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Controversial Super Bowl PSA on Heroin Receives Mixed Reactions


Author: Shernide Delva

If you were one of the millions of Americans who watched last night’s super bowl, you might have seen a heroin PSA play during the commercial break. A super bowl PSA called “All American Girl,” ran on St. Louis airtime. It was produced by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA) to warn parents about the dangers of heroin use.

While the goal of the super bowl PSA was to raise awareness, many believed the ad was ineffective and instead promoted stigma and fear.  On the other hand, others felt the ad was successful in grabbing the attention of those who need the information most: the parents.

The PSA was taken negatively because many viewers felt it displayed the same fearful tactics that have been used for decades. The PSA showed a young girl cooking up heroin. The PSA then flashes to the girl cheerleading out of rhythm. Over time, the girl throws away her cell phone and even gets rid of her own dog. Her mother loses track of where she is and is extremely worried about her daughter. The girl eventually loses her friends, schoolbook and career aspirations.  At the end of the super bowl PSA, she looks pale and waif-like and the super bowl PSA closes warning viewers of the dangers of heroin.

The super bowl PSA is supposed to raise awareness of how heroin causes many to throw their life away, but instead it raises an important question…

Are ads like these effective?

Back in 2011, a meta-analysis entitled “The effectiveness of anti-illicit-drug public-service announcements” proved through several studies that these types of PSAs are not effective in preventing drug abuse. However, the NCADA believes that releasing PSAs like this will force the community to pay attention to the drug epidemic. The super bowl PSA features “happy sounding” music while showcasing a very devastating situation. This was done to prevent viewers from turning away on an epidemic that no one should turn away from.

In addition to the “All American Girl,” ad, the St. Louis region also saw another ad on the heroin epidemic called “That’s How.” The commercial also dramatizes the effects of heroin to raise awareness. It has a jolly sound in the background that contrasts the grim nature of heroin addiction.

Opinions on the super bowl PSA were both positive and negative. Barry Lessin, president of Families for Sensible Drug Policy, found the PSA to be constructed poorly.

“Yes substances can be dangerous,” he said, “heroin is dangerous, but the misguided education messaging has been proven ineffective and can be more dangerous.”

Like many states in the U.S., St. Louis has a serious heroin problem. An estimated 2,300 people have died from heroin in the past seven years. Still, those impacted by heroin use found the messages produced by the NCADA to be in poor taste.

“The feedback from the families who viewed the segment expressed serious concerns that the piece will have a detrimental impact on impressionable teens who are telling us loud and clear that ‘just say no’ doesn’t work,” Carol Katz Beyer, co-founder of Families for Sensible Drug Policy, told The Fix.

While many are taking aim at the PSA, others take a more “better than nothing” approach to the whole concept. At least, something is being done to raise awareness of how serious the heroin epidemic truly is. Chelsea Laliberte, executive director of Live4Lali, lost her brother to an accidental overdose in 2008. She said she is just pleased that the conversation of heroin is becoming more common.

“As an activist, honestly, I am pleased that this conversation has become as mainstream as the people who use heroin.”

 Overall, while the PSAs have good intentions, more research should also be done to understand what ads are truly effective in preventing substance abuse. Hopefully, more methods of prevention will help in reducing the amount of deaths from these dangerous drugs.

Substance abuse is a difficult addiction to overcome. More and more people are trying and becoming addicted to drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers. If you are one of them, remember you are not alone. Seek professional help today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

President Obama Issues Memorandum to Combat Opioid Epidemic

President Obama Issues Memorandum to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Author: Shernide Delva

President Obama is continuing his efforts to combat the growing opioid epidemic. Just this week, Obama issued a memorandum designed to combat the opioid epidemic in the forms of prescription drug abuse and heroin use.  The goal of the memorandum is to provide more opioid prescription training to medical professionals and provide better treatment options.

President Obama traveled to West Virginia to hear personal accounts from individuals and families affected by the epidemic. He spoke to health care professionals, law enforcement officers, and community leaders working to prevent addiction and respond to its aftermath.

The president’s heightened response to the opioid epidemic reflects the intensity of the crisis. Each year, more Americans die from drug overdoses than motor vehicle crashes, and the majority of those overdoses involve prescription medications.  In 2012, health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opioid pain medications– enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills.

President Obama’s initiative hopes to accomplish two main goals:

  1. Education and Training: The goal is that more than 540,000 healthcare providers will complete opioid prescriber training in the next two years.  As far as education, millions of dollars in media space will be used for public service announcements produced by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids about the risk of prescription drug misuse.
  2. Improve Access to Treatment: The goal is to improve access for prescription drug abuse and heroin use directing the government to identify barriers to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. Obama plans to double the number of physicians certified to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorder treatment, from 30,000 to 60,000 over the next three years

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use have taken a heartbreaking toll on too many Americans and their families. Back in 2010, Obama released his first National Drug Control Strategy, which emphasized the need for action to address opioid use disorders and overdoses, while ensuring that individuals with pain receive safe, effective treatment Ever since then, the administration has focused heavily on ‘smart on crime’ approaches to drug enforcement.

The dramatic rise in heroin overdoses from 2011 to 2013 show the opioid crisis is far from over. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, substance use disorder and mental health services benefits are required to be covered by health plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace.  New rules finalized by the administration ensure that the benefits are comparable to medical and surgical benefits.

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) invested close to $100 million in Affordable Care Act funding to expand treatment in health centers across the country. They awarded $11 million in new grants to States to support medication-assisted treatment and $1.8 million to help rural communities purchase naloxone and train first responders.

West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S. — more than twice the national average according to a report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Obama addressed the need for fewer barriers for addiction treatment. Many addicts die while waiting for spots in treatment programs.

The president, a former smoker, also mentioned that the decline in smoking rates prove that progress can be made in preventing and treating addiction. He believes that there is a growing bipartisan backing on increasing more funds and support for treatment centers.

Politics aside, putting the heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic on the forefront is extremely necessary considering how many lives have been taken away from this disease. Do not wait to get help for your addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-561-221-1125.

5 Illegal Drugs That Will Cure You

5 Illegal Drugs That Will Cure You


By Cheryl Steinberg

You may or may not be aware of this but, some of the highly-illegal drugs today were once used in virtually any kind of cough drop, tincture, or formula to treat anything from cough to nausea to insomnia. And many of these medical preparations that included drugs like heroin and cocaine we even available over-the-counter!

Nowadays, there are much stricter regulations on what have been found to be illicit drugs, as well as other drugs that are prescribed for our ailments.

But, there are some surprising ways in which illicit drugs are being used today. Here are 5 illegal drugs that will cure you

#1. Cocaine for wound care

First, cocaine is an effective local anesthetic and, once applied, it numbs the area very quickly, usually in less than two minutes. Secondly, cocaine is effective at stopping the bleeding; it’s a vasoconstrictor, which is a drug that constricts – or narrows – the blood vessels. The smaller a blood vessel gets, the bleeding occurs.

Even many pediatricians recommend using cocaine on children’s wounds because of cocaine’s properties that make it a valuable tool for treating cuts and lacerations.

#2. LSD for Alcoholism

Studies show that your chances of staying away from alcohol will be dramatically increased after tripping on acid. There was an extensive study done in the 1960s and ’70s that revealed how recovering alcoholics are much less likely to drink to excess and how some even stopped drinking altogether for several months.

The reason why this works could be due to the LSD helping the participants to feel more confident, happy and satisfied with their lives, which, in turn, decreased the feelings they had that led most of them to abuse alcohol in the first place. The alcohol-abstaining effects from the one LSD trip lasted for about six months, at which point, if LSD were legal, the patients would be able to return to a treatment clinic for another dose, repeating the process until they were able to transition into sobriety.

#3. Heroin for women in labor

Heroin is an opiate, in the same class of drugs as painkillers, such as oxycodone and morphine. However, heroin itself is actually much more effective than morphine and takes effect in about two or three minutes. In fact, The National Health Service (NHS) in Britain recommends giving it to people in extreme pain, people in surgery, and women in labor.

Now, just to be clear, the NHS is, in fact, made up of medical professionals. The practice in Britain is to give women in labor an injection of heroin to help with the contractions as they give birth. The one-time use doesn’t do any damage and doesn’t cause dependency, because it is only administered when the baby is on its way out of its mother’s body.

#4. MDMA for PTSD

MDMA, or Ecstasy, has been shown to help treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The reason for this is actually the same reason that the drug is popular for recreational use: It releases large amounts of the feel-good chemicals serotonin and oxytocin in your brain, which makes you relaxed, euphoric, and feel at ease. This results in relieving the stress experienced by PTSD sufferers.

When used in a therapeutic setting, MDMA allows PTSD patients to relive their experiences more easily, which is crucial to overcoming the disorder. Ecstasy lets the sufferers do so without being overwhelmed, by activating the area of the brain responsible for controlling fear and stress. Over time, this results in long-term reduction of fear.

#5. Methamphetamine for ADHD and obesity

Desoxyn, the purest form of meth, is prescribed to obese people for quick short-term weight loss. It’s only prescribed as a short-term treatment for obvious reasons, since meth is highly addictive as well as overall catastrophic to your well-being. Meth is rarely prescribed in this way and only when all other treatments fail.

Desoxyn is also prescribed by U.S. doctors to treat ADHD. Considering that sufferers of ADHD typically exhibit symptoms of jitteriness and inattentiveness, which are also associated with meth use, it nevertheless has a therapeutic effect on people with ADHD. When it comes to the brain, nothing is simple, and meth. Like other stimulants, helps regulate brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Drugs and dosage are carefully controlled by your medical providers who can monitor the results and adjust your medication accordingly by a medical professional who can monitor the results. In general, you shouldn’t self-medicate any medical problem with alcohol or illicit drugs and you should only take medications as prescribed. If you are struggling with substance abuse and or a psychological disorder, such as PTSD, ADHD, or depression, Palm Partners is here for you. We offer dual diagnosis treatment for people who are ready to end the cycle of drug abuse. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

More People Using Heroin in the Workplace

More People Using Heroin in the Workplace

By Cheryl Steinberg

When I came across this article, I have to admit, my interest was piqued. After all, I was what would be considered a functional addict and I was one of the people this article is talking about: I used heroin in my place of employment – in my active addiction, of course. Today I’m glad to report that I’m 2 years sober and happy, joyous, and free!

But, before I went to treatment, I was a bank teller for one of the top five banks. I was really good at my job. And, I was using heroin on a daily basis. Being a functional addict, in my opinion, is probably worse than being what’s called a low bottom addict, the stereotypical idea of what many think of when they think “heroin addict.” You know, homeless, dirty, and toothless. I say it’s worse in that it kept me from realizing I had a problem because, I wasn’t experiencing all of those negative consequences that other addicts do and so my denial ran deep.

Back to the story at hand:

More People Using Heroin in the Workplace

Currently, the American workplace has seen a drop in the overall rate of reported drug use; however, the presence of heroin- and other opioid drug-use is still on the rise, and its effects are far-reaching, hurting more than just the users.

As you can imagine, more people using heroin in the workplace means lower productivity. And not only that, having more employees using heroin on the job, spells a higher employee turnover.

U.S. employers are struggling with the fall-out of increased heroin use in their businesses. A steady-increasing number of workers are using opiates on the job, leading companies to suffer from lower productivity and higher turnover, as well as an increase in accident rates.

Quest Diagnostics conducted research that shows the overall rate of workers who tested positive for drugs declined by 18% from 2003 to 2013, but the positive rate for heroin increased by a staggering 82% in just 3 years, from 2010 to 2013.

For instance, in Ohio and Indiana, many of the workers involved in work-related accidents later tested positive for heroin or other opioids. The companies affected by this type of accident are facing yet another problem: they’re having a hard time filling the vacant positions, because as much as 70% of applicants fail the required drug screen.

Mark Jurman is the plant manager at a piston factory in Marinette, Wisconsin and said that heroin use at his factory had become so obvious that local drug dealers boldly set up shop in the plant’s parking lot, waiting to sell their goods to employees during shift changes. “Our parking lot was seen as one of the best places in town to buy drugs,” Jurman said.

As a result of the growing heroin-in-the-workplace epidemic, many companies are taking a proactive approach, such as implementing of zero-tolerance policies as well as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) for those workers who are seeking treatment. Some employers are even drawing on local resources, such as law enforcement to train people in positions of management, such as supervisors, to know the signs of drug use among their employees.

“The goal is not to force them out of work,” said Brian Bourgeois, human-resources and employee-development manager at ChemDesign in Marinette. “The goal is to get them help, rehabilitate them and get them back into the workplace.”

Are you struggling to balance both your job and a drug habit? It’s like working two fulltime jobs, I know. Even if you’re managing to hold down a job, there’s a problem if you find yourself having to use drugs on a daily basis in order to deal with work – and life – in general. There’s a better way and recovery is possible. Help is available. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

History of Drugs: Heroin

History of Drugs: Heroin

In 1898 a German chemical company launched a medicine they called heroin. A hundred years later and we now we have a feared and dangerous street drug. In 1863, Friedrich Bayer (1825-76) started up a factory to use new chemical procedures for producing colorful dyes from coal-tar. And in 1888, a new substance made Bayer chemists became the company’s first commercial medicine.

Synthetic chemicals were something totally new in the 1800’s and early 19th century. In the early 19th century medicines had always been using raw materials. For example, medicines like opium which was made from the juice of poppy seed pods.

The first man to apply a chemical process to plant drugs was Friedrich Serturner who purified the main active ingredient of opium which he later gave the name ‘morphium’ and which we now know as morphine. Being able to get morphine and other pure drugs from plants brought success for many entrepreneurs such as Georg Merck, who turned his pharmacy into a major supplier of the new chemical medicines. Morphine was widely and commonly used for pain relief in the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Back then morphine was used in combination with a hypodermic syringe which had been invented in 1853.

The Making of Heroin

Now that plant derived drugs were now available in modified and purified forms they could be changed into new molecules that could be more effective and even safer for people to use. Heinrich Dreser, who now was the head of the Bayer Company in Eberfeld adopted this strategy to create two of the most famous drugs we know today. The first being heroin, which Dreser made by adding two acetyl groups to the morphine molecule; and the second being salicylic acid derivative which Bayer called ‘Aspirin’.

Heroin On the Market

Heroin took its name from the adjective heroic. Heroin was presented as a cough, chest and lung medicine to the Congress of German Naturalists and Physicians in 1898. It was meant to help with the pain relief of diseases such as pneumonia and tuberculosis which were the leading causes of death back then. Back then antibiotics had yet to be discovered and created so the doctors could only prescribe narcotic painkillers to help with the suffering of patients who could not sleep due to breathing and coughing. Heroin was very effective in helping these symptoms.

Today we know heroin to be a potent, fast acting painkiller that surpasses morphine in its effectiveness because it passes from the blood to the brain much easier. Heroin was praised as a miracle drug after its debut and was advertised in German, English, Italian, Russian and other languages all over the world.

Heroin began being prescribed instead of morphine or codeine. The addictive potential of morphine was quite well known and slowly doctors and pharmacists began to figure out that while heroin was an improvement from morphine it wasn’t an improvement in respect to addiction.  Those using heroin for medicine slowly found themselves needing more and more of it to get the same pain relieving effects.

The Downfall of Heroin

By 1903, it was finally realized that heroin had become a serious problem. Hundreds of people had been treated for heroin addiction in what was known as “demorphisation”. The United States was the first country where heroin addiction became a serious problem. By the late 19th century it was believed that over a quarter of a million Americans were addicted to opium, morphine or cocaine. In 1910, New York’s Bellevue Hospital made its first ever admission for heroin addiction. In 1915, it admitted 425 heroin addicts.

Heroin eventually became a black market substance and one that could only be obtained with a prescription. During the early 1920s a number of New York addicts supported themselves by collecting scrap metal from industrial dumps, so earning the label ‘junkies’. Also at this time was the discovery by addicts of the enhanced euphoric effects when heroin was injected with the hypodermic syringe.

Heroin addiction was blamed for a number of the 260 murders that occurred in 1922 in New York. These concerns led the US Congress to ban all domestic manufacture of heroin in 1924 which left only morphine and codeine available but still only by prescription.

After heroin became outlawed, it’s use generally declined except for two major spikes in use, or heroin epidemics.

The first one began after World War II and  the second began in the late 1960s.   During the first epidemic, the highest incidence of use occurred in the  late 1940s and early 1950s; during the second, the highest incidence occurred  between 1971 and 1977.  Both epidemics  appear to have subsided due to lack of purity in the heroin that was available,  and the increasing cost of heroin.

At the time of the second epidemic, heroin use was prevalent  among enlisted men serving in Vietnam  during the Vietnam War.  From 1969 to  1971, opiates were cheaply available in that country.

Heroin Today

The prescription painkiller epidemic has ushered in another spike in heroin use. The increase in the availability of opiate based prescription narcotics has led more and more people to get hooked.

In recent years, there has been a widespread crackdown on doctors who prescribe these medications and pharmacies that dispense them. Prescription pills are not as easy to get as they once were, and a prescription pill addiction can be very expensive, with pills costing up to a dollar per milligram. By contrast, heroin in New Jersey can go for as low as $50 dollars a bundle (approximately one gram). When someone becomes addicted, it can become difficult for them to afford the pills. Heroin is a much cheaper alternative.

If your loved one is in need of heroin addiction treatment please give us a call at 800-951-6135.





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