Thursday, November 21, 2013

FDA Requests Heightened Regulations For Hydrocodone Painkillers

The Food and Drug Administration is planning to recommend prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin and others containing hydrocodone, be reclassified as “Schedule II” substances from their current “Schedule III” status – imposing tougher restrictions on how they are used and prescribed.

OxyContin, defined as “potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence” by the Drug Enforcement Administration, has already been placed in the Schedule II category.

Increase In Hydrocodone Painkiller Abuse

FDA Requests Heightened Regulations For Hydrocodone Painkillers
The agency has explained the move in a recent statement; having become “increasingly concerned about the abuse and misuse of opioid products, which have sadly reach epidemic proportions in certain parts of the United States.”

Requests from the DEA to reclassify the substances have been longstanding, citing increased rates of addiction and overdose throughout the U.S.

Patients and pain specialists argue that the new restrictions would make obtaining the drugs more difficult for individuals struggling with debilitating, chronic pain – increasing suffering for those who use the substances properly.

Balancing Valid Painkiller Use With Abuse And Misuse

The FDA touched on the debate, stating that it “has been challenged with determining how to balance the need to ensure continued access to those patients who rely on continuous pain relief while addressing the ongoing concerns about abuse and misuse.”

The reclassification would not allow physicians to call prescriptions into local pharmacies. It would also lower the number of refills afforded to patients without additional doctor visits.

Do you believe this is a necessary step in the fight against prescription or illegal drug addiction? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

How Does Substance Abuse Really Affect The User?

The effects of substance abuse on the human body can be permanent or temporary. Damage may worsen over a longer duration with increased frequency, up to and including overdose and death. Diminished regard to personal hygiene, financial troubles, domestic violence and depression may also come about as a result from continued use habits.

Substance Abuse Effects on Brain and BodySubstance Abuse Statistics

According to recent studies, more that 8% of Americans ages 12+ have dabbled with illegal substances within the past year. A 2007 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 14.8% of students ages 13 – 18 had engaged in some type of recreational drug use within the previous 30 days. Though addiction is often defined as a mental health issue, the effects it can take on the body are rather extensive.

Substance Abuse Effects On Brain And Body

Substance abuse effects the body in a variety of ways, including changes in brain functionality, organ damage and skin infections.

Pregnant women with addiction issues impose enhanced risks to their unborn children, including behavioral disorders, developmental delays, low birth weight and premature birth.

The effects of substance abuse on mental health include personality disorders, lapses in memory, violence, depression and irrational behavior.

How Quickly Do Negative Effects Start After Using Drugs?

The negative effects of substance abuse can begin taking shape after only one use or many. Substances that are smoked or inhaled, such as marijuana, may cause increased appetite and high blood pressure. Cocaine and other narcotics have been known to cause heart attack following overdose.

Perhaps the most common effect of substance abuse is addiction. Over a long enough use period, addicts may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not readily available. These symptoms can last anywhere from several days to a year or more depending on use history, amount and frequency.

Prevention And Treatment For Substance Abuse

Abstinence is key to the prevention of substance abuse effects. Recognizing when casual use upgrades to abuse is another crucial factor. Treatment centers for alcohol and narcotic addiction often prove useful in minimizing and managing the effects of the abuse by way of replacing the addictive substance with prescription alternatives. Support groups and counseling also play a vital role in the recovery process by helping patients deal with their addictions in a positive and healthy manner.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Heroin / Marijuana Use On The Rise

A recent government study finds marijuana topping the illicit drug market among American adults and teens.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) polled a total of 70,000 U.S. citizens ages 12+ regarding their 2012 drug use habits. The survey concluded increased heroin and marijuana use rates over previous surveys.

Heroin, marijuana and other drug use is on the rise in America.According to SAMHSA, marijuana’s continued popularity among Americans is nothing new, with 7.3% of those surveyed admitting to smoking in 2012 – a climb from 7% in 2011 and 5.8% in 2007.

Routine or daily use of marijuana rose to 7.6 million in 2012 from 5.1 million in 2007.

Heroin use increased significantly, jumping from 373,000 users in 2007 to a whopping 669,000 in the recent study.

Many blame the rise in heroin use to an increase in prescription painkiller addiction, as heroin’s lower price and accessibility offer a more convenient and affordable pill alternative.

As for first-time users, the highest numbers were associated with marijuana (2.4 million), prescription painkillers (1.9 million), tranquilizers (1.4 million) MDMA, or Ecstasy (0.9 million), inhalants, cocaine and stimulants (0.6 - 0.7 million).

As a whole, illicit use varied little from 2011 poll results: About 9.2% of the United States adult and teen population claimed they were currently using in 2012, roughly 24 million Americans 12+.

Learn more about illegal drug addiction – Call Above It All Addiction Treatment Center today!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Symptoms & Signs of Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Symptoms and signs of drug and alcohol abuse are quite similar. In some cases, they may prove difficult to spot. More often than not, they are fairly obvious, yet can also be mistaken for mental illness. Though different substances may offer different symptoms, if you know what to look for, determining an issue is rarely any trouble.

Physical Signs

Alcohol and drugs affect both the body and mind. Common signs of alcohol and drug abuse are difficulty sleeping, delayed reaction time, slowed speech, dental issues, nosebleeds and persistent cough.

Signs & symptomms of substance abuse. Help those with drug and alcohol abuse.Emotional and Mental Signs

Alcohol and drug abuse also affects users in emotional and mental ways. Symptoms and signs include irritability, calmness, agitation, hallucinations, apathy, paranoia and erratic behavior.


Another symptom of drug or alcohol abuse is an escalating tolerance to the substance in question. When an individual abuses alcohol or drugs, they must use the substance more regularly and in higher amounts to achieve the desired effect. 


Withdrawal is yet another symptom associated with alcohol and drug abuse. When an individual abuses alcohol or drugs and is unable to acquire it, they may show signs of withdrawal, including excessive sleeping, sleeping difficulties, agitation, hallucinations, chills, aches and shakes.


Addicts often boast as to their ability to quit anytime they like. They may say that they have quit on their own in the past and could easily do so again if they so choose. It is important to remember that the most crucial key to recovery is sobriety maintenance. An addict who is currently using is obviously not addressing their problem properly.


Most addicts require professional help in order to quit using. Some need inpatient treatment, while others seek out local NA and AA meetings for support. Whether the individual in question is struggling with alcoholism or narcotics addiction, professional aid is often vital to the success and longevity of the recovery at hand.  

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Opiate Agonist

Opiate agonists provide patients with the same sensation experienced via endorphin, a natural compound found in the body. The brain’s opiate receptors receive the agonist, resulting in an opioid effect, or high, even though one isn’t actually occurring.

Nitty Gritty

Opiate agonists are designed to bind to opiate receptors. However, unlike actual opiates, they are not derived from opium. These agonists are molecules, synthetic or natural, that are close enough to opioids that they can bind to opiate receptors in the brain. Various opiate agonists exist, each providing a unique effect. “Full agonists” are able to mimic the full effects of opiate use to a “t”. “Partial agonists” mimic opiate effects to a lesser extent, ranging from just below complete receptor activation to none at all.

Addiction Treatment 

Opiate agonists are often utilized in treatment for opiate addicts. When patients choose to stop using opiates (heroin, methadone, morphine) their bodies experience withdrawal symptoms. Agonists are provided to these patients to help alleviate the withdrawal symptoms without the aid of the actual drug from which the addiction stems.

Long-Term Use 

Users with chronic opiate addictions are sometimes provided opiate agonists on a long-term basis.

Federal Guidelines

Federal guidelines exist regarding use of methadone as an opiate agonist as defined by the 1974 National Addict Treatment Act. This act allows both short- (30 days or less) and long-term (31 – 180 days) methadone treatment as designated by physician.

Side Effects

Patients using opiate agonists may experience a variety of side effects including:
- Profuse sweating
- Nervousness
- Sexual dysfunction

Need Help?

Looking for drug abuse help? Pick up the phone and call Above it All treatment center today!


Monday, July 29, 2013

How Does Heroin Affect The Skin?

Heroin is a highly addictive and dangerous substance derived from morphine. It is perhaps the most commonly abused narcotic, and is used by way of inhaling, injecting or smoking. Taking the drug is said to offer an intense sense of euphoria and contentment; however, it will ultimately take its toll on the body, including an array of skin issues.

image via howskincarebeauty

Got the Itch?

One of the more common short-term effects experienced by heroin users is an itchy or “crawling” sensation on the skin. Opiate use results in a histamine release within the body, causing itchiness and inflammation. Scabs and cuts on the skin are typical in heroin users; resulting from picking and scratching at the skin. In addition, heroin use also serves to inhibit appetite, causing malnutrition in many addicts. A lack in adequate nutrition will ultimately lead to dehydration, resulting in itchy, dry skin.


Due to lack of appetite, many heroin users miss out of essential vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins C and A; both of which are required for healthy skin.  This lack of nutrition may also cause added susceptibility to bruising. IV drug users will often exhibit bruising around the areas where the drugs are injected. This is often due to pressing the needed to quickly and too hard into the skin or through the use of dull needles.


Chronic heroin use can often result in skin infections caused by bacteria. The repeated injection of heroin can cause inflammation of the skin and pain to the user. Heroin injections, especially with unclean needles, can result in abscesses and boils. These boils will fill with puss, swell and can prove fatal if not addressed in a timely manner. 


Track marks are the scars left behind by IV use. Heroin addicts use the drug over an elongated period, increasing their tolerance over time. As a result, the addict must inject more frequently in order to achieve the same effect. Over a long enough use period, chronic heroin use will cause toxin buildup underneath the skin. Routine injections will ultimately result in collapsed veins, causing dark, permanent scars.

Need Help?

Searching for a chemical dependency treatment center? Pick up the phone and call Above it All today! With a team of seasoned addiction specialists available to assess and address your individual needs, you can count on Above it All to have you on the fast track to sobriety in no time. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just the FAQs About Heroin

An array of myths and rumors have been circulated about heroin use. Today’s entry will focus on some frequently asked questions.

What is Heroin? 

-          Derived from Morphine, heroin is classified as part of the opiate family. It is sold as a brown or white powder, or as a brown/black tar-like substance
-          Heroin is extremely addictive – Physical dependence can result after only a week or so of routine use
-          Heroin takes effect very quickly, producing a powerful sense of well being and euphoria

How is Heroin Administered? 

Users administer heroin in one of the following 3 ways:
-          Smoking
-          Snorting
-          Injection

What is Heroin’s Affect on the Brain?

Heroin works to stimulate the opiate receptors located in the brain. When someone uses heroin, the substance moves past the blood brain barrier and fills the brain with opiates. The opiates then engage neurotransmitter receptors in various areas of the brain in charge of pain and pleasure regulation. Once the drug has activated these receptors, the users begin to experience feelings of contentment, euphoria and analgesia.

Over a long enough use period, heroin will begin to alter the addict’s brain chemistry. Chronic heroin use will ultimately result in a reduced number of opiate receptors in the brain. As these numbers dwindle, the user will require more and more heroin to achieve the same initial high.

What Are the Short Term Consequences?

Heroin use can result in nausea and vomiting when taken in large doses or by inexperienced users. Additional short-term consequences include:

-          Itchiness
-          Sweating
-          Reduced cough reflux
-          Slurred speech and confusion
-          Constricted pupils
-          Decrease in heart rate and respiration
-          Analgesia

Overdose is the most extreme consequence of heroin use, which can easily turn fatal. Overdose symptoms include:

-          Convulsions
-          Shallow breathing
-          Coma
-          Extremely constricted pupils
-          Clammy skin

What Are the Long-Term Consequences?

Potential consequences associated with chronic heroin use include:

-          Skin infections
-          HIV or hepatitis
-          Cognitive impairments
-          Pneumonia
-          Organ damage
-          Malnutrition
-          Track marks
-          Collapsed veins