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Celebrity Rehab Host Dr. Drew Blames Opioid Epidemic on Doctors

Celebrity Rehab Host Dr. Drew Blames Opioid Epidemic on Doctors

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

Chicago Sees Surge in Deaths from Deadly Fentanyl Variation

Chicago Sees Surge in Deaths from Deadly Fentanyl Variation

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

For the First Time, Drug Use Tops Booze in Fatal U.S. Crashes

For the First Time, Drug Use Tops Booze in Fatal U.S. Crashes

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

We know how devastatingly common alcohol-related car accidents are, but what about drug-related accidents? Turns out, drug-related accidents are becoming more common than those involving alcohol.

For the first time, drug use is topping booze in fatal U.S crashes.  Recent U.S data reveals that drivers killed in crashes were more likely to be on drugs than drunk. Furthermore, marijuana was involved in more than a third of fatal accidents in 2015, according to a study released on Wednesday.

Among driver fatalities, 36.5 percent used marijuana followed by amphetamines at 9.3 percent, the study confirms. The study was based on the most recent U.S state data reported to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA)

“People generally should get educated that drugs of all sorts can impair your driving ability,” said Jim Hedlund, a former NHTSA official who wrote the report. “If you’re on a drug that does so, you shouldn’t be driving.”

The study included any substance that can impair driving including:

In 2013, alcohol and drug traffic fatalities were at about 40 percent, with alcohol slightly higher, stated Hedlund.

Since 2005, the drug fatality levels have risen steadily. Before 2005, alcohol was detected in 41 percent of traffic deaths and drugs in 28 percent.  Hedlund said he was unable to find a direct link between the increased U.S. drug users, such as the opioid epidemic, to the rise in drugged drivers.

The number of U.S. deaths from opioids has massively quadrupled since 1999, with more than 33, 000 deaths in 2015, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Palm Beach County, a recent report from medical examiners stated a person died from an overdose fatality every 15 hours.

The increase in drug-related driving fatalities also coincides with marijuana legalization. In the United States, 29 out of the 50 states and the District of Columbia allow medical or recreational marijuana use. The reports state that marijuana-related traffic deaths in Colorado increased by 28 percent after the state legalized recreational use of the drug.

However, Michael Collins, deputy director of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group, questions the correlation. Because marijuana can linger in the body for weeks, a driver might not actually be intoxicated when being tested, he said.

“I think you really need to take these kind of analyses with a pinch of salt,” he said in a phone interview with U.S. News

The report cautions that the data varies widely on how many drivers are tested and how they were tested.

What the Future Holds

Overall, the study brings up some important points. With the opioid epidemic hitting tragic numbers, and marijuana legalization increasing throughout the states, it is likely that drivers will have more than booze in their system.

Therefore, driving under the influence encompasses a lot more than just alcohol. Mixing alcohol with other substances is a major concern as this further impairs a person’s ability to drive. It also increases the risk of an accident and not only puts the driver at risk but also other drivers on the road. What do you believe should be done about this?

Driving under the influence of any major drug is a huge no-no. Please reach out for help if you are having trouble controlling your substance use. Do not wait. You are not alone. Call now. We want to help.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Opioid Workshop in Palm Beach County Set for May 1

Florida Governor Believes Community Workshops Will Help Fight Opioid Epidemic

(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.

Date/Time: 

Monday, May 1, 2017 – 15:00 to 16:30

Location:

West Palm Beach Police Department Community Room
600 Banyan Blvd
West Palm Beach  Florida  33401

United States

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

Will Clean Needle Vending Machines Save Lives?  Las Vegas Thinks So.

 

Will A Clean Needle Vending Machine Save Lives?  Las Vegas Thinks So.

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

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