Babies Born Dependent on Drugs on the Rise
Throughout the country, there has been a recent increase of the number of babies being born addicted to drugs. This tragic, harsh reality is prompting some hospitals to hire volunteers to hold and attempt to comfort the babies during the time they are experiencing withdrawal. Because the baby’s central nervous systems are affected by the drug dependency, they are very irritable and unhappy after birth. Many hospitals have found that these babies are comforted by swaddling and being held as well as sucking on pacifiers. Babies born dependent on drugs also need to be fed more often because they cannot tolerate a lot of food at a time.
USAtoday.com reports that Tennessee has recently seen an increase in babies born dependent on drugs. They indicate, “When newborn babies begin to withdraw from powerful drugs, they shriek at a high, telltale pitch. Cut off from the substances they ingested through their mothers, they convulse, projectile vomit or writhe from skin-scorching diarrhea. Their tiny bodies shudder violently. They cannot be consoled. The urge to help is overwhelming. But the debate over how to help has consumed Tennessee doctors, researchers and politicians alike — and has led them to wildly different conclusions in their efforts to speak up for these infants. That’s because drug-dependent babies are both heart wrenching and expensive to care for. Meanwhile, state laws are divergent — and contradictory — in addressing the crisis.”
This tragic truth is playing out in many states and is a complicated matter: should mothers be treated and their parental rights protected? Or should these drug-addicted mothers be separated from their babies and serve time in prison?
USAtoday reports that in Tennessee, “The average cost to deliver a drug-dependent baby is $62,000, compared with $4,700 for a healthy child. Taxpayers bear the brunt of this cost — most of these babies and their mothers are on TennCare, the state’s health insurance program for the poor.” This financial burden is overwhelming and tragic and adds to the already desperate situation for the increase in babies being born dependent on drugs.
Most athletic kids with potential would jump at the chance to perform even better at their favorite sport. But what if that meant taking or injecting dangerous steroids? Research shows a troubling increase in the amount of young athletes doing just that: injecting steroids to increase muscle tone and mass and perform better at whatever sport they are participating in. What these young athletes do not realize, however, is the consequences that come from steroid use – especially at such a young age.
Most young athletes become hooked on steroids before they even know what is happening. Not only are they psychologically hooked, because their appearance changes into a pumped up muscly look, they are also putting their hearts and livers at risk, along with their mental state, according to researchers. Doctors have indicated that steroids can cause powerful psychological dependency for young people obsessed with body image and recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new policy statement condemning the use of steroids among children and adolescents. The doctors’ group called on parents and coaches to take a stand against performance-enhancing drugs and “win-at-all costs” thinking.
With the pumped-up muscles and unshakable confidence, anabolic steroid use comes with damage to the heart and liver, stunting to bone development and extreme mood swings, acne and weight gain, researchers say. Even more dangerous is coming off them. Research shows that many young athletes feel huge amounts of depression for weeks to months after stopping steroid use. In fact, some suicides have been linked to the discontinuation of steroid use. Further, many young athletes don’t realize the danger of quitting “cold turkey” and throw their bodies into even more shock by not weaning off steroids properly. In cases where teens may need to take a drug test, or are trying to hide steroid use from family, friends, or coaches and they stop steroid use abruptly, dangerous consequences can follow. In all, young athletes should not use steroids unless under strict medical supervision.
Father Speaks Up about Daughter’s Fatal Heroin Overdose
A recent article posted by Fox13 Salt Lake City discussed how one father’s honest obituary concerning his daughter’s heroin overdose has prompted other parents of addicted children to continue to be “as supportive as possible” in helping recovery happen.
Tom Parks, of Manchester, New Hampshire, candidly wrote on Facebook about his daughter’s fight against her heroin addiction. He said, “I’m not looking for sympathy but I want people to know that our lives are made up of the choices we make and for some death is a matter of choice too. My daughter Molly Parks made many good choices in her too short life and she made some bad choices. She tried to fight addiction in her own way and last night her fight came to an end in a bathroom of a restaurant with a needle of heroin. Her whole family tried to help her win the battle but we couldn’t show her a way that could cure her addiction. We will always love her and miss her. If you have a friend or a relative who is fighting the fight against addiction please do everything you can to be supportive. Maybe for your loved one it’ll help. Sadly for ours it didn’t. I hope my daughter can now find the peace that she looked for here on earth.”
Molly had recently finished drug rehab for the third time and was working as a pizza delivery driver in Manchester at the time of her overdose. He family believed that she was doing well and had improved significantly. Her obituary states, “Molly graduated from Old Orchard Beach High School in 2009 and attended one year at SMCC until her addiction took over. Most recently, she was employed as a delivery driver for Portland Pie Co. in Manchester, NH…Along Molly’s journey through life, she made a lot of bad decisions including experimenting with drugs. She fought her addiction to heroin for at least five years and had experienced a near fatal overdose before. Molly’s family truly loved her and tried to be as supportive as possible as she struggled with the heroin epidemic that has been so destructive to individuals and families in her age bracket…If you have any loved one’s who are fighting addiction, Molly’s family asks that you do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.”
The obituary highlights this father’s sincere love for his daughter and the touching way in which he pleads for others to understand their loved one’s addictions is very moving. Loving individuals through addiction recovery can be extremely discouraging and challenging. However, as Tom Parks emphasizes, it is so important to continue to support your loved ones through heroin addiction recovery or any other type of addiction recovery and get them the help they need.
More and more people are joining together to ban flavorings and advertising on TV for E-cigarettes. In fact, prominent groups such as the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association and most recently the American College of Physicians are included in this increasing force.
E-cigarettes are not healthy or safe, but many believe that the advertising and the flavors are appealing to more naive and younger generations that cannot determine the danger of them. Many studies, in fact, have proven that e-cigarettes are dangerous to users, as they still contain nicotine and other particles that put stress on the lungs. They are definitely not “safe” as they are advertised to be.
The flavorings that are used also draw a younger population. These include flavors such as bubblegum, cinnamon, and chocolate. Many younger individuals don’t realize the danger of the nicotine when it is disguised with such a fun flavor, critics argue.
Although the FDA has not addressed the trepidations of the growing concerned numbers of groups, many agree that TV advertising and flavorings for e-cigarettes should be banned. They argue that if advertisements for regular cigarettes are banned from TV then e-cigarette advertisements should be banned as well. And they conclude that with fewer flavorings, less people will be attracted to the dangerous, addicting product.
Zohydro: A New Addictive Drug?
Recently, many people have been protesting a new and powerful opioid painkiller: Zohydro. Many fear that Zohydro will be as addicting as Oxycontin and will be equally as abused. Even more concerning is that Zohydro is being manufactured by the same company that makes Vivitrol, which is a drug used to treat patients addicted to painkillers and/or alcohol. Some speculate on the financial profitability link between the two drugs being manufactured by the same company and are calling it suspicious. In essence, Alkermes (the company manufacturing the drugs) is creating an addictive drug while at the same time they are producing a medication that helps individuals stop taking the other drugs Alkermes is creating.
Zohydro is a new highly potent painkiller — an extended-release painkiller containing the already widely used opioid, hydrocodone. Designed to release painkilling medication into the body slowly over a 12-hour period, Zohydro is available in doses as high as 50 milligrams – five times the amount found in similar immediate-release hydrocodone pills. But, addiction experts, such as Dr. Dana Jane Saltzman, claim that the benefits of Zohydro do not outweigh the addictive tendencies. Because of its extremely high dosage and lack of abuse deterrents, many believe Zohydro could easily ignite another addiction epidemic – as well as a new wave of overdose deaths.
Dr. Saltzman was quoted in foxnews.com to say “A lot of these kids wouldn’t be addicted if [opioids] weren’t so readily available.” Saltzman further concludes that “given the amount of opioid abuse over the past few decades, the availability of a much more potent painkiller is just going to add to the growing problem. She argues that with no immediate need for Zohydro, the drug is just another byproduct of a painkiller-hungry society. She states, “We give out 84 percent of all the painkillers in the world, and 99 percent of the hydrocodone in the whole world. How they can justify that, and how our children are having their lives ruined?”
Cinco de Mayo and More Alcohol
Recently, a concerned community member stewed over whether or not to take his children to a Cinco de Mayo celebration held in his city. As a young child, he remembered Cinco de Mayo being all the sound of mariachis, the taste of tamales, and mischievous kids cracking confetti-filled eggshells on each other’s heads. But, he indicated, the crowds got bigger and people were drinking too much until he and his family stopped going.
Over the years, Cinco de Mayo has changed from a day of celebrating the Mexican army to a day of drinking margaritas. In fact, it’s becoming a little like Saint Patrick’s Day, and is among the top five drinking holidays in the United States. Further, 35 percent of accidents on Cinco de Mayo now involve a drunk driver with the BAC level of .15 or above. The drinking began to become a larger part of Cinco de Mayo when Americans were invited across the border to participate in the partying. Soon, the alcohol consumption and the partying crossed the border into the Southern States and was used in boosting tourism. The pattern has continued across the country and alcohol marketers used the holiday as a way to promote their tequila and margarita mixes.
But, Cinco de Mayo doesn’t have to be all about drinking. Many groups are joining a movement across the country that wants to return to a Cinco de Mayo of the past. People like the one mentioned above want do take alcohol out of the party and put historical Mexican celebrations and bringing the traditional fiesta back into Cinco de Mayo.
The Latest Party Drug: Flakka
A new party drug, flakka, is now circulating the United States. This synthetic drug, which comes in a crystal form, is a mix of cathinoes and other stimulants and is frequently compared to other party drugs like Molly or Ecstasy. Flakka has very dangerous effects and has been nicknamed the ‘insanity drug’ for its wild effects on users.
Flakka users ingest the drug in various ways including: snorting, injecting and vaping it using e-cigarettes. Frighteningly, flakka acts as a stimulant and releases dopamine; which in turn, affects the reward center of the brain. This dopamine release causes major euphoria, which can manifest as euphoria, making the body overheat, inducing hypothermia. Following this series of events, certain muscles of the body can begin to disintegrate and the kidneys unable to filter certain proteins.
Physicians have asserted that flakka is one of the most dangerous drugs on the market, perhaps even more addictive than crystal meth. This serious claim comes because users of flakka literally go insane after consuming the drug. For instance, in Florida, there have been reports of users running around the streets naked as well as users attacking innocent bystanders. Further, because the drug is so new, users don’t understand it’s dangers and overdoses are common. The best advice for flakka: if you are addicted, seek help immediately. If not, stay far away from this perilous drug.
Meth in Rural Utah
Small towns in Utah have definitely seen more meth during the last few years. Just this week, ksl.com reported that 3 men were arrested in Price after police say they found 135.9 grams of meth and nearly 16 grams of heroin in a car during a traffic stop.
A recent documentary titled, “Aftermath of Meth” by Kathy Weiler examined how meth ruins small towns. The film points out how the unique attributes of the American West make it fertile ground for methamphetamine production and abuse. Weiler indicates that, “Small Town America has become a high-stakes venue for methamphetamine trafficking.”
Deseretnews.com reported that, “in 2001, a Mexican drug ring based in Ogden targeted Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation with more than 100 pounds of meth — enough for 45,000 doses. Three members of the ring rented houses near the reservation and formed romantic relationships with young Indian women to gain access to the tribes. Within five years, assaults tripled, thefts doubled and child abuse increased 85 percent.”
This drug ring nearly crushed the culture of the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes according to filmmaker Weiler. She further indicates that, “the oil and gas boom in Eastern Utah has fueled a young, roughneck workforce addicted to meth. They make a lot of money and that’s how they spend it,” she said.
Because of the boom in this rural area, many (it’s estimated to be 1/3) of the drilling rig crews in the Uintah Basin have meth-related problems. While some rig operators do periodic drug testing, others look away to keep production on schedule, according to the program.
Many people don’t understand what a meth addict looks like. They think of the addict as a homeless person on the street, when, in fact, they could be anyone-so many types of people are affected by meth. Weiler indicates, “A meth addict is not just a guy on the street with a needle in his arm. An addict is your next-door neighbor.”
With the recent meth bust in Price, Utah and so many other areas being affected by the ravaging drug, police are constantly learning to teach more prevention and enforce consequences for those affected by meth.
Appearances and Drugs and Alcohol
Although many people believe that taking drugs and/or drinking alcohol will only have an impact on the inside of their body, these substances greatly affect one’s outward appearance as well. Alcohol and drugs most certainly affect internal organs, but drinking excessively or taking drugs too often or in higher quantities can take a toll on one’s skin, teeth, hair, and weight.
First off, alcohol is filled with calories. In fact, just one can of beer or one glass of wine is equivalent to eating a buttered dinner roll. Interestingly, studies show that having too much to drink can lead to an increase in caloric intake. Surveys show that binge drinking caused people to eat about 6,000 extra calories. Everyone has heard the expression “beer belly” and it comes from eating and drinking all of these extra calories. Further, alcohol can affect your outward appearance in that it can cause broken capillaries in one’s eyes due to dilating blood vessels, and dry skin from dehydration. The effects on appearance of dehydration from alcohol intake don’t stop there: dehydration from alcohol can leave you with brittle hair and nails and cause premature aging to your skin.
Another substance that causes weight gain is marijuana since it makes people feel hungry. When individuals feel hunger, they tend to eat, and even overeat when they would not be feeling hungry if they had not ingested marijuana. Alternatively, heroin suppresses one’s appetite, leading, in some cases, to grossly extreme weight loss. Also, heroin can cause visible track marks, sores, acne, premature aging, and blue skin and nails due to low blood pressure from taking the drug.
Similar to heroin, cocaine can also leave visible sores. In fact, symptoms such as a sunken face or a collapsed nose from snorting the drug show that cocaine is a substance that can have a very drastic impact on one’s appearance.
Last, but definitely not least, is meth. Meth ravages one’s appearance in many ways. It can cause weight loss, tooth decay, sores and premature aging.
Drugs and alcohol never leave the user feeling better or more beautiful than before, which is another reason to avoid them all together.
An Alternative Recovery Tool in Colorado: Aromatherapy
An alternative recovery tool used in addiction recovery that is gaining popularity in many places, particularly in Colorado, is aromatherapy. Although there are many different alternative treatments used in addiction recovery including yoga, acupuncture, and equine therapy, aromatherapy is showing great promise for users in Colorado.
Aromatherapy is defined as the use of natural oils that have a pleasant smell to make a person feel better by rubbing oils into the skin and is an alternative treatment that utilizes plant extracts and essential oils that may have a beneficial effect on one’s mood and health. Aromatherapy use began in ancient civilizations where people credited much of their physical and mental well being to having regular massages with oils, or simply inhaling the scents of the oils. Each unique scent meant something different to the people. For example, rose oil/scent was used as an antidepressant while chamomile oil/scent cured headaches as well as the common cold.
The use of oils to help the body still lives on today. Aromatherapy is used in recovery as a holistic approach to help calm and balance emotions, relieve stress, and feel calm. The process of recovery from any addiction can be overwhelming. With aromatherapy, smelling the calming oils or getting a massage with the oils can help those in recovery be calm and focus. Individuals everywhere, particularly in Colorado, are finding the benefits that aromatherapy brings when dealing with addiction recovery.