Stop Sharing the Stigma

Untitled design-2You see it at least once every day scrolling down your Facebook news feed. If you are in the addiction field it is something that remains constant and unwavering. And it isn’t good. It isn’t helpful. It is the subconscious of our states, cities, towns and communities.

It is the stigma towards those with an addiction. And you are guilty of spreading it. Yes, you.

Every time you share a post with a humiliating mug shot, every time you share that post of the mom who got pulled over drunk with her kids in the backseat, every time you comment on that guy who ran naked high on crack through the streets—you are sharing the stigma. You are perpetuating the idea that these people are just messed up. You are not doing anything to propel the idea that these people are sick and need help. #STOPSHARINGTHESTIGMA

Where is our compassion? Where is the thought of others before we hit “like.” We have one of the most immense resources at our fingertips that can be used for the greater good and instead we sit pointing fingers, laughing, and perpetuating the problem.

Time to Change 

It is time we made a change. That is why Wicked Sober is calling you to Stop Sharing the Stigma. Wicked Sober is asking you to change your perspective and to remember when you read those “weird” news stories, when you see those mug shots that those are PEOPLE. People who are sick, people who have families, people who most likely, if they get the help they need, will be utterly ashamed of what they did and you shared it, read it, liked it. 

If we are going to effect a real change in our communities we have to treat all people with drug problems, even the ones we just see in our media outlets like they are sick. Why? Because they are.

When we read or interact with those kind of stories what are we saying to addicts? What kind of message are we putting out there to those who might want to get help but are scared to admit they have a problem? What happens when someone you know who is struggling sees your “LOL” on that story and wanted to open up to you about their drinking issue? What happens when your kid needs to escape the debt from their drug dealer and you are sharing about how horrible it is that “those” people are on the streets?

What are you inadvertently saying by doing this? Wake up people. Even if you don’t get it you can at least STOP SHARING THE STIGMA. You can at the very minimum stop telling addicts through your reactions to other addicts making the news that it is funny, bad, a joke, sickening, horrid to have a disease.

 What Effect are You Having?

So with that all we have left to say is this. If you aren’t helping at least don’t hurt anyone. Stop Sharing the Stigma. You don’t know who is watching or who is seeing what you are doing and saying when you share that kind of stuff. You don’t know the butterfly effect that could have. And there is really no point for it. If we are serious about stopping the stigma and finally having the world recognize addiction for what it is, a disease, we must look at even the worst drug addicts, the craziest mug shots—as the result of sickened people. People who need are help. Not our judgment.

 

Think before you share. Stop Sharing The Stigma.

Charles Rosa is Undefeated Inside and Outside the Ring

Photo by: Kelly MacDonald

Photo by: Kelly MacDonald

Charles Rosa is now the number one prospect for the UFC. He is an undefeated MMA fighter, a brother and a son–and his story is one of overcoming.

The conversation I had with him had one basic theme–if you put your mind to something you can do it. And his story proves it. It had been a long time since I had heard a real life Cinderella story and I was more than inspired when I heard it first hand. This is Charles Rosa’s story. And as he said, if it can help someone than let’s do it.

THE BOTTOM

And where it starts? Well, it starts at the bottom. It starts below the bottom. It starts with some of the biggest obstacles, that no person should ever have to go through. 

Let’s go back in time a bit. Before the MMA, before Charles lived in Florida, before he was on his way to signing big UFC contracts. Before Charles could even begin his journey into the MMA (overcoming every opponent he faced,) he had to face a different opponent; he had to go through a battle with something that is killing people every day–addiction.

Charles lost his two brothers to addiction and it was around that time that he started having his own struggles with it. Those struggles, his own drug addiction, took him from his home in Massachusetts into the heart of sunny south Florida to find sobriety. 

And sobriety?

Sobriety doesn’t come easy. It is a fight in and of itself. So many people die from drug addiction. The numbers for 2012 were a person lost to the disease of addiction every 19 minutes.  

He did everything he needed to do and took all the suggestions given when he finally got sober for good. This wasn’t his first round battling with this disease, but this time he would win. And he did.

Eventually sobriety took him into his first MMA gym, which he explained to me was unknowingly, one of the most renowned gyms for training MMA fighters in the country. Every struggle makes us stronger. Every thing happens for a reason. And in Charles’ case, this couldn’t have been more true, figuratively and literally. His struggle had led him straight into the place where he would become stronger than ever–the place it seems like he is meant to be–the fighting ring.

When Charles first set foot in Florida he didn’t expect to have the life he has today. It wasn’t his plan to get into MMA and become one of the most widely recognized and future UFC prospects. 

And how could he? He started with nothing, like most of us. But saying he had nothing isn’t accurate. He had one thing, resolve. And as soon as he found his passion–as soon as he realized that his life would be what he made of it–he got to work.

And so he did. Charles worked his way up. Newly sober, riding his bike, saving for a car, working as a chef, saving for his own place, and pushing himself, every, single, day; he slowly over 5 years rebuilt the life he had and then he began surpassing his own expectations.

THE STORY

He had become a man on a mission, and a visionary. As he strengthened his insides with sobriety, he began strengthening his body as well. MMA had become his new outlet. And he went into it the same way he did everything else–with an open mind and a willingness to ask for help, to say, “I don’t know how to do this, teach me.”

And while having an open mind is key to getting sober, it gives you an edge as a fighter. He explained to me how it made him better. “It helped me so much with marital arts, I had such an open mind, because I was trustworthy. Instead of being like oh, I know about fighting, I am a street fighter, I was like I know nothing, teach me.”

“I am so open minded to different types of things. Like a lot of fighters are like I oh I am just a wrestler or I am just a boxer or I am just gonna train with this coach or that coach. I am  like I am going to get the most knowledge from all the people around me and use it to my benefit. I think I am the next generation of fighter, because I have such an open mind with learning and trusting people to help me.”

Making him not only the person he is today but also a fighter with an edge–a fighter with humility. 

And the resolve as well as the humility seems to run in the family.

CHUCKY’S FIGHT

Charles’ dad, has started something that has really taken off, it is called Chucky’s Fight. “When my brother’s passed away we scattered the ashes in the ocean. So my dad started jumping in the ocean every day as his way of coping with it. And people started going to watch him because he would do it even in the winter. That is how he got the idea to start Chucky’s Fight.” People can donate and jump in the water as well for Chucky’s Fight.

And what do they do? “It’s an organization to educate teens and help educate parents on substance abuse, and regular stuff for when parents don’t know what to do. Like for when a parent needs help for their kid but they don’t have the money, they will call my dad, and he will use the money he has raised to send them to treatment.”

If you want to know more about Chucky’s Fight you can CLICK HERE OR check out their Facebook page–CLICK HERE

And as for Charles’, he will never forget where he came from and what it took to get where he is now. 

He told me a few things being where he is now–what he would say to anyone who is struggling or believes they “can’t”

“Anything is possible. Anything you set your mind to you can do. If you truly put 100% of your effort into anything you can be anything you want. If you just put all your time into it. Some people are like oh I could never be a doctor or I could never do that, but if you woke up every morning and you wanted to be a doctor and you studied from the second you woke up to the second you went to bed, you could be halfway through med school in 5 years, ya know what I am saying? If you put the work in you can do anything. You might have to work harder if you’re not as smart as somebody, but you could do it.” 

“I don’t think I am a naturally gifted athlete. I am just a regular kid, but I just worked so much harder. I put 100% into it and I did it every single day and I got to where I am now. And after learning martial arts and through recovery that if you put your mind to something and you do it as hard as you can, you can be whatever you want to be. I feel like if I did anything else I could do that too, because of what I learned through this experience.” 

If you want to follow Charles’ journey to the UFC check out his Facebook Page by clicking here

The Massachusetts Senate Approved a Substance Abuse Bill: Here is What You Need to Know

mass-state-houseA substance abuse bill that will help the state’s efforts to control a growing dependency problem won unanimous approval Tuesday in the Massachusetts Senate. The measure will toughen the state’s prescription drug monitoring program and require pharmacists to dispense an interchangeable abuse deterrent unless a physician has indicated that substitution could not be made. It would also mandate insurers reimburse for substance abuse treatment services delivered by licensed drug and alcohol counselors.

The substance abuse bill strengthens the Prescription Monitoring Program by requiring physicians to receive training on the Program before renewing their licenses. It also requires them to consult with the Program before writing a prescription on an annual basis for patients who receive ongoing treatment of a controlled substance and before writing a new or replacement prescription.

In the event that a death is caused by a controlled substance, the Chief Medical Examiner is required to file a report with the FDA’s MedWatch Program and the Department of Public Health and directs DPH to review the Program upon receiving a report.

The bill creates a commission to review prescription painkiller limitations by insurance carriers, including the system implemented by Blue Cross Blue Shield, and report recommendations and proposed legislation to the Legislature.

It also does a lot more than that. 

  • Removes prior authorization for Acute Treatment Services for all MassHealth Managed Care Entities and requires coverage of up to 15 days of Clinical Stabilization Services;
  • Removes prior authorization for Acute Treatment Services and Clinical Stabilization Services  for commercial insurers and requires coverage for a total of up to 21 days before engaging in utilization management activities;
  • Directs the Health Policy Commission, in consultation with the Department of Public Health, to determine standards for evidence-based, effective substance abuse treatment with high quality outcomes and create a certification process for providers, and once certified, insurance carriers are prohibited from requiring prior authorization for services offered by a certified provider; and
  • Requires all insurance carriers to reimburse for substance abuse treatment services delivered by a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

In addition, it directs the Center for Health Information and Analysis to review the accessibility of substance abuse treatment and adequacy of insurance coverage and tasks the Health Policy Commission with recommending policies to ensure access and coverage for substance abuse treatment throughout the Commonwealth, as well as review denial rates for substance abuse treatment coverage by commercial insurers.

 

What are your thoughts? This is huge. The bill will now move to the house for voting before landing on the governor’s desk. 

Happy Birthday Wicked Sober: The One Year Anniversary

what does wicked sober meanOn the one year anniversary of Wicked Sober’s creation, we want to point out all the help we have received, all the support we have gotten from you all, and all the love we have shared with every individual we have met and come in contact with over the past 365 days. This year has been a total success because of every single person who has become a part of Wicked Sober, whether they be families, colleagues, facilities, support groups, addicts, or government officials; everyone has supported us in some way.

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Wicked Sober is more than just a company it is the embodiment of an ideal; coming together as one united front to tackle the disease of addiction. Each person we meet gives meaning to the phrase “wicked sober.” 

Everything Wicked Sober has been able to do is because of you. Every single one of you. And we just want to reiterate EXACTLY how much that means to us.

We can’t do this alone.

We do this together. Without support we wouldn’t be where we are today, and without support, we, as one company wouldn’t be able to make a difference. We have received so much love and support from everyone in the Massachusetts area. We are proud, and emblazoned with the support to just keep on doing what we are doing. 

This one year anniversary is an important day for us, it is an important day for all of us. It means that what we are doing is working, that we are making a difference, and that together we can change the statistics, we can change the stigma, we can help families heal, we can help addicts heal; AND we can get every addict the help they want and so desperately need. 

Thank you all for supporting Wicked Sober. We are proud to have you behind us. Every person makes a difference and you have shown us that time and time again. Without you all we wouldn’t be here. 

So Happy Birthday Wicked Sober. Let’s make the next year even bigger than the first! 

-Wicked Sober 

 

Look at Me Now: Kim

wicked soberKim is only 22 years old and she has been through a lot. Aside from dealing and combating with a drug addiction for years, she just recently lost her daughter while in sobriety.

This is Kim’s Story:

Kim and I started off by talking about her daughter. She had her daughter 2 and a half years ago. She had put her daughter up for adoption. Because she was using drugs and she had just gotten out of jail, she knew that her daughter would have a better life with another family. “Its probably the only think I can think of that was right while I was using,” “I wanted her to be in a good spot, where she would be taken care of,” she told me.

2 years later Kim has been to hell and back and has managed to finally get sober. When I talked to her she had 90 days clean on that day. And she had held onto that sobriety for dear life. She lost her daughter in the midst of her newfound clean time. A month ago she found out her daughter had had leukemia for awhile. She told me, “they hesitated to tell me because they didn’t want me to worry. Since I was newly sober.” Shortly after Kim found out her daughter had leukemia, her daughter passed away while she was in treatment. 

“This is the first time I have been sober and not been smoking weed or drinking here and there,” she explains. “The treatment center Wicked Sober referred me to was my 9th program and I am only 22 years old, I have been in and out of programs since I was 16 or 17 years old.”

“This is the first time I actually wanted to come down and go to a treatment center. My whole pattern was I would go to a treatment center, I was in California most, and I couldn’t wait to come home. I was just messing around the whole time. I went to one in Dallas. I have been all around the United States and I know the geographical thing doesn’t work. But my problem is I went to all these places and I didn’t stay. I would be like oh I need to go back to Boston and it never worked for me.”

Kim was describing how the geographical change, or move doesn’t get you sober, but it can help, A LOT. 

Currently Kim is still in Florida. She hasn’t gone back to Boston this time and this time she is still sober. 

“I learned a lot about myself through treatment.”

So I asked her, “How did you get down here?” I wanted to know how she got to treatment and what the story was. 

“Well,” she tells me, “The whole thing with my mom was that I could come home after my treatment. After I was in California, I got to go home, as long as I was on the Vivitrol shot, which we all know doesn’t do shit.” “I went home and I was sober for three days and then I had an appointment to get the shot, and right after I got the shot I went and got high.”

Vivitrol or the shot Kim is referring to is meant to block the high of opiates, specifically heroin and also to diminish the cravings for it. For anyone who thinks that something such as Vivitrol will work to keep you sober, Kim’s story proves this isn’t true. I was interested in hearing about what getting high on the Vivitrol shot was like and also how ineffective it was in helping her. 

“What was that like?!” 

“It was a mess,” she says slightly laughing. “I guess the first couple hours after you get it, it’s not in your system yet so I went and got high and I felt it and I was like oh my god.” “And that was my whole plan. It didn’t take me less than 20 minutes to get high right after I got it.”

Vivitrol which is supposed to block cravings and the high from opiates obviously wasn’t working. “So the next day I went and got high again, and I didn’t feel it. So then I figured out, that alright, I am going to tell my mom that I was going to that same doctor every day to get drug tested, and I told my mom that I had to pay for my copay and my drug test and she was giving me money everyday and she would give me the money and I would go get high and I would do three bags in one so I could feel it.”

Which is the danger of Vivitrol. Addicts will use more to get high risking overdose because they can’t feel it. 

After all of this….

“Eventually my mom came home from one of her Learn 2 Cope meetings and I saw the Wicked Sober card on the table.” 

Wicked Sober helps addicts just like Kim find the best treatment centers for their needs. Not only that, they stick with you through every step of your recovery.

“So I called one of my friends who was sober down in Florida and told him what was going on. I told him about the Wicked Sober card.” “He told me to call Mike. Said he knew him. So I did.”

“I called Mike and told him I am thinking about doing a lifestyle change,” she laughs big time. Which was an understatement. She had been using heavily, shooting coke, trying to get high on opiates etc.

Needless to say Mike didn’t fall for any of Kim’s stories. She tried her best to find reasons why she couldn’t come to Florida right this second. And while she may have wanted to get her hair done before she came down, from what she told me, the point is she actually did. And from that point forward, her life began to change.

Kim ended up attending a renowned treatment center recommended by Mike and Wicked Sober, and it worked. She flew down from Boston to Florida. Mike picked her up. “I was a mess,” she says laughing again. She finished her treatment successfully, about a month long process, and eventually moved into a halfway house, where she is now.

And as for today?

Today she describes friends that show up for her, a good relationship with her family and happiness. And her life going to only get better from this point forward, isn’t that the truth. She told me she had never had a support group like the one she has found down here. She lost her daughter and she didn’t get high. When she heard about her daughter, she was not alone, people showed up in her life. 

“I was so quick to run to get high, why wouldn’t I be so quick to run and get better and change my life and not be sick every day?”

I asked her if she could say one thing to anyone hesitating to get help what would it be?  

“I would tell them, honestly there is nothing to lose, if you are out there getting high, what is going to be different, if you are going to want to change your life, you might as well as act on it. Coming down here was the best thing I have ever done. I dont have the support up there that I do down here. I am accountable for people. Like when my daughter died, word spread fast down here, and I had 25 girls at my house waiting for me. It is crazy the support I have. I was saying to one of my friends, I have like one true friend at home, but I didn’t know what a true friend was, the spoon and the needle were my friend. 

This is the best decision I have made. Out of all the decisions, other than my daughter, this is the second best decision. I never thought I could be happy….I never thought I could be happy doing the little things in life. I have no reason to go get high. . . . .”

 

 

A GLOBAL TRADING SYSTEM: POT IS OUT, “HEROIN POPPIES” ARE IN

harvest of opium from poppy on the fieldWe can’t stop talking about it. Everywhere I turn, it’s heroin, heroin, heroin. Overdose. Deaths. Potent, cheap, and available; heroin. And the surge that is happening as we speak, can be traced back to the remote valleys of the northern Sierra Madre. 

A GLOBAL TRADING SYSTEM: POT IS SO LAST YEAR, POPPIES ARE IN

Sierra Madre? Sierra Madre refers to one of many mountain ranges in Mexico, Central America, and the United States. So what does that have to do with anything. 

With the wholesale price of marijuana falling, partially because of the decriminalization of the drug in certain parts of the US, Mexican drug farmers have begun to turn away from cannabis and have started filling their fields with, you guessed it, poppies. Poppies are heroin in its very first, au naturale form. Mexican heroin has been flooding the north as US authorities with perfect timing. The flood of heroin, came right as the prescription drug epidemic came to a screeching halt, following tightened control on synthetic opiates such as Vicodin and OxyContin. As the pills became harder to get and more costly, Mexican drug trafficking organizations have tapped into the new markets for heroin in places such as Winchester, VA., and Brattleboro, VT., where, until recently, needle use for street narcotics was unknown. 

So yeah. The farmers are smart. The famers in the fabled “Golden Triangle,” of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, which has produced some of the countries biggest and most infamous gangsters, as well as their biggest marijuana harvests, say they have stopped growing pot because the price has collapsed in the past 5 years. It has gone from 100 dollars per kilo to less than 25. It just isn’t lucrative anymore, nor is it worth it. 

So as any good business does, they tap into the consciousness of their consumers. Growers are now sowing their plots with opium poppies and large-scale heroin operations are turning up in places were they have never been seen before. 

Let’s go back to January really quick: Police in Honduras found their first poppy farm in the country, raiding a sophisticated mountain greenhouse as big as a soccer field. That same week, soldiers and police in Guatemala came under attack by farmers armed with clubs and gas bombs, as they moved in to destroy 160 acres of poppy.

Along the border with Mexico, US authorities have seized 2,162 kilos of heroin. That is up from 367 kilos in 2007. So as the needle habit in the US makes a comeback, the Mexican farmers are more than happy to tap into a money making machine, known as your heroin addiction. 

Although prescription painkillers remain more widely abused and account for far more fatal overdoses, heroin has been “moving all over the country and popping up in areas you didn’t see before,” said Carl Pike, a senior official in the Special Operations Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration. With its low price and easy portability, heroin has reached beyond New York, Chicago and other places where it has long been available. Rural areas of New England, Appalachia and the Midwest are being hit especially hard, with cities such as Portland, Maine; St. Louis;and Oklahoma City struggling to cope with a new generation of addicts. Pike and other DEA officials say the spread is the result of a shrewd marketing strategy developed by Mexican traffickers. They have targeted areas with the worst prescription pill abuse, sending heroin pushers to “set up right outside the methadone clinics,” one DEA agent said.

But can you blame them?

While Columbia is historically known as being the biggest source of heroin, Mexican output has surpassed it recently. Together the two, account for 90% of the heroin in the United States. As seizures of cocaine and marijuana along the border have fallen over the past several years, flows of methamphetamine and heroin have soared, federal statistics show.Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel continues to be the biggest provider of heroin to the United States, controlling as much as half of the North American market. Sinaloa boss Joaquín “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzmán grew up here in the mountains outside the municipal seat of Badiraguato, and his organization remains the dominant criminal power along the western border and west coast of Mexico.

This area though, all it knows is how to grow potent drug making plants. The entire region is a giant drug farm and has been for decades. “There’s no other way to make a living here,” said Silla, who has brought up his sons in the business, as his father did before him. Feeling confident after several years of good harvests, Silla and other families here planted more poppies than ever this year, but their radiant purple, red and white flowers were spotted by aerial surveillance last month. Mexican soldiers in pickups came roaring up the creek bed soon after and tore out the crop, chopping up irrigation hoses and searching homes for guns and cash.

A kilo of the raw, sticky opium sap that is used to make heroin sells wholesale for $1,500 in the northern Sierra Madre, nearly double its 2012 price, according to growers. With fertilizer and favorable weather, a well-tended poppy field can yield eight kilos of sap per acre, nearly enough to make a kilo of raw heroin. It’s a much better cut than the whole marijuana game. 

The increased demand for heroin in the United States appears to be keeping wholesale prices high, even with abundant supply. The Mexican mountain folk in hamlets such as this one do not think of themselves as drug producers. They also plant corn, beans and other subsistence crops but say they could never earn a living from their small food plots. And they just can’t compete with the American marijuana growers. And with more and more of the American marijuana market being flooded with potent and cheaper pot, Mexican trafficking groups have reorganized. 

When a product starts losing value, you diversify. It’s true of any farmer as well as business man. And that’s how they see it. 

If anything, it just goes to show that the legalization of a drug can help to curb cartel and gang involvement. The War on Drugs, may finally be moving closer to a solution. If only we could slow down the heroin. 

4 Obstacles to Getting Heroin Treatment and Getting Sober

heroin treatmentTreatment facilities are packed. Jam packed. Inpatient rehab? It is expensive. Insurance companies? They are refusing coverage. Addicts are looking to get clean from heroin, a tiring uphill battle. And it seems like we will never be able to help every single person who wants it. 

Here are the 4 obstacles to getting heroin treatment and getting sober (at least the biggest ones):

Withdrawal: Withdrawal is most opiate users worst nightmare. Especially heroin users. Heroin addicts will begin to crazy racing thoughts, their bones will hurt, they will begin to sweat, and it will start to feel like the world is going to end. Hot and then cold, cold and then hot. The withdrawal itself doesn’t kill, but it can cause many addicts to just to give up and go back to using heroin. With a now lowered tolerance, many overdose, and then a few die. Withdrawal is tough. And we get it. It is one of the biggest obstacles to getting sober.  But withdrawal can be overcome and there is a higher chance of making it through it if you have the help from a facility. That is if you can find a bed, which brings us to our second obstacle.

Lack of beds: The number of people using heroin the United States has nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012 to some 669,000 people and more people are now seeking treatment for their problem. But of the 23.1 million Americans who needed treatment for drugs and/or alcohol in 2012, only 2.5 million people received help from a facility. There just aren’t enough beds at treatment facilities, or there aren’t enough facilities in general. There are about 12,000 addiction treatment programs nationwide, according to the nonprofit Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia. Of those, only 10% are residential facilities, and about 80% are outpatient programs. The other 10%? They are methadone clinics. So let’s say you do manage to find a bed, how are you going to pay for it? Here is obstacle number 3.

The Constant Battle with the Insurance Company: While most insurance policies state that they allow coverage up to 30 days in a residential treatment center, nobody actually gets those 30 days and if they do, there is usually a high deductible that has to be paid somehow. The average duration in residential care? It is usually 11 to 14 days. So let’s say you want to pay out of pocket? What is it going to run you? Well, here is obstacle number four.

The Cost: If you are paying out of pocket, a 30 day inpatient stay could cost you ONLY 5,000 dollars. But the average cost is usually around 30,000 dollars. The cost of a heroin detox only is usually around 3,000 dollars and that is for 3 to 5 days of care. Most clinics require payment up front if insurance can’t be used. 

Luckily there are numerous ways around these obstacles and we know the roads to take. Nothing has to stand in the way of you getting help for yourself or your loved one. All of these obstacles are surmountable even though they are there. If you need treatment for yourself or a loved one, get expert help and advice. Wicked Sober is in the business of helping those are suffering from the disease of addiction and alcoholism. No one has to wait to get help because of these obstacles. So don’t. Let us help you! 

Mayor Walsh Announces The Examination of Boston’s Addiction and Recovery Services

marty walsh

(Boston, MA, 02/05/14) Staff Photo by Nancy Lane

On April 9th, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the City of Boston’s addiction and recovery services would be getting an upgrade, taking a huge step towards one of the more personal platforms of his campaign for the mayor’s seat. 

“My administration is committed to bringing new support to the recovery community as part of our public health and public safety plans,” said Mayor Walsh in a prepared statement. “We’re connecting the dots to make sure people get access to treatment.”

The AP, reported that many heroin addicts across the country struggle to find beds in treatment centers, and they also have to pay for the expensive services that insurance companies don’t pay for. 

Collaborating with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, a grant and research organization that works to expand access to health care services in Mass, the city will create an expert advisory committee to evaluate the status of addiction and recovery services in Boston. Their work will build into a study that is expected this year, and will lay the foundation for a new Office of Recovery Services that will run out of the Boston Public Health Commission, and it will be funded by 300,000 dollars of Mayor Walsh’s 2015 fiscal budget. 

“Despite significant and historic health care reform in the Commonwealth, treatment for mental health and substance use disorders remains challenging in terms of access, capacity and cost. I think we can all agree that the current system is complex, overburdened and in need of reform,” said Audrey Shelto, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield foundation in a prepared statement.

Mass state police said there were 185 deaths in four months from November to February due to heroin overdose. Governor Deval Patrick declared a state public health emergency at the end of March due to the increase in heroin and opioid addiction. 

Since 2000, the number of deaths as a result of heroin and opioid addiction has jumped from 363  to 642 in 2011. 

 

http://www.boston.com/health/2014/04/09/mayor-walsh-announces-examination-boston-addiction-and-recovery-services/4ktlwzhq9P3d53csFisAuL/story.html

The Real Truth About Why Purdue Pharmaceuticals is Applauding Banning Zohydro: Motivated by Greed

big pharmaOne of the biggest pharmaceutical companies we know of, Purdue, (also one of the most powerful) are not only the makers of Oxycontin, but also the first to applaud Massachusetts’ decision to ban Zohydro for the time being. Probably because Purdue would stand to lose profit if one of the competing pharmaceutical companies managed to make, produce and sell a different type of opiate other than their beloved Oxy. In fact, Purdue has not only applauded Mass’ move to ban the drug but is also working to make sure it doesn’t hit your pharmacy shelves while they try to figure out how to make their own version of it.

And in light of all of that mumbo and jumbo, we found out that Purdue also tries to play the “good guy” by funding recovery sites. One of the recovery sites, which you have probably heard of, A Partnership for Drugfree.org is the biggest one. 

Just so everyone is clear Purdue is a big pharma company, and what we know about big pharma companies is not that they actually care about anything but profits. Why they are helping to fund a recovery site as well as applauding the recent hold in the state for Zohydro, makes us tilt our heads a bit and wonder. What is really the motive here? We assume it can’t be good. But it probably is good for Purdue, even if it isn’t good for us. Should Purdue be taken to court anytime in the near future for all the deaths their drug oxycontin causes, they would have plenty of ammo stating they actually do give a shit. And part of their biggest ammo is the fact that they literally help to pay for drug awareness on drugfree.org. Oh and just a little background, Purdue has been taken to court before. And yet, the death tally attributed to OXYCONTIN continues to grow each day and in my opinion PURDUE PHARMA’s contribution to the “PARTNERSHIP” is nothing short of a legal maneuver to protect themselves in the future should wrongful death suits be filed as I said before.

Big pharma is sneaky. They are a profit motivated industry and if you don’t believe us just look into it a bit. So the next time you want to hop onto drugfree.org remember, that big pharma is everywhere. Anywhere that it is beneficial for them to be including a site that tries to prevent drug abuse, they will be. They will give money to a site that tries to raise awareness about the exact drugs they make. Oxycontin has been one of the sole contributors to the painkiller abuse epidemic. So don’t fall for it. This is what would be best described as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” So don’t get naive. Pay attention.

The prescription drug abuse epidemic is still in full swing and Purdue hasn’t done anything to help prevent it other than donate money to a site. They haven’t pulled their medication off the market, although they applaud when another pharma company has that happen to them. Doesn’t make any sense. As for now, this is just one more way big pharma is not only, disgustingly money hungry, but also a monster of a business that doesn’t actually try to help anyone but merely tries to profit off of them. 

 

Massachusetts declares public health emergency over heroin overdoses

(AFP Photo / Getty Images / Alex Wong)

(AFP Photo / Getty Images / Alex Wong)

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick declared a public health emergency in the state concerning the rising numbers of heroin overdoses and opioid addiction – even moving to ban a controversial new painkiller.

In an announcement Thursday, Gov. Patrick directed the Department of Public Health to take several steps to lower the number of deadly incidents. According to the governor’s statement, the number of unintentional opioid overdoses increased 90 percent between 2000 and 2012, and at least 140 people have died from suspected heroin overdoses in the last few months.

“We have an epidemic of opiate abuse in Massachusetts, so we will treat it like the public health crisis it is,” Patrick said in the statement.

Noting that painkillers often act as a route to heroin addiction, Patrick said he has temporarily banned the sale of the new drug Zohydro until it’s proven that the necessary safeguards are in place to prevent abuse.

As RT reported previously, the hydrocodone-only Zohydro was approved by the Food and Drug Administration against the recommendation of its own health advisory panel, and has been singled out by doctors for its potential ability to cause a spike in overdoses.

According to the Boston Globe, Patrick called Zohydro “a potentially lethal narcotic painkiller,” while the Associated Press noted the governor’s concern that since the pill can be easily crushed it’s likely to be abused.

The makers of the drug at Zogenix defended their product to the AP, saying Patrick’s decision will be to the detriment of patients who are hurting.

‘‘The simple fact is that any medication, including opioid pain relievers, presents a danger to the person misusing or abusing it,’’ the company said, though it also stated steps to protect against abuse have been taken.

Additionally, Patrick directed the health department to ensure that all first responders had access to naloxone, a quick-acting drug that reverses the effects of overdose and restores breathing. Naloxone will also be made available at pharmacies for people whose friends or relatives may be at risk of an overdose.

Edward Kelly, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, told the Globe that expanding access to naxolone “should be a no-brainer; this should be something that should be on every firetruck.”

Finally, the governor set aside $20 million for treatment and recovery services intended to help the general public and those in jails across the state.

 

Read the full story here and see the site where we got it from