In the News: Duterte, Baking Soda Bombs, Narcan

Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss the news of the week. Narcan is now available at all Walgreens pharmacies; Duterte reluctantly ends the killing of drug users; and Baking Soda Bombs are the latest way to cheat a drug screen.

Discussion Guide:

Do you have a Narcan kit?

If not, do you know where you can get one?

Do you need a Narcan prescription in your state in order to get Narcan?

What are the pros and cons of drug screens?

Have you attempted to cheat a drug screen?

Have you heard of 'Baking Soda Bombs'? What are they?

Have you heard of the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs? If not, check out our previous podcast on 2/7/17.

Supplemental Reading:

Bill Chappell, Narcan Opioid Overdose Spray Is Now Stocked By All Walgreens Pharmacies, http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/10/26/560180901/walgreens-stocks-narcan-opioid-overdose-spray-in-all-pharmacies

Paul Fuhr, Baking Soda Bombs Emerge As Latest Drug Test Trend in South Dakota, http://www.thefix.com/baking-soda-bombs-emerge-latest-drug-test-trend-south-dakota

Bryan Le, Duterte Ends Bloody Philippine Drug War, http://www.thefix.com/duterte-ends-bloody-philippine-drug-war

President Trump Declared Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. The nation's Public Health Emergency Fund has a current balance of just $57,000. But the opioid crisis is a $14 billion problem, at minimum. Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss how they would approach the crisis, if they had the funds to do so.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with the declaration of the opioid crisis as a public health emergency? How is a public health emergency different from a national emergency?

What are the pros and cons of this declaration?

If you were in a position to change policy and were given funds to address the crisis, what strategies would you recommend?

Supplemental Reading:

Claude Brodesser-Akner, 7 takeways from Trump's opioids public health emergency: What it really means, http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/10/5_takeaways_from_trumps_public_health_emergency_de.html

Should An Opioid Relapse Be a Punishable Crime?

Consider this scenario. You are on probation for a drug related crime, you quickly enter treatment and relapse early in your recovery. Should you immediately be subject to probation violation and sent to prison? Or, is the disease of addiction cause to deter criminal punishment? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss their opinions on this topic.

Discussion Guide:

Is addiction a choice or a disease? 

Do you believe that opioid addiction causes you to be prone to relapses?

Does the threat of incarceration motivate substance dependent people toward recovery?

If  addiction is a medical condition and relapsing is a part of the disease, is it unconstitutional to punish the addict with incarceration?

Under what circumstances is incarceration a reasonable outcome for opioid addicts?  

What do you recommend as guidelines for the criminal justice system in making these decisions?

Supplemental Reading:

Deborah Becker, Court to Rule on Whether Relapse Be An Addicted Opioid User Should Be a Crime, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/10/26/559541332/court-to-rule-on-whether-relapse-by-an-addicted-opioid-user-should-be-a-crime

Attitudes and Stigma Drive Opioid Treatment and Policy, Not Research

Psychiatrist, Sarz Maxwell says that one of the greatest barriers to treatment and effective drug policy are attitudes towards drugs. Addiction is not seen as a disease, but as a moral failing. Methadone and Suboxone are not drugs of choice. They are medicines. Listen in to this opiate support group discuss stigma .

Discussion Guide:

It is said that this opioid epidemic is getting worse and the stigma against opioid abusers is worsening. Why would this be the case?

Dr. Maxwell said "It is not what the person does to the drug, it's what the drug does to the person." What does this mean?

Abstinence is one of the least effective methods of treatment for opioid addiction and has the lowest recovery rate. Have you been successful with long term abstinence without medication such as Methadone and Suboxone?

"Addiction is the only disease where we expect the patient to be immediately symptom and medication free."  Do people have this expectation of you?

In a genetically predisposed addict's brain, there are too many opioid receptors and too few endorphins. This can cause people to use substances in an effort to get normal. Did you feel abnormal without an opioid boost?

 

 

 

The Importance of Counseling in Medication Assisted Treatment

Some people believe that the use of medication, such as Methadone and Suboxone, is sufficient treatment for opiate addiction and that they don't need counseling. Although these medications work miracles in some addicts lives, they are not magic bullets. Medication alone does not address the psychological or behavioral aspects of opiate dependence. Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discussion their opinions of counseling.

Discussion Guide:

Do you believe counseling is a necessary part of opioid addiction treatment?

Do you think you can be successful in long term drug abstinence without counseling?

What percentage of your recovery success would you attribute to counseling (individual or group) and what percentage to the medication?

What are the pros and cons of self-help vs. counseling?

Do you find either self-help or counseling more or less helpful for you?

What would you say is the most helpful aspect to counseling for you?

Supplemental Reading:

Alison Knopf, Counseling in OTPs: A Necessary Part of Treatment with Medication, http://atforum.com/2016/06/counseling-otps-necessary-part-treatment-medication/

Diversion Courts: When Good Intentions Go Wrong

Diversion courts provide an opportunity for criminal defendants to go to rehab instead of prison or jail. They hope to transform lives and ease overcrowded prisons. Although they are well intentioned, things sometimes go terribly wrong. Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss a rehab that is more like slave labor than treatment.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with diversion courts?

Have you been a drug court member?

Have you been court ordered to a treatment facility that was not reputable and accredited?

How would you determine which treatment program is better than another?

What steps would you take to avoid being court ordered to a disreputable program?

Supplemental Reading:

Amy Julia Harris and Shoshana Walter, They Throught They Were Going to Rehab. They Ended Up in Chicken Plants, http://www.revealnews.org/article/they-thought-they-were-going-to-rehab-they-ended-up-in-chicken-plants/

Hepatitis C Treatment

The CDC estimates that 3.2 million people in the US have the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). 5 out of 6 people with the disease don't know they have it. New medications can cure it but it the cost is prohibitive. One pill costs $1,175 per pill, or approximately $84,000 for the treatment. Listen in to this opiate support group as they discuss their experiences or knowledge of Hep C treatment.

Discussion Guide:

Do you know the risk factors for Hep C? Who should be tested?

Have you taken risks that could lead to Hep C?

Have you been tested for Hep C?

If you have Hep C, have you received treatment for it? What medicine did you use and did your insurance cover the medicine of your choice?

Why do you think the cost of antiviral medications are so high?

If you could get antiviral medications in another country, or from a private buyers club, would you do it? What are the pros and cons?

Supplemental Reading:

Dorri Olds, Hepatitis C Buyers Club, http://www.thefix.com/hepatitis-c-buyers-club

Self Talk to Avoid Relapse

Self talk can be a helpful recovery tool. Changing the negative self talk into positive self talk is one of the important challenges of addiction recovery. Listen in to this opiate support group discuss the things they tell themselves to avoid relapse.

Discussion Guide:

What 5 things would you tell yourself to avoid a relapse?

What are your errors of thinking that could lead to relapse?

Can you think of a helpful mantra that you can recite when in a vulnerable situation?

Supplemental Reading:

Beth Leipholtz, 5 Things To Tell Yourself When You Want to Drink, http://www.thefix.com/5-things-tell-yourself-when-you-want-drink

Developing Treatment for Cocaine Addiction: TMS

Opiate addicts are fortunate to have several treatment medications that help decrease cravings, stop withdrawal, and block feelings of eupohoria from opiates. Unfortunately, there is no comparable medication for cocaine addiction. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is now being applied to stimulate areas of the brain that control impulses. This is a foreign and frightening procedure for most people. Would you be willing to zap your brain in order to be free of a cocaine addiction? Listen in to this opiate recovery group as they discuss TMS.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) and ECT (Electro-Convulsive Therapy)?

How do these treatments work?

Would you be willing to be zapped in an attempt to be free of cocaine?

Supplemental Reading:

Meredith Wadman, Brain-altering Magnetic Pulses Could Zap Cocaine Addiction, http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/08/brain-altering-magnetic-pulses-could-zap-cocaine-addiction

Mindfulness Helps You Cope with Cravings

People in recovery need a full recovery tool box to maintain abstinence. A new study from the University College London in the UK found that as little as 11 minutes of mindfulness training helped heavy drinkers to reduce their alcohol intake in the following week. Listen in to this opiate recovery group as they discuss whether mindfulness can be a helpful tool for opioid addicts.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with "mindfulness"? What is it? Have you practiced it?

How is mindfulness different from relaxation?

How is mindfulness different from meditation?

How can mindfulness be helpful in your recovery?

Supplemental Reading:

Catharine Paddock, PhD, Very Brief Mindfulness Training Helped Heavy Drinkers Cut Back, http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319120.php

Mindfulness sessions can be accessed through a number of phone apps. Search for "mindfulness" in your app store.