While the entire country has been impacted by this ongoing issue, more options for prevention and treatment have become paramount to changing the tides. Just this week Rick Scott, the governor of the state of Florida, proposed a strategy for fighting the opioid epidemic that has gained a lot of attention. Scott has decided to ask local lawmakers to impose a three-day limit on opioid prescriptions during the upcoming legislative session. This latest development is one new piece of recent initiatives to combat the opioid crisis.
Florida Governor Opioid Initiatives
During two press conferences on Tuesday, the Florida Governor announced a pushback on an abundance of opioid prescriptions, while also introducing other ideas for fighting addiction.
One of the initiatives Rick Scott is pushing is to require all health-care professionals who prescribe controlled substances to participate in the Florida Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, also known as the PDMP. This database involves health-care professionals to report important information on patients receiving powerful narcotic medications, including:
- Name of the doctor
- Patient name
- Prescription information after the prescription is filled
But this is not the last of Florida Governor Scott’s opioid initiatives. His office also plans to seek additional reforms such as:
- Fight unlicensed pain management clinics
- Requiring education on responsible opioid prescribing
- Creating more opportunities for federal grants
Scott apparently plans to put some more investments toward helping those already struggling. He is also pushing for more than $50 million for services including:
Part of this initiative is also boosting up the budget of the Florida Violent Crime and Drug Control Council.
At the moment the finer details of the Florida Governor’s proposals are not yet available. However, what it does tell us is that Scott is not ignoring the contribution Big Pharma makes in this current crisis. What we can tell from this outline is that Rick Scott says he is aiming to address prescription opioid pain medication, recognizing it as a key source of the growing problem.
Why 3 Days?
It has been reported time and time again that we should be paying attention to how powerful opioid medications impact rising addiction rates. Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a recent study showing how quickly someone could get hooked on these kinds of drugs. In this study it is shown:
- After three days of use, about 6% of patients were still using opioids a year later.
- Five days into use, about 10% of patients were still using opioids a year later.
- After 11 days of use, it jumps to 25% of patients still taking opioids a year later.
So it would seem that between 3-5 days, the chances of continued use almost doubled. Then between 5-11 days the chances of use more than doubled. This development may have helped inspire the idea to limit prescriptions to 3 days.
Back in March, Bradley Martin of the CDC, one of the study authors, told Vox magazine:
“There’s nothing magical about five days versus six days, but with each day your risk of dependency increases fairly dramatically,”
So while day 5 and day 6 may not be a dramatic leap over the edge, some may see this proposed limit as an attempt to at least slow a process down.
The Opposing Argument
The Florida Governor will probably face strong criticism, or at least skepticism, from crowds such as:
The opposition is still very real. This isn’t even the first time Florida lawmakers have seen something like this brought to the table. Just last year Florida legislatures quietly rejected an effort last year to impose a five-day cap on opioid prescriptions for acute pain.
Legislatures and doctors are the only concerns Florida Governor may have to tangle with in order to push this idea through. Other potential obstacles standing against this proposal include:
- Additional out-of-pocket co-pays that patients will incur
- The ability of patients with chronic pain and terminal illnesses to refill prescriptions
The Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians will discuss caps on prescriptions during a board meeting today. Dr. Sanford Silverman is a past president of the Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. In regards to the 3 day limit he stated:
“We don’t think the cap is reasonable since it is a completely arbitrary number,”
“A better idea would be to mandate usage of the PDMP prior to writing an opioid for acute pain.”
Other states have created caps on prescriptions, although some may not seem as strict as the 3 day rule.
- Massachusetts limits the supply to seven days.
- New Jersey set it so that first-time prescriptions for acute pain cannot exceed a five-day supply. Also, patients being treated for cancer or under hospice care are exempt.
- Ohio caps distinguish between patients with chronic pain and those with acute pain.
At the end of the day, similar strategies may not be left up to the lawmakers. If pharmacies decide to impose their own limits on certain prescription drugs the Florida Governor might not have to push very hard to get the limits he is looking for.
CVS announced Friday that the company plans to:
- Limit the daily dosage of pain pills based on their strength
- Require the use of quick-release painkillers before extended-release opioids are dispensed
- Limit opioid prescriptions to seven days for certain conditions
This restriction will specifically apply to patients who are new to pain therapy.
Only time will tell how far Florida Governor Rick Scott’s new pitch will go, but it seems one thing people can agree on is that the opioid crisis does require some new approaches to prevention.
With more prevention we may be able to slow down the rising rates of opioid addiction. Meanwhile, the need for safe and effective treatment still means a lot for helping those already suffering. Real treatment resources matter. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Prescription drug abuse is easily one of the biggest health concerns facing Americans today. Prescription painkillers and other narcotic medications have made a vast contribution to the overdose epidemic, and experts in the area of drug addiction have frequently done their best to try and inform the public about how leaving unused prescription drugs around the house is a very dangerous and unnecessary risk.
There have been a lot of programs put together by community leaders to have prescription drug drop boxes and throw away locations set up for individuals to safely and responsibly dispose of their dangerous medications. But now there is a new innovation that could make the entire process easier and keep our homes safer. These drugs have made the problem with opiates, especially heroin, even worse and now this simple solution could put a big dent in the heroin epidemic.
Zip It Up
Instead of taking unused narcotics to a prescription drug drop box at a police station or pharmacy, there’s a new bag that destroy liquids, pills, or patches in seconds.
Deterra is a brand spanking new drug deactivation system that’s so exclusive you can’t even buy it yet. The new miracle product looks like a zip lock bag, but inside there is another little bag full of activated carbon.
When you have extra, unused or unidentified pills to dispose of, you just add the pills to the bag with some water. It only take 10 seconds in the bag, and it could mean the difference between life and death. Jared Opsal, public awareness specialist for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse believes this is one of the big answers we have been looking for when it comes down to the opiate and heroin epidemic. Opsal stated:
“It’s very simple. This is like hitting the easy button for prescription drug disposal.”
This new and exciting invention may be the future of harm reduction, and the technology has only been out for almost a month.
For the Deterra bags there are two sizes, with the larger of the two being able to destroy as many as 90 pills effectively in one use. As if that weren’t enough, Deterra is more environmentally friendly than flushing drugs down the toilet, and it can create a stutter that puts a stop to a pill habit that quickly grows into a heroin addiction.
Too many addicts get hooked starting with opioid painkillers at a young age, and afterwards they become more and more desperate, usually with no idea that this typically leads to a serious heroin problem. Many teens actually start getting high on prescriptions they find at home, and once they build a tolerance to pills, it is only a matter of time between them and the needle.
Some have made even a direct statement that leaving unused prescription medications of any kind around the house is just like leaving a loaded gun out for your children to play with, and more suggest that when writing prescriptions it would make a huge difference for families if the companies or doctors included these bags with the pill bottle. The impact of having an immediate way to dispose of any hazardous substance would probably save many from ever even getting their first taste of opiates.
While you still can’t just go out and buy these at a CVS right now, there is still a way to get these drug disposal bags. For the time being you must contact the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, or contact Deterra at www.deterrasystem.com and they will ship them out to you. Either way there is a new opportunity to take some action that could change a serious outcome or even save a life.
We all have some level of involvement and opportunity to help influence the issue of drug abuse in our communities and in our country. Some people can do something as simple as safely and effectively destroying their medications. Others may have to take a little more action, but there is help out there. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
New York State is trying something new when it comes to educating people about the dangers of drug use: it’s releasing Public Service Announcements (PSAs) to be shown in movie theatres across the state.
In efforts to address the alarming rise in heroin use throughout the state, New York is releasing these PSAs with the goal of warning moviegoers about the dangers of heroin use.
Drug Dangers PSAs Shown in Movie Theaters
The new strategy in fighting the heroin scourge began last Friday and feature testimonials from recovering heroin users who tell their personal stories about how their drug use affected both their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Because of the subject of the PSAs, they will only be shown before features that are rated PG-13 and R-rated movies. The current New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo says the campaign is part of the state’s plan to “push back” against heroin and prescription drug use.
Some Statistics on Opiate Use
This year, there were 91,000 hospital admissions in which heroin and prescription opiate abuse was the cause – a drastic increase when compared to just five years ago when there were 76,000 medical admissions. Also, there were more deaths from heroin overdoses in New York City than any year since 2013, with 420 out of 782 fatal heroin overdoses. The fact is, heroin-related deaths have more than doubled in the city since 2010.
In 2000, only 5% of people admitted to drug treatment centers checked in for heroin and other opiate addictions, but last year that number soared to 23%. Local hospitals have also reported more emergency room visits related to heroin in recent years.
And it’s not just a Big Apple issue; heroin use has crept into the suburbs and smaller cities throughout the state. In the Albany area, for example, a bag of heroin costs $10, which is just half the cost than it was only a few years ago. And with reports from those on the front lines – law enforcement officers – heroin today is stronger and more concentrated than ever before, leading to a higher demand, higher rate of use, higher overdose rates, and higher number of fatalities. Basically, opiate drug users are trading in their painkiller addiction for an addition to heroin because, simply-put, it’s more bang for their buck.
Crackdown on Prescription Painkillers Leads to Heroin Resurgence
“By taking away opiate pain pills, we are not necessarily reducing the demand for them,” said Dr. Bruce Masalak an addiction specialist at St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam. “Heroin is an attractive substitute to feed that addiction.”
Some local communities have taken action to help address this problem. The Rensselaer County system, for example, has launched a venue for ongoing dialogue about substance abuse in their community, holding meetings and support groups to help address the issue.
Auerbach Lyman, who lost her son Jeremiah to drug use and attends the support group meetings shared, “He was functioning. He went to school every day. He was always out and about,” “You just want to rewind time.”
If you are struggling or you suspect that someone you love is struggling with heroin abuse, opiate addiction, or any other substance abuse disorder, you can call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist around the clock.
Prescription painkillers have become a huge problem in America, being overprescribed and often abused by both recreational users and legitimate pain management patients. A pain pill detox center in Florida can help someone who has become dependent or addicted to pain medication.
What Are Opiates?
Opiates are a class of narcotic drugs that are used in medicine for their pain killing properties and are known for their high potential for abuse. These opiates are prescribed in the form of pain pills, such as Oxycodone, Methadone, Hydrocodone – basically, any of your prescription painkillers.
People take and abuse pain pills simply because of they make them feel good: they take away any pain as well as produce a sedating effect along with a strong sense of euphoria, called a “rush” or “high.”
What is Opiate Withdrawal Syndrome?
If you abruptly stop taking pain pills and other opiates this will cause what is known as withdrawal syndrome: a set of symptoms that include: sweating, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, insomnia, anxiety, depression, excessive yawning, runny nose, muscles aches, and more.
This happens because your brain has developed a dependency on these powerful drugs, which alter both your brain chemistry and brain structure. Once you try to stop, your brain, and therefore your body, reacts to the sudden absence of the drug. The withdrawal from pain pills is very uncomfortable and many people find themselves going back to taking more pain pills because they can’t stand the pain and discomfort. This is why a pain pill detox center in Florida should be considered.
Why go to a Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida?
Plain and simple: a pain pill detox center is the best alternative to going cold turkey and stopping on your own. It is a safer and more comfortable environment than say your friend’s couch. Many people seek aa pain pill detox center in Florida because of its warm weather, sunshine, and beaches. Believe me, when you are detoxing from opiates like painkillers, you will want to be in this kind of environment. Comfort and safety are essential to the healing process.
What Does A Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida Do?
A pain pill detox center is a facility that provides a medical detoxification program to specifically help you get off opiates with diminished withdrawal symptoms. There is a trained medical staff at the pain pill detox center that can administer medication in order to ease your withdrawal symptoms and that will monitor you while you go through the process of detoxification from pain pills.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: What to Expect
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Admission
The first step is checking into a detox program for pain pill dependence. Assuming you have done research as to the pain pill detox center in Florida you will attend, you will follow their instructions for what to bring and when to come for check-in.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Evaluation
During evaluation at the pain pill detox center in Florida of your choosing, you will meet with a staff person who will take your social and medical history. This means that you will tell them about your drug use and health conditions, if any. You will also do a drug screen so that the medical staff can know exactly what drug or drugs you have been taking and the level or amount of those drugs that are in your system at the time of check-in.
This is not done for legal reasons and you will not get in any trouble. It is necessary to do a drug test so that you can be treated properly during your detox process. And you will want the staff to know what and how much you’ve been taking so that they can treat you accordingly and make the process as comfortable as possible.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Doctor Evaluation
You will meet with a medical doctor to have the necessary medications prescribed to you for your pain pill detox. You will also meet with a medical doctor to have any other medications prescribed to you if you have other health issues. As well, you will meet with a psychiatrist to be evaluated and prescribed any psych meds that you may need. Oftentimes, people who abuse drugs have a co-occurring diagnosis, also called dual diagnosis, such as depression, anxiety disorder, or bipolar disorder.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Stabilization
During the stabilization stage at the pain pill detox center in Florida, you will be given certain medications to ease the withdrawal systems that you will begin to experience. Stabilization means to regulate and maintain your condition. So that once you are on your meds, you will be kept at a certain level of medication and slowly tapered off so as to reduce the shock to your system of being without opiates.
Pain Pill Detox Center in Florida: Discharge
The program at the pain pill detox center in Florida can last from 4 to as many as 10 days, depending on the amount of opiates you had been taking and how you are feeling from day to day. You will meet with a therapist to evaluate your progress. The therapist may make recommendations as to continuing care such as rehabilitation so that you do not go back to using pain pills or other opiates.
Whether you were legitimately prescribed painkillers for a chronic pain condition or you started taking pain pills for recreational or self-medicating purposes, a pain pill detox center in Florida can help you get your life back in order. The good news is that it is possible to get off of painkillers with minimal discomfort and, if you have a pain condition, there are alternative treatments to relieving your pain symptoms that don’t require the use of narcotics. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
By August 25, 2011, the George twins, Chris and Jeff, had amassed $40 million in cash – and probably more (it’s believed that they were able to hide their total earnings – perhaps in Belize – before authorities finally took them down), high-end cars, mansions, oh, and the deaths of 56 people who had overdosed on the powerful painkillers that they had been in the business of doling out, hand over fist. All of this in the course of two years.
How It All Started
The Georges got the idea of going into the pain clinic business from a fellow criminal and mentor known as “the Candy Man.” Back in 2007, it was this unnamed physician who told the twins, two bad-boy rich kids that, to make a fortune, they should open a pain clinic.
“The Candy Man,” nicknamed by authorities for his large volume of pill prescriptions, is responsible for launching the brothers, 27 at the time, to the top of a pill mill empire that raked in $40 million in two years in Broward and Palm Beach counties, according to officials.
The Wellington entrepreneurs formulated what was to become their bread-and-butter formula that also quickly inspired others to follow suit. Their pill mill blueprint that others copied would turn South Florida into ground zero of the narcotic prescription drugs black market, prosecutors said.
The Georges insisted on accepting cash and credit only in order to avoid state regulation of clinics that accept insurance. They catered to drug dealers from Kentucky and other states with high rates of painkiller abuse. Their customers could walk away with hundreds of pills a month. And they paid their doctors on staff for each patient seen as a way to motivate them; the doctors spent no more than a few minutes with each customer before writing prescriptions.
The George brothers also “kept it in the family” – hiring only friends and family when it came to staffing their pain clinics. As for the doctors? They were hired through Craig’s List ads.
Chris George was secretly recorded telling one of his managers that he had hired Jupiter physician Augusto Lizarazo, 70, despite his heavy accent and lack of experience with prescribing pain pills.
“You know what, people don’t care as long as he’s writing the scripts,” Chris George said.
Fraud Goes Deeper
Officials said that the Georges were careful to control the operation from top to bottom. For example they set up one of their steroid telemarketers in a mobile MRI business that operated behind a strip club. That aspect of the operation netted $2 million.
They expanded their business model to control how and where the prescriptions their doctors were writing. Chris George financed two of their clinic staffers to start pharmacies in Boca Raton and Orlando to disguise the volume of pills being sold. The sale of the pain pills also financed two phony time-share companies that swindled another $4.7 million from their victims.
The George Brothers: Thug Businessmen
Officials said the George brothers used violence in their business tactics.
For one thing, they threatened the operators of other pain management clinics. They also ordered their staffers to vandalize the buildings and cars of their competitors and others who opposed them.
Once, the thug twins and their aides kidnapped and handcuffed a man whom they believed had stolen $50,000 from them. The man was thrown to the ground and Jeff George fired a bullet next to his head to intimidate him.
What It Translated To
“They were swimming in money. Obscene.” said one federal official.
By the time police and federal agents shut down their four clinics in March 2010, the brothers had sold 20 million pain pills.
Each of their four clinics made up to $50,000 a day. Their employees carried the receipts to the bank in garbage bags. Their mother – who worked for and was arrested with her sons – kept about $4.5 million of their spare cash in two safes in the attic of her house.
And while desperate opiate addicts were scraping together money to buy their scripts, the George brothers enjoyed six-bedroom houses, four-figure Rolex watches, a shopping plaza, high-end boats and fast cars.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.