Friday, June 24, 2016
That is perhaps that most wonderful aspect of the 12-Step model, it reinforces the idea that alcohol is but a symptom of a greater problem. You can replace the word “alcohol” with just about any harmful aspect that holds one back in life, and the principles will hold true—they are universal.
It is held that the first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) took place in Akron, Ohio in 1935. It was a small gathering consisting of two individuals whose lives had become unmanageable due to their alcohol use. It is hard to imagine that Bill Wilson, a former New York stock broker, and Dr. Bob Smith, could have known the impact that their meeting would have on millions of people around the globe.
The idea was simple, one alcoholic helping another alcoholic recover from the affliction—in order to lead a productive life. Alcoholism is a lonely disease, but recovery is a communal endeavor—where people with similar pasts and like-minded goals can work together to recover from their insidious disease. Now, eighty-one years later, recovering alcoholics and addicts continue to use the model formulated by the founders of AA, incorporating the principles and traditions of the program.
Thanks to a chance meeting between two bottom of the barrel alcoholics nearly a century ago, millions of people have learned how to not pick up a drink or drug—no matter what. The heart of addiction recovery is paying it forward; you cannot keep what you have unless you are willing to give it away.
On the 81st anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous, we at Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea would like to commend everyone who continues to live the principles of recovery—helping others find the miracles that come from not picking up a drink.
Friday, June 17, 2016
In the wake of the beloved pop star Prince’s death, attention has been redirected back to the powerful opioid analgesic fentanyl. Many Americans may have never heard of fentanyl as the drug is not commonly used outside of hospital settings. Those who had heard of the drug before may have been unaware that fentanyl is 100 time more potent than morphine. Fentanyl, while fast acting and highly effective, can cause severe respiratory depression that can be fatal; this is why it should be scarcely used except under the close supervision of doctors and nurses.
In an attempt to stem the tide of irresponsible prescribing practices, law enforcement has begun to set their sights on pharmaceutical salesmen. Recently, two former pharmaceutical salesmen were arrested from charges stemming from paying doctors to prescribe a form of fentanyl, USA Today reports. The two salesmen, who worked for Insys Therapeutics, allegedly paid two doctors in the New York-area $259,000 in kickbacks to prescribe Subsys.
Most fentanyl prescribed for take home use comes in the form a transdermal patch. The patches are adhered to one’s skin—slowly releasing the drug throughout the course of the day. Subsys, on the other hand, is sprayed under the tongue, according to the article. The spray version of fentanyl works quickly, relieving pain in just five minutes.
"You have this hyper-powerful drug marketed intensely, aggressively and shamelessly without any sense of the addictive and lethal power of what is being sold," said Arthur Caplan, the director of medical ethics at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York.
We will continue to follow the fentanyl story. Stay tuned.
Friday, June 10, 2016
Historically, heroin was thought to be a drug found only in heavily populated urban environments—used primarily among the poor and those of ethnic descent. While there may have been some truth to that idea in the past, it is far from reality today; Americans affected the most by illicit heroin and prescription opioid abuse reside in rural parts of the country—the Appalachian region strongly considered to be the epicenter of the American opioid epidemic.
If you have been following the media reports on this subject, it is likely that you have read about the efforts being made to mitigate the crisis. Efforts include:
- Expanding Access to Addiction Treatment
- Offering Treatment Instead of Jail Time
- Utilizing Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs
- Making It Easier to Acquire Naloxone
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Time is of the utmost importance when it comes to an opioid overdose. Friends and family are, more often than not, the ones who are present—having naloxone on hand can better ensure a positive outcome. The good news is that states are jumping on board, and now practically every state has some form of legislation allowing people to buy naloxone without a prescription, Fox News reports.
"This saves lives, doesn't seem to have any negative impact that we can identify, therefore it should be available," said Dr. Corey Waller of the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
Saturday, June 4, 2016
Prince had been known to lead a clean life, refraining from mind altering substances over the years, which made it hard for many to believe that his death could be the result of a drug overdose. Now, two months later, the coroner's report has come out, and the cause of his death was an overdose of the powerful opioid analgesic fentanyl, CNN reports. It is likely that you have heard news reports about the drug in recent years, as fentanyl is commonly mixed with heroin to increase potency—resulting in a wave of overdoses across the united states.
Just to put the drug into perspective, fentanyl is around 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine and roughly 40 to 50 times more potent than pharmaceutical grade (100% pure) heroin. The drug is known to cause severe respiratory depression even in small doses—rife for the potential of overdose. Heroin users, more often than not, have no idea that the “dope” they are about to snort or inject is laced with fentanyl; being unaware of the presence of the powerful analgesic, users will dose themselves out as they normally would—ignorance that can prove deadly.
Authorities are still trying to determine where Prince acquired the fentanyl that led to his death, according to the article. To be sure, it could have come from only one of two places. Either a physician wrote him a prescription for fentanyl to treat his pain, or he acquired the drug through illegal channels. Fentanyl is being produced in clandestine labs, typically overseas in countries such as China where it is easy for chemists to acquire the requisite precursors. The drug is then shipped out of China, finding its way to Mexico where it is then moved north of the border.
Without a doubt it is important authorities find Prince’s source; however, where the drug came from will not bring the beloved artist back—as is the case with the thousands of Americans who lose their life in this country from prescription opioid and heroin overdoses. What’s more, Prince’s death, much like Michael Jackson's and a number of other stars' deaths in recent years, drives home the point that everyone is eligible for addiction—and all who use opioids are at risk of overdose. Every day in the United States alone, over 70 people succumb to opioid overdose deaths.