Whiteside Manor - Affordable California Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center
We'll help you find and stay on the right path
Call 1-800-300-RECOVER (7326)

. . .

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Online Initiative Fights Prescription Drug Abuse

The prescription drug epidemic in America seems to be unstoppable despite efforts made on the federal and local level. Prescription drug monitoring systems have done little to hinder the trafficking of highly addictive drugs, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, because the systems are optional and the existing ones are not linked from state-to-state. In fact, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that 6.5 million Americans above the age of 12 used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons last year.

In the past few weeks the federal government has taken some major steps to combat the prescription drug problem in America, according to The Washington Post.

Following the lead of National Prescription Drug Take-Back Days, events that happen twice a year which allow citizens to give their unused prescription drugs to authorities at designated locations; the Obama administration has implemented measures that will allow people to return unused prescription drugs to hospitals, pharmacies and other places where they acquired the medications year-round. Every returned pill is one less opportunity for someone to acquire the drugs for illicit use.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency recently ruled to moved hydrocodone combination products (HCPs) from Schedule III to the more restrictive Schedule II designation. The ruling went into effect earlier this month, as a result doctors can no longer write hydrocodone prescriptions with more than two refills. This means that every 90 days patients need to return to their doctor for a check-up if they desire more of the medication.

Another weapon against prescription drug misuse is the Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) initiative. The EPCS is a rule by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which allows pharmacies and care providers to handle prescriptions for controlled substances that are designated Schedule II-V entirely online. The program is currently voluntary but that could change in the near future as states attempt to crack down on the problem.

Handling all prescription narcotics electronically cuts down on prescription fraud by reducing the reliance on paper prescriptions, the article notes. The system allows doctors and pharmacies to identify potential cases of drug misuse.

If the system became mandatory for every state and was linked, it would become much more difficult for people to “doctor shop” which would eliminate a large part of the problem.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Accidental Ingestion of Buprenorphine by Children

English: Suboxone tablet - both sides.
Buprenorphine, otherwise known as Suboxone or Subutex, is the medication of choice when it comes to treating opioid addiction. While the drug has been found to be addictive, it has also shown great promise when it comes to minimizing the symptoms associated with heroin and prescription opioid withdrawal. In a treatment setting buprenorphine has been found to be safe and effective; however, there are a number of addicts who are on buprenorphine maintenance programs, merely exchanging one drug for another.

Addicts that are prescribed buprenorphine for take home use may start abusing the drug and could be putting the lives of their loved ones at risk. A new report has found that buprenorphine is the prescription drug most commonly tied to emergency hospitalizations of young children, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Research showed that 200 children, ages 6 and younger, were hospitalized after ingesting buprenorphine for every 100,000 patients prescribed the drug. While the numbers may not seem high, it is worth noting that it is four times higher than the rate for the next most commonly ingested drug, a blood pressure medication. Every year, almost 800 children are hospitalized after ingesting buprenorphine. If a child consumes the drug it can cause sedation, as well as dangerously slowed breathing and vomiting.

Fortunately, the makers of Suboxone have changed the drugs design to a sublingual (under the tongue) film strip. The change from tablet to film strip may reduce the risks of accidental buprenorphine ingestion by children, says lead researcher Dr. Daniel Budnitz of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, such changes will only apply to brand Suboxone, generic forms of the drug are still in tablet form, reports the AP.

The study was published in Pediatrics.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Private Pilots Using Legal and Illegal Drugs

140 px
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted a study which showed that more pilots are using illegal drugs and prescription medications that may cause impairment, reports The New York Times.

The NTSB study was interested in pilots who died in crashes. It is worth noting that most of them were private pilots. In 2012, pilots who died in crashes tested positive for drugs four times as often as those who died in 1990, according to the article.

Researchers looked at two time periods, 1990 to 1997 and 2008 to 2012. In the first period 5.6 percent of pilots who died had antihistamines in their system, a drug which has sedating properties. In the latter time period, antihistamines were present in 9.9 percent of the cases, and the ingredients in Vicodin and Valium were found more commonly in the pilot’s systems than earlier cases. 

In 2012, pilots killed in crashes tested positive for one drug 39 percent of the time, compared to 9.6 percent in 1990, the article points out. 

“I think that the key take-away from this study for every pilot is to think twice about the medications you’re taking and how they might affect your flying,” NTSB Acting Chairman Christopher A. Hart said in a news release.

Drug use among pilots was relatively uncommon in the 1990’s, about 2.4 percent. In 2012, that number had risen to about 4 percent, mostly due to an increase in marijuana use amongst pilots. It is difficult to determine whether or not a pilot was actually impaired at the time of the crash or just had the drugs in their system, according to the NTSB.

“However, the study did say that increasing numbers of accident pilots chose to fly after taking potentially impairing drugs, suggesting that some pilots are either unaware of the risks that such drugs present or consider such risks acceptable,” the board concluded.

You can find the study here.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health

In 2013, 9.4 percent of Americans ages 12 and older said they used illicit drugs, according to the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) compiled the report, which found that almost 20 million said they used marijuana, according to HealthDay.

The report was released in conjunction with the 25th annual observance of National Recovery Month, according to a SAMHSA news release.

The findings showed that in the last month:
  • 4.5 million had taken prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons.
  • 1.5 million used cocaine
  • 595,000 used methamphetamine
  • 289,000 used heroin
Out of the 23 million Americans who were in need of treatment for drug or alcohol use, only 2.5 million received treatment, according to the report.

The findings showed that almost 44 million American adults had a mental illness last year, with 10 million having had a serious mental illness. Sadly, about 14 percent said they received any kind of treatment or counseling for their mental illness.

“This Administration’s approach to drug policy is rooted in the knowledge that substance use disorders are diseases that can be prevented, treated, and from which people can recover,” said Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of National Drug Control Policy. “The recovery movement has come a long way in 25 years, and people in recovery deserve an official voice at all levels of government. We must continue to use that voice to share our triumphs and our challenges, and show the world that millions of us are leading happy, healthy, productive lives in long-term recovery. Each recovery story we tell chips away at the misconceptions that keep someone struggling with an addictive disorder from asking for help.”

Thursday, September 4, 2014

How to Drink Responsibly

Is it possible to drink responsibly? Sure, most people can have a few drinks, take a cab home, and wake up the next day feeling a little sluggish, but that's the worst of it. However, when you consider that alcohol is essentially a poison to the human body, with the only redeeming quality of being a good antiseptic, it’s hard to see anything responsible about consuming alcohol.

Every day, millions of Americans are exposed to advertisements from alcohol companies who tend to end their pitch with, “Remember, drink responsibly.” However, while alcohol companies are good to remind everyone to drink responsibly; they never mention how to exactly accomplish the act, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

All alcohol ads appearing in U.S. magazines from 2008 to 2010 were analyzed by researchers. Out of the 87 percent of ads that were good enough to include a drink responsibly message, not one explained what drinking responsibly was, Medical Xpress reports.

In the cases where responsible drinking messages were present, 88 percent reinforced promotion of the advertised product. Often times the message of the advertisement contradicted scenes shown in the ads.

What is shocking about alcohol ads is the fact that responsible drinking messages are not required under federal law, unlike cigarette advertisements that are required to remind the smoker that these little pleasure sticks are, in fact, trying to kill you. What’s more, nowhere in the alcohol industry’s voluntary guidelines for marketing and promotion does it state what is considered responsible drinking, according to the article.

“We know from experience with tobacco that warning messages on product containers and in advertising can affect consumption of potentially dangerous products,” said study leader Katherine Clegg Smith, PhD in a news release. “We should apply that knowledge to alcohol ads and provide real warnings about the negative effects of excessive alcohol use.”

The findings appear in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.