Posts Tagged ‘prescription drug abuse’
Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
A great article in the Washington Post was published yesterday talking about heroin hitting home in Centreville, Virginia. The death of a 19-year-old girl, Alicia Lannes, from a heroin overdose, shone a light on a heroin ring centering around teens and young adults, and many were current or former students of the local high school. Many of the students were high performing- athletes, cheerleaders, and AP students were all a part of the ring. 16 of those young people were convicted on drug charges, from 30 days to 26 years in prison.
This article showed a good perspective from the parents’ point of view, of someone who had lost a loved one to the disease of addiciton. Alicia, the girl whose death is the center of the article, had previous problems with drinking and drugs prior to the overdose. And why did this happen in such a seemingly “ideal” community? Edythe London, a neuroscientist and pharmacologist at UCLA who is at the forefront of addiction study: “Heroin is an equal-opportunity substance.” Patrick McConnell, director of Alcohol and Drug Services in Fairfax County, says many families are reluctant to believe their children have a problem. “These parents, a lot of times, will believe their kid before they believe us,” he says. “We can say whatever we want to say, but if no one’s going to listen, there are some fairly severe consequences that can result from that.”
Our CEO, Andrew Wainwright (who grew up in Washington DC) had this to say: “Sadly, this is the America I know and am all too familiar with. This is the America of the families that call us every day. This is the America of my own drug use. This is also the America of my recovery. I was the kids in that story as an active heroin addict on the streets of Washington DC and Baltimore. Now I am the 13 years sober and the CEO of the nation’s leading crisis addiction company. My only job today at AiR is to make sure that someone is there to answer the phone when the next mother calls ““ just like someone was there to answer it when my mother did.”
This morning, a blog posting in the New York Times touched on the response from a parent. Here’s a quote from Lisa Belkin, the article’s author: “As a parent of two teen sons, I am haunted by tales like these; I look at the photos of grieving parents and wonder what flimsy lines separate me from them. When I first had children I was sometimes overwhelmed by everything there was to do. As they get older I am ever more aware of what I can’t do “” the stark fact that, however much we love, and teach and stay vigilant, it might not be enough.”
For help for yourself or your loved one, please visit www.a-i-r.com or call us directly at 877-320-0247;
Tags: addiction, addiction intervention, AiR Assistance in recovery, andrew wainwright, heroin, heroin addiction, intervention, Legalization of Drugs, prescription drug abuse, substance abuse, Treatment, virginia drug abuse
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Thursday, October 8th, 2009
As was just announced yesterday, we at Assistance in Recovery recently celebrated our 500th Recovery Assistance Program (or RAP) participant. This is a huge step forward in the recovery world; after 60-plus years of people seeking treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, we’ve finally seen a change in how addiction in the long term is being managed. When people first started attending residential treatment centers, they generally would enter a 28 or 30 day program, followed by either outpatient or simply 12-step groups. Nowadays, with the expanding of extended care and sober living homes, we’ve been able to drastically improve the levels of care for clients in need of long term treatment.
But what happens when a client gets out of the safe haven of a treatment center? Besides themselves, and potentially their 12-step groups, there has been very little accountability. We at AiR have developed an amazing solution to this through our Recovery Assistance Program. With clients and families getting an individual case manager who can help the recovering person stay on track, it takes away the need for a family to be the “sober police.” A client can communicate directly with their case manager, ideally providing a safe person for both the family and the recovering individual to speak with when troubles arise. With an intensive collateral contact, featuring connections and support with therapists, psychiatrists, outpatient services, sober living homes and 12 step sponsors, as well as toxicology screenings, we are able to provide a recovering person with that level of accountability, and success, that they wouldn’t get just returning home.
Our goal is to improve treatment outcomes; with the introduction of Recovery Assistance, we’ve been able to see rates of recovery around 84%…a truly amazing figure. We can help guide families through that treacherous time of trying to find resources for their loved one, and help the recovering individual get through the minefield that is early recovery. 500 people have come through our doors so far; with millions of other addicts out there, we can only hope for the number to increase, and seeing more and more people achieve long-term recovery.
For questions about our Recovery Assistance Program, or any of our additional services (including intervention), please call us directly at 877-320-0247.
Tags: addiction, addiction intervention, AiR Assistance in recovery, alcohol, alcoholism, assistance in recovery, intervention, pain addiction, prescription drug abuse, Recovery Assistance Program, substance abuse, Treatment
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Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
16 states across the nation, more people die from drug-related incidents than die in traffic accidents. AiR’s founder and CEO, Andrew Wainwright discussing why drug deaths might be on the rise ““ the CDC points to the increase in abuse of prescription medication.
Aired October 1, 2009 – 07:00 ET
CNN AMERICAN MORNING HOST JOHN ROBERTS: Some shocking new statistics coming your way from the Centers for Disease Control. In 16 states across the nation, more people die from drug-related incidents than die in traffic accidents. So what could be done about it? We’ll find out. 38 and a half minutes after the hour.
ROBERTS: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Startling new statistics as we said from the Centers for Disease Control. In 16 states and counting, drugs now kill more people than car accidents. While traffic accidents remain the biggest injury- related cause of death across the country, drug overdoses are on the rise. Why is this happening?
Andrew Wainwright is the president and CEO of Assistance in Recovery Incorporated and kicked his own addiction a decade ago. He joins us from Minneapolis this morning.
So Andrew, according to the Centers for Disease Control, drug- related deaths in the United States have doubled from the late 1990s to 2006. Why the rise?
ANDREW WAINWRIGHT, PRESIDENT & CEO, ASSISTANCE IN RECOVERY, INC.: Well, I think two important factors, John. One, in the mid 1990s, a mandate came down from Jaco and others saying we were under prescribing for pain medically, across the board. And we needed to write more prescriptions for pain. So that began and docs began to do that. We saw a rise in the writing of prescriptions.
At the same time, we saw the big pharmaceutical companies begin the kickoff primarily in January of 1996. (INAUDIBLE) Pharma kicked off OxyContin. So we saw the rise of the selling of pharmaceutical drugs, heavy narcotics both to the consumers and to the docs. So I think the combination of those two factors – in the mid ’90s, exactly where we are, the swing of the pendulum where we have unintended overdoses. And this is interesting, in hospital and on the street today.
ROBERTS: Is it just because of the availability of drugs? Or is it also a public perception issue? I ask you that because Margaret Warner, an epidemiologist for the Centers of Disease Control talked about this yesterday. And here’s what she said. She said, “People see a car accident as something that might happen to them. But as far as drug overdoses go,” she says, “maybe they see it as something that’s not going to happen to them.”
You know, you get in a car. You know you’re going out there in the flow of traffic. You have a license, you have insurance. You know that it’s possible that you could get into a car accident. When taking drugs, do people say, I might overdose? I better be careful here or better still, I’m not going to do it at all?
WAINWRIGHT: Well, I think we also have, let’s say 40 good years of education without car accidents. If you remember back there was a time when nobody wore seat belts. And then we saw the rise of air bags and all kinds of other safety insurance to make sure that we got safer. We’re raised with years of commercials and high school showings of drunk driving and all those things what happens to people.
I don’t know if we’ve seen that piece of education for the general public around drug addiction from prescription drugs. We certainly see it in the DARE program and others for narcotics that you find in the street but prescription drugs, they sort of see it safe. They come from your doctor. They’re prescribed. They come in a clean bottle. They’re sold to you from a clean environment. You take them home to your house where you take them. And it doesn’t seem there’s a lot of danger there.
It’s very far removed from what you see in the evening news, the drug wars in Mexico. It doesn’t seem that it’s the same thing as the narcotics that I’m taking at my house. So it shouldn’t have the same result. And so the study comes out like the ones that we’re seeing from the CDC and we’re really surprised that people, us, our kids, our friends and neighbors are overdosing. We can’t really put the two together.
So I think we’re talking about a missing educational component that this is serious narcotics that’s being probably today, over prescribed or made overly readily available or the ones that we have in our homes aren’t being destroyed quickly enough as they are being diverted to the street. All of the things I think we’re beginning to get educated about.
So I think we should be happy on some level that A, the CDC did the study; B, CNN wants to talk about it; and C, it’s going out to America saying this is a real problem and we need to get more education and understand what’s going on so that we can stop it.
ROBERTS: Well, we here at CNN always want to talk about the important topics. You know, Centers for Disease Control in terms of this idea for prescribing, its report said that one in five adults now is prescribed an opiate every year. And you talk about education, there is one new area where we seem to be getting it as a nation, and that is the danger of our children getting a hold of prescription drugs that were prescribed for adults. Let’s take a look at this PSA, I think, that many are familiar with now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The yellow one – this is for my postpartum depression. This one, sciatica – whatever that is. I got these after my hysterectomy – or my prostatectomy – some “ectomy.”
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: And are PSAs like that helping to illuminate the problem, at least, of young people getting drugs out of their parents’ medicine cabinet?
WAINWRIGHT: I can only say I hope so. But I think that education is key at all areas of – of going to war against, you know, what’s becoming an epidemic for us culturally. I think it’s going to be a lot of education, needs to be a lot of time, because this has become, really, a cultural issue. I think it’s -
Well, you can look at pharm parties for high school kids. I think it’s culturally part of what we do is we have heavy narcotics in our home. We’re not loathe to share them with our friends and family if they are in pain. It’s sort of, you know, we carry these in our purse, we carry them on the plane, it’s part of who we are culturally. I think a big piece of that needs to change, and so I think, yes, the PSA is going to help. It’s going to take a lot of them, and I think it’s going to take a lot more of you and I and folks like us talking about this, making it important for everybody.
ROBERTS: All right. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that the (ph) decline of road fatalities, which is one reason why drug deaths in some states have surpassed traffic fatalities is because of advances that were made in reducing traffic fatalities, but the safety administration says that it’s – it’s one of the great public health triumphs over the last few decades, to lower the number of deaths on the roadways. What can be done to make similar strides in drug abuse?
WAINWRIGHT: Well, you’re talking – you know, I’m a “change the world” guy, so I would – you know, I think it’s great that we lowered it 1 percent or 2 percent or whatever it was for traffic fatalities. You know, I’m all for making big changes. So I think that the pendulum began to swing in one direction in 1995 when we had these two major incidents happen around overprescribing of heavy narcotics. I think what – the CD (ph) study is great because it gets us talking about it, so we’re hoping that the pendulum is going to swing as far as this can go in this direction and we’re going to push it back the other way.
So let’s pick a mean, let’s say 1996, 1997, 1998 – that somewhere in there we’re going to say that’s the gold mean where we’re prescribing enough to manage and treat the pain that America is presenting with but we’re not overprescribing and allowing drugs to be (INAUDIBLE) in the street. And then we’re going to culturally change how we understand and think about the use of these kinds of prescribed drugs.
ROBERTS: Andrew Wainwright – a “change the world” kind of guy. You managed to change your world. You changed many other people’s. See if we can keep going from here. Thanks for being with us this morning. Appreciate it.
WAINWRIGHT: Thanks, John.
ROBERTS: Forty-seven and a half minutes now after the hour.
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Thursday, October 1st, 2009
According to an article posted yesterday night on USA Today, prescription drugs and other pills are now the leading cause of overdosing, ahead of things like heroin and cocaine. According to the Center For Disease Control, prescription pills now account for the majority of the over 26,000 fatal overdoses each year. In previous years, up through the 1990s, the majority of overdoses were brought on by illicit substances like heroin. However, with the upswing in prescriptions and the lack of knowledge surrounding the abuse of these pills, the dangers have continued to increase and, as a result, created a dangerous epidemic of abuse and addiction.
Leonard Paulozzi, a researcher at the Center for Disease Control, said that the numbers show that overdoses in rural areas have now come to equal those in cities, which is lead, according to Paulozzi, by the availability of prescription pain killers and opioids. With chronic pain become a new term, the prescriptions of opioid pain killers have started to increase, and therefore leading to additional overdose danger. And with a rise in stress and depression, the dangers of addictive behaviors are brought to the forefront.
“At the high doses used by drug abusers, the margin of safety is small,” Paulozzi said. “Combining such drugs on your own or using them with alcohol increase the risk.” The number of overdose deaths due to prescription drugs, like morphine or codeine, has more than tripled since 1999, according the new CDC figures. “The biggest and fastest-growing part of America’s drug problem is prescription drug abuse,” says Robert DuPont, former White House drug czar and former director of NIDA.
We’ve been speaking out on the dangers of prescription drugs for years, and will continue to do so until the appropriate levels of education and awareness of the dangers are reached. Here’s a clip of our CEO, Andrew Wainwright, on CNN’s American Morning talking about the dangers of prescription drugs.
For assistance with prescription drug problems, or if a loved one is struggling with addiction, please visit our main site or call us directly at 877-320-0247.
Tags: addiction, addiction intervention, AiR Assistance in recovery, andrew wainwright, chemical dependency, cnn, cnn american morning, intervention, overdose, prescription drug abuse, prescription drug overdose, recovery assistance, substance abuse, Treatment, vicodin addiction
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Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
AiR’s founder and CEO, Andrew Wainwright, will discuss tonight’s wire story
“In 16 states, drug deaths overtake traffic fatalities.” Experts said the
startling shift reflects two opposite trends: Driving is becoming safer,
and the legal and illegal use of powerful prescription painkillers is on
CNN’s American Morning host, John Roberts, will be talking with Andrew
about AiR’s take on why drug deaths might be on the rise ““ the CDC
points to the increase in abuse of prescription medication, something he’s
talked with CNN’s American Morning about before ““ and what can be done
about it. Why are so many people abusing Rx drugs? What can be done to stop
Check local listings
Tuesday, August 25th, 2009
One of the great things we at AiR get to do is work with struggling families to help them find the right direction; however, we also get to work in avenues that can truly help a very selective population, our veterans. We have partnered with Grace After Fire, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing addiction treatment and trauma treatment for women veterans. With more and more women in the military reporting instances of severe mental and emotional trauma, even more resources are needed- especially ones not currently available via government resources. With a long and detailed history of Vietnam veterans suffering large instances of trauma, one would think we’d be better prepared for our returning soldiers. Alas, that is not the case. However, Grace After Fire is there to help bridge the gap in resources, and we’re excited to be a part of their cause.
One of the founding board members, Tia Christopher, provided a great testimony at the Veteran’s Affairs Committee meeting, and a video can be seen here. Women veterans can also find resources and help via their community message board, available here.
Issac Skelton, the publications director for the Drug Policy Alliance, puts our veterans’ addiction and trauma problem into focus in this editorial in the New York Times. The main point that he focuses on is this, that “…thousands of returning veterans who cope through self-medication are risking addiction, arrest and jail time.” He wrote this in response to another New York Times article that spoke directly about the problem of returning veterans and healthcare- that the Walter Reed Hospital and its neglected outpatient programs weren’t the main problem- they were only a symptom of a broken system. We need the resources available to provide the best care possible for our returning heroes.
We strongly encourage any family to get help, but we especially want to put resources in the hands of families of veterans. Should you, or someone you love, be struggling with their transition back into the civilian world, please call us at 877-320-0247 for assistance. With the help of organizations such as Grace After Fire, we can help put a healing hand out for the veterans that really need us.
Tags: addiction, addiction intervention, AiR Assistance in recovery, assistance in recovery, chemical dependency, Grace After Fire, intervention, prescription drug abuse, recovery, recovery assistance, substance abuse, trauma and addiction, Treatment, veterans, veterans and trauma
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Thursday, July 9th, 2009
Click here to listen to our Founder & CEO, Andrew Wainwright which aired Saturday, July 11 at 10pm on www.crntalk.com. Host Nicole Bella Remini discussed the accountability of Michael Jackon’s doctors, prescription drug abuse and addition as well as his book “It’s not Okay to Be a Cannibal.”
Friday, July 3rd, 2009
Suspicions about Michael Jackson’s prescription drug use and sudden death are also putting a new focus on a serious and growing problem, and that is the misuse of prescription drugs in this country. It is now actually the second leading cause of accidental death. This is prescription drug overdoses after auto accidents.
Aired July 3rd, 2009 at 7:10am EST
Andrew Wainwright kicked his addiction more than a decade ago and created an organization to help others do the same. And he joins me this morning.
Andrew, thanks for being with us.
ANDREW WAINWRIGHT, PRESIDENT & CEO, ASSISTANCE IN RECOVERY, INC.: Thanks, good morning.
CHETRY: So you’ve been clean for 12 years now. You know firsthand how hard it can be to battle an addiction to drugs. Tell us your story.
WAINWRIGHT: I was a — I grew up on the east coast in Washington, D.C. and struggled with drugs and alcohol through college. I got sober when I was 26 and sober for 12 years.
And you know, white collar background. Wasn’t expecting to grow up and be a drug and alcohol addict. But these are the kinds of things that happened. I think they were genetically predisposed, and that’s exactly what happened to me. And I think that the rise of prescription drug abuse is beating right into that.
I think that people believe that an addict looks a certain way, and that’s not exactly true at all. I think that lots of folks are — addiction is accessible to lots more folks. I believe it can happen.
CHETRY: Right. And the danger that we’re learning about with prescription drugs is I mean when used as they’re supposed to be, they can be safe and they’re fine. But because they’re prescribed by a doctor, oftentimes people don’t believe it’s a problem.
And this was an interesting stat here that approximately 50 million Americans reported or at admitted to non-medical use of a prescription drug at some point in their lifetime. How big of a problem is it when you’re taking medicine that you’re not necessarily prescribed to treat something that you have?
WAINWRIGHT: I think it’s a tremendous problem and growing. I think that the perception is there’s less stigma, less shame, as it were, taking prescription drugs for off-label uses. Somehow that’s OK. And I think that decidedly (ph) it’s OK because it was given to me by a doctor. Things from doctors are supposed to be good. It’s supposed to make things better, not worse.
And I think there’s a lot of surprise when folks get sick or strung out or addicted from these same meds that are supposed to make them better. And I think that more and more — I think we sort of co- signed it a little bit as a society that since it comes from a doctor that it should be OK. And so, since friends or family tell me that this is why have a prescription for this it should be all right and we think that it is OK. And then we’re surprised when it turns out that folks get very, very ill.
CHETRY: Right. And you know deaths caused by overdosing on prescription painkillers, drugs like oxycodone or methadone, fentanyl, they jumped more than 90 percent just between the years of 1999 to 2002. This is according to stats cited by “The Washington Post.” Why are we seeing this jump?
WAINWRIGHT: Well, a couple of reasons. I think the big reason we’re going to put our finger on it is in 1996, when OxyContin first hit the market, we saw drug companies actively marketing their drugs, both the doctors and the consumers. And I think that big marketing push or big advertising campaign nationally told people to buy these drugs, to ask their doctors for them and gave doctor’s permission to prescribe them in larger numbers to more people for more different types of syndromes. Therefore, the use escalated.
CHETRY: And the question is, you talk about how it’s easy to get your hands on it. Doctor shopping in some cases, the ease at which you can get one of these prescriptions for painkillers or anxiety conditions. And when you truly have pain and you truly have anxiety, it’s understandable that you would want to be able to take something for that.
But why does it seem that it’s easier to get your hands on medications like this when you don’t necessarily have a condition that warrants it?
WAINWRIGHT: Well, one of the things we can point to is this. It’s that with the rising managed care at the end of the ’80s, at the end of the ’90s, we step away from everyone having a primary doctor who had a long history with an individual, also have understood what they’ve been through, where they’re going, and how to treat them.
As we became sort of individually taking orders (INAUDIBLE) for the medical records, moving through the ’90s and to the 2000s, we’re seeing more rise of people going to more different doctors for more different things and the doctors with less time and less capability to follow up and to know where those patients are coming from and what they’re being treated for. Doctor shopping, the ease with which people are able to visit multiple doctors for the same ostensible real condition…
WAINWRIGHT: … and get medicines from all of those different doctors.
CHETRY: Do you think that a national registry could make possibly make a difference where you have to report all the stuff and every doctor would have access to it? Is that something that is in the works any time soon?
WAINWRIGHT: Well, the Bush administration talked about it. The Obama administration certainly talked about it. And it’s something we’d love to see. The unfortunate piece is it’s many years down the road to get everybody onboard so in effect you’re walking around with a piece of paper or a chip, electronic record to tell you exactly who you are, what type of blood type you have, all of the things that you need and all the things that you’re taking.
So in terms of short term, it’s not something we’re going to see anytime soon. So I think we need to look at more immediate short-term solutions to the problem that’s in front of us.
CHETRY: All right. Well, it’s certainly is a growing problem. And so we need to try to find those answers.
Andrew Wainwright, president and CEO of Assistance in Recovery. You also wrote the book “It’s Not Okay to Be a Cannibal” joining us from Minneapolis, MN this morning. Thanks so much.
WAINWRIGHT: Thank you.
Trascript taken from CNN.com
Thursday, July 2nd, 2009
AiR’s Andrew Wainwright scheduled for American Morning on CNN
Founder and CEO, Andrew Wainwright, will be on CNN’s American Morning to talk about prescription drug abuse. AiR feels that the more exposure and information about addiction provided to the public, the more people can receive help and be saved.
Check local listings.