On the 27th of June, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hosted an Online Opioid Summit to discuss the impact of the digital marketplace on the real-world issue of drug abuse in America. According to earlier reports, the summit was meant to encourage tech officials to collaborate on new initiatives that would take stronger action when it comes to illegal opioids being marketed online. With opioid addiction being such a huge issue today, more effort is being put into stopping the spread of prescription drugs.
However, the summit eventually stirred up a bit on controversy. On one side, the tech companies believe the pharmaceutical companies should be held accountable for the opioid crisis. Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies pointed to the tech industry as being more responsible.
So while the hope was to use this summit as an opportunity to bring people together, it still created a new version of the opioid blame game. Should the tech industry really be taking more of the blame?
Tech Leaders in Washington
The summit was organized to bring together leaders in the tech industry, along with academic researchers and advocacy groups. Part of the big draw included representatives from Silicon Valley and social media empires, such as:
The Online Opioid Summit also welcomed lobbyists and government officials to participate in the discussion. The involvement of the tech industry in the opioid crisis has been brought up a lot these past few months in Washington, D.C., including:
- The testimony of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Congress months ago
- At the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in April, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that the tech industry had not done enough when it came to getting rid of illegal drug sales and marketing online.
- When the FDA sent letters to nine companies, which are responsible for operating 53 online pharmacies, and instructed them to cease the marketing of opioids.
Initially, the FDA’s invitation for the summit suggested the FDA planned to ask tech companies, such as Google and other social media giants, to sign what it called a “Pledge to Reduce the Availability of Illicit Opioids Online.” Had this plan gone through, the pledge would have been published 30 days after the summit.
Tech Industry Pushing Back
However, the FDA decided not to follow through with the plan after speaking at length with tech industry leaders. This may be because the tech companies are pushing back against the claims that they should be held more accountable to the illicit sale of opioids online.
One day before the summit the Internet Association held a call with reporters prior to the summit. For those who aren’t aware, the Internet Association represents various tech industry interests, such as:
A representative from the Internet Association reportedly cited research by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The studies they point out state that most people misusing opioids get them from non-online sources.
And even when you do consider the online sale of opioids, reports indicate that either:
- Most illegal online opioid sales are happening on the dark web.
- Some “open” websites claim to sell opioids but actually do not. They actually steal people’s information.
Needless to say, the tech industry is not willing to let the burden on blame rest on their shoulders. However, some still say that does not mean they are unwilling to take steps.
Tech Taking Small Steps on Opioids
In order to eliminate opioid sales online, some of the biggest names in the tech industry are taking steps, even small ones. For example:
Google implemented a special tool on its homepage back in April to help promote the DEA’s Drug Take-Back Day.
This social media cornerstone is redirecting users who are trying to buy opioids on the platform to a help hotline.
As a part of the bigger Facebook family, the photo-sharing app Instagram now monitors hashtags that relate to opioids.
An official from the Internet Association states that many of the trade group’s members:
“-have partnered with nonprofits, health groups and the federal government to educate people about the epidemic and prevent it from spreading.”
While it is a start, some are still asking more of the tech industry. Libby Baney, an advisor to the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, tells Wired that beyond the small changes being made, these companies also need to acknowledge the role they have played. Baney states:
“This is a historic opportunity to do more with what we already know is true.”
“If it ends up being us versus them and there’s pointing fingers and a lot of ‘We’re already doing this or that,’ that’s an old-school way of thinking that isn’t responsive to the public health need.”
According to Wired, one FDA spokesperson made statements suggesting that this shouldn’t be labeled a loss,
“We will consolidate the feedback and ideas discussed at the summit and turn it into an actionable plan—not just for those in the room but for all internet stakeholders to join.”
For now, the FDA worries that as other means of obtaining opioids are restricted, the online marketplace will keep growing. Hopefully, the tech industry will continue to work with the FDA and other government agencies to find the most efficient and proactive methods for keeping illegal online pharmacies from exploiting their platforms to distribute dangerous drugs.
Should we hold the tech industry responsible for some of the issues with illegal opioid sales? Should they be doing more to help curb the illegal opioid market? Surely, we cannot blame Facebook or Google for the opioid crisis. But what role can they play in helping slow the spread of drugs?
Furthermore, thing we can do to fight addiction together is to make as many resources for effective addiction treatment more available. Part of overcoming the opioid crisis is getting people who are struggling the help that they need. This means offering medical detox options and holistic treatment programs. The easier for people to find reliable treatment resources, the better chance we all have of making our country safer.
Palm Healthcare Company believes in supporting innovation and offering a personalized path for each individual trying to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. We do our best to connect with those who need us most and help them better understand the opportunities available to them. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.
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Support for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has continued to grow in recent years as the opioid epidemic in America has put a mounting strain on the country. While the numbers of overdoses and opioid-related deaths have steadily climbed to devastating heights there has been more effort to explore treatment options. A better understanding of the medical and mental health aspects of addiction has become a priority. Stigma has slowly begun to carry less weight while advocates push for more effective and supportive routes to care for recovering addicts. One thing people have turned to heavily is medications like Suboxone of Methadone in attempts to steer away from more illicit and dangerous substances like heroin or fentanyl.
The application of medication in treatment can be very useful. It is a strategy that can help with the preservation of life by helping people stay off more unpredictable and life-threatening substances. However, some would say that if used for long-term this form of treatment is still relying on the idea of substitution. Often times these drugs have their own very harsh withdrawal symptoms, especially with extended use.
Taking a look at the more popular drugs used for medication-assisted treatment, one may ask- can you quit medication-assisted treatment with no withdrawals?
Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment
Medication Assisted Treatment is the use of anti-craving medications to try and help address issues related to drug dependence, withdrawal, and relapse. The more common medications used in MAT include:
But MAT is also utilized alongside comprehensive therapy and other forms of support. Experts and advocates for addiction recovery, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), insist that maintenance medications alone are not sufficient enough treatment.
Advocates for medication-assisted treatment will compare MAT to someone taking medication for diabetes or asthma, with the belief that maintenance drugs are an essential part of staying healthy. However, others in the world of addiction recovery still believe it is possible to be healthy in recovery without the prolonged use of powerful medications.
The truth is the answer may not be the same for everybody. Different treatments may be more useful for different people. No one should be ashamed of the method they use to get help. But we also want to look at how some drugs used in medication-assisted treatment might make things more complicated for certain people.
Looking at the most popular maintenance drugs for opioid addiction, of course, we find Suboxone. To better understand Suboxone withdrawals, we first have to know what it is. This popular brand name is used to identify a prescription medication that contains active ingredients:
- Buprenorphine- a narcotic opioid medication
- Naloxone– an opioid blocker that impedes the effect of opioid medications
This medication functions as a partial opioid agonist and diminishes cravings as well as prevents other opioids from reacting to the brain’s opioid receptors. Taken in low doses for short periods of time, the drug can be helpful in curbing opioid withdrawal symptoms while tapering off without too many residual effects.
The tricky part comes when someone uses Suboxone for an extended amount of time as a replacement for heroin or other opioids.
Sometimes this can lead to its own form of recreational use and physical dependence. Even the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports that Suboxone is commonly susceptible to abuse. It is still a powerful drug.
Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms
While Suboxone and other maintenance drugs may be a preferred tactic for going ‘cold turkey’ off of heroin or other opioids, the drug itself still has the power to cause its own set of withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Irritability or agitation
- Difficulty sleeping
- Profuse sweating
- Runny nose
- Frequent yawning
- Stomach pain or cramping
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Changes in mood
Not to mention precipitated withdrawal, when the ingredients in this medication can actually induce the onset of unpleasant symptoms rapidly, if not immediately, for someone actively engaged in opioid use.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication utilized since the 1970s to try and help people get off of heroin. It is typically used today under strict medical supervision because the drug is very potent and has a high risk of addiction. In fact, a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that approximately 2.46 million people reported to using methadone for a non-prescribed purpose at least once.
According to another study, in 2009 methadone was responsible for 1 out of every 3 opioid overdose deaths.
Because of the risks, a gradual taper should be utilized to wean someone off of methadone. Often times doctors will prescribe another detox medication to help with this process, with the tapering to be done under medical supervision.
But as with trying to quit heroin or other powerful opioids ‘cold turkey’, trying to abruptly discontinue methadone can bring on intense withdrawal. This includes physical and psychological symptoms such as:
- Runny nose
- Tearing or watery eyes
- Muscle aches
- Joint pain
- Abdominal cramps
Many of these symptoms are similar to the symptoms of withdrawing from heroin or other opioids. So in a sense, this drug can create similar withdrawal symptoms as the drugs it is supposed to be used to treat.
Quitting Medication Assisted Treatment
Is it possible to quit medication-assisted treatment- yes, there are always other options for getting comprehensive care and lasting recovery without the prolonged use of these medications. Even relapse prevention is possible without relying on medications to fight cravings.
Can you quit medication-assisted treatment with no withdrawals? Well, that may be a process. It depends on a number of factors, such as the specific maintenance medication and the length of time using it. For example, someone who has been using methadone for years could probably have a much harder time getting off methadone than someone who used another medication for a month or so to help get off opioids.
Safety is crucial when deciding to quit MAT. Quitting medication-assisted treatment without a taper or other forms of medication can cause intense withdrawals. It is not suggested that someone try to quit MAT ‘cold turkey’ or without consulting a doctor for help with changing the dosage and slowly tapering off the drugs.
Again, just because it isn’t heroin or fentanyl doesn’t make it harmless.
MAT or Detox?
Medication-assisted treatment holds a lot of value, but the question becomes whether or not it is the kind of sustainable solution you want. Recovery isn’t one-size-fits-all. Medication-assisted treatment can be helpful in saving someone’s life who cannot stop using drugs. But is it something that will completely eliminate cravings and withdrawals, or will it just postpone these symptoms?
Remember, these are still powerful narcotic drugs that have a high risk for abuse. Some people end up using medication maintenance for life. Others will use it for a short period of time, with a detox period afterward. Either way, it is your choice; how long do you want to rely on substances, and to what extent?
Other models believe in providing holistic treatment and personalized therapy after a detox period, helping to reduce and remove chemical dependence and build a foundation for personal recovery.
Using medication to help with the painful and often overwhelming symptoms of withdrawal from opioids and other drugs can be essential to a smooth and healthy transition. In fact, with a safe medical detox, each individual is given an initial assessment to see what medications will be helpful in making this phase of treatment comfortable and safe. This can include medications for anxiety, mood disorders, physical pains and various other side-effects of substance abuse.
And when it comes to some of these medications, it can sometimes be necessary to continue using them.
The biggest difference is whether narcotic maintenance medications like Suboxone or methadone become a long-term prerequisite to recovery, or if they are used to help someone who is sick get better so that the real healing can happen.
Palm Healthcare Company believes in providing a safe medical detox to allow for a comfortable and healthy transition from active drug or alcohol use. Our facilities utilize an experienced and professional medical staff who help to monitor each individual’s progress and provide effective medical support for lasting recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
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Holistic methods of drug and alcohol addiction treatment are so effective because they are designed to heal all the unique aspects of an individual’s life. This style of comprehensive care delivers empowering and personalized recovery strategies to help each person find their way to a lasting transformation. Holistic addiction treatment doesn’t just save a life; it helps people to discover a new quality of life in recovery.
Part of creating a customized plan of recovery means making a complete appraisal of the individual’s needs and how best to serve them in a healthy and productive environment. Part of the initial assessment includes what some refer to as the Addiction Severity Index (ASI).
Every program may not use the term Addiction Severity Index directly. However, an intake assessment is always a critical step toward a comprehensive treatment. So what is the ASI and why does it matter?
What is the Addiction Severity Index?
The ASI is a semi-structured interview with an individual seeking care for issues with substance abuse. The interview is designed to address seven potential problem areas relevant to substance use disorder in potential patients, including:
Employment and support
The input given by the individual is important because it helps providers determine the best way to engage in safe and effective treatment. All information gathered for the Addiction Severity Index is treated as confidential.
In each of the 7 areas, the individual will be asked to answer questions based on a 1-to-5 scale system. The individual will be asked how bothered they are by problems pertaining to each area. They will then be asked how important treatment is for them in those areas. The scale is:
1- Not at all
Of course each individual has the right to refuse to answer any question, especially if a topic is:
Considered too personal
Uncomfortable to the patient
If this is the case the individual should be instructed not to answer. While the individual should be made aware of the benefits of answering as many questions as they can in order to prepare a more comprehensive treatment plan, they should also be allowed to avoid unnecessary distress.
Ultimately, the Addiction Severity Index is typically used as a standard assessment tool for evaluating substance use disorder and determining treatment options. Having a higher score on the ASI can be an indication of a greater need for treatment in the listed areas.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) the Addiction Severity Index, Lite version, also known as ASI-Lite, is a shortened version of the ASI. In other words:
- A typical ASI gauges problems within the previous 30 days and calculates a lifetime worth of information about problem behaviors.
- ASI-Lite contains 22 fewer questions than the ASI, and omits items relating to severity evaluations, and a family history grid.
The abridged version of the Addiction Severity Index is not an extremely uncommon method. It simply utilizes a portion of the data to outline treatment options.
Why Does it Matter?
While not everyone may be familiar with the term Addiction Severity Index, it is easy to guess as to why its important. When dealing with such a complex and intimate issue as substance use disorder the more information you have to build a foundation the better. This offers more potential to address every part of the problem. With a holistic addiction treatment program there is typically an intake process that helps clinicians and medical staff best understand the individual’s needs.
If the individual has struggled with legal, professional and/or financial issues, their recovery plan can be more focused toward how to overcome these adversities.
If they are dealing with a medical issue while trying to repair damage done to their personal and familial relationships they can build their plan around coping with these obstacles.
A complete picture like the Addiction Severity Index can be crucial when addressing dual diagnosis patients. In order to effectively address someone who may be struggling with a mental health disorder, such as clinical depression, while also dealing with addiction both co-occurring disorders must be simultaneously treated. If someone ignores one to focus on the other it frequently instigates a relapse of the untreated issue.
The point of evaluating the Addiction Severity Index and using holistic addiction treatment is to heal all parts of the person’s life; not just the addiction.
Palm Healthcare Company is proud to have some of the most trusted holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs in South Florida. Our innovative and personalized approach helps create lasting healing and comprehensive transformation. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
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(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Repeated and extended use of most drugs can cause physical dependence to develop quickly in the body, and while many people experience symptoms of dependence differently, once it has been established there are typically a number of uncomfortable or even painful adverse effects. Many of these side-effects, specifically withdrawal symptoms, happen when trying to discontinue use of the substance. Many refer to this period of getting off of drugs as the detox stage. Detoxing from some substances can be harder on the body than others, while some can actually become life-threatening. When attempting to get off of drugs one of the most commonly asked questions is- how long does it take to detox your body from drugs?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Withdrawal symptoms can appear quicker and last longer, depending on the individual and the factors of their drug use.
How Long Does it Take to Detox Your Body from Drugs: Questions to Ask
Because not everyone is exactly the same, their body will react differently based on their own personal health and their own habits. Typically an individual will experience the most serious withdrawal symptoms in the first two weeks of detox, but there are so many things that contribute to how this experience will affect you.
Here are a few questions you may want to ask:
What is the drug?
Different drugs will have different detox periods because of how long they stay in the system.
How much do you usually take?
For those who take larger amounts, they increase the chances of the body building up more of a tolerance to the drug.
How often do you use the drug?
Someone taking a drug multiple times a day every day has a better chance of developing a stronger dependence quicker than someone who uses once every couple of days.
What is your metabolism like?
Of course something that impacts how long a drug stays in your body is your metabolism. The quicker your body burns through fat, nutrients and other resources the quicker the residual deposits of the drug in the body will dissipate.
Are you generally healthy?
Those who not only take care of themselves, but are healthier in general may have an easier detox experience than those who are already not healthy and more often ill. For each individual there are a number of personal health that impact how long a drug stays in the system, including:
- Body fat
- Health of the liver
- Kidney health
Many key organs are involved in the metabolism or elimination of many of the drugs you take, such as digestive organs, respiratory organs, liver and kidneys. Some studies have made rough estimate of how long withdrawals may last for certain substances. However one cannot guarantee a general timeline can tell how long detox will take accurately considering each individual’s own health and habits can make these timelines vary.
How Long Does it Take to Detox Your Body from Drugs: PAWS
Sometimes people don’t expect to experience withdrawals after a certain point because they think the body has already overcome its dependence, however there are other effects of drugs that can be a challenge.
Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (or Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome) is often referred to as PAWS. This the second stage of withdrawal. PAWS causes recovering addicts and alcoholics to feel some symptoms of withdrawal long after the initial withdrawal phase is over. So you may have fewer physical symptoms, but there are much more emotional and psychological symptoms that can continue to bother you.
PAWS occurs because your brain chemistry is gradually returning to normal. As your brain heals without constant use of potent drugs, the levels of brain chemicals fluctuate as they approach the new equilibrium.
Common Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Variable energy
- Low enthusiasm
- Variable concentration
- Disturbed sleep
PAWS can often mimic depression, and increases the risk of relapse. So while the body may start to feel more refreshed and the aches and pains of physical dependence may be getting better, the brain is still struggling.
How Long Does it Take to Detox Your Body from Drugs: Why Medical Detox Matters
Some people may ask how long does it take to detox your body from drugs because they want to try and detox at home. This may seem like a more convenient approach, but it is definitely not the safest or most effective way. Medical detox matters because it is not so simple to predict how long someone will experience withdrawals.
Because some may experience detoxing from drugs differently, having an experienced medical staff, along with addiction specialists creates a safer and more effective environment to detox. Medical detox provides a safe and secure space to get through this beginning difficult stage of recovery, while offering quality care and assistance to each individual and their needs.
The Palm Healthcare Company detox facility has a 24-hour medical and addiction professional staff to continuously evaluate individual progress and provide comprehensive support during this process. Our highly qualified specialists genuinely strive to make recovery possible for everyone who needs help. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398
Here we are going to take a look at withdrawal symptoms. We will look at what they are, what determines how you will experience them and talk about how long they last. Then, what is the best way to overcome withdrawals.
How Long Do Withdrawals Last: What is Drug Withdrawal?
Drug withdrawal refers to the group of symptoms that occur upon the sudden discontinuation or even the decrease in consumption of prescription medications, illegal recreational drugs or even some other everyday substances like caffeine.
In order to experience withdrawal an individual must have first developed a dependence on the substance. This dependence can be physical, psychological, or both. Using a substance for an extended period of time will cause the body to gradually adapt in one way or another until it has become used to having it. Once the substance is removed or decreased, there becomes an imbalance in the body or mind as the individual is used to functioning with the substance.
There are many elements that symptoms of drug withdrawal, and the length of that withdrawal, vary depending on the drug of abuse and the length of the addiction.
How Long Do Withdrawals Last: Period of Use
The period of time one uses a drug can contribute to the length and intensity of the withdrawals. For someone who has been using drugs for a few months, the residual impact of those drugs may not be as strong or last as long as someone who has been using drugs for several years.
Because the body takes time to become dependent, the longer you are using a drug the more tolerance you build to it. Also, the functions of the body and mind can be altered by prolonged drug use to the point where they may take a long time to full heal. In some instances research has suggest there is damage that cannot be undone.
How Long Do Withdrawals Last: Different Substances
Of course one of the primary factors to answering this question is to identify the specific substance. Different substances will create different withdrawals, which will last different lengths of time and impact an individual in different ways. Some examples of specific withdrawals and how long they last include:
- Heroin and prescription painkillers: Many people experience flu-like symptoms that last for at least 24-48 hours
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos): People using benzos often experience withdrawals like anxiety and/or seizures, which can last weeks or even months
- Cocaine: For someone withdrawal from cocaine addiction, depression and restlessness lasting at least 7-10 days can occur
- Alcohol: Withdrawals from alcohol abuse can cause tremors and/or seizures, which can last from three days up to several weeks
So prolonged use of anti-depressants like the benzo drug Xanax will cause a much different reaction that withdrawals from an opioid like heroin. Some may be the same.
Don’t forget, these symptoms can be made even worse depending on other factors, such as length of time the substance has been used, at what dosage and how the drug was consumed.
How Long Do Withdrawals Last: General Withdrawal Timeline
Many sources have gathered data that could be used to make a rough estimate of how long withdrawals may last for certain substances. However, this general timeline cannot be guaranteed to be accurate considering each individual’s own health and habits can make these timelines vary.
- 8-12 hours after last dose, for drugs like OxyContin and morphine, the withdrawals can start around this point
- 12-48 hours after the last dose the intensity of withdrawals can peak
- 5-10 days even up to a month or more after last dose opioid withdrawals can persist
- 24-48 hours after last dose the withdrawals can begin
- Methadone withdrawals will peak in first few days
- Withdrawals will typically last 2 weeks or more
- 1-4 days the withdrawals from drugs like Xanax, Valium and Ativan will begin
- Benzo withdrawals will be peaking within the first 2 weeks
- Protracted withdrawals can last months or even years without treatment
- 8 hours- a few days is usually all it takes for alcohol withdrawals to kick in
- Within 24-72 hours alcohol withdrawals will peak
- Alcohol withdrawals can last several weeks
- Withdrawal from cocaine starts within hours of the last dose
- After a few days cocaine withdrawal peaks
- Cocaine withdrawals can last anywhere from a week to 10 weeks
The data for these numbers can be found through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and various other sources.
Withdrawal symptoms will still depend on the many factors we have already mentioned, including the individual’s general health in the first place. Some drugs cause very real damage to the vital organs that can creature further complications with withdrawals.
How Long Do Withdrawals Last: Medical Detox
To avoid the pain, discomfort and health risks of withdrawal from drugs or alcohol do not detox at home. A safe medical detox is the best way to get the effective and comprehensive help you need to stay healthy while receiving quality care. Medical detox provides a safe and secure space to get through this beginning difficult stage of recovery.
The Palm Healthcare Company detox facility has a 24-hour medical and addiction professional staff to continuously evaluate individual progress, administer the appropriate medications, if needed, and provide unlimited support during this process.
Our highly qualified specialists genuinely strive to make recovery possible for everyone who needs help. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
CALL NOW 1-888-922-5398