If addiction is a disease, then why are doctors infecting patients with it?
(Isn’t that called ‘prescribing’ an addiction?)
If addiction is a disease, then why are doctors infecting patients with it?
(Isn’t that called ‘prescribing’ an addiction?)
I have to preface the following NaturalNews.com article with a few points. As my readers know, I am dead set against prescription drugs and other drug use and am very active in ministry and in teaching, taking people through recovery and bringing awareness to addiction and prevention. The note I need to make is that I am not against medical marijuana; however, I am very against recreational use of medical marijuana. Smoking and vaping it, in my opinion and according to my research, is highly toxic and has disease producing potential. I advocate medical marijuana in capsule form, juiced raw and in edibles. That all said, please read the article below.
Taking medical cannabis may significantly reduce the need for prescription medications, a recent study revealed.
As part of research, a team of health experts at the University of New Mexico examined patients who voluntarily enrolled in the New Mexico state medical cannabis program. The patients were also on scheduled prescription medications.
Prescription drug use was reported to the New Mexico Prescription Monitoring Program. Opiates and benzodiazepines were among the most common drugs that the patients used.
According to the research team, patients enrolled in the medical cannabis program have significantly lower monthly average number of prescriptions than those who did not enroll in the program. Enrolled patients also reduced the types of prescription drugs they took as well as the number of prescribers and related pharmacy visits, the scientists noted.
In addition, the health experts found that up to 71 percent of enrolled patients either ceased or reduced their use of scheduled prescription drugs within six months following enrollment.
The study was slated for publication in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association.
The recent results coincide with findings from two studies published last year.
In one study, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and Medical School examined 185 patients from a medical marijuana dispensary in Ann Arbor between November 2013 to February 2015.
The research team found that patients who took medical marijuana to treat chronic pain exhibited a 64 percent reduction in their use of more traditional, opioid-based medications. The experts also noted fewer side effects and a 45 percent increase in quality of life in patients who took medicinal cannabis.
Study lead author Kevin Boehnke stressed that the country is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, and said that the findings may hopefully lead to discussions about cannabis being a potential alternative to opioid treatment.
“We are learning that the higher the dose of opioids people are taking, the higher the risk of death from overdose. This magnitude of reduction in our study is significant enough to affect an individual’s risk of accidental death from overdose. We hypothesized that cannabis might be particularly effective for the type of pain seen in conditions such as fibromyalgia, since there are many studies suggesting that synthetic cannabinoids work in these condition. We did not see this because the patients in this study rated cannabis to be equally effective for those with different pain severity,” senior author Dr. Daniel Clauw said in a university release.
Another study showed U.S. states that legalized medicinal cannabis use saw a significant decline in prescription drug use among the elderly and disabled population.
As part of the study, researchers at the University of Georgia assessed prescription data for nine conditions — such as anxiety, depression, seizures and glaucoma — in which medicinal marijuana may be of great use. (Related: Cannabis Compounds Found To Be SUPERIOR To Migraine Drugs.)
The scientists found that fewer prescriptions were written for each condition except for glaucoma in states where medicinal cannabis was allowed. Researchers said medicinal cannabis lowers eye pressure in glaucoma patients, but the effects lasted for only an hour.
Study lead author Ashley Bradford said the results suggest that people are really using medicinal marijuana for health purposes and not just for recreation.
“It turns out that glaucoma is one of the most Googled searches linked to marijuana, right after pain. No doctor is going to let [a glaucoma] patient walk out without being treated. When states turned on medical marijuana laws, we did see a rather substantial turn away from FDA-approved medicine. The results show that marijuana might be beneficial with diverting people away from opioids,” study co-author David Bradford told CBC Newsonline.
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The figure is a 60 percent increase over the past decade, according to the report, which was released by the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust. The authors of the study say the projections could be conservative as the opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc on American communities. The report includes an online interactive tool that maps the trends.
In 2015, there were 127,500 deaths from drugs, alcohol and suicide, a number that could reach 192,000 by 2025, according to the analysis, which was conducted by the Berkeley Research Group.
Drug overdose deaths tripled between 2000 and 2015, with opioid-related deaths in rural communities ballooning seven-fold. Preliminary data indicates drug overdoses in 2016 could exceed 64,000, with fentanyl-related incidents accounting for 21,000 of those deaths.
Alcohol-related deaths reached a 35-year high in 2015, according to the report, with 33,200 that year. The figure expands to 88,000 when including alcohol-related violence, motor vehicle crashes and other incidents, and the analysis shows 5.9 percent of Americans have an alcohol use disorder.
Suicides also increased in the last decade by nearly 30 percent, and were responsible for more than 44,000 deaths a year. The report shows suicide rates among girl 10 to 14 rose 200 percent.
The report also analyzed the economic impact of drug, alcohol and suicide-related health costs. The costs total $249 billion a year, amounting to about 9.5 percent of total U.S. health expenditures.
“These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable,” said John Auerbach, president of Trust for America’s Health. “There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol.”
The report advocates for the creation of a “National Resilience Strategy” to reduce suicide, drug use and alcohol abuse through prevention and treatment expansion.
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For those of you who are unaware of what Benzodiazepines are and may even be unaware that you’re taking them, here are a few names you may be familiar with. These are, by no means, a complete list as there are many brands and generics. These are just a few common ones:
Benzodiazepines are a class of depressants that affect the central nervous system and are used as a sedative and muscle relaxant. They are highly potent and incredibly addictive, both physically and psychologically. Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed to treat panic disorder, anxiety disorders, panic attacks, insomnia, migraines, seizures, restless legs syndrome, tourettes syndrome and epilepsy. Benzodiazepine addiction is quite prevalent due to their popularity in treating so many different issues. Two types are especially common – Xanax and Valium – and are among the most abused psychoactive drugs in America. Due to benzodiazepines being readily accessible, it helps promote a benzodiazepine addiction.
The side effects of a benzodiazepine addiction can be very difficult to endure. Some of the symptoms experienced consist of dry retching, psychosis, delirium, seizures, slurred speech, panic attacks, hallucinations, increased risk of suicide, weakness, impaired coordination, and vertigo. The negative side effects also include “paradoxical effects”. A “paradoxical effect” is a reaction to a drug that has the opposite effect of what was intended. An example is when a drug is supposed to decrease pain but instead increases pain. Benzodiazepines are more often abused by simply taking multiple pills, but it can be injected, snorted or even taken via blotter paper.
Benzodiazepines are often used in conjunction with a number of other drugs and alcohol. This can increase the potential of developing a benzodiazepine addiction as well as an addiction to other drugs or alcohol. Some of the more common drugs types used in combination with benzodiazepines are other depressants (Marijuana, Alcohol), hallucinogens (LSD, Angel Dust), amphetamines (Adderall, Dexedrine), and opiates (Heroin, Morphine). Fatal respiratory depression (unable to perform the needed oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange) can easily happen when a combination of benzodiazepines and other depressants are mixed together. Some street names for benzodiazepines include benzos, pins, serries, normies, K-pins, rowies, V, vals, sleepers, moggies, K-cuts, tranks and downers.
In a TEDS (Treatment Episode Data Set) report, it stated almost all benzodiazepine admissions (95 percent) reported abuse of another substance in addition to abuse of benzodiazepines: 82.1 percent reported primary abuse of another substance with secondary abuse of benzodiazepines, and 12.9 percent reported primary abuse of benzodiazepines with secondary abuse of another substance . Other statistical data follows:
Benzodiazepines affect the central nervous system and activate the brain’s pleasure centers. This in turn helps develop a benzodiazepine addiction relatively easy. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive both physically and psychologically, and often, an addiction can be developed after a few weeks of use. A person can quickly develop a tolerance to benzodiazepines, thus requiring more of the drug to feel the same effects. It is highly addictive as the reactions felt from benzodiazepines are rapid, within a half hour of taking the drug. The potential for abuse is increased as benzodiazepines have a high binding affinity and short half-life. A benzodiazepine dependency will obstruct responsibilities such as work, school or family. Often, the benzodiazepine addiction is due to peer pressure or curiosity. It can also be initiated because the benzodiazepine is being used to self medicate a mood disorder such as depression or a personal trauma. A benzodiazepine treatment program geared towards treating the dependency will help stop this cycle and addiction.
When a person is fighting a benzodiazepine addiction, they behave in a way that is considered abnormal. When the addict is high on benzodiazepines, they exhibit multiple warning signs and indications. Some of these signals will be both physical and psychological. Some of the symptoms include:
There are wide-ranging effects when dealing with the difficulties of a benzodiazepine addiction. Benzodiazepines are used to treat numerous ailments and are extensively prescribed by physicians. They are quite addictive and can create unwanted results that occur from abruptly ceasing a benzodiazepine dependency. Some of the issues and consequences affect several areas of the user’s life such as their physical, psychological and personal existence. A few of these effects include:
The addiction properties of benzodiazepines are incredibly strong, and tolerance is quickly built up. If a person has a benzodiazepine addiction and they abruptly stop using the drug, they will experience physical withdrawal symptoms. It is highly recommended for a person with a benzodiazepine addiction to seek medical aid at a benzodiazepine detox center. The withdrawal effects are comparable to that of barbiturates and alcohol withdrawal and are directly associated with how long someone has had a benzodiazepine dependency. The severity of the withdrawal is directly dependent on the dosage strength, length of use, dosage frequency, previous use of cross-tolerant or cross-dependent drugs, and the manner in which the dosage is reduced. The withdrawal process can be lethal due to its tendency to provoke withdrawal convulsions. The withdrawal symptoms are often typified by psychosis, sleep disturbance, anxiety, dry retching and nausea, panic attacks, memory problems, hallucinations, seizures and possibly suicide. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, please contact a benzodiazepine treatment center for assistance.
As of now, there are not any pharmacological treatments available that help stop a benzodiazepine addiction or withdrawals. Gradual reduction is the most effective method in ending benzodiazepine dependency. This will take an extend amount of time to complete, but it is much safer than abruptly stopping. Because there is not a “quick fix” for beating this addiction, treatment for benzodiazepine addiction can be very lengthy. Some of the contributing factors that influence the amount of time needed to stop a benzodiazepine addiction include the length of habit and the strength of dosage. If the user has been abusing benzodiazepines for a lengthy time and has continually increased the dosage strength, then the rehab will take longer. The severity of the dependency will also be a factor in determining the level of treatment needed to heal. Contact a benzodiazepine rehab center for treatment assistance and guidance. Help is available, all you need to do is ask.
If you are taking Benzodiazepines, PLEASE do NOT stop on your own. You will need professional in-patient detox or you will be putting your life, mind and body in critically severe jeopardy… please hear me about this. You CAN be set FREE from the bondage of that little pill that you can’t do without right now.
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I have been warning you about unscrupulous doctors and big pharma for over 10 years now. Here’s some more proof for all of you skeptics. For those of you not dumbed down by your doctors, you may believe what I’ve been telling you.
My 22-year-old son is a drug addict who has been caught up in the vicious cycle of detox, treatment and relapsing — all perpetuated by a terrible scheme called “patient brokering.”
With the growing number of drug treatment facilities, many unscrupulous players in the treatment industry are participating in kickback schemes known as patient brokering or “body brokering.” In return for referring a patient to a drug treatment facility, the broker receives a generous compensation of $500 to $5000. Brokers will offer to share these kickbacks with patients or entice them with drugs to leave an existing facility and qualify for another because they have relapsed. These brokers troll AA meetings, coffee shops in popular rehab towns and, in my son’s case, detox and rehab facilities.
My son’s recruitment into this darker side of drug treatment occurred when he met a broker about his age at a Florida detox facility. He persuaded my son and a few others to fly to another detox in California, all expenses paid. After a week in California, they decided to go back to Florida where this broker was able to fly them back to another detox, all expenses paid. The night before leaving, he put everyone up at a hotel on Sunset Strip providing cash so they could party all night on whatever drugs they could find.
The sad truth is that once these kids were entwined in this scheme, they quickly become a highly sought-after commodity. It becomes very difficult for them to break away from this cycle, as it offers them a means of surviving without financial help or oversight from parents. These brokers are preying on people with brain diseases, building false hope and trust, only to set them up for failure. Patient brokering is illegal in many states, however, it is prevalent in Southern California and Florida. It enables the person with an addiction, as he or she believes there will always be another place to land. And it mocks the efforts of true recovery.
This corrupt practice by players with no credentials in drug treatment, other than being drug abusers themselves, has been perpetuated by a combination of events. This includes legislature that needs tighter boundaries, more oversight of treatment centers and stronger regulation of sober houses. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires insurers to pay for all substance abuse treatment including drug testing. This benefit has been highly leveraged by unethical treatment facilities opening a floodgate for opportunistic billing practices. My insurance once copied me on a $20,000 claim for a one-time drug test submitted to my insurance by a lab I had never seen before. My insurance information was likely passed on or sold just like bank account numbers for purposes of identity theft.
Well-meaning laws have financed a billion dollar industry over the past ten years and have created a trail of millionaires who have sold profitable treatment centers to larger healthcare companies. Being able to keep children on policies up to age 26 has also fed the industry the largest at-risk population to the doorsteps of these treatment facilities and sober houses with the guarantee they can be perpetually cycled through the system. The business model is not recovery. “The business model is relapse,” explains Alan Johnson, chief assistant state attorney for Palm Beach County, in the South Bend Tribune.
My son has been in dozens of residential and detox programs since he graduated high school over three years ago. Like most young people, his drug use was propelled by mental illness. His depression and anxiety started around middle school and grew worse toward the end of his father’s battle with cancer. After the death of my husband, my son’s drug use escalated from pot and alcohol to prescription drugs. He struggled socially even though he had a wonderful sense of humor, intelligence and a warm heart. He showed great promise and enthusiasm for history, music and writing. Adolescence can be a harsh place for those who feel and observe more in life. His increasing anxiety and chronic depression became so debilitating he had to eventually leave school his sophomore year, suffering another bout his senior year. It was a struggle for his teachers and me to get him through to graduation.
While in high school, his psychiatrist decided to try ADHD stimulant medications. My son began to assertively campaign to administer these meds himself or asking the psychiatrist for an increased dosage. It was a constant battle to keep him from trying to abuse them; I knew then that stimulants were his drug of choice. This was one of my earliest mistakes — that I didn’t take him to an addiction specialist. An otherwise competent psychiatrist, who attended a top medical school and trained in New York City, couldn’t recognize a budding addiction disorder. More emphasis on addiction and treatment needs to be taught in medical schools and other healthcare fields.
If he wasn’t depressed, his behavior became more egregious when he was home from boarding school. He had multiple incidents of rage and anger that was always drug- or alcohol-fueled. One such episode resulted in a 911 call that began the trail of legal issues that are still unresolved. He received psychiatric care at a well-known facility for 30 days and was discharged with a diagnosis of an addiction disorder. It was “highly” recommended that he go to a pricey long-term treatment facility for young adult men. They never explained to me or my son that this was at least a one-year commitment until he was enrolled.
He called me almost every day begging to come home. After eight months my son walked out and took a train to New York City. The next day he awoke at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center with no recollection of how he got there after stealing and drinking five tall boys of beer at Penn Station.
I desperately wanted him back home but he struggled to stay sober. He did all right the first month going to meetings, enlisting in a local Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and holding a part time job. After noticing he was withdrawing more from his brother and me and not attending meetings, I became suspicious. Shortly thereafter, he tested positive for over-the-counter stimulants and was discharged from the IOP.
At that point, I couldn’t continue the financial bleed of paying for treatment and sent him to a 30-day rehab in Florida that would take my insurance. Although he did attend a few decent programs in Florida, he had difficulty making the transition into sober living. The longest he lasted at one facility was four months. After leaving the highly structured environment of a residential program, his anxiety and depression quickly kicked in and he relapsed.
He bounced back and forth between a sober house that tolerated drug use (one which was eventually shut down) in exchange for attending treatment at an affiliated IOP. Eventually I contacted the regional the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) office who was very helpful in suggesting a few reputable facilities. He agreed to enter one and I thought he was making real progress but he left before treatment ended for the allure of more drug use and another shady sober house. The pain of doing “the work” and confronting his feelings proved too painful. Tiring of these living conditions, he eventually asked to return home and agreed to try more local options.
After trying detox and a new treatment program, my son was unable to stay sober and eventually fled to California again with the help of his previous broker. He is still in the Los Angeles area, cycling through facilities.
Both my son and I have been victimized by this broken system. I have entrusted professionals with my son’s health and have rarely felt that he received effective care. It seems to be a business fraught with greed, false hope and ridiculous fees that play on parent’s worst fears and anxiety. I’ve also struggled with the guilt and shame over my son. There’s no shortage of people wanting to give me advice or pass judgment. When uninformed family members or friends feel that my son’s addiction could have been quelled by sending him to college, I am discouraged beyond measure for all I have done in hopes of helping him.
There are still many well-intentioned and excellent treatment programs out there. There are plenty that take insurance and the quality of care is no different than those that charge above and beyond insurance. This I’ve learned the hard way. My experience is partly due to my son’s inability to commit and stay the course. I lost a lot of influence over his decisions once he became a legal adult, which is why communication skills are so important. I was lucky to have a local support group led by a Parent Coach who educated us on the CRAFT approach. It hasn’t stopped him but it has helped me keep the lines of communication open even in the most contested moments. Parents need to try their best in due diligence in helping their sons and daughters select a program that gives them their best shot at change. There is always a sense of urgency in making this decision but doing research can help. The best resource out there are parent support groups. This is where you will get recommendations and honest feedback from others’ experiences.
It has taken me years before I could understand and accept this awful disease on its own terms. I’ve had internal turmoil over how much support to give my son without “enabling.” “Detaching with love” sometimes seems like a convenient excuse to check out and not deal with the chaos anymore, but at times seems like the only thing left to do for my own self-care. But to remove myself from helping him is counter-intuitive to being a parent. So, I feel the constant struggle of walking the thin line between helping and enabling.
But I won’t give up on my son.
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