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Saturday, April 26, 2014

People In Recovery From Substance Abuse Should Speak Out

Recovery is a difficult journey but anyone in recovery will tell you that it is worth the struggle. There are more resources today for those recovering from addiction than ever before; and those in recovery will tell you that it is not a journey that can be taken alone. Newly recovering alcoholics and addicts rely heavily on those who have come before them and it is essential that people in recovery from substance abuse should speak out and give hope to others in similar situations, according to Michael Botticelli, the Acting Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

At a forum in New Haven, Botticelli pointed out that there are 23 million Americans in recovery, the Associated Press reports. Despite all the resources available for recovering addicts, only about one in nine people with a substance use disorder receive treatment.

“We know that one of the biggest reasons people don’t ask for help is shame and denial,” he said. “We need to break that silence. We’ve done it with other diseases and we can do it with substance use and we can do it with recovery.”

Stigma and denial about substance abuse are obstacles to treating addiction, according Botticelli.
Botticelli has over 24 years of long-term recovery from addiction.

Help is available to those who want to change their lives for the better, like all diseases, no one is alone in the struggle.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Prescription Opioid Users Make Heroin Switch

English: Naloxone HCl preparation, pre-filled ...
The prescription opioid scourge that has swept across urban America has had a devastating cost. More people are losing their lives to opiate drugs than ever before; this has prompted many law enforcement officials to head to Washington D.C. to work out some possible solutions, according to USA Today.

Acquiring prescription opioids without a prescription can be very expensive, which has caused many to switch to more potent heroin. In fact, heroin is cheaper ($4 and $20 per bag) and stronger than most prescription opioids. Many who made the switch from prescription drugs to heroin lost their lives due to overdoses; most are unaware of the heightened chance of overdose that comes with heroin.

“The consciousness of the nation has not really focused on the problem. People saw this more as a state and local problem. …This is truly a national problem. Standing by itself, the heroin problem is worthy of our national attention,” said U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to law enforcement officials.

The prescription drug epidemic has fueled the demand for heroin, the National Drug Threat Assessment, a government report, found that between 2009 and 2013, heroin seizures increased 87 percent, and the average size of the seizures increased 81 percent. 730 people lost their lives to drug overdoses in New York City in 2012, almost double the number of homicides, the article notes.

Prescription opioids and heroin are not going anywhere, the demand is too high and the supply is even greater. However, overdose deaths can be prevented by safe use education programs in conjunction with readily available Narcan (naloxone). Many lives have already been saved in communities that provide addicts and their loved ones access to naloxone, it stands to reason that every community that has seen a rise in overdoses could benefit from the overdose antidote naloxone.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Medical Marijuana Advocates Went to Washington D.C.

With all the talk about marijuana legalization, it is not surprising that many have forgotten that there is still a medical marijuana movement. While it seems counter intuitive that some states use marijuana recreationally while others use it as a medicine, the fact still remains that the drug is still illegal on the federal level.

As we approach mid-term elections, medical marijuana advocates went to Washington D.C. to urge lawmakers to pass a measure that would stop the federal government from restricting medical marijuana laws on the state level. It is not yet clear if the marijuana legalization movement has harmed the legitimacy of the medical marijuana cause.

As of right now there are 20 states that have passed laws to legalized medical marijuana, despite the drugs standing on the federal level, according to Times

New York is poised to be the next state to enter the medical marijuana confederacy. However, many feel that it is unlikely that the bill will pass is unlikely to pass in Republican-controlled House, according to the article. Democrats do not want to stand on the issue in the Senate in a midterm election year.

Although, the Obama Administration appears to be open to considering the removal of marijuana from the list of dangerous drugs, the article points out.

“Once you use this medication and it works for you, or you see it work for a loved one, it really is crazy that we can’t even get a hearing at this point,” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. “We’re actually regulating this product from seed to consumption.”
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Mixing Energy Drinks With Prescription Stimulants

Energy Drink Dosen Sammlung
Energy drinks are oftentimes a staple amongst teenagers and young adults who are looking for an extra boost. It might come as a surprise to some that energy drinks are not exactly good for you, despite the long list of vitamins posted on the side of many energy drink cans. A new study has found that college students who consume energy drinks are more likely to abuse prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin; the more energy drinks consumed, the greater the chance of stimulant abuse.

Undergraduate and graduate students took a web-based survey that asked questions about their pattern of energy drink and prescription stimulant use. The survey asked questions about medications prescribed to them, as well as drugs they were not prescribed.

Students who drank more energy drinks were more likely to illicitly use prescription stimulants. What’s more, the survey showed that all the students who had a valid prescription for stimulant drugs said they mixed energy drinks with their stimulants. Mixing energy drinks with drugs like Adderall and Ritalin can increase the drug's side-effects; naturally physicians discourage mixing the two.

The study “includes a needed review of the neurological effects of energy drink ingredients. It also provides practitioners with important information about the dangerous interactions that can occur when energy drinks are mixed with prescription stimulants or other pharmaceutical drugs,” lead author Dr. Conrad Woolsey said in a news release. “Ginseng, for example, should not be mixed with anti-depressant medications or prescription stimulants because this can cause dangerously high levels of serotonin (i.e., serotonin syndrome), which is known for causing rapid irregular heartbeats and even seizures.”

The findings are published in Substance Abuse.
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