Category Archives: Addiction

The Great American Smokeout – Thursday – You can do this!

smokeout

Every year, on the third Thursday of November, smokers across the nation take part in the American Cancer Society Great American Smokeout event. Encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting – even for 1 day – smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.

“About 36.5 million Americans still smoke cigarettes, and tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death in the world. While cigarette smoking rates have dropped (from 42% in 1965 to 15.1% in 2015), cigar, pipe, and hookah – other dangerous and addictive ways to smoke tobacco – are very much on the rise. Smoking kills people – there’s no ‘safe’ way to smoke tobacco.

“Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits at any age. Quitting is hard, but you can increase your chances of success with help. Getting help through counseling or medications can double or triple the chances of quitting successfully.” –

“Almost 70 percent of adult smokers want to quit smoking, according to a U.S. national survey. Conventional quit-smoking treatments, including counseling and medication, can double or triple the chances that a smoker will quit successfully. Some people also try complementary health approaches to help them kick the smoking habit. In one survey of people who visited a tobacco cessation clinic, two-thirds said that they were interested in trying complementary approaches.” – Learn more about QUITTING NOW here.

“The opioid epidemic in six charts” – The Conversation

opoidMichelle Holley holds a photograph of her daughter Jaime Holley, 19, who died of a heroin overdose in November 2016. Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

“Drug overdose deaths, once rare, are now the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., surpassing peak annual deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents, guns and HIV infection.

“As a former public health official, clinician and researcher, I’ve been engaged in efforts to control the opioid addiction epidemic for the past 15 years.

“The data show that the situation is dire and getting worse. Until opioids are prescribed more cautiously and until effective opioid addiction treatment becomes easier to access, overdose deaths will likely remain at record high levels.

“How the crisis started

“Opioids are drugs that stimulate the brain’s opiate receptors. Some are made from opium and some are completely synthetic. In the U.S., the most commonly prescribed opioids are hydrocodone and oxycodone, which are classified as semi-synthetic because they are synthesized from opium. Heroin is also a semi-synthetic opioid.”

Continue reading this Conversation article, click here.

In Lebanon County, people from families grappling with opoid addiction are invited to come to the next talk time cafe on Wednesday, October 25 at the Lebanon Community Library to have no pressure, no lectures conversations with others about addiction.

talk time cafe date change

“Dying At Home In An Opioid Crisis: Hospices Grapple With Stolen Meds” – California Healthline

handpillbottle

“Nothing seemed to help the patient — and hospice staff didn’t know why.

“They sent home more painkillers for weeks. But the elderly woman, who had severe dementia and incurable breast cancer, kept calling out in pain.

“The answer came when the woman’s daughter, who was taking care of her at home, showed up in the emergency room with a life-threatening overdose of morphine and oxycodone. It turned out she was high on her mother’s medications, stolen from the hospice-issued stash.

“Dr. Leslie Blackhall handled that case and two others at the University of Virginia’s palliative care clinic, and uncovered a wider problem: As more people die at home on hospice, some of the powerful, addictive drugs they are prescribed are ending up in the wrong hands.”

Continue reading this article in its entirety at California Healthline.

“In one night, she lost two sons to opioids.” – STAT News

A Mom “is on a mission to spare others that unfathomable pain.”

opioid loss familyJustin, Nick, Matthew, and Jack Savage (from left) with their parents, Becky and Mike Savage, in Siesta Key, Fla., where the family regularly vacationed.

by Megan Thielking

“RANGER, Ind. — Becky Savage always starts her talks to students and parents the same way. She shows them pictures of her teenage sons, Nick and Jack, who loved hockey, Taco Bell, and late-night hangouts.

“Then, she tells them what happened on June 14, 2015.

“Savage was picking up dirty clothes from 18-year-old Jack’s room that Sunday morning. He was sleeping in after a night of graduation parties with Nick and other friends. Jack didn’t respond as she picked up his laundry. She shook him, but he didn’t wake up. She knew to check his pulse — she’s a nurse. He didn’t have one. She started CPR on her son and shouted for help.

“She heard sirens wail down their street. She watched a firefighter try to resuscitate Jack. She screamed at him when she saw him give up.”

Read this story in its entirety at STAT News; click here.

Many think that the opioid crisis is not their problem; read comments following articles in local media. The commenters think that overdoses are “druggie” problems, not theirs. The truth is that addiction crosses all demographics.

heroin faces

This recent People Magazine article features the pictures of some of the people who’ve died from opioid addiction – they are the faces of family members, neighbors, friendspeople just like ones you probably know … right here in Berks County, in Lancaster County and in Lebanon County.

 

Friday Wrap-Up, August 4, 2017 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

In this week’s newsletter, the Secretary notes:

“What’s often overlooked is that many seniors also experience this problem. During the past several decades, physicians have increasingly prescribed their older patients medication to address chronic pain from arthritis, cancer, neurological diseases, and other illnesses that are often more common later in life. What we are beginning to see is that at times, those prescribed opioids hurt more than they help – while they decrease the pain at first, over time, the pills have less and less effect, and patients need to take more and more to manage the pain. In the past 20 years, the rate of hospitalization among seniors that is related to opioid overuse has quintupled.”

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

 

effects of the heroin epidemic : two stories

These two articles from Mother Jones detail more residual effects of heroin.

“Children of the Opioid Epidemic Are Flooding Foster Homes. America Is Turning a Blind Eye.”addiction 1by Julia Lurie

“The Opioid Epidemic Is Literally Changing Kids’ Brains”burk harris

“Social media is as harmful as alcohol and drugs for millennials” – The Conversation

social media

“The word ‘addiction’ brings to mind alcohol and drugs. Yet, over the past 20 years, a new type of addiction has emerged: addiction to social media. It may not cause physical harms, such as those caused by tobacco and alcohol, but it has the potential to cause long-term damage to our emotions, behaviour and relationships.

“While the older generation – those born in the baby boom period shortly after World War II – had alcohol and drugs as their vice, the younger generation – the so-called millenials – have social media as theirs. The millennials, born between 1984 and 2005, have embraced the digital age, using technology to relax and interact with others. Social media is a big deal for them; it is a lifeline to the outside world.

“Although people of all ages use social media, it is more harmful for younger users than it is for older people.

“All consuming

“Addiction may seem a bit of a strong word to use in the context of social media, but addiction refers to any behaviour that is pleasurable and is the only reason to get through the day.”

Click here to continue reading this article at The Conversation.

Friday Wrap-Up, May 19, 2017 | a message from the Secretary of Aging

Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

NOTE: See this notice in the newsletter about a “seed grant of $15,000 and ongoing technical assistance to create or expand support services to grandparents and other relatives raising children. Any not-for-profit organization can apply for the program, including aging service providers, county agencies, and health care providers. June 15 application due date.”

Click here to download the newsletter as a .pdf file.

“A Day in the Life of Older Adults: Substance Use Facts” – SAMHSA

This Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report is important to read.

older adults drug use

“Illicit drug use generally declines as individuals move through young adulthood and into middle adulthood. Although the percentage of people with substance use disorder (SUD) reflects the decline in use as people age, more than 1 million individuals aged 65 or older (“older adults”) had an SUD in 2014, including 978,000 older adults with an alcohol use disorder and 161,000 with an illicit drug use disorder.

Research suggests that substance use is an emerging public health issue among the nation’s older adults. Illicit drug use among adults aged 50 or older is projected to increase from 2.2 percent to 3.1 percent between 2001 and 2020. For example, the number of older Americans with SUD is expected to rise from 2.8 million in 2002–2006 to 5.7 million by 2020. The emergence of SUD as a public health concern among older adults reflects, in part, the relatively higher drug use rates of the baby boom generation (people born between 1946 and 1964) compared with previous generations. Thus, there is a cohort of older adults who may experience the negative consequences of substance use, including physical and mental health issues, social and family problems, involvement with the criminal justice system, and death from drug overdose. Older adults are more likely than people in other age groups to have chronic health conditions and to take prescription medication, which may further complicate adverse effects of substance use.

Click here to continue reading this Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (CBHSQ) Report.

“CDC spearheads a new effort to slash opioid abuse” – STATNews Morning Rounds

cdc opoid

“Determined to rein in the opioid epidemic, CDC director Dr. Anne Schuchat is introducing a new campaign to raise awareness about prescription drug abuse in America. The ads feature the stories of patients and families impacted by prescription drug overdoses. ‘A lot of times, [opioids] are prescribed without the patient asking or recognizing the harm,’ Schuchat tells STAT. Health officials are trying to encourage patients to talk to their doctors from the get-go when they’re prescribed opioids. ‘We want the public to be comfortable asking questions. And we don’t want it to be too late by the time that you’re hooked,’ Schuchat says. The videos will be initially be released in four states hit hard by prescription drug overdoses: West Virginia, Rhode Island, Oregon, and Ohio.

“The agency also updated its data this week on the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths in recent years. Take a look at the shift above —the darker the color, the higher the rate of prescription drug overdose deaths — and find the full data here.”