Aggressive marketing of OxyContin is blamed by some analysts for propelling the crisis that has resulted in 200,000 overdose deaths related to prescription opioids since 1999.
In 2007, Purdue pleaded guilty to federal charges of understating the risk of addiction and agreed to pay $600 million in fines and penalties. Still, the company argued publicly that OxyContin has “done far more good than harm,” and it sought to place responsibility for the bad acts on “certain of its supervisors and employees.”
In September 2014, Purdue embarked on a secret project to join an industry that was booming thanks in part to OxyContin abuse: addiction treatment medication. Code-named Project Tango, it involved Purdue executives and staff as well as Dr. Kathe Sackler, a daughter of the company co-founder Mortimer Sackler and a defendant in the Massachusetts lawsuit. She participated in phone calls and told staff that the project required their “immediate attention,” according to the complaint.
“It is an attractive market,” the team working on the project wrote in a presentation. “Large unmet need for vulnerable, underserved and stigmatized patient population suffering from substance abuse, dependence and addiction.”
While OxyContin sales were declining, the internal team at Purdue touted the fact that the addiction treatment marketplace was expanding.
While those initiatives appear to have stalled or ended, Richard Sackler received a patent last year for a drug to treat addiction, according to the complaint. The patent application states that opioids are addictive and refers to people who suffer from substance use disorders as “junkies.”
Studies show that African American and Latinx individuals are far less likely than white people to complete outpatient and residential substance use disorder treatment.
The inequity is also in access to medication. NPR highlighted a recent study by Dr. Pooja Lagisetty, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, who stated that “this epidemic over the last few years has been framed by many as a largely white epidemic, but we know now that’s not true.”
Lagisetty found that as overdose deaths rose between 2012 and 2015, so did though the number of medical visits where buprenorphine was prescribed. However, researchers found no increase in prescriptions for African Americans and other minorities. In fact, the study found that white populations are almost 35 times more likely to have a buprenorphine visit than African Americans even though death rates among people of color were rising faster than white people. Researchers also observed that these visits were paid for by cash (40 percent), or private insurance (35 percent) rather than with Medicaid (25 percent), suggesting inequalities in healthcare.
“We shouldn’t see differences this large, given that people of color have similar rates of opioid use disorder,” says Lagisetty. “As the number of Americans with opioid use disorder grows, we need to increase access to treatment for black and low-income populations, and be thoughtful about how we reach all those who could benefit from this treatment.”
People of color have less access to treatment not only due to socio-economic circumstances. There is also a disparity in how drug use is viewed in communities of color. Despite similar rates of drug use and sales, people of color are more likely than white people to be arrested and receive harsher punishments for drug-related offenses.
Read full article here by Olivia Pennelle founder of the popular site Liv’s Recovery Kitchen, a site dedicated to helping people flourish in their recovery. Liv is passionate about challenging limiting mentalities and empowering others to direct their own lives, health, and recovery.
Liv also co-hosts a podcast — Breaking Free: Your Recovery. Your Way. Listen here.
The 12-Step fellowship, Nicotine Anonymous (NicA), has grown in 37 years to have over 700 weekly ongoing face-to-face mutual support groups in 32 countries. At meetings members share their experience with a process of recovery from nicotine addiction.
Nicotine Anonymous members also provide several daily phone and internet meetings. This expands the means by which members can connect, especially those in isolated areas or who have limited transportation. In addition, thousands of members use social media to offer support to one another.
Nicotine Anonymous (NicA), is a program of recovery based on universal spiritual principles in order to gain freedom from nicotine in any form. Members can use the program to develop a more fulfilling life beyond the addiction and the potential health hazards of smoking, vaping, or chewing nicotine products.
Health organizations report these nicotine products combined kill millions of people each year–worldwide. Members of the fellowship confirm the research that nicotine is just as addictive as other substance abuse drugs and can be as hard or harder to stop using.
Nicotine Anonymous is about restoring lives. Membership only requires someone have a desire to stop using nicotine. There are no dues or fees and a person can join at any time. Meetings offer ongoing continuous support, not limited to a few sessions. Members can attend for as long as it takes, or as long as they find value. Many members stay long after they gain abstinence from nicotine in order to help struggling newcomers.
Much of Nicotine Anonymous World Services’ extensive recovery literature has been translated by members into 16 languages other than English. Translations of its pamphlets are available to read/purchase on its website: http://www.nicotine-anonymous.org. Books are now available to purchase in Spanish, Russian, and Italian.
Nicotine Anonymous World Services is continuously expanding its resources and extending a warm welcome to reach all those seeking to gain freedom from using nicotine. For further information, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 877- TRY-NICA (879-6422).
Microbiologist Frank Plummer has become the guinea pig in a clinical trial investigating whether brain implants can help treat alcohol use disorder.
He’s loved his work describing it as vital and exciting, but stressful, with 12-hour days that began with coffee and would end with several glasses of scotch. His drinking escalated to about 20 ounces of the booze a night. It didn’t seem to affect his work – until 2012, when his “liver packed it in”
The diagnosis of chronic liver failure was followed by a liver transplant. He had to watch his alcohol intake to preserve his new liver – but he found his alcohol had become a powerful thirst. Dr Plummer tried treatment – rehab programmes, support groups, counselling, medications – but any relief was temporary. He would inevitably slip back into drinking.
“It was pretty hopeless cycle…,I was in the hospital a lot, I almost died several times.”
He went looking for help – “a more robust clinical solution, perhaps one not yet discovered” – and was referred to two neurosurgeons at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital. They were recruiting patients for an experimental procedure being conducted in North America for the first time, using deep brain stimulation (DBS) to help patients with treatment-resistant alcohol use disorder. The surgical trial is testing how safe and effective DBS is for alcohol addiction.
Dr Plummer says the worst part of the procedure were the noise and vibrations when surgeons drilled into his skull in order to implant the electrodes. “It was a large drill that drills about a 25 cent piece out of your skull on both sides – that wasn’t painful but it was annoying,” he says.
DBS is frequently described as a type of “pacemaker” for the brain. Dr Plummer was the trial’s first patient and underwent the experimental surgery just over a year ago. The surgeon says Dr Plummer has seen an improvement in both his cravings and his mood.
But he cautions the research is in early stages – and that it’s not a silver bullet.
You can read more here, or maybe this has made some other solutions seem more attractive – personally I’d rather put pen to paper for a 4th step than have Drs drill into my skull while I’m still awake!!
Wish you speedy healing Dr Plummer and sustained abstinence from that powerful thirst.
In 2011 I was made aware of Deena Metzger through a workshop by a Shaman Jeanie Griffin at West Coast Symposium on Addictive Disorders (WCSAD) – a very welcome change from all the sessions on the BDMA – Brain Disease Model of Addiction I had sat through at other recovery conferences. (The BDMA has its useful role and place but also its critics who claim that viewing addiction this way minimizes its important social and environmental causes, as though saying addiction is a disorder of brain circuits means that social stresses like loneliness, poverty, violence, and other psychological and environmental factors do not play an important role.
There’s quite a tale behind all that I’ve mentioned above, but that’s one of the stories I sometimes tell when we’re together in a YoR retreat …
As a result of Jeanie’s session, I read “Entering the Ghost River” , prompted by this one quote – which I’ve had on the bio page of my website for years:
“What carries a healer forward when she has no license because there is no license to be had for what she does, when the training for the license that theoretically covers her work undermines the basic principles she is pledged to uphold? When the other available licenses do not cover the work that she is called to do? And when one cannot and must not license the sacred work of the most ancient human traditions? What carries her is something in her heart tuned to the invisible voices who guide her and speak of goodness and a desire to comfort those who are completely bereft. What carries her is a song that comes at the edge of the wood or just where the stream cannot be distinguished from the bank and it hums the connection between one world and another. Then when someone dies or cannot breathe for the pain of living, she sings it under her breath and the prayer enters the room, a small light in the absolute darkness of grief.”
I resonated so deeply with this, especially around my own Dharma which is currently the offering of Yoga of Recovery.
Today I share Deena’s essay “Extinction Illness: Grave Affliction and Possibility” which appeared in the January issue of Tikkun.. Its premise is that, as the reality of human-caused mass extinction sinks in, we are all succumbing to what she calls “extinction illness.”:
“Contemplating the extent and pervasiveness of despair and violence across the globe, the increasing aberrance of human and non-human behavior, I see that all humans and non-humans know this, all human people and all beings, animals, trees, birds, insects, fish, know this. And all of us are being driven to some form of madness, pain, or dysfunction.”
Lise Weil and Kristin Flyntz then put out a call for responses, and so many arrived – enough for a full issue of Dark Matter – Women Witnessing, #9: “Grave Affliction and Possibility.” that highlights 12 of these responses: passionate, visionary, and wildly divergent but also, you’ll feel the authors are very much in conversation with each other.
I’ve described a web of connections in this post – such is life : )
Many of these resources are available whenever you need them. (No need to schedule an appointment between the hours of 9 and 5.) Support groups, hotlines and call centers, websites and online forums, and even apps can be put into action when you have a crisis or just need extra support.
Thanks for Greatest for the list
Studies show that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking or obesity. People who are lonely are at higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and dementia. What if the entire community was treated as part of the health care system, and if social connection and health were treated as though they went hand in hand?
In 2013 general practitioner Dr. Helen Kingston started a project called Compassionate Frome when she noticed that many of her patients were coming into her clinic complaining of loneliness. Compassionate Frome began training “health connectors”—volunteers in the community who understand the range of health and wellness services available to patients. When someone was struggling with their health and complaining of loneliness, a health connector would be assigned to meet with that person and talk with them, providing a social connection while also helping them find the resources to address their health concerns.
These health connectors could connect the patients to traditional medical services, but also to social services: discussion groups, a “shed” where men could come together to work on projects, group exercise classes, help with shopping, help joining a community choir, even a befriending service.
Read more here on David Byrne’s (Formerly of the Talking Heads band), Reasons to be Cheerful website
Health Advisory urges everyone to refrain from vaping
The Governor’s executive order directed CDPH to launch a $20 million statewide digital and social media public awareness campaign to educate youth, young adults and parents about the health risks associated with vaping nicotine and cannabis products. CDPH is also tasked with developing recommendations to reduce smoking among young adults and teens by establishing warning signs with health risks where vaping products are sold and on product advertisements. For more information on the risks of vaping and today’s health advisory, read “Vaping Related Lung Illness: A Summary of the Public Health Risks and Recommendations for the Public.”