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Friday, June 23, 2017

Overdose Affecting Young Native Americans

It is sad fact that young people are dying in America at unprecedented rates. The reasons are varied; however, when looking at the data, overdose and alcohol are often involved. There is nary a soul in our country that is not aware that Americans have long been in the grips of an opioid addiction epidemic. Every day, some 100 people in this country pass away from an opioid overdose death. Millions more are caught in the insidious cycle of opioid use disorder, a deadly form of addiction that to break free from almost always requires treatment.

Efforts have been made to address rampant over-prescribing and provide access to naloxone to reverse an overdose, but the death toll continues to rise. Especially among young people in America. A demographic that should be at peak physical fitness, not held back by health problems. While practically every subset of young people has been touched by the opioid addiction epidemic, two groups have had the highest increase in morbidity: whites and Native Americans.


Overdose and Alcohol Killing Young Americans

The Washington Post recently conducted an analysis of mortality data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The print news organization found that the death rate has increased among people between 25 and 44. Nearly every race and ethnic group has seen a rise in morbidity. While the data is concerning to say the least, the highest increases were observed among whites (12 percent) and Native Americans (18 percent) between 2010 and 2015.

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It is worth noting that opioids were not the only culprit; alcohol and suicide played a significant role in the increase, according to the report. Experts speculate that rise may be related to huge numbers of people finding themselves unable to get ahead after the economic recession that began a decade ago. What more, it is still difficult to access addiction treatment in many parts of the country.

“People with four-year degrees overall are doing fine in this economy, and everybody else overall is doing pretty poorly,” said Joan C. Williams, a University of California law professor, author and scholar on work and class. “This whole large segment of society is seeing their grip on the American Dream slipping away.”


Seeking Help

If you are Native American in the grips of opioid or alcohol use disorder, please contact Whiteside Manor. Our professional staff has undergone training for Native American philosophies, and cultural diversity training from the local Native American Recovery Community. We have helped many Native Americans break the cycle of addiction and begin the journey of recovery, with successful outcomes.

Friday, June 9, 2017

FDA Calls for Taking Opana Off the Market

In 2012, we wrote about a drug that had taken the place of OxyContin as the favorite among prescription opioid abusers. For the simple reasons that it was easier to crush up to be either snorted or injected, and roughly twice as potent as its oxycodone cousin. The drug we are referring to is Opana, made by Endo Pharmaceuticals. Even five years ago the drug had already found its way to the rural pockets of America, regions where overprescribing is rampant and access to addiction treatment is minimal—such as Scott County, Indiana.

While Endo would go on to reformulate the Opana to make it harder to abuse at the behest of agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), people living with opioid use disorders found ways to circumvent the tamper resistant features. When OxyContin was reformulated, it did not take long for addicts to “hack” their way through the safeguards built into the pills. The reformulated Opana made it more difficult to snort, so addicts turned to the needle. With a little bit of effort and some ingenuity, users started injecting these powerful prescription opioids.


Risk of Infection

Back in 2012, our fears were directed towards the risk of overdose, as a significant number of people were succumbing to Opana abuse. Granted, such concerns were certainly warranted; however, there were things other than overdose to be worried about. You see, in places like rural Indiana and the ilk, accessing clean hypodermic syringes hasn’t been an easy task, historically. Both citizens and lawmakers have long held to an idea that providing sterile needles to IV drug users promotes continued use. When reality is something quite different.

Needle exchanges not only reduce people’s risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis C, they also provide substance abuse counselors an opportunity to discuss addiction recovery options with the subset at greatest risk of a fatal overdose. People in the grips of active addiction are rarely in a setting that they will be in contact with addiction counselors.

As a result of not providing resources for IV users to obtain new syringes, sharing was a regular occurrence. And in rural Indiana, sharing needles resulted in about 150 new cases of HIV, CNN reported in 2015. People's lives changed forever because of erroneous ideas about needle exchanges.


Taking Opana Off The Market

Opana was approved by the FDA in 2006, shortly after the trend of OxyContin abuse was picking up steam. There was significant backlash regarding the approval by health experts and addiction professionals, but the drug went to market anyway. Now, just over ten years later, the FDA is rethinking the benefits of a drug like Opana. The agency has requested that Endo Pharmaceuticals remove its reformulated Opana ER (oxymorphone hydrochloride), from the market, according to an agency press release. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D said:

“We are facing an opioid epidemic – a public health crisis, and we must take all necessary steps to reduce the scope of opioid misuse and abuse. We will continue to take regulatory steps when we see situations where an opioid product’s risks outweigh its benefits, not only for its intended patient population but also in regard to its potential for misuse and abuse.”


Addiction Treatment

Are you or a loved one addicted to prescription opioids or heroin? If so, please contact Whiteside Manor as soon as possible. The landscape of opioid use and abuse is constantly changing for the worse, fentanyl is being mixed into heroin or disguised as OxyContin. The risk of overdose death is greater than it’s ever been.

We can help you or your loved one break the cycle of addiction and learn how to live a fulfilling life in recovery.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alcohol Use Disorder and Gastric Bypass

alcohol use disorder
In the United States, we have a lot of fast food and a lot of alcohol. On most corners in major cities you can find any one of several chain stores selling greasy food and stores selling liquor. Both of which are the farthest thing from good for you. Interestingly, the products being sold at both places are also rich in calories and carry the propensity for addiction among those who consume such products regularly.

In America, more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of adults are considered to be overweight or obese, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. With, more than one-third (35.7 percent) of adults being obese, it is fair to say that it is a problem of epidemic proportions.

It is hard to watch out for one’s own well-being in a society that caters to both enticement and impatience. And what's more, promoting good health is harder to accomplish than offering a band-aid which makes it harder to consume things in unhealthy ways. Food, like alcohol, can be an addictive substance that should be considered as such. If doctors are going to offer solutions to the physical aspect of the problem, they need to focus on the person's mental health, as well.


Addressing Food and Alcohol Addiction

In the modern times, people who struggle with weight can have a number of types of procedures done to address the problem. One of the most popular today is what is called Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. It is a procedure that reduces the functional volume of the stomach making it harder to consume the amount of food that promotes obesity. While the procedure is effective, it does nothing to address the root causes that led to such an insatiable appetite in the first place. Which is why a new research published in Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases is of so much interest.

It turns out that people who undergo gastric bypass are at an increased risk of developing problems with alcohol, ScienceDaily reports. In fact, the researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health found that 1 in 5 RYGB patients develop alcohol problems. The authors say the findings indicate there is need for long-term clinical follow-ups for patients who have the procedure done.

"We knew there was an increase in the number of people experiencing problems with alcohol within the first two years of surgery, but we didn't expect the number of affected patients to continue to grow throughout seven years of follow-up," said lead author Wendy C. King, Ph.D. He adds, “"Because alcohol problems may not appear for several years, it is important that doctors routinely ask patients with a history of bariatric surgery about their alcohol consumption and whether they are experiencing symptoms of alcohol use disorder, and are prepared to refer them to treatment."


Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment

Making it harder to consume foods at dangerous levels does not mean that people will stop feeding the pathologies that exist in the mind. Compulsive overeating is a form of mental illness that needs to be treated, making the stomach smaller does not accomplish this. People with one form of addiction are far more likely to be at risk of developing another dependence.

If you had a gastric bypass, and are finding that alcohol has become a problem, please contact Whiteside Manor to begin treatment. We can help you break the cycle of addiction, and help you address the root causes that precipitated the condition. Addiction recovery has universal efficacy for all forms of use disorders, including food addiction.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Cherokee Nation Sues for Opioid Damages

With most tragedies that befall people, reparations are often sought and in some cases granted. Not that any amount of money can bring back a loved one, but it certainly does not hurt. After major wars, reparations are often gone after from the aggressors or conflict instigators. Such paybacks usually require a tooth and nail fight and even then, what ends up being paid is rarely enough—a veritable drop in the bucket. The Jews of Europe in the 1930’s and `40s and their adult children are still working to reclaim lost family possessions and have financial compensation for the damage done.

The Holocaust may have been a singular atrocity, but there have been many such instances across the sands of time. Going back to the time of the Tsar’s and beyond. In our own country, one whose brief history has been fortunate to escape the scars of modern warfare, we have a past that is not short of atrocious deeds. Notably the 100’s of years of slavery and subsequent segregation in the South, the massacre of Native Americans peoples and resettlement to reservations, and Japanese internment during World War II.

America, to be sure, is not beyond reproach. Our history is far from pretty, and the aforementioned American people are still fighting for reparations. Which brings into question where else people have been targeted, exploited and lost their life from things other than chains and bullets.


A Debt Owed From Opioid Profits

Now a couple decades after the American opioid addiction epidemic began, it is becoming abundantly clear that people across the country were lied to about the dangers of opioid painkillers. Narcotics which have stolen lives from multiple generation, from practically every demographic. From Big Pharma to chain pharmacies, and everything in between, i.e. drug wholesalers, doctors, and prescribing nurses.

In many cases, the writing was on the wall long ago that the drugs being manufactured, distributed, prescribed and filled at pharmacies were being rampantly abused. With only a minuscule of interdiction until late, and even that is far from enough. Which is one of the reasons why states have been filing class action suits against all perceived guilty parties who, evidence suggests, knowingly had a role in patient addiction and overdose deaths.

One of the more recent suits came from a proud people who are no stranger to malfeasance and death disguised as gifts, the Cherokee Nation. A suit was filed against CVS Health, Walgreens, et. al., the claimant alleges that not enough was done to prevent opioid painkillers from ravaging the tribal community, PBS NewsHour reports. They claim that the defendants did not adequately monitor opioid prescriptions and orders. Had they done so, red flags would have been raised and federal officials could have interdicted. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) reports that an estimated 845 million milligrams of opioids, between 360 and 720 pills per year for every prescription opioid user, were distributed across the Cherokee Nation.

“As we fight this epidemic in our hospitals, our schools, and our Cherokee homes, we will also use our legal system to make sure the companies, who put profits over people while our society is crippled by this epidemic, are held responsible for their actions,” Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in a statement.


Opioid Addiction Treatment

Sadly, the Cherokee Nation is not the only tribal people to be greatly affected by the epidemic. At Whiteside Manor, we have treated native peoples from the Southwest and beyond who have been touched by opioid addiction. Our team of professional substance abuse counselors have been trained in Native American philosophies and practices, and we receive referrals from Traditional Reservation Behavioral / Mental Health departments and we work closely with the Native American Recovery Community.

If you or a loved one is battling prescription opioid or heroin addiction, please contact us today.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Treating Chronic Pain Without Opioids

Pain, whether it be acute or chronic, affects millions of Americans every day of the week. Arthritis, lower back pain and acute injuries can make it extremely difficult to function—impacting one’s ability to tackle daily responsibilities. The good news is that there are effective drugs available for dulling the painful edge, the bad news is that they are not only
habit-forming, they are extremely dangerous to one’s life.

You probably know by now that we are not referring to Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. Opioid painkillers are hands down the most effective way to treat any form of pain. And to be fair, not everyone who takes this class of drugs become addicted or experiences an overdose. However, the fact that there are now over 2 million people living with an opioid use disorder in the United States and around 100 people dying from an overdose every day, says that we need to rethink our reliance on the potentially hazardous narcotics.

It practically goes without saying that prescription opioids are entrenched in our healthcare system. They are vital in the performance of medical operations and recovery. End of life patients would suffer greatly without access to narcotic painkillers. People with debilitating chronic pain, would not be able to function without painkillers. However, regarding the latter, utilizing alternatives forms of pain management before resorting to opioids needs to be a priority.


Providing Safe Pain Relief

There are a number of practices that doctors could adopt to better ensure the safety of their patients. It is vital that physicians identify pain patients who may be at risk of addiction and/or overdose, so that alternative therapies can be utilized. Patients who are considered safe to prescribe, need to be written prescriptions responsibly—low dose and limited refills.

The best way to accomplish such a goal is encouraging physicians, according to Christopher J. Burnett, MD, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the Texas A&M College of Medicine and director of the Baylor Scott & White Health’s Temple Pain Clinic, to adhere to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) prescribing guidelines issued in 2016. In situations that a doctor feels opioids should be avoided Burnett believes that doing nothing about a pain complaint may be the best initial course to take:

"Much of the time, the right thing to do for lower back pain is to simply wait," said Burnett. "It might be an acute injury that will heal on its own given a little time."

There are alternative forms of pain management that can be tried before turning to prescription opioids, including:
  • Anti-Inflammatory drugs
  • Physical Therapy
  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage
"The population of patients who need opioids chronically is actually pretty small," Burnett said. "For most people, the prescription comes with an exit plan. These medications are now considered to be a way to bridge to the next line of therapy."


Pain In Recovery

If you suffer from chronic pain and have become addicted to prescription opioids, breaking the cycle of addiction is extremely important. After the fact, the pain is likely to still be a problem, but returning to opioids should be out of the question. Working with a physician who understands your history could lead to effective methods of pain relief that do not involve opioids. You may never be free from all pain, but it can be reduced to manageable levels allowing you to enjoy life. Please remember, there are many recovering addicts and alcoholics who live fulfilling lives with chronic pain. You can too.

If you are struggling with prescription opioid abuse, please contact Whiteside Manor today.