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At Addiction Treatment Services International (ATSI), each client is treated with compassion and respect. Here, you or your loved one will learn to overcome the disease of addiction, understand why addiction has taken control and, in turn, change life for the better. Why? Because we make long-term recovery possible by advancing standards and practices in the field of substance use disorder treatment.

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National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Prescription Drugs

file1321340932141New Jersey hosted another successful drug disposal day this weekend. In partnership with the DEA, this was the 10th National Prescription Drug Take-Back day.

Prescription drug abuse currently affects millions of Americans. Many of those who abuse these drugs get them from a family member or friend’s medicine cabinet. The government urges anyone who has unused prescription medication to dispose of it properly, like at one of these drug take-back locations. Flushing the medication down the toilet can pose health and environmental risks, and throwing it away in the garbage can cause it to get into the wrong hands.

Learn more about the National Prescription Drug Take-back day, or click here to see drop off locations in New Jersey.

Hepatitis C a Risk for Opiate Addicts

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Illicit Drugs, Prescription Drugs

CDC-RAccording to the CDC, our country is now seeing the repercussions of the high numbers of heroin and prescription painkiller users manifested in a new threat: Hepatitis C. A new study by the CDC estimates that there has been a 12.6 percent increase in those who use syringes to inject prescription painkillers. Now, many of those people, as well as the many who use heroin, are at risk for contracting diseases like Hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a blood-borne disease that affects the liver. It causes liver damage, itchy rashes, skin lesions, and extreme fatigue, and it can be passed from one individual to another through dirty needles. The CDC estimates that over 3 million people have Hepatitis C, and officials are afraid that the number will continue to rise as the opiate epidemic increases in our country.

In order to combat this problem, many are suggesting needle exchange programs. Others believe law enforcement needs to crack down on those who sell and misuse opiate drugs. The only real way to help those struggling with opiate addiction is to provide treatment in the form of rehab and therapy, and to educate the public on the dangers of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.

Learn more about the CDC’s study and its recommendations here.

What are the most Effective Ways to Handle the Heroin Addiction Epidemic?

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Illicit Drugs, Prescription Drugs


By now we’ve all heard that heroin abuse and addiction are still on the rise, leading to shockingly high numbers of overdoses. According to the CDC, between 2002 and 2013, the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013.

The CDC has a lot of information on their website about what is being done and what can be done about this problem. Basically, it will take education, prevention, and treatment for those at risk for this type of addiction. More people need to understand the risks associated with any type of opiate use, and also learn how easily a person can switch from using prescription painkillers to heroin.

According to the CDC, here is what is being done, and what else can be done:

The Federal government is:

  • Providing educational training and resources to health care providers so they can make informed decisions and ensure the appropriate prescribing of opioid painkillers.
  • Increasing access to substance abuse treatment services through the Affordable Care Act.
  • Expanding use of Medication-Assisted Treatment.
  • Supporting the development and distribution of the life-saving drug naloxone to reduce prescription opioid painkiller and heroin overdose deaths.
  • Supporting the research of pain medications that are less prone to abuse.
  • Track trends and target prevention strategies.

States can:

  • Address the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction: addiction to prescription opioid painkillers.
  • Increase access to substance abuse treatment services, including Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), for opioid addiction.
  • Expand access to and training for administering naloxone to reduce opioid overdose deaths.
  • Ensure that people have access to integrated prevention services, including access to sterile injection equipment from a reliable source, as allowed by local policy.
  • Help local jurisdictions to put these effective practices to work in communities where drug addiction is common.

Health care providers can:

  • Follow best practices for responsible painkiller prescribing to reduce opioid painkiller addiction, the strongest risk factor for heroin addiction:
    • Use prescription drug monitoring programs and ask patients about past or current drug and alcohol use prior to considering opioid treatment.
    • Prescribe the lowest effective dose and only the quantity needed for each patient.
    • Link patients with substance use disorders to effective substance abuse treatment services.
  • Support the use of Food and Drug Administration approved MAT options (methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone) in patients addicted to prescription opioid painkillers or heroin.

Everyone should:

Learn more about the risks of using heroin and other drugs.

How Eminem Beat Addiction

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Prescription Drugs

eminem-467Eminem has a long and difficult history with prescription drug abuse, and not until he started a strict exercise regimen did he finally beat addiction. He now says he is clean and sober, and is ready to get on with the rest of his life.

The rap artist said at one time he was taking 60 pills a day, and that his addiction wiped out several years of his life. His addiction was putting a huge strain on his body, and when he began mixing the pills, he ended up in the hospital. “The doctors told me I’d done the equivalent of four bags of heroin … Had I got to the hospital about two hours later, I would have died,” Eminem said. “My organs were shutting down. My liver, kidneys, everything. They didn’t think I was gonna make it. My bottom was gonna be death.”

Although he went through rehab and relapsed several times, Eminem says what finally worked for him was sticking to an exercise routine. “It gave me a natural endorphin high, but it also helped me sleep, so it was perfect,” he said. “It’s easy to understand how people replace addiction with exercise.”

Many treatment providers agree that exercise is a vital component to recovery, because of the natural release of endorphines and the health benefits exercise has to the entire body. Exercise also helps stimulate blood flow to the brain, improving a person’s ability to concentrate and think more rationally.

Read more about Eminem’s journey here.


Company under Fire for Drug Messages on Clothing

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Prescription Drugs

i0lIncoDA clothing company based in California has people upset over its choice of prints on shirts and pants. The company’s clothing features logos of pharmaceutical drugs that are commonly abused, as well as ingredient lists for making things like “Lean,” a drink that is made with cough syrup with codeine.

Those who are opposed to the clothing are amazed that the company could make light of such a sad situation. “We are losing almost an entire generation of young people to substance abuse. How sickening that there are no restrictions on clothing manufacturers that glamorize illicit drug use,” said Gail O’Brien, founder of The Parents Coalition for Substance Abuse Awareness of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

A representative of the clothing company replied with the following statement: “We are not drug dealers. We sell clothes with drugs on there. I can’t help that people’s kids do drugs. Go get at the drug dealers, not the people that teach kids how to sell clothes with drugs on it instead of the real stuff.”

What do you think? Should there be more regulation over things like what is printed on clothing? Should these companies have enough respect for those going through addiction to not produce these items? Or, are some people making too big of a deal of it? Read the full story here, and then let us know what you think.

The Benefits of Holding Drug Take Back Days

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Prescription Drugs

file5601340932126Communities across the country are hosting drug take back days in the hopes of decreasing prescription drug abuse. These events are being held at police stations, hospitals, and community centers, places where people can easily go to drop off their prescription medications and know they are being disposed of properly.

One of the ways prescription painkiller addicts obtain their drugs is from family members, friends, and neighbors who use the medications under the care of a doctor. Many people have found it is easy to sneak into someone’s medicine cabinet and help themselves to a host of prescription opiates. Those who use painkillers for legitimate reasons and have pills left over often don’t know how to safely dispose of the pills. If they don’t do anything and leave the pills stashed away at home, the pills could end up in the wrong hands.

The DEA has announced that it will once again sponsor a national drug take back day. This event not only helps get rid of unwanted prescription painkillers, but it helps create awareness for the issue of opiate addiction, which has skyrocketed in recent years. This year’s event is scheduled for September 26, and will take place in secure locations across the country.

Senator Shelley Moore led the coalition that persuaded the DEA to continue holding this annual event. “They do it very well, they know what they’re doing. They know how to dispose of the prescriptions. It’s something we can all rally around as a nation, as a national day. And so I’m glad that they’ve brought this back,” Capito said.

You can learn more about the national drug take back day here.

What New Jersey’s Newest Law Means for Opiate Addicts

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Government/Law, Prescription Drugs

file1321340932141Governor Christie signed a bill this week that targets the prescription opiate problem in New Jersey. The bill strengthens the state’s prescription drug monitoring program in the hopes that it will make it more difficult for people to abuse opiates. However, the bill says little about the other half of the opiate crisis: heroin addiction.

New Jersey has been struggling with prescription painkiller and heroin abuse for the past few years, and the statistics get more disappointing year after year. The new bill will help the state regulate prescription painkillers better and will hopefully help identify those that need addiction treatment.

According to Governor Christie, “We have taken great strides in the fight against opiate abuse through a comprehensive strategy that encourages healthcare professionals, treatment providers, law enforcement, and members of the public to each embrace their role in addressing this healthcare crisis. By signing S-1998, we’re not only making the New Jersey Prescription Monitoring Program even stronger, we’re demonstrating  that by working together, we can all be part of the solution – a solution that fights the stigma of addiction, saves lives and helps rebuild families.”

What this means for those that abuse prescription opiates is that it will be more difficult to get their drug of choice. What is unclear is what this will do to the heroin addiction epidemic.

Read more about the bill here, and then tell us what you think should be done about the opiate abuse problem in the state.

Ways New Jersey is Working to Combat the Opioid Drug Problem

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Government/Law, Prescription Drugs

file1321340932141There is much debate over what to do about the opioid drug problem in America today. The federal government has implemented several programs to help with the problem, and each state, including New Jersey, is also putting together initiatives that can make a difference in their own area.

New Jersey has struggled with prescription drug and heroin addiction for the past several years. In April of this year, Governor Christie signed legislation that would improve the state’s ability to fight opioid abuse. “I’m proud of what we’ve done in New Jersey and proud of the work that we continue to do together to help people reclaim their lives. But we cannot become complacent,” said Governor Christie. “Today, we are taking further action to keep our fight against drug abuse and addiction going strong. We’re doing this by continuing successful programs like Project Medicine Drop to get unused prescriptions out of the medicine cabinet and into drop-off bins as well as fortifying our coordinated efforts against the scourge of opioid abuse in an effort to save more lives.”

A prescription drug database is now available in the state that monitors those that are receiving painkillers to ensure they are not getting more than is prescribed. Prevention campaigns are also being promoted at area schools and medical facilities.

This summer a new bill was signed by New Jersey legislation that would bring others into the equation to help. “New Jersey’s heroin and opioid addiction and abuse epidemic is real,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway. “It’s time to involve the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry in this fight. One way we can do this is to ease the access to these abuse-deterrent formulations of narcotics.”

The new law would require insurance companies to cover prescription opioid drugs that are approved by the FDA as abuse-deterrent, so that more of these drugs are circulating instead of ones that can easily be crushed and smoked or injected. “There is an epidemic and if the insurance side of the world isn’t responding to those needs it doesn’t happen because it’s just too expensive on its own,” Benson said. “We understand that medications are expensive and we need to make sure that the marketplace is responding to the needs that are out there in the community.”

Read more about the bill and ways it might help prevent abuse here.

Deaths from Fentanyl Skyrocketing in New Jersey

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Prescription Drugs

fentanyl_ampule1New Jersey’s opioid crisis seems to keep getting worse, according to new studies. Data from 2014 show that overdose deaths from fentanyl, a prescription opioid, tripled in the state in 2014. State officials continue to study data and look for answers to this epidemic.

Fentanyl is an opioid that can be up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It is typically used to manage moderate to severe pain, such as for terminal cancer patients. In the past few years, the drug has often been mixed with heroin and sold on the street, leading to a very dangerous concoction.

According to state data, 143 overdose deaths were attributed to fentanyl in 2014, up from 49 in 2013. In the last month alone, 55 overdoses and at least four deaths have been blamed on fentanyl-laced heroin.

Even though the drug is so dangerous, many people seek it out because it can offer a better high because of its higher potency. However, this also makes the drug more addicting. “What scares us is it’s a double-edged sword,” said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office. “When (addicts) found out that it was out there they wanted it. The addiction becomes so unbelievable that the addicts’ only thought is to get a better high.”

And Fentanyl is relatively easy to come by. “One gram of pure fentanyl can be cut into approximately 7,000 doses for street sale,” the Center for Disease Control said in a 2008 report. “Manufacture of (fentanyl) requires minimal technical knowledge, and recipes for making (fentanyl) are available on the Internet.”

Read more about the fentanyl epidemic here.


Drug Overdoses in New Jersey Increasing

Written by Bethany Winkel on . Posted in Prescription Drugs

PrescriptioniStock_000017804799Small_cropped-640x250Drug overdoses in New Jersey have doubled in the past few years, now causing more deaths than motor-vehicle related deaths. A new study shows that in New Jersey, the rate of overdose increased from 6.5 per 100,000 people from 2007 to 2009 to 13.2 per 100,000, according to data compiled from 2011 to 2013. Half of all overdoses nationally are caused by prescription drugs.

Read the full story here.

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