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First 6-Month Implant to Treat Opioid Addiction

The Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee (PDAC) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted 12 to 6 for the approval of Probuphine implant for treating opioid addiction. Probuphine is the first long-acting subdermal buprenorphine implant that delivers 8 mg or less per day of the drug to the patient.

At the recent meeting, doctors presented efficacy data from a recent clinical study confirming Probuphine’s effectiveness as a 6-month maintenance treatment for opioid dependence. Several sensitivity analyses were presented at the meeting, and the FDA evaluated the results that favored Probuphine. In addition, safety findings showed how insertion and removal procedures were safe.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include licit prescription pain relievers, as well as the illicit drug heroin. Commonly abused opioids include oxycodone, fentanyl, codeine, hydrocodone, and morphine. Opioids interact with opioid receptors that lie on the nerve cells of the brain tissue. These receptors produce pleasurable effects when activated, relieving pain.

Drug Rehab San DiegoHow Common is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic, primary, and relapsing brain disease characterized by a person pursuing reward and relief by using substances. Around 21.5 million Americans have a substance use disorder, and of these individuals, almost 2 million use prescription pain relievers. In addition, 586,000 people use heroin, with 23% of these individuals developing an opioid addiction.

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. According to recent data, there are around 19,000 overdose deaths related to prescription pain medicines each year, and approximately 10,500 overdose deaths are related to heroin annually.

How does Probuphine Work?

Probuphine offers the best chance of individuals with opioid addiction to reach recovery goals. This new treatment is a real option for millions of patients and their families who suffer from opioid addiction. Probuphine provides maintenance treatment continuously for 6 months, decreases the risk of diversion, eliminates the need to visit the clinic frequently, and improves people’s quality of life.

Probuphine is merely a small rod that contains buprenorphine, which is a medication approved by the FDA for opioid addiction. The rod is positioned under the skin of the upper arm in a simple office procedure. The implant delivers a daily dose of medication to the patient without the need for taking pills or injections.

Addiction RecoveryWhat are the Potential Benefits of Using Buprenorphine?

The buprenorphine implant has several benefits. These include:

  • You do not have to worry about taking a pill every day.
  • You will not experience the side effects of Suboxone, such as the awful taste.
  • You won’t have to worry about the medication being stolen, lost, or sold.
  • If you have to go to jail or attend rehab, the implant will continue working, so there is no chance of withdrawal or interruption in treatment.
  • The treatment is more effective than short-term detoxification followed by maintenance medicines.

What is involved in the Treatment Program?

The Probuphine 6-month implant is used as a part of a complete treatment program that includes psychological support and counseling. Probuphine consists of 4 one-inch-long rods that are implanted beneath the skin of the upper arm. The doctor administering the medication is specially trained for the surgical insertion and removal procedure. The doctor must become certified through the Probuphine Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program.

Is the Probuphine Implant Safe?

In a recent randomized clinical trial, the safety and efficacy of Probuphine were demonstrated. The participants were adults who met strict clinical criteria for opioid dependence. This was measured using self-reporting illicit opioid use and urine screening. Of the participants, 64% had no evidence of opioid use throughout the six months of evaluation and implant treatment.

 

Resources:

American Society of Addiction Medicine (2016). Opioid Addiction.

Food and Drug Administration (2016). FDA approves first buprenorphine implant for treatment of opioid dependence.

How Addicting is Heroin?

When people talk about commonly abused drugs, heroin always comes up. However, not many people are aware of the dangers associated with this drug. It might sound like exaggeration, but heroin is so powerful and addictive that just about everyone who tries it develops dependence.

What is heroin?

Heroin, also called diamorphine, is an opiate that produces major euphoric effects. It is not Heroin Drug Rehabused medically for pain relief, and is considered a schedule I controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Heroin has rapid onset of action, and effects last 1-3 hours.

Why is heroin so addictive?

Because there is not much research involving heroin, it is hard for experts to explain just how addicting the drug can be. Heroin targets the pleasure centers of the brain, which increase the release of dopamine (a feel-good brain chemical). This makes the user crave the drug in the future. Many people who take heroin recreationally find that they quickly transform to full drug use, which is compulsive and impossible to control.

How does heroin affect the brain?

An addiction is a psychological and physical need for a drug, which surpasses the user’s ability to control. The brain changes start in the tiny neurons and brain cells. Research shows that heroin impacts main portions of the brain that lead to follow-up use. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, brain receptors for heroin are located in the areas of the brain responsible for perception of pain and reward. This means that when a person uses heroin, he feels no pain and only euphoria.

Why do users require more heroin over time?

After using heroin for weeks or months, it taxes and stresses the brain cells. If the drug is presented in the body over and over, the brain cells become burned out and fatigued. The user requires more heroin to combat the burn out, which over time, means the user uses large doses.

How bad is heroin addiction in the U.S.?

According to statistics, 17 million people used heroin and other opiates in 2015 alone. These drugs accounted for the deaths of 122,000 Americans. The number of heroin users has significantly increased from 1998 to 2015, with 2% of Americans reporting using heroin at some point in time. In 2013, the rate of overdose deaths related to heroin had quadrupled from 1998 statistics.

Which modes of heroin use are more addictive?

Heroin impacts the brain, which affects addictiveness level. The method of use may contribute to addictiveness also. Heroin users who become addicted use the drug by:

  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Injecting

These methods allow the heroin to hit the body in increased amounts, so the user is overpowered with a euphoric feeling. Rather than feeling slightly euphoric, the users are vaulted into a realm of numbness and high that tends to make the heroin more addictive than opiates taken oral route. Research shows that addiction rates among heroin abusers tends to vary depending on the mode of use. Those who inject the drug have higher rates of addiction and overdose deaths than those who smoke or snort the drug.

How does heroin use cause a person problems?

Heroin is an illegal drug and overdose is common. People who use heroin along with alcohol have an increased chance for death due to overdose. IV drug use is associated with long-term viral infections, such as hepatitis B or C, or HIV. In addition, using heroin causes unemployment, car accidents, legal problems, and social/personal conflicts.

Who is most at risk for heroin addiction?

Everyone who tries heroin has the risk for becoming addicted. Heroin addiction is higher among:

  • Non-Hispanic whites
  • Males
  • Those addicted to opioid prescription drugs
  • People addicted to cocaine
  • Individuals between ages of 18 and 25 years
  • People using alcohol and/or marijuana
  • Those living in a large metropolitan area

Pacific Bay Recovery is the top prescription and illicit drug rehab center in San Diego and all of Southern California. The long term success rates are extremely high and most insurance is accepted. Call us today!

Resources

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016). What is heroin? https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/heroin

Rural America and Prescription Drug Addiction

Rural America is the heartland of our great country. In rural America, you have coal mining, corn fields, cattle ranches, vegetable farms, steel mill work, and now, prescription drug addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), rural America is being hit hard with prescription drug addiction, with an estimated 2.1 million people suffering from some type of prescription drug abuse and addiction in 2012 alone.

The National Institutes of Health reports that prescription drug addiction has been plaguing rural America for the last 2 decades. The abuse to heroin and prescription pain relievers affects 36 million people worldwide. The number of unintentional overdose deaths has soared in the U.S., thanks to prescription drugs. Based on data from NIDA, the number of overdose deaths has quadrupled in the last 15 years, since OxyContin burst on the scene in 1998.

Scope and Impact of Prescription Opioid Drug Use

To address the complex problem of prescription opioid abuse in the U.S., researchers analyzed the special characteristics of this phenomenon. NIDA evaluated the negative and growing impact of prescription drug abuse on health and mortality, but also assessed the fundamental role played by prescription opioids in healing and relieving human suffering. Prescription opioids fall into one of three broad categories, with the other prescription drugs abused being central nervous system depressants (Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin) and stimulants (Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin).

Several factors contribute to the severity of America’s current prescription drug addiction and abuse problem. These factors have helped create the “environmental availability” of prescription drugs, particularly opioids. These factors include:

  • Increases in the number of prescriptions written
  • Aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies
  • Greater social acceptance for using prescription medications

The Cold, Hard Drug Facts

The total number of opioid painkillers prescribed in the U.S. have increased over the last 25 Oxycodoneyears. In 1991, only 76 million prescriptions of hydrocodone and oxycodone were written. Zoom in to 2015, there were 207 million hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions written in America. This accounts for around 90% of the world’s hydrocodone scripts and 81% of oxycodone scripts.

Based on data from NIDA, emergency departments (EDs or ERs) are dispensing more prescription pain medicines also. In 2008, the number of visits for nonmedical use of opioid analgesics increased to 306,000 up from 145,000 in 2004 (that’s 156,000 more visits per year).Overdose deaths related to prescription painkillers have tripled in the last two decades, with 16,650 in 2010 alone. By 2002, death certificates listing opioid poisoning as the cause of death were more common than cocaine or heroin.

Crushing, Snorting, Injecting, and Combining

Opioid prescription drugs, as well as stimulants and benzodiazepines, can be crushed and snorted for a faster “high.” Certain pure drugs, like morphine or oxycodone, can be mixed with water and injected into the veins. These drugs are more dangerous when snorted or injected. In addition, the drugs can be combined with alcohol for a stronger, more intense euphoria.

Rural Americans have turned visiting the doctor into hillbilly gold, as doctor shopping, obtaining scripts to sell, and visiting random ERs has become a common thing. More than 100 million people have chronic pain in the U.S., but for many of these people, the drugs are stolen, sold, or misused. Experts have long debated the use of prescription opioids for chronic pain relief. Because the problem has become an epidemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed specific prescribing guidelines for doctors to follow.

Pacific Bay Recovery offers top prescription drug rehab in San Diego with success rates that are very high. Most insurance is accepted, call us today!

Hooked: Statistics on Prescription Narcotic Use/Abuse

America is “hooked.” Not on soda pop. Not on daytime TV. Not even on phonics. Americans are starting to use prescription narcotics at increased rates, up 400% over the last 10 years. These drugs include painkillers, stimulants, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates.

Hook, Line, and a Sinking America

In the U.S., 2,500 youth ages 12 to 17 abuse a prescription pain medicine for the first time. Prescription drug use is more prevalent in the U.S. than other countries. In America, more Oxycodonethan 15 million people abuse prescription drugs each year, which is more than all other drugs combined. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2015, more than 2.6 million Americans abused prescription drugs for the first time.

According to a 2007 survey, 3.3% of 12- to 17-year olds used or abused a prescription drug during the past 30 days. Of those aged 18- to 25-year old, 6% reported using a prescription drug in the past month. Prescription drug abuse also caused a large percentage of deaths in America, based on 2005 statistics. Of the 22,400 drug overdose deaths, 38% were related to opioid painkillers.

Teenage Wasteland

America is becoming a teenage wasteland, according to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In 2005, 4,4 million teens in the U.S. admitted to using prescription opioid painkillers. In addition, 2.3 million teens reported that they took a prescription stimulant, such as Adderall or Ritalin. Another 2.2 million youth admitted to abusing over-the-counter cough syrup, many trying it as young as 13 years of age.

In a U.S survey, almost 50% of teens reported that they thought prescription drugs were safer than illegal street drugs. Around 65% of teens surveyed said that they found prescription drugs in their families’ home medicine cabinets. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that teens who abuse prescription drugs were twice as likely to drink alcohol, and were five times more likely to smoke marijuana. In addition, teens who start taking prescription drugs are 20 times more likely to turn to heroin, cocaine, and Ecstasy.

Dying to Be High

dual diagnosis treatmentAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioids, depressants, and antidepressants are responsible for 45% of all overdose deaths. Prescription stimulants and cocaine account for 39% of all overdose deaths in the U.S. Also, in America, the most overdose deaths occur in inner cities in Black neighborhoods, but overdose deaths are on the rise in White rural communities. Of the 1.4 million drug-related hospital ER admissions in 2005, almost 600,000 were associated with prescription narcotics.

In 2007, the powerful prescription narcotic fentanyl killed more than 1,000 people, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. This drug is 50 times more powerful than heroin, and 100 times more deadly. People are stealing it from cancer patients, pharmacies, and hospitals, and chewing the gel lining that is supposed to be time-released when applied to the skin.

Most Commonly Abused Prescription Narcotics

The number one most commonly abused prescription narcotic is the opioid drugs, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and hydromorphone. These drugs are usually given after a major injury or surgery, but are also prescribed for chronic pain. Another commonly abused prescription drug class is the central nervous system depressants, which are called tranquilizers or sedatives (Xanax, Valium, Seconal, and Neurontin). When taken with alcohol, CNS depressants can lead to overdose deaths due to respiratory depression.

In a study conducted at the University of Michigan, hydrocodone (Vicodin) was the top prescription drug abused among high schoolers. This study found that it represented 8% of all drugs used, but stimulants rated at 6.5%. Teens have access to stimulants, because they are often given in this age group for attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These drugs, when abused, produced a high, but they also lead to rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and major anxiety.

Pacific Bay Recovery offers first rate treatment for prescription drug abuse at a top notch facility in San Diego. Success rates are impressive, with long term success being over 80%! Call us today for your best option for prescription drug rehab in Southern California.

Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2017). Therapeutic drug use. Retrieved from:  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/drug-use-therapeutic.htm

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2017). Drug-related hospital emergency room visits. Retrieved from:  https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/drug-related-hospital-emergency-room-visits

National Institute on Drug Abuse (2017). Nationwide trends. Retrieved from: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/nationwide-trends

The Facts on Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a drug that has been around a while, but just now is becoming abused. This drug is a powerful synthetic opioid that is prescribed under the brand names Duragesic, Actiq, and Sublimaze. Here are some facts about fentanyl.

About the Drug

Fentanyl is similar to the opioid morphine, but it is actually 100 times more potent. The drug fentanyl is a schedule II prescription drug that is only given to patients with severe, intractable pain. Street names for fentanyl are GoodFella, Jackpot, Friend, Dance Fever, China Girl, China White, Apache, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango & Cash.

How People use Fentanyl

When prescribed by a doctor, fentanyl is administered via transdermal patch, injection, or in lozenges. However, fentanyl and its analogs associated with overdoses have been produced in clandestine laboratories. Nonpharmaceutical fentanyl is sold as a power, spiked on blotter paper, as tablets that mimic other opioids, or mixed with or substituted for heroin. Because drug dealers are now manufacturing fentanyl, people can snort, swallow, or inject the synthetic drug.

How Fentanyl Patches are Abused

Duragesic patches are abused by people who just wish to get high. People who abuse fentanyl are not in pain. The fentanyl patches contain a gel in a pouch lying between two membranes. The abuser will eat the fentanyl gel, giving them a big dose all at once. Many fentanyl abusers steal the patches from a friend, family member, or person in his/her care, and then apply them to their skin or eat the gel.

Who Abuses Fentanyl

Fentanyl abuse can occur when a person exaggerates his/her pain in order to get a prescription from the doctor. An injured person could pretend to be in great pain just to get fentanyl. Physicians may over-prescribe fentanyl by giving the patient the medication when he/she does not need it, or for longer than he/she requires the drug. In addition, healthcare and pharmacy workers can become addicted to or abuse fentanyl, because they have access to prescriptions and medications.

How Fentanyl affects your Brain

Fentanyl works by binding with the body’s natural opioid receptors, which are located in areas of the brain that control emotions and pain. Like morphine and heroin, fentanyl has a high addiction potential. When opioid drugs bind to the body’s opioid receptors, they drive up dopamine levels in reward area, which produces a state of relaxation and euphoria. The effects of fentanyl also include confusion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, drowsiness, sedation, addiction, tolerance, respiratory depression, unconsciousness, coma, and with overdose, death.

What Makes Fentanyl Dangerous

Fentanyl is a dangerous drug when used recreationally. Opioid receptors found in the brain control breathing rate. When fentanyl is consumed or absorbed in high doses, it can cause your breathing to completely stop. This is especially true when a the drug user is not aware of what he/she is taking. Fentanyl sold on the street poses many dangers, as it amplifies the potency of heroin and cocaine.

The Drug Abuse/Use Problem in America

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 39 million people in the U.S. have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes. That’s roughly 10% of the entire population. Of those who abuse drugs, teens and adolescents make up 3 million of them.

Signs and Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse

There are a number of signs and symptoms that alert you that someone you know, love, and wish to help is abusing fentanyl. These signs and symptoms include:

  • Difficulty seeingDetox Center San Diego
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Retention of urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Pin-point pupils (constriction)
  • Sweating
  • Hallucinations
  • Bad dreams
  • Weight loss

Pacific Bay Recovery is the top drug rehab center in Southern California, offering first rate treatment for both prescription and illicit drugs. Most insurance is accepted at the San Diego drug rehab center, call us today!

Resources

Higashikawa Y, Suzuki S. Studies on 1-(2-phenethyl)-4-(N-propionylanilino) piperidine (fentanyl) and its related compounds. VI. Structure-analgesic activity relationship for fentanyl, methyl-substituted fentanyls and other analogues. Forensic Toxicol. 2008;26(1):1-5. doi:10.1007/s11419-007-0039-1.

Nelson L, Schwaner R. Transdermal fentanyl: Pharmacology and toxicology. J Med Toxicol. 2009;5(4):230-241. doi:10.1007/BF03178274.

Volpe DA, Tobin GAM, Mellon RD, et al. Uniform assessment and ranking of opioid Mu receptor binding constants for selected opioid drugs. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2011;59(3):385-390. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2010.12.007.

Medical Marijuana: A Safer Solution to Opioids?

Drug overdose is a major problem in the United States. Illicit and prescription drug abuse have plagued our country for years, and now, the statistics apply to professional athletes. In a recent survey of more than 150 NFL players, use of chemical opioids was extremely common and encouraged by some league physicians. The addiction qualities of opioid painkillers are basically a Russian Roulette for some pain sufferers, however.

The Problem

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription pain relievers and heroin. These drugs act on the opioid receptors in the brain to produce a pleasurable effect along with pain relief. More than 20 million Americans had some type of substance use disorder in 2015, and opioid addiction is causing many overdose deaths. The opioid overdose death rate in 2008 was four times what it was in 1999, and there were 20,000 deaths due to prescription opioids in 2015 alone.

According to the 2017 survey involving current and former NFL players, 91% said they had taken an opiate-based pain reliever. In addition, almost half of those surveyed said they felt pressure by teammates, staff, and even team doctors to use a chemical substance for pain. Many players admitted to recreational use of opioids after they first took them by prescription.

The Cause

Opioids are the fastest and strongest form of pain management available to NFL players. The NFL physicians can injection painkillers directly to the affected region for quick pain relief, which permits the player to go right back to the field. These opioids have a laundry list of side effects, however. They can cause dizziness, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and respiratory depression. In addition, they are extremely addictive, with 70% of NFL players reporting being concerned to an unhealthy dependence on the drugs.

In 2012, the NFL Players Association had an injury data analysis conducted. They found that there was an increase of 1,302 total injuries from 2010 to 2011. In 2011 alone, there were 4,493 minor injuries in the NFL, which included the start of training camp through the Super Bowl. In addition, there was a 17% increase in moderate injuries, which means the player was out of action for 8-21 days.  

An Alternative Solution

The nation’s largest medical marijuana online marketplace, BudTrader.com, conducted a lengthy study regarding NFL players and opioid addiction potential. The study evolved after the marketplace’s CEO, Brad McLaughlin, was notified of the problem by former NFL player Marvin Washington. According to the report, Washington is an advocated for a safer form of pain management: use of medical marijuana. Washington believes professional football players could benefit from the unique compounds found in marijuana, which protect the brain against pain and inflammation.

According to the NFL survey, 89% of NFL players felt that medical marijuana was a safe alternative to treating injury pain. These players said that fewer chemical opioids would be used if they had access to medical marijuana. According to authorities, this would call for major policy reform within the league. The NFLPA plans to make medical cannabis a priority in the future, however.

Pacific Bay Recovery offers top rehab in Southern California for prescription and illicit drugs. Success rates are very high and most insurance is accepted, call  us today!

Resources

Alternet (2017). Recent Poll Shows NFL Players Are Increasingly Concerned About Opioid Use and Addiction. Retrieved from: http://www.alternet.org/drugs/nfl-players-are-increasingly-concerned-about-opioids

American Society of Addiction Medicine (2016). Opioid Addiction. Retrieved from: http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf

Building a Meaningful Life without Drugs

You may ask yourself, “How do I live without drugs and alcohol?” When much of your time has been spent searching for a substance and feeding your addiction, you often start wondering what your life might be without the drugs or alcohol. You think to yourself life is going to be terrible, and “How can I do it without my fix.” Many addicts become so dependent on the drugs and alcohol to get up and started with daily duties and tasks, that they know no other way. The drugs often keep one going during the day, and the alcohol is used to go to sleep. Then, the vicious cycle starts again the next day.

Step 1: Facing Fears and Accountability

The good news is that there is hope. You will need to face your fear, and sometimes, this is done alone. Your journey will be long, stressful, and difficult, but this is all part of your recovery. Others can help you deal with addiction, but in the end, you have to conquer it mostly by yourself. What helps many addicts is setting little goals to achieve so he or she feels that they are beating the addiction to alcohol and drugs. There will be good days and many bad ones. You will give in to the voice in your head sometimes, but don’t give up to the cravings and urges. Rather, call a friend or sponsor and be accountable for you actions so you can restart your recovery.

Step 2: Changing Habits

The second step to living a drug- and alcohol-free life is changing habits and getting rid of all old reminders of the addiction. Replace them with healthy reminders of why you are doing this rebuilding of your life without the drugs and/or alcohol. Try to think back before the days of the drugs and alcohol. What made you happy? What was fun before your addiction? Your new lifestyle is going to be frustrating to you, all old friends are still using and you are not. Just give it time, as it will take a while for you to find new friends that enjoy your new hobbies and activities. Also, surround yourself with people that support you. Sometimes, when we set new goals, we get very excited and go all out. Don’t push it on others, as friends or family will come to you in time.

Step 3: Turn to Family

For many addicts, family is motivation to getting clean and sober. Admitting to them that you are an addict is the hardest thing you will ever do. But by getting them to help in your recovery, you can then build a new life that is prosperous and full of happiness — a life with meaning, substance, and growth. For many families, the answer is to join a church recovery program or enroll in an outreach program where there were other recovering drug and alcohol addicts with many years of sobriety. Having these people to talk with and learn about addiction is helpful, as they have many similar experiences as you. For building a new life without drugs and alcohol, the best thing to remember is never stop trying. You need to find your own path, style, and way.

Finding Support during the Recovery Process

Millions of recovering drug and alcohol addicts suffer daily the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, around 7 million people are users of psychotherapeutic drugs that are taken illegally or non-medically.

These drugs include pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives, and stimulants. Also, the CDC estimates that at least 50 percent of adults are regular drinkers. These people face temptation on a daily basis that can cause them to fall back into their bad habits, and eventually, lead to using drugs or alcohol again. Building and relying on a good support system is the key factor to staying clean.

Family and Friends

One place to look for support is friends and family members. Once your loved ones understand that your addiction is a disease, and can be cured with help from professionals, the love and support of family and friends it will make your recovery easier. Many family members’ and friends’ lives are affected greatly by the drug or alcohol addict, and they also need support to learn how the addiction affects the addict One way to include these people in your recover is have them attend meetings with you to learn more about the psychological and social aspects of addiction.

There are many online and community support groups out there that offer support to a recovering addict. However, choosing the one for you might not be as easy as you think. Sit down with your family and friends and find a group that you both are comfortable with, and choose one that is moderated by a professional in the industry who might once have been an addict or studied behavior or psychology regarding addiction.

Support Groups

If you belong to a church, many religious organizations have outreach programs for addiction and can guide you to a program that fits your unique problem. Just by typing “internet support groups for addiction” on your computer, you will also find a myriad of groups in your area. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two of the largest self-help groups out there, and they are well-known for treatment and recovery.

If you are trying to give up the drugs or alcohol and maintain your sobriety these groups can be a great resource for you. Meeting with others a couple times a week in a safe place for guidance support and assistance can be very helpful in maintaining your sobriety during your recovery process. The best part: they are free.

SOS

There are other groups that take a scientific approach with alternative recovery methods for people that are uncomfortable with the spiritual way AA and NA conduct their meetings. The most familiar is Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS). Family and friends are also welcome at the group support meetings. Whichever support system or group you choose, it needs to be right for you and your family.

For your continued success while attending the meetings, go regularly, interact with the other members, and be honest and truthful about your feelings, cravings, and urges. Remember, you may be going this alone or with friends or family, but you are going and taking the positive steps to live a clean, healthy, and sober lifestyle each day.

Exploring Your Treatment Options (Drugs and Alcohol)

Once you decide its time to quit, the person with a drug or alcohol addiction needs to start exploring his or her options for specific treatments to recovery. There are many options depending upon the type of addiction one suffers. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) National Survey on Drug Use and Health,1 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem in 2009 (9.3 percent of persons aged 12 or older). Of these, only 2.6 million—11.2 percent of those who needed treatment—received it at a specialty facility.

SAMHSA also reports characteristics of admissions and discharges from substance abuse treatment facilities* in its Treatment Episode Data Set2 (TEDS). According to TEDS, there were 1.8 million admissions in 2008 for treatment of alcohol and drug abuse to facilities that report to State administrative data systems. Most treatment admissions (41.4 percent) involved alcohol abuse. Heroin and other opiates accounted for the largest percentage of drug-related admissions (20.0 percent), followed by marijuana (17.0 percent).

Many people choose to admit themselves into an inpatient program in which a period of time will be spent detoxing the body and mind in order to start the healing process to recovery. Others that may have a good support system at home, or a location in which they are currently living, might be able to enroll into an outpatient program. There are many choices out there, so you just need to see what offers the best and appropriate outcome for you. These programs will always include treatment for both the mental and physical aspects of addiction.

Inpatient Programs

For some addicts, an inpatient program is often chosen, and many times, treatment will be covered under that patient’s medical health plan. This can help cover the financial aspect of your start of recovery. All inpatient programs are specified to certain addictions, and remember that no program has magic powers to cure addicts just by going there. Rather, all programs need the person to truly participate, and of course, want to change their habits. Understanding what the program is teaching you is important to recovery.

All programs that are inpatient treat not just the addiction, but the health and mind of the addict as well. These are very important key factors to a program that will help an addict with their drug or alcohol addictions. The treatments should also teach a person to deal with different aspects of his or her life, since drugs and alcohol affects numerous relationships, work, mental stability, and physical health.

Outpatient Programs

Many outpatient treatment centers or programs for drug and alcohol addicts take commitment from the person to want to heal and recover. Without this, no addict will be successful in any part of the treatment that is designed to take them to the next step of recovery. Much like a lifetime smoker, if and addict does not truly want to quit using, no type of enhancement or bribery will make him or her successful in quitting.

Outpatient programs teach life choices that an addict has to make to commit themselves to quit drinking or taking drugs to be successful and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Entering the program is the first step, but with the support of the outpatient center staff and counselors, an addict can get to the other side and become healthy, productive, and start living a drug-free and sober life again.

Remember that drugs and alcohol can change your mental and physical stability. Because of this, treatment centers focus on the whole person during therapy. Getting or asking for this type of help increases your success rate immensely. While asking for help from others seems difficult at first, as time goes on, you need that help to get back on your feet and enjoy a life that is prosperous and happy.

Resources:
National Institute on Drug Abuse the Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction Revised March 2011; Retreived: http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/treatment-statistics

Opioid Use in the NFL and Medical Marijuana Proposal

NFL players get injured. A lot. And with these injuries comes pain. For pain, the treatment often includes the use of prescription painkillers. A recent survey of former and current NFL players had revealed that opioid use is rampant among professional football athletes. According to the NFL Players Association, the opioid problem is due to the increased number of injuries among these athletes. In 2011, there were almost 4,500 minor injuries in the NFL, and a 17% increase in moderate injuries among NFL players.

According to the survey, which involved more than 150 players, 91% of players reported that they had used opioids in the past. Prescription pain medicines, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone, are often prescribed by team doctors. Almost half of players surveyed reported feeling pressured to use these drugs by staff, team physicians, and other players.

The Gridiron Cannabis Coalition and CBD

Many NFL players and team affiliates have supported the use of medical marijuana for injury treatment. Current Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan and former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Eugene Monroe are both in support of medical marijuana. These NFL players believe that medical marijuana would be beneficial for players who could otherwise become addicted to opioids. Ex-NFL players who support cannabis have formed the Gridiron Cannabis Coalition, which is dedicated to the advancement of medical marijuana in football. With 20,000 overdose deaths a year attributed to opioids, the coalition reports professional athletes who use opioids are at higher risk for suicide and overdose deaths.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 60-plus cannabinoids found in cannabis (marijuana). However, CBD is a non-psychoactive product that does not produce a high. The NFL players who support medical marijuana propose this as an alternative because CBD produces pain relief effects. McMahon has been bothered by many painful conditions following his 15-year career in the NFL. He was taking around 100 Percocet pills a month. Now, he is off prescription drugs using medical marijuana, which is much safer, according to an interview with the player in the Chicago Tribune.

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

According to health officials, 91 people die in American each day from opioid abuse. In addition, 70% of NFL players surveyed confessed that they had once had an opioid problem and was concerned about addiction. The addictive nature of opioids is well-documented. However, medical marijuana has been proven to effectively treat pain, and 88% of players said they would use it if it were an acceptable method in the NFL.

Medical marijuana has many health benefits, according to a 2007 clinical study. Researchers found that marijuana effectively reduced neuropathic (nerve-related) pain. In another study by the American Academy of Neurology found that marijuana reduced muscle spasms and stiffness in patients with multiple sclerosis. In addition, two FDA-approved altered forms of THC (nabilone and dronabinol) were found to reduce chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting in many cancer patients. Because of the benefits marijuana has, the National Institutes of Health are conducting studies regarding THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids for medical usage.

Resources
Hempyreum.org (2017). New survey of NFL players reveals league pressure to take opioids. Retrieved from: http://www.hempyreum.org/en/81568
Livescience (2015). Medical Marijuana: Benefits, Risks & State Laws. Retrieved from: http://www.livescience.com/24554-medical-marijuana.html