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Just How Dangerous Is OxyContin, Anyway?
OxyContin belongs to a family of drugs called opioids, which are derived from the opium poppy and are among the most common drugs used to address both chronic and acute pain. Due their abuse and addictive potential, they are nearly always prescribed with caution.

Opioids suppress the body's response to pain by acting on what is called the mu receptor, which is a molecule that bonds with the body's natural pain killers. The mu receptor is thus the body's most significant pain gateway. It also bonds with opiate drugs such as heroin and morphine. This receptor affects not only the experience of pain but also of euphoria, which contributes to the addictive potential of these drugs.

Unfortunately, medical textbooks inform us that all opioids have been abused, and there is no way around their high abuse potential.

To control distribution of addictive drugs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies drugs for regulatory purpose into schedules, of which there are five. Schedule 1 drugs, like raw opium and LSD, are as close to completely prohibited as is possible (they're permitted, for instance, in special laboratory research circumstances), while schedule 5 drugs are common over-the-counter medications that pose extremely little risk of addiction or abuse.

Where do opioids fit into the picture? Oh, they're in with their schedule 2 neighbors heroin, cocaine, morphine, amphetamine and the like. All except oxycodone (the active ingredient in OxyContin), which despite an addictive potential comparable to heroin is in the more "harmless" schedule 3!

OxyContin has been popping up in the news quite a lot lately. It's become the drug of choice among new addicts. In fact, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, between 50 and 90 percent of new patients admitted to drug rehabilitation programs in the states most severely affected by OxyContin abuse (West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia) list OxyContin as their drug of choice.

To be fair, chronic pain sufferers are seeking relief from their pain, rather than a dangerous high, and medication certainly plays a useful role in pain management in many circumstances. Further, OxyContin becomes most addictive when its long-acting time-release safeguard is circumvented, usually by chewing the pill, thus releasing the active drug oxycodone all at once. Patients using the drug legally, for its intended purpose and under their doctor's supervision are clearly at less risk.

Still, the risk is definite and grows over time, as all opioids are known to diminish in effectiveness over time, mandating either higher doses or opioid rotation (temporarily switching to a new opioid) or both. Further, withdrawal symptoms can be experienced when patients stop taking opioids, making them crave more drugs. In fact, many patients report that their sensation of pain is worse after ceasing treatment than it was before they started! (In some cases, such as cancer, this effect could be attributed to the progression of the disease.) Surely it's best never to get started along this vicious cycle.

Let us understand that even dangerously addictive drugs have their legitimate medical uses, one of which may indeed be to relieve chronic pain sufferers of their plight. Still, regardless of whether or not you and your doctor choose drugs as one means of treatment, never forget that pain is a message that you're doing the wrong thing or you're doing things wrong. Listen to your body. Don't shoot the messenger.

About the Author
Daniel Punch. Article Source: http://articlecity.com/

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10 Tenets of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment
On any given day in the United States, one million people are in treatment for alcoholism or drug addiction. It is not getting into treatment, however, that makes the difference. Instead, it is what a person gets out of treatment. The fact that many people do not find success in treatment on their first attempt is due in part to a lack of understanding about what makes effective treatment.

1.There is no treatment formula that will work for everyone.

Occasionally, people looking for treatment will come across other individuals who are already in recovery and who insist that the only path to recovery is whatever path the recovering individual has taken. This simply is not true. The ultimate success of each individual entering treatment depends on finding the right treatment setting and methods for the individual, and everyone’s needs are different.

2. Medically supervised withdrawal is only one step in addiction treatment; alone it will do little.

Frequently, it is necessary for addicts and alcoholics to go through a medically supervised withdrawal period before they can safely enter treatment. However, some people confuse this short 3 to 7 day period with treatment, which it is not. Some people cycle in and out of these withdrawal episodes convinced that they should be able to maintain abstinence afterwards, but never finding success. Seemingly tragic, this allows some addicts to continue in their addiction while giving the appearance that they are attempting to get healthy.

3. Length of treatment counts.

The appropriate duration for an individual depends on his or her problems and needs. Research indicates that for most patients, significant improvement is reached at about 3 months. The research suggests that this may be residential, outpatient or a combination of both depending on the individual’s needs. After this initial period, additional treatment can produce further progress toward recovery.

4. Drug addiction is a multidimensional problem, and treatment needs to address all of an individual’s needs.

Effective treatment must address the individual's drug use, but also any associated medical, psychological, social, vocational, or legal problems.

5. Counseling (individual and/or group) is a critical part of effective addiction treatment.

Many alcoholics and addicts mistakenly believe that if they could just stop using for a week or two they could stop using forever. In reality, they need therapy. In therapy, addicts examine their motivation, build skills to resist drug use, replace drug-using activities with constructive and rewarding nondrug-using activities, and improve problem-solving abilities. Additionally, therapy helps individuals to rebuild and re-learn family and social living patterns.

6. Medications are an important part of treatment for many people. Medications such as suboxone, methadone and LAAM can all be effective in helping certain individuals stay away from illicit drugs. Some times frowned upon by some individuals in recovery the truth is that these medications allow millions of individuals to live normal, productive lives.

7. Drug testing during treatment is important.

Drugs are found everywhere, even in drug treatment. Whether treatment is offered on an outpatient, inpatient or in a jail drugs are available to individuals in treatment. This puts individuals in treatment at risk for reusing even while in treatment. It also means that every individual in treatment should be monitored for drug treatment on an ongoing basis. In this manner treatment, plans may be modified to increase the chance of ultimate success.

8. Alcoholics and addicts with mental health disorders should be treated for both at the same time.

An alcoholic or addict who also has a mental health disorder is said to have “co-occurring” disorders. In the past, the question has sometimes been should the person be treated for the mental health problem or the addiction first. People may be using drugs to deal with the mental health problem or they may have the mental health issue because of their drug use. The most effective way to deal with these two “co-occurring” disorders and deal with the addiction is to treat them at the same time.

9.Addiction Treatment works even for people who don’t choose it of their own free will.

It used to be believed that someone had to want to go into treatment before it could be effective. New research has shown that this is not the case. In fact, treatment is just as effective for individuals who are court ordered to do treatment as it is for people who figure out the need for it on their own. Families and employers can be just as effective at getting unwilling addicts into treatment. Stephen King, in his autobiography “On Writing,” tells about the intervention his wife and family performed on him. King did not want to go into treatment. He was seemingly happy doing coke and drinking mouthwash, but his wife Tabitha and his children were not happy with the situation and performed an intervention. Forced to choose between family and drugs, King made the right choice. Interventions are most successful when done correctly and with the help of a professional. For more information on interventions visit www.interventionresources.net

10. Don’t give up.

As with other chronic illnesses, relapses can occur during or after successful treatment episodes. Addicted individuals may need lengthy treatment and more than one time in treatment before they can enjoy long-term abstinence and full restoration to a drug free life. The period after treatment is just as important as being in treatment. Finding support and continuous work to stay drug free will be necessary. A slip or relapse is just an indicator that more work, and possibly more treatment, is necessary. Don't give up.

About the Author
David Westbrook Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/
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Alcohol: Is There Really A Problem?
Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are different branches of the same poisonous tree. Alcoholism is dependence based; meaning, a person feels that they need alcohol in order to cope with day-to-day life.

Alcohol abuse, on the other hand, is not an uncontrollable urge, but the uncontrollability of the abuser once s/he obtains alcohol.

An alcoholic abuser may have problems keeping up with daily responsibilities, such as going to work or adhering to familial needs. He or she may also get in drunk-driving accidents, or develop medical conditions due to their alcoholic consumption.

Binge drinking, for example, is a method of abusing alcohol, but not everyone who binge drinks would be considered an alcoholic, by definition.

Try asking yourself the following questions to assess whether you believe that you could have a problematic alcohol related issue. The first question relates to how others view you.

* Question 1: Has anyone ever brought the issue up, that your drinking is a problem? The next three deal with personal reflection.

* Question 2: Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?

* Question 3: Have you ever thought that drinking got in your way or that you should cut down?

* And, question 4: Do you drink in the morning to feel better, or to calm your nerves (or to recover from a hangover)?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you could have an alcohol related problem. If you answered yes to more than one, then you should seriously start thinking about treatment options because, like any disease, if caught early enough, the chances for success are exponentially greater than if you allow the disease (as it is a disease of the body and mind) to carry on its course.

Once you talk to an expert or others about these issues, you'll find the best route of treatment. Many problem drinkers recover and abstain from alcohol for the rest of their lives. Others attempt to moderate their consumption. That, however, takes even more control and determination than quitting all together.

And, as stated, if you 'feel' within yourself that there is a problem, or if others have shown concern in regard to your drinking habits, then it might be best to consider abstaining from alcohol completely, thereby allowing you no "slip ups" in the future.

Discover valuable advice and information about alcohol abuse - its causes and its treatment. Website contains valuable articles and information about this widespread problem. http://www.alcohol-abuse-mastery.com/

About the Author
Paul Article. Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

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Recent News
Just How Dangerous Is OxyContin, Anyway?
10 Tenets of Effective Drug Addiction Treatment
Alcohol: Is There Really A Problem?
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Facts About Smoking
Drug Addiction Treatment Centers - A Fresh Start
Addiction to Thinking

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