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Whitehouse writes

ADDRESSING THE DRIVING FORCES OF THE OPIOID CRISIS: President Donald J. Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioids Abuse and Reduce Drug Supply and Demand will confront the driving forces behind the opioid crisis.

  • President Trump’s Initiative to Stop Opioid Abuse will address factors fueling the opioid crisis, including over-prescription, illicit drug supplies, and insufficient access to evidence-based treatment, primary prevention, and recovery support services.
  • The President’s Opioid Initiative will:
    • Reduce drug demand through education, awareness, and preventing over-prescription.
    • Cut off the flow of illicit drugs across our borders and within communities.
    • Save lives now by expanding opportunities for proven treatments for opioid and other drug addictions.

REDUCE DEMAND AND OVER-PRESCRIPTION: President Trump’s Opioid Initiative will educate Americans about the dangers of opioid and other drug use and seek to curb over-prescription.

  • Launch a nationwide evidence-based campaign to raise public awareness about the dangers of prescription and illicit opioid use, as well as other drug use.
  • Support research and development efforts for innovative technologies and additional therapies designed to prevent addiction and decrease the use of opioids in pain management.
    • This will include supporting research and development for a vaccine to prevent opioid addiction and non-addictive pain management options.
  • Reduce the over-prescription of opioids which has the potential to lead Americans down a path to addiction or facilitate diversion to illicit use.
  • Implement a Safer Prescribing Plan to achieve the following objectives:
    • Cut nationwide opioid prescription fills by one-third within three years.
    • Ensure that 75 percent of opioid prescriptions reimbursed by Federal healthcare programs are issued using best practices within three years, and 95 percent within five years.
    • Ensure that at least half of all Federally-employed healthcare providers adopt best practices for opioid prescribing within two years, with all of them doing so within five years.
    • Leverage Federal funding opportunities related to opioids to ensure that States transition to a nationally interoperable Prescription Drug Monitoring Program network.

CUT OFF THE SUPPLY OF ILLICIT DRUGS: President Trump’s Opioid Initiative will crack down on international and domestic illicit drug supply chains devastating American communities: 

  • Keep dangerous drugs out of the United States.
    • Secure land borders, ports of entry, and water ways against illegal smuggling.
    • Require advance electronic data for 90 percent of all international mail shipments (with goods) and consignment shipments within three years, in order for the Department of Homeland Security to flag high-risk shipments.
    • Identify and inspect high-risk shipments leveraging advanced screening technologies and by using drug-detecting canines.
    • Test and identify suspicious substances in high-risk international packages to quickly detect and remove known and emerging illicit drugs before they can cause harm.
    • Engage with China and expand…

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Additionally here is what other leaders are saying about his plan!

Members of Congress

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI): “The opioid epidemic continues to ravage our communities, and President Trump is right to continue the fight against it. This announcement comes as Congress readies a critical funding bill that will direct more resources to fight this epidemic. By expanding access to treatment and recovery efforts that have proven successful, we can empower individuals to retake control of their lives. And by investing in increased law enforcement efforts, we can empower local communities to address the problem at its root and stop the spread of these deadly drugs.”

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): “.@POTUS’ proposals to combat opioid addiction demonstrate that there is ample opportunity to reach a bipartisan consensus. We must stop the tide of this epidemic so the American people can live freer and happier lives.”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR): “It’s good to see the President give the opioid crisis his personal attention, and I will be introducing legislation soon to make sure the people who profit off the spread of addiction receive the punishment they deserve.”

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV): “The plan the president announced today is a significant step forward in combatting this epidemic, and it proves that the administration truly understands it is going to take a comprehensive, all-hands-on-deck approach to make real progress in this fight.”

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), Health Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS): “We welcome the Trump Administration’s proposals and look forward to continuing to work closely with them to combat the deadly scourge. From helping those struggling with addiction on the road to recovery to providing resources to those on the front lines combating the crisis, we see great potential in these ideas, many of which track with our ongoing efforts.”

Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC): “I appreciate President Donald Trump’s leadership and passion on this issue, and I welcome the president’s proposal. This issue is important to me, and I remain committed to working with the administration, my colleagues, and state and local officials to raise awareness and find ways to defeat this opioid epidemic.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY): “The President’s plan today will address many of the factors contributing to this crisis as well as provide support for those who are suffering from addiction and their families. I commend President Trump for making this a top priority for his Administration.”

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH): “The President’s bold vision very clearly lays out a plan to reduce drug demand, and prevent over-prescription while scaling up research and development to find alternative non-opioid treatments. It also cuts off the flow of illegal drugs across our borders and within communities, toughens criminal penalties for major drug traffickers, and expands opportunities for proven treatments.”

Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV): “I welcome the president’s announcement of new actions and priorities to address the opioid crisis, which has devastated communities and families in West Virginia. The president has proposed a bold stance against the worst drug traffickers in our communities, sending a clear message to dealers who knowingly traffic large quantities of deadly drugs.”

Rep. David McKinley (R-WV): “Good to see @POTUS announcing that his administration will be taking this step. Educating children, and the public at large, on the dangers these drugs pose is a critical step.”

State Officials

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-AR): “I appreciate @POTUS’s initiative to address the opioid crisis while strengthening proven treatments for opioid & other drug addictions. We must cut off the flow of illicit drugs within our communities & help save lives through enforcement, prevention & recovery support services.”

Gov. Jeff Colyer (R-KS): “I’d like to thank @POTUS for…

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Heroin is becoming ever increasingly dangerous and more addictive especially with the introduction of Fentanyl. If youre having trouble quitting this guide can help you and maybe even save your life!

Addictionblog writes

What Happens When You Stop

If you’ve been using heroin daily for a couple of weeks or more, your body begins to adapt. This is because heroin is a strong opiate that affects the brain as a depressant. To accommodate these effects, the brain begins to send chemical signs for certain functions to “speed up.” Over time, you begin to function normally only with the drug. In other words, you can become physically dependent on heroin quickly and adapt to its central nervous system depressant effects.

What happens when you stop taking heroin is that you go through a period of withdrawal. During withdrawal, you’ll experience a variety of predictable symptoms, some of which are very difficult. During this time, the body is seeking homeostasis after a period of “speeding up” certain functions and system. It takes time to get back to its original, “non-heroin” induced state.

How long does it take to detox from heroin? It takes time to resolve these symptoms. Acute symptoms peak around 72 hours after your dose but can persist for 7-10 days after you stop taking heroin. Protracted withdrawal symptoms related to mood and sleep disorders can persist for weeks or months later.

Can I Just Stop?

Unfortunately, quitting heroin all of a sudden does not always positively help long term recovery and abstinence. It is not a question of self control or willpower. Drastic dose reduction is very difficult when the body has developed dependence on heroin over time. In these cases, the body manifests specific [uncomfortable] symptoms if it doesn’t receive its dose.

The intensity of withdrawal symptoms varies by individual but extreme discomfort is common. And to avoid withdrawal, some people relapse into heroin use, especially outside of medical settings.This is why the best way to stop taking heroin is WITH MEDICAL SUPERVISION. You may be prescribed medications during heroin detox, or asked to gradually decrease dosage in or to taper the withdrawal. Make sure you consult a medical professional any time you want to stop taking heroin in order to increase your chances of a successful withdrawal.

Withdrawal

Stopping heroin comes with side effects. If you are ready to undertake this step, you can anticipate the following side effects to occur:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Aches & body pains
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Decreased appetite
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Muscle spasms
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Sleep disorders
  • Shivers
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes

You can expect these symptoms to manifest a few hours after your last dose, and peak around 42-72 hours later. The intensity and duration of these symptoms will depend on your dosing history and the type of user you used to be. The heavier the use, the longer and more intense the symptoms. If you like to learn more about the timetable of these symptoms, check out our visual presentation of heroin withdrawal over time.

Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS)

Protracted withdrawal, as defined by medical professionals, is the presence of specific signs and symptoms common to acute withdrawal that persist beyond the generally expected acute withdrawal timeframe. Their appearance is not psycho-somatic. Chronic substance use causes molecular, cellular, and neurocircuitry changes to the brain that affect emotions
and behavior and that persist through the weeks and months after you quit heroin.

In fact, many people experience these signs and symptoms after acute withdrawal from heroin. The most common symptoms of protracted withdrawal during heroin detox include:

  • Anhedonia
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Impaired impulse control
  • Impaired problem solving
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Problems with short-term memory
  • Sleep difficulties

It is common for many people to experience difficulty feeling pleasure, or anhedonia, for months after they quit heroin. Heroin PAWS get better over time.


These symptoms take time to resolve, and are a true phenomenon! SAMHSA has produced a newsletter about protracted withdrawal with more details about symptoms and suggestions for how to address them. Just know that if you’re feeling bad – even after 6 months or longer – things will get better!

It takes time to reverse extreme brain changes after taking heroin. And know that it’s not just you. You are not crazy! Adaptive changes in the central nervous system may lead to affective changes that persist for many weeks or longer beyond acute withdrawal.

Cold Turkey

Due to its highly addictive properties, suddenly stopping heroin can cause severe withdrawal symptoms and provoke relapse. Instead, plan withdrawal with a detox clinic or your doctor. Talk to a medical professional, or check in at an addiction treatment facility and let the process be supervised. It does not mean that you are weak. In fact, medical supervision will significantly increase the chances of successful recovery. Not only can withdrawal symptoms be made less uncomfortable, you will receive the emotional, social support that you need.

While it is possible to go cold turkey off heroin and reduce the detox time, it is unnecessary and not what doctors recommend. Quitting heroin suddenly can cause serious withdrawal symptoms and it’s highly likely that you relapse if using this method. There are various other ways to stop taking heroin aimed at minimizing the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Medical Detox

The safest way to stop taking heroin is under medical supervision. The following professionals can help treat you directly or refer you to assessments and services in your area:

  1. An addiction specialist (MD)
  2. A clinical social worker
  3. A licensed clinical psychologist
  4. A medical doctor
  5. A psychiatrist

To begin, anyone coming off heroin requires a set of physical and…

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The WashingtonPost writes

 January 7

Beth Schmidt always begins her opioid-awareness sessions by introducing her boy. At one such event, she motions toward his photos — the solemn baseball-team picture, his sweet, clean-cut middle school portrait, the cheek-to-cheek selfie of mother and son — as she tells a hushed audience of about a dozen how Sean fought and lost his battle with opioid addiction.

“He actually overdosed right here in Mount Airy at the Twin Arch Shopping Center,” she says, “in a parked car.” It was December 2013, two days after his 23rd birthday.

His death catapulted Schmidt, now 50, into a life she couldn’t have envisioned during her years as a “baseball mom, room mother and field-trip mom” to her three sons. A co-founder of Maryland Heroin Awareness Advocates, Schmidt travels the state advocating for opioid addiction prevention and treatment, and explaining how to use the overdose-reversal drug naloxone. Too late for her own son — but not for the loved ones of others.

“Never in a million years did I think I’d end up helping people save their own children from dying by overdose,” she says. “But as a grieving mom, I don’t want anyone else to have to walk in my shoes.”

The opioid epidemic continues its deadly march, devastating families and decimating communities at an astounding rate. According to the Maryland health department, there were 1,029 opioid-related deaths from January through June 2017, compared with 873 for the same period in 2016.

Naloxone is increasingly seen as the first line of defense in an opioid overdose. When administered within the first minutes — even up to an hour or more — of a potentially deadly overdose, it can resuscitate a victim before their fate is sealed.

Naloxone — also known by its most common brand-name version, Narcan — was once only in the purview of first responders. But enhancements in law and policy are increasing access to the drug, placing it more easily into the hands of anyone who wants it in a “remarkably rapid progression,” according to Corey Davis, deputy director of the Network for Public Health Law.

Maryland and Virginia allow pharmacies to dispense the drug to anyone who asks, no prescription or training necessary. In those states and most others, walk into a CVS, Rite Aid or other pharmacy, ask and receive.

To addiction-awareness advocates, such easy access signifies lives reclaimed. It’s “not just people in active addiction who should have Narcan,” said Joe Adams, the medical director of an opioid-treatment program in Baltimore, “It’s anybody with teenagers or young adults in their household — anybody who’s prescribed or knows someone who’s taking prescription opiates. I’ve heard from plenty of people who were glad to have had it because they were able to save someone’s life. And I’ve heard from plenty of people who wish they’d had it.”

What an overdose does

imply put, death by opioid overdose — whether prescription painkiller or…

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TinyBuddha writes

“To be happy with yourself, you’ve got to lose yourself now and then.” ~Bob Genovesi

At a holiday party last December, I ran into a friend from college who I hadn’t seen in twenty years.

“What’s going on with you? You look great!”

“Oh, well… My mother passed away and my husband and I divorced.”

“Oh Jeez! I’m so sorry,” he said. “That’s a lot! So, why do you look so great?”

Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest party conversation, but I did with it smile.

“It was the hardest year of my life, but I’m getting through it and that makes me feel good.”

Sure, what he didn’t know was that I had spent many weeks with the blinds closed. I cried my way through back-to-back TV episodes on Netflix.

I knitted three sweaters, two scarves, a winter hat, and a sweater coat.

I had too many glasses of wine as I danced around in my living room to pop music, pretending I was still young enough to go to clubs.

And at times it was hard to eat, but damn if I didn’t look good in those new retail-therapy skinny jeans.

Another friend of mine lost his father last spring. When he returned from the East Coast, I knew he would be in shock at re-entry. I invited him over for a bowl of Italian lentil and sausage soup.

As we ate in my kitchen nook, he spoke of the pain of the loss of his father, and even the anger at his friends who, in social situations, avoided talking to him directly about his loss.

Looking down at my soup, I said, “Grief is a big bowl to hold. It takes so many formations, so many textures and colors. You never know how or when it will rear its head and take a hold of you. Sometimes you cry unfathomably, some days you feel guilty because you haven’t cried, and in other moments you are so angry or filled with anxiety you just don’t know what to do.”

Grief is one of those emotions that have a life of their own. It carries every feeling within it and sometimes there’s no way to discern it.

One of the greatest teachings in Buddhism is the lesson of impermanence—that everything that comes into being will go out of being.

But impermanence is just a concept until you face the ugly beast straight into his beating, bulging red eyes.

These are the things that helped me get through such a trying time:

1. Self-care, self-care, self-care. (Oh, and did I say self-care?)

The shock of loss to all of our bodies—emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual—is superb. When we wake in the morning, we question the very nature of who we are. Upon awakening there is a split second when everything is okay in our world.

And then we remember. The storm clouds cover our head again.

Our bodies need to be fed during this time, in order to handle such trauma. Self-care is personal, but I did the things I knew my body wanted:

Lots of baths, fresh pressed organic juices, sticking to a daily structure, such as meditating in the morning, exercising, journaling, reading inspiring books, talking with friends, getting out in sunshine, taking walks, admitting my weakness, and learning to nurture myself.

These were the base things that I knew I needed.

2. Accept there’s a lot you don’t know.

When the pain of loss happens, it’s like a lighting bolt comes and shakes the foundation of the ground. We question everything—our identity, who we are, where we come from, and where we’re going. There is power in surrendering to the unknown.

In coming to accept that we no longer have control over what happens to us, we realize that what we once knew we no longer can know. In fact, much of the spiritual experience is coming to realize all that we are not, and less about what we think we are or what we know.

Here, there is great freedom. And it helps us to meet life’s adversity with courage, head-on.

3. Allow time and space.

I learned once in a counseling psychology class that it takes two years to grieve the loss of a loved one. In human time, that seems like an eternity. There are stages. And each stage brings a remembrance, especially once you start hitting the “year marks.”

During the last year, each “mark” felt like Valentine’s Day without a lover. “Oh, this is the day I knew my marriage was over,” “Oh, this is the day my mother died,” “Oh, this was the last holiday we spent together…”

Recognizing that grief needs time and allowing space for the grief process to unfold gave me permission to hold that great bowl.

4. Accept that sometimes you have a bad day for no apparent reason.

Months, even over a…

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The Recovery Village writes

Alcohol and substance abuse are two problems that are incredibly common among all age groups and people from all backgrounds, both on their own and in combination with one another.

Alcoholism is a problem that leads to around 88,000 deaths on its own each year, and deaths related to alcohol are the fourth-leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. This doesn’t even take into account the deaths resulting from a combination of alcohol and substance abuse.

 

People who struggle with alcohol abuse or addiction frequently use other substances as well, which may include prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, or illicit street drugs. When multiple substances are combined, it amplifies the risk of adverse side effects, as well as overdose and death.Alcohol and substance abuse that occur together are often referred to as polydrug abuse or polysubstance abuse, and for someone who regularly engages in the mixing of alcohol and substances, it’s referred to as chronic polysubstance abuse.

According to research, a significant amount of visits to the ER related to alcohol were because it was combined with other drugs. The drugs most commonly mixed with alcohol are marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

Also commonly combined with alcohol are prescription drugs including opioids and sedatives.

There are a few reasons someone might suffer from both alcohol and substance abuse simultaneously. It might be something that starts without intention, or for some people, it’s done as a way to heighten the desirable side effects of the substances being taken.

Below are some of the results of pairing alcohol with other commonly abused substances:

  • Cocaine and Alcohol: When someone abuses cocaine and alcohol you’re mixing something that’s considered a stimulant (cocaine) with a depressant (alcohol). Depending on the person this can lead to reduced effects from both substances, or heightened effects. With that being said, when you take cocaine and alcohol together it can increase your chances of experiencing heart-related issues or death.
  • Alcohol and Opioids: It’s no surprise that America is facing a troubling opioid epidemic, and alcohol is one of the substances often combined with opioids like heroin and prescription pain medicines. Both alcohol and opioids are depressants of the central nervous system, making this an incredibly dangerous combination. When you take opioids and alcohol together, it can slow your respiration and central nervous system functionality to the point that you overdose and die, much more quickly than if you just took alcohol or just took opioids alone.
  • Alcohol and Other Prescription Drugs: There are many other prescription drugs that are very dangerous when paired with alcohol. For example, sleep medicines, sedatives and antianxiety medicines can all lead to death when mixed…

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