Drug Overdoses Are Spiking Across the Cape

overdosePlace? Cape Cod. What? Heroin of course. 

Cape Cod police and fire officials say that drug overdoses have spiked since the first of the year, but they aren’t sure what is behind the troubling trend. They might not know, but I do. A disease that for too long has gone ignored. Regardless of my thoughts on it though the numbers are alarming. In fact they are so alarmingly high that the fire chiefs in the Cape’s largest town feel compelled to do something. 

Overdoses, specifically from heroin, since January 1st in the Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire District and the towns of Falmouth and Yarmouth are three to six times higher than in the same period last year. And this isn’t unique to the Cape. It is happening all over the country. Officials from other towns say they haven’t crunched the numbers but believe they are responding to a higher number of overdoses. 

“We have had an incredible increase in our overdoses,” said COMM Fire Chief Michael Winn, whose department has seen five heroin overdoses in six weeks of 2014, including one death. 

There have been 8 total overdoses in the district during that time but the cause of two is still unknown and one was from Klonopin, COMM emergency medical services officer Jason Davern said. 

The overdoses have a major point of discussion and everyone is brainstorming solutions to the problem. “We’re coming together,” Winn said. “We’re going to do what we can.”

The department will be holding a meeting next week of fire chiefs from every district in Barnstable where officials from Learn to Cope, a statewide support group for family members of addicts, will explain the program, Winn said. 

The Yarmouth Police Department is already on board with Learn to Cope and hosts meetings every Tuesday night. The department has also held sessions to train members of the public in how to administer Narcan, an important and key substance in reversing an overdose. Narcan counteracts with the effects of heroin and other opioids. Winn said the goal is to have rotating weekly meetings at fire stations and to potentially train fire fighters so they can provide information and distribute Narcan to walk-ins.

“We want to be proactive,” he said, adding that the hope is to start the meetings ASAP. 

“It’s not the stereotype,” West Barnstable Fire Chief Joseph Maruca said. “These are otherwise normal looking middle-class kids in their teens and early 20s.” And it is something that people should wake up to. This disease holds know socioeconomic bounds. 

Which is why if the schools do something to lend themselves to involvement by a police offer or EMS firefighters that might be an opportunity to get involved, Hyannis Deputy Fire Chief Dean Melanson said. 

A counselor from the Cape’s largest addiction treatment organization, Gosnold on Cape Cod, is at a Barnstable High School once a week, Barnstable schools Superintendent Mary Czajkowski said.

The number of counseling session with students has jumped from 65 in the 2010-2011 school year to 145 during the 2012-2013 school year. A counselor is now going to be available twice a week in anticipation of the number of sessions doubling. Students can be referred to the counselor by parents, teachers or even other students. In addition to this, the schools have substance abuse lessons worked in the curriculum at all levels. Although there hasn’t been a major heroin problem at the schools, a community approach is absolutely necessary and the Superintendent looks forward to collaborating with police and fire officials on any new efforts. 

According to Barnstable police there have been nine heroin overdoses since January 1st. And while that number isn’t unheard of, for a typical six week period of one town, it is unusual. This raise concerns that there was a bad batch or other problem with the supply being used according to Barnstable police Detective Lt. Sean Balcom. 

But so far all the heroin found at overdose scenes in Barnstable does not appear to from one particular source. Which just goes to show, a bad batch doesn’t have to be the culprit. Sometimes it is though. 

While a large portion of 27 overdose deaths in Rhode Island last month has been linked to heroin mixed with fentanyl, local police and fire officials say they still don’t know if the same is responsible for overdoses in the Cape. 

The mix of heroin being used really doesn’t matter though. The thing is that people are overdosing and dying. 

“Something is driving teenagers and post-teenagers into using heroin,” Maruca said. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a good batch or a bad batch.”

12 overdoses have been reported so far this year in Yarmouth, with two deaths, Yarmouth Deputy Police Chief Steven Xiarhos said. 

That six week figure is nearly 30 percent of the total 41 overdoses including four deaths, in Yarmouth, for all of 2013. The number of overdoses so far this year is six times the amount for the same period last year, Xiarhos said. 

Some people may think they are just hearing about it more but that isn’t the case. There has definitely been an increase in overdoses and it has been happening in more and more unexpected places that don’t fall under the stereotype.

Yarmouth has been on the forefront of the Cape towns looking to combat the problem and the Police Department actually came under scrutiny from some members of business communities last spring for publicizing drug overdoses and other crime news. 

In addition to Learn to Cope meetings and the promotion of Narcan, the department’s initiatives include adult education classes about drug trends that officers are teaching at Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School over the next several weeks. Yarmouth and Barnstable police are also collaborating on a seminar being planned for medical professionals to explain how prescription pills can be abused and sometimes lead to heroin use, Xiarhos said. 

Dennis Police Chief Michael Whalen said he thinks his department has seen an increase in overdoses as well. Because users are now carrying Narcan, the number of actual overdoses may be even higher he said. “I’m sure there are times when they are helping each other out, and we don’t even get the call,” he said, adding that while police officers are currently prohibited from carrying Narcan expect for pilot programs in several towns, those regulations are sure to change. 

Could a Nose Spray be the Difference Between Life and Death?

naloxone nasal spray

Demonstration of Naloxone nasal aspirator

The place? Staten Island. What? A prescription drug abuse problem. How bad? Well it is pretty rampant. So rampant in fact that the city is arming police with a powerful antidote, known as naloxone, that can immediately reverse the life-threatening effects of a drug overdose. Says who? The mayor on Friday. 

Police in the 120th precinct on Staten Island will now be able to vie doses of naloxone, that comes in the form of a nasal spray, to administer to victims overdosing on opioid analgesics such as OxyContin and Roxicodone. 

“Equipping officers to administer naloxene to overdose victims may mean the difference between life or death for individuals addicted to prescription painkillers,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Staten Island has had triple the number of opioid analgesic overdose rates in comparison to any other borough. This is even though they also have the lowest population. 

“The report clearly indicates that Staten Island leads the city in abuse of opioid painkillers,” said Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan. “As the borough’s District Attorney, I openly acknowledge that this is a problem facing our residents.”

There were 190 unintentional overdose deaths in NYC in 2012. Unintentional opioid analgesic deaths increased by 267% between 2000 and 2011, decreasing by 12 percent from 2011 to 2012 (but heroin use is on the rise.)

New York City’s health department data shows that Staten  Island residents received a supply of 25 days of prescription drugs, compared with 15 days for residents of The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens and 10 days for Manhattanites. 

New York City’s Department of Homeless Services had already trained more than 350 peace officers on how to give the naloxone in shelters and found that it was successful in reversing 25 to 29 overdoses over the last three years. 

Mike Bloomberg, mayor, announced that the US Justice Department awarded the city a grant to continue the work of its RxStat program which targets prescription drug abuse. 

So how does nasal spray naloxone work?

The officer would lean the individual’s head back after doing rescue breathing for a few quick breaths and spray half the bottle of naloxone up one side of the nose. Then they would do the other side. If there is no breathing or breathing continues to be shallow, they will continue to perform rescue breathing for them while waiting for the naloxone to take effect. If the naloxone still hasn’t taken hold, giving the second dose would come next. If the second dose doesn’t work then something else is seriously wrong. 

If you or someone you love is overdosing contact 911 immediately. If you or someone you love needs help for addiction please don’t hesitate to call Wicked Sober today. No one has to die from drug addiction. It is preventable. Please don’t wait to do something and then it is  too late. Call now. We are available 24/7 to offer free assessments, treatment and detox. 

Gravel Drug Effects: Alpha-PVP

gravel drug effectsGravel. It follows a long line of synthetic drugs that have popped up in recent years such as spice and bath salts. It isn’t any less dangerous either. Gravel is a synthetic drug that was first seen about six months ago. It looks a lot like crack and can be smoked, snorted or even shot up. The effects of this new gravel drug are paranoia, euphoria, hallucinations, oh and kidney failure. It is said to be a mixture of bath salts, methamphetamine, and/or Klonopin. Early lab results reveal the rock-like substance, hence the name gravel, contains alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenone, a synthetic stimulant acting on the cardiovascular and central nervous system.

Synthetic drugs such as Gravel are consistently changing. The feds have trouble keeping up and so do the hospitals. Doctors are scared about the repercussions of a drug such as gravel not only because of its effects which can also include suicide, but also because they know nothing about it as of right now.

Gravel Drug Effects

One Gravel user explained the high from it as an “inability to even think.” According to some of the YouTube comments on videos about it, shooting up this drug will eat your skin from the inside out. The validity of this, is of course, unknown but there are many pictures of gravel users needing to get their veins removed. (See picture below to the right.)

Often times gravel users have no idea what they are taking when they first try it. And it can be deadly. A city in Tennessee has seen one visit to the hospital every day due to gravel and it takes a heavy dose of sedatives to finally calm the person down. And Tennessee seems to be where all the “gravel” action is happening

Over the past two months, Kingsport Police Department and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office have had approximately 20 incidents each related to “gravel.” We’re not seeing the crazy rages (like with bath salts), but the paranoia is the worst we’ve seen from any drugs,” said KPD Vice Detective Nathan Elliott. “And the effects on the body, (the user’s) appearance, those are the worst. We don’t know if they’ll have cancer in five years, or fall over dead.”

“Gravel can potentially be even more dangerous than the synthetic drugs we were dealing with last year, mainly because you do not know for sure what other drugs have been mixed with the PVP,” said Earhart. “There have been reports of dealers trying to pass straight ammonia nitrate off as gravel.”

Gravel runs between $80 and $200 a gram, according to police, with Earhart attributing the fluctuation to a batch’s purity; i.e., has it been cut with other drugs, or is it straight alpha-PVP. Kingsport police say the variation in price is a classic example of drug peddlers’ power over their victims.“They’re getting people hooked on it, then raise their price,” said Elliott. “They get them addicted in just a few months rather than years.” “We arrested an attractive girl a while back (with gravel), then saw her a couple months later on a driving violation. She looked like she’d been smoking meth for five years.” Though in the infancy of their dealings with the drug, law enforcement officials say extreme paranoia is a trademark tendency: pointing to multiple cases as illustration.  

Dyann J. Hale, 50, was arrested after deputies stopped her vehicle for improper registration and learned her license had been revoked for DUI since June 2012. When they inventoried the vehicle, officers found six bags of gravel as well as prescription pills and paraphernalia used to ingest or smoke drugs. Hale was charged with violation of the registration law, operation of a vehicle without proper registration, driving on a revoked license, possession of a controlled substance analogue for resale and possession of drug paraphernalia. 

A controlled substance analogue, by federal definition, is a substance with a chemical structure similar to the chemical structure of a controlled substance that has a stimulant, depressant or hallucinogenic effect on the central nervous system. With the discovery that the first case was also related to Hale, she could face additional charges of possession of a controlled substance analogue. Dr. Garik Misenar, chairman of emergency medicine at Johnson City Medical Center, said he’s seen several cases of people going to the hospital for treatment after they’ve used gravel. “We’re starting to see some in the emergency room. We had a patient yesterday who had been injecting alpha-PVP,” Misenar said. “It’s similar to the bath salts we were seeing two yeas ago.

gravel drug

This picture may not be caused by gravel. The proof and evidence that this happens due to gravel drug use has not been found yet and is unverified. Keep this in mind. It was shared as part of a users information of the drug not as actual fact.

It’s a powerful stimulant that causes some of the same paranoia and some of the same agitation.” The person’s level of agitation tends to be lower, but the paranoia is more enhanced on alpha-PVP than what doctors saw from patients on bath salts, he said. The patient from Thursday couldn’t sit still, Misenar said, and when people walked by his room, he thought they were out to get him. “He left the ER twice. The second time he didn’t come back. His reason for being there was to get off the drug,” Misenar said. Alpha-PVP metabolizes quickly out of the system, and there isn’t a specific detoxification protocol. “You’re detoxed within a few hours of taking it,” Misenar said. “The problem is you get a euphoric feeling of joy (from the drug) that you want to get again. To get it again, you have to take the drug.” But depending on what substance was used to thin down the pure alpha-PVP, there could be harsh damage to the user’s system. 

“All the bath salts and molly (another powerful street drug), you’re depending on that chemist that he mixed it correctly. If he’s short one ingredient, they can use anything for filler,” Gregg said. “There have been reports of rat poison being used as a filler.” Gregg and Sheriff Ed Graybeal said officers have responded to several calls about erratic behavior of someone on the drug. “They have a tendency to be very violent. You can’t predict what they’re going to do,” Gregg said. “Like with any drug-related call, you have to judge how they’re acting to determine if need to call medical attention. It’s the same as any drug situation we deal with. We have to gauge it based on what they’re doing,” he said. Graybeal said one key to tamping out alpha-PVP is education — much like what happened when the bath salts influx occurred. “Now that this new stuff is coming out, we’ll be d

oing some education in the schools like we did with the bath salts,” he said. “It’s bath salts, but just in a different form.” He hopes citizens, particularly younger ones, will realize how they could destroy their lives and future by using the drug. “If they’re going to college, have a good job …  this will destroy that.”Gregg said the substance is likely coming from different areas. “We’re not sure where it’s coming from. If you have a chemistry background you could probably make this at home,” he said. And if it’s made in a clandestine lab — like meth — “you don’t know if it’s in the United States, Mexico or where it’s done.” 

“Anything you buy from a drug dealer, you have no idea of the purity or concentration, which is why it’s so dangerous,” he said. And while the short-term effects are known, “we have very limited reports of long term use,” Misenar said. “But because it’s such a potent stimulant, they’re staying awake, they’re not eating … we’re assuming the long-term effect would be similar to cocaine or methamphetamine.

Whatever the case may be with this new gravel drug, it is definitely making an impact on the state of Tennessee. We will keep up with this to see where it goes. Chances are we will be hearing more about it soon enough and it probably won’t be good. 

Read more: Gravel drug turns up in Washington County | Johnson City Press http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/112347/gravel-drug-turns-up-in-washington-county#ixzz2s08I0Jk1

Gratitude: Wicked Sober Spirituality

gratitudeWe wanted to make this post today about gratitude since Thanksgiving was yesterday. We hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, however you choose to celebrate it. Whether it is with turkey, duck, or even fish! We hope that you had many laughs and smiles with family and were able to stop and enjoy your life at the moment. In fact, we hope that you can find a moment every day to stop and appreciate how much you have. 


So today what are you grateful for?

  • 1. Family and friends
  • 2. Clean air
  • 3. Spare change
  • 4. Money in the bank account
  • 5. A job
  • 6. A house
  • 7. Clothing
  • 8. Central air and heating
  • 9. A temperate climate
  • 10. A car
  • 11. Good health
  • 12. The ability to walk
  • 13. Vaccines
  • 14. Life
  • 15. Sunsets
  • 16. Sunrises

What else can you think of? In case you were wondering being grateful and thankful doesn’t have to happen once a year on Thanksgiving. Gratitude is something that can be practiced every day of the year. Gratitude in fact can help to combat depression and sadness. It is nearly impossible to be grateful and depressed at the same time. When you are looking at how much you have instead of focused on how much you don’t have, then how could you possibly live a life of sadness?

Yes, life gets messy sometimes and it may seem like your life is lacking quite a lot. But if you keep a perspective that is filled with gratitude you can keep peace and content inside of yourself. 

So we want to ask you and hear from you. Maybe every day, maybe once a week, maybe just right now. What are you grateful for? What is it that you have that is just enough? 

Gratitude is contagious and if you have an attitude of gratitude your positivity will radiate to everyone else around you. Giving you, not only more to be grateful for but hopefully creating a more positive attitude in the people you run into. This can literally create a better world for everyone. And it all starts in you. It starts in you with a positive outlook and an attitude of gratitude. 

So get thankful. BE happy with what you have. Know that it is enough. And fall in love with less. 


I’m on the Waiting List to Get into Rehab

waiting to get into rehabAddicts and alcoholics usually have to go to rehab in order to get sober and once they make a decision to do so, they have made one of the biggest decisions of their entire lives. And wouldn’t it be terrible if after making that decision they couldn’t immediately get into rehab but actually had to wait, on a list, in order to get the life saving help they need? Well, this happens all the time unfortunately. Unfortunately many addicts and alcoholics aren’t getting the help they need because they are on waiting lists. Waiting lists to get into rehab are like any other waiting list for say, a restaurant or hotel. Rehabs have waiting lists for when their facilities are totally full and there are no open beds for the addict or alcoholic to sleep in. 

So what do you do if you are on the waiting list to get into rehab? Are you supposed to just wait it out? Are you supposed to risk getting high again or risk watching your loved one get high again? No, you shouldn’t. Luckily there is place like Wicked Sober that exists simply to help you bypass the waiting lists to get into rehab. How?

Wicked Sober has relationships with multiple facilities all across the country so if one place has a waiting list it is really easy to get you into the next best place. Wicked Sober only works with the best facilities that have high reputations and the highest success rates. So no matter where they recommend you end up at the best facility. Wicked Sober was actually created for just this purpose. To get people the help they need quickly but also so they don’t have to miss out on the best place for them. 

If you are on the waiting list to get into rehab here is what you can do in the meantime to ensure either you or your loved one stay sober until the facility is ready. If you are the addict, give up your money and your car keys, also try to go to some NA or AA meetings if at all possible. If you are the parent or loved one don’t allow your sick loved one to leave the house if you do chances are they will end up leaving and getting high. This isn’t to say your loved one or you are weak but it is part of the disease. 

Just make sure if you are on a waiting list to keep you or your loved one safe in the meantime. If you aren’t comfortable with being on a waiting list, start calling other facilities. If you don’t want to do that then call Wicked Sober. They honestly can help you figure out what to do next and make sure you get help almost immediately instead of waiting to take action towards a new life and new freedom. 

Getting sober should never be put on a waiting list. If you or your loved one needs help getting into rehab please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-800-WKD-SOBR

The Affordable Care Act: How to Sign Up for Drug Treatment

the affordable care actIf you or someone you love needs health insurance for drug treatment it may be extremely important for you to look into the Affordable Care Act. Drug treatment now HAS to be covered by the Affordable Care Act. This is a huge benefit of the Affordable Care Act for substance abuse because many people who are suffering from substance abuse can’t get the help they need. Unfortunately, it is usually the ones who want the help the most that can’t get it. Now, with the Affordable Care Act everyone who needs help and wants help will be able to get it, no questions asked. Finally, for the first time, substance abuse will be considered something that HAS to be covered by health insurance plans. So if drug treatment is in your future for either you or your loved one. It is time to sign up. Here is how to sign up for drug treatment. 


  • While the enrollment process will vary a bit depending on the state, here’s a general guideline to how to sign up for the Affordable Care Act in order to get drug treatment. All Americans can start at healthcare.gov, the federal online Obamacare portal. You’ll be asked to enter your state. If you live in a state that’s running its own exchange, you will be directed there or you can just go directly to your state’s exchange website. Those in the states where the federal government is running the exchange will apply through the federal portal.
  • You must then set up an account and provide information, such as your name, address, age, number of people in your family, household income, employer and whether you have access to insurance elsewhere. You’ll also have to say whether you are a smoker, since insurance carriers can charge tobacco users more.
  • You can also apply for a federal subsidy, which may require you to provide pay stubs and certain tax forms if the income you enter doesn’t match Internal Revenue Service records. Enrollees should learn instantly whether they qualify for the subsidy, which they can apply to insurance coverage right away. You’ll also find out whether you are eligible for Medicaid, and whether you can enroll your children in the government health program for kids, known as CHIP.
  • Then comes the enrollment process. Applicants can learn about the various insurance policies available in their area, including deductibles, out-of-pocket costs, doctor networks and benefits packages. Plans can be sorted by premiums and various other criteria and can be compared side by side. This is important information when it comes to drug treatment and shouldn’t be ignored. You want to make sure that the Affordable Care Act is helping you to get drug treatment. 


The Affordable Care Act could be the make or break it factor in you getting affordable drug treatment. If you have any questions about how to sign up for Obamacare and drug treatment we can help you. We know the ins and outs of not only drug treatment but the different ways to make it affordable for you and we know with this new healthcare system you can benefit from it especially when it comes to you or a loved one’s addiction or alcoholism. Call Us Today at: 1-855-WKD-SOBR


Source: http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/01/news/economy/obamacare-enrollment/