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Drug Overdose Awareness

by James Heller 30. August 2013 09:30
Do you know what to do in the event of a drug overdose?

How can you prevent drug overdoses?

What can you do if you or a loved one is an overdose survivor?
 
 
More Americans die from drug overdoses, each year, than from automobile accidents or firearms.  It’s a growing problem that seems to be occurring under the radar of most individuals.  Awareness of the problem is the first step to reversing this trend, so please continue reading and share this with your friends and family.
Sadly, most people think of street-bound heroin addicts when they hear “overdose”.  But the highest percentage of these deaths involves prescription painkillers.  Much of the time, the drugs are obtained legally from a physician, but the patient either becomes addicted or accidentally takes too high of a dose.  It often comes as a shock to loved ones who didn’t think it could happen with legal drugs, or they just ignored the problem all together.

Saturday, August 31st, 2013 is International Overdose Awareness Day.  Tarzana Treatment Centers encourages you to become educated about prescription drug abuse and addiction, how overdoses can occur, and what you can do to prevent them.  It is also important to know what to do in the event of an overdose, and how to be or live with an overdose survivor.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed some material which can get you up to speed.  The tool kit is free and you can find it at this link:
Tarzana Treatment Centers provides a wide array of treatment services for opiate addictions.  Medical Detoxification systematically cleanses the body of opiates in preparation for further addiction treatment.  We also provide two forms of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) with Methadone Maintenance and Vivitrol.  Vivitrol is a post-detox medication that reduces opiate cravings, and Methadone Maintenance is meant for addicts who have had multiple relapses and need a little more help on the road to total abstinence.
 
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

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.

Rise in pain pill overdoses among women

by James Heller 10. July 2013 08:51
Women are being lost to drug overdoses in greater numbers than ever.  In the first decade of the 21st Century, the annual rate of fatal prescription drug overdoses among U.S. Women has increased over 400%.  Opiate cravings drive pain killer addiction, so a very good solution is to reduce them and start treatment.
 
 
Almost 48,000 lives were lost during the ten years mentioned above.  It’s a statistic that continues to rise every year, and the victims are from all walks of life.  These are your friends and family, co-workers, and others with whom you come into contact every day.  Vicodin and Oxycontin prescriptions, and other opioid pain killers, have increased at almost the same rate as the overdoses.
These drugs do wonders for pain sufferers, in the short term that is.  The problem is that a small percentage of individuals who are helped by these medications become addicted to them.  Some doctors will continue to prescribe them to a patient for months and even years.  And some patients will “doctor shop” and get the prescriptions from several doctors to support the habit.

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides Vivitrol and Methadone Maintenance treatment to reduce opiate cravings.  Vivitrol is a monthly injection of Naltrexone that reduces cravings.  After medical detoxification, patients abstain from drug use during Vivitrol treatment and meet with counselors.  Methadone Maintenance reduces cravings and allows individuals with serious addictions to focus on recovery without the strong urge to abuse medications.  These are successful forms of Medication Assisted Treatment that we have provided for several years.
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Telemedicine services are also available with online medical care, online mental health treatment, and online alcohol and drug treatment.

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.

Alcohol Dependence and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

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.

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Prescription Drug Addiction – A Lesson Needed

by James Heller 10. March 2010 13:22
It’s always sad news when individuals die as a result of drug addiction or alcohol dependence, especially for family members of the victim and alcohol and drug treatment professionals.  The news that teen idol Corey Haim has died from an apparent prescription drug overdose once again places a societal trend on the front pages.   Anyone can suffer from prescription drug addiction, though, and many good lives are lost every day.

The unfortunate analyses when famous individuals have drug abuse problems tend to focus on the person and not the behavior.  Deaths due to overdoses merit sympathy for victims and their loved ones, but we also need to highlight the progression of the disease behind the loss.  We can express sorrow for human loss and warn others of the dangers of prescription drug abuse at the same time.

Pop culture is not to blame for the rising popularity of prescription drug abuse, nor is it immune from the negative effects.  However, the general public only sees the rebellious behavior at the height of careers and the end result when tragedy strikes.  We rarely pay attention to pop stars in between those times when they are suffering at the hands of drug addiction and are not on every TV, magazine, or tabloid.

While the accessibility of drugs is greater for the rich and famous, the availability is everywhere.  Famous or not, every drug addict follows the same path to the bottom.  Any addiction counselor will tell you they have seen it all before, since they help addicts every day.  They will also tell you that too many people are not aware of the great risk in abusing prescription drugs.

The pain is great for those close to Corey Haim and his fans, regardless of how he expired.  The alcohol and drug treatment community can relate with the feelings because it is common to see drug addiction take good people, and far too often.  If more of the general public would take these occasions to become educated on the dangers of prescription drug abuse, maybe there would be fewer victims and loss of life from it.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides Medication Assisted Treatment for prescription opiate addiction as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one suffers from drug addiction or alcoholism, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

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.

Discussing Prescription Drug Overdose With Teens

by James Heller 13. July 2009 08:24
Adolescent prescription drug abuse continues to climb.  Teens are now using painkillers at a rate that is second only to marijuana, as well as using sedatives like Valium and Xanax.  And the trend is being driven primarily by a perception among youth that prescription drugs are not dangerous.

Now is a good time for parents to have a very effective conversation with their children about the dangers of prescription drug overdose.  Although the jury is still out on the cause of death for Michael Jackson, there are news reports that he possessed a large amount of prescription drugs and used some of them.  Armed with some knowledge, families can possibly get positive results from a sad loss.

The conversation can begin by asking your teens how they feel about Michael Jackson’s death, and if they are aware of the possible prescription drug abuse involved.  You can then lead the discussion to how other teen idols, including some from your time and your parents, died as a result of prescription drug overdose.

You should name stars like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, and others.  Note that they were all popular like Michael Jackson at the time of their deaths, and had influence on large populations.  This will eliminate any sense that Jackson’s was an isolated incident.

Adolescents want to emulate pop idols, even when they exhibit negative behaviors.  Unfortunately, we hear about these behaviors often, and teens have a tendency to see them as normal and okay.  So the goal of this conversation is to inject the reality that prescription drug abuse is very risky.

Do not let the conversation end without driving home the point that prescription drug overdoses resulting in death are not so uncommon these days.  It is also important to remain calm and non-accusing throughout the conversation.  

If you need further assistance in talking to your teen about prescription drug abuse, or if there is already a problem, Tarzana Treatment Centers can help.  Please call us at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

The BHC Journal has posted an interview with Marvin D. Seppala, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Hazelden.  The excerpt below should encourage any parent to read the entire interview.

-- Begin external content --

Dr. Seppala, what would you like to tell other behavioral healthcare professionals and primary care providers about the state of this problem in our country right now?

Marvin Seppala: Well, it’s the fastest growing of the addictions. It’s really skyrocketing in regard to trends in addictions – and this is one that is really trending upward. It’s to the point where the prescribed opioids are now basically second to marijuana, if you think of them as an elicit substance. So if you exclude alcohol and tobacco addiction because they’re legal and say what’s illegal, because the abuse of these substances is illegal, then marijuana is first, and prescription opioids are second. And so there’s a huge problem occurring across the country. We’ve seen dramatic elevation of E.R. admissions for opioid-related problems, in particular overdose. There’s been a dramatic elevation in treatment center admissions for opioids. So it’s become a significant problem, even to the point that methadone (and not the liquid methadone for maintenance programs), the wafer methadone that’s prescribed by pain clinics, killed more people in Oregon last year than heroine. And that’s happened in a couple of other states, as well. So we’re seeing just a huge increase in the use of pain medications by the general population.

-- Source: http://www.bhcjournal.com/News/SpecialFeatures/tabid/252/Default.aspx?ArticleId=31647

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.