Tag: opioids

The Pitfalls of Roxicodone Addiction

Roxicodone Addiction is a Rising Problem in Roxicodone Addiction Lighthouse RecoveryAmerica

Roxicodone is in the opiate family, and roxicodone addiction is a rising problem in America. This narcotic is used to treat moderate to severe pain when used properly, but it is highly addictive and unfortunately many people don’t realize they have developed a problem until it is too late.

It’s a familiar story that comes with prescription pain medication. Someone suffers an injury or has surgery and is prescribed a narcotic for pain, and slowly but surely they get pulled right into addiction. While these medications are harmful and deadly if abused, they also often lead to heroin addiction because like heroin, they are opioids and the sad fact is that heroin can be a cheaper and easy-to-find alternative.

Opiate Addiction and The Prescription Pill Epidemic

Most people are probably more familiar with oxycodone addiction, which is pretty much the same thing, the drug just has a different name. Regardless of the manufacturer, these pills land thousands of people in rehab each year. The ones that don’t get help continue in their addiction and eventually will probably die.

Roxicodone is usually referred to as “Roxies”, and the difference between it and other opioids is that it is fast-acting, which makes the potential for abuse that much higher. The immediate rush of pleasure is something that most addicts crave and easily begin to abuse.

Many people are still under the mistaken impression that using prescription drugs to get high isn’t as bad as illegal drugs. The truth is that these drugs can actually be far more dangerous, and when they are used in combination with other drugs or alcohol, the consequences are often lethal.Roxicodone Addiction

Thousands of Americans are Addicted to Opiates

While roxicodone addiction usually happens innocently enough, it is estimated that over 13 thousand americans abuse the prescription drug, and that is only the ones we know about. For parents, it’s incredibly important to keep these kinds of medication out of the reach of children so that they don’t either accidentally overdose or decide to give them a try out of curiosity. Either of those situations could have devastating consequences.

Signs of Opiate Addiction

Roxicodone and oxycodone addiction are horrible within itself, but when the supply runs out, people often turn to heroin which is one of the worst drugs to get off of. Opioid addiction also has a long list of negative side effects, some of which include:

  • Loss of job
  • Loss of home
  • Loss of relationships and divorce
  • Failing school
  • Lack of motivation to do anything about the negative consequences
  • Depression and Anxiety
  • Financial Problems
  • Seizures
  • Cardiac Arrest & Death

Do you think you may have a Roxicodone Addiction?

Signs of addiction include:

  • Doctor “shopping”, or getting scripts from more than one doctor
  • ER trips for pain just to see if you can get a script
  • Borrowing or stealing prescriptions from others
  • Buying the drug illegally either online or in the streets
  • Anxiety about running out of the medication
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take it

 

Opiate addiction is a very big problem, and one that can quickly get out of hand and lead to death if treatment isn’t sought. If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction to any opiate – prescription or illegal, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible to get out of the grips of addiction and on the path to a normal, healthy, and sober life.

Treating Addiction to Opiate Drugs

Opiate Drugs Lighthouse RecoveryIs Medication Assisted Therapy the Solution for Addiction to Opiate Drugs?

Addiction to opiate drugs is a huge problem in the United States, as is no secret if you have been paying attention to the news at all. From all the fatal overdoses going on around the country to the high-profile death of music legend Prince, opioid addiction is a very real problem that must be faced. A solution must be found before more needless deaths occur. Different treatments are out there, but what is most effective?

Opiate Abuse Changes the Brain

When thinking about a solution, we also need to think about how opiate abuse affecOpioid Addiction Lighthouse Recoveryts the brain. Every drug, even alcohol, has short and long-term effects on the brain, and these effects create a very real chemical change that needs to be addressed to achieve sobriety. A big debate going on right now is whether it is appropriate to treat drug addiction with more drugs. On one side, drugs are the root of the issue at hand and should be eliminated completely. On the other, in a medically supervised environment, taking the right drugs the right way is a temporary crutch on the path to complete sobriety.

Medication Assisted Therapy

Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT) has been used for addiction to opiate drugs because it helps reduce the cravings caused by opioid addiction. They also help to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal, which alone can cause a relapse because of their intense discomfort. With MAT, patients receive therapy hand in hand with medication, and the results are positive – in a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 50% of opioid addicts who were treated with buprenorphine or naloxone remained sober after 18 months.

Recovery from Addiction to Opiate DrugsAddiction and Prescription Medication

The drugs used to treat opioid addiction are themselves serious medications that can cause addiction if unsupervised. With MAT and the understanding that addiction is an ongoing battle that can last a lifetime, medications can be controlled to create well-being and recovery success. Recovery is a long-term process and not a quick-fix or overnight success.

Addiction always has been and still is considered taboo in our culture, but statistics on opiate use and the number of people addiction to opiate drugs suggest that we need to start making this more mainstream so that real solutions can be found.

 

Is Making Narcan Over The Counter A Good Decision?

Selling Narcan Over the Counter Narcan OVer the Counter

Naloxone (Narcan) has recently been released in limited proportions for sale over the counter in select pharmacies and states. Selling Narcan over the counter is a bold move in what many are looking at as part of the war against drugs, specifically the war against the opioid epidemic sweeping across our country. Others see it as a cop-out for junkies – a get out of jail free card in the case of an overdose. As with anything, the lines are blurry, and the bottom line is that if lives can be saved and fatal overdoses can be prevented, it is probably a good thing.

What is Narcan?

Narcan (naloxone) is an opiate antidote. Opiates include drugs like heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, methadone, and Vicodin. Taking too much or a combination of any of these drugs can cause an overdose, symptoms of which include the slowing or stopping of breathing, leading to loss of consciousness and even death. Once a person who is ODing is in this state, it is incredibly difficult to wake them up.

Narcan blocks the effects of opioids and reverses an overdose in a patient that has taken too much of a drug. The opiates are essentially knocked out of receptors in the brain, even if the opiate was taken in addition to alcohol or another drug that can further suppress the immune system. After Narcan is administered, the overdosing person should begin to breathe more regularly, and they will be easier to wake. There are no known negative effects of Narcan, and nothing will happen to a person who is not ODing and accidentally takes the drug.

Narcan Over The Counter Is Controversial

Narcan over the counter LighthouseThere are many people who maintain that the only reason a person would get Narcan over the counter would be if they expected that they or someone they are close with will overdose. In their eyes, it’s a way of prepping for a big Friday night party, and as mentioned earlier in the article, a get out of jail free card.

In the eyes of supporters, Narcan is preventative. For the mothers and fathers who have an addict child, to the wives of an addict husband, and to the child of an addict mother – it is something to have around in the case of an overdose that can prevent death. It isn’t just for addicts – accidental overdose could happen to anyone who has prescription opiates on hand, so in a sense shouldn’t it be sold with every opiate prescription given out?

America’s Opiate Epidemic

It’s no secret that opiates are taking a huge toll on Americans. The U.S. is in the throes of an opiate epidemic and it is a long, sad, and messy road to get out of it. In 2014, 47,055 people died of a drug overdose, making it the number one leading cause of accidental death. It is a problem that is nationwide and is destroying lives regardless of age, race, class, and location. If Narcan can help reduce these numbers and save some lives, why wouldn’t we make it as available as possible?

The Death of Prince – Highlighting Fentanyl Overdose

The Prince and the Fentanyl Overdose prince fentanyl lighthouse recovery

On what would have been Prince’s birthday today, instead,  headlines scream “How did Prince get his hands on Fentanyl?” In the meantime, people in recovery laugh and say obtaining the drug that killed Prince back in April is as easy as buying a pack of cigarettes. Fentanyl overdose isn’t “new” news.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to morphine, but immensely more powerful. It is used to treat patients with severe pain, but is also readily available as a street drug and often mixed with heroin. It causes a lot of overdose and death, and addiction. To have such a well-known celebrity such as Prince die from it will maybe shed some light on the growing problem.

What is Fentanyl

Fentanyl can be up to 100 times more potent than heroin, and causes more intense and rapid onset of respiratory depression, which gives users a bigger chance of overdose. Additionally, fentanyl is often mixed with or sold as heroin, so an addict will overdose because they don’t know exactly what it is they are getting.

Deaths related to fentanyl overdose rose by 500% from 2013 to 2014, and last March, the DEA classified fentanyl as a threat to health and public safety. The drug is so dangerous because of it’s immense strength and fast-action. However, fentanyl tends to wear off fast, leaving a user wanting more, immediately – and eventually seeking out higher and higher doses.

Prince’s Fentanyl Overdose Remains a Mystery

The question about Prince is whether or not he was prescribed fentanyl, or if he obtained it illegally, through a dealer or acquaintance. He was found unresponsive after a self-administered dose, in his elevator, leaving so many questions. If he was prescribed the medicine for pain, who prescribed it? The fact that there were doctors en route to his house for an intervention make it clear that scary drug abuse was going on. It makes is sad that they were so close, but just couldn’t make it in time to save Prince’s life.

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fentanyl overdose prince lighthouseThe Truth About Drug Overdose

Most people who overdose don’t intend to. Contrary to what it may look like to the rest of us, they aren’t suicidal, and definitely don’t want to die. Overdoses happen fast, and there are a couple of factors that tend to cause them. First, they tend to happen when someone hasn’t used in a while, and thinks they can handle the same amount as they could when they stopped using last time. This isn’t the case – and people OD very easily because of this.

Second, when a person buys street drugs, they never know exactly what is in them. Heroin mixed with fentanyl is a common cause of overdose, and the people who overdose just had no idea.

In the case of Prince, we may never know all the hows and whys, but it’s safe to say he was suffering a battle of addiction, which so many of us have been through. It’s a tragedy that he is now a part of the statistic of people who don’t survive their drug use, but we can only learn from his example and make the dangers of fentanyl overdose known.

 

FDA Approves Addiction Implant to Prevent Relapse

Addiction Implant Approved by FDAIn the middle of all of the American heroin epidemic comes news that the FDA has approved an addiction implant said to help prevent relapse. The implant was approved on Thursday as an innovative option for people struggling with heroin and opioid addiction. The implant slowly releases drugs into the addicts system designed to curb craving and withdrawal symptoms for six months at a time.

New Way To Administer A Known Medication

The addiction implant is called Probuphine and is the first of its kind. There are medications out there that are designed to reduce craving and withdrawal symptoms, but the implant is an innovation. The implant contains a long-used drug, buprenorphine, which has been used for years to curb cravings and withdrawal. The benefit of an implant is that there is less of a chance for doses to be skipped, therefore reducing the chance of relapsing as a result of a missed dose.

Opioid Addiction is Rampant

Opioid Addiction implantIt is estimated that more than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids. The widespread use of opioids is attributed to doctors prescribing painkillers to patients which can, unfortunately, be devastatingly addicting.  Overdoses from these drugs are becoming commonplace and are responsible for tens of thousands of death per year – a number that is on the rise.

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About the Addiction Implant

The implant is the size of a matchstick and would normally be implanted in the upper arm in an outpatient setting, and removed the same way at the end of 6 months. It is thought that the implant will prevent people from skipping doses and therefore reduce the chance of relapse. The implant will work by slowly releasing a low dose of buprenorphine over a period of six months in a steady stream, preventing ups-and-downs and fluctuations in the patient.

In 2012, the FDA rejected Probuphine, citing that the dose was too small and unlikely to help addicts in recovery. This time around, additional evidence and data were submitted, and in addition, it received positive enforcement from federal advisers earlier this year.

The addiction implant is intended to be part of addiction treatment, not the whole thing. Meaning, it should be coupled with therapy and other methods to help keep an addict away from drugs and relapse.

There is no doubt that something needs to be done to curb the opioid epidemic in America, and this is a step in the right direction. As more doctors and clinics get on-board with the idea of an implant, the more addicts can be saved from relapse and go on to live healthy lives.

Searching for a Way Out of America’s Opioid Epidemic

Opioid Use is RampantAmericas Opioid Epidemic

Opioid abuse has become an all-American epidemic, unique to our country and widespread enough to be called a public health outbreak. Abuse covers all ages, races, classes, and genders, however, the most typical victim is a non-Hispanic Caucasian male in his mid-30s.

In emergency rooms, nurses are not surprised when new overdose patients are rolled in on stretchers. Overdose is becoming so widely common that many doctors no longer need to run lab tests to determine which drug caused it. Observations such as dilated pupils mean cocaine, amphetamines, and hallucinogens. Constricted pupils almost always point to an opiate.

Opiate abuse also causes the characteristic “nodding out”, scratching, cold and clammy skin. In the wrong amounts, overdose is always just a few breaths away – and when that breath begins to sound like a rattle – the person is officially in the midst of an overdose that all too frequently leads to death.

The thought of a loved one – anyone – dying like this is terrifying, and reality is that every 19 minutes, one person in this country dies of opioid overdose. Hydrocodone, OxyContin, and Percocet are three examples of this medication, the only one known to man that is routinely prescribed and kills patients so frequently.

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How Did The Opioid Epidemic Get So Bad?

The United States is embarrassingly leading the charge in opioid abuse. 75% of the world’s opioid prescription drugs are prescribed here, and it is the number one cause of preventable death. We can’t point our fingers in one direction to place blame, however, certain pharmaceutical companies and doctors certainly had a heavy hand in leading to these statistics.

The FDA was misled for years about the true nature of opioid dependence so that big pharmaceutical companies could sell more drugs and make more money. Doctors often turn a blind eye to the reality of these drugs, accepting lame scientific data and continue writing out prescriptions, ignoring the obvious red flags.

Some staggering facts include:

  • 259 million opioid prescriptions are written yearly – enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills
  • 91% of people who survived an overdose are able to get a new prescription, often from the same doctor
  • 80% of heroin users started off using pain pills
  • As many as 4.2 million Americans have reported using heroin at least once
  • 94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were more expensive and difficult to obtain.
  • Heroin overdose deaths in women have tripled in the past few years.

 

Opioid AbusePutting an End to Prescription Abuse

The opioid industry has gotten so huge that it will take a long time to shift practices and make a positive change. As policy makers start to learn about the epidemic – and it can’t be ignored for much longer – they will begin to modify regulations. Small changes can already be seen, pills coming with safeguards to make them more difficult to abuse, the Centers for Disease Control recommending doctors not to prescribe opioids for chronic pain, monitoring of controlled substances, but much of the responsibility lies with each doctor.

Doctors need to discuss options and the realities of addiction with their patients and be more vigilant in what and how they are prescribing medications. Expectations must be set, and follow up is necessary. Knowing more about a patient’s history is key – for example, if a patient has a history of drug or alcohol abuse, they should never be prescribed addictive drugs. Opioids should always be considered an end-of-the-line resource instead of the first thing handed out.

Those of us in recovery are tired of hearing about friends and loved ones overdosing. We are sick of the same familiar and sad story. It isn’t too late to make a change, but in order for the severity of this to end, doctors need to step up and tighten up their prescription policies.

 

Discovering How to Artificially Produced Opioids Could Be a VERY Bad Thing

Artificially Produced Opioids

A seemingly insane story started to sweep around the internet a couple of months ago. Scientists had, it goes, been able to synthesize opioids from yeast cultures.

Think about that for one second – scientists in a lab had been able to artificially produce opioids. We’re not talking about scrapping opium poppies, taking the raw opium back to a lab, and producing painkillers.

No, we’re talking about a team in a lab, probably dressed in HAZMAT suits, cooking up completely synthetic opioids.

That’s a terrifying prospect when you really consider it.

We weren’t sure how to feel about it here at Lighthouse. After all, who knew if it was true and, more importantly, who knew the positive and negative impacts this discovery might have on our culture at large.

Then we read this excellent article. In it, author David DiSalvo explores some of those positive and negative impacts.

It’s interesting stuff. Read on for a breakdown of his ideas and our own spin on whether 100% artificial opioids are a blessing or a curse.

Benefits of Synthetically Produced Opioids

Before getting into any doomsday prophecies, it’s important to look at some of the very real benefits that synthetically produced opioids may offer. DiSalvo makes this very clear in his article and I couldn’t agree more.

Artificially made opioids can lead to a whole host of positive effects, including things like:

  • Increased production of painkillers both inside and outside of the US
  • Unique additions to any given chemical which can potentially produce less addictive drugs
  • Painkillers would most likely become cheaper to produce which would enable them to be distributed to those who need them most, rather than those with good insurance

 

DiSalvo touches on these in his article. I’d like to add one of my own.

If creating opioids of all shapes and sizes starts to take place solely in labs, there’s a good chance this’ll lead to a decrease in “opium farms.” This, in turn, could lead to a decrease in the illegal production of morphine, heroin, and other potent chemicals.

There are a few ifs in that scenario. Still, it makes logical sense that increasing production of opioids in labs will lead to decreased production in the Middle East.

Okay, those are the positives. Now let’s look at some of the potentially disastrous side effects of mass-producing artificial opioids in a lab.

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Drawbacks of Synthetically Produced Opioids

The first thing DiSalvo makes clear is the connection between synthetically creating narcotics and the other synthetic drug explosion in recent years.

He writes, “Right now more than 160,000 labs in China are pumping out synthetic drugs for buyers across the globe” (Forbes).

Call them bath salts, flakka, gravel, or any of their other ridiculous names. The point is the same – when creating drugs in a lab, there’s the potential that someone can, and most likely will, start creating those same drugs for a different purpose.

America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. That much is old news. Do we really need another source of painkillers for our population to consume? Do we really need to outsource that production (as it were) to illicit labs in foreign countries?

negative effects of artifical painkillers

Of course those are worst-case scenarios. Still, they’re worth considering. After all, look what happened to Tramadol in Egypt.

There’s another angle that DiSalvo doesn’t touch on that bears examining. I’m talking about the simple idea of supply and demand.

There’s likely always going to be a demand for painkillers and other opioids. If the supply increases – as artificial production is refined, it’s going to cost less and less to produce these pills – and demand remains steady, then the price of black-market opioids is going to drop.

On one hand this is a good thing. After all, it takes money out of the pockets of drug dealers. On the other hand, though, this is horrible. Incredibly addictive and powerful chemicals could become available for pennies on the dollar.

That’s a scary thought!

So What?

That’s a good question reader! So what? Why does any of this matter? A small group of scientists were able to create thebaine and hydrocodone from yeast. That’s a far cry from any scenarios mentioned above, good or bad!

This stuff matters because it gives us the opportunity to be prepared! Remember when OxyContin first emerged in the late ‘90s? No one saw it coming and it started the painkiller epidemic – it fundamentally changed America.

We have the opportunity to avoid that if, and most likely when, synthetically produced opioids start to cause trouble.

What do you think? Let us know on social media!

The Real Difference Between Pain Pills and Heroin

Pain Pills and Heroin: What’s the Real Difference?

Vicodin vs Percocet

When I think about the difference between pain pills and heroin, I immediately ask myself “what difference?”

I’ve been addicted to heroin and more pain pills than I can count. My addiction started with Percocet and moved to OxyContin. Along the way, I wanted to know more about Vicodin vs. Percocet. The only difference between these two was the strength and the absence of fillers like Tylenol.

As my disease progressed, the money I made from the pills I sold (to support the larger amount of pills I took) wasn’t enough. Naturally, I turned to something thought of as much darker. I turned to heroin.

Pills aren’t nearly as stigmatized as heroin is. Even within addict circles, heroin is often seen as a big “no-no.” Because of this stigma, I kept my addiction hidden for a long time.

What do you do if your child is using prescription pills?

Do Pain Pills and Heroin Feel the Same?

After I went to treatment and learned about addiction as a disease, I realized there wasn’t any difference between the pills I began my addiction with, or the heroin I ended it with. I liked heroin because it produced exactly the same high as pain pills, but was much cheaper.

Learn more about heroin addiction

Which is Worse?

What’s the difference between Oxycodone and OxyContin? It’s a question I hear often and for good reason – plenty of confusion surrounds the subject. Heroin and prescription pain pills affect the same neuroreceptors and create the same physical dependence. Withdrawal from both pain pills and heroin is exactly the same. Opioid withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, pain, muscle cramps and spasms, hot and cold sweats, and diarrhea.

Both pain pills and heroin are semi-synthetic drugs derived from the opium poppy. That means at the end of the day there’s little difference between Vicodin vs Percocet. Both are central nervous system depressants and analgesics (pain-blockers). Both are highly addictive. Both produce tolerance and dependence in users.

To put it another way, there’s no difference between a pain pill addiction and a heroin addiction. One isn’t worse than the other. In fact, they’re both pretty devastating addictions. Many wonder, “Is Vicodin stronger than Percocet?” Medical professionals can point to the opioids within, but those struggling with addiction have their own reasons for asking.

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Pain Pills and Heroin: What’s On the Rise?

Over the past ten years, the amount of people addicted to prescription pain pills has increased substantially. In fact, 79.5% of individuals who report using heroin in the past year had previously abused prescription pain pills.

This statistic makes me wonder if, like me, those users made the switch to heroin after their pain pill habit became too expensive. Many will similarly want to know what is the difference between hydrocodone and oxycodone? As we’ve established, very little given the minimal missing links to active opioids and heroin.

Do you know someone suffering from a pain pill addiction? What about a heroin addiction? Both are progressive and deadly diseases, therefore successful treatment must be just as progressive and specialized. Fortunately, Lighthouse Recovery Institute takes this idea to heart.

We offer Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment, so our patients can focus on what’s important while in treatment and begin living healthy and successful lives.

Call Lighthouse today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015 to learn more about the importance of gender-specific substance abuse treatment.

Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Guiding You to a Brighter Tomorrow

Is Tramadol more addictive than heroin?

 

 

Are There Dangerous Chemicals in Children’s Cough Syrup?

Don’t Give Kids Codeine!

We’ve been warned about giving children medicines with codeine for decades. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued their first in 1997. That’s almost twenty years ago.

children taking codeine

Fast forward to 2013 when the FDA issued a warning about giving children codeine. The European Medicines Agency issued a similar warning in April of this year, stating codeine “must not be used” by adolescents under twelve.

So, with all these warnings, why are almost 900,000 prescriptions written each year for “children’s strength codeine?” Why is codeine commonly given to adolescents for everything from cough suppression, to sinus infections, to constipation? Why are kids between eight and twelve years old the most likely to be prescribed this opioid?

While I don’t have an answer to these questions, I do have some good news. The FDA is seriously considering taking codeine off the market for children, at least according to a recent announcement.

On July 1st, the FDA released a statement regarding codeine use in children. It reads, in part,

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating the possible risks of using codeine-containing medicines to treat coughs and colds in children under 18 years because of the potential for serious side effects, including slowed or difficult breathing. We are evaluating all available information and will also consult with external experts by convening an advisory committee to discuss these safety issues. We will communicate our final conclusions when our review is complete” (The FDA).

Does Suboxone work at blocking heroin and painkillers?

What is Codeine?

I’m a fan of any decision that takes drugs out of the hands’ of children. Still, why is this FDA investigation into codeine happening now? Why not in 1997 or even years before that?

Well, to understand why codeine is so dangerous for children (explained in detail below), we first need to look at what exactly codeine is.

Codeine is the chemical name for the world’s most consumed opioid. It’s sold under hundreds of brand names worldwide, including Tylenol 3.

Codeine itself is incredibly similar to morphine. In fact, it’s what’s known as a methylated-morphine or a slightly altered form of morphine. It’s also converted into pure morphine by the body.

Codeine has a long history of both medical and recreational use. Its synthesis dates back to 1832 and its recreational use started not long after. Opium and morphine were already popular drugs of abuse and codeine soon joined them.

Today, codeine is considered one of the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines. It’s used worldwide more than any other opioid and is generally thought to be one of the safest. While it’s certainly safer than, say, hydrocodone (Vicodin) or hydromorphone (Dilaudid), it’s still dangerous for children and the elderly.

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Why’s it So Dangerous for Children?

There are two main reasons codeine is deemed dangerous for children and older adults. First, there’s the potential for addiction. While codeine is certainly less addictive than stronger opioids, it still does pose a significant risk for abuse and addiction.

As if that wasn’t enough, codeine also presents a significant danger to children because of how it’s converted to morphine. Once someone metabolizes codeine, it’s carried to the brain and converted to morphine.

This conversion happens much quicker in some individuals. They, in turn, have a high concentration of morphine in their blood. This leads to classic opioid overdose symptoms, including shallow breathing, reduced heart rate and respiration, and unconsciousness.

This risk is increased in children who have asthma or other difficulties breathing.

So, what should parents do if their child is prescribed codeine? Well, first you should ask your doctor about any nonnarcotic alternatives. While codeine is wonderful at suppressing a cough, so are other, less dangerous medicines.

Parents should also be aware and watch for signs of codeine intoxication. These are similar to those listed above, things like drowsiness and general “spacey” behavior. Find a more detailed list of codeine overdose symptoms here.

If your child is exhibiting any of these, seek immediate medical attention. It’s better to be safe than be sorry.

An increasing number of pregnant woman are taking painkillers…what’s going on?

This Painkiller is Non Addictive & Works Better Than Opioids!

A Miracle Pill?

non narcotic painkillers
chemical structure of Exparel via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Paul B. Jacob is no stranger to the devastating effects opioids can have on unwitting patients. The Oklahoma doctor has seen many of his patients struggle with dependence on this powerful family of drugs over the years.

When asked about the potential dangers of opioids, he responded,

“A staggering 70 million patients receive opioids in a hospital or clinic following surgery each year…What most people don’t know is that one in 15 of these patients end up using these drugs long-term” (Edmond Sun).

Dr. Jacob was sure there had to be a better solution to post-surgery pain management than Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin, and other opioids.

Well, it looks like there is. Enter Exparel, a local anesthetic that’s been making waves in the medical community recently. Not only has it shown some serious potential as a pain management drug, but it’s also decreased surgical recovery time.

Read on to learn about Exparel and its impact on doctors prescribing opioids!

Speaking of whether painkillers are effective…does Suboxone really block opioids?

The Benefits of Exparel

Dr. Jacob has touted the effectiveness of Exparel as an alternative to opioids for a little while now. He’s used the drug in his pain management and post surgery regimen and had some real success.

He’ll inject his patient with the chemical towards the end of surgery. This renders post surgery opioid medicines obsolete. This, in turn, almost completely removes the risk of addiction and other common opioid side effects (think nausea, constipation, etc.).

In a recent article in the Edmond Sun, one of Dr. Jacob’s patients is quoted as saying she had no pain after a knee replacement and was walking the same day. She went on to say that she was fully recuperated within ten days.

That’s pretty impressive!

When asked about whether opioid painkillers were still medically necessary, Dr. Jacob said,

“In the post-surgery setting, narcotics are no longer our only or best option…we need to move away from our ‘opioid-centric’ pain management and incorporate non-narcotic alternatives…into our standard of care. Turning off the flow of opioids from the postsurgical setting is a simple, actionable step we can take today to prevent one more person from going down the road to addiction” (Edmond Sun).

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What Exactly is Exparel?

Okay, it’s clear that Exparel has some serious benefits when compared with narcotics, but what exactly is this chemical? How is it able to control pain so well? More importantly, is it safe for patients?

Well, without getting too scientific, Exparel is the brand name of Bupivacaine. Bupivacaine is amino amide local anesthetic. That means it blocks nerve signals from firing and, by doing so, significantly reduces pain signals that reach the brain.

Bupivacaine is listed as one of the World Health Organization’s “Essential Medicines.” It’s also the most commonly used drug for pregnancy epidurals.

Despite this popularity, there are some risks associated with Exparel. It’s incredibly damaging to heart tissue and can trigger hypotension, an arrhythmia, or even a heart attack. These side effects are incredibly rare, but do exist.

So, what’s the final verdict? Is bupivacaine a miracle pill that can erase the need for opioids? Is it going to help fight the tight of prescription painkiller abuse in America? Or is it another promising medicine that simply won’t pan out?

That remains to be seen. Although bupivacaine and Exparel have been around for quite some time, they’ve only recently begun to be used as an alternative to traditional opioids.

One thing’s for sure – anything that cuts down on the staggering amount of opioid prescriptions being written each year is a good thing. We can all agree on that!

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