We are currently facing one of the deadliest drug epidemics in history. Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids has quadrupled, resulting in the deaths of more than 15,000 Americans each year.
As a result, we’ve invested heavily in research and addiction prevention programs to help curb the opioid epidemic. And, researchers may have discovered yet another tool that can be used to prevent more lives from being lost.
In a study recently published in the BMJ (formerly known as the British Medical Journal), scientists found that among opioid users, individuals who also used benzodiazepines at the same time were twice as likely to visit the emergency room for a drug overdose.
Researchers reviewed the medical history of 320,000 patients and compared the outcomes of individuals who were only prescribed opioids and patients who were concurrently prescribed a benzodiazepine such as Xanax or Valium. They found that individuals taking both medications were substantially more likely to suffer from a drug overdose.
“Even if we didn’t change opioid prescribing at all, the data here suggest that we could cut overdoses dramatically just [by] getting prescribers to not put people on a benzodiazepine at the same time,” said Keith Humphreys, a drug policy expert at Stanford University and one of the lead authors of the study.
Researchers also discovered yet another troubling trend within the data. The use of opioids and benzodiazepines posed a significant health risk, yet the rate of patients being prescribed both is increasing. Among the pool of patients that they studied, the rate of concurrent prescriptions increased by 89 percent.
While additional research is needed, clinicians and policymakers could use these findings to help curb the current rate of overdose deaths by adopting new guidelines for prescribing opioids and medications designed to help treat anxiety and panic disorder. In addition, this research suggests that clinicians should not only exercise caution when prescribing opioids, but may also consider holistic alternatives to treat chronic pain.
If you are struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids, our inpatient addiction recovery services can help you heal while also strengthening your relationship with Christ. At Christian Rehab Network, we use a combination of therapies and spiritual lessons from the Bible to help clients start to rebuild their life. To begin the healing process, contact us today at (877) 310-9545.
In the late nineties, the Nordic island country of Iceland was facing a serious public health crisis. Alcohol and drug abuse among younger residents had escalated to an increasingly worrisome level. 42% of teens (not even old enough to drive) were abusing alcohol and nearly 1 in 5 smoked marijuana on a regular basis.
In an effort to better understand the root cause, Icelandic officials conducted a survey asking 15- and 16-year-olds how much time they spent with friends and family members in their community. What did they do after school? Who did they hang out with? Did they participate in sports and other organized activities?
The results of the survey showed a strong correlation between social isolation and substance abuse. Armed with this information, community leaders decided the tackle the issue in a variety of ways.
And the results were profound. Rates of alcohol abuse fell from 42 to 5 percent. Marijuana use dropped from 17 to just 7 percent.
By offering teens more opportunities to socialize and spend time with friends and family members, they were able to reduce the risk of addiction among their most vulnerable residents.
While there are many proven therapies available to treat substance abuse, prevention is truly the most powerful. Which begs the question. Given the current opioid epidemic, is there an opportunity to reapply some of these best practices to stop the spread of addiction among our youth?
For adolescents, the path to recovery can be very different than an adult. That’s why Christian Rehab Network offers a faith-based rehab for adolescents. We offer group and individual therapy, Bible study, pastoral care, and recreational recovery activities that give adolescents age-appropriate strategies for coping with issues like depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, substance use disorders, and social difficulties. To inquire about insurance and private payment options for adolescent drug rehabilitation, call (877) 310-9545 or submit a secure online inquiry today.
And, work recently published by two UConn Health Researchers has refuted that misconception. Serving as guest editors for a special issue of the scientific journal, Addiction, Thomas Babor and Frances Del Boca conducted a meta-analysis of prior research reports.
After combing the data, they found that individuals exhibiting a few of the early symptoms of addiction, profoundly benefitted from early interventional care – helping them to course correct their behavior and reduce their risk of developing a full-blown addiction.
“Brief intervention refers to any time-limited effort, maybe one or two conversations or meetings, to provide information or advice, increase motivation to avoid substance abuse, or to teach behavior change skills that will reduce substance abuse as well as the chances of negative consequences,” says Babor, the Health Net Inc. Endowed Chair in Community Medicine and Public Health in the UConn School of Medicine.
Babor and Del Boca found substance abusers are far more likely to curtail their dangerous behaviors when a primary care physician refers them to treatment (if needed) after a brief screening incorporated into routine office visits.
“The idea of translating research into practice is a hope that is seldom realized in addiction science,” says assistant professor Bonnie McRee, one of the report authors. “To go from the development of screening tests to national implementation programs in the course of 20 years is a dream come true for an addiction scientist.”
Based this addiction research, the findings suggest that there is an opportunity to expand the use of addiction screenings to help prevent the disease of addiction from progressing in high-risk individuals. By identifying individuals early and helping them access addiction treatment quickly, it can help serve as a powerful tool in the fight against drug and alcohol addiction.
Whether you’re seeking guidance for yourself or for your loved one, Christian Rehab Network offers access to a variety of services geared toward a fully integrated plan of action tailored to your specific needs. When you combine the techniques of professionals from medicine, mental health, addiction care with a foundation in of the teachings of Christ, healing can be achieved in mind, body, and spirit. Get help now: 877-310-9545.