Tag Archives: addiction recovery

Vivitrol Manufacturer Tries to Corner the Market on Opioid Medication Treatment

A drug manufacturer is at it again. Manufacturer, Alkermes, the maker of Vivitrol, is cashing in on the opioid epidemic. They are successfully lobbying legislation to pass bills in support of Vivitrol. Vivitrol is an opioid blocker which should prevent addicts from experiencing euphoria if they take heroin or pain killers. It also cuts cravings. These are also the properties of Methadone and Suboxone. Vivitrol is costly at $1000 for a shot that remains in the system for one month. Alkermes made $209 million in 2016 through their lobbying efforts coast to coast. They are alleged to be giving misinformation about Methadone and Suboxone and purposefully lobbying to restrict their use. Listen in to this opiate support group as they talk about this issue.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with Vivitrol? What do you know about it, and have you been treated with it?

Do you believe that Vivitrol should be legislated for use, over Methadone and Suboxone?

What are the pros and cons of each of these medications in terms of cost, administration and adjunct treatment? (Vivitrol, Methadone and Suboxone)

What types of patients would do better on each?

Supplemental Reading:

Jake Harper, NPR, A Drugmaker Tries to Cash In On The Opioid Epidemic, One State Law At a Time, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/06/12/523774660/a-drugmaker-tries-to-cash-in-on-the-opioid-epidemic-one-state-law-at-a-time

Should We Relax HIPAA Regulations to Allow Release of Information to Family Members When Someone Overdoses?

Health Insurance Portability and Accountabiity Act (HIPAA) regulates the confidentiality of health records. Presently, healthcare records cannot be released without the informed consent of a patient. Governor Chris Christie, who is leading an opioid task force, was asked to consider relaxing HIPAA regulations in order to allow family members to be informed of a member's non-lethal overdose. This knowledge could open the door to treatment options. Listen in to this opiate support group discuss their opinions.

Discussion Guide:

If you were to overdose and received services from a healthcare provider, would you want that information released to your family?

Under what circumstances would you want your family to be informed of your overdose?

What are the pros and cons of relaxing HIPAA regulations in the case of overdose?

Narcan (also known as Naltrexone) is a life saving measure. Do you have Narcan available? Have you instructed your family and associates in how to use it?

Supplemental Reading:

Erin Mershon and Andrew Joseph, Do Family Members Have a Right to Know When a Loved one Overdoses on Opioids? https://www.statnews.com/2017/06/13/overdoses-family-notification/

Grounding Techniques To Stop Cravings and Manage Emotions

Many people who abuse substances struggle with emotions. They may have numbed themselves to pain with the use of substances, and then feel uncomfortable with emotions in recovery. Cravings are a common phenomena in recovery. Listen and learn practical skills for coping with emotions and stop cravings.

Discussion Guide:

When you have experienced drug cravings, what have you done to cope with them in a healthy manner?

What techniques do you utilize to deal with cravings?

There are three different types of grounding techniques: mental, physical and soothing techniques. Which types are most effective for you?

What if the techniques don't work immediately? What should you do?

Supplemental Reading:

Grounding Techniques

Overdose: Condolences to One Of Our Group Members Who Lost a Family Member

By now, everyone is knowledgable about the high number of opioid overdose deaths and what public health officials are calling an epidemic. In spite of public awareness and prevention efforts, the death toll continues. In this podcast, one of our group members shares his experience of the recent death of his family member from overdose. Listen in to these group members as they offer support.

Discussion Guide:

Have you lost a family member or friend to opiate overdose?

How did it affect you?

Did you have any negative automatic thoughts?

What are alternate healthier thoughts?

What could have been done differently for the person who died, prior to the overdose?

What can be done for you?

Supplemental Reading:

SAMHSA Behavioral Treatment Services Locator, https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit, http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4742/Overdose_Toolkit.pdf

Overdose Awareness and Use of Naloxone Test, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Overdose-Awareness-and-Use-of-Naloxone-Test.pdf

SCARE ME, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SCARE-ME.pdf

Dr. Oz’ On Air Intervention

It is a delicate matter to talk with someone about what you perceive as their shortcomings. This is especially true when you believe they are putting themselves in harms way with substance abuse. Formal, organized interventions may use "tough love"  to get the person with an addiction into treatment. This person may be confronted in a harsh or stern manner with the intent to help them in the long run. They may be presented with education, fear tactics, surprise, pressure, guilt, shame and resources. Dr. Oz orchestrated a public intervention on his nationally televised show. Listen to this support group discuss their reactions to Dr. Oz' intervention.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with the concept "Tough Love"? If so, what is it?

Have you been the subject of an intervention?

If so, did you find the intervention more helpful or hurtful?

When people have expressed their concerns about your substance use, did they lean more heavily on "tough" or "love"?

Are you familiar with motivational interviewing, a counseling approach to help people work through ambivalence? What are the principles of motivational interviewing?

How would you advise someone talk to someone who has problems with substances?

Supplemental Reading:

Jami Wolf-Dolan, PsyD, What I Learned About Addiction From Attending the Dr. Oz Show, http://www.thefix.com/what-i-learned-about-addiction-attending-dr-oz-show

When Treatment Programs Are Abusive

It is a sad occurrence when people seek help and instead find abusive practices. Kenneth "Kenny" Chatman and his wife operated a sober home in Florida committing acts of human rights violations and fraud. He was sentenced to 27 1/2 years in prison and his wife could be sentenced to 10 years. Chatman pled guilty to money laundering, healthcare fraud and sex trafficking. He admitted he controlled his patients by taking their car keys, phones, medication and food stamps. He allowed his patients to do drugs in his sober homes, as long as they let him bill their insurance for treatment they never received. Some patients died. Hopefully, these crimes are few among recovery programs. Listen in to this opiate support group talk about their reactions and experiences in treatment. Warning: The content of this podcast may be disturbing.

Discussion Guide:

Have you experienced poor treatment in a recovery program?

If so, did you file a complaint, and did you receive a satsifactory response?

What are the pros and cons of informing the authorities about poor practices of the facility, staff or other patients?

Do you know how to find a reputable program?

Supplemental Reading:

Lawrence Mower, Sober Home Owner Kenny Chatman Pleads Guilty, Faces Life in Prison http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/sober-home-owner-kenny-chatman-pleads-guilty-faces-life-prison/0YngSRJ4ZjbgfsO74e2neL/

Zachary Seigel, South Florida Sober Home Operator Sentenced To 27 1/2 Years, Crackdown Continues, http://www.thefix.com/south-florida-sober-home-operator-sentenced-27-12-years-crackdown-continues

Resist Cravings: Distract Yourself from Obsessive Thinking

Cravings. You've all had them. Sometimes you've relapsed because of them. But do you know where they come from? They are a result of neurological changes due to substance dependence. They are the brain's way of seeking a balance for what it lacks. Listen in to this opiate support group as they discuss their experiences with cravings and how to combat them.

Discussion Guide:

What are drug cravings? How long do they last? Can you break down a craving into stages?

What's the difference between psychological and biological cravings?

Where do cravings come from?

How have you successfully resisted cravings?

Do you use grounding techniques? Which ones?

Supplemental Reading:

Luke Pool, What are drug cravings & how can I deal with them? https://800recoveryhub.blog/2017/05/25/drug-cravings/

What Do You Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Family Member to Overdose?

One of our podcast listeners asked the group for feedback. She recently lost her ex-husband to a drug overdose, leaving their son and daughter devastated by the loss. She wonders what could have gone wrong, and what prevention steps could've altered the outcome. Listen in to this support group as they give their opinions on what likely happened and what could've been done to help. Our hearts go out to Brooke and her family.

Discussion Guide:

Why would someone in a Methadone Treatment Program be so oversedated that they would have trouble staying awake, drooling, be difficult to arouse when sleeping, and awaken in a foul mood and lash out? Is this common with methadone?

What are common substances that will cause a vulnerability to overdose if mixed with Methadone?

What would motivate someone to take another substance on top of Methadone?

What are the signs and symptoms of overdose?

Do you have Narcan available in case of an overdose? Have you trained your family members in its use?

Grief is a normal reaction to loss. One aspect of grief is wondering if you could've or should've done more to prevent the death. Do you think that you can do something to prevent an overdose? What would you recommend to others?

Supplemental Reading:

SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Toolkit, http://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA14-4742/Overdose_Toolkit.pdf

Overdose Awareness and Use of Naloxone Test, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Overdose-Awareness-and-Use-of-Naloxone-Test.pdf

SCARE ME, http://www.opiatesupportgroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/SCARE-ME.pdf

Childhood Trauma Is Found to Underlie Most Addictions

It is no surprise that many people turn to substances in order to cope with difficulties. They want to numb themselves to emotional pain. A new study has found 10 types of childhood trauma that can lead to addiction as well as other harmful outcomes such as smoking, promiscuity, obesity, mental illness, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and a shortened lifespan. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) is a research study done by Kaiser Permanente and the CDC. Listen in to this opiate support group  discuss this study. Take the ACE questionnaire in order to follow along.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with the Adverse Childhood Experiences study? If you took the 10-item questionnaire, what is your score?

If you had a high ACE score, you experienced Post Traumatic Stress. This is a normal response to what you experienced, and your addiction is an understandable outcome. Do you believe this is true of you?

Addiction is a coping behavior you developed because you weren't provided with a healthy alternative. Have you learned healthy coping skills in recovery?

In what way does your ACE score and resiliency factors influence your recovery? Will it influence your compliance and length of time that you stay in treatment? The involvement in counseling and recovery groups? Your chances of relapse?

Supplemental Reading:

Jane Stevens, Substance-Abuse Doc Says: Stop Chasing the Drug! Focus on ACEs, http://www.acesconnection.com/blog/substance-abuse-doc-says-stop-chasing-the-drug-and-focus-on-the-aces

Kaiser Permanente, Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Questionnaire http://www.ncjfcj.org/sites/default/files/Finding%20Your%20ACE%20Score.pdf

What You Should Know About Methadone

Opioid addiction and overdose deaths are an epidemic. Methadone treatment for this epidemic is the treatment of choice. And yet, the stigma surrounding this effective medication keeps people from getting the help they need. Listen to this opiate support group discuss their experience of methadone.

Discussion Guide:

1. Methadone has been used to help treat heroin addiction and other opioid use disorders for over 50 years. Where and why was it developed? When was it first used to treat addiction?

2. Methadone is the most successful treatment option for opioid misuse, period. What research and statistics back up this assertion?

3. Methadone is a medical treatment for a medical condition. Why wouldn't you treat it with a medicine?

4. Propaganda and stigma prevent many people from seeking MAT and can contribute to people leaving treatment early. Has the stigma against Methadone caused you to consider tapering your dose for a premature discharge?

5. Relapse is much less likely to result in a fatal overdose because Methadone provides a protective barrier. What is meant by a protective barrier?

6. Methadone, as a controlled substance, is one of the most tightly-regulated medications in the United States. And yet, a stigma persists that it is easily abused. Why?

7. Methadone isn't right for everyone. Who would not be appropriate for Methadone assisted treatment?

Supplemental Reading:

Jeremy Galloway, 7 Things You Need to Know About Methadone Treatment, http://www.thefix.com/7-things-you-need-know-about-methadone-treatment