Last Updated on by Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley
Given the enormous heroin and opiate-opioid abuse epidemic nationwide, new measures are being launched with regards to Naloxone and Suboxone usage
Perhaps the most important question regarding medical detox is whether you need detoxification for your drug addiction or alcoholism. I get it, you are a busy executive and don’t think you have the luxury of taking time off to detox and address your substance abuse issue.
It is estimated that 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioid (opiate) painkillers and heroin. Prescription opioid and heroin overdose deaths have quadrupled in the past 15 years in the United States. In 2014 alone, there were more than 18,000 overdoses from prescription opioids/opiates, such as oxycodone (Oxycontin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin) and 10,000 heroin overdoses, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Now that it is being recognized and acknowledged as a drug epidemic, the government and pharmaceutical companies are working together to find solutions to combat Americans’ addiction to painkillers and heroin. The recent death of Prince increased the media focus on drug overdose after he died one day before his meeting with Dr. Howard Kornfield, a renowned opioid treatment expert. It is suspected that Prince was addicted to opioid painkillers. Dr. Kornfield is a strong proponent of the drug Suboxone, which is used in the medical detoxification process among abusers of heroin and opioid painkillers.
Using drugs to treat a drug addiction may sound counterintuitive, however, when administered under medical supervision, drugs like Suboxone and Naloxone are saving lives. Federal law prevents each doctor from treating more than 100 patients at a time with Suboxone (up from 30 in 2002 when it was approved) because its main ingredient is an opioid, thus creating a risk for addiction. Suboxone can be taken at home like any other pill, increasing the likelihood of abuse or of selling the drug on the street (because it creates a high for non-addicts). Doctors and patients need to be closely supervised when approved for Suboxone treatment to solve the worsening opioid epidemic in America.
There’s a small window of minutes to hours in which an overdose can be reversed before brain damage or death occurs. Naloxone is an opioid overdose antidote, also known by its trade name Narcan and has the power to pull someone back from the brink of death rapidly after being administered. Naloxone is a competitive receptor antagonist, meaning that it competes for the same receptors as opioid antagonists, such as heroin and fentanyl, but it does not produce an opioid high. As overdoses from drugs like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin increase, the challenge was to develop easy ways to use Naloxone that were FDA approved.
An autoinjector called Evzio (size of a credit card, guides you through each step and takes about a quarter of a second to inject) and an easy to use nasal spray were approved by the Food & Drug Administration in 2014 and 2015, with the intention of ease of access and reasonable pricing, thus enabling widespread use of Naloxone. Evzio has reversed more than 1,100 overdoses. Many people believe that anyone who is taking a high dose of narcotics for chronic or who has prescription opioids in their house should have naloxone on hand.
As the war on drugs like Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin and heroin continue, President Barack Obama’s 2017 budget includes $500 million to expand overdose prevention, including improving access to Naloxone. The down side is that opponents to Suboxone and Naloxone fear that they produce a sense of security around heroin use that perpetuates the opioid and heroin addiction epidemic rather than solving it.
For more information on medical detox services at Revive please call us 24/7 at (844) 467-3848. We also accept most private PPO medical insurance plans and provide a quick and easy online insurance verification form.
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Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley is the CEO and Founder of Revive Detox, a Joint Commission Accredited and Legit Script Certified Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University in Los Angeles in 2007 and has extensive experience working in the addiction and recovery field and the LGBT community. To learn more about Dr. Calvert-Conley click here.