Pain Killers: Getting off is hard to do...

Heroin Use On the Rise from Pill Crackdown

In Lancaster, Ohio, Holly Yates started using painkillers in the ninth grade, at parties and hanging out with friends. The pills were everywhere, easy to get and cheap. By the time she was 18, she was abusing oxycodone, Percocet and other pills every day. 

Then they stopped being enough. 

“My cousin was into heroin and I started hanging out with her,” said Yates, a hazel-eyed 20-year-old. “She told me about it, and I was like, ‘I want to try it.’ The first time that I shot it up, it was like, ‘Where has this been all my life?’”

Experts say Yates and others in this town of about 38,000 southeast of Columbus are on the leading edge of a frightening new drug abuse trend – one that is ironically being fueled by a national crackdown on prescription painkillers. While new regulations and law enforcement efforts have significantly reduced the supply of these drugs, they say, those efforts have inadvertently driven many users to another type of opiate that is cheap, powerful and perhaps even more destructive – heroin.

“It’s an epidemic,” said Dr. Joe Gay, director of the regional addiction and mental health clinic Health Recovery Services, who has studied patterns of drug use in the state.

A flood of cheap heroin from Mexico, which is now one of the leading sources of the drug to the United States, is one reason for the return of the scourge. According to the Justice Department, the drug is showing up in new areas, including upscale suburban towns where heroin was once rare. 

In Illinois, for example, researchers at Roosevelt University have found a spike in young suburban heroin abusers. Long Island, New York, has in recent years seen a rash of addiction among the young. A spike in heroin use and related crime has Dane County, Wis., reeling. Even states like Washington, where heroin has a longtime presence, have seen a sharp increase among young users. In King County, home to Seattle, nearly a third of those entering treatment for heroin abuse in 2009 were between ages 18 and 29 — a sharp increase from a decade before.

With increased availability has come a spike in the number of visits to emergency room visits for issues related to heroin use, including a 13 percent increase from 2005 through 2009, according to the national Drug Abuse Warning Network. The highest rates of admission were for young adults, 21 to 24 years old.

“Twenty years ago, half of the heroin addicts in treatment lived in two states — New York and California,” said Gay. “(Now, in Ohio) we’re seeing it spread out of the cities, into the suburbs and into the rural areas.”

The demographics of heroin addiction are also shifting, he said.

‘It’s not going away’
Until a few years ago, addicts were overwhelmingly men who lived in urban areas, many of them from racial minorities. An alarming number of those entering treatment programs in Ohio — a good measure of addiction — are young, he said. Most are white. They are from poor rural counties and wealthy suburbs. Many are girls and women.

In Ohio, the new face of heroin addiction could be the girl or boy next door.

“Everybody does it,” Yates said. “It’s just here, and it’s not going away.” 

Sarah Mayer, 27, was an early traveler on the path from dabbling in prescription pills to putting a needle in her arm.

Born and raised in Hilliard, a tree-lined suburb of Columbus, she grew up in what is, by all accounts, a loving home. Her father works at the local bank. Her mother is a nurse.

Derailed plans
In high school, Mayer went to parties and drank occasionally, but she kept her grades up. During her last year in high school, in 2002, she took college classes. After graduation, she started a fully-paid-for nursing program. But her plans were derailed by addiction to oxycodone, an opiate-based painkiller found in many medicine cabinets across the country.

“I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Mayer said. By 2005, she and her boyfriend were taking the pills regularly to get high. But over time, the effects diminished.

One day in early 2006, Sarah and her boyfriend found themselves nearly broke and without the pills they needed. Desperate and sick with withdrawals from the opiates, her boyfriend left the house to try to find pills.

He came back with a bag of powder heroin.

“He knew how I felt about heroin,” Mayer said. “That was the one thing I said I would never do.”

Despite her conviction, within 24 hours, she had snorted it. She would spend another three years chasing that first high. “It was almost like all of the wind was knocked out of my chest, I could barely hold my head anymore,” said Mayer. “It was like my whole body just exhaled.” 

Soon, she began injecting it. It would take her years, and at least six trips to recovery programs, before she successfully got clean in October 2009. She’s now working toward a degree in nursing, and recently made the dean’s list.

The addiction was something the Mayer family never saw coming. 

“There was never a thought that ever entered my mind that I would ever lose a child through addiction,” said Randy Mayer, Sarah’s father. “Watching this thing grab her and not let go, I mean, it was a horrible time.” 

But in Hilliard, where he also grew up, Randy Mayer said he is seeing this happen to others. 

“I’ve met some other families, locally here — they’re dealing with the same kind of situation,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, these towns like this are fertile for this to spread.”

Paul Coleman, director at the Maryhaven clinic near Columbus, where Mayer sought treatment, said about a quarter of the nearly 130 adolescents currently getting treatment there have used opiates —  something he’s never seen in his 22 years at the center.

“A few years ago if you would have asked me how many young patients I would have using opiates I wouldn’t have said 25 percent,” Coleman said. “I would have said none.”

The White House has called prescription drug abuse the nation’s fastest-growing drug problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has officially dubbed it an epidemic.

‘Crisis’
In Ohio and elsewhere, however, the beast has two heads. Opiate abuse, which includes both prescription painkillers and heroin, has become a “crisis of unparalleled proportions,” according to Ohio’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services. In 2001, just eight of Ohio’s 88 counties reported a significant number of patients were entering substance abuse treatment for opiate addiction. By the same measure, 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties reported an opiate problem in 2009.

The state has taken action. In 2006, it implemented a system to track prescriptions to help prevent so called “doctor shopping,” where addicts move from one physician to the next looking for prescriptions. Last year, it also passed a law to help fight “pill mills,” unscrupulous storefront clinics known for readily dispensing prescriptions.

Similar measures have been taken across the nation. Combined with new pill formulations that make the medication harder to crush up to snort or shoot, the efforts have curbed supply and abuse. Experts agree this is a positive step. But in Ohio, the crackdown has had unexpected consequences.

The pills have become expensive, and often hard to obtain. Prescription opiates now sell for anywhere from $30 to $80 dollars a pill. A $10 bag of heroin offers a similar or better high.  Unable to find pills, or afford them, addicts go looking for something else to feed the craving. Heroin is cheap, plentiful and potent.

It is also deadly. In fact, the state saw a record number of heroin-related deaths in 2010, which now account for one in every five overdose deaths in the state. Cuyahoga County, home to Cleveland, recorded 106 heroin-related deaths in 2011 — an increase of nearly 180 percent since 2003, according to the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. In early May, Loraine County, Ohio, saw five fatal overdoses in 10 days due to a batch of highly potent, or badly cut, heroin. Experts worry other counties may soon follow suit, and that those dying might be among what the Ohio Department of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services reports show is the fastest growing demographic of heroin users — young people between ages 20 and 35.

It’s an addiction that surprises even those who find themselves in its grip.

“If you were to tell me that I was going to use heroin … the same week in which I used it, I probably would have laughed in your face,” said Tej Yaich, a 20-year-old from Pickerington, Ohio. “That’s something that I would never have done.”

For Yaich, who has been sober for more than a year, addiction started at home. His parents had prescriptions sitting unused in the medicine cabinet. Yaich said he was 15 when he first tried them, crushing them up at night so his parents wouldn’t hear the noise. The experiment became a habit. Then the supply started to dry up.

“One day I went to call my guy that was selling to me and he said he didn’t have pills at that time, but he had something equally as good,” said Yaich. “He said, ‘You’ll like it.’”

 What the dealer had was heroin, and he was right. Yaich started by snorting it, then quickly moved on to shooting up. From one bag, he worked himself up to two, then five. At the height of his addiction, he said, he injected up to 25 bags a day.

Yaich’s story is typical of those that Dr. Steven Matson hears from young people coming into his clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Matson, who helped Yaich recover, runs a program there that uses a fairly new medication called buprenorphine, a semi-synthetic opioid that when used correctly helps to curb cravings to assist in recovery.

When Matson started this work three years ago, the young people coming into his clinic were “fringe,” he said. Now they are as often from upscale suburbs of Columbus as from poorer, more rural areas.

“Because of the availability of these drugs now, it is not an usual story that we hear, ‘I went to a party, some friends there were doing heroin, so I shot up,’” he said. “It seems like madness that you would go to a party and never have used anything and then use heroin. But that’s what’s happening with some children.”

Matson’s program also helped Holly Yates recover. She’s been sober since Thanksgiving Day 2010. For more than a year, she’s held a job as a stylist at a local hair salon. She saved up to buy herself a silver Honda Accord. In the back seat are two car seats for her young nephews, who her older brothers now trust her to babysit.

But things can be lonely in Lancaster, where she says nearly everyone her age uses drugs, and many are hooked on heroin.

“It’s just hard being young and staying clean,” Yates said. “I mean this town, it’s just, like, that’s all that’s here.”

“I just want kids my age to know that you don’t have to keep using,” she added. “You can be clean, and you can have a better life.”

By Lisa Riordan Seville and Hannah Rappleye
NBC News

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How To Sleep During Opiate Withdrawal – Natural Non-Addictive Sleep Aids

How To Sleep During Opiate Withdrawal

One of the biggest problems with Opiate withdrawal is the lack of sleep that happens when a person addicted to opiates starts to withdraw. One of the biggest things that drives people BACK to using is the lack of sleep, it drives them crazy and all they want to do is get some sleep. There’s no wonder that they use sleep deprivation for torture, it makes people give into just about anything just to get some sleep. I’ve put together a small list of Sleep aids to help you sleep while going through Opiate Withdrawal. They are natural based, non-addictive, and non-prescribed.

Melissa Supreme – by GAIA Herbs

My first and foremost on the list is what I used for my agitation while withdrawing and helped me to sleep too, Melissa Supreme by Gaia Herbs. It’s a proprietary blend of herb including:
Lemon Balm(Melissa Officialis), German Chamomile, Passion Flower, Fresh Skullcap Herb, Fresh Wild Oat Milky Seed, Gotu Kola and Mineral salts extracted from Kelp.

Melissa Supreme for Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal

Melissa Supreme for Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal

Somnapure – by GNC

I’ve not taken this but a fellow addict in recovery from this site has, and he said he was finally able to sleep thanks to this product called Somnapure by Peak Life. From the website:

“a sleep aid that is safe and effective, Somnapure’s naturally occurring ingredients are non-habit forming and won’t leave you feeling groggy the next day.”

Somnapure® contains premium, natural ingredients that you are already familiar with:

  • Melatonin – A naturally occurring compound that helps regulate sleep patterns.
  • Valerian – A perennial herb used for centuries to promote relaxation and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
  • L-Theanine – An amino acid commonly found in green tea that exhibits a relaxing effect.
  • Lemon Balm – An herb in the mint family used to promote sleep through relaxation.
  • Hops – A flower cluster used to increase alpha-waves, decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep.
  • Chamomile Flower – A daisy-like flower known for its calming effects and use in herbal teas.
  • Passion Flower – A beautiful flower used to promote sleep.
Somnapure Sleep Aid

Somnapure by GNC for Sleep

Sleep Wave Rest and Relax – NutriHealth Supplements

This product I have not taken either, however I have taken some of the ingredients. GABA for one will help stop that mental mind chatter that happens with withdrawal. The constant chatter of noise that goes on in the head. It’s also great for sleep as it does quiet the mind. That and the Melissa Officialis(Lemon Balm) are great for soothing the mind and body. This product has just about the same ingredients as the Somnapure, above, but in a different mixture of quantity.

  • Synergistic blends of valerian, lemon balm and other herbs, as well as essential melatonin, work to promote sleep and improve sleep quality.
  • GABA, L-theanine, chamomile and passionflower promote relaxation and help calm that “brain-spinning” mind chatter that keeps you from falling asleep.
Sleep Wave Rest and Relax

Sleep Wave Rest and Relax - Nutrihealth Supplements

If you are trying to get some sleep while going through opiate withdrawal. these sleep aids can help to promote a good nights sleep, or at least maybe a few hours during the first parts of opiate withdrawal. This is critical for many as the lack of sleep can push an addict in withdrawal back to the drugs they are trying to get off of.

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How To Get Off Painkillers Naturally

Getting off painkillers naturally is an option many people turn to instead of having to get on one another medication to get off of another and with our newsletter we tell you how to get off painkillers naturally. Many people prefer to go cold turkey with the help of natural supplements to help them through the rough times, and the time after the physical withdrawal is over. The physical part of the opiate withdrawal is usually the toughest part and that’s where people need the most help to get through. With the help of natural sleep aids and muscle relaxers a person can successfully get off of painkillers without having to take more prescription drugs.

How To Get Off Painkillers Naturally

Figuring out how to get off painkillers naturally is something that most people want to know how to do, on this website we have a recipe for getting off painkillers naturally with the use of herbs and vitamins that you can buy at the local health food store or through Amazon.Com. If you subscribe to the newsletter you will get the Thomas Recipe Alternative, or Larry’s Recipe for Opiate Withdrawal. This is the recipe I put together to help myself get off of painkillers naturally instead of taking more drugs and that’s how to get off painkillers naturally.

The time after the physical withdrawal is considered the emotional and mental withdrawal period. Also known as PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). Opiates are such a powerful chemical that changes the brain and body chemistry so radically, it will take some time for the brain to get back to making the proper endorphins and such. After the body is physically rid of the opiate, comes this part where the brain can take some time to normalize itself and it’s chemistry. Sometimes a few days, weeks, months and even years for some, depending on the amount of abuse the body has been through. With the recipe I put together on how to get off painkillers naturally there are supplements that help the body and brain to return to normal function with the use of natural supplements and vitamins.

How to Get Off Painkillers Naturally with Natural Supplements, Vitamins and Minerals

For these times many have turned to supplementation with vitamins and minerals as well as natural anti-depressants, mood lifters and anti-anxiety herbs. There are a number of herbs, vitamins, minerals and amino acids that can help a person to get through EVERY part of their withdrawal and will greatly increase their chances of staying clean and not relapsing. Sign up for the newsletter or read the post listed below to find out how to get off painkillers naturally.

For a list of these please see my post here called The Thomas Recipe Alternative – Larry’s Recipe for Opiate Withdrawal for how to get off painkillers naturally.

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The Thomas Recipe Alternative, Larry’s Recipe for Opiate Withdrawal

I am detailing what I call the “Larry Recipe”, an alternative to the Thomas Recipe for opiate withdrawal. I used this for withdrawing off Suboxone and what anyone can use for Withdrawing off Opiates. This is the alternative to the Thomas Recipe, because I cannot advocate the use of the Thomas Recipe because it is using other drugs and sometimes self medication can lead to death by overdose. The only time to use the Thomas Recipe is ONLY if it is supervised by a Medical Professional.

I will not include the original Thomas Recipe because it uses benzodiazepines(Valium type drugs), which can lead to overdose and death if not taken correctly. But I will explain the difference between the Thomas Recipe and My Alternative, as well as explaining how mine works as well. It does basically the same thing as the Thomas Recipe except it comes in the natural form of the same type of drugs.

The Larry Recipe is the best, natural way to withdraw off of opiates I know of. I will also include links to places to purchase the ingredients for when you are ready to withdraw.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I prescribe anything for anyone. Use at your own risk and discretion. This is what I used when I was coming off the Suboxone. It REALLY helped a lot, and didn’t include having to use other drugs, especially if I couldn’t get any from a doctor. Which means I wasn’t out hustling for more drugs illegally.

First the ingredients, then the formula:

  • Gaia Melissa Supreme Herbal Tincture – A Lemon Balm tincture used for “Nervousness and to Soothe Excitability, Promotes Calmness During Times of Excess Energy, Promotes Healthy Focus and Attention”. This tincture is so good it really mellows a person out and really calms the nerves and mind. So well in fact I feel like I was on an actual drug. If I could recommend only one thing for withdrawal, it would be this! You can get Gaia Melissa HERE.
    • Melissa  Supreme Supports a healthy nervous system and nerve tissue
    • Gentle Calming Action -calms occasional nervous irritability, sensitivity, and excitement; relaxing muscle and nerve agitation; and calms the mind
    • Supports normal mental functions such as concentration, memory and alertness, along with having a relaxing affect
    • You can get Gaia Melissa HERE.
  • Valerian Root Tincture – Positive results to support a healthy nervous system,  a normal restful nights sleep, and reduce stress. An alternative for benzodiazepines, Valerian is used for sleeping disorders, restlessness and anxiety, and as a muscle relaxant. Get Valerian HERE.
  • Glutamine – An amino Acid used for for intestine disorders and diarrhea, helps brain function, and muscle functions. I used the powder, it is tasteless, and is cheaper than getting capsules. Get Glutamine HERE.
  • 5-HTP – An amino acid used for depression, anxiety, insomnia sleep aid. Get 5-HTP HERE
  • Vitamin B Complex(Especially B6) – Supplementation often helps depressed people feel better, and their mood improves significantly. Get b-Complex HERE
  • Vitamin and Mineral Complex – Vitamins and minerals help the body to let go of toxins held by fat, and help to flush the system, get one with potassium and magnesium if you can. If you can’t find one with potassium and magnesium, get them separately. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. Potassium is an electrolyte needed to help with body hydration. The body needs both vitamins and minerals. It may be better to get a vitamin complex and then a mineral complex separately. Complete Vitamin and Mineral Complex HERE
  • Postassium – Being an electrolyte, this will help with restless leg syndrome, which is a type of muscle spasm and is usually a deficiency of potassium and hydration. Get Potassium HERE
  • Coconut Water – The clear liquid inside young coconuts. A natural sports drink because of its high potassium and mineral content, a natural refreshing drink full of electrolytes. (available at Henry’s and other health food stores) Get Coconut Water HERE
  • Immodium – for diarrhea, if needed, I stay away from this but many will find it helpful. It’s a mild, partial opioid from what I understand, but you can’t get high from it, it works on the receptors that stop diarrhea. Get Immodium HERE

Start taking the vitamins right away, even before you start your detox. Especially the potassium. make sure to drink plenty of water, good water if you can afford it and/or coconut water.

Also start your detox with 10-20 drops of Melissa in a 1/2 cup of water, several times a day as needed, helps with anxiety, jitters and depression, may also help with sleep.

Valerian Root will help some with anxiety and sleep, suggest this at bedtime, also through out the day as needed but not when you intend to drive or use machinery.

Glutamine powder or capsules to help with diarrhea and to help with achy muscles and foggy brain. Great muscle food and brain food. Take this daily, several times a day.

5-HTP in the morning and late afternoon, helps the depression and sleep.

Vitamins and b-complex in the morning and evening if you can stomach it, or when you can keep things down.

Potassium once or twice a day.

Coconut water throughout the day to help flush the system and stay hydrated. You will need to stay hydrated if you are puking or have bad diarrhea.

Good luck with your withdrawal and please let me know how this works for you if you use it.

 

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