Author: Shernide Delva
Two Colorado inmates died while incarcerated and suffering through heroin withdrawal this year. Both were preventable. In the last decade, heroin deaths have quadrupled in the United States.
Back in May, 25-year-old Taylor Tabor died in Adams County jail from complications due to opiate withdrawal. He had been arrested for heroin possession and his parents refuse the $300 bail out of tough love. In another case, 37-year-old heroin user Jennifer Lobato was found dead shortly after being arrested for shoplifting in March. In both cases, the cause of death was dehydration. Often, this occurs as opiate withdrawal causes users to vomit uncontrollably.
In August, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration introduced new language in their grants encouraging medication-assisted treatment rather than abstinence in a clinical environment.
Withdrawal from opiates is a very uncomfortable, painful experience resulting in nausea, diarrhea, insomnia, fevers, and cold sweats among other symptoms. That is why monitored detox is such a crucial component of many treatment centers. However, going to prison should not always mean you have to kick the habit cold turkey.
From 2012 to 2013, the Department of Justice saw an increase of 23 percent of jail inmate deaths from drug of alcohol intoxication. Families in several states have sued local jails when heroin users died of dehydration behind bars.
Heroin detox requires hydration levels to be carefully monitored because constant vomiting leads to easy dehydration. As heroin use continues to be a crisis throughout the country, local jails are seeing a rise of users behind bars.
After the death of Jennifer Lobato, the Jefferson County Sheriff reprimanded six deputies. They also added an additional nurse and there is a policy instated that requires inmates withdrawing from drugs to get medical attention without delay.
Withdrawal from heroin can be severe and start within 8 hours of giving up the drug. The individual will have symptoms often up to a week after they quit. Some people suffer continued post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) that can last several months. These symptoms can include:
- Foggy Brain: Individual unable to think clearly.
- Difficulty managing stress
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Emotional: one second up, next second down
- Social Anxiety
- Difficulty Concentrating
Because the heroin epidemic has reached such large proportions, jails are now dealt with the challenge of handling those coming in with opiate drug addiction withdrawals. Unlike a treatment center, jails do not have methods to aid with withdrawals and many do not do anything to help those suffering.
There has been a push for methadone treatment for heroin users behind bars however for the most part; this remains widely unavailable in the United States. The Center for Prison Health and Human Rights offers some insight on the consequences of jail’s mandatory withdrawal policies. Senior director, author Josiah D. Rich, explained how the lack of methadone treatments in jail discourage heroin users from wanting to start methadone treatments.
“Inmates are aware of these correctional methadone withdrawal policies and know they’ll be forced to undergo this painful process again if they are re-arrested. It’s not surprising that many reported that if they were incarcerated and forced into withdrawal, they would rather withdraw from heroin than from methadone, because it is over in days rather than weeks or longer,”
As for the two cases in Colorado, parents of the inmates are looking to sue the jails for negligence. In both cases, the families believe the deaths were preventable. There have been other cases in the United States of negligence in jails and parents are suing many jails for negligence. The hope is that attention brought from the media on cases like these will promote better management of inmates suffering from withdrawals in otehr jails across the country.
Getting treatment from heroin is challenging enough in a treatment center, better yet a jail. Get help before you do something that lands you in an unfortunate situation. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Heroin has a really, really bad reputation. It is touted as the worst drug on the face of the planet. Pictures of its users usually include homeless people in alleys shooting it up with dirty needles. What many people know about heroin is from what they see portrayed on television. Heroin and heroin users are surrounded by a cloud of hysteria, horrific media, and quick judgment. We are here to set the record straight. Because while heroin, yes, is very dangerous and addictive, some of what you may or may not know about this drug and its users are myth not fact.
And it is time to debunk the myths. This is drug myths debunked: Heroin.
Myth #1: Heroin users are dirty, broke, homeless people who use needles
The recent death of Glee star Corey Monteith should have laid this myth to rest but this myth will probably go on for as long as there are homeless people in alleys that are using heroin. Because the truth is yes, many homeless people shoot up heroin in alleys but they aren’t the only ones. Heroin use is not resigned to the broke “junkies”. There are many white collar, kids even, who are snorting or smoking (not shooting up) heroin with their weekly allowance. Not only that but there are people who seem very clean cut and put together such as Corey Monteith that use heroin. Heroin use doesn’t discriminate and heroin users are not as easily characterized as you may think. There are kids who go to a great college, get a degree, and all the while have an intense and life threatening heroin addiction. Heroin addiction can affect anyone despite their economic standing, education, race, sex, and location.
Myth #2: Heroin is more dangerous than alcohol.
This myth is false. Heroin is not more dangerous as alcohol. Alcohol is just as dangerous as heroin. The truth is alcohol in a lot of ways is even more dangerous than heroin. Alcohol just happens to be more socially accepted. The reasons that alcohol is more dangerous than heroin could go on and on. For instance, that the withdrawal from alcohol could kill you and heroin withdrawal is not fatal. Alcohol’s effects on the body and brain are much more intense and long lasting. Heroin has some medical benefit as an opiate even though it is an illicit drug whereas alcohol has none. Just because a drug is socially accepted or not socially accepted doesn’t make it any more or less safe.
Myth #3: If you try heroin even once you will become addicted immediately
Addiction is a complex disease that takes a while to develop. It is not the same as physical dependence – you can be physically dependent on a substance but not addicted. It takes time for a heroin user to develop physical tolerance and even though it is a very addictive substance the true state of addiction will also take some time to manifest. This doesn’t mean that trying heroin even once is safe. It just means that if you do or have done heroin once and then never used it again this is why.
Myth #4: About what to do when someone overdoses on heroin
There are many myths about overdosing and what to do if someone is overdosing or on how to prevent overdosing. These myths include putting someone in a bath or shower which can lead to drowning and death. Slapping, hitting or pinching a person will not rouse a person into consciousness nor will trying to make them walk around when they are slipping into unconsciousness. Some people believe that inducing vomiting will reduce the drug affects but this is dangerous and may lead to choking. Some intravenous drug users believe that injecting a person with another drug, such as amphetamines or adrenaline when they are overdosing on heroin, will reverse the overdose (remember the scene from Pulp Fiction? In reality, intracardiac injection is old fashioned and an extreme last resort, and, Narcan, not adrenaline, is used to revive a heroin OD). Salt water and milk injection are also other common myths. The fact is if someone is overdosing on heroin you need to call 911 immediately. Someone who is overdosing on heroin is not going to just kill over like many people think either. Many times a heroin overdose is gradual and the breathing will slowly stop. So there is time. Get help!
Heroin is a dangerous drug that should not be taken lightly. The best way to prevent heroin use and heroin overdose is to know the facts. Heroin abuse and knowledge about heroin that is based in myth is not effective and can lead to many problems and in the worst case scenarios such as heroin overdose, death. Know the facts, know the truth and share it.
If someone you know is in need of treatment for heroin addiction, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.
Long before Amanda Bynes and Lindsay Lohan had highly public, drug fueled meltdowns, Natasha Lyonne was making headlines for her behavior.
In 2004, Page Six dubbed her the “cracktress” who was regularly spotted roaming below 14th Street, confused and unwashed and hitting up passerby for money.
“I was definitely as good as dead,” Lyonne has said. The Guardian has called her “the original queen of the career capsize.”
Today, Lyonne, now 34, is clean and sober, having recovered from heroin and alcohol addiction, and she is on the verge of a remarkable career resurgence: She has a supporting role in the upcoming Kristen Wiig comedy “Girl Most Likely,” has done guest spots on “Weeds” and “Law & Order: SVU,” and a has a handful of indies in the pipeline.
Most promisingly, Lyonne stars in the Netflix’s smash hit “Orange is the New Black,” which premiered in July. The critically acclaimed show is already garnering a very large following. It’s based on a memoir by Piper Kerman, a highly educated middle-class woman who did 15 months for drug dealing and money laundering. In it, Lyonne plays a fellow convict called “the junkie philosopher.”
No one is more aware of the irony than she. “I think I’ve certainly done my fair share of research and investigation into that subject,” she tells The Post. “I mean, I’ve never really been put into the system, in a uniform. But yeah, I’ve done time.”
Lyonne was born in New York City and attended a Jewish prep school on the Upper East Side. Her parents signed her to Ford as a child model. Her breakthrough came at the age of seven with a regular role on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. By her late teens, she was ascending professionally at quite the pace, her role as the narrator of Woody Allen’s highly acclaimed musical Everyone Says I Love You, alongside Julia Roberts, Edward Norton, and Natalie Portman, led to appearances in almost 30 films over the next 10 years. These include her widely praised performance in The Slums of Beverly Hills, and the role she is perhaps best known for- wisecracking Jessica in the American Pie films.
But by 2001, Lyonne was dating fellow troubled actor Edward Furlong, himself so far gone on drugs that he was dropped from Terminator 3 and could no longer get work. That same year, Lyonne was arrested in Miami on a DUI, infamously telling cops, “I’m a movie star — can I talk to my entertainment lawyer?” In August 2002 she pleaded guilty to drunk driving and paid $1,000 in fines and court fees, performed 50 hours of community service, took part in a victim’s panel organized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was placed on probation for one year and had her license suspended for that same period. In 2003 she was evicted by her landlord, actor Michael Rapaport, following numerous complaints by other tenants about her behavior.
Rapaport, infuriated about the condition of his property, penned a letter to Jane magazine in May 2005.
“It looked like a grenade had gone off in her bedroom,” he wrote in Jane. “There was garbage everywhere: scripts, contracts, pages from Hustler magazine, photos, letters and things I can’t even mention. There were glasses smashed in the kitchen and there was standing water in the clogged tub with flies hovering over it. When the plumber saw the condition of the bathroom, he said he’d never seen anything that bad before. A freakin’ New York
City plumber — that’s how bad it was.”
Rapaport spent $16,000 repairing the damage; even the ceiling had to be ripped open to fix the pipes. “I know that girl needs help, and I tried to help her — a lot of her friends did,” he wrote. “But she screwed me. She can kiss my ass.”
Between 2004 and 2006, dispatches were filed to Gawker and elsewhere by NYC residents who’d seen Lyonne in bars, drugstores, restaurants, on streets and stoops, the actress in varying states of decomposition, such as: “I saw her in the pharmacy section of [Walgreens on Union Square]. She walked right up to the cashier and asked for syringes! Specifically, she said, ‘Can you get me a pack of 1-cc syringes?’ The cashier made her sign her name in a book, Natasha paid for them, shoved them in her bag, and then left the store. I was very surprised she would be so open about buying them.”
“Listen, I did not think I was coming back,” she says in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “So I didn’t really care. When you go as deep into the belly of the beast as I went, there’s a whole other world going on and something like show business becomes the dumbest thing on planet Earth.”
In July 2005, Lyonne was admitted first to Bellevue, then transferred to Beth Israel’s Intensive Care Unit. She had a collapsed lung, hepatitis C and a heart infection (interesting side note: at one point in the “Orange is the New Black”, we see a huge scar on Lyonne’s chest from a heart surgery her character received related to her drug abuse. In reality, she actually had that exact surgery and that scar is real.)
In 2006, Lyonne was in the Caron Foundation, a drug and alcohol treatment center, and appeared in court after missing several court dates to face earlier charges of mischief, trespass and harassment.
The wisest thing she ever did, she says, was really take the time off work to get sober. “I mean, I didn’t have a 28-day drug problem. I had a take-five-years-off drug problem.” She told Vulture. It helped that because of “my well-publicized drug problem, there was many years I couldn’t get work.”
Since the break, Lyonne has been steadily working her way back into the limelight. Her most recent role, as an incarcerated “junkie philosopher” has caused a renewed interest in her own dark past.
“I certainly think that my personal experience gave me a lot of access to my character’s internal world,” Lyonne tells The Post. “She’s not too different from me. She comes from a pretty good home, not a ton of financial difficulty, but still with its own dysfunction.”
On The View recently, she had to spend the entire segment relating her character’s heroin use to her own “I’m so old now, and also it’s so long ago. We’re working our way towards ten years,” she says to Vulture. “It’s like, how much longer are they going to make me talk about this?”
The first season of “Orange is the New Black” is available on Netflix.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for Alcohol or Heroin Addiction please call us at 800-951-6135.
Cory Monteith’s addiction-related death will be addressed in the “Glee” episode bidding farewell to his character, Finn Hudson, a Fox executive said Thursday.
Fox entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly told reporters the drama will address Cory Monteith’s death in the third episode, during which Fox will air public service announcements about substance abuse. Additionally, proceeds from the third episode of Glee’s upcoming fifth season will be donated to a new fund for the late actor. The first two episodes, airing Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, will not mention Finn, who was absent for the final two episodes of last season while the actor was in rehab.
Drugs, however, will not be the cause of death for Finn (Monteith). Reilly could not say how show creator Ryan Murphy will deal with the character’s passing since the script has yet to be completed.
The 31-year-old Monteith was found dead in a hotel room in Canada last month. Tests showed his death was caused by a mixture of heroin and alcohol
Reilly said that while Monteith was open about his past — the actor had spoken publicly of his addiction struggles — he wasn’t ‘‘as open about it in the present.’’
As with other cases where heroin and alcohol were involved, Cory’s death was likely an overdose of either alcohol, heroin or both, resulting in coma, brain damage and eventually death. Even if he had not taken a lethal amount of heroin, it proved to be deadly when he combined it with alcohol.
The vast majority of drug overdose cases involve the use of more than one drug.
Drugs that depress that central nervous system slow the heartbeat, or in large enough doses, can stop it from beating entirely. Without oxygen-rich blood pumping to the body, brain cells become depleted and can die within minutes.
Heroin, a highly addictive opiate drug, is considered a depressant because of its effects sedating the central nervous system. Alcohol also functions as a depressant.
Combining these two depressants forms a deadly drug combination.
Drugs of abuse may give the user a feeling of pleasure, but it is important to remember that they are toxic substances. The vast majority of drug overdose cases involve the use of more than one drug. In 2003 the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported an average of 2.7 drugs in fatal overdose cases. Importantly in these cases, no single drug is usually present at a lethal dose. Rather it is the synergistic effect (think: 1+1=3) of the combining of drugs that is lethal. For example, a combination of heroin and alcohol can be especially dangerous. Heroin and alcohol both suppress breathing, but by different mechanisms.
Deadly drug: Heroin
Heroin is the cause for more deaths by overdose than any other single drug. The majority of these deaths ultimately result from respiratory failure. A toxic dose of heroin increases the inhibitory effect of GABA, which causes breathing to slow and eventually stop.
Deadly drug: Alcohol
Alcohol overdoses occur predominantly in two ways. First, a high intake of alcohol causes unconsciousness. At high levels, it can also cause breathing to slow or cease. Second, the body tries to rid itself of unabsorbed alcohol by emptying the stomach. If a person vomits while they are unconscious, they may inhale the vomit and compromise their breathing or even drown.
Deadly drug combo: Heroin and alcohol
Heroin and alcohol together is especially dangerous, experts say, because alcohol can exaggerate heroin’s effect on the central nervous system.
Drugs that depress that central nervous system slow the heartbeat, or in large enough doses, can stop it from beating entirely. Without oxygen-rich blood pumping to the body, brain cells become depleted and can die within minutes. Heroin, a highly addictive opiate drug, is considered a depressant because of its effects sedating the central nervous system. Alcohol also functions as a depressant. Combining these two depressants forms a deadly drug combination.
Ingesting alcohol and using heroin simultaneously can result in a coma that leaves the patient with permanent brain damage that causes lasting cognitive, behavioral, and physical disability. Combining these two substances can even be fatal. The danger occurs because both substances slow down the functions of the central nervous system, which regulates heart rate and breathing. Once the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain is disrupted severely enough or for a long enough period of time, brain damage will result. At that point, the brain can no longer send necessary messages to control and regulate other major organs, so that if the process is not reversed in time by immediate medical intervention, the results will be catastrophic.
While this deadly drug combo of heroin and alcohol won’t create a third toxic substance like cocaine and alcohol; it can be potentially fatal and is highly dangerous. There have been many people who have overdosed on non-lethal amounts of both substances just due to the fact that they were mixed together. In fact, one of the most recent overdoses of heroin and alcohol combined you probably heard of: Glee star Cory Monteith.
If you or someone you know needs treatment for Alcohol or Heroin Addiction please call us at 800-951-6135 or visit us online at www.palmpartners.com.