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Is it Dangerous to Quit Using Opioids Cold Turkey On My Own?

 

Is it Dangerous to Quit Using Opioids Cold Turkey On My Own?

Author: Shernide Delva

The opioid epidemic has reached record-breaking numbers, and with that shift comes many seeking to recover from opioid addiction. However, the withdrawal process for opioids can be a very uncomfortable process.

It is advisable to seek medical treatment to recover from opioid dependence.  This process usually involves detox and professional treatment to address the addiction. It is a bad idea to try and quit cold turkey on your own terms.

Without professional addiction treatment, people who quit opioid use on their own risk severe complications. While opioid withdrawal is not fatal necessarily, related complications can be dangerous. Even with the utmost determination and preparation, the painful side effects of withdrawal can cause even the strongest-willed person to relapse.

How Addiction and Withdrawal Works

In the brain, opioids target receptors that govern things like mood, emotion, feeling of reward and the natural pain response. When opioids hit these receptors, they cause them to over-fire, leading to short-term feelings of euphoria. Over time, the intensity of these feelings dwindles leading to the need to take more of these substances to feel good. That is why dependence begins to occur.

With regular use, your brain rewires, and eventually, the use of opioids will be the only way to feel pleasure. All other activities that gave you joy will fall by the wayside, and your main goal will be to obtain your next high.

All of this can happen relatively quickly, sometimes within a few weeks.  What makes addiction to opioids severe is the level of tolerance that quickly follows. Within a week of using the drug, you may find you need to take more to achieve the same effects, and if you continue to use that amount regularly, your addiction will become much more severe. Eventually, you will need several times more a day than a doctor would ever prescribe—a recipe for a very difficult withdrawal.

Withdrawal occurs when your body tries to adjust to not having the substance anymore. When you quit cold turkey, it is like seeing the wall you are leaning on crumble. It can have very shocking effects on your system.

Opiate Withdrawal Complications

It can take weeks to recovery from substance abuse. The effects of withdrawal can be severe. Within a few days, you are likely to encounter a few of these withdrawal symptoms.

A few days later, more severe symptoms can occur like:

  • Painful abdominal cramping
  • Severe nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills and shivers

Opioid addiction may cause you to experience hallucinations, severe body tremors, and even suicidal thoughts. It is important to be aware of these symptoms and to have medical professionals monitoring you throughout the process. Medical professionals also have medications and holistic alternatives to help guide you through the detox process.

The biggest risk during the detox period is that you will relapse. People who quit cold turkey often start off feeling strong and determined, but severe withdrawals completely change that mindset. Many reach a point in which they would do absolutely anything to get ahold of the drug, even if it means hurting others.

Sadly, if you relapse after withdrawal, you have a higher chance of not surviving the next high. Because your tolerance decreases during detox, your body will not handle the same amount of opioids that you were used to taking. Therefore, if you relapse and take the same amount of opioid medication that you did prior, you may accidentally overdose.

While withdrawal itself may not be fatal, the instances of addicts dying due to relapsing after withdrawal are common. Furthermore, there are cases of addicts dying during the withdrawal process. Some addicts forget to keep themselves hydrated which can lead to electrolyte disturbances. The body is also prone to infections or other complications, which can have deadly consequences.

Overall, quitting cold turkey is a bad idea. It may seem like a simple solution at first, but please understand the danger you risk by doing this on your own. Remember, so many people are struggling with addiction. Instead, call us today. We have professionals waiting to get you on the right track. Recovery is possible. Call now.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Oxy Manufacturers Target Global Market As Sales In America Decline

Oxy Manufacturers Target Global Market As Sales In America Decline

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

In the United States, OxyContin sales are down nearly 40% percent since 2010. The word of the opioid epidemic has resulted in more doctors seeking alternatives to treat chronic pain. However, since the sales declined in the United States, oxy manufacturers have decided to target their marketing strategies overseas.

The CDC issued guideline to encourage doctors to seek alternatives to opioid for the treatment of chronic pain. There is also a wealth of media coverage related to the danger of prescriptions opioids and the amount of deaths seen annually from the use of these drugs. The new surgeon’s general report stated that one person died every 19 minutes from opioid overdoses alone. The drugs commonly seen in opioid abuse are medications like Vicodin, Percocet, and of course OxyContin.

Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the painkiller OxyContin, is a core contributor to the prescription opioid addiction epidemic because the company uses aggressive marketing strategies and withholds information related to the drug’s efficacy.

The recent guidelines by the CDC along with the heavy media coverage have resulted in a decreasing trend of prescribing OxyContin. The amount of media evidence detailing Purdue’s activities has cut into Purdue’s vast fortunes. Since 2015, the company’s net worth has gone down by nearly $ 1billion.

Still, despite the decline, Purdue remains a powerful and profitable company, earning millions of dollars in profits from sales of its products. Nearly $600 million of that profit comes from international companies, which have provided inroads into Latin America, Asia, and other regions.

Purdue Pushes Doctors to Resist “Opiophobia.”

One of the ways Purdue is combating the decrease in sales is by releasing major marketing campaigns encouraging doctors to resist “Opiophobia.” Instead, they encourage doctors to treat chronic pain with prescription drugs and are working vigorously to dispel fears of addiction to opioids. IN some cases, financial discounts and even coupons for free initial prescriptions of OxyContin have been introduced to patients to make drugs like OxyContin seem like a safe, more affordable alternative.

Internationally, the global network of companies operates under the name Mundiphama. Some of the crazy tactics used to encourage prescriptions include hiring celebrities to promote the treatment of chronic pain. For example, in Spain, celebrities were enlisted to pose without clothing, to promote the treatment of chronic pain through doctors who have formed alliances with the company.

The result? A seven-fold increase in painkiller sales has occurred in Spain. After some backlash, though, Mundiphama pulled the celebrities spots from its YouTube channel after the Times submitted questions regarding the advertising campaign.

Purdue’s Promotional Strategies Continue in the United States

Back in the states, Purdue continues to use the top marketing strategies to encourage medical professionals to continue prescribing opioid medications. Some of these include sales and training seminars disguised as l lavish, all-expenses-paid weekends for doctors. The Times cites several medical professionals who are enlisted by Mundipharma to sell Purdue’s products at an international seminar.

All in all, oxy manufacturers like Mundiphama are determined to push the message that the dangers and claims of an opioid crisis are false and argue there is “hardly any evidence” to validate the claims made.  Surgeon General Vivek H. Murphy urged medical professionals in other countries to be “very cautious about the marketing of these medications. Now, in retrospect, we realize that for many, the benefits did not outweigh the risks

Still, in Spain, Mundipharma has caught consumer’s eyes with their racy ad campaigns. Out of those surveyed, 18% stated they had abused painkillers at some point in their lives. Even in one of Europe’s smallest countries, Cyprus, six people were reported to have died as a result of the drug, and requests for rehabilitation treatment have increased.

Mundipharma responded by citing their funded studies in countries like Britain and Germany which claim prescription opioid abuse is “less than 1%.” Their attitude is reflected in a statement made by the managing director of Mundiphama’s Cyprus office, Menicos M. Petrou, who said, “If people misuse drugs, most of the time there is little a pharmaceutical company can do.”

Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue on a worldwide level. It is important these pharmaceutical companies do not direct their marketing to other countries as sales in America decline. If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, do not wait. Call toll-free today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

5 Compelling Truths About Heroin

6 Compelling Truths About Heroin

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

By now, most of us know what heroin is, but are there things we do not know about the drug? A recent article listed several facts about heroin, and some of them were quite shocking. The United States is currently in the midst of a heroin epidemic. Therefore, it is critical that both medical professionals and the public fully understand this drug.

All About Heroin: A Basic Overview

In case you were unaware, heroin derives from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that can be extracted from the seedpods of several types of poppy plants. The chemical name for heroin is diacetylmorphine. Heroin is the fastest acting opiate drug. Whether heroin is injected, smoked or snorted, the drug enters the body rapidly and causes a range of physically and psychological effects.

The U.S. has seen heroin cycle in and out of popularity. In the 70s, heroin was becoming a huge problem in urban communities specifically in areas around New York City. It was estimated that close to 200,000 people in the city were using heroin. A popular park in New York City, known as Hyde Park, earned the infamous name “Needle Park” because the amount of syringes that were found all throughout the park. Fortunately, the heroin epidemic of that era died down around the time Rudolph Giuliani was elected. Many new yorkers credit Giuliani for the measures he took to clean up the city.

The Heroin Epidemic Today

These days, however, heroin is not hitting just urban communities; the epidemic has spread throughout the countries in places people would have never suspected. Areas in the suburbs are seeing a spike in heroin use. The prescription opioid epidemic is the main reason for this resurgence. Many who were prescribed prescription opioids by their doctors became dependent on the drug and soon moved on to heroin as a cheaper, quicker alternative.

Heroin is much cheaper than prescription drugs, and it is easier to acquire. As laws are placed to prevent further prescription drug abuse, heroin use becomes a more popular alternative. Unfortunately, it is a vicious cycle.

With new users come new problems. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled between 2002 and 2013. Heroin claimed the lives of more than 8,300 Americans in 2013.

Five Compelling Truths About Heroin

Now, that you know some basic information about the current heroin epidemic, here are five interesting facts about this dangerously addictive drug. Perhaps reading them will further solidify the reasons to avoid trying heroin in the first place.

  1. What Being “On The Nod” Really Means.

    When most people envision the high of heroin, they picture a person “nodding off” from the drug. Nodding off, or “on the nod” essentially describes a person who is in a state where they alternate between drowsiness and wakefulness for several hours. Imagine a student in a boring lecture trying desperately to stay awake. Their head will drop down as they get sleepier but immediately jerk upward in an attempt to stay awake.

    The nodding from heroin use happens because heroin is a sedative. A person will go from feeling awake but sleepy and eventually fall into a deep sleep that he or she cannot be shaken from. While this may be desirable for a heroin user, it is the first step on the road to excess sedation. The nod can be especially dangerous if the user loses consciousness. In some cases, a person can slip into a comatose state and then sink into an overdose. Breathing becomes severely slow and sometimes stops.

  1. Was Heroin Ever Sold Over-The-Counter?

    Heroin was created from morphine in 1874. However, Heroin was introduced for medical use in 1890 by The Bayer Company of Germany.  Three years before that, a chemist wanted to create a safer alternative to morphine— one that was less addictive and had fewer effects. In his attempt to create the drug, he created heroin, which he believed to be a more dilute form of morphine. The reason the drug was called “heroin” was because he believed the drug had heroic qualities.

    Starting in the early 1900s, Heroin was found in products like cough syrups, and remedies for infant colic. Heroin was marketed and sold over the counter in the United States and several other countries. Doctors thought the drug was great for insomnia.

    However, a few years later, heroin was discovered to be two to three times more potent than morphine, and more rapidly absorbed by the brain. Doctors also realized that heroin was actually more addictive than morphine! Needless the say, eventually the drug was taken off the shelves.

  1. The “Heroin Chic” 90s Fashion Movement.

    In the 90s, being waif thin was all the rage in the high fashion community. Models like Kate Moss, were so emaciated, that they looked like they were strung out on drugs. To add to the look, the models often posed with blank stares, dark eye circles, and pale skin.

    During the same period, a new, less expensive version of heroin was entering the United States from Columbia. The new version outcompeted heroin coming from Asia and Southeast Asia. In fact, the Columbian heroin was so cheap and pure that it increased the number of heroin user and the depth of their drug use.

    In 1997, not long after a fashion photographer died of a heroin overdose, the then-president Bill Clinton condemned the “heroin chic” images and advertisements. Clinton suggested that the images glamorized addiction to sell clothes.
    Soon, the “heroin chic” look fell out of favor, and eventually much healthier looking models replaced the super skinny waif-like look.

  2. The Different Colors of Heroin.

    Heroin comes in three different colors. It is either a white powder, a brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. You might have known this already, but do you know what country of origin is associated with the different types of heroin?

    –White Powder Heroin: Heroin which is more refined and pure used to arrive from Southeast Asia. White powder heroin is becoming rarer in the United States. Much of the powdered heroin sold in the U.S. has fillers or contaminants added such as sugars, starches, and powdered milk.

    — “Black Tar” Heroin: The sticky black heroin or “black tar” heroin comes to the U.S. from Mexico which is the only country that produces it. The drug resembles a black tootsie role. When the drug is cold, it is a hard substance, however, once the user warms up the drug, it appears sticky, resembling roofing tar.
    Formed through an industrial process, black-tar heroin is known for being less pure and lower grade. It also is more similar to opium in its chemical makeup compared to other forms of heroin, and it has other opioid drugs, such as morphine and codeine, in it.

    –Brown heroin: Lastly, we have heroin from Columbia which tends to be brown and chalky. Heroin from Pakistan and Afghanistan are also brown, but heroin from these countries are more commonly found in Europe.

  3. Famous Phases from Heroin Withdrawals Symptoms.

    Although you may associate phrases like “kicking the habit,” or “going cold turkey” with all drug use; the two phases actually originated from heroin withdrawal symptoms.Heroin is one of the most difficult drugs to withdraw from. Heroin withdrawal is a long-term process that involved commitment, professional treatment, and the right support system.

    Over the years, our language has been influenced by what happens when people stops using heroin. The expression “kicking the habit,” for example, is thought to have originated from the kicking leg movements seen in people going through heroin withdrawals. When a person withdraws from heroin, their muscles become lethargic and heavy. They start to feel their legs become twitchy and uncontrollable, which leads to the kicking motion, hence the phrase “kicking the habit.”

    Another withdrawal symptom of heroin is cold flashes and goosebumps, which some believe originated the phrase “going cold turkey.” When a person withdraws from heroin, their skin becomes more active. This results in goosebumps and the feeling of going “cold turkey.” Phrases like these are old terms and likely originate 50 to 70 years ago.

Was there anything you learned about heroin that surprised you? Now that you understand how addictive heroin can be, you should know that the best way to overcome this addiction is through receiving professional treatment. Do not try to overcome this disease on your own. You need a plan for recovery.  Call today.

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

The ‘Parenting is Prevention’ Billboard Controversy

Two Parents Hold Young Man's Arm From Reaching Syringe

Author: Shernide Delva

A billboard in Frederick, Maryland reads “Addiction is preventable. Parenting is Prevention.”

Parents were not happy with the message. The billboard has received tons attention for its controversial message.  After multiple complaints, the billboard was taken down.

Why?

A child’s death from any cause is devastating enough. When a parent loses a child to alcohol or drug use, additional layers of grief are present. Shock, guilt, anger, and depression are normal reactions. Substance-related deaths have unfortunately skyrocketed across the United States. There is currently a prescription painkiller epidemic across the globe. in the U.S, prescription medications are the leading cause of death where substances are a factor.

When it comes to addiction, parents are just as much affected as their child. It can be a long, arduous challenge for a parent to try and get treatment for their child. Even with that effort, it is up to the addict to finally make the choice to recover. Blaming the parents alone for the death of a child is unfactual and wrong.

Furthermore, the spokeswoman for the Frederick County Health Department, who created the billboard, stated they did not intend any harm when creating the advertisement. They were aiming to spread a message of prevention.

“We have heard your comments and concerns regarding the billboard message and, again, apologize for any hurt it may have unintentionally caused.”

Nevertheless, parents who have lost a child to substance abuse want to ensure the public knows there is more than parenting to blame for children who die from drug addiction.  Addiction is a disease that can destroy the lives of families. Blaming the addiction on families is a one-sided way of looking at the addiction crisis. Parents saw the ad as a stigmatizing sentiment. It left many parents wondering, “So, I need to parent better?” or “Is the death of my child all my fault?”

While we have touched on parent enabling and other behaviors that can hinder an addict from receiving treatment, no one should feel they are fully responsible for the outcome of this disease. The billboard continues the stigma that addiction is a crime, instead of a disease.

Controversy and Protests

As a result, a Change.org petition garnered 3,000 signatures in a few days to urge whoever created the billboard to take it down. Many of the signatures came from parents who had lost a child to an overdose. Brenda Steward, the founder of The Addict’s Parent United, was the creator.

Sadly, this is not the first time messages like this spread in the community. Back in 2013, Francis Harding, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, wrote a blog post entitled “Parenting is Prevention.”

Parents responded in rage. Many expressed that they had done everything in their power to prevent losing their child. They felt stigmatized and hurt by these words.

“Wow, I never knew I had such power,” commented sarcastically by Martine Tate, “If I had that kind of power my daughter would still be alive.” Tate’s daughter, Valerie, died at the age of 36 from complications with substance use disorder.

In an interview with The Fix, Tate explained that the “Parenting is Prevention” ideology blames parents for their child’s addiction. We should treat parents who have lost a child to addiction, the same way we would treat a parent that had lost a child to any other illness, she explained.

Another example is Marilee Odendahl, who lost her son Ian to a heroin overdose in 2007. Upon seeing the ad, Odendahl felt the sign was “reprehensible.”

“Implying that a lack of parenting will lead to substance abuse is tired, inaccurate, and ignorant stigmatization,” Odendahl added.

According to research, proper parenting is not enough to reduce or prevent substance abuse. There have been studies that show that parenting alone cannot prevent substance abuse or addiction from occurring.

The Final Conclusion

Eventually, the media attention and petition resulted in the Frederick County Health Department issuing an apology. On July 11, three days after the petition started, they announced plans to take down the billboard.

The voices of parents and commenters were heard. Parents were relieved that the billboard was being taken down. More importantly, the controversy has raised awareness of the stigma drug addiction brings to the families who suffer the most.

Overall, addiction is a disease. Parents should not receive blame for the death of their child. You do not want to risk causing your family the devastation of losing you. Call today. The time is now to seek professional treatment. You do not have to do this alone.  If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Court Orders La Scala to Rehire Dancer Who Spoke of Anorexia

Court Orders La Scala to Rehire Dancer Who Spoke of Anorexia

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

A case that made headlines for many years has finally come to a close. In 2012, Mariafrancesca Garritano, a ballet dancer, was sacked after accusing the La Scala ballet company of promoting eating disorders to young dancers. She even claimed that one in five ballerinas had anorexia, and admitted to her struggles with meeting their standards.

Garritano said 70% of dancers who were at La Scala’s dance school had eaten so little that their periods had stopped, a common anorexia side effect known as amenorrhea. She said she suffered recurring stomach pains and frequent bone fractures due to her extreme dieting. All of this was published in a tell-all booked which clearly enraged the company she was hired to work for.

After coming out with these claims, the ballerina was suspiciously fired from dancing for the La Scala company. The firing led to the court case stating that the dancer was fired illegally.  The case also spotlighted the intense pressure ballerinas have to stay thin in the industry.

Now 37, Garritano is ready to return to the stage. The school has been ordered to rehire the dancer after it was determined that the ballerina was fired unfairly.

“All I am waiting for is a call from La Scala,” Garritano said in an interview with Milan daily Il Giorno.

Garritano acknowledges that she has yet to receive contact from the company since the court victory. The case was first settled in 2014. However, La Scala appealed the decision. Now, the same court order remains. The school must rehire Garritano.

“Already in 2014, I expected to be rehired after two years of interruption. Now I expect the same thing,” said Garritano. “I never stopped working on my physical condition to be in the best condition possible when the moment came.”

The dancer was dismissed initially due to bringing the name of the company down by writing about it in her book.  In the book, she described her experience as a dancer, under the pressure and scrutiny of the public eye. In one incident, she mentions the instructors calling her names like “mozzarella” and “Chinese dumpling” in front of everyone.  At one point, Garritano’s weight dropped to 94 pounds due to her extreme dieting methods.

For decades, eating disorders and ballerina practically went hand in hand. Ballerinas are told they must look svelte and graceful on stage. However, this demand results in eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia.  Anorexia nervosa is a condition in which one restricts their calories severely to the point of starvation. Bulimia is repeated binge eating and self-induced vomiting. Other eating disorders include orthorexia which is an obsessive focus on healthy eating.

Eating disorders are much more prevalent in a woman. This is because in industries like modeling, acting, dancing or singing, place a huge emphasis on having what is perceived to be a perfect body type.  Many models have also come out with stories about agents demanding they lose 10 to 20 pounds on an already thin figure to fit “exact” model measurements.

Garritano was merely exposing the struggles she faced working as a ballerina for the La Scala ballerina company. It would not be legal to fire her over publishing her book, unless it was determined that she was not telling the truth. In this case, it seems that the ruling seems just. What do you think? Should they have fired her?

Eating disorders are devastating illnesses to have to deal with alone. Often, in industries focused on looks, many find it hard to admit they have a problem. If this sounds like you, get help today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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