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Combating the Epidemic Levels of Opiate Addiction

August 25th, 2016


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking new measures to combat our country’s opioid epidemic, which was described by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell as, “One of the most pressing public health issues in the United States.” The HHS’s new actions include the following:

Eliminating Potential Financial Incentives for Doctors Prescribing Opioids

In order to eliminate monetary incentives for prescribing opioids, HHS proposes removing pain management questions from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS)’s hospital payment calculation. The HCAHPS is a patient satisfaction survey required for all hospitals in the U.S., and it contains questions about pain management that are tied to Medicare payments to hospitals. This connection sometimes makes physicians feel pressured to overprescribe opioids. Removing the pain management questions from the hospital payment calculation would mean that the questions are still on the survey, but they no longer affect the payment to hospitals.

New Policy for Indian Health Service

In an effort to reduce inappropriate prescribing, HHS has also made adjustments to its Indian Health Service (IHS). IHS, which provides healthcare to Native American and Alaskan Native peoples, will now require prescribers and pharmacists to check their state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database before prescribing opioids. PDMP databases help identify patients who may have opioid misuse problems. IHS will also provide law enforcement officers with naloxone and train them on its proper use. Naloxone is an overdose-reversing drug that can quickly restore breathing that has stopped or slowed due to an opioid overdose.

The actions taken by HHS are a step forward in the U.S.’s battle against opioid misuse. Focusing on prevention and treatment is a great approach that even President Obama has committed to. In addition to these new measures, HHS announced that it will initiate over a dozen new scientific studies on opioid misuse and pain management. Expanding our knowledge on these topics will arm us with the right tools to fight the epidemic.

Opiate Addiction: There is Hope

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day, and half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription drug. Recovery from an opioid addiction is possible. If you or someone you love is struggling, help is available. Call us today at (877) 443-7342 . Our compassionate and knowledgeable admission counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.

Meta description: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services takes action against the country’s epidemic levels of opiate addiction.


Tips for Staying Sober this Fourth of July

June 29th, 2016

Tips For Staying Sober This Fourth of July

The day America celebrates its independence, The Fourth of July, is traditionally a day associated with barbecuing, fireworks and drinking. For those in recovery, especially early on, it can be a particularly difficult holiday to celebrate and enjoy in a safe and sober manner. Reminiscing on past times of drinking and revelry on The Fourth can be a big trigger toward relapse. Combine the memories of bygone Fourth of July’s with being surrounded by people drinking, and it can be even more dangerous to a person’s sobriety. With all of this going on, The Fourth can still be enjoyed in a safe and sober way. There are plenty of activities to do and new sober memories to be made.

Some of you may plan to enjoy the holiday with family and friends who are not in sobriety, and will be around alcohol. People are social creatures, and it can be a big trigger watching others drinking while abstaining from alcohol. When confronted with a situation that’s causing thoughts of drinking, just remember it’s okay to walk away and take a breather. Removing oneself from the situation to obtain a clear head can be a useful coping tool. Walk around the park or neighborhood for ten minutes until the urge to drink passes.

It’s also important to reach out to sober support and be honest about the feelings and thoughts that are occurring. If there is someone at the party who is a support, even if they are non-sober, don’t hesitate to speak with them about the situation as well. Worst case scenario, make sure you have an exit plan if the urge to drink does not cease, and the situation becomes overwhelming. Maintaining recovery should far exceed any need to stay in a situation that is causing relapse triggers.

Others may be planning to spend The Fourth amongst fellow people in recovery. Many AA/NA clubhouses and sober homes throw July Fourth celebrations where people can enjoy the day partaking in sober activities. Ask around at meetings and with friends, chances are people will know of a few different sober parties that will be occurring. The clubhouses will also be having meetings throughout the day during the festivities.

Most towns have family friendly firework shows where people are able to enjoy the day without being surrounded by drinking. It can be fun to get a group of friends together for some outdoor activities. Being surrounded by others enjoying the holiday sober will help alleviate any triggers of relapse that might arise and provide a positive outlet if support is needed.

Let the holiday become a celebration of the fun that can be had sober and allow it to become a time of fellowship and bonding with those you care about. Holidays, such as July Fourth, can be a trigger for many if they don’t take the little steps to make it a safe and sober celebration. It’s important to still enjoy holidays in recovery and learn new ways to do so.

Depression and Substance Abuse: Dealing with a Dual Diagnosis

May 30th, 2016

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression is often a gateway into substance abuse. Individuals suffering from depression may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to escape their negative emotions. Almost one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, drinking and using drugs only makes depression worse in the long run.

What comes first –the depression or the substance use? It’s difficult to discern whether substance use leads to depression, or if people drink and drug because they feel depressed. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, roughly 20% of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, have a substance use disorder. And about 20% of those with a substance use disorder also have an anxiety or mood disorder.

More about Depression

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and only about 50% of these people will ever receive treatment. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Unlike ordinary sadness, which may occur temporarily after a loss or major life event, the symptoms of depression occur nearly every day for weeks – and sometimes months or years – interfering with every aspect of a person’s life. Depression can increase the risk of chronic illness – including substance abuse.

People often think that using drugs and alcohol may relieve their depression symptoms, but chemical intoxication actually makes depressive episodes worse, increasing the frequency and intensity of symptoms.

Treating Depression and Substance Use

Solely treating one disorder will not eliminate the other. For example, treating the substance abuse will not help with the depression. Instead, it is necessary to treat both disorders together, particularly to decrease the chance of relapse. It is best to enter an integrated dual diagnosis program that will address both the substance use and the depression.

The Treatment Center’s intensive dual diagnosis treatment program will help you recover from substance abuse and mental illness. With the proper treatment, you can find freedom from addiction and relief from depression. For more information on our dual diagnosis program, call (877) 392-3342. Our admissions counselors are prepared to answer any questions you may have on how we can help you or your loved one.

What You Need to Know

• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
• Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide
• Nearly one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem
• If you are struggling with both depression and substance abuse, it is essential to enter an integrated dual diagnosis treatment program

Codependency (Part II): The Characteristics of Codependent Behavior

May 23rd, 2016

The Patterns and Characteristics of Codependent Behavior

Codependency: The Characteristics of Codependent Behaviors

This is Part 2 of our codependency series. If you missed Part 1, check it out here.

One of the major problems seen in the families of addicts is codependency. Codependency is a set of dysfunctional behaviors that family members adopt in order to survive the emotional pain and stress caused by living with an addicted family member. Do you believe that love, acceptance, security and approval are dependent upon taking care of your addicted family member? While such actions may temporarily ease conflict and tension within the family, in the end they protect the addict from the negative consequences of his/her addiction allowing the addict to continue drinking or abusing chemical substances.

Codependency does not refer to all caring behavior. In a healthy relationship, showing compassion by attending to another’s needs strengthens the relationship and leads to mutual appreciation, good communication, deeper intimacy and trust. However, the compassionate person never loses sight of who they are and recognizes that their own needs are of equal importance.
In the case of the codependent person, their identity rests upon their ability to rescue others. Often they are dependent on another’s inability to function and are unconsciously drawn to troubled, needy and dependent people. Obsessive care taking becomes a way of fulfilling their emotional needs. While intentions are well meant, these repeated rescue attempts allow the needy individual, in this case the addict, to continue on a destructive path.

The Cost of Codependency

Unlike compassion, codependency is associated with an overwhelming feeling of guilt; guilt is often the motivating factor for decisions and behaviors within the relationship, even though they don’t make any logical sense.

There are many definitions of co-dependency. In his book Co-dependence, Healing the Human Condition, Charles L. Whitfield, M.D. defines codependence as “A disease of lost selfhood.” Often, codependency is rooted in a person’s childhood. Exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to current destructive behavioral patterns need to be examined. Treatment includes education, experiential and individual group therapy. Feelings that have been buried need to be examined in order for the codependent to retrace and identify self-defeating behavioral patterns.

Does someone you love abuse drugs and alcohol? Are you filled with despair and worry about this person constantly? Has your life become controlled by the addict’s addictive behavior? If you answer yes to these questions, know that help is at hand. The first step is acknowledging that you need help. Joining a 12-Step program such as Codependents Anonymous, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon is a good beginning. Seeking the help of a professional therapist is also highly recommended.

Characteristics of Codependent Behavior

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you so absorbed in trying to stop your loved one’s dependence on alcohol or chemical substances to the point that your own life has now become unmanageable?
  • Does every moment of your waking day revolve around attempts to rescue, to control, to take on responsibilities that in reality are not yours to take on?
  • Do you find yourself, ranting and raging, complaining, policing, nagging the alcoholic/drug addicted family member?
  • Have you felt overwhelming fatigue?
  • Do you feel victimized?
  • Do you feel depressed?
  • Do you feel helpless and hopeless?
  • Are you experiencing a wide range of emotions that have begun to disturb you to the point that obtaining a good night’s sleep is nigh impossible?
  • Are you neglecting your own life and in so doing have stopped taking care of yourself?
  • Do you constantly feel responsible for others behavior?
  • Do you feel excessive guilt whenever you spend time on your own projects believing that your role is to take care of others needs?
  • Do you have difficulty expressing your own wants? Do you find yourself becoming angry when your own needs are unmet?
  • Do you seek approval and validation?
  • Have you become totally absorbed to the point of obsession with watching over and covering up for someone who is abusing drugs and alcohol?
  • Do you have difficulty setting boundaries – saying NO?
  • Are you driven by fear of failure and the need to avoid being wrong or making any mistakes?
  • Are you losing your own identity in trying to rescue and fix others?
  • Do you pretend that circumstances aren’t as bad as they are?
  • Are you in a constant state of anxiety?

Could you be Codependent?

In her book, Codependent No More, Melody Beattie describes codependency as follows: “A person who has let someone else’s behavior affect him or her, and is obsessed with controlling other people’s behavior” (Beattie 1987). My question to you is “Have you allowed someone else’s behavior to take control of your life?” If so, it is possible to learn to enjoy life again, to learn to detach with love. Make a plan to embark on your own recovery journey — you will find it to be an exciting and empowering voyage of discovery.

By Judi Jenett

Judi Jenett is the Family Program Coordinator for The Treatment Center.

Judi's pic

Mental Health and Wellness: 8 Steps That Make a Big Difference

May 20th, 2016

Improving Your Mental Health and Wellness

Mental Health and Wellness

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), wellness is not the absence of disease, illness or stress; rather, wellness is the presence of a purposeful life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, healthy and joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, and happiness. SAMHSA’s definition of wellness is: “maintaining an overall quality of life and the pursuit of optimal emotional, mental and physical health.”

For people with, or at risk for, behavioral health conditions, focusing on mental health and wellness is particularly vital. It is equally important to focus on our mental health as it is to focus on our physical health. There are many ways to improve or maintain mental health and wellness, but what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to figure out what works best for you and your specific situation. The following are eight tips for mental wellness:

  1. Connection: Research has demonstrated the benefits of social connections, which include happiness, better health, and a longer life
  2. Physical Activity: Daily physical activity can help your mood by decreasing stress, anger and tension, as well as reducing anxiety and depression.
  3. A Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet boosts your energy and fuels your brain, and good nutrition can help in times of stress.
  4. Plenty of Rest: If you get enough sleep each night, you’re more likely to perform better and enjoy greater well-being.
  5. Think Positively and Practice Gratitude: Thinking negative thoughts can bring down our moods and even our health. Instead, try practicing gratitude and thinking positively.
  6. Help Others: Research indicates that those who help other people experience less depression, fewer pains, and better health.
  7. Create Joy in Your Life: Laughter decreases pain and promotes muscle relaxation. Creating feel-good experiences in your life can improve your ability to bounce back from stress, solve problems and think positively.
  8. Seek Professional Help if You Need It: Professional help can make a major difference. You do not have to be in a crisis to reach out for help. A mental health professional can help you with problem solving and coping strategies.

It is a common misconception that only people with mental illnesses should pay attention to their mental health. But the truth is that our emotions, attitudes and thoughts affect our productivity, energy and overall health. Focusing on our mental wellness strengthens our ability to cope and deal with situations, whether they are minor or serious. We all can take simple steps that make a big difference in promoting our health and well-being.

Preventing and Treating Opioid Abuse

May 18th, 2016

Furanyl Fentanyl: A Dangerous New Opioid

Preventing and Treating Opioid Abuse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. In the last several years, the United States has witnessed an increase in overdose deaths, particularly as they relate to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. We have recently discussed the dangers of fentanyl in one of our blogs, but information is surfacing that there is a new form of deadly fentanyl circulating. Chinese laboratories are producing and selling a new form of fentanyl – called furanyl fentanyl – to get around China’s recent export ban on the synthetic drug that is responsible for thousands of overdose deaths across the United States.

Furanyl fentanyl is a slightly altered version of fentanyl that is not currently on the United States’ government’s list of controlled substances. This means that the slightly tweaked version of fentanyl is technically legal for dealers to sell. The United States is moving quickly to ban the new fentanyl product. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) spokesman Russell Baer stated that the DEA plans to classify furanyl fentanyl as an analog to fentanyl, which means that the altered version would be treated in the same fashion as fentanyl.

The chemical structure of furanyl fentanyl and its effect on the body’s central nervous system is nearly identical to that of fentanyl. Last fall, China banned more than 116 synthetic drugs, which included other analogs of fentanyl, such as acetyl fentanyl. As soon as the ban was imposed, furanyl fentanyl began to appear in the United States. Furanyl fentanyl was recently identified as the cause of death in a fatal overdose of a 30-year-old-man in Illinois. This is apparently the first public reporting of a case in which furanyl fentanyl caused a deadly overdose.

Opioid Abuse Prevention

According to the CDC, at least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. While the best form of opioid abuse prevention would be to recommend abstinence, we cannot stop people from taking opioid medications for pain. What we can do is educate families on the risks of opioid abuse and provide early interventions before an individual loses everything to their dependency.

The negative side effects, potential for abuse and fatal nature of prescription opioids are well-documented. If you have been prescribed prescription opioids and are concerned about the possibility of dependency, we urge you to get a second opinion regarding non-opioid alternatives for chronic pain, including holistic therapies, such as cold laser therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture. Help is available and recovery from an opioid dependency is possible.

Freedom from Addiction

If you are considering whether or not you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid dependency, we urge you to seek help now. Opioid abuse and addiction is deadly, so it is essential that you reach out for help as soon as possible.

At The Treatment Center, we utilize top-notch holistic therapies to treat pain without the use of narcotics. We will provide you with an assessment of your health, as well as an understanding that there are treatment alternatives to prescription painkillers. If you are already stuck in the vicious cycle of opioid use and need professional inpatient detoxification services, the experienced medical staff at The Treatment Center will help you detox safely. We will help you learn a new way to live, without abusing drugs and alcohol. Do not delay any longer – reach out for help today. Call The Treatment Center at (877) 443-7342, or chat with an admissions counselor online.

What You Need to Know:

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid narcotic — a prescription drug primarily used for cancer patients in severe pain
  • Fentanyl is 50-100 times more toxic than morphine
  • Overdose deaths related to fentanyl have been on the rise because it is often sold as heroin
  • In China, fentanyl continues to be altered slightly to get around export bans — e.g., furanyl fentanyl
  • There are non-narcotic alternatives for treating chronic pain
  • Recovery from an opioid dependency is possible

National Prevention Week: May 15-21, 2016

May 16th, 2016

SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week: Strong as One, Stronger Together

National Prevention Week

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week occurs May 15-21, 2016. National Prevention Week is an annual observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. The theme for this year is: “Strong as One. Stronger Together.” According to SAMHSA, there are three primary goals of National Prevention Week: to involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues, to foster relationships with federal agencies and national organizations and to promote and distribute quality resources and publications regarding behavioral health.

This year, the daily themes of SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week are as follows:
• Monday, May 16: Prevention of Tobacco Use
• Tuesday, May 17: Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse
• Wednesday, May 18: Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse
• Thursday, May 19: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use
• Friday, May 20: Prevention of Suicide
• Saturday, May 21: Promotion of Mental Health and Wellness

Prevalence of Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues and Substance Abuse

Approximately 37% of individuals with alcoholism and 53% of individuals suffering from drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And according to SAMHSA, approximately 7.9 million adults in the United States had co-occurring disorders in 2014. More than 50% of those with a dual diagnosis did not receive any treatment to help them progress in their recovery. More men than women are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, but the percentage of females living with a dual diagnosis has increased in recent years (SAMHSA). Of the almost 3 million adults employed and living with a dual diagnosis, only about 40% received any treatment for either disorder, and less than 5% received treatment for both issues.

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

Mental and substance use disorders have a powerful effect on the health of individuals, their families and their communities. These disorders are among the top conditions that lead to disability and result in significant costs to families, employers and publicly funded health systems.

Preventing mental and/or substance use disorders in children, adolescents and young adults is critical to Americans’ physical and behavioral health as a whole. People with a mental health disorder are more likely to use drugs and alcohol than those not suffering from a mental illness. Symptoms that signal the development of a behavioral disorder typically manifest two to four years before a disorder surfaces. If families and communities can intervene early, behavioral health disorders may be prevented altogether. Data shows that early intervention following the first episode of a serious mental illness can also make an impact.

“I’m Already Struggling, What Can I Do?”

If you are struggling with addiction and mental illness, help is available and recovery is possible. It is never “too late” to seek help for a mental or substance use disorder. Reaching out to a loved one and a behavioral health professional is the first step in preventing or recovering from mental health and/or substance use disorders. Professionals can help you receive the treatment you need to recover from both mental illness and addiction. They may suggest you attend an inpatient program, or they may recommend treatment in an outpatient setting. Regardless of how far along you are in your disorder, help is available.

Find Freedom from Mental Illness and Addiction

By being aware of the signs and symptoms of behavioral health disorders, we can help individuals receive the help they need before their struggles progress into full-blown mental health or substance use disorders.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with mental illness or substance abuse, reach out for help today. Call The Treatment Center at (877) 443-7342. We have compassionate and experienced admissions counselors prepared to answer any questions you may have on how we can help you or your loved one.

Prince’s Tragic Death and the Perils of Opiate Addiction

May 9th, 2016

Prince’s Death Spotlights Opiate Addiction

Prince's Tragic Death and the Perils of Opiate Addiction

In the final weeks before his death, Prince’s struggles with opiate addiction were spiraling out of control as he arranged to meet with Howard Kornfield, a prominent California doctor who specializes in treating addiction. Toxicology reports will not be available for several weeks, but law enforcement officials and investigators are exploring the probability that Prince died from an overdose and whether a doctor was prescribing him drugs in the week before his death. Prince had rescheduled concerts in the days before his death, citing illness.

The day before he died, Prince’s representatives reached out to Howard Kornfield to set up an initial meeting between the two, said Kornfield’s attorney, William Mauzy. Because Kornfield couldn’t leave right away, he sent his son, Andrew, who took a red eye flight that night. According to officials, it was Andrew Kornfield who called 911 the next morning after he and two staff members found Prince unresponsive in an elevator at his studio complex in Paisley Park. Prince was declared dead shortly after on April 21, 2016.

Dr. Howard Kornfield hoped to get Prince stabilized in Minnesota and then fly him to California to his addiction treatment center, Recovery Without Walls. Mauzy declared that Andrew Kornfield was carrying a small amount of buprenorphine, a long-acting opioid similar to methadone, which he planned to give to the Minnesota doctor who was scheduled to see Prince that day. The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration are joining with local officials in investigating Prince’s death.

The Dangers of Opiate Addiction

Prince’s death is a tragic reminder of the importance of seeking addiction treatment for an opiate addiction as soon as possible. Addiction is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease if left untreated. With the appropriate treatment and support, recovery is possible. But left untreated, addiction is a deadly disease.

If there is even an inkling that you or a loved one may be suffering from addiction, it is essential that you reach out for help immediately. Opioids, primarily prescription painkillers and heroin, are the primary drugs associated with overdose deaths. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014, opioids were involved in 28,647 deaths, or 61% of all drug overdose deaths. The most common drugs involved in prescription opioid overdose deaths include: methadone, oxycodone (e.g. OxyContin) and hydrocodone (e.g. Vicodin).

Unfortunately, it is far too easy to become addicted to opiates. Millions of people turn to prescription painkillers to treat their health conditions, but millions more end up taking them for non-medical use. There are signs of opiate abuse and addiction that you should be aware of.

Reasons to Seek Help Now

What are some of the reasons to seek addiction help now?

1) Addiction is progressive: This means that over time, addiction gets worse, never better. The longer you abuse drugs and alcohol, the stronger your addiction becomes. Detoxing is never easy, but it will be easier today than in the future. The chemical changes that occur in your brain due to prolonged substance abuse make it nearly impossible to stop using on your own. This is not about willpower or good intentions; rather, addiction is a disease.

2) You can seek help at any point in your addiction: You do not have to wait until a catastrophic event happens. You hit bottom when you stop digging. Perhaps you have already experienced serious consequences, or maybe you have a lot of “yets.” Either way, the longer you remain in active addiction, the worse your consequences will become. You do not need to wait until you’re “sick enough” to seek treatment – if you are addicted to drugs and alcohol, the time to seek help is now.

3) It’s okay to not be 100% sure you want recovery: Treatment is a safe space for you to explore how much better your life can be without drugs and alcohol. Once you have finished detoxing and the haze of drugs and alcohol has lifted, your thinking will become much clearer. Rehab will provide you with the tools and support you need to stop using drugs and alcohol and begin a new life in recovery.

4) Addiction is a deadly disease: We cannot say it enough – this disease is taking lives each and every day. Each day that you are in active addiction, you are jeopardizing your health. This is not a scare tactic to get you into treatment; it is simply the unfortunate truth. There are more deaths, illness and disabilities attributed to substance abuse than from any other preventable health condition.

Recovery Is Possible

Recovery from addiction is possible. If you are questioning whether or not you have a substance abuse problem, reach out for help today. Talk to a loved one, a doctor or an addiction specialist about your concerns. If you are a loved one of an addict, help is available for you too. We urge you to seek help now.

Counterfeit Fentanyl-Laced Prescription Drugs: Deadly New Trend

May 3rd, 2016

Fentanyl-Laced Prescription Drugs: A Rising Problem

Fentanyl-Laced Prescription Drugs

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently warned the public about fake prescription drugs laced with fentanyl. Counterfeit pain and anxiety medications are being sold on the streets that actually contain fentanyl, a drug that is 25-50 times stronger than heroin. The pills are being disguised as common prescription drugs such as Percocet, Norco and Xanax, and are much cheaper than the real versions. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that some of these pills are manufactured in China and then smuggled into the United States.

Many communities are warning the public about the counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl. In March 2016, street Norco pills laced with fentanyl were responsible for at least 12 fatal overdoses in Sacramento County in just 48 hours. The situation in Sacramento County has gotten so serious that the public health department has started releasing overdose and death updates three times a week.

Deaths caused by fentanyl-laced heroin have skyrocketed throughout the nation. Law enforcement officials have found that illicit varieties of fentanyl from Mexico and China are flooding the streets. Fentanyl began showing up laced in heroin around 2014, but by 2015, drug dealers were selling pure fentanyl disguised as heroin.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an anesthetic and an analgesic used to manage severe pain after surgery. It is also commonly used to treat chronic pain. In recent years, the United States has seen fentanyl-laced heroin pop up around the country. Fentanyl is often mixed with heroin to get a longer lasting high, but unfortunately, fentanyl is often the cause of overdose due to its high potency.

The side effects of fentanyl include: nausea and vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, lethargy, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, unconsciousness and deadly overdose. Fentanyl overdoses can be reversed if Narcan, the overdose-reversal drug, is administered promptly. In many states, naloxone is being distributed to injection drug users and other laypersons to use in case of an overdose.

What to Do About this Deadly Trend?

The DEA’s current plan to fight the fentanyl trend is to use traditional methods of disrupting drug cartel operations. The DEA also plans to educate the public and promote awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. On April 30, 2016, the DEA hosted National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. This initiative is successful both in urging Americans to get rid of their prescription drugs and as a way to educate the public about the dangers of prescription pills. The DEA and CDC are also trying to communicate with the medical community about safer prescribing methods. In March 2016, the CDC issued its first guidelines for limiting the availability of prescription painkillers. They urged medical professionals to rely on non-opioid options if possible and to limit the amount of pills in opioid prescriptions.

Help is Available

Addiction is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease if left untreated, but there is hope. If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, help is available and recovery is possible at The Treatment Center. Addiction does not have to be a life sentence. With the appropriate treatment and support, you, too, can recover from your addiction and thrive in recovery. For additional information on how we can help you, call us now at (877) 392-3342.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day: April 30, 2016

April 29th, 2016

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is on April 30th from 10:00AM-2:00PM. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has partnered with federal, state and local law enforcement to collect any unwanted prescription medications for safe disposal. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day provides a safe, responsible and convenient way for disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the public about the potential for abuse of prescription medications. To find a collection site near you, go to this website.

The DEA has spearheaded this effort in order to prevent misuse of controlled substances such as prescription opioids (e.g. OxyContin) and benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanax). According to DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg, “most prescription drug abusers get their pills from friends and family, including from the household medicine cabinet.”

The Dangers of Prescription Drugs

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States has experienced a 137% increase in overall drug overdose deaths between 2010 and 2014, and a 200% increase in the amount of opioid-related fatalities. In 2014, 47,055 people died from drug overdoses and 28,647 were due to some type of opioid. Limiting the availability of opioids is one component of a national plan to prevent drug diversion and misuse.

According to the report, more people died from drug overdoses in the United States in 2014 than during any previous year on record. In 2014, there were roughly one-and-a-half times more drug overdose deaths in the country than deaths from motor vehicle crashes. The CDC is working hard to reverse the epidemic of opioid drug overdose deaths by improving safer prescribing of prescription opioids and educating the public on the dangers of prescription opioids.

Prescription Drug Detoxification

Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is a great way to get rid of the prescription medications that are taking over your life. But detoxing from prescription medications on your own without any medical supervision can be dangerous. Based on the type of drugs abused and the length of use, you may have negative reactions that could worsen your condition. Withdrawal symptoms from prescription drugs can give you physical and psychological side effects, including: muscle and joint pain, restlessness/insomnia, tremors/seizures, hallucinations/paranoia, cardiac arrest, and death.

It is very important that you seek medical supervision, which will make the detox process safer and more comfortable for you. At The Treatment Center, we can help you overcome your dependence on prescription drugs.

Recovery Is Possible

Fortunately, help is available for those struggling with prescription drug abuse at The Treatment Center. Our highly trained, compassionate, and experienced addiction professionals understand the complexities of prescription drug abuse. We are prepared to help you every step of the recovery journey, from detoxification to outpatient treatment and aftercare services. Reach out to us today at (877) 392-3342, or chat with admissions counselor online. We are available to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

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the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval.