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FENTANYL

28

Mar 16

March 28, 2016

The New Fentanyl Epidemic

By Andrew Rountree

Just when you thought the heroin epidemic was bad enough, now we are seeing a new and even worse epidemic – Fentanyl. We started to hear about Fentanyl since it has been a contributing factor in many recent overdose deaths.

In its prescription form, Fentanyl is known as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze. Street names for the drug include Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, as well as Tango and Cash.

Over the last year or two, there have been many clusters of fatal overdoses in communities all over America – often 10 or more people dying in one community in one weekend. And the cause has been found that people who were buying heroin on the street was mixed with Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate, just like Percocet, oxycodone, heroin and all of the others – except it is even more powerful, and even more deadly. Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin. It acts quickly and it seems to shut off the breathing control centers in the brain even more than other opiates. Fentanyl has been used with medical patients for over 30 years. It is very fast acting, and very powerful, so it is used routinely in anesthesia to put patients to sleep. It does its job of putting someone into a complete coma very efficiently, but if the patient is not intubated and on a breathing machine, it stops them from breathing and the patient dies very quickly.

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29

Feb 16

February 29, 2016

Probuphine – A New Buprenorphine Implant

By Andrew Rountree

Titan Pharmaceuticals has been developing their long lasting Buprenorphine implant for about 10 years now. They have been trying to get the FDA approval for many years. They have made a lot of progress and have come close to getting FDA approval a couple of times, but this month they got another delay. The FDA has some reservations about allowing this drug on the market, and wants at least another 6 months to study all of the ramifications. Right now, we are living through a serious epidemic of opiate addiction. There are reportedly 2.5 million people in the US with an opiate addiction and fatalities are at an all-time high. It is clear that we need to have multiple tools at our disposal to combat the disease. It may well be that Probuphine® will be an effective tool.

Probuphine® is an implant which contains Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, Subutex and Bunavail®. The implant is inserted under the skin and delivers a dose of the medicine for about 6 months. Buprenorphine tablets and film have been available since 2000 and they have become a very popular treatment – about 1.5 Billion dollars in sales last year. Buprenorphine products relieve a lot of the withdrawal and cravings for opiates – so patients like taking this medicine. But, one of the problems with any product containing Buprenorphine is that the drug is highly addictive. Buprenorphine relieves the withdrawal and cravings for opiates because it attaches to the same opiate receptors similar to heroin and OxyContin®. In fact, it binds so tightly that most patients have more trouble getting off Suboxone than they do getting off heroin. The withdrawal symptoms off any Buprenorphine product last so long that most patients go back on their drug or they go back to using street drugs.

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disease

27

Jan 16

January 27, 2016

Dopamine: “The Anticipation Molecule”

By Andrew Rountree

For a long time, it has been known that dopamine is the pleasure molecule. After all, it is common knowledge that a large amount of dopamine is released in the nucleus accumbens area of the brain when we do pleasurable things – like eat food and have sex. When the dopamine is released, we experience a strong sensation of pleasure and, of course, we are likely to want to repeat that experience. We also know that all addictive drugs release massive amounts of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens – way more dopamine than we humans were ever meant to experience. This heightened pleasure sensation is the biggest reason why people use addictive drugs.

But now, more light is being shed on just how complex are our brains and how different parts of the brain interact. Scientists are now also calling dopamine “the anticipation molecule” because it has been shown that dopamine is also released in large amounts when we anticipate a pleasurable experience. We actually release dopamine in the nucleus accumbens and get a sensation of pleasure by just thinking about having one of these experiences. Actually, just thinking about having a pleasurable experience is not quite enough to release a lot of dopamine. The large amount of dopamine is released when two things happen – we both think about the pleasurable experience and there is a realistic opportunity that we will be able to have the pleasurable experience – true anticipation.

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Sobriety

4

Jan 16

January 4, 2016

6 Ways to Keep your Resolution for Sobriety

By Andrew Rountree

For those struggling with an addiction to alcohol or another substance, the end of the year can be a challenging time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s can bring up old temptations and triggers that can make your goal for sobriety seem out of reach. But now that the overindulgent holidays are past us, we can focus on the possibilities of the New Year that lies ahead.

Approximately 40% of Americans make resolutions, viewing the New Year as a fresh start, a symbolic transition. While setting resolutions can be a great way to get clear and motivated about your goals, only 40% of those who make resolutions actually go on to keep them. This 60% failure to keep a resolution can stem from a variety of things – unrealistic expectations, lack of discipline, loss of motivation, or something else. I personally think that some of the trouble with keeping resolutions lies in our cultural “all-or-nothing” attitude when it comes to resolutions. For example, say you have a friend who has made a resolution to eat healthier. But on a snow day in February, she eats 10 cookies.

Sadly, many people would throw in the towel at this point, thinking, “Today I went completely against my resolution, so I guess it’s over now.” In reality, keeping a resolution involves a less-than-perfect path. You might have days when you slip-up and others when you feel on top of the world. Doesn’t that sound a lot like the road to recovery? The point is, don’t give up on your resolutions when the going gets tough or when you take a few steps back. That’s life.

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