Tag Archives: drug treatment

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.

When Doctors Become Addicted

Between 8% and 12% of people will develop a substance abuse problem at some point in their lives. Physicians are vulnerable to substance abuse at the same rate as the general population yet they have higher recovery rates. Doctors with the most addiction problems tend to be anesthesiologists, emergency room doctors and psychiatrists. However, they can be more reluctant to enter treatment because of the fear of losing their professional licenses. Many state medical boards run special treatment programs for physicians and others in the health care industry. Should they have specialized treatment? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss this special population.

Discussion Guide:

Why would a physician be vulnerable to substance abuse?

What makes physicians better able to hide their addiction?

Should they have their own treatment programs?

Why would they have higher recovery rates than the general population?

Supplemental Reading:

Soumya Karlamangla, Doctors and Drug Abuse: Why Addictions Can be So Difficult, http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-doctors-addiction-20170720-story.html

Behavioral Addiction vs. Substance Addiction

When we think of addiction, we immediately think of alcohol, drugs and gambling.  Few of us think of sex, social media or spending as addictions. The DSM 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) does not recognize behavioral addictions, other than gambling. Behaviors such as sex, social media and spending are not included in the approved list of addictions. But should they be included? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss the similarities and differences between behavioral addictions and substance addictions.

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with the terms behavioral addictions, or process addictions? What are they?

Name examples of behavioral addictions.

How are behavioral addictions different than substance addictions?

How are they similar?

Do these two types of addictions have similar or dissimilar outcomes?

Supplemental Reading:

Robert Weiss, Can You Really be Addicted to a Behavior? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/can-you-really-be-addicted-to-a-behavior_us_59938c79e4b0a88ac1bc380e

Marc Lewis, Behavioral Addictions vs. Substance Addictions https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/addicted-brains/201306/behavioral-addictions-vs-substance-addictions

What’s Up with Civil Commitments for Substance Abusers?

There are times when we cannot act in our own best interests and others need to intervene. When people are deemed to be a danger to themselves or others a judge can order treatment. Most people are aware of involuntary commitments to psychiatric care especially in the case of suicide or homicide. But civil commitments to substance abuse treatment is less frequently ordered. The opioid crisis has led to a surge in petitions for civil commitments. Too many people have died of opioid overdoses and families are desperate for help to keep their loved one alive. Listen in to this opiate support recovery group discuss their experiences with civil commitments.

Discussion Guide:

Have you ever been involuntarily committed to treatment because you were thought to be a danger to yourself or others? What was the process?

Do you believe that involuntary commitments are helpful? Can it keep people safe?

Are involuntary commitments appropriate for opiate dependent people to ensure they don't die of overdose?

Not all counties offer civil commitments for substance abusers. Does your town have a commitment process for substance abusers?

If you were involuntarily committed to treatment in your town, are there programs in your area that are skilled, accessible and affordable? Do you trust a judge's opinion on where they may send you?

What could go wrong with involuntary commitments?

Supplemental Reading:

Maria Cramer, Worse Than Jail: Addicts Civilly Committed Say DOC Abused Them and Failed to Treat Them, https://www.boston.com/news/local-news/2017/07/14/worse-than-jail-addicts-civilly-committed-say-doc-abused-them-and-failed-to-treat-them

Are Narcan Parties a Thing?

Have you heard the rumor that groups of people are having Narcan parties? It is alleged that thrill seekers want the experience of dying and are using Narcan to pull them back from death. Is it fact or fiction? Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they give their opinions on the subject.

Discussion Guide:

Have you heard of "Narcan parties" also known as "Lazarus parties"?

People who abuse substances are risk takers. They never know if they will die from their next fix. Have you pushed the limits so far that you have depended on someone else to bring you back with Narcan?

Do you think the people who would participate in a Narcan party are suicidal, thrill seekers or both?

Who would be more likely to use Narcan to bring them back from the dead? An opiate dependent person or a non-dependent person?

What does Narcan do to a person who is addicted to opiates upon their regaining consciousness?

Have you ever known a drug dealer to offer Narcan with their heroin or opiates? What would the purpose be?

How will the so called Narcan parties hurt opiate addicts and add to the stigma against them?

Who benefits from the reports of these parties?

Supplemental Reading:

Chris Elkins, Are Narcan Parties Really a Growing Trend? http://www.drugrehab.com/2017/05/12/are-narcan-parties-a-growing-trend/

Don’t Forget Funding for Methadone

The 21st Century Cures Act, approved by the US Senate, designated $1 billion in grants for states to fight the opioid epidemic. It will provide significant funding for Buprenorphine and Vivitrol. Both of these medications are effective and can be prescribed from a doctor’s office. But what about Methadone? Methadone treatment should also be expanded. The World Health Organization places Methadone on its list of "essential medications." Listen in to this opiate recovery podcast as they discuss their reaction to this news.

Discussion Guide:

Why do you think the majority of the funding will go to Buprenorphine and Vivitrol?

Have you experienced a stigma against Methadone in favor of Buprenorphine or Vivitrol?

There are costs and benefits for each of these medications. What are they?

Do you have an opinion about where federal funding is best allocated for opioid prevention and treatment?

Supplemental Reading:

Jessica Gregg, Don’t Forget Methadone, https://www.thefix.com/do-not-forget-methadone

 

Do Employers Have a Duty to Accommodate Workers Who Have a Past or Current Substance Use Problem?

You can't be under the influence of a substance and expect to keep your job. Or, can you? It gets complicated with the legalization of marijuana. Listen in to this opiate recovery support group as they discuss their experiences and opinions on employment and substance use policies.

Discussion Guide:

Have you experienced discrimination as a result of a drug or alcohol screen on the job?

Have you had a positive experience with an employer who offered resources or sick leave in order to accommodate your needs and preserve your job?

Federal and state law dictates how employers are to treat employees who have an active substance use problem, and how to treat someone with a history of addiction. What are the laws in your state?

Are you familiar with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA)? The ADA covers businesses with 15 or more employees and protects workers with a history of illicit drug use under certain conditions. Do you know what the conditions are?

Under what conditions is alcoholism treated as a disability?

Does your employer have a written drug and alcohol policy in place? Have you read it? Would you feel safe to disclose your drug use history and progress?

What is your opinion regarding the handling of medical marijuana in the workplace? Should it be accommodated even if you are under the influence?

Suppmental Reading:

Lisa Nagele-Piazza, Accommodating Workers with a History of Substance Abuse, http://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/accommodating-workers-with-a-history-of-substance-abuse.aspx