Prescription Pill Addiction

Not a commonly known substance for abuse, gabapentin is starting to make waves for just that. Learn more about this prescription drug and how many are finding they need detox treatment from it. 

Gabapentin Abuse: The Facts

Gabapentin is a capsule commonly administered orally and is available as both a generic and brand-name drug called Neurontin. It is available as an immediate-release tablet or as an extended-release tablet as well as an oral solution.

Gabapentin is a prescription drug. It’s considered an anticonvulsant drug that is commonly used to treat epilepsy in adults and children. Now Gabapentin is being abused by people of all ages. It is prescribed to treat various other conditions such as nerve pain as a result of shingles infection, fibromyalgia, restless legs syndrome, essential tremors, and even alcoholism. Some doctors also prescribe it for anxiety, insomnia, hot flashes and migraines, It is often used as a less addictive alternative to opioids.

Gabapentin acts on the brain by increasing activity at receptors for the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It is through its ability to increase GABA signaling, thereby increasing inhibition of brain activity, that it produces a drowsy or calming effect.

 Gabapentin Uses

Gabapentin: Signs and Symptoms of Abuse

Although Gabapentin is not in the drug class of opioids and is not on the list of controlled substances in all states. But, prolonged use and/or abuse of Gabapentin can result in dependency, abuse, and addiction in many patients. The drug’s effects produce feelings such as calmness, relaxation, euphoria, and a high similar to the effects of marijuana. 

Gabapentin can have potentially harmful side effects when combined with opioids. Gabapentin has now become a drug of abuse and addiction, and this is an alarming fact. Gabapentin is fast becoming the go-to drug for addicts in search of a stronger “high” making already dangerous drugs like fentanyl or heroin even more deadly. Gabapentin even has street names now and is commonly known by “gabbies” and “johnnies”.

Gabapentin abuse means that the drug is being used other than what it is prescribed for. Examples of gabapentin abuse would include taking it without a prescription, taking it more frequently or taking higher doses than prescribed by a physician. Gabapentin taken with other substances can lead to a polysubstance addiction that requires professional treatment.

Gabapentin: Polysubstance Abuse and its Dangers 

Gabapentin is beneficial to many who have legitimate conditions that require its use. There are some, however, who abuse the drug and become addicted. Most abuse of Gabapentin is in conjunction with other substances such as opiates or even alcohol. Polysubstance abuse occurs when two or more drugs are abused together. Most involve alcohol and illegal drugs, the most widely used being cocaine, alcohol, and heroin. However, prescription drugs can be mixed with other drugs as well as creating a dangerous and lethal combination. Gabapentin is used to enhance or heighten the effects of a particular drug or to produce a longer-lasting “high.” In addition to cocaine, alcohol, and heroin, certain other drugs may be used in polysubstance abuse.

Due to the complexity of abusing multiple substances, inpatient care for detoxing may be necessary.

Gabapentin Abuse: Withdrawal and Symptoms 

Long-term use of Gabapentin, even if it is being administered for medical issues and used as prescribed, may develop some type of physical dependence. However, those who misuse it or abuse it recreationally may experience significant levels of dependence and withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit or lower the dosage or frequency.. The time-frame for the onset of withdrawal symptoms varies with the individual and the level of addiction.

Gabapentin withdrawal symptoms may closely resemble those of alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.

This similarity may be due to the fact that gabapentin and these other substances that are abused all act on gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which is an inhibitory neurotransmitter within the brain.

Timeline & Symptoms of Gabapentin Withdrawal:

Because of complications that may arise from the abuse of Gabapentin, in some cases, individuals who are at risk of severe withdrawal symptoms or are already displaying symptoms may require intensive medical detox.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse outlines four phases of treatment. They are:

Medical professionals usually recommend gradually smaller doses of Gabapentin to safely and comfortably wean a person off the medication. Such tapering schedules are commonly used with medications like Gabapentin that have the potential to produce adverse withdrawal effects when being discontinued hence the need for one to consider a much safer medical detox at an addiction treatment facility.

Gabapentin abuse can be phased out over a period of one week, but the exact schedule will depend on the person’s particular situation and how much of the drug has been used along with other factors. Slower tapers may allow for safer discontinuation of the drug. Again, this is the reason people withdrawing from any form of substance should seek professional medical assistance, like medical detox, to ensure that the withdrawal is safe and effective. 

Gabapentin Abuse: Seeking Help to Stop Through Medical Detox

No one sets out to be addicted to drugs. Many individuals are unaware that they can get help to stop their gabapentin abuse by seeking a detoxification (detox). Or it could be they are too embarrassed or afraid to even ask for help. A drug detox program helps you free yourself from physical drug dependence do in a safe and comfortable way. In the old days, people had to go through gabapentin detox and withdrawal on their own. This was not only unpleasant but in many cases, unsafe and could potentially be fatal. Thankfully, insurance companies now consider drug abuse and addiction to be a disease, and this has created these types of addiction treatment centers. 

Detox programs were created to help you detox from abuse from opioids and Gabapentin in a medically supervised setting that is welcoming, compassionate, and committed to your recovery. Going to a gabapentin detox program ensures that you will be safe while detoxing. You will also receive emotional support to help keep you positive throughout the process. If you or a loved one is struggling with abuse from Gabapentin, it is important to know that you are not alone. Addiction is a treatable illness. With compassion, professional treatment, and understanding it can be overcome.

When seeking detox through addiction treatment programs for Gabapentin abuse, patient health, safety, comfort, and privacy are priorities to these types of addiction treatment facilities. In addition to safe, effective medically supervised detox protocols, patients can expect to experience a variety of addiction treatment services. Many detox programs offer relaxing holistic treatments. There is also clinical counseling that is based on each individual’s needs. And of course, you can expect nutritious prepared meals. These amenities are crucial to help you focus your main goal of recovery. 

Your privacy is also maintained while going through Gabapentin detox These treatment programs give addicts a real chance by ridding the body of substance abuse and then assisting with a specially designed addiction treatment plan. 

Gabapentin Abuse Detox Programs: Will Your Health Insurance Cover Detox?

Typically the answer is yes. But, most insurance companies require policyholders to choose from an approved medical provider list. Usually, there will be some costs associated with these types of addiction treatment programs like co-pays or cost-share insurance programs. Finding out what kind of health care insurance policy you have or what exactly is covered is important so contacting your insurance agent is one way to determine what you can afford. 

In addition, gabapentin detox programs have medical professionals on staff who are highly trained to assist you while dealing with insurance companies, and they can answer questions about coverage quickly and efficiently and even assist you with getting the approvals.

Coastal Detox is Ready to Provide the Help You Need to Stop Abusing Gabapentin

If you’re looking for freedom from substance use disorder, Coastal Detox can help. Located in beautiful South Florida, we are here to help you fight and win the battle over gabapentin abuse. We have a long-trusted reputation within the addiction treatment industry.

At Coastal Detox, providing individualized care for our clients is the ultimate goal. Every person suffering from the holds of addiction or abuse from Gabapentin can rest assured that their detox program is prepared to provide the best path towards your freedom from gabapentin abuse. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Coastal Detox is located in Martin County, Florida. We will help you along in your recovery journey. For more information regarding our treatments and services, please call Coastal Detox today at (877) 406-6623 to speak with one of their addiction treatment specialists.

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/gabapentin-oral-capsu

https://www.rxlist.com › drugs-condition

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3404313

Prescription drug abuse is a serious issue in the U.S., and rates of abuse have increased dramatically.

Over the last few years, there have been more emergency room visits and overdose deaths associated with the abuse of prescription drugs. There’s also been an influx in the number of people admitted to treatment programs for the same reason.

Of all the prescription drugs that people abuse and misuse, one of the most common is Lorazepam.

Do you have a friend or family member who takes Lorazepam? Do you suspect that they might be dealing with a Lorazepam addiction? If so, read on to learn about some of the most common signs they may exhibit.

What is Lorazepam?

Lorazepam is a prescription drug usually prescribed to help those struggling with anxiety disorders. Some physicians also prescribe it for those who suffer from insomnia.

The brand name of Lorazepam is Ativan.

Lorazepam is a type of drug known as a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines work by depressing the central nervous system and bringing about a calming effect. They do this by heightening the effects of a neurotransmitter known as GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid).

Lorazepam is not a narcotic drug. It does produce many of the same effects as narcotic drugs, though, and it is known to be habit-forming.

Long-Term Risks of Lorazepam Abuse

There are also a lot of serious health risks associated with long-term Lorazepam abuse. The following are some of the most common health problems people experience when they suffer from Lorazepam addiction:

In addition to these physical health issues, addiction to Lorazepam (or any drug, prescription or otherwise, for that matter) is associated with a variety of other psychological and social problems.

For example, prescription drug addiction often contributes to financial issues or relationship difficulties. Individuals who are addicted to prescription drugs may be more likely to turn to crime in order to continue feeding their addiction, too.

Signs of Lorazepam Addiction

Prescription drug addiction (especially Lorazepam addiction) is not always easy to spot. If someone has an addiction to this drug, though, they may begin to exhibit the following symptoms:

1. Changes in Lorazepam Usage

One of the first things you may spot is a change in the way your loved one uses Lorazepam.

They might have once only taken it on occasion. Now, though, they may be using it on a regular basis and taking it at a higher dosage than what their doctor recommends.

They may also exhibit other problematic behaviors, such as crushing the pills up or dissolving them in liquid. You might notice them combining Lorazepam with other substances, such as alcohol, too.

2. Physical Changes

Often, when someone is abusing benzodiazepines like Lorazepam, you’ll notice changes in the way they present themselves physically.

For example, you might notice the following physical symptoms:

The more your loved one is abusing Lorazepam, the more pronounced these physical changes are likely to be.

3. Physical Side Effects

You may also notice some unpleasant physical side effects.

For example, individuals who abuse or are addicted to Lorazepam may have a depressed breathing rate or difficulty speaking. They may develop a skin rash or skin irritation over time, too.

4. Behavioral Changes

Changes in behavior are common with those who are addicted to Lorazepam as well.

Often, Lorazepam addicts will begin to avoid or forget about their commitments. They might start showing up late to work or skipping their shifts altogether. They might forget about promises they made to their partner or ignore them altogether.

Isolation is common, too, as their sole focus becomes consuming the Lorazepam, and usually doing so in private to avoid questioning or what they perceive as judgment.

In some cases, Lorazepam addicts begin to resort to illegal activities. They may begin stealing money or stealing pills. They may even end up forging prescriptions to keep up with their addiction.

5. Withdrawal Symptoms

You might also notice your loved one presenting withdrawal symptoms when they’ve gone too long without consuming Lorazepam. Common withdrawal symptoms include the following:

Most people start to experience withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of their last dose of Lorazepam.

What to Do About Lorazepam Addiction

If you notice a loved one presenting any of these signs, they need to get help for their addiction as soon as possible. The longer they go on abusing Lorazepam, the more likely they are to experience serious side effects and health problems.

When you notice these symptoms, take the following steps to try and encourage your loved one to get the help they need:

Talk to Them One on One

Sometimes, taking your loved one aside and expressing your concern can be enough to get them to consider treatment. Avoid using blaming language or speaking in a way that could cause them to feel defensive, though.

Stage an Intervention

In other cases, staging an intervention with a group of friends and family members can be more effective. In these situations, everyone goes around and expresses concern for the addict and explains how their addiction has affected them.

Recommend Treatment

Whether you take a group approach or talk to them one on one (or both), encourage them to seek treatment. It might be helpful to have information about treatment programs in your area ready to go so they understand what their options are.

Get Help Today

It’s not always clear if someone you love is dealing with a Lorazepam addiction.

If you keep these warning signs in mind, though, you’ll have an easier time figuring out if addiction is at the root of their problems.

Do you know or suspect that your loved one is addicted to Lorazepam? If so, it’s important to encourage them to seek help right away.

Contact us today at Coastal Detox to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and determine whether they’re a good fit for your loved one.

We’ll get back to you right away with all the information you need to help them make the best choice for themselves and their recovery.

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/misuse-prescription-drugs/overview

When we think about the typical side effects of prescription drugs, we usually think of nausea, drowsiness, and other physical symptoms. But one of the most common, and most dangerous, side effects to watch out for is an addiction.

Did you know opioid abuse has become so large a problem that it’s officially recognized as an epidemic?

130 U.S. citizens die every day from an opioid overdose. In 2017, the number of fatal opioid overdoses was 6 times higher than it was in 1999. This plague costs America an estimated $78.5 billion per year in healthcare, addiction treatment, lost productivity, and judicial processing.

How did this happen? Why does the use of prescription painkillers so often become an addiction? This is the topic we’ll be exploring in detail below.

Keep reading to discover how painkiller prescriptions become addictions.

Painkillers Are Naturally Addictive

Roughly 1 out of every 10 patients who are prescribed opioids for chronic pain develop an opioid misuse disorder. Why is this?

Mostly, it’s because prescription opioids are a naturally habit-forming substance. If you use too much, your brain develops a tolerance for it. In other words, your brain gets used to the drug being there and recognizes your chronic use as “normal.”

There are two subsequent side effects when this happens. For one, your brain produces cravings when it senses there’s not “enough” of the drug in your system.

For two, the effects of the drug are not as powerful. That means you have to use more for the drug to produce the desired effect.

Why Would Someone Use Too Much?

For many who are suffering from daily, unbearable pain, taking these pills is the only thing that lets them feel somewhat okay. But sometimes, in the patient’s opinion, it’s not enough. That is, the dosage they’re prescribed is not strong enough to suppress the pain to acceptable levels.

So they start taking more. And just like that, a tolerance, and therefore, an addiction is formed.

If Painkillers Are So Addictive, Why Do Doctors Still Prescribe Them?

Unfortunately, they don’t have much of a choice. The options for treating chronic pain are limited.

If the problem can be cured with physical therapy, doctors will prescribe that instead of drugs. But not all chronic pain conditions can be healed that way. And there are some that can never be healed; only the symptoms can be treated.

For such people, doctors must prescribe medication, and opioid painkillers are the only drug powerful enough for some conditions.

The doctor can’t very well tell chronic pain sufferers to “just deal with it.” Chronic pain is a difficult burden that hinders one’s ability to work and live. So pain pills are the only option left in many cases.

Other Factors That Can Contribute to Addiction

That covers the basics of how painkiller addiction forms. But there are other factors that may contribute to the development of an addiction.

Genetics

There is has been much research over the years as to the link between genetics and substance abuse. while the exact nature of this link remains unclear, it does appear that certain genetic factors do increase the risk of developing a substance abuse disorder.

Specifically, children of substance abusing parents are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem as well.

Brain Chemistry

Some argue that some addictions form partly due to abnormal brain chemistry. If this abnormality is inherited from a substance-abusing parent, this could be one explanation for the genetic factor.

It is often seen that the brains of addicts have below-average levels of certain chemicals that affect behavior and mental health. Or the receptors that react to these chemicals aren’t working efficiently.

This could explain why these individuals become addicted in the first place. The use of certain addictive substances balances this abnormal brain chemistry. The brain will continue to crave the drug because it makes the brain feel “normal.”

It is theorized that individuals born with such unbalanced brain chemistry naturally seek out substances that will normalize their brain.

However, the true nature of this phenomenon maybe the other way around. It could be that the use of the addictive substance is what causes brain chemistry to become unbalanced. In other words, the altered brain chemistry may be the result of the addiction, not the cause.

As of yet, science does not have the answer to this riddle.

Environmental Factors

Others argue that the genetic factor is actually a matter of environment. When children grow up in a home with addiction, there are many factors that could lead them to develop an addiction as well.

For example, addiction may cause a parent to neglect or even abuse their child. As a result, the child may nurture the negative emotions this situation brings and act out for attention, engaging in self-destructive behavior. It’s even possible this will alter the developing child’s brain chemistry.

They also may see the parent using and learn the habit from their example.

Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Physical pain isn’t the only pain that leads individuals to substance abuse. Another very common cause of prescription drug addiction is a co-occurring mental health disorder. In fact, about 50% of Americans who suffer from severe mental illness also abuse drugs or alcohol. This is known as a dual diagnosis.

When an individual is suffering from a painful mental health condition, such as depression, they often find a way to self-medicate with substance abuse. The addictive substance makes them feel better and normalizes their brain chemistry.

To complicate things further, the two co-occurring conditions tend to feed off and exacerbate one another. For example, one who abuses pain medication to cope with depression becomes more depressed about their substance abuse problem.

And that’s not to mention that depression is already a possible side effect of opioid pain medication. Even using the painkillers as prescribed may cause the depression that leads to prescription drug abuse.

The Addictive Effects of Prescription Drugs

There are many reasons for the addictive effects of prescription drugs. If you or someone you know has developed a prescription drug misuse disorder, there is help available.

Check into a treatment center near you to learn about your options.

Now, click here to read about The Benefits Of An Exercise Routine for Addiction Recovery.

References:

130 people die every day as a result of opioid addiction.

This staggering statistic of pain killer abuse cost the United States approximately $78.5 billion altogether. This includes treatment, hospital bills, and stays and criminal prosecution.

If you’ve been prescribed pain killers for an injury or for recovery following a surgery, you may worry you’ll cross the line into pill addiction.

While most people who take their pain killers for a genuine purpose can do so responsibly, there are some signs to look out for if you think you’re heading into dangerous territory.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the signs and symptoms that can help you recognize when you’ve crossed the line to pill addiction. There is help available, and you don’t need to struggle with a pill addiction.

Read on for some of the top signs and symptoms that you’ve become addicted to your pain pills.

Be Aware of What You’re Taking Before It Becomes a Problem

Chances are if you take an opioid pain killer, your doctor will discuss this with you. The pharmacy may also have other precautions in place to ensure you’re not abusing the medication. This may mean they’ll ask you for ID or do a search to make sure you haven’t purchased the medication somewhere else.

You should be aware of the different types of pain killers to understand if you have a problem. Opioids, as opposed to NSAIDs, are the pills you need to watch out for.

NSAIDs (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) are pills that can be purchased over the counter, like Ibuprofen or Tylenol. They typically help reduce inflammation in the body, therefore helping reduce pain.

Opioids, however, work with the brain’s chemistry to change the way your brain responds to pain. They can work quickly, or release over a long period of time to keep you comfortable if your doctor expects you’ll be in a great deal of pain.

Examples of opioids include fentanyl, codeine, tramadol, oxycodone, and morphine. They are meant to be taken for a short period of time only and are not typically prescribed for long-term use.

The exception may be if you have cancer or another type of terminal illness that causes extreme pain. In these instances, your doctor may decide that the benefits of keeping you comfortable are worth more than the risk of you becoming dependant on the drugs.

Knowing what types of pills you’re taking will help you stay abreast of when you believe that you’re possibly sliding into addiction.

Know If You’re Part of a Group Who is At Risk For Developing a Pill Addiction

As we stated previously, most people are able to take their pain pills without becoming addicted to them. However, there are some people who are more at risk of becoming addicted to pain pills than others.

According to research, those who have fibromyalgia, anxiety or depression, are obese or suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to develop an addiction.

If you have a family history of substance abuse, you’ve been a chain smoker in the past (or still are) or you have a history of very severe anxiety or depression, you may find yourself more at risk for developing an addiction.

If you’re in any of these groups, speak to your doctor first before taking the medication.

You Have a History of Substance Abuse

Many people who have a history of substance abuse elect not to take any medication that can alter their state of mind. This may mean that if they’re in an accident or have surgery, they’ll decide to take a pain killer that is non-addictive. This can be more painful in the short-term, but it can also mean that they won’t develop an issue of becoming addicted to the pain pills.

If you’re having an especially painful surgery or you’ve been in an extremely painful accident, speak to your doctor. Ideally, you should discuss this before the surgery to ensure that you don’t slip up into old habits.

In some cases, you may be able to take the medication without issue, but many people with substance abuse issues may find themselves making excuses. You may decide that you can take the pill if you don’t need “just this once” to help numb something emotional rather than physical.

If you find yourself doing this, and you have a substance abuse history, you may need to speak with a doctor or another type of healthcare professional.

You’re Taking Your Medication When You Don’t Need It

Your doctor may have prescribed you the medicine for a certain amount of time. Or, he or she may have told you to take the pills any time you have a severe pain episode.

If you find yourself taking the pills because you’re bored, or because you’re in a mild amount of pain, this could be a sign that you’re abusing your medication. You should only take your medicine as directed.

You Take Your Medication to Get You Through the Day

Right after an accident or surgery, you may take the pain killers to get through the day. That’s normal, as your doctor likely expects you’re in an extreme amount of pain.

Once the pain has subsided, however, you’ll be expected to wean yourself off the medication. Some people become addicted to how medicine makes them feel, not how it takes away their pain.

They may use it to numb emotional pain, to calm them down if they’re suffering anxiety or to help them get through painful memories or parts of their day.

If you’re using your medication to get through parts of your day you find unpleasant that are unrelated to physical pain, it is likely you may have crossed a line.

Pain killers should only be taken to relieve physical pain and used as a tool to get you back to health. They should not be used as an emotional crutch.

You Take Pills Secretly

If you’re worried that your friends or family will think you have a problem. And you find yourself hiding your medication from them, then it’s likely there is a problem.

If you have to hide the number of pills you take each day because you’re worried that someone else will become suspicious, it is likely they already have something to be suspicious of.

Some people may excessively worry about people taking pain pills because of the opioid epidemic. If the individual you don’t want to take pills in front of always expressed excessive concern, then it is possible this is a situation just between the two of you.

But, if you feel you need to hide the pills from more than one person, especially, then that is a sign that things have become out of control.

You Never Weaned Yourself Off Your Medicine

Your doctor will likely give you an idea of how long you should take the medication. Opioids can be addictive and cause withdrawal symptoms if you do not taper off properly. Most people who do not go through detox will then continue to take the medication to stave off the symptoms.

It is likely your doctor will instruct you on how to do this. If, for example, you’ve had surgery on your leg, your doctor will know how long the pain will be intense for. He or she will then tell you to begin to taper down and switch to NSAIDs, to help control pain.

If you do not taper down, it will be difficult to quit taking the medication, and you may find yourself going through withdrawal once you run out of meds. You may also find yourself going to great lengths to get new medicine to avoid this.

It is crucial you keep an open line of communication with your doctor. If you’re still in extreme pain after he or she says you shouldn’t be any longer, you need to book an appointment to ensure that everything is healing correctly. The solution will be for the doctor to ensure your source of pain is not coming from complications, not to allow you to continue to take the medicine.

With open communication, your doctor may tell you to go ahead and continue to take your opioids, or he or she may give you a different medication to treat whatever issue has arisen.

You Find Yourself Trying to Get the Medicine Prescribed

Drug-seeking behavior, also known as “doctor shopping,” is a key indication that you’ve gone too far with your medicine. You should only take your medicine as instructed by your doctor at the intervals he or she has prescribed.

If he or she declines to prescribe you more and you’ve crossed a line with your medicine, you may then switch to another doctor to see if he or she will give you the medicine. You may even exaggerate symptoms or say the pain is worse than it is to ensure that you’ll get the medicine you want.

You may also purposely injure yourself or make up symptoms in order to get the doctor to prescribe the pain killers.

People Around You Have Expressed Concern

Although when you take opioids, there will likely be one or two people that are concerned due to all of the hype surrounding opioid addictions. However, as long as you take the medication as prescribed by your doctor, you shouldn’t have a problem.

If you have people expressing concern that you are not taking the medication as your doctor intended, this may be a sign you’ve crossed a line. They may think you take too much, that you’ve taken the medication too long or that you’re not acting in the same manner you usually do.

Other people often notice things about us before we do, so it is important to take their concerns seriously.

You Take Medication Not Prescribed to You

If you’ve begun taking medication from other people, or buying it illegally, this is a tell-tale sign that there is something wrong. At this point, it is fairly clear that there is a problem going on that needs to be addressed.

Buying medication from others without a prescription is not only dangerous, but it is illegal. Additionally, you never know what other people may put into the medications. Although some pills look innocent and like the pills you get from your doctor, they may not actually be.

In fact, many people overdose from opioids that have been “cut” with other drugs or had other drugs put inside of them. Many people also die of an overdose because they have taken street drugs that have been cut with fentanyl.

Not only is this illegal, but extremely dangerous. If you don’t know how much of a medication you’re taking, this could cause a serious problem, not to mention puts you at risk of an overdose.

Seeking Help for a Pill Addiction

If you or someone you love has crossed a line with their pill addiction, remember that help is available.

Pill addictions are nothing to play around with and can have very serious, if not dire consequences. As such, it is important that you keep on top of it if you think you may be taking more medication than you should be.

Help is always available to help you overcome your addiction. Contact us today at Coastal Detox to help you overcome your addiction and live a life free of the chains of pain pills.

References:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis

The opioid epidemic has had a huge impact in recent years, leading President Trump to officially declare it a national emergency.

Drugs like Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, and Methadone are now some of the most commonly abused drugs in the US.

In this post, we’ll paint a picture of the opioid crisis using ten shocking statistics.

10 Things You Need to Know About the Opioid Epidemic

Want to know what the opioid crisis means for America? Read these 10 fast facts to find out.

1. Opioids Cause more than 47,000 Deaths Every Year

In 2017, over 70,000 people in the US died from drug overdoses.

The majority of those were due to opioids. In total, 67.8% of those deaths involved opioids. This was a huge increase of 45.2% from the previous year.

2. Opioids Contributed to a 0.4% Annual Increase in Death Rate

The rise of the opioid epidemic has also led to a rise in the US death rate.

The life expectancy of Americans has been consistently declining in the last three years. The age-adjusted death rate has increased annually by around 0.4%. Now, it sits at 731.9 deaths per 100,000 people.

3. The US Consumes More Fentanyl than Any Other Country

While opioid consumption is a concern around the world, the problem is undoubtedly far more concentrated and severe in the US.

That’s because more people in the United States use Fentanyl than anywhere else in the world.

In fact, 30% of the world’s consumption of the drug takes place in the US.

Germany consumes a further 20%. However, the rest is spread over a variety of countries, mainly throughout Europe, in amounts not exceeding 6%.

4. A Baby is Born Addicted to Opioids Every 15 Minutes

If mothers abuse opioids during pregnancy, their babies can become dependent on the drugs in utero.

As a result, they then suffer from dangerous withdrawal symptoms after they’re born. This is neonatal abstinence syndrome.

The condition affects 32,000 babies every year, which amounts to one opioid-addicted baby being born every 15 minutes.

5. A Fifth of People Under 30 Know Someone who Abuses Opioids

The opioid crisis may have more impact on your life than you think.

Even if you have never had a problem with opioids, you may know someone who does. A 2017 survey showed that 20% of people under 30 knew people who had an opioid abuse problem. For those aged 31-64, those numbers increased even further.

Of course, these numbers only account for people who are aware of the drug abuse that those around them are struggling with. In reality, the numbers could be much higher. This is because many addicts are adept at hiding their habit from their friends, family, and coworkers.

That’s why it’s so important for people to learn how to spot the signs of opioid abuse in their loved ones.

6. Opioid Prescriptions are Declining

Between 1992 and 2012, the number of prescriptions US doctors gave for opioids increased from 112 million to a whopping 282 million.

Between 2012 and 2016, those numbers fell to 236 million, and since then, they have fallen even further.

7. The Cost of Naloxone has Increased 150-Fold

Naxolone is effectively the antidote for opioids. This crucial drug mostly comes in the form of a nasal spray and can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose almost immediately.

It has the power to prevent and drastically reduce opioid-related deaths, but the costs of the drug can be prohibitive.

The drug was patented in 1961 but taken off patent 24 years later to make it more widely accessible. However, the price has skyrocketed, creating the opposite effect.

Around ten years ago, patients only had to pay $1 for a life-saving dose of naloxone. Now, that very same spray costs $150. In the form of an auto-injector, the price is even higher. This kind of dosage can cost up to $5,000.

This huge price increase makes the drug much more difficult for patients and their loved ones to get.

8. Every Year, 2 Million People Start Abusing Prescription Opioids

Opioid addictions often begin when doctors prescribe these drugs as a form of pain relief.

Patients who have experienced serious injuries or suffer from chronic pain use these drugs to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

However, as well as numbing the pain, they also adjust the brain’s reward system, releasing large amounts of feel-good hormones and endorphins to create a feeling of euphoria. This is what makes them so dangerous.

If patients misuse these drugs, they can form addiction and find themselves on a downward spiral with a habit they can’t keep up with.

The number of patients who misuse opioids in this way is significant. In fact, a 2017 survey on drug use in America showed that 2 million people abused prescription opioids for the first time that year.

9. Opioids Lead to 80% of Heroin Addictions

Those with opioid addictions are 19 times more likely to form an addiction to heroin, too.

In a survey of heroin users, 80% reported starting with opioids before progressing on to heroin.

The strong links between opioid and heroin use are due to more than the similarities in their effects.

Opioids can be incredibly expensive and difficult to get since they’re usually only prescribed by a doctor. When addicts can no longer get access to them, many transition to heroin because it’s a cheaper and more accessible alternative.

10. The Amount of Older Adults Abusing Opioids has Risen by More than 50%

Between 2004 and 2015, there was a surge in the number of adults over the age of 55 seeking treatment for opioid use disorder.

From 2004 to 2013, it steadily rose by 41.2%. However, it rapidly increased by more than double in the following two years.

Get the Help You Need

If the opioid epidemic affects you or someone you know, we can help.

At Coastal Detox, we provide detox and recovery management programs to help patients move forward.

Comfort, support, and serenity are top priorities at our detox facility, where we offer holistic therapies in a soothing environment.

To find out more about our programs, contact us for a consultation.

References

The misuse of opioids, especially painkillers, has become an epidemic in the United States.

More than 900 people die weekly from opioid-related abuse. This trend has necessitated the formulation of new laws in places like the Treasure Coast. Millions of Americans are grappling with opioid addiction, and the death toll is at its peak.

Besides causing health risks to users, the misuse of pain medication poses a threat to national economic growth. Experts say that the problem began with doctors prescribing medications more often than necessary. The situation became worse because of the influx of cheap synthetic opioids in the market.

The government has increased its efforts in recent years to limit access to opioids. It has worked towards cutting the foreign and domestic supply of the drugs. Both federal and state officials on the Treasure Coast have also shifted their focus.

Instead of punishing drug users, they now aim to treat and rehabilitate them. The state has also introduced new pain medication laws. Here is the current status of opioid use on the Treasure Coast.

What Are Some of the Opioids Contributing to the Crisis?

Opioids refer to drugs from the opium poppy plant, and they fall into two categories. One is legally manufactured pain medications, and the other is illicit narcotics. Pain medications that have caused this epidemic include hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine.

These medications gained popularity among doctors as prescriptions for cancer and surgical treatment. In the past few years, the prescription for the drugs for chronic pain and joint pain has become rampant. This is despite the safety and legal concerns surrounding them.

Another point of concern is the infiltration of synthetic painkillers like fentanyl into the market. The drugs have high potency and hence are labeled “manufactured death” by law enforcement officials. Deaths from fentanyl are typically due to their illegal use, with their components being more lethal than heroin.

The CDC says that painkillers are often used in combination with other drugs for a higher impact. The combination increases the risk of overdosing.

How Bad Is the Epidemic?

Deaths related to overdosing by the illegal use of painkillers have been on the rise. Health experts relate the rising death toll to the overprescribing of painkillers. Physicians continue to prescribe the drugs today despite the concern that pain remains untreated.

The fact that pharmaceutical companies were advertising the drugs didn’t help the situation. The information they provided to the market was that the drugs posed little health risks. This caused patients to pressurize health-care providers to prescribe the drugs.

The patients were opposed to alternative treatment options.

Opioid-related deaths are also related to the high use of heroin. When users can’t get enough of the prescribed drugs, they use heroin to feed their growing addiction. The epidemic didn’t exist until there was a surplus supply of the opioids in the form of painkillers.

Socioeconomic Consequences of Opioids Dependence

The opioids epidemic has created devastating effects, both on the Treasure Coast and in a significant portion of the United States as a whole.

In health matters, it has led to the higher rates of HIV infection and hepatitis that we see today. The use of shared syringes among the users has contributed to the situation.

Pregnant mothers who have a high dependency on opioids may also pass the addiction on to the unborn child. This crisis has led to the rising numbers of children who end up in foster care for lack of parental responsibility.

Opioids are taking a toll on the economy. Dependency on the drugs renders the prime-age population non-productive.

An example is a manufacturing company in Ohio. It reported that at least 25% of job applicants fail their drug tests.

This shortage in the workforce costs the company approximately $800,000 yearly.

Florida’s Pill Mill Laws on Prescription Painkillers

In light of the adverse effects of the illegal use of opioids, Florida has put up new laws to regulate their access. The Department of Law Enforcement says that the drugs are worth more than $1 million on the street. The effort by the government to crack the pills down has resulted in a decrease in their use.

The changes are especially visible in the use of Vicodin and Oxycodone.

In 2010, Florida had put in place stringent laws regulating pain management facilities. Under the law, clinics had to get registration from the state.

Doctors weren’t allowed to dispense opioids from their facilities. Previously, doctors could sell the opiates to walk-in patients who wanted them.

In 2011, the state introduced a program through the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. It provides healthcare providers with detailed information about a patient’s drug prescriptions history. The data reflected a significant drop in the use of opioids after the law took effect.

In figures, there was a decline of 500,000 5 mg Vicodin pills every month. From a policy perspective, the decline was because of the new laws. The trends point to the way forward in the future, indicating the need for policies that’ll regulate the use of opioids.

By the time of policy formulation, researchers found that 37 million prescriptions were for opioid painkillers. South Florida had become the epicenter of nationwide prescription painkillers on the black market. A year after the law took effect, the number of prescriptions for opioids went down by only 1.4%.

Upcoming Policy Changes

Federal and other regulations are changing in relation to opioids. National Community Pharmacists Association had a discussion on “Opioid Pain Management and Your Pharmacy.”

They discussed three aspects of pain management. The best practices for opioid prescriptions and abuse prevention in pharmacies were among topics of concern.

The organization came up with several recommendations to provide lasting solutions to the crisis. Among the suggestions was the expansion of electronic prescribing for controlled drugs. They also encouraged the prescription of alternative pain management options like acupuncture.

Another recommendation was to establish limits to the maximum supply of certain drugs per day. This recommendation has brought about a care coordination safety audit. Under the inspection, a person’s cumulative morphine milligram equivalent (MME) shouldn’t exceed 90 MME.

The organization also came up with prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs). These programs will ensure that pharmacies are operating under this new policy. They should control the access of opioids not given under a prescription.

There’s also increased access to medication for the treatment of opioid addiction and abuse.

Implementation of the Policy Changes

The discussions by NCPA were ongoing at the time the Congress was passing sweeping changes to rules affecting the opioid crisis. Most of the new policies will start immediately, but some won’t take effect until 2021. The medical sector is moving to an electronic system of prescribing controlled substances.

With the new policies comes a drug management program, also known as a lock-in program. The plan is to lock patients to one or more specific pharmacies for these frequently abused drugs.

The description of commonly abused drugs is at the discretion of the Human Health Services secretary. The secretary will also determine the identification process of patients eligible for the lock-in.

Another change they’ll put in place is hard safety edits for opioids. The policy instills a seven-day limit on opioid prescriptions for acute pain. They will monitor the 90 MME daily limit on a real-time basis for all prescriptions.

The only exception will be for patients in hospice care, undergoing cancer treatment, or end-of-life care. According to NCPA, the 90 MME limit will affect only a small population of patients. All the same, the policy will remain in place as with time, and the population will expand.

How Pharmacies Should Respond

The discussion revolved around policies pharmacies should put in place for controlled substances. Their regulations should capture the crucial information from a patient, and geographical limits to prescriptions. Pharmacies should also check new programs from the PDMP within a stipulated time.

The policies guide pharmacies on what to do if patients refill their prescriptions too often or too early. In matters of security, there’s a need to add GPS trackers and security cameras to ensure oxycodone and Oxycontin remain locked up at all times.

How Will the New Laws Address the Opioid Epidemic?

President Donald Trump passed the bill against the opioid epidemic. The following changes will take effect during implementation.

Prevention Programs

The new law targets substance use-disorder prevention for patients and communities. It aims at modifying many aspects of the epidemic, with many provisions to expand preventive programs as well. It believes in eliminating all barriers to successful treatment of substance use disorders (SUD).

The existing programs will be expanded to create new ones that also limit overdosing. The programs will strive to enhance medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This will also affect the reauthorization of the National Drug Control Policy office.

The MAT program will lift restrictions on the spending of Medicaid dollars. This especially applies to residential addiction centers. Such facilities will be allowed to accept payments for residential SUD services.

In this case, Medicare will cover MAT treatment options like methadone.

Funding

Treatment programs in residential facilities will have increased funding from the state. These will target pregnant and postpartum women. The policy will make it necessary for the CDC to create education materials targeting pregnant women.

The main discussion around treatment programs for women is pain management during pregnancy. Women will take the center stage in the making of decisions since the policy targets them.

Payment Models

An alternate payment model will be introduced through the policy. This is following the demonstration project by the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

The society worked in collaboration with AMA. They ensured increased access to evidence-based outpatient treatment for opioid use related disorders.

In the same breath, there’ll be provision repayment for health professionals treating SUDs. This will be offered on condition that they agree to work in mental health professional shortage areas. The bill stipulates that the professionals can provide care in community-based settings.

However, the communities have to be the worst hit by drug overdoses. This will form part of their service requirements and obligations.

Limited Flow of Illegal Opioids

The law will curb the influx of synthetic fentanyl that finds its way into the country through the mail. This will be useful in helping curb opioid-related deaths linked to fentanyl and heroin.

Research and Development

The law will also encourage research and increase funding for the same. There’s still a wide gap that needs to be filled in the development of non-addictive painkillers. The process of developing drugs should aim at eliminating opioid medications from the market.

The HHS department will have the mandate to study and report to the Congress on the effects of the new laws. It should mostly look at regulations that limit the dosage and length of administration of opioid prescriptions.

The Mandate of Key Players

The law touches on the commission of AMA on physicians. It also outlines the many requirements in federal and state-controlled programs. One provision is for physicians to make use of electronic prescriptions for controlled substances by 2021.

The Drug Enforcement Administration should update its regulations on the authenticity of prescriptions. The administration will use biometrics in keeping up with the changing technology.

The AMA task force will encourage physicians to:

The law also touches on the mandate of the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA should develop guidelines for the prescription of acute pain where guidelines don’t exist.

Treasure Coast – Take Away

The scope of the new pain medication law is broad. Since its implementation, it has brought changes in the use of opioid painkillers. In places where their use was rampant, like on the Treasure Coast, the trend has changed.

The federal government has been able to curb the illicit flow of the opioids. In the few coming years, there’ll likely be more improvement. The changes will be more profound when some sections of the legislation come into effect.

The shift from punishing users to prevention and treatment is reducing opioid-related misuse.

If you’re on Treasure Coast and you want help in opioid addiction, be sure to contact us, and we’ll be glad to help you.

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