Tag Archives: overdose prevention

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

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

Addiction, Medical Ethics and Involuntary Commitment

Opioid abuse, involving both prescription pain relievers and heroin, is having a major impact on the US healthcare sector. Expensive treatments, such as replacement of heart valves from endocarditis, are a burden upon medical facilities and insurance systems. How many times should a substance abuser receive these surgeries, assuming that they will continue to abuse drugs? And under what circumstances should a substance abuser be involuntarily committed to treatment if they are a risk to themselves? Listen in to this recovery support group as they discuss this complicated issue.

Discussion Guide:

Have you put yourself at risk of medical problems by misusing needles, or doing other dangerous drug related behaviors?

Have you had expensive medical treatment due to this unsafe drug related behavior?

If so, how much did it cost to you personally, to your insurer and medical facility?

How many times should a medical facility, or insurer, provide expensive treatment to a substance abuser who is not in recovery?

What ethical guidelines do you suggest to make a decision on how many times, and under what conditions, a substance abuser receives expensive treatment?

37 states allow people who are addicted to be involuntarily committed to treatment if they are a danger to themselves or others. In what way are substance abusers a threat to themselves or others? Examples?

What are the benefits of involuntary commitment?

Supplemental Reading:

Jack Rodolica, Doctors Consider Ethics of Costly Heart Surgery for People Addicted to Opioids, http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/03/21/520830183/doctors-consider-ethics-of-costly-heart-surgery-for-people-addicted-to-opioids

Kelly Burch, Involuntary Commitments for Addicts Being Considered By More States, http://www.thefix.com/involuntary-commitments-addicts-being-considered-more-states

Public Policy: Which Approach Is Most Effective To Stop the Opioid Epidemic?

It is clear that the US is facing an opiate epidemic in which an average of 91 opioid-related deaths occur each day. It is not clear how to best stop the epidemic. In this podcast, we discuss three different approaches to this problem. Listen to this group of people who have been addicted to opiates give their opinions of which approach works, and which cause more harm.  

Discussion Guide:

Are you familiar with Gloucester's Angel Program in Massachusetts? Instead of being arrested, drug dependent people can present themselves to the police and get help. Do you think this is a good idea? What are the pros and cons?

There is a town in Fayetteville County, Ohio who charge overdose survivors with a misdemeanor after they have saved their lives with naloxone. Do you think this is an effective strategy to decrease deaths? What are the pros and cons?

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke at an opioid awareness summit in New Hampshire. He said that the "Just Say No" campaign and D.A.R.E. curriculum were effective. However, this is not supported by research. Sessions thinks drug prevention and education is an effective way to stem the opioid epidemic.  Do you believe education alone is effective?

Which approach do you think is the most effective? What do you recommend?

Supplemental Reading:

Terry Weber, Gloucester's Angel Program Helps 260 in Four Months, http://gloucester.wickedlocal.com/article/20151030/NEWS/151039478

Philip Marcelo, Researchers: Gloucester's Angel Program Helped Nearly 400 Drug Addicts, http://bigstory.ap.org/article/731169b9ace54d808b53df2acc160b86/researchers-nearly-400-drug-addicts-helped-police-effort

Kelly Burch, Ohio Town To Criminally Charge Overdose Survivors, http://www.thefix.com/ohio-town-criminally-charge-overdose-survivors

Britni de la Cretaz, AG Jeff Sessions Talks Addiction Crisis At Awareness Summit, http://www.thefix.com/ag-jeff-sessions-talks-addiction-crisis-awareness-summit

What’s With the High Cost of Narcan?

Narcan, also known as Naloxone, is a life saver for someone who has overdosed on opioids. The number of deaths has skyrocketed, but so has the cost of Narcan. What's up with that? Listen in to a group of people who are in recovery from opiate addiction discuss this issue.

Discussion Guide:

Have you overdosed? What were the costs associated with it?

Do you have a Narcan kit for emergency purposes?

Can you purchase Narcan from your local pharmacy? How much is it, do you need a prescription and does your insurance cover it?

What is the most expensive Narcan kit available on the market right now?

Why do you think the price of Narcan has increased over the years?

How does the manufacturer justify this cost increase?

Supplemental Reading:

Meg Tirrell, As Opioid Epidemic Worsens, the Cost of Waking Up From an Overdose Soars, http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/04/as-opioid-epidemic-worsens-the-cost-of-waking-up-from-an-overdose-soars.html

Why Isn’t Narcan More Easily Accessed?

Narcan (also known as Naloxone) can be a life saver for someone who has overdosed from an opiate. Given the high number of overdose deaths, lawmakers created a path to make Narcan readily available at pharmacies. For example, California passed a bill that allowed pharmacists to dispense Narcan to people who may be at risk of overdose including their family members and friends. A prescription is not necessary provided the pharmacist completes an hour of training, agrees to train the recipient in its use, briefly mentions drug treatment options, and notifies the recipient's primary care physician. But, the problem is that even two years later, the pharmacies haven't followed through on the plan. It is not available. Listen in to an opiate recovery support group discuss this issue.

Discussion Guide:

Do you have Narcan? Where did you get it? Did your health insurance help pay for it?

Can you get Narcan from your local pharmacy?

What factors do you believe have prevented pharmacies from offering Narcan?

What are your state regulations on accessing Narcan?

I encourage you to contact your local pharmacy to ask if they distribute Narcan, if you need a prescription, and what the cost is.

Supplemental Reading:

Jonathon Sobotor, We Don't Do Narcan Here, http://www.thefix.com/california-overdose-law-two-years-later-narcan-still-scarce