Author: Shernide Delva
We’ve talked about it all. Whether it is safe needle injection facilities, or prescription heroin, the various harm reduction strategies to reduce the effects of substance abuse continue to raise controversy.
Now, Las Vegas plans to reduce the risk of sharing contaminated needles by installing vending machines throughout the city.
That’s right, vending machines.
Those things you buy snacks and water bottles from will soon be carrying clean hypodermic needles. Those needles are there to prevent the spread of disease among heroin users. The ultimate goal is to save lives and help users stay healthy.
Before you argue the pros and cons, let me remind you that this idea is far from a stretch. New York has seen massive success in the use of safe needle exchange programs. The safe needle exchange programs in New York City have been credited with virtually eradicating the transmission of AiDS through contaminated needles. Furthermore, there are already areas in Canada that carry clean needle vending machines, and so far, the results have been favorable.
Las Vegas wants to crack down on disease transmission via shared needles by becoming the first city in the United States to install clean needle vending machines.
But why not create another safe needle exchange program, you ask?
Good question. It all comes down to time and money. Traditional safe needle exchange programs require a tremendous amount of resources — time, money and volunteers willing to hang out in neighborhoods that have high drug use rates. Vending machines, on the other hand, are inexpensive and more accessible.
The syringe vending machine program is a collaboration between the Las Vegas harm reduction center Trac-B Exchange and the state. The goal is to make clean needles more accessible in order to reduce the spread of diseases like hep C and HIV. Three machines will debut at outreach centers around Las Vegas next month.
With every purchase, users receive a package that includes alcohol wipes, a disposal container, and condoms in addition to clean needles. The packages will be free but users must register a swipe card with their birthday and their first and last name to monitor the number of kits distributed per user. There will also be a kiosk nearby to dispose of dirty needles.
Improving Overall Health?
These types of programs do not just reduce diseases like HIV and hep C, they also prevent abscesses, infections, and damage to veins, helping users’ overall health. There is little evidence to suggest that these programs encourage drug use. Instead, plenty of studies confirms that programs like these reduce the spread of diseases transmitted by the blood.
Overall, of course seeking treatment is the ideal answer to those struggling with addiction. However, the reality is we are in the middle of an addiction epidemic, and many are continuing to use. Therefore, programs like these are intended to help improve overall health. We want to know your opinion. What are your thoughts on these types of programs?
Harm reduction programs remain a complex strategy to a devastating epidemic. The best option is always sobriety, but sadly, it takes time for many to commit to that choice. That’s why if you are struggling with substance use disorder, reach out to us. We have professionals waiting to give you the help you desperately need. You are not alone. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.