Monthly Archives: May 2016

Too Many Prescription Pain Killers in the U.S., but Too Few in Other Countries

Although there is an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the United States, many other countries cannot get them and their populations suffer extreme pain. These drugs are restricted or unavailable in poor and middle-income countries, even in such cases as terminal cancer and AIDS, where there is no pain relief. The U.S. opioid drug epidemic is partly to blame, where misuse is a cause of addiction and overdose death. In some countries, it is easier to purchase morphine products on the street than being prescribed them by a doctor. Listen in to this podcast of a group of people who are recovering from opiate addiction, as they discuss this two sided issue.

Discussion Guide:

Did you become addicted to opiates following a medical problem in which you were prescribed pain killers?

Is your personal physician overly cautious about prescribing opiate pain killers?

Have you been abruptly cut off opiates by your physician, causing withdrawal symptoms?

If you still suffer chronic medical pain, how do you manage it without opiate pain killers?

Have you tried alternative types of pain control (to opiates)?

Supplementary Reading:

Much of World Suffers Not From Abuse of Painkillers, but Absence of Them, by Rick Gladstone, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/18/world/much-of-world-suffers-not-from-abuse-of-painkillers-but-absence-of-them.html?_r=0

Are Drug Addicts Bad People?

Many people think of those who abuse substances as “bad people”.  But are they bad? Or, is the drug environment transforming them from a good person into a person who makes bad decisions and choices with poor outcomes? Listen to a group of recovering addicts talk about their opinions.

Discussion Guide:

Do you believe that people who are addicted to illegal drugs are bad?

How does one become good or bad?

When you were actively abusing drugs, did your choices and environment cause you to do bad deeds, have a bad attitude, bad works, bad results, bad reputation, and bad vibes?

Now in your recovery are you doing good deeds,  and have a good attitude, good results, good reputation, and good vibes?

What changes have you made to support a healthy recovery and feel good about yourself as a valuable and worthy person?

Note:

Credit and appreciation is given to author, Jason M. S. for his article “Garbage In, Garbage Out”. However, his identification is withheld for purposes of confidentiality.

What You Thought Was Heaven, Was Actually Hell’s Waiting Room

Heroin is deceptive. It starts off feeling so good, but quickly turns ugly. Jason M. S. wrote “Though heroin took me to places within myself more peaceful than anywhere else I had ever been, it would always abandon me in a place of suffering and desperation.” Listen to a group of people who were addicted to opiates discuss their experiences.

Discussion Guide:

How long did it take your addiction to move from opiate use to addiction?

How long was the process of moving from enjoyment to despair?

Most people who have experienced late stage opiate addiction have done things they deeply regret. Would you describe your late stage addiction as hell’s waiting room?

How have you taken your life back from the hell of heroin?

Note:

Credit and appreciation is given to author, Jason M. S. for his article “What I thought was Heaven, was actually Hell’s waiting room”. However, his identification is withheld for purposes of confidentiality.

 

What Do You Wish You Had Been Told About Drugs As a Child?

In hindsight, people who have been addicted to substances regret their poor judgment. If only someone had told them of the dangers, or if only they had heeded the advise. Listen to a group of people who have been addicted to opiates discuss what they wish they had been told.

Discussion Guide:

Were you told about the dangers of drug use?

If you were told about the dangers of drug use, was it effective to some degree?

How would you explain the dangers of drug use to a child?

What are the protective tools that will decrease the chances that a child will turn to illicit drugs?

Supplemental Reading:

How To Talk To Kids About Alcohol & Drugs, Child Development Institute http://childdevelopmentinfo.com/ages-stages/teenager-adolescent-development-parenting/talk-to-kids-alcohol-drugs/

 

Is Willpower Enough?

Most people would think that the addict needs willpower to achieve drug abstinence. But is it enough? Listen in to a group of people in recovery as they discuss their opinions on what it takes to make lasting change.

Discussion Guide:

Would you agree that drug abstinence is achieved through willpower?

Is your willpower stronger at certain times of the day, or in certain circumstances?

What steps are necessary to create the conditions for abstinence?

What steps have you taken to ensure success?

Supplemental Reading:

How To Overcome Addiction and Make Lasting Changes In Your Life, Benjamin Hardy http://www.huffingtonpost.com/benjamin-hardy/how-to-overcome-addiction_b_9868026.html

What To Do With Those Messy Emotions

Author, Jason M. S. wrote “Addicts are individuals that simply cannot process emotions properly (due to brain damage in the frontal lobe). Without healthy brain function, we cannot process information properly, navigate our senses, or even interpret our perceptions of the world correctly.” Addicts just don’t know what to do with emotions. Emotion is a powerful force that can be damaging to ourselves and others. But it can also be helpful if utilized properly. Jason M.S. believes that anger can play a helpful role in recovery. It may be useful to get angry at your addiction and use it as motivation for recovery.  Let is fuel your determination to be drug free.

Discussion Guide:

Did drug abuse cause uncharacteristic mood swings and irritability for you?

And conversely, did mood swings or emotional distress lead to drug abuse as a means of coping?

What have you learned through recovery about handling emotions in a healthy manner?

What coping skills do you use?

Note:

Credit and appreciation is given to author, Jason M. S. for his article “Get Mad at Drugs and Make Love to Your Life!”. However, his identification is withheld for purposes of confidentiality.

Should Emergency Rooms Hold an Overdose Victim for Three Days?

An involuntary psychiatric commitment is a legal process in which someone with severe mental illness can be court ordered into hospital care for 72 hours without their consent.  This hold is for evaluation and stabilization by professionals before their release. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker proposed a new law that would allow the same three day hold for substance abusers who are in danger. This three day period would allow the same first aid, observation, and containment of danger for an opiate addict who has overdosed as it does for a psychiatric patient. Is this a good idea? Listen to a group of recovering opiate addicts discuss their opinions on the issue.

Discussion Guide:

Have you, or someone you know, been taken to a hospital following an overdose, and quickly released?

Do you see a benefit to being held in a hospital, after an overdose, for a period of time?

What criteria would you use to determine if someone should be held in a hospital?

What kind of help would you recommend the hospital provide during that three day period?

Supplementary Reading:

Can Prince’s Death Spark Key Discussion on Opioids, Ford Vox http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/28/opinions/massachusetts-opioid-treatment-prince-vox/