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Addicted to your Pain Medication?

If you are struggling with a problem related to prescription pain medicine, you are not the only one.

Many people start taking opiates or pain medication under prescription but slowly, the addiction may outweigh the benefits of the medicine.

If you wish to know whether you or a loved one has developed an addiction to opiates, read on.

What are Opiates?

Opiates are psychoactive drugs that have been derived from extracts of the poppy plant – morphine and codeine. The best known opiates include heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Some opiates are prescribed for the medical treatment of pain.

Opiates are safe and can alleviate pain if used as directed by a pain management doctor. Painkiller abuse can cause dependence and addiction.

Types of Opiates

The most widely used opioids (generic and brand names) are –

  • Codeine
  • Morphine (Kadian, Avinza, MS Contin)
  • Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)

Signs of Opiate Addiction

There are signs to tell if you or a loved one has a problem with opiate drugs. The biggest sign of opioid addiction is continuous use opiates despite negative consequences.

Here are some of the key ways you can recognize a problem with an opiate.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Abusing opiate medication
  • Signs of use include dilated pupils, sedation, or slowed breathing
  • Craving for opiates
  • Increasing dose amounts or frequency to get the same initial effect
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • Running out of medications much before refill date
  • Visiting different doctors just to obtain prescriptions
  • Drug use takes priority over home, work, school responsibilities
  • Buying opiates through illegal means, online or on the street

Not-so-Obvious Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addicts often don’t want help. They hide their problem as well as their struggle. Hiding allows them to go on drinking. Without professional help, the drinker can go on for long till s/he hits rock bottom. The longer they drink at dangerous levels, the higher is their likelihood of addiction.

So, how can you know if a loved one is hiding a drinking problem?

While denial is common among alcoholics, a person with a drinking problem will often rationalize the amount they drink; convincing themselves and others that it is no more than a drink now and then. When someone drinks in unhealthy amounts and pattern, it can involve clever ways to obtain and hide alcohol, including

  • travelling to places they may not be recognized, to buy alcohol
  • hiding alcohol around the house or office, for example, in non-alcoholic drink containers
  • using a hip flask
  • mixing alcohol in soft drinks

Hidden Signs of Alcoholism

There are various signs that may indicate a drinking problem.

  1. Denying or lying about the amounts they are drinking
  2. Drinking heavily while alone
  3. Passing out due to too much drinking
  4. Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities as a result of drinking
  5. Drinking alcohol first thing in the morning
  6. Experiencing cravings for a drink that affect mood or concentration levels

If you recognize these signs in a loved one, seek professional help so that they can work towards the best possible solution.

Why should I choose an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program?

Recovery from substance abuse is a step-by-step process. After medical detox, people go through different types of treatment – inpatient and outpatient. Read on to learn how an intensive outpatient treatment helps you recover allows you to choose a program that’s right for you.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

While people undergoing treatment for drug abuse get clean and come back to normal lives, recovery is a lasting commitment. Addiction treatment begins with drug detox after which individuals enter an intensive drug addiction rehab program.

Some people can’t enter an inpatient program due to personal and professional commitments. For them, an outpatient treatment program is best. It allows people to continue with work, school or family obligations.

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

Intensive Outpatient treatment brings the benefits of recovering while staying within one’s own family or community. Family members can offer them support to overcome addiction. In addition, career or educational responsibilities may help some people stay focused and successful during the recovery process.

After inpatient treatment, individuals may have to face the challenge of managing temptations and triggers, which were absent in the rehab but are there in the outside world. Losing the peer support might be a setback to some. Outpatient treatment does not present these challenges since the individual recovers at home and learns to manage triggers and cravings since the beginning of treatment.

Apart from this, intensive outpatient programs give you structure and support while allowing you to live at home. You undergo daily therapy sessions that gradually become less intensive. This helps you transition back into your home, life, and career while getting the necessary support.

Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient Rehab?

If you or a loved one is seeking addiction treatment, and ant to recover at home instead of checking into a rehab, it is important to understand the difference between outpatient program and intensive outpatient program.

Many drug rehab centers offer inpatient, outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. It is crucial to learn how these programs benefit patients to decide on the best level of treatment for your or your loved one’s specific needs.

Outpatient Treatment

As the name suggests, outpatient treatment is a part-time treatment program. During this program, the individual can stay at home and visit the rehab for specific therapy sessions. For example, you may attend counseling about four times a week with each session lasting two to four hours.

Outpatient rehab helps you recover with regular therapy and counseling sessions but you do not receive round-the-clock care, which may be required in some cases.

But some patients may require a structured treatment plan to recover and avoid relapse. In such cases, outpatient rehab alone might not be enough. It may be the person’s immediate environment, home, workplace or social activities that triggered substance abuse. If s/he can’t get out of that place, staying sober may prove to be a challenge.

Intensive Outpatient Program

An intensive outpatient program, or IOP, also doesn’t require living at a facility. But compared to an outpatient program, it requires more time commitment and attention. Intensive Outpatient Program can become the perfect bridge between inpatient rehab and outpatient therapy.

For people trying to establish careers, or those with busy lifestyles, don’t have to deviate from their demanding schedule to recover successfully.

An intensive outpatient program is appropriate for people who need a higher level of care but are still able to function at home. It’s also good for individuals moving from a more demanding treatment program, such as inpatient rehab, to a more flexible program.

Making a Choice between Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Program

A person suffering from a severe addiction may benefit from an inpatient program. Undergoing detox and living at a rehab can reduce the chances of relapse. If an intensive outpatient program is added, it can maximize your chances of success.

The best way to determine the treatment option for your situation is an intake assessment. Qualified de-addiction specialists evaluate your condition and overall health to determine an addiction treatment program that would be best for your needs.

What is Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment?

Outpatient substance abuse rehab involves the patient traveling to a center to attend therapy sessions and can return home the same day. While you may be discharged from inpatient rehab because you are doing well enough to go home, you may still need ongoing support and continual accountability to succeed. That is what outpatient rehabs can provide you.

Who is a Candidate for Outpatient Treatment?

An intensive outpatient treatment program offers detox and recovery services through counseling, medication, and support services. Outpatient programs are ideal for those who suffer from mild to moderate addiction.

What does Outpatient Treatment involve?

The initial visit begins with a detailed psychological assessment. Skilled mental health and addiction professionals guide the patient through medically supervised stabilization, which integrates the person into counseling sessions. In addition, medication treatments are initiated.

Intensive outpatient treatment involves a “step-down” level of care program, which offers a flexible alternative to day treatment or residential inpatient care. Patients receive an initial assessment, 12-step multidisciplinary therapy, referrals to community services, and ongoing social support. Depending on the person’s needs, clients can attend treatment 2-4 hours a day, 2-4 days a week.

What is the duration of outpatient treatment?

The duration of an outpatient treatment program varies according to the extent of the addiction, the specific needs of the client, and the philosophy of the facility. Most recovering opiate addicts can expect to spend one to three months receiving outpatient care. However, most serious cases require up to a year or more for proper treatment. Long-term outpatient rehabilitation offers extended counseling for those who are at great risk for relapse.

Prescription Painkiller Abuse – Warning Signs

Prescription painkillers may prove effective in chronic pain relief. They are often the first line of defense against pain. While these drugs are legal when properly prescribed by a doctor, they can be highly addictive.

So how do you know when you or a loved one has crossed over from pain management to addiction? Here are the warning signs.

• Changes in mood and/or behavior
• Continuing drug use even when there is no pain or the condition, for which it was prescribed, has improved
• Being defensive about drug use
• Undesirable changes in appearance and habits
• Social withdrawal
• Using more drug than prescribed
• Visiting several doctors for prescription refills
• Inability to stop or cut down in drug use despite several attempts

If you recognize these signs and symptoms of prescription painkiller addiction in self or a loved one, seek professional help right away.

Rehabs offer prescription narcotic addiction treatment as inpatient and outpatient treatment. While inpatient treatment provides a safe environment, away from stress and triggers, and round the clock cares, outpatient treatment provides the flexibility to go on with your life as you go through treatment. But if the addiction is severe, it is recommended that you choose inpatient rehab for full recovery.

The drug rehab center in San Diego offers innovative therapies utilizing a combination of group therapy, individual psychotherapy and holistic treatment techniques that have proven high success rates.

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!

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