Posts tagged "fentanyl"

The Opioid Epidemic – A Nation In Pain

June 13th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Disease of Addiction, Opioid Epidemic 0 comments on “The Opioid Epidemic – A Nation In Pain”

The Opioid Epidemic

For more than a decade, the US has been experiencing an opioid epidemic. Each year the number of deaths by drug overdose continue to increase in the United States. Every day in America, on average, there are 130 deaths due to opioid overdose. In the United States, more than 700,200 people suffered death by drug overdose between the years 1999 and 2017.

These numbers are shocking, and unless we confront this tragedy, which is The Opioid Epidemic, it won’t be long before it begins to face all of us. Not just the addict, but the entire United States, every year is becoming more affected by the opioid epidemic. In this article, we are going to cover the brief history of why we are now witnessing this eternal destruction caused by the recent rise in both legal and illegal opioids. This article also provides anyone seeking drug and alcohol treatment the proper information in order to transition into a Florida Recovery Center like Serenity Springs. If you been affected by opioids like so many other Americans, we suggest reading this article on The Opioid Epidemic. If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, call a Serenity Springs addiction professional today. [1]

What is an Opioid?

what is an opioid - info-graphic

Opioids are substances that act on the brain’s receptors producing morphine-like effects. Medically, opioids are primarily prescribed to patients who require pain relief. Opioids are also used as a form of anesthesia.

Opioids fall under the class of drugs, which include heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers. (morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone) [2]

What is an Epidemic?

The Meriam Webster definition of an epidemic is:

  1. An outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time : an outbreak of epidemic disease.
  2. Affecting or tending to affect a disproportionate large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time.

The Opioid Crisis

The roots of the opioid crisis are more deep-seated than popular narrative suggests. Examining the onset of America’s opioid epidemic brings precisely how and why we got here to light. Was this an honest push by honest medical professionals to aid patients pain with ethical narcotics? These are same narcotics they stood in fear of prescribing even terminal cancer patients up until opioid crisis info-graphicthe 1990s. Is the cause of this ever-growing American tragedy an accident? Or, was it a calculated marketing effort by big pharma and the rest of the usual medical suspects? Time to examine the facts.

Opioid Epidemic in the 1970s

Before the Big Pharma opioid push of the late 1990s, physicians were reluctant to prescribe opioid medication for fearing that patients would become addicted. Into the 1970s physicians and nurses were trained to give minimal opioids for pain, often less than prescribed, unless death seemed imminent. However, this common practice of neglecting opioids to treat pain, specifically for cancer patients, was about to be reversed for the first time.

What was to follow has been nothing short of a nightmare for many American citizens, both young and old, rich or poor. This US nightmare began as an ethical attempt to treat everyday Americans who where experiencing physical discomfort and pain. One can argue the irony that has taken place as a result of what began with opioid prescription medication. Medication that was designed to take away the pain for suffering individuals. The adverse result is a country in more pain due to the inundation and addiction of less restricted, much deadlier, illegal street opioids like heroin and fentanyl. [4]

Opioid Epidemic in the 1980s

In the 1980s, the medical community began to treat acute pain frequently with opioids. Propoxyphene, a powerful prescription opiate, became the second-most dispensed drug in the United States. Top cancer specialist Kathleen Foley published two articles, in 1981/86, illustrating low rates of addiction in small groups of cancer and non-cancer patients. These articles started a massive debate between pain management specialists and professionals, arguing that long-term opioid therapy was safe. Several pain management specialists pointed out the high risks of opioid dependence, opioid overdose, and side effects caused by opioid addiction. Foley’s articles, along with other efforts, started a 20-year campaign to prescribe opioids for long-term pain management. This campaign included long-term, opioid pain management for both cancer and non-cancer patients.[4]

What followed was nothing short of a nightmare for many American citizens. This nightmare began as an ethical attempt to treat regular people that were experiencing physical discomfort and/or pain. No one could have predicted what this sudden reversal of medical opinion on opioid medication would do to the citizens of the United States. This change of opinion had a colossal impact on the American People. As of June 13th, 2019, there is no end in sight. It is fascinating to explore how quickly the United States became flooded with opioid prescriptions, the world’s purest heroin, and the most deadly synthetic opioid, fentanyl.

From 1990 to 1995, prescriptions for opioids increased by 2-3 million each year.

Opioid Epidemic in the 1990s

The medical community received a reassurance from Big Pharma, stating that patients needing pain relief would not become addicted to opioid-based pain medication. Consequently, this led to widespread misuse of these medications before the truth came out… these medications were and are highly addictive. As a result, opioid overdose rates began to increase and have not slowed down since.

number of deaths by opioid overdose-1999/2017The Institute of Medicine issued a report attributing the rise in chronic pain prevalence during the 1990s to the following:

    • Higher patient expectations for pain relief.
    • Musculoskeletal disorders of an aging population.
    • Increase in Obesity in the US.
    • Increased survivorship after injury & cancer
    • Increasing frequency & complexity of surgery.

Opioids in 2017

    • Death by opioid overdose killed more than 47,000 Americans, which included prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl.
    • An estimated 1.7 million Americans suffered from substance abuse addiction related to prescription opioid pain relievers.
    • More than 652,000 suffered from heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).

Three Waves of the Opioid Epidemic

The first wave ignited during the mid to late 1990s when overdose deaths from opioids began to increase. During this time, most overdose deaths involved prescription opioids (natural and semi-synthetic opioids and methadone).

The second wave began in 2010 with the beginning of a massive increase in overdose deaths involving heroin; here is why. With the rising dependency and tolerance of prescription opioids, many people transitioned to a more potent and cheaper alternative, including heroin/fentanyl. During this time frame, uncrushable Oxycontin was introduced, making it more challenging to use intravenously and through the nasal. As a result, those individuals addicted to prescription pain killers turned to the more potent, less expensive heroin/fentanyl.

The third wave started in 2013 and continues to this present day. The United States began to see more efficient global supply chains like China inundating illegal heroin/opioid markets with the more potent synthetic opioid, fentanyl. What is fentanyl? Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent and shockingly deadlier. Between the years of 2013 through 2016, death by fentanyl-related overdose climbed over 540% nationally. This very rapid, very deadly acceleration of the opioid epidemic has led to the United States government declaring this crisis as a national public health emergency.

every 25 minutes a baby is born in opioid withdrawal-info-graphicConsequences of the Opioid Epidemic

    • Americans in 2019 consume 80% of the entire world’s supply of opioid pain medications. 
    • The overall life expectancy in the United States has dropped for the first time since 1993, particularly for those under age 65 years.
    • The highest increase as the cause of death (with a 6.7% increase between 2014 and 2015) was from unintentional injuries, including drug overdoses.
    • Drug overdose has surpassed firearms and motor vehicle trauma as the most common cause of accidental death among adults.
    • County-level estimates highlight that nearly every geographic area in the country has seen marked increases of opioid-related deaths
    • In 2017, 81,000 people in the United Stated used heroin for the first time.

Opioid Prevention

The harsh consequences that opioid abuse and addiction has created across the United States has resulted in opioid prevention becoming a vital part of our society. More than any time in history, government officials, treatment centers, medical professionals, law enforcement, and entire communities are coming together and taking part in opioid prevention. The following are some ways to help prevent opioid abuse or help someone recover if they are currently addicted.

  1. 12-Step programs – Programs like AA, NA, and HA are a tremendous help and support for someone to recover from opiate addiction. These programs help prevent opioid addiction and abuse by helping someone who is addicted heal internally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  2. Monitor your doses of prescription pain meds – If it is necessary to take opioids/opiates to recover from surgery, or for chronic pain, it can be helpful to have a family member or loved one administer the medication. Having accountability will help prevent opioid abuse and addiction.
  3. Individual counseling – Although opiates are created to curb physical pain, many times someone who is abusing opiates uses the drug to feel less emotional pain. Mental health issues and traumas like PTSD are many times at the root of an opioid/opiate addiction.
  4. Vivitrol and Naltrexone – Both are non-narcotic drugs used in opioid prevention. Vivitrol and naltrexone both contain properties that block opiate receptors. Therefore, someone who is on either medication will not experience the high if they try to take on opiate.
  5. Amino Acid Therapy – Amino acid IV therapy is another great tool in preventing future opioid abuse. A specific combination of amino acids are given to an individual to help repair damage done to receptor sites by the opiates. The process can help spark a speedy recovery from opiates and help curb future opioid cravings and withdrawals.
  6. Residential and Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) – Many times it is necessary for someone addicted to opiates to have a more structured setting in order to fully recover. Outcomes for people recovering from addiction are usually greater in those who received a well-structured treatment program.

Serenity Springs Recovery Center Residential CampusTo learn more about opioid prevention and how to deal with opiate or opioid addiction, call an addiction specialist at Serenity Springs Addiction Hotline

Content Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , National Institute of Drug Abuse, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Poison Control

 

Fentanyl Brings Most West Virginia Overdoses in 2017

November 24th, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Opioid Epidemic 1 comment on “Fentanyl Brings Most West Virginia Overdoses in 2017”

According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, fentanyl has been linked to more deaths than any other drug in the state of West Virginia this year. The staggeringly lethal synthetic opioid is said to be 50 times more potent than heroin and has been driving overdose deaths across the nation. Fentanyl is being increasingly added to heroin unbeknownst to most addicts but has also been linked to overdose incidents related to methamphetamine and cocaine abuse, suggesting that no street drug, dangerous in its own right, is safe from being tampered with. Pure fentanyl has even been pressed into pills, demonstrating how the levels of manipulation in the drug trade have reached such dangerous depths.

West Virginia Overdoses Double in First Half of 2017

Statistics from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources show that fentanyl-related overdoses have doubled heroin-related overdoses for the first half of 2017. 57% of the overdose deaths in the state was a result of fentanyl, compared to the 26% that were linked to heroin. This trend in West Virginia can be seen as a microcosm of the country at large, as stories of fentanyl overdoses all over the nation have been increasing in both occurrence and severity. In short, it is virtually impossible to overstate the gravity of the opioid epidemic that is sweeping the nation, which in turn has spawned a fentanyl epidemic to be reckoned with.

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< style="color:#222222">THE NEXT OVERDOSE IN AMERICA

On average, 7 Americans die from an overdose of drugs each hour. Drug overdoses are the number one cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. The rate at which Americans are from fentanyl and its related analogs is at 55 per day. These staggering statistics underscore the need for a solution: one that works and one that lasts.

Serenity Springs Recovery Center believes the solution can be found in the components of its program. Highlighted by honesty and compassion, Serenity Springs gives each client the tools to overcome addiction and shows them how to use them, which is why our success stories are so inspiring. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction or alcoholism, please do not hesitate to contact us. Each individual recovered constitutes a victory against the deadly opioid epidemic.

SOMEONE USING STREET DRUGS?

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STREET DRUG USER?

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Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood on WESH 2 News

Serenity Springs Expands as Opioid Epidemic Ignites Volusia County

October 31st, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Blog, Opioid Epidemic, Treatment 0 comments on “Serenity Springs Expands as Opioid Epidemic Ignites Volusia County”

America’s opioid epidemic has made its presence felt right here in Volusia County, with recent headlines leaving no questions of this unfortunate reality. As drug overdose rates continue to rise at an all-time high, there is a crisis concerning the limited resources of addiction treatment centers across the country. Treatment centers in Volusia County, Florida are no exception. On Friday, Volusia County Sherriff Mike Chitwood stated:

“It is easier to get high in Florida than get help.”

Sherriff Chitwood stated his point loud and clear at a panel on Friday, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. Behavioral healthcare representatives were seated alongside Sheriff Chitwood at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, FL. He was also referring to the state’s lagging efforts to provide adequate services for people in need of substance abuse or mental health treatment. The panel concluded the following:

“Drug treatment capacity is insufficient. Behavioral health providers are overburdened. State funding is inconsistent. Housing for recovering addicts is non-existent.” [1]

Unfortunately, this is the situation in every state, not just Florida.

These are very powerful conclusions that are concise and cut straight to the heart of the issue. As part of the drug & alcohol treatment industry, Serenity Springs is grateful for these words. It seems that Floridians and probably most Americans are unhappy with the state the treatment industry as a whole. Serenity Springs is proud to stand as a reliable solution in the face of a growing and seemingly insurmountable epidemic. We have faith in the strength of our program and the fact that lives and families are being improved daily due in part to the tireless work of our staff.

RA smiles while working the steps with client at Serenity Springs

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

While much of the content that makes it to the Serenity Springs blog is editorial in nature, it is still bolstered by facts and evidence. The opioid epidemic that has gripped the nation seems to be picking up speed, as some of our nation’s leaders are mobilizing in attempts to slow it down. Treatment professionals at Serenity Springs in Edgewater, FL and New Smyrna Beach, FL will both agree when talking about the unthinkable levels that this epidemic has reached. We must address this on a case-by-case basis if we want to see people overcome the powerful grip of addiction.

Our only argument we have against that panel in Daytona Beach last Friday is this: We want everyone to know that there are some options on the table that have not been fully utilized. Our treatment program provides recovering addicts with the solution that will take them back to the sober way of life. This epidemic has taken enough lives and ruined enough families over the past fifteen years. At a fair cost, we will guarantee outstanding results and positive changes to those in active addiction.

For now, Serenity Springs builds custom treatment plans that are used both inside and outside of our drug rehabilitation programs. These plans include job searching and finding a sober living environment in an area where real recovery exists. As a result, under the care of Serenity Springs and its full continuum of treatment, people are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Serenity Springs logo white

Our intensive outpatient program is always an option to those that cannot afford the cost or time that is necessary for completion of our residential program. We are reintroducing a multi-session format to accommodate the increase in drug abuse associated with the opioid epidemic and the growing need for treatment. Not only is it cost-efficient; our program breaks down and teaches the 12 steps in a way that is just not offered in meetings. We also encourage and hold the addict accountable for working an honest and thorough program of recovery.

What is offered at our outpatient (IOP)?

A therapist is available on-site at our outpatient facility, which is located at 313 Julia Street, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32168. Therapy sessions are available with behavioral psychotherapy to build awareness and ultimately highlight some of the underlying causes of addiction.

MPTI Certified Personal Trainer, Jessica Lawrence, teaches 12-Step Yoga, once a week initiating the physical healing process. This helps with repairing damages from drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Last, but not least, our clients are provided with a “Harvard education” in recovery and the 12-Steps. Kathy Stanton, our IOP Director, makes sure that every client is working a solid program and meeting the requirements on a case-by-case basis. When she and the rest of our treatment team feel that a psychic change has occurred and the client is doing all he/she is asked, they will move on to the next step…

A happy, joyous, and free lifestyle!!

12 step yoga at our Men's Residential program (outdoor yoga)

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REFERENCE


  1. Mike Finch II. “Chitwood: ‘Easier to get high in Florida than get help’ for opioids.” The Daytona Beach News-Journal. 27 Oct. 2017. Web.
KDA6Y7 Staten Island, NY, USA. 12th Oct, 2017. NY Governor Andrew Cuomo announces support for a new bill that would categorize 11 different Fentanyl variations as controlled substances giving law enforcement the ability to pursue dealers and manufacturers of the drug across NY State in a press conference on Staten Island in New York City on October 12, 2017. Credit: Dennis Van Tine/Media Punch/Alamy Live News

Fentanyl Epidemic: Week in Review

October 16th, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Blog, News, Opioid Epidemic 0 comments on “Fentanyl Epidemic: Week in Review”

On Wednesday, New York State Governor, Andrew Cuomo held a press hearing to discuss a move implementing a significant crack-down on deadly pharmaceutical opioid drug fentanyl. Less than 24 hours before Governor Cuomo made the announcement; there were 14 overdoses in a four-hour time frame due to the synthetic opioid just down the road in Camden, New Jersey. Camden County, NJ ranks one in New Jersey’s heroin overdose frequency. [1]

Summary of the epidemic:

Drug overdose is the number one cause of death for Americans who are under age 50. Many state legislations report the overdose spike is related to the easily-accessible, synthetic opioid made by pharmaceutical companies. [2] FENTANYL is the name for those not paying attention to the opioid, AKA heroin, and for now, it is also the fentanyl epidemic. Puzzled parents and loved ones of opioid-dependent addicts now with more reason to fear a knock at the door or the phone ringing. They’re left to question, “What is fentanyl?” and “What are we doing to stop the never-ending, always-growing opioid & fentanyl epidemic?”

What does fentanyl look like?

There are really no distinct traits of fentanyl that make it stand out from heroin, cocaine or any other street drugs. The color is usually white or tan, when in powder form. However, there are many unique forms or “faces” of fentanyl. This is yet another reason it is so dangerous: the many ways it is produced, prescribed, smuggled, manufactured, and/or ordered into the wrong hands.

Not to mention, the staggering number of “research chemicals” that are coming from the internet, under the radar. These chemicals are shipped with a label, identifying them with a scientific formula. They also have a name, usually complex, with the drug name somehow mixed into it i.e. methoxyacetyl-fentanyl powder. The label will have something like, “USE FOR RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY” or “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION,” which is or once was a way of reducing penalties for possession. This is some frightening information. That means that anyone with internet access, an address, and credit card can simply click the “I certify that I am 18 or older” checkbox and “research chemicals” will be delivered! Most of these chemicals are made in a lab, usually in China, and shipped from the same place.

SOME FACES OF FENTANYL

pop/liquid

ACTIQ (oral transmucosal fentanyl citrate)
Fentanyl Citrate liquid (50 mcg/mL fentanyl) tiny brown bottle - Serenity Springs Recovery

molecule

chemist model of fentanyl (molecular make-up)
similar stickers appear on research chemicals

patch

fentanyl (transdermal patch) with cover on it

What is fentanyl used for?

Fentanyl is classified as an analgesic, commonly known as an opioid pain medication like morphine and OxyContin. The only similarity between fentanyl and morphine is just that, their classification. Differences, there are a bunch, the biggest being the strength of fentanyl. This lethal drug packs 50-100 times the power of morphine. Some forms of fentanyl analogs carry up to 10,000 times the potency levels we commonly see in prescription opioids, such as OxyContin, morphine, and Dilaudid. [3]

Celebrity Usage Exposed

Other common methods of delivery include gel patches and fentanyl lollipops. Media and many celebrities including pop princess, Britney Spears and the late music icon, Prince have been suspected of publically ingesting and referencing the opioid-laced lollipop. The death of Prince was said to be the direct result of his opioid dependence, which included fentanyl and fentanyl lollipops. Not only are the lollipops appealing to the youth of America, the media felt exposing dangerous drug use information about pop icons was necessary too. Just like any other addiction, this intimidating and deadly substance can grab a hold of anyone, anywhere.

Prince promotional picture early in his career (Died from fentanyl overdose April 21, 2016)

Overdoses Out of Control

Of the estimated 64,000 drug overdose deaths in 2016, the most significant increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl with over 20,000 overdose deaths. According to the New York Times, estimated deaths due to drug overdose went up 19% from 2015 to 2016. This unfavorable sweep of death and destruction by from opioid-induced drug addiction doesn’t seem like it’s decreasing anytime soon. Adding insult to injury on Wednesday, October 12, 2017, Camden, New Jersey reported fourteen overdoses in four hours as the result of fentanyl-laced heroin.

KNOW SOMEONE USING FENTANYL/HEROIN?

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KNOW A FENTANYL USER?

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Fentanyl Epidemic Eruption

Unfortunately, acute tragedies involving several opioid-related overdoses are reported nationwide every day. West Virginia who leads the country’s overdose rates by three times the national average, in 2016 communicated 27 heroin-induced overdoses in only 4 hours. Early this year West Virginia Public Broadcasting cited a 46 percent increase in overdose deaths in the state in just four years. They claim direct relation to the rise of fentanyl and the choice mixture among drug traffickers to increase potency levels of heroin.

Massachusetts has recently put most of its energy and effort in combating this drug over any other drug, including heroin. The Boston Globe this month ran a story in which they interviewed Michael J. Ferguson, a special agent who oversees the New England field division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). In the article, they quoted Fergenson pleading, “Fentanyl is manufactured death, and it’s like no other epidemic that I’ve come across in my 27 years at DEA.” Mr. Fergenson and the rest of the state of Massachusetts saw that among the 1,899 death by opioid overdose in 2016, 69 percent of them tested positive for fentanyl.

Fentanyl Epidemic Headlines:

States all over the country are starting to feel the crippling power that fentanyl has over its citizens. The fentanyl epidemic is starting to explode nationwide. These are just some of this week’s major headlines involving fentanyl [10.8.17-10.15.17]

MARYLAND: Police seize over 6000 fentanyl pills while serving warrant in Baltimore


NEBRASKA: Investigators capture more than 30 pounds of fentanyl


NEW JERSEY: Governor Christie passes legislation to combat fentanyl-laced heroin


COLORADO: Registered nurse arrested for stealing fentanyl intended for patients


VIRGINIA: Fentanyl Hazmat exercise held in Virginia Beach


PENNSYLVANIA: Drug rehab founder accused of providing fentanyl to addict patients


FLORIDA: Authorities find 11-year child dead from fentanyl exposure during a raid

What can we do to stop this?

As of today, there is really no answer for why, when or how this epidemic is going to end. It seems that drugs will always be a problem in this country and throughout the world regardless of the efforts made by police, armed forces, government, citizens, etc. of any country. At Serenity Springs Recovery Center, we do not worry about the numbers or politics involved, even though these are hot topics in America. We are here to offer a solution for addiction and change the lives of suffering addicts and alcoholics. These changes come from the knowledge and spiritual principles that we instill into their daily lives. This can and will happen for all that thoroughly work our program of recovery.

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REFERENCES


  1. Vicki Batts. “Drug Overdose Is Now Leading Cause of…” CDC News. 13 Sept. 2017. Web.
  2. “Fentanyl.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Oct. 2017. Web.
  3. Milo, Paul. “14 Overdoses in 4 Hours Linked to Fentanyl-laced Heroin.” NJ.com. NJ.com, 12 Oct. 2017. Web.

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