Moms and Drug Abus

Ten years ago, it was reported that at least 18 million women aged 26 and older take prescription medications for unintended purposes.  Today, that number is even higher, and many of those abusing drugs include women who are moms.  Some are surprised to find out how many moms deal with drug abuse, but it must be remember that no one is immune to addiction and drug abuse.  Moms are just as vulnerable to drug abuse as anyone else and may turn to drugs to avoid guilt, stress, boredom, or any number of other things.  Today, an increasing number of moms are becoming addicted to pain medications.

The most commonly abused prescription drugs by moms include: sedatives, muscle relaxants, and opioid painkillers. Just like so many others, most moms started out their drug use legitimately—that is, they received a prescription from their doctor for a valid health issue.  However, some moms continue to use and abuse the drug they were safely prescribed after their treatment for the health issue is resolved.

Further, other drug addictions that seem to be rising with moms include alcohol addiction and abuse, and marijuana use.  Becoming aware of triggers that may turn moms toward drug abuse can stop the addictions before they start.  These triggers increase vulnerability and include: past trauma (such as being abused as a child), a family history of drug abuse problems, a history of drug or alcohol addiction, and the presence of mental health conditions (such as depression).

Also noteworthy is that many moms experience depression and stress after giving birth and these heightened reactions to the hormonal changes and lifestyle changes that occur can increase a mom’s vulnerability to addiction. In fact, any period of heightened stress increases the risk of using and depending on prescription drugs to feel better.

A main reason for the rise in prescription drug abuse by moms is the same as for everyone else: prescription drugs can be obtained and purchased relatively easy.  Moms may lie or or buy from less legitimate pharmacies online in order to maintain their drug habits.  These factors have directly impacted the rise in prescription drug abuse among all groups of people.  Some people simply think that if a doctor prescribes medicine it will not cause any harm.  Understanding side effects and addiction tendencies, and drugs that build tolerance, can also prevent further drug abuse issues. It is important to remember that no on is immune to addiction, even moms.

source: workingmother.com

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.


Suicide Rates on Rise in U.S.

In a new report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) they indicate that suicide rates are on the rise in the United States and have been increasing in number since the year 2000.

In fact, from 1999 to 2015, approximately 600,000 U.S. residents died by suicide, with 2015 being the deadliest year. Interestingly, the groups that are ranked highest are not those from the big cities, instead they are from the rural areas.  Further, the ethnic groups dealing with the increase in suicides the most is the Native Americans and those who are white.

Of note is that the report shows a steady climb with a spike around the year 2008.  In speculating why this spike occurred, one thought is that it may have been due to the pressures of the financial recession that occurred in our country at that same time.  Many individuals felt hopeless and stressed in their financial predicaments when businesses were closing their doors and the stock market plummeted.  In more detail is the fact that the rural communities suffered more in the recession due to poverty and social isolation along with less mental health treatment facilities and that may explain why the rates of suicide there are higher.

Further, since the year 2000, the CDC points out that men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women and the rate worsened in almost all categories assessed after 2008.

The findings of the CDC indicate that more mental health institutions need to be available in rural areas to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts.  The opioid crisis doesn’t help either along with other drug issues and the rural communities have been especially hard hit by that as well.  Finding solutions and having more preventative help in place for these ethnic groups, and in rural locations would be helpful in combating the increasing rate of suicides in the United States.

source: vocavtiv.com

Extra warnings of addiction with opioid use in Utah

In Utah, lawmakers recently pushed forward some bills indicating that extra warnings for patients about addiction risks when taking opioid painkillers will be required.  The new bills indicate that pharmacies are required to label pill containers with the following caution: “Caution: Opioid. Risk of overdose and addiction” or an similar warning the state Department of Health approves of.

Further, another bill moving forward requires prescribers to, “discuss the risks of using an opiate with a patient or the patient’s guardian before issuing an initial opiate prescription,” according to a summary attached to the bill (ksl.com).

The representatives involved believe that these bills are critical to patient education and allowing patients to be completely informed of the risks they are taking when they choose to take prescription opioids.

Although some representative have voiced opposing opinions indicating that they feel that the bills would manage doctors too closely, other lawmakers feel that more must be done to stop the increasing opioid crisis.

source: ksl.com

Fentanyl potency

For instance, just between 2015 and 2016, overdose deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled. In fact, in a recent New York Times publication indicated that fentanyl is killing people faster than the HIV epidemic did at its peak in the 1980s.

So, what is fentanyl? Most of us associate the opioid crisis with heroin or an oxycontin type prescription. Few really know what fentanyl is. Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller which was originally used to help end stage cancer patients. And, although fentanyl has been a problem for our public health for quite some time, the extent to which it is a nationwide threat is just now coming to light.

Some frightening facts about fentanyl abound. First, fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more powerful than morphine- a fact most people do not realize. Further, fentanyl can be fatal just by touching it. In fact, even law enforcement officers are highly cautioned when handling the drug. Naloxone, a drug that is used to counteract heroin overdoses, is used in doses 4 to 5 times higher to counteract the negative effects of fentanyl and prevent overdose. Last, withdrawal from fentanyl can take up to 2 months.

Even more alarming, studies by the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that just three years ago deaths related to fentanyl were around 3,000 and are now estimated at 20,000. Most of these deaths are thought to be due to ignorance. That is to say, the users did not realize the dangers of fentanyl, the users did not know that the drug they were using was mixed with fentanyl, and users do not realizers that it takes a much smaller amount of fentanyl to cause an overdose.

Opioid Treatment Not Being Utilized Enough

According to researchers from Blue Cross Blue Shield, individuals “with an opioid use disorder diagnosis spiked 493 percent” – however, the medication-assisted addiction treatment grew by only 65 percent. The last few years have brought alarmingly high numbers of diagnosis of opioid addiction cases—increasing by 500% but many individuals still aren’t seeking for or getting the treatment they need to recover.

Other alarming facts about opioid abuse in the US include (www.seabrook.org),

  • Women 45 and older have higher rates of opioid abuse than men.
  • Overdose deaths for women due to prescription painkillers have jumped more than 400% while for men it has increased by 265%.
  • 10% of the 20.5 million Americans who have a substance abuse disorder are addicted to either pain relievers or heroin, according to the ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine).
  • The use of medication-assisted treatment to combat opioid overdose (buprenorphine, naloxone and suboxone) was least common in the South and Midwest, where sadly, addiction rates were highest.
  • According to the CDC, at least 91 people die every single day in the U.S. from an opioid overdose.
  • The CDC also indicates that more people die from drug overdoses in the U.S. than guns or car accidents.
  • Most, (3 out of 4) heroin users start by abusing prescription drugs, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It is vital that individuals who have addictive tendencies or are concerned in any way about being prescribed opioids, talk with their physicians about the risks and dangers of treating pain with opioids.

americantribesopioidabuseAmerican Indian Tribal Leaders Fight Opioid Abuse

This week, American Indian tribal leaders from New Mexico, where heroin and opioid addiction is rampant, met to discuss ways to fight opioid abuse and overdose. Better treatment, prevention education, and more law enforcement were among the top issues of discussion at the meeting.

Indicating that hypodermic needles are found daily, the officials discussed prevention education beginning as young as age 8 in the areas most impacted by the opioid abuse. The cities of Espanola and Rio Arriba have had extremely high numbers of heroin related deaths for years, and New Mexico’s drug overdose rate in 2014 was the second highest in the nation. In fact, Rio Arriba had the highest drug overdose death rate in the state with 81.4 deaths per 100,000 residents last year. Officials are hoping new measures will fight back against these statistics and bring more hope to the impacted areas.

Interestingly, American Indian opioid use is widespread; it’s not a problem that New Mexico is dealing with alone. For instance, American Indian students’ annual heroin use was recently found to be about two to three times higher than the national averages from 2009 to 2012. Further, opioid abuse has even stuck in the most remote, small communities in the country among American Indians.

For instance, in a small Alaskan village of 25,000 residents, 500 were recently deemed to be addicted to opioids. Treatment and prevention are sparse there. Other Alaskan village are suffering as well. Tribes in Maine have recently been provided with the drug Narcan, which reverses the effects of opioids, but more programs like that are needed to combat the ever-growing influence of opioids among Native Americans.


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