Author: Justin Mckibben
With drug abuse being a major issue facing the nation, education is extremely important. Any hope of winning the fight against rising overdose rates and the spread of drug-related illness and death starts with making sure we have as much information as possible to make a difference. On that note, explaining prescription drug abuse is critical because prescription drug abuse is a key contributor to the state of the country today.
If we want to help people avoid prescription drug abuse, or recognize the signs and know there is help, it is important to explain the reality and the risks.
What is prescription drug abuse?
Simply put- prescription drug abuse is one of two things.
- When someone takes a medication that is not their prescription
- If someone takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor or for a different reason
When you take prescription drugs properly they are usually safe. It requires a trained health care clinician, such as a doctor or nurse, to determine if the benefits of taking the medication outweigh any risks for side effects. But when abused and taken in different amounts or for different purposes than as prescribed, they affect the brain and body in ways very similar to illicit drugs.
These drugs have a close relation to morphine, or the street drug heroin. Opioids are typically for pain management. Opioid addiction has become one of the biggest problems facing the country today. Drugs such as:
These drugs are also known as “downers”. You can divide the category can be up into:
Drugs such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol are meant to reduce symptoms of mental illness.
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
Prescription drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Librium.
Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal are included in a class of depressants intended as sedatives or sleeping pills.
These kinds of prescription drugs are also called “uppers” or “smart drugs” because of the increase alertness, attention and energy. They also increase heart rate and respiration. Many of these medications are used to combat conditions such as ADHD, including:
Prescription drug abuse has become a big health issue because of the various health hazards. This risk is particularly true of abusing prescription pain medications.
Who abuses prescription drugs?
When asking who are most likely to abuse prescription drugs, the answer may vary depending on the substance. Some people end up participating in prescription drug abuse due to an injury or legitimate health reason, but the “high” they can experience may lead to more frequent use and ultimately a physical dependence.
Recent studies have indicated that prescription drug abuse impacts young adults most; specifically age 18 to 25. In regards to teens, after marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most common substances of abuse by Americans age 14 and older.
Prescription drug abuse is present across all demographics, relevant to every social and economic class. Many believe this rise has largely contributed to the heroin addiction epidemic and the overdose outbreak in the past few years.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
The Palm Partners Treatment Program has a design for prescription drug abuse intended to address people of all walks of life who are suffering. Personalized recovery programs are meant to work with each individual’s circumstances and symptoms to create a blueprint for the future.
Some of the signs of addiction range in severity and can affect each people differently, especially depending on the specific prescription drug. Increased tolerance is a clear cut sign of progressive physical dependence. Some indicators of prescription drug addiction may be:
- Excessive sweating
- Swelling in the arms and legs
- Chronic constipation
- Respiratory distress
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
Treatment for prescription drug addiction includes a detox period to help combat the uncomfortable symptoms of prescription drug addiction, as well as withdrawal.
For all those who are struggling with prescription drug abuse, or even abusing other drugs or medications, there is a massive community of recovery all over the country to help you get the care you need. Treatment for prescription drug abuse can be the first and most important step, so be sure to step up.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
WEST PALM BEACH – Two Florida pill mill doctors were sentenced Friday for their part in irresponsibly handing out thousands of prescriptions for narcotic painkillers, such as oxycodone (Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and Roxicodone (“Roxy”), while employed in the so-called “pill mill” clinics owned and operated by the now infamous Wellington twins Chris and Jeff George.
Dr. Cynthia Cadet, 43, received a 78-month sentence, which translates to about 6 ½ years and Dr. Joseph Castronuovo, 74, was given an 18-month sentence. However, both Florida pill mill doctors have sworn to appeal their convictions and sentences. Both also asked to remain free while their appeals are pending.
Florida Pill Mill Doctors: Overdose Deaths
This isn’t the first time that Cadet and Castronuovo faced a judge: eight months, both of these Florida pill mill doctors were cleared of causing the opiate overdose deaths of eight patients in all. The two were in federal court in order to be sentenced on money laundering charges for their role in the extensive pill mill operation in the South Florida region.
Drs. Cynthia Cadet and Joseph Castronuovo were originally facing the possibility of stiff sentences of as much as 10 years a piece for their participation in the lucrative pain clinic enterprise masterminded by twins Chris and Jeff George. The Florida pill mill doctors’ attorneys argued that neither of their clients should be sent to prison for their work at the clinics – that were obviously designed to people addicted to opiates and other prescription pills, such as Xanax, desperate for a fix.
Florida Pill Mill Doctors Beg for Mercy
According to his attorney Thomas Sclafani, who wrote in memorandum to U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra, Castronuovo, being of advanced age and suffering with several health problems, wouldn’t survive long in prison. Sclafani urged for leniency, citing his client’s long career as a healer and his service to the community when he worked at St. Mary’s Medical Center in the 1970s, and suggested that Castronuovo be sentenced to house arrest.
Michael Weinstein, the attorney for Cadet, 43, the former emergency room physician in Broward County turned pill mill doctor, said that his client should be given probation.
Both attorneys wrote that the other Florida pill mill doctors who worked for the Georges admitted to knowing that their employers were drug dealers. According to their attorneys, both Cadet and Castronuovo say they believed they were professionally and ethically treating their patients, who appeared to have legitimate health issues. In fact – they pointed out – the two were the only ones among nearly three dozen of Florida pill mill doctors at the clinics in Palm Beach and Broward counties who rejected plea deals at the time of their indictment and chose to go to trial, believing in their own innocence.
Prosecutors: Florida Pill Mill Doctors Deserve Punishment
Prosecutors for the case wrote, “At trial, the government presented approximately seventy witnesses and over 400 exhibits. The evidence established that both defendants prescribed and dispensed controlled substances outside the usual course of professional practice and other than for a legitimate medical purpose.”
The prosecutors pointed out that both of the Florida pill mill doctors Cadet and Castronuovo knew what they were doing was illegal. They said that the two should be punished just like the 10 or so other pill mill doctors who pleaded guilty and received prison sentences.
Witnesses at trial testified that the clinic where Cadet worked was so successful that money literally spilled out of garbage bags. And neighbors of the clinics complained about the patients shooting up in clinic parking lots.
The prosecutors also point to the two Florida pill mill doctors’ guilt as evidenced in their actions while employed by the Georges. For instance, during the mere 15 months Cadet worked at the clinic American Pain, she wrote prescriptions for 2.5 million oxycodone pills and was paid $1.5 million. And Castronuovo, who worked for nine months at the twins’ clinic Executive Pain, made $160,000 and gave out prescriptions for 750,000 pills, prosecutors said.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
image credit: Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office
MANAHAWKIN, New Jersey – The prosecutor in Ocean County, Joseph D. Coronato, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Director, Eric T. Kanefsky, announced the arrest of Dr. Liviu T. Holca – the charge: the unlawful distribution of prescription drugs without medical necessity. Not surprisingly, shortly thereafter came the announcement that Dr. Holca’s medical practice has been closed.
Holca is accused of prescribing the drugs Percocet and Xanax to patients for whom there was no medical need. Allegedly, Dr. Holca wrote the unnecessary prescriptions between July 2013 and August 2013.
Percocet is a brand name for oxycodone, a powerful narcotic painkiller notorious for its abuse potential. Xanax belongs to a different class of drugs – anti-anxiety medications – that are also often abused for their sedative and relaxing effect.
Eight undercover operations were conducted by the Southern Enforcement group and gathered evidence that indicates that Dr. Holca dispensed narcotic prescription drugs that was not in accordance with “the usual course of his practice.”
After the investigation, the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor then charged Holca with ‘Distribution of Percocet without any medical necessity,’ ‘Distribution of Xanax without any medical necessity’ and a slew of other similar charges.
A court-authorized search of Dr. Holca’s residence yielded loaded firearms, a number of a suspected controlled dangerous substances as well as a large amount of money. All of which points to the illegal and unethical selling of prescription drugs.
Prosecutor Coronato is quoted as saying, “No one wakes up and suddenly decides today I’m doing heroin. Abuse of prescription pills is the precursor to a life of dangerous street level drug addiction. It’s only a matter of time before an addicted person’s habit pushes them from high priced pills to cheap street heroin.”
Dr. Holca remains in the Ocean County Jail pending determination of bail. The investigation is ongoing.
Prescription Drugs and America
Dr. Holca is listed under Family Medicine, meaning that he is a primary care physician, not a specialist. And this fits the prescription drug trend in America: the CDC reports that most prescription drugs in American are prescribed by the family/primary care doctor. And, astonishingly, only about 20% of prescribing docs prescribe 80% of all prescription meds.
Statistics inform us that the current trend in medicine and drug use and abuse is that opiates are the most prescribed drug in America; roughly 56% of painkiller prescriptions were given to patients who had filled another prescription for pain from the same or different physician within the past 30 days. This is nearly a twenty-year increase in prescription painkiller use.
In the span of a mere 10 year period, from 1991 to 2009, prescriptions for narcotic painkillers increased almost threefold, to over 200 million.
An analysis of national prescribing patterns shows that more than half of patients who received a narcotic prescription in 2009 had filled another prescription for a similar drug within the previous month.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
You find yourself saying, “it’s time to “cut back” or stop altogether” and even come up with all kinds of schemes to stop but, nothing seems to work. You may be able to stop for a little while but find you keep going back to that drink or drug. By now, you’ve probably realized that you want to stop but simply can’t.
So what is there left to do? It’s time to choose from the detox centers in Bal Harbor. Drug detox centers in Bal Harbor provide affordable treatment to those who are suffering from addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders.
What Happens at Detox Centers in Bal Harbor?
Detox centers in Bal Harbor works like this: you will be assessed for your drug use history through both an interview with a medically trained staff person and a drug screen, also called a ‘tox screen.” This is a hospital type setting and, just like any other medical setting, confidentiality is guaranteed. You will not get in trouble with police or other authorities for being intoxicated. In fact, most people show up to the detox center under the influence.
The assessment is done to see how the medical staff at the detox centers in Bal Harbor can best help you. They will need to know what substances you have been using, how much you have been using, and for how long. You will then be admitted to the program and given a private room, sometimes with a roommate. You will see a medical doctor who will prescribe the necessary medications to help ease the withdrawal symptoms of your detoxification from alcohol and/or other drugs.
Why Detox Centers in Bal Harbor are Necessary
If you are dependent on prescription painkillers such as oxycodone (Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone, or other opiates like heroin, then detox centers in Bal Harbor can help you. Unlike alcohol withdrawal, opiate withdrawal is not known to be fatal however, the withdrawal symptoms can be so severely painful that it becomes nearly impossible to resist going back out and using in order to “get well.” However, there have been some cases of people experiencing seizures when “kicking” an opiate dependence, and this is all the more reason that a program at one of the detox centers in Bal Harbor should be considered.
If you are dependent on alcohol, it is medically necessary for you to get the kind of help that detox centers in Bal Harbor can offer. This is because of a medical condition called alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which is a set of withdrawal symptoms that range from at the least uncomfortable, to frightening, and even fatal. The same goes for benzodiazepines (benzos such as Xanax and Valium) and barbiturates. Detox centers in Bal Harbor will treat you with a course of medication that will ease these symptoms and get you off of these other substances in a safe manner.
Why Consider Detox Centers in Bal Harbor
Bal Harbor is a city in south Florida that extends from the bay to the Atlantic Ocean. The word “Bal” was created to encompass this area’s unique location: the “b” was taken from the word “bay” and the “a” and “l” were taken from the name Atlantic. Situated in sunny south Florida, this is an ideal destination to begin life anew; the warm, tropical climate and serene beaches are the perfect setting in which to relax and rejuvenate.
If you or a loved one is looking for help from detox centers in Bal Harbor please call toll free 1-800-951-6135
I was never a pill head. Well I guess I was but I always attained my drugs through illegal means. And while doctor shopping isn’t in the least bit legal, it is a way of obtaining a legal prescription for the drugs addicts are becoming so commonly addicted to. And you know which ones we mean: Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Oxycodone, Roxicodone, and Vicodin etc.
What is doctor shopping?
Doctor shopping is the act of visiting multiple doctors without providing information about prior treatments in order to get prescription medications. It is called doctor shopping because the person who is doing so is literally “shopping” for doctors that will fulfill their need; a need for prescription narcotics. The act of doctor shopping does not occur if a patient decides to change doctors or has several doctors for specific problems that all communicate together for treatment or if a patient decides to get another opinion about a diagnosis. Having multiple doctors without cause or with the intent solely to attain prescription drugs is doctor shopping. People who doctor shop are usually suffering from a drug addiction. When people intentionally doctor shop they are taking advantage of services, the health care industry and legitimate patients suffer because costs increase and the medical community has to be more strict about patient care.
An example of doctor shopping would look something like this:
I have found myself addicted to opiates. Specifically Percocet; and I have run out my pills. So I go online or on the phone book and find a pain doctor.
I find a doctor and go in complaining about pain in back or pain in my joints; some kind of pain. So, because the doctor thinks I am in genuine pain he or she writes me a prescription for Percocet to last a month with no refills. After seeing that doctor I make an appointment with a totally different doctor the next day. I go in and complain of the same ailments and he or she writes me another prescription for Percocet. I don’t tell the second doctor about seeing any other doctors and the prescriptions I already have. This is doctor shopping; using doctors to fulfill my drug habit.
Why people are doctor shopping
The cause of increased prescription drug abuse which leads to an increase in doctor shopping may be connected to an emphasis in modern medicine to relieve pain. This has unknowingly led to an increased supply of these medications that is more easily available and easily prescribed. Some view prescription drugs as a “safer” way to get high compared to street drugs. Others become dependent or addicted when the medication is inappropriately prescribed or when they have been necessary in the treatment of a long-term illness or injury and then begin doctor shopping. Some seek prescriptions to sell because they have a high street value.
It can also be really hard for doctors to determine whether or not patients are suffering from genuine pain and not necessarily abusing their medication. A doctor has to distinguish patient tolerance, dependence and addiction in order to know if a patient is trying to abuse the medication and this is hard to do although, doctors are getting better about noticing the signs. There also has been an increase of hospitals and doctors using state wide databases that record which people have been prescribed prescription narcotics so doctor shopping can’t happen anymore.
If you or someone you love is doctor shopping or in need of treatment for prescription drug abuse, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.