What is Drug Relapse

Drug relapse, or any kind of relapse, is a process that usually starts when an individual slips back into old behavior patterns. Defined in the dictionary as, “a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement,” relapse can be devastating.  Some people think that relapse begins when someone first uses drugs after being sober or quitting for a time.  However,  we know that relapse occurs much sooner than this — it just might not manifest in drug use at first.

Some tell-tale signs of relapse include: Poor sleep habits

  • Thinking about people, places, and things they used drugs with
  • Glamorizing their past use
  • Lying
  • Hanging out with previous drug using friends
  • Fantasizing about using drugs
  • Thinking about relapsing
  • Planning their relapse around other people’s schedules
  • Making poor choices
  • Anxiety
  • Intolerance
  • Anger
  • Defensiveness
  • Mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Not asking for help
  • Not going to meetings or appointments
  • Poor eating habits

After examination of the previous list, it is clear that relapse occurs in the mind before the body takes over and actually relapses to drug use.

Some factors that seem to lead to drug relapse or make it harder to fight back against the urge to do drugs  and relapse faster than an individual otherwise might include:

  1. Being bored
  2. Being around people using drugs or alcohol, places where the individual used drugs or purchased them, or being around the drug or alcohol itself
  3. Feeling that using drugs or alcohol to celebrate something is appropriate
  4. Feeling physical pain
  5. Dwelling on getting high
  6. Having a lot of cash
  7. Using prescription drugs
  8. Thinking that one no longer has to worry (complacent) about relapse or that they are past being tempted

When someone makes the choice to stop abusing drugs, they have taken the first step in drug addiction recovery. This step is the beginning of an important change in their life.They may expect that all their problems will go away once they have made the decision to quit. Unfortunately, their problems often remain with them throughout their recovery process, and sometimes things even seem harder.  Because of the difficulties associated with recovery, relapse often occurs. But thinking ahead and devising ways to handle pressures that might lead back to drug use and/or drinking can help people stay in recovery and avoid relapse.

Could a Natural Nasal Spray Replace Addictive Opioids

Could a nasal spray actually help people avoid opioid addiction?  Researchers at the University College London say “yes” and they are moving toward testing their theory on human subjects.

When individuals need medicine for pain they are often given opioids to combat their intense pain and help them resume feeling normal.  However, as evidenced in the recently growing opioid epidemic, more and more individuals are becoming dangerously addicted to opioids and more and more overdoses are occurring.  The nasal spray tested by the researchers is a natural opioid  compound and lessens the pain while having no addictive side effects.  This is exciting news because it means that if valid, then individuals treated for pain will not become overly euphoric, tolerant, and addicted to the opioid drugs they may be given for their pain.

In the study, the researchers tested the pain-relieving  opioid nasal spray on mice and found no signs of tolerance or any signs of craving, such as reward-seeking behavior.  “If people don’t develop tolerance, you don’t have them always having to up the dose. And if they don’t have to up the dose, they won’t get closer and closer to overdose,” Ijeoma Uchegbu, a professor of pharmaceutical nanoscience who is leading the research through Nanomerics, a UCL startup, told The Guardian, in an article entitled, “Natural painkiller nasal spray could replace addictive opioids.”

The researchers have now moved to raising money for clinical trials involving humans to test their theory.  The results form their previous studies involving mice seem very hopeful and the researchers are definitely striving to find an alternative to opioid drugs such as fentanyl and oxycontin to aid in the management of pain in the future.


With prescription drug abuse on the rise in a huge way- especially opioid abuse — individuals are beginning to wonder if they should fill a prescription the doctor willingly gave them following surgery or of chronic pain. A recent article published by US News titled “5 Questions to ask your doctor before you fill that prescription” gives insight into questions that should be addressed and empowers patients to ensure that they need the medications prescribed to them. The questions from the article/slide show on the health.usnews.com website are:

  1. Why am I getting this drug?
  2. What are the risks versus the benefits?
  3. Is there an older drug or lifestyle alteration that works just as well?
  4. Will it interfere with other medications I am taking?
  5. Has this drug been shown to prevent real clinical events?

These questions may seem simple, but asking them may help prevent addiction down the line. Many individuals are aware of their predisposition to addictions and should be especially cautious about taking prescription drugs. Also, education about why a drug is prescribed is something that empowers us to know if we truly need it or want to take it. Knowing if the drug has more risks than benefits can also influence one’s decision to fill a prescription. If the risks outweigh the benefits then it may not be worth it and an alternative can be sought after. Sometimes, taking a prescription drug can be an easier fix for a problem. However, if the fix leads to addiction, and there is a way to recover from a problem simply by lifestyle alteration—whether with diet, exercise, sleep, relocation, etc.,— then many individuals will opt for that. Knowing if alternatives exist is key in staying educated about prescriptions as well. Lastly, if the drug has not been shown to have positive real lasting effects upon its users, then users may opt not to take the prescription as well.

Knowledge is power and becoming aware of the reasons why a physician is prescribing medicine is key in preventing addiction. Talking openly with the doctor about alternative options is smart and preventative. Further, more and more physicians are more thorough in their prescription practices due to the fact that prescription drug addiction is on the rise.

Source: www.health.usnews.com

usdruguseDrug Use in the U.S.

The Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy has recently published an easy to understand chart which details drug use in the United States. Using information from extensive government survey data from over 40 years, on the subject, researchers were able to provide accurate and descriptive information regarding drug use.

The patterns of drug use and abuse indicate that most individuals who are using drugs between the ages of 18-26 experiment with and use drugs for a small amount of time. The usage drops off significantly after age 26 –leading the researchers to contemplate whether punishment for such use was too severe during that timeframe in the individual’s lives. In fact, they indicated that more compassion and rational punishments are needed for those individuals because the drug use declines whether or not rehab is present.

Some key findings of the study included:

  • “Marijuana’s reputation as a “gateway” drug is not supported, even for more marijuana use. More than half of respondents under 60 have used it during their lifetime, but fewer than 10 percent use it regularly.
  • Far fewer people progress to harder drugs. Current monthly use of cocaine is 0.6 percent; for heroin and methamphetamines, only 0.2 percent.
  • The vast majority of people with a “substance-use disorder” after age 26 developed it before age 18.
  • Problematic drug use has been stable for decades, calling into question the success of the war on drugs.
  • Some cities, states and countries have devised proven successful alternatives to prohibition and harsh punishment for drug use and abuse.
  • Now that about 90 percent of new heroin users are white, politicians and other officials are starting to treat opioid addiction as a disease and public health problem rather than a crime deserving harsh punishment.
  • Traumatic childhood experience, mental illness and economic insecurity are more significant predictors of substance abuse than availability of the drugs.” (news.rice.edu)

Source: news.rice.edu

Is Carfentanil to Blame for Record High Heroin Overdoses?

In Cincinnati, a terrifying heroin overdose crisis is underway. In a city where 4 overdoses a day are typical, last Tuesday and Wednesday saw 78 overdoses and there were an estimated 174 overdose cases in local emergency rooms in less than 1 week.

Close by, New Jersey saw 29 heroin overdoses between Tuesday and Thursday in Camden on free samples of heroin marketed with a Batman stamp, in Indiana, 13 people overdosed Tuesday in Jennings County, about 60 miles north of Louisville and in Kentucky, 12 people overdosed on heroin Wednesday in Montgomery County, about 100 miles east of Louisville.

Law enforcement and medical personnel believe that the potent heroin is from the same source and they are working overtime to find the dealer. Although there is speculation that fentanyl has been mixed with the heroin, some are beginning to think the mega-potent, animal opioid, carfentanil is to blame.

Carfentanil, an analgesic for large animals including elephants, was discovered in July in the region’s heroin stream in Akron and Columbus. Unfortunately, hospitals in the region are not equipped to test blood for the animal opioid, which is rare and only in July surfaced in greater Cincinnati’s street heroin.

“The federal Drug Enforcement Administration has been on alert for carfentanil since its appearance in U.S. and at the Canadian border, said Melvin Patterson, a DEA spokesman in Washington. “Officials have little doubt that the carfentanil that’s showing up in street drugs is from overseas, just as fentanyl is manufactured and brought across the U.S. borders. It’s such a restricted drug there’s only a handful of places in the United States that can have it,” he said.

The DEA is currently working with Chinese counterparts who want to stop the illegal shipments. Patterson indicated that carfentanil has been manufactured in China, delivered to Mexico, shipped to Canada and then to Ohio. Further, there also have been reports of carfentanil shipping directly to Canada, and being intercepted by Mexican drug organizations. No matter how carfentanil is coming into the U.S., preventative measures to stop its import all together are crucial.

Source: msn.com


emplymentdrugtestingPositive Pre-Employment Drug Tests on the Rise

A recent study by Quest Diagnostics shows that the number of positive pre-employment drug tests is on the rise. Their study showed that the number of employees pre-testing positive for drugs has increased for the first time in a decade. The study further indicates that the majority of the increase is due to the legalization of marijuana in many U. S. states. Legalization of marijuana puts employers in a tough situation. Although marijuana is legal in some states, it is still illegal under Federal Law. For that reason, if employers choose, they can still ban the use of marijuana for their employees, whether it is bought and used legally or illegally.

The New York Times reported recently that the increase in applicants testing positive for drugs at pre-employment drug tests does not reflect the amount of prospective employees who simply turn away at the mention of a drug test prior to employment. They indicated that at a job fair for equipment manufacturer JCB in Georgia, half of those present left and gave up employment opportunities prior to taking drug tests. They further point out that the issue is particularly widespread in the transportation and construction industries.

Although marijuana is often the primary culprit in positive pre-employment drug tests, the study showed that heroin and other opiates use coincide with the positive tests.

Early childhood years important for drug abuse prevention

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has recently published information about interventions in early childhood that may prevent drug abuse as well as other unhealthy behaviors. The informative guide discusses things that impact children’s self-control and overall mental health, from pregnancy to age 8. The study points out that while drug abuse generally begins during adolescence, recognizing the biological, psychological, social, and environmental origins that can begin even before birth can be very beneficial.

“Thanks to more than three decades of research into what makes a young child able to cope with life’s inevitable stresses, we now have unique opportunities to intervene very early in life to prevent substance use disorders,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D. “We now know that early intervention can set the stage for more positive self-regulation as children prepare for their school years.” He indicates that the published guide is very important to anyone who has an influence in anyone’s childhood.

The information from the NIDA indicates that special attention needs to be given to the most vulnerable times in children’s lives, such as the first day of school, divorce, moving, etc. Further, the research about the childhood years points to evidence that a stable home environment, proper nutrition, stimulation both cognitively and physically, and supportive parenting can also provide good development outcomes with a lessened likelihood of drug abuse.

Source: drugabuse.gov

Should Kids Know About Parent’s Past Drug Use?

A recent study, published in the Journal of Human Communication Research, shows that disclosing any experiences parents have had with drug in the past to their children is not a good idea. Parents who experimented with hard or mild drug use in their teenage or young adult years shouldn’t bring it up with their kids according to the researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who surveyed 561 middle school students on talks they had had with their parents about drinking, smoking and marijuana. Interestingly, the study indicated kids were less likely to think that drugs are bad if they know parents had a past usage of drugs.

However, the study’s lead author, Jennifer Kam, made a point to say “We are not recommending that parents lie to their …children about their own past drug use.” Rather, “we are suggesting that parents should focus on talking to their kids about the negative consequences of drug use, how to avoid offers, family rules against use, that they disapprove of use, and others who have gotten in trouble from using.” Further, it’s also worth pointing out that it’s never too late to turn a life around, and effective treatment can help rescue someone from drug addiction.


SignsofDrugAbuseSigns of Drug Abuse

Recognizing drug abuse in someone close to you can be difficult because often those using drugs go to great lengths to disguise their usage. Because of this, a drug abuse problem can go unnoticed for long periods of time, taking spouses and family members by surprise when the addiction is finally apparent. However, obvious signs of drug abuse exist and if there is concern about someone, watching for these warning signs can be helpful. Below are some major physical, behavioral, and emotional signs of drug abuse:

  • Sudden changes in appetite or weight
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Disputes and contention with others
  • Problems paying attention
  • Paranoia
  • Injection marks
  • Frequent itching
  • Changes in skin coloration
  • Seizures
  • Suspicious behavior
  • Monetary changes
  • Changes in hygienic habits
  • Impairments
  • Personality changes
  • Diminished interest in hobbies or social activities
  • Changes in friendships
  • Sudden reduction in motivational levels
  • Criticisms from peers and superiors
  • Defensiveness
  • Lethargy or hyperactivity
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Frequent bloody noses

Source: alternativesintreatment.com


Depade is a new prescription medication used to treat alcohol and opiate addictions. Depade works by blocking the pleasing effects that alcohol and opioid drugs produce and tackles cravings for these substances by helping take one’s mind off drinking/drugs and focus on recovery instead.

More specifically, Depade is most often used as a part of a holistic addiction treatment program that generally includes counseling meetings, psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, educational sessions, medical and family support, and other types of treatment a recovering addict may need. As mentioned previously, Depade works by blocking the chemical responses that make alcohol and opioid drugs rewarding. Depade cannot get individuals high.

Many individuals are concerned about the addictiveness of Depade. However, the good news is that Depade has been shown to be a non-addictive medication with no risk of cross-addiction. But, it is important to recognize that although Depade helps alcoholics and opiad users in long-term recovery stay substance free, it is not simply a pill that will cure addiction. Depade is best used as a part of a thorough addiction treatment program that includes other practices such as psychotherapy and behavioral therapy.

Physicians counsel that not everyone should start on Depade immediately. It must be shown that patients recovering from alcohol addictions have been successful in abstaining for 307 days before taking the drug. Also, Depade is intended for the treatment of opioid dependent patients who have stopped using illicit or prescription opioid drugs for 10-14 days.

Source: addictionblog.org


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