Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Opioid Addiction: A Long History

addiction
As the American addiction epidemic rages on, the catalyst of which is believed to be opioids, it's easy to forget the age-old history of pain-killing narcotics. Not that the origins of opium-based drugs have any bearing on the lives of addicts, but acknowledging previous attempts to rein in addiction can be informative.

Most Americans are acutely familiar with the impact of opioids on society. Drugs in the opiate family have long been used in medicine and for pleasure. However, we've seen an unprecedented surge in use and abuse over the last two decades.

Rampant overprescribing of drugs like OxyContin (oxycodone) – beginning in the late 1990s – resulted in millions becoming dependent and addicted. A reckless disregard among pharmaceutical companies and doctors for acknowledging the dangers of prescription opioids created today's public health crisis. Once the faucet was turned on, it soon became apparent that turning it off was a near-impossible task.

Curbing widespread opioid use isn't as simple as altering prescribing practices. It helps but does little to address the underlying addiction. Physical dependence to opioids is more powerful than the majority of other mind-altering substances carrying the potential for abuse. Those caught in the grips of an opioid use disorder will seek out new access points to sate their cravings.

The rise in heroin use in recent years is the direct result of not attending to the use disorders brought on by prescription opioids. Studies show that the majority of heroin users alive today first used a narcotic painkiller. Staggering heroin use rates seen today are a byproduct of rampant overprescribing followed by implementing more stringent prescribing restrictions.

Ending the Epidemic Through Recovery


The truth is that our government may not be able to effectively combat the flow of heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl into this country. However, they can give federal, state, and local public health agencies the resources to increase access to evidence-based therapies.

Opium and its derivatives have been disrupting and stealing people's lives for millennia. Governments around the world have made an effort to curb non-medical use of opium and opioids for centuries with very little success. The failure to control opioid use disorders in generations past stemmed partly from the lack of available therapies. It's only in this century that effective treatments proved that addiction recovery was even possible.

PBS Frontline created a timeline that shows opium throughout history that is both fascinating and informative. We strongly recommend taking a look at it in your free time. Notable dates include:
  • c.3400 B.C. — The opium poppy is cultivated in lower Mesopotamia; present-day Iraq, Kuwait, eastern Syria, and Southeastern Turkey.
  • 1799 A.D. — China's emperor, Kia King, bans opium completely, making trade and poppy cultivation illegal.
  • 1803 A.D. — Friedrich Sertuerner of Paderborn, Germany, discovers the active ingredient of opium: Principium somniferum or morphine.
  • 1874 A.D. — English researcher, C.R. Wright first synthesizes heroin, or diacetylmorphine, by boiling morphine over a stove.
  • 1895 A.D. — Bayer begins production of diacetylmorphine and coins the name "heroin."
  • 1996 A.D. — International drug trafficking organizations in China, Nigeria, Colombia, and Mexico are said to be "aggressively marketing heroin in the United States and Europe."
PBS points out that doctors in the first years of the 20th Century recommended using heroin to help morphine addicts discontinue their use. Naturally, heroin addiction in the U.S. rose to alarming rates by 1904. Treating opioid use disorder has come a very long way in the last hundred years.

 

California Opioid Use Disorder Treatment


Please contact Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Our team relies on evidence-based treatments to help our clients break the cycle of addiction and learn how to prosper in recovery.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Couple's Recovery Inspires Others

recovery
Recent reports indicate that methamphetamine use is surging in California and other areas of the country. The Golden State's proximity to the Mexican border means that a large amount of meth finds its way into the hands of Californians. If you have been reading the news about today's meth, then you know that it is cheaper and more potent than ever before.

Mexican drug cartels saw an opportunity to exploit the U.S. crackdown on homemade methamphetamine. Today, the vast majority of meth or "Ice," as it is sometimes referred to, is manufactured in large labs south of the border.

While the nation has focused significant resources on curbing the opioid epidemic, meth has flooded American towns and cities, virtually unchecked. Thousands of Americans grapple with meth addiction each year, and many people succumb to the drugs deadly effects.

Fortunately, people can recover from a stimulant use disorder and lead healthy lives. Working a program of recovery is hard work, but the rewards are worth the effort. Unfortunately, people struggling with meth cannot turn to a drug like buprenorphine to aid them in detox. There are not any medications that are used specifically for treating stimulant addiction. Nevertheless, those who are dedicated to changing their lives can accomplish the task provided they have outside assistance.

From time to time, it is helpful to showcase individuals who are working programs of recovery. Such men and women can inspire those who are still in the grips of the disease. Brent Walker of Cleveland, Tennessee, and his wife Ashley are two people who found themselves able to recover from meth addiction.

Life In Recovery


Nearly three years ago, Brent and Ashley Walker were in a bad way; they were both addicted to methamphetamine. On July 26, they posted a before and after photo on Facebook which embodies how life changes when you are in recovery, Knox News reports. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have reacted or commented on Walker's photo. Attached to the picture, the couple wrote:

"This is my wife and I in active meth addiction the first photo was taken around December 2016 the second one was taken in July of 2019. This December 31st will be 3 years we have been clean and sober and living for God. I hope that my transformation can encourage a [sic] addict somewhere! It is possible to recover!!" 

Clean for more than two-and-a-half years, the two recovering addicts have undergone a complete 180 turn. It is safe to say that the couple barely recognizes the people in the before photo.

Brent was in jail for two years on meth-related charges just before choosing to recover, according to the article. He started using again once he was released but then decided that failing a drug test would mean more jail time. He asked Ashley, his girlfriend at the time, if she would be willing to get clean with him, and she agreed.

Since that time, the two got married, and Brent got his GED. They both hold down full-time employment. Brent says he never thought that he would be sober, nor did he expect their before and after photos to go viral. They are proof that it's possible to turn your life around in recovery. They are glad that their experience is helping others see that there is a different way.

"Don't give up, it gets easier. It's really hard. We had a really hard time, just because we didn't have nobody [sic] to talk to," Walker told Knox News. "But if you don't give up... the grass is greener on the other side. It's been a blessing. It really has."
  

Stimulant Use Disorder Recovery


Please reach out to Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat if you are struggling with amphetamines or methamphetamine. Our highly-trained staff can help you begin a journey of lasting addiction recovery. We offer several different programs that cater to the unique needs of each client. We are confident that you can go on to lead a healthy and productive life in sobriety.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Binge Drinking Among Older Americans

binge drinking
Our focus in the field of addiction medicine is most often on young people. Stemming the tide of alcohol and substance use disorder is crucial to preventing men and women from having severe health problems later in life. It is vital to encourage individuals to ask for help when a problem develops at a young age.

While the choice to center our attention on younger demographics is not misplaced, we mustn't lose sight of the older Americans who struggle with drugs and alcohol. As people age and reach retirement, they find themselves with far more freedom.

With fewer responsibilities, many men and women will choose to fill their time imbibing. Some will even engage in unhealthy drinking practices that are most closely associated with young Americans. Older folk who have a hazardous relationship with alcohol are at significant risk of injury and other health problems.

Besides having a plethora of free time, many seniors are contending with difficult emotions. The identity of many men and women is attached to the kind of work they did; without it, some people feel an overwhelming loss of purpose. Moreover, baby boomers in retirement are also dealing with the loss of spouses and other loved ones; some will look to the bottle for comfort and solace.

In recent years, a fair amount of research has been conducted on alcohol and substance use among aging Americans. Prescription drug and alcohol misuse are proving to be more common than previously thought among older people. A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that about 1 in 10 older adults binge drinks.

Older Americans Binge Drinking


The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of consuming four alcoholic beverages for women and five drinks for men—in about 2 hours. It's a dangerous practice that brings people to a level of intoxication in a short period.

Study senior author, Joseph Palamar – an associate professor in the department of population health at NYU Langone Health – analyzed data on 10,927 people over age 65, NBC News reports. The data comes from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017.

Some 80 percent of older people are living with at least one chronic condition (e.g., heart disease, cancer, or diabetes), according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Naturally, binge drinking can cause health complications for those with serious health problems.

"We focus so much on young people and their risky drinking," said senior author Joseph Palamar. "But this research reminds us that we also have to keep an eye on the older population." 

Moreover, it is not uncommon for an older person to develop an alcohol use disorder stemming from repeated, daily bouts of intoxication. This research should prompt primary care physicians to keep a watchful eye for patients who exhibit signs of alcohol or drug misuse.

It's also worth mentioning that the researchers found elevated rates of cannabis use among people over 65. Palamar rightly points out that polysubstance use can lead to complications. Heavy alcohol use increases one's risk of injury, and admixing pot into the situation heightens the chance of falling down.

Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we understand that seniors are going through significant life changes. Our team of addiction professionals understands that alcohol or other drug use can worsen pre-existing conditions that are common among older adults. If addiction develops, such people must seek help from a center that caters to their unique needs.

With that in mind, we have designed an Older Adult Addiction Treatment Program that is conducive to the needs and abilities of this age group. Please contact us today to learn more.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sharing About Addiction Recovery Inspires Others

recovery
The road to addiction recovery is a little different for each person, but once people decide to turn their lives around, the outcome is universal. Working a program gives men and women the tools to lead productive lives. No longer choosing to escape one’s problems, they can tackle obstacles head-on.

Sobriety is the solution for so many, molding individuals into better friends, parents, spouses, and employees. The list of gifts that recovery bestows upon a person are too many to recount, but each story of healing shares common traits. Those who show up and do the work, day after day, find results. At times the path is rocky, and many want to quit before the miracle happens, but with support there is no problem that can’t be worked out in recovery.

Over the last two decades, there has been a collective effort to shatter the myths and stigma of addiction. There’s been a drive to bring mental illness out of the darkness. As a result, more people are empowered to share their experience, strength, and hope, outside the rooms of recovery.

Publicly sharing one’s story was relatively unheard of not too long ago. Men and women went to great lengths to keep the history of abuse under lock and key. While it was not too uncommon for a celebrity to share a little about his or her struggle with addiction, in an interview or tell-all, that was veritably not the case for average citizens. Not anymore. Today more Americans are finding the courage to talk publicly about their battles with alcohol and substance use disorder.

Pulling Back the Curtain on Addiction


Instead of viewing addiction as a failure, more and more people are accepting the disease for what it is — a treatable mental health condition. The millions of people working programs of recovery prove that to be true. As the number of men and women in recovery grows, the stigma of addiction shrinks. No longer paralyzed by shame, those leading lives in sobriety empower and affect change in the lives of others.

The New York Times Magazine recently published an article written by a former aircraft maintenance technician for the U.S. Air Force. Heather King is in recovery for alcohol use disorder and has penned a beautifully written piece about her road to sobriety. She shares with readers about the complications that alcohol caused her and her family, and how recovery changed her life. She eloquently relates many of the reasons she kept drinking, even though the decision to do so nearly cost her everything.

King shares that although she had a full-time job, a house, and a graduate degree, she was plagued by depression, alcohol use, and suicidal ideation. Her drinking led to a couple of DUIs, one of which could have been fatal. After her second offense, King said, “I could no longer see myself drinking, but I had no idea how to live my life without alcohol."

Like so many people before her, King found help in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. People in the rooms told her that if she attended meetings and didn’t drink, they would show her a new way of life. If you have an opportunity to read what Heather King wrote, in full, please do.

If you are in recovery or are thinking about taking steps to recover, there is probably much you can relate to in her essay.

“I’ve been sober now for two years and 10 months. The decision to get sober and stay sober, by no means easy, was the single most important decision I have made in my life. Sobriety has allowed me to become a better parent. My life as a sober mother has cured the awful ache deep inside my core. It has given me a life I always wanted but never thought I deserved. It has taught me what is most important in motherhood: showing up for your children and being fully present for them.” — Heather King

Finding the Courage to Share


Talking about your history with drugs and alcohol is not easy; there are many painful emotions attached to years of active use. If working a program is new to you, and it takes every ounce of courage you have to share, then please know that you are not alone.

Sitting among relative strangers and talking about being brought to your knees by drugs and alcohol is, for most people, a daunting task. Some will attend a large number of meetings before they feel up to speaking in front of an audience. However, once a person shares their story, it is not uncommon for them to feel a wave of calmness and serenity.

Every individual with alcohol or substance use disorder in their past has said and done things they are not proud of and would rather not recount. Active addiction impacts one’s decision-making process, which leads men and women to harm those they care most about in life. Talking about those things with nonjudgmental people is a vital component of the healing process. Doing so allows people to find it in their hearts to forgive themselves.

At the core of recovery is changing your life for the better; working a program is the mechanism that manifests progress. If you have been attending meetings and are reticent about sharing, that's alright. Just keep coming back and talk with a man or woman you feel comfortable with either before or after a meeting. In time, your reservations will diminish, and the desire to open up with the group will increase.

California Addiction Program for Adults


At Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat, we offer a full continuum of care to help men and women heal from addiction and lead productive lives in sobriety. Our facility is equipped to provide acute medical detoxification, residential and outpatient treatment, and partial hospitalization. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs and services.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Prescripion Opioids in America

prescription opioids
Chronic pain affects millions of Americans. The standard treatment for persistent discomfort is prescription narcotics—opioids. When prescribed responsibly and taken as directed for short durations, they are a relatively safe method of mitigating pain. However, drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone are overprescribed, and they have a high propensity for abuse.

A significant number of chronic pain patients struggle with opioid use disorder. The need for adequate pain management can lead to dependence quickly. Once this occurs, it is incredibly challenging to stop taking painkillers without assistance.

Since accessing evidence-based addiction treatment is difficult in most parts of the country, many people see their issues with opioids worsen. Moreover, the risk of overdose increases with each day of continued use; prescription opioids are responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths each year.

Every day, more than 130 people in the United States die from opioid overdoses, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). The surge in prescriptions for pain relievers over the last two decades has led to increases in both heroin and synthetic opioids use. A significant number of today's heroin users (80 percent) started with prescription opioids.

The Scope and Scale of Opioid Distribution


Assurances were made in the late 1990s and early 2000s by pharmaceutical companies that the risk of opioid addiction was low. Physicians ran with inaccurate information and proceeded to prescribe narcotics for all things painful. MDs dealt with both acute and chronic pain in the same way, prescribing potent opioid analgesics.

Prescription drug companies benefited immensely from reckless prescribing. They continued to push a false narrative about the dangers of opioids despite an ever-rising number of patient overdose deaths. If you have been following the news lately, then you are aware that many states and victim families are demanding some accountability. More than a thousand lawsuits have been filed against the nation's largest opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Experts have a relatively clear picture of the number of people who are addicted to opioids (between three and six million) and the number of lives lost. However, the true scope and scale of opioid distribution were less clear, that is up until this week.

The Automation of Reports and Consolidated Order System, known as ARCOS, is a database that the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) maintains. It's a system that keeps tabs on every single pain pill sold in the United States, The Washington Post (WAPO) reports. Gaining access to the data has proved to be an exceedingly difficult task.

Opioid Transparency


Justice Department and DEA officials have fought tooth and nail to keep ARCOS data from the public eye, according to the article. This week, US District Judge Dan Polster removed the protective order for part of the database.

The exact scope and scale of the prescription opioids came into focus with the release of long-awaited data. ARCOS indicates that 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pain pills hit the market between 2006 and 2012.

A WAPO analysis found that six companies – McKesson Corp., Walgreens, Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, CVS, and Walmart – distributed 75 percent of the pills during this time frame. SpecGx, ­Actavis Pharma, and Par Pharmaceutical manufactured 88 percent of the opioids.

"The depth and penetration of the opioid epidemic becomes readily apparent from the data," said Peter J. Mougey, an attorney for the plaintiffs from Pensacola, Fla. "This disclosure will serve as a wake up call to every community in the country. America should brace itself for the harsh reality of the scope of the opioid epidemic. Transparency will lead to accountability."

Opioid Use Disorder Treatment for Chronic Pain Patients


NIDA reports that around 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed narcotics for chronic pain misuse them; between 8 and 12 percent develop opioid use disorders. Those who develop an opioid addiction can safely detox and recover.

Hemet Valley Recovery Center's Chronic Pain and Addiction Treatment Program was designed to assist people living with daily, physical discomfort who become dependent on opioids. Our team helps this demographic detox, discover alternative forms of pain management, and learn how to lead a healthy life in recovery.

Please contact us today to learn more about our program. 866·273·0868