Archive for October, 2012

Heroin Withdrawal: Symptoms and Treatment

Heroin is a strong analgesic painkiller used to relieve acute to severe pain conditions such as those caused by severe physical trauma or injury, post surgical pain, myocardial infarction (commonly known as heart attack), and cancer pains. However, the drug’s medical use has been quickly overshadowed by instances of abuse, misuse, and addiction by people aged 15 to 65, in the US as well as in other countries.

While heroin use induces a state of relaxation and euphoria, sudden stop in taking the drug could bring pains and discomfort. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Craving for the drug
  • Restlessness
  • Body achesheroin abuse
  • Cold sweats and chills
  • Constipation
  • Cramps in the body
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Yawning
  • Fever
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Increased irritability
  • Tears and runny nose

According to the addictionblog.org, one of the reasons that make heroin withdrawal so painful is because the drug is considered one of the strongest opiates that ever existed. Sadly, it also has one of the highest dependency rate in the world. In 2009, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 600,000 million Americans age 12 and older had abused heroin at least once in the year prior to being surveyed.

A number of treatment options are available for heroin abusers to help them deal with withdrawal symptoms. These treatments include counseling, group therapy, medication (pharmacotherapy), and supervised home withdrawal.

With home remedies, it is important to proactively of withdrawal symptoms to successfully wean off heroin. For easing aches and pains, warm showers or bath, massages, and application of heating pads are helpful. Psychological symptoms could be addressed by encouraging the heroin user to practice medication or perform exercise, as well as discover new hobbies to divert their attention from the drug.

Pharmacotherapy-based treatments may often involve taking Methadone which helps reduce the impact of heroin on the drug dependent individual. Other medications used are Buprenorphine and Naltrexone.

Treatment options are most effective when they are tailored according to the person’s specific situation. In some cases, drug specialists or rehab doctors may use a combination of methods to eliminate specific symptoms.

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Maine Scores a Federal Grant to Combat Alcohol and Drug Use Among Young People

Maine was awarded a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to be used in reducing alcohol and drug use among the youth.

substance abuse treatmentAccording to a press release from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the state will receive nearly $891,000 per year for three years to cut down underage alcohol use among 12-20 –year-olds, and reduce prescription drug abuse and marijuana use among 12-25-year olds.

“Maine was able to make positive impacts in reducing youth substance use and built substance abuse systems and supports with the first Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive grant. This new grant will focus on supporting strong collaboration at the state and local levels to use proven prevention strategies that have produced positive, measurable results,” said Guy Cousins, Director of Maine’s Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS).

During the three-year project, the Healthy Maine Partnership coalitions (HMPs) in all of Maine’s Public Health Districts will be responsible for coordinating the state’s efforts in promoting public health. Strategies that have been proven to work will be used state-wide. All HMPs will work closely with law enforcement, schools, worksites, healthcare and local government to address problems and opportunities identified through state-produced data.

“We know that we can reach our goals by working with state, district, and local partners,” Cousins added.

According to Maine’s 2012 substance abuse trends report, over one quarter of high school students in Maine reported consuming alcohol in the past month. Among high school students who had consumed alcohol in 2011, under one-third reported starting before the age 13. In terms of drug use, marijuana is the most often used illegal drug in the state, with one in five high school students reported using the drug within the past month.

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Indiana Lawmaker Calls For an Emergency Meeting to Prohibit Sale of Synthetic Drugs

State Senator Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, invited the Indiana Attorney General’s office, Indiana State Police, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, and Indiana Sheriffs’ Association to an emergency meeting geared at eliminating the sale of synthetic drugs in Indiana.

synthetic drugsAlthough no schedule has yet been confirmed, Merritt’s invitation came after a TV reported about a teenager who was hospitalized for using a synthetic drug which was allegedly purchased from an Indianapolis gas station, the Courierpress.com reports.

In his request letter, Merritt urges state officials that it’s high time “to let synthetic drug makers, retailers and users know that it must stop and will stop.”

Earlier this year, lawmakers have passed a legislation designed to crack down on retailers that sell illegal synthetic drugs, such as bath salts and spice. In addition, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced last month they were collaborating to take those drugs off store shelves.

“The legislature has spoken twice now with two separate laws empowering law enforcement with the tools to identify and crack down on the manufacturers, distributors and retailers providing synthetic drugs,” Merritt wrote in a letter requesting the meeting.

Merritt added he wants to ensure that the police and other state officials are “aggressively pursuing new ideas to fight these synthetic drugs still plaguing Indiana communities.”

The senator also took a stand on the case of the 17-year-old girl who was admitted to the hospital after using synthetic drug.

“If the pending investigation finds this Indianapolis gas station sold the girl synthetic drugs, I’m absolutely calling for its retail license to be suspended,” Merritt said. “They’ve had formal notice of the outlawed substances and the penalties for selling them.”

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Know Where Your Children Can Hide Drugs

13 Most Common Places Where Kids Hide DrugsDozens of research shows drug use begins in the adolescent years, but that doesn’t mean children as young as nine are free from the temptation. There are many reasons why kids use illicit substances, such as peer pressure, curiosity, rebellion, availability and attractiveness of drugs, and the simple thrill-seeking. While exercising parental involvement and maintaining good communication with your kids will help protect them from experimenting with drugs, there’s another important thing you should learn. That is, identifying bizarre spots where kids can hide their drugs.

We all know that kids today are more advanced in the way they think thanks to the Internet and new tech devices. Given that, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they have also discovered more sophisticated ways to conceal drugs to avoid getting caught.

For example, the highlighter. It may look nothing more than an innocuous school material, but it could be your child’s secret place for marijuana or other drug of abuse. The same could be said with pens and books. Similarly, drugs can be stashed away in lip gloss or lipstick containers, behind posters, and inside socks. These items despite their harmless appearance could be conspiratorial with children who want to use drugs, whether out of curiosity or to give in to peer pressure.

Sadly, the problem of drug abuse in the society is getting worse as new drugs continue to emerge. But there are several means to keep your children drug-free. Prescription drugs abuse, in particular, could  start in your own household. That said,  it’s important to properly dispose or store prescription medicines in your home or they might find their way from one of your children’s personal items.

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Teenagers and Young Adults Found as the Strongest Drivers in Prescription Drug Abuse

A new study from the University of Colorado Denver reveals that teenagers and young adults are leading the way in painkiller abuse.

prescription drugs abuse in high schoolAccording to a news release, today’s adolescents are abusing prescription pain medications like Vicodin, Valium, and Oxycontin at a rate 40 percent higher than previous generations.

“Prescription drug use is the next big epidemic,” said Richard Miech, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor of sociology at CU Denver. “Everyone in this field has recognized that there is a big increase in the abuse of nonmedical analgesics but our study shows that it is accelerating among today’s generation of adolescents.”

Miech and colleagues analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, and found the prevalence of prescription pain medication abuse among the current generation of youth is “higher than any generation ever measured.” The finding applies among subgroups of men, women, non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics. In addition, the researchers said there are a number of factors that are driving this trend, one of them is the parents’ influence on their children.

“Youth who observe their parents taking analgesics as prescribed may come to the conclusion that any use of these drugs is OK and safe,” Miech said.

Miech added that people who abuse prescription pain relievers report that they obtained the medicines from family or friends.

The study, published on Tuesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health, further noted that nonmedical analgesic use accounted for an increase in emergency room visits of 129 percent between 2004 and 2009. Prescription drug abuse led to a threefold increase in unintentional overdose mortality from the 1990s to 2007.

“The increasing availability of analgesics in the general population is well documented, as the total number of hydrocodone and oxycodone products prescribed legally in the U.S. increased more than fourfold from about 40 million in 1991 to nearly 180 million in 2007,” the study said. “Higher prevalence of analgesics makes first-time NAU among contemporary youth easier than in the past because more homes have prescription analgesics in their medicine cabinets.”

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Kentucky’s Annual Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention PSA Contest Begins!

A few months ago, Attorney General Jack Conway and his Keep Kentucky Kids Safe partners began working on putting up prescription drug abuse awareness billboards across the Commonwealth. The initiative is in keeping with their goal of educating the public about the perils of prescription pill abuse. This week, they are stepping up their education initiative with the commencement of their annual prescription drug abuse prevention public service announcement (PSA) contest.

Keep Kentucky Kids Safe PSA contestThe competition is open to all middle and high school students who can produce a 30-second video that shows the dangers of using prescription medicines without a doctor’s supervision or direction.

“I want kids in every corner of the Commonwealth to know that it is never okay to take a prescription pill that was not prescribed to them by a doctor,” General Conway said in the SurfKY report. “These are some of the most addictive substances on the planet and if taken in the wrong combination, or with other substances, they can kill you.”

For this year’s contest, the first place winner will receive an Apple iPad while the runner-up will receive a $100 Amazon.com gift card. Students have until Dec. 7, 2012 to submit their videos and winners will be announced on Dec. 14.

Attorney General Conway’s video PSA competition is held in partnership with the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, the Kentucky Pharmacists Association, National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI), Operation UNITE and concerned parents, Dr. Karen Shay, Lynn Kissick, and Mike Donta.

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