Tag Archives: intervention

Suboxone Being Sold On the Black Market and May be Stopping Drug Overdoses

When you think of “street drugs,” more than likely the first thing that comes to mind is illegal ones such as heroin. These aren’t the only types of drugs being sold by dealers. Prescription drugs are making their way from medicine cabinets to the street, where they are being sold to users who never had a prescription for them initially. This is not an uncommon practice; however, it has now expanded to include medications normally prescribed to treat drug addiction itself.

Buprenorphine on the Streets

Suboxone is a brand name for one of the addiction treatment medicines used to treat patients for opioid abuse. Another brand name is buprenorphine. Both of these medications contain opioids. They are normally given under a doctor’s orders as part of a medication-assisted treatment program (MAT) that includes counseling with a licensed alcohol and drug counselor or a therapist with experience in this area of practice.

Instead, they are being sold along with drugs designed to give users a “high.” Many people are looking for Suboxone through these channels to try to protect themselves from an opioid overdose. They may also be wanting to get off opioids and are looking for Suboxone to make the withdrawal process easier. Some users try to put together enough of the medication so that they can try to treat their substance abuse issue on their own, which is never a good idea.

One of the Worst Opioid Crisis Cities in US

In Philadelphia alone, more than 1,000 people are dying from drug overdoses annually. This figure pushed the City of Brotherly Love into the dubious category of being the large city with the worst opioid crisis in the US.

In response, city and state officials have taken measures to get more people into drug treatment programs. Along with eliminating the requirements for having insurance company pre-authorizations and having identification, they have set up mobile treatment centers where doctors are issuing prescriptions for Suboxone to patients on the street.

Treatment is still an expensive proposition for those who don’t have Medicaid or private health insurance coverage. People who have lost their health insurance due to a job loss may find themselves at a disadvantage. Some of them bought Suboxone on the street to get off heroin on their own. This is a less expensive option than paying to see a doctor and seeking professional help.





Food Addictions are Real and More People are at Risk

Compulsive eating can become a dangerous problem in a similar way as abusing alcohol or addictive drugs, according to researchers. In all these instances, the compulsion to use or consume a substance has the potential to become a full-on addiction.

Some Types of Foods Stimulate Brain’s Pleasure Centers

Repeated exposure to sugars, fats, salts, etc., stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers. It creates a feedback loop of craving, indulging, consuming and regretting. This cycle repeats itself the next day, and the next, and so on. If the person continues this cycle in spite of the negative consequences, you have a recipe for addiction.

Research has revealed that approximately 30% of people who try heroin become addicted to the drug. About 16 percent of cocaine users have the same experience. According to a study, when a group of overweight or obese subjects had the definition of addiction explained to them, 29 percent of the subjects said they were addicted to food (Frontiers in Psychiatry).

Over 40% of Americans are obese and 71.5% are considered overweight. These figures suggest an unhealthy relationship with food is common in this country.

No Abstinence Solution for Food Addicts

Food is more subtle than drugs. There is no way that someone with a food addiction can embrace abstinence, since food is essential for life. It would have to be a constant juggling act: Eat a little, without going overboard. Be sure to eat the good stuff and avoid junk food. Sometimes a person will do all the right things, as we all do. There will be days when they binge and make a bad choice about what they eat, just like we all do.

How Dopamine Relates to Pleasure Sensations

Pleasure gets processed in the part of the brain called the striatum. It’s located deep in the midbrain and is rich in D2 receptors, which exist to bind with the feel-good transmitter dopamine. It’s the transmitter that drives the reward system. When a person does something that gives them a sense of satisfaction, dopamine is responsible for the good feeling that follows. It’s also linked to feelings of pleasure around food, intoxication and having sex.

As long as the dopamine levels remain in balance in the striatum, a person’s ability to control their appetite for pleasure will stay in check. They will be able to limit themselves to one piece of cake for dessert or a glass of wine with dinner, for example. If this system starts to blink, such as when too few D2 receptors are in place and too little dopamine is released to engage with them, behavior changes strikingly. It becomes easier to act impulsively, with little thought to the consequences.

Compulsive eaters don’t simply lack willpower or discipline. They have a similar battle on their hands as drug addicts and they need support if they are going to recover.

Study Shows High Rate of Addiction Among Women Inmates

Women inmates are sitting in prisons and jails across the country with more instances of addiction than ever before. A new report, released by the government shows that 69% of female state prisoners and 72% of female jail prisoners are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. These rates are higher than the male population and higher than the average U.S. population as well.

It turns out, according to the study, that women inmates have higher rates of addiction but they also have higher rates of depression and anxiety that their male counterparts, problems that oftentimes lead to drug abuse. And these inmates are not getting the treatment they need while incarcerated. Instead of enrolling drug addicts in treatment programs while they are in jail, many inmates are left to wait out their sentences without any help for their problems. The study noted that only 28% of state inmates and 22% of jail inmates received treatment while incarcerated. These numbers are extremely low when one looks at the volume of addicts housed within the prison walls. But, this statistic also seems to be the most manageable to change at this point. Offering more treatment options, perhaps making treatment mandatory for those that have committed drug-related crimes could help many inmates from reoffending after their sentences have been served.

“In order to reduce crime and save taxpayer dollars, the U.S. Justice system must address addiction and substance abuse as health problems and provide effective intervention and treatment. Incarceration alone cannot prevent or treat a disease,” cautions the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Marijuana was the most common drug the inmates were addicted to, followed by cocaine and then heroin and other opioids. Additionally, it appears that white inmates are struggling with addiction more than black and Hispanic inmates.

But, some states are working hard to improve the lives of inmates with addiction problems. Texas has recently added treatment facilities, specifically for drug addicted inmates and have also implemented treatment programs that are required before the inmate can be released back into society.

Study Indicates Racial Disparity in Drug Charges

As part of a continuous effort to increase drug treatment and education and reduce the amount of people incarcerated due to drug offenses, a study was conducted to examine racial disparity among people with drug charges. Performed by the Oregon Criminal Justice Commission, the results show that African-Americans were twice as likely to be convicted of drug charges than white people.

What makes this information interesting is that research shows that black and white people appear to use drugs equally. So, if the same amount of black people and the same amount of white people are using drugs, why are black people more likely to be jailed because of it?

This is a question that Governor Kate Brown wants answered. Requesting the study was the first step in determining how to effectively help addicts, while eliminating the one-sided punishment. Brown has offered a proposal in order to close the race gap and help addicts attain long lasting sobriety. The proposal includes dropping some drug possession felonies to misdemeanors and focusing on treatment rather than incarceration. These policies and interventions are newer to the state of Oregon, but there has been a noticeable shift across the country. More and more people are realizing that treatment is much more effective than jail time.

In agreement with Brown, other public officials are speaking out against the racial disparity uncovered by this recent study. “Everyone who uses or possesses (illicit drugs) has committed that crime. Whether or not they are caught is completely different,” explained State Criminal Justice Commission Director Mike Schmidt. Additionally, the Multnomah County District Attorney is also working to reduce the amount of jail time addicts receive and instead replace the sentence with court-mandated, effective treatment.

As a growing number of public officials understand that prisons are not an effective substitute for quality treatment, it is likely that more substance abusers will get a chance to redeem themselves, and return to their families, jobs, friends and lives.

Drug Use Increases Chance of Suicide

In order to help prevent the sudden loss of life, researchers at Brown University conducted a study to better predict what causes people to attempt or commit suicide. They found that there is a direct correlation between drug use and suicide.

Researchers conducted the study by polling several hospitals between 2010 and 2012. After receiving data from 800 Emergency Room admissions, it was determined that while alcohol use and cocaine use alone did not substantially increase the risk for suicide, the combination of alcohol and cocaine greatly increased the chance of suicide. This important discovery will hopefully lead to more effective interventions to prevent future alcohol and cocaine induced suicide attempts.

So, why does the combination of alcohol and cocaine cause people to feel that suicide is an option? Researchers of the study point out that both drugs are responsible for extreme highs that lower a person’s ability to reason with current stressors, leading some to believe that suicide is the only way out. Additionally, alcohol is a depressant, while cocaine is a stimulant. When a person who has consumed alcohol becomes distraught over situations in their life and then they add cocaine into the mix they may feel more courage to go through with suicide. This risk is yet another reason why friends and family members need to consider moving forward with an intervention.

In addition to figuring out the link between dual use of cocaine and alcohol, researchers were also encouraged to find that screening in hospitals were able to lead to this conclusion. “Before the study, it was unclear if it was even feasible to get staff to complete suicide risk screening on all patients and, if you did, whether it would actually result in identifying people who were at risk,” explained Edwin Boudreaux.

Researchers are hopeful that further screening measures will be implemented in hospitals throughout the country, specifically in the Emergency Room. Oftentimes ER doctors are the first people to witness potential suicide indicators. Spotting a person who regularly abuses cocaine and alcohol may help guide medical professionals into taking action before suicide is attempted. Researchers also caution that other factors need to be considered as well, sex and race are other areas that need to be investigated in order to come up with a comprehensive suicide prevention and intervention plan.

Early Intervention for Teens Vital in Halting Drug Addiction

Early and specialized intervention is crucial when it comes to helping teenagers who are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Studies show that a person’s brain doesn’t stop developing until they reach their mid-twenties or early thirties. This information highlights the danger posed to children who consume drugs and indicates that poor decisions made during the teenage years are likely to affect the person for the rest of their life.

In order to minimize the damage created by drugs and alcohol, teenagers need to receive drug treatment as soon as possible. Unfortunately, drug and alcohol treatment centers tend to focus on adult patients, rather than children. This problem can lead to unhandled addictions among the younger population and increase the potential for overdose deaths among those under the age of 18.

Drug and alcohol abuse among teenagers is especially concerning when one takes into account that the brain is still developing. Flooding the brain with chemicals can permanently alter a person’s ability to handle the day to day stressor associated with living.

“When substance use disorders occur in adolescence, they affect key developmental and social transitions, and they can interfere with normal brain maturation. These potentially lifelong consequences make addressing adolescent drug use an urgent matter,” wrote the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“Engaging people earlier in their addiction improves their chances of recovery and overall better health. Meanwhile, costs for the health care system are dramatically reduced,” explained Dr. David E. Smith.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that experts agree on the importance of teen-focused treatment, there is not much available to families seeking help for their children. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 90% of teenagers that are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol were not receiving the help they needed. This is likely due to the fact that there are very few treatment centers designed to cater to the younger population.

This problem is expected to get addressed by more treatment providers as people realize the importance of early intervention. Not only are treatment centers expected to provide more services to adolescents, but there is also likely going to be a more pronounced shift to evidenced-based treatment. In fact, most insurance companies are requiring that treatment centers practice evidenced-based therapy.

Why Use an Interventionist?

interventionistA lot of times people fail to seek professional intervention help because they feel they can handle the situation on their own. The truth is, very few actually do, despite their best efforts.

There can often be blind spots that are developed due to each family member’s ego or personal feelings in some way, so they are unable to be objective about the whole process. A professional interventionist doesn’t have that internal struggle of being a family member in the mix with all of the past and current memories and upsets – there isn’t any emotional struggle about trying to do the best thing.

By the way, “the best thing” means for both the addicted person as well as for the family as a whole. There is usually a lot more change that has to occur besides just one person going to treatment. The phrase “addiction is a family disease” exists for a reason. Identifying and patching any holes in the family bond may be necessary, as well as spotting enabling behavior that must be stopped.

During the heat of the intervention itself is where this unbiased, objective person can really display his or her importance to the overall situation. Usually when the intervention is in progress, tempers can flair and major arguments can ensue – unless someone is there to prevent them and help control the situation. Otherwise, these negative emotional outbursts can hamper any real progress and sabotage the whole process.

To find out more about drug and alcohol interventions, contact us today.