Here's a good intro to the HAARP program (Heroin Addiction Response Program) developing out of a coalition of Ocean County Prosecutor, two police chiefs, and several treatment industry representatives including Sunrise Detox. I'll provide further updates in the near future, and add some of my own insights into how this fits into the treatment ecosystem here in New Jersey.
Fentanyl is a very powerful drug, normally only used in terminal cases of severe pain, where the patient is expected to die and needs pain relief. These days fentanyl is a regular news topic. It's killing people.
Long Island has set a new record of 220 overdose deaths involving fentanyl in 2016 alone.
Back in 2014 we highlighted the emerging danger of fentanyl-laced street drugs, as “mass overdoses” started to appear in Pennsylvania and in Nassau County, on Long Island. Someone was mixing fentanyl into street heroin, and people were dying.
By summer of 2015 it was clear this was not a new twist, but a trend. Fake oxycontin pills were showing up containing significant doses of fentanyl. Someone was purposefully manufacturing fentanyl for distribution into the street heroin trade, and users were unaware of the dangers brought with fentanyl.
Soon synthetic carfentanyl, far more powerful than even fentanyl, was found on the market. Where fentanyl is reported to be 100 times more powerful than morphine, carfentanyl was rated at 100x as powerful as fentanyl. Of course, still more people are dying, as these drugs are so overpowering.
When Drug Use leads to Overdose
In large doses, opiates, opioids, and synthetics like carfentanyl suppress the respiratory system. Someone overdosing on these drugs will literally suffocate to death. They shoot up to get high, fall unconscious or asleep, and then suffocate to death. The drug literally shuts down their breathing.
Overdose and Unexpecting Overdose results in Death
Why do so many drug users die from these powerful drugs? One reason is uncontrolled dosage. Your drug dealer may not even know herself what is in the heroin being sold. Dose is altered for profit, over and over, and may even be increased if certain drugs are added by any of the many middlemen, along the way to a sale.
A second reason I see too often these days is the unexpected overdose. Someone coming back to using heroin after a pause may not tolerate the same dose they used to tolerate without any problems. I will write more about this later.
When You're Ready to Stop, Get Help
Not everyone wants to stop taking drugs. Not everyone addicted to heroin wants to stop. We know that. But after helping over 45,000 people detox from their addictions, we know almost everyone regrets letting it get as far as it did before they sought help.
The first step is a medical detox from the active drugs influencing your decision-making. Call us, schedule a time to come in, and we will help with everything else. In a few days to a week or so, our experienced medical team eliminates the drugs from your system, managing the withdrawal and discomfort as needed, and then weaning you off the meds. It's the first step to regaining control, so you can stay safe.
If you call Sunrise Detox you tap into a network of professionals who understand where you are, where you've been, and where you are headed. Each detox center is designed specifically for detox off drugs and alcohol, preparing you for whatever rehab or outpatient aftercare is appropriate.
When you're ready, call us 888-443-3869 and we will immediately start helping you.
If you want, tell them Joe sent you. I'll get the word, and I'm part of the team that will be pulling for you.
New York closed 2016 with a new record: over 1,000 heroin overdose deaths. This continues an upward trend noted years ago, which has continued to challenge New York residents and their families, as well as policy makers and health care providers.
In June of 2016, New York State issued a report showing 2014 data on heroin abuse and drug overdose deaths. As of 2014, New York was outpacing other states in the growth of heroin use and the number of people seeking treatment for addiction disorders involving heroin.
In 2014, heroin overdose was a contributing cause for 825 deaths.
The 2016 numbers are in and things look much worse. Over 1000 deaths from heroin overdose in 2016, an increase of 17.5 % from 2004 numbers.
While New York had been leading the nation in growth of heroin overdoses for many years, it did not lead in heroin overdose deaths nor prescription opioid overdoses (those attributed to prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opiate-like synthetic opioids).
In one year (2014) heroin use in New York exceeded the national average rate by 50 per cent!
Upward trends in drug abuse are difficult to stop. New York State agencies are scrambling to provide treatment options, considering expanding the existing Pilgrim State psychiatric facility on Long Island.
Suffolk County, Long Island Drug Addiction and Treatment
Suffolk County on Long Island had the highest death toll from heroin overdose, at 111 dead. That's more deaths from overdose in Suffolk County than the the Bronx and Brooklyn combined.
Suffolk also experience an additional 96 deaths attributed to opioid overdose (non-heroin, which includes prescription pain killers).
We are used to hearing the phrase “deadly in high doses”. Many drugs can be deadly in high doses. Now we are seeing something new : deadly in SMALL doses.
The powerful drug fentanyl, another man-made opioid like oxycontin (oxycodone) and hydrocodone, is showing up on the streets. It is pressed into pills similar to oxycodone, colored to look like common painkillers, and of course mixed into street drugs like heroin. Fentanyl is deadly in small doses. Even a small amount of the powder can kill even an experience opioid or heroin user accustomed to high doses of opiates/painkillers.
Dangerous mixtures of drugs like fentanyl are killing quickly in New Jersey these days. Last year New Jersey suffered sudden deaths from Newark to Cape May, as drug dealers experimented with poly drug formulas they then sold as heroin, or marketed as a replacement for increasingly expensive pain pills.
Prescription painkillers are commonly abused these days, which can lead to addiction. Even regular folks who never used drugs recreationally are finding themselves “dependent” on these opioids. Many are coming into detox centers in NJ reporting that a few pills per day became several and then 7 or 8 per day, before they ran out of supply and realized they had a dependency problem.
Opioids don't want to let you go. If you become dependent, and try to stop, your body will urge you to continue taking the drugs. The withdrawal sickness that comes after stopping the drug is often enough to make one return to the drug, just to not-feel-sick. With high doses, the withdrawal sickness can be so severe that injecting heroin doesn't seem like such a bad idea – if it makes the sickness go away.
That's how heroin addiction works these days. And New Jersey now has a heroin epidemic on its hands.
Medical Detox is the first step in addressing a painkiller addiction. The medical detox process manages the withdrawal sickness for you, while the rest of the detox process supports someone getting clear of the drugs and into the proper path for recovering from the addiction. Addiction wreaks havoc with family, personal, and professional lives. Addicts need help.
In a top-tier medical detox facility like Sunrise Detox Toms River, Sunrise Detox Cherry Hill, or Sunrise Detox Stirling/Long Hill, the “Detox with Dignity” program focuses on eliminating the influence of the drug and withdrawal sickness, while providing concierge-like customer service, and a comfortable and supportive environment with around-the-clock medical care certified addiction counselors at every step of the way.
The best way to start is with a Detox with Dignity, where counselors help customize an individualized treatment plan which can include rehab, counseling, local outpatient treatment, with medical and psychological support as appropriate.
In New Jersey on any given day, nearly 1,000 people are in a clinic or hospital receiving substance abuse treatment. Most have entered a detox program (Sunrise Detox in Stirling services over 100 individuals every month) for what is typically a week to ten days of medically-supervised treatment. The initial detox is needed to stabilize them medically, so they can prepare for rehab or another treatment plan. The rest are in hospitals, also receiving detox before further treatment.
People are often surprised by the high numbers. Nearly 1,000 moms, dads, workers, professionals… one thousand New Jersey residents every day, getting treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction. Nearly half (42%) are in for heroin and prescription pain killers (heroin is an opiate, and many painkillers are synthetic opiates known as opioids, also highly addicting). Over 30% of the rest are in for alcohol abuse (dependency).
These data are from 2010. The trend lines for both alcohol and opiate abuse have increased dramatically since then, so today's numbers are likely to be even higher.
Writers In Treatment presented The REEL Recovery Film Festival in New York Sept 28th-Oct 04, 2012. This multi-day annual event is a celebration of film, the arts, writing and creativity, showcasing filmmakers who make honest films about addiction, alcoholism, behavioral disorders, treatment and recovery.
Sunrise Detox attended the opening party along with addiction professionals and those in recovery. The atmosphere was positive and the buzz among attendees was that they hoped for more recognition of addiction in film going forward. The opening performance was “On the Bowery” which is known as the predecessor to modern day documentaries. “On the Bowery” is described as follows:
“Among the most important films from the post-war American independent scene are Lionel Rogosin’s On the Bowery and Come Back, Africa — two incredible documents of bygone eras that still resonate today. From the beginning, Rogosin’s style as an independent filmmaker was straightforward and compassionate. His films, made “from the inside” showed the subjects he chose in their normal surroundings and allowed them to speak in their own words. By choosing ordinary people caught up in universal problems — homelessness, racial discrimination, war and peace, labor relations, and poverty — Rogosin made his point poignantly. The Oscar®-nominated On the Bowery is a masterpiece of the American blend of documentary/fiction.”
The follow up to the film screening on opening night was a Question and Answer session with actor and celebrity Robert Downey Sr., who was open about his personal recovery.