Author: Justin Mckibben
This is the era of social media. Good or bad it is here to stay it seems, and while sometimes it can be abused, social media has opened new avenues for marketing, research, gathering and sharing information, and raising awareness. The constant connectivity of WiFi signals and the World Wide Web has given us the ability to reach out to people worlds away, giving each other images, experience and hope.
While I have admittedly written before talking about the dangers of social media and excessive and obsessive usage, I have also written about the positive side and the tools that it offers up to changing our understanding of mental health and stigma. Now one of the most popular social media tools of its time is being used to spread experience, strength and hope in a way that may make a world of difference for addiction.
The CDC Campaign
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is trying to get that conversation going, and so they have taken advantage of the miracle of social media with Twitter, hashtag (#) in hand to raise awareness about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs. In an attempt to shed new light on the issue the CDC hopes to recognize prescription opioid abusers who have been working to change their lives for the better. This week the new campaign was launched with the initiative asking for the stories of those who have been affected by prescription painkiller addiction.
“When the Prescription Becomes the Problem” is that name of the new CDC campaign that was announced at the fourth annual National RX Drug Abuse Summit. The CDC hopes to establish a safe sanctuary so those who are or have been addicted to prescription painkillers by giving them an opportunity to step forward and tell their story. The idea is one not unfamiliar to those who are used to the rooms of recovery, and the thought of sharing experience and personal stories in regards to prescription painkiller addiction will get people talking about it, and help more people to relate and understand. The associate director for Communication at the CDC’s Injury Center, Erin Connelly, stated:
“Prescription drug overdose devastates individuals, families and communities. We’d like to get everyone talking and thinking about the risks involved with opioid painkillers.”
As with a lot of issues that come with a degree of stigma, raising awareness in the public eye is a vital part of creating change and inspiring innovation in treatment.
Approaching the Issues
Addiction is one of those conditions that’s origins are often debated, and there are various differing viewpoints on what motivates prescription painkiller addiction in particular, and how to prevent it. Some are firm in the belief that addictive behavior can be in some ways genetic, many also believe it is a perfect storm of both nature and nurture, but regardless the CDC believes it all starts in the doctor’s office.
According to the CDC, there were 16,235 deaths involving prescription opioids in 2013, an increase of 1% from 2012. With the escalating concerns with the overdose epidemic, especially in relation to opioid drugs, Connelly went on to explain this focus on the doctors and health care professionals:
“[The] CDC’s approach to prescription drug overdose remains on primary prevention of opioid addiction and overdose—that is, addressing the problematic opioid prescribing that created and continues to fuel the epidemic… States drive prevention—they regulate the health professions, run prescription drug monitoring programs, administer large public insurance programs like Medicaid, and have the public health surveillance capacity to track the behavior of the epidemic.”
The Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus appropriations bill accumulated $20 million for the CDC to cultivate its Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention for States program, and that money will allow 17 states to improve their prescription drug monitoring programs as well as implement new, evidence-based prevention programs. Keeping doctor shopping and pill mills from supplying the prescription drug problem will make a huge difference.
The usage of a hashtag (#) is an easy way to keep sources compiled and connected, and for a campaign designed to share as much experience, inspiration and solutions as possible it is an easily way to gain traction as a simple networking and marketing tool. If you want to get involved in the CDC’s “When the Prescription Becomes the Problem” campaign, or simply just to show your support, all you have to do is tweet a six-word message with the hashtag #RxProblem. Also through that hashtag you are given access to other information and stories.
Working together with the treatment industry and individuals from the recovery community the CDC is making the best of social media marketing in an attempt to get more of that message out there. The campaign is to run until May 15th, 2015.
We learn through early sobriety that a huge part of our recovery and the recovery of others is helping others. We should all do our part to helping the addict and alcoholic who still suffers from know there is a way out, and there are trained professionals ready and willing to welcome you to a new way of life. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
If you haven’t noticed, death by drug overdose continues to kill in staggering numbers, and the country’s population remains poisoned by the plague of prescription painkiller abuse and heroin addiction. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that an estimated 120 people die every single day from accidental drug overdose in the U.S. Experts have predicted that the snowballing sum of death is still years away from its peak, and that the body-count will reach 50,000 annual deaths before it shows any sign of stopping.
One of the key elements in the spread of the overdose epidemic is the limited and inefficient access to lifesaving resources and skills. There could be real improvement if we were about to see more availability to assets such as:
- Opiate overdose antidote Naloxone
- Training for Naloxone administration
- Substance use disorder treatment
- Mental health care
- Education opportunities for youth, adults and professionals.
Thankfully there are officials out there who appreciate the importance of these causes if the country can hold out any hope of recovering from the outbreak. There are several different initiatives in different states hoping to make some revolutionary changes and get their communities the support they need.
Making an Impact
In just one week alone there were two huge developments in Illinois implemented that were designed to directly address the ongoing spike in opioid overdoses.
- Chicago Naloxone Clinic
The Northwest suburbs of Chicago, Illinois saw the opening of a clinic that will distribute naloxone with permission from the Illinois Department of Alcohol and Substance Abuse. This is the first overdose prevention clinic of its kind in Illinois; because it is allowed to freely distribute the life-saving naloxone medication to anyone who may need it, including drug users themselves.
- The clinic is run by volunteers of the community, which involves:
- Training people to administer naloxone
- Providing opioid overdose education
- Offering treatment referrals
- Providing a safe place for concerned families and loved ones to get support
Many of the volunteers involved in this clinic have been directly affected by the growing number of heroin overdoses occurring around Chicago, and the clinic also has a medical doctor on staff.
- Passing Lali’s Law
Lali’s Law was inspired by Chelsea Laliberete. Laliberete started the Live4Lali organization with her family after losing her brother Alex to an overdose in 2008, and ever since has become a strong voice in the cause of overdose prevention activism.
This measure, which was unanimously approved by the senate’s public health committee vote, would make it legal for pharmacies to dispense naloxone and train people to administer the drug to someone overdosing.
Chelsea was quoted as stating,
“It creates a very needed and obvious access point to a lifesaving intervention in naloxone.”
“Hundreds of thousands of people enter their local Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid every day to get their prescription medications and syringes. So why shouldn’t they also be able to get the drug that’s going to save their life if they overdose?”
This kind of action isn’t all that outrageous, considering CVS recently announced that it would offer the opiate ‘antidote’ Narcan without a prescription at all of its 60 pharmacies in Rhode Island to help combat the overdose outbreak in the area. Chelsea boldly made the claim that with how bad this drug problem has become it’s almost irresponsible not to pass this bill. Seems like a legitimate argument considering that the demand for a steady supply of overdose disruptors.
Last year the FDA fast-tracked approval for a new auto-inject-able naloxone device, so with user-friendly naloxone gadgets from a variety of new pharmaceutical companies it should make this transition to more access to the general public a lot easier. It seems Big Pharma is still putting up a fight for prices, but maybe if more states get more naloxone clinics then the demand will help spread out the cost to supply.
So how much good do you think would come from having a naloxone clinic in your area? With this medication being the difference between a second chance at life and a heartbreaking and sudden death, could it be worth it for your state to provide resources to prevent overdose death? Or would they let someone like me slip through the cracks?
Education and resources save lives whether people realize it or not. It may not seem like putting together clinics across the country to train people on administering naloxone will change the world, but it is a step in the right direction as far as implementing more proactive forms of harm reduction. With the opiate epidemic dragging communities through hardship, educating communities on how to fight back is putting the power to change the trend in the hands of the people.
Naloxone is one of the most vital weapons we have in the war against the opiate overdose epidemic in America. It is our life-support on the front lines against addiction, and with a second chance at life further treatment can be given that helps recovering addicts find a more fulfilled life with freedom from drugs. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Drunk driving is a terrible and irresponsible action that too frequently results in death, whether for the driver, passenger or an unsuspecting motorist who becomes a victim in an accident. Drunk driving seems to be slowing down, and while some credit it to the efforts put forth by authorities to raise awareness or to technological advancements designed to provide safe alternatives for intoxicated drivers, the issue of driving while intoxicated has not completely disappeared.
There has been progress, and less people are driving drunk. However more people are hitting the roads high. Whether they are under the influence of marijuana or prescription drugs, according to two new reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drugged driving is the new drunk driving. Apparently too many people think that they can ‘control’ themselves better depending on the buzz, but end up endangering lives anyway.
Driving Intoxicated Increases
Drunk driving is a devastating reality that does far more damage than most people realize. One of the recent reports released by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) stated that every 2 minutes a person is injured in a drunk driving accident, and every single day 28 people on average die from a drunk driving accident.
A recent study from another source stated that the rate of driving under the influence of alcohol has declined by nearly a third since 2007, but according to a 2014 survey an estimated 1 in every 4 people on the road tested positive for marijuana or prescription drugs. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind was quoted saying,
“The latest roadside survey raises significant questions about drug use and highway safety. The rising prevalence of marijuana and other drugs is a challenge to everyone who is dedicated to saving lives and reducing crashes.”
The survey used for this data was taken every five years, whereby drivers can volunteer to pull over at an anonymous data-collection site. So these numbers do not come from arrest records. The survey found that in 2014
- 8% of people driving on weekend nights had booze in their system, A little over 1% were above the legal limit, a 30% drop for the presence of alcohol from the rate in 2007.
- 20% of drivers had drugs in their system on a weekend night. That was actually increased from 16.3% in 2007. Also, the rate of driving under the influence of pot had nearly doubled.
There is still no direct evidence the shows a correlation between marijuana use and accidents. NHTSA did determine that drivers who used marijuana were at a higher risk of car accidents, but the same can be said about how common marijuana use is among young men, who are already at higher risk of an accident than female drivers, regardless of marijuana consumption.
Mark Rosekind also expressed gratitude that some results had shown from the efforts to fight drunk driving, but acknowledged the urgency and importance of the need to better understand how illegal drugs and prescription medicines affect highway safety. In the past there have been people trying to create and perfect devices that can be used like marijuana breathalyzers, but as of now none of these had proven wholly effective.
So for now, the best tool that we have to stop drugged driving from taking up the mantle where drunk driving is falling behind. With marijuana reform, the plague of prescription painkiller problems, and a war against opiate overdose and other dangerous narcotics, this battle is an essential one. Getting behind the wheel under the influence, regardless of the substance, is a blatant disregard for the lives of those around you, and your own.
Drugged and drunk driving are both terrible and deadly actions that can always be avoided. If you find yourself so out of control that you are repeatedly in this situation, or getting arrested for DUI’s, then it may be safe to say you could use some help before someone gets hurt. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
America, not to mention a good chunk of the rest of the world has been experiencing a grave increase in drug related issues, including overdose deaths. In America it has been stated that prescription painkiller overdoses have become the leading cause of hospital visits, surpassing even car accidents.
Even though there are strong forces allied together that are pushing for drug policy reform, and harm reduction is expected to make major strides in 2015, some are still predicting even more overdose deaths to come in the next few years.
Straight From Farr’s Law
According to a recent study conducted by Columbia University that was published in the journal Injury Epidemiology, the drug overdose epidemic in the United States will actually peak in 2017, at about 50,000 annual deaths. The study came up with this figure by being the first to apply Farr’s Law on the rise and fall of epidemics to an outbreak that is not from the strict perspective of epidemiologists infectious in origin.
In the United States more than 40,000 people die every year by unintentional drug overdose as of now. Looking at the number over overdose deaths in 1980 that number has multiplied 10 fold! Salima Darakjy, a doctoral student at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, is an author of the study who stated,
“To some extent, drug use is a social behavior and has the potential to spread like a contagious disease among individuals in a network.”
The Columbia University study does however estimate some good news. According to their figures the drug overdose epidemic may soon be ending, despite the coming spike in fatalities. How did they come up with that if the future is looking to grim? In the mid-1800s a study on smallpox done by pioneering British epidemiologist William Farr, it was discovered that that the rate and duration of the epidemic’s rise was mirrored in its decline.
Things Get Worse Before They Get Better
Using that same formula, the researchers measured the progress of the drug overdose epidemic. Using Farr’s Law, the study found that the drug overdose epidemic should hit its peak at about 50,000 annual deaths in 2017, but then start declining to a non-epidemic state of approximately the same rate it was before the epidemic, putting the body-count at about 6,000 deaths in the year 2035.
According to the researchers at Columbia, the rate of deaths from prescription painkillers, which again are credited for 2/3 of all the overdose related deaths, has already showed signs of decreasing. With stricter regulations being implemented on painkillers to combat the ‘pill mill’ and ‘doctor shopping’ trends, many users have chosen to switch to heroin, which is cheaper and more readily available. Even with taking this substitution effect into account, the experts believe it is still unlikely to alter the course of the epidemic.
However in order for this kind of positive change to take place, public health efforts cannot take a break. Once the epidemic starts to dwindle, the country will still have to continue to take action to reverse the overdose problem.
Director of the Center for Injury Prevention at the Mailman School and professor of Epidemiology, Dr. Guohua Li stated,
“A decline in overdose deaths shouldn’t be used as justification to pull back. That would be wrong. If there is no intervention then the epidemic will last much longer.”
With National Center for Health Statistics data and continued public health resources being used to prevent overdoses, the study concluded that this revolutionary change in statistics was possible. For the year 2014 Congress has committed $20 million in spending on resources to fight the overdose epidemic plaguing the country. It is truly troubling to suspect that we may see a devastating increase in deaths sooner, but hopefully there is some light at the end of that tunnel.
The pandemic of drug overdoses in America is a harsh reality that our country has been faced with in the past few years, and some believe it might only get much worse too soon. While some believe that relief is just a few years away, it is possible for each of us to take the opportunities in front of us. If you are still alive, then you still have a chance. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Treatment for Prescription Painkiller Abuse: Symptoms of Addiction
Treatment for prescription painkiller abuse is intended to address people of all walks of life who are suffering from the same types of circumstances and symptoms. Some of the signs of addiction range in severity and can affect each individual differently, especially depending on the method which the individual abuses the substance. If you are considering treatment for prescription painkillers you may or may not experience several or all of these symptoms, but they are indicators.
- Increased tolerance
- Decreased level of testosterone for men
- Enlargement of the prostate for men
- Excessive sweating
- Swelling in the arms and legs
- Chronic constipation
- Dry mouth
- Respiratory distress
Then again, if you have taken the time to look up and article to give these answers, it’s safe to say you should consider it, whether you have all these symptoms or not.
Treatment for Prescription Painkiller Abuse: Signs of Withdrawal
One thing that tends to hold people back from getting the treatment for prescription painkiller abuse that they desperately need is the withdrawal process, because they are afraid to experience the discomfort. Treatment for prescription painkiller abuse should also include a stage where those symptoms are addressed and the maximum amount of comfort is provided throughout. Some on that list of painful and problematic withdrawal symptoms seem more intimidating than others, but treatment for prescription painkiller abuse means you will have access to a medical staff ay any point. These withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Muscle spasms
- Diarrhea and vomiting
- Chills and goose bumps
- Intense anxiety
Treatment for Prescription Painkiller Abuse: Detox
Before you do anything in treatment for prescription painkiller abuse you must go through the detox process. At treatment for prescription painkiller abuse they will give each individual an assessment and go through detoxification prior to starting your treatment and therapy. In detox, they will give you a drug screening and analyze which substances are in your system.
By seeing the drugs in your system and the levels they are at, they can determine how to medically detox you properly. You will be started on medication and gradually weaned off in a reasonable period of time without having to experience the great discomfort that can come from prescription painkiller abuse. The goal is to make you as comfortable as possible and to get you physically cleared of all substances before sending you to rehab.
Treatment for Prescription Painkiller Abuse: Therapy and Treatment
After someone has completed the detox stage of treatment for prescription painkiller abuse, the next step is to go into the inpatient rehab phase and start therapy, which provides one-on-one and peer counseling for learning how to stay sober.
In treatment for prescription painkiller abuse they will ask you a series of questions first to better get to know you and understand your history, in order to know the best plan of action. Once they have asked you these questions, they will choose a therapist that is best suited for your specific needs prior to you getting started on your treatment plan. Programs on treatment for prescription painkiller abuse typically take you to 12-step meetings daily and get you acquainted with the recovery community around you. In treatment, you learn coping skills and how to live your life without drugs and alcohol.
Treatment for Prescription Painkiller Abuse: Long-term Sobriety
Once the treatment for prescription painkillers has determined that an individual is ready to leave to structure of inpatient rehab, they will be given the opportunity to attend an IOP program. IOP (intensive outpatient program) is the phase of treatment for prescription painkiller abuse where you continue therapy and group sessions, but you no longer live in the rehabs residential facility anymore, and thus have a lot more freedom.
A lot of individuals opt to go into a halfway house once they have finished inpatient treatment for prescription painkiller abuse. A halfway house offers more stability than being on your own, but you are still able to have much more freedom than rehab itself. Individuals are commonly required to stay accountable to a few things, like:
- Have a job
- Go to meetings
- Paying rent
- Clean and do chores
- Be drug tested
- Get a sponsor
- Work a program
After treatment for prescription painkiller abuse, it is important to know you are in a good and safe sober living environment. A halfway house where they want you going to meetings and working a program of recovery is especially productive, because that atmosphere promotes positive growth. Treatment for prescription painkiller abuse can be difficult for some to get involved with, but seeing the many people who stick around and recover is an amazing experience, and treatment for prescription painkillers is that first step.
For all those who are struggling with prescription painkillers, 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 painkiller abuse can be the first and most important step, so be sure to step up. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135