Prescription Pain Pills
The Real Scope of the Opioid Epidemic
According to the National Institute on Drugs report on “The Misuse of Prescription Drugs”, a staggering estimated 54 million Americans, more than 20 percent of those aged 12 and older, have used prescription medications including opioid pain pills for nonmedical reasons at least once in their lifetime!
For Every 1 Death From Prescription Pain Pills:
- 10 People enter treatment for abuse
- 32 People visit emergency departments for overdose, misuse or abuse
- 130 People abuse or misuse prescription painkillers
- 825 People are non-medical users or individuals without a pain killer prescription
- If you have a problem with opioid pain pills such as OxyContin or Percocet, you are not alone. The Opioid Epidemic directly affects over 14 Million Americans.
Prescription Painkillers are responsible for the “Opioid Epidemic”.
These Prescription Pain Pills account for two to three as many overdose deaths as heroin. The most commonly abused pain pills include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, Methadone and Fentanyl. Pain Pills are misused if overused, shared between family members, or friends, or worse get into the hands of kids who take them from the medicine cabinet.
It is estimated that approximately 65,000 fatal overdose deaths will occur this year in the United states. This is greater than the number or deaths due to handguns or automobile accidents. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Fentanyl and other similar drugs, many times more potent than heroin, are often mixed with heroin or in cocaine or sold as heroin to people who don’t realize how dangerous it is. Fentanyl is deadly; it was present in 69 percent of opioid-related deaths in 2016. With less prescription opioids on the street, people are turning to heroin and fentanyl as their drugs of choice.
Are You Addicted? Ask Yourself These Questions:
- Has your use of prescription opioids increased over time?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them for pain?
- Do you use more than you would like, or more than is prescribed?
- Have you experienced negative consequences to your using?
- Have you put off doing things because of your drug use?
- Do you find yourself thinking obsessively about getting or using your drug?
- Have you made unsuccessful attempts at cutting down your drug use?
- If you answered yes to any of these questions, you maybe addicted to opioids.
People misuse Opioids for the pleasant feeling of the “rush” or feeling high. The most common:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin®, Percocet®)
- Oxymorphone (Opana®)
- Morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)
Pain Pill addiction often occurs when people try to “self-medicate” serious psychiatric anxiety illnesses. They use to cope with psychiatric problems such as Bipolar Disorder. Long term, this will not work, but will makes matters worse. This is why diagnosing and treating co-occurring psychiatric problems is so important in Addiction Medicine. Addiction Recovery Models like ours, must address both the Co-occurring psychiatric issues with the Addiction in order to be successful. Sustained recovery is a good example of why this model is effective.
The Addiction Trap
In the past these pain pills have been overprescribed. Today, due to stricter Federal and State regulations, these pills have become difficult to buy on the street. Many “pill poppers” are being forced to turn to heroin as a cheaper and more readily available alternative, and the heroin is being mixed with fentanyl making it much stronger and more lethal for pill users. Prescription pain pills act on the brain in the same ways heroin does and can be just as addictive. Over time it takes more and more Pain Pills to get this pleasant feeling, but eventually more and more pills just to feel normal. This is the addiction trap.
- Taking Prescription Opioids on a regular or daily basis for a prolonged period of time leads to the development of the symptoms of addiction:
- Warning! Percocet and Vicodin contain Acetaminophen such as found in Tylenol and can lead to serious liver problems and liver failure! This makes the misuse of these opioids especially dangerous.
- Psychological dependence including craving drugs and addiction behaviors;
- Tolerance of the drug or needing more just to feel normal;
- Physical dependence resulting in withdrawal symptoms if opioids are abruptly stopped. Opioids act by attaching to specific proteins called “opioid receptors”, which are found in the brain and spinal cord. When these drugs attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain
The Dangers of Opioid Use
- A high dose of opioids can cause death from cardiac or respiratory arrest. Tolerance to the euphoric effect of opiates develops faster than tolerance to the dangerous effects. Therefore people often overdose by mistake trying to get a higher-high.
- Opioids are particularly dangerous to adolescent brain development and can cause irreversible delays in brain maturation or impaired cognitive, intellectual performance and social behaviors.
- People experience a euphoric response to opioid medications, since these drugs also affect the brain regions involved in reward and pleasure. Taking the drug in large amounts, snorting or injecting them, increases the “high” but also the risk of overdose.
People who use Prescription Pain Pills are often self-medicating away psychiatric and physical pain.
Pain Pill addiction often occurs when people try to “self-medicate” serious psychiatric illnesses. People with both Heroin Addiction and a Psychiatric Disorder are call Dual Diagnosis
- Many people use Prescription Pain to cope with psychiatric problems. Long term, this will not work, but will makes matters worse;
- This is why diagnosing and treating co-occurring psychiatric problems is so important in Addiction Medicine;
- Addiction Recovery Models , must address both the Co-occurring psychiatric issues in order to be successful.
- Kittay’s Addiction and Psychiatry Model treats Dual Diagnosis and is effective.
How Do Opioids Affect The Brain?
When opioids are abruptly discontinued, symptoms of withdrawal appear. These include restlessness, irritability, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and cold flashes with goose bumps.
The withdrawal from Prescription Opioid Pain Pills is exactly the same as from heroin. Those who are addicted to Prescription Pain pills and stop using the drug abruptly have severe withdrawal, known on the street as “Dope Sickness”. The symptoms include restlessness, severe muscle and bone pain, sleep problems, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps (“cold turkey”), uncontrollable leg movements (“kicking the habit”), and severe heroin craving. The symptoms of “Dope Sickness” are all too familiar to those who have tried to stop using without medical help. People who try to stop using on their own usually can’t, or relapse quickly. Relapses occur in the desperate attempt to avoid feeling dope sick, chase the high, or just to feel “normal.
- Opioid withdrawal can be very uncomfortable, but unlike withdrawal from alcohol and sedatives such as benzodiazepines, it is not life threatening;
- The physical withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from less than one week to one month, but the emotional symptoms such as low energy, anxiety and insomnia can last for several months.
Those who are addicted to Prescription Pain Pills and stop using the drug abruptly have severe withdrawal, known on the street as “Dope Sickness”.
Warning! People trying to stop on their own are usually unable and relapse quickly. Relapses occur in the desperate attempt to avoid having Dope Sickness, leading one to chase the high to just feel normal.
Our patients are safely and comfortably detoxified at home, and then maintained on medications to keep them sober, manage cravings and prevent relapse. They do not need to be treated in detox or rehabs, and unlike methadone, patients on these medicines are routinely seen monthly in our office instead of daily in the clinic.
Medications for Prescription Pain Pill Addiction
Safe and effective FDA approved Medications are available for Prescription Pain Pills detox and to prevent relapse. Pain Pill addictions can be treated using the medications such as Suboxone, Subutex, Sublocade, or Vivitrol.
These medicines prevent pain pills from producing their high and/or stopping cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Treatments are individually structured for safety, comfort and effectiveness.
The majority of our patients can be safely and comfortably detoxified as home as outpatients, and do not need to be inpatient. Once detoxed, medications to help maintain sobriety are prescribed to manage cravings and prevent relapse. Many patients do not need to go to a rehab facility and unlike methadone, patients on these medicines are routinely seen monthly instead of in a clinic daily.
Suboxone® , Subutex®, Vivitrol ® , and a new breakthrough medication Sublocade® are effective in helping people stop using Pain Pills..
Suboxone® or Subutex®
- Dr. Kittay is a DEA licensed Suboxone and provider Subutex;
- FDA approved medications are used for detoxification and/or maintenance treatment of Heroin Addiction;
- Prevents opioid withdrawal symptoms and craving;
- Used to slowly detoxify from opioids over days, weeks to months in a safe and comfortable way to minimize the pain, discomfort and anxiety associated with withdrawal;
- Prescribed for maintenance treatment and may be used this way for several months to years;
- A tool to manage physical and psychological opioid dependency while a patient in working toward sustained abstinence.
New: SUBLOCADE, In 2018, there is a breakthrough medication for treating Pain Pill addiction.
- Dr. Kittay is a DEA licensed Sublocade provider;
- Newly FDA approved medication is changing the treatment of heroin addiction;
- Active ingredient is the same as in Suboxone and Subutex, but it is given subcutaneously only monthly;
- Prescribed for maintenance treatment and may be used this way for several months to years;
- A tool to manage physical and psychological opioid dependency while a patient in working toward sustained abstinence;
- Minimal risk of misuse or diversion with its use.
Suboxone, Subutex or Sublocade Buprenorphine Treatment is NOT Replacing One Drug Addiction with Another
- Some people argue that Buprenorphine treatment is just substituting one addictive drug for another or not a positive treatment for Opioid addiction. The National Institutes of Drug Addiction disagrees;
- Buprenorphine is a highly effective and safe treatment for preventing opioid substance misuse;
- The stabilizing effects of Buprenorphine Therapy helps people enjoy a healthy life style and meet family and career commitments;
- The cycle of rush, “crash”, withdrawal, and craving which leads to increasing chemical and psychological dependency is avoided; It keeps people away from the street culture of crime and violence associated with drug use. It reduces risky and destructive addict behaviors such as IV-needle use and discourages poly drug use;
- Buprenorphine saves lives and keeps you safe.
- Dr. Kittay is a Provider of Vivitrol;
- A once-a-month Intramuscular Injection administered in the privacy of a doctor’s office. Because it is not a pill, it cannot be skipped which helps to prevent relapse and/or overdose;
- Is used as a tool to manage physical and psychological opioid dependency while a patient in working toward sustained abstinence;
- Is a FDA approved medication that prevents heroin users from getting “high” even if they use drugs by blocking the euphoric effects of these drugs;
- Is a non-habit-forming medication that can be used to treat co-occurring alcohol opioid addiction;
- The active ingredient can be taken orally as a medication called Rivia.
Medicines are also prescribed to treat any anxiety, depression, sleep of medical problems and most importantly co-occurring psychiatric illness.
The vast majority of Pain Pill addictions can be safely and comfortably treated outpatient, and do not need inpatient care.
Your Individual Evaluation & Treatment Plan for Pain Pill Addiction includes:
- Addiction, Medical and Psychiatric Evaluation;
- Medically Supervised Home Outpatient Detoxification;
- Evaluation and Treatment of Co-occurring Medical Disorders and Poly-Addictions;
- Maintenance Treatment with Suboxone, Subutex or Sublocade to manage cravings and prevent relapse;
- Vivitrol or Rivia to prevent cravings and addiction relapse;
- Medication Management of Anxiety, Sleep and/or Co-Occurring Psychiatric Disorders;
- Cognitive Behavioral Restructuring of Stresses and Cues;
- Relapse Prevention.
Treatments are individually tailored for safety, comfort and effectiveness to minimize withdrawal symptoms and avoid medical complications. Medications are prescribed to help prevent cravings, reduce use and prevent relapse. Medications target the brain’s reward systems, and the way nerve cells communicate restoring balance in brain chemistry. Psychiatric problems and symptoms are medically treated as necessary.
Dr Kittay specializes in the treatment of:
- Dual Diagnosis: Addictions and Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorders;
- Poly -Drug Dependency: Addictions to more than one substance;
- Substance Use Disorders in women during pregnancy and post-partum;
- Drug and Alcohol use associated with Anxiety, Depression And Sleep Disorders;
- Addictions related to the treatment of Medical Problems;
- Addictions related to the treatment of Pain Problems;
- Medical disorders related to addictions and high risk behaviors;
- Male Sexual Dysfunction related to Substance Use;
- Substance related suicidal thoughts and behaviors;
Addictions treated include:
- Opioids: Prescription Pain Pills, Heroin, Fentanyl
- Anxiety Medications: Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, Valium
- Sleep medications: Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata
- Stimulants: Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Adderall