How bad has the opioid epidemic truly become?

29 Sep

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Did you know that drug overdoses now kill more people in this country than automobile accidents? The mere fact that this national crisis can be labeled as an ‘epidemic’ and where the Surgeon General has personally sent a letter to each and every physician warning them not to prescribe opiate medications to patients too easily should give you some gauge on the severity of this problem.

Cornerstone has been fighting the overwhelming tide of this epidemic even before it swelled to its extreme proportions. We understand addiction and are ready to help. To learn more about this crisis read on here.

Addicts teaming up for money to buy heroin

21 Sep

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Giving your loose change or a few bucks to a person in need is an honorable thing to do. Most people who are truly in desperate circumstances are extremely grateful for any donation and will hopefully use the money for essentials like food, clothing or shelter. What happens when the people you thought were hungry or who had no shoes turn out to be running a scam to get money to buy drugs? Read all about it here.

Why do some people become addicted to drugs and not others?

8 Sep

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There is no single prerequisite or contributing factor that will signal if someone will become an addict. It takes a group of influencing factors working together (in most instances) to create the addicted person and the more of these prerequisites a person has the greater the chance that addiction becomes an issue for them.

A few examples of these contributing factors are:

  • The Individual’s Biology. Addiction is a disease and therefore the genes someone is born with will make up for about half of their possible predisposition to becoming an addict. Other factors include a person’s gender, ethnicity, and the possible presence of some form of mental disorder may also increase risk for drug use and addiction.
  • The Individual’s Environment. One’s environment can include a whole host of different influences, from a person’s family and friends to their economic status and general quality of life. Other contributors such as peer pressure, physical and sexual abuse, early exposure to drugs, stress, and lack of parental guidance can greatly affect a person’s likelihood of drug use and addiction.
  • The Individual’s Development. Genetic and environmental factors interact with critical developmental stages in a person’s life to affect addiction risk. Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress to addiction. This is particularly problematic for teens. Because areas in their brains that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, teens may be especially prone to risky behaviors, including trying drugs.

These are only a few of the contributing factors that can lead to drug addiction. If you or a loved one need help with addiction call us today.

Letter from the Surgeon General Regarding the Opioid Epidemic

7 Sep

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Dear Colleague,

I am asking for your help to solve an urgent health crisis facing America: the opioid epidemic. Everywhere I travel, I see communities devastated by opioid overdoses. I meet families too ashamed to seek treatment for addiction. And I will never forget my own patient whose opioid use disorder began with a course of morphine after a routine procedure.

It is important to recognize that we arrived at this place on a path paved with good intentions. Nearly two decades ago, we were encouraged to be more aggressive about treating pain, often without enough training and support to do so safely. This coincided with heavy marketing of opioids to doctors. Many of us were even taught – incorrectly – that opioids are not addictive when prescribed for legitimate pain.

The results have been devastating. Since 1999, opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled and opioid prescriptions have increased markedly – almost enough for every adult in America to have a bottle of pills. Yet the amount of pain reported by Americans has not changed. Now, nearly 2 million people in America have a prescription opioid use disorder, contributing to increased heroin use and the spread of HIV and hepatitis C.

I know solving this problem will not be easy. We often struggle to balance reducing our patients’ pain with increasing their risk of opioid addiction. But, as clinicians, we have the unique power to help end this epidemic. As cynical as times may seem, the public still looks to our profession for hope during difficult moments. This is one of those times.

That is why I am asking you to pledge your commitment to turn the tide on the opioid crisis. Please take the pledge. Together, we will build a national movement of clinicians to do three things:

First, we will educate ourselves to treat pain safely and effectively. A good place to start is the TurnTheTideRx pocket guide with the CDC Opioid Prescribing Guideline. Second, we will screen our patients for opioid use disorder and provide or connect them with evidence-based treatment. Third, we can shape how the rest of the country sees addiction by talking about and treating it as a chronic illness, not a moral failing.

Years from now, I want us to look back and know that, in the face of a crisis that threatened our nation, it was our profession that stepped up and led the way. I know we can succeed because health care is more than an occupation to us. It is a calling rooted in empathy, science, and service to humanity. These values unite us. They remain our greatest strength.

Thank you for your leadership.

Vivek H. Murthy, M.D., M.B.A.

19th U.S. Surgeon General

Parenting in Recovery: How to Prevent Addiction in your Children

31 Aug

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Raising children in this day and age is difficult to say the least. Parents try to set good examples for their children every day but still struggle to do the right thing in each situation. Raising children as a recovering addict is even more difficult. How as parents can we shelter our kids from the horrors of addiction? Are there parenting methods to help prevent this? What can you do?

  1. Teach by example
    Each child is different and has their own individual set of needs. Some children learn by observing while others will jump right in and learn by experiencing things firsthand. As a parent we need to be cognizant of these differences and engage each child in the best manner possible. Above and beyond this we as parents need to teach by example. Don’t drink, even casually, in the presence of your children. By not using drugs yourself and discussing the consequences of using and abusing substances with your children you will instill an effective deterrent in them.
  2. Be open and ask questions
    If you have had any addiction problems in your life it is best to be open and honest about them and more importantly discuss with your kids what you did proactively to change your life. Make it clear that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Lead by example.
  3. Your influence has limits
    You can only do so much. There are limits to your ultimate influence on your children and the outside world will have a major effect on them by itself. We do not come from perfect families nor do we always know what the right thing to do is in any given situation. You just have to do your best to be an effective leader for your family. The ultimate hope is that by showing your family how you live your daily life, always seeking to better yourself and make informed decisions, in turn they will do the same.
  4. Exude love for yourself and others
    When children see how your treat yourself and others around you they learn how to deal with life’s myriad of situations. If they see you get out of control, angry or depressed they may learn to deal with similar situations in negative ways. Do your utmost to stay calm and mindful of each situation and your family will hopefully do the same.