Tag Archives: Addiction

Washington State Debates Using Medications for Addiction Treatment

There has been much talk recently in the state of Washington about the opioid epidemic. A two-day summit was recently held with two main focuses:

  • Reduction of legally purchased drugs
  • Medications in the treatment of opioid addiction

However equally important both topics are the questions surrounding the use of medications for treatment is gaining more attention.

A handful of people that work in law enforcement spoke about the importance of treating opioid addiction as a ‘medical condition’ and it was their general consensus that the drugs should be removed from the shadows of society. They agreed that using medications has proven to reduce deaths and help people lead functional lives.

Much Debate About Using Medicationspill-1884775_1280

The debate over using medications to help addicts recover has been very contentious over the last two decades. however, prescribing medications to opioid addicts is still the preferred method for treatment towards rehabilitation. Experts will agree that a person who has developed an opioid addiction should be treated like any other patient with a sickness.

Providing medications is often the first step in recovery as well as the first line of defense against an overdose. The goal is to restore a degree of normalcy to the daily life of the addict. Some notable medications for opioid addiction treatment are as follows:

  • Naloxone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Suboxone
  • Methadone

They use some medications like methadone to alleviate the pain of withdrawals and limit euphoria. This classification of drugs allows addicts to perform tasks as rudimentary as going to the store and as important as performing duties in the workplace. Otherwise while under the influence of opioids the addicts have difficulties with most normal activities.

Some medications are used to relieve immediate complications from opioids. This classification of drugs is used to prevent possible death and revive patients who have overdosed.

Various Medications Used:

  • Naloxone, has shown a reduction in overdose deaths by 6%
  • Buprenorphine, showed better than a 50% reduction in deaths
  • Suboxone, showed to alleviate dependence
  • Methadone, alleviates pain without the euphoria associated with opioids

Limited Access for Meds

In the state of Washington buprenorphine programs have reached full capacity and therefore have illustrated the need for improved access to medications, namely buprenorphine and methadone. It will take some very serious consideration by policy makers to provide more resources and solve this growing need.

Saving Lives with Naloxone

The importance of Naloxone in saving lives has been proven. When addicts have overdosed the administering of Naloxone is the difference between life and death. There is little argument surrounding it’s effectiveness. Any doubt about Naloxone will come under scrutiny from the medical community.

There are some reasons to speculate about using medications to treat addiction. The most well known medication methadone relieves pain and is a detoxifier yet is habit forming and can be dangerous if used improperly. However, methadone has been the forerunner for a long time and it’s usefulness in helping addicts cope has been proven time and time again regardless of it’s adverse effects.

There are multiple approaches to recovery with different levels of effectiveness but the use of medications has been proven to be the very effective. These drugs have been shown to save lives and or allow the addict to maintain a degree of productivity in their daily lives.

Canada Struggling With Influx of Fentanyl

Canadian MapCanada has been recently inundated with Fentanyl, which is an incredibly potent opiate painkiller that is very popular with those addicted to narcotics.

Recently, one article in particular seems to encapsulate how serious the problem is: A Killer High: How Canada Got Addicted to Fentanyl.

This article chronicles the pain suffered by the survivors of those who overdose, and also features excellent reporting about how easy it is to obtain the drug online.

Continue reading

Using Science to Fight Addiction

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 21 million Americans currently need treatment for a substance abuse disorder. Ninety percent of them will not receive treatment; many will end up incarcerated because of crimes related to their addiction.

nora volkow NIDA

Since that report was released, an increasing number of doctors and scientists are calling for more recognition of addiction as a brain disorder. The Los Angeles Times recently reported that Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of Drug Control Policy and the leading drug authority in the government, spoke out against current perceptions of addiction in a speech delivered at the Betty Ford Center. Kerlikowske characterized addiction as a “chronic disease of the brain” rather than a moral failing on the part of the individual.

Continue reading

Psychiatrists Expand Definition of Addiction for DSM-5

DSM 5 addictionPsychiatrists and mental health specialists who are revising the manual used to diagnose mental disorders have just agreed to revise the definition of addiction. According to The New York Times, this decision could mean that millions more people will be diagnosed as addicted. The impact will affect health insurers, taxpayers and families of patients across the nation.

The manual, known as the DSM (for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), is currently undergoing its fifth revision and is scheduled to be finalized by the end of the year and released in May 2013. The manual is used to by insurance companies to determine coverage, by courts to determine the mental fitness of defendants and by a host of other government agencies and private organizations. The American Psychiatric Association is responsible for the content of the DSM-5.

Continue reading

U.S. Drug Deaths Outnumber Traffic Fatalities

Due to the rise in prescription drug abuse, the number of drug-related deaths in the U.S. now outnumbers traffic fatalities, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Although the number of deaths from most preventable causes is declining across the nation, the death toll from drugs is steadily rising.  Every 14 minutes, someone in America dies from drugs.

Continue reading

Craigslist Drug Dealers-Where Addiction Meets Online Personals

CraigslistThanks to Craigslist, law enforcement agencies are now battling drug dealers in cyberspace.   Each month, more than 50 million free classified ads are posted on one of the Craigslist websites, which serve 570 cities in 50 countries.  Unlike ads in newspapers and magazines that are reviewed by editors, Craigslist ads are for the most part not checked for content.  This allows drug dealers to post ads for both illicit and prescription drugs.   In cities and towns across the U.S., narcotics investigators are making arrests by responding to ads that are publicly displayed on Craigslist websites.

Continue reading

A New Generation of Drug-Addicted Newborns

The New York Times recently reported on a woman in Maine named Tonya who abused OxyContin and other prescription drugs during her first trimester of pregnancy.  She then attempted to detox on her own, causing her unborn baby to experience seizures.  Next she turned to methadone, which she used daily for the remaining months of her pregnancy.  Shortly after birth, Tonya’s baby began to experience opiate withdrawal.  Doctors had no choice but to begin a course of methadone treatment for the newborn.

Continue reading

The Circle of Family Addiction – Genetics, Environment, and Resiliency

Substance abuse is a complex disorder that has many causes. One of the biggest influences is the family. Scientific research shows that both genetics and the home environment can create a circle of family addiction, with one generation passing on addiction to the next.familyaddiction

The Genetic Factor

By studying the rate of alcoholism among adoptees whose biological parents were alcoholic, researchers have found that the children of alcoholics are 2 to 9 times more likely to become alcoholics. The abuse of cocaine, opiates, stimulants and sedatives follow this same pattern. According to the Genetic Science Center at the University of Utah, there is no single gene that is responsible for addiction. Instead, vulnerability to addiction is caused by many interacting genes.

Continue reading