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Showing posts from 2018

48.3 miillion dollars buys a whole lot of margaritas: Canada takes on Purdue

Canada reported 4,00o fatal opiate overdoses last year and movement is underway to seek settlement from companies who not only under-reported the addictive effects of opiods, but also promoted their product to physicians through "perks" such as lavish vacations. According to Andrea Woo of  The Globe and Mail (Vancouver):
"Ten of Canada’s largest pharmaceutical companies have voluntarily disclosed that they spent at least $48.3-million collectively on payments to physicians and health-care organizations in 2016, but critics say the figures are incomplete and fall well short of genuine transparency."

$48.3 million?  Even if it is under-reported, it sure sounds like a whole lot of wining and dining and fancy hotel rooms to me.

Perdue Pharma LD has already paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in civil and criminal proceedings in the US in settlements related to their misleading information regarding OxyConton.  Although Perdue has not made a submission of guilt in Ca…

Authentic help..a ride to treatment!

I just love stories like this...

   Uber has teamed up with Goodwill in a pilot program to provide free transportation for Virginians trying to get to treatment services for opiate addiction.  If you have read my book, The Weight of a Feather: A Mother's Journey through the Opiate Addiction Crisis, you know I am a real fan of real help, not talk about help, not referral for help but genuine help, when you need it.

    Transportation is formidable obstacle in the way of treatment.  Transportation takes money and worse yet, when you live in an area without public transportation and you don't have access to a car, lack of transportation may be the bullet that kills any opportunity for treatment.  Sue Medeiros from the Chesterfield County Mental Health Support Services Department seems to have nailed it with her comment: "There's often a very small window when the individual is open to treatment--so we have to be ready with whatever we have."  Amen.


The Power of Stories: Trump's New Initiative

"There is power in stories."  As the opiate crisis continues, we hear this comment more and more.  However, its overuse does not in any way undermine the truth of the statement.

A couple of days ago President Trump began soliciting stories of recovery--labeling the current situation as the crisis next door-- and already the link is flooded with stories of recovery.  So often the media focuses on overdoses, a way to convey the exigency of the current situation and elicit sympathy rather than distain for those impacted by addiction.  And yet for every tragic story, there are thousands of stories that have satisfactory, if not happy endings.

I think President Trump's initiative has potential.  Although addiction may leave a path of destruction and heartbreak in its wake, it is not, after all, a death sentence.  Millions have found a pathway to recovery. Just a few years ago, a person looking for treatment faced one obstacle after another--hospital and insurance policies, la…

Overdue or overdose: A librarian's dilemma

Those who thought the digital age would signal the death of libraries seriously underestimated the versatility of librarians.  Libraries have been diligent in re-purposing themselves from their traditional role to providing computer access and trainings to becoming a home for writing groups, speakers and clubs.  And now it seems that a librarian's role is being stretched a bit further.

   Those of us who live in small-town America may be oblivious to challenges faced by inner-city libraries, but a recent article by Annie Correal in the New York Times highlights the issue:  drug users are finding libraries a convenient place to hang out, shoot up and sometimes--unfortunately-- overdose.  In many places around the country, librarians are being trained on the use of Narcan, the brand name of naloxone, which is used to reverse overdoses.  Responses are mixed:  some are reluctant to get trained, citing their lack of medical background and issues of liability while others take on the…

The Language of Addiction ... A Family Disease? Think again!

In his play Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare poses the question:  "What's in a name?"  He muses on the question by saying,  "That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet."

Well, I get the point... sort of, but I'm not sure I agree.  I bet if we called a rose a "stink blossom", or a "wailing tooth ache bud", it may not smell quite as sweet.  Why?  Because words have connotations as well as meanings and those connotations are what shape our perceptions.

This is not a novel idea.  People change the name of things to change the perception of things.  We've seen it happen time and time again.  Janitors became custodians, garbage men became sanitation workers, stewardesses became flight attendants and store clerks became associates.  What was behind all these name changes?  An attempt to provide dignity to positions, to wipe away old associations and start anew.

And so it is with the language used to describe addiction as…

Fentanyl: Injecting a Loaded Gun

“You’re injecting yourself with a loaded gun.”

In an interview with STAT, Tim Pifer, the director of the New Hampshire State Police Forensic Laboratory described the role that fenanayl currently plays in drug usage.

What makes fentanyl so deadly?A picture tells it all:

New Hampshire State Police Forensic Lab

In identical bottles pictured to the left, you see a lethal dose of heroin, as compared to a lethal dose of fentanyl. Notice how similar the two substances look. Notice what a tiny amount of fentanyl it takes to cause a death.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Fentanyl can be as much as 100 times more potent than other pain killers.  Even  worse...Street drugs are generally made in home labs, so precise accurate measurements of fentanyl added to other drugs is questionable.In fact, unlikely.
Consequently, a person taking a dose of heroin, for example, has no idea how much, if any, fentanyl has been added to the mix to increase potency.W…

A map for finding addiction resources and a magnifying glass for showing a lack of them

FacingAddiction, which has now merged with NCADD, has recently launched a Resource Addiction Hub which can be found on their website.The Hub allows you to identify resources as varied as treatment, counseling, recovery, advocacy, legal, and prevention, giving two options:find it or map it.It is not only a convenient way to find resources where you live; it is a handy tool to refer to when you are traveling or simply away visiting friends.Congrats to those who put together such a useful tool --- definitely worth checking out!
If you scroll along the map that is provided, you’ll find most resources are concentrated in major cities.Notice all the empty spaces around the cities. They’re not really empty -- thousands of people live in those empty areas and some of those desperately need the services that are found only in cities.Besides being a good resource tool, the Hub provides a clear visual of the dilemma experienced by those who live in rural areas.In some rural a…

Healer or Dealer?? A Doctor shares his view...

Healer or Dealer – a doctor shares his own story to illustrate the challenges of treating addiction
“A disturbing dance of deception with an opioid-addicted patient”, an intriguing title for an article written by Siddhartha Mukherjee in 1/4/2018 issue of The New York Times Magazine.The author uses his own experience with the insistent demands of a patient in what he calls the “opioid pre-epidemic” to highlight the challenges faced by doctors in the early wave of addiction:not only a lack of adequate training and false information but also a dramatic change in the traditional doctor-patient role.
As Dr. Mukherjee so skillfully expresses it:“The doctor shifts from healer to dealer….The doctor is, at first, the enabler and the supplier, and then the tormentor, the withholder, the liar, the enemy.”Rather than “fix” the patient, a doctor is urged to provide “a fix”.The result is a doctor-patient relationship characterized by suspicion.Doctors today have increased knowledge and understanding …

Where it all began....

I started this blog because I wanted to share information and some of my own thoughts about issues and concerns within the arena of opiate addiction.
I am the mother of a son who was addicted to heroin for six grueling years.Until I found myself in this situation, I had no idea of the horrible gut-wrenching frightening experience it can be living with someone who has an addiction nor did I have any idea of the number of stumbling blocks that lie on the road to recovery.Once my son reached recovery, I thought I could breathe a sigh of relief and move on. However, that did not happen.Instead I found myself thinking of all the people who still face a situation similar to mine and remembering the loneliness and frustration I felt while going through it.I decided to write a book about these experiences as a way of connecting with others in my situation and providing some direction for change.The result was The Weight of a Feather:A Mother’s Journey through the Opiate Crisis.
In addition to m…