Tag Archives: Prescription Drugs

Ecstacy and Ketamine for Addiction Treatment?

Ecstacy and Veterans

There are certain substances that are seen as bad but paradoxically can be used for good. For example, botox is a toxin, but it’s also well-known as a wrinkle treatment. As WebMD cites, it can also be used to treat crossed eyes, uncontrolled blinking, and muscle spasms or movement disorders. It’s helpful for people who experience frequent migraines, too. Now, Ecstacy, also known as Molly, has been found to show promise as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder to help veterans suffering from the condition. Ecstacy alters mood and perception, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. A study in the Lancet Psychiatry journal explained that when 26 combat veterans were given two sessions of therapy along with the party drug MDMA, a majority of them benefitted. In fact, there were dramatic improvements in symptoms. They also slept better and “became more conscientious.” Sixteen, or 62 percent, no longer could be said to have PTSD.

PTSD Treatment

This study bears out the results of smaller studies done in previous years. The next step is Phase 3 trials, which will replicate safety and efficacy results, and if all goes well, the FDA could approve the drug by 2021. That doesn’t mean the treatment will be loosey-goosey, however. Indeed, the original headline, “A Drug From the Dance Floor May Soon Help Ease Veterans’ PTSD” was worded differently in the digital version: “Now Ecstasy as a Remedy for PTSD? You Probably Have Some Questions.” There is a protocol. First there are three therapy sessions. In a fourth session, a licensed therapist administers the drug in pill form. Then the patient lies down amid candles and flowers and listens to music. A male and a female therapist sit with the patient as a guide. The drug floods the brain with hormones and neurotransmitters and users report feelings of trust and well-being. Following this session, users “process” emotions in a follow-up session, and take MDMA “two or three times, each a month apart, interspersed with psychotherapy.” Larger clinical trials will validate whether or not the technique really works, and unfortunately, there are side effects, such as headache, fatigue, muscle tension, and insomnia. (Puzzling, since most people reported sleeping better.) What has excited a few experts is that there is a lack of treatments for PTSD, so they’re hopeful. Sadly, as word has spread, some people are self-medicating with MDMA, and as a street drug, it may be found to be mixed with other drugs. Also, frequent use can damage the brain and an overdose can be fatal.

drug addiction treatment center

Ketamine and Veterans

Ketamine, also known as K, Special K, or cat Valium, is one of the club drugs listed on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website along with Methamphetamine, MDMA, LSD, GHB, and Rohypnol. These are frequently used by teens and young adults at parties, nightclubs and the like. Ketamine is also used as an anesthetic for humans and animals, and in addition to GHP and Rohypnol, it’s a date rape drug. Ketamine is known as a dissociative drug because it makes users feel out of control and disconnected from their body and environment. They may hallucinate, have psychotic-like episodes that can linger, and experience respiratory depression, heart rate abnormalities, and withdrawal. A doctor at a veteran’s hospital in Mufreesboro, Tenn., is using the drug to treat opioid addiction, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is supporting him. The doctor, an anesthesiologist, claims a 74% success rate, and said it “resets excited pain receptors” so that patients feel pain “in a normal, manageable way.” The article mentions a veteran who was on opioids after being shot in the hip years earlier. Eventually, he developed an addiction and couldn’t wean himself off. The implication was that ketamine helped. For more information please contact our drug addiction treatment center at (866) 569-9391

Painkillers For Kids: Recent FDA Approval Marks The Latest Step In OxyContin’s Evolution

Painkillers For Kids OxyContin Approved - Summit EstateThe United States has been embroiled in an opioid overdose epidemic for years, resulting in growing public support for stricter prescription practices and more oversight of pharmaceutical manufacturers. One of the most potent opioid painkillers on the market is OxyContin, and that name has been part of the public drug discussion for the past couple of decades for many reasons.

Although OxyContin is one of the most effective medications for treating severe pain for long periods of time, it is also one of the most habit-forming prescription drugs. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved OxyContin for use for children as young as 11 years old. OxyContin is an incredibly potent and highly habit-forming opioid, and this new approval has drawn no small amount of scrutiny.

For years, OxyContin had only been prescribed to treat chronic and severe pain. The deciding factor for whether the drug can be given to a child is a bit ominous as well: The child must be able to tolerate a 20 mg opioid dose over five consecutive days to qualify for continued use of OxyContin.

OxyContin is a long-acting painkiller that can provide relief for up to 12 hours for even the most serious pain, and pediatric healthcare professionals have argued that this can help ease the suffering of children with terminal or seriously debilitating health problems.

Although the FDA’s decision is not meant to make OxyContin the first choice among opioid painkillers for children, this change has led to significant public debate. Those who support the change say the drug is powerful enough to combat even the most severe pain some children face, namely from cancer or serious invasive surgeries, such as spinal fusions.

OxyContin In The News

OxyContin's Dubious Track Record - Summit EstateOne of the major criticisms of this new approval is that the FDA is acting in the interest of the pharmaceutical company that develops OxyContin: Purdue Pharma. Purdue has a poor public perception, mostly due to the fact it pled guilty in 2007 to charges of misbranding and misleading pharmaceutical regulators about OxyContin’s potential for abuse and risk of addiction.

Purdue aggressively marketed OxyContin after its introduction in 1996. Sales of the drug reached $1 billion that first year, and Purdue was criticized for marketing to general practitioners and other health care professionals that typically are not trained to identify patterns of abuse among patients.

By the year 2000, abuse and crime rates surrounding OxyContin skyrocketed, as the drug is capable of producing a high as powerful as that of heroin. One of the main reasons Purdue has been criticized was that during the course of legal proceedings, internal documents surfaced that proved the manufacturer was well aware of OxyContin’s potential for abuse and addictive properties.

The time-release nature of the drug was inaccurately touted as a deterrent to abuse, and Purdue severely underreported the appearance of withdrawal symptoms in arthritis patients. These are notoriously serious offenses, and it would appear to many that, at least at the time, Purdue was far more concerned with profits than public welfare.

After a guilty plea, Purdue was forced to pay $600 million in criminal and civil penalties – $130 million of which went to civil litigation settlements for patients. Since the incident, OxyContin has been met with no short supply of scrutiny, although American opioid prescription rates have continued to climb.

America’s History With Painkillers

19000 Deaths Prescription Opioid Overdose 2014 - Summit EstatePrescription opioids are some of the most commonly prescribed painkillers in the U.S., despite the fact drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the country. Opioid addiction is the major driving force behind this very serious epidemic. Of the more than 47,000 lethal drug overdoses in 2014, nearly 19,000 were attributed to prescription opioids. Additionally, heroin (an illicit opioid) caused more than 10,000 overdose deaths that year.

One of the biggest issues with the prescription opioid epidemic in the U.S. is that it increases heroin use among the population. Prescription opioids are addictive and carry a high risk for abuse. Without careful, thoughtful instructions, patients can easily overdose or develop dependency. Once their prescription runs out, many patients see heroin as an attractive substitute. This is because “smack” is cheaper than black market opioid pills and far more accessible.

Building A Tolerance

Despite the addictive nature of opioid painkillers, prescription use has continued to climb over the past several decades. Unfortunately, the nature of prescribed medication lends itself to misuse. Many patients simply assume that since their doctors prescribed the medicine, it must be safe to use. Once the drug works itself into the body, one may develop a slight tolerance to the drug, and it may not treat their pain as effectively after some time. Some patients assume it is safe to up their dosage a bit to compensate for their newfound tolerance..

This line of reasoning turns a slight tolerance into a major tolerance, and patients often go through their prescriptions much faster than intended due to their painkillers lessening in potency. By the time they require so much of the drug that addiction has set in, they essentially depend on the opiod to function.

Recent Strides To Combat Abuse

To combat abuse, Purdue recently reformulated OxyContin pills so they could not be as easily crushed into powder. OxyContin abusers would commonly crush the pills so they could snort the powder or mix it into a solution for injecting. Both methods produce a much more potent and faster-acting high than simply ingesting the pills. Hence, Purdue Pharma’s new formula has helped curb overall demand for black market OxyContin.

However, while this change helps to actively curb OxyContin abuse, the new formula is a double-edged sword. If doctors believe the potential for abuse has been diminished with the new formula, they may be more liberal in giving prescriptions to patients. This, in turn, could further the prescription opioid epidemic we are seeing today and create more addicts.

OxyContin’s Evolution: Now Available To Adolescents

OxyContin Can Help Children With Cancer Sickle Cell Anemia - Summit EstateThe important thing to remember is that most addicts do not actively choose to abuse their prescriptions. Many are people with legitimate health problems and a genuine need for opioid painkillers who have simply disregarded their doctors’ instructions or were not thoroughly informed about the risks of their prescriptions before obtaining them.

It is an unfortunate reality in our world that children sometimes must contend with life-threatening and incredibly painful health issues too. The recent FDA ruling is aimed at providing these children with an effective pain-management drug formerly reserved strictly for emergency situations at a doctor’s discretion. The ruling is also meant to provide long-term pain relief for conditions that cannot be adequately managed with other, less potent medications.

Purdue has repeatedly insisted that it has no plans whatsoever for active OxyContin marketing to pediatricians, and the company remains committed to opposing and preventing abuse and misuse of the drug. As an additional safety measure, the FDA has required that Purdue perform consistent follow-up studies on how OxyContin is used among younger patients. This is meant to immediately identify any troubling patterns as they emerge.

The FDA has also required that Purdue collate and report nationally representative data concerning OxyContin prescriptions for children under the age of 17. This data must include the conditions it is being prescribed to treat and the types of doctors providing the prescriptions. These additional requirements are meant to be safeguards to ensure OxyContin is used appropriately for minors.

Clearer Directions For Physicians

The FDA has argued that this change was not meant to make OxyContin more available or more widely used, but rather to better educate the health care industry about how to safely use and distribute opioid painkillers in pediatric cases. Doctors are legally permitted to prescribe and administer whatever medications they deem fit for any given scenario, and the FDA claims that this change will provide a better standard of care for children who are fighting serious medical issues.

The new labeling and dosage changes make it much easier for health care professionals to determine which adolescent patients need OxyContin, and it eliminates most of the guesswork about proper dosage. Children that could greatly benefit from this form of consistent pain relief are those who are:

  • Facing aggressive forms of cancer
  • Recovering from invasive surgeries
  • Stricken with sickle cell anemia or another potentially fatal condition

This issue has sparked vehement voices on both sides of the debate. Many of the strongest supporters are pediatricians, pain specialists and parents that all too often have to witness children in severe pain firsthand. Detractors voice their concerns that this change is made in favor of Purdue’s profits and puts children at an unnecessary risk for addiction. The current opioid overdose epidemic certainly has a large part to play in these raised concerns, too.

Patterns Of Addiction In Adolescents

Another major point of contention is that adolescents are more predisposed to forming addictions than adults. Since the adolescent brain is not fully developed, it is much easier to develop addictive patterns and a dependence on an opiate painkiller. Indeed, prescription opioids are responsible for tens of thousands of accidental deaths each year, and it has been widely argued that the FDA’s ruling opens the doors to children being a larger portion of those statistics.

Recent studies have shown that drug abuse among adolescents and teens has declined to the lowest levels seen in years. This trend has continued despite the ongoing national opioid epidemic, so it would be difficult to draw a connection between this new ruling and OxyContin abuse among adolescents. Another safeguard preventing younger patients from forming addictions is the fact children are rarely responsible for their prescriptions.

Parents are most likely the ones to dispense their kids’ medication, and the new FDA ruling specifically requires careful instructions to be included for all adolescent prescriptions. If parents are properly warned about proper dosing and the dangers of addiction present with OxyContin use, adolescent patients will be less likely to develop addiction to the drug and will use them only as intended.

It would seem that though today’s youth are far warier of drug abuse than previous generations. The known effects of drugs, the consequences of addiction, and the fear of legal repercussions are effective deterrents for keeping children disinterested in experimenting with hard drugs.

Time Will Tell If Painkillers For Kids Is The Right Decision

OxyContin For Kids FDA Approval Opioid Epidemic - Summit EstateAt this point, it is difficult to say definitively one way or another if this change is a step in the right direction. The new ruling requires stricter instructions for use and follow-up studies to carefully analyze the effects of OxyContin prescriptions among adolescents, and it aims to curb the opioid epidemic through responsible use. Children who suffer from serious pain are also now afforded a great degree of relief through OxyContin prescriptions.

On the other hand, the opioid epidemic does not seem to be diminishing, and this new ruling could very well result in a spike in youth opioid dependency. However, one must keep in mind that adolescents are not in charge of their medical treatment and prescriptions. They rely on their doctors and parents for treating and managing their conditions.

As long as those individuals have been thoroughly informed about the dangers of opioid addiction and abuse, it stands to reason that there is little reason to fear the FDA’s decision as a dangerous one.

Will Prescriptions Rise?

As stated previously, one detail that will remain to be seen for some time is whether this change and the new perception of OxyContin will result in an increase in prescriptions overall. If doctors are more confident in the efficacy and safety of the drug, then they will naturally be more inclined to prescribe it without reservation.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that this new ruling is focused on thorough and accurate labeling as well as education for health care professionals about proper prescription practices, safe applications and appropriate doses. With any luck, this new change will highlight the appropriate applications of OxyContin for all patients so they can benefit and experience an enhanced quality of life while dealing with their afflictions.

By thoroughly educating the health care industry and all relevant professionals about the proper applications of this drug, the FDA may actually help curb the current opioid overdose epidemic rather than prolong it.

America’s Surprising History With (What Are Now) Illegal Drugs

Heroin Cocaine Marijuana Illegal Drugs In US - Summit EstateMind-altering drugs have played a role in recorded history for thousands of years. Pain relief, treatment of illnesses, spiritual experiences and expanding one’s consciousness have all been cited as reasons for experimentation with well-known potent substances. Medical necessity has driven such experimentation, as has simple curiosity, for millennia.

The United States has been embroiled in debates over the dangers and possible benefits of drug use since our nation’s founding, and some of the history behind American drug use may surprise you. For example, many of the most well-known hard drugs today started as over-the-counter remedies for common ailments, while others were once acceptable in medical settings.

Opiates

Opiates In The US Since The Pilgrims - Summit EstateThe opium poppy has been considered a medicinal herb for as far back as 5,000 years ago in ancient Sumer. Opium and its derivatives are some of the most powerful and useful medicines on the planet.

Some of the earliest Pilgrims to arrive in North America brought opium tinctures, especially laudanum, a potent pain and cough suppressant, as treatments for various illnesses and infirmities, such as:

  • Smallpox
  • Dysentery
  • Cholera
  • Pain
  • Trouble sleeping

Opium-based tonics were especially popular with women at the time, as they were commonly used to alleviate menstrual cramping.

Thomas Jefferson, one of the U.S.’s most well-known and influential founders, resorted to using laudanum to treat his various afflictions, despite his marked history of skepticism toward medicine. Eventually, he began growing his own poppies at his Monticello estate in Virginia.

Recreational Use

While laudanum was an oft-used medical treatment for various ailments, many people were beginning to experiment with opium use for recreational purposes. Opiate use was prevalent during that era, and by the mid-19th century, opium dens were a common sight in the Americas. This was one of the first times that widespread public drug use was acknowledged as a societal concern, and “Yellow Peril” became a term used to describe Chinese immigrants who were accused of luring Americans into depravity and addiction with their popular opium dens.

The Arrival Of Morphine

The next major breakthrough regarding opium development came in 1803, when Friedrich Sertuerner of Germany synthesized the first batch of morphine, an injectable and highly potent opiate painkiller. Morphine was widely used and available, and wounded veterans heavily relied upon it during the American Civil War. This led to a widespread wave of addiction in the United States during the late 1800s.

Heroin: From Accepted Treatment To Epidemic

In 1895, chemist Heinrich Dreser developed heroin while working for the Bayer company in Germany, and the substance quickly gained traction as a treatment for morphine addiction. However, the drug’s immediate success did not adequately show that physicians were simply trading one addiction for another. Heroin addiction became the new epidemic.

Over the next 50 years, heroin would remain a prevalent force in American culture. The infamous “French Connection” led to an enormous supply of heroin being brought into the U.S., fueling the rebellious subcultures of the beatnik and hipster scenes. During the Vietnam War, American servicemen commonly fell victim to heroin abuse, and the addiction rate among this group was an ominous 10 to 15 percent.

Synthetic Opiates Gain Prominence

Over the years, opioids (synthetic opiates) have collectively evolved into one of the most commonly used prescription medications in the United States. Unfortunately, while opioids possess real pain management capabilities, the potential for addiction and abuse goes hand-in-hand with the drugs’ possible benefits. The CDC reports that nearly 3 million Americans are facing some kind of opioid abuse problem in 2016, and this class of meds has helped make drug overdose the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. In fact, more than half of all drug-overdose deaths are attributed to either prescription opioids or heroin.

Cocaine

Cocaine Reached Peak In Usage In 1982 With 10.4 Million - Summit EstateCocaine, a stimulant taken from the leaves of the coca plant, is powerful and highly addictive. It was first discovered by Spanish explorers who reached South America, where the indigenous people commonly chewed coca leaves for their stimulating effects. The Spanish saw an opportunity to bring this plant home to Europe, but shipments rarely survived the journey across the Atlantic.

It would not be until the late 1800s that the potential of the coca leaf would be unlocked. Although illegal today in the U.S., cocaine became known for its medical applications after its successful synthesis in 1855. The drug was a common ingredient in tonics and medicines meant to treat impotence, depression and a host of other common ailments.

Cocaine-Infused Beverages

In 1863, Angela Mariani, a Corsican chemist, developed a mixture of cocaine and wine that was sold to cure stomach ailments and suppress appetite. It was wildly popular among the European elite and led to countless copycat products.

One such facsimile was a new soft drink made by John Pemberton in 1886, who was hoping to replicate Mariani’s successful formula in America. Contention over alcohol in the South led to Pemberton’s being forced to reformulate his invention with soda water. Cocaine lent its name to this concoction, and it became one of the most well-known commercial products in world history: Coca-Cola.

Evolution Of Cocaine Use

In the 19th century, cocaine was also known as a reliable local anesthetic for dentistry and oral care. Cocaine lozenges and cough syrups were very common, and syringes for injecting cocaine were later given to soldiers during the First World War.

The beginning of the 20th century saw a huge spike in recreational drug use, and cocaine was among the most ubiquitous and easily accessible. One of the major contributing factors to the increase in drug use in the U.S. was alcohol prohibition, which inadvertently steered many citizens toward other methods of inebriation.

The first half of the 1900s saw an explosion in the popularity of cocaine among the stars of Hollywood. Strangely enough, despite its popularity, cocaine’s addictive properties and potential for overdose went largely unreported. This only helped the drug’s popularity to soar, cementing its spot as a prime recreational drug over the next several decades. Several publications included depictions of cocaine use as a luxurious habit reserved for the upper strata of the social elite.

Glamorization Of Cocaine And The Emergence Of ‘Crack’

Unapologetic reports that showcased cocaine use as harmless, classy and opulent led to a dramatic spike in public consumption. This uptick peaked in 1982 with an estimated 10.4 million cocaine users in the U.S. Demand was widespread at the time, and urban areas began to see derivatives of this upper-class sensation in the form of crack cocaine, or simply “crack.” Crack was cheap to produce in large quantities, and it helped fuel in huge spikes in violent crime, as competing drug syndicates fought over territory.

One of the major incidents that helped change the public’s perceptions about the apparent safety of cocaine use was the death of basketball player Len Bias in 1986. Bias was a star rookie drafted by the Boston Celtics. While celebrating his addition to the team, he died of a cocaine overdose and heart issues the drug caused. This high-profile death coupled with a dramatic rise in violent crime led to harsher sentencing for drug-related offenses – especially those involving crack.

Marijuana

How Did Marijuana Reach Schedule I Status In US - Summit EstatePublic opinion of marijuana has swayed greatly in recent years. Many American states have decriminalized its use, legalized it for medicinal applications and/or fully legalized it for adult for recreational use. Marijuana’s history in the United States dates back to the Jamestown settlers around 1600.

Being that hemp and cannabis sativa plants contain one of the strongest natural fibers in the world, early American settlers used hemp for ropes, clothing, sails and many other products until the end of the Civil War. During this time, marijuana was prized for its usefulness in manufacturing, rather than its effects on the human body. Hashish was made from the resin of the marijuana plant and was only mildly popular for smoking in the U.S.

Recreational Use

Marijuana’s popularity as a recreational drug did not gain much traction until the early 1900s. Between 1850 and 1937, anyone could purchase marijuana over the counter at pharmacies for medicinal purposes. The Mexican Revolution of 1910 led to a drastic increase in the number of Mexican immigrants coming to America, and marijuana was widely used for recreational purposes in Mexico at the time. Marijuana’s popularity jumped again following the Volstead Act, which sharply increased in price in 1920 due to the nationwide prohibition of alcohol.

Outlawed

Eventually, marijuana use became synonymous with violent crimes, and the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 criminalized its consumption. Despite these changes, marijuana’s popularity as a recreational alternative to alcohol grew and reached new social spheres over the next several decades.

In the 1970s, Congress repealed mandatory minimum sentences for drug charges, and President Jimmy Carter’s administration pushed to decriminalize marijuana. However, public opinion swayed in the opposite direction, which led to President Ronald Reagan signing the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which reinstated mandatory minimum sentences for drug-related charges.

Evolution Of Public Opinion

In the 2010s, marijuana has become much more widely accepted for its medical applications and relative lack of dangerous side effects. It is impossible to overdose from using it, has never been linked to any fatal bodily harm, and is not physically habit-forming, like cocaine and heroin.

However, despite a great deal of public support for marijuana decriminalization, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) still considers marijuana to be a Schedule I narcotic – on par with heroin in terms of danger.

How Did Marijuana Land On The Schedule I List?

Marijuana was assigned its Schedule I status as part of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Many members of the scientific and medical communities argue against the DEA’s stance on marijuana, citing their sources as incomplete, archaic or outright erroneous.

Recordings of President Richard Nixon from 1971 showed that he intended to uphold the country’s prohibition of marijuana in an effort to combat detractors of the Vietnam War. The Shafer Commission was created with the sole purpose of engineering damning scientific evidence meant to maintain marijuana’s Schedule I status.

Unfortunately for Nixon, the Shafer Commission’s results proved exactly the opposite of the intended results:

  • Marijuana was as safe (if not safer) than alcohol.
  • It had no addictive qualities.
  • Public health would benefit from ending marijuana prohibition.

Ulterior Motives

An interview with John Ehrlichman, one of Nixon’s aides, revealed that the War on Drugs was largely spurred by the perceived need to discredit minority communities and anti-war, leftist opposition to Nixon’s re-election and the war in Vietnam.

Ehrlichman said in the interview:

“By getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and the blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meeting, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The DEA has repeatedly stonewalled any and all attempts to reclassify marijuana and take it off of the Schedule I narcotics list. The DEA even denied a petition to reschedule marijuana that came from its own administrative law judge, Francis Young, in 1988. In 2011, the DEA again denied a petition due to an apparent lack of available research dedicated to analyzing the effects of smoking marijuana.

Medical Professionals’ Current Stance

A 2014 Medscape survey showed that 56 percent of reporting physicians supported national legalization of medical cannabis, and 82 percent of reporting oncologists said the same. Perhaps one of the most critical examples of the DEA’s intransigence was Administrator Michele Leonhart’s inability to explain how marijuana was just as dangerous as heroin at her appearance before Congress. Marijuana has no lethal overdose threshold, whereas prescription opioids caused 19,000 American deaths in 2014 alone.

Changing Public Perception On Illegal Drugs

Alternatives To Punishing Drug Addicts - Summit EstatePublic perception is one of the biggest issues surrounding drugs in modern America. Many people believe that decriminalization of drug use will lead to improved public health for several reasons, including the chance that it might quell the stigmatization that commonly accompanies Americans who have faced drug-related charges.

In terms of prescription opioids, despite the number of deaths they cause every year, they are still widely available and frequently prescribed. Opioid addiction is seriously debilitating and remarkably difficult to overcome. Rather than looking for alternatives to these dangerous medications, legislators seem to expect those who are prescribed these medicines to use them diligently, lest they suffer the consequences or become addicted. And when they become addicted to these prescription drugs, many resort to heroin as a cheaper and more accessible alternative once the prescription runs out.

The War on Drugs has essentially become a war on public health. Addicts are ostracized and criminalized rather than afforded the treatment they need to become functional members of society again. Hopefully, as public opinion shifts toward compassion and logical legislation, the stigma surrounding drug use will not have such deleterious effects on public well-being. Addicts would then be able to safely pursue treatment and rehabilitation for their afflictions.

When Prescription Drug And Heroin Addiction Hits Close To Home In The Bay Area

Prescription Drug, Heroin Addiction Hits Close To Home Bay AreaWith the recent news that Prince’s death was due to the prescription painkiller Fentanyl, increasing light is being shed on America’s growing epidemic of prescription painkiller and heroin addiction. Individuals from all walks of life are becoming addicted to these powerful drugs and even suffering from lethal overdoses. Just how widespread is the problem with heroin and prescription painkillers?

In 2014, there were over 47,000 fatal overdoses related to these drugs.

And, the number of those becoming addicted continues to skyrocket, despite increasing efforts to address the problem.

Addiction Hits Close To Home In The Bay Area

Recently, one family’s story of addiction was shared in the San Jose Mercury News. D’Anne and Bruce Burwell never thought they would have to deal with the scourge of prescription drug abuse while raising their family in Silicon Valley. Their two children were getting good grades and were both on the fast track to college and successful careers. Yet, a problem was lurking just beneath the surface.

The Slippery Slope Of Drug Addiction

Something began to change for their son Jake who had always been a good student. Jake’s efforts in high school began to decline, and D’Anne caught him using marijuana. After suspending his driving privileges and sending him to a psychologist, she thought that the problem was solved. However, it was actually only the beginning. Jake started college and proceeded to flunk two classes his freshman year. In his second year of college, a friend of Jake warned D’Anne that he was engaging in “risky behavior.” Jake was smoking OxyContin, a drug that is in the same family as heroin. Over the next two years, Jake had three unsuccessful stints in rehab. Finally, Jake finally realized that his addiction could kill him, and he agreed to enter detox and start a six-month program. To read the rest of Jake’s story, click on the button below.

Jake’s Addiction And Recovery Story

Jake’s Story Is Not Unusual

Many parents have the same perspective that D’Anne once did – addiction is something that happens to others. However, many parents, especially in the success-driven Bay Area are finding themselves struggling with addicted children and wondering what went wrong. Without a doubt, there is a tremendous amount of shame and stigma associated with addiction in the Bay Area and beyond. Many teens start using drugs because they feel insecure, anxious or depressed.

Identifying The Signs Of Prescription Painkiller Addiction

Often, an addiction problem is happening in a family for a significant length of time before it is addressed. It can be easier to overlook common symptoms such as:

  • Problems in school
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Moodiness
  • Missing or stolen money or valuables
  • Questionable friends
  • Anger
  • Depression

What Should You Do?

Because prescription drug and heroin addiction is progressive and can lead to a fatal overdose, taking a “wait and see” approach to the problem is a serious mistake. First, it’s important to discuss the problem and work towards a solution. In most cases, the best option is professional addiction treatment. Many treatment programs can be tailored to the individual and address underlying or root causes that helped perpetuate the addiction. It’s also important for parents to focus on their child’s recovery as opposed to blaming themselves for the problem. A group like Al-Anon can be beneficial in understanding the challenges of being a parent of an addict.

Does Your Adult Child Need Addiction Treatment In The Bay Area?

You’re not alone. The number of young adults addicted to prescription pain killers and heroin is growing at a shockingly fast rate throughout Northern California. Don’t try to weather through this problem alone. Help is available at Summit Estate Recovery Center. Call now to speak with an addiction specialist or click the button below to learn more about our prescription drug addiction treatment program.

Prescription Drug Treatment

How Bay Area Doctors Are Helping Create Heroin Addicts

Bay Area Doctors Helping Create Heroin AddictsIn the fast-paced, technology-driven Bay Area, it’s all about staying on top of your game and pushing through the pain. For many individuals, pain that comes after a sports-related injury or surgery is treated with opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone or fentanyl.

While these prescription medications are effective in treating acute and chronic pain, they are also highly addictive. In fact, it’s estimated that nearly two million individuals in the United States are currently addicted to narcotic painkillers. Many of these individuals innocently start using these drugs to treat a pain condition, but quickly find themselves unable to quit.

Painkillers And Heroin Going Hand-In-Hand

Heroin, like opioid-based prescription pain killers, are processed from morphine and extracted from the poppy plant. Addiction is very similar in painkillers and heroin, and many users of prescription narcotics move on to heroin to feed their addiction.

Bay Area Doctors Overprescribing Prescription Painkillers

Doctor-Bay Area Doctors Overprescribing Prescription PainkillersUnfortunately, over the past several years, those specifically in the Bay Area who have died with opiates in their system, have dramatically increased, according to MercuryNews.com.

This jump is driven by many causes, but easy access to prescription drugs by doctors who are overprescribing, is a main contributing factor. And when tolerance builds and the prescription ceases, many individuals turn to chemically-similar heroin, to seek the relief they need.

Sadly, many doctors are unaware of the risk they are contributing to by giving certain individuals prescription painkillers. Those who have a history of substance abuse, an underlying mental illness or even a mix of psychological and environmental factors are at a substantially higher risk of becoming addicted to these medications. Even those who do not fall into any of those categories need to use caution when taking opioids. Once an addiction has set in, it can be very difficult to treat.

Are You Struggling With Painkiller Addiction?

Many people ask this question once they’ve habitually started taking painkillers prescribed by their doctor. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, someone who has two or more of the following 11 signs can be clinically diagnosed with an addiction.

Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse And Addiction

  • Excessive or extended use
  • Unable or unwilling to reduce or stop use
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Obsessing over or spending an excessive amount of time obtaining, using or recovering from the drug
  • Increasing tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Continued usage despite experiencing physical or psychological damage
  • Hazardous behaviors while using the drug
  • Retreat from social activities or work
  • Continued usage despite conflict with others
  • Problems at home, work or school due to use

Consoling-Help For Prescription Drug Or Heroin Addiction

Getting Help For Prescription Drug Or Heroin Addiction

What may have started as a solution to treat chronic or acute pain can quickly become a life-threatening addiction. Whether you or a loved one are abusing prescription drugs or are already struggling with heroin addiction, help is available. Get answers to your questions by calling our 24/7 addiction specialists at Summit Estate now.

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How Can Prescription Drug Abuse Easily Turn Into Heroin Abuse?

People often assume that prescription pain relievers are safer than illicit drugs because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor. What they don’t realize is that these medications can be just as dangerous as illicit drugs. That’s why it’s important to recognize the dangers associated with prescription pain relievers and why you should always follow the doctor’s recommendations when taking them.

How Prescription Painkillers Escalate Into Heroin

Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become addicted to drugs, even if they don’t fit the stereotypical mold society has created.

Let’s take a look at an all-too-common scenario that treatment centers are seeing today:

How Prescription Drug Abuse Can Easily Turn Into Heroin AbuseKristen is a college student and runs track. She’s an excellent sprinter but ends up getting injured in her junior year. She sees a doctor to help manage the pain, and the doctor prescribes painkillers. Kristen has no problem taking them because they are prescribed by someone she trusts. She takes the pills, which work for a while, but then the pain slowly returns.

With final exams and work, Kristen can’t be uncomfortable, so she doubles up on the pills and finally gets some relief. It isn’t long before she builds up a tolerance. Even though Kristen’s pain is getting better, she sees her doctor to get more medication. He refuses. She now has a craving to fill, and she becomes fixated on getting something else. Heroin becomes the next step because it’s cheap, easy to get and has a similar effect as painkillers.

Although Kristen could have never imagined having an addiction to prescription drugs which turned into abusing and becoming addicted to heroin, a prescription drug rehab program in the Bay Area, it’s now her reality.

How Can I Prevent Becoming Addicted To Painkillers?

While prescription pain relievers have a bad rap, the reality is that they do have a purpose. Many people need them at one point or another to provide relief following an injury, accident or operation. It’s possible that you will need them, too, one day. Just because you take prescription pain pills does not mean you will become addicted. There are steps you can take to prevent dependency.

  • Don’t take more than the recommended dosage.
  • If you notice that you are becoming tolerant to the drug, tell your doctor immediately.
  • Take the medication for the shortest amount of time. If you can get by without it, do so.
  • Find other ways to manage your pain such as massage therapy, yoga, meditation or magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) baths.
  • Properly dispose of unused medicine.

Being aware of the dangers of prescription opioids helps prevent addiction. If you know that what you are taking can be addictive, you’ll be more likely to follow the doctor’s recommendations and only use the medicine as necessary.

Summit Estate Recovery Center has a team of caring, compassionate staff that is happy to start you on the journey to sobriety. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse, we can help. Call us today to learn more.

How Prescription Drug Addiction Can Sneak Up On Anyone

Prescription drug addiction is a problem that affects people of all ages and from all walks of life. Prescription painkillers, tranquilizers and amphetamines are being abused by individuals who never intended to become addicted.

Who Is Abusing Prescription Drugs And Why?

Prescription Drug Addiction Can Sneak Up On Anyone-SummitEstateOften, the problem begins when an individual is prescribed a medication for an injury or condition. When a doctor says to take a medication “as needed,” it can quickly open up the door for abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 80 percent of heroin users first became addicted to a prescription opioid. The shift to heroin typically happens when it becomes harder to obtain the prescription. Heroin is a readily available, cheaper alternative to prescription opioids.

Teens are also particularly susceptible to prescription drug addiction because the drugs are relatively easy to obtain. Nearly two million teens have abused painkillers, steroids, stimulants and other prescription drugs. The vast majority of teens abusing prescription drugs are getting them from the medicine cabinets of their parents and friends. Drugs are also often stolen or purchased on the Internet and sold by classmates. Teens who are prescribed painkillers for sports injuries are also prone to becoming addicted.

The Slippery Slope Of Prescription Drug Addiction

Some common prescription drugs, such as OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin and Adderall, are highly addictive. Experimentation can quickly lead to abuse and addiction, which can be incredibly difficult to overcome.

Often, an addiction takes hold before loved ones realize there’s something wrong. Once it has been identified, overlooking the problem or taking a wait-and-see approach only leads to a strengthening of the addiction. Anyone who is struggling with a prescription drug addiction requires immediate professional treatment.

Preventing Addiction Before It Starts

Physicians are in a unique position to help identify and prevent prescription drug addiction. By watching out for rapid increases in the amount of medication needed or unscheduled refill requests, they can help prevent the escalation of an addiction. Pharmacists can also help by being watchful of prescription falsifications and alterations.

Individuals need to be made aware of the dangers of these drugs and the chance of becoming addicted to them. If an individual notices that he or she needs more of the drug to get the same relief or is taking the prescription more often, it’s time to seek alternative, healthier options. Tell your doctor of your valid concerns and seek holistic therapies or other alternatives that actually benefit and strengthen your body.

Compassionate Help Is Available

If you are seeking prescription drug addiction treatment in the Bay Area, call Summit Estate Recovery Center now. With an experienced medical staff and substance abuse counselors, we are highly experienced in helping individuals overcome addictions to prescription drugs.

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It’s Easier Than You Think To Become Addicted To Prescription Drugs

When most people think of drug addicts, they have an image in their mind of someone on the street getting high on illegal drugs. However, the reality is that many individuals fall into a devastating cycle of drug addiction after being prescribed a medication for an injury or illness.

The Commonality Of Prescription Medication Addiction

Easier To Become Addicted To Prescription Drugs-SummitEstateAccording to the World Health Organization, more than two million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet, or OxyContin. Many more are addicted to prescription tranquilizers, sedatives, and amphetamines. And, for these individuals, there was almost never an intention to become addicted.

Medications are commonly prescribed by physicians to treat common problems like insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, pain, and depression. However, at least 10 percent of those who are prescribed an addictive medication will ultimately become dependent on it. This is an important consideration for both physicians and their patients.

The Factors That Lead To Prescription Drug Addiction

Quick Solution & Family History Of Addiction

In a busy medical practice, most physicians do not have sufficient time to carefully assess each patient’s history to determine their risk of addiction. Often, medications are prescribed to those who would be better off being treated and healed through non-pharmaceutical methods.

Efficacy

Many addictive prescription medications are highly effective and fast-acting. Because of this, the medication becomes the go-to solution for managing a health problem whether it is pain, anxiety, stress, or depression. Over time, this effectiveness can lead to dependency of the medication and eventually abuse and addiction.

Pleasure

Some prescription medications cause users to experience a euphoric, relaxed feeling. While similar feelings can be achieved through holistic methods like yoga, meditation, breathing techniques, and exercise, the medication provides a feeling of relief quickly and with little effort.

Tolerance

Those who use addictive prescription medications are at risk of developing a tolerance. This can lead to taking more of the medication to feel the same desired effect. This is a key indicator that the body is becoming dependent on the medication, and prescription drug treatment may be necessary.

Don’t Wait- Get Customized Treatment For Yourself Or A Loved One Now!

If you believe that a loved one has become dependent on a prescription medication – (see the signs of prescription drug addiction here), it’s important to get help now. Individuals should not quit a prescription medication on their own, as there can be dangerous side effects.

At Summit Estate, our caring and professional treatment team is equipped to help each individual overcome addiction to prescription drugs. We will create an individualized treatment plan based on you or your loved one’s individual needs and goals.

Call Us Now To See How We Can Help – We Are Here For You, 24/7

Is My Loved One Addicted To Prescription Drugs?

It is estimated that more than 12 million people currently abuse prescription drugs in the United States. This is more than the combined number who abuse cocaine, heroin, inhalants and hallucinogens. Nearly three-quarters of these individuals abuse opioid pain relievers such as Vicodin and Oxycodone. The statistics are both alarming and important to know if you are concerned about a loved one who may be abusing prescription drugs.

Is My Loved One Addicted To Prescription Drugs-SummitEstateCounseling

The reality is that prescription drug abuse is a common problem that affects people from all walks of life. The problem often starts innocently through efforts to control pain or anxiety and escalates unintentionally through misguided prescribing practices of doctors. While these medications can be safe when used as prescribed for specific health issues, they can be dangerous at higher dosages or when taken for reasons other than intended.

Identifying The Signs And Symptoms Of Prescription Drug Addiction

If you believe that a loved one is suffering from prescription drug addiction, it’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of abuse. For opioid painkillers, the physical symptoms can include:

  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Poor coordination
  • Profuse sweating

Of course, these symptoms may sometimes be difficult to identify. Other signals that often appear more obvious are these behavioral signs:

  • Stealing or forging prescriptions
  • Mood swings
  • Hostility
  • Taking higher doses of a medication than prescribed
  • Changing sleep patterns
  • Frequently “losing” prescriptions or changing doctors to obtain prescriptions from more than one doctor

If you are noticing these symptoms or other unusual behaviors, your loved one may be addicted to prescription drugs and in immediate need of help. Prescription medications are highly addictive, and they have the ability to change brain function over time. Withdrawal symptoms can be serious. Thus, simply asking them to go “cold turkey” could be dangerous.

Don’t Wait – Get Help Now!

An addiction to prescription medications will not go away on its own. If left unaddressed, the problem will become more serious and can eventually be fatal. Identifying prescription drug addiction as soon as possible is vital. If there is a problem, the best solution is professional addiction treatment to enable your loved one to get the in-depth help they need to detox and embrace long-term recovery.

We encourage you to call us to learn more about customized addiction treatment programs at Summit Estate Recovery Center.

Help Is Available – Call Now!