From The Huffington Post: Celebrity Overdoses Highlight Prescription Drug Epidemic – Why Do We Need High Profile Deaths To Wake America Up?
Here is an article excerpted from a longer piece in The Huffington Post about the prescription drug epidemic. ONE80CENTER always avoid the tabloid approach to celebrity overdoses, and we respect the privacy of people across the board. Nevertheless, it is time for the rash of celebrity overdoses on account of prescription drug addiction and abuse to truly raise awareness across the nation and open the eyes of the public to this raging epidemic. It is not getting any better… it is only getting worse and the time for prevention is now!
Excerpts from the Huffington Post:
On Feb. 11, 2012, on the eve of the Grammy Awards, Whitney Houston fell asleep in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles and never woke up… it’s been well established that the 48-year-old singer ingested a cocktail of cocaine and prescription drugs before taking her final breath. Most notably, the toxicology report revealed that a ”plethora of prescription medication bottles” had been littered across her hotel room — 12 in total, prescribed by five different doctors. Among the drugs discovered were the anti-anxiety medication Xanax and the muscle relaxant Flexeril…
In the past decade, Heath Ledger, Brittany Murphy, Anna Nicole Smith and Michael Jackson were just four of the most famous stars to overdose on legal medication.
Their deaths reflect a larger wave of prescription drug abuse across the United States. .. Recent studies show that, in 2010, 2.4 million people age 12 or older began using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. That’s 6,600 persons a day.
According to a report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, overdoses from prescription drug medication have tripled in the past decade, up to 15,000 and more than the toll from cocaine and heroin combined… There are no illegal cartels profiting from the prescription drug epidemic. IA pharmacy system lacking centralized tracking (so that an addict may be able to recycle the same prescription to obtain hundreds of pills a month) and a pharmaceutical industry that spends millions lobbying against regulations that could squeeze their bottom line. And then there are the doctors…
Americans gained insight into the world of such excessively generous medical professionals during the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s personal physician, who allegedly administered a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol to the late pop star in June 2009. Two years after Jackson died, Murray was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison by the Superior Court of Los Angeles County. Portrayal of Murray throughout the six-week trial ranged from a sympathetic doctor who cured the troubled singer of his much-maligned insomnia to an incompetent professional who was a danger to society…
Since there’s little chance that doctors will suddenly start prescribing more responsibly or that the nation’s top 50 pharmaceutical companies will stop spending a chunk of their $600 billion in annual profits on lobbying, the best weapons against addiction are treatment for those who have already succumbed — and education for everybody else.
Prescription Drug Epidemic – Enough is Enough!
Enough is enough! At ONE80CENTER, we are sick and tired of seeing good people die for the wrong reasons, for stupid reasons as their lives are hollowed out into mere shadows by prescription drug addiction, leaving behind a wasteland of scarred family members and devastated children. Why do so many of us seem to need high profile tragedies in order to capture our attention and generate a little fire in our bellies? How many more senseless tabloid headlines will it take before the cry of “Enough is Enough” is heard across this country?
As we enter into the heart of the Presidential election, why do we hear nothing about the prescription drug epidemic from either campaign? Why do both the Republicans and the Democrats choose to ignore this growing problem that is affecting every community in America? Abortion will be debated left and right, as it is every election cycle along with all of the other hot button issues, but addiction will be shunted aside once again and ignored. Isn’t it time that addiction and the need for recovery becomes a central issue in the debate for the future health and well-being of this country?
If this plea sounds passionate and intense, it is because we are exposed at ONE80CENTER to the results of the damage being done every day by the prescription drug epidemic. To raise the stakes for money spent on prevention, education and treatment, no one else should have to die and there don’t need to be any more tabloid headlines or TMZ reports. Instead, we simply have to face the facts that if we do not do something, the prescription drug epidemic is only going to get worse.
CREATIVITY IN RECOVERY PART 2 – ONE80CENTER’s Executive Director Stephen Dansiger, PsyD, MFT discusses balancing sobriety and creative fulfillment
CREATIVITY IN RECOVERY Pt. 2 – Stephen Dansiger, PsyD, MFT
In our previous blogpost with ONE80CENTER Executive Director Dr. Steve Dansiger, (READ HERE), he discussed his development as a musician, his experience hitting bottom as an addict, and the creative hiatus that followed in the first years of his sobriety.
180: When you got sober, did you experience a lapse in creative flow? Were you scared to play music and write?
SD: For me, it was less about fear of the artistic process and more that I was afraid I wouldn’t stay sober if I didn’t give it up for a while. I was in a position where maybe I would have ended up touring as a musician if I kept going, and that didn’t feel safe. I was getting offers to play at the same time I was trying to get sober on my own…putting two weeks together at a time, curled up in a ball on my apartment floor. I just couldn’t do it.
180: Did you have any notion that the creative impulse was still there?
SD: I needed to heal for a couple of years in order to even know what the hell that was. I’d gotten to the point where music (and creative expression) was meaningless. It was free drugs and alcohol and women…but the creativity part was gone. I couldn’t even listen to music. And then it broke naturally. The way it manifested was like, “I don’t want to play drums anymore…I want to write songs.” I needed to drop everything and release my preconceived notions about what it meant to be a creative person and then it naturally started to form. And later, when my friend asked me to play drums with her along the way, I thought, ‘Oh, that sounds like fun, let’s try that.’
So I started writing songs and released a single that garnered attention called The Ballad of John Parker. I put together an album and another band, got another record deal and developed momentum for a second time. But in the end, I didn’t get the label support to keep it moving forward and things fell apart. Then my friend who had started the band I played drums for, she got a book deal and broke her band up and it was like the universe was saying, ‘Go ahead and try to be a songwriter, try to be a drummer…but sorry, you can’t have either one.’
180: Which leads to the nervous breakdown..
SD: Right. I couldn’t shoulder the disappointment of things not going the way I’d wanted. At the same time my musical career was going down the tubes, I’d also been teaching and working with high school kids in diversity training, which involved a lot of conflict resolution, anger management, prejudice reduction work–this was in the aftermath of the Crown Heights race riots. And even though I felt that the work had value, I was experiencing burnout from that as well. All of it led to a deep depression, which led to three different psychiatric hospital stays, each one worse than the last. My official diagnosis was depression with psychotic features. My friend Josh came and visited me at one point and told me years later, “After that visit, I thought you were one of the lost ones…I didn’t think you were coming back.”
At the time, I couldn’t even remember the last time I’d had a positive future-based thought. It was dark.
It was like the Universe was saying: ‘Go ahead…
…try to be a songwriter, try to be a drummer…
…but sorry, you can’t have either one.’
180: How did you get out from under it?
SD: I had been to a spiritual retreat at a Zen monastery early in my sobriety, so I’d had some exposure to Buddhism, and had been practicing what I’d learned by the time the depression hit. And when it got bad, it (the depression) was so beyond oppressive that any idea of something that could help lift it was out the window.
However, while I was at St. Vincent’s (psychiatric hospital), the one thing that I had said to Josh was, “I think I might get better if I go live at the monastery.” And since it was the only glimmer of hope I’d expressed, the doctors and my friends and family made it happen.
180: We talk about hitting physical, mental, and spiritual bottoms in treatment, recovery and sobriety a lot. When did things start to change?
SD: Twenty one days into my stay at the monastery, something specific happened that imploded / exploded the depression. I’d been working with a Zen monk who happened to be a Jungian psychologist, as well as a Zen master and doing a tremendous amount of mindful work: gardening, mopping the floor…basically whatever was in front of me. I was sitting on a cushion–still thinking very dark thoughts–but the idea came to me that maybe when I was done at the monastery, I’d teach kids how to do this meditation thing. And it was the first thought I’d had in months that indicated I’d have a life in the future. And then this wave of thoughts came out of that: ‘Maybe I’ll go back to the city, maybe I’ll have my apartment and my friends back, maybe there’s a woman…maybe I’ll have a life again.’ And later, during a walking meditation, I grabbed one of my friends and dragged him into the bathroom–which was where you went to talk and break the silence–and I said, “I’m OK!!” Because I got it. And he said he knew I was.
In the third and final blog, Dr. Steve talks about reshaping a creative identity, so stay tuned…
New Spectrometry Detection Techniques Evolve Into A Portable Technology To Combat Prescription Drug Counterfeiting
Becoming more and more of a problem, prescription drug counterfeiting is a major problem across the world. Speaking at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, Dr. Facundo M. Fernández described how his team has developed technology that reduces the time needed to check a prescription drug sample for authenticity from a half hour to a few minutes.
ONE80CENTER supports such international efforts to protect and validate the authenticity of prescription drugs. What is amazing to the clinical staff at ONE80CENTER is that the researchers are working on the prototype of an affordable, portable version of the device to battle prescription drug counterfeiting in the field. Fernández explained: “They could sort the good medicine from the bad immediately, without shipping samples to laboratories and waiting days or weeks for the results.”
Battle Against Prescription Drug Counterfeiting
From the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Fernández said new ways of revealing prescription drug counterfeiting is essential to the health of consumers. The counterfeiting problem is spreading with the globalization of pharmaceutical production. In addition, with the burgeoning market of prescription drug abuse and addiction, the production methods of the drug counterfeiters are becoming more sophisticated. In regards to prescription drug counterfeiting, Fernández said, “It is hard to tell from looking at the packaging. The packages look absolutely professional and authentic, sometimes right down to the hologram seal introduced to discourage counterfeiting.”
Counterfeiting involves all kinds of medications, from prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Percodan to lifestyle medications like Viagra to drugs for cancer, malaria and tuberculosis, diseases that cause millions of deaths annually. Incredibly, in 2011, the World Health Organization says that about 10 percent of medications worldwide are counterfeit. Estimates run even higher in poor, developing countries in Southeast Asia and Africa, where past reports have stated that as much as one-third of tested drugs are fake.
Spectrometry & Prescription Drug Counterfeiting
Fake medications sometimes contain the correct active ingredient, but at the wrong dose. Too much could result in an overdose and possibly death. Too little could result in drug resistance, leading to a situation where the real medication doesn’t even work anymore. To check the drugs, they use mass spectrometry (MS), a standard laboratory technology that weighs molecules in order to identify them. “So-called ambient MS methods require much less instrument and personnel time than traditional methods, so we use them as a first pass to look at the quality of large sample sets,” said Fernández. The team is now working on a prototype instrument that medical researchers could use to identify prescription drug counterfeiting in the field.
Fernandez illuminated how such a portable process would work in he field to battle prescription drug counterfeiting: “These are methods that let you analyze a solid sample without any significant preparation. You can take a tablet, put it in front of the instrument with an ionization source, and you get a quick snapshot of what’s in the sample. It provides a very high-throughput pipeline to identify suspicious samples quickly.” ONE80CENTER supports such incredible breakthroughs in technology, and we can imagine how such breakthroughs can be applied in recovery scenarios to identify substances and to even demonstrate the further risk of buying so-called prescription painkillers in an illegal environment.
Revolutionary Drug Research Breakthrough Offers A Light At The End Of The Dark Tunnel For Heroin And Prescription Painkiller Addiction
The war against the addiction to opioid drugs in a multitude of forms ranging from morphine and heroin to prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Percodan often feels like a never-ending war. Whether the drugs are obtained legally or illegally, once a person becomes addicted the battle to become clean is a struggle against one of the most manifestations of chosen slavery in our world. ONE80CENTER is amazed by the news of a new medical breakthrough that could possibly signal a turn in the battle and a path that could lead to a new era of freedom from prescription painkiller abuse and opioid addiction.
Naloxone And The Body’s Immune System Response
A new drug that could be a revolutionary breakthrough in both the treatment of addicts and the long-term management of chronic pain can block the immune system mechanics behind opiate addiction. Researchers at the University of Adelaide in Australia in conjunction with colleagues at the University of Colorado in the United States have pinpointed a key mechanism in the body’s immune system that amplifies addiction to opioid drugs. The results of the study showed that the drug (+)-naloxone (pronounced: PLUS nal-OX-own – a mirror-image drug to the widely known naloxone, or (-)-naloxone) would selectively block the immune-addiction response.
The results – which could eventually lead to new co-formulated drugs as assist patients with severe pain, as well as ending heroin addiction and prescription painkiller abuse, was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. The team has focused its research efforts on the immune receptor known as Toll-Like receptor 4 (TLR4).
Dr. Mark Hutchinson Leads The Research Team
The lead author of the study, Dr. Mark Hutchinson said:
“Our studies have shown conclusively that we can block addiction via the immune system of the brain, without targeting the brain’s wiring… Both the central nervous system and the immune system play important roles in creating addiction, but our studies have shown we only need to block the immune response in the brain to prevent cravings for opioid drugs… Opioid drugs such as morphine and heroin bind to TLR4 in a similar way to the normal immune response to bacteria. The problem is that TLR4 then acts as an amplifier for addiction. The drug (+)-naloxone automatically shuts down the addiction. It shuts down the need to take opioids, it cuts out behaviors associated with addiction, and the neurochemistry in the brain changes – dopamine, which is the chemical important for providing that sense of ‘reward’ from the drug, is no longer produced.”
The researchers said that opioid drugs such as morphine and heroin bind to immune receptors in the brain known as TLR4 which then act as amplifiers for addiction, ramping up the “reward” effect of drugs of abuse to a high degree. The new drug automatically shuts this effect down. “It really reduces the reward level down to the equivalent of food, sex, and hugs,” said Dr. Mark Hutchinson. In addition, senior author Professor Linda Watkins, from the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, went on to explain: “This work fundamentally changes what we understand about opioids, reward and addiction. We’ve suspected for some years that TLR4 may be the key to blocking opioid addiction, but now we have the proof.”
Clinical Trials In Eighteen Months?
Though clinical Trials are still 18 months away, Watkins goes on to say that she and her colleagues “believe this will prove extremely useful as a co-formulated drug with morphine, so that patients who require relief for severe pain will not become addicted but still receive pain relief. This has the potential to lead to major advances in patient and palliative care.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in the United States and the Australian Research Council (ARC) funded this study. Clinical trials for the new drug may be possible within the next 18 months.
The clinical staff at ONE80CENTER celebrates the findings and supports the positive applications of such revolutionary research. If we can stop opiate addiction at the onset by preventing the basic mechanisms of addiction from functioning, the battle potentially could be won. Although people wanting the intoxicating effects would still abuse the drugs, the costs and toll of opiate addiction could be rapidly decreased and lessened. As the research updates about the new drug continue to come out, ONE80CENTER will post future info about this incredible breakthrough in the battle against heroin addiction and prescription painkiller abuse.
DESTROYING OLD BELIEF SYSTEMS IN SOBRIETY…
One of my favorite quotes in the world is this one- “All that is gold does not glitter. All those who wander are not lost.” It really bringshome the idea that everyone is exactly where they are supposed to be. It also speaks of value systems- what one person may consider wandering and being aimless, may actually be someone finding their way- or that things of real value might not look like it at first. Like in Indiana Jones, when he goes into the ancient ruins to fetch the Holy Grail. He looks at all the beautiful, golden, jewel encrusted cups in front of him, and he selects the crudest one, made out of clay. That clumsy mud chalice was the sacred object so many had sought after.
tape, and finding gifts of great value. Initially, we go for what is appealing. But if you consider what it means when something is appealing, what is it speaking to? Something that is attractive to us holds the promise of awesomeness. Alcohol and drugs were like that, for me. They both whispered to me empty promises, they told me I was funnier, more social, more bold. They told me things would be better with a drink in my hand and a straw in my nose. I would be more creative. People would like me more. I would like me more. Lies! The Ego wants everything to be fabulous, all the time, while it sucks your blood dry. It loves it when we believe the lies that will eventually destroy us. Bad old Ego.
UC San Diego Study Discovers Adolescent Neural Patterns That Reveal Greater Risk For Future Problem Drinking And Potential Alcoholism
In a cutting edge study whose important findings honestly did not surprise the Clinical Staff at ONE80CENTER, researchers at the University of California at San Diego have uncovered adolescent neural patterns that contribute to our understanding of the biological origins of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The study revealed adolescent neural patterns and brain activity in adolescents that imply a greater future risk of problem drinking and alcoholism. The finding will be published in the September 2012 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Adolescent Neural Patterns & Alcohol Abuse Risk
Tracking 40 12- to 16-year-olds who reportedly had not started drinking yet but were on the verge of entering that phase of adolescence, the study conducted Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans on their brains. The study lasted for over three years and tracked the progress of their children and their reported experiences with alcohol. Half of the teens started to drink alcohol fairly heavily during this interval. The researchers discovered that kids who showed less activation in certain brain areas were at greater risk for becoming abusers of alcohol and potential problem drinkers.
Once the problem teens started drinking, their brain activity looked like the brain activity of heavy drinkers in previous studies conducted. Specifically, their brains showed more activity as they tried to perform memory tests. This pattern of heavy drinking typically included episodes of having four or more drinks on an occasion for females and five or more drinks for males. “That’s the opposite of what you’d expect, because their brains should be getting more efficient as they get older,” said lead researcher Lindsay M. Squeglia, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego. The findings add to evidence that heavy drinking has consequences for teenagers’ developing brains.
Predict Problem Drinking With Adolescent Neural Patterns
Although we have not yet learned all the clinical details of the study, ONE80CENTER will update this account with a future report on the specific findings. The study clearly adds a new layer to past research: there are adolescent neural patterns that predict which kids are at increased risk for heavy drinking. Such pre-existing vulnerability if understood could offer ammunition for preventative measures. Pre-existing vulnerabilities beyond family history and genetic predisposition that could be identified early through brain scans would be an effective tool in the battle against alcoholism. ONE80CENTER always has believed in the value of prevention and education. The problem with this notion of scanning all teenagers for possible alcohol abuse tendencies is that it may not be considered cost effective.
In addition, other recent studies have implied that environmental factors can be as powerful and damaging to adolescents as genetic factors. Such environmental factors shown to be damaging to adolescents, leading to problem drinking and potential alcoholism include exposure to advertising in the media, lifestyle choices related to class and money, and overall social and cultural wildcards. “You’re learning to drive, you’re getting ready for college. This is a really important time of your life for cognitive development,” commented lead researcher Squeglia. ONE80CENTER looks forward to seeing the results of the whole study and helping to strategize how to apply them in future prevention and educational methodologies.
CONFRONTING MY DAUGHTER ABOUT HER ADDICTION TO DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
Getting my Daughter to agree to go to treatment was not the dramatic blood bath I thought it might be. Sometimes families need an “Intervention” in order to persuade the Alcoholic/addict to seek help. This is done by a professional interventionist who gathers family and friends together who collectively recommend rehab.
The prospect of confronting my daughter, coupled with the desperate measures we had become willing to take felt terrifying. She was so unpredictable and reactive that I suspected she might bolt or go on another crazy drinking and drugging spree. However I learned there were ways to minimize that risk. Here are some of the measures we took when persuading her to go to treatment:
- Choose a quiet moment to talk to the alcoholic. They are much more likely to hear what you have to say if it is not in the middle of a row or at the peak of a drama.
- Never confront an alcoholic by yourself. I made sure I was not alone when I broached the subject of treatment. If possible bring in as many support team members as possible. My husband was with me in the room and we also had the support of her therapist and psychiatrist, who had backed our decision and were not prepared to endorse her way of doing things. It is so important to have support, as it helps us to stay on target and not give into games and manipulation.
- Keep Calm. I made sure that what I had to say was said LOVINGLY but FIRMLY. Addicts and alcoholics will get defensive at a drop of a hat, so it is important not to give them ammunition by letting our own behavior slip; this means loss of temper ,name calling and being abusive. In Al-Anon they say, ‘Mean what you say but don’t say it mean!‘
- Stick to “I” and “We” statements. For example: “I feel concerned about you…I am frightened you are going to harm yourself.” My husband and I listed examples of her behavior that really alarmed us and said that we were afraid for her safety. We had become used to our home being a danger zone. I would have to hide valuables and lock up my purse and all medication. Strange people would come in and out at all hours and when she got angry she would smash bits of furniture. I lived in a permanent state of high adrenalin just waiting for the other shoe to drop. My husband and I had forgotten what normal life looked like. Most of all, we were unable to parent our two other children in any consistent fashion.
- Stay consistent and firm. I was prone to giving into her manipulation and had just started to draw more serious limits with her such as, “No matter what you say, we will not live with active addiction.” She was throwing back comments like: “I don’t have a problem…You two are crazy to think I have a problem…You should be able to handle me as I am…You just want to get rid of me…This is all your fault…You are terrible parents…” and, “Who wouldn’t drink with a Mother like you!“ At one point I had allowed lines like this to absorb into me. I had felt guilty and responsible, which had led to my giving into her demands on many an occasion. Thanks to regular Al-Anon meetings, I realized I had a part to play in this destructive dance by enabling her: I let her off the hook and gave her money when she demanded. I had learned that the illness of Alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful, and it will do anything and say anything to protect itself. We had to just repeat ourselves in a gentle way.
- Set limits and boundaries. In our case this meant refusing to continue to fund her lifestyle. Luckily she had no money of her own and nowhere to live and was utterly dependent on us for all her material needs. My husband and I said that we would no longer give her money and support in her studying unless she agreed to go to rehab. This made her sit up and listen. We had to be 100% committed in following through on this, otherwise it was just another empty threat.
Amazingly (and after her initial rant) she agreed to try treatment for a few weeks. She even appeared relieved. Looking back, I think it might have been terrifying for her to be so out of control. Some drug addicts and alcoholics do not know where that next drink will lead them; it may be coming out of a blackout not knowing where they are or what time it is, or behind bars with a DUI. The only predictable thing about alcoholism is that it gets worse.
- Be ready to go. We had treatment all set a up and a bed ready and waiting . It was important to seize the moment once she had agreed as she could back track at any moment . We had to act quickly before she had time to change her mind. We planned to take her to treatment the following morning .
- Be prepared for one last drinking/using spree. Our daughter behaved as many addicts do by getting completely loaded the night before entering rehab. She was still high when I drove her to the center. Even though she threw out the odd venomous remark on our 45 minute drive such as I was able to let a lot of it wash off me. The important thing was that she was willing to give it a try. I had hope that this could be entering new and better chapter of our lives.
- Commend THEIR decision to seek help. Even though we may have orchestrated the various elements in finding a rehab it is ultimately their decision and they are taking a huge step in dealing with their addiction.
- Finally and most important of all TAKE CARE of yourself. If it looks like the situation is becoming dangerous or abusive the best thing we can do is get out of the way of the oncoming train. Accepting violence and abuse helps none.
She behaved as many addicts do by getting completely loaded the night before entering rehab. She was still high when I drove her to the center. Even though she threw out the odd venomous remark on our 45 minute drive such as I was able to let a lot of it wash off me. The important thing was that she was willing to give it a try. I had hope that this could be entering new and better chapter of our lives.
After More Than A Decade, Purdue Pharma, The Maker Of OxyContin, Agrees To Conduct A Clinical Study Of How The Prescription Painkiller Affects The Young
The effect of OxyContin on the young is finally going to be examined in a clinical study. More than a decade ago, federal regulators asked Purdue Pharma, the producer of the widely abused narcotic painkiller, OxyContin, to run such a trial. Although they started a study, it was dropped it in 2004 when the wealthy pharmaceutical giant cited limited financial resources. ONE80CENTER questions the validity of such a claim, considering the amount of profit that was being generated by Oxycontin prescription sales at the time. Without question, the Clinical Staff at ONE80CENTER believes that if prescription painkillers are going to be prescribed, they should be thoroughly tested across the board.
With OxyContin’s patent set to expire in 2013, the company has not surprisingly begun a huge study of young patients on the account of the huge financial incentive involved. By conducting the study, the company opens the possibility for a patent extension that is literally worth worth hundreds of millions of dollars. In 1997, Congress passed the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, the statute that created the incentive for drug makers to test their pharmaceutical products on young patients. Among the incentives is a possible six-month extension of protection from generic competition after a drug’s patent expired.
OxyContin Last-Gasp Exploitation
Since the time that the F.D.A. asked Purdue to conduct the research, doctors have prescribed OxyContin to tens of thousands of children and teenagers without the benefit of study data to guide them. The company’s long delay in complying with the Food and Drug Administration’s request has angered many in the recovery community. “It looks to me like a raw, crass, last-gasp exploitation of a drug that has been synonymous with misuse, abuse and harm to patients,” said Dr. Arthur Caplan, the head of the division of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Senator Richard Blumenthal Fights OxyContin
Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat of Connecticut who investigated Purdue Pharma while attorney general of that state, said that while the company might benefit from the pediatric testing law, its delay in running the OxyContin trial did not appear to reflect the statute’s spirit. Senator Blumenthal illuminated his point when he said: “If a drug is going to be used on children, tests to ascertain its safety should be run as early as possible.” Another problem is that so little is known about OxyContin’s long-term risks in adults, much less children. As a result, this study is like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. The Clinical Staff ONE80CENTER agrees with Senator Blumenthal that such a study comes way too late after so much damage has already been done. Rather than an attempt to actually help, it comes across as a hypocritical ploy to keep the profits of Purdue Pharma flowing at the expense of the American consumer.
NPR Reveals Suboxone Abuse As The So-Called Answer To Prescription Painkiller Addiction As The Drug Moves To The Black Market
Although Suboxone appears like an answer to prescription narcotics addiction and illegal heroin and opiate addiction, it is pointed out in an NPR probing report that it is also a very dangerous drug that should be managed only under the guidance of an addiction professional. Unfortunately, more and more addicts are turning to the black market and dealers to maintain their Suboxone supply in the tradition of marijuana maintenance. ONE80CENTER has used Suboxone to help wean clients off heroin and serious prescription narcotics like Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicodin, but only in the context of a treatment environment that is controlled and monitored. At the same time, we have treated clients unable to wean themselves off of Suboxone after being repeatedly prescribed it by hands-off physicians and medical professionals.
Suboxone Becomes Narcotic Addiction Maintenance
When Suboxone addicts have a hard time getting prescriptions, they are turning more and more to a growing black market for the prescription drug. Suboxone is very different from prescription painkillers and illegal narcotics. With the generic name buprenorphine, it is very hard to overdose on. Addicts mainly take Suboxone to avoid withdrawal symptoms and manage their cravings. But the use of the drug can become a maintenance addiction in and of itself as it helps people get back into the flow of daily life. But not without a dependence on Suboxone as a maintenance drug that often leads to relapse and greater difficulties.
Prescription Painkiller Addiction Rate Out Of Control
In the NPR report that is focused on New Mexico, we learn the state has the highest fatal drug overdose rate in the country, and it has battled against one of the worst heroin epidemics seen in any state. In addition, a recent report from the New Mexico Department of Health shows the sales of opioid pain relievers that are popular recreational drugs increased by 131% between 2001 and 2010. “A lot of physicians are very resistant to prescribing Suboxone because they fear it will attract opiate addicts to their practices which brings with it a whole can of worms in terms of managing those clients,” says Seth Williams, a nurse practitioner who treats the homeless in Albuquerque. ONE80CENTER believes that Suboxone should only be used as a temporary transition that leads to actual sobriety and a sustainable path of long-term recovery.
Buprenorphine — the main ingredient in Suboxone — has become one of the only drug s that doctors can prescribe in their offices to treat heroin and pain pill addiction. Because it is an opiate, the regulations are strict. Doctors have to complete a special training, and there’s a limit to the number of patients they can see. But the need for opiate treatment has drastically increased so Suboxone has moved to the black market.
Since the prescription drug overdose death rate in the US is three times what it was in 1999, ONE80CENTER believes that Suboxone should be used when it can be monitored and help to reduce the damage done by opiate addicts. As a harm reduction methodology, Suboxone makes sense, but not as a long-term answer.
Suboxone Black Market Is Not The Answer
If Suboxone gains a reputation as a street drug answer to narcotics addiction, a bad problem will only grow worse. NPR raised a lot of valuable answers in its piece on the challenges of Suboxone. If anything, it falls right in line with the ONE80CENTER belief that the prescription painkiller problem in America is only getting worse and needs to be addressed by professionals. Harm reduction and drug maintenance strategies are not the long-term answer for addiction. The only true answer is sustainable recovery in the form of a commitment to true sobriety.
MIRACLE / n.-
a surprising and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is considered to be divine.
Recently I spoke with a new friend over lunch about the miracles of life in recovery. It’s a subject that I will never tire of, because in truth, there really isn’t anything quite as interesting as hearing about how events synchronized in just such a perfect way, as if some invisible hand was guiding things along with that exact ending in mind. I rescind–there IS one thing more interesting than hearing stories like that, and it’s living in that zone where life always feels like you are being protected and guided by invisible forces. It’s fascinating to talk to others who also live in that zone, and then you have confirmation that this place is really a magical fountain of possibility available to anyone who seeks it, or, as one of my favorite quotes goes: “The universe is full of magical things, patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
Miracles make the very vivid statement that 1) a loving God was intervening 2) to overturn the painful way that things normally work here, so that 3) sickness and suffering could be replaced with healing and happiness.
-from A Course In Miracles
him. I believe the newcomer had 30 days sober. Maybe they had called my friend to ask about a meeting, and the conversation turned into this life or death situation that he was facing. The newcomer heard the doctor’s name and perked up; not only did he know the physician in question, they were related! He was able to make the phone call that saved the life of my friend, who is now cancer free. It would have been great if they could have met, but that newcomer relapsed, overdosed and died. But in that one moment, all of the pieces fell into place, and a miracle happened.