Prescription Drug Abuse

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Self-Help Sunday

April 3, 2016

I ran across a great post on Quartz that was reprinted from LinkedIn: Almost everyone who is unhappy with life is unhappy for the same reasons If you will read, you will immediately see how it can be helpful in recovery.  In brief, it’s all about setting expectations, thinking positive, and being realistic. Your expectations, more than […]

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Scott Weiland R.I.P.

December 5, 2015

Unfortunately Scott Weiland was as famous for being a drug addict as he was for being the lead singer of two great bands, the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.  He goes now to the great gig in the sky… I hope. He tried many times to get his demons under control, succeeding at taming them for brief periods, but sadly, in the end […]

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TDA Halloween Challenge

October 31, 2015

This creepy 35 second Hanna Barbera anti-drug PSA has the best catchphrase ever at the end. Happy Halloween!!!

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American Anti-Psychotic

November 13, 2014

Have Americans in mass gone off their rockers. Apparently so, the U.S. top money-making drug has been crowned, and it’s not an allergy medicine or an erectile dysfunction medication. You have definitely heard of it, but may not know what it really is. To watch the ads on TV, you would think it’s the drug […]

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Pills are not the Problem (or the Answer)

September 22, 2009

Original pic by Son of Groucho under creative commons license now at The Discovering Alcoholic

They gobbled, snorted, and injected the pills- close to 5 million Americans took (abused) pain killers for non-medical reasons last year. Drug companies like King Pharmaceuticals of Bristol, Tennessee are responding to this wide spread problem by developing abuse-deterrent opioid pain killers like Embeda that actually deactivates when tampered with or crushed.

Some pills under development are rubberlike and harder to crush. Others contain ingredients that cause unpleasant reactions in the body, like flushing or itching, if the pill is adulterated. Taking a cue from exploding ink packets that can render stolen money unusable, some pills have an outer opioid layer and an inner core that, if tampered with, releases a drug that counters the high of the pain reliever. ~ New York Times

When it comes down to it though the pills are not the problem, it’s the reason we are taking them. The pervasive abuse does not stem from a sudden surge in chronic pain, but instead a mass misperception that opioids are fun and make a great chaser for alcohol and other recreational drugs. A kid, dad, or grandmother that wouldn’t dream of cooking down and injecting black tar heroin from a dealer has absolutely no fear of crushing up a pain pill and snorting it because it was prescribed by a doctor, yet the danger of overdose and addiction are the same.

Integrated deterrents are certainly a good idea, but advocacy and education to change the public’s perception about why and how to take pain killers should be a priority.

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Pharmaceutical Faith and the Placebo Effect

September 10, 2009

Original picture and story at Wired Magazine 17.09 reviewed at The Discovering Alcoholic

I’ve got good news and bad news from and for the pharmaceutical industry. The good news is that a huge number of very cheap and safe drugs are showing increased effectiveness in clinical trials. The bad news is that these inert milk sugar pills are beating out the industry’s research and financial intensive wonder drugs.

Despite historic levels of industry investment in R&D, the US Food and Drug Administration approved only 19 first-of-their-kind remedies in 2007—the fewest since 1983—and just 24 in 2008. Half of all drugs that fail in late-stage trials drop out of the pipeline due to their inability to beat sugar pills. ~ Wired Magazine

Wired Magazine reports “that an increasing number of medications are unable to beat sugar pills has thrown the industry into crisis.” It seems the placebo effect is becoming stronger and the pharmaceutical industry is at a loss to why… but not me.

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Jamie Lee Curtis on Recovery

July 22, 2009

 Jamie Lee Curtis on Recovery at The Discovering Alcoholic

Award winning actress, prolific author, philanthropist and inventor- Jamie Lee Curtis is a very accomplished woman, but what is her proudest achievement?


My recovery from drug addiction is the single greatest accomplishment of my life… but it takes work — hard, painful work — but the help is there, in every town and career, drug/drink freed members of society, from every single walk and talk of life to help and guide. ~ Huffington Post

I’ve said it before, but you rock JL.

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Michael Jackson Autopsy Results will be Bad!

June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson Autopsy Results will be “Bad” at The Discovering Alcoholic

Secretive and elusive, facts about Michael Jackson have always been few and far between. I do not expect anything less when it comes to the true cause of his death, but considering his past history with hypochondria and drug abuse of Valium, Xanax, and Ativan- odds are he self medicated himself to death.

My prediction on the autopsy results today will be that he died of cardiac arrest due to vague complications. Of course it will be spin; they might as well announce that he died of death since the definition includes a stopped heart. It will take weeks before toxicology results are released that I predict will show the true pharmaceutical reason for his untimely death- and they will be released quietly with little fanfare.

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Rating the Response to Prescription Drug Abuse in Shelby County

May 29, 2009

original graphic and story by the Shelby County Reporter now at The Discovering Alcoholic

Prescription drug abuse and associated deaths have skyrocketed in my local area over the past few years and fortunately many of our public and private professionals have stepped up to the plate by raising awareness and offering solutions. There are few notable exceptions though, so I figured this recent and informative article on the issue by the Shelby County Reporter would be a great time to rate some of the responses I have seen from my local community.

Shelby County Drug Court: Offering well monitored treatment and a chance for recovery as an alternative to incarceration and recidivism, I have witnessed the positive results of the drug court in person. Many of the people addicted to prescription drug pills become so in a prescribed legit fashion only turning to illicit behavior as the addiction progresses- we need to have more than “just jail”. This is a great program that not only gives a second chance, but provides the tools to take advantage of the opportunity.

State Senator Hank Irwin: A man of faith, it is unfortunate that he has to rely upon only this and his many prejudices instead of the facts when it comes to medically assisted recovery (MAR), a critical tool for those suffering with prescription medication (mostly pain killers) addiction. He has been a constant opponent of MAR and clearly has a problem separating opinion from facts.

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Underestimating Prescription Drug Abuse

May 20, 2009

2009 National Prescription Drug Threat Assessment at The Discovering Alcoholic

The 2009 Prescription Drug Threat Assessment has been released in a pdf format (click on above picture for link) by the US Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center. This 75 page document is loaded with the most current information available on prescription drug abuse in the US gathered by SAMHSA, the DEA, and literally thousands of state and local law enforcement agencies. The gist of the report is that controlled prescription drug (CPD) has remained relatively stable the last few years, however this can be a little misleading when you consider the continued steep rise in the chart of the three D’s for opioids (painkillers) abuse. Diversion, dependence, and deaths are once again major problems and the availability of these pain killers continues to increase. The report is bad enough but I still think it underestimates the problem- because like alcohol, pain killer abuse is underreported and the direct repercussions (abuse, neglect, financial, and crime) are often misinterpreted.

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What to Do When an Alcoholic/Opioid Drug Addict Needs Surgery and Pain Meds?

May 15, 2009

Thank you author and speaker Lisa Frederiksen of Breaking the Cycles for this regular series sharing her decades long experience of dealing with family alcoholism and alcohol abuse. Click here to see the rest of the series.

Breaking the Cycles at The Discovering Alcoholic

At a recent meeting, one of the discussions was about living in fear of what would happen if a recovering opioid drug addict or opioid drug addict with the co-addiction of alcoholism had to have surgery and needed pain medications. Would that be the trigger that set them off down the road of addiction, again? Following this meeting, I came across Join Together’s news summary, SAMHSA and FDA Launch Methadone Education Campaign. This campaign is what we need!

Quoting from the campaign program site, this is a “public awareness campaign to deliver the message to consumers that methadone is a safe and effective treatment for opioid addiction and pain management when taken as directed.” Click here to download the campaign brochure.

So, please…pass this along to those with a loved one who is recovering from an opioid drug addiction or co-addiction with alcoholism. One never knows when surgery will be necessary and this will prepare them for how best to handle the pain without triggering a relapse.

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Legal and Regulated: Our Two Worst Drug Problems

April 14, 2009

Florida is not alone when it comes to the problem of prescription drug abuse, in much of the country it has passed the abuse of all illicit drugs only topped on the stats list by king alcohol. These are legal, heavy regulated drugs- yet their rate of abuse is skyrocketing.

Legal and regulated: Key words used often by legalization proponents but they also are descriptive of the top two problems in our country, alcohol and prescription drugs. How about the other half of the legalization talking points, treating abuse as a medical problem and promoting education and treatment instead of jail?

Well alcohol seems to be the preferred fuel for crime and violence these days, so even with treatment jail will always be part of this equation. Then there is the way the general public views one of the most effective treatments for prescription opiate addiction, methadone treatment. This quote below is from the District Attorney Randall Houston who vilifies this proposed treatment center in my locale and then literally crows about the community resistance to treatment.

“Without a doubt, he made the appropriate decision in denying the appeal of the Chilton County Methadone Treatment Facility,” he said yesterday. “This lengthy process took cooperation from all levels to include political leaders and community citizens. It just goes to show that when concerned citizens work together, the good guys do sometimes finish first.” ~ Clanton Advertiser

The worst drug problems we face in America are both legal and regulated, until we can get a handle on these the legalization crowd is putting the cart before the horse.

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Methadone: Don’t Look Now!

February 2, 2009

Original pic by mediaboytodd now at The Discovering AlcoholicMethadone. It makes people absolutely stupid. I’m not talking about those taking it for treatment of pain or addictions, but instead those that protest its use. Take this news story for example highlighted by the ever diligent ARM-Me Blog about an Indiana methadone clinic advertising its services on a highway billboard. ARM-ME is an advocacy site that I am proud to call a blog friend and they ran this story because of its overall positive spin- but it still bothered me that the journalist who wrote the article had to include a “known fact”.

Although the advertising could also attract drug dealers who see the clinic as a concentrated base of clients, Arlt said she wasn’t too worried because of the clinic’s numerous indoor and outdoor cameras. ~ Post-Tribune

Don’t look now Ms Media, but if you have addicts that means you already have drug dealers (be careful here, they may even have a stethoscope). Trust me on this one- the clinic did not locate there because the community lacks a drug problem. The only thing the treatment center might do is actually lessen the demand!

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Prescription Drug Abuse: It Starts at Home

November 30, 2008

Prescription Drug Abuse Stats at The Discovering Alcoholic

While setting up my presentation for the substance abuse outreach program I kept running across a statistic on prescription drug abuse that really bothered me.

Seventy percent of people who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives.

  • Sixty-four percent of teens (12-17) who have abused pain relievers say they got them from friends or relatives, often without their knowledge. (NSDUH, 2007)
  • Nearly half (46%) of teens say they got prescription pain relievers for free from a relative or friend. Eight percent say they bought pain relievers from a friend or relative, and another 10 percent say they took the drugs without asking.
  • About two-thirds (64%) of teenagers who have abused prescription stimulants report getting, buying, or stealing them from friends or relatives.
  • Prescription for Danger

    Click “Read more” to see why this particular stat bothers me…

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    A Diverse Panel

    November 21, 2008

    I just wanted to share the flyer that is going out to publicize the task force’s presentation/panel on prescription drug abuse and addiction. The panel fleshed out rather nicely with a great mix of treatment providers, law enforcement, medical professionals and one semi-deranged blogger/recovering alcoholic.

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