Tag Archives: withdraw

Ky. sees rise in drug-addicted babies

sick babyIn Kentucky, where prescription drug and heroin addiction are rife, hospitalizations for babies born dependent on drugs because of their mothers’ addictions are continuing to increase even as drug overdose deaths level off. In 2012, there were 824 hospitalizations for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome, up from 678 in 2011 and 28 in 2000, according to this article, which cites a new report by the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center. In addition, the report found that even though drug overdose deaths overall have leveled off and adult drug overdose hospitalizations have gone down, heroin-overdose deaths rose 207 percent between 2011 and 2012, the article says.

According to the article:

Along with the rise in infant hospitalizations has come a similar increase in the charges for these hospital stays in Kentucky, which reached $40.2 million in 2012, up from $200,000 in 2000. Researchers found that 694 of the 824 hospitalizations in 2012 were expected to be paid by government-funded Medicaid, for a total of $34.9 million.

Kentucky currently only has one-tenth of the substance abuse treatment beds it needs, according to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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Fla. clinic to serve opiate-addicted babies

babybottleIn Florida, the prescription drug addiction epidemic has resulted in more pregnant mothers giving birth to children who are already addicted to opiates. To deal with this troubling issue, the Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Clinic at All Children’s Outpatient Care in Sarasota has begun providing a variety of free services for addicted babies from birth to 24 months of age, according to this article.

In the last two to three years, Sarasota Memorial Hospital saw an increase in drug-addicted newborns of about 700%, the article says. Statewide, seven out of 1,000 babies born in Florida have neonatal abstinence syndrome, which involves symptoms such as inconsolable crying, tremors, seizures, diarrhea and vomiting. In 2011, 1,563 newborns were diagnosed with drug exposure in Florida, according to the article.

Most NAS cases involve non-Hispanic white infants, the article adds, and nearly half of women who delivered a baby diagnosed with NAS received prenatal care in a private physician’s office.

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‘Overdose deaths are preventable:’ Narcan film


Although opiate overdoses are skyrocketing in the U.S., many people still don’t know about naloxone, which literally reverses the dangerous effects of taking too much OxyContin or heroin by counteracting the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system.

This powerful new short film, “Reach for Me: Fighting to End the American Drug Overdose Epidemic,” is produced by Sawbuck Productions in Association with with CinemaNOPE Pictures and examines the need for expanded access to naloxone. It makes a great argument for how Narcan can help save lives, and explains why more overdose awareness prevention is needed.

I am always amazed at how many people are unaware of Narcan and how it’s used, but I myself didn’t know about naloxone until well after my brother’s heroin overdose death in 2009. It took less than 10 minutes for me to get trained in Narcan use by the wonderful folks at the DOPE Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to reduce fatal overdose deaths by providing overdose prevention education and naloxone to drug users and their loved ones — and if you live in the Bay Area, I highly suggest contacting them to get trained.

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Opiate abuse epidemic prompts new N.C. inpatient center

Addiction-Resources-Helping-HandsNorth Carolina is set to open a new inpatient treatment center specifically to deal with the state’s growing problem with opioid addiction, according to this article. The Walter B. Jones Alcohol and Drug Abuse Treatment Center in Greenville, N.C. has been certified by the federal government to become the state’s only inpatient center, and will be one of 75 nationwide offering full services for opiate addiction.

The program will serve high-risk patients with intake, detoxification and treatment in a hospital setting, and will also offer services to new mothers, who can bring children under age one into treatment with them, the article says.

Last year, about 1,000 people in North Carolina died of prescription drug overdoses, according to the N.C. Attorney General’s Office.

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For Purdue’s ‘poster children,’ Oxy led to addiction, death

The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel has produced an investigative report following up with the “poster children” of OxyContin – a group of seven people who were featured in a promotional video for the painkiller that was put out by Oxy maker Purdue Pharma in the late 1990s. Fourteen years later, it’s a mixed bag. Two of the seven patients have died: one man flipped his car after falling asleep at the wheel, high on OxyContin, while a second man was found dead in his apartment of apparent heart failure. Both men were active opioid abusers at the time of their deaths. A third patient became addicted to Oxy but was able to quit after realizing she was headed for an overdose. Three patients still say the drug helped them cope with their pain and improved their quality of life, while the seventh patient declined to answer questions.

The doctor who enlisted his patients for the video – a pain specialist who was also a paid speaker for Purdue at the time – told the Journal that his statements urging physicians to consider prescribing opioids more often went too far, and that success stories may be “quite rare.” In the video, the doctor had claimed that the rate of addiction among pain patients was much less than 1 percent, but he told the Journal that figure did not come from long-term studies of chronic pain patients.

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Painkiller addiction leads to rising sales of black-market suboxone

The rise in addiction to powerful prescription painkillers like OxyContin, as well as heroin, has led to an increase in the number of patients seeking suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone that is used to treat opiate addiction. According to this article, only 26 percent of physicians are licensed to prescribe suboxone, and the majority of those doctors are limited to treating only 30 patients a year. But access isn’t the only issue: some physicians charge massive fees, deny insurance, or accept only cash, so depending on the severity of the individual’s addiction and black market resources, buying suboxone on the streets can be much cheaper than from a doctor, the article says.

Another article discusses how the social stigma of addiction has helped create a thriving black market for suboxone —one that poses real dangers for addicts trying to stay clean.

Meanwhile, there is controversy over whether suboxone is all it’s cracked up to be, with critics saying the drug is causing its own epidemic of addiction.

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In Calif., rise in young painkiller abusers leads to more heroin overdoses

Today, Oxy Watchdog founder Erin Marie Daly has a report produced with the California Report, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, on the rising prescription drug epidemic in California. While few hard statistics are available on the number of people moving from prescription drugs to cheaper heroin in the state, interviews with drug treatment experts and public health officials suggest a marked increase in heroin use that is accompanying the steady and dramatic rise in prescription opioid abuse among young people, the article says.

The report includes two radio stories produced with KQED, San Francisco Bay Area’s National Public Radio station, as well as an audio slideshow.

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OxyContin Activists: Abby Beaulieu

“OxyContin Activists” are regular people who are fighting back against the painkiller and heroin epidemic.

Abby Beaulieu, 26, has a great life: she lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. with her husband and four-year-old son. But just six years ago, she was hopelessly addicted to OxyContin. Now, she’s on a mission to spread the word about the dangers of prescription drug addiction. Through her blog, My Life. My Story., she aims to break down the stigma surrounding painkiller addiction and show that it really can happen to anyone. Oxy Watchdog caught up with Beaulieu to learn more about her story and what she hopes to accomplish with her blog.


Watchdog: Tell us about the path that led you to OxyContin. When and how did you fall into your addiction?

AB: My father is an alcoholic, and at age 11 my parents got a divorce. At age 13, my father was alone dealing with his addiction, and I felt the need to go be with him. I get serious anxiety when I feel somebody is feeling lonely, or is lonely. I thought that if I was with him and he wasn’t alone, he would not drink. That was not the case. At 13, I became the adult, while he was the child, picking up beer cans and liquor bottles, not going to school for fear what I would come home to, helping him detox when his binges were over. At 16, I met a guy who was abusive in every aspect. He was over 21, so I started enabling my father and buying him alcohol because in return he would write me a check for over $300, not knowing he was fueling my addiction as well: I had started smoking pot at 12.

Prior to meeting my boyfriend, he had been a serious car accident and broke both of his feet. His doctors had him on pain pills for a year and a half and cut him off rather than weaning him off, so he was deeply addicted. A couple days after we met, he introduced me to Roxicodone and I snorted my first pill. The next pill I snorted was OxyContin. When I first started using Oxy I was doing two 40-milligram pills a day, which gradually lead to me shooting about three 80-mg pills a day. After not feeling the effects the way I wanted to, I started shooting them up because the high was better. My using was so much deeper than the addiction: it was the everyday pain that numbed me from feeling, numbed me from worrying about my father and the betrayal I put my mother through. My father (with whom I have no communication today) was clueless to the fact that I was using, even though I weighed 85 pounds soaking wet, until the day I called him to give me a ride to rehab. He did not take me.

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Chicago area sees spike in heroin abuse

The Chicago area has long had a problem with prescription drug abuse, and now it’s battling the latest incarnation of the painkiller addiction trend: heroin. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that a more powerful version of heroin has made its way into the Chicago suburbs. As in other areas of the country, kids who are hooked on prescription drugs like OxyContin are turning to heroin because it’s cheaper and provides a similar high. Because of the heightened potency of today’s heroin, users need not inject the drug, but instead can smoke or snort it – making it more attractive to those who might otherwise be turned off by the fear of dirty needles.

Since January 2011 in Naperville, seven people died of heroin overdoses; 30 fatally overdosed on heroin in Will County in 2011; and seven in Kane County last year. Meanwhile, Lake County saw a 130 percent increase in heroin-related deaths between 2000 and 2009, the article says.

According to CBS Chicago, the Eisenhower Expressway has been dubbed the Heroin Highway – a drive where suburban kids can easily score the drug.

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“Allowing Discomfort:” Psychologist Candace Plattor on recovering from pill addiction

In this guest post, Candace Plattor, psychologist and author of “Loving an Addict, Loving Yourself: The Top 10 Survival Tips for Loving Someone with an Addiction,” discusses the process of recovering from drug and alcohol addiction – including her own personal experience recovering from an addiction to prescription drugs after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.


Allowing Discomfort: The Secret to Successful Recovery From Addictive Behaviors
By Candace Plattor

You’ve given it a lot of thought. You know that your addiction is overwhelming your life and causing you a lot of problems. You really want to stop engaging in these self-defeating behaviors and have a better life. You’re so sure you’re ready, but…

“It’s going to be so hard!” you tell yourself. “How am I going to get through the rough times without having that substance or behavior to fall back on?”

The truth is, you’re right! It will be difficult. When we have been soothing ourselves with long-held, dysfunctional patterns, habits or addictions, we have developed a “comfort zone” for ourselves. This means that we have been comfortable using these behaviors, and we will have to learn all over again how to live without them. For most people this takes some time, vigilance, commitment and yes – discomfort.

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