America has been having a “love affair” with tranquilizers for over 50 years. From barbiturates in the early 1950s, like those that killed Marilyn Monroe, to the Miltown tranquilizers of the late 1950s and the more powerful benzodiazepines of the 1960s and 1970s like Librium and Valium, it seemed like everybody wanted some.
People wanted to “take the edge off” and “chill out” and “be cool”, and tranquilizers did the trick and were available everywhere. Most doctors handed them out like M&Ms to almost any patient with a twitch or a whiney complaint. But if you couldn’t get some from the family physician, there were always other family members, friends or co-workers.
Today, the most prevalent “tranq” on the scene is Xanax, the best-selling benzodiazepine in history with twice the number of prescriptions than all the others, a drug worth countless $billions to drugmaker Pfizer.
Well, folks, the honeymoon is over. In fact it’s been over for many years, but too many people haven’t gotten the message.
So here it is:
On their own, benzodiazepines are very addictive and they can really mess you up. Benzo addictions can be very hard to treat. And benzos can cause overdoses and deaths on their own. Many habitual benzodiazepine users and abusers don’t realize they are playing with fire.
Now there’s a new problem, and it’s getting worse. Thousands of Americans are dying every year because they’re using benzos to “boost” the effects of prescription opioid painkillers. They heard about it from somewhere, or they’ve discovered it on their own. Either way, bad idea. Medically and scientifically, a very bad idea – a combination that can very quickly put you down for the count. Combining benzos with painkillers – OxyContin or Vicodin or any opioid – is playing with living lightning.
Everyone knows that America’s other love affair – prescription opioid painkillers – has turned sour and become a dangerous obsession. In the last decade, prescriptions have more than quadrupled, and so have overdoses and deaths. Prescription opioids kill at least 12,000 people a year, without any help from benzodiazepines. Opioids are involved in over 75 percent of all prescription drug overdose deaths.
And when you add the benzodiazepines to the painkillers, deaths rise another 30 percent to over 16,650 in 2010, the most recent year for which data are available. That’s nearly 5,000 people who might still be alive if they hadn’t popped both kinds of pills at once. Plus perhaps similar numbers in 2011, 2012 and 2013 – maybe 15,000 people. Enough for a small American town. Butchers, bakers and candlestick makers, as the child’s rhyme goes.
Death from prescription drugs cares nothing about social position, what you do for a living, if you have any money in the bank, or who your friends are. And the combo of benzos with opioid painkillers just makes things even worse.
If you or someone you care about has any problem at all with opioid painkillers or with benzodiazepines, and especially if they have both drugs on hand, you need to call Novus Medical Detox Center today. Get the facts from one of our expert counselors, and find out why Novus patients are so happy with our medical detox solutions that can almost eliminate withdrawal symptoms.
Find out more about our program by calling 1-800-505-6604 or visiting our main website.
Categories: Drug News
The untimely and tragic death of one of Hollywood’s most important actors, Philip Seymour Hoffman, underscores the terrible need for better heroin addiction treatment in this country. Hoffman is only the latest in a long list of popular actors, musicians and artists who have lost their lives to heroin addiction.
Heroin-related deaths have been on a steep and steady increase for years in America, along with a steady rise in heroin abuse, especially in the last few years. Over 4 million Americans of 11 years old and older try heroin at least once every year, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990. Although prescription painkillers kill more people than heroin and cocaine combined, heroin is still the No. 1 killer among illegal drug users especially long-term addicts.
In our next blog, we’ll explain the real causes of overdose deaths, and why long-term addicts are even more likely to die than new users.
Hoffman was struggling with his heroin addiction demons
As you’ve already seen on the news, Hoffman was found lying dead in his underwear on the bathroom floor of his $9,800-a-month West Village, New York City apartment with a syringe still stuck in his arm. His assistant, with one of the actor’s friends, had come to investigate why the actor had failed to show up at a nearby park to play with his kids.
Attempts to revive him proved hopeless. He was pronounced dead by emergency responders. Police later found more than 50 bags of heroin and large quantities of prescription drugs in the apartment. At first it was thought Hoffman had died from an overdose of a dangerous heroin-fentanyl mix, already responsible for dozens if not hundreds of overdose deaths in the northeastern states. But tests showed that none of the actor’s heroin contained fentanyl.
Hoffman had an early history of drug and alcohol abuse. But he’d been clean for 23 years when he fell off the wagon last year. His longtime partner and the mother of their three children, Mimi O’Donnell, insisted Hoffman move out of their $4.4 million Manhattan apartment they shared with their kids — Cooper, 10, Tallulah, 7 and Willa, 5 — and get into rehab. Friends said O’Donnell told him he needed some ‘time away from the kids and to get straight again’.
The actor reluctantly entered rehab in May, it was reported, but unfortunately he opted for only a brief 10-day treatment – certainly inadequate to deal with any serious addiction, and barely enough time to simply detox. Soon after leaving rehab, Hoffman was back on the streets copping heroin from local dealers. He was still attending AA meetings, and was there just a week before he died. But he was also seen around the Village, scruffy and unkempt, drinking in bars alone at night, obviously high and in pretty bad shape.
Most heroin addiction begins with prescription painkillers
The recent explosion in heroin abuse seen in cities all across the country is directly related to simple economics. We don’t know how Hoffman came to heroin, but it usually starts with prescription painkillers which lead to prescription drug addiction – and not just for Hollywood stars but for tens of thousands of ordinary Americans every year. They soon discover that street heroin is less than a tenth as expensive as prescription painkillers, and does the same job. Narcotic painkillers like OxyContin and oxycodone are essentially just legal heroin.
Hoffman, who won an Oscar for his role in the 2005 film Capote, had a week of filming still left to shoot for the sequel to The Hunger Games, leaving the producers, writers, cast and director with the problem of reshooting crucial scenes and editing the film to makes sense.
For Mimi O’Donnell and three young children, there is no reshoot, no editing, no fixing things up. There’s just tragic, pointless loss – pointless because it was preventable. Addiction does not have to be the crippling, lifelong affliction that so many so-called experts say it is. The entire tragedy could have been prevented if Hoffman had gotten a truly effective heroin detoxification, followed by an effective, long-term heroin addiction treatment program.
Novus Medical Detox successfully handles OxyContin detox and heroin detox, even when other detox methods have failed. That’s because Novus medical detox protocols ease the side effects while shortening the time it takes to safely and thoroughly complete the detox program.
After more than 13 years of often bitter wrangling among various interest groups, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may finally tighten restrictions on hydrocodone-combination painkillers like Vicodin, Lortab and Norco, moving them up from ‘Schedule III’ to the more tightly controlled ‘Schedule II.’
Hydrocodone-combination painkillers contain hydrocodone and some form of acetaminophen (or paracetamol). Hydrocodone is a leading cause of addictions and deaths. But acetaminophen overdoses result in at least 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations and 458 deaths each year. So there’s more to the risk than just the opiate hydrocodone.
Under the new schedule, doctors would be required to actually write all prescriptions, rather than just call them in without seeing a patient. And they would only be allowed to prescribe three months worth of doses, rather than the six months allowed under the current Schedule III.
Opponents of the plan say that “up-scheduling”, as it’s called, hydrocodone combination meds from Schedule III to II, would deny patients access to their meds. On the other hand, supporters of the plan say it’s more important to reduce the terrible epidemic of Vicodin addiction and ruined lives.
Supporters want to reduce hydrocodone addiction
Supporters include consumer and patient safety associations, many concerned physicians and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). On the opposing side are the drug companies, some pharmacists’ groups and some medical associations. While supporters are concerned about the safety of patients and reducing hydrocodone addiction, the opposition seems to be more about the potential for less income, since there’s no hard data to back up their claims that it would impact patient access.
Supporters say the new rules won’t create insurmountable hardship for patients, because the pills are there for prescribing as usual, and all that’s being asked is a little more attention from doctors and pharmacists. They remind us that prescriptions are required for all other similarly dangerous drugs – and hydrocodone is a dangerous drug – require doctor visits and written prescriptions. And few patients, if any, are complaining about it.
Hydrocodone biggest killer in Florida
Here in Florida and in many other states, hydrocodone leads the list of death-dealing drugs – far ahead of oxycodone and OxyContin. In fact, hydrocodone is the most-prescribed drug in the entire country. Hydrocodone accounted for 131 million prescriptions, for 47 million patients, in 2011 – far ahead of the cholesterol drug simvastatin, in second place with 94 million prescriptions.
Way back in 1999, the former director of an addiction treatment center in Syracuse, N.Y., petitioned the FDA to raise restrictions on hydrocodone combination drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and others. The drug had exactly the same reputation as oxycodone, especially among law enforcement and emergency room personnel. Since then, more consumer groups, physicians and even the DEA have all called repeatedly for up-scheduling of hydrocodone.
Until now the FDA has largely ignored the evidence against Vicodin
The FDA, on the other hand, has largely ignored legal and medical evidence and advice, even from its own people. In 2009, an FDA advisory panel recommended removing Vicodin from the market because of its danger to the public. Now, after two days of hearings this past January, a new advisory panel has recommended that the FDA take steps to reschedule hydrocodone combination drugs to Schedule II.
In spite of all the arguments against it, Schedule II controls just don’t sound as if any legitimate patients would unduly suffer. Novus Medical Detox Center is a leader in the field of drug treatment, with years of experience handling Florida hydrocodone detox. We cast our vote for tightening up the restrictions on hydrocodone combination drugs like Vicodin, Lortab and Norco, because we’ve seen the damage these drugs can do.
An article was published in October 2010 that states: “An estimated 20.4 million people in the United States used some kind of illicit drug in the past 30 days.” *That equates to about 15% of the population of the entire United States.
And as it was revealed a few years ago, Oprah was not immune to the misguided lure of taking drugs.
In an interview with Billy Bush in 2005 Oprah divulged painful private secrets for the first time on-air. Oprah said her hardest-kept secret was of her drug abuse.
Oprah stated: “Years ago I had a woman on my show who was talking about drugs and how she was addicted to her boyfriend and I had used drugs in my 20s with this boyfriend and I was more addicted to the boyfriend than I was to the drugs,” she revealed. “So the admission to using drugs on television was the biggest thing.”
“It was Crack, right?” Billy asked.
“Yeah, well it wasn’t called crack at the time. It was called freebasing. It was before crack was crack,” she admitted.
Tragically, Ecstasy is one of the most popular drugs among youth today. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime estimates Ecstasy users to number approximately 9 million worldwide. The vast majority of users are teenagers and young adults.
Mixed with alcohol, Ecstasy is extremely dangerous and can, in fact, be deadly. So widespread has been the harm of this “designer drug,” that emergency room incidents have skyrocketed more than 1,200% since Ecstasy became the “club drug” of choice at all-night “rave” parties and dance clubs.
If Ecstasy is ruining your life and you want to overcome your drug addiction, call Novus Detox today at 1-866-591-5390 for a confidential consultation with one of our drug counselors.
A recent bust at a mid-state middle school is shedding light on the growing problem of prescription drug abuse among teens.
Seven students at Stewarts Creek Middle School of Rutherford County in Tennessee were expelled after a teacher caught them with prescription pills on campus. Rutherford County school officials said they have a strict zero tolerance policy.
It is reported that the students involved told school administrators they brought in two different kinds of medications. One is believed to have been a drug used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
“You use whatever rationalization you can to justify the fact that you’re not living truthfully,” he observes about substance abuse. “You make this death machine seem glamorous so you can get on to the next moment. But it isn’t glamorous, and it isn’t fun.”
“People rise out of the ashes because, at some point, they are invested with a belief in the possibility of triumph over seemingly impossible odds,” Downey says. Meeting his current wife, producer Susan Levin, helped his recovery.
“She told me, ‘I’m not doing that [drug] dance with you. I’m drawing a line in the sand here.’ She was absolutely clear about it. That doesn’t mean that other women, business associates, movie directors, insurance companies, judges and law enforcement hadn’t been clear about it too. It was that, before I met Mrs. Downey, I just didn’t give a damn. What changed is that I cared.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses involved prescription painkillers—also called opioid pain relievers. In fact, these drugs were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined.
This is a challenge that hits some parts of America disproportionately. In a period of nine months, for instance, a tiny Kentucky county with a population of less than 12,000, saw nine people die from pain medication overdose.
Novus Detox is a Florida Drug Detox Center that provides a safe and painless drug detox program for people who are suffering from substance abuse. To find out more about our program visit www.novusdetox.com or call us at 1-866-591-5390.
Samuel L. Jackson’s Career Turned Around When He Gave Up Drugs
Samuel L. Jackson’s success wasn’t always so straightforward, and he says it contributed to his battle with drugs, including marijuana and crack cocaine. In his early 40s, Jackson’s career had spanned two decades but still hadn’t produced a blockbuster. One of his painful addiction memories includes his wife and young daughter encountering him on the floor, having passed out from cocaine.
Following the incident, Samuel L. Jackson voluntarily entered rehab, not knowing at the time that his addiction to crack cocaine would be the real-life knowledge he poured into his famous role in Jungle Fever in 1991. Even though he had successfully completed a drug addiction recovery program, his knowledge and portrayal of a crack cocaine addict was so true-to-life that movie producers arranged a time to talk with him to be certain he wasn’t still abusing the drug.
Samuel L. Jackson has stated that he has been off drugs since two weeks before his start into movie showbiz. It just goes to show that being off drugs really does make a difference!
If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse, contact us for a free consultation with one of our experienced drug counselors. Call 1-866-591-5390.
Drew Barrymore Has Turned Her Life Around – For The Better
With Drew Barrymore’s life doing so well, it would come as a surprise to some to learn that Drew Barrymore’s movie stardom which began at a very early age was accompanied by a more frightening early age shock offscreen — a premature appetite for drinking and drugs. By her own admission she had her first drink at age 9, began smoking marijuana at age 10 and at age 12 took up cocaine. At age 13, she has twice undergone extensive drug rehabilitation treatment.
Drew Barrymore Stated:
“I’m not psychic. But for today I can stay sober. I never want to go back to my old ways. I know that. That is my future. One day at a time. I’m Drew, and I’m an addict-alcoholic. I’ve been sober for three months, two weeks and five days, and I’m really proud of that.”