Friday, President Donald J. Trump declared the opioid epidemic a National Emergency. RU Recovery Ministries is standing by ready to help with an 80% success rate and local meetings of the RU Program being held in every state of the United States. We are looking to partner with Federal, State, and local officials to offer our assistance in this crisis. More details to come early next week. #RURecovery #CureForAddiction #OpioidCrisis#NationalEmergency
Below is an article that was written by Dr. George Crabb, D.O. a medical doctor who advises RU Recovery Ministries on matters of Addiction Medicine.
Pain and stress are a necessary part of life. They are warning signals indicating that something is not right, that something needs to be addressed. This includes emotional pain as well as physical pain. There is nothing more private than an individual’s pain and stress. No one else can truly understand the pain or stress you feel. The American society in which we live is probably the most “pain-conscious” on the face of the earth. Americans have come to believe that they deserve to have total relief from all pain and stress. Because of this cultural belief, the non-medical use of prescription medications (including pain killers, opioids, and sedative hypnotics) has increased dramatically over the past several years. Individuals take the medication for the feeling the drug gives them, the euphoria or the “high.” An addiction to prescription medication is a real addiction that is increasing daily in the number of those held in its bondage.
Many people, young and old, are turning to prescription medications, including pain killers and sedative hypnotics because they assume they are safer than street drugs and because they come from a doctor or health care provider. This gives the individual a false sense of security. However, these drugs are just as dangerous as the other street drugs that are out there. Another reason for their increased proliferation is that the individual feels they cannot get addicted to them like the street drugs. This is another lie. Many of the prescription medicines and opioids people take non-medically are just as addictive, if not more so than many of the street drugs. Individuals who use pain killers to initially treat physical pain, at times, find themselves starting to take the drug to satisfy emotional and psychological needs. The person proceeds down the road of addiction to that drug, and they have a compulsive need to use the medication for non-medical purposes. The drug is being taken because of its mood-altering effects and not to relieve the physical pain.
All pain medications have an opiate base. These include Tylenol #3, Vicoden, Lortab, Lorcet, Norco, Hydrocodone, OxyContin, oxycodone, Percocet, Percodan, Demerol, Morphine, Darvocet N-100, fentanyl, Duragesic patch, Dilaudid, Hydromorphone, Ultram, Ultracet, tramadol, and the like. The most common opiate-based street drug is heroin. All opioids are derived from opium, or they can be synthesized in the laboratory with opiate-like effects. Opiates attach themselves to an opiate receptor in the brain called the “mu” receptor. When an opiate attaches to this receptor, it blocks the perception of pain by increasing the level of a particular neurotransmitter called “endorphin.” The elevated levels of endorphins in the brain tissue not only diminish the perception of pain, but they also stimulate the pleasure centers of the brain thus giving a “good feeling,” a “euphoria,” or a “high.” The latter is that to which an individual can become addicted.
I had a patient in the hospital who was addicted to OxyContin. He told me that he could be happy sitting in a trash can in the dark somewhere as long as he had his pills. He went on to tell me that when he had the pills, he felt like a king. He then explained that when he woke up every day, he snorted 30 – 40 mg of OxyContin just to feel “normal.” This is a major risk associated with any of the opiates. It is “tolerance.” Tolerance happens very quickly with the opiate-based medications. It takes more drug, more often, to get the same effect as a smaller dose, less frequently taken, originally would give. Individuals who begin taking 1 – 2 pills a day can quickly advance to 20 – 30 pills a day. I have witnessed some individuals who were taking more than 50 Vicoden a day in the short time of just six weeks. This opioid addiction is a gripping one that takes the individual to destruction quickly.
Coming off of prescription pain killers, and opioids is a difficult and painful task. Many will experience the following: insomnia, anxiety, diarrhea, restlessness, sweating, chills, muscle and joint pain, runny nose, backaches, irritability, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, weight loss, increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, low-grade temperature, and much more. Many people, as they go through this withdrawal, describe it to me as their worst nightmare. Individuals can find assistance for their withdrawal through a properly trained physician. By assisting them, it allows them to initiate their walk with God sooner; thus their road to freedom is started sooner.
While I am happy to say that overall drug use among teenagers is down, the non-medical use of prescription medications among their population has increased. This trend has been one of the most significant developments in substance-abuse trends in the recent years. One in five teenagers has abused Vicoden, and one in ten has abused OxyContin. Both are abused for non-medical purposes. Before closing this article, I want to describe a trend that is transpiring amongst our young people. A study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2004 found that teens would gather up prescription medications, get with other teens at “pharming parties,” and trade for other prescription drugs. At some parties, teens bring whatever prescription medications they find in their parents’ or grandparents’ medicine cabinets. They throw all the medications into a bowl, pass it around, and then take whatever they want. This is called the “salad bowl.” Unfortunately, I have pronounced several young people as dead because they did not know what they were taking. How tragic!
We here at RU Recovery Ministries understand that there is a real pain that you may be experiencing inside. This pain is deep and devastating. This pain is crying out to be relieved. But, my friend, this pain cannot be medicated with a chemical or a drug, whether it is obtained on the street or from your trusted physician. This pain that you are debilitated by can only be medicated by the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He, alone, can take your pain and give you a peace that will pervade your life. Allow us at RU Recovery Ministries to introduce to you your Answer, your Hope, your Pain Reliever, the Redeemer – Jesus Christ.