Tag Archives: opioid addiction

OxyContin Maker Purdue Pharma Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection

Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of the prescription pain reliever OxyContin, has a hearing scheduled in federal court in White Plains, New York, for the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Along with filing for bankruptcy protection, the drugmaker has negotiated a settlement that may well cost several billion dollars to deal with thousands of outstanding lawsuits filed against it.

Multi-billion Dollar Proposed Settlement

Under the proposed plan, $10-$12 billion would be paid to local and state governments. The funds would be used to reimburse them for costs associated with OxyContin use and compensate them for damage caused by prescription pain medications and illegal drugs, such as heroin. These drugs have been blamed for more than 400,000 deaths in the United States over the past 20 years.

To date, two dozen states have agreed to be part of the settlement plan, along with attorneys who represent a number of the 2,000 local governments suing Purdue Pharma. Other states have refused to sign the proposed settlement.

Focus on Keeping Doors at Purdue Open for Now

The initial court appearance will focus on making sure that the company has the means to keep its bills paid during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Judge Robert Drain will hear motions from the parties to authorize payments for employees’ wages, vendors, utilities and other important entities.

The judge will also hear from lawyers who object to the Chapter 11 filing. These attorneys will describe it as a “bad faith claim.” The judge may choose not to hear those arguments at the same time as the motions about wage and accounts payable matters.

The court will have to make a decision between the following options:

1. Approve the proposed settlement in its current form
2. Reject the settlement
3. Order the parties to make modifications to the proposed settlement.

Several states have already indicated they have objections to the proposed settlement, which the judge may consider when making his decision. At the same time, the Sackler family, which owns the company, would like to see more states agree to the proposed settlement.

Judge Drain will also decide when the lawsuits against the Sackler family in state court will be allowed to proceed as well as what happens to the company proper. Under the provisions of the proposed settlement, Purdue Pharma would continue to operate. The company’s profits would be used to pay for the settlement. The judge could also order that the company be sold outright.

One Settlement May be Best Way to Resolve Multiple Lawsuits

According to bankruptcy expert Jerry Reisman, settling multiple claims with one settlement is often considered the best way to resolve these types of cases. He said that the money would be placed into one pool to be divided among the claimants. The advantage of this option is that it would reduce the costs associated with bringing separate lawsuits through different courts. If each lawsuit is being heard separately, there is a race to have each one heard before the company runs out of money.

Oklahoma Judge Orders Johnson & Johnson to Pay $572M for Opioid Crisis

Pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $572 million in damages to the state of Oklahoma after losing a lawsuit. The State claimed that the company had participated in a sales campaign that was described at trial as “false and dangerous” and that it was responsible for the opioid epidemic currently plaguing the US.

Lengthy Decision Blames Company for Drug Epidemic

Judge Thad Balkman wrote a 42-page decision in which he determined that the company was responsible for creating what has been described as “the worst drug epidemic in US history.” The judge said that the company was aggressive in its marketing practices, pushing false claims that narcotic pain medications weren’t addictive to physicians. It also used its own resources to provide funding for organizations and research that would actively promote narcotic use.

Johnson & Johnson to Pay for Treatment, Overdose Prevention Costs

The $572 million isn’t the entire amount of the judgment that Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay. In his decision, Judge Balkman made a provision for the $572 million as an initial payment. Other payments from the company to the state of Oklahoma will need to be negotiated to pay for the following:

• Treatment costs
• Overdose prevention
• Cost of combatting the Oklahoma epidemic in future years

The State has requested $17 billion in compensation from Johnson & Johnson. The company has announced it will appeal the judgment.

Opioid Manufacturers Face Hundreds of Lawsuits

This decision is a disappointment to other drug manufacturers, as well as medication distributors and pharmacies that have been named in over 2,000 legal actions by districts nationwide. They will find it much more difficult to argue that the blame for the opioid crisis, which has been responsible for more than 400,000 deaths in the past 20 years, solely on the physicians who prescribed the medications or the people who took them (whether they had a prescription or not).

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter also filed a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, the company which produced OxyContin. This opioid pain medication is considered to have had a major role in starting the opioid epidemic in the 1990s. Purdue and Oklahoma reached a settlement for $270 million without having to go to trial; however, the company has to defend itself against several hundred other legal actions.

Employers Face Uncertainty When Dealing with Opioid-addicted Workers

The national opioid epidemic is creating a legal wrinkle in the nation’s workplaces. Workers who are living with addiction are protected under federal law — the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) — unless they happen to be currently using drugs illegally.

Defining “Current Use” Proving Challenging

The legal wrinkle comes from trying to determine what “current use” means. Some federal judges have ruled that current use for illegal drugs means up to a few weeks or a few months ago. The US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit said in a decision (2011) that completing a drug and alcohol treatment program doesn’t necessarily give an employee disability protection. The court also said that it wasn’t going to bring in a “bright-line rule” that would set a standard for the number of drug-free days or months would be needed for someone to qualify for ADA protection.

“Bright-line Rule” Definition

A “bright-line rule” is used to clarify a law or regulations that could be read in more than one way. It may be established by a court where the judge determines that the need to make a simple decision is more important than weighing each side of an issue before making a ruling on it.

Opioid-addicted Workers a Problem for Employers

People who have issues with opioid addiction (which includes prescription pain medications and illegal drugs) and are at risk for overdose are often employed. Workers in this category also present an issue for employers who often want to be fair to their team members, but who also need to ensure that the workplace is safe for everyone.

Medication-assisted treatment is an effective treatment option for opioid addiction. It involves addressing drug cravings and other physical symptoms, which can last for several months, with medication while the client participates in group therapy and individual therapy sessions.

This type of addiction treatment is sometimes frowned upon by employers, who see it as “replacing one type of addiction for another.“ This is a myth, since the medications used to treat addiction don’t create a sense of euphoria (a “high”) in the user. They are used only to deal with cravings and reduce the urge to use opioids.

If an employer dismisses an employee who is undergoing treatment or refuses to give them reasonable time off from work to go to a methadone clinic daily, it could be considered discrimination due to disability under the ADA. Medically assisted treatment for opioid addiction can be safely followed under a doctor’s orders for months or years, depending on a client’s needs. The medications used would likely appear on an employer-administered drug test; however, using them doesn’t void the employee’s protection under ADA in the same way that using street drugs would.

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what happens during opioid withdrawal

What Happens During Opioid Withdrawal?

What Happens During Opioid Withdrawal?

It was the late 1990’s when big pharma was making promises to the medical community that addiction would not occur in patients prescribed opioid pain relievers. A few short decades later and the Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency for the ensuing opioid crisis. Opioid withdrawal, abuse, and treatment have since become the focus of Arizona opioid rehab centers statewide.

A combination of factors has led to the explosion of opioid addiction. Many of the reasons lead back to the over prescribing of painkillers, ease of access to medication, and increased availability of street versions of opioid-based drugs. One factor not mentioned enough, however, is the impact opioid withdrawal symptoms have on a patient’s ability to break their addiction.

What are Opioids?

Opioids, also known as opiates, are a class of drugs made from the opium poppy plant. The opium is used to make medications which in turn are prescribed for treating pain. Examples of opioid medications include codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.

Heroin, an illegal opioid drug, is also derived from a natural substance found in the opium plant called morphine. Both prescription and illicit opioids are highly addictive and can easily cause dependency. The abuse of prescription and “street” opioids are largely responsible for the rise in the drug addiction statistics in the US.

How Common is Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of men and women in the US. The rise in abuse of both illicit and prescription opioids and the rate of overdose lead to the opioid crisis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 66% of drug overdose deaths in 2016 involved opioids. Due to its addictive nature, comprehensive clinical treatment is usually required.

Opioid addiction treatment involves detoxification followed by therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as part of rehabilitation has proven effective in reducing the risk of relapse. However, overcoming opioid addiction can be one of the toughest parts of rehab because the process is accompanied by severe withdrawal symptoms.

Why is Opioid Withdrawal Challenging?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse refers to drug addiction as a complex disorder. The disorder affects brain functions making it very difficult for users to simply quit drug abuse. The brain is made up of natural opioid receptors that help in the release of dopamine and endorphins. These two hormones are responsible for feelings of pleasure.

Smoking, snorting, or injecting opioids frequently activates these receptors and make the brain want more and more of this euphoria. Over time, the receptors build a tolerance and require higher dosages of the drug. Eventually, sufferers begin to compulsively seek out the addictive substance despite of its effects on their health, relationships, or career.

Arizona Opioid Rehab and Detoxification

Opioid withdrawal starts with detoxification, or detox. Detox is a medically-assisted process of removing the drug and toxins from the body. During this time, the addicted individual will experience various physical, psychological, and emotional symptoms.

Some of them can be severe enough to make him or her want to quit rehab more than quitting their addiction. The severity of withdrawal symptoms has led many treatment centers to adopt a new approach involving the administration of one or more FDA-approved drugs to help reduce the effects of withdrawal symptoms.

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what happens during opioid withdrawal

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

The length of time it takes to withdraw from opioid varies from person to person. The withdrawal timeline usually depends on the type of opioid abused, level of addiction, dosage, frequency of use, and the body’s response to detoxification. It can take about 2 weeks to several months before the client stabilizes. In general, the first 7 days of detox is the worst for the patient seeking treatment.

Various physical and psychological symptoms may be experienced during this time, some of which can be severe. Symptoms usually set in between 6 to 30 hours after the last dose taken. Symptoms that become very intense at the 72-hour mark are known as post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).

The general withdrawal stages and time-frames are as follows:

Days 1-2: Restlessness, anxiety, runny nose, excess sweating, muscle aches, and trouble sleeping are symptoms that typically begin within the first 6 to 30 hours after the last dose. Patients may experience strong cravings and drug-seeking behaviors.

Days 3-5: Symptoms reach their peak and cravings can be overpowering. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may appear during this time-frame. Patients may experience body tremors, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, abdominal cramps, or high blood pressure. Some other symptoms include chills, diarrhea, dilated pupils, stomachache, or blurred vision.

Days 6-7: Physical symptoms begin to improve, but psychological symptoms such as depression, irritability, and insomnia begin to set in. However, cravings are not as powerful as before. At this point in the detox process, patients first begin to stabilize.

Day 8 and later: Patients usually become remorseful and emotional during this stage. They may think or act irrationally and may feel hopeless. With emotional and psychological support from a therapist or counselor, you can better cope and overcome this phase.

Seeking the Right Treatment

Opioid rehab in Arizona treatment centers have evolved to treat the physical, mental, and emotional hurdles sufferers face when detoxifying from opioid abuse. The comprehensive approach yields higher success rates than individuals who only receive treatment for the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, let them know friends and family are there to support them along with specially trained experts who can help them break the addiction. The first step toward recovery is only a phone call away.

Arizona Naloxone Laws, Arizona Overdose Deaths

How Arizona Naloxone Laws Can Help Reduce Arizona Overdose Deaths

How Arizona Naloxone Laws Can Help Reduce Arizona Overdose Deaths

In 2016, more Americans died from opioid use than from car crashes, gunshot wounds or breast cancer. There were close to 1,500 Arizona overdose deaths that year, and around half were attributed to opioids. That was a 74 percent increase over the previous four years. Hopefully, Arizona naloxone laws will save lives and convince opioid abusers to seek help.

What Are Opioids, and How Do Overdoses Occur?

Opioids are closely related to morphine, an organic substance found in opium poppy plants. This drug family includes heroin, fentanyl, methadone and a host of prescription painkillers.

Opioids ease pain, relax the body and provide a sense of well-being. That warm, fuzzy feeling appeals to people from all walks of life, and many find themselves hopelessly addicted long after their pain has subsided.

Drugs like heroin and oxycodone calm the body by slowing respiratory function. If opioid levels are too high, breathing might stop altogether. Fatal overdose is the result of respiratory failure.

What Is Naloxone?

Naloxone, branded as Narcan, is a non-addictive, emergency-response drug that reverses opioid overdose. The only side effects for someone who took opioids are severe withdrawal symptoms. There is no effect at all if there are no opioids present in the body.

Naloxone is delivered through an intramuscular injection or a nasal spray.

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arizona overdose, arizona naloxone laws

Arizona Naloxone Laws

In the past, only doctors or medical emergency personnel could administer naloxone. However, Arizona has recently embraced a concept known as harm reduction. The idea is to accept drug use as a part of our world and work to minimize its damage.

Participants in this movement encourage abstinence and try to get substance abusers into recovery. Meanwhile, though, they stress the importance of using clean needles, refraining from risky sexual behavior and avoiding overdose. If you can’t beat them, educate them.

In May 2016, Arizona legislators passed House Bill 2355. In a nutshell, the statute puts naloxone directly into the hands of opioid abusers, their friends, their family members or anyone in the community.

The training required to administer naloxone takes about an hour. Prescribing doctors and individuals who give the medication are protected from certain liabilities.

Naloxone kits range in price from $20 per dose for the generic version to around $70 per dose for Narcan. Kits are easily obtained from a doctor, and insurance covers the cost. Pharmacies can sell it over the counter, but insurance companies may not pay for it.

Many community organizations, such as Sonoran Prevention Works, are giving kits away. SPW furnished around 100,000 doses between January and September 2018.

Who Uses All Those Doses?

Ten thousand sounds like a lot until you think of naloxone as a form of first aid.

Someone who ingests a street drug that happens to be laced with fentanyl — which is up to 100 times more potent than morphine — may not make it to the hospital.

The painkillers lying around in ordinary households are a leading cause of accidental overdose, and it’s estimated that up to 95 percent of Arizonans keep them on hand. An elderly man in chronic pain may lose track of how many pills he’s taken. A housewife might try to enhance the effects of hydrocodone with a couple of glasses of wine. Someone fresh out of rehab or jail may feel safe taking just one Vicodin, but tolerance is at dangerously low levels. Sadly, painkillers sometimes fall into the hands of innocent toddlers and curious teenagers.

As they say, prevention is the best medicine. If you legitimately need pain medication, thoroughly discuss your physical and mental health history with your doctor. Avoid opioids if addiction runs in your family or if you struggle with depression, drug abuse or alcohol abuse. If you take opioids, follow the prescribed dosage to the letter. Never mix them with alcohol or benzodiazepine sleep aids like Ativan, Xanax or Valium.

It’s important to remember to lock up your meds and don’t offer them to friends or family members. Stop taking them when your pain subsides and return leftovers to the pharmacy for disposal.

Signs of Opioid Overdose

Overdose can occur immediately or up to three hours after the last dose. Never assume that you, a friend or a relative will sleep it off and pull through.

These telltale signs indicate a life-threatening emergency:

  • Unusual sleepiness
  • Slow breathing or failure to breathe
  • Failure to respond
  • Slow heart rate or low blood pressure
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Tiny pupils
  • Bluish nails and lips

If these are evident, administer naloxone and call 911. If you were mistaken about the overdose, the drug won’t do any harm.

A Better Solution for Opioid Overdoses and Opioid Addiction

No one argues that naloxone saves lives. The rate of Arizona overdose deaths is expected to decline dramatically because of it. As of June 2018, Arizona law enforcement officers had administered 549 doses of naloxone. All but nine of the people who had overdosed survived.

However, naloxone is hardly a solution to the opioid crisis. Having first aid for an emergency is fine, but that shouldn’t encourage anyone to keep using.

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that even the smartest drugs can’t cure. It ruins relationships, careers and reputations. It causes financial hardships and legal problems. It destroys families.

If you or someone you love is in the grip of addiction, caring professional help is the only solution. Call Desert Cove Recovery now to speak with an experienced counselor. We’re committed to helping you reclaim your life.

detox on your own, arizona detox

Why It’s Dangerous to Detox on Your Own; Arizona Detox Centers Provide Professional Assistance

Why It’s Dangerous to Detox on Your Own; Arizona Detox Centers Provide Professional Assistance

It is commendable to take the first steps towards overcoming an addiction. However, it can be very dangerous to detox on your own, which is why it’s important to use an Arizona detox provider that has medical professionals on hand to assist with the process.

Those who have become addicted have been experiencing dopamine hits to the brain provided a relief from the stresses of their lives. However, what ended up happening was so much worse than what they had been trying to avoid. Now, their primary concern is getting the brain and the body used to sober living again.

However, the process to get there involves reversing what occurred, pulling away from the effects that caused the addiction to take hold. This time is generally filled with quite a bit of anguish and discomfort. Of course, it is very much worth it in the end, but getting there is not easy, and it should not be done alone for comfort and, more importantly, safety reasons.

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So, Why Is It Dangerous to Detox on Your Own?

In many cases, not checking into an Arizona detox center during this part of the recovery process results in dangerous physical symptoms such as seizures without any professional help nearby to assist. It should also be noted that delirium tremens, which consist of a rapid heartbeat and a sense of confusion, occur in many who are recovering from alcohol addiction and in some cases results in death.

Physical Discomfort

Other possible withdrawal symptoms that provide physical discomfort include aches, constipation, diarrhea, fever, headaches, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, memory problems, nausea, panic attacks, seizures, tremors and vomiting. These vary depending on the substance that was being used but an individual will experience a variety of these symptoms.

The main reason why detox can be such a shock to the body is because, when alcohol or drugs were introduced to the brain, it started being flooded by certain chemicals, which caused the brain to produce more countering ones to balance it out. However, once the substance is removed, the brain is still sending all of those countering chemicals in high numbers, and the situation is out of balance again.

Mental Side Effects

The mental side effects of detoxing should not be discounted as experiencing those at home are much more apt to result in an end to the detox and a return to the substance that was being used. The desire to resume regular use is extremely high during this step of the recovery process, and it’s important to be able to push past this point, and assistance is often necessary for this to occur.

Specific withdrawal symptoms related to the mental side of the recovery process include agitation, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, insomnia, lack of interest in things that used to be viewed as important, mood changes, nightmares and oversleeping.

Lack of Support

It’s also of benefit to simply have others around during this trying time as detoxing at home often leaves that person completely alone during one of the most difficult times of their lives. This type of setting, detoxing at home, can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety and depression.

Possible Overdose

It’s important to also point out that those who do relapse while detoxing at home are much more apt to experience an overdose, which can be deadly as the body is often not ready for the dosage that it’s being provided. This is due to the person returning to previous dosage amounts, which may be too much for the body to handle once the detox process has started. The odds of this situation occurring increase the longer the detox period has lasted, but it can still take place during the early stages of the process.

What Can Detox Centers Provide?

One of the most significant benefits of being in a professional environment during this challenging time is simply having medical professional nearby who can help should a dangerous situation develop suddenly and unexpectedly. This immediate medical intervention can and does save lives. For example, should a seizure occur, someone would be there to intervene and help, which would not be possible if detoxing at home.

Another reason why detoxing without the assistance of qualified Arizona detox professionals doesn’t lead to sustained recovery is the failure to address any underlying issues that caused the substance abuse to begin. Addiction is a complex disorder that requires not only a safe detox but also treatment options that will help set the individual up for success.

Desert Cove Recovery has trained medical professionals who are willing to walk you safely through detox. We will work to uncover the underlying issues through therapy sessions and other treatment options.

Probably one of the most important things to consider is that detoxing is not easy. If it was, there would be significantly fewer people addicted to drugs or alcohol, and detox centers would be few and far between. It’s difficult to jump over this significant hurdle of the recovery process, and it becomes so much more difficult and dangerous when attempting to do so on your own.

If you or a loved one is looking to take this important first step on the recovery path, contact Desert Cove Recovery today. We will provide a safe place and medical professionals on hand to ensure that the detox process is done safely and get you started on your road to recovery.

high functioning addiction

Treatment for High Functioning Addiction

Treatment for High Functioning Addiction

Those who are suffering from high functioning addiction are often the most difficult to help. This is partly because they hide their addictions so well, even from themselves in many cases. However, it’s reasonably common as it’s estimated that a fifth of alcoholics have been defined as “functional.”

As the phrase implies, these individuals are high functioning members of society as that relates to their jobs, relationships and otherwise and have continued to be so while in the process of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs. In other words, they do not present the stereotypical image of someone who is suffering from an addiction. This is often problematic as it results in both the person suffering from the addiction and his or her family, friends and co-workers often denying that an addiction exists when it really does.

In many cases, those with this type of addiction work and experience success in high-profile positions in society and continue to do so while using a considerable amount of alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, those in these situations are also less apt to get help for it. For example, some may believe that they are too valuable at work to take the time away from it that is necessary to get that help.

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Signs of High Functioning Addiction

One of the toughest things about addiction of this type is that those who care about the person are oftentimes hesitant to say anything when it appears that the addiction is not impacting the person’s life. But it is important to do so as this will, in most cases, only worsen as time passes.

What are some of the signs to look out for?

As far as alcohol goes, simply drinking a considerable amount on a regular basis is cause for concern even if the person appears to not be affected by it as far as family or work goes. For example, a man consuming at least 14 drinks a week or a woman having seven drinks in that time frame are both significant developments that should be disconcerting.

Acting defensive or joking about it when asked about how much is being consumed or hiding it should be noted as well.

Focusing on the substance instead of taking care of themselves in ways such as eating and personal hygiene is another warning sign to consider. Other ones include not socializing as much as had been the case before and accomplishing less at work, doing closer to the minimum expected and not going above and beyond if the latter had been the norm. A decreased interest in hobbies and other activities is another sign.

The Need for Rehab

Many who are in need of rehab do not take advantage of it because of fears of what spending one or more months in rehab might do to their place of employment as well as to themselves in relation to their jobs and reputations. However, if someone is addicted, that person needs to overcome that addiction now, before it worsens. The rehab experience may not be an enjoyable one, but it is one that is very much for the best in the long term.

It should also be considered that, in most cases, family is an especially important element. Oftentimes, someone who is addicted will only consider getting rehab if they realize that sacrificing their substance use is for the good of their family.

Perhaps the biggest warning sign that rehab is necessary occurs when someone defends to himself or herself the need to continue to work by saying that it is necessary in order to continue to receive access to alcohol or drugs. Alcohol/drugs should never be the focus.

If someone you care for is suffering from this, it will likely not be an easy conversation to have, discussing the importance of rehab, but it’s important to stress that need.

How Can Rehab Help?

There are two primary ways that those with a high functioning addiction will be helped by rehab. One is that the addiction is real even if it may not appear so by them or those around them. In other words, the impact on the brain has occurred, and this needs to be reversed for the health of the individual. The other is that somebody who is high functioning while suffering from an addiction today may be non functioning tomorrow. Even if everything appears to be going fine for someone who is high functioning, the possibility of the addiction worsening quickly and significantly is very much there.

If you or somebody you know is suffering from an addiction, whether that’s as a high functioning person or as a low functioning one, please contact Desert Cove Recovery, and we will ensure that help is provided so that short- and long-term recovery can start taking place.

opioid overdoses in az organ transplants

Increases in Opioid Overdoses in Arizona Lead to Spike in Organ Donations

Increases in Opioid Overdoses in Arizona Lead to Spike in Organ Donations

In recent years, drug and opioid overdoses in Arizona have steadily risen. Interestingly enough, so have organ donations. Seeking help from an opioid addiction treatment center today can help lower your risk of becoming another statistic.

So, What is the Connection?

It was once thought that harvesting organs from an individual who suffered from an opioid or drug addiction while they were alive, held too many risks for the patient who would receive said organs. However, researchers have confirmed through recent studies that prove organs from drug-addicted individuals have almost the same transplant success rates as organs from overall healthy individuals.

With the recent spike in opioid-related deaths, there has also been a spike in organ donations, creating a tragic but hopeful realization.  With the increase of overdose deaths, comes the increase of new life opportunities to patients waiting for new organs.

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opioid overdoses in arizona and organ transplants

If There is So Much Hope Found in These Studies, Why is This Seemingly Taboo?

First off, the opioid epidemic is a newer issue facing, not only in Arizona, but The United States as a whole. A recent study done by investigators at the University of Utah Health found that currently 110,000 people across the United States are lingering on organ transplant waiting lists. However, the increase in the opioid epidemic has paved the way for unexpected opportunities in increases of organ availability for donation.

The Annals of Medicine found that a major rise of organ donors who’s death occurred due to an overdose rose up to 13.4% in 2017, compared to the meager 1.1% that it was at in 2000. In Arizona alone, opioid-related deaths have seen a 74 percent increase in the last four years. These numbers suggests that with the rise in organ donations from drug-related overdoses, it could significantly improve our country’s organ shortage. Unfortunately, it also shows that there were a great many organs from opioid overdoses in Arizona that went unused before 2017, which could have saved numerous lives.

While these statistics are encouraging, there is a big question that remains.

Are These Organs Safe to Use For Transplants?

Up until recent years, it was not common practice for medical professionals to accept the use of organs from drug-induced deaths, as there were legitimate concerns for the success of the transplant and the patient who received it.

During an overdose, an individual can experience a drop in blood pressure, which reduces the supply of oxygen and holds the potential to affect the organs negatively. There have also been, and still are, potential risks of infection such as hepatitis C. Although there can be a slightly higher risk of those organs having hepatitis C, at only a 30% risk, it still scares off both medical professionals and patients. Recipients of these donors have shown through testing that patient and graft survival rates remain within the same percentage as those recipients who received organs from trauma or medical deaths.

Dr. Christine Durand from Johns Hopkins Medical School in Baltimore has done numerous studies on this topic and states that; “While it is natural for patients to be concerned when they hear that an organ has an increased risk of infection, the tests for the disease are so effective that the risk is low — for HIV, it is around one in 10 000. For hepatitis C, there is a cure available to treat the recipient if an infection is passed on.”

While these studies were created to better understand the effects these specific types of transplants can have on the receiver, they also stand to offer more insight and knowledge for the patient. Even though having an organ transplant surgery is often necessary to continue having a quality of life, it can still be a daunting thing for any patient to consider. The topic can weigh even heavier when the fear of receiving an organ from a former drug user could mean. The United Network for Organ Sharing policy requires that patients be fully aware of any circumstances of potentially higher risk donations so they can best decide whether or not to accept it.

Opioid Addiction Treatment Can Help Prolong Your Life

While the spike in organ transplants is good news, the method to which they have become so readily available is not. An organ comes with a story unique and all its own. This new organ could hold the potential for a fresh start, a promise for a continued journey, and the hope of a healthy and happy life.

But, even before those organs are given to someone else, the person struggling with addiction has options available to them so that they don’t become another number in these staggering statistics.

If opioid addiction is prevalent in an individual’s life, they have ways to begin moving forward and beginning recovery today. There are numerous opioid addiction treatment centers within Arizona that offer a multitude of treatment options and programs. Don’t let the numbers and addiction dictate the journey. Make the decision for a chance at a new beginning today by calling Desert Cove Recovery.

is ibogaine safe for opioid addiction treatment

Is Ibogaine Safe for Opioid Addiction Treatment?

Is Ibogaine Safe for Opioid Addiction Treatment

Ibogaine treatment has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, specifically when it comes to opioid addiction treatment. There are many claims made regarding the success rates of Ibogaine treatment, which uses a psychoactive compound found in several different plants to facilitate a detox experience for patients addicted to a wide-range of substances. While this treatment seems to show promise, it is important to be aware of the potential risks involved in undergoing this largely unproven and untested form of addiction treatment. Before diving into this treatment method, it’s important to answer the question: is Ibogaine safe?

The Trap of the Magic Pill Mindset

In the battle to overcome addiction, it can be tempting to believe that a simple magic pill or treatment will be the answer to the problem. Unfortunately, addiction is often the result of many factors in one’s life. Whether it be trauma, a genetic predisposition to certain substances, social influences, or other co-occurring disorders, addiction can stem from many root causes, something which a simple treatment modality such as Ibogaine will not fully address.

To quote from Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Bertha Madras: “People think there is going to be a magic pill that’s going to erase addiction, and that’s just not reality. What they should not be desperate for is a quick fix.” While certain treatment methods can be useful in the process of overcoming addiction, a holistic, multi-faceted approach is the recommended way to address an addiction, as it will incorporate each issue which is contributing to the dependence.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment, Is Ibogaine Safe

The Dangers of Ibogaine Treatment

Ibogaine has been promoted recently as an alternative therapy to traditional methods, specifically as an option for opioid addiction treatment. Some medical professionals believe that Ibogaine inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, and that it can not only prevent a person from experiencing dangerous withdrawals, but that it can also reduce a person’s desire to use the substance again.

It is claimed that the spiritual aspects of this substance induce a sense of introspection which also leads to relief from addictive cravings, as a person will have an increased degree of perspective after their Ibogaine experience. This is the result of the fact that Ibogaine is an intense, hallucinogenic drug that can last up to 24 hours. Ibogaine can cause physical responses such as dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, muscle coordination issues, as well as extreme levels of dehydration.

In addition to the physical symptoms a person may experience as a result of taking Ibogaine, the drug can also bring on intense emotional reactions, many of which can be difficult for some individuals to process. If a practitioner is not able to effectively help guide a patient through their experience, Ibogaine can become a terrifying experience, fraught with uncertainty and unclear solutions.

An Uncertain, Unproven Treatment for Addiction

While Ibogaine seems to show promise as a treatment option for addiction, there is simply not enough data to say for sure whether this is a reliable and effective modality. A patient who decides to take the chance and try Ibogaine as a method for curing their addiction must rely on a certain degree of faith, as there is an absence of proven, time-tested evidence to fall back on in terms of how effective this drug is.

Because Ibogaine is listed as a schedule 1 drug in the United States, there are no Ibogaine clinics available stateside where a person can seek treatment. Instead, individuals are forced to go to Mexico and other countries where Ibogaine is allowed, but still not has heavily regulated as it would be in the US. While some clinics may claim to offer a trusted, safe environment for patients to detox within while using Ibogaine, this process is undoubtedly risky and involves a great level of inconvenience for the person who decides to go this route.

In order to answer the question: is Ibogaine safe, we must look at the potential risks inherent in this treatment option. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Ibogaine affects the cardiovascular system and there have been alarming reports of life-threatening complications, as well as sudden death cases associated with the administration of Ibogaine. The most likely cause of these sudden death cases was cardiac arrhythmias, showcasing the potential downsides which can impact a patient if they don’t consider all of their current health conditions.

Is Ibogaine Safe? 

Ibogaine is an unknown, mostly untested treatment option which has a long way to go before it can be considered a safe option for patients seeking relief from their drug addiction. The most effective treatment options are always those that address the confluence of factors which can make up the reasons for why a person becomes addicted. Magic pills are an intriguing idea to entertain, but the truth is that they are simply not a realistic outcome for people seeking relief from their addiction.

suicide and opioid addiction dual diagnosis treatment centers

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Important note: This article addresses suicide. If you or a loved one is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A disproportionately large number of U.S. residents have committed suicide while using an opioid. By definition, we are witnessing an epidemic. Dual diagnosis treatment centers are seeing an increase in patients as they themselves effort to understand the connection between suicide and opioid addiction. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released alarming numbers during the spring of 2018. Their study determined almost 45,000 Americans committed suicide in 2016 alone and discovered an increase of suicide every year since 1999.

The U.S. Surgeon General has advised more Americans use opioids than smoke cigarettes. Considering the U.S. purchases 80% of the world’s opioid medications and prescriptions have increased 300 percent in a nine-year time frame, this makes sense.

Together, it appears opioids and an increasing suicide rate may indeed be linked.

Continued after infographic:

suicide and opioid addiction linked dual diagnosis treatment centers

An Increasing Suicide Rate

The relationship between suicide and substance abuse is a complicated one. While suicide is closely correlated with depression, use of either legal or illicit drugs increases the risk substantially. A 2013 study by the CDC revealed which types of substances were found in those who committed suicide. The leading six substances were:

  • Alcohol – 38.2%
  • Antidepressants – 35.3%
  • Benzodiazepines – 31.3%
  • Opiates – 26.8%
  • Marijuana – 16.6%
  • Anticonvulsants – 11.9%

Use of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common risk factors for suicide. However, substance use is only one half of the equation.

In isolation, it would easy to pin a large portion of suicides strictly on substance abuse. But unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In most suicides, substance abuse is the cause or the result of one or more contributing conditions.

The CDC completed a study reviewing the mental reports of both medical examiners and law enforcement officials from 27 states in 2015. They acknowledged there may have been other circumstances involved in any single suicide report, but the result sheds light on the types of problems individuals may have been facing prior to their passing:

  • 42% reported relationship problems
  • 29% faced a crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks
  • 22% had physical health problems
  • 16% were confronting job or financial related issues
  • 9% tackled criminal legal problems
  • 4% lost their housing

The study showed that just over one-quarter (28%) of suicides had reported known problematic substance abuse. Understanding the relationship between the CDC’s statistics of the substances found in the bloodstream with the contributing factors is important. The connection underscores the role substance abuse plays in scenarios where the abuse was not a determining factor in the suicide.

The Exploding Use of Opioids

During the late-1990s, prescription opioid pain relievers were introduced to the general public in mass. It was promised these drugs would not be addictive or habit forming. The pharmaceutical companies were wrong.

The rate of opioid overdose has risen ever since opioids arrived at the corner pharmacy. In 2015, the CDC reported 33,000 deaths directly resulting from an opioid overdose. This includes prescription opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone, illegally manufactured synthetics, and heroin.

Almost 225 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2015. The CDC study from the same year found approximately 2 million Americans were suffering from prescription opioid substance abuse disorders. The statistics of opioid misuse are staggering:

  • 21% – 29% of prescriptions for chronic pain are misused
  • 8% – 12% of prescribed opioid patients develop an opioid use disorder
  • 4% – 6% of those who misuse opioid prescriptions move onto heroin

Although the sheer number of annual opioid prescriptions has begun to decline, their misuse continues to increase. And as the number of prescriptions decreased, we may begin to see increased heroin and illicit opioid use in the coming years. Consider the following growth in opioid overdoses:

  • 54% increase in large cities in 16 states
  • 70% increase in the Midwest 2016 to 2017
  • 30% increase in 52 surveyed regions in the U.S.

We are in the midst of a public health crisis. The consequences of which are being felt by individuals, families, employers, and entire communities. Finding the link between suicide and opioid addiction will go a long way toward solving this immense problem.

Connecting Suicide and Opioid Addiction

Overdoses, caused by any substance, can often be difficult to evaluate. Was the overdose accidental or were the drugs consumed with a purpose – suicide?

What we do know are the increases in suicide risk associated with an opioid misuse. For men, the suicide risk nearly doubles if they were known to have an opioid use disorder. For women, there has been found to be an eightfold increase in the risk of suicide. Yet in most cases, the final factor causing an overdose is never known.

Opioid addiction is extremely powerful. The fact that 80% of first-time heroin users were misusing prescription opioids first supports this claim. And regardless of how many of the 115 daily opioid overdoses are attributed to suicide, any number larger than zero is too many.

The likelihood of suicidal thoughts can increase upwards of 60% when while taking an opioid. There are studies indicating death by suicide is 13 times more likely in opioid and injection drug users. More evidence that combating opioid addiction’s role in the nation’s suicide crisis cannot be overlooked

The Role of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Admittance into rehabilitation centers increased 400% in the decade prior to 2010. As more research is conducted and more is learned about the relationship between suicide and substance abuse, the greater positive impact dual diagnosis treatment centers will have on their patients.

Dual diagnosis takes a coordinated approach to mental health disorders and substance abuse. By using a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, patients with co-occurring disorders are much more likely to find long-term success after receiving treatment. Traditional treatment centers are becoming much better at identifying individuals who are suffering from two or more conditions. And if dual diagnosis treatment isn’t available, such facilities are fortunately opening on a regular basis.

After completing programs offered at dual diagnosis treatment centers, individuals will effectively be able to manage both disorders. If you suspect someone you care about may be struggling with suicide and opioid addiction, let them know not only their friends and family are there for them, but specially trained experts. The community supporting those breaking opioid addiction is growing and help is no further than a phone call away.