Thanks to the internet, everyone is an expert these days, but could a nation of experts lead to a nation of prescription drug addicts? We all have everything we need to know at our fingertips. The clinical staff at One80Center has seen such beliefs lead directly to tragedies that could have been avoided. However, Google is our God, and we all seem to believe the right facts are a simple keystroke away from being realized:
Who wrote The Beautiful and Damned? F. Scott Fitzgerald post Gatsby. How many pints in a liter? 2.11337642, of course. Is it okay to take OxyContin on an empty stomach? Sure it is if you know the dosage. Will I become addicted if I take one? Of course not. It takes time to develop an addiction. Unfortunately, such reassuring answers are often incorrect and downright dangerous. Google is not licensed as a medical provider, and we should not fool ourselves in terms of the quality of the information we receive when we search. It is inconsistent at best.
Experts or Prescription Drug Addicts?
Today, 37 percent of American adults at least occasionally use the Internet to investigate the possible effects of a drug, says a new survey from The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. Six percent admit they always seek health advice online, where professionals and nonprofessionals dispense advice at will. The Internet’s ability to equalize science and speculation makes the clinical staff at One80Center very nervous. Consumers who want to find quality information online can weed out the drug promoters and other weak sources by asking specific questions.
The National Institutes of Health suggests the following questions:
Is it easy to see who pays for and is responsible for the health-related website and its information? Is the website connected to a public entity or a private company? Is the website promoting a certain lifestyle or philosophy? What is the website’s purpose? If the given information isn’t written by the website creator, is the original source clearly identified?
The risks are heightened when the patient is surfing for information concerning prescription medications. When taken improperly, a medication’s molecular structure can become altered and therefore ineffective or dangerous. Kids often surf the web to confirm that it is okay to try and experiment with prescription drugs. The bad results can range from the deadly to the addictive.
Avoid international sites offering deals on prescription drugs. Some websites will feature a seal of approval from Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or VIPPS. A site also should clearly state privacy and security policies. If the site doesn’t include a physical address and phone number, avoid it altogether.
Prescription-level drugs never should be purchased if they don’t require U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, or if the online pharmacy doesn’t ask for proof of a written prescription for an authorized health professional. Doing so is illegal and a prescription for disaster online pharmacies such as the massive mail-order company Medco provide one-to-one pharmacy consultations over the phone. And full disclosure is always the way to go.
A Nation of Prescription Drug Addicts
Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone, experts say. Prescription drugs should not be abused and should not become an avenue for becoming a prescription drug addict. A nation of experts can quickly become a nation of addicts. If you want to learn about prescription drugs before a talk with a doctor, here are some consumer websites offering basic information.
One of the golden rules of the clinical staff at One80Center is embracing safety before taking any risks. If you make a mistake with prescription drugs, the results could be fatal. Be safe first, be smart and trust professionals with the experience and expertise you need to avoid unnecessary risks. For help, please contact One80Center by calling toll free 888.593.2301.
The Clinical Staff at One80Center fully supports California Attorney General Kamala Harris in her efforts to convince Governor Jerry Brown to restore funding for a prescription drug monitoring program. Known as CURES, it is a program that One80Center believes is a key to combating prescription drug abuse and prescription drug overdose deaths in the state. California should be a trailblazer in funding such a program, setting a standard for the rest of the country that hopefully will lead to a Federal funding to create a national prescription drug monitoring program and database.
Prescription Drug Monitoring Essential
A once effective system, CURES has been severely undermined by budget cuts. Rather than being realized to its full potential, the CURES program is lingering in the financial purgatory of California’s depleted state budget. The CURES database contains detailed information on prescription narcotics, including the names of patients, the doctors prescribing the drugs and the pharmacies that dispense them. Designed to help physicians detect “doctor-shopping” patients who dupe multiple physicians into prescribing drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Xanax, CURES was helping to turn back the tide of the prescription drug epidemic when it was being funded.
After Governor Brown’s unveiled his proposed $97.7-billion budget that actually projects a surplus, Harris immediately recommended that the extra funds should be used to restore funding to the CURES program. The California Attorney General said it was up to the state to make sure the money was “spent wisely… This includes smart investments that benefit Californians, such as restoring funding for the state’s prescription drug-monitoring program.”
CURES Is The Nation’s Oldest State Program
CURES is the nation’s oldest and largest prescription drug-monitoring program and once served as a model for other states. Today, it has fallen on hard times, reflecting the state of such programs across the country during the recent recession. What is such a tragedy is that the recession opened the door for the prescription drug abuse epidemic to spiral out of control. CURES data could have been used to save countless lived by monitoring physicians whose prescribing puts patients at risk. But it hasn’t been used to even a fraction of its full potential and is an effective tool that has been tossed aside. Such a choice is nothing less than criminal considering what is at stake.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends that states use such data to keep tabs on doctors. Today, despite the recession, at least half a dozen states do so. It is time that California joins that list and restores its once trailblazing reputation when it comes to the fight against prescription drug abuse. Shortly after Harris succeeded Brown as attorney general, the governor gutted the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement and the funding for CURES in 2011; Harris kept the program alive with about $400,000 in revenue from the Medical Board of California and other licensing boards. But it is down to one employee and has no enforcement capacity. It is a guard dog without teeth.
Will California Fund The Cures Program?
State officials have estimated it would cost about $2.8 million to make CURES more accessible and easier to use, and $1.6 million more per year to keep it running. However, officials say the program — with little or no additional financial resources — could now be used to identify potentially rogue doctors. Bob Pack, an Internet entrepreneur, has advocated using CURES more vigorously to track reckless physicians and pharmacies as well as doctor-shopping patients. He became active on the issue after a driver high on painkillers and alcohol struck and killed his two young children in the Bay Area suburb of Danville in 2003.
An aide to Harris said restoring the CURES program is a high priority. “She’s committed to fixing the database and making it as strong as possible,” said Travis LeBlanc, special assistant attorney general. The Clinical Staff at One80Center fully supports such efforts in the future. It is time to get CURES back on track and do everything we can to stem the tide of the prescription drug abuse epidemic before more lives are carelessly lost.
Los Angeles Authorities Raid And Shut Down 4 San Fernando Valley Pill Mill Medical Clinics For Dealing Oxycontin And Prescription Drugs
Before the holiday season, One80Center notes and endorses the proactive raids and closures of 4 San Fernando Valley pill mill medical clinics by Los Angeles law enforcement officials and federal authorities. Suspected of catering to addicts seeking heroin-like painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin as well as other prescription drugs, the closures of the clinics is definitely a step in the right direction. It is frightening, however, to learn that the pill model of drug distribution where legal facilities are designed as covers for illegal activities is becoming a prevalent reality in Southern California.
The investigation into the clinics was prompted by the apparent overdose death of a Ventura County man last month, officials said. Authorities closed the San Fernando Valley pill mill clinics — three in Reseda and one in Van Nuys — because of alleged labor code violations. The code violations, however, opened the door to a greater investigation. Searching the Encino home of the manager of two of the clinics, Los Angeles sheriff deputies found $300,000 in cash and another $300,000 worth of the powerful prescription painkiller OxyContin. The clinic manager, identified as Anush Davtyan, was arrested and is suspected of being involved in a scheme to sell the medication, which can fetch $30 to $80 a pill, on the black market.
The clinics employed eight physicians and physician’s assistants at various times. What is so alarming is that two of the physician names continued to be used to write prescriptions after the doctors had died. Prescriptions and pharmacy bottles from the clinics have been found on drug suspects arrested in Arizona, Washington and several other states, drawing the scrutiny of investigators. Pharmacies in several states also made complaints about the quantities of addictive and dangerous drugs contained in prescriptions from the clinics, and some big pharmacy chains made the decision not to honor such prescriptions from the San Fernando Valley pill mill medical offices.
After a 51-year-old Ventura man overdosed with a prescription pill bottle of the powerful painkiller OxyContin in his pocket, the investigation of the 4 San Fernando Valley pill mill medical offices began. The San Fernando Valley pill mill clinics are now the focus of ongoing investigations by several agencies, including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Medicare Office of Inspector General. Patient records and computers were seized during the raids at all three clinics. As a result, the prosecutions are believed to be in excellent shape with an exceeding amount of incriminating evidence in the hands of the authorities. One80Center hopes such prosecutions not only are successful, but lead to a renewed focus on illegal distribution and abuse of prescription drugs in Southern California. After all, the pill mills are not an exception to the rule, but a symptom of a greater plague raging in the hearts of the city, the state and the country as a whole.
Battling Addiction With Virtual Reality, Duke University Researchers Help Veterans Suffering From PTSD
Is battling addiction with a virtual world a real possibility? Scientists and technologists in the Duke University Hospital research program in Durham, North Carolina, are battling addiction in veterans by using a virtual world. Substance abuse has been a common problem for soldiers returning from both the present day conflicts and past conflicts as well. The clinical staff at One80Center is impressed that the virtual world is not imaginary, but actually based on the reality of the soldier’s actual surroundings.
Veterans Battling Addiction At Home
Veterans returning home to their families often are haunted by memories of the violence and death they experienced firsthand and plagued by the resulting post-traumatic stress. In many cases, soldiers suffering PTSD symptomatology turn to substance abuse to help mask the pain or cope with the disturbing emotions and negative impulses. The substance abuse results in the soldiers battling addiction as well as suffering from PTSD. What is frustrating is how little work has been done to help such soldiers alleviate their symptoms and avoid the pitfalls of addiction
The virtual gaming program used by the Duke researchers is a new strategy for battling addiction. The technology focuses on creating a virtual world as identical to the real world as possible. The computer-generated world has been designed to look like parts of Durham, even includes a local bar. Using a computer-generated world full of temptation, researchers are able to test former soldiers with anything from a glass of beer to a cigarette to even drugs.
Battling Addiction With Virtual Reality
Charles McCrimmon, a former Marine who returned home in 1977, joined the Duke study in August after dealing with PTSD symptoms for years. McCrimmon said he would drink heavily in an attempt to eliminate memories of his time overseas. He particularly has been plagued by a head-on collision he was involved in just before being deployed.
While still undergoing treatment for his flashbacks, McCrimmon says the virtual program has eliminated his desire to drink and improved his overall quality of life. The soldier is no longer battling addiction and alcoholism. “I don’t drink anymore,” said McCrimmon. “I still have those flashbacks of my accident, and I just don’t want to drink. Now I see things more clear, and life is more enjoyable.”
The virtual world tests McCrimmon and other soldiers like him so they can train their minds not to respond to cravings when faced with temptations like drugs or alcohol. The virtual experience actually is tailored to each individual. Beyond alcohol and bars, the world includes other characters and cues for crack cocaine use, marijuana or pills. Battling addiction and alcoholism is the heart of the program.
Duke psychiatrist and behavioral sciences expert Zach Rosenthal explains how the study is designed to help, “So once the cravings go down, there’s sort of this magic moment where learning has occurred. We think the brain is learning that, even if they are exposed to substance-related clues, they don’t actually have to use [drugs or alcohol].”
What has also made the study effective is an ongoing attempt to follow up with participants by using a cellphone tone sent to them a couple of times a day. The tone is designed to remind them of the steps they’ve learned to deal with the cravings, providing a combination of a reminder and positive reinforcement. One80Center admires the cutting edge work being done by the Duke researchers. Such technologies and aversion strategies hopefully can be proven to be effective and applied to people battling addiction across the board.
Expert Panel Opposes FDA Approval Of New Painkiller Zohydro, Citing Need To Stem The Prescription Drug Epidemic
A panel of outside experts brought in by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has voted against recommending Zogenix Inc’s Zohydro painkiller for FDA approval. In a break from past decisions, the panel cited concerns about the danger of addiction posed by the drug class known as opioids. If they choose, FDA officials could still approve the new painkiller by imposing certain restrictions to protect public safety. The Clinical Staff at One80Center approves the decision by the panel of experts to put safety first and profit second by making sure another dangerous new painkiller does not enter the marketplace without the proper safeguards.
New Painkiller Zohydro Rejected
In a strong rejection backed by an 11-2 vote, advisory committee members said the San Diego-based pharmaceutical company had met narrow FDA targets for safety, but that is not enough. The panel expressed worries that the new painkiller known generically as hydrocodone bitartrate had the potential to become a drug of choice for prescription painkiller addicts and abusers. Similar to oxycodone, the new painkiller is addictive with potential for widespread abuse.
Zohydro is a single-entity, extended-release product containing the narcotic painkiller hydrocodone with no other pharmaceutical ingredient. Health officials say hydrocodone, the active ingredient in Zohydro, is already the most widely abused drug in an opioid class linked to the prescription drug abuse epidemic. “Zogenix recognizes and appreciates that prescription opioid misuse and abuse is a critical issue. However, it is also important to remember that there is a documented patient need for an extended-release hydrocodone medicine without acetaminophen,” the company said in a statement.
FDA officials will consider the committee’s recommendation in deciding by March 1 whether to approve Zohydro for sale in the United States. The drug is designed to help those who require a round-the-clock painkiller for an extended period of time. Although effective pain management for chronic pain is needed, public safety must come first. “The primary thing has to be the public health,” said Dr. Judith Kramer of Duke University. “And I don’t see how we can’t see this as a promised repeat performance.”
7 Million Americans Abuse Prescription Drugs
An estimated 7 million Americans abuse pharmaceutical drugs. Prescription drugs account for about 75 percent of all drug-related U.S. overdose deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Three of every four deaths from pills involve opioid pain relievers including oxycodone. Avi Israel, father of an 18-year-old boy who suffered from Crohn’s disease and committed suicide after becoming addicted to hydrocodone, said: “Today we have a chance to save people… Ask yourself this question… do we really need another narcotic pill to help anybody with pain? We can’t handle what we have.”
Dr. Bob Rappaport, director of the FDA’s division of anesthesia, analgesia and addiction products, warned that the ultimate decision must be based on a tangible difference between Zohydro and other opioid-based medications already available. If there is no difference, then Rappaport said, “You’re punishing this company and this drug because of the sins of the previous developers and their products. And from a regulatory standpoint, that’s not really something we can do.” Then again, given the history of abuse associated with Oxycontin and Vicodin, helping to stem the ongoing prescription painkiller abuse epidemic must be a priority of regulators. One80Center believes public safety must be a top priority when it comes to addressing prescription drug abuse and choices made by the FDA and the federal government.
Highland Pharmaceuticals Claims To Have Developed A New Form Of Pseudoephedrine Called Tarex That Cannot Be Used To Make Crystal Meth
Highland Pharmaceuticals claims to have developed new form of pseudoephedrine that cannot be used to make methamphetamine. The formulation known as Tarex could reach the market in 2013, offering a cold-remedy alternative without the negative of being the key active ingredient in methamphetamines. Although the claim of the small St. Louis-based company has yet to be fully verified and scientifically proven, the Clinical Staff at One80Center believe it would be a huge step in combatting the crystal meth plague that has seized communities across the country.
Crystal Meth Resistant Pseudophedrine
Highland president and COO Jim Bausch said his company’s form of pseudoephedrine is just as effective as those currently on the market. The major difference, of course, is that Tarex can’t be extracted and used to make crystal meth. Bausch explained, “We can stop clandestine production of meth.” Some narcotics officers believe the Tarex technology could finally help turn the tide against meth labs that have ravaged much of the Midwest, South and West for two decades.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has done preliminary testing of Tarex using extraction and production techniques typically used by meth lab operators. Early results are “promising,” said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne, noting that testing continues and full analysis has yet to be completed. A problem is the ingenuity of illegal chemists and drug makers to get around such attempts in the past.
Shake -And-Bake Crystal Meth No More
Pseudoephedrine is found in popular cold and allergy medications. Meth makers combine the pills with dangerous and highly flammable chemicals to produce the drug, most often by shaking up the ingredients in a 2-liter soda bottle — a process known as “shake-and-bake” meth. A key to meth production is crystallization. Emilie Dolan of Highland Pharmaceuticals said Tarex interrupts the process because rather than crystallizing when heated with the chemicals, it results in a gooey substance. “Especially with the shake-and-bake method, you can’t get meth out of it,” Dolan said. “It kind of gunks up.”
“We Had To Do Something.”
Highland Pharmaceuticals began 12 years ago as a small firm seeking to improve technologies for drug delivery. Located in Missouri, surrounded by counties that have among the highest meth lab seizure rates in the nation, the company decided to confront the problem of pseudoephedrine. “With the huge epidemic in our own backyard that we hear about every night … we had to do something,” Bausch said.
Highland Pharmaceuticals wants Tarex to be exempt from new Missouri state laws that would require a prescription to purchase pseudoephedrine products. In addition, it has asked the DEA to exempt Tarex technology from the Combat Meth Act of 2006, which requires all pseudoephedrine products to be sold from behind the counter. The exemption would allow Tarex products to be sold in front of the counter. If the claims made by Highland Pharmaceuticals hold up to rigorous future testing by the FDA, then One80Center agrees that there is no need to keep Tarex behind the counter. If Tarex cannot be made into crystal meth, then there is no need to negatively highlight a simple cold remedy.
The Genetics Of Alcoholism Validate The Need For Alcohol Dependency Treatment And The Disease Model Of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholism is a genetic disease that affects different people in different ways depending on their family history and inherited genetic blueprints. The disease model of Alcoholism as expressed in Alcoholics Anonymous is widely denied because it is not understood. The denials tend to be based in stereotypical arguments about willpower and personal weakness. In truth, alcoholics have an inherited condition that leaves them prone to alcoholism and in need of qualified treatment like the individualized program offered by One80Center. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal helped to clarify these points by reporting on several recent scientific and academic studies about the genetics of alcoholism.
Positive Genetic Variations Preventing Alcoholism
The most obvious gene associations found to date involve the so-called Asian flush. Roughly 40% of people of East Asian descent carry one or two of the genetic variations that rapidly convert alcohol into the chemical acetaldehyde. This chemical causes nausea, rapid heartbeat and severe skin flushing. “You don’t even need a genetic test to detect it,” says Dr. David Goldman, chief of the Laboratory of Neurogenetics at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “If you have a dinner party and somebody has this variation, they’ll turn red when they drink a glass of wine.”
Researchers at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill have tentatively identified a “tipsy gene” that makes carriers feel inebriated after just one or two drinks. Between 10% and 20% of the population has this variation, and it is believed that this gene acts as a protection against becoming alcohol-dependent. The genetics of alcoholism reveal both positive and negative variations that seem to define a person’s relationship with alcohol.
Positive genetic variations can be used to help convince even the most strident opponents of the alcoholism as a disease model because they have such obvious physical manifestations. At the same time, such positive genetic variations in relation to alcoholism are far from any kind of absolute protection. “Even if you learn you have a protective version of some gene, you could still be vulnerable due to a gene we haven’t discovered yet,” says Dr. Goldman, who adds that anyone with a family history of alcoholism should definitely approach alcohol with caution.
Negative Genetic Variation Fostering Alcoholism
An example of a negative genetic variation that lead to alcoholism is that some people feel particularly euphoric when they drink, and this reaction is most likely due to variations in the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain’s reward circuits. A variation in the DRD2 dopamine receptor gene was identified in 1990 and found in a large number of alcoholics as well as drug addicts and smokers. It is important to note that later studies have been mixed in regards to the veracity of these findings.
Combining social dynamics with genetics, researchers at the University of California-San Diego reported that people with the DRD2 euphoric variation tend to have friends with the same genetic marker. As a result, their biological compunction to drink and social reinforcement are intricately connected, the authors noted in the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Like the Asian flush, some alcohol-related genes are particularly prevalent in certain ethnic or geographic groups. A recent study in Nature found that a rare variation in the HTR2b gene, linked to severe impulsiveness, is found almost exclusively in Finnish people. “Almost all these severely impulsive individuals are also alcoholic, and their worse impulsive problems occurred while they were drunk,” says Dr. Goldman, the study’s senior investigator.
Alcoholism and the Disease Model
The Clinical Staff at One80Center celebrates such scientific studies being done because the results back the disease model on such a conclusive basis. Once the disease model is accepted when it comes to alcoholism, the next steps can be taken to access the path of long-term recovery. If this research on genetic markers does not convince you that alcoholism is a disease and alcoholics need access to treatment options, it is hard to know what evidence could possibly accomplish such a task.
Why Does Smoking Pot Make Some People Crazy? New Study Connects Cannabis-Induced Marijuana Psychosis To Specific Genetic Marker
A new cutting edge study about cannabis-induced marijuana psychosis has found a specific genetic marker related to the condition. In a sense, the study has helped answered the classic pop cultural query of why does smoking pot make some people crazy. The Clinical Staff at One80Center applauds the ongoing scientific work that continues to reveal the genetic origins of the disease of addiction in all of its many forms. Each new study seems to confirm the disease model while providing more conclusive evidence of the dangers of marijuana abuse and drug use across the board.
A Genetic Marker For Marijuana Psychosis
As reported this month in Biological Psychiatry, the results of the study show people with the AKT1 rs2494732 single nucleotide polymorphism genetic marker who smoke pot are twice as likely to experience cannabis-induced psychosis compared with those who do not have the genetic marker. What is even more disturbing is that among people who smoke pot on a daily basis, the risk for psychosis increases sevenfold for those who have this genetic marker.
The case-control study examined 489 first-episode psychosis patients and 278 control subjects, investigating the interaction between variation at the AKT1 rs2494732 single nucleotide polymorphism and cannabis use in increasing the risk of a psychotic episode. The findings of the study provide strong support that this genetic marker nfluences the risk of developing marijuana psychosis. The genetic marker in question is one variation of a gene call AKT1. The new study confirmed earlier research that also linked this marker with the risk of marijuana psychosis. ”Our findings help to explain why one cannabis user develops psychosis while his friends continue smoking without problems,” said study researcher Dr. Marta Di Forti, of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry.
Do You Want To Roll The Dice?
Previous studies have linked marijuana with an increased risk of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. It is important to remember that only a small number of those who smoke pot will ever have a psychotic episode. What is positive, however, is that the findings could help identify which pot smokers might be at risk for marijuana psychosis. From the perspective of the One80Center Clinical Staff, it is more reason not to abuse marijuana in the first place and put yourself at risk by rolling the proverbial dice.
Positive Myths About Drinking And Pregnancy Disproved By New Oxford Study That Reveals Fetal-Alcohol Exposure Can Lower IQ
One80Center is happy that after years of contradictory scholarship and questionable scientific claims regarding drinking and pregnancy, a new study may finally have closed the door on the question. If you want to know what choice to make, just don’t drink clearly seems to be the best option for your child’s future health and intelligence. In the drinking and pregnancy study findings that were published in early November in PLOS ONE, researchers from the universities of Bristol and Oxford in England analyzed genetic variations to investigate the effects of moderate drinking during pregnancy. The title of the paper is – Fetal Alcohol Exposure and IQ at Age 8: Evidence from a Population-Based Birth-Cohort Study.
Moderate drinking was defined as six or less alcoholic drinks per week. The researchers used data from more than 4,000 mothers and their children from the Children of the 90s study (ALSPAC) that was done in England. The use of such data truly makes the study cutting edge, impressing the Clinical Staff at One80Center in regards to its validity and overall findings. Then again, it is not really all that surprising that drinking would have a negative effect on fetal development.
Moderate Fetal Alcohol Exposure Lowers IQ
Led by co-author Dr. Ron Gray, the study discovered that four genetic variants in alcohol-metabolizing genes among the 4,167 children were strongly related to lower IQ at age 8. The researchers noted that this effect was only seen in the children of women who were moderate drinkers. There was no effect evident among children whose mothers did not drink during pregnancy, suggesting that it was the exposure to alcohol in the womb that was leading to the difference in IQ. Heavy drinkers were not included in the study.
Previous studies relied on observational evidence, but this proved problematic and inconclusive. Observational studies often find that moderate drinking is beneficial. However, mothers who drink in moderation during pregnancy are typically well educated, have a good diet and are unlikely to smoke — all factors linked to higher IQ in the child. As a result, the potential negatives of drinking were masked, leading to questionable results in those past studies.
This study, on the other hand, used a technique known as Mendelian randomization. As Dr. Gray explained, it is “a scientifically robust way” of investigating the links between exposures and later diseases, using genetic variants that modify exposure levels. As a result, the findings are not as influenced by lifestyle or other factors difficult to control or regulate from an analytical perspective.
The children’s IQs were tested when they were 8 and an overall age adjusted total score was derived. “Our results suggest that even at levels of alcohol consumption which are normally considered to be harmless, we can detect differences in childhood IQ, which are dependent on the ability of the fetus to clear this alcohol… This is evidence that even at these moderate levels, alcohol is influencing fetal brain development.,”” said Sarah Lewis, Ph.D., Dr. Gray’s co-author.
Drinking And Pregnancy Do Not Mix
Furthering this key finding to the point of action, Dr. Ron Gray, noted that while the study was complex, its message was simple: “Pregnant women and women about to become pregnant don’t know which category they’re in. When you take that together it just strengthens the idea that it may be best for women to choose to avoid alcohol during pregnancy… Even moderate amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can have an effect on future child intelligence, so women have good reason to choose to avoid alcohol when pregnant.”
Experts Propose Urine Drug Test Guidelines for Prescription Painkillers, Prescription Opioid Therapy And ChronicPain Management Therapy
The clinical staff at One80Center acknowledges recommendations for urine drug test guidelines in regards to prescription painkillers that have been made after a period of intense investigation and an ongoing back-and-forth between experts. The recommendations were presented at the American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) 28th annual meeting. Patients who are prescribed opioid therapy for longer than 3 months should be subjected to random urine drug monitoring every 3 to 6 months, depending on their risk for abuse, according to the expert opinion statement.
The statement is deigned to offer guidelines to be adopted by doctors and clinicians across the country. “Clinicians need to recognize that all patients have a degree of risk for misuse of opioids and that monitoring is necessary to maintain patient safety, structure care with greater objectivity, and guide ongoing treatment decisions,” said the statement, authored by 11 experts in the fields of pain and addiction medicine.
Prescription Painkillers Urine Test Guidelines
“The group spent over 2 years putting this together,” said John Peppin, DO, co-chair of the panel, and director of the Clinical Research Division at the Pain Treatment Center of the Bluegrass in Lexington, Kentucky, in an interview with Medscape Medical News. “There was a lot of diversity, a lot of debate and argument. We want to use these technologies responsibly — they’re very expensive.” Dr. Peppin said the guidelines tried to answer 5 questions: whom to test, when to test, how to test, how to interpret the results, and how to handle discrepancies.
“We could literally test for a hundred things. Should we be testing for those hundred things in every test we do or not? Of course we’re looking for things that shouldn’t be there and we’re looking for things that should be there as well,” Dr. Pepin noted. “So, if they’re taking oxycodone we’ll certainly want to test for oxycodone. However, if they’re taking marijuana or cocaine or those kinds of things we want to know that. If they’re taking morphine we want to know that. So we need to tailor our tests and the things we’re looking for depending on the patient and the risk that they’re in.” From the perspective of the One80Center Clinical Staff, the presence of other substances easily could be a sign of co-occurring disorders and dual addictions.
Prescription Painkillers Co-Occurring Disorders
Interpretation of test results is also a complex issue, said Dr. Peppin. “If a drug’s not there, for example, let’s say they’re supposed to be on oxycodone and it’s not in their urine, where is it? Does that mean they sold it? Does that mean it ran out early? Does that mean they’re hoarding it because they’re afraid that at some point they’re not going to get it? It could mean a lot of things.” The Clinical Staff at One80Center has experienced such questions and challenges in the past with clients on certain medications. The idea that the absence of a drug in a screening can be as significant as the presence of a drug is an engaging and powerful concept.
After the initial test, the frequency of random follow-up monitoring should be determined on the basis of risk assessment with the Screener and Opioid Assessment for People with Pain Revised (SOAPP-R), according to the guidelines. Other validated and useful screens include the Current Opioid Misuse Measure (COMM) and the Opioid Risk Tool (ORT).
Risk Assessment Components
Additional components of risk assessment presented in the recommendations should include a patient interview that explores things such as “smoking history, past medical history, history of psychiatric diagnosis that predisposes patient to abuse, history of prior opioid use and known misuse, personal and family history of substance abuse, and social environment that poses concern over misuse or diversion.”
“Primary care physicians and pain specialists are largely practicing today without the benefit of structural guidance,” the authors of the recommendations write. “Because clinical opinion varies considerably with respect to [urinary drug monitoring], it is expected that the recommendations presented here will generate considerable debate among practicing clinicians and policy makers. Constructive and critical evaluation can now proceed in a way that can more meaningfully inform clinical practice and public policy.”
Given the plague of prescription drug addiction in this country and the extreme abuse of opioid prescription painkillers like OxyContin and Oxycodone, One80Center completely agrees that such guidelines are a necessity. Anything that will help prevent people receiving chronic pain treatment and pain management therapy from becoming addicts makes sense. Any medical recommendations and guidelines that protect clients from addiction are a step in the right direction.