Shouldn’t we have empathy for Addicts? I should have empathy for them but sometimes I can’t find it in me. I have known enough of them in family, friends and patients to say the hell with them. But then on the other hand they are people too. Many addicts are cunning, creative and manipulative liars. Its staggering to see the level of creative deception that some will do to get money. Mind boggling what lies, some will create to play out a kind person who is trying to help them. They should be playwrights in theatrical dramas or Who Done Its or Mystery Novels. Its hard to believe that someone using drugs with all their disorganized thought processes, can come up with the fantastic creative well prepared lies!
Have I been played out by an Addict?
The answer is YES, I HAVE. My ex girlfriend stole all my family air looms; jewelry, watches, precious gems and furs which totaled in over $100,000.00 loss if we were going to replace these. She even stole my 7 year old daughter’s jewelry and her Civil War Silver Dollars. She carefully and slowly over time methodically scraped us thin. To make a long story short, she was caught and confessed. Then was charged and pled guilty to take a lesser plea bargain agreement. Then I heard she had violated her probation to have more years tacked on. We never got the stolen items back because it was all pawned. The pawn broker who was found through a private detective had immediately gotten rid of the loot that he knew was stolen, and converted goods for cash. So NO I don’t have as much empathy for addicts, as I should. I don’t hate on them either. Because not all of them steal. But they do all lie and will turn your life into a living hell.
The ones who want to get clean and sober, do so.
Shouldn’t we have empathy for Addicts? The others, who get clean and some relapse, but I don’t know what the percentage is for those addicts who get off drugs versus staying off. Some statistics state that within the first year 40 to 60% of addicts relapse. The study compared itself diabetics who relapse using sugar products. I don’t think addiction relapse is quite the same as a diabetic eating milk chocolate. I have not seen to many diabetics turning tricks prostituting to get that Hershey Chocolate bar. I have not seen to many diabetics stealing goods to get money for the Hershey Bar.
Addiction is not a disease
Chalkboard with the word ADDICTION written with an eraser
Shouldn’t we have empathy for Addicts? In fact, I don’t see addiction as a disease period and point blank. How can so many people have a disease? I think addiction can lead to disease, but in itself is not a disease. Government wants to call it a disease to justify all the millions of dollars issued for Federal Grants. The detox and rehabs need addiction classified as a disease so that insurances and Medicaid can be billed for rendering treatment. Addicts lie, manipulate, commit crimes of assault, burglary, child abuse, robbery, motor vehicle theft, shoplifting, prostituting. How can these behaviors of addiction be called a disease?
I have concluded that many Drug detox and rehabs aren’t successful. I base this on my personal field experience during graduate school. I did a one year nursing case management project in Camden, New Jersey. I case managed 68 homeless addicts living in a “Tent City”. I sought to help them get services from providers for dental, medical, mental health and substance abuse. Two thirds of this population volunteered that they had been detox and rehab multiple times. I understand that I lack evidence to support my statement so let it go at that. The detox and rehabs costs a lot of money but fail to keep a lot those who attend treatment off drugs.
According to the Bureau of Justice more than 18% of those in state prisons and 17% incarcerated in federal prisons committed their crimes to get money for drugs. In addition to this 26% of violent crimes were committed by someone who was using drugs or alcohol at the time they committed the crime.
Crimes like robbery, theft, fraud, and even rape and murder are committed (in a large percentage) but those under the influence of drugs.
I don’t think that addicts turning to crime to fuel their habiits is anything particularly new. I do think that law enforcement is now paying attention to possible addiction as a motivator behind why a person commits a crime. I don’t still don’t see how addiction can be classified as a disease?
Opioid Subculture is Sustainable. Every 11 minutes someone is dying from an opioid overdose but none of that deters addicts from using. People have difficulty accepting that the Opioid addiction is a chronic relapsing disease. Those that are actively using opioids live within a sustainable subculture, which revolves around foraging for money to buy drugs, cigarettes and maybe some food. I can tell you with great certainty, that no opioid addict will enter into treatment until they are ready to do so. Many addicts have already tried multiple treatment modalities from Detox, Inpatient rehab, Intensive Outpatient, Methadone, Suboxone, Subutex and the Vivitrol Injection. Many have gotten sober and relapsed to go back to using opioids. Some who relapsed have returned to sobriety and others continued with the addiction.
The single biggest reason America is failing in its response to opioid epidemic:
Adapting To The Mainstream Life
Opioid Subculture is Sustainable. I like to refer to the social environment that we non-addicts live in as the mainstream life. In the mainstream, we go to our job, pay for our housing, bills and come home after work to take care of our children. To be successful in the mainstream lifestyle did not happen overnight and to stay stable within it requires us to practice diligence. Some of use may have a job, a trade or a profession with economic growth and advancement. We may have started at age 18 or later at 22 after attending college.
For most people who are getting clean and sober, they will experience varying degrees of difficulty navigating into the mainstream life. Its not impossible to enter into the mainstream and it is certainly doable, if they have some measure of support. I fervently believe a good support mentor is crucial to anyone coming away from addiction into recovery.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Opioid Subculture is Sustainable. One of my greatest criticisms of drug rehabilitation is how do they negotiate to getting the basic needs met in the mainstream life? Where are they going to live? How is the rent and the basics going to be paid? How will they find a job? What if they have felony records and active warrants? In thinking about Maslow’s Hierarchy, beginning with Physiological Needs – a person will need suitable shelter, water, food, sleep and clothing. Safety needs – personal security, employment, resources, health and property. Love and Belonging – friendship, family, sexual intimacy.
Why Opioid Addicts Resist Getting Clean
If the recovering addict doesn’t have the support from family and friends, to assist with the basics, then how do they successful achieve the Physiological Needs? If they go live in the shelter, will this provide that person with a suitable atmosphere to stay clean? It is easy to see why so many opioid addicts fail at recovery and resist getting clean, when they know what works for them. They know that for the past years, they have been successful at foraging for money to buy drugs, cigarettes, food, while living as an urban survivalist. Society as a whole is talking about the Opioid Epidemic because we feel a sense of morality to fix it. The overdose deaths is the reason why society wants to address the Opioid Epidemic. The deaths are the reason why its called an Opioid Epidemic. We can learn the most from the ones who are successful at overcoming opioid addiction and remaining in recovery.
I believe that many opioid addicts accept their plight in life. They lack the family and friends to provide emotional support. This is the reason why most addicts are resistant to go into treatment. They know that entering into mainstream life will be an uphill battle or a vertical climb. Its easier to just stay put surviving and foraging within a sustainable drug subculture. Perhaps for some, the drug subculture offers them a feeling of safety with a predictable lifestyle.
Afghan Opium Production
Bumper Crop of Opioid Overdoses. Across the United States for opioid addicts there is a bumper crop of overdoses. An opioid overdose occurs every 11 minutes, which translates into 5 an hour, 120 a day, 840 a week, 3,600 a month and 43,200 a year.
These statistics are alarming to us, but they are not a deterrence to the addicts. The surgeon general advised that civilians should carry naloxone to resuscitate a victim. Here is the hard and fast truth about opioid addicts. No one can make them quit using opioids until they are ready to do. If they are locked up in the jail, by default they will get clean. If they are released, the vast majority will go right back to using opioids again.
The Addicts Lifestyle Is Sustainable
Bumper Crop of Opioid Overdoses. I hear people say that addicts have to hit rock bottom to realize that they need help and that may be true for some addicts. But I can tell you, the ones I have seen roaming around in Camden New Jersey and the Kensington Section of Philadelphia, look like rock bottom was last year. As non-addicts we look at an addicts life and find very hard to understand why they don’t want to quit using opioids and get clean? We think that their lifestyle is lousy but to them it is perfectly sustainable. In most cities, there are shelters, homeless kitchens and even locations to get free clothing and a coat. These people are true urban survivalist. Some live on the streets, but others live in tents under bridges or overpasses. Some are squatting in abandoned buildings. Females may meet up with a Pimp and live with that person. She might work the street or do online escort work. The pimp furnishes the drugs, food, cigarettes and housing. The men coming to pick up the girls to get it done in the car, or a motel. Some other addicts are shoplifting and then try to sell whatever was stolen. Others are panhandling for money on the street corner. Still others are burglarizing homes in suburbia and pawn off what was stolen.
It might seem very hard to believe that an addict’s lifestyle is completely sustainable because they live in their own subculture. They forage all day long to scope out the who, what, when, where and how they are going to get the money to buy a bag. Some help one another with a bag or half a bag of dope. They sell each other loosies (loose cigarettes). They don’t usually go anywhere because they are tethered to wherever they getting the drugs. Some do actually live in the private residences with their family. Some go see their children on the weekends.
Just because it is sustainable, opioids is a cruel addiction because the longer they are on the drug, the more they need. The longer they use it, the less pleasurable is the effect. Some addicts tell me that they don’t get high. They use to just feel right and I am not certain exactly what that means other then not feeling sick. If they do not use soon, they get stressed and irritable. A lot of addicts prefer the heroin cut with Fentanyl because its makes them very high.
Its a vicious cycle of hell because the more they use, the more the brain adapts to opioids and the more they need. So these people just keep on using opioids and performing the necessary steps to keep up with their addiction. I have often said that addicts are not lazy, because they have to work at their addiction much like we do a regular job. It takes a lot diligence to be a successful addict.
Opioid Addiction Can Make Some People Do Most Anything
Bumper Crop of Opioid Overdoses. If they cannot buy the drug, then they eventually experience the very worst flu of their life. The whole effect will come crashing inward with chills, shakes, cramps, irritability, depression, anxiety, vomiting, and diarrhea. People say they feel like their skin is crawling. An opioid withdrawal can happen like nothing they have ever experienced. I hate when I am sick with a flu virus, which causes nausea and vomiting. It is perfectly understandable why people become desperate and solely focused on getting right to avoid the opioid withdraw.
I had a girlfriend who was a Nurse. She was a beautiful, bright, energetic woman with a kind heart or so I thought. She lived with me and outwardly, I never knew at first she was an opioid addict. By the time, I found out it was to late, because she had stolen and pawned off every bit precious things I had. I did finally entrap her over the telephone. I told her that I had installed cameras and recorded her stealing things from my home. She fessed up and I still charged her. The police arrested her and the case went to pretrial mitigation. She went on felony probation. Yes, I ended the relationship.
I felt like if I did not charge my ex girlfriend, that she might not ever stop using opioids. Her family had said via email that she was on methadone. I later heard that she relapsed and violated probation, which added on more years. She stole in the vicinity of $80,000 of belongings from me and my 10 year old daughter. I am a single parent and some of the things that were left to my daughter by my wife who died from ALS and my Mom. It was really hurtful. When someone you love, does that to you its a real violation of ethical and moral trust. I was emotionally hurt for a long time. I was more sad about her stealing from us, then the loss of the things.
Disease Versus Choice
Bumper Crop of Opioid Overdoses. Did you know that the Addiction Treatment Business, is almost a $40 Billion Dollar a year business? That is how much money is coming into the addiction treatment centers in the United States. Now of course the addiction centers support that addiction is a disease. If it was not a disease, there would be no monetary reimbursements from insurance. Classifying addiction as a disease legitimizes billing out for the services rendered and the federal grants that go to the not-for-for profit centers. Regardless if addiction is a choice or a disease, one undeniable fact is that no one can make an addict quit using drugs until they are ready to get help. I am a Registered Nurse and I have worked with plenty of addicts. I am caught in the middle as to whether addiction is a choice or a disease. I really don’t know if it is a disease or a choice. I do know that addiction does lead to other diseases.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse “No matter how they ingest the drug, chronic heroin users experience a variety of medical complications, including insomnia and constipation. Lung complications (including various types of pneumonia and tuberculosis) may result from the poor health of the user as well as from heroin’s effect of depressing respiration. Many experience mental disorders, such as depression and antisocial personality disorder. Men often experience sexual dysfunction and women’s menstrual cycles often become irregular. There are also specific consequences associated with different routes of administration. For example, people who repeatedly snort heroin can damage the mucosal tissues in their noses as well as perforate the nasal septum (the tissue that separates the nasal passages).
Medical consequences of chronic injection use include scarred and/or collapsed veins, bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves, abscesses (boils), and other soft-tissue infections. Many of the additives in street heroin may include substances that do not readily dissolve and result in clogging the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain. This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs. Immune reactions to these or other contaminants can cause arthritis or other rheumatologic problems.
What are the medical complications of chronic heroin use?
Addicts are Masters of Manipulation
An addict is a master of manipulation. If you ever confronted with the dilemma of whether you should help out an addict with money? My response is a resounding NO. Don’t ever give them money, even they threaten to let a group of men run a train on them for 20 dollars. The reason is because the asking for more money will not ever stop. Don’t enable an addict by giving them money. They are manipulative masters at trying to guilt you into believing they are going to kill themselves. If they threaten suicide, pick up the phone, dial 911 for the police. They will be taken by EMS to the local psychiatric crisis center for evaluation. Better to be safe then sorry. Someone at the psychiatric crisis unit may be be able to influence them to enter detox and rehab.
If you have a friend or loved one who is opioid addicted, chances are they might steal right out from underneath your nose to pawn off anything for money. You might have a daughter, sister, or girlfriend who is threatening to go prostitute on the street or become an escort. Let them go and don’t give them money. If you start giving money, then you are creating a perfect storm for the day that you are pull back the enabling. Your loved one or friend will become Michael Myers from the horror movie Halloween and rip you a new one with nasty and filthy language like you can’t believe.
If you are struggling with dealing with an Addict there is help available:
SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Addiction is a chronic disorder where relapse is common for addicts who are in recovery. Every addiction case is separate and distinct. For some sobriety can occur within a few months and while others struggle for more then 20 years.
In the Vietnam war, there was a widespread epidemic of marines and soldiers who were addicted to heroin. The federal government fearing the worst that military personnel would be returning to the United States from war as addicted veterans, mandated that no one could return home without a clean urine drug screen. Those that failed the urine drug screen stayed in Vietnam until they were clean and had a negative urine drug screen. The Vietnam war is significant, because this was the first evidence that people addicted to heroin (opioids) could get clean and sober without drug treatment because none was offered.
Hold Their Feet To The Fire
Bumper Crop of Opioid Overdoses. Do you really want to struggle with an addicts addiction until it destroys your health and wellbeing? Don’t feel sorry for these people so much so that your own mental and physical health is affected. If they come asking for help, then by all means assist them if you can. If they are playing you out then send them out the door. If they refuse to leave, then call the police. Dealing with an addict can wreck your life. Don’t let their addiction destroy your mental and physical wellbeing.
As you have read earlier, the marines and soldiers in the Vietnam War overcame opioid addiction with no treatment. Fortunately today there is treatment available such as Methadone, Suboxone, Subutex, Vivitrol Injection, 5 to 7 day detox, inpatient rehabilitation and outpatient. Help is available if the person is committed to get clean and sober. A person with an opioid addiction must have a burning desire to get off the drugs.
Check out our website: www.HTRSD.ORG
Understanding Addiction: https://htrsd.org/courses/understanding-addiction-new/
Every 11 Minutes Another Overdose Death. How many people have to die from opioid overdoses, before there is political and social policy change? Every eleven minutes a new person has overdosed and died, which translates into over 5 an hour, 130 a day, 3,927 a month, 47,127 a year and those estimates are on the low side. Heroin and Cocaine is cut with Fentanyl, which is 50 times more potent then Heroin. Opioid epidemic has killed more people then gun violence and motor vehicle accidents. The Attorney General said over 2 million people are addicted to Pain Killers.
Every 11 Minutes Another Overdose Death. Thousands of families have lost and will lose members to opioid overdoses. Those people who are callous and lack empathy say its not their problem are correct that they didn’t cause it. Take in the consideration that the apathetic ones can be victimized from the extremes addicts will do to support their addiction; Murder, Assault, Prostitution, Burglary, Shoplifting, Robbery, Forgery, Credit Card Fraud, Receiving Stolen Property, Fencing, Conspiracy, Illegal possession of Firearms, Disorderly Conduct, Harassment, Extortion, Threat of Violence. Any innocent person can become a victim of any of these crimes, driven by an addict desperate to get money to buy drugs.
LET’S CUT THE BULLSHIT
Every 11 Minutes Another Overdose Death. How much more addiction research, studies, charts, graphs and statistics is needed before the Federal Government wakes to the UNDENIABLE FACT that thousands of people are dying from Opioid Overdoses and the War on Drugs is Lost?
We don’t need the news media telling us that Opioids Kills thousands of people. Tell it to the very small children in the elementary school, so they don’t fall victim. addiction researchers are tracking how many overdoses are fatal versus non-fatal and how is that going to stop overdoses? I have had it up to my back teeth hearing about community awareness and drug rehabilitation facilities touting their recovery success stories, because none of that is going to stop the overdoses unless the addict is in treatment. Do the government leaders understand that the opioid overdoses are those people that are not in inpatient drug treatment?
These opioid users are in the alley ways, sitting in cars, in the woods, behind a bush, in abandoned buildings, in a public restroom, in the public parks, under an overpass, homeless, in a tent, in a residence, a flop house and playgrounds shooting up, snorting and popping pills!
If the goal is to tell the nation that the U.S. has Opioid Epidemic then congrats!!!!
If the goal is to reduce the number of Opioid Overdoses then the United States needs a social and legal policy right now.
SAFE INJECTION SITES – ADDICTS DON’T QUIT USING UNTIL THEY ARE READY
Every 11 Minutes Another Overdose Death. These addicts are not going to quit using Opioids until they are ready to get treatment or they are dead from an overdose. I want to see something in boiler plated in law that will help STOP OVERDOSES! The only thing that is going to work to decrease Drug Overdoses is the implementation of the Safe Injection Sites. A place where the an addict can go the drug under the supervision of medical professionals. It has worked in other countries and it will work here in the United States.
Article in Favor of Safe Injection Sites: NJ Assemblywoman says safe injection sites could save lives
Article Against Safe Injection Sites: Safe injection site’ denounced as false solution to Philadelphia drug problem
Legalizing and Managing Opioid Addiction. Fentanyl is an ingredient that drug dealers add to Cocaine or Heroin to make the drugs more potent and it is the major contributor to lethal overdoses. Drug dealers can reduce their costs by adding Fentanyl as an ingredient. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid painkiller for treating severe pain. To give you some idea of Fentanyl’s potency, it is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Physicians prescribe fentanyl to patient populations with cancer pain as either transdermal patches or medicinal tablets.
National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) showing that the majority of the Fentanyl related overdoses are occurring in the Eastern United States.
Legalizing and Managing Opioid Addiction. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Fentanyl contributed to a 47% increase in lethal overdoses resulting in 70,000 deaths in 2017. The map above was from the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) showing that the majority of the Fentanyl related overdoses are occurring in the Eastern United States. The reason is that type of heroin sold in the eastern states is Powder, which mixes easily with the Fentanyl. In the contrast, states west of the Mississippi river sell Tar Heroin, which doesn’t easily mix with the heroin. To make matters even worst, the drug dealers making counterfeit prescription pills using Fentanyl. Fentanyl is easily obtainable from China, which is purchased online and shipped in the U.S. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/fentanyl.html
How to Manage the Opioid Drug Epidemic
The war on drugs began back when Richard Nixon was the U.S. President. The war on drugs is a lost cause, because for every law enforcement drug bust and seizure, there are multitudes of shipments of the Fentanyl coming in from China and Heroin coming in from Mexico.
The FBI website states that there are 33,000 violent street gangs, motorcycle gangs, and prison gangs are criminally active in the U.S. today. Many are sophisticated and well organized; all use violence to control neighborhoods and boost their illegal money-making activities, which include robbery, drug and gun trafficking, prostitution and human trafficking, and fraud. Many gang members continue to commit crimes even after being sent to jail. https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/violent-crime/gangs
Many of these gangs are also affiliated with the Mexican Drug Cartels. If are own country cannot stop the illegal importation of drugs, then we should hold the countries of China and Mexico accountable for drugs illegally entering into the United States.
Addicts end up in court, county jails and state prisons for drug related offenses. The Drug Rehabilitation Treatment Centers are collectively raking in a sum total of $35 Billion dollars. Treatment Centers have a very poor success rate among those discharged patients staying in recovery. When the addict/client is discharged from treatment centers there is no case management to bridge them to a better situation and monitor their recovery. Cities are discussing having Harm Reduction Centers, where addicts can go use opioids under supervision in case someone overdoses. Police Officers are issued naloxone to help save lives from overdoses. Paramedic and EMT’s are diverted from non-drug related medical emergencies to treat overdoses.
The Solution is Legalization
Prohibiting Alcohol during prohibition was largely unsuccessful. By comparison the Fentanyl and Heroin are in demand by the people who sell it and the addicts who use it. If the government is unable to cut off the source of the opioids, then why continue to waste resources on failed methodologies? The opioid usage should be legalized because outlawing keeps everything underground.
The legalization of opioid usage, offers a number of positive outcomes
- opioid dispending pharmacies regulate impurity, & potency of heroin
- offering Harm Reduction Centers, will decreases drug overdoses
- decreased incidence of Hepatitis A, B & C
- opportunity to effectively case manage addicted clients before, during and after drug treatment
- restore and foster community relations with law enforcement
- divert law enforcement to pursue other crimes unrelated to drugs
- open up the opportunity for better drug rehabilitation research
- reduced drug related street violence
Check out the accredited course: https://htrsd.org/product/understanding-addiction/
Johnson and Johnson Increased Opioid Addiction. State of Oklahoma Cleveland County Judge slammed the drug company Johnson & Johnson with a $572 million court for increasing the opioid epidemic through its greedy opioid drug sales. Johnson & Johnson has become a Drug Dealer earning huge profits while irresponsibly addicting the public to opioids. The company must be held accountable for instructing its drug sales representatives to provide erroneous information to physicians that the opioid addiction risks.
Drug Company Lied About Opioid Addiction
Johnson and Johnson Increased Opioid Addiction. Opioid manufacturers are facing thousands of lawsuits across the country for aggressively marketing drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet as non-addictive and safe for long-term use for chronic pain—even though the drugs are chemically very similar to heroin. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/08/26/about-damn-time-first-thousands-lawsuits-against-big-pharma-johnson-johnson-ordered
Was The Opioid Addiction A Planned Epidemic
The opioid addiction epidemic has reached mega proportions throughout the United States. Many people became addicted to the opioids prescribed by physicians for pain. There have numerous deaths from opioid over dosages. Many of those addicted to opioids turned to using heroin when their opioid prescriptions were discontinued. The irresponsibility of Johnson and Johnson executives is so obvious one must ask if the opioid epidemic was planned? Was Johnson & Johnson in cahoots with the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to intentionally fuel addiction? Because now the Addiction Treatment is a $35 Billion Dollar business. Government already knew the seriousness of opioid addiction. During the end of the Vietnam War, thousands of military personnel were addicted to Heroin and other drugs. The U.S. Government fearing the military personnel might return home as drug addicts mandated negative urine drug screens prior to returning home. Those military personnel who failed the urine drug screens were held in country until they could pass the test. How could the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) not have known that Opioids sold by drug companies were not highly addictive?
Check out the CE Course: https://htrsd.org/product/understanding-addiction/
PHILADELPHIA, PA – A man administers Narcan as they try to revive a man who overdosed on heroin.
Opioid Summaries by State. The National Institute of Drug Abuse has developed a very interesting chart showing the frequency of opioid-Involved overdose deaths. The chart doesn’t lead to any direct conclusions, but it certainly alerts to the frequency of opioid related deaths on a geographic basis.
Center For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)
According to the Center For Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), in 2017 there were 70,237 Drug Overdose Deaths! The Opioids account for 46,700 of the 70,237 Drug Overdose Deaths. The U.S. States with the highest Drug Overdoses are as follows:
- West Virginia
- District of Columbia
Opioid Summaries by State. The age range most at risk is the younger adults ages 18 to 25. The younger teens age 12 to 17 heroin usage is declining. Stopping this Opioid Overdose Death problem isn’t going to be occurring anytime soon. Collectively all venues of Education, Healthcare, Law Enforcement, Treatment Centers and Social Services need to be involved in mass effort educating the younger generations of Children.
How Does Heroin and Fentanyl Get Here
Opioid Summaries by State. An October 3, 2019 Philadelphia Inquirer News article states that the City of Philadelphia Pennsylvania has the most Opioid related deaths of any other Major U.S. City. That 300 people are killed every week by Heroin Overdoses. It is stated that 90% of the Heroin is smuggled across legal crossing points of the U.S. Mexico Border. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), some shipments of Heroin does enter over the border across illegal crossing points. The bulk of the Heroin is smuggled in secret compartments in cars and inside tractor trailer across the legal crossing points of the U.S. Mexico Border. The I-95 Highway Corridor is a thoroughfare for drug shipments. Fentanyl is shipped in packages from China directly into the U.S. and indirectly from China to Canada into the United States. The Fentanyl can be ordered from the Dark Web and it also can be made in Mexico with chemicals from China.
Link to our course on Understanding Addiction
News Affects The Opioid Epidemic. Like many, maybe even most things, the public continues to get a large percentage of the information they receive on a trending subject from the news media. Leaving out personal social media interactions, that number even increases when you add online media to traditional media outlets.
So, it probably comes as no surprise that news coverage of the opioid epidemic affects people’s perceptions of exactly what the problems are, as well as whether it is a growing concern, and how well or effectively the problem is being addressed.
The Public Health Institute has performed an analysis of news coverage of the opioid epidemic in Northern California that sheds an interesting light on the question:
News Affects The Opioid Epidemic. The news in rural Northern California provides a window through which we can glimpse how the public—and policymakers—understand the critical epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose in the region. A new preliminary analysis from PHI’s Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) found that the news reinforces that the opioid epidemic is severely affecting communities locally and nationally; that the epidemic drives local crime; and that communities are exploring fledgling prevention and recovery efforts.
Unlike previous responses to drug use, opioid addiction is routinely framed in the news as a public health issue as well as a criminal justice issue—but public health advocates and medical practitioners are currently absent from the coverage.
As the opioid epidemic worsens, it is critical to understand how the news is shaping people’s understanding of the issue and what can be done about it. In this report, supported by the California Public Health Department, PHI’s BMSG analyzes news coverage from Northern California outlets, provides insights into how the issue is framed, and suggests questions for additional research.
Read more at phi.org
Link to our course on Understanding Addiction
Hepatitis A Outbreak in Heroin Users. “You’re turning yellow.” Using of contaminated needles and other drug paraphernalia increase risk of Hepatitis A. Hepatitis A infections is the newest negative outcome of the opioid epidemic is emerging . The population is at risks for Hepatitis A particularly if they are injecting drugs like Heroin and reusing syringes and the other drug paraphernalia. These Intravenous Drug Abusers don’t think to throw out used syringes because they would have to buy new ones. There use to be nonprofit mobile van needle exchange that was available for addicts to bring safety disposal containers with old syringes. That was a good harm reduction methodology to discourage reusing old syringes and discarding them on the ground. Then there was talk about Syringe Dispensing machines. Now there is nothing here in the way of harm reduction in areas ravaged by addiction. The addicts are reusing syringes, discarding them on the ground and Hepatitis A has come to roost.
Maybe those who unilaterally make these horrible decisions to do away with the Harm Reduction strategies of a Needle Exchange Van or the Needle Dispensing Machines might realize that having them in place is actually better for Public Health.
The CDC recommends health departments ensure people who report drug use are vaccinated for hepatitis A, and consider programs to educate at-risk populations, as well as to provide vaccinations in places where at-risk populations may seek treatment. Health care providers should encourage patients who report drug use to be vaccinated for the disease.
Hepatitis A Outbreaks in Heroin Users, Just before the Fourth of July, Trenton Burrell began feeling run-down and achy. Soon he could barely muster the energy to walk from one room to another. A friend shared an alarming observation: “You’re turning yellow.”
Within days, the 40-year-old landed in the hospital, diagnosed with the highly contagious liver virus hepatitis A, which has infected more than 3,220 people in Ohio and killed at least 15.
Since 2016, the virus has spawned outbreaks in at least 29 states, starting with Michigan and California. It’s sickened more than 23,600 people, sent the majority to the hospital and killed more than 230. All but California’s and Utah’s outbreaks are ongoing, and experts expect to eventually see the virus seep into every state.
Read more at usatoday.com
Link to our course on Understanding Addiction
Overview of the Opioid Crisis. The problems of opioid addiction, from both illicit drugs like heroin and prescription medications such as oxycodone has been with us for a very long time, and sadly, will remain a huge, costly, and ultimately deadly issue for the foreseeable future. But it is said that knowledge is power, and CNN.com has just published an excellent overview of the opioid crisis that is sure to open the eyes of even those who have a good working knowledge of the issue.
From the insightful overview of the opioid crisis, to a unique time line that begins in 1861, the article is well worth the time it takes to read:
Overview of the Opioid Crisis. Experts say the United States is in the throes of an opioid epidemic. In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million individuals in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder.
Opioids are drugs formulated to replicate the pain-educing properties of opium. They include both legal painkillers like morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone prescribed by doctors for acute or chronic pain, as well as illegal drugs like heroin or illicitly made fentanyl. The word “opioid” is derived from the word “opium.”
During 2017, there were more than 70,200 overdose deaths in the United States and 47,600 of those overdose deaths involved opioids. More than 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016 and 2017, according to the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
Prescription opioid volumes peaked in 2011, with the equivalent of 240 billion milligrams of morphine prescribed, according to the market research firm, IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. The volume declined to about 171 billion milligrams of morphine in 2017, a 29% drop.
read more at cnn.com
Link to our course on Understanding Addiction
Criminal intent and the opioid crisis. It’s not always the illegal drug traffickers and dealers who are the criminals in these cases. Sometimes it is the upstanding members of our community, like the pharmaceutical companies and distributors, physicians and the pharmacists who are the ones committing the crimes that lead to increased opioid abuse, addiction, overdose and death.
Of course, the opioid epidemic has many elements, and is a complex problem that will not be easy to eradicate nor resolve. Most communities and regions of the United States have been adversely impacted by opioid abuse, addiction, overdose and death. In the Appalachia region, a legitimate distributor of prescription drugs was recently indicted. Fox News has the story:
Criminal intent and the opioid crisis. An Ohio pharmaceutical distributor has been accused in a criminal indictment of scheming to flood parts of rural Appalachia with millions of painkillers, contributing to the opioid epidemic.
Miami-Luken was charged with conspiring to provide hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to more than 200 pharmacies in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Tennessee, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Thursday.
Read more at foxnews.com
In the State of Virginia, a physician was found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison for illegally prescribing more then 500,000 doses of opioids to patients in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Tennessee.
Link to our course on Understanding Addiction
News reports that Drug overdose deaths are decreasing. Is that proof that the situation is actually getting better? The problem of drug addiction, and overdoses are complex social disparities occurring in America. The news is reporting that less people are being killed by drug overdoses, but I doubt the validity.
For example, the increased utilization of Narcan by police and other first responders in overdose situations may have lead to a reduction in the number of opioid drug users who die when the O.D., but that doesn’t necessarily indicate that the problem of drug addiction in the U.S. is getting better.
The L.A. Times has more on the reported numbers on overdose deaths:
U.S. overdose deaths last year likely fell for the first time in nearly three decades, preliminary statistics suggest.
Nearly 68,000 drug overdose deaths were reported throughout the country last year, according to provisional figures posted Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number may go up as more investigations are completed, but the agency expects the final tally will not exceed 69,000.
Overdose deaths had been climbing each year since 1990, topping 70,000 in 2017.
Any leveling off — or decline — in overdose deaths is good news, but the overdose death rate is still about seven times higher than it was a generation ago.
“We’re still in a pretty sad situation that we need to address,” said Rebecca Haffajee, a behavioral health researcher at the University of Michigan who studies policies aimed at curbing opioid addiction.
Read more at latimes.com
Link to our course on Understanding Addiction
Chronic Pain Patients Are Becoming Orphans. Under the prevailing conditions of opioid regulation, chronic pain patients who are legitimately prescribed medication are finding that doctors are apprehensive write prescriptions. Its the rotten ones who over prescribed for profit and the continued misuse that has brought us where we are.
Opioid Paradox of Legitimacy Versus Addiction
This whole Opioid situation is a paradox.
In one house we have the legitimate chronic pain patients who are prescribed opioid medication. Physicians are reluctant to prescribe pain medication because big brother is coming down with regulation and scrutiny. If for some reason you change primary physicians and new doctor doesn’t know you, then it is possible might profile you as a drug seeker. If that happens, your jacked because the potential consequences.
In the other house are the opioid addicted patients. Here is the rub; this population can get into addiction treatment a lot easier then a chronic pain patient is able to receive a prescription for a legitimate opioid medication.
It’s Not a Good Situation
Chronic Pain Patients Are Becoming Orphans. People who take opioids for chronic pain have a harder time finding a doctor than non-opioid taking patients, a new study finds.
About 40 percent of primary care clinics refuse to take patients who regularly use Percocet, regardless of what type of health insurance they have, according to research published Friday in JAMA Network Open.
“Anecdotally, we were hearing about patients with chronic pain becoming ‘pain refugees,’ being abruptly tapered from their opioids or having their current physician stop refilling their prescription, leaving them to search for pain relief elsewhere,” Pooja Lagisetty, a researcher at the University of Michigan and study lead researcher, said in a news release. “These findings are concerning because it demonstrates just how difficult it may be for a patient with chronic pain searching for a primary care physician.”
read more at upi.com
Link to our course on Understanding Addiction
Where Children Live Determines The Threat Level. Child safety education is contingent on where they live and what are the most immediate threats. In the United States, the drug abuse is a threat. In the region of Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast region, the risk to children are the landmines. In parts of Africa, the Nile Crocodiles pose a risk. The JAMA Pediatric Study concluded that teens are likely to use Heroin. Heroin is easier to obtain as opposed to the prescription opioids. Much of the heroin is cut with fentanyl thus making it more lethal resulting in overdoses.
Teen Opioid and Heroin Use
Where Children Live Determines The Threat Level. The Jama Pediatric study stated that as many as 13% of young people recreationally use prescription opioids and 11% of the users later moved on to heroin after high school graduation. If you think about the reality of young people using opioids and heroin its mind boggling to understand why? Prescription opioids and heroin are responsible for premature death among this age population.
read more at upi.com
Early Childhood Drug Prevention
Heroin, Opioids, Landmines and Crocodiles. Our teens using prescription opioids and after high school graduation, moving on to heroin is staggering reality. It makes sense educate very early on drug prevention. Some may disagree that the younger impressionable children should be shielded from learning about the horrors of drugs.
Child Education is Relative To Whatever is the Threat
Elementary children living in war torn areas within the country of the Ukraine are educated where not to play and walk to avoid stepping on a landmine.
Heroin, Opioids, Landmines, and Crocodiles Are Relative Threats. Children are educated to avoid high risk areas indigenous to the Nile Crocodile, which is native to freshwater in Egypt in the North, through Central and East Africa, down to South Africa.
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), the first 8 years of a child’s life are critically important to prevent substance abuse. The NIH states that a stable home environment, good caring parenting, optimum nutrition, play and being stimulated to learn are dyer to having success later in life to avoid substance abuse. But what if the child doesn’t have all these attributes in their life due to divorce, poor parenting etc.
Implementation of an early elementary drug prevention program would need to illicit help of trained professionals, parental involvement, community advocates and training teachers how educate on the subject matter.
A School Drug Prevention Program Must Include All Stakeholders
Where Children Live Determines The Threat Level. Join Together recommends that schools adopt proven prevention programs that are researched-based, involve parents and community, offer teacher training and support, and use interactive teaching methods. They also suggest that teachers have easy access to prevention materials, and such information be supplemented in after-school and extra-curricular activities. Ideally, schools should also offer opportunities where older students are trained to help teach younger students about alcohol and drug abuse. Finally, when teachers and administrators have substance abuse prevention education specified as part of their job, their performance should be included in their formal evaluations.
Understanding Addiction: https://htrsd.org/product/understanding-addiction/