In the middle of January, an issue of the New England Journal of Medicine featured a report that was heralded as cause for celebration. The report carried news that the rates of prescription painkiller abuse and addiction in the United States were finally starting to decline, after years of alarming increases. Astonishing numbers of Americans had gone from using painkillers medically to abusing their pills, and finally many became addicted. Things got so bad that more than 15,000 people were dying every year, in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention termed a “deadly epidemic” of painkiller abuse. So with things having gotten as bad as they did, any news that the clouds were parting would of course be welcomed and provide considerable encouragement. But there is another facet to the situation which must not be overlooked before a final verdict is laid down and a decision is made as to whether we are finally on the verge of winning this battle in the war on drugs. That facet is heroin. Continue reading
It’s been obvious for the last few years that plenty of people were getting addicted to prescription opiates first and then migrating to heroin because it was cheaper and more accessible. A new report makes it clear that far more people are going down this path than I ever thought.
For many decades, people might start with alcohol or marijuana and then make their way to cocaine or heroin. In the 1960s and 1970s, according this this report from NationalPainReport.com, heroin users were mostly male members of minorities, living in the inner cities.
Fast forward to the last several years. Prescription drug use has exploded in the last decade or so. Between 1999 and 2010, the number of opioid prescriptions being written quadrupled. I really don’t think our pain quadrupled so that means that doctors changed the reasons they would give out these drugs. Which are addictive. Continue reading
Once upon a time, not so long ago, it was inconceivable that the average American would be addicted to heroin. It was only something that maybe people out on the fringes of society would do. Maybe bikers or jazz musicians or people who spent a lot of time in jail.
This never really was the truth, but it was the impression most middle class Americans had. No one THEY knew would ever use heroin, much less be addicted to it.
Fast forward to this decade. The growing heroin problem in this country is overwhelming public health departments. Not a day goes by that I don’t see a news article about a state or county that is trying to come to grips with overdose deaths and drug trafficking. Like this article from The Pocono Record: Continue reading
The Washington Post just published an article that could be predicting a terrifying trend. According to an April 6th article, Mexican farmers are pulling out their marijuana crops and planting heroin poppies instead. So cheap heroin (far cheaper than prescription painkillers) has been increasingly found crossing the border.
Here’s what I am concerned about. As more states authorize the use of marijuana for medical or recreational use, there will be more of that drug in circulation. Prices will come down. That is, of course, the main reason Mexican farmers are changing their crops. They want a crop with a higher price attached. What would a savvy businessman in the drug business do? Offer another product that might appeal to someone already using alcohol or marijuana that will make the farmer more money. Continue reading
I’m watching the headlines these days and there’s so much about this drug or that – Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death triggered plenty of media coverage on the increase in heroin abuse. Zohydro is in the news as a future opiate painkiller formulation that has the potential to be easily abused by anyone with a taste for opiates. Medical marijuana is approved in state after state and several more states have this initiative on the ballot. One celebrity after another is cited or goes to jail for a DUI until it seems like no one is left sober.
After a while, it gets to be overwhelming.
What if we didn’t focus so narrowly on one drug or another? What if we just focused on one thing: raising a new generation that knows better than to pick up a drug or drink before they are legal age? Continue reading
When the unaddicted public thinks of heroin addicts, I suspect that they think of someone strung out due to withdrawal sickness, the way Frank Sinatra was in the movie Man with a Golden Arm. Or if they know something about the drug, they might picture someone “on the nod,” in other words, nodding off as the opiate makes them drowsy.
Not many people realize that many heroin addicts just get enough of the drug to “get well,” as they call it. What they mean is that the amount of heroin they have will just keep the dopesickness, the withdrawal pains away. It’s not nearly enough to get high. Continue reading
With recent news and national surveys indicating that more and more prescription addicts are turning to heroin, we decided to investigate the 5 main reasons why this is happening. Here is what we found:
Heroin Is a Prescription Drug
Heroin is itself a prescription drug that was more widely used around the turn of the 19th century. When used for prescription purposes, it is referred to as diamorphine. It has recently been studied by researchers in the Netherlands who were looking for a way to more effectively treat heroin addicts. The routine treatment for heroin addiction in the mainline medical community has been to give the person methadone, which is actually a synthetic opioid very similar to heroin. The Dutch researchers were investigating to determine whether treatment might be more effective if the patients were given a limited dosage of heroin in addition to the methadone, and they report that the answer was “Yes.” Continue reading
Recent news reports are describing the increases in heroin abuse among American teenagers. These are not urban teens but suburban ones. Heroin rates in large Northeastern cities have always been higher than in suburbs or rural areas but that trend has been changing. Parents who moved their children out to the suburbs where they thought their kids would be safer are finding that heroin seems to have followed them to their new homes.
But if you have been tracking with the changes in drug abuse in the last few years, it’s no surprise that heroin use soars for suburban teens. The reason behind this shift has to do with the prescription drug Oxycontin. This opiate and others like fentanyl and hydrocodone have been popular drugs of abuse for several years. For suburban teens, abusing OxyContin and the others has been more acceptable than driving to the city to score heroin. They could find it in their own medicine chests in some cases, or buy it from fellow students. They may have even been prescribed this drug themselves, after a sports accident.
OxyContin is one of the more quickly addictive drugs. A person who parties with OxyContin or a similar drug may soon find that the cravings drive him back to use the drug again and again.
The Switch to Heroin
But chemically, OxyContin is similar to heroin. And heroin is cheaper than OxyContin, which generally costs about $1 per milligram. The 80 milligram pill is a popular one among abusers, so the money will go fast when this is the chosen drug of abuse. If a person runs out of money, he may go looking for heroin, which is considerably cheaper, as little as one-tenth the price. And since a person addicted to OxyContin is often going to start struggling to deal with normal life activities like jobs, school and family life, he (or she) may soon be out of a job and scrambling to keep the withdrawal sickness away.
The other factor driving the switch to heroin is the change in the composition of OxyContin. In 2010, Purdue Pharma changed the formulation of OxyContin so it cannot be crushed and snorted or dissolved and injected. The pill is now gummy and much harder to abuse. This change drove many people to switch from the prescription formulation to the street drug. Once the change in formulation was announced, it was not hard to predict the next trend. And as that trend arrived, it was seen that heroin use soared for suburban teens.
Narcononhawaii.org Sees Same Problem in the Islands
As far back as 2002, Hawaii was struggling with increases in OxyContin abuse. Despite the high price of heroin, some people made the shift to the street drug. In 2010, the FBI arrested twelve people for trafficking heroin into the islands, as they saw an opportunity to make money from the destruction of others with this shift in consumption.
At the Narcononhawaii.org website, you can find out how people in Hawaii can recover from addiction to heroin, methamphetamine or prescription drugs. The Narconon program offers a long-term, holistic program. “Holistic” means that the whole person is considered, and each one is helped to gain back the physical health and mental strength that they need to stay sober after they go home.
It takes longer than 28 days to repair the damage done by addiction. Many people who have failed at short-term rehabs find lasting success at a Narconon drug rehab. For complete details on this successful program, visit www.narcononhawaii.org or call 1-800-775-8750 today.
It’s one thing to talk about the problem and completely another to define the solution. Many voices are in agreement that abuse of opioid drugs has hit an all-time high. But few voices define a solution that will have a better result than that which is offered at the moment.
Many drug rehab programs define success as retention, or someone who stays in or completes a rehab program. This is one of the defining principles behind the administration of a methadone or buprenorphine-based treatment program for opiate addiction. Both methadone and buprenorphine are opioid drugs (similar to opiates) and both are addictive. They are given over a long time period to keep people from using street opiates like heroin or synthetics like prescription painkillers.
With the use of methadone or buprenorphine, it is hoped that an addicted person will not continue to abuse heroin or painkillers. The measure of success is that they continue to take their doses of methadone or buprenorphine. This is “retention” or “compliance.” This is called success.
But can it be success when the person being treated in this manner still is taking a drug every day? He or she does not learn sober living skills, does not get to achieve the feeling of being uninfluenced by drugs. Besides this, some people who take methadone or buprenorphine still abuse illicit drugs.
Are Drug Rehab Meetings Needed for Recovery?
Another pattern of treatment is a series of drug rehab meetings. There are meetings in thousands of towns around the world. Those using this form of rehab normally attend meetings on a concentrated schedule, for example, one meeting a day for 90 days to start. Then sometimes more than one meeting a day as needed. These programs normally teach a person to deal with one sober day at a time.
This type of program does provide support for the person who is trying to stay sober and who needs that continued support in order to achieve sobriety. But if there were a way to generate true sobriety, where the formerly addicted person had recovered from the addiction and no longer wanted drugs, this would define true success.
Narconon Gets Results
For more than forty years, Narconon drug rehab centers around the world have offered a true end to addiction. In fifty locations, those who were addicted when they enter, leave without a desire to use drugs. It takes longer than just 30 days of a short-term rehab to rebuild a life that was dismantled and destroyed by addiction. Most people, by the time they get help, have been addicted for years, sometimes for decades. By this time, there is little left of personal integrity, honestly, self respect. There is no ability to steer a life in a drug-free direction. These skills must be learned and self respect must be restored for a person to trust himself and for others to trust him (or her) again.
The Narconon drug and alcohol rehabilitation program achieves this result through eight separate phases of recovery. From a deep detoxification program that uses time in a sauna to cleanse out old drug residues, to the recovery of clearer perceptions, to the restoration of a personal moral code to guide one’s actions – the Narconon program is completely based on the result of a person who no longer wants or needs to use drugs or alcohol. One who knows how to manage the points of life that used to trigger cravings. Who can create and achieve goals.
When life can be enjoyed and family can be treasured again, there is no reason to use any addictive substances. This is the result for the majority of those who graduate the Narconon rehab program.
Find out all about it by calling 1-800-775-8750 today.
The shift from OxyContin to heroin and people trying to get high after getting clean are some of the reasons for the upsurge in deaths in Alabama.
In May 2012, the Birmingham News provided some grim insight into the fatal results of addiction. In just the month of April, Jefferson County had thirteen deaths from heroin. In all of 2010, there were only 12 deaths from the drug and in 2011, a total of 30 people died.
What makes the situation worse is that many of those who died were so very young: a 28-year old man, 38-year old man, one who was 18, another who was 24, a nineteen-year-old, a 21-year old woman, and a 32-year old woman. All dead of heroin, often with syringes next to the bodies.
Across the country, many people are seeking heroin supplies after the reformulation of Oxycontin, their prior preferred drug of choice. Once OxyContin pills were made hard to abuse by making them gummy, heroin deaths began to creep up. The effects of OxyContin and heroin abuse are said to be very much the same. So individuals who previously used prescription fraud to obtain drugs now had to find a street drug dealer to score heroin which was sometimes sold at half the price.
Inexperience Using Heroin Contributes to Deaths
But a number of factors now conspire to cause to these deaths:
- OxyContin users were accustomed to a consistent potency so knew how to dose themselves with that drug
- Heroin’s potency varies greatly
- OxyContin users are not used to dosing themselves with the variable heroin potency
- To make things worse, Mexican drug cartels began smuggling in a high potency heroin in 2011
Heroin dealers have plenty of customers and potential customers – so customer service and concern is not part of the job.
Another factor in some of these deaths is that some people may have wanted to get high again after being clean for awhile. When they gave themselves a “usual” dosage, they couldn’t tolerate it and overdosed. Some of the people who died had recently graduated from drug court or been to rehab.
In St. Louis, the story was much the same. According to the news site BND.com, heroin deaths in the area almost doubled in 2009 and then maintained that peak in 2010. Over a five-year period, 357 residents of the area died due to heroin overdoses. Here too, many of those who died were young.
Not Isolated Incidents
“Unfortunately, these are not isolated incidents,” stated Bobby Wiggins, longtime drug educator and spokesperson for Narconon International. Narconon is a non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of substance abuse and addiction. “The same scenario is playing out from Minneapolis to San Diego. These people are trying to stave off the sickness of opiate withdrawal with whatever drug they can find. Fortunately, at Narconon we have developed a tolerable method of withdrawal followed by an effective method of rehabilitation that can save some of these people who feel trapped in their addictions.”
At any of the fifty Narconon rehab centers around the world, addicts are supported through withdrawal by giving them generous dosages of nutritional supplements that help the body through the withdrawal period and calm many of the symptoms. Relaxing physical assists help the person relax and stop being anxious about recovery. The rehab program that follows is so effective that seven out of ten graduates stay sober after they go home.
“There are only three outcomes to addiction: prison, death or sobriety,” Mr. Wiggins said. “We help people choose lasting sobriety.”
For more information about heroin rehabilitation on the Narconon program, call 1-800-775-8750.