Celebrity Rehab Host Dr. Drew Blames Opioid Epidemic on Doctors
Dr. Drew Pinsky, a board-certified addictions specialist, famous as the host of Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, recently responded to a New York Times analysis. The analysis revealed that drug-related deaths have spiked to 19% across the country in 2016. According to the report, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans under 50.
In response, Dr. Drew says this epidemic was brought on by the doctors. He blames doctors who continued prescribing opioids to patients despite their awareness of the high risk of addiction.
“The reason we have all these heroin addicts is because physicians over-prescribed opiates and then cut these patients off as opposed to getting them treatment,” he said recently on KABC radio. “And when you cut an opiate addict off, the state they’re in requires they find an alternative source of opiates. The cheapest best route now—fentanyl.”
Although his words are quite direct, they hold true.
Last week, an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine argued that the medical community wrongly cited a small 1980s editorial to repeatedly claim that opioids did not have highly addictive qualities.
“The crisis arose in part because physicians were told that the risk of addiction was low when opioids were prescribed for chronic pain. A one-paragraph letter that was published in the Journal in 1980 was widely invoked in support of this claim, even though no evidence was provided by the correspondents,” the editorial reads.
Essentially, doctors were using a letter rather than a clinical evidence to validate the claim that opioids were not addictive. This led many patients into believing that the medications they were using would not cause any form of dependence.
Addiction Stigma Further Wreaks Havoc
Furthermore, Dr. Drew states stigma surrounding addiction prevents doctors from addressing any concerns they may feel regarding their patients.
“They are afraid of the term addiction. They feel as though diagnosing someone with addiction is somehow judging them,” he continued.
Doctors who regularly prescribe opioids are at the root of the problem, Dr. Drew states, because the chances of dependence are high, and patients are often unaware of how real the risk really is.
“70 to 80% of people develop disabling consequences from their relationship with opiates,” Dr. Drew said,
The problem is when doctors continue to prescribe opioids despite the high risk of addiction, or worse, cut off a patient’s supply to opioids without providing some sort of addiction treatment option.
Patient Satisfaction is King
There is also a mindset in medicine that must abide by the patient when it comes to pain management.
“The discipline holds that ‘pain is what the patient says it is. Who are we to say when we have pain control? Pain control is achieved when the patient says it’s achieved.’ And that group will only admit to the fact that perhaps 30% of the patients get a little bit of a problem,” he said.
Stigma around addiction keeps physicians from talking to their patients about the risks of dependence. This leads to long-term dependence. While there have been regulations in place to prevent abuse, this often backfires.
Many people who were once dependent on opioid prescriptions turn to heroin due to the increased availability and decreased price cost. Heroin varies significantly in strength and many strands contain powerful substances like fentanyl which lead to overdose fatalities.
The opioid epidemic is a complex problem with a myriad of potential solutions. However, it is uncertain what solution will boast the best results. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Working in the blogging and social media sector of the world-wide web you get to see a lot of differences of opinion on a lot of topics; from the most mainstream to the most infamously controversial. In fact, pretty much anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account has exposure on a regular basis to a variety of intense debates and collective views. Of course another thing the internet does is provide us with perspective and statistics, and some of those data inventories actually make a strong impact on our own opinions. However, some figures may miss the mark when it comes to truly all-inclusive data. This is especially true when it comes to the measure of success in recovery from addiction.
Some people claim that the majority of support groups and programs don’t have very impressive or even adequate rates of success in recovery. Others will go as far as to claim that these support groups and recovery programs hurt more than they help. If you dig deep enough, there are plenty of people claiming that nothing out there works for helping addicts and alcoholics who need help.
But is that accurate? Truthfully, I have more than enough reason to doubt these claims for a very simple reason…
Who is truly capable of quantifying someone else’s “success”?
Instead of asking if drug treatment is successful, maybe we should be asking the real question… what is the real measure of success in recovery?
Talking about Treatment
Back in 2013 TIME magazine wrote that because there is no standard definition or what “rehab” is, there is no standard metric for measuring their success. The therapeutic community at one point said they could only claim a 30% success rate. However, the source also indicated that they only count ‘success’ by those who complete the entire program, and between 70% and 80% of people drop out of aftercare around 3-6 months after treatment. To sum that up, some people just stop reporting on their progress, so their ‘success’ could not be confirmed.
Other treatment providers will measure their success rates on how many patients report being completely abstinent for an extended time after leaving treatment. However, as we discuss later in the article, abstinence is not the requirement in the definition of success.
The fact is, because there are various addiction treatment models, to measure the success of recovery based on the numbers even treatment providers themselves gather is actually inappropriate and ineffective.
Focusing on the Fallen
When was the last time you saw a story on the news about an overdose victim? These days if we go 24 hours without seeing one it is surprising, right?
Well… when was the last time you saw a story on the news about a recovered addict who owns their own business, or is working a 9-5 and volunteering in their community? When was the last time you saw a breaking report about the alcoholic who went home to be an amazing parent to their newborn child or started a foundation to help the less fortunate?
I thought so. But allow me to blow your mind… because these people do exist!
This is probably one of the greatest injustices dealt to the recovery community. I’ve written about this before, and about how changing the communities views means overcoming stigma. Media outlets are always itching to give a dramatic account of every drug overdose or crime committed by an addict. Thus, that is all the rest of the world sees. It should be no surprise that people claim the recovery programs and support groups are failing, because no one pats you on the back for being a decent person. The only time people seem to applaud recovering addicts in the media is when they’re a celebrity.
It is easy to claim that drug addiction treatment doesn’t work when someone only focuses on the overdose rates in their community. It is easy to point to the individuals who have fallen, who need another chance at getting healthy, and say they are proof that the institutions are broken. Raising awareness on all those who still need help is important, but it is counterproductive to use them as indication that no progress is being made.
One conflict with measuring success is with 12 Step programs, mainly because they are anonymous programs. As a member of a 12 Step program I am definitely not trying to discredit these methods. The reality is true success rates of 12 Step programs are such a matter of contention because the standard of anonymity. Many people will simply not wish to be involved in studies based on their desire to remain anonymous.
When trying to debate the success rates of 12 Step programs we have to take any statistics with a heaping serving of salt. Out of the pieces of data available, those numbers are not an all-encompassing assessment.
Also, the only data for success in recovery from 12 Step groups is ongoing sobriety percentages, measured by years. And just about any member will tell you time does not equate sobriety. And limited data means the programs may help people to find a meaningful life, but if they do not remain members then they are not included in those success rates.
Some will only measure their success in recovery on a 24 hour basis, because they take life a day at a time.
Even 12 Step literature will point out that they have no monopoly on spirituality or recovery. 12 Step literature acknowledges that some people reach a point where their drug abuse or drinking caused great physical, personal and professional damage, but after intervention and treatment some can turn their lives around without a 12 Step program. Of course abstinence is often suggested as the best course of action for most recovering addicts and alcoholics. Once drugs or drinking create enough devastation, turmoil and helplessness many people find it is far too late to ever go back. Yet, abstinence is not necessarily the requirement for “success in recovery”.
Success in Recovery is Subjective: Speak Up
What truly transcends the debate over effective drug treatment is how we measure success in recovery in the first place. How do we decide someone is successful in life? Because isn’t that what recovery is; building a life that is happy and whole? So how do we calculate the extent of someone else’s transformation?
In essence, that is what we are talking about; discovering a fulfilled and meaningful shift that allows freedom to pursue happiness and connection. Given this description, success in recovery is definitively subjective. The meaning of recovery is more conjectural.
The measure of successful recovery should be a more fulfilled life.
Not just with material wealth, prestige or surface value but with connection, contribution and genuine gratitude. In the end, men and women who struggle with drug abuse or alcoholism recover in innumerable ways. Some turn to religious bodies, while others thrive on support groups. Some focus on physical fitness and mindfulness. There is no way to measure every success story, because they are life-long journeys through self-awareness. Each puzzle piece makes a different picture.
In order to show that there is hope, I hope more of us speak up about our experiences in recovery from alcoholism and addiction. There is so much emphasis on the bad, there is more of a need than ever to show the world something good. This means shattering the stigma that stands against us. People will never know we can succeed if we don’t try to show them how we already have. Recovery from addiction should be outspoken more often. Not because I think anonymity isn’t important; I have great respect for the traditions of 12 Step fellowships.
But… I do believe that if we don’t speak up for ourselves, stigma is going to keep speaking for us.
Every community, including yours, is filled with people who have empowering and inspiring success stories after overcoming drugs and alcohol. It all begins with a foundation. It is up to you to measure your success, but it’s also up to you to take action and make your success story possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
The fentanyl crisis just became deadlier. Now, there is another fentanyl combination known as Acryl fentanyl hitting the streets since the beginning of the year. Through April 8th, the drug has already killed 44 people in the suburbs of Chicago, according to recent reports from the Cook County Medical Examiner.
Acryl fentanyl is a deadly designer drug typically laced with heroin or cocaine. Furthermore, the number of deaths could be higher than 44 since toxicology results in some fatal overdose deaths have yet to be completed.
What makes this drug even deadlier is that overdoses from acryl fentanyl are more resistant to the overdose antidote naloxone, better known by the trade name Narcan. This makes it harder for authorities to revive overdose victims and increases the chance of fatality.
“We are seeing people in our emergency department who need increased doses of naloxone — in some cases as many as four doses — for the patient to be stabilized,” Dr. Steve Aks of the Cook County Health & Hospitals System’s Stroger Hospital said in the statement.
And it gets worse: this particular version of fentanyl has not been declared a controlled substance by the federal drug enforcement agency. Therefore, buying online is not illegal, DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson told NBC News.
In fact, when an NBC reported searched online for Acryl fentanyl, a site offering 100 grams of the powder for $797 and 1000 grams from $3,497 popped up within seconds. Essentially, anyone could have access to the drug simply through ordering it online.
Acryl Fentanyl comes in a powder and to the naked eye looks very similar to heroin or regular fentanyl. It does not have a street name, however “it can be more potent than regular fentanyl,” says Patterson.
More potent is an understatement. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin increasing the susceptibility to an overdose. The fact that acryl fentanyl is even stronger than fentanyl is incredibly alarming when it comes to potential lives at stake.
“Fentanyl and Fentanyl analogues are very powerful drugs that are likely to be lethal,” said Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar. “Just one dose can easily stop a person from breathing, causing immediate death.”
The opioid epidemic is already rampant in areas in the northeast. Medical examiners reported that in 2016, a “total of 1,091 people in Cook County died, at least in part, because of an opiate-related overdose.”
Fentanyl— or a variation of fentanyl— figured in 562 of those deaths, the ME’s office reported.
Cook County has a population of about 5,238,216, more than half of whom who live in the city of Chicago. This year, 30 fatal overdoses involving Acryl fentanyl were city residents, and the remaining 14 were from the suburbs, according to stats provided by the ME’s office.
Acryl fentanyl is likely manufactured in in Mexico or China and then smuggled into the U.S.
There are a variety of fentanyl variations spreading across the city. The type of fentanyl most commonly seen in Chicago is Furanylfentanyl, which the DEA labeled a controlled substance last year. Another older variant is known as Despropionyl fentanyl.
The office is warning the general public and emergency responders. These drug variations are resistant to naloxone, the overdose antidote, and it can be difficult to revive victims.
Sadly, these drugs are around, and addicts are taking them in a desperate attempt to get high. Right now, it is more important than ever to seek help for your addiction. The next time you use could be your last. Please do not wait. Recovery is possible. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
The first of four opioid workshops took place May 1st in West Palm Beach, Florida. Florida Governor Rick Scott initiated the workshops as a way of addressing the opioid epidemic, yet he was not in attendance for the meeting. Instead, 22 public figures attended the workshop ranging from Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip and Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley.
Protesters stood outside of the West Palm Beach Police Department Community Room. Some held signs; others held photos of loved ones who had passed. Many wore shirts with the words “Fed Up!!” printed on the front.
A live broadcast of the discussion streamed via the Palm Beach Post Investigations Facebook page. Christine Stapleton, an investigative reporter for the Palm Beach Post, reported live from the event. Around 1:30 PM, Stapleton walked along the front of the building conversing with protesters prior to streaming the opioid workshop which began at 3:00 PM.
Protesters marched holding signs and chatting amongst each other. Some were parents of children who had died from overdoses. Others were Registered Nurses who witness overdose victims on a regular basis. People gathered from all walks of life with one thing in common: they were all fed up with the response regarding the opioid epidemic.
Unfortunately, most felt the workshop they were attending was not the best plan of action regarding the opioid epidemic. Some deemed the workshop pointless. However, it was a much-needed conversation and an opportunity for the community to be heard by public officials.
The timeframe of the meeting was set at only 90 minutes which received massive criticism due to the complexities of the opioid epidemic. Furthermore, Governor Rick Scott was not in attendance which only further lowered the morale of some in attendance.
Protesters Speak Out: Desperate for Action
Outside of the facility, hundreds of purple strips of cloth hung on clotheslines. Behind the strips of cloth is Gaynelle Gozland, a parent advocate whose son, at just 13 years old, became addicted to opioids. She explains to Stapleton how she wishes she had known what she does now about prescription painkillers.
At just 13 years old, Gozland’s son was prescribed a 5-day opioid prescription for a broken arm. Not long after, her son spent his 14th birthday in rehab, addicted to opioids.
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” she says in the live stream. “My son, who is 19 now, still says to me ‘thank you for what you did because if you hadn’t, I’d be dead or strung out on heroin.”
As for the hanging strips of purple cloth, they are memorial banners. Gozland says the strips represent those who have passed away due to overdoses. Gozland’s mother, who passed away from alcoholism, influenced the idea for the purple strips of cloth. Her mother used to run a clothesline art show stringing up kids art.
“So, I’m stringing up memorial banners, and the banners are basically prayer flags so that as the wind blows, the memory of these human beings are carried on the wind,” she says.
Inside the Opioid Crisis Workshop
At about 3:00 PM, Stapleton walks us into the opioid workshop in which public figures sit in the middle of the room.
Several called on Governor Rick Scott to declare the opioid epidemic as a public health crisis. They believe this would speed up funding. Why is the Zika virus considered a public health crisis, yet not heroin? However, Attorney General Dr. Celeste Philip says the declaration does not always result in faster funding.
“What happened in [(sic) Zika — the declaration occurred in February, and funding was not made available until several months later when we saw that the delay in federal funding was longer than we expected,” says Philip.
Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley summed up the tone of the room:
“I’m angry today,” says McKinley. “We just did this in January in Tallahassee. We held this press conference with the Attorney General. We had this conversation. We laid out a plan of what was needed. Nothing was done.”
“If we were able to move that quickly on (the Zika) issue, why can’t we move more quickly on this (heroin) issue?’’ she asked.
The crowd erupts in applause.
Overall, one thing was clear from the workshop: talk is cheap. People need action. These opioid workshops do raise awareness and grant a voice to the community. However, the plans discussed need implementation. Not much will happen without action.
“I’m (expletive) tired of it. I’m tired of losing my friends,’’ Jordan Meyers, a recovering addict from Boca Raton, sums up in the workshop.
The remaining workshops are to be held Tuesday and in Manatee and Orange Counties and Wednesday in Duval County.
What do you think of Rick Scott’s opioid workshops? Do you feel they are making a difference? The opioid epidemic is a public health crisis that should be taken just as seriously as any other disease. If you are currently struggling with substance abuse, reach out. We can get you on the right track. You are now alone in this fight. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
The opioid epidemic is a complicated manner with a myriad of potential plans of action. Throughout the country, different strategies are being implemented to reduce the number of deaths
Florida Governor Rick Scott believes community workshops are a part of the solution. Palm Beach County will be the first of four counties next month to host community workshops as part of Governor Scott’s plan to combat the opioid crisis.
The first “community workshop” is set for May 1, according to the Department of children and families.
Monday, May 1, 2017 – 15:00 to 16:30
West Palm Beach Police Department Community Room
West Palm Beach Florida 33401
Two counties will also have the workshops on May 2—Manatee and Orange counties and Duval County’s workshop will be May 3.
Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the workshops on Tuesday. The state Department of Health and the Florida Development of Law Enforcement will host the conferences, and believe the conferences are a good step moving forward.
“Similar to many communities across the nation, Palm Beach, Manatee, Duval, and Orange counties are facing an increase in opioid-related deaths,” DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said in an email sent to local officials.
“Community workshops will provide important opportunities for DCF, DOH, and FDLE to directly hear the specific needs of affected communities as well as provide information on existing resources, best practices, and grant opportunities.”
Will These Workshops Help Fight Opioid Epidemic?
The opioid epidemic in Florida has reached number unheard of in previous years. The main cause for the increase in overdose deaths is related to fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is nearly 50 times stronger than heroin, while carfentanil—another controlled substance— is strong enough to tranquilize an elephant!
These powerful opioids get cut into the heroin supply tremendously increasing the risk of overdose fatalities. A recent report stated every 15 hours; someone dies from an opioid overdose in Florida. This does not include drug overdoses from alcohol or other non-opioid drugs.
Governor Rick Scott says the issue is personal for him.
“I had a family member dealing with drug abuse and he struggled with drug abuse his entire life, and I can tell you wish I had known exactly what to do for him,” said Scott.
“I can just tell you it was devastating. His life has been devastated, and it also had a dramatic impact on my mom’s life. And, she died a few years ago, and I can tell you what bothered her the most is that she could not change my brother’s life.”
In addition to contributing to reducing heroin abuse, Gov. Rick Scott says he is eager to hosting community workshops across the state. Law enforcement agencies are also contributing to the effort.
Scott stated in a news conference that he is directing these state organizations to hold workshops:
- Florida Department of Children and Families
- Department of Health
- Florida Department of Law Enforcement
If you are in Palm Beach, Duval, Manatee or Orange country, please check with your local agency on the location and time for the next workshop.
Do you think these workshops will be effective in generating ideas on how to fight the opioid epidemic? Clearly, it is a complex problem with a myriad of solutions. Furthermore, if you are struggling, we have professionals waiting to guide you. Do not wait. Call toll-free today.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135