Author: Shernide Delva
As most know by now, the opioid epidemic has reached epic proportions. In the U.S. alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs. The leading cause of accidental death in the United States are opioid overdoses, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015.
In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin. When these drugs are abused, they present some of the same risks as heroin on the street. Furthermore, as prescription opioids are regulated, more and more people are turning to heroin making the risk of a fatal overdose even greater.
With all that said, how exactly do opioids affect the body? We wanted to explore several areas of the body and understand how opioid abuse specifically affected each area. Whether it is prescription drugs or heroin, opioids affect almost every part of your body. Long-term use can lead to permanent damage to your health. Read on further to learn how the body reacts to abuse of opioids. Treatment can put a stop to the risk and address issues that may have already arisen in the body.
The Effects of Opioid Use on the Body:
Painkillers are known to have side effects such as extreme drowsiness which can result in needing stimulant medication to counteract this effect. For example, heroin can elicit profound drowsiness. Abusers frequently experience bouts of ‘nodding off’ as they slip in and out of consciousness. Over time, the use of painkillers results in an increased risk fo major depression. Patients using painkillers for more than six months has a 50 percent greater chance of developing depressive episodes.
THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM
Opioid overdoses can lead to a condition known as respiratory depression. It essentially means that breathing slows down significantly. The body goes into respiratory arrest and deprives the brain and body tissues of oxygen.
THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Opioids affect the muscles of the digestive system making constipation common. This effect is due to the slowing of the digestive transit. The gastrointestinal motility and chronic constipation associated with opioid abuse can lead to more severe conditions such as small bowel obstruction, perforation, and resultant peritonitis. Nausea is very common among opioid users along with sudden, uncontrollable vomiting.
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
The chronic use of opioid painkillers can lead to a syndrome that can increase your sensitivity to pain resulting in a condition known as hyperalgesia. Furthermore, opioid use may result in psychomotor impairment and an overall slowing of a person’s physical movements and loss of coordination.
THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
Opioid use affects the immune system which means you’re more vulnerable to getting illnesses or feeling under the weather. The opioid receptors regulate immunity so long-term opioid abuse can negatively affect this process.
Most people are unaware of how many opioid painkillers contain acetaminophen, the same ingredient found in Tylenol. Excessive use of these drugs can cause liver damage from toxicity. Damage to the liver is an undeniable risk to taking excessive amounts of prescription painkillers like Vicodin. When you add alcohol to the mix— as many opioid-dependent users do—it makes a risky situation, even more,
Overall, opioids affect every part of the body, and we did not even mention the psychological impacts of drug abuse. Opioid use disorder wreaks havoc on your life and the life of those around you. Do not wait for the potentially life-altering consequences of opioid abuse to take its toll. Please call to speak to a professional treatment support specialist today. Please call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Bam Margera is a professional skateboarder, stunt performer and television personality that transcended the sport of skateboarding in the late 90s and early 2000s. He gained prominence after appearing in MTV’s Jackass show. He has since appeared in MTV’s Viva La Bam, Bam’s Unholy Union, and various other projects throughout the years.
Unfortunately, along with Margera’s success came an ongoing battle with substance abuse. Strung in a plethora of shows on MTV and increasing wealth, Margera succumbed to the celebrity lifestyle while his skateboarding took a major backseat. He struggled on an ongoing basis with a serious drinking problem and did not touch a skateboard for five years.
Last year, Margera sought treatment on the VH1 show “Family Therapy, ” and the rumor started to spread that he was returning to his skateboard. A few photos popped up on his social media accounts and on March 13, Jenkem published an interview and short clip of Margera skating on a mini ramp.
It was confirmed that Margera is, in fact, sober and living in Spain, skateboarding every day.
Margera says, “In Barcelona I wake up and my mission is to skate all day. I know being in Spain is the best place for me right now to not drink.”
In order to get back to skating, Margera had to lose 30 pounds. He says he accomplished this feat through intense cardio every day until he achieved a more comfortable weight.
“When I was in Estonia, I made it a point to do an hour of cardio, 300 pushups and 100 sit-ups every day for like two months. That slimmed me down enough to where I knew I could go to Barcelona without looking like a f*cking fat piece of shit [laughs]. And I just knew the spots in Spain are awesome and I wouldn’t get too bothered,” he says.
On top of losing weight, Margera had to relearn the majority of the skills he once knew but lost.
“I got so caught up with the fame and bullshit, it was just easier to drink for a long time,” he said. “So, that’s what I did. I partied with rock stars, and now I’m paying for it.”
The Process of Getting Sober:
As mentioned, Margera went publically sober on the reality show “Family Ties.” In the interview, he mentioned not realizing that he had a problem when he initially agreed to do the show. At first, he says his decision was motivated by money.
“I didn’t realize I had that much of a drinking problem, but I saw the dollar signs they offered me. I was like, wait a minute, people pay a lot of money to get therapy and you’re paying me this amount to have therapy done? This is a double win, I’ll do it,” he said.
Soon, he realized his problem really stemmed from an addiction and not just partying.
“Once I went in, I realized musicians can party like rock stars because playing a guitar and being drunk go hand and hand, but if you want to skate and be drunk it doesn’t work. You’re gonna rack your nuts and slam your face, so once I realized that I haven’t skated because I’ve been sippin’ on too much alcohol, that’s when I got it.”
After leaving the show, Margera discovered how difficult it truly was for him to put down the alcohol. That’s when he realized, the decision to get sober was more than just for show, it was going to be an everyday reality. These days, Margera says he’s learned the tools necessary to maintain his sobriety, and believes he will make it through with the right support system.
“I never had any pill problems and I’ve never tried heroin in my life, but it’s been a real struggle for me to stay off the alcohol. But just as long you’re surrounded by good people and you have something to do, you’ll be good,” he concluded
Did you know about Bam Margera’s struggles? He brings up some important point about recovery. Often, people are in denial about how urgent their addiction situation is. Regardless of whether you have done “hard” drugs or not, addiction is a disease. Whether it is alcohol or heroin, you need to seek treatment if you are struggling. Do not wait. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
The state of Utah plans to set the bar by being the state with the lowest DUI limit. Will other states follow?
This week, Utah lawmakers voted to lower the blood alcohol content limit for drunken driving offenses from 0.08 to 0.05. The proposal passed the Utah State Legislature and now will make its way to Governor Gary Herbert, who has indicated he supports the bill.
According to the Chicago Tribune, if Governor Herbert signs the bill, the law will go into effect on December 30, 2018, the day before New Year’s Eve. It would mark the lowest blood alcohol level in the country.
The bill was originally proposed by Rep. Normal Thurston. The measure passed the Utah Senate with a 19-11 vote. Lawmakers are split on the decision along with those in the adult beverage industry.
On one hand, some command Utah for taking steps to improve safety when it comes to driving under the influence. However, others find the bill unnecessary. Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute pointed to drunk driving fatality statistics, stating:
“Over 77% of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in Utah are caused by people with [blood alcohol levels] of .15 and above.”
Furthermore, Longwell added that the average blood alcohol level in a fatal car accident tends to be 0.20—more than twice the current legal limit of 0.08. Looking at the stats, one could ponder if a law like this is even necessary. However, lawmakers praise the bill saying it corresponds to laws around the world in Southeast Asia to Europe.
While it might be the first in the United States, it is far from uncommon in other areas. Utah plans to lead the country in lowering the legal limit. A similar proposal failed in Hawaii, while another bill is currently receiving consideration in Washington.
Still, the other argument states that Utah has no need for a bill like this. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah already has lower drunk-driving statistics than most U.S. states. Between 2003 and 2012, 469 people have been killed in drunk driving accidents, and 0.7 percent of Utah residents complained of drinking too much compared to a national average of 1.9% of people.
The National Transportation Board (NTB) and other public health experts have agreed that all states should adopt 0.05% as the standard alcohol level. Deborah Hersman, Chairwoman of the NTB, said to the New York Times in 2013, that “there are at least 10,000 reasons to tackle the issue,” such as “the annual average of 10,000 drunk driving fatalities nationally.”
What are your thoughts on the decrease?
Driving under the influence is never a good idea; however, this clearly is a controversial and complex problem. Surprisingly, Mothers Against Drunk Driving founder Candace Lightner does not believe the drinking limit should lower. Lightner led the successful national campaign in the 80s to crack down on drunk driving. Yet, she does not support the proposal.
“I don’t believe it is a practical long-term solution,” Lightner told U.S. News. “You could go to 0.0 and that would save lives. You could go to a 40 mph speed limit and that would save lives, but you have to look at what’s realistic.”
“Running around trying to arrest everyone at .05 is impractical,” Lightner says.
She believes it is already difficult for police and prosecutors to take action at 0.08, better yet 0.05 percent. Many drivers at those limits are easily able to pass a field sobriety test.
Now, that you have heard all the sides to this issue, what are your thoughts? Should the legal drinking limit change? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
Guess what’s back? Back again? Crazy news stories, of course!
The year 2017 is still fresh, but some of the stories to come out recently are so crazy, we just had to talk about them. We hope these stories give you some insight into addiction and remind you why it is so important to reach out if you need help in your recovery.
Here are some crazy news stories stemming from the New Year:
Woman in Labor Demanded Friend Inject Her With Heroin and Meth
This story is both ridiculous and just plain sad. Most women in labor want support from their friends and family. Felicia Farruggia, 29, wanted drugs. Farruggia went into labor at her home and demanded her friend inject her with heroin and methamphetamines before the firefighters and ambulance arrived. The even crazier part of the story is that her friend actually gave them to her.
Her friend, Rhianna Frennete, 37, was arrested for obliging with the request. Both face charges of felony reckless conduct. Frennete faces a misdemeanor count of the same offense. Police arrested Farruggia this week, and the baby is currently in state custody.
“This case is just, honestly, absolutely appalling in my mind,” Lieutenant Sean Ford said. “No one died, but the risk to that child and to the mother. … This stuff is just getting out of control.”
Police state Frenette used an unsanitary syringe to inject Farruggia at least once before she was successful. Following the injection, Farruggia’s boyfriend called 911. Shortly after firefighters arrive, Farruggia gave birth while entering the ambulance.
TSA Employees Arrested for Cocaine Smuggling in Puerto Rico
TSA employees are responsible for ensuring our safety while flying. However, over a dozen TSA employees in Puerto Rico were more concerned with smuggling cocaine. It was a massive operation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
The defendants are accused of helping to smuggle close to 20 tons of cocaine through Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport over the course of 18 years, from 1998 to 2016. The investigation was launched by the TSA in an effort to target employee misconduct and reduce insider threats. The investigation discovered that employees would smuggle suitcases through TSA checkpoints at the airports and onto flights.
Buddhist Monk Busted For Hiding Over 4.2 Million Meth Pills In Monastery
The country of Myanmar is cracking down on drug trafficking, and not even monks are safe. While Myanmar is one of the most Buddhist nations in the world, it is also Southeast Asia’s largest narcotics producer. Therefore it should not be too shocking that the two come together every now and then. Last month, police discovered a stash of more than four million methamphetamine pills hidden within the inconspicuous Shwe Baho monastery.
How it happened: After receiving a tip, police found Monk Arsara, a respected leader at the monastery, driving towards Bangladesh transporting some 400,000 meth tablets, as well as hundreds of dollars’ worth of local currency in his car. The police then visited the monastery and discovered another 4.2 million pills, along with a grenade and some other ammunition. The pills are worth more than $4 million USD on the street. That’s not very monk-like to me. Can you say Na-meth-tay?
Neanderthals may have self-medicated long before pills existed
Finally, we will end on a throwback. Like wayyy back. Turns out, Neanderthals were not so different from us after all. A new study found that when they were in pain, they also self-medicated. Researchers found evidence that a Neanderthal treated a dental abscess with medicinal plants, highlighting an ability to seek pain relief long before pills came into existence. The researchers specifically study Neanderthals in Spain. One of the two Neanderthals from Spain appeared to have used plants to treat his painful dental pain. Plaque from his teeth showed he was eating poplar, which contains the active ingredient of aspirin. These findings contradict past studies which suggested Neanderthals had a very simple existence.
Can you blame them, though? Dental pain is the absolute worse!
So there you have it, folks. Crazy news stories are fascinating and sometimes funny, but they also highlight how insane addiction can be. What story stood out to you? If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Shernide Delva
Boston Medical Center just received $25 million, the largest donation in its history, and plans to use the money to fight the public health crisis caused by drug addiction and the opioid epidemic. The money will fund the Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine funded by the billionaire investor John Grayken.
The Grayken Center for Addiction medicine is named after billionaire investor and south shore native John Grayken and his wife, Eilene. The couple said they wanted to go public with their donation in an effort to destigmatize addiction and encourage others to follow their lead. Sadly, there is a lot of shame and stigma associated with drug abuse.
“We have not seen private philanthropy in the addiction space to the extent we see it in other areas of health care, like cancer,” said Michael Botticelli, who worked closely with BMC in his former roles as White House drug czar and head of the Massachusetts Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.
“There’s an idea that people with substance-abuse disorders are somehow less deserving of care and treatment and compassion . . . and issues of addiction can be seen as unpopular programs for unpopular people,” he added. “So this family’s donation is particularly important because they want to be open about who they are to spur other philanthropy in this space.”
Boston Medical Center president and chief executive Kate Walsh called the couple’s gift a major game changer for philanthropy in Boston “because it brings addiction medicine out of the philanthropic shadows.”
Last year, the CDC estimated that there were 33,000 overdose deaths in the country. The state of Massachusetts was not spared. Public health officials say that nearly 2,000 deaths in the state were attributed to opioid overdoses, five times more than in car crashes.
Opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers, fentanyl and oxycodone are responsible for most overdoses. Another 20 million people in the United States suffer from drug abuse or addiction, according to federal data.
“This is a public health crisis, and it’s heartbreaking,” said Walsh. “Kids and parents are struggling with this, and so many people have been in recovery and relapsed.”
In fact, opioid abuse is so prevalent that the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program opened a room last year in which drug users could use under medical supervision. The aim was more harm prevention to offset a number of overdose deaths in the state.
Walsh said she “hadn’t even fantasized” about a gift as large as the Graykens’ and the BMC projected it would take at least 15 million to endow an addiction medicine center.
“So when the $25 million figure came through, I literally gave what I’m sure was not a very attractive happy dance!” Walsh recalled. “I hope I’m not on somebody’s videotape, but it was so enormously gratifying.”
Before this donation, the largest contribution to the hospital was two $15 million donations. Those funds went to separate facility. The BMC is a facility where more than half its patients are low-income and is reliant on government subsidies. Because the hospital deals with more low-income patients, those patients are not likely to make later contributions to express their appreciation. It is not due to patients lacking gratitude; they simply lack the funds to donate after treatment like in other hospitals.
The funds from the Graykens will help tremendously with building the addiction treatment facility at the Boston Medical Center. In addition, the fact that the donation is public sends the message to how serious addiction is and how addiction should never be stigmatized. Furthermore, if you are struggling with addiction or mental illness, know you are not alone. Call now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135