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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Sharing Some Recovery News and Humor From Around The Web …

Hello Recovery Friends and Visitors,

Happy Holidays Too!

 

“I enjoy sharing interesting stories I read on the many recovery sites I come across and get permission to share. There are two I have read that I thought they were worth sharing.”

 

The first is from The Fix, addiction and recovery, straight up. It is an article about having HUMOR in our recovery and no one had more humor than the late, Robin Williams . . . .

“There’s nothing funny about hitting bottom with your addiction. But once you’re on the other side, there’s so much laughter in recovery communities you could almost forget how grim the life and death stakes really are. Humor may not be the best medicine, but being light about our darkest hours is one approach that makes sobriety that much more livable and attractive. Most of the following were written by working stand up comedians. Not everyone gets the joke, but if you’ve been through hell, and come up for air, the following needs no explanation— “

-The Fix Staff

Robin Williams: You Know You’re An Alcoholic If…
By The Fix staff 05/26/14

Robin’s checklist of tell-tale signs you have a problem with alcohol. Below that, the brief 2011 interview with him after one of his rehab stays: “Rehabbed and Ready to Roar.”
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“I went to rehab in wine country, just to keep my options open.” 

About four years ago, Robin Williams started drinking again after 20 years of abstinence from alcohol and cocaine. That in itself is a sobering thought, and a grim reminder of the chronic nature of addictive disorders. But Williams dealt with it, emerged sober, and is now starring as a tiger in the hit Broadway play, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Time magazine caught up with him and did a Q&A session with the savagely sardonic comedian. Here, Williams briefly discusses his addictive past:

You made headlines in 2006 when you went to rehab for alcoholism. Did you find material there? Or is it all secret?

Well, secret–hence the name Alcoholics Anonymous. I went to rehab in wine country, just to keep my options open. But it was important for me to do. I had to. I was really out of control.

And yet you own a vineyard.

I do, actually, which is weird. It’s like Gandhi owning a delicatessen.

We see a lot of stars with substance-abuse issues. Why?

I think celebrity itself is a drug. There’s withdrawal, because it comes in waves. You’ll be hot, and then you’re not, and then back again. Even now, with an Academy Award, it’s still, “Mork!”

Billy Crystal says stand-up is how you process the painful. Do we have to wish more painful things on you?

You don’t have to.
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*Now I still can not believe that Robin Williams is really gone. He made so many of us in recovery learn that we can laugh at ourselves once in a while. Laughter is good for the ‘Spirit’ when you have been to hell and back. My next share is an important one from my friends over at UNITED To Face Addiction.

It is a new video series for parents to help “change the conversation” and help talk to your teens about alcohol and drugs. Here is what they are doing!*

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*Changing the Conversation*

Addiction to alcohol and other drugs is the most pressing health and human rights crisis facing our country today, impacting more than 45 million Americans and is now the leading cause of preventable death – more than motor vehicle accidents.

Fortunately, much can be done to turn the tide against addiction – in prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery, and research. But in order to make significant progress against these critical initiatives we need your help.

Scores of millions have joined the movements to battle cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. But because of the shame and stigma surrounding addiction, no movement of that scale has ever been created to change the conversation and create better solutions for this crisis. Until now ..  ..  ..
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Together we can begin facing addiction and save a great deal of lives. PLEASE JOIN THE MOVEMENT TODAY at: Join Us At Facing Addiction & Save Teen Lives   . . . .

Now let us remember how the holidays can be full of stress and triggers in recovery. So humor can fill some of that void of “No Party Fun”…

My humor quote?
“You don’t have to use to have fun in recovery, and it doesn’t mean the party is over…It just means you’ll remember what the hell you did LAST NIGHT!”

Recovery Advocate & Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
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An Important Blog Share From My Good Friends At NAMI, Helping Others With Mental Health & Suicide Prevention. . .

Hello Recovery Friends, Blog Friends, and Welcome New Visitors,

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I happen to receive the monthly newsletter from my helpful friends at The National Alliance on Mental Illness. And as many of my friends here know, I battle several mental and emotional disorders myself. And for me the topic of Suicide is a hard subject for me because of my own 2 failed suicides. Yes, I’m blessed and have a heart filled of Gratitude to still be here, but the flip side to this is being able to feel others pain when I read about others and suicide.

To me it is such a senseless loss of precious life. We are all born with such great abilities to soar in life, but sadly the society we live in today can make that an everyday challenge. Even the high stress levels of many jobs can bare to much for some of us. That’s why it’s important to me to start sharing my own mental illness, to be share that part of my life, and to share with others so they don’t feel so alone. And NAMI does a wonderful job at sharing information about how to prevent suicide, as it can be a difficult subject to also talk to your teens about. So I wanted to share this blog article they have on their website. It just may help save lives. . . .

Suicide Prevention: Can We Talk?
By Jacqueline Feldman, M.D., NAMI Associate Medical Director

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Of all the topics in mental health, one of the most difficult to consider is suicide. People contemplating it often do not speak directly of it. Families are surprised, stunned, mortified, angry, and devastated in the face of it. Non-mental health professionals may feel uncomfortable asking about anything related to it.  And mental health professionals feel helpless, as we are terrible at discretely predicting and preventing it. There are tragedies, and there is fear; suicide is at the crossroads when these two meet. . .

As I review scientific articles, and program after program, the despair continues. In spite of more folks talking about it, more people training to identify it, and more programs put in place to prevent it, suicide continues.So what do we know? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. More than 800,000 around the globe die each year; many more attempt it. The figures boggle the mind, and challenge us all: how can we possibly intervene?

Many of us know to watch for warning signs—a history of loss (social support, job, resources, health), prior attempts, family history, recent violence; changing appearance or behavior like plummeting grades or productivity, tearfulness, negativism, social isolation, drugs and alcohol); we’re not so good at communicating our concern or finding help.

Programs like Typical or Troubled from the American Psychiatric Foundation and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) to name just two of the many that have been developed, frequently focus on training sentinels—folks in a position to observe people at risk—to heighten awareness of those with potential for suicide, and help find relief and support for the person in need. And yet, still we struggle.

On January 9, an article was published in Lancet looking at the results of 3 different kinds of suicide prevention training on over 11,000 students in Europe: QPR, where teachers act as sentinels; ProfScreen, where mental health professionals provide screening, and the Youth Aware of Mental Health Program, which trains the students themselves. This program used “lectures, role-playing, and education about mental health and suicide risk” with students. At 12 months, there was a significant reduction of suicide attempts, and of severe suicidal ideation, compared to the other control groups. It has been suggested that perhaps this program was more effective because it offers interventions “before there are outward signs of risk, and doesn’t stigmatize individual students.” It’s an interesting idea: going to the at-risk population itself, giving them the education, and empowering them to make different choices.

The CDC suggests the key to reducing suicides is to reduce risk and increase resilience. We cannot begin to reduce risk or abolish stigma or enhance resilience if we cannot even talk about the topic. We need a structured national conversation, an engaged public, an engaged media, engaged policy makers, and engaged legislators.

How about a president who starts by mentioning the “dignity and worth of every citizen… (including) Americans with mental illness” in his State of the Union speech? (He did, last week!) How about asking every pediatrician and every primary care doc and every pastor and preacher (heck, place signs in every bus stop, subway, and grocery store for that matter) to educate each family to store firearms locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, if a household member is at high risk for suicide? How about widespread movements to have the public certified in suicide prevention like so many of us are certified in CPR? How about offering NAMI Ending the Silence to every 9th grader to let them know about the warning signs of a mental health condition and what they can do? The list is endless.

“I know we all care. I’m ready to start talking, and doing; how about you?”

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If you know someone who may need help? Please share this phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255  24/7 . . .
No Shame. . .  No Labels. . . Not Alone Anymore. . .  God Bless All!

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A