More communities across the U.S. are facing the devastation of opioid overdose. The impact on families is profound as they often struggle with questions of “Could we have done more?” and ponder what else must be done to address this growing national epidemic.
Highlighted in the news this week was the heroin overdose death of a Louisville cheerleader and the suspected opioid overdose death of a 27 year old man in North Carolina found slumped behind the wheel of his pick-up truck with an empty bottle of painkillers and a spoon beside him.
Naloxone is an FDA-approved medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist and consequently knocks opiates off of the body’s opioid receptor sites thus reversing central nervous system and respiratory depression which are the most dangerous consequences of opioid overdose. In many cases, naloxone quickly restores breathing and allows overdose victims to regain consciousness in a relatively short period of time. Naloxone is administered by injection or intranasally as a mist.
An increasing number of emergency first responders are now carrying naloxone kits as are some police units in select areas of the country. Local government is now more involved too with new legislation having been proposed in the last year to dramatically increase funding for the provision of naloxone kits.
Ideally, naloxone will one day become readily available without prescription to anyone via their local pharmacy. There is no upside to politicizing something as beneficial as naloxone because it simply saves lives. Note that the medication itself produces no drug high.
Further validating the merits of opioid treatment using methadone is a recent article by The Canadian Press outlining the findings of Canada’s Medical Health Officer in British Columbia, Dr. Perry Kendall.
Dr. Kendall’s report documents that individuals in opioid substitution therapy are twice as likely to survive compared to those who obtain opioids illegally on the street. Those in opioid addiction therapy were also found to be much more cost effective to society (about $4200 per year for treatment) compared to those with untreated addictions whose costs are estimated to be $45,000 per year collectively in health complications, law enforcement involvement, and other social problems such as loss of income.
The province of British Columbia is currently treating over 15,000 residents for opioid addiction. Their health minister, Terry Lake, is quoted as saying that he was encouraged by the findings in the report and that he knows opioid substitution therapy is not only saving lives, but equates to significant savings for the Canadian healthcare system and society.
In a related story, youth struggling with opioid addiction are being helped in Canada by the increased availability of suboxone. Sean Morrison of the Strengths youth addiction services discussed the benefit that suboxone offers in eliminating opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings so that young people can stabilize and focus more quickly on addiction recovery goals.
While opposition is still present in the USA from certain groups regarding the establishment of methadone treatment services near their community, the medical community and various treatment providers are increasingly able to demonstrate good outcomes with methadone and suboxone supported services. The science of addiction treatment using methadone and suboxone is powerful & compelling – thus legitimizing its increased availability to people who need it. Simply put, opioid substitution therapy saves lives and produces irrefutable medical and psychological benefits for those people struggling in addiction.
Methadone is FDA-approved for pain management and the treatment of opioid addiction. Methadone is a relatively safe and highly effective medication when used exactly as prescribed. It is currently in use in the United States and around the world following years of conclusive research on methadone’s efficacy and safety.
It is important for patients receiving methadone to know that it can interact with other central nervous system depressants like alcohol and benzodiazepines such as xanax, klonopin, valium, and librium as well as similarly acting non-benzodiazepine agents like ambien (a popular sleep aid). When methadone is mixed with these other medications, there is an increased risk of sedation and loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, individuals mixing methadone and other CNS depressants have gone into respiratory failure.
For those who have chosen to receive methadone in an opioid treatment program, they will discover that a proper dose of methadone not only eliminates opiate withdrawal & cravings, but will also block the euphoric effects of any other opiates. This is typically a positive side effect in that it discourages illicit opiate use or supplementing with street drugs like heroin. Since methadone binds so well to the brain’s opiate receptor sites, any other opiates that are ingested have no means of creating a euphoria or a high since the body’s opiate receptors are occupied by methadone. This removes the incentive to misuse other opiates and can facilitate the process of recovery.
There are instances in which a patient’s physician has prescribed a benzodiazepine for anxiety management while also prescribing methadone. Such decisions should always be accompanied by a thorough discussion with one’s doctor of the potential risks & complications. There are other, safer alternatives for treating anxiety such as Buspar and cognitive therapy. These other options should be considered when a patient is already receiving methadone. In addiction treatment, the use of benzodiazepines for anxiety is typically monitored carefully through increased random urinalysis testing and medication counts.
Posted in Benzodiazepine, Buprenorphine, Drug Safety, Heroin, Methadone, Methadone Blog, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Methadone Safety, Prescription Drugs, Suboxone
Tagged alcohol, klonopin, overdose, xanax
The Healing Way is a newly opened opioid treatment facility in Philadelphia, PA offering methadone maintenance and outpatient therapy for opioid addicted individuals. They treat other substance addictions as well.
The clinic dispenses medication every day of the week and provides both individual and group counseling to its patients.
Located at 7900 Frankford Avenue, The Healing Way is conveniently accessed in the northeast Philly area. As their clinic is new, its official website is not yet active but residents of Philadelphia may want to bookmark their site for future reference at www.TheHealingWay.net.
Also recently added to Methadone.US is BHG Recovery’s facility listing in Humble, Texas. BHG is a leading provider of opioid addiction treatment services in eight states. Their Humble treatment facility also serves residents in the Kingwood community and other areas of north Houston, Texas. Note that BHG provide a video overview of their services specific to each of their treatment locations. Viewers can browse more information on BHG’s programs by visiting our San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Wichita Falls methadone clinic pages. BHG offer buprenorphine (Suboxone) in addition to methadone maintenance services.
For residents of the Chesapeake, Virginia area there are two opioid addiction treatment centers that provide opioid replacement medication including methadone and buprenorphine. Methadone.US lists both methadone clinics and independent buprenorphine doctors on each of our city pages. We also feature providers who opt to showcase their particular treatment centers to our online audience by offering an enhanced listing with additional program details.
Affinity Healthcare Group is one such provider. Affinity have outpatient clinics in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach, Virginia and make available to their patients methadone or suboxone to eradicate painful opioid withdrawal symptoms. Affinity Healthcare Group maintain an excellent, informative website for patients and the public which offers enlightening descriptions of how methadone and suboxone work to facilitate recovery from addiction. The organization operates with a working philosophy to treat all patients with dignity and respect.
The Chesapeake Treatment Center is another local clinic that helps those addicted to opiates. Chesapeake Treatment Center utilizes methadone and incorporates some other additional services into their program such as case management, addiction education, and aftercare.
Methadone.US aims to educate the general public on the value of medication-assisted therapies and to help promote recovery from opioid addiction. Addiction is a potentially fatal illness, but treatment works and treatment allows those stuck in a cycle of chaos to finally reclaim hope and the opportunity to make a new start. Medication assistance, such as methadone, is the highest standard of care and is an approved medical intervention for moderate to severe opioid addiction. It is fully endorsed by SAMHSA (the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration).
If you would like to feature your opioid addiction treatment services on Methadone.US, contact us today!
Guilford County is the third most populated county in the state of North Carolina. Located within Guilford County are the cities of Greensboro and High Point – both of which are experiencing a surprising increase in opioid addiction and related overdoses.
The High Point Enterprise news reported that the High Point Vice and Narcotics unit has begun to make a favorable impact on the problem with multiple arrests of those trafficking heroin locally. The article documents that 70 reported High Point opioid overdoses have occurred thus far in 2014 with 9 of those ending in death. Six people were arrested the week of July 14 and are being held on multi-million dollar bonds for their roles in selling or trafficking heroin. To emphasize the local impact, the HP Enterprise reported that 7 overdoses occurred within a 24 hour period on May 16, 2014.
Just 15 miles away in the neighboring city of Greensboro, Rhino Times covered the local explosion in heroin addiction much of which has been driven by individuals turning to heroin when they could no longer obtain prescription opioids like oxycodone. Rhino Times interviewed the Director of Guilford County Emergency Services, Jim Albright, who stated that a particularly strong strain of heroin hit the streets of Greensboro in late April, 2014.
Over the weekend of April 25, the Guilford County EMS responded to an avalanche of calls in response to people overdosing on the new potent version of heroin. Mr. Albright is reported to have identified that 21 overdoses and 5 deaths occurred just in that one weekend. Due to the potency of the drugs, some victims were found with a needle still in their arm.
Highlighted in the article was the life saving properties of Narcan, a drug that quickly reverses the dangerous overdose effects of opiates. Narcan can be administered by injection or squirted into the nasal cavity. As it is absorbed into the body, it restores breathing to those that have overdosed. Narcan is now kept in first responder vehicles, firetrucks, and ambulances. Visit Alcohol & Drug Services for more on Narcan and opioid overdose prevention kits.
For information on methadone as a treatment for opioid addiction, click here.
Posted in Buprenorphine, Drug Treatment, Heroin, Methadone, Methadone Blog, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Treatment, Naloxone, Naltrexone, Opiate Addiction, Opiate Treatment, Opiate Withdrawal, Prescription Drugs, Suboxone, Suboxone Physicians