8 Signs to Know You Are Addicted

Rose was a young intern at a financial agency. This was her first experience of working in corporate sector and she was pretty excited. She adjusted to the work culture soon and performed well to gain rewards and promotion. Long hours of work would often end with a glass of wine or two with her colleagues at a club or a café.

Soon, the occasional drinking sessions became regular as it made her feel happy and relaxed. Slowly, she got addicted. She needed alcohol to relieve her tense muscles and prepare her for the next day. As the work pressure increased, she started binge drinking. This resulted in night outs, hangovers, absence from work and the day came when she was fired. Her addiction cost her the job she loved and was so proud of.

Like Rose, many of us develop liking for something that causes more harm than benefit. One could be addicted to alcohol, drugs, sex, video games, gambling or even shopping. And when the matter goes out of hand, a person has to be encouraged to seek help from an addiction help center that treats the underlying problem in a holistic manner during recovery as well as through an aftercare program.

It is possible to control the situation and prevent it from worsening. All one needs is to watch out for the signs that signal an addiction and take action immediately. Some of the red flags could be:

Continuing an addiction despite negative effects – When an addiction takes over, the affected person has the tendency to ignore the red flags and continue pursuing the substance or a habit regardless of the impact it might have on physical and psychological health, relationships or job.
Quitting social events – Those addicted could become so obsessed with their addiction that over time, they may quit attending social gatherings they liked before as the events may not give them the opportunity or time to use their substance of abuse.
Suffering from withdrawal symptoms – When a person tries to quit addiction, he/she may suffer from severe withdrawal symptoms. This is because the body gets so used to a substance that it gets distressed in its absence. The withdrawal symptoms could be physical as well as psychological, and in some case life-threatening too.
Keeping addiction a secret – People tend to mask addiction by keeping it a secret. They fear being judged, so they try to hide their habit from friends and family.
Increasing tolerance – When an addiction develops, over time, the body starts getting used to it and to produce the same high, it needs more amount of the substance, leading to tolerance. Addiction can take over mind and body completely.
Not being able to stop – Addiction can be so overpowering that despite the best of intentions, a person is just not able to quit or taper off. One loses self-control and allows himself/herself to be swayed by it.
Taking risks – An addicted brain has a tendency to take risks. Under the influence of a substance, one might lose his or her guard and indulge in risk-taking behavior. An addicted person might steal something, indulge in unsafe sexual practices, drive under the influence or pick up fights and get abusive.
Making excuses – When a person develops an addiction, his/her life becomes a web of lies and excuses. When friends and loved ones express concern, he/she may resort to all the means to evade them and shut himself/herself in their own world.

Seek help before it’s late

Fortunately, it is possible to deal with alcohol or drug addiction if one agrees that he or she has a problem and is willing to take help for the same. Delaying the matter will worsen health and diminish chances of full recovery.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

10 Best Ways to Stop Drinking Alcohol

The decision to stop drinking alcohol can be life-saving for individuals who feel they are falling into alcohol addiction. However, recovering from alcohol abuse, maintaining sobriety and managing alcohol cravings is a hard struggle. There are many ways to achieve sobriety. For a person wondering how they can stop drinking, here are the 10 best ways to stop drinking alcohol.

1. Make a Plan

Make a plan to stop drinking alcohol by setting a date. Post the date in a place where you can see it often. If you are a heavy drinker, you must first slowdown in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms which can be potentially deadly (in this case, involve your doctor in your plan in order to come up with a more appropriate date plan).

2. Identify the Triggers

The urge to drink alcohol is set off either by internal or external triggers. The key to quit drinking and maintaining sobriety is by identifying and avoiding the triggers. External triggers, such as places, people and things that are associated with alcohol drinking behaviors and opportunities can quickly lead to a relapse. High risk situations are more obvious, more predictable and are more avoidable compared to internal triggers.

Internal triggers are set off by thoughts, negative emotions such as frustrations, positive emotions like excitement, physical sensations like headache, anxiety and tension. Once you have identified the triggers, work on how to prevent them from leading you to drinking.

3. Avoid High Risk Situations

The best strategy to quit drinking is avoiding high risk situations. Avoid social settings where alcohol is served. Do not buy or keep alcohol at home as this will easily tempt you. Friends and family members can also assist by refraining from drinking alcohol in the presence of those in recovery.

4. Build a Strong Support Network

Ensure that you surround yourself with positive people. This will help you to build and improve your self-esteem and confidence. Without a positive support network, it is difficult to make changes that will completely lead to sobriety. An available social network support is particularly important during the early months of recovery.

5. Communicate Effectively

Having an effective communication with family, friends and workmates can help them to understand the different aspects and challenges involved in your road to recovery. Expressing yourself to them will help them to be much more supportive and assistive.

6. Incorporate a Nutritious Diet

A healthy diet and proper hydration are important to an alcoholic’s healing process. Proper nutrition, as well as hydration, helps to restore physical and mental health, improving the chances of recovering.

Macro and micro-nutrient deficiencies can cause low energy levels, depression & anxiety, which are triggers that can lead to a relapse. Your diet should incorporate food types that improve digestion, promote steady blood sugar throughout the body and improve brain chemistry. A healthy process of digestion optimizes the rate of absorption of vitamins, amino acids and minerals which help to reduce alcohol craving. An adequate intake of lean protein ensures that your brain produces optimal amounts of neurotransmitters which are associated with feelings of well-being.

Comprehensive nutrition education program and individualized nutrition counseling have been found to improve a 3-month sobriety success rate in people with substance abuse issues. If you wish to quit alcohol drinking on your own, here are a few nutrition tips you can follow.

Do not make major diet changes immediately. Gradual diet changes will lead to a better body compliance.
Eat foods that are low in fat and include adequate levels of lean protein.
Eat regular meals throughout the day
Water is the most important nutrient required for every body function. Adequate water intake helps to reduce alcohol craving.
Vitamins and mineral supplements such as vitamins A& B, zinc and B-Complex are helpful during and after the recovery phase.

7. Exercise

One way of replacing destructive behaviors is getting involved in physical activities. Exercise stimulates the same neurotransmitters and circuits in the brain as most addictive substances. Start out your exercise routine slowly and focus on strength training and cardiovascular exercises.

8. Engage in Healthy Activities

Alcoholics are known to give up on activities that they once found enjoyable. Part of the recovery process is rediscovering previous hobbies and developing new interests. This will help to alleviate boredom that can trigger a relapse and help you to pursue much healthier and fulfilling alternatives.

9. Evaluate Your Progress

Evaluate your sobriety progress by setting an evaluation date. A 30 day plan is more effective so that your new behavior can become a habit. Evaluate and review your reasons for quitting alcohol. Write down the benefits and, if you relapse, start again. An evaluation plan will help you to see how far you have come and motivate you to do better.

10. Treat Yourself

Once you have evaluated your progress and you have achieved a set duration of sobriety, treat yourself. The money which was used for alcohol can now be used to visit a spa, get a massage, join a yoga class, buy new clothing or furniture or even buy gifts for your family and friends. Maintaining sobriety is all about seeing its tangible benefits.

Note that there isn’t a universal best way to quit drinking alcohol. You may have to try out different combinations and find out what works best for you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

The Inner Island Of Addiction

Addiction recovery is developing right now. New and older but still effective treatment plans are being researched and honed. Each type of addiction is studied to unlock the chemical hooks that entrap the user.

Prior research on the neurobiology of addiction has focused on the subcortical systems, such as the amygdala and mesolimbic/dopamine system, to understand the motivation to seek drugs. Recent evidence indicates that a largely overlooked structure, the insula, plays a crucial part in the conscious urges to take drugs.

The insula has been highlighted as a region that integrates bodily states into conscious feelings and into decision-making processes that involve uncertain risk and reward. It has been dubbed ‘the hidden island of addiction’ by researchers.

Addiction to drugs is at epidemic levels. Mobile morgues are handling overdose victims in some states hardest hit by the opioid crisis. By itself, cigarette smoking is the most common addictive behavior and is the largest preventable cause of death in the developed world. Some say nicotine is harder to give up than heroin. Its chemical hooks plunge that deep.

Drug addiction is a psychological imbalance that turns into a physical addiction. Compulsive use of drugs that persists despite negative consequences is the hallmark of addiction. Impaired driving is the awful choice many make.

‘Chemical use disorder’ is set of physiological and psychological processes, such as tolerance, withdrawal, constant urges and poor decision making. Each have distinct yet complementary roles in the development and maintenance of addiction.

For now, an addict’s best friend is knowledge. Choosing who to share information with is critical in getting actual help and not a damning lecture. Exposing an issue leads many to immediately shun the user. What has been described as ‘tough love’ has led straight to the cemetery or morgue for thousands upon thousands of families.

These ‘accidental addicts’ are the product of a profit-driven drug industry that is crippling our country. Oxycontin was introduced with a ‘low risk of addiction.’ My little sister ‘accidentally’ believed them and took what her doctor ‘accidentally’ prescribed. We buried her two years later.

There is no more time to blame the user until we preserve the innocent victims. Treat addiction as an imbalance, instead of a moral failing, that must be addressed by professionals. MAT-medication assisted therapy-is new but starting to prove effective in curbing active addiction.

Every addict tells the same story. Not one planned to get up, ingest a soothing chemical and completely destroy his life and everyone around him. It is a nightmare that is shared in recovery groups around the world.

Addiction treatment is like fishing in the boat with Jesus. If you’ve tried it before and it didn’t work, cast your net again. This time, a treatment option that works may be within reach. Be ready for it.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

How to Support Someone With Alcohol Addiction

The American Medical Association (AMA) defines alcoholism or alcohol dependence as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.

Research shows that while some people develop a dependence on alcohol due to family history, childhood abuse or poor self-esteem, a few others get into alcohol use because of peer pressure or to fit into a certain group of people. However, irrespective of the influences that persuade a person to use alcohol, the bittersweet truth is that the journey from “one drink” to “one last drink” is mostly not anticipated.

It is so because unlike the popular belief, once a person passes the threshold levels of alcohol abuse, dependence and tolerance, he/she tends to develop an addiction to alcohol. By this time, his/her brain chemistry gets altered due to substance use and it becomes extremely difficult for him/her to quit alcohol because of the discomforting withdrawal symptoms.

It is also important to know that alcohol addiction is different from alcohol abuse. Those who abuse alcohol usually drink heavily, but not regularly. Such people behave recklessly or have a tendency to mix substances of abuse, which can lead to alcohol poisoning. Further, abuse may lead to addiction, but not vice-versa. However, alcohol addiction involves all aspects-dependence, abuse and tolerance.

State of alcohol addiction in America

Alcoholism is soaring in the United States, the worst part being the fact that more than 80,000 people are losing their lives to alcohol every year.

Recent statistics by renowned research and analysis organizations like the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reveal the current state of health of Americans.

Here are a few alarming statistics:

Alcoholism is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation. (Source: NCADD)
Six people lose their lives due to alcohol poisoning every day; three out of four such people are men. (NIAAA)
Every day in the U.S., another 29 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes. That’s one person every 50 minutes. (Source: MADD)
Around 4,700 teens are killed every year due to alcohol use, which is way more than the deaths caused by all illegal drugs combined. (NIAAA)
Men are twice as likely as women to overdo drinking, be intoxicated behind the wheel or be involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents. (NIAAA)
Approximately one in two women of childbearing age drink, and 18 percent of women in this group binge drink (five drinks per binge, on an average).
Less than 8 percent of the 15 million plus people who struggle with an alcohol use disorder receive treatment. (NIAAA)
Up to 40 percent of all hospital beds in the United States (except for those being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption. (NCADD)

Knowing the warning signs of alcohol addiction

Alcohol consumes the body and the mind of the person using it. While the warning signs of drug and alcohol addiction are many, the disruption in normal life caused due to alcohol addiction has serious effects on the afflicted person’s thoughts, feelings and actions.

Hence, even if alcohol addiction may not seem like a real thing, it is a big menace. To stay away from being trapped, you should be watchful of these red flags:

Resorting to alcohol for every celebration or sorrow
Preferring to drink alone than in someone’s company
Lying about the drinking habit and behavior
Binge drinking whenever and wherever possible
Negligent attitude toward own health and responsibilities
Reckless behavior or no fear of law or rules after drinking
Frequent blackouts, leading to impaired memory functioning
Weight gain caused due to slow absorption of nutrients from food
Development of tolerance to the substance
Discomforting withdrawal symptoms, severe than a hangover

Understanding effects of alcohol use on your body

Alcohol is not the solution to any problem. In fact, its dependence, abuse or addiction is a problem in itself.

The resultant alterations in brain chemistry caused due to alcohol addiction affect both physical and mental well-being of the afflicted person. When left untreated, existing issues aggravate and comorbid disorders develop. Getting an accurate diagnosis and undergoing proper treatment can often be a far-fetched dream if the consulting expert is unable to determine if the symptoms are present due to an addiction or a mental illness.

Here is a view of the short- and long-term effects of alcohol use on your body:

Short-term effects

Long-term effects

· Slurred speech, drowsiness, headaches

· Vomiting, diarrhea, anemia

· Difficulty in breathing

· Distorted vision and hearing, decreased coordination

· Coma, blackouts, unconsciousness

· Impaired judgment

· Hormonal changes

· Sleep problems

· Accidental injuries due to inebriation, violent behavior

· Fetal damage

· Loss of productivity, increased problems in relationships

· High blood pressure, alcohol poisoning, liver disease

· Nerve damage, stroke, heart-related diseases, permanent brain damage

· Ulcers, gastritis, cancer

· Sexual problems

· Depression, personality disorders, suicide

Supporting someone with alcohol addiction

If someone you know is experiencing the above mentioned signs and effects of an alcohol addiction, then your support can be a great aid.

It is with your support that attaining recovery can become a priority for them and everything they love does not have to come last. When that happens, the afflicted person learns to persevere and be remembered for his/her recovery and not his/her addiction.

Here are ways of helping someone with an alcohol addiction:

Understand the nuances of alcohol addiction by seeking guidance from published resources and qualified experts.
Encourage them to be open about the challenges faced so that you can help them find alternates or solutions to the same.
Tell them about the effects their habits are having on you/others so that they do not take you/others for granted.
Convey to them that you are by their side always irrespective of how bad or good the situation may be.
Convince them to join a support group or attend community meetings to learn from people facing similar battles.
Spare time to take them to detox or therapy sessions whenever possible so that they do not feel alone or demotivated.
Lead by example by making a no-drinking pact and rewarding each other for a sober lifestyle from time to time.
Be forgiving and avoid blaming them for anything wrong happening in their life, even when the same is true.
Avoid confronting them or getting into an argument with them when they are not sober.
Remember to keep a tab on your physical or mental health while trying to help them.
Refrain from drinking yourself to escape the stress or find an easy solution.
Convince them to seek a second opinion from another qualified expert when no favorable results are visible.

Ways to reduce alcohol addiction stigma

As alcohol addiction continues to claim more lives than ever, it is important to remember that the stigma surrounding alcohol addiction is a key contributor to the same.

Supporting someone with alcohol problem is possible. You can do your bit to reduce the deadly stigma by following the useful tips given below:

Remember that addiction is a disease and spread the word so that others too can change their outlook.
Practice the habit of not judging people with addiction and encourage others to do so too.
Talk statistics and proven facts instead of communicating personal opinions.
Offer help and support to people with addiction by convincing them to seek help.
Maintain your calm and composure when helping an afflicted person in denial.
Guide people who have little control over their situation to seek help.
Give your best efforts to help the afflicted person in identifying the root cause of his/her addiction.
Never allow anyone to treat a person with addiction in ways that can put him/her under undue pressure.
Lead by example and stay away from any form of addiction yourselves.
Be open about your shortcomings (read: addiction) if you have one and seek timely help.
Motivate people to share their own battles and recovery journey so that others can learn from them.
Join organizations and nonprofit agencies committed to such issues.

How to help a person with addiction who doesn’t want help

Living in denial or showing little or no willingness to talk about addiction is a characteristic many people with addiction have.

Should the same be a thing of worry? Not really! There are several ways of helping a person living in denial about addiction, including the following:

· Persuasion: The first step involves communicating how their habits are affecting the physical or mental health of the members of the family/neighborhood. To attain success, it is important to plan the conversation in advance, fix a mutually suitable time for the conversation and cite specific instances instead of personal opinions.

Further, confrontations and blame game should be avoided. You must do this over a few days. Additionally, you can simultaneously do the following things to ensure that your efforts do not go in vain:

o Telling them on a regular basis that you/others understand how difficult it must be for them.

o Convincing them to join support groups where they can learn from people facing similar struggles.

o Discussing the importance of a healthy lifestyle and what they are missing out on due to their habits.

o Joining activities that you can do together, such as a sport, dancing classes or anything else of mutual interest.

o Accompanying them to the doctor at least during the first few visits and when they are low or demotivated.

o Attending family therapy sessions to strengthen the bond between the two of you and other members of the family/loved ones.

· Setting clear limits and boundaries: While allowing the afflicted person to take some time to mend his/her habits through the aforementioned ways, it is also necessary to let him/her know that he/she does not have an indefinite period of time to think and act.

You can do so by conveying the eventual consequences of his/her habits. Further, you should also refrain from enabling him/her. It is natural for family members/loved ones to fall prey to the tantrums or the lies of the afflicted person. This can give the false impression to the afflicted that he/she has control over everything.

Taking a stance and sticking to it helps the afflicted person know that he/she is in a tight spot. This has the potential to convince him/her to at least seek professional guidance for his/her habits, if not the treatment in the first go itself.

· Medical intervention: If nothing seems to be working well to help an afflicted person in denial, it becomes extremely important to reach out to a professional interventionist or a certified medical practitioner. Their experience and expertise can help them reason with the afflicted person. However, you should plan this in advance so that there are no last minute issues. Doing so is possible by involving concerned family members and friends who know the afflicted person well and are ready to stand by him/her.

Further, you should also be aware of the concerned person’s habits and behaviors. This can help the interventionist have a backup team ready, just in case a medical emergency arises. You should also practice self-care by joining a support group or consulting a therapist yourselves. This is necessary because sometimes, in our endeavor to help someone else, we end up putting our physical or mental health at stake.

Alcohol addiction is treatable

Regardless of whether a person is an occasional drinker, regular drinker or a heavy drinker, the truth is that alcohol does not discriminate when it comes to affecting the user’s body and mind. It slowly crawls upon to become an addiction and with time, instead of the person abusing alcohol, alcohol begins to abuse him/her back.

But the good news is that alcohol addiction is treatable. With the help of a comprehensive treatment program that involves therapy, detox, self-care and a relapse prevention strategy, seeking a full, healthy and lasting recovery from alcohol addiction is possible. The key to the same is consulting a qualified addiction expert who has experience in dealing with patients with addiction as well as comorbid disorders. He/she can also enable the family members/ loved ones of the afflicted person with ways to help someone with alcohol addiction.

You too can help someone overcome alcohol addiction. When you religiously follow the dos an don’ts of helping a person with addiction, it can be a blessing for the afflicted person and his/her loved ones.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Medical Conditions Associated With Higher Risks of Opioid Use Side Effects

Some physicians prescribe more opioids for certain medical conditions and for longer durations compared to others. Paradoxically, the indiscriminate abuse of painkillers instead of providing a permanent cure has been found to increase the severity of the medical condition or cause unwanted side effects – the commonest being drug abuse, dependency and addiction.

Some of the disorders where painkillers are prescribed routinely ignoring the harmful consequences are listed below.

Sleep Apnea: Sleep disorders like sleep apnea are common occurrence in the United States, with an estimated 22 million Americans living with the condition. It is also estimated that a further 80 percent of instances of moderate or severe sleep apnea are undiagnosed. During sleep apnea, the individual suffers from pauses in the intake of breath. As the sleep cycle suffers from repeated interruption, the individual ends up feeling fatigue during the day. In many instances, people suffering from the condition are prescribed prescription painkillers to combat anxiety and pain. However, studies have proved that these drugs only make the condition worse. In a letter published in the Cleveland Journal of Medicine, author Aaron Geller points out the risks of opioid consumption. It caused the cessation of breathing, ultimately resulting in death. It also increased the number of episodes of obstructive and central sleep apnea per hour, as a result people were more likely to die in their sleep.

Anxiety: Sadly, while people with mood disorders and anxiety are more likely to abuse opioids, they are also the ones more likely to be prescribed these addictive medications for their pain and discomfort. Opioids, at best, can provide temporary relief from the pain. But they increase the risks of permanent damage to the brain manifold and up the risks of addiction. Anxiety-prone individuals who have resorted to opioids are known to experiment with drugs such as heroin at a later stage. Some of the common ameliorative strategies for coping with anxiety include therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and behavioral modification strategies. In case of a comorbid disorder, which could arise after prolonged exposure to opioids, an integrated treatment module is considered worthwhile.

Depression: Depression is also associated with the increased abuse of opioid medications. It has become a practice for doctors to hand out opioids even when one has a case of minor blues. More so when the patient happens to be a woman. Though opioids could bring relief from pain initially, in the long run these only aggravate the condition. As the individual’s life revolves more around the drug, he/she has less inclination to participate in routine activities. The natural feel good hormones get depleted, and the individual takes a less positive view of life. He/she feels sad and sullen most of the time. Though prescription medications like antidepressants and opioids are required in case someone goes through a bereavement and finds it hard to cope on his/her own, these should never be used as a crutch. Instead, as soon as one feels even slightly better, these medications should be stopped (with doctor’s approval) and shift gears toward a healthier lifestyle. Proper exercise, healthy food and sound sleep provide long lasting relief and ensure the free flow of natural endorphins.

Obesity: Obesity is as much a psychological condition as a physiological one. While a person who is comfortable even when he/she is overweight is less likely to require help, someone who is obese and is not comfortable with it may go through cycles of depression or anxiety or both. Such patients might be prescribed opioids for the pain. However, it interferes with the natural production of endorphins, which are produced naturally when one walks briskly or does some exercise.

Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by pain in all parts of the body, emotional distress and fatigue. People who suffer from this condition perceive more pain than others because of the faulty pain perception and processing. It is estimated that 4 percent of the American population lives with the condition. As the pain is for life and opioids at best provide relief only for a short duration, and have high risks of abuse and addiction, one could check with the doctor if alternate medications (off the label) are productive. While therapeutic measures such as CBT are extremely helpful for relieving emotional pain, muscle strengthening exercises, yoga, massage and good sleeping habit can deflect the physical pain considerably.

Addiction prevention

Though opioids should best be avoided, in case the person suffers from a condition where its use is relevant, it is necessary that he/she follows the doctor’s recommendations. Practices such as crushing medications or using more than the standard dosage must be avoided.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Doctors Receiving Gifts From Pharma Companies Prescribing More Opioids, Says Study

The Hippocratic oath that doctors take before they dedicate their life to the noble profession of saving lives directs them to uphold specific ethical standards. Unfortunately though, many are influenced by the likes of Big Pharma, who could have a conflict of interest with the practitioners of medicine, as their primary aim to expand their business is against the doctor’s – to treat.

With the opioid epidemic causing thousands of fatalities year after year, a collusion between the medical fraternity and drug manufacturers is often blamed for it. Doctors have been questioned for prescribing opioid painkillers excessively even for the conditions that could be treated with alternatives. In a recent study by the Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center it was found that doctors who received gifts and other benefits in kind from pharma companies had been prescribing more opioids to their patients.

The study findings are significant as the government is under increased pressure to stem the crisis by hook or crook. The researchers have suggested that drug manufacturers should cease to market their products to physicians. They are also of the opinion that both federal and state governments should consider capping the number of payments that physicians could receive from the pharmaceutical companies.

Some significant findings of the study are as under:

The three companies associated with the most significant payments to clinicians were INSYS Therapeutics, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Janssen Pharmaceuticals. INSYS manufactures Subsys, a fentanyl-based product which comes in the form of a sublingual spray.

INSYS Therapeutics also accounted for 50 percent of the non-research payments. The perks that doctors received for furthering the cause of opioids were in the form of free meals, vacations, payments for speaking at seminars, etc. The company is now under federal investigation on charges of marketing the spray to doctors and patients under the guise of a “sham” educational program. The company has a history of facilitating drug abuse; a former employee had notified that the company engaged in malpractices such as using the speaker program to coerce more doctors to prescribe their product which should ideally be used only for cancer pain. Doctors wrote 30 million worth of the opiate prescriptions for Subsys.

In 2015, 369,139 doctors prescribed opioids under Medicare Part D. In the previous year, 25,767 (7 percent) of these doctors had received 105,368 non-research payments related to opioids amounting to over $9 million. Non-research related payments were linked with greater opioid prescribing practices, the researchers however cautioned against associating cause and effect.

Payments included speaking fees and/or honoraria amounting to more than $6 million for 3,115 physicians, meals amounting to nearly $2 million for 97,020 physicians, travel costs amounting to $730,824 for 1,862, consulting fees amounting to $290,395 for 360 physicians, and $79,660 on educating 3,011 physicians.

Help for opioid addiction

The opioid crisis is one of the worst public health emergencies the country has ever faced. It has been affecting millions of people across America directly or indirectly. Apart from the prescription opioids, which are considered as the number one public health hazard if used indiscriminately, benzodiazepines and other prescription drugs have also been partly responsible for the country’s grim situation.

Any prescription drug, be it benzos, opioids, or even the harmless cough syrup codeine, is associated with risks. So, while abuse of these is bad, even using the drugs with the doctor’s prescription without being aware of the side effects can be detrimental. Subsys for example was found to have a bad track record and ever since it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it has resulted in 63 deaths as per the Agency’s estimates. Therefore, when it comes to prescription drugs, it is better to ask the doctor about the consequences and ask if safer alternatives are available.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Ways Schools Can Fight A Drug Menace

A combination of factors, including the ease with which drugs can be procured, alienation and peer pressure, is driving American teens toward their abuse. As a result, adolescents in high school and college do drugs on the sly. In dorm and frat parties, it has become customary to pool all drugs – stolen from elder’s medicine cabinets, or procured from vendors or pill mills – before going on the adventure ride of a collective high. However, this fun and adventure comes at a cost. As most teens doing drugs are aware of the implications of the misdemeanor once caught, they do not report to the authorities in case a peer overdoses, resulting in tragic loss of young lives.

The problem of drug abuse has spread its deadly tentacles across schools, posing a significant threat to the future of children in terms of impact on their health, academics, career and personal life. In the wake of such a serious implication on the future of the society, many schools, despite the paucity of funds, have put together programs for spreading awareness and keeping drug abuse under check. While some approaches rely on prohibition and punishment, others stress on education and rehabilitation. The objective is to keep drugs off the campus and establish a solid foundation to empower individuals to resist such temptations.

As youngsters prefer engagement to long boring lectures, some of the means adopted by the schools are as follows:

Disseminating knowledge through antidrug assemblies: Antidrug assemblies are engaging means to showcase the grim consequences of drug-seeking habit. With addiction treatment doctors and recovering patients turning up as guest lecturers, students can have a realistic picture of how drugs take them away from their loved ones and cause impairment of cognitive skills, such as difficulty following instructions. Students get the opportunity to clarify their doubts during such sessions.

Educating children as early as possible: Considering the fact that most youths start doing drugs, smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol in school days, or when they are on the cusp of adolescence, it is the best time to drive home the dangers of doing drugs and other addictive substances.

Conducting self-reliance programs: Children who are confident about themselves are less likely to take drugs. Therefore, some programs stress on building the child’s self-reliance in all sorts of social situations. This helps them even under adverse peer pressure to not succumb to the temptation of doing drugs and say no to such activities firmly. Such programs are effective even in the long run as they teach children some essential life skills necessary for abstaining from drugs, alcohol, etc.

Stocking antidotes: As it makes no sense to shy away from the truth that youngsters, especially those in college, will be doing drugs irrespective of the controls, authorities are advised to stock up their supply of opioid overdose antidote naloxone.

Engaging children from families grappling with addiction: Instead of isolating a child with a problematic family, including members addicted to drugs, it is essential to engage him or her in all school or college activities. Irrespective of whether the child reports late to school or has problems with homework, a concerned and supportive school environment will mitigate the chances of the child falling into the same addiction cycle. Children of drug addicted families could also participate as guest lecturers in antidrug assemblies.

Focusing on building teen assertiveness: With the help of a trained child counselor and other professional services, schools could focus on providing training to teens to develop their assertiveness and emotional control level. This is not only handy in career building, but could also help the teen realize his or her worth. Teens who feel sad and befuddled have greater risks of taking drugs to feel successful or empowered.

Get help for drug addiction

Children run the increased risk of falling into the trap of drug addiction due to their emotional vulnerability and undeveloped brain still in the process of developing the key cognitive skills. It becomes essential for parents and teachers to listen and talk to their fears and emotional upheavals, rather than ignoring them as their tantrums.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off