What Every Parent Should Know about Pain Meds ~ Our Guest Article.

What Every Parent Should Know about Pain Meds ~ Our Guest Article.

We as parents already know about the raging drug epidemic happening in our communities, so let’s make sure we start “at home” to make all medications in the safe and put away from your kids, teens, and young adults. Yes, parents, it needs to start with you…

Guest Article By Christine H.

Deaths caused by prescription pain medication overdose are skyrocketing. Between 2000 and 2015, most areas in North America saw opioid deaths quadruple. It’s at a point where it’s being called a public health crisis. But however bad a situation regarding addiction is… it’s always hard to imagine that it has anything to do with us or our family.

The truth is that opioid addiction is something that affects people at every age, from every walk of life. It’s easy to hide, so for the most part, people who find out that their children are struggling with opioid addiction are completely floored and surprised. Because these pain medications are often originally prescribed by a doctor, it’s hard to know where the line is between use and abuse.

So, in the name of prevention and education, here are some important facts that every parent should know about the opioid epidemic.

1: Opioids are some of the most addictive substances we know of

Opiates and opioids are substances derived from the poppy plant, like opium of historical significance, or morphine that we use in hospitals today. Opioids are used to treat pain, and they’re often prescribed for sports injuries, recovery from surgery, and chronic pain conditions.

Some of the most commonly prescribed opiates are OxyContin®, Percocet®, Codeine, Demerol®, and Methadone®. One of the things that make opiates so addictive is that the body quickly builds a tolerance to them, which means that you’ll need more and more of the substance in order to get the same effects. Following closely on the heels of tolerance is dependence, where someone’s body actually needs the substance in order to simply feel normal. At this point, it’s really hard to distinguish when someone needs pain management, and when they’re addicted. For this reason, opiates need to be closely monitored by a doctor to ensure that the medication is doing what it needs to do without being abused.

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2: The most common street opioid is heroin?

In our minds, there’s a big leap between using more pills than the doctor prescribed, and going out to purchase a street drug like heroin. However, once addiction takes control and someone’s supply of prescription pain medications is cut off, it’s not uncommon for people to turn to a different, accessible form of the substance. Often, this can get really scary because the dosage of street heroin isn’t as carefully monitored (of course) and it can be very easy for someone to mismanage it.


However, it’s important to remember that as scary as this transition is,
prescription opioids can be just as dangerous. In fact, in Utah, twice as many people die from prescription opioids as from heroin.

3: Addiction isn’t the end

If you think that someone you love is at risk of opioid addiction, it can be hard to deal with. It’s difficult to know how to confront and handle the problem effectively. This is real and scary. However, addiction is not the end. If you worry that someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, learn to recognize the signs, and work to remove the stigma. Let them know that you care and they’re not alone, and encourage them to seek professional treatment.

In addition to professional treatment for addiction, an important resource is Naloxone. If someone is taking opioids, they could be at risk of an overdose. Naloxone is a safe medication that counters the effects of an overdose long enough for professional help to arrive. Educate yourself about it, and if you live in an area where laymen can safely purchase and carry it, then have a kit on hand.

 

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What Can You Do?

  • Talk honestly with your children about substance abuse, including alcohol, drugs, and prescription medication. And start the conversation early! As this article states, some state drug education programs are starting as early as Kindergarten because forewarned students are forearmed. Educate yourself about addiction, and open up the conversation to understand your child’s concerns and questions. Avoid using scare tactics and exaggerations. Numerous studies have found that the most effective drug education is in honest conversation, not in facts and figures, or even dramatically terrifying stories.

  • There are alternative pain treatment methods. Neither you nor your children have to take opioids. If your doctor prescribes them for someone in your family, talk to them about it and ask for alternative treatment. According to the CDC, safer options are available, and often, they can be more effective in managing pain. Be savvy about any medications that your family is taking. Read the labels and understand the side effects and risks.

  • Keep all of your medications in a safe place, in child-proof containers. Monitor them closely, and don’t share medications with family members that they’re not prescribed for. For example, never use grandma’s old Lortab® in order to treat one of your kid’s toothaches, however severe.

  • Speaking of old Lortab®, always safely dispose of medication when you don’t need it anymore or it expires. Pain medication isn’t like antibiotics; you don’t need to take the whole prescribed amount. Take leftover medication to any pharmacy, and they can take care of it for you.

  • Remember that even when you take opioids as prescribed, there are still dangers. Be alert to the possible problems, and don’t dismiss concerns as they crop up.

Article was written by Author, Christine H. 

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*I Lost a Sister-In-Law & Aunt to Prescription OVERDOSE & SUICIDE ~~ So I Felt The Need To Share*…..

Hello friends, followers, and Seekers,

**In these recent weeks and month’s we have LOST way to any PRECIOUS LIVES to Prescription Overdose, Suicide, Alcohol, and MUCH more! I happen to come across this Article that I felt  IMPORTANT to share. Even though my *DEMON* I am recovering from is “Addicted Compulsive Gambling” & a past of a few to many Cocktails now & then, ADDICTION does comes in Many Forms.

I was touched by Prescription Overdose recently by the DEATH of My Sister-in-Law this past Nov. 2012, and also in the late 70’s, of my Aunt Connie as well. SO I understand how devastating it is for those who lose a Loved One from this disease. It just breaks my heart of all those we have lost lately in the *Entertainment Industry,* and goes to show that EVEN with Money and Fame, we are all JUST Humans trying to survive, and are NOT that far apart in deep-rooted demons and addictions that have NO BOUNDS on WHO it will TAKE!……I think we can agree that Money nor Fame will not fill the Dark Whole inside our hearts when we turn to addiction. So I hope this Article will help all!!**……….

When Relapse Turns Deadly: What You Need to Know About Drug Overdose

Posted: 07/22/2013  6:33 pm

Psychiatrist and CEO of Elements Behavioral Health…..

Friends and fans are reeling in the wake of Glee actor Cory Monteith’s overdose on a mixture of heroin and alcohol. Suffering a similar fate as Kriss Kross rapper Chris Kelly and others who have passed this year, his lengthy battle with drugs ended tragically on July 13 in his hotel room.

Could his story have ended differently? What can others learn from this tragedy? Monteith’s passing highlights important lessons for anyone who struggles with addiction or cares about an addict (which, with 23 million people suffering from addiction, is most of us).

While celebrity overdoses draw the public’s attention, 100 people die from drug overdoses every day in the U.S. After increasing every year from 1999 to 2010, drug overdose is now the No. 1 cause of accidental death, surpassing car accidents. This increase is largely attributed to the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned that more women are dying from prescription painkiller overdoses than ever before, a 400 percent increase in just the last decade.

A Post-Rehab Danger

It is a sad irony that rehab is life-saving, yet the weeks and months immediately following checkout are among the most vulnerable times in an addict’s recovery. It can take up to a year for the areas of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotion regulation to return to normal functioning. In addition, people are often still struggling with powerful drug cravings and then return to an environment where they are surrounded by reminders of their drug use.

Particularly when addicts receive short-term treatment (30 days or less), they haven’t had much time to address the issues underlying their addiction or practice their new coping skills. Old, familiar coping strategies remain far more comfortable and automatic. A recovering addict who thinks they’ve got their drug problem under control after a short stay in rehab is likely to return to life as usual rather than creating a new life in recovery, greatly increasing the risk of relapse.

Relapse is part of the disease of addiction. Many people go on to achieve lasting recovery following one or more slips. However, in the weeks and months following a stay in rehab, addicts need a great deal of education and support not only to protect their recovery but also their lives. The risk of accidental overdose rises sharply during this time, largely because of reduced tolerance.

People who use a drug regularly develop a tolerance for it; that is, they require larger doses to get the same effects. Just as quickly, tolerance can diminish. After even a brief period of abstinence, which often takes place in detox, rehab or prison, the brain becomes less accustomed to — or less tolerant of — the presence of drugs. As a result of this increased sensitivity, if an addict goes back to the same dose they used prior to rehab, they are at high risk of fatal overdose.

Most overdoses occur when multiple drugs are abused, most commonly alcohol, benzodiazepines such as Valium and Xanax, cocaine and heroin. Illicit drugs are often implicated in drug overdoses because their potency is unpredictable and they reach the brain rapidly. Other risk factors for drug overdose include taking drugs alone (two-thirds of overdoses occur when a person is using at home alone) and having experienced a non-fatal overdose in the past.

Most overdoses occur because the drugs that are used stopped the person’s breathing. This effect is most profound with opiates (drugs similar to morphine and heroin, including prescription painkillers). Overdoses due to prescription drugs now exceed all other causes and the tragedy is that many of these can be prevented by a simple and safe medicine that blocks the effects of opiates on breathing.

One approach is a medication called naltrexone. Naltrexone can be given as a single monthly injection (Vivitrol) that virtually abolishes the risk of an accidental overdose in someone who uses after treatment. Why isn’t this being used more often? The answer is complex. Many recovering drug users don’t accept that they remain vulnerable to relapse. Family members don’t want to “make an issue” of going on Vivitrol when their relative is doing so much better at the end of treatment. Relapse is perceived by many as a choice, so they don’t believe a drug can make a difference.

The reality is that Vivitrol helps in two important ways: It decreases drug cravings, making relapse less likely, and it prevents an accidental overdose if the person slips so that a single bad choice does not become a death sentence.

A Long-Term Approach to a Lifelong Problem

Although many people believe that going to rehab is a permanent solution to a drug problem, it is actually the start of a lifelong process — a process that often involves an intricate dance of forward and backward progress. Relapse can’t always be prevented, but accidental drug overdose can. So what can be done?

The only sure-fire way to prevent overdose is to avoid using drugs. However, refraining from mixing drugs, using drugs alone, or using at the same level as before a period of abstinence are essential once the decision to use has been made. Loved ones can work with addicts on an overdose plan that covers who to call and what to do in the moments before relapse.

Follow-up care is another important protective factor. As a chronic disease similar to diabetes and heart disease, addiction requires ongoing care. Research shows that long-term treatment (90 days or more) improves outcomes, especially if the addict makes a gradual transition back into regular life. This may involve outpatient treatment, ongoing therapy, support groups or a sober living home.

Drug overdoses are among the most tragic outcomes of addiction. For most people, relapse is not the end of recovery; it’s another step on the journey. But those who accidentally overdose — often people who are sincerely trying to get better — make one miscalculation and suffer the only fate that means hope is lost.

David Sack, M.D., is board-certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine. He is CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, a network of mental health and addiction treatment centers that includes Promises, The Ranch, Right Step, The Recovery Place, The Sexual Recovery…..

**This really is an Interesting and helpful Article. Many Don’t understand about *Compulsive Gambling*  as well because it’s not only Everywhere, but it is SO SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE, and think it’s all ABOUT the Little Old Lady going to Play BINGO at here local Church!! But it is *The FASTEST Growing Addiction Today! GAMBLING addiction has the HIGHEST SUICIDE RATE than any other addiction…..AND…..out of the 16+ Million Problem Gamblers in only the USA, “HALF” that Number are now late TEENS & Young College age students and young adults…….

IS this ACCEPTABLE to YOU PARENTS??…….I didn’t think so. Please see my List of Post s & PAGES  *About Addicted Compulsive Gambling* to learn more about this Cunning Disease. Being in a very dark place a couple of times myself, I can truly understand how people can get to a real low bottom, even without addiction problems.

**UPDATE AS OF MON 8/19/2013/ 5:26PM Pacific Time**** ANOTHER STARS LIGHT DIMMED TODAY A FEW HOURS AGO****

Image: Lee Thompson Young as Det. Barry Frost in the TV series 'Rizzoli & Isles' (© Darren Michaels/TNT/AP)
  • Stars mourn loss of Lee Thompson Young
                                Photo: ME1/WENN

    Entertainment Tonight

    Lee Thompson Young, who starred on Disney’s “The Famous Jett Jackson,” was found dead Monday morning of an apparent suicide by gunshot, police confirm to ET.

    He was 29 years old.

    Police responded at about 9:45 a.m. Monday. According to reports, his body was discovered by his landlord who was alerted by staffers from TNT’s “Rizzoli & Isles,” in which Young currently appears, when he didn’t show up to work this morning.

    Aside from his most famous role as Jett Jackson, Young also had a role as running back Chris Comer in “Friday Night Lights.”

    “It is with great sadness that I announce that Lee Thompson Young tragically took his own life this morning,” longtime manager Jonathan Baruch said on Monday. “Lee was more than just a brilliant young actor, he was a wonderful and gentle soul who will be truly missed. We ask that you please respect the privacy of his family and friends at this very difficult time.”

    At the time of his death, Young was working on TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles as Detective Barry Frost.

    LAPD Media Relations tells E! News, “Lee Thompson Young’s coworkers noticed that he didn’t turn up to work this morning. They sent the police to his home in North Hollywood. The police arrived a little after 8 a.m. and found him deceased in his apartment. They have not released the cause of death yet.”

    According to Police, Young’s body was found at his residence with a gun-shot wound that appeared to be self-inflicted.

    “Everyone at Rizzoli & Isles is devastated by the news of the passing of Lee Thompson Young. We are beyond heartbroken at the loss of this sweet, gentle, good-hearted, intelligent man. He was truly a member of our family. Lee will be cherished and remembered by all who knew and loved him, both on- and off screen, for his positive energy, infectious smile and soulful grace. We send our deepest condolences and thoughts to his family, to his friends and, most especially, to his beloved mother.”

    **ANOTHER SAD LOSS OF PRESIOUS LIFE……MY HEART AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO HIS FAMILY At this time of sorrow. WORDS can NEVER Express the feelings and thoughts of loss like this…….It HAS BEEN A WAKE CALL for myself, Again If I’d been successful in Both my Suicide Attempts, I NOW SEE CLEARLY HOW IT EFFECTS EVERYONE YOU LOVE THAT IS AROUND YOU……I’m at a Loss for Words…..**
    *AUTHOR, CATHERINE TOWNSEND-LYON*