The Drug Addict is Not Who you Think

The Drug Addict is Not Who you Think

The Drug Addict is Not Who you Think

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So many people have a picture in their heads of what a drug addict looks like, what their lives are like, and how they ended up with such a problem. A good portion of these people would be wrong. Instead of an unemployed, dirty hobo lying in an alley that most people picture, a good portion of drug addicts are people in your everyday life. Doctors, lawyers, sales people, teachers or students. Almost all of them did not start taking drugs for the “high” associated, but for pain.

Let’s talk…

The opioid epidemic has become the worst drug crisis in American history. Death from overdose of these drugs is now almost equal to the deaths from car accidents. Over-prescribing, marketing by pharmaceutical companies, increase in potency and a lack of knowledge in both the prescribers and the patients, have led to almost three times as many pain prescriptions being written over the last 10 years.

Medications most commonly misused are oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet) and hydrocodone (Vicodin). When these drugs are no longer available, or strong enough, patients will often turn to heroin or Fentanyl bought on the “the street” which are often much cheaper and easier to access. Unfortunately there is no way of knowing what is actually in these pills. Much of the heroin around is now being laced with Fentanyl (50-100 times more potent than morphine) and overdoses are at an all-time high all over the country. Pills resembling the prescription pills are also being produced with the much stronger Fentanyl. Overdose occurs because people do not realize they are taking a much stronger drug.

Motor vehicle accident victims, spine injuries or post-operative patients are all patients that need to be monitored closely for their drug use. When a patient requires more and more of a drug to get the same effect, or is taking it to prevent withdrawal symptoms instead of for pain, they are on the road to addiction.

Treatment for addiction is either chemical (Methadone, Buprenorphine) or behavioral (Narcotics Anonymous, treatment centers) or a combination of the two. The symptoms and treatment for overdose are important for everyone to know.

Symptoms

  • shallow or absence of breathing
  • blue lips/nails
  • disorientation
  • unresponsive
  • snoring/gurgling sounds

Treatment

  • Check responsiveness,
  • Call 911 if not responsive to pain.
  • Start rescue breathing
  • Administer Naloxone (Narcan)

Most police and ambulances carry Narcan with them at all times now due to the increase in overdoses. Never hesitate to call 911. Most states have a Good Samaritan Law that protects the caller and the patient from charges being filed.

The drug addict could be your spouse, your child, your coworker, your friend, not only someone who lives on the street or takes cocaine and “parties hard”. Know the signs of addiction and the signs of overdose. If you know the former, maybe you can prevent the latter.

Citations

  • Daniels-Witt Q, Thompson A, Glassman T, Federman S, Bott K. The case for implementing the levels of prevention model: Opiate abuse on American college campuses. J Am Coll Health. 2017 Jun 16;:1-6. PubMed PMID: 28622135
  • Loreck D, Brandt NJ, DiPaula B. Managing Opioid Abuse in Older Adults: Clinical Considerations and Challenges. J Gerontol Nurs. 2016 Apr;42(4):10-5. PubMed PMID: 27027362

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

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2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

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The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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