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Archive for the ‘Prescription Painkillers’ Category

Norco Pain Pills Are A Gateway For Addiction

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Commonly Prescribed Norco Pain Pills, A Gateway for Addiction, What Are Norco Painkillers

The United States has been in the midst of a drug abuse problem for years, but it has grown to an epidemic status in recent years due to legal painkiller over-prescription and abuse. Commonly prescribed opioid painkillers include Vicodin, Percocet, and one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers: Norco.

What Are Norco Painkillers?

Norco is the brand name for a mixture of hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen, making for an opioid analgesic used to treat moderate-to-severe pain and discomfort. Hydrocodone is a controlled substance, and it’s only available with a valid prescription in the United States, though studies have shown that doctors are prescribing more hydrocodone-based medications every year.

Why Have Opioid Prescriptions Increased In Recent Years?

The increase of prescription opioids in recent years has been linked to several variables. First, the abuse of painkillers has become more common. Studies have shown that there has been an increase in the recreational use of prescription drugs in general, with opiate-based painkillers seeing the largest increase in abuse statistics. Second, studies have documented a general rise in the overall prescription rates per patient, meaning that more individuals are taking painkillers on a regular basis and for extended amount of times.

A Gateway To Opioid Addiction

Opiate-based medications are highly addictive, with a serious dependence on the drug being possible within months or even weeks of prolonged use. The longer these drugs are used, the stronger the addiction and dependence becomes. While the extended use of painkillers is often very necessary for chronic pain in certain patients, statistics show that long-term prescriptions have increased exponentially – hinting at over-prescription rather than an increased need.

While some serious diseases require strong pain medication – such as morphine or fentanyl patches – Norco and hydrocodone pills are generally prescribed for less serious procedures and short-term pain relief. Common reasons for the prescription of opioid painkillers range from dental procedures and oral surgery to broken bokes and mild-to-moderate chronic pain.

Opioid painkillers can become a gateway to addiction in 2 main ways:

  1. Extended Use of Painkillers: For most minor procedures that permit the prescription of Norco and other comparable painkillers, doctors surmise that the patient should be out of the discomfort and pain requiring doses in roughly 7-10 days. Though doctors recommend this specific time frame, it is very much up to the patient to follow through and work toward getting off the medication.
    Very often, patients who have anxiety about pain levels will not taper off their drug usage, and rather will continue to take the medication for several weeks. Sometimes this leads to the patient missing his or her window of opportunity to taper off the drugs without any harsh side effects or symptoms of dependence.
    At this point, the roots of addiction have already taken hold, and will likely cause the individual to actively search for more drugs or keep the prescriptions coming by exaggerating his or pain levels. In recent years, doctors and addiction medicine specialists have seen a large increase in patients citing this form of “extended use” as the root of their addiction.
  2. Recreational Prescription Drug Abuse: Another often-cited root of opioid addiction comes from using the drugs as purely recreational, and never related to any treatment for pain or discomfort. Teens and young adults are often found in this category – purchasing the prescription pills from friends or on the streets, or taking leftover painkillers from household medicine cabinets.

The recreational abuse of Norco and other painkillers is truly playing with fire, because just as quickly as addiction and dependence can sneak up with extended medical use of the drugs, it can sneak up just as quickly with only a few weeks of recreational use.

Though this is often seen in young adults and teens, addiction due to recreation painkiller abuse is being seen more in the age ranges of 30 to 45, and even in seniors 65 or older. The reasons adults begin to abuse prescription painkillers are varied, but no age group is invincible from drug dependence and addiction.

How Opioid Painkillers Can Lead To Stronger Drugs

In the United States, not only do we have rampant prescription drug use ravaging the country, we have also seen a uniform increase in heroin abuse, addiction, overdoses and deaths.

Why does the rate of heroin abuse and prescription painkiller abuse rise in relation to each other? Both are made from opium, have similar chemical structures, work on the same pleasure-related regions of our brains, and – the most important factor – each drug can be a supplement for the other during withdrawal. In short, an individual suffering from hydrocodone and prescription opioid withdrawal symptoms can satisfy the cravings by using heroin, while heroin addicts can allay their withdrawal symptoms with painkillers.

With heroin and prescription opioids being two different types of essentially the same kind of drug, you will see the figures for the abuse of both rise together. The most troubling evidence of this is seen in those that unwittingly became dependent on legitimately prescribed opioid painkillers, and have resorted to using heroin after the prescription drugs were no longer available. Drug treatment centers and counselors in Florida and across the United States have seen an increase in patients seeking treatment for heroin addiction that originally started as addiction to painkillers and opioids.

How Do We Treat And Prevent Opioid Addiction?

If there is any silver lining to the fact we have more people in our country addicted to heroin and prescription opioids than ever before, it is the fact the issue cannot be ignored any longer. Also, we now know we have to take real steps to not only treat those who have already become addicted, but to prevent anyone else from getting swept up in this epidemic.

Lawmakers, medical professionals and addiction counselors are all doing their part to raise awareness about this national emergency, as well as studying further into the root causes of addiction and how to effectively treat it.

Prescription drug drop-off events are becoming quite regular all over the country, a frontline in preventing the initial abuse of prescription drugs. Opioid monitoring programs have been implemented in many states to keep track of not only how often individuals are being prescribed dangerous drugs, but also how often individual doctors are prescribing these drugs to their patients.

Doctor shopping laws have also taken hold in certain states, which promotes record keeping between prescribers to better recognize those that are doctor shopping – or seeing multiple doctors with the intent of being prescribed more pills.

As for the treatment of withdrawal symptoms associated with detox from opioids, the process is getting easier with the help of new medications that ease the symptoms, coupled with new forms of counseling and medically sound rehabilitation.

What is needed most of all is wider knowledge of just how dangerous and addictive hydrocodone combinations such as Norco, Lortab and Vicodin can be if misused, and to teach the importance of reducing the longevity of use of painkillers to avoid dependence.

For those that the disease of addiction has already touched, it is important to seek treatment as early into the addiction as possible. A full recovery from opioid and dependence IS POSSIBLE, and it starts with admitting the problem and accepting any help that is available.

Your Recovery From Prescription Opioids And Painkillers Can Start Today

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Treating Pain Without Opiates

Friday, August 26th, 2016

Treating Pain Without Opiates

After having surgery, Ted found himself in a great deal of pain and was prescribed Opiates to help manage his discomfort. Although the painkillers helped at first, they soon became a problem. It became clear Ted wasn’t going to be able to stop using the opiates on his own, so his wife and children found The Treatment Center online and called for help.

While under our care, Ted benefitted greatly from the pain management program, which provides evidence-based treatment for pain sufferers by offering a variety of holistic therapies. These holistic methods helped Ted manage his pain with treatments like massages, acupuncture, laser therapy, hot rocks and chiropractic services. Holistic therapies are also designed to reduce cravings, help with anxiety, promote relaxation and encourage general wellness.

In this video, Ted shares how his life has been renewed and his gratitude towards The Treatment Center. Watch his Hope Diaries video to hear his full story:

“With therapy, the chiropractor, and the massages, it’s the way to go to stay away from the opioids. Because those pills, they help you at first, but in the long run, all they’re doing is hurting you.

Hello, my name’s Ted, and before The Treatment Center, I was in really bad pain.

When it all started, I had surgery and it just progressed from there. They kept feeding me pain pills and I didn’t understand the pain pills at the time. It just got to the point, over a six-year period, I woke up one morning and man, I was out. I just couldn’t handle the withdrawal that I was going through.

So my wife called my kids over and they did an intervention, got online, and found The Treatment Center. They got me here and since I’ve been here, I have learned a lot about opiates: what they

really do, what it does to the brain, and what the brain does to compensate for the pain pill.

I’m a firm believer in that because of the treatment that The Treatment Center has found for me, which is in the holistic part of it. I go through acupuncture, hot rocks, laser therapy and the chiropractor.

Then the massages that they give here, I get up off the table I feel like I’m floating.

They’ve done a number on me to where I don’t feel as if I need another surgery. I don’t feel as if I need the rods and screws and all that stuff put in my back. It’s really been a Godsend and I’d like to thank them for that. They’ve done a lot for me and I hope they can do more for more people that’s coming through.

If you really want to get off your addiction, get away from it and get your life back, I highly recommend you call The Treatment Center. For what it’s done for me, I know it can do for you.”

Combating the Epidemic Levels of Opiate Addiction

Thursday, 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.

Tips on Preventing and Treating Opioid Abuse

Wednesday, 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

Prince’s Tragic Death and the Perils of Opiate Addiction

Monday, 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

Tuesday, 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

Friday, 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.

President Obama Addresses Addiction as a Health Problem

Monday, April 4th, 2016

President Obama Addresses Addiction as a Health Problem

On March 29, 2016, President Barack Obama spoke at a National Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia. At the summit, Obama committed to tackling the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation by focusing on prevention and treatment, rather than on dated “war on drugs” policies. Obama emphasized the importance of altering the lens in which we view drug addiction. Instead of looking at substance abuse as a criminal problem, President Obama suggested that we view addiction as a health problem.

Changing the Discourse on Addiction

Obama’s statements build on this month’s congressional movements to change the political discourse regarding addiction and to allocate government funds to fight the opioid overdose epidemic in the United States. Historically, addiction has been viewed as a criminal problem, not as a public health concern. The Obama administration is working to overturn that perspective on addiction and shift it towards a health concern. Obama stated, “If we treat addiction like a crime, we aren’t doing anything scientific and it’s ineffective.”

In many societies, substance abuse became heavily criminalized due to the belief that addicts and alcoholics were immoral, weak in character, selfish, and lacked self-control. In essence, addiction was seen as a moral issue. Over the years, advocates have worked tirelessly to convince the public that addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. They attempted to change the approach to treating addiction from a punitive approach to a more rehabilitative one.

Obama said that historically, addiction has not been viewed as a public health concern, primarily because it was believed to affect “the poor and minorities.” Addiction was seen as a character flaw, rather than as a disease affecting people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

Taking Steps to Tackle the Opioid Epidemic

The Obama administration has taken steps to expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. According to Michael Botticelli, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, “research clearly shows that [the medication-assisted treatment] approach, when combined with behavioral therapies, is more effective at sustaining recovery and preventing overdose.” The Obama administration plans to expand access to treatment by issuing $94 million to 271 community health centers across the country to increase substance abuse treatment, with a focus on expanding medication-assisted treatment in underserved communities.

In addition, President Obama signed a memorandum calling for the creation of an interagency task force to expand access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) will soon release a new $11 million funding opportunity to states to purchase and distribute naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug.

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its guidelines for prescribing opioids for chronic pain. It was the CDC’s first-ever recommendations for primary care physicians on prescribing opioids. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently announced safety-labeling changes for all immediate-release opioid pain medications, which included requiring a new warning about the serious risks of opioid abuse, opioid addiction, and opioid overdose deaths. As evidenced above, the White House and several government agencies are working hard to combat the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic affecting the United States. Addiction is a chronic, progressive and fatal disease if left untreated, but recovery from opioid addiction is possible. With treatment and support, you or your loved one can recover from opioid use disorder.

Recovery is Possible

Are you or a loved one struggling with drug addiction? If so, help is available. Individuals struggling with substance abuse can experience hope and healing at The Treatment Center. We offer a variety of treatment programs, services, and therapies to best suit the needs of each individual patient. To find out more about our facility, contact us today at 877.392.3342, or chat with an admissions counselor online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

CDC Urges Against Prescribing Opiates for Chronic Pain

Monday, March 28th, 2016

CDC Urges Against Prescribing Opiates for Chronic Pain

On March 15, 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged doctors to avoid prescribing powerful opiate painkillers for patients with chronic pain given that the risks for taking such drugs far outweigh the benefits for most people. The CDC is taking action to combat the nation’s fatal prescription painkiller epidemic.

The new CDC guidelines include an exception for patients receiving cancer treatment or end-of-life care. If doctors determine that such painkillers are necessary in other situations, the CDC suggests that doctors prescribe the lowest possible dose for the shortest amount of time.

The Dangers of Prescription Painkillers

According to the CDC, roughly 40 Americans die each day from overdosing on prescription painkillers. In 2013 alone, an estimated 1.9 million Americans abused or were dependent on prescription opiates. CDC director, Thomas Frieden, commented, “We know of no other medication routinely used for a nonfatal condition that kills patients so frequently…These are really dangerous medications that carry the risk of addiction and death.” Many prescription opiates are as addictive as heroin and poorly control chronic pain.

The CDC hopes their new guidelines, directed to primary care physicians who prescribe nearly half of the opiates, will help doctors determine better practices for prescribing prescription painkillers. Although doctors aren’t legally obligated to follow the guidelines, such directives often have a significant influence. For the first time, the government is communicating that the practice of treating non-fatal pain conditions with long-term opioids is dangerous and inappropriate. Andrew Kolodny, executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, called the guidelines a “game changer.”

Nonopioid Therapy for Chronic Pain

The CDC recommends nonopioid therapy to treat chronic pain outside cancer, palliative and end-of-life care. What types of nonopioid therapy exist for chronic pain? The Treatment Center’s outpatient care center, Restore, provides evidence-based treatments for chronic pain sufferers by offering a wide variety of holistic treatment services. We believe in teaching our patients how to safely and effectively manage their chronic pain. Our alternative pain therapies include chiropractic care, cold laser therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, traditional physical therapy, yoga and meditation:

  • Chiropractic care: Can increase mobility in your neck, back, legs, and arms; relieves stress, tension, and headaches you may experience when quitting narcotic painkillers
  • Cold laser therapy: Effective in reducing joint inflammation and muscle spasms; also increases the effectiveness of chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture: Useful in treating depression and insomnia; reduces drug cravings without the use of other prescription drugs
  • Massage therapy: Can ease anxiety and muscle tension; promotes restful sleep
  • Physical therapy: Can improve your physical health and mobility, particularly if you experience chronic pain or have endured an injury
  • Yoga: Boosts self-esteem; improves physical strength; improves mind-body-spirit connection
  • Meditation: Can improve your ability to cope with stressful situations; promotes feelings of calmness and happiness

At The Treatment Center, we believe that holistic therapies are an essential component to an effective pain recovery plan. Our pain management program will teach you safe and effective ways to manage your chronic pain. With the proper treatment and support, it is possible to learn how to manage your pain without depending on opiate medications.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, help is available. The Treatment Center is here to help suffering individuals find lasting recovery. Call our 24-hour confidential helpline today at 877.392.3342. Our compassionate and knowledgeable admissions staff will find you the appropriate help you need to combat your addiction.

CARA Senate Bill Passed 94-1 to Combat Opiate Addiction

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

CARA Senate Bill Passed 94-1 to Combat Opiate Addiction

Our Nation’s Opioid Epidemic

On March 10, 2016, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) Senate bill passed 94-1 to combat opiate addiction. The United States is currently facing an opioid epidemic. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription painkillers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.

Prescription drug abuse and heroin use has taken its toll on the country, while also straining law enforcement and addiction treatment programs. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, as well as the prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, and others.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

Introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the bipartisan bill, known as the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) would expand access to naloxone, an overdose-reversal drug, improve prescription drug monitoring programs, and provide opiate addiction treatment to people who are incarcerated due to drug use. CARA has been in development for three years and is currently the only bill in Congress that includes all four aspects of an appropriate and effective response to combat opiate addiction: prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement.

CARA would provide a series of incentives and resources designed to encourage states to pursue a wide variety of proven strategies to combat opiate addiction. The bill is comprised of six major sections: prevention and education, law enforcement and treatment, treatment and recovery, addressing collateral consequences, addiction and recovery services for women and veterans, and incentivizing comprehensive responses to addiction and recovery.

Senator Whitehouse commented on the bill saying, “This legislation identifies specific steps that will help us combat addiction and support those in recovery, and provides the tools needed for states and local governments –in coordination with law enforcement, educators, and others — to take them. It’s a comprehensive approach to a problem that demands our full attention.”

Improvements in 2016 CARA Bill

What are some of the major features of CARA?

  • Expand prevention and educational efforts to prevent the abuse of opioids and heroin and to promote treatment and recovery
  • Expand the availability of naloxone to law enforcement agencies and other first responders
  • Expand resources to identify and treat incarcerated individuals suffering from addiction with evidence-based treatment
  • Expand disposal sites for unwanted prescription medications
  • Launch an evidence-based opioid treatment and interventions program
  • Strengthen and improve prescription drug monitoring programs to help states track prescription drug diversion and to help at-risk individuals in order to combat opiate addiction

Although there are some concerns with CARA, the effort made by the Senate shows a shift in the political discourse regarding the nation’s opioid epidemic. Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs with the Drug Policy Alliance, commented, “the momentum behind CARA offers hope that lawmakers are starting to evolve toward treating drug use as a health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue.”

On March 7, 2016, the bipartisan bill passed its first procedural hurdle with the Senators voting 86-3 to advance the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. A vote on the final passage of the bill took place on March 10, with the Senate almost unanimously voting in favor of the legislation. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives and Senate leaders are pushing for quick action. The bill is expected to face a more difficult battle in the House, but if CARA reaches the White House, the president is expected to sign it.

Help for Opiate Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with an opiate addiction, help is available. Call us today at (877) 392.3342. Our compassionate and knowledgeable admission counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.

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