WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder is calling the alarming increase in heroin-related overdose deaths an “urgent and growing public health crisis.” Holder is also calling for first responders to carry Narcan, a heroin antidote that, if administered promptly, can reverse the effects of an overdose.
“Addiction to heroin and other opiates, including certain prescription pain-killers, is impacting the lives of Americans in every state, in every region, and from every background and walk of life — and all too often, with deadly results,” Holder said in the message.
According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the number of heroin overdose deaths increased by 45% between 2006 and 2010. Such staggering statistics have recently prompted several state governors to speak out the impact of heroin on their communities and enact programs in an attempt to address the problem.
This latest message from the Attorney General Holder in which he showed public support for wide accessibility for a heroin antidote that could be used to rescue overdosing drug users mirrors the White House drug policy office’s position. Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske has also urged all first responders to have Narcan on hand. At least 17 states and the District of Columbia allow naloxone — commonly known by the brand name Narcan — to be distributed to the public, and bills are pending in some states to increase access to it.
Those advocating for the increased accessibility of Narcan say it can potentially save a lot of lives. The drug, which comes in both a spray and injectable form, can reverse a heroin overdose if it’s administered within a certain window. Critics of this policy say that making the antidote too accessible would only encourage drug use.
Holder said that law enforcement is also combatting the heroin problem and that efforts are being made to address supply and demand. Namely, by cutting off the supply chain that illegally supplies prescription painkillers to drug addicts. Holden admitted that more work is needed that focuses on the prevention and treatment of drug addiction.
“Confronting this crisis will require a combination of enforcement and treatment. The Justice Department is committed to both,” he said.
Groups like the Drug Policy Alliance, which speak out about the failure of the war on drugs, advocate for the wider accessibility of Narcan and want to see it go further than just having first responders carry the antidote. The organization said in a statement that it believes the antidote should be made available to anyone who might be in a position to witness an overdose, such as a friend or relative of an addict.
They are also calling for the Justice Department to support better education when it comes to substance abuse and promote “Good Samaritan” laws that protect people from prosecution when they call the police to report an overdose or transport a friend who is overdosing to the hospital. Several states have already enacted these Good Samaritan laws. In the past, many people died from overdosing on heroin because those witnessing the overdose were afraid to call for help for fear of arrest and prosecution.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Zubsolv is a new name-brand drug being used to treat opiate addiction. It is the same as its predecessor, Suboxone, in that it contains the same two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone, and it is prescribed for the same reasons.
Drugs containing buprenorphine and naloxone are approved for treating of opiate withdrawal in people who are opiate-dependent. Buprenorphine is an opiate agonist that was originally developed to treat pain problems. Naloxone is an opiate blocker. Medications that contain both are used in addiction treatment because of the way they work: the medication binds to the opiate receptors in the brain, which is the same exact receptor that morphine, heroin and other opiates bind to. The addition of the blocker is to keep the patient from getting ‘high’ from the medication.
Substance Showdown: Zubsolv vs. Suboxone
- Both are prescribed for the treatment of opiate dependence
- Both contain the same two active ingredients: buprenorphine (the partial opiate agonist) and naloxone (the opiate blocker, also added in order to prevent abuse by injection)
- Both are dissolve under your tongue (taken sublingually)
- Both have the same duration – they are generally taken either once or twice daily
Substance Showdown: Zubsolv vs. Suboxone
- Taste – Suboxone has a citrus taste and Zubsolv has a mint-like taste (in at least one study, people preferred the taste and feel of Zubsolv over Suboxone)
- Size and form – Zubsolv is a very small tablet, Suboxone comes as a film
- Absorption – perhaps one of the biggest differences as far as treatment goes, is that Zubsolv has better bioavailability, meaning that it is designed in such a way that the body can absorb it better.
Substance Showdown: Zubsolv vs. Suboxone
Because of the last aforementioned difference, another way in which Suboxone and Zubsolv differ is in their dosing. Since your body can more effectively absorb and make use of the buprenorphine in Zubsolv, the tablets contain slightly less of the active ingredients. With Suboxone tablets and films, the dosages are 2mg/0.5mg and 8mg/2mg buprenorphine/naloxone whereas Zubsolv comes in 1.4mg/0.36mg and 5.7mg/1.4mg. Though the tablet contains less medication, due to Zubsolv’s better bioavailability, your body gets the same useful amount.
Zubsolv is an “advanced sublingual tablet formulation” that “offers higher bioavailability relative to the tablet.” Basically, this means that more of the drug reaches your bloodstream, which then allow you to take a lower daily dose, because that is all you technically need.
Substance Showdown: Zubsolv vs. Suboxone
The truth of the matter is, when either Suboxone or Zubsolv is used for long-term maintenance, rather than for short-term treatment to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, you will continue to be dependent on a substance. Just like when you were using other opiates for which you are now taking (or considering taking) Suboxone or Zubsolv, you can’t simply quit cold turkey – you will also experience withdrawal symptoms. Again, these medications contain a partial opiate.
In both cases, Suboxone and Zubsolv, the medication is a prescription that is used to treat people who are addicted to opioid drugs, such as prescription painkillers or illicit drugs such as heroin. And, they are best used as part of a complete treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral therapy in order to recover and achieve long-term sobriety.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, or is on Suboxone maintenance or is considering Zubsolv treatment, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
When you feel like you’ve gotten upside down in life – having become physically dependent and psychologically dependent on alcohol or other drugs, then it is time to consider getting help from detox centers in Jamestown. To begin the healing process from substance abuse, you should seek the comfort and knowledge of a professional and nurturing staff at detox centers in Jamestown, RI.
What are Detox Centers in Jamestown?
Detox programs are the first step in halting the cycle of substance abuse and addiction and can give you a new outlook on life.
Drug and alcohol detox centers in Jamestown, sometimes called inpatient medical withdrawal management programs, are facilities that administer medication to ease your withdrawal symptoms and give you comfort when getting off a substance or substances. And depending on what drug or drugs upon which you are dependent, a medical detox may actually be necessary.
Why is Drug Detox necessary?
When it is alcohol, benzos, or barbiturates, that you have been using and abusing, then medical detox, such as those offered by detox centers in Jamestown is necessary. If you have experienced withdrawal symptoms after you stop using a substance, this means that you are physically dependent on it. This is because the withdrawal syndrome from any of these substances has the potential to be life-threatening and even fatal. Severe symptoms include heart failure, seizure, stroke, coma, and death.
As for amphetamines, such as cocaine and speed, and methamphetamines, such as crystal meth, detox centers in Jamestown are also beneficial at treating those withdrawals, which often include uncomfortable and even terrifying psychological symptoms such as hallucinations and anxiety.
If you are dependent on opiates, such as prescription painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone, or illegal drugs like heroin, you will want to take advantage of the programs offered at medical detox centers in Jamestown because, although rare, the withdrawal from these substances can cause seizure. The main benefit of a medical detox from opiates is that it will alleviate the severity and length of time that you will experience withdrawal symptoms, which are best described as a being like a really severe flu.
Why Drug Detox Centers in Jamestown Are a Good Idea
Drug detox centers in Jamestown are crucial to success at getting clean and sober. It has been found that fear of withdrawal is the main obstacle to getting clean. The staff at detox centers in Jamestown is medically trained as well as compassionate and understanding to your situation. After all, drug dependence and substance abuse are recognized as medical conditions and should be treated as such. You will be treated with the utmost of care and respect while you get your life back on track. In detox, you will get all of the junk out of your system while learning tools and coping skills that will support you in living a lifestyle free from the dependence on alcohol and other drugs. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug abuse or addiction, or seeking detox centers in Jamestown RI please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Already among the highest in the state, overdose deaths from heroin and prescription drugs in Ocean County, N.J. more than doubled in 2013. And, although we’ve only marked off 16 days of 2014, there have already been three fatal overdoses.
“It is a suburban epidemic facing us throughout New Jersey,” said Angelo Valente, executive director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey. “A lot of suburban counties are affected at dangerous levels.”
Ocean County is comprised of a string of beach towns, connected by a boardwalk, and perhaps best known today for the long-running reality series “The Jersey Shore.”
In 2012, 53 people died of heroin and prescription drug overdoses in this New Jersey county, which gave it the state title for highest number of heroin-related emergency room visits – putting Ocean County ahead of more urban counties, such as Hudson and Essex that are more heavily populated.
Put it this way, Ocean County has less than 7% of New Jersey’s population yet, in 2011 it led the state with 11% of all hospital admissions and again in 2012 with 11.4%.
In 2013, Ocean County’s overdose death toll peaked at 112, with the majority of which being heroin-related – roughly 10% of a state total of 1,188 overdose deaths. And now, three more in the few short days of this New Year. The local police department has issued a warning about a possibly tainted brand of heroin being sold under the name “Bud Light.”
The Link Between Prescription Drugs and Heroin
As with opiate and heroin epidemics in other states across the country, the uptick in heroin use can be directly correlated with the outrageous over-prescribing of narcotic painkillers. Kids have easy access to these powerful and dangerous medications – these drugs are just an arm’s reach away in their parents’ medicine cabinets.
“Prescription drugs are a gateway drug to heroin,” said Valente.
Prosecutors for Ocean County have begun resorting to outside-the-box measures by distributing warning cards to funeral homes in order to educate families on the importance of responsibly disposing of unused prescription medications, especially narcotic opiates meds, which may be left behind by their recently deceased family members.
“It is our hope that these unused medications will be disposed of at the designated drop-off points so that they do not get into the hands of those who would use or sell them illegally,” say prosecuters.
Heroin: A Nationwide Epidemic
Heroin and Ohio
Ohio State Attorney General, Mike DeWine said in his State of the State address that his office gathered by his office “suggests 11 people die in Ohio every week from a heroin overdose.”
He goes on to say that this astonishing new trend is a “heroin epidemic” that has affected every community in Ohio.
The past month alone revealed a 107% increase in heroin deaths in over half of Ohio’s counties.
Heroin and Vermont
Federal statistics reveal that Vermont is now ranked among the top 10 states for the abuse of painkillers and heroin, not including marijuana, for people aged 18 to 25 years old. According to the Vermont Health Department, the number of overdose deaths due to heroin almost doubled, increasing from nine to 17 last year.
If you or someone you love is struggling with heroin abuse or other drug abuse problem or drug addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Flickr – cyclonebill – Spejlæg.jpg
Studies of the brain show images that indicate there are differences in the brain that are both cause and effect of addiction. Even before drug use begins, there are neurobiological differences between people who become addicted and people who don’t. Once someone starts using drugs, the prolonged drug use will actually change the structure and function of the brain, making it difficult to control impulses, feel pleasure from natural rewards like sex and food, and focus on anything other than getting and using drugs. Here are 10 addiction myths you probably believe.
#1 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
People choose to be addicted.
People don’t choose to become addicted just like they don’t choose to develop any other disease. Research shows that both genetics and environmental variables factor into whether someone develops and addiction. Recovery isn’t as simple as having the willpower to say ‘no’ once you are already in active addiction – there is no choice at that point.
#2 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
Addicts are bad people who should be punished.
If a person develops an addiction, there’s a general consensus that they’re bad, weak-willed or immoral. You don’t see this same level of hostility towards people with other chronic illnesses such as diabetes or cancer. People with these diseases aren’t subject to legal consequences and attitudes like, “let them kill themselves, they’re a waste of space.” Yes, often times addicts resort to desperate and illegal acts in order to feed their addictions bur consider this: they are driven to do so by actual changes in their brains due to prolonged drug use. Sometimes, good people do bad things, and sick people need treatment, not punishment in order to recover.
#3 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
People only get addicted to one kind of drug.
Another addiction myth is that people generally have one drug of choice (DOC). However, today we’re finding that it is more and more common for people to be using and addicted to more than one substance, this is called polysubstance abuse.
Some addicts use a combination of drugs in order to increase the intensity of the ‘high’ such as “speed-balling.” Others use one drug then another in order to counteract any unwanted feelings, such as the experience of “coming down.” Other addicts will use whatever drug is available.
#4 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
People who get addicted to prescription drugs are not addicts like the people who get addicted to illegal drugs.
Medications like oxycodone, Vicodin, Adderall, and Xanax all can be prescribed by a doctor, and, when taken as prescribed, are relatively safe. This has led to a widespread delusion prescription drugs are safer than so-called street drugs. First of all, prescription drug abuse has reached epidemic proportions in recent times and, secondly, when you take a prescription drug in a greater dose, more often than prescribed, or recreationally (taking a drug that is meant for treating a medical problem that you don’t actually have), it affects the same areas of the brain as illegal drugs and carries the same risk for addiction.
#5 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
Treatment should put addicts in their place.
Despite the fact that physicians and other specialists agree that addiction is a chronic disease just like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, addicts are still treated as inferior. A lot of treatment centers still employ a confrontational and shame-based approach in order to “motivate” addicts. However, research shows that this is counterproductive: shame is a strong indication of relapse and besides, it only serves to continue the stigma that addiction means you’re a bad person which will keep people from getting help.
#6 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
Court-ordered treatment doesn’t work.
Many people believe that treatment is only effective if the addict chooses to get help. While this is often the best case scenario for recovery from an addiction, it’s not necessarily true. Many people still find success at sobriety even if they initially went to treatment because they were court-ordered or threatened by family members. This is because, once in treatment, the addict has a sort of revelation, or moment of clarity that they do in fact have a problem. If the addict becomes open to the idea that they need help, they can certainly benefit from treatment and go on to live a healthy, sober life.
#7 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
A 12 Step approach is the only way to recovery.
There are several different approaches to getting and staying clean and sober. Although 12 Step fellowship members have shown to have somewhat high success rates, this isn’t the only way to achieve sobriety. Some people like Smart Recovery, others find support from attending church, and so on.
#8 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
You have to hit rock bottom first
This is certainly a dangerous attitude to have. What if, while waiting for your loved one to hit rock bottom, they actually succumb completely to the disease of addiction (this is a nice way of saying that you watch them continue to hurt themselves until they eventually die)? Then it’s too late.
Consider this: everyone’s “bottom” looks different. It might not be as extreme as becoming homeless or resorting to prostituting oneself. Sometimes, losing a relationship or a job, or being confronted by a loved one is enough of a reason for an addict to want to seek help.
There is little to no evidence that the greater the bottom means a better chance at success at recovering. Simply put: it’s better to get help early than to hold out for what you consider to be the perfect desperate moment.
#9 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
Marijuana is a ‘gateway drug.’
This one drives me crazy! Never mind that most teens actually start with alcohol before smoking weed and then possibly using ‘harder stuff,’ the addiction rate for marijuana is actually lower than that of alcohol, and there is little scientific evidence that pot is a trigger for harder drugs.
After alcohol, the real possible threat of a “gateway drug” is more likely to be prescription painkillers, like OxyContin and Vicodin, and stimulants, such as Adderall. These drugs have strong addictive properties and are more accessible to teens – often they can be found in their parents’ medicine cabinet. Another category of highly addictive and easily accessible drug is that of inhalants, such as computer duster.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse did a study that found that 8% of 12th graders abused Vicodin and 5.1% abused OxyContin. Inhalant use peaks as early as 8th grade age at around 17%, which is far earlier than all other drugs.
#10 Addiction Myths You Probably Believe
Drugs cause irreversible brain damage.
Remember those anti-drug commercials that showed the image of an egg frying on the stove and said “this is your brain on drugs?” This was a gross oversimplification – saying that drug use causes permanent and severe brain damage. Yes, certain drugs are neurotoxic, meaning that they cause nerve damage, some examples being methamphetamine (crystal meth), MDMA, cocaine and inhalants. However, by no means do these produce a “damaged” person. This addiction myth implies that recovered addicts are “damaged goods” which can cause discrimination by employers, health care providers and the legal system.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.