opioid addiction during coronavirus outbreak

Can Emergency Prescription Measures During COVID-19 Help Lower Addiction Rates?

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light the many inefficiencies in our healthcare system. People all over the U.S. are currently required to stay at home unless they’re going to “essential businesses,” which include grocery stores, convenience stores, banks, and pharmacies. Pharmacies are especially important because they provide people with prescriptions that help them function in their day-to-day lives.

However, federal and state laws have made access to prescriptions difficult during this time. Many prescriptions are limited to access by mail or have a cap on quantities. This can be detrimental to people recovering from an addiction, who need specific medications to stay healthy. Methadone and buprenorphine are two of these essential prescriptions. 

Patients need more immediate access to medication during the COVID-19 pandemic so that more addictions can be prevented. We’ll explain more on this below.

Current Prescription Measures

Right now, methadone and buprenorphine are controlled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which places tight regulations on these medications and other substances. The CSA states that methadone used to treat pain can be dispensed through a pharmacy, while methadone used to treat addiction is restricted to distribution through a methadone clinic. 

Both methadone and buprenorphine are used to treat opioid use disorder. However, these medications have restrictions because they are, in fact both opioids, which are already addictive.

In addition to the federal government, states will also have their regulations on dispensing prescriptions, and these all vary.

Currently, Medicare Part D and Advantage plans will provide a 90-day supply of prescription drugs when requested. If a patient’s access to in-network pharmacies is disrupted during COVID-19, Medicare is also required to reimburse the cost of their prescription from an out-of-network pharmacy.

How People Get Access to Prescriptions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people have enough medication for two weeks during the coronavirus pandemic. Although pharmacies are considered “essential businesses,” CDC regulations encourage limiting physical contact and only going out when necessary.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has also issued COVID-19 medication treatment guidelines for all kinds of prescriptions, including opioids, as well as telehealth sessions. These are extremely helpful for people recovering from addiction.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services also can relax some of the Medicare restrictions on prescriptions during the pandemic.

Some states are waiving federal regulations on prescription dispensing. For example, Indiana is letting opioid treatment facilities distribute naloxone to some patients through a lockbox to minimize physical contact during COVID-19.

Why Should People Have More Access to Prescription in Emergencies?

It’s hard enough for people to get the medication they need every day. When natural disasters or pandemics happen, medication restrictions are even tighter. During Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, a miscommunication led to patients missing treatment appointments, which put them at high risk for withdrawal and relapse.

Although we do want to prevent new cases of substance use disorder and drug addiction, especially while people are in quarantine and not working, methadone and buprenorphine are also proven to save lives. They also help people stave off drug cravings.

For patients taking methadone to treat addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic, the current prescription restrictions might not be suitable. People are encouraged to stay at home, and people who need methadone to recover will need access to their methadone clinics. If individuals miss a dose of methadone or buprenorphine, they could lapse back into substance misuse.

Addiction Treatment is Available at Discovery Institute

If you need addiction treatment during this global pandemic, Discovery Institute is here to help. We are still accepting patients who have not contracted COVID-19, and we screen all patients before they’re admitted. If you require methadone, we can direct you to a methadone clinic nearby. Contact us today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs. You can take control of your life once more and conquer your substance use disorder for good.

opiate withdrawal timeline

What to Expect: Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

Dependence on opiates is defined by withdrawal symptoms that start when a person suddenly stops using opioids. The opiate withdrawal timeline depends on a few different factors. The type of opioid you are taking and your body chemistry will affect the severity and the length of withdrawal symptoms. 

Opiate withdrawal can be excruciating and uncomfortable. The pain of withdrawal keeps many people from seeking treatment. Treatment programs like medical detox can help relieve the symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Medical detox can also reduce the length of time that you will go through withdrawal.

What Does an Opiate Withdrawal Timeline Look Like?

Opiate withdrawal symptoms typically start between eight and thirty hours after you took your last dose. Depending on the type of opiate you use, whether it is heroin or prescription opiates, the safest way to go through opiate withdrawal is in a medical detox program. For some, the opiate withdrawal will be shorter, and for others, it can last up to a month or more. 

Day 1 

8-24 hours after your last dose: If you take short-acting opioids like fentanyl, codeine, and heroin, you will start to feel the following withdrawal symptoms. 

  • Drug cravings
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Problem sleeping

Day 2

24-48 hours after your last dose: If you take long-acting opioids like oxycodone extended-release, then day two will bring these symptoms.

  • The same symptoms as day one
  • Excessive sweating
  • Panic attacks
  • Runny nose
  • Stomach issues
  • Insomnia

Day 3

If you take short-acting opioids, your withdrawal may begin to peak on day three. Symptoms include:

  • Same symptoms as the first two days
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Day 4

If you take long-acting opioids, your withdrawal may begin to peak. Symptoms include:

  • Same symptoms as days 1-3
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Cramping
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Shivering
  • Fatigue

Day 5

Withdrawal will peak if you take long-acting opioids. Symptoms will include the same symptoms form the first four days.

Day 6

Day six of the opiate withdrawal timeline will feel like the first five days.

Day 7

On day seven, withdrawal symptoms start to subside, and you will begin to feel slightly better. Symptoms will include:

  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Depressed or irritable

Long-Term

PAWS or Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome can continue for months after you take your last dose. Symptoms of PAWS include:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Drug cravings

What Factors Can Affect the Opiate Withdrawal Timeline?

The opiate withdrawal timeline can be affected by many different factors. Some of these factors include:

  • The number of opiates you have in your system when you enter detox.
  • The length of your opiate use 
  • The severity of your opiate addiction. 
  • Your overall mental and physical health.
  • Genetics
  • Choosing medical detox or detox on your own.

Your opiate withdrawal timeline will vary based on the type of opiate you are withdrawing from. If you are withdrawing off heroin, a short-acting opiate, you will likely start to feel the withdrawal symptoms within eight to twelve hours of your last dose. You will reach the peak of withdrawal within 36 to 72 hours, and then they will decline drastically after five days.

Your opiate withdrawal timeline, if you take oxycodone, withdrawal symptoms begin 24 to 36 hours after your last dose. You will reach the peak of withdrawal in 4 to 6 days, but you can stay at the peak of withdrawal for weeks. 

Mild withdrawal symptoms, like fatigue, depression, irritability, and sleep issues, can last for months. Medical detox can help play a crucial role in lessening the symptoms of withdrawal and helping you maintain your sobriety.

The Opiate Withdrawal Timeline: Reduce the Symptoms

When you withdrawal from an opiate use disorder, you can experience painful and uncomfortable side effects. Medical detox can help reduce the symptoms and the duration of withdrawal symptoms. Medical detox is a medically supervised form of detox. 

Medical detox uses a variety of medications to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and reduce the length of time you go through withdrawal. It is not recommended to withdraw from opiates unless in a medical detox program. It can be hazardous to detox alone. 

Medical detox is the first step to a sober life. When you complete medical detox, it is vital to continue treatment, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

Medications used to reduce the opiate withdrawal timeline include:

  • Antidepressants
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Opioid Agonists
  • Non-Opioid Agonists
  • Opioid Antagonist
  • Partial Agonists and Antagonists

Medication administered in medical detox can reduce the time and symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Individuals who try to detox at home and not in a medical detox program have a high rate of relapse. The withdrawal symptoms become too much to handle and lead to using again. Along with medication management of withdrawal symptoms, medical detox provides emotional support and alternative therapies to help you battle withdrawal symptoms and stay on track to sobriety. 

Buprenorphine is a commonly used medication in opiate detox. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist and a semi-synthetic opiate. Buprenorphine produces euphoric feelings and depresses the respiratory system just as an opiate would. The effects are not as strong as opiates such as heroin or painkillers, but they help lessen withdrawal symptoms and normalize brain functions.

Other medications used to ease the opiate withdrawal timeline can treat nausea, vomiting, stomach issues, and anxiety. While going through detox, the cravings can be extremely intense. Some medications can help reduce the severity of your cravings while going through detox. The truth is, you can experience opiate cravings for months after detox. Continuing treatment after detox is vital to prevent relapse.

Why Should I Go to Medical Detox?

When you suffer from opiate addiction, detoxing at home can be extremely dangerous. Many people relapse quickly after withdrawal symptoms start. Severe withdrawal symptoms can turn hazardous. Severe dehydration can happen from vomiting and diarrhea. Without medical intervention, severe dehydration can lead to further critical issues. 

Friends and family members mean well when they try to help you detox at home. They can hold your hand and try to encourage you, but it can quickly become more than they can handle. Addiction professionals are experienced in all aspects of the withdrawal process. Besides medication management of withdrawal symptoms, they provide emotional support and encouragement to help you through the withdrawal. 

Why is Opiate Withdrawal Difficult?

Firstly, it’s helpful to understand what is happening during the process of opiate withdrawal. Again, opiates activate the part of the brain, which produces feelings of pleasure. This means an opiate user or addict associates substance use with positive, “feel-good” emotions.

Also, the user becomes chemically addicted – meaning they experience a physical need for the substance. It becomes difficult for the individual to function without using opiate drugs. He or she may begin to feel “off” or abnormal without the influence of these substances.

This combination of emotional and physical symptoms makes for a challenging detox. Those who have become addicted to opiates may struggle to stop using these drugs because of their emotional and physical dependence on them.

Our brains actually produce their own natural opioids. Receptors in our brains use them to regulate stress and pain. Synthetic opioids are much more potent and attach to the receptors in the same way.

The strength of these opioids induces feelings of euphoria beyond what we would usually experience. Over time, our systems become flooded and weakened by the chemicals and stop producing their own opioids.

This means our brains and bodies are then depleted of dopamine and similar chemicals. This causes many withdrawal symptoms – as the body adjusts to the lack of natural or chemical opioids.

Understanding and Avoiding Addiction Relapse 

Relapse can be a reality during recovery, but, thankfully, a support program can prevent it. It’s essential to be aware that deadly overdoses usually occur during relapse. This is because the body isn’t used to the presence of such high levels of opiates anymore.

During a relapse, an opiate user may go straight in at what had previously been their usual dose. Having been through withdrawal, the body cannot cope with this, and it can be fatal.

To avoid relapsing and possibly experiencing an overdose, individuals going through an opiate detox should seek counsel, support, and guidance from professionals who understand the difficulties of withdrawal and detox. 

With assistance from people who truly understand your journey and the obstacles, you might be facing. You can successfully identify any triggers that might cause a relapse to occur in your life. You can also develop strategies that will allow you to successfully deal with those triggers without returning to substance abuse.

The Difference Between Medical Detox and MAT

Medical detox programs and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) sound similar. Still, they have two different but essential roles in opiate use disorder. Medical detox programs use medication to relieve some withdrawal symptoms and prevent further health problems from withdrawal from opiates. Medical detox programs focus on ridding the body of opioids so you can begin treatment. Medical detox programs last no more than a week and guide you toward your next step in treatment. 

MAT programs are a continued-care program. You can be part of a MAT program as long as you need to be. Medication-assisted treatment programs are designed to help you control your cravings and achieve a lasting sober lifestyle. 

According to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), it is federally mandated to be part of a MAT program and attend therapy sessions. In other words, MAT is not an all in one comprehensive treatment plan, but a vital piece of a bigger plan in beating opiate use disorder.

Medications Can Help Beyond Medical Detox

If you are a person suffering from opiate abuse, you may benefit from a medication program after you complete medical detox. Some opiate withdrawal symptoms can last for many months after detox. You can feel anxious, irritable, or depressed, but some medications can help relieve those feelings. Drugs such as methadone and buprenorphine can reduce cravings and normalize brain function so you can focus on your recovery. 

Medications alone can not prevent a person from relapsing. Combining medications with psychological counseling can drastically improve your chances of staying sober. Attending therapy sessions, you will begin to heal the underlying issues that led you to use opiates. These issues can be abuse, trauma, or mental health conditions. You will also build the skills needed to prevent relapse and cope with the stressors in life. Medications may reduce the side effects and cravings from opiates, but drugs will not cure your opiate use disorder.

Facts and Medications for Opiate Withdrawal

Researchers continue to access the medications used in MAT programs. And the findings show:

  • 74% of individuals who participate in a methadone program stayed in treatment
  • 46% of individuals who use buprenorphine for opiate use disorder stayed in treatment
  • Taking 32 milligrams per day of buprenorphine have greater success in treatment
  • Studies show that taking less than 16 milligrams a day of buprenorphine is not as effective as taking 16 to 32 milligrams a day

Benefits of MAT Participation

SAMHSA’s research has proven these additional facts and benefits of MAT programs.

  • Reduction in the illegal use of opiates
  • Reduction in crime related to opiate use
  • Reduced relapse rates
  • Increased chances of keeping a job
  • Fewer babies born to mothers with a substance use disorder
  • Reduction in the risk of HIV or Hep C

Let Discovery Institute Help You Today!

Addiction can make people feel completely alone. Often, those who suffer from drug or alcohol abuse feel isolated and separated from all that matters in life. It can be overwhelming and challenging to work through.

If you’ve been feeling alone in your struggle, please know that there is hope for you! Here at Discovery Institute, there are professional staff members who are willing and ready to help you overcome the challenges of recovery and enjoy the freedom to overcome addiction!

You might also consider attending support group meetings for those who have experienced something similar to you. This will help you to understand the causes of your addiction and how to prevent relapse.

These options are also likely to aid your recovery if you’re able to access a detox program or therapy. These professionals have supported many people through opiate withdrawal. They will provide a safe environment to guide you through.
For more information about addiction treatment, recovery, and how we can help you here at Discovery Institute, please contact us today. Allow us to be a part of your journey to a new and healthier way of life. We are committed to your well-being and will walk with you every step of the way!

opioid crisis solutions

Opioid Crisis Solutions in 2019

Opioids continue to plague America in an epidemic, that unfortunately, isn’t subsiding. In fact, every day, more than 130 people die in the United States, all due to opioid overdoses.

Families have been torn apart and communities continue to suffer every day because of opioid addiction. And it continues to get worse.

So what kinds of opioid crisis solutions are there? What can be done to help these individuals and the addiction crisis as a whole?

Currently, the FDA calls it their biggest public health crisis. They recently issued a press release, detailing some of the actions that will be taken this year, in order to tackle this American crisis. 

Do you or a loved one need help to get clean? It can be hard to know where to begin to put the pieces back together. Keep reading to find out opioid crisis solutions of 2019 so that you can take that next step towards recovery.

What Are Opioids vs. Opiates?

Before we learn about some of the opioid crisis solutions of 2019, let’s break down opiates vs opioids. 

Opiates are chemicals that are naturally occurring in the opium plant. Morphine, codeine, thebaine, and papaverine are all opiates. Thebaine, for example, isn’t used in its natural state. It’s converted into other chemicals, like oxycodone, before it is used. Oxycodone would be considered a semi-synthetic opiate, as would heroin.

Opioids include opiates and semi-synthetic opiates. Opioids are ALSO drugs that MIMIC the effects of opiates, but that are not, however, derived from the opium poppy plant. Fentanyl, methadone, and meperidine are all types of synthetic opioids. 

Because the word opioid is being used more and more to refer to ALL of these drugs, the term opiate is becoming more obsolete.

What Is the FDA Doing?

The FDA pledges to enforce stricter guidelines for prescribers when it comes to issuing opioids to patients.

They have updated Warning labels and expanded the REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) program. For the first time, training will be made available to all health care providers. Thus, nurses, pharmacists, and doctors alike who are involved in the management of patients with pain, will have access to training.

The FDA opioid solutions also include gearing up to reduce exposure by making sure doctors are much more selective in writing prescriptions so that dose, amount, and treatment length better match the need.

They are also attempting to promote the use of non-addictive pain remedies and drugs and are working with other government departments to try and limit the number of illegal drugs entering the country.

How Did It All Begin?

In the early 1990s, deaths began to rise due to an increase in opioids being prescribed to treat pain. Pharmaceutical companies and medical societies assured prescribers that the potential for addiction was very low.

Unfortunately, that claim was far from the truth.

Yet opioids were continued to be prescribed, and not just for cancer patients. 86% of patients using opioids were non-cancer patients by 1999. Abuse became an issue, not only for the patients themselves but for those people that the drugs were being shared with and transferred (or sold) to.

A significant increase in heroin deaths began in 2010. In conjunction, early efforts to pull back on opioid prescriptions were put into place, which led even more people to turn to heroin. Deaths as a result of heroin-related overdoses increased by 286% from the years 2002 to 2013.

In 2013, another huge wave of deaths occurred due to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Since then, the epidemic continues to grow across America. Unfortunately, US Senate discovered, in an investigation, that financial ties exist between opioid manufacturers, medical professional societies, and advocacy groups.

What Are Some Other Opioid Crisis Solutions?

Many attempts have been made to change opioid prescribing patterns. These efforts hold prescribers and pharmaceuticals to higher accountability when prescribing to their patients.

The HHS (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is focusing on 5 major priorities in order to remedy the opioid crisis. They are:

  • Improving access to treatment and recovery services
  • Promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs
  • Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  • Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  • Advancing better practices for pain management

The NIH (National Institute of Health), which is a sector of the HHS, is focusing on extensive medical research in order to find new ways to treat addiction, prevent misuse, and finding alternatives to manage pain better.

They also launched HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term), which is a trans-agency effort that will tackle the opioid crisis.

Not only does it focus on new drug alternatives, but it boasts research that provides evidence for the use of mind/body techniques to help patients manage and control pain.

Get the Support You Need

New opioid policy isn’t going to treat your addiction today. While it’s essential that our country moves forward in an effort to minimize opioid addiction, individuals still need care and support to tackle the addictions that affect their lives and their families.

There are many different levels of care available at a treatment center and it’s important that you choose what is best for you and your family. 

Where Should You Go from Here?

You may think that picking up the slack for someone you know who is facing addiction is helpful.

You might think that using empty threats or lying for your loved one will get them to see the light. And you might think that providing them with shelter is keeping them safe by keeping them close.

But all of these are enabling, and it’s important not to enable someone, no matter how much you love them, who is a victim of drug addiction.

Opioid crisis solutions will eventually fix the issue with America. But how will you fix your problem or your loved one’s addiction before there is another fatal overdose?

Help is always here. Call us today to find out the best path to conquer you or your loved ones opioid addiction.

Oxycodone: The Gateway Drug

Rehabs in NJ are often questioned about what a ‘gateway drug’ is. Nearly every time the term comes up, however, it’s in association with cannabis (marijuana) and often echos the era of ‘reefer madness’. The basic definition of a ‘gateway drug’ for drug rehab centers in NJ is a ‘lite’ drug which entices the user to either feel safer or compelled to try and find a stronger ‘high’ by experimenting with more potent drugs like heroin.

While there are no statistics or research that backs up the claim that cannabis is an effective gateway drug definitively, research is continuing to pile up showing that prescription opioids act closer to the definition of a gateway drug, though for different reasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that forty-five percent of people addicted to heroin started on prescription opioid-based painkillers like oxycodone. Oxycodone and hydrocodone come in various forms as prescription drugs and are prescribed based on various conditions when a doctor treats a patient’s pain or chronic pain issues. Brand names include Lorcet, Lortab, Norco and Vicodin for hydrocodone variants and Oxycontin and Oxecta for oxycodone. Fentanyl is a much stronger form and is distributed under brand names Duragesic, Actiq, Fentora, Lazanda and Sublimaze.

The fear of the gateway drug is that a less powerful drug will lead to more powerful drugs and eventually end with an overdose. What typically happens with those that begin with one of the mentioned drugs isn’t necessarily seeking out of a more powerful high, but instead the prescription drug itself has already formed an addiction and the patient either no longer can afford it, their insurance has run out or they simply cannot find a doctor that will prescribe them more. Because the addiction is already in full swing, the person who is suffering from opioid use disorder will then seek out similar drugs, for which heroin is the most common.

Opioids themselves are a synthetic form of opiates. Opium, heroin and morphine are the most well known opiates. Most users of opioids that find themselves inside the trap of addiction typically find they are seeking more of the drug to subside withdrawal symptoms which compels them to seek out the most commonly found opiate outside of the doctor’s office, which is heroin. Often times, heroin ends up being significantly cheaper and much more powerful than opioids, with the exception of fentanyl which is up to 100 times more powerful than heroin and is responsible for a majority of opioid overdoses.

Discovery Institute

While none of this information is to make light of issues with marijuana usage, it’s clear by statistical analysis and behaviors surrounding prescription painkillers based on opioids that it more fully fits the end results that gateway drug definitions warn about.

If you or someone you know might be suffering from substance use disorder, call the best New Jersey rehab, Discovery New Jersey at 844-478-6563. Our staff is ready and willing to help break the addiction that has taken such intense control of your life. 

Hypocrisy In Opioids

Currently, many people seeking sober living in New Jersey through NJ detox centers have been encouraged through the country’s ‘fight against the opioid’ crisis, which has primarily taken place in moderately middle class range suburbs, often times predominantly ethnically white. However, the War On Drugs, which was proposed by the Nixon administration which he signed into law in 1971, was not only ill advised, but was used and continues to be used as an excuse to terrorize minority and poor neighborhoods.

During the 1980’s, there were two different and distinct messages coming out surrounding what essentially was the same drug in different forms; crack and cocaine. Although recently they were finally legislated to carry the same penalties, during the 1980’s, it was quite different.

The messages about cocaine use were sympathetic towards those addicted, encouraging them to find help, while the harsh criminal penalties incurred for crack treated people who had it or used it as potentially threatening and psychotic. Crack, being cheaper, was often found predominantly in lower class neighborhoods, which were where minority families would be found in greater numbers. All of this while happened while disregarding the drugs and their effects weren’t not much different from each other other than price and speed of which the effects could be felt by a user.

Minority communities who lived through this and remember it plainly see the hypocrisy in the ‘opioids crisis’.

For one, they see that crack is still heavily in circulation and still disproportionately tears minority neighborhoods apart at the core, primarily due to it’s cheap price and highly addictive properties, yet doesn’t have the attention that opioids do in the media. The situation creates a self sustaining cycle of generational damage to those communities which have yet to be addressed at large by policy makers and tax money. When put into contrast with the opioid epidemic, as it’s called, it only took 5-10 years for the entire country to begin talking about it, where the conversation about addiction has radically been altered to cater to the middle class which is largely finding out the hard way that addiction doesn’t discriminate as they once thought.

Throwing methamphetamine addiction into the mix, another ridiculously cheap drug which affects poorer neighborhoods, although does tend to affect more white neighborhoods, it becomes clear that policy and action seems to only come when it affects more affluent and stable white communities. While the positives of the conversation around addiction cannot be overstated, considering that the War On Drugs normalized the idea that drug abuse is always a choice of immoral people, a slight against those neighborhoods destroyed by crack, it still hasn’t come to grips with the larger picture of environmental factors and generational damage that occurs when addictive drugs take hold of a community.

Discovery InstituteWhile the tide is slowly shifting, it’s incredibly important at this time to remember that no addiction is the goal, not just protecting certain communities that never thought they would have to deal with the tragedies that are incurred from widespread substance use disorder. It’s time to stop the hypocrisy and address the entire problem rather than focusing on the most convenient for one group of people.

No matter the substance you or a loved one might have an addiction to, addiction treatment in New Jersey is available for you at Discovery Institute by calling 844-478-6563.

Outlandish Rumor About Heroin Usage Circulates

It’s known that in a small town, when someone sneezes, everyone else in town instantly knows who it was, but this game of telephone often creates noise in the line. What is simply a normal sneeze that periodically happens will turn into a hot commotion about whether that person is dying, if they’re contagious with some supernatural disease from a country no one can pronounce, or even if they’re trying to fake it for sympathy. People talk, and each iteration of an idea passed around comes with it the biases and projects of the person passing on the information. Eventually the rumors become accepted as somewhat factual and talked about as if there’s any basis for them. This happens in drug addiction talk, too.

Recently, rumors have started sprouting up about ‘narcan’ parties which, even on the face of it, sound ridiculously far fetched but many people who aren’t involved in keeping abreast of the country’s opioid and heroin problem have been spreading the idea around enough that the Cincinnati Enquirer had to write about the falsehoods of it.

The description of the party sounds like it was made up by people who still believe that addiction is a moral failing and involves a bunch of heroin and fentanyl users getting together, bringing their drugs as well as overdose antidote kits and intentionally shoot enough drugs to overdose then have their friends revive them.

Yes, apparently this rumor has gained enough traction that at least one newspaper has reported on it as a plausible scenario. A Nashville-based paper (embarrassing name drop withheld) recently ran the story about narcan parties in Tennessee with a straight face, which prompted a reporter with the Cincinnati Enquirer to investigate the outlandish claims. After speaking to area addiction experts and medical staff who treat overdoses in hospitals, there was a unanimous response to the story being a complete fabrication, sounding more like the plotline to Flatliners than a real thing warranting discussion.

Several interviewed for the debunking of the Tennessee paper’s faux pas including Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan and Amy Parker, a peer support recovery specialist, all expressed concerns at the veracity of the story in the face of the evidence of how both addiction works and how specifically heroin and drugs like naloxone work to revive a person after an overdose.

“First of all, heroin and fentanyl are not party drugs. If you’re addicted, you are literally buying the drug to be well and you do it right away”, Chief Synan responded when confronted with the rumor.

“I don’t know anyone who has ever willingly done this. I’ve heard people remark of how stupid it would be. Even the behavior is counter to that of people who have an opioid addiction.” Parker added.

Rumors of this sort for serious illnesses like addiction can cause major damage and create roadblocks to solutions. While people that understand what addiction is find the story laughable, many people aren’t as hip to the mountains of medical evidence that point to the changes in brain chemistry that control behaviors. Many people still think drug addiction is something you do if you’re a terrible person, which is how a story like this pops into existence. With a culture that largely doesn’t understand addiction or heroin or opioids, the story of narcan parties is in fertile ground to be reported as fact in a Tennessee newspaper.

Discovery InstituteAddiction is a serious disease affecting over twenty million Americans. Rehabs in NJ like Discovery Institute (844-478-6563) offer addiction treatment in New Jersey that focuses on the reality of the chronic illness making it one of the top rated drug rehab centers.

Fentanyl Is Bigger Than Ever, But Is It Really The Deadliest Opioid Out There?

According to the most recent 2018 National Vital Statistics System report, Fentanyl has now become the most dangerous and deadly opioid, surpassing its less potent opioid cousin, heroin, as the drug causing the most opioid drug deaths as a result of the drug epidemic or opioid epidemic sweeping New Jersey, the United States, and the world at large. New Jersey alone has been so ransacked by the effects of opioids that it is currently taking Purdue Pharma to court because they believe that Purdue Pharma wrongly represented the prescription opioid medication Oxycontin as they made a big push to market the drug as less addictive than other opioids and downright safe. When in reality the drug is just as deadly as its’ cousin prescription opioids like Vicodin. New Jersey’s government points a finger at this false publication of Oxycontin’s benign nature as contributing to the stair step effect that opioids take their addicts on – progressing them from prescription opioids all the way to a deadly fentanyl addiction. Essentially New Jersey is saying that Purdue Pharma is responsible for many many deaths due to opioid addiction. Those are heavy charges to weight against a pharmaceutical company, but when you see the devastation that the state of New Jersey has experienced due to the effects of opioids on its communities it is clear why the state is interested in holding those who play a part responsible.

In New Jersey, just like in the the wider United States, the powerful opioid fentanyl has been dominating in the headlines for some time as it has been on its way to breaking past heroin in the deadliest opioid on the streets these days. Fentanyl wasn’t always so ubiquitous in the drug scene. It first started when several prominent people ended up dying from overdoses on the narcotic substance. Famous musician and cultural icons Prince and Michael Jackson both died from a tragic cocktail of substances within them, but one of the biggest factors for the iconic musicians tragic deaths was the presence of fentanyl in the mix. Others have died in the spotlight as well and as more celebrities do, more people in the general public use the drug as well.  

But these days we are waking up to headlines reading about not only the fatal overdoses of celebrities and others who have taken fentanyl the drug, but also non-users, particularly first responders, who are at risk of coming into contact with the drug and not who don’t always know how to safely handle the situation. Everything from police officers to prison guards, public responders and civil servants of all sorts are learning that they have no clue how to safely take care of situation with the drug if they encounter it whether at a crime scene or trying to save someone from overdose.  Fentanyl can be very detrimental to users in all of its various forms, but sometimes you don’t have to intentionally take the drug for it to negatively affect your body. One of the different ways fentanyl can be most dangerous is when it is in the form of a powder. At that point if the drug comes in contact with someone’s eyes, or if they breathe the fentanyl in through their nose or mouth it can be problematic.

For example, according to The Associated Press, In an Ohio prison, thirty people were treated because of an exposure to what they believe to be a combination of both heroin and fentanyl. The prison was then put on lock down and the parties affected by the airborne drugs were taken to a hospital. Another instance in Massachusetts Police were exposed to Fentanyl while they were responding to what was apparently a fatal overdose. The officers were exposed to large amounts of Fentanyl. Soon afterward those exposed began to experience symptoms of nausea and vertigo. Stories like these are cropping up more and more in news papers and all over our news feeds, as the opioid crisis changes from a prescription pain pill crisis, to a heroin crisis to, quite possibly scariest of all, the Fentanyl crisis. All opioids are incredibly dangerous, but Fentanyl can be up to 100x more dangerous than heroin, the next most potent opioid.  


Fentanyl Is Also Known As:

Prescription Fentanyl is often also called:

  • Actiq
  • Dragesic
  • Sublimaze

When combined with heroin it can also be called:

  • Apache
  • China Girl
  • China White
  • Dance Fever
  • Friend
  • Goodfella
  • Jackpot
  • Murder 8
  • TNT
  • Tango & Cash

Fentanyl has taken the opioid epidemic from a place where the general public in America, who weren’t dealing with chemical dependence and maybe didn’t even know someone who was dealing with an addiction, to a society where almost everyone knows someone who is being completely controlled by a substance that is inevitably absolutely ruining their lives, or perhaps beginning to. Even if someone isn’t aware of anyone around them with a problem such as this, they certainly have read headline after headline of those dying across the country and the globe from death by Fentanyl, or other opioids. Everywhere from political speeches to impassioned messages in lieu of thank yous from stars at The Oscars or other awards shows we hear the pleading for more research and answers for this, one of the most deadly struggles in human history.

Multitudes of people, and the numbers are climbing, are now experimenting and consistently engaging with the high potency drug. The overdose numbers are rising and those overdoses are often fatal because of how little the drug requires to affect a body. Because we are seeing so many more overdoses a higher number of our emergency responders are getting exposed to the drug each day either via an overdosed patient, or when a security or police officer searches a person and finds the intoxicant on their person. Some first responders who most recently reported feeling the effects of the opioid needed to be treated just by brief skin contact and a brief airborne exposure.

It is clear when even those who keep us safe are scared of a substance just from incidental exposure that we have a bigger problem than we are currently equipped to deal with. Perhaps that is why this year the United States Department of Justice released this video in hopes of calming first responders fears that the drug was potent enough that they may die from just touching the substance. The video is meant as a means of education for first respondents and emergency respondents to help them learn about the possible ways they can protect themselves against the effects of the highly dangerous substance.

How Can Someone Protect Themselves

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For a first responder or other emergency responder to understand how they should protect themself, they first must understand how they may be exposed to Fentanyl in the first place. Whether the person is a police officer, emergency medical technician, a firefighter, or some other type of official service member there will be different scenarios for each person as even two EMT’s know that every call is different but here are a few ways that Fentanyl exposure could happen:

Exposure to Fentanyl Could Happen Through:

  • Injected into the veins
  • Injected into the muscle
  • Ingested
  • Breathed in
  • Skin Contact
  • Eye Membrane

As a first responder, or any person who may come in contact with Fentanyl, need only take the proper precautions if they want to remain safe and in most situations quite unaffected by the opioid narcotic.

Safety Measures To Take with Possible Exposure To Fentanyl:

Never do this:

  • Never Assume It’s Safe – if a first responder or other person is exposed to a substance like Fentanyl and are not sure what the substance is, always assume that it could be dangerous. Never underestimate an unknown subject.
  • Never Taste It – This cannot be said enough. Ingesting any drug is one of the most common ways to administer a drug, especially opioids, not to mention a common way that first responders and others have accidental exposure to the drug.
  • Never Smell It – First responders in shows or movies often sniff an unknown substance to try and identify it but in reality one should never sniff an unknown subject since a person’s nostrils have some of the most sensitive bio-availability in the body, this is why snorting substances like opioids or cocaine can be a faster way of feeling their effects.
  • Never Feel It – Though it is less likely that skin contact will cause an overdose or really even greatly affect a person, it is true that prolonged skin contact can cause some absorption of the drug. Some first responders have even reported experiencing symptoms after just touching the substance.

Always do this:

  • Always Double Up When You Glove Up – Double your gloves for extra protection against this sensitive drug and as the Department of Justice’s video says, do not use hand sanitizer to clean your hands after exposure. It could hasten and worsen the effects of the drug.
  • Always Wear a Protective Breathing Mask – Fentanyl is at its most dangerous for first responders when it is airborne. If large amounts of Fentanyl are in powder form in the air or the environment, leave the situation immediately and alert the law enforcement and health officials immediately.
  • Always Protect Your Eye Membrane With Safety Goggles – In their video to first responders the United States Department of Justice warns against the exposure to your eye membrane though previously Canada’s Public Services Health and Safety Association said in a fact sheet they released that it was not  not verified that exposure via the eye could drastically affect a person. Either way, goggles will keep your eyes protected and better safe than sorry.
  • Always Know What You’re Looking For – The Department of Justice did the right thing by releasing the above video to educate our first responders about the dangers of fentanyl, both the mythology of the danger and the realities of it. The most important thing a person can do to keep themselves safe is to understand how to recognize the substance and how to recognize fentanyl intoxication in other people, as well as in themselves.

Let’s Look at The Numbers

So we know that Fentanyl overdose is sweeping the nation and making a name for itself separate from its other opioid cousins such as morphine, heroin, and oxycontin and other prescription pain pills. It doesn’t matter if a person is using the drug on purpose, or suspects that the drugs they have been taking could have been laced with Fentanyl, or whether the person is a first responder who ends up affected by accidentally ingesting or inhaling the drug,  it is important to know the signs and symptoms of overdose from fentanyl.

Signs and Symptoms of Overdose

  • Severe exhaustion, lethargy, or sleepiness
  • Lack of response
  • May exhibit slow or relaxed breathing
  • Lips or nails may become bluish
  • Skin may become cold and clammy
  • Heart rate may slow
  • Pulmonary function may be inhibited
  • Pupils may become narrow like the head of a pin

It is also important to very important to know what the current state of the problem of fentanyl is in the country. As we are watching the opioid crisis respond to the growing world wide scrutiny, Fentanyl is creating its own devastating name for itself almost completely separate from the opioid epidemic as we know it. Watching opioid related drug deaths by other drugs decrease, death by fentanyl is trending steadily upward. The Boston Herald states that the latest Department of Public Health data shows that though heroin is becoming less popular by itself, the news is not all good because fentanyl users now trend to cocaine laced with fentanyl instead, and heroin laced with fentanyl is also a cocktail on the rise.

“According to the DPH’s quarterly report, the presence of fentanyl in opioid-related overdose deaths statewide reached an all-time high in 2017, with traces of the potent opioid found in 90 percent of such deaths; that alarming rate remained at 90 percent through the first quarter of this year. The figure represents a more than 100 percent increase since 2014, when fentanyl was present in 40 percent of overdose deaths, according to the DPH quarterly report.”

But is Fentanyl Still The Most Potent Opioid?

Surely we, humanity, the same species being rapidly thinned by opioids, surely we wouldn’t produce an even more potent opioid than Fentanyl, the most deadly and dangerous drug readily available? Indeed we would. Since the start of the opioid epidemic, Fentanyl has been the bad guy. Not only killing people by itself but taking them over the edge into oblivion with their usual drug of choice when Fentanyl is cut with such intoxicants as heroin or cocaine. Fentanyl is a kind of synthetic opioid that has been used for years for such medical practices as sedating a patient for surgery, used in post-surgery to block pain. The narcotic was developed in the 1960’s as a pain blocker and an anesthetic. When it was first developed the drug was was closely regulated and was mostly just available via prescription only, however as with most drugs, the longer it has been on the market the easier it has become to get as it becomes easily taken through the subdermal patch. In the 1990s anyone could easily take fentanyl at home or even as they are out and about. Since then fentanyl has exploded within the US as an illicitly taken prescription medication, as if it were vicodin or codeine, except that fentanyl makes those opioids look like a simple dose of tylenol, which in and of itself is absolutely capable of giving you liver failure if you take too much of it, but when taken properly is quite safe. Prescription opioid medications are perhaps the most effective gateway drugs in history as people go from codeine, to vicodin, to heroin to fentanyl and all too often to their graves.

The Deadly Reality of Fentanyl

With all of fentanyl’s deadly traits in mind, it is very easy to understand that there are some physicians and first responders out there who are quite concerned about the fact that the US Food and Drug Association have now approved usage of a brand new, and even more potent opioid, Dsuvia. This opioid is in fact ten times more deadly than fentanyl is. Dsuvia was developed by AcelRx Pharmaceuticals and was supported by the military and now passed for use by the FDA.

Even among the committee members considering the opioid, there were disagreement about the whether or not it was necessary to releasing another highly dangerous opioid to the public. Dr. Raeford Brown, the chair of the committee and a anesthesiology and pediatrics professor at the University of Kentucky, showed his concern about Dsuvia, which he noted comes in a form that can be “easily diverted”—meaning someone, even someone without a prescription may have ready access the drug because we know as with other medications, especially opioids that when they move into an easy to administer form they become available to anyone very quickly. “This drug offers no advance, in my mind, over previously available opioid formulations, but provides great risk of harm to patients and the general public health,” Brown told Marketwatch in an interview.

Treatment for Addiction at The Top Rated Drug Rehab Centers in NJ

Discovery Institute

First responders can take all the precautions in the world, but there is no safe place to run from exposure to an opioid when you are someone who is suffering from an addiction to the intoxicant. Those people who have struggled with an opioid addiction know just how powerful the tolerance that opioids like heroin, vicodin, morphine rapidly builds within an addict. It’s not unlikely that a person who is intentionally intaking Fentanyl may have started in a doctor’s office or hospital due to some kind of pain, with a prescription to a far lesser dangerous opioid, such as hydrocodone or even codeine. It is a slippery slope with opioids because this kind of drug attaches itself to the addiction and rewards center of the brain and quickly becomes a need for the addict. Chemical dependency is swift and insistent. Addicts who have valiantly fought opioid addiction know all to well just how easily minor triggers can lead to deep and persistent cravings. Fentanyl is startlingly powerful and dangerous, and often underestimated, perhaps due to just how big of a giant in potency that it is in comparison to the other drugs in the opioid family.  Anytime an addict is exposing themselves to an opioid they should be aware that they could be taking a drug that very well may be laced with Fentanyl.

New Jersey Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Panic Attack
  • Body Ache
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Profuse Sweating
  • Flu Like Symptoms
  • Large Pupils
  • Goosebumps

Treatment for a user in New Jersey struggling with an addiction to fentanyl or any sort of opioid begins with detox in New Jersey. Medically supervised detoxification can start the addict down the right recovery path. Patients must be sure to take on detox and withdrawal only when they are medically supervised so that they can be sure that any co-occurring disorders, or dual diagnosis that they are dealing with simultaneous to their addiction can be tended to at the same time as their withdrawal and then into their New Jersey rehab.  If a user tries to detox on their own from fentanyl it can lead to serious medical complications including in some cases the worst symptom of all, the addict’s death. At a drug detox facility, however, a medically qualified staff will be present so that they can monitor the patient’s physical and emotional wellbeing, even as the patient is feeling overwhelmed and afraid throughout very difficult withdrawal symptoms, the staff will be a strong support to lean on.

Discovery Institute is an excellent option for anyone who is struggling with chemical dependency on alcohol or any illicit or prescription drug.  Discovery offers a licensed medical staff and excellent amenities so a patient can focus on their own healing. Call us today and learn how to start your recovery journey right away.

In the Face of the Fentanyl Scare, Heroin Still Killing in The Background

Opioids are well known killers in our society. They have monopolized the headlines in the news and public attention the way some serial killers have in the past. Everyday it seems we wake up to another story about the creative ways opioids like heroin and fentanyl have been used or have inadvertently harmed people due to ignorance in the way the substance was handled, not knowing the substance was present in another drug like a stash of heroin cut with fentanyl unbeknownst to the user, or a first responder’s surprise engagement with the drug at a crime scene or other emergency situation. It seems like every government report or scientific study comes out with more and more disturbing numbers.

Though the opioid epidemic is founded on the frequency with which opioid prescription pain pills are prescribed and the smooth pipeline of prescription opioid addicts to the devastating heroin or fentanyl opioid addiction. As the opioid epidemic rages on we have seen heroin, which has for years been the opioid that induced fear into the public, take a back seat to the even more potent fentanyl. Fentanyl, in fact is known to be up to fifty times more potent than heroin. Fentanyl has been used as a prescription drug but is generally only prescribed for the most grievous situations.

What is Heroin

Heroin is a narcotic analgesic that has been the star of the opioid family for years. It is a drug that, like all opioids alters the mental state of the person taking it in order to lessen pain, induce a feeling of calm and contentment in the user of the drug.

 

Heroin comes in a spectrum of color from a pure white to a muddy brown. The color indicates the purity of the stash. The more pure the drug the more white the stash the less additives are cutting it. The more brown the more the drug dealer added to the drug to stretch it and allow for higher capital. Heroin is a dangerous drug for so many reasons and one of them is this process of cutting the drug with other elements.

 

Heroin is usually cut with:

  • Talcum powder
  • Rat poison
  • Baking soda
  • Caffeine
  • Flour
  • Fentanyl
  • Laundry Detergent

 

If the fact that heroin is sometimes cut with rat poison or laundry detergent doesn’t deter a person perhaps the fact that in order to consume it people snort it, inject it and smoke it. These three all come with their own intense side effects. Snorting heroin can create real respiratory problems. It takes away track marks as an easily identifiable sign of heroin abuse and because of that is a method on the rise with people struggling with a heroin addiction today. Some people smoke it, a method otherwise known in some circles as “chasing the dragon”, can also cause severe respiratory issues as well as pulmonary tissue deterioration. Of course the most commonly thought of way to administer the drug is via injection. Injecting the drug can cause complications like blockages in or a collapsing of the blood vessels.

 

These side effects of the way people consume the drug, and the horrific substances that often cut heroin are often indeed not enough to stop people from picking up heroin for the first time. Much of that is due to the fact that many people, in fact as many as four out of five people, come to heroin already addicted to opioids. They started with a prescription pain medication and are now in desperate straights looking for a drug that can pick up where oxycodone, or hydrocodone left off. These drugs easily lead to heroin for a stronger fix. And once heroin isn’t enough to feed the person’s growing tolerance, Fentanyl is there to take them where they want to go. If they have survived thus far. Heroin overdoses are all too common. The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that  “In 2016, nearly 948,000 people in the United States (12-years old or older) reported using heroin in the past year, which is an estimated rate of 0.4 per 100 persons.  And in 2015, 81,326 emergency department visits occurred for unintentional, heroin-related poisonings in America, which is an estimated rate of almost 26 per 100,000 people.” (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/heroin.html)

 

What is Fentanyl

Fentanyl was initially introduced to the United States in the 1960’s. It was administered via injection as an anesthetic in medical, often surgical situations. The problem really started with the drug when it became more available to the public via prescription in forms easily administered at home.  When the 1990’s came fentanyl was able to be used in a patch form for transdermal treatment. Contemporarily it is available in a common tablet form, sublingual sprays and tablets, lollipop form, nasal spray, and transdermal patches to the public via prescription It has claimed the lives of many and came into prominence through the death of superstars Michael Jackson and more recently, Prince.

Discovery InstituteThe United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that though fentanyl is used as a pharmaceutical to manage severe pain like the pain someone may experience after a major surgery, or used as an anesthetic before surgery, the majority cause of deaths have been, perhaps obviously, when people use the drug illicitly. The opioid narcotic analgesic is more powerful than most people seeking out illicit drug experiences can really comprehend.

“Most of the increases in fentanyl deaths over the last three years do not involve prescription fentanyl but are related to illicitly-made fentanyl that is being mixed with or sold as heroin—with or without the users’ knowledge and increasing as counterfeit pills. In July 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a new nationwide report indicating hundreds of thousands of counterfeit prescription pills have been entering the U.S. drug market since 2014, some containing deadly amounts of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs. The current fentanyl crisis continues to expand in size and scope across the United States”

(https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/fentanyl-le-reports.html)

 

Most recently Fentanyl has been used intentionally by the Nebraska state government as a means to carry out state sanctioned death sentences. It’s the first time Fentanyl has been used in this way and also the first death sentence carried out for the state in years, likely due to the controversy that halted many state death sentences, around the medications used to lethally inject inmates. States consistently ran into trouble with drugs not working, or taking hours of torture before the inmate actually succumbed to death. It should be a sign of how strong and menacing this drug is that a state like Nebraska decided to take back up its death penalty activities because it was able to trust in Fentanyl to effectively kill a person.

Heroin & Fentanyl, Both Opioids, Both Public Enemies

Pitting the two drugs, heroin and fentanyl, against each other to discover which is killing more than the other is the wrong question to ask. The right question should be, how do we stop both. The two work together in the opioid prescription to illicit drug overdose pipeline. They are different steps in the same terrifying trajectory. Even as fentanyl is the drug in the spotlight these days, based on studies and reports coming out as well as information commonly known about opioids, we know that one opioid leeds to another. The number of opioid prescription pain killers out there is high and continues to grow, it is only a matter of time until those people currently becoming addicted to the opioid in their medicine cabinet end up turning to the next step in their addiction.Just like we should not underestimate drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, it is vital that in the face of fentanyl we remember as well, that heroin is just below the surface and is often used as a mix with heroin, but is also dangerous in its own right.  Each drug needs to be considered a danger to society, indeed to public health.

 

Drug Rehab Centers in NJ

Discovery InstituteDiscovery Institute has some of the top rated drug rehab centers in the state of New Jersey. Our licensed medical staff and qualified therapists are there to support every patient through their individual process of detoxification and rehabilitation to help them through the difficult withdrawal symptoms that come with an opioid addiction and to help them learn the life skills necessary for sober living. New Jersey is doing more and more for its citizens who are suffering from opioid addiction and so are the medical insurances that cover individuals in the state and across the country.

Call your insurance today and see if you qualify for coverage of treatment for substance use disorder. If you have questions about how to navigate the sometimes confusing world of substance abuse recovery, call Discovery Institute today and we can answer your questions.

What are Opioids and Opiates and How do They Differ?

In New Jersey we hear everyday, more and more about the opioid addiction in this country and throughout the world. The numbers are devastating. For some perspective, the World Health Organization states that “Roughly 450,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015. Of those deaths, about 160 thousands were directly associated with drug use disorders and about 118 thousands with opioid use disorders.” (http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/information-sheet/en/) In 2016 alone there were over 118 thousand people who overdosed and died due to opioids. That’s 74% of the world wide drug related deaths were in connection with opioids! With an impact like that, opioids, or opiates deserve a closer look. What are the differences between the two?

What are Opioids and Opiates and How do They Differ?

Opioids or opiates have been in the news a lot in the last five years or so. They have made themselves a part of political debates and pop culture. The amount of celebrity names you see associated with opioid addiction and overdose is staggering. But it’s not always clear what is an opioid and what is an opiate, not to mention what the difference, if any, there is between the two.

What are Opiates: The name opiate refers to a kind of drug derived from a natural opium poppy plant. Opiates are simply the most pure form of opioids.

Some forms of opiates:

  • Opium
  • Heroin
  • Codeine
  • Thebaine
  • Morphine

What are Opioids: Opioids on the other hand, cover both the natural and synthetic forms of this narcotic drug. Narcotics are drugs that alter brain function. Opioids that are not naturally made are simply created to mirror the effects of the natural opiate.

Some forms of opioids:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone, OxyContin, Percocet, or Percodan
  • Hydromorphone, or Dialudid
  • Duragesic, or fentanyl

What Do Opioids Do To The Body

Discovery InstituteBoth the natural and synthetic forms of opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, the  pleasure center, the pain center, and addiction controls.

The nervous system and brain centers affected by opioids are:

  • The Limbic System – The limbic system controls a person’s emotional interactions with the world. This is where opioids go to create a sense of pleasure or contentment in the user. This is where the relaxation that users experience comes from as well.
  • The Brainstem – The brainstem is the center of all things you do automatically, that you have no conscious control over, like breathing. This is the place opioids go to slow heart rate and respiratory rate. This is also one of the two places opioids go to reduce pain in the person using the drug.
  • The Spinal Cord – The spinal cord is the second place that opioids find to affect the user’s pain levels. The spinal cord receives messages or sensations from other parts of the body and then ships those messages off to the brain. Opioids can block that message and even with serious pain can have an effect.

This affects the way someone regulates their emotions, it staves of some of the chronic pain they may have been having, and it can give the user a feeling of deep relaxation as it slows their breathing and their heart rate.

Side effects opioids may cause with persistent opioid use:

  • Dehydration
  • Constipation
  • Upset Stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Growing tolerance
  • Chemical dependence
  • Respiratory depression
  • Overdose
  • Death

Discovery InstituteWithdrawal Symptoms that a user may experience when going through withdrawal from an opioid drug:

  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Stomach aches
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature

The side effect that really drives the addiction of opioids is the speed at which a user builds tolerance. Opioids cause a user to need more and more of the drug. When someone is introduced to an opioid it doesn’t take long for them to need to increase the dosage in order to experience the same feelings and physical effects the first amount caused. If they start with pills like vicodin or oxycontin, the user may need to switch to a more potent form of the drug to find the relaxation, and contentment they’re looking for when taking the drug.  Many users turn to heroin. More and more people seem to be using drugs laced with Fentanyl after a while to continue satisfying their pleasure and pain centers of the brain.

Fentanyl is a particularly potent form of the opioid. Fentanyl is such a  powerful drug, that it has recently been used for the first time in Nebraska to successfully carry out a death sentence.(https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2018/08/14/nebraska-prepares-for-first-u-s-execution-using-fentanyl/?utm_term=.8a0ca6b72fe1). It has been mixed with other opioids and can even wreak havoc on someone who happens to breathe it in. It is so dangerous that the USA Department of Justice recently put out a whole video talking about the ways first responders can remain safe when interacting with the drug if they are exposed to it. Touching the drug isn’t enough to hurt a bystander, but breathing it in can be very problematic. (https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/ywk8kx/watch-the-dojs-dramatic-video-telling-cops-they-wont-die-from-touching-fentanyl)

Recovery Treatment for Someone Suffering from Opioid Chemical Dependency

Opioids are indeed rapid killing machines,  killing wide swaths of the world’s population on a steady and rising track.  According to the government, In the united states in 2016, the same year the world lost so many people to drug overdose, with almost 3/4ths of those people being the victims of opioid drug abuse and or addiction, 25,000 of the United States citizens  60,000 people who died of drug overdose lost their lives due to an opioid related drug death. (https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates) In New Jersey almost two thousand people died of opioid overdose the same year. Those rates go up every year. The opioid epidemic is persistent and the only way to fight it is through treatment.

Recovering from opioids cannot be done alone. Someone with an opioid addiction needs medical supervision and a sturdy support while they work toward sobriety. Discovery Institute’s Drug Rehab Centers in NJ, Detox Centers, and Outpatient Care offers quality care with a qualified and licenced medical staff who are dedicated to creating a personal treatment plan for anyone seeking out addiction treatment in NJ. Call today to learn more.

Opioid Crisis is so Widespread it’s Affecting Ocean Life

You know how you can tell that the opioid epidemic has reached pretty insane levels? How about when mussels from the ocean start having oxycodone in their system. Though the ocean water tested in this scenario is in Puget Sound, a harbor area in Washington state’s Pacific Ocean shoreline, it gets a little scary for us here regarding the New Jersey opioid problem when you look at and compare statistics about these two states.

While the population of New Jersey rounds to about 8.4-million, Washington has 7.2-million people. That 1.2-million more people here is about 17 percent higher than Washington’s population. However, deaths from opioid use in NJ is just about 200 percent of Washington’s opioid overdose deaths. It kind of makes you wonder how many opioids, among other substances, will be in our sea life the next time they do a study on our waterways. Will our animals need to go to a rehabs in NJ to get over an addiction that was forced on them?

 

(CNN)Shellfish in the Puget Sound, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean along the northwest coast of Washington, tested positive for the prescription opioid oxycodone.

But that wasn’t all, according to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Jennifer Lanksbury. In the midst of a national opioid crisis, the opioid may be the most attention-grabbing contaminant found, but it could be the least worrisome.

The mussels also contained four kinds of synthetic surfactants — the chemicals found in detergents and cleaning products — seven kinds of antibiotics, five types of antidepressants, more than one antidiabetic drug and one chemotherapy agent.

Surfactants, in particular, are “known to have estrogenic effect on organisms, so they affect the hormone system of some animals in an estrogenic way, such as feminizing male fish and making female fish reproductive before they’re ready,” Lanksbury explained. Click Here to Continue Reading

Clifton Surgeon’s Contribution to the NJ Drug Abuse Problem

If might be easy to assume that since the opioid addiction problem in New Jersey has hit unprecedented levels that doctors who have the power to prescribe opioid-based pain relievers would have become a lot more careful when it comes to giving their patients these drugs. However, orthopedic surgeon Evangelos Megariotis in Clifton has been doing the exact opposite – he was caught overprescribing opioid painkillers in an incredibly irresponsible way.

Not only was he knowingly giving drugs to those who were abusing them, he even gave additional painkillers to those who he knew were getting them from other doctors, too. Fingers crossed his patients receive the addiction treatment they very likely need.

 

A Clifton orthopedic surgeon can no longer prescribe oxycodone and other addictive, dangerous drugs and must have another orthopedist present to monitor every encounter he has with a patient, under an order from the state licensing board.  

Evangelos Megariotis, owner of Clifton Orthopedic Associates at 1450 Main Ave., agreed to the restrictions on his practice in February after the Attorney General’s Office filed a 53-page complaint against him.

The state alleges he over-prescribed thousands of doses of painkillers, even when he knew his patients were not using them as prescribed and were getting similar prescriptions from other doctors.  

The state also contends that Megariotis, who is 65, operated on some patients without any evidence that surgery was needed, and treated them for psychiatric, respiratory and other health problems — prescribing large amounts of Prozac, cough medicine with codeine and antibiotics — when that was outside the scope of his specialty. Click Here to Continue Reading

Where can I get addiction treatment in New Jersey?

What are Roxys?

Roxy is a street name for the powerful opioid Roxicodone (Roxycodone). It is prescribed to treat pain untouched by non-opioid pain relievers. Similar to heroin, Roxycodone abuse can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and require treatment to stop using. But, what are Roxys?

What is a Roxicodone Pill?

Often called Roxy, Roxies, or Blues, Roxicodone is a semi-synthetic pain reliever. A derivative of morphine, the Roxy drug effects include euphoria and sedation. Because of the high risk of Roxycodone abuse, it is a Schedule II narcotic.

Is Oxycodone Generic for Roxicodone?

Oxycodone is the generic name for the prescription drug Roxicodone. However, there are Roxy drug effects that differ from Oxycodone drug effects. The vital difference is, Roxicodone affects the central nervous system. This allows for lasting pain relief for moderate to severe pain.

Furthermore, Roxy is an immediate-release tablet. Besides the pain relief, it also produces an immediate rush of pleasure. This rush makes Roxycodone abuse common and often leads to addiction.

What is Roxycodone Abuse?

roxicodone abuse

Roxycodone abuse happens when a person takes more or in forms other than prescribed. Roxycodone abuse is also taking Roxy without a prescription. Often people abusing Roxy turn to the streets to find the drug.

Generally, Roxycodone abuse happens by crushing and swallowing, snorting, or injecting it. Although this typically increases the already quick-acting drug, it has long-term effects. For instance, snorting Roxy may disintegrate the septum. Furthermore, particles may be inhaled into the lungs, which can lead to death.

What Are the Effects of the Drug Roxicodone?

Common Roxy drug effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. While these side effects should decrease over time if they continue, medical attention may be needed.

However, serious Roxy drug effects should be addressed right away. These side effects include:

  • mood changes
  • confusion
  • agitation
  • hallucinations
  • severe stomach pain
  • trouble urinating
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • exhaustion

Immediate medical attention is needed for severe Roxy drug effects. They include:

  • fainting
  • seizures
  • slow breathing
  • extreme drowsiness
  • difficulty waking up

Severe Roxy drug effects may also produce rashes, itching, or swelling.

Does Roxicodone Abuse Lead to Addiction?

roxicodone abuse

Roxicodone abuse increases the time it takes to build tolerance and dependence. When this happens, a person must increase their use to achieve the same effects. At this point, a person has generally already developed a substance use disorder.

However, addiction is not often the result of just one reason. Typically, a combination of factors leads to Roxicodone abuse and addiction. These factors include:

  • Genetic – Addiction is proven to run in families, even more so when a parent struggles with addiction.
  • Environmental – Growing up in dysfunctional homes with chaos and addiction may make drug abuse seem normal. As a result, children may use drugs at a young age.
  • Psychological – Mental illness and addiction are deeply connected. People with a mental illness often self-medicate with drugs such as Roxy.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders with Roxicodone Abuse

Struggling with a mental illness and Roxycodone abuse or addiction is also known as having co-occurring disorders. People who battle addiction are generally evaluated for mental illness and often receive a dual diagnosis.

Common co-occurring disorders include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Conduct disorders
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Signs and Symptoms of Roxicodone Abuse

The signs and symptoms of Roxicodone abuse vary greatly depending on how much a person takes, how often a person misuses it, and their tolerance level. Roxycodone abuse affects a person’s mood and behavior, along with causing physical and psychological changes.

Mood

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Anger
  • Euphoria
  • An overwhelming sense of well-being

Behavioral

  • Using multiple doctors to obtain Roxicodone prescriptions
  • Making frequent trips to the emergency room complaining of vague pain
  • “Losing” Roxy prescriptions
  • Tampering with prescriptions
  • Borrowing or stealing Roxys and other narcotics
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Not meets the demands of work, home, and social activities
  • Hobbies become unimportant
  • Financial problems
  • Acting nervous or “sketchy”

Psychological

  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis

Physical

  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • An increase in respiratory infections
  • Extreme weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fatigue
  • Bradycardia – or slow heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Increase in sweating
  • Itching
  • Visual disturbances
  • Circulatory depression
  • Urinary retention
  • Shock
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Chest pain
  • Nodding off

What are Roxy’s Effects on Your Life?

Roxicodone abuse severely affects every aspect of your life. Not only does it impact your performance at work and school, but the impact on your children and partner is also devastating.

The effects of Roxicodone abuse include:

  • Legal trouble
  • Incarceration
  • Job loss
  • Financial struggles
  • Homelessness
  • Relationship issues
  • Divorce
  • Major depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Chronic pain
  • Seizure disorders
  • Coma
  • Death

What are Roxicodone Withdrawals?

roxicodone withdrawals

Roxicodone withdrawals describe a range of symptoms that occur when you suddenly stop or reduce Roxy. The severity of Roxy withdrawal symptoms depends on factors such as amount misused, length of use, and the method of misuse.

Additionally, you do not have to abuse Roxicodone to experience withdrawal symptoms. If you take Roxy as prescribed for several weeks or more, your body develops a dependence. For this reason, a step-down program is best when you stop consuming Roxicodone.

What are Common Roxy Withdrawal Symptoms?

Roxicodone withdrawals are similar to those of opiates such as heroin, methadone, and codeine. You will typically begin feeling symptoms within six hours of last use. Depending on the severity of your Roxyicodone abuse, withdrawals may last up to a week.

Common Roxy withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills
  • Intense sweating
  • Body weakness
  • Runny nose
  • Joint pain
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Increase in respiratory rate
  • Tachycardia – rapid heartbeat

Are Roxicodone Withdrawals Dangerous?

While Roxy withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable, they are generally not life-threatening. But, like with all addictions, individuals may experience complications that can be dangerous.

For example, you can aspirate. This happens when you vomit and breathe it into the lungs. This can cause choking or a serious lung infection.

However, the most significant danger of Roxicodone withdrawals is when you complete detox and start using again.

This is dangerous because once you go through the withdrawal process, your tolerance is much lower. As a result, you can overdose on the same dose you took before going through Roxicodone withdrawals.

Going through withdrawals is not a treatment for Roxicodone abuse. It is just the first step. Like most addictions, Roxicodone abuse develops because of underlying issues. Attending a comprehensive treatment center such as Discovery Institute addresses and heals past trauma and any co-occurring mental health disorders.

What Types of Treatments are Available at Discovery Institute?

roxicodone abuse

Discovery Institute offers the highest quality comprehensive addiction treatment programs to individuals fighting addiction and their families. Our state-run detox, intensive residential, and outpatient Roxicodone abuse treatment programs focus on each person’s individual needs.

We are located in a quiet and scenic section of Marlboro, New Jersey. Our programs are available to men and women ages 18 and over who struggle with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental and behavioral health disorders.

Our individualized treatment plans guarantee each person receives care that meets their needs and treatment goals. Because we understand Roxicodone abuse is a chronic disease, our relapse prevention program provides the tools you need to sustain recovery.

Therapies for Roxicodone Abuse at Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute offers various therapies in their residential and intensive outpatient programs. These programs include individual and group therapy, family counseling, and holistic therapies.

Individual Therapy

Individual therapy is crucial in treating Roxicodone abuse. It allows you to address issues with family, trauma, emotions, and mental disorders. Treatments in individual therapy may include:

Group Therapy

At Discovery Institute, you attend group therapy every day. While each session is different, the people you attend therapy with and the therapist doesn’t change. This helps build a sense of trust, respect, and support.

The benefits of group therapy include:

  • Provides support
  • Offers encouragement
  • Builds healthy social skills

Family Therapy

roxicodone withdrawals

Roxicodone abuse affects the entire family. At Discovery Institute, we believe it’s crucial to provide guidance and education to build healthy homes. Families join their loved one every few weeks as well as when the therapist finds it necessary.

Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapies treat Roxicodone abuse by healing the body, mind, and spirit. Many people find the benefits of holistic therapies far outweigh traditional therapies and medication.

Holistic therapies at Discovery Institute New Jersey include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Reiki
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutritional therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Nature therapy

Why is Relapse Prevention Important in Roxicodone Abuse Treatment?

Relapse is common in recovery. But, creating a solid relapse prevention plan can go a long way in stopping you from using again. At Discovery Institute, we work with you to follow if you think Roxicodone abuse is a good idea.

Signs of Roxicodone abuse relapse include:

  • Lying or keeping secrets
  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Changes in mood and behaviors
  • Skipping meetings or therapy

Do Drug Rehab Centers in NJ Help with Roxy Abuse?

The Discovery Institute can provide treatment for substance abuse and dependency, including Roxy and other opioids. Through detox and individual, group, and family therapies, our treatment will get you sober and down to the root cause of destructive behaviors like drug abuse. If you know someone struggling with drugs or alcohol, contact Discovery Institute today for help.