Opioid Epidemic Getting Worse not Better

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Opioid Epidemic Getting Worse not Better
Oct 162017

U. S. public health officials have said that the opioid epidemic is not getting any better.

Testifying at a Senate hearing, Dr. Debra Houry, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and other public health officials said that opioid addiction in America has taken a turn for the worse. In addition, official said that addressing the issue is beyond the scope of any particular agency.

The director of the National Institutes for Health, Dr Francis Collins added that they “need all hands on deck.”

The hearing was the first in a series to be held before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. It was attended by officials from the four federal health agencies, who delivered their assessment of the opioid epidemic.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, who heads the committee, said that the opioid crisis is “tearing our communities apart, tearing families apart, and posing an enormous challenge to health providers and law enforcement officials.”

According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services administration, more than 11 million people in America misused prescription drugs in 2016. Of that number, one million used heroin while 2.1 million suffered from an opioid disorder caused by prescription opioids and heroin.

Officials at the Senate hearing also raised the alarm over the still increasing deaths due to drug overdose, particularly those that involved fentanyl which was made illicitly, as well as other similar potent synthetic opioids.

The officials said that opioid overdose has been the cause of death of more than 300,000 Americans since 2000. In 2016, drug overdose deaths numbered at least 64,000, according to preliminary date. That figure is the highest ever recorded in a single year in the US.

Drug Abuse Treatment

Public health officials at the Senate hearing mentioned the steps taken by federal agencies to combat the problem. A number of programs have been implemented to improve access to treatment and to mobilize resources in order to increase availability and quality of long-term recovery. There are also programs that target high-risk individuals such as women who are pregnant and those who are in jail and prison.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration award close to $46 million in grants in September to programs located in 22 states to help first responders and those who directly work with high-risk individuals.

But despite the number of programs available and the money received, Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine says that the needed progress is still nowhere in sight.

According to public health officials, much more needs to be done, especially when it comes to prevention and opioid over-prescription.

Dr Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said that most people become opioid addicts after being treated with the drug for a medical condition. As such, steps have been taken by the agency to improve how medical providers are educated on the risks and benefits of prescribing opioids.

Dr Collins of the National Institutes of Health also said that alternative treatments like acupuncture should also be emphasized.

The Senate Committee will next hear from state officials next month on what they have been doing and what they need to fight opioid addiction.


 Posted by at 3:20 pm

Cocaine Addiction Could be Zapped Away by Magnetic Pulses

 Cocaine Addiction  Comments Off on Cocaine Addiction Could be Zapped Away by Magnetic Pulses
Sep 062017

In 2012, Luca Rossi tried to kill himself by hanging in Perugia, Italy. He tied the belt from a wardrobe and was choking when his fiancee walked in. He struggled to safety, and in his mind was defeated even in his last act.

Luca Rossi had everything from a medical career, future plans, to a supportive family. However, he was addicted to crack cocaine. His habit developed after medical school, and at that point in life, he felt he could control it. In just a few short weeks, the drug started to control him. He was compromised but had no control over his actions. Accordingly to Rossi, cocaine fills you with emptiness and pushes you towards suicide. However, he was unable to give up his monthly $3’500 habit. When he found out his fiancee was pregnant, he started to smoke more.

In April 2013, Rossi’s father came across an article published by NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) in Baltimore. The study was conducted on crack cocaine addicted rats, who were shocked to help reduce their addiction. The study was lead by Antonello Bonci and Billy Chen who suggested that there was a part of the human brain, when zapped could help lose cocaine addiction. The article explained how TMS is a noninvasive method, will do the job.

Rossi’s father grabbed his son and took him to Luigi Galimberti, who is a well-known Italian addiction physician in Padua. He handed him the article and asked him to help his son. Since then the center and the world research labs have accumulated a lot more on TMS, and its effect on addicts. TMS is not a new addition to the world of medicine, but it is new in the drug addiction territory.

In the beginning, he tried to treat Rossi using antidepressants, psychotherapy, and anti-anxiety drugs. However, nothing worked and Rossi gave up on the Padua clinic. After that his use of cocaine exceeded, but in 4 months Gallimberti acquired a TMS device and trained himself and his staff to use it. He even cured two cocaine addicts and found Rossi on the brink of fatherhood, and on the edge of self-destruction. The clinic asked him to come in, and just after his first session, Rossi reported a change. He felt like he has never taken drugs, and was finally alive.

However, Rossi’s fiancee asked countless questions and told Rossi she did not believe the treatment worked. Which is why he dropped out, but returned just 2 days after his daughter’s birth. This time he stayed at the clinic for 6 months and received a complete session. Till this day, she has not used again. He did not get married to his then fiancee, but has a healthy relationship with their daughter. He added that he finally has a clarity, and is able to live his life.

This and a number of other success stories have encouraged more research in this area, but it is not completely mapped down. There is a lot more that needs to be done, and research on. Even then there are many that have been able to get a second chance with the help of TMS.


 Posted by at 10:17 am

Yaba Addiction Destroying Young People

 Drug Addiction  Comments Off on Yaba Addiction Destroying Young People
Aug 172017

Oishee Rahman from Bangladesh was addicted to yaba. In 2013, at 17 years of age, she committed a horrendous crime.

Concerned about the state of their daughter, Rahman’s parents not only confined her to their Dhaka apartment but also took away her phone. Angry at the treatment, Rahman put sedatives in her parents’ coffee. Once asleep, she then took a kitchen knife and stabbed them to death.

Rahman locked her younger brother in the bathroom then asked a friend to pick her up. Later, she turned herself in and confessed to the crime. She was sentenced to death in 2015, but that was commuted to life in prison in June 2017 on account of her age and mental health.

In Bangladesh, many are already anxious about yaba use among the young. A 2014 report by the Department of Narcotic Control found that 88% of drug users were below 40 years of age. A study in the city of Sylhet in 2017 found that 55% between the ages of 22 to 29 were drug users.

Rahman’s case caused many to claim that the drug twisted her mind.

What is Yaba?

Yaba looks like candy tablets and come in different flavors and bright colors. Its components are methamphetamine, caffeine, and other non-active bulking agents. Taking the drug creates a really high level of rushing energy, one of the reasons many use it to stay up late into the night.

The drug first appeared among the elites of Bangladesh, the very group that many in the country aspire to be like. According to the (DNC), yaba “became a symbol of smartness, fashion and aristocracy.”

The R7 is the most popular yaba pill in Bangladesh, and according to the Dhaka Tribune, it can cost up to 900 taka ($11). However, it is not the most expensive, that goes to the “Controller” which can cost up to 2,000 taka ($25). The cheapest option, called “Pink Champa”, costs around 300 taka ($3.7).

Why Did it Flourish in Bangladesh?

The exact cause can’t be pinpointed due to the lack of data, but a few reasons can be surmised. For one, Bangladesh has certain characteristics that make it an attractive place for organized crime.

Drug gangs in the neighboring country of Myanmar switched from making heroin to yaba in the late 90s because it didn’t depend on opium harvests, which could be unreliable, and the small attractive package made it easier to smuggle.

When the borders in China and Thailand were tightened, the gangs looked for a new route, and Bangladesh proved to be a good option. The country has busy ports and penetrable borders; it also helped that it was a lucrative market itself.

Bangladesh also shares a border with Myanmar’s Rakhine state, site of the Rohingya refugee crisis. With rising corruption, the area is proving extremely difficult to police.

Is there a Way to Help Yaba Addicts?

According to the DNC, there are five treatment centers run by the government. In 2015, the World Health Organization reported that there are also 68 private institutions in the country.

While these institutions do provide the help addicts need, many of those who sought treatment have also relapsed.

Rehab is definitely a solution to yaba addiction, but it is not the only answer to being sober. A former yaba addict cites the support of his family as a major factor in his recovery. He also adds that addicts also “have to want to give up.”


 Posted by at 1:35 pm

Rehab at Home for Teens with Addictions

 Addiction Awareness, Addiction Rehab  Comments Off on Rehab at Home for Teens with Addictions
Jul 252017

Is it possible to treat teens with addictions at home, the very place they struggle to stay sober? A Connecticut-based company called Aware Recovery Center has proved that it does. Of those who sought treatment with the Aware program, 64% completed it and 72% have stayed in treatment or are abstinent. The latter figure is more than double (35%) the success rate of 30-day traditional outpatient rehabilitation programs that don’t provide follow-up care.

NBC’s Nightly News with Lester Holt featured a segment on eighteen-year-old Emily Gendreau, whose battle with drug addiction led to much trouble and trips to rehab centers.

In 2016, suffering from a difficult breakup and a loss of a family member, Emily turned to prescription killers, which were left over from a surgery she had. She eventually graduated to using heroin. Her life began spiraling out of control: losing friends and money, getting arrested, and being expelled from school – all this by the time she was in senior high.

Emily knew she hit rock bottom when she was caught using heroin in school by the principal. It was then that she realized she needed help.

A six-day detox at the Arms Acers rehab facility in upstate New York was followed by a stay for 89 days at Newport Academy, a treatment center specializing in teen addiction in Bethlehem, Connecticut.

Just like others with addictions, it was the returning home and post-rehab life that made Emily anxious. There, she would be exposed to addiction triggers, including parties and friends who were drug users. To cope with this, she turned to Aware for help.

Aware is a 52-week, in-home rehabilitation program providing around-the-clock treatment for patients, including support from a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation team comprised of an addiction psychiatrist, a case manager, a family therapist, a nurse coach, a primary care doctor, as well as peer support and 12-step meetings. Participants of the program can also be provided with GPS tracking, medication-assisted treatment, and urine screening if they choose.

Just because the symptoms are in control doesn’t mean addiction has disappeared. Addiction is a chronic illness and someone who is prematurely discharged from a rehab program has an increased risk of using again when back in their old environment.

The Aware model makes sure that those recovering from addictions don’t get tempted to use even when in a familiar environment. A representative from the program will visit the home to look for issues that could trigger a relapse then provide solutions.

In Emily’s case, Aware taught her a technique called “riding the wave,” which lets the patient have the cravings should they feel like taking drugs or alcohol which they then let go of.

Aware also set up a meeting with Emily’s guidance counselor and principal at school to help her avoid triggers. This included allowing her to go to the nurse’s office rather than use the school bathrooms.

The out-of-pocket cost of the Aware program is $38,000 a year. This sum looks costly but it is roughly equal to what will be spent on one month inpatient treatment.


 Posted by at 2:00 pm

Why People Should Not Use the Term ‘Addict’ on Anyone

 Addiction Awareness  Comments Off on Why People Should Not Use the Term ‘Addict’ on Anyone
Jun 282017

While it might not mean anything to most people, the term “addict”, especially when used to identify a person who has an addiction to drugs, is a demoralizing word.  Since time immemorial, there are people who have the notion that it is alright to refer to someone as an “addict” when in truth, this is indeed a derogatory term and can be hurtful.

The Associated Press (AP) had the same sentiments that the word “addict” should not be used as a noun anymore. This was included in the latest edition of the popular AP Stylebook, the English grammar and usage guide created by American journalists and is widely used globally.

According to the style guide, it is recommended to use phrases, such as “people with heroin addiction” or “he used drugs”. This is emphasize the disease is not the person and vice-versa.

Why is it improper to call someone an “addict”?

There are several reasons behind the term “addict” being derogatory. Perhaps, the most obvious one would be because when a person has an addiction to drugs or a particular drug like painkillers, this means that he has a medical disorder indicated by compulsive use of drugs even if there will be unfavorable effects like impairment.

If the “person-first” approach is used on people with mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorders, why is it any different from using this language to a person with heroin addiction?

Another debatable topic is on the use of the term “dependence” and “addiction”. This is also included in the new edition of the AP Stylebook in which journalists are encouraged not to treat these two words as synonymous to each other.

As stated earlier, addiction is indicated by a compulsion to take a drug and this can lead to impairment as well as bad consequences. Dependence means that a person who is prescribed a drug to treat or manage a medical condition needs to take the medication to function normally. Failure to take the drug can lead to withdrawal symptoms but this does not mean that this person is addicted to the medication.

This is also the reason why “substance dependence” was removed as the diagnosis for addiction from the DSM, psychiatry’s diagnostic manual since it implied that the two have the same meaning.

Treatment on People Referred to as “Addicts”

When journalists and newspapers use terms like “addicted babies” for those who have mothers taking opioid drugs while pregnant, this can lead to abuse and neglect from caregivers and other people who have this misconception. The ones who suffer are the infants who have nothing to do with taking drugs.

Also, not being able to separate the terms “dependence” and “addiction” can lead to a person not given the right medical treatment. Worse, proper treatment needed, such as, opioid therapy can be discontinued on patients who are not addicted to the painkiller but only dependent on the medication.

If more people are taught about the inappropriateness of referring to someone as an “addict”, individuals who have an addiction to drugs will not only be treated the way any person deserves. This will also make people realize that addiction is a medical disorder just like other illnesses and treat those who have this with respect.


 Posted by at 2:37 pm

Gray Death Is The Latest Opioid Of Concern

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Gray Death Is The Latest Opioid Of Concern
May 152017

The opioid epidemic is on the rise and is showing no signs of stopping, yet another player has joined the game and is making it even more dangerous: Gray Death.

Its name sounds ominous, but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at the drug itself. It looks a lot like concrete mix at first glance, and its texture ranges from a fine powder to hard and chunky pieces. However, “Gray Death” will seem appropriate once you hear that the drug has been blamed for around 50 overdoses in Georgia in the past three months.


What’s in the Mix?

Gray Death isn’t just one type of substance; rather, it’s a mix of several well-known drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and carfentanil, which is used to tranquilize elephants, tigers, and other large animals. According to Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, fentanyl is “50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine”, while carfentanil is 100 times stronger than fentanyl and 10,000 times stronger than morphine.

Gray Death also contains a kind of drug called U-47700. Also known as “U4” and “Pink”, it’s a synthetic opioid that’s considered by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration as one of the most dangerous drugs in the country.

Users get Gray Death into their bodies by snorting, smoking, swallowing, or injecting it. Because of the mix of substances it contains, Gray Death is much more potent than heroin, which means that users don’t only get a stronger high — they also have higher chances of overdosing on it and losing their lives.

What makes the drug even more dangerous is that users don’t know exactly what substances are in the mix and what their concentrations are. This makes it too easy for people to overdose, especially those who take Gray Death in large amounts and/or use it along with other types of drugs. Another thing that makes Gray Death incredibly dangerous: because of its potency, it can be easily absorbed by the skin. So, even simply touching the concrete-like drug can put users at risk.

Thankfully, the DEA has not noticed a “national proliferation” of Gray Death; currently, it’s still limited to Ohio and Georgia as well as the Gulf Coast. However, just like with any other drug, it can make its way to the rest of the U.S. in the next few months.


New Trends

The Gray Death is the latest addition to the growing trend of mixing opioids with other drugs to create deadly cocktails. A version of Gray Death sans U-47700 was first detected by the authorities in 2012 in Atlanta and later made its way to Cincinnati, Chicago, San Diego, and other cities.

In certain communities, users are mixing fentanyl with cocaine and other non-opioid drugs. Other combinations include heroin and fentanyl-class drugs, which are then mixed with HTC, methamphetamine, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and other non-opioids.

What’s dangerous about this is that not all users are aware that they’re getting a mix. Some users, for example, think they’re buying plain heroin, when in fact many sellers are now selling heroin that’s laced with a more powerful form of fentanyl called 3-methylfentanyl. With this potent combination, users become even more at risk for overdose and even death.


 Posted by at 1:37 pm

Philippine President Duterte Says Bullets Better Than Drug Rehab

 Drug Addiction, News  Comments Off on Philippine President Duterte Says Bullets Better Than Drug Rehab
Apr 112017

Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines, has slammed the European Union for criticizing his bloody war against drugs and suggesting that drug rehabilitation is the right solution.

There have been 8,000 drug-related killings since Duterte became the country’s president in June 2016. The police have assumed responsibility for more than 2,500 of these deaths, which isn’t surprising since Duterte encourages police officers to shoot if they feel their safety is threatened. He has stated in many interviews that he stands behind the authorities, noting that he will “accept the consequences” for officers who have killed drug offenders who resisted arrest.

Police insist that the remaining 5,500 or so killings were made drug gangs who wanted to silence their members and/or sought revenge for unpaid goods. However, many local and foreign human rights groups believe that the police were behind these mysterious deaths.

The rising extrajudicial death toll has prompted the EU, which is one of the country’s largest trading partners and provides it with tariff benefits, to step in. The Union proposed a health-based approach to the Philippines’ drug problem and promised to provide financial aid for drug rehabilitation projects. The bloc stated its support for the fight against drugs but asked the Philippine government to focus on drug barons and trafficking networks instead of targeting small-scale drug users. It also showed concern for the safety of senator Leila de Lima, who is one of the president’s most outspoken critics and has received serious backlash because of it.

Duterte did not agree with the proposal from the European Union and was angered by it. During an event with the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry, he called EU lawmakers “sons of bitches” and stated that he did not need the Union and the drug rehabilitation programs it recommended.

Duterte believes that people can enter rehab clinics, be given their choice of drugs (e.g. marijuana, cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine), and walk out. This, in turn, means that Filipinos can “go there and consume every chemical until kingdom come, until they are crazy”, which makes them inclined to commit crimes like rape and homicide.

The Philippine president points out that the European Union should not complain about the bloodshed that was brought about by his war on drugs, considering that millions of Europeans have died in the last two world wars. He urges the EU to trace their history and remember that they “also washed [their] hands with blood”.

His allies echo his sentiments. Philippine senate president Aquilino Pimentel accused the EU of trying to micromanage the country’s internal affairs. Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo that the bloc should “mind their own business” and not “interfere with the judicial processes” of the country.

During his campaign, Duterte’s main message was that he would wage war on drugs if he would be made president and that he would make the country drug-free within the first six months of his presidency. Half a year after he ascended into office, he asked for an “extension” of another six months, revealing that he initially did not recognize just how big the country’s drug problem was and that he needed more time to solve it.


 Posted by at 2:16 pm

Opioid Epidemic Not Driven by Prescription Painkillers

 Opioid Addiction, Prescription Drug Abuse  Comments Off on Opioid Epidemic Not Driven by Prescription Painkillers
Mar 312017

Prescription painkillers are no longer causing opioid epidemic, according to a top official for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This was revealed at a congressional hearing that heroin and illicit fentanyl were instead the culprits for the rising rate of drug overdoses.

Proven Wrong Based on Research

The fact that prescription opioids were allegedly causing the rising deaths related to overdose for years, proved to be wrong as it was found out that the occurrence was due to synthetic opioid and heroin overdose. Moreover, this was also determined to have been caused by fentanyl manufactured illegally.

Over 33,000 deaths were blamed to opioids in which less than half were related to pain medication. CDC Director Debra Houry also said that based from statistics, more than half of those who overdosed on fentanyl or heroin have received at least a single opioid prescription within 7 years before they have died.

Reports regarding efforts to reduce prescription of opioid that have led to the increased use of prohibited drugs were also disputed by Houry. In fact, it was the office of Houry that supervised the development of CDC guidelines. This was reportedly been controversial, as doctors were discouraged to prescribe opioids for chronic pain.

More on Opioids

Based on research, one of the three main categories of medications that would offer certain liabilities for abuse are prescription opioids. The other two are the central nervous system stimulants and depressants. Likewise, there are some factors, which contribute to the severity of the current abuse problem in prescription drugs. Such would include greater social responsibility to use medications, increases in the prescription count whether dispensed or written, and aggressive marketing of some pharmaceutical companies.

When it comes to mortality and abuse, opioids constitute among the highest proportion of the problems related to prescription drug abuse. In fact, as early as 2002, certain cases about opioid analgesic poisoning related to mortality are more common than cocaine or heroin.

Proper Knowledge About Prescription Drugs

According to experts, there is a great lack of medication-assisted treatments in many of the settings of addiction treatment. This is where negative attitudes and stigma persist among administrators and clinic staff. Thus, it would lead to the failure of treatment and the perception that such drugs are ineffective, which would reinforce negative attitudes towards using them.

It might be very difficult to explain that prescription drugs are effective and safe, but at the same time addictive and harmful when abused. That is why there should be focused research in order to discover some targeted communication strategies to address the problem effectively. The notion to educate is a crucial component of any effort of curbing prescription medication abuse, which should be targeted in every segment of the society that should involve doctors.


Despite the fact that opioid medications are still gateway drugs for many, it was otherwise revealed in a report that not all of them are using prescription painkillers before they succumb to death. Therefore, it was strongly denied by Houry that such a report on reductions of prescribing opioid would increase the use of heroin or other illegal drugs.






 Posted by at 2:32 pm

New Synthetic Drug U-47700 Under Scrutiny for Deaths Across the U.S.

 Designer Drugs  Comments Off on New Synthetic Drug U-47700 Under Scrutiny for Deaths Across the U.S.
Feb 102017


A highly potent, new synthetic drug has been added to the list of Schedule I drugs, after cases of deaths related from an overdose from using it were reported from different states in the U.S. This is an opioid analgesic known as U-47700. Developed in the 1970s by the pharmaceutical firm, The Upjohn Company, U-4 has a street name of “Pink” or “Pinkie.

This chemical substance was all over the headlines in the past months for the series of deaths from across the country, including the states of Utah, Mississippi and Michigan. As a result, around twelve states have requested for a ban of the drug.

In September last year, two 13-year old boys from the town of Park City, Utah, died after taking the drug. According to Wade Carpenter, Park City Police Chief, the cause of death of the two teenagers was acute intoxication of the U-47700 drug. This was derived from the results gathered from the medical examiner of the Utah Office.

The parents of the victims were clueless at first because not much evidence surfaced. But further down on the investigation, authorities were able access the social media accounts of the teens and discovered about the drug. It was later found out that it came from one of classmates of the teenagers who ordered it online.

It is said that some teenagers in the community ordered the drug from China and was shipped to the U.S. After a group of teenagers were questioned as part of the investigation, one teenager was charged with reckless endangerment and distribution of a controlled substance.


U-47700 Background

Created by Upjohn, the U-47700 was patented by Jacob Szmuszkivicz, a chemist, in1976. The drug was first tested on animals and it was concluded that the potency of the opioid substance was higher than morphine, albeit, it is less addictive. Originally created to be used to alleviate pain in cancer patients, injury and cancer, the drug was never tested on human beings. While it was not made available to the public, the research continued and medical journals about it were published. These journals became the basis of some drug laboratories in China and other locations for making the recreational drug with the streetname, “Pink”. This was because the journals included information on how to make the drug.

This research chemical has become a popular recreational drug because it can easily be purchased online and is relatively cheap, selling for only $30 a gram. Manufacturers are also able to get away with it because they have learned to adjust the composition of the drug that it does not match the scheduled substance.

Reported to be seven-and-a-half times more fatal than morphine, this opioid can cause respiratory distress and later, death. One person who admitted having tried U4 said that the drug gives a feeling of relaxation and laziness. But experts also warned that the potency of the substance is based on the exact measurements stated in the patent and that other manufacturers do not follow the dosage, thus, users end up coming up with a more fatal substance.

Although it is now in the Schedule I Drugs List, it is too early to consider this new recreational drug as illegal. Meanwhile, U-47700 was also said to have been found, along with Fentanyl as one of the drugs in the estate of icon singer, Prince, who died from drug overdose.





 Posted by at 10:39 am

Increase in Number of Prescription Opioid Poisonings in Children

 Opioid Addiction  Comments Off on Increase in Number of Prescription Opioid Poisonings in Children
Jan 032017

A study was conducted about opioid poisoning and the results found an increase in the number of young children and teenagers being victims of ingesting these painkiller drugs that were supposedly for the medication of other members of the family.

This was revealed by head of the study, postdoctoral fellow, Julie Gaither, from Yale School of Public Health. She said that with the enormous number of opioids in households, these children gain access to these prescription medicines.

The mortality rate of children with opioid poisoning-related deaths in the last six years, from 1997 to 2012 was high with 176 deaths while the incidence increased to 165%. This information was gathered from the available data recorded until 2012 which means that for the last four years, the trends in terms of awareness and the prescription of opioids are not available.

To conduct the study, more than 13,000 records from hospital discharges and census date covering the six years were examined to extrapolate rates and the study was then published in JAMA Pediatrics. Conversely, in relation to drug abuse and addiction in adults, the rates are still high although findings show a decrease in the trend.

In the study, researchers also posit that the number of teenagers at risk for opioid overdose, deliberately or otherwise are also increasing since this age group are high risks for suicide and depression, with around 10 out of 100,000 teenagers treated for drug-related poisoning in 2012.

It also found evidence that teenagers may also be leaning towards taking heroin since drug regulations have made it difficult to get prescriptions for opiates with heroin-related hospital cases from aged 15 to 19 increasing by 161%.

As for hospitalized toddlers with opioid-poisoning cases, the rates have also increased from 0.86 to 2.62 for every 100,000 children. This was attributed to the fact that most of these kids thought these drugs were candies.

Gaither recommends that medical practitioners should educate patients on proper storage of drugs. Moreover, she and her co-authors mentioned that this suggestion should coincide with addressing the problem of over-prescription of drugs.

The study also came up with findings that doctors prescribing drugs to children, particularly adults, should be more careful about this practice since there have been reports of high school students who deliberately took opioids prescribed to them for no medical reason at all. Also, the American Academy of Pediatrics noted the increase in the number of young patients being prescribed with painkillers in the 1990s and 2000s.

However, Stanford Medicine physician, Jonathan Chen, thinks otherwise. According to him, asking doctors to teach patients about drug storage in the home might not be possible since these doctors already have a lot of issues to discuss with their patients and should not be expected to always be able to consider the possibility of drugs lying around the house and be taken by other family members. Chen said that while the idea is theoretically good, this might not be possible to be carried out.

For Dr. Julie Gaither, however, it is still crucial for doctors to take children into consideration and the toll opioid-poisoning related to prescription drugs has on their health.


 Posted by at 4:48 pm