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Prescription Pain Killers and Cravings

by James Heller 24. December 2009 10:47

Those who suffer from opiate addiction may want to learn a few things about Vivitrol, or injectable Naltrexone, which reduces alcohol cravings for those with alcohol dependence.  This may be of interest because phase 3 trials have been successfully completed on Naltrexone for opiate dependence, and it is going through the process for FDA approval.

So far it appears that Alkermes has produced a drug that passes all trial phases to the point that it should be approved.  But we will not pre-determine the outcome at this time.  While remaining prudent until final FDA approval comes, the potential for this type of medication assisted treatment provides us an opportunity to discuss different scenarios where it will be of use.

Prescription drug addiction, specifically opiate based pain killers, has many origins these days.  Teen prescription drug abuse is a growing concern and many individuals start using medications for pain relief and become addicted, to name two.  In any case, opiate dependence is largely driven by opiate cravings.

Adolescents generally start using pain medication for 2 reasons.  When teens lack something to do, they become bored and seek an outlet for the angst that comes with this critical time of growth.  Many will be offered illegally obtained prescription drugs, and some will try them.  Others who suffer injuries in sports or other physical activities may be prescribed opiates by their doctors.

This group of teens falls into a greater part of the population who, through accident or illness, start using prescription opiates for the reason they are intended.    While these drugs perform a great service to those suffering from pain, they are also highly addictive and some will continue to use them past the time they are necessary for pain.

Opiate cravings usually begin with the first use of a drug.  The brain responds to the euphoria they produce in an allergic fashion, manifesting in signals that the body needs more.  To date, there are no FDA approved non-narcotic medications to reduce these cravings, so once they are triggered they exist for life.

The excerpt below is from an article posted on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.  The full article discusses current treatments available for opiate dependence.  

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The two main categories of drug addiction treatment are behavioral and pharmacological. Behavioral treatments encourage patients to stop drug use and teach them how to function without drugs, handle cravings, avoid drugs and situations that could lead to drug use, and handle a relapse should it occur. When delivered effectively, behavioral treatments-such as individual counseling, group or family counseling, contingency management, and cognitiveÐ behavioral therapiesÑalso can help patients improve their personal relationships and their ability to function at work and in the community.

Some addictions, such as opioid addiction, can be treated with medications. These pharmacological treatments counter the effects of the drug on the brain and behavior, and can be used to relieve withdrawal symptoms, treat an overdose, or help overcome drug cravings. Although a behavioral or pharmacological approach alone may be effective for treating drug addiction, research shows that, at least in the case of opioid addiction, a combination of both is most effective.

-- Source: http://www.nida.nih.gov/researchreports/prescription/prescription7.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides medication assisted treatment and youth drug treatment as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one has a problem with drug addiction or alcohol dependence, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

For more information on Vivitrol, contact us via email at vivitrol@tarzanatc.org.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Adolescent Prescription Drug Dealers

by James Heller 29. July 2009 09:24
Parents today are more likely than ever to get the bad news that their teens need help with prescription drug abuse.  The family medicine cabinet is no longer the only source for prescription drugs, since they can be obtained illegally from drug dealers.  This is the sad reality with rising trends of adolescent prescription drug abuse.  The real shock, though, is when a parent discovers that their teen is an illegal prescription drug dealer.

Many of these parents would say that they had no warning.  Even parents that pay attention to their teens’ activities can miss what is happening right in front of them.  Adolescents use texting to communicate, and a text message can be deleted quicker than it was typed.  So drug deals can be made at the family dinner table, using an extreme example.

Some parents may know that their teens engage in occasional alcohol abuse or marijuana abuse, and others may feel certain that they don’t use any substances.  In either case, adolescents who sell illegal prescription drugs may not abuse them.  Occasional use is not necessarily abuse, but it has the potential to lead a teen to future alcoholism or drug addiction.

Drug dealing is usually a means of making either money or friends.  It can also be used to support a growing drug habit.  But selling drugs tends to strike fear in parents where alcohol and drug use may not.  They know the legal implications can have a profound effect on the teen as well as the family.

Since the outward signs of negative behavior are not always visible, a call from school or the police station can turn the lives of family members upside-down.  The legal problems are just the beginning.  This is because the illegal activity is only the presenting problem, and the real problem needs to be processed in therapy.

When a teen is arrested for non-violent drug crimes, it is likely that some form of drug rehab will be ordered by a judge.  Adolescent drug rehab includes family therapy, so healing can begin if all are willing to participate.  So what about parents who discover the drug dealing without the aid of law enforcement?

Some teens “slip up” and parents find a bag full of painkillers, a neighbor reports strange behavior, or an angry friend lets the truth be known.  The first thing a parent will do in these cases is call a friend and ask, “What do I do?”

The answer is similar to what law enforcement does.  Insist that drug dealing teens meet with an admissions counselor in adolescent alcohol and drug rehab.  It is better to be safe than sorry, and assume that adolescent drug abuse is a problem.  By taking quick action, you can keep your child out of the justice system, and prevent future problems with alcoholism and drug addiction.  

The approach to alcohol and drug rehab needs to be presented as the only acceptable option.  Parents need to make it clear that they care about their teens’ safety, and that the drug dealing is placing the entire family at risk of legal troubles.  No amount of illegal drug sales or use should ever be accepted in the home.

Adolescents perceive that there is little risk in using prescription drugs since doctors give them to patients.  But side effects and withdrawal symptoms can cause serious medical and emotional complications, and overdoses can be fatal.

If you need help with teen prescription drug abuse, including dealing, please call Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Rehab
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.

Adolescent Drug Treatment – Los Angeles

by James Heller 28. May 2009 15:01
To fully understand the need for adolescent drug treatment in Los Angeles, one must be aware of the magnitude of adolescent drug abuse in Los Angeles.  The drugs teens use today are more powerful than ever, easier to obtain, and are perceived by our youth as being harmless in the long run.

For example, teen prescription drug treatment in Los Angeles is on the rise as a percentage of all admissions to treatment programs.  And although most drug-using teens enter treatment addicted to opioids or benzodiazepines, other drugs, known as Club Drugs, have gained popularity.  If a teen uses small quantities of these drugs, it may go undetected by parents as the outward signs are subtle.

It is also very common for teens to have cell phones with text functions as early as age 12 and even younger.  This makes it especially difficult for parents to know who their adolescent children are communicating with.  Thus, plans for drug use can occur in front of parents without their knowledge.  Teens may begin to feel safe using drugs, and addiction, or even overdose, could be the result.

This is important information for all parents who either suspect or know that teen drug abuse has become a part of their lives.  Indeed, some parents even give the okay to use alcohol or marijuana as long as a promise is made to not drive.  But all too often they discover later that when the teen claimed to be following the rules, they were actually using more or stronger drugs.

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides teen drug treatment in Los Angeles.  We have outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential programs to fit every need.  We provide teen drug education to schools and onsite.  And we even offer staff-administered drug testing by appointment.

For more information on our adolescent drug treatment programs, please call 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

The information below is from an article posted on Advanceweb.com.  It is critical today that parents arm themselves with information about drugs that are popular with teens, and when they may become more available like ketamine may soon be.

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Ketamine shows two distinct personalities, depending on where it is used. In a clinical setting, the patient receiving ketamine is already unconscious and either does not experience or cannot recall any hallucinations. On the street, "people who use it take it while they are conscious to experience the hallucinogenic effects," Friedberg said. The hallucinations are a side effect of the ketamine, which is a second-generation PCP.

Occasionally ketamine is injected for street use. More often, teens evaporate the liquid form in which ketamine is sold on the street and snort the crystals. Overuse in this manner can cause disruptions in consciousness and lead to neuroses or mental disorders. At the same time, Special K can cause tremendous psychological dependence, and there are some reported cases of addiction. Overdoses of ketamine can also lead to heart attacks and strokes.

At a 50 mg dose, ketamine produces a near death experience. At a 100 mg dose, it produces an out of body experience. When ketamine is bought on the street, both dosage and purity come into question. The ingestion of an unknown quantity and purity of ketamine is extremely dangerous, especially if combined with alcohol, Valium, rohypnol or GHB. Ketamine is part of a class of drugs called dissociative anesthetics, a category that includes PCP.

-- Source: http://physician-assistant.advanceweb.com/editorial/content/editorial.aspx?CC=7124

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.