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.
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.
The “Matriarch of the Blues” has died. Music legend Etta James died Friday morning at Riverside Community Hospital in California of complications from leukemia. She was 73. She was born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles in 1938. Her first manager and promoter cut up Jamesetta’s name and reversed it: Etta James.
Last night when I heard she passed, I was reminded of one night in the 90s when I went to the House of Blues with my then husband. We went up to the Foundation Room, which at the time was rather exclusive, without knowing who was playing on the stage below. As we stood around drinking and talking to people (I have no recollection of who or why we were there) I heard the song “At Last,” coming from the television monitors placed around the exclusive club, showing the performers on the stage below. Everyone knows that song; and I think for most people it has some significance, even if you can’t even say what it is. I remember my knees buckling a bit, and I wanted to get down to the concert area, but I also didn’t want to leave the monitor, hearing that song, and that voice, at that moment. I heard something in that voice calling me out. It would have been the same if she had been singing my very name. She had my undivided attention.
What I didn’t know at the time was that in her voice was the struggle that I would soon face myself- the struggle for independence from the slave master of addiction and alcoholism. For many years, she battled the disease. At the time, I was still in the grip of it.
She is quoted as once saying, about her youth-’I wanted to be rare, I wanted to be noticed, I wanted to be exotic as a Cotton Club chorus girl, and I wanted to be obvious as the most flamboyant hooker on the street. I just wanted to be.’ This sounds like the battle cry of most female addicts and alcoholics. We want the glamour, we want what it promises, without realizing that the promise is empty and that glamour is a big lie. I hadn’t realized it yet at the time. I didn’t know I had a problem and I didn’t know I was invested in a lie. Standing there, in that club, in a clingy designer dress and stealing away to the bathroom to do cocaine, with a tumbler full of straight chilled vodka, I thought I was living the life. But there was a nagging sense that it wasn’t real, and I sought to shut that up with every drink, every line, every pill. Etta James and I had a lot in common, and I think I heard that in her voice that night. It gave me chills.
In 1960, James was introduced to heroin. This is not unusual for many of the great singers of her time, it seems. And the story isn’t that unique, either. Johnny Cash, Ray Charles- many succumbed to this substance, and lived to tell the tale. In her time, it was unique in that she was a woman, and was established as a force to be reckoned with in a mostly male dominated culture and industry. She alternately made some of her best recordings during this time, while trying to maintain her drug lifestyle, which resulted in time behind bars. She spent all her money on drugs, almost sacrificed her career, bounced checks, forged prescriptions and stole from her friends. A judge finally gave her a choice: prison or rehabilitation. In 1974, she spent months in recovery at a psychiatric hospital.
At that time, Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones, a long time fan of Etta, wrote her a letter, telling her that if she stayed clean, she could open for the Rolling Stones on tour. In 1978, she did just that. It took over 2 decades for James to finally overcome her addictions, during which she spent much time in and out of Tarzana Psychiatric Hospital and The Betty Ford Clinic. By the ’90s, she’d reached a new generation of fans and won a Grammy. And I was one of that new generation. It was in the 90s that I had that moment at the House of Blues. I felt like someone had pointed a finger at me and said, “You, yeah, you. She’s got your number. Listen up.”
She did. We both found our way into recovery, finally into a life of peace where our skin fits. We finally got to recognize the lie we so desperately wanted to be true. In her voice one hears the past heartbreaks, the grit of living hard, the soft and sugar-y tone like angels melting that comes from the deep and weaponless soul of a woman. You can hear recovery in her voice, the struggle to own oneself and the emancipation, when one is finally free. That strikes a chord for anyone who has been there, or is there now. Like the sounds that only dogs can hear, it might be true that only we addicts and alcoholics can even hear it in her voice, it might be true that it might not strike the same chord in others as it does with us.
Regardless, she definitely struck many chords with many people. ‘Etta James was a pioneer. Her ever-changing sound has influenced rock n’ roll, rhythm and blues, pop, soul and jazz artists, marking her place as one of the most important female artists of our time,’ said Rock and Roll Hall of Fame president and CEO Terry Stewart. ‘From Janis Joplin to Joss Stone, an incredible number of performers owe their debts to her. There is no mistaking the voice of Etta James, and it will live forever.’
For any one of us to be able to pass out of this world into whatever awaits as a sober person is a great victory of the spirit. Our addictions are our prisons, and we are the key master of our own cage. To be liberated, to own oneself, to know oneself, and to die in this exalted state is the best way to exit this mortal coil. I am inspired that she fought to give this to herself in life, and in her passing moments, and I am grateful for the legacy she leaves behind.
Rest in peace, Etta James
In An In-Depth Analysis, A British Panel Of Addiction Experts Ranks Alcohol As The United Kingdom’s Most Harmful And Dangerous Drug
The Clinical Team at ONE80CENTER were not surprised when an in-depth study by a panel of British Experts concluded that alcohol is the world’s most dangerous drug when you consider the harm it does to drinkers, their friends and families and to society in general. The damage that alcohol does exceeds the dangers of any other drug category examined, including, methamphetamine, heroin and crack cocaine. When the overall danger to both the drinker and to others is taken into account, alcohol clearly presents the greatest ongoing societal problem.
True Danger Of Alcohol Revealed Is No Surprise
Are you surprised that this is the conclusion of a panel of British experts that assessed and ranked the harm caused by 17 different drugs, both legal and illegal? Members of Britain’s Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (ISCD) and two specialists from the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) carefully assessed the harm caused by each drug in 16 separate categories. The scientists ranked each drug on a scale of 0 to 100 in nine areas related to the harm that the drugs do to the individual and seven categories of harm they do to others.
In the comprehensive study, the British panel looked at the physical, psychological and social harm the drugs do to life expectancy, health risks, dependence, mental functioning, loss of tangibles and property, loss of relationships, crime, costs to society, family adversities and other factors. By applying a multi-criteria analysis to each drugs included, then weighing the priority of the harms and the relative dangers, the scientists were able to give each drug a score that could be compared and combined across all 16 criteria. Alcohol easily came out on top.
What is so impressive about the study is how comprehensive the examination of the harm done by substance abuse to both the individual abuser, his family and social circle, and society as a whole. The criteria went well beyond drug-specific mortality and drug-related mortality to examine the economic cost of the substance abuse and the overall damage to the community as a whole. Such criteria are invaluable to seeing the whole picture of the cost of substance abuse and addiction that the staff at ONE80CENTER experience with our clients on a daily basis.
Although the panel’s analysis showed that heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine were the most harmful drugs to the individual using the relative substance; alcohol, heroin and crack were the most harmful to others. When the two harms were combined, the overall most harmful drugs were alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine. Without question, in American society, the clinical experts at ONE80CENTER would point out that prescription painkillers and methamphetamine now most likely should be categorized at the top as well.
With A 72 Out Of A Scale Of 100, Alcohol Ranks The Highest
Here are the scores each drug received for overall harm caused on a scale of 0 to 100 since they are hard to read in the above chart. This is in descending order:
- Alcohol 72
- Heroin 55
- Crack Cocaine 54
- Methamphetamine 33
- Cocaine 27
- Tobacco 26
- Amphetamine 23
- Marijuana 20
- GHB 19
- Benzodiazepines 15
- Ketamine 15
- Methadone 14
- Mephedrone 13
- Butane 11
- Anabolic Steroids 10
- Ecstasy 9
- Khat 9
- LSD 7
- Buprenorphine 7
- Mushrooms 6
The ISCD panel, chaired by Professor David Nutt, concluded that the current drug classification systems do not take into account the actual harms done by various drugs and have little relation to that harm caused. “It is intriguing to note that the two legal drugs assessed — alcohol and tobacco — score in the upper segment of the ranking scale, indicating that legal drugs cause at least as much harm as do illegal substances,” Professor Nutt told reporters. Nutt believes public health strategies need to be adjusted to aggressively target the harm that alcohol does. If not, the damage will only continue to increase.
In recent experience, ONE80CENTER has found that co-occurring substance abuse is becoming the normative reality among our clients and addicts in general. When a prescription or illegal drug is being abused, alcohol seems to go hand-in-hand with this abuse. Alcohol often is used either as a starter substance in the beginning to get the party going or as a way to come down and take the edge off at the end of the night or in the bright glare of early morning.
In addition, since alcohol is so readily available in public venues and private homes. It becomes natural for the drug user to drink alcohol in multiple forms whenever the opportunity arises. Whether it is a beer with buddies, a bottle of wine over dinner, or mixed drinks and shots at a bar, alcohol’s presence is ubiquitous and the damage extreme. If you have a problem with alcohol or any substance or drug that you believe you or a loved one is abusing, contact ONE80CENTER and begin the path of long-term recovery.
SAMHSA Report Shows Huge Surge In Number of Americans Treated for Addiction to Prescription Painkillers From 1999 to 2009
According to a SAMHSA report (the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), rehab and treatment center admissions related to prescription painkillers, mostly due to use of prescription opioids, which include painkillers such as oxycodone (Oxycontin) and Percocet have increased dramatically in the United States between 1999 and 2009, according to a new national report by SAMHSA. The staggering increases for prescription drugs over the 10-year study period shocked the researchers. When the clinical experts at ONE80CENTER learned of the study results, they were not surprised in the least. Admissions at ONE80CENTER for prescription painkillers have been consistent and increasing every quarter. The prescription drug problem is simply out of control.
Rising Abuse of Prescription Painkillers
The findings of the study showed that 96 percent of the nearly 2 million admissions to treatment facilities that occurred in 2009 were related to alcohol (42 percent), opiates (21 percent), marijuana (18 percent), cocaine (9 percent) and methamphetamine/amphetamines (6 percent). The report from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identified trends in the reasons why people are admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities. The SAMHSA report revealed that prescription drugs were to blame for 33 percent of opiate rehab admissions in 2009 — up from just 8 percent a decade earlier. And the key prescription painkiller and opiate narcotic that led to this increase is Oxycontin and its rising abuse among teenagers and young people. Oxycontin abuse and addiction is at the heart of the abuse of prescription painkillers.
Does that statistic take your breath away as you come to realize how serious prescription painkiller abuse and addiction have become in our society? A four-fold increase in ten years is staggering, but it very could be a drop in the hat compared to the next ten years. In the past couple of years, Oxycontin abuse and addiction has been increasing both in the so-called legal pill mills, doctors abusing their prescription pads, and street dealers making prescription painkillers the main money staple of their illegal drug inventories.
SAMHSA Report Shows Huge Increase In Opiate Addiction
Compounding the problem, 44 percent of those who abused alcohol admitted to using other drugs as well. Co-dependency and co-addiction is becoming more and more common. “This new report shows the challenge our nation’s health system must address as the treatment needs of people with drug and alcohol problems continue to evolve,” SAMHSA administrator, Pamela S. Hyde, said in an agency news release. “People often arrive in treatment programs with multiple problems — including dependency or addiction to multiple substances of abuse.” Since prescription painkillers like Oxycontin and Percocet are legal and prescribed, people seem to be more casual in their abuse and less likely to realize the dangers of addiction and overdose. SAMHSA is focusing on a strategy of education, awareness and prevention.
In the report, however, Hyde made it clear that the rise in patients and addicts seeking treatment for prescription painkiller abuse was the most surprising statistic. The rise in Oxycontin addicts and prescription opiate abusers across the board is a plague that must be addressed today. The clinical team at ONE80CENTER is continuing to do provide not only the best in alcoholism and addiction treatment services, but also raise awareness and foster prevention of the prescription painkiller problem at hand. If you or a loved one is abusing prescription painkillers like Oxycontin or any prescription drug, contact ONE80CENTER today by calling toll free 888.588.4180.
It is inevitable, in recovery, that you will experience the loss of acquaintances and friends to the disease of alcoholism and addiction. For me, there is nothing more tragic than the waste of a life to a substance. I take that back, there is a lot of tragic and un-necessary suffering and death in the world, too much of it. But the loss of life from this disease strikes close to the heart, and strikes close to home.
I have seen how this affliction starts out, in childhood, the feelings of irritable discontent, not fitting in, feeling like an outsider, an interloper, a fraud. I personally know what it feels like to feel like the rest of the world got a handbook and I didn’t. And I know how it feels when you finally find a solution to the problem, which, in our case, is the open arms of drugs or alcohol. As addicts, we never learn to find solutions elsewhere- why would we? It works for us, we think. It gives us a sense of security, of control, of euphoria, of belonging. Until we are completely taken hostage and we are no longer choosing to do the substance but have no choice, and are therefore prisoners to our addiction. When we come to recovery, we finally have an alternative. Its not always an easy choice. The statistics, if they are to be trusted, illustrate this. And if you are curious about them, I suggest doing some research, but they are, errrrr, sobering.
There is the image I have in my mind of something I once read of a bird, sitting in the cage although the door is wide open. Even though this bird had sung of wanting freedom every day of its life, when the door was opened, it wouldn’t leave. We think we want out of the prison, but we are too frightened of what is outside the bars. We can’t not trust that it will all turn out okay. We stay imprisoned. We relapse. Or, I should say, a relapse happens which slams the door shut again.
That door opens when we get sober. We have the opportunity for a life beyond our wildest possible dreams, and at nearly 5 years sober, I can attest to it. Its true. Sobriety is worth giving every single ounce of effort to keep, no matter what. And yet there are those who can’t handle the freedom that is being offered, and the sure fire way to shut the door again is to use. Too often, that person will go back to using the same quantities of the substance that they did before attempting to get sober, and it kills them. I know 5 people in the past year- young, funny, smart, sweet, spirited people, who experienced this very same thing. After a few months clean, one’s tolerance is down, and that return dose to slam the door shut is fatal.
It is controversial to state that we need to inform people that they need to be mindful of this if they relapse. I don’t mind controversy, though. Its controversial to hand out condoms to teenagers, as if we are condoning teen sex. It is controversial to dispense clean needles to addicts so that they don’t spread disease. But these are measures meant to save lives. Many people have relapsed, and sometimes it takes several of them before they finally get it. I wish that the 5 people I mentioned had lived through that last fatal relapse- it might have been their bottom, or their second to last. They might have gone on to lead productive lives. But they foolishly returned to the doses they were familiar with, and they didn’t get that chance. I’d rather see someone live through their mistakes and get another chance to get this thing.
I am one of those people who nearly didn’t survive. When i was 18, I was addicted to pills. My source was compromised, I had a gnarly detox, and then I moved onto alcohol, pot, lsd, and ecstacy. I went on Grateful Dead tour. And when I got home, I was disoriented and restless, and I wanted my pills. I scored my normal amount, which was a variety of 20 or so downers. And I died, blue, cold, on the floor of my dad’s living room. I woke up in four point restraints in CCU. I was lucky, and yet I went on to use for another 20 years. I also went on to have beautiful children, to acquire nearly 5 years of sobriety to date, and to become a productive member of society. I almost didn’t, and I am so glad I was given a second chance.
THE FIRST MYTH: You can be in a relationship with and love someone using prescription opiates and/or heroin while remaining separate from the problem at hand.
This situation seems to happen all the time, and it is downright tragic. We constantly see the problem in both clients and 12-Step programs. A woman falls in love with a guy who is chasing the dragon by smoking black tar heroin, using the needle to inject opiates, or snorting OxyContin and Percocet. Addicts tend to be very emotional people, and the drama of their emotions ignites a base attraction. Quickly, a psychological co-dependence is developed along with possible sex addiction as well. When he starts to offers her the drug and presses her to become involved with her schemes, she inevitably gives in to the pressure. Nothing connects a young couple like the horror of addiction.
Heroin is no joke and you cannot be Switzerland when your loved one is trapped in Nazi Germany. You cannot remain neutral and distant in a relationship with an opiate addict. And the same is true of cocaine and crack as well. Either you are part of the problem or part of the solution. If you remain in the storm, you are bound to get wet. It happens almost every time unless the relationship ends or recovery is embraced.
THE SECOND MYTH: Sex is so much better and more intense under the influence of drugs. Being high creates the most memorable sexual experiences of all.
Drug addicts of all types mistakenly believe that drugs and sex go hand-in-hand, providing the ultimate release and true satisfaction. Without drugs, they can’t imagine having sex. But their sexual relations tend to be shallow and empty, lacking true emotional comfort and intimacy. Sex addiction becomes common and ugly. It is not surprising that drugs are taken to enhance sexual sensations. But the myth of Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n Roll is simply bullshit: it is a lie and a con that has resulted in tons of abuse and addiction, tragedy and brokenness.
Cocaine and other stimulants often extend the length of sexual intercourse, but actually prevent the male orgasm. In such cases, sex becomes somewhat unbearable. Heroin and opiates reduce the need need for sex by replacing it with the drug, making sexual relations secondary at best. With long-term use of heroin, partners who take the drug often become completely sterile. Drunken sexual encounters tend to be regrettable and forgettable at best and often lead to cases of rape and violation.
Sexual experiences when high are as empty and meaningless as the drugs themselves. Rather than creating a real connection between couples, they turn sex into a form of self-gratification. The intensity of actual intimacy is replaced by the false intensity of the drugs. Upon becoming sober, past sexual experiences while high fade into a morass of regret as the disease of perception is understood. So much that was so amazing turns out to have been exploitive and gross. Sex is not better when high; it is just one more excuse to escape.
THE THIRD MYTH: Hallucinogenics like Acid (LSD) and Magic Mushrooms and Club Drugs like Ecstasy and GHB are safe to take because they are not addictive.
According to doctors, long-term users of hallucinogenics and club drugs become physically and psychologically dependent on the drugs. Acid (LSD) and Ecstasy are thought to be “fun” party drugs that are safe to use because they will not lead to addiction or negative consequences. In truth, the very opposite tends to be the case, and the health of long-terms users is affected drastically.
The short-term consequences of using such drugs are often tragic and horrible. Ecstasy and GHB have been linked to a multitude of drug overdoses and deaths at raves and in the club scene. They also lead directly to date rape and sexual abuse when taken by young women who do not know what they are doing. Acid (LSD) and magic mushrooms have been linked to countless examples of people doing harm to themselves because of the extreme nature of tripping. Whether they jumped off a balcony because they believed they could fly or got hit by a car because the dazzling lights distracted them, the consequences are often unexpected and extreme.
In terms of the long-term consequences, at ONE80CENTER, we have encountered many cases of young people battling severe psychological addictions to club drugs and hallucinogenics with physical manifestations. Whether they are twitching and shaking or feeling deeply uncomfortable in their own skin, the signs are clear that these drugs are far from safe and definitely addictive if taken over time. If you are having trouble with so-called party drugs or any form of drug abuse or addiction, please contact the clinical experts at ONE80CENTER by calling 1 (888) 588-4180 for the help you need.
Prescription Drug Abuse Among Young Adults And Teens Is Leading Directly To Illegal Drug Abuse And Heroin Addiction
As ONE80CENTER has pointed out recently, prescription drug abuse among teens and young adults is growing at an almost exponential rate. What is frightening is rather than replacing illegal drug addiction, abuse of prescription drugs and opiate pain relievers is leading directly to illegal drug abuse and heroin addiction. In a recent state hearing, law enforcement experts informed the California State Assembly that prescription pill abuse opens the doors to extreme illegal drug abuse and only increases the problem. While prescription drug abuse remains the essential issue, the illegal drug problem is growing as well and not going anywhere anytime soon.
Since teens and young adults can easily obtain prescription pills, such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and Xanax from the medicine cabinets of their families and on the street and in the schools, such casual experimentation has become the new gateway to heroin addiction and traditional hard drug abuse. Since the prescription pills are legal, young adults and teens do not see a stigma in taking them. As a result, they are much more willing to experiment and take drugs that they would never have taken in the past. Such experimentation quickly spirals out of control in habitual abuse that leads to heroin addiction.
When obtaining the prescription pills becomes too expensive and too difficult, the young adults and teens turn to street drugs as an easy replacement. There is also the myth that the street drugs will get you higher faster and cheaper than the prescription pills. The harmless impression that prescription pills are not dangerous not only leads to increased overdose and death, but a turn to the illegal drug choices. After all, there is nothing that young adults and teens want more than to be on the cutting edge, rebellious and wild. Such casual instincts naturally lead directly to disaster.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2009, 20 percent of U.S. high school students had taken a prescription drug, such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Adderall, Ritalin, or Xanax, without a doctor’s prescription. The statistics for young adults (18-22) are not as readily available, but they are considered to be twice as high or even higher. In 2003, more than 6.3 million Americans actually reported prescription drug abuse for non-medical purposes. ONE80CENTER has seen the abuse of prescription drugs explode into a storm of addiction and death. It is time to address this problem head-on and recognize that prescription drug addiction is just as deadly as illegal drug addiction.
They tried to make me go to rehab, I said, “No, no, no”
Yes, I’ve been black but when I come back you’ll know, know, know
I ain’t got the time and if my daddy thinks I’m fine
He’s tried to make me go to rehab, I won’t go, go, go
— Amy Winehouse, lyrics to her hit song, Rehab
The senseless and tragic death of singer Amy Winehouse at the age of 27 marks another example of how hard and terrible is the disease of addiction. At 3:54 pm BST on July 23, 2011, two ambulances were called to Winehouse’s home in Camden, London. Shortly afterwards, the Metropolitan Police confirmed her death. As of July 24, the investigation to determine the cause of death, which is described by police as unexplained, remains open. Given her extensive history of drug and alcohol abuse, multiple arrests on a variety of charges and her frightfully young age, there is a rising consensus among the media and addiction experts that the cause of death was a fatal drug overdose. If this is the case, could a sober companion have been the key to keeping Amy Winehouse alive long enough to receive the help she clearly needed?
With horrible impulse control and a rebellious attitude milked by the tabloid media, Amy Winehouse had a long history of drug problems and extreme signs of addiction. Her ex-husband Blake Fielder, who is currently in jail on drug charges, once told a paper that he had introduced Winehouse to crack cocaine and heroin. Quickly, they descended together into the depths of addiction, reportedly trying everything to quit, including the horrors of cutting to replace the pain of withdrawal. What Amy Winehouse refused to do, as expressed in her hit song, was go to a medically monitored drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility where she could have received the help that she truly needed.
Amy Winehouse Left Rehab
On May 25, 2011, Amy Winehouse entered the Priory Clinic in London to receive help with her addiction problems, but she was not willing to remain willing. In less than a week, she left and returned to her home alone where she died two months later. Karen Heller of The Philadelphia Inquirer described the popular culture’s perspective of the singer, writing that Winehouse was… “…crashing headfirst into success and despair, with a codependent husband in jail, exhibitionist parents with questionable judgment, and the paparazzi documenting her emotional and physical distress. Meanwhile, a haute designer Karl Lagerfeld appropriates her disheveled style and eating issues to market to the elite while proclaiming her the new Bardot.”
In other words, popular culture found the travails and insanity of Winehouse to be a form of entertainment, and she simply was allowed to self-destruct for the enjoyment and amusement of her adoring public. There was a human and artistic side to the young woman that few people ever saw or experienced. British singer Lily Allen described this side in a Scottish newspaper when she said, “I know Amy Winehouse very well. And she is very different to what people portray her as being. Yes, she does get out of her mind on drugs sometimes, but she is also a very clever, intelligent, witty, funny person who can hold it together. You just don’t see that side.”
What is so frightening is how common it is for addicts and alcoholics to be kind, creative human beings who are simply caught in the vise-like grips of a fatal disease. A question that has to be asked beyond the horrible reality: What possible could have been done to help Amy Winehouse? How might she have been saved?
Clients Like Amy Winehouse And Sober Companions
ONE80CENTER has an individualized program that is designed to meet the needs and specific background of each of our clients. Since we have many successful clients, we understand that they often are resistant to entering treatment because they still have the material wealth. In addition, they are unwilling at first to enter our treatment facility without first going through a private detox. As a result, we offer a remote detox with medical visits and the consistent presence of a sober companion.
By being able to detox in the comfort of their own homes or at a hotel, certain clients often become more willing to embrace the program. Without question, Amy Winehouse was a difficult case, highly resistant to treatment. The presence of a sober companion in her home, however, could have helped to prevent her death and facilitated a path to recovery.
People die from this disease, whether they are intimate loved ones or famous celebrities, there is nothing left behind in the vacuum beyond the tragedy and so many unanswered questions. The focus of the individualized program of ONE80CENTER is to meet you or your loved one where they need to be met in order to foster the beginnings of recovery. After all, as long as health is maintained and the gift of life is kept sacred, there is hope for recovery.
At ONE80CENTER, we only wish that Amy Winehouse had been able to walk this road to freedom before she was taken from this world. Could our individualized program, including remote detox and sober companions, have saved her? Sadly, probably not since you cannot help anyone who is not willing to try to help herself. We would have valued the opportunity to offer our very best in expertise, services and experience to such a talented young lady who will be sorely missed.