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

Opiate Overdose Symptoms

Opiates are drugs which are based from the opium poppy. These drugs are most frequently prescribed as painkillers, because they attach themselves to the opiate receptors inside the brain and create relief of pain as well as sensations of euphoria, accompanied by a time of feeling peaceful and content. Opiates are extremely addictive, specifically when not used as directed through a physician. Additionally, because the body gets accustomed to the opiates, it will require more medication to produce the same result, which unfortunately can cause an overdose.

In addition to the immediate effects of the drugs, other short and long-term effects are often related to opiate use and abuse. The most typical side effects are constipation, nausea and pinpoint pupils. As the addict increases intake, the results become more severe and may include extreme sleepiness, slowed respiration or breathing and pulse rates. The most well known side effect is physical dependence or addiction that takes place with long-term use.

The most unfortunate side effect of opiate or painkiller abuse is overdose or death.

Opiate Overdose Symptoms

Intestinal Symptoms

Opiates make the muscle tissue of your intestinal tract to become relaxed, which cause the regular movements which assist digestion and move waste products out of your body, to stop. The end result is constipation, which will, in the case of an overdose, becomes serious. Stools become so hard the intestinal tract become impacted. If they are not treated, this may lead to a rupture with the bowels. Other intestinal signs and symptoms of an opiate overdose might include loss of appetite or spasms of the stomach or intestines thereby causing nausea and vomiting.

The Eyes

Anyone who has consumed an excessive amount of an opiate will likely have blood-shot eyes, but will also have pinpoint pupils. Pinned or pinpoint pupils become very small, even in a dark room. Even though pinpoint pupils aren’t limited to an overdose, it is a symptom which can help confirm an opiate medication is the reason for the overdose.

Respiratory Symptoms

Probably the most dangerous symptoms of opiate overdose is a depressed, respiratory or breathing rate, as per the National Institute for Drug Abuse. The individual could have difficulty breathing, show labored breathing or very shallow breaths. This could lead to the appearance of blue skin tone, lips or fingernails. Breathing can become so shallow that it stops. This is normally the main cause of death from an overdose.

Cardiovascular Symptoms

Opiates can also negatively affect the cardiovascular system, specifically in an overdose scenario. An individual who has consumed an excessive amount of an opiate will have a decreased pulse rate together with low blood pressure. When your heart is unable to pump blood efficiently throughout the body, internal organs and brain they can become oxygen starved and the result is damage.

Central Nervous System

Opiates depress the central nervous system, which causes a loss of alertness. The most typical result of this is drowsiness which causes the overdosed individual to briefly fall asleep, even in the middle of a conversation. Much more harmful effects on the central nervous system are a loss of consciousness, seizures or even coma.

The CDC estimates that more than 100 people die every day from unintentional drug overdoses; many of them involving prescription pain killers.

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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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Is Methadone An Opiate?

Is Methadone An Opiate?

Well yes and no. The question “Is methadone an Opiate” is a little misleading. An Opiate is usually referring to natural opiates made from the resin of the Opium Poppy plant. An Opioid refers to synthetic or man-made drugs that act or mimic opiates. Such synthetics are Methadone and Fentanyl and some semi-synthetics are Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. Some believe and it may be true that opiates made from Opium Poppy resin such as Heroin, Codeine and Morphine may actually be easier to kick than the synthetic counter parts because the fact that the synthetics are man-made, in a purer state and engineered for one purpose which is to kill pain. This being said it may explain why synthetics have been historically harder for people to kick than natural opioids.

Is Methadone An Opiate?

So asking the question “Is Methadone an Opiate” is technically No, but is it addictive like regular opiates? YES, and then some! If you look at the news and the nations epidemic of painkiller abuse you can see the main pills of choice are hydrocodone and oxycodone because they are so addictive. Methadone is also a synthetic but it is used for maintenance programs known as “Methadone Maintenance” for people who are “trying” to get off heroin and other opiates. Methadone is supposed to be used for a short term and used to ween a person off of heroin, but the issue of it being harder on the body and way more addictive is a contributing factor of people remaining on methadone for many years at a time, sometimes not ever being able to get off.

The same equation goes for Suboxone or Subutex. These drugs, also synthetic opioids, are used to help people ween off of and get away from regular opiates they have become addicted to. Many times people stay on them way too long and by long that can mean just a few short weeks to several months. The result can mean many years of use of these drugs that were meant for short term usage.

Is Methadone An Opiate?

Is methadone an opiate? Well at this point does it really matter? Yes and No but the fact remains it is still a highly addictive substance that people don’t know the magnitude of the

Is Methadone An Opiate

Methadone Pills

ramifications of its addictive powers. Stay away from methadone if you can, in fact you can stay away from it, just don’t do it at all. The reason they use it for treatment of opiate addiction is it has the effect of blocking the euphoric effect of opiate drugs. This means the person who does methadone and then tries to go get high, will experience nothing except maybe an overdose is Symoron, Dolophine, Amidone, Methadose, Physeptone, Heptadon and Phy.

The effects of methadone are long lasting and longer than that of opiate based drugs. The withdrawal time from methadone is also shown to be twice as severe than regular opiates. It’s not surprising that people who become addicted to methadone stay on it for a long time before getting off, if they successfully get off.

See this post for a list of methadone withdrawal symptoms  and then ask yourself is methadone an opiate?

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Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

If you’re trying to kick your addiction to painkillers or some other opiate, heroin, oxy’s, or whatever, here is the Opiate Withdrawal Timeline you can use to follow your symptoms and gauge your time to physical recovery. The opiate withdrawal timeline is a general timeline and some people may experience a different or longer timeline, depending on how long you have used and especially if you are coming off of either Methadone or Suboxone/Subutex.

Methadone and Suboxone(buprenorphine) both have a half life longer than regular opiates, as they are “Partial” opiates that are used to block opiate receptor cells int he brain. So the withdrawal symptoms will last longer and can be a bit harder or more severe than a regular opiate. The good news is that if you taper down to as low as you can get before jumping off, your withdrawal will be less severe and won’t last as long.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline – The First Stage

The first part of the Opiate Withdrawal Timeline usually starts within the first 12 hours of your last opiate intake and it is also known as Acute Withdrawal.

  • The first symptoms usually begin within 12 hours of your last opiate intake or use but within 24-36 hours of last opiate use.

  • The initial withdrawal symptoms peak at about day number Three and have been known to last up to 5 days, usually tapering after the 72 hour mark

  • The main symptoms of First Stage Acute Withdrawal are:

  • The first initial symptom many addicted encounter is Sneezing and Runny Nose with Watery Eyes.
  • Irritability and Depression/Extreme Depression

  • Insomnia – Inability to get any sleep

  • Nausea and/or Vomiting

  • Abdominal cramps

  • Diarrhea
  • These Flu-like physical symptoms usually subside after seven to ten days but everyone is different. For some it may be a little longer, for others it will be less. However, the magic number seems to be 72 hours. 72 Hours seems to be the hump everyone needs to get over then it starts gettign better from there on out.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline – The Second Stage

The second stage of the opiate withdrawal timeline can usually last for about Two Weeks. During this time the natural levels of endorphins, that the brain stopped making and were depleted of during long-term painkiller or opiate use, begin to stabilize during this period and the brain starts to make them again. This part of the opiate withdrawal timeline is critical as many people return to opiate abuse because they want to be happy again. This is due to the depression associated with this stage of withdrawal and the brain not making enough endorphins. If you exercise during this time, it will help the brain produce natural endorphins and normalize.

  • The major symptoms during the second stage are:
  • Insomnia
  • Goose bumps
  • Chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Leg cramps
  • After the initial first acute withdrawal symptoms, a person may start to feel much better and feel as if they are starting to get their life back.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline – The Third Stage

This third stage can last the longest but it is usually the least severe stage of the opiate withdrawal timeline. In this stage we experience PAWS (Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome). It can take anywhere from one week to two months or more.  Some people don’t even experience this stage of the withdrawal and the person feels back to normal and goes on with life as if nothing ever happened. However, if a person does experience this stage, once  finished, they usually feels back to their normal selves again

  • The symptoms of this stage are mainly psychological, including but not limited to:
  • Depression and/or Anxiety (Depending on how long you used/abused opiates for, the brain could take a while to normalize, but have no fear, you will be happy again)
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia

This is the Opiate withdrawal Timeline as seen by many an addict. It helps to have support throughout all stages of withdrawal and recovery. Support in the form of loved ones being understanding. Typically loved ones who have never been addicted or gone through opiate withdrawal will never understand what you are going through, so it may be in your best interest to check out a 12 step program.

Read the real life Opiate Withdrawal Timeline of a recovering addict in this post:

A Week In The Life Of A Recovering Pill Addict

 

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A Week In The Life Of A Recovering Pill Addict

Matt posted in the comment section of the post entitled ” How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?”. It was such a great comment that I felt everyone should read it and see what it’s like when you go through a  withdrawal. It can be done, you probably won’t die, you might feel like you wish you were dead but in the end everything will be ok.

I’d like to thank Matt for sharing his story…

Contributed by Matt, one of our readers.

After reading just about every single post here, I really felt I should contribute just in case my own information helps someone out there in the way that your information has helped me. So, first and foremost, THANK you ALL for everything that you’ve shared!

Back in September of 2007, I hurt my back pulling something out of the kitchen cupboard. I went to the doctor for it, remembering how much I loved Percocets back when I had my wisdom teeth extracted, and used my existing scoliosis as a tool to eventually convince the doctor to prescribe me Percocets monthly. I basically used charisma and lies to get it done. I never even considered the possibility of getting addicted. I just wanted to get high.

Over the following months, well… you know how it goes. You’re quickly buying off of people, doing whatever you can to not run out. I can honestly say that from September of 2007 to Sunday, August 28th (5 days ago), I never went through a day without some form of oxycodone. This is mostly due to my prescription increasing to 60mg OxyContin twice per day, with 120 10/325 Percocets monthly for breakthrough “pain.” This, combined with what I bought off the street, was enough to never run out, ever. My habit topped out at 240mg of oxycodone (in its various forms) per day.

Well, this last refill cycle, I decided to take a stand. I was tired of sitting alone on weekend nights just getting high and watching TV, sick of counting pills, sick of trying to think of excuses when I’d have sex without being able to finish (on the rare occasions where I had a sex drive at all!), sick of just about maxing out my credit cards because I was using cash to buy, sick of having no motivation to be active in any way, sick of declining plans if I didn’t have as many as I thought I’d need to get through those plans, sick of being constipated all the time (sometimes to the point of actual bleeding), sick of feeling like a zombie and not actually feeling real emotions anymore. What a horrible way to live! It’s not even living. It’s auto-pilot in a haze. It’s nothing. It’s brain death. It’s a vapid, soulless void with no love, no repercussions, no rewards, no compassion, no hope. Just a rinse/repeat life cycle that sucks you dry.

So, this past Sunday the 28th, I took my very last pill at 10:00pm, with my boss’s knowledge of what was going on and his blessing to be out on Monday and Tuesday only. I had to be back Wednesday. The type of job I have makes it VERY difficult to miss work, so this was a big deal. I had to make the best of it. I was armed with four .5 mg pills of Xanax, five sublingual strips of the 8mg/2mg Suboxone, and a wonderfully supportive woman who has never taken a pill in her life.

Timeline:

Monday the 29th: The worst day of my life. I had to make it to 10:00pm to pass the 24 hour zone and take my first Suboxone. I literally screamed into my pillow for 19 hours. Some of you talk about exercising, taking a walk, occupying yourself. I am amazed and happy for you! For me, there was NO way this was possible. I could barely even roll over in bed, let alone stand up on my own two feet. Aside from the restless legs, I could swear I could individually feel each cell in my bone marrow gnashing its little teeth and wailing. It was inSANE. Every few hours, I would take one of the .5 mg Xanax pills which would afford me about 30 minutes of sleep each. That’s it. Then it was back to hell again, until finally, 10:00pm rolled around and I took 4mg of Suboxone. Within 30 minutes, I was out like a light, and didn’t wake up until 4:30am, feeling “fine.” (read: medicated – the Suboxone is a drug, too, let’s not forget it!).

Tuesday the 30th: I basically laid around all day on the couch watching TV and feeling extremely lethargic. My energy level was probably at like 20%. In the evening, I took an 8 block walk, which was about my limit. I was asleep by 7:30pm, woke up at 11:30pm, fell asleep at 2:30am, and woke up at 6:00am on Wednesday. I don’t remember much else, but I can tell you that I did not take any Suboxone at all. This Tuesday was my first day opioid-free in 4 years.

Wednesday the 31st: I took 2mg of Suboxone at 7:30am because the heebie-jeebies were getting really intense now, and I HAD to go to work, participate in meetings, etc. I was “fine” all day. No real issues to report here. It’s incredible how far such a small amount of Suboxone (drugs! let’s be real) can go. Went to my first NA meeting, ever, at 7pm. Nice experience. Not sure I’ll keep going, though. But SUCH nice and understanding people. Fell asleep at 10:00pm, woke up at 4:00am. Not feeling great, but not feeling even close to Tuesday, let alone Demon Monday.

Thursday the 1st: I decided to NOT take Suboxone when I woke up, to see how long I could go. Pitter-pattered around from 4:00am until I got to work at 8:00am, and by the time I sat at my desk, I was so exhausted that I literally could not remove the foil top from the yogurt I brought in to eat. I had to use my teeth, because my arms were SO weak. How pathetic is that? But it’s completely true. I couldn’t even hold my head up. As soon as I realized my eyes were tearing and I was noticeably sneezing and everyone was basically looking at me dying, I took another 2mg of Suboxone because I knew I would not make it through the day at work. Then, of course, I was “fine.” After work, my girlfriend came over. This was the first time I had sex off of the oxycodone and, let me tell you, it was the best sex I had in 4 years. Did I last? NO. Haha. Suddenly, I actually have a sex drive and can feel sensations again! She was completely understanding, so we went at it two more times before bed. If there was any point during my recovery process where I was even more than 100% certain I was doing the right thing, it was then, and that’s why I’m mentioning it. Fell asleep at midnight (due to our activities), woke up at 4:00am (again, it seems 4:00am is a magic number for a lot of us!), and tossed and turned the rest of the way.

Friday the 2nd (today) – I did the same thing as yesterday, and the same thing happened at my work desk. I was falling apart, and did another 2mg of Suboxone. Got through the day “fine” (drugged on the Subs). Got home, and had enough energy to actually do my laundry. Now I’m sitting here at 9:37pm feeling alright, but I know it’s the Subs.

What will I do now? Well, no more Suboxone. This is luckily a three-day weekend (Labor Day), so from now onward, I take nothing other than potassium, Immodium, one-a-day multi vitamins, eat fruit, take showers, etc. But no more Suboxone. I only used it to make it through work. I’d ask “What should I expect?” but, guess what? It doesn’t really matter. It’s not like it’s going to change anything. I’m not going back to the pills. I’m not going back to that empty, hollow, lifeless “life.” If tomorrow will be like Monday again, then so be it. I will scream into my pillow until my throat goes raw, and I will be thankful for being able to feel it.

And until then, I will be looking forward to living my new life. A real life. The one where I crave sex, and feel emotions, and rely on nothing to make me happy but day-to-day experiences, conversations with strangers, a joke told over a delicious plate of food, maybe even just the food itself.

I can’t wait, and neither can you.

“If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

Continuing the timeline:

Saturday the 3rd (yesterday) – Day 6. This was the first day of not using Suboxone. I woke up around 6:00am, walked 10 blocks to a coffee shop, and sat around for awhile trying to keep myself outside and active. I ended up going home after 2 1/2 hours, though, because people were talking to me and it was very difficult to focus. On top of that, the restless legs were getting the better of me, and they’re SO darned uncomfortable. I’ve been eating bananas and taking potassium supplements, and I guess they help, but the restless legs are still an issue, and it’s what causes me to sleep so little. When I got home from the coffee shop, I literally watched movies on my couch for 12 hours, finally going to bed at 11:00pm, though I didn’t fall asleep until 2:30am, and I only slept 3 hours.

Sunday the 4th (today) – Day 7. Woke up, had sex with my girlfriend, did my normal potassium / Immodium / Naproxen / multi-vitamin regimen, walked around the block to get myself moving, ate a banana, and treated myself to an hour long massage with focus on the legs to help with their restlessness. Afterwards, I went to a little cafe and ate a vegetable bagel sandwich. I didn’t much feel like hanging out, though, due to focus, so it’s 1:54pm and I’m home now. Probably going to relax and watch movies again. My energy level is extrEMEly low, and it makes me so lethargic, enough so that it’s just really hard for me to do anything at all. Even taking a shower, while feeling good, is a particularly taxing thing to do.

Even though this is Day 7 without various forms of oxycodone, it’s only Day 2 without Suboxone. I’m hoping that I make it over the hump soon. While my determination is unwavering, and while there’s no chance I’ll ever go back to the old life, I’m frankly sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

OK! Hi! I’m in MUCH better spirits today. The timeline:

Sunday the 4th part 2: After posting the above, I ended up taking a long hot bath/shower combo. Afterwards, I had a text on my phone inviting me to a Labor Day BBQ with some friends. I hadn’t been social for 7 days now, just wallowing on the couch feeling terrible, so I agreed to go. Drove the 45 minutes, hung out for only 2 hours, and went right back home. I just couldn’t handle the social situation yet. My brain was too foggy, my legs were going crazy and I felt like everyone might be staring, and just the act of moving my body felt like I was stuck in jello. I went home and went to bed early, like 9pm. I slept a full 6 hours!

Monday the 5th: Again, that jello feeling, just terrible still. I walked 10 blocks in the morning to a coffee shop, hung out for an hour, and walked the 10 blocks back. It’s funny, you know… getting yourself to the point where you start walking is darn near impossible, but once you actually start moving, it feels good. Still, my energy levels at this point were so low that afterwards, I collapsed on my couch, again, drifting in and out of that inconsequential, nourishment-less twilight-type sleep. Last night, I slept a total of 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Total.

Tuesday the 6th (today): This Day 9 is my turning point, I think. Unless the nasties return later or tomorrow! But it’s 7:34pm now. I haven’t had any form of oxycodone in 9 days, and no Suboxone for 4 days, and I actually had some energy today! I worked hard the whole day at my job and not once did I feel like I needed to lay down. I’ve eaten three meals, and even if I still have the runs, my appetite is awakening. So is my sexual appetite, although I really need to work on my endurance because I’m not used to all of those sensations.

I just wanted to make this Good News Update for everyone who may be reading out there, afraid of the process. Yes, of course it’s hard. Yes, you do have to accept that you are going to feel unwell for awhile. There’s an end, though! I know that I still have a ways to go to get to 100%, but let me tell you, 75% feels AMAZING.

Thanks again Matt for the contribution to the community..would love to hear comments…

Sincerely,

Larry C.

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Addicted to Painkillers from Back Pain, Herniated Disks and More

Painkiller addiction caused from back pain, herniated disks and Sciatica.

People are always commenting on the blog posts about getting off the painkillers, but what do they do about their back issues they have, that caused the painkiller addiction in the first place?

This is what I did and still do today…

I became addicted to painkillers primarily because of a back pain from an injury I had a few years back. The pain was intense and I tried to deal without taking anything for the pain. After several years of trying to tough it out with the back pain I decided I would try some pain medication. It worked great for a little while, gave me back my mobility and life for a short period of time, but it only covered up the symptoms and didn’t fix the problem.

I had tried physical therapy to no avail, swimming which worked great temporarily and chiropractic. None of them had any long lasting effect on me and I eventually started taking more and more of the painkiller I was prescribed until I was hopelessly addicted.  Eventually I couldn’t do it any longer. The lies, the working my doctors to get more, the going to street dealers for whatever I could get. I finally decided to get help and stop.

One thing had to be dealt with so I wouldn’t go back, and that was the back pain. I had heard on the radio, and see on the web this site called The Healthy Back Institute. I got their free book, which explained a lot but really didn’t give me anything to work with except to buy their program. I was skeptical at first but I kept reading their site and the blog and the more I read the more I learned. I learned that digestive enzymes help with inflammation, and so I went to my local Trader Joes and bought some digestive enzymes for like $3. I ate about 6 of them and my back pain started to go away in about 10-15 minutes after that.

Great so I get some temporary relief from digestive enzymes but I needed lasting relief. I decided to buy their program Lose the Back Pain System which was only $79 for the downloadable version. That was THE BEST INVESTMENT I’ve made for my back EVER! Within 30 minutes of getting their program and watching the videos, I was doing a set of stretches that gave me almost instant relief from the pain that had been plaguing me for years.

I had some questions and they asked me to send them some pictures of my body, standing in front, side and back views. I was then sent a specific set of stretches custom for me, and I have been virtually pain free ever since! These guys are GOOD. I mean real good! They are personable, helpful and will even talk to you on the phone.

I know that sometimes I start to slack and I can feel the problems starting to come back, so I do my stretching routine which takes maybe 15 minutes a day. Almost all back problems can be cured with some form of stretching. These guys have pinpointed and targeted ever know form of back pain to give everyone relief. Low back pain, upper back pain, neck pain, sciatica and herniated disks, they can help with it all. If you’re coming off painkillers and wondering what to do about your back pain that caused all this trouble, check these guys out, I am serious, they can help you.

There’s a free trial AND a 100% money back guarantee, you’ve got nothing to lose. Nothing!

Check out The Healthy Back Institute Today!

PS. my back issues were from a tilted hip issue. I used to be very active and then took a desk job. Sitting at a desk all day caused my muscles to tighten in certain areas and that caused my hips to be tilted forward. Once I started the stretches they gave me I was pain free. I’m still doing the stretches and I’m still pain free after 2+ years.

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New Oxycontin Is Harder to Abuse

Michael had been snorting OxyContin for five years when a new version of the drug, intended to deter such abuse, hit the market last summer. The reformulated pills are harder to crush, turning instead into a gummy substance that cannot be easily snorted, injected or chewed.

James, 28, of Revere, Mass., at a treatment center in East Boston. He said he started using heroin when OxyContin changed its formula.

Uncrushable Oxycontin

Uncrushable Oxycontin

A blow with a hammer deforms, but won’t crush, the new OxyContin. The original formula could be turned into powder easily.

Instructed by his dealer, Mr. Capece, 21, tried microwaving one of the new pills, then sniffing up the burnt remains. Other addicts have tried to defeat the new formula by freezing, baking or soaking the pills in solvents ranging from soda to acetone. Many are ending up frustrated.

“It’s too much work,” said Mr. Capece who entered a rehab program here last month. “It wasn’t anything I enjoyed.”

A powerful narcotic meant for cancer patients and others with searing pain, OxyContin is designed to slowly release its active ingredient, oxycodone, over 12 hours. But after it was introduced in 1996, drug abusers quickly discovered that chewing an OxyContin tablet — or crushing one and snorting the powder, or injecting it with a needle — produced an instant high as powerful as heroin. It has been blamed for waves of addiction that have ravaged certain regions of the country, and has been a factor in many overdose deaths.

Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, may have succeeded for now in reducing illicit demand for its reformulated drug. But in several dozen interviews over the last few months, drug abuse experts, law enforcement officials and addicts said the reformulation had only driven up interest for other narcotics.

Demand appears especially high for pure oxycodone pills that come in a 30-milligram dose, often called “Perc 30s” or “Roxies” on the street. Opana, a time-release painkiller similar to OxyContin that has been on the market for five years, is showing up increasingly in police reports and has been blamed for a rash of overdose deaths. And heroin use has jumped sharply in many regions, according to rehab centers and the police.

“It’s just a matter of switching,” said John Burke, commander of the drug task force in Warren County, Ohio, and president of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators. “If I’m an addict, I’m going to find a drug that works.”

Mr. Burke said abuse of other oxycodone drugs was already growing before OxyContin was reformulated last August, partly because the other drugs are cheaper and because OxyContin had become harder to find on the street. Many doctors had stopped prescribing it because of its stigma and switched to other oxycodone drugs, Mr. Burke said.

Raymond V. Tamasi, president and chief executive of Gosnold on Cape Cod, a treatment center, said he had noticed that addicts switch initially to the Perc 30s.

“But eventually people make that progression from the pills to what appears to be a more economical high, which is heroin,” Mr. Tamasi said.

Prices vary, but 30-milligram oxycodone tablets generally sell on the street for $20 to $30 each, according to addicts and law enforcement officials. The old OxyContin sold for as much as $80 per 80-milligram pill. Several recovering addicts in Massachusetts said an 80-milligram tablet of the reformulated version, called OxyContin OP, costs about $40.

“You don’t make any money selling the OPs,” said James Moore, 28, who said he stopped selling and snorting OxyContin and moved on to heroin after the new version came out last year.

Mr. Moore, who said he used to snort as many as 10 OxyContin pills daily, was arrested in November for selling heroin and now lives at a halfway house in East Boston. Addicts can still get high from swallowing the new OxyContin pills, he said, but most prefer the immediate rush delivered by snorting or injecting the powder.

Outside of OxyContin, which comes in doses as high as 80 milligrams, the 30-milligram dose is the highest available for oxycodone, which is why addicts covet it.

Some addicts are reporting an even more powerful high from Opana, a time-release opiate painkiller whose active ingredient is oxymorphone. In Louisville, Ky., there have been at least 14 deaths this year involving Opana, according to the Jefferson County coroner’s office.

Purdue Pharma should have reformulated OxyContin sooner, said Steven Tolman, a state senator in Massachusetts who led a commission that investigated OxyContin abuse. The company asked the Food and Drug Administration to approve the new version for sale in November 2007; it won the approval in April 2010. It is the first painkiller reformulated to deter abuse, according to the F.D.A., which is now studying several proposed reformulations of other opiate drugs.

“It should not clear their conscience,” Mr. Tolman said of the change. “These people are scientists. Why didn’t they do this years ago?”

Not everyone is convinced that the days of abusing OxyContin are over. The F.D.A. is requiring Purdue Pharma to conduct clinical trials before it can claim that the new version is less abuse-prone. Though many addicts appear frustrated by the reformulation, Dr. Mark Publicker, an addiction medicine specialist at Mercy Recovery Center in Westbrook, Me., said he was “absolutely certain” that people would figure out how to abuse the new OxyContin.

“I like to think of them as drug addict scientists in white lab coats,” he said, pointing to Web sites where drug abusers debate various ways of trying to defeat the new formulation.

Libby Holman, a Purdue Pharma spokeswoman, said that based on initial data and reports, the company is “cautiously optimistic” that the reformulation will eventually prove less susceptible to abuse. But long-term studies will be necessary, she said in an e-mail, adding, “It is still too early to make any conclusions about the product’s impact on abuse and misuse in real-world settings.”

The company has initiated eight epidemiological studies and will report updates to the F.D.A., which approved their design, Ms. Holman said. Meanwhile, the new OxyContin pills have won some unflattering nicknames, said Dr. Ronald Bugaoan, director of psychiatric services at the High Point Treatment Center in Brockton.

“They call them gummies because when you chew them up they get stuck between your teeth,” he said. “They call them jellynoses because when you try to snort it up they get stuck. They cake in the nose.”

Mr. Moore, the recovering addict in East Boston, said that it was possible to snort the new OxyContin but that it took about an hour to break it down.

“It’s like doing a science project,” he said, “sitting there with a scraper, a knife, a razor blade, like it’s a frog or something.”

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Heroin Becomes The Backup To Painkillers

Just a few days before her graduation in 2008 from a Long Island high school, cheerleader and National Honor Society member Natalie Ciappa died. She overdosed on heroin. The sad fact is that Natalie’s death is not an isolated incident and the Internet is filled with stories of users, both young and old, who’ve died from heroin overdoses.

Even more surprising as Natalie’s story illustrates, the majority of today’s heroin users are white, middle-class suburbanites. It is this audience that heroin traffickers are seeking. As evidenced by recent seizures across Tennessee, this state is becoming a prime target for Mexican drug organizations hoping to increase their profits. And Tennessee isn’t the only state in the union they are working on.

The Tennessee General Assembly has recently passed legislation providing additional tools for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute doctor shopping and prescription drug fraud. The increased focus on these crimes and the aggressive pursuit prosecution of these cases involving the abuse of prescription drugs, addicted users are finding it more difficult and way more expensive to feed their addictions to Oxycontin and other painkillers. From the addict’s perspective, the solution to the diminished supply is a less expensive, more readily available alternative. That alternative is heroin.

Many think heroin is ‘no big deal’

According to the DEA based in Nashville, heroin flows into Middle Tennessee from Mexico through the Southwestern states to Tennessee. Due to this availability, the street cost to an addict is relatively cheap. Traffickers find willing consumers for their illegal goods by soliciting addicts near methadone clinics. Selling to addicts leaving these clinics helps the traffickers to generate an expanding client base. As a cheaper alternative to prescription drugs, business is good.

Soliciting clients near methadone clinics is not the only available venue for these heroin dealers. With a seizure of $90,000 worth of heroin in Brentwood earlier this year and another $500,000 heroin confiscation in Dickson County, law enforcement agencies in Metro Nashville’s suburban areas are on alert. The availability of heroin, as well as its relatively low cost when compared to illegally obtained prescription drugs, makes it an appealing alternative to the middle-class, both young and old. In fact, as noted by Robbie Woliver in a 2010 article for Psychology Today, many teens believe that heroin use is “no big deal.”

This cavalier belief by our young people is music to the ears of the Mexican drug organizations. These young people are creating a new generation of heroin addicts. No longer is the stereotypical heroin user viewed as a junkie living on the outskirts of society. Instead, as the availability of heroin increases in our communities, the heroin addict may live next door.

With the majority of heroin coming into Tennessee on our interstate system, law enforcement must continue its interdiction programs on Tennessee highways. In addition, police agencies must work together to identify and stop the flow of heroin into our communities. District attorneys must vigorously pursue prosecutions. And with so many young people now using heroin, educators and parents must be vigilant in monitoring the activities of these young people. Only with a combined community approach, can Tennessee stop the flow of heroin into our state.

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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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