Tag Archives: opioids

Doctors Need “More Training” to Treat Opioid Addiction: Survey

The majority of Massachusetts doctors (three out of four) didn’t receive training on addiction during medical school or their residency, according to the results of a new survey. It also found that less than half of ER and internal medicine specialists believe that opioid use disorder (OUD) is a treatable disease.

Doctor Survey Funded by MA Non-profit for Shatterproof

The survey was funded by RIZE Massachusetts, a nonprofit organization, and the GE Foundation. It was conducted by the nonprofit organization Shatterproof and specifically looked at how the stigma around OUD influences how doctors treat patients living with addiction.

Massachusetts Medical Society doctors were asked questions about the following:

• Their perceptions about OUD
• Barriers to screening for OUD
• Barriers to treating OUD
• Best ways to train doctors to prevent stigma about OUD and improve patient care

Massachusetts Facing Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Julie Burns, the president and CEO of RIZE Massachusetts, stated that the state is facing an epidemic resulting in the deaths of an average of four people each day from an opioid overdose. She also said that the MA health care system is the “frontline effort in combating [the] epidemic.” Ms. Burns went on to comment that the survey findings are important part of understanding how to help physicians treat these patients as well as making it easier for people who are suffering from addiction to seek treatment.

The results of the survey found emergency providers are twice likely as medical workers in other specialties to say that providing methadone treatment for OUD only substitutes one addiction for another. Emergency medical providers also feel most strongly that treating patients with OUD takes time and resources away from other patients.

Newer Doctors More Likely to Have Received Addiction Treatment Training

The survey results also revealed that doctors who have been in practice for less than 10 years are twice as likely to have been given at least some addiction treatment training than doctors who have been in practice longer than a decade. Dr. Maryanne Bombaugh, the president of the medical society and an OB-GYN with a practice in Falmouth, said that she was surprised that there are practices that “really would not embrace caring for patients with a substance use disorder.” She said that the lack of comfort caring for patients living with an addiction stuck out for her.

Local hospitals are taking steps to respond to the survey results. They have already promised to take action to improve their methods in treating patients. Twelve hospitals in Boston and Cambridge have pledged to train their staff to provide better addiction treatment, as well as to offer better support to employees who are dealing with their own or a loved one’s addiction.

The survey results clearly indicate that more education and training for doctors is needed, according to Dr. Bombaugh. She said that this is a situation where if you can measure results, you can manage them. Now that the gaps have been identified, work can start on filling starting to fill them.

FDA Strengthens Warning About Kratom, Saying Herb is an Opioid

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) boosted its warning about kratom. The agency said that the results of new research indicated the unregulated herb has “opioid properties.” It has also been associated with numerous deaths.

FDA “Confident” in Calling Kratom an Opioid

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated recently that the Agency feels confident in “calling compounds found in kratom, opioids.” The FDA came to its conclusion based on recent computational modeling, scientific literature and reports of adverse effects on people. He added that the new data reinforced the Agency’s concerns about kratom’s “potential for abuse, addiction and serious health hazards, including death.”

Possible Addiction Treatment

Kratom is imported from Southeast Asia. The product, which is marketed as a supplement, is being bought by consumers looking for relief from anxiety, depression and pain. It is also being used to treat opioid-withdrawal symptoms. Some researchers are studying whether kratom can be used to treat addiction. Other experts warn that the supplement, which is available in capsule form or used as a tea, is simply too risky to use.

No FDA-approved Uses for Kratom

Commissioner Gottlieb stated in November 2017 that there are no FDA-approved uses for kratom. The Agency now knows of 44 deaths related to kratom which took place between April 2011 and December 2017. In one instance, the deceased had no history of opioid use, “except for kratom.”

In many of the cases, the deceased had used kratom in conjunction with other drugs. This fact makes it difficult for authorities to determine the actual cause of death. Kratom supporters say that the government has blamed it on deaths due to other substances. The new death, which occurred in the absence of other substances, reinforces the FDA’s concerns about kratom’s safety.

FDA scientists analyzed the 25 most-common compounds in kratom. They concluded that all of them share “most structural similarities” with opioid pain medications. The model also showed that 22 of the compounds bind to opioid receptors in the brain, as well as to stress reponses “that impact neurological and cardiovascular function.” The Agency had previously warned the public about kratom’s side effects, which include respiratory depression and seizures.

Concern Kratom Users May Return to Opioids

Jack Henningfield, an addiction specialist with the drug policy group Pinney Associates, said that surveys of kratom users had revealed that many of them had been taking the supplement as a tool to stop using opioids. Mr. Henningfield argued that kratom use presents a lower risk than opioids. He stated that restricting or banning kratom use could push some people toward the black market to buy kratom or even make them start using opioids again.

50 Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Abuse You Can’t Miss

When most people think of prescription drug abuse, they think of opioids. The prescription opioid epidemic has gotten a lot of media attention and these are the prescriptions most people think about when they hear about addiction, but, there are actually 3 commonly abused classes of prescription medication: opioids, stimulants, and benzodiazepines. The symptoms you experience when you abuse these medications vary based on the type of medication as well as your level of abuse. If you are experiencing and of the following symptoms and you worry that you may have a problem with prescription drug abuse, it is time to speak with your doctor about treatment.

Inpatient rehab is often the first choice, especially for doctors who realize the dangers involved in addiction and withdrawal. If you’re not sure how to choose the best rehab center or you need more information about local inpatient rehab centers near you, call our helpline toll-free at 1-888-605-7779 today. We’ll help you find a residential rehab center that can treat prescription drug addiction safely and effectively so that YOU can get well.


Prescription opioids are used to treat pain. Common examples include oxycodone, hydrocodone and codeine. In addition to the hundreds of opioid analgesics that are on the market and available by prescription, illicit opiates such as opium and heroin are also widely abused throughout the United States. Although opioid withdrawal is rarely fatal, prolonged users may experience symptoms of low blood pressure, seizures or other complications when they quit abruptly. As such, it is recommended that you seek inpatient rehab when you decide to quit taking opiates or any other prescription medication. Call our helpline at 1-888-605-7779 to be connected with an inpatient rehab specialist that can assist you.

Signs of prescription opioid abuse may include:

  1. Feeling no pain
  2. Sedation
  3. Vomiting
  4. Flushed or itching skin
  5. Nausea
  6. Constipation
  7. Slowed breathing rate
  8. Drowsiness
  9. Poor coordination
  10. Poor judgement or confusion
  11. Nodding off
  12. Heavy limbs

If you’re struggling with any of these symptoms, addition is a real threat and you should be concerned. Help is available if you’re ready to get sober.


Prescription stimulants are typically used to treat sleep disorders such as narcolepsy as well as behavioral disorders such as ADHD otherwise known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Commonly prescribed stimulants include Ritalin and Adderall. Most of these are considered Schedule III or Schedule IV controlled substances as they have a relatively low potential for abuse and misuse but this does not mean that taking these medications for ANY reason other than prescribed is safe. In fact, misuse of stimulants may lead to addiction and attempting to quit taking them cold-turkey will most definitely lead to withdrawal symptoms that require a professional level of monitoring and care.

Signs of prescription stimulant abuse include:

  1. Unexplained weight loss
  2. Paranoia
  3. Insomnia and trouble sleeping
  4. Increased hostility
  5. Seizures
  6. Increased heart rate
  7. Increased temperature
  8. Increased blood pressure
  9. Irregular heartbeat
  10. Irritability or agitation
  11. Anxiety
  12. Excessive hours of awake time (sometimes staying awake for days)
  13. Upbeat behavior and excessive activity

If you’re abusing stimulants, it’s important to seek the help of an inpatient rehab that can provide medically monitored detox. While certain prescriptions, such as opioids, are not likely to lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms (you may feel like you’re going to die but you’re generally not at serious risk of death), stimulants require a tapering method in order to safely reduce risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms during detox. Failure to seek medical treatment when you detox could lead to dire consequences including seizures, coma or death.


These medications are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders such as insomnia or the inability to fall asleep. Common examples of prescription benzos include include Xanax and Valium. These medications are usually considered Schedule IV controlled substances as they have a relatively low potential for abuse and misuse, but don’t mistake that for believing that these medications are “safe.” In fact, Benzodiazepines account for thousands of overdoses and are to blame for many drug related deaths each year. Mixing these medications with alcohol or with other medications especially opiates or stimulants could prove deadly.

Signs of prescription benzodiazepine abuse include:

  1. Unsteady walking
  2. Weakness
  3. Anxiety
  4. Anorexia
  5. Headaches
  6. Insomnia
  7. Difficulty breathing
  8. Slurred speech
  9. Lack of coordination
  10. Blurred vision
  11. Dizziness
  12. Drowsiness
  13. Confusion
  14. Problems with memory
  15. Sleeping excessively

If you’re using benzos such as Valium, Ativan or Xanax and you need help, call 1-888-605-7779 to be connected with an inpatient rehab specialist that can assist you.

Additional Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse or Misuse

The previous signs and symptoms are all physical and emotional. But, there are also behavioral cues that point to the possible abuse of prescription medications. In addition to the common symptoms of abuse listed above, you may notice a loved one is acting weird or out of sorts. Maybe you have experienced the first-hand behavioral patterns of the addiction of a loved one without even realizing what was happening right before your eyes. For instance, if you have a loved one that is doctor shopping, calling in fake prescriptions, or blaming others for taking his or her prescriptions, there may be a deeper problem that he or she is not telling you about.

With prescription drugs, any use of the medication that is not EXACTLY as prescribed could be a sign of addiction and is surely a sign of abuse. If your loved one loses medication, takes more than prescribed, or uses the medication for any reason other than for what the doctor prescribed it for, consider calling for help. Our phone number is 1-888-605-7779. We can help you differentiate between abuse and addiction, and if you decide that someone you love needs help, we’ll connect you with an inpatient rehab center near you today.

Look out for these additional signs that someone you care about is abusing potentially dangerous medications:

  1. A pattern of “losing” prescriptions, so that it’s ok to ask for another to be written
  2. Seeking and/or obtaining prescriptions from multiple doctors
  3. Appearing to be high, oddly peppy, or sedated
  4. Poor decision making
  5. Decrease or increase in sleep
  6. Remarkable hostility or mood swings
  7. Taking larger doses than prescribed
  8. Taking medication more frequently than prescribed
  9. Forging, stealing, or selling prescriptions
  10. Doctor shopping—using multiple doctors to get prescriptions