The Hidden Dangers of Benzodiazepines (Infographic)

benzos 5-28-14“In the last year there have been several studies/stories about the risks associated with benzodiazepine abuse.  And while benzodiazepines have been prescribed for decades to treat anxiety and seizure disorders, the possible threat of overusing them is real and with that comes dependency, overdose and the potentiality of death.  Did you know that since 2010, there have been 6,507 US drug overdose deaths that involved benzodiazepines?  Because of this rising number, Foundations Recovery Networkcreated an infographic to help familiarize those about benzodiazepines but most importantly help create awareness regarding the possible addiction with benzodiazepines.”

Broken down in sections, the infographic (http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/benzodiazepine-addiction/) goes into detail about:

  • What are benzodiazepines: their brand names and the amount of prescriptions filled in the US in 2011, the number of related ER visits in 2010 and the confiscations by law enforcement for each associated drug.
  • Why prescribe benzodiazepines, specifically the disorders that are treated
  • Common side effects and contraindications with benzodiazepine use
  • Key statistics related to the dangers of abuse
  • Symptoms of overdose

Source: Foundations Recovery Network– May 2014

 

Sharp Rise in ER Visits Tied to Abuse of Sedative, Study Finds

“There’s been a steep increase in the number of Americans being treated at emergency departments for abuse of the sedative alprazolam, best known as Xanax, federal officials reported Thursday.

The number of emergency department visits related to abuse of alprazolam (brand names Xanax, Xanax XR, and Niravam) climbed from more than 57,000 in 2005 to nearly 124,000 in 2011, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

In the United States, alprazolam was the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medication in 2011 and the 13th highest-selling medication in 2012, the report said.”

http://consumer.healthday.com/mental-health-information-25/addiction-news-6/jump-in-er-visits-tied-to-xanax-abuse-study-finds-688047.html

Source: HealthDay.com -May 22, 2014

Infographic: Benzodiazepine Use and Medication-Assisted Treatment

benzo2The Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions (IRETA) has prepared an infographic that addresses immediate consequences, long-term effects, and the relationship between benzodiazepine use and medication-assisted recovery.

The infographic is available for free download at: http://iretablog.org/2014/04/10/infographic-benzodiazepine-use-and-medication-assisted-treatment/

Source: The Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions – April 10, 2014

Jana Burson Blog: More about IRETA’s Guidelines for Benzodiazepines in OTPs

blog1“This is a continuation of my last blog post about the IRETA (Institute for Research, Education & Training in Addictions) guidelines for management of benzodiazepine use in medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction. You can read all of the guidelines at: http://ireta.org/sites/ireta.org/files/Best%20Practice%20Guidelines%20for%20BZDs%20in%20MAT%202013_0.pdf

Under the section of recommendations regarding addressing benzodiazepine use is found the following statement:

“Many people presenting to services have an extensive history of multiple substance dependence and all substance abuse, including benzodiazepines, should be actively addressed in treatment. People who have a history of benzodiazepine abuse should not be disallowed from receiving previously prescribed benzodiazepines, provided they are monitored carefully and have stopped the earlier abuse.”

The experts, after reviewing the best data, are saying that if a patient has abused benzos in the past, but isn’t abusing prescribed benzos now, it may be OK to continue benzos, with careful monitoring.

I don’t like this statement. It doesn’t conform to my present thoughts on the topic. I fear that the majority of patients with a history of benzodiazepine abuse or addiction will, sooner or later, revert back to problem use of the medication. That’s my anecdotal experience. Anecdotal experience is worth something, but data from clinical trials trumps anecdotal experience, and IRETA’s guidelines are based on both clinical trials and expert opinion.

So now I need to challenge my previously held views about benzos in the OTP. It’s unpleasant and uncomfortable to change a long-held view. But isn’t that what I ask of my patients? In the interest of science, I will re-consider my present opinion, but I won’t ignore the last part of the statement, which says careful monitoring needs to be done.”

 http://janaburson.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/more-about-iretas-guidelines-for-benzodiazepines-in-otps/

Source: Jana Burson - February 2, 2014

Flesh-Eating ‘Zombie’ Drug ‘Kills You From The Inside Out’ (Contains a Graphic Video)

“A flesh-eating drug that turns people into zombie-like creatures seems to have made its way to the United States.

This extremely addictive injectable opioid is called krokodil (pronounced like crocodile) or desomorphine. It’s so named in part because users report black or green scaly skin as a side effect.

Krokodil causes serious damage to the veins and soft tissue infections, rapidly followed by gangrene and necrosis, according to a 2013 study.”

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/16/health/krokodil-zombie-drug/

Source: CNN.com – October 16, 2013

What’s the Future of Drug Policy? An Interview with America’s ‘Drug Czar’

An e-mail interview by Harold Pollack of the Washington Post with Gil Kerlikowske who is director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (in more common parlance, America’s “Drug Czar.”) He was recently nominated to be commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

Topics include substance abuse policy, healthcare reform, sentencing reform, international matters, marijuana, and culture war in drug policy.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/29/whats-the-future-of-drug-policy-an-interview-with-americas-drug-czar/

To coincide with Recovery Month in September, The Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) issued a paper on Recovery and the National Drug Control Strategy available at: http://www.attcnetwork.org/find/news/attcnews/epubs/addmsg/sept2013article.asp

Source: WashingtonPost.com – August 28, 2013

Study: Marijuana Use Associated With Decreased Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal in Methadone Maintenance Treatment Subjects

“Cannabis consumption is associated with mitigated symptoms of opiate withdrawal in subjects undergoing methadone maintenance treatment, according to the findings of a new study published online in The American Journal on Addictions.

Investigators at the Farber Institute for Neurosciences at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia assessed the use of cannabis in 91 opiate-dependent subjects undergoing methadone maintenance treatment. Researchers found that subjects seeking methadone treatment who acknowledged a history of cannabis use reported “significantly less daily expenditure on acquisition of opiates.”

Authors additionally reported that subjects’ use of cannabis during treatment was associated with less severe symptoms of withdrawal on the clinical opiate withdrawal scale (COWS), an index designed to serve as an objective measure of opiate withdrawal.

They concluded, “The present findings may point to novel interventions to be employed during treatment for opiate dependence that specifically target cannabinoid–opioid system interactions.”

http://blog.norml.org/2013/07/16/study-marijuana-use-associated-with-decreased-symptoms-of-opiate-withdrawal-in-methadone-maintenance-treatment-subjects/

 

 

Source: Norml.org – July 16, 2013

Blog: After 40-Year Fight, Illicit Drug Use at All-Time High

This blog includes some interesting statistics on the cost of illicit drug use including:

  •  “The U.S. accounts for a substantial fraction of the 230,000,000 drug users around the world who drive the demand for these illicit substances. If these customers constituted a nation, it would be the fifth most populous in the world, exceeded in size only by the U.S., China, India, and Indonesia.
  • The financial and economic drain of a drug habit is substantial. A heroin user who spends $50 a day on the drug could save $180,000 over a decade, were it not for their addiction. And cocaine abusers with a $75-a-day habit would save $250,000 over ten years. This money, which could have been reinvested in the economy, instead enters the illegal drug market and funds drug production and distribution operations on a massive scale.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/annabelle-buggle/after-40year-fight-illici_b_3623714.html

 Source: HuffingtonPost.com – July 23, 2013

Commentary by Dr. Tom McLellan: Getting Past the Stigma and Treating Addiction as a Chronic Disease

“According to the Food and Drug Administration’s standards for effectiveness, there are presently four prevention interventions, five medications and more than a dozen behavioral therapies that can be called effective in preventing, intervening early and managing substance use disorders.

We know the best outcomes are achieved when the disease is identified and intervened upon early in its trajectory. But even serious, chronic cases can be treated effectively. Self-managed, continuing recovery can, and should, be the expectable outcome from all addiction treatments.

Yet many physicians and counselors have never even heard of these medications or of many other “evidence-based” behavioral interventions and most were never trained in how to manage substance use disorders. Many specialty addiction treatment programs are not staffed to provide anything other than basic group counseling. Other programs are not licensed or funded to provide these more effective but more costly therapies and medications. And still, other programs refuse to provide them on ideological grounds. For example, there are currently three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid addiction, yet less than 30 percent of addiction treatment programs offer addiction medications, and less than half of the eligible patients in those programs ever receive them.”

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/addiction/commentary-getting-past-the-stigma-and-treating-addiction-as-a-chronic-disease?utm_source=Join%20Together%20Daily&utm_campaign=352b19c266-JT_Daily_News_Getting_Past_the&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_97f4d27738-352b19c266-221281549

Source: DrugFree.org - July 19, 2013

Philadelphia Releases Benzodiazepine Draft Guidelines for MAT

benzo2benzo 1Important guidelines to help opioid treatment programs (OTPs) determine how to handle benzodiazepine use by their patients have been developed by the Institute for Research, Education and Training in the Addictions (IRETA) for the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS). Roland Lamb, MA, director of the DBHIDS Office of Addiction Services, talked with AT Forum about what the draft guidelines mean to OTPs who are struggling with ways to manage patients who use benzodiazepines while in medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Although the guidelines were prepared under contract with DBHIDS for use by Philadelphia-area MAT providers, Mr. Lamb said they can be used by anyone—and he hopes they will be, when finalized. “This is a collaboration that went beyond Philadelphia,” he said. Partners were the Community Care Behavioral Health (CCBH) and the University of Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, he said. “We need to make sure the focus is on the disease of addiction and not just on managing medications. Methadone maintenance is so overregulated that it can become medication-focused, as opposed to treating people for their addiction.”

Treating Addiction

And while methadone maintenance is focused on opioid addiction, OTPs and all MAT providers must recognize that they are treating addiction per se, he said. “Once you have stabilized a person on methadone, you still need to pay attention to other issues.” Those other issues could include misuse of alcohol or other drugs, such as benzodiazepines

The concern for OTPs and patients is that benzodiazepines, in combination with methadone, buprenorphine, or any central nervous system (CNS) depressant, could result in respiratory depression and death. “There has been extensive writing about the synergistic effects,” he said.

But it’s not only about risk. Helping patients recover from addiction means counseling and a personal transformation away from seeking relief from drugs and alcohol.

“I believe that OTPs are failing their population if they don’t address addiction,” said Mr. Lamb. “It’s not just benzodiazepines, it’s everything.”

Lower Starting Dose, Inpatient Detox

One of the recommendations is for people on benzodiazepines to be inducted on a lower starting dose of methadone, but another is that all patients need an adequate starting dose. There seems to be a conflict between those two recommendations, but Mr. Lamb said that there isn’t. “What it really means is that you would need a longer lead time to get up to the optimal dose,” he said. “What you don’t want is to continue to follow through to the maximum dosage level, which could be 30 or 40 milligrams, at the onset of treatment,” he said.

The two recommendations are consistent when looked at together, because the main point is to ultimately get the patient up to the optimal dose. “In induction, they are in limbo, and will be struggling mightily to manage their addiction and perhaps find other means to do that,” he said. Some ways to bring patients up to optimal dosage and minimize the withdrawal symptoms that come with the very early days of induction for some is to provide a split dose during the day, to minimize the valleys, he said.

Another recommendation for patients who are using benzodiazepines is to taper their benzodiazepine use and then induct them into MAT. Sometimes, the best way to do this is inpatient detoxification, the guidelines state.

“It’s problematic that people think MAT is only done in an outpatient methadone program,” said Mr. Lamb. Philadelphia has established MAT across all levels of care. “We have people in residential treatment who receive MAT, as well as people who are in outpatient programs,” he said. “When a person isn’t responding to the outpatient milieu, you need to address the severity of the addiction.” And for OTPs, it may mean assessing the person as needing inpatient treatment. “‘If you didn’t have methadone, what level of care would this person be receiving?’ is a good question to ask,” he said.

Key Recommendations

The key recommendations of the IRETA report clearly state that use of benzodiazepines or other CNS depressants is not a contraindication for methadone or buprenorphine treatment—patients should not automatically be discharged from treatment because they are using benzodiazepines, either by obtaining prescriptions from other physicians or by buying them.

From the Recommendations:

  • CNS depressant use is not an absolute contraindication for the use of either methadone or buprenorphine in MAT, but is a reason for caution because of potential respiratory depression. Serious overdose and death may occur if MAT is administered in conjunction with benzodiazepines, sedatives, tranquilizers, antidepressants, or alcohol.
  • Individuals who use benzodiazepines, even if used as a part of long-term therapy, should be considered at risk for adverse drug reactions including overdose and death.
  • Many people presenting to services have an extensive history of multiple substance dependence and all substance abuse, including benzodiazepines, should be actively addressed in treatment.
  •  MAT should not generally be discontinued for persistent benzodiazepine abuse, but requires the implementation of risk management strategies.
  • Clinicians should ensure that every step of decision-making is clearly documented.

There wasn’t always unanimous agreement among the participants in the development process for the guidelines, said Mr. Lamb. “We narrowed down the guidelines to what we had consensus around.”

Risk Management vs. Addiction Treatment

At the core of the consensus process was reconciling risk management with treatment of addiction, two goals that can be at odds with one another. But is there really any conflict? If the goal is recovery, then treatment of addiction should include dealing with craving and the problems of patients who are suddenly living without getting high.

There is a desperate need for this information, said Mr. Lamb. “We had a number of providers who were struggling with how to manage the use of benzodiazepines.” That’s the reason for the guidelines, and also the reason for a physician’s town hall sponsored by DBHIDS at the November conference of the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD), to be held in Philadelphia.

“Some people have a legitimate need for an anti-anxiety drug,” said Mr. Lamb. “However, there has to be a limit to how far a provider goes, if there is no cooperation from the patient.”

Some patients start abusing benzodiazepines when they enter MAT because they are no longer able to feel euphoria from opioids, according to Mr. Lamb. “Part of the disease of addiction is the preoccupation with feeling good or feeling better,” he said, referring to euphoria and to minimizing withdrawal symptoms. Others come into treatment managing collateral emotional pain and psychic confusion, he said. “We’ve often found that the need to self-medicate is strong.” That’s why getting a patient stable on methadone is only the first step, he said. “That’s when the hard part begins.”

The early stages of treatment, when patients are no longer experiencing “feeling better” from opioids, are when other drugs, such as cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, or benzodiazepines, get introduced, said Mr. Lamb. “Chemistry is a way of life in our population, always finding new combinations to feel good and to feel better.” A new patient on methadone, once stable, won’t feel any signs of withdrawal, so the need to “feel better” will be gone. “But with this population there is always the need to alter one’s consciousness.” And there may also be depression and anxiety or legitimate mental illnesses, which methadone will not treat, and which require medication. But that doesn’t necessarily mean medications are always the answer.

When opioid-dependent patients begin MAT, they may also be going to other physicians who are prescribing medications for anxiety. “Hopefully the doctors are talking to each other, communicating in the best interest of the patient,” said Mr. Lamb. But the patient may want just the opposite. “Those in care are interested in keeping those two doctors separate, not wanting them to collaborate, because that will interfere with their goals.”

For the draft guidelines, go to: http://ireta.org/sites/ireta.org/files/BZD%20and%20MAT%20FINAL%20REPORT%20Dec%202012%20marked%20draft.pdf

Q & A – Trends in Prescription Drug Abuse: ‘Bridging Medications’

Question: Outside of approved traditional opioid maintenance programs, I’ve heard that some drug addicts are using prescription drugs for “bridging.” What is this practice, and which prescription drugs may be involved?

Response from Michael G. O’Neil, PharmD: “The epidemic of unintended prescription drug overdoses continues to spread across the United States. The medications being abused and misused in these tragic events are often opioids and benzodiazepines.

A lesser known phenomenon involves use of other prescription medications to minimize physiologic withdrawal until individuals can obtain their next “chemical high” with their drug of choice. This practice is commonly referred to as “bridging.” Traditionally, the term “bridging” has been used in medication-assisted addiction treatment centers while stabilizing patients. Unfortunately, this terminology has gained a new meaning at the street level. Recognizing bridging behaviors may help clinicians identify patients with the disease of addiction or potential medication adverse effects.”

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/804740

Source: Medscape.com – May 28, 2013

Study: Sending Nonviolent Drug Offenders to Treatment Instead of Prison Saves Money

“When it comes to nonviolent drug offenses, systems that favor treatment over incarceration not only produce better health outcomes, they save money, too. It’s yet another example of how investing in public health and prevention yields valuable returns on investment.

In a new study published in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), researchers found that California’s Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, which diverts nonviolent drug offenders from the correctional system and into treatment, saved a little more than $2,300 per offender over a 30-month post-conviction period. In fact, researchers estimated more than $97 million in savings for the 42,000 offenders affected during the first year of the law’s implementation. And even though the law resulted in spending more on treatment, health care services and community service supervision, bypassing incarceration still yielded overall savings, said study co-author M. Douglas Anglin, founding director of the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center and associate director of the university’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs.

According to a 2009 report from California’s Legislative Analyst’s Office, incarcerating a single offender costs California approximately $49,000 per year.”

http://scienceblogs.com/thepumphandle/2013/05/24/study-sending-nonviolent-drugs-offenders-to-treatment-instead-of-prison-saves-money/

Source: Scienceblogs.com - May 24, 2013

2013 National Drug Control Strategy Released

White HouseThe White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released the 2013 National Drug Control Strategy on April 24. Highlights of the Strategy include:

Make Access to Treatment a Reality for Millions of Americans

  • Details actions to implement the Affordable Care Act, which – for the first time in history – ends discrimination against people with substance use disorders by requiring insurance companies to cover treatment for substance use disorders as they would for any other chronic disease;
  • Work to expand treatment and reentry services for those incarcerated; and
  • Target expansion of care for populations with an unmet need for substance abuse treatment, including veterans, college and university students, and Native Americans.

Give a Voice to Americans in Recovery

  • Work to lift the stigma associated with addiction by partnering with the recovery community to speak out about their successes and encourage others to seek treatment; and
  • Review and reform laws and regulations that unfairly target those with substance use disorders and impede recovery from addiction, including those laws and regulations that restrict access to housing, employment, and attaining a driver’s license or student loan.

The news release highlighting the new strategy is available at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/news-releases/2013-national-drug-policy-strategy-release

A fact sheet on the new strategy is available at: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2876748/ireta/National%20Drug%20Control%20Strategy%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

The full 2013 National Drug Control Strategy is at: http://www.whitehouse.gov//sites/default/files/ondcp/policy-and-research/ndcs_2013.pdf

Source: WhiteHouse.gov – April 24, 2013

New Book Available – Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy

CleanA new book on addiction was released April 2 that has received a lot of press coverage.

Amazon.com describes the book as “Addiction is a preventable, treatable disease, not a moral failing. As with other illnesses, the approaches most likely to work are based on science — not on faith, tradition, contrition, or wishful thinking. These facts are the foundation of Clean, a myth-shattering look at drug abuse by the author of Beautiful Boy. Based on the latest research in psychology, neuroscience, and medicine, Clean is a leap beyond the traditional approaches to prevention and treatment of addiction and the mental illnesses that usually accompany it. The existing treatment system, including Twelve Step programs and rehabs, has helped some, but it has failed to help many more, and David Sheff explains why. He spent time with scores of scientists, doctors, counselors, and addicts and their families to learn how addiction works and what can effectively treat it. Clean offers clear, cogent counsel for parents and others who want to prevent drug problems and for addicts and their loved ones no matter what stage of the illness they’re in. But it is also a book for all of us — a powerful rethinking of the greatest public health challenge of our time.”

The link to the book at Amazon.com is: http://www.amazon.com/Clean-Overcoming-Addiction-Americas-Greatest/dp/054784865X/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364908254&sr=1-4&keywords=clean

Join Together interviewed David Sheff the book’s author to discuss his exploration into the science, prevention and treatment of addiction. The two part interview is available at:

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/addiction/david-sheff-author-of-clean-interview-part-1-of-2?utm_source=Join%20Together%20Daily&utm_campaign=a87b199533-JT_Daily_News_David_Sheff_Author_of&utm_medium=email

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/addiction/david-sheff-author-of-clean-interview-part-2-of-2?utm_source=Join%20Together%20Daily&utm_campaign=35128f3594-JT_Daily_News_David_Sheff_Author_of&utm_medium=email

David Sheff also wrote an opinion article for Time.com that is available at:
http://ideas.time.com/2013/04/03/we-need-to-rethink-rehab/

Sources: Amazon.com, JoinTogether, Time.com – April 2013

Drug Abuse Treatment Could Save Billions in Criminal Justice Costs

Sending drug abusers to community-based treatment programs rather than prison could help reduce crime and save the criminal justice system billions of dollars, according to a new study by researchers at RTI International and Temple University.

Nearly half of all state prisoners are drug abusers or drug dependent, but only 10 percent receive medically based drug treatment during incarceration. Untreated or inadequately treated inmates are more likely to resume using drugs when released from prison, and commit crimes at a higher rate than non-abusers.

The study, published online in November in Crime & Delinquency, found that diverting substance-abusing state prisoners to community-based treatment programs rather than prison could reduce crime rates and save the criminal justice system billions of dollars relative to current levels. The savings are driven by immediate reductions in the cost of incarceration and by subsequent reductions in the number of crimes committed by successfully-treated diverted offenders, which leads to fewer re-arrests and re-incarcerations. The criminal justice costs savings account for the extra cost of treating diverted offenders in the community.

The findings were based on a lifetime simulation model of a cohort of 1.14 million state prisoners representing the 2004 U.S. state prison population. The model accounts for substance abuse as a chronic disease, estimates the benefits of treatment over individuals’ lifetimes, and calculates the crime and criminal justice costs related to policing, trial and sentencing, and incarceration.

The researchers used the model to track the individuals’ substance abuse, criminal activity, employment and health care use until death or up to and including age 60, whichever came first. They also estimated the benefits and costs of sending 10 percent or 40 percent of drug abusers to community-based substance abuse treatment as an alternative to prison.

According to the model, if just 10 percent of eligible offenders were sent to community-based treatment programs rather than prison, the criminal justice system would save $4.8 billion when compared to current practices. Diverting 40 percent of eligible offenders would save $12.9 billion.

The authors also address a concern common with diversion programs, which is that instead of being incarcerated, offenders are released into the community where they may commit additional crimes. Their analysis showed an immediate, short-lived increase in crimes, however, by the end of the first year, fewer crimes were committed, generating cost savings.

The study builds on previous research led by RTI indicating that increased investment in treatment for substance-abusing prisoners can reduce crime rates and cut criminal justice spending. In a study released earlier this year, Zarkin and colleagues found that increasing and improving prison-based drug treatment programs could save up to $17 billion in criminal justice system costs.

http://www.newswise.com/articles/study-replacing-prison-terms-with-drug-abuse-treatment-could-save-billions-in-criminal-justice-costs

Source: RTI International – January 9, 2013

Researchers Say MRI Could Help Predict Success of Drug Addiction Treatment

Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania say MRI scans may be able to predict which patients will succeed with certain addiction treatments, and which ones will relapse, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

Researchers at the university’s Center for Studies of Addiction are watching how regions of the brain react to drug-related photos, such as pictures of a heroin needle or a crushed pill. They hope to use this research to develop more effective treatments. One day, they hope that treatment could be tailored to a person’s mental strengths and vulnerabilities. These factors are influenced by genetics, life experiences and drug use, they say.

http://www.drugfree.org/join-together/addiction/researchers-say-mri-could-help-predict-success-of-drug-addiction-treatment?utm_source=Join+Together+Weekly&utm_campaign=16753ecc0b-

Source: JoinTogether.org – January 18, 2013

Sharp Rise in Admissions for Certain Drug Combinations Over 10 Years

Substance abuse treatment admissions for addiction involving combined use of benzodiazepine and narcotic pain relievers (NPR) rose a total of 569.7 percent, to 33,701, from 2000 to 2010, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Overall substance abuse treatment admissions of people ages 12 and older in the same period rose 4 percent, to 1.82 million, the agency said.

 “Clearly, the rise in this form of substance abuse is a public health problem that all parts of the treatment community need to be aware of,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde. “When patients are battling severe withdrawal effects from two addictive drugs, new treatment strategies may be needed to meet this challenge. These findings will help us better understand the nature and scope of this problem and to develop better approaches to address it.”

The report showed that 38.7 percent of those with this combined addiction began use of both drugs in the same year; 34.1 percent first used narcotic pain relievers, and the remaining 27.1 percent started with benzodiazepines.

Almost half of patients admitted for combined use also had a co-occurring psychiatric disorder, were largely self-referred, and were less likely to receive regular outpatient treatment than other admissions.

Specific demographic groups have higher rates of admission for combination benzodiazepine/NPR treatment when compared with admissions for other treatment. Non-Hispanic whites account for 91.4 percent of combination admissions versus only 55.8 percent of other admissions. Females make up 49.2 percent of combined admissions versus 30.2 percent of other admissions, and people aged 18-34 account for 66.9 percent of combined admissions versus 43.7 of other admissions.

“The public health and safety threat we face from the abuse of prescription drugs is indisputable and these data show the increasing need for treatment for those suffering from addiction to prescription drugs,” said Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske. “While prevention is a critically important pillar of our prescription drug prevention plan, equally important is ensuring that treatment is available to those in need.”

http://www.samhsa.gov/newsroom/advisories/1212132836.aspx

Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – December 13, 2012

Gateway Drugs Linked to Prescription Drug Abuse

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine analyzed nationally-representative survey data to explore a possible link between alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use as an adolescent and subsequent abuse of prescription pain medication as a young adult. Their paper, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, was the first to find that a link between these “gateway drugs” and prescription painkillers. They found that all three drugs are associated with higher levels of prescription drug abuse in men, but only marijuana use is associated with higher levels of prescription drug abuse in in women.

http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/sep/04/gateway-drugs-linked-to-prescription-drug-abuse/

Source: Yale Daily News – September 4, 2012

New Report: The U.S. Drug Policy Landscape Insights and Opportunities for Improving the View

This new report from RAND Corporation provides a nonpartisan primer that should be of interest to those who are new to the field of drug policy, as well as those who have been working in the trenches. It begins with an overview of problems and policies related to illegal drugs in the United States, including the nonmedical use of prescription drugs. It then discusses the efficacy of U.S. drug policies and programs, including long-standing issues that deserve additional attention. Next, the paper lists the major funders of research and analysis in the area and describes their priorities. By highlighting the issues that receive most of the funding, this discussion identifies where gaps remain.

The press release can be accessed at: http://www.rand.org/news/press/2012/09/18.html

The report can be accessed at: http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP393.html

Source: RAND Corporation – September 18, 2012

Welcome to Dopamine Nation

Despite a proliferation of treatment options in America, addictive behavior and unhealthy coping strategies are more common than ever. Here’s why.

“While we may admire the American impulse to applaud hard work, innovation, and daring, the rewards of these labors aren’t immediate. We’re an impatient nation; we seek more immediate gratification. We’ve come to accept an approach of “why wait?”, so we grab ahold of whatever it takes to feel better, to keep feeling better, to make it through the day. In our addicted culture, we go for the artificially-induced dopamine spike—and not just one, but one right after the next.”

http://www.thefix.com/content/dopamine-nation-richard-juman7987

Source: TheFix.com by Dr. Richard Juman  – July 30, 2012

Site last updated July 17, 2014 @ 5:55 pm