Drug Addiction

In Rockville Center, Long Island for Town Hall

Sunrise Detox in Rockville Center, Long Island

A great message from kids for kids

Rockville Center Against Youth Substance Abuse

The Rockville Center, Long Island Town Hall meeting tonight is dedicated to “Underage Drinking and Drug Use”, and Sunrise Detox is there represented by myself (Joe Horrocks) and my associate Joe Chelales.

The topics of discussion range widely from prevention through treatment issues, with concerned parents, loved ones, police and policy makers looking to discuss all sort of related issues. With the rise in heroin use, a record numbers of overdose deaths in NY & on Long Island, people want information and answers.

Community Support for Keeping Kids Safe

Tonight's meeting is co-sponsored by the Rockville center Coalition for Youth, the RVC School District, the RVC Youth Council, the RVC Police Dept., as well as Dynamic Youth COmmunity, “Don't Press Send”, St. Agnes, and Senator Todd Kaminsky's office.

Joe Chelales Sunrise Detox on Long Island

Joe Chelales of Sunrise Detox on Long Island at the Rockville Center Town Hall

The kids have done a great job with Live your Life Drug Free” T-shirts, and a community Scrabble board made up of tiles contributed by students.

Some of the messages the kids placed into their “Tile Your Own Way” Scrabble board? Everything from the classics like “Crack is Wack” and “Don't Be A Fool, Stay In School” to a few I have never seen before, including “Don't Do Drugs, The Thrill Can Kill“, “Destroy What Destroys You” and “A Friend Indeed won't make you Smoke that Weed“.

Rockville Center residents address the Town Hall panel to discuss the need for Narcan response in the community (an emergency response to heroin overdose)

Sunrise Detox on Long Island

We will be busy tonight offering information and insider knowledge to everyone with questions, as much as we can. There is never enough information when you are faced with an addiction in your family, or your own life, or when addressing an epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse in the community.

2016 New York State Record for Overdose Deaths

NY witnessed a new record for overdose deaths, exceeding 1,000 in 2016.

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).

 

Drug testing with Fingerprints : Cocaine in Fingerprints

Cocaine use can now be reliably detected via fingerprint testing, according to scientists.

Cocaine use can now be reliably detected via fingerprint testing, according to scientists.

If there weren't enough good reasons to stop using drugs, we now have another. Scientists have successful demonstrated that cocaine use can be detected in fingerprints.

Scientists developed a method of examining the residual material left behind in fingerprints, and discovered adequate amounts of cocaine, benzoylecgonine (BZE) and methylecgonine (EME). The levels detected were adequate for testing. Once tested, the mass spectrometry results correalted well with oral samples, meaning fingerprint testing may be a suitable method for detecting cocaine use.

Anyone needing help breaking free of substance abuse and addiction should come in for detox and treatment as soon as possible. There is everything to gain from acting immediately when a problem is acknowledged. There is a lot to lose… and now even more, such as your job, security clearance, or other important aspects of your life, if you cannot stop abusing drugs and get scrutinized.

This new research on detecting cocaine in fingerprints is soon to appear in the journal “Analyst”, as reported by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Drug Take Back Day Every Day, Starting October 9

Attorney General Eric Holder announced expanded prescription drug take-pack at hospitals,pharmacies, and extended care facilities (via justice.gov)

Attorney General Eric Holder announced expanded prescription drug take-pack at hospitals,pharmacies, and extended care facilities (via justice.gov)

With National Drug Take-Back Day coming up (Sept 27), the US government has announced it has found a way to enable drug-dispensing locations like pharmacies and nursing homes to become drug disposal drop-off locations as well. Finally!

New regulations have been passed to make every pharmacy and hospital a safe place to return unneeded, unwanted, expired or excess pharmaceuticals for safe disposal. This is a great way to help remove dangerous addictive substances from circulation.

One of the common sources of  prescription drugs used by people addicted to opiates and opioids, is the medicine cabinet. Doctors and dentists prescribe drugs like Percocet for pain following a procedure or an injury, advising patients to take “as needed” for pain. Often some or all of these addicting medications are not needed by the patient, and remain in the medicine cabinet.

Medicine cabinets are one of the first locations raided by burglars because pills can be sold for cash on the black market. We have seen reports of realtors hosting Open House events, only to discover visitors had come in not to preview the home that was for sale, but to raid the medicine cabinet for prescription opioids like Vicodin, Percocet, or other forms of hydrocodone and oxycodone.

The National Take Back day is a program aimed at removing these unwanted drugs from circulation. On one day of each year, Police departments accept drugs for safe disposal. It has been very successful, but limited to the one day or a few days during the year.

This new change will take effect October 9, 2014. We will be advising people to simply “return the pills to any pharmacy – they will take it back for safe disposal”. This is a very welcome improvement.

  • The Attorney General announcement (video) http://www.justice.gov/agwa.php
  • Press Releases on Drug Take-Back days http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/newsrelease.htm

Ocean County DART Coalition Event May 27

Tonight is the Ocean County DART Coalition Forum “Can We Talk – Are You Listening?” at the Pine Belt Arena from 5pm to 9pm. The event is being organized by Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, and will focus on the heroin epidemic that is sweeping through New Jersey's communities.

I will be there, along with Ryan Singer from Sunrise Detox Toms River, to answer questions and do everything we can to help support the mission of raising awareness of the heroin problem. Some of what we do in person, that might not be well known:

Answer specific questions about specific situations, such as loved ones with dependencies, concerns about past treatment efforts that didn't work well, state-of-the-art detox and rehab for addiction, family issues when dealing with addiction in the home, etc.
Discuss the nuances of insurance coverage for substance abuse, including real-world facts that are not in the insurance company brochure, or not common knowledge.
Provide direct, honest, informative talks about substance abuse, addiction and treatment, beyond what is normally published or mentioned in public discussions.

Here are a few snapshots of the stage being prepped for tonight's show, which will feature Richie Sambora (guitarist for Bon Jovi). It should be a fun night out with community, addressing an issue that needs as much attention as it can get these days. Sunrise Detox is a proud sponsor and participant.

Sound checks on the stage

Sound checks on the stage while preparing for tonight's DART Coalition Forum on Heroin Addiction in New Jersey

dart-coalition-forum-setup-may2014

Sunrise Detox is a proud supporter of the DART Coalition and Prosecutor Joseph Coronato's efforts to raise awareness of substance abuse and addiction in New Jersey

 

NJ Today: 15 Heroin Overdoses in One Day

The Philadelphia Inquirer is reporting that a “bad batch” of heroin distributed in Camden, New Jersey sent 15 people to area hospitals, 12 of them within one hour of the day. The reporter remarks that 14 of the 15 were “suburbanites”, as if that were surprising. We know otherwise — New Jersey's suburban youth are becoming addicted to prescription pain killers, and finding their way to cheaper, more accessible heroin.

Ira Levy highlighted this trend in June of 2013, and recent government data shows that 80% of heroin abusers started with prescription drugs.  It is very important to get treatment for prescription drug addictions as soon as the need is recognized, before more damage is done by heroin for example.

 

Addiction Doesn’t Have to End in Death

New Jersey is suffering from a wave of heroin and prescription pain killer abuse, but it is not a new thing like a plague or infectious agent. The abuse is a continuation of known behavior we've seen increase over many years — people experimenting and abusing drugs and alcohol.  The difference, and the reason our kids are dying now, is in the drugs. The drugs, the combinations of drugs, and the combination of drugs and alcohol is deadlier than ever before.

At Sunrise Detox we treat those who have an acknowledged physical and/or psychological dependency on substances like heroin, opiates (Percocet, Oxycontin), and mood altering prescription drugs like Xanax. We help them break free of the addiction that is running their lives, hopefully before it destroys everything. But many of the overdose deaths are from sudden, deadly over-dosing of drugs that were of unknown purity, or were also mixed with alcohol in deadly combinations.

At some point this year,  drug overdose counts in New Jersey climbed to alarming levels. Those involved with drug abuse and overdoses noted that nearly 60% of the deaths were of kids aged 20-26.  It is true that some of these  could have been prevented if the kids were admitted into treatment (drug detox for 10 days, followed by residential rehab or other treatment). But it is also likely that many would have died even if treatment had been arranged, because the overdose was a sudden, unexpected event. They didn't know that last hit would kill them.

Here are some of the key reasons why over 115 New Jerseyans (most in their twenties) have died this year:

Prescription Drugs are considered Safer than Heroin

As young adults experimented with drugs, they watched doctors prescribe numerous high-potency medications for various purposes (post-surgical pain management, sports injury pain management, toothache pain, etc) and came to understand that these pain drugs were pure, controlled, and recommended by doctors. So when it came time to “take some drugs” to get high, those prescription pills were a safer bet than street drugs of unknown composition or purity.

Many who would say they would never engage in street drug activity or “shoot heroin” were willingly ingesting, snorting, or smoking crushed up prescription pills which were, in fact, almost chemically identical to heroin.

Prescription Opiates and Opioids were Readily Available for Years

Opiate and opioid prescription pain killers are highly addicting, yet were readily available for many years in New Jersey. When a physical addiction sets in, the addict must work hard to secure enough supply to stave off the sickness of withdrawal. That is why heroin addicts often turn to petty crimes so quickly… they need more and more drug to stave off withdrawal sickness, and become desperate for money to pay for the drugs.

In effect, the ready supply of powerful prescription drugs in New jersey enabled addictions to advance without some of the real-world pressures associated with drug seeking. Until…

Prescription Opiates and Opioids (Painkillers) suddenly became Scarce

As awareness of the prescription drug addiction problems grew, the controlled channels for addictive prescription pain killers shut down. The New Jersey Prescription Drug Monitoring Program shut down a lot of doctor shopping, which was a primary way to get more than an appropriate amount of a drug by prescription. Various enforcement efforts stepped up, including increased drug take-back and medicine cabinet clean out or lock up awareness campaigns. These efforts removed more drugs from easy reach.  Additionally, enforcement actions taken against “over prescribers” and loosely-managed pharmacies meant the steady supply of pure, high-potency drugs was shutting off.

An unintended consequence of these positive efforts to contain the pill problem was that many unacknowledged pill addictions were left without a supply of pharmaceutical grade drugs of known, controlled dose. Then…

Enter the Heroin Dealer : Supply and Demand

Did you know that many prescription pain killers are just about chemically equivalent to heroin, the most addictive street drug? Faced with an active addiction to pills and a suddenly curtailed supply chain, what would an addicted young adult in New Jersey do?After just a day or two without drugs, the withdrawal sickness can get quite severe.

The drug dealers provided an answer: heroin. Cheaper than ever, and often stronger than ever, heroin became the only acceptable substitute for an addict in desperate need of pills to prevent sickness from withdrawal.

This is where heron detox is the right move — get into a drug detox center as withdrawal sickness threatens. When the pill supply runs out, and the money runs out, the addict faces real challenges. The only options available are much more dangerous than the drug abuse has been up to that point.

Engaging in high-risk, illegal activities to raise money might seem preferable to withdrawal sickness. Taking on debt to the potentially violent drug dealer might start to seem like a good idea. Or starting to sell drugs for profit, to cover the need, despite the risks of arrest and prison. When the addiction is pushing the addict towards the most dangerous drugs on the street, and the highest risk behaviors, the right move is to get into drug detox center under medical care.

At Sunrise Detox our medical assessment quickly sets the stage for managing the addiction. Medications are used to prevent withdrawal sickness from interfering with efforts to get clean of the influence of the drugs. Our focus in on comfort and care, with sincere determination to break thru the physical dependency, while securing whatever medical and perhaps psychological treatment is needed.

The Street Drugs are often Deadly

Detox is also the right move before the addict takes the much bigger risk of ingesting or otherwise using the street version of the drugs. What's been mixed in with the drug? In what concentration?

The dealer can't be trusted. Street drugs are often mixed with various fillers to increase profits, but sometimes are kept extremely pure to encourage further dependency. How do you know what you are getting?

A hit of heroin of unknown purity and composition can be deadly for one person, while tolerable for another. Our kids may have been feeding an active addiction to moderate doses of opioids, and then left to chance their lives with what was supposed to be an equivalent dose, but turns out to be a deadly overdose.

Drugs and Alcohol Don't Mix Well

One of the more common contributors to overdose death on New Jersey is alcohol. Again, a user may have become accustomed to a specific dose of prescription drugs, and survived taking them with alcohol, but then die from a deadly mixture of the same alcohol with street heroin of unexpectedly purity or composition.

We Need Education, Prevention, Awareness, Intervention, and Treatment

All of this is needed to fix the problems we're experiencing in New Jersey right now. We need to recognize addiction for what it is – a physical and psychological dependency on substances which change our bodies and minds, so we are not in control of our actions and futures. We need to intervene as soon as we have an opportunity. Get the individual into medical detox or addiction treatment, in any way possible, to begin the process of regaining control over the addiction. And then, through determination, commitment, and unconditional love and acceptance, help move them towards successful recovery. It won't be easy, but it can be done.

Every addiction drives the victim hard towards and end, but addiction doesn't have to end in death. Intervene as soon as you have a chance, and please ask for help. If Sunrise Detox can help, call us at  888-443-3869.