxycontin, can be extremely dangerous. The safest, sometimes only, way is to attend a medical detox program. The same can be said with an addiction to alcohol. The problem with both these substances is that the cravings for the drug early on in recovery can be extremely intense.

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The Naltrexone implant works by slowly administering an opioid antagonist that helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Fortunately, the naltrexone implant works by delivering a consistent dose of naltrexone into the body for 3-6 months. It is usually implanted into the abdominal wall and has little to no recovery time after surgery. Additionally, there is no need for removal as the implant, resembling a pellet, will eventually dissolve after the allotted time frame. The important part of this medication is that it reduces the craving for drugs or alcohol by blocking the pleasurable effects substances send to the reward center of the brain, essentially re-training the brain to no longer associate drugs and alcohol with a pleasurable experience.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Another promising method for addiction treatment is deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is also gaining popularity for the treatment of things like obsessive compulsive disorders and Parkinson’s Disease. This approach to treatment hopes to combat the underlying causes for cravings, addiction itself, and relapse. Deep brain stimulation will be the tool to essentially aid in the rewiring of a person’s brain. Typically, an implant resembling that of a pacemaker is inserted under the skin, with a wire attached to the brain. In some cases, though, a person can have a chip implanted directly in the brain. The electrodes they emit target specific areas of the brain, impacting the brain’s reward system.

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Deep brain stimulation targets certain areas of the brain with electric pulses that help to train the brain to operate differently.

Buprenorphine Implants

Another implant meant to aid in the war against the opioid crisis is the buprenorphine implant. It was FDA approved in 2016 as a 6 month subdermal implant for the treatment of opioid dependence. Similar to the naltrexone implant, it releases a study supply of buprenorphine for 6 months. Although, they do not dissolve and must be surgically removed.

Keep in mind these drug implants are just a few of the alternative methods currently being researched. At its heart, addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. Thankfully, with decades of research behind the current science, we are becoming better at solving this problem.

What Are Some Popular Drug Slang Words in 2020

The word slang is often used to describe language whose meaning is very informal and is commonly understood only by a certain group of people within a given context. Some popular slang terms that are used today include words like “salty” and “extra”. The word “salty” usually means a person is unnecessarily annoyed, upset, or bitter while “extra” means someone is displaying behavior that is considered to be over-the-top or dramatic. Historically, other generations have had their own set of popular slang terms, things like “rad”, “totally tubular”, or “far out” were other common terms that were only understood by a certain group of people in the past.

While slang language is used by a large variety of the population, it is also widely practiced among teens and other members of the drug community. The reason why they use slang words for drugs is to help conceal their actual meaning from their parents, or other people who might suspect they have a problem, when they are talking about drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, there are slang words for just about every popular drug that is out there. If you are a parent of a teen and you suspect they might be abusing alcohol or other illicit substances, and are using slang terms to conceal it, or if you suspect another loved one or a friend, then here is a common list of some popular drugs and the slang terms that are associated with them.

Marijuana

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Although legal in some form in many states, marijuana still poses some clear health risks.

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug made from the cannabis plant. It is often smoked in things like “blunts”, “bowls”, “swishers”, “bongs”, or “doobies”. It can also be eaten in “edibles”, “space cake”, or “hash cookies”. Marijuana became popular in the 70’s and is still a widely used substance among teens and other drug users. Some other names for marijuana include:

  • 420
  • Hash
  • Dojo
  • Mary Jane
  • Herb
  • Pot
  • Reefer
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DXM is found in various over-the-counter cough remedies. If taken in excess, it can cause psychoactive reactions in users.

Dextromethorphan (DXM)

DXM is found in numerous over-the-counter medications, most commonly in cough medications. It is abused by many teens and young adults as it’s readily available for purchase at almost any market or grocery store. Dextromethorphan has hallucinogenic and psychoactive effects when taken in abundance, it can also have very severe side effects. Common names for DXM include:

  • Robo
  • Red Devils
  • Triple C
  • Velvet
  • Juice
  • Tussin
  • Gel

MDMA

MDMA, or 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, is a dangerous psychoactive, synthetic drug that is popular among youth at places like dance parties, raves, or nightclubs. The drug is known to create a “euphoric” high along with other things like increased energy, but it has been known to cause some serious side effects such as addiction and even death, especially when combined with other substances such as alcohol. Common drug slang words for MDMA include:

  • Ecstasy
  • XTC or X
  • Molly
  • E or E-Bomb
  • Love Drug
  • Disco Biscuits or Dancing Shoes
  • Beans
  • Candy or Skittles
  • Thizz
  • Vitamin E, Vitamin X, or Malcom X
  • Rolls

Cocaine

Cocaine is extracted from the leaves of a coca plant and is normally seen in the form of a white powder. It can be snorted, smoked, or injected. It is a powerful and dangerous nervous system stimulant that can have many adverse effects. It has been known to last anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, making it highly addictive with an increased risk of overdose. Some slang terms that are often associated with cocaine include:

  • Coke
  • Blow
  • Powder
  • Dust
  • Nose Candy
  • White
  • Devil’s Dandruff
  • Ice
  • Charlie
  • Bump
  • Yale

 

Methamphetamines

Methamphetamines are a powerful class of stimulants that affect the central nervous system. Meth is usually seen in the form of a crystal like powdery substance that comes in rock-like chunks, sometimes being compared to “shards” of glass. Crystal meth is highly addictive and extremely dangerous. It is one of the most widely abused substances. It is also reported to have the highest relapse rate among users. Some other common names for methamphetamines are:

  • Crank
  • Chalk
  • Crystal
  • Glass
  • Shards
  • Gak
  • Fire
  • Speed
  • Ice
Riverside-methamphetamine-detox-drug-rehab-CA
Smoking meth is addictive and highly dangerous form of substance abuse in CA.

Heroin

Heroin is a high strength opioid made from a powerful drug known as morphine, which is derived from a naturally occurring substance produced from various poppy plants that are grown in places like Asia, Mexico, and Columbia. It is also very highly addictive and has caused a widespread pandemic that has swept across the country. It can be injected, snorted, or smoked. Heroin is commonly mixed with things like cocaine or meth, a deadly mixture known as a “speedball”. Other words associated with heroin include:

  • Black Tar
  • Smack
  • Dope
  • Black
  • Tootsie Roll
  • Brown Sugar
  • Junk
  • Anti-freeze
  • Dragon

 

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as LSD, is a popular hallucinogenic drug that is common among teens and young adults. LSD is usually seen in liquid form, it can be “dropped” on pieces of candy, paper, or even sugar cubes. It can also be seen as gel tabs or in the form of capsules. It is a highly dangerous and mind-altering drug that often leads to lack of inhibitions and is associated with serious adverse side effects. Other drug slang words for LSD are:

  • Cid, Acid, or Battery Acid
  • Lucy or Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
  • California Sunshine, Hawaiian Sunshine, or Yellow Sunshine
  • Dots
  • Doses
  • Looney Tunes
  • Tab or Tabs
  • Hippie
  • Blotter
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LSD, or acid has become popular again, especially in the rave and live concert scenes.

Ketamine

Ketamine is a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. It induces a trance-like state that helps to pain relief and sedation. It is a clear liquid or off-white powder. While it is sometimes used for medicinal purposes in both the human and veterinary fields, it is also highly abused by adolescents and members of the drug community. Ketamine has been known to have hallucinogenic effects and can cause respiratory distress and overdose when taken consumed for illicit purposes. Ketamine is commonly referred to different drug slang words on the street, such as:

  • K or Special K
  • K2, Super K, or Vitamin K
  • Cat Valium
  • Purple
  • Jet
  • Lady K
  • Kit Kat
  • Special Coke
  • Super Acid

 

These are just a few of the terms associated with the most commonly abused drugs. It is important to keep an eye, or an ear, out for anything that seems out of the ordinary or where the meaning is unclear. Any phrases or words that seem to be used out of context or repeatedly are other clues that it may be a slang term, trying to conceal drug or alcohol abuse. If you have concerns about a loved one who might be struggling with an addiction, please call us. We are available 24/7.

 

877-228-4679

 

 

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.

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

 

 

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

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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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The 2018 Opioid Bill

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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.

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The 2018 SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act was passed by United States Congress and signed into law by President Trump.

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.

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The opioid epidemic kills nearly 200 Americans every single day.

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.

Overdose Death Impacting Life Expectancy

woman suffered from drug overdose

In the 21st Century those of us living in America expect to live robust lives. Far longer than once thought possible, thanks to advances in medicine and a better understanding of healthy living. Fewer Americans smoke cigarettes across most demographics. And when people are diagnosed with certain forms of cancer the prospects for recovery are at times good. While average life expectancy has been steadily increasing over the decades, one variable has been tipping the scale—overdose death. Specifically, opioid overdose death.

It won’t come as a surprise to learn that American’s relationship with opioids has been approaching critical mass. We have steadily seen the number of premature deaths rise to greater heights with each passing year. There were more deaths in 2016 than in 2015, and overdose deaths are expected to surpass last year, in 2017. Overdose death is now the leading cause of premature death in America. And, believe it or not, these deaths are impacting figures on average life expectancy – for the worse.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shed some light on this subject. The researchers found that our life expectancy increased overall, from nearly 77 years to 79 years, between 2000 and 2015. However, the nearly two-decade spate of overdose deaths trimmed that expectancy by 2.5 months, HeathDay reports. Dr. Deborah Dowell from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention points out drug overdoses have more than doubled. With opioid overdose cases, more than tripled during the same time.

Reducing Overdose Death

“[U.S.] life expectancy is now lower than in most high-income countries,” said lead researcher Dowell, noting this as the is first decrease since 1993 at the height of the AIDS epidemic.

Studies like these don’t do much to save lives, but they do give society some perspective. With over 50,000 Americans dying from overdose every year, action is desperately needed. Failure to address this epidemic with greater urgency will result in greater death tolls with each subsequent year. Perhaps what is most troubling about all of this is the fact that treatment works, and recovery is possible. Yet, the majority of the more than 2 million opioid use disorder cases are never treated in any way.

What’s worse, doctors are often unable to read the writing on the wall when it comes to their patients. It’s no secret that physicians in the U.S. are only required to have minimal education in addiction and treatment. The majority of doctors are not even licensed to prescribed certain drugs that help opioid addicts strive for recovery. It is one thing to increase access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone. But, if overdose victims are not steered towards recovery, history is bound to repeat itself.

“There is an urgency to this problem,” said Dr. Adam Bisaga, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City. “The tragedy is, we have medication to treat opioid addiction. But death rates keep going up.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment

It doesn’t matter which form of opioid one uses, prescription painkillers or heroin. The risk of overdose and potential death is clear and present. To make matters worse, these are not easy drugs to abstain from due to the severity of withdrawal. However, as Dr. Bisaga points out, there are a number of meds that can help with withdrawal and treatment process. Dramatically increasing one’s ability to achieve long-term addiction recovery. If you are an adult male who has become dependent on opioids of any kind, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We can help you find recovery.

Addiction Treatment Recovery Vaccine

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At the beginning of the summer we discussed a topic of the utmost importance regarding addiction. A vaccine for heroin and other opioids. A drug that could influence one’s immune system to keep opioids from passing the blood-brain barrier. Effectively removing one’s ability to get high or overdose on an opioid. If you are thinking that this all sounds like science fiction, you would only be half wrong.

In fact, using animal models scientists have been able to accomplish the aforementioned task. But, given that, there are several other phases of research needed before such a drug could go to market. Specifically, human trials are needed to bear fruit before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will give its approval. A requirement that could be a long way from fulfillment. So, how close are way to seeing a vaccine for deadly drugs like heroin and fentanyl? The answer to that depends on who you ask.

Health and Human Services (HHS) vs Reality

With 142 Americans succumbing to opioid overdose every day, there has never been a greater need for a vaccine. While such a drug would not cure addiction, it could have a salient effect on overdose rates. Earlier this week, HHS Secretary Tom Price talked at a press briefing about the potential for an opioid vaccine, stating:

“The numbers are absolutely daunting — 52,000 overdose deaths in 2015; 33,000 of those approximately related to opioids. The numbers in 2016 are no better, and the numbers in 2017 are even worse than 2016,” Price said. “One of the exciting things that they’re [The National Institutes of Health -NIH] actually working on is a vaccine for addiction, which is an incredibly exciting prospect.”

Please take a moment to watch a short video of the press briefing:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

Unfortunately, Dr. Price’s optimism may be premature. There are three more phases of trials needed before an opioid vaccine could hit the market, CNN reports. A requirement that could go on for several years. If the opioid addiction epidemic has showed us anything, it’s that time is not on our side. Many more Americans with untreated opioid use disorder will perish before such a drug is available. Assuming it makes it through human trials.

“It’s a long process, and it takes years,” said Dr. Ivan Montoya, acting director of the Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Sometimes, the translation from animals is not necessarily the same in humans.”

Addiction Treatment Recovery Vaccine

Addiction recovery is not a cure for this most serious illness. However, those who utilize the various programs of recovery protect themselves from relapse. It is not a guarantee, to be sure. Although, in a way, going to treatment and working a program of recovery is an antibody for preventing recidivism. Working a program can be considered a vaccine, but its effectiveness depends on the individual. Their ability to stay honest, willing and able to practice the principles of recovery in all their affairs. Day in, day out.

It is hard to say if the opioid vaccine will ever become a reality. In the meantime, those looking to save their life must turn to recovery. It is their best shot of breaking the cycle of addiction and avoiding fatal overdoses. If you are in the grips of opioid use disorder, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today.

Heroin Vaccine Shows Promise for Addiction

heroin spoon syringe

Alcohol and substance use disorders have no known cure. There is not a pill you can take that will rid you of addiction. There are programs that you can work that will enable you to abstain from use for long periods of time without the need of relapse. And if such programs are worked with vigilance and honesty, people can refrain from use for the rest of their lives.

There are, however, drugs that people can take to assist in abstaining from drug and alcohol use. Such as Antabuse, Acamprosate, Naltrexone and Buprenorphine. However, they will only mitigate the risk of a relapse. Antabuse will make alcoholics sick when they drink. Regarding buprenorphine, more commonly known as Suboxone, users are still taking a partial agonist opioid receptor modulator. Which causes euphoria. The point is that these drugs are not intended to cure addiction. They are meant to help people get on the road to recovery. And stay the course.

In the field of addiction medicine, we could easily argue that at no other time in our history has a vaccine for addiction been more needed. People are dying in scores every day of the week from opioid overdoses. Those who seek treatment for opioid use disorder have especially high relapse rates. And there is no indication that the reality we all find ourselves living in today is going to change. At least not anytime soon. Nevertheless, addiction researchers continue to search in earnest for one.

Heroin Vaccine On The Horizon

As we mentioned earlier, relapse rates among opioid addicts are particularly high. Thus, and so, the need to mitigate the risk of relapse without the use of other opioids like Methadone and Suboxone is great. Fortunately, researchers have been working on a vaccine that would block the euphoric feelings caused by opioid use, Live Science reports. By blocking the high, the vaccine will reduce people’s chance of becoming addicted in the first place and prevent those already addicted from relapsing.

“The vaccine sequesters the psychoactive molecules that heroin produces and prevents distribution to the brain,” said study first-author, Paul Bremer, a graduate student at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).”It essentially uses your body’s own natural defense to neutralize the drug.”

Rather than cure addiction, the vaccine mimics part of the heroin molecule, according to the article. Conditioning the immune system to treat heroin molecules as foreign bodies. Disabling heroin’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus preventing the high. Trials on monkeys have proven successful, the next step is clinical trials. If the vaccine works on humans, it could have huge implications for the future of opioid addiction in America. The researchers at TSRI are talking with biotech companies to develop a human clinical trial.

“I hope the vaccine will be useful in conjunction with other drugs,” said study leader Kim Janda, a chemistry professor at TSRI. “While there are treatments out there already, I think we need to look at other ways of fighting this problem. This could be another piece of the puzzle.”

Opioid Addiction Treatment

It will be some time before opioid users can rely on any vaccine. In the meantime, addiction treatment is the only real course of action for those whose lives have been turned upside down from opioid use. If you are an adult male who’s addicted to opioids, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today. Our center has helped a significant number of people with opioid use disorder break the cycle of addiction, and begin the life-saving journey of recovery.