COVID-19 Is Putting Those Recovering From Opioid Addiction At Risk


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US-HEALTH-OPIOID-OXYCODON-ILLUSTRATION

Before COVID-19 hit the United States, public health professionals were already busy fighting another health pandemic - the drug crisis in this country.

  • In 2019, more than half a million Californians with an opioid use disorder lacked access to treatment, according to a study by the Urban Institute.
  • Anyone who takes opioid painkillers like Vicodin or OxyContin are at risk for developing a tolerance. What happens is a doctor prescribes the painkiller for a bad shoulder, an injury and that person is following doctor's orders and before you know it they have developed an addiction on that drug. It could be your grandmother, your CEO husband - it doesn't discriminate. What is confusing is you thought you were being responsible and taking the drug as prescribed.

OPIOIDS INCLUDE PRESCRIPTION PAINKILLERS

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • And the illegal drug Heroin

REWIRING THE BRAIN

Opioids block all those feelings of pain because of the release of dopamine. And the more someone takes those prescibed opioids, the more the brain adapts to needing them and wants more and more.

THE STRESS OF THE PANDEMIC IS MAKING IT WORSE

President Trump addressed the nation this week and said he will work with enhanced counter-narcotics operations to prevent drug cartels from abusing the coronavirus pandemic during this difficult time.

"I've seen many families where they're wiped out because they lost a son or a daughter or a husband or wife. Or whatever. Or all of them," he said of the effects of drug abuse at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing. "And we don't want to lose ground."

"We are heavily focused on the virus, very heavily focused," Trump told reporters Wednesday, but he added that after the operation launches, "we will never have been so focused on drugs coming into the country as we are right now."

However, this still doesn't stop heath care workers and substance abuse patients from facing a whole brand new group of challenges.

"COVID-19 is like a horrific tsunami that just killed us, exploded in the Northeast and is developing rapidly," Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) told CBS News. "So, of course we're paying attention to it, and we get distracted from this other crisis that is also killing a lot of people."

Allegra Schorr, president of the Coalition of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Providers and Advocates of New York State (COMPA) believes New York will be hit the hardest because there are over 45 organizations serving 41,000 substance abusers. S

"We're like a frontline. We have to be able to keep our patients out of the hospital. We have to get that balance right. If they overdose, then they're going to be in the hospital taking up those resources," Schorr told CBS News. "They could be in the emergency rooms. We have the potential of crashing the hospital system. We have to make sure that does not happen."

"Every day there is a change. I think that is the biggest challenge – the unknown," Linda Hurley, president and CEO of CODAC Behavioral Health, told CBS News.

"We already have heard that some patients have overdosed from the methadone because they were not ready to take home these medications," she added, referring to the other assisted treatments.

"The only guidance we've had from federal governments and state governments across the country is to gauge how 'clinically stable' your patient is, then give them take-homes. And that leaves you wide open," Schorr said, imploring the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to issue clearer protocol, instead of passing along liability to providers. "Without clear guidelines, as providers, we have a huge vulnerability. We're accepting it because we have to, but we know it is there.

For more information, please read here.

OPIOID HELP IN CALIFORNIA

A growing number of health care institutions across California offer medication-assisted treatment with funding and support from the state’s MAT Expansion Project, which started in 2018 and is financed by $265 million in federal grants.

  • Opiate addiction in the USA is currently affecting millions of people. The withdrawal symptoms from opioid addiction can be more difficult than any other illicit drug. Medicated-assisted treatment (MAT) works to assist patients medically in overcoming their withdrawal symptoms.  

                     

If you or anyone you knows needs help, please reach out to the The Professional Wellness Academy.

They provide resources for people struggling with an opioid addiction. ProWellness Academy works to Increase the availability of Outpatient Counseling + subsequent MAT for its patients by providing a variety of support services for each patient that are culturally and geographically desirable for each.

Treatment specialization includes:

  • Counseling for addiction, depression and anxiety
  • Initial Assessments, full Treatment Plans & weekly written Progress Notes.
  • Parenting Support
  • Grief Counseling
  • Psycho-Social Support (i.e. education, work and career issues, housing, family)
  • Addiction Triggers, and Stress Management
  • Addiction, Recovery & Subsequent Medical Care Case management & Coordination
  • Conflict Resolution

They also offer Virtual Counseling for 1:1 Tele-health sessions in the privacy of your home.

For more information, please CLICK HERE.

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