Opioid Makers Win Reversal In California Lawsuit, Now What?

man and lawsuit pages

Months ago, California was part of a historic lawsuit win against pharmaceutical companies and their distributors. A large payout was allocated to the state after four companies -  Allergan, Endo, Johnson & Johnson, and Teva – were ruled to have used false and misleading marketing to push massive amounts of the addictive drug, Oxycontin onto the public.

Early this month, the results were reversed. A state judge in California ruled that the companies cannot be held liable for the raging opioid epidemic; it was simply too much of a reach to hold them responsible using a public nuisance law.

California Counties Were Counting On The Money

Many Californian counties needed the lawsuit money; they had already planned on how they would spend it. For example, San Diego County would use it to invest in more treatment centers and other public health initiatives.

Much of the money was also slated for opioid addiction training and prevention initiatives. Now, there may not be an expansion of treatment opportunities for people who need them.

Treatment Options Still Available

Many people are still able to get treatment, even if it’s not what they envisioned. Medical can help people get on waiting lists and get coverage when a bed is available. People with private insurance companies tend to have better options.

Addiction treatment is an integral part of healthcare, but there will still be limitations without new funds. The pandemic also has brought new challenges as well as healthcare delivery options. Some people find that therapy and groups online make treatment available almost everywhere.

Many people find that a sixty or ninety-day inpatient program benefits them, but they’re not ready to return to everyday life right away.

Consider Sober Housing

Sober housing options are still available for people who need aftercare and support as they live life on its own terms daily. Sober housing provides an intimate, recovery-focused environment where you can focus on your wellbeing.

If you or somebody you love needs structure and support in their living environment, recovery housing is an option. Call us to learn more about how it works at 760-216-2077.

 

The addiction crisis is raging in San Diego during the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Like many parts of the country, addiction rates have seen an uptick due to isolation and other stressors of the pandemic. San Diego has lost an average of three people a day to overdoses.

In 2020, the County reported 457 fentanyl-related overdose deaths, but not all opioid deaths are from fentanyl, and not all opioid deaths have yet been counted. A total of 722 meth users were lost to an overdose last year, up from 546 the previous year. A large number of prescription drug users – 576 – were lost to overdose as well.

All of these numbers are startling. In recovery, there have been many anecdotes of people with long-term sobriety relapsing. Relapse doesn't have to be a part of your story, even if you're struggling. And even if you DO relapse, you are welcome back to recovery with open arms.

Staying Supported During the Pandemic

Of course, life has been difficult for people of all walks of life during the pandemic. And for most of us, it’s not over. People who live with addiction especially need support during these times. Staying connected to other people in recovery can help you stay sober and sane.

San Diego offers many opportunities for recovery for those who embrace them. 12-step meetings, therapy online, and even peer support groups are incredibly valuable for people in recovery.

Lifesaving Services in San Diego For Drug Users

The Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego County is one example of an organization that uses state grant money to help reduce the harmful dangers of addiction. They offer needle exchange services and the opioid-reversal drug, Narcan, to drug users to help them stay safe.

Harm Reduction Coalition of San Diego also offers fentanyl test strips, wound care, education, and referrals for healthcare.

Sober Living Opportunities for Newly Sober

Are you a recovering addict or alcohol looking for a sober living situation that offers recovery and stability? Sober living situations offer structure and independence as you learn to live life on its terms, without substances.

Living with others who have the same goals and similar challenges can help you continue to grow in recovery. Structured support will help you stay centered. You’ll also find community and camaraderie in daily living activities such as cooking, doing chores, or even taking time together to go bike riding or strolling on the beach.

Many people who are looking for aftercare choose sober living as their next step.

Learn more about sober living opportunities by giving us a call at 760-216-2077.

For the past several years, there has been a lot of interest in the wellness community about an herb sold online called Kratom. Kratom is a drug that has been used for centuries in Southeast Asian countries for various reasons. The most notable of reasoning has been as a "substitute" for opiates. Because of this, many people who are desperate to quit opioids turn to this drug to help them ease their withdrawal symptoms. Unfortunately, this quick fix isn't a fix at all; the Food and Drug Administration has received reports of similar withdrawal symptoms when a user tries to quit taking Kratom.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a green powder supplement that has been sold as a sort of snake oil online. People have claimed it can boost their energy and moods, kill pain, and even fix their opioid withdrawal symptoms. All of these short-term effects are possible, but that doesn't make the supplement safe. Kratom is an unregulated drug that has been outlawed, in fact, in some Asian countries due to its similarity to opium.

Kratom is a quasi-legal substance, according to the FDA. They have already halted the drug's importations due to a lack of evidence that it has value as holistic medicine. People usually administer Kratom by drinking it as a tea or putting the powder into capsules they can swallow.

Kratom Is Probably Addictive, Too

Long-term users anecdotally will describe the need for more Kratom to get a similar effect as before. This is evidence that people who use Kratom build a tolerance to the drug similar to opioids. Some people who try to quit Kratom have what is described as a "rebound effect." They feel much worse when they are off of it than on it. If they took Kratom for anxiety, for example, they might discover that without Kratom, they feel worse than they did before when they're anxious.

People also have reported that they have gone through withdrawal when ceasing the use of the substance. According to Poison control centers in the United States, seven infants were exposed to Kratom and were hospitalized. Five of these children experienced withdrawal effects when the Kratom left their system, suggesting that it is powerfully addictive.

Other side effects from Kratom include liver damage, trouble breathing, muscle pain, chills, vomiting, nausea, and constipation. All of these symptoms are similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms. More troubling effects reported by Kratom users included dizziness, hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions during use or withdrawal.

Due to these issues, Kratom use is not recommended by medical professionals or the addiction recovery community. If you or a loved one need help to get clean from opioids, there are safer, more recovery-affirming options available. Don't trade one addiction for another.

Consider Sober Living

Staying sober can be difficult during these times. A sober living home can help you stay focused and grounded as you start your new life in sobriety. Make friends and learn to live life on its terms. Learn more about your options by calling us at  760-216-2077 to learn more about our residence, amenities, and recovery activities. We're happy to answer any questions you may have.

 

A recent letter to the Acting Director of Health and Human Services in the Biden administration urged action for expanding the availability of Medication-Assisted Treatment through the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This comes on the heels of Biden suspending the former administration's OUD (opioid use disorder) guidelines.

Who Sent the Letter on OUD Treatment?

In response to a recent retraction of Trump guidelines, the letter announced on January 27, 2021, was written by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and signed by representatives from seven representatives with over 150,000 members and 2200 treatment centers. The Biden administration recently decided to withdraw the previous administration's Practicing Guidelines for Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder to update them and provide better access.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: Science-Based OUD Tools

The letter from AAAP implored the Biden administration to expand access to science-based medication. Buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone are all medications that have been proven to help people get and stay sober.

Medications that help people addicted to opioids are crucial in assisting them to avoid the compulsion to use. Buprenorphine and methadone help people prevent painful and challenging withdrawal symptoms.

For many treatment programs, the idea of medication carries a stigma. Because of this, it's vitally important that more doctors are educated about how MAT works and how it should be administered. Many medical professionals have felt uncomfortable prescribing it because of a lack of education.

Opioids are notoriously tricky to cease using due to the problematic withdrawal symptoms they cause when a person quits using.

Opioid Prescribing Education and Guidance

The letter for AAAP also says that the Biden administration needs to begin a focus on opioid addiction prevention. They say that this means requiring all prescribers of opioids to be taught about opioids dependence, addiction, and withdrawal.

Preventing opioid addiction is the best long-term strategy for ending the opioid epidemic. It's unclear what path the Biden administration will decide to take regarding new addiction recovery health policies.

Sober Living San Diego

Do you or somebody you love need a space to get back on your feet now that you're sober? Our homes are bright, cheerful, friendly homes with both community and structure to help you stay on your path to recovery. We have a lot to offer our residents! Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more.

- By Philip, Milgram, MD

Worry, fear, boredom, anxiety, loneliness, escapism, insomnia; these are the emotions that plague our society. The plague that is COVID is making these human imperfections more frequent and more pronounced. There are healthy effective ways we can not only deal with these feelings and situations. But it is human tendency to take an immediate and effective way to escape: The Devil’s Drugs. They are readily (too readily) available. There is easy access to someone who can promise you the gates of heaven. You are invincible. And you want it now. From a friend or family member who has some. Or from a prescriber who will prescribe, sometimes inadvertently but often as a legitimate dealer. Hey, maybe it‘s even covered by your insurance. Maybe you know somebody who knows someone who can get it for you in a park or a parking lot. Trust me. You are not invincible. These are not your grandparent’s drugs. These synthetic drugs have a high addiction potential. I don’t think they should have ever been released to the public, like Quaaludes. You give these drugs to a thousand white mice…and a thousand whit mice will be pushing that button for more. Physiologically, we are not dissimilar from a white mouse. They use these same white mice to test the drugs and extrapolate to human consumption. WE WANT MORE OF THAT!!

These drugs cause what is known as hyperalgesia. Let’s say you stroke the hairs on your arm with a feather. These drugs make a stimulus that would be a tickle or an unpleasurable event and convert it to pain. What do you do? I WANT MORE OF THAT!!

Then you develop tolerance to the drug. Until you rapidly, sometimes within days, need more to get you to that place where you want to be. And you then know. I NEED MORE OF THAT!!

We have been very successful treating alcoholism and drug addiction to heroin, opiates with our innovative and experienced team and the magical molecule of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), which detoxifies and fixes your brain, relieving withdrawal symptoms and cravings with much greater regularity than your neighborhood rehab center. But these are The Devil’s Drugs. And they require an all out and effective therapeutic approach to avoid the gates of hell; loss of you job, your family, your money, your home. And finally you lose yourself and then you lose hope. Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonipen, Ativan, Ambien and the sort) are not a good solution. You solve a problem by creating another problem. But prescribers too readily whip out their prescription pads to give you a stopgap that may be as bad or worse than the original problem. Please don’t take Kratom either. Often the addiction to Kratom is worse than heroin. Unfortunately, it is readily available and touted as “natural”. When you are addicted to Kratom, you may be suffering such terrible withdrawals that you have to use through the night every two hours.

The best way to avoid this whole situation is to not allow these drugs into your body. Avoid them all-knowingly because I have here told you of their power, their danger, and the high percentage for your physiologic tendency as a normal human being to succumb to the power of these drugs. But it is human tendency to think you are different, stronger, better, even invincible. I WANT TO FEEL IT, NOW!!

We have an alternative therapy here in Carlsbad, with the magic molecule (NAD+) that is already present in every living animal and plant cell. And that the body naturally uses to detoxify, heal, pump up immunity, and create new neural pathways that results in less cravings, less withdrawal symptoms and a high degree of long-lasting sobriety, health, longevity and wellness. We help restore restful sleep, use additional therapies, and get you on the road to a new life free from the influence of these drugs.

NAD+ is the magic. There is an art to the administration of it—starting with the best NAD+. Then there are therapies that enhance and propagate the NAD+ effect. Then, once off the drugs, you need to deal with the emotional, physical, depression, anxiety, any underlying mental disease, situation, and establish an ongoing program of healthy nurturing lifestyle.

There is such a thing as recovery, let us show you.

Phillip Milgram MD

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