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Call today to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

(858) 263-9700


Drug Rehab

Free Opioid Overdose Antidote Available in Six States

Opioid Overdose TreatmentPatients in six American states will have free access to the Evzio naloxone auto-injector which is a medication used for reversing an opioid overdose. This is a very important medication that is available by way of a pilot program since America currently has an opioid epidemic which has been declared a public health emergency.

The six states which will have the naloxone auto-injectors available include:

  • California
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Missouri
  • Ohio

The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, called for naloxone to be more readily accessible to those individuals who are at risk of overdosing on opioid medications. He also mentioned that friends and family members of such individuals should also be supplied with the naloxone auto-injector to use on the person overdosing on the narcotics.

In a statement, Dr. Adams mentioned the following:

  • 77 percent of opioid-related deaths occur outside a medical setting with the majority taking place at home.
  • Increased naloxone availability should occur in conjunction with increased access to evidence-based therapies for substance use disorders associated with opioids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 115 Americans die daily from overdosing on opioid medications. In 2016, more than 42,000 people died from an opioid overdose and this rose to over 66,000 in 2017. This is why having naloxone available, which reverses the effects of opioids, is a very important step in attempting to curb the death rate caused by this crisis.

How to Receive the Naloxone Auto-Injector

Patients with commercial insurances will be able to receive the naloxone auto-injector without a prescription and without having to pay anything by calling a toll-free number and speaking to a pharmacist.

There is no fee for the device because it is available through the pharmaceutical company that developed the product, Kaleo’s, virtual standing order program. The device is then delivered to the individual’s home address once ordered.

If a patient doesn’t have government or commercial insurance and whose total income is less than $100,000 annually, Kaleo offers a Patient Assistance Program that makes the device available for free out-of-pocket.

Kaleo also says that they plan to extend their pilot program to additional states and hopefully the auto-injecting device will be available to more individuals around the United States to help prevent deaths as a result of opioid overdosing.

Pacific Bay Recovery

Pacific Bay Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center based in San Diego and they deal with and manage patients who are dependent and addicted to medications and drugs such as the opioids.

The services offered by the rehabilitation center include:

  • Inpatient programs for withdrawing patients from the offending drugs as well as psychology, and occupational therapy sessions.
  • Psychiatry consultations for those who have any underlying mental health conditions.
  • Group therapy sessions for patients to help them relate to others with similar issues as themselves.
  • Outpatient programs for those who are assessed as being able to benefit from such a service.

The healthcare professionals at Pacific Bay Recovery help patients to discontinue using offending drugs in order to reduce health-related complications that may occur as a result of opioid use and to improve their social and occupational situations at home and at work.

 

The Dangers of Abusing Prescription Stimulant Drugs

 

The most commonly abused prescription stimulant medications include amphetamines (Dexedrine and Adderall) and methylphenidate (Ritalin and Concerta).

The amphetamines and methylphenidate are used to manage medical conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and works by changing the amounts of specific neurotransmitters (hormones) in the brain. The medication’s function then is to:

  • Help increase an affected person’s ability to pay attention.
  • Control behavioral problems.
  • Allow the patient to stay focused for a longer period of time.
  • Reduce daytime fatigue and for this reason, is also indicated for those patients who struggle with narcolepsy.

Methylphenidate can also be prescribed off-label to help manage treatment-resistant cases of:

  • Major depression.
  • Bipolar mood disorder.

Use by Students

These prescription stimulants are sometimes used by students to help enhance their mental abilities in order to improve their concentration for purposes of studying. There are individuals who state that denying these students the medications, who are essentially not struggling with any conditions that the medications are indicated for, would be denying them the opportunity to better themselves academically.

However, if one is to prescribe individuals who do not exhibit any pathology medications that alter their brain chemistry, then one is bound to expose them to certain adverse effects.

Dependence and Addiction

Psychological dependence and addiction to amphetamines and methylphenidate are possible, especially if taken at high doses as a recreational drug. As with all addictive drugs, dependence on prescription stimulants causes changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels and this leads to addictive behavior.

Overdose

Addiction can lead to an overdose of prescription stimulants. This can result in central nervous system overstimulation which can cause issues such as:

  •        Agitation.
  •        Tremors.
  •        Vomiting.
  •        Muscle twitching.
  •        Euphoria.
  •        Increased reflexes.
  •        Confusion.
  •        Delirium.
  •        Hallucinations.
  •        Hyperthermia.
  •        Flushing.
  •        Sweating.
  •        Headaches.
  •        Heart palpitations.
  •        Rapid heart rate.
  •        Abnormal heart rhythm.
  •        Elevated blood pressure.
  •        Dry mucous membranes.

A severe overdose which will require immediate medical attention may result in the following problems:

  •        Increased core body temperature.
  •        Paranoia.
  •         Convulsions.
  •         Repetitive movements.
  •         A severe drop in blood pressure.
  •         Rapid muscle breakdown.
  •         Sympathomimetic toxidrome or an adrenergic storm which is a rapid increase of epinephrine levels in the body which causes the heart rate to spike and possibly become abnormal.

Fortunately, a prescription stimulant drug overdose is rarely fatal if one receives the appropriate medical care.

Rehabilitation

Becoming addicted to prescription stimulant drugs can become problematic, especially when the medication is taken in higher than required dosages as this can lead to the above-mentioned problems.

There are rehabilitation centers available where inpatient rehabilitation is offered. This will be beneficial to patients who are addicted to prescription stimulant drugs as the following services will be made available to them:

  • Safe withdrawal from the stimulant drug.
  • Management of any underlying mental health issues or stressors.
  • Psychological counseling to aid in the development of coping skills.
  • Time and study management or any other advice regarding everyday tasks and functions so that one doesn’t have to rely on taking stimulant drugs on a recreational basis.

 

The Relationship Between Psychiatric Conditions and Substance Abuse

Substance abuse disorder is a condition associated with individuals becoming addicted to certain substances such as alcohol and/or drugs. Addiction is defined as individuals partaking in these mentioned substances, because they have become dependent on them, and results in the affected person becoming socially withdrawn, experiencing breakdowns in relationships with friends and family, as well as committing actions that can get them into trouble with the law.

When a substance abuse disorder occurs together with any underlying mental health conditions then this is referred to as dual diagnosis (also called dual pathology or co-occurring disorders). Mental health illnesses may include:

  • Major depression
  • Bipolar mood disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

Confirming the diagnosis of dual pathology may be challenging since substance abuse disorders may initially induce signs and symptoms of psychiatric conditions. Affected patients may then be regarded as having a substance abuse issue until such time as a complete and adequate medical history is taken from them to determine if the condition presented on its own or together with an underlying psychiatric disorder.

Issues Faced by Patients with Dual Pathology

These patients, compared to those with mental or substance abuse disorders alone, are faced with complex challenges such as:

  • An increased relapse rate.
  • An increased risk of being hospitalized.
  • Being exposed to illnesses such as hepatitis C and HIV.

Theoretical Causes of Dual Pathology

The following are theories that can help explain the relationship between mental health conditions and substance abuse disorders:

  • Causality – it is suggested that certain types of substance abuse can lead to specific mental conditions. An example is the use of cannabis leading to mild psychotic experiences although it isn’t proven to cause psychotic disorders.
  • Exposure to multiple risk factors – exposure to certain risk factors can lead to both mental health and substance abuse conditions and these may include poverty, social isolation, associating with drug abusers, living in areas with high drug availability, and traumatic experiences like sexual abuse.
  • Self-medicating – abusing medications used to help alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions may lead to the development of a substance abuse problem. Also, certain medications may be used to counter the side effects of certain psychiatric drugs and this can also lead to substance abuse.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) – up to 25 percent of patients with a substance abuse disorder are known with ADHD. A reason for this is because ADHD is associated with an increased craving for drugs. Treating both these issues is difficult and unfortunately, these patients have poorer outcomes.
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – as opposed to ADHD, ASD reduces the risk of an affected individual developing a substance abuse disorder. The reason for this is believed to be that ASD presents with a person lacking sensation-seeking personality traits and this helps to protect against abusing substances. It should be mentioned though that certain types of substance abuse, especially that of alcohol, can cause or worsen certain neuropsychological symptoms that are common in patients diagnosed with ASD.

Withdrawal Symptoms Caused by Stopping Addictive Substances and How to Manage Them

Substance dependence occurs when an individual who is using addictive substances such as alcohol, narcotics, prescription medications, or other illegal drugs experiences withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the product. The body becomes used to the substance to the point that it needs the product in order to function adequately.

Drug Addict Going Through Addiction CrisisOnce the substance is discontinued, the body will experience the following general signs and symptoms within a few hours:

  • Excessive yawning.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Muscles aches and pains.
  • Increased agitation or anxiety.
  • Mood swings.
  • A runny nose and teary eyes as well as other flu-like symptoms.
  • Cravings for the addictive product.
  • Difficulty with getting to sleep (insomnia).

These are not life-threatening issues but they can make the affected individual very uncomfortable which is why they rather choose to continue using the addictive substance.

Certain withdrawal symptoms may also specifically occur when discontinuation the following substances:

  • Depressants such as benzodiazepines and alcohol – agitation, anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and seizures.
  • Narcotics such as opioid pain medications and heroin – Bone, joint, and muscle aches, gastrointestinal issues, and increased pain sensitivity.
  • Stimulants such as the amphetamines and cocaine – anxiety, aggression, depression, sweating, fevers, stomach aches, and tremors.
  • Bath salts – paranoia, tremors, depression, and sleeping difficulties.

The duration, intensity, and severity of withdrawal symptoms will depend on the following factors:

  • The length of the addiction to the substance.
  • How much of the substance is in the individual’s body when they discontinue the product.
  • How many different substances are used by the individual at the same time.
  • If there are any physical or mental disorders present.
  • How long it takes the substance to be eliminated from the body (half-life of the product).

Medical detox

  • Medical detoxification (detox) is a therapy used to help addicts to go through the withdrawal process with as little discomfort as possible.
  • Alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs use applicable medications with appropriate dosing regimens to help reduce the duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms when the offending substance is discontinued.
  • This is performed on an inpatient basis so that the patient can be monitored by healthcare personnel in order to provide the correct level of care to the patient and so that any emergency situations may be dealt with properly.
  • Admission to inpatient substance rehabilitation centers is the safest way to detox, especially when co-morbid mental health disorders affect the patient. Psychological counseling and psychiatric consultations are offered to these patients to help address mental health problems.
  • There are various methods of medical detox including the “cold-turkey” method (meaning stopping the medication with only medical supervision), short-term medicated detox, and long-term medicated detox.

The following medications are prescribed for patients to help reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with the respective addictive substances:

 

  • Short–acting benzodiazepines – used in those who use stimulants such as alcohol as well as in marijuana users.
  • Desipramine – used in long-term stimulant users.
  • Disulfiram – prescribed for users to prevent them from using alcohol. The medication causes a metabolite of alcohol to build up in the body causing moderate to severe gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Methadone or buprenorphine – used in addicts of narcotics such as heroin and opioid pain medications.

Detox is Only the Beginning

Many people think of addiction treatment as detox and are afraid of it too.

Yes, detox is an important first step in recovery, yet detox is only the first of a series of steps and changes you need to make to complete recover from addiction.

When you wean yourself off the drug or alcohol, the body (which is dependent on the substance by now) undergoes withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms may be physical, such as nausea and diarrhea or psychological, such as mood changes and depression. Most abusers dread these withdrawal symptoms. While detox can be a trying experience, it has a reasonably predictable – and relatively short – duration. Leading drug detox facilities, such as pacific Bay Recovery in San Diego, offer medical detox that is carried out under the supervision of doctors and addiction specialists.

It is important to remember that detox is just the beginning of a long process of sobriety and recovery.

Detox can bring change but that would only last a short duration. You need to follow it up with inpatient or intensive outpatient treatments that help you recover and cultivate a drug-free lifestyle.

Detox signals the beginning of your treatment but it isn’t the entire treatment. There is lot of work to be done. Check with your rehab center about addiction treatment programs available. You can choose from inpatient and intensive outpatient programs.

Heroin – The Ultimate High

Heroin gives a high like no other drug. But the sense of empowerment doesn’t last long. In fact, it leaves you worse than before. And most importantly, the drug slowly destroys every cell in the body.

Heroin and the Brain
Heroin is an opiate. It gradually alters brain structure and function. The drug itself goes through many chemical reactions in the brain and changes into morphine. It quickly binds to the opioid receptors, mimics endorphins (natural “feel-good” chemicals) and relieves pain and anxiety, producing a euphoric state. This is what makes heroin so addictive.

Heroin and the Body

  • Intake
    The person takes heroin.
  • Heart
    Heroin enters the bloodstream quickly.
    The heart pumps the blood with the drug in it.
  • Brain
    The drug passes through the blood-brain barrier and reaches the brain to undergo chemical reactions and binds to opioid receptors.
    Causes euphoria, pain and anxiety relief
  • Liver
    The drug undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver.
    The liver produces specific enzymes for this purpose.
    The drug enters the body’s circulation.
  • Kidneys
    Heroin has an extremely rapid half-life of 2-6 minutes.
    About 7% is excreted as unchanged morphine and 50-60% as glucuronides.
    Within 72 hours up to 90% is eliminated in urine.

How Heroin Destroys the Body
Heroin use can cause –

  • suppressed breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • hormonal imbalance
  • impaired decision-making
  • kidney failure

Timely treatment for heroin addiction can help prevent further damage.

Men’s Rehab – Teaching Men to Deal with their Demons Head-On

Men’s Rehab - San DiegoCo-ed rehabilitation (rehab) facilities make it hard for each gender to concentrate on healing and starting the recovery process. When you remove the distraction of the opposite sex, the focus goes back to the individual and full concentration on the addiction is in place. This might seem harsh, but men are more distracted by women than women are by men.

Male Counselors

It is often difficult for a man to open up and discuss their troubles with a female. Men know how to relate to each other. This type of approach helps men to figure out exactly what led them to addiction. Perhaps social drinking while watching sports turned into dependency in everyday life. That is common for men. Male counselors use male-driven approaches to counseling sessions by relating items to their specific interests. This aids the patients in recognizing triggers and trouble areas. For instance, while watching a football game, instead of grabbing a beer, get some apple juice instead. It’s the same color as beer but is minus the alcohol.

Comfortable Male-Friendly Setting

Centers that are decorated for men, with themes and accessories or even building projects to complete, are more successful. A male-friendly setting includes a lounge area with big couches, bulky tables, stuffed wildlife, and sometimes, sports themes. This helps men to feel more comfortable and less out of their element. It is still unfamiliar and uncomfortable but being able to recognize things that interest them is a step in the right direction. Men have a variety of interests from cooking to sports and using their hands to build things. Rehab facilities that focus on what they enjoy while treating their disease are found to be the most beneficial.

Activities Geared toward Men’s Interests

While television is unavailable in rehab centers, there are activities to keep men busy. Men need something constructive to do when they’re not in a therapy session.  Working rehab centers help channel frustrations, pent-up stress, and hidden emotions into completing projects. Working with your hands is very therapeutic and rewarding at the same time. Think of the piece of wood or project, you’re working on as your addiction. Take that negative energy and achieve the finished product, which in this case would be sobriety. Some other activities may include a golf outing, flag football, or learning to cook.

Re-Introduction to Society and Family Life

Some men take a back seat to raising children, paying the bills, and helping around the house. As part of their re-introduction to a normal lifestyle, parenting classes and family counseling are often suggested. When family members join therapy sessions, it becomes intense, but this is near the end of the program so that dealing with the pain and anguish felt by family members is easier to cope with. This helps men to want to be part of their children’s lives and help with the household. Essentially, it rounds them out as an adult and teaches them what living responsibility is really all about. The end result is a happier male that is more involved with life in general.

Holistic Rehab – It Isn’t just Crazy Talk

What is Holistic RehabA holistic approach to rehabilitation (rehab) for addictions might seem crazy, but the truth is, it works. These programs are based upon the premise that natural elements remove negative energies and toxins from the body to reduce the “need” for drugs and/or alcohol. Consider it as being a realist’s way of healing. Look into these programs and view the success rates–you may be shocked.

Natural Cleansing Remedies

Connecting with nature and natural elements help to detoxify the body naturally, removing toxins that aid in your dependency on drugs and/or alcohol. What this does is create natural endorphins, which are what creates happiness and energy.  When your body rids itself of negative feelings from positive reinforcements, such as a happy life, a tranquil environment, and a great support group, you can be on your way to embracing a natural lifestyle. This holistic approach may seem absolutely nuts to some, but it isn’t harsh on the body at all. It’s actually quite refreshing.

Aromatherapy for Trigger Reduction

Triggers and temptation cause a general unsettled feeling in the body. Aromatherapy counteracts it. There are different scents that every person finds relaxing. It is important to work with your counselor to find the perfect combination for your unique situation. For instance, someone who becomes angry when their drug of choice is not available may enjoy warm scents such as cinnamon, chocolate, or fresh baked goods. Those that get anxious when they need a fix typically enjoy eucalyptus or fruit scents.

What this type of therapy does is teach you how to take those feelings of anger, depression, and anxiety in combination with a relaxing scent and allow the negative energy to leave the body. The counselor will instruct you to use these scents, and fresh air to calm these unwanted feelings.

Creating Positives Out of Negatives

For every negative in life, there are several positives that will follow. It is important to learn how to take bad feelings, cravings, and triggers and turn them into something constructive. This can mean building something, painting, a new hobby or even going for an evening walk. It’s very cleansing to concentrate these feelings into something constructive to create feelings of accomplishment and happiness. Yoga is peaceful and helps to relax both the mind and body at the same time. Other ideas to consider are learning to cook, taking classes to learn a new trade, joining a walking club, or even just taking walks in nature on your own.

Holistic approaches aren’t for the birds. The body reacts to natural stimulation in a positive manner. Negative energy by allowing life’s stresses and tragedies to take over is what often leads society to dangerous addictions. Those with serious addictions may take longer to benefit from this approach and it may be very hard on the body in the beginning. Once you go through the program and see just how fresh and happy you feel, you’ll see that the tough road was all worth it and you’ll be more motivated to maintain the lifestyle.

Opioid-Dependence Implant: New Treatment Option

A new treatment option for addiction is Probuphine (buprenorphine), a 6-month implant that delivers a small dose of daily medication. Buprenorphine was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for the treatment of opioid addiction. Probuphine was developed by Braeburn and Titan Pharmaceuticals.

Opioid Dependence What to do?How does Probuphine Work?

The implant involves 4 one-inch-long rods placed under the skin of the upper arm. This procedure is done in the doctor’s office. The implant provides 6 months of continuous buprenorphine dosing. Probuphine works by binding to opioid receptors in the body to prevent physical withdrawal from opiates, blocking the effects of opiates, and limiting cravings for opiates.

Does Insurance cover Probuphine?

Most of the larger health insurers are covering Probuphine. The implantable device costs around $5,000 or $825 per month. However, some insurance companies are not yet covering the implant, citing that pills cost less. Probuphine is cheaper than Vivitrol, which is a form of naltrexone injected once a month. Vivitrol currently costs around $1,000 a month.

What are the Most Commonly Overdosed Opioids?

The most common drugs involved in prescription overdose deaths are:

  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

What does the Statistics on Overdose Tell Us?

Overdose deaths involving prescription pain relievers have quadrupled since 1999 in the United States, and so have the sales of these drugs. From 1999 to 2015, more than 165,000 people died in America from prescription opioid overdoses. In addition, more than 14,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in 2014 alone. Overdose rates are the highest among individuals age 25-54 years. Men are more likely to die from an overdose, but the mortality gap between women and men is closing.

In 2015, around 2 million people in the U.S. abused or became dependent on prescription opioid medications. Around 1 in 4 people received prescriptions for pain relievers for non-cancer diagnoses. In addition, each day in the U.S, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misuse of prescription medications.

How are Probuphine Implants Inserted and Removed?

The Probuphine rod implants are inserted and removed only by a specially trained physician. The doctor numbs the skin of the upper arm using a local anesthetic. A small incision is made, and the implants are placed under the skin. After closing the small incision with sutures, a bandage is applied, which must be kept clean and dry for 3-5 days. You can apply an ice pack to the site for 20-30 minutes several times a day to relieve pain.

The doctor will give you a patient identification card, which you must carry with you at all times. The card contains the date the implants were inserted, and the date they must be removed. You will schedule an appointment with the doctor for removal. The procedure involves a simple office procedure, much like the insertion procedure.

Does Probuphine Work?

According to a phase 3 study by the manufacturing companies, Probuphine is quite effective for treating opioid addiction. The study involved 177 participants who received either Probuphine implants or sublingual buprenorphine tablets for six months. According to the study, the efficacy rate for Probuphine was 96.4% compared to 87.6% for the sublingual buprenorphine group.

In another clinical study, buprenorphine implant patients had significantly more negative urine drug screens during weeks 1-16. The Probuphine implant patients had 40% more negative urine tests for illicit opioids. Participants who received buprenorphine implants had fewer clinician-rated and patient-rated withdrawal symptoms experienced a greater change in ratings of severity of opioid dependence and had lower patient ratings for cravings.

Resources
CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2014 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2014, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html.
Frenk SM, Porter KS, Paulozzi LJ. Prescription opioid analgesic use among adults: United States, 1999–2012. NCHS data brief, no 189. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.
Ling W, Casadonte P, Bigelow G, et al. Buprenorphine Implants for Treatment of Opioid Dependence: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010; 304 (14): 1576 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1427
Ossiander EM. Using textual cause-of-death data to study drug poisoning Ossiander EM Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Apr 1;179(7):884-94. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt333. Epub 2014 Feb 1112.)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2014.

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.