Archive for the ‘Stories’ Category

Oxycontin, The Runaway Train

Introduced in 1995 by Purdue Pharma, Oxycontin is a pill that gradually releases steady amounts of narcotics for 12 hrs.  Before Oxycontin patients were required to take pills every four hours to achieve significant relief.  By crushing oxycontin pills, drug abusers can get the full 12-hour narcotic effect almost immediately.  It is proven that snorting or injecting this pill can lead to overdose or death.  Because of the quick heroin like high Oxycontin has become very popular as a street drug and has been touted as reaching epidemic proportions across our country.

According to data by IMS, the annual number of prescriptions for Oxycontin, for non-cancer increased nearly tenfold, from about 670,000 in 1997 to about 6.2 million in 2002.  This is a direct result of Purdue Parma’s aggressive Oxycontin promotional machine.  Since Oxycontin’s introduction in 1995 they have used an intense and often times corrupted marketing strategy.  The FDA cited Purdue Pharma twice for using potentially false or misleading medical journal advertisements for Oxycontin, which violated the Food, Drug, and cosmetic act 1938.  Because of their market machine that is geared toward manipulating doctors the pill is not used only used for cancer related pain but is now used for patients with moderate to severe pain.  Purdue Pharma continues to distribute material to doctors promoting Oxycontin and other Opiods NON-SELECTIVE for a broad range of pain disorders regardless of diagnosis.  This has resulted in opiods being given inappropriately for chronic pain generated by psychological disorders and other somatic disorders.  As a result Oxycontin is now the most heavily prescribed medication in the country.  A DEA report indicated that more than 7.2 million prescriptions were dispensed in 2002 and approximately 5.8 million prescriptions were for the single entity product Oxycontin.  There is currently no regulation that says doctors have to prove they have taken pain killer responsibility courses in order to prescribe these drugs.  So permission to prescribe Oxycontin is granted routinely without special training.  Purdue Pharma has manufactured a train, loaded it with jet fuel, and now it is careening out of control with no means to control it.

During these years of increased sales of Oxycontin there were marked increases in opiod related deaths do to non-medical and therapeutic uses.  As a direct result of Purdue Pharma marketing strategy, between the years of 1997 and 2004, there was a 556% increase in the sales of Oxycontin and a 500% increase in therapeutic grams of oxycontin used.  There has also been a 568% increase in the non-medical use of Oxycontin during this time period do to the diversion and sale of the drugs by those motivated by economic gain.

So lets really explore what these statistics are saying.  As the sales of Oxycontin increase and more people start taking it, the statistics show at the same rate these same people are gradually taking more and more mgs of the drug.  This shows that more and more people are becoming increasingly addicted to Oxy as a direct result of Purdue Pharma aggressively pushing these drugs to our public.  Purdue Pharma has single handedly created a street level drug market by purposely over supplying a deadly drug to our public, and specifically the young people in our society.  They are destroying the lives of a generation from their ivory tower in Connecticut.

Also during this time the study was conducted there was a 129% increase in opiod related deaths not including heroin: from 1942 deaths in 1999, to 4451 deaths in 2002.  If we were to extrapolate the 4451 figure in 2002 over the next four years to the end of 2006 the total number of deaths would be a staggering 22,255.  This death rate exceeds the deaths caused by 9/11 and the Iraq war combined.

The bottom line is this we need legislation that classifies Oxycontin to its original use, which is Cancer and severe pain.  Both the corporate influence of sales through over promotion, and the lack over regulatory oversight to protect the public have left our us with an epidemic that is absolutely killing our children and tearing a hole in the fabric of our society.  This is a fixable problem and it starts by holding those responsible accountable for there actions.  Really everyone is responsible in a democratic society we just have to come together and speak our minds.  At Narconon we are fixing those broken lives left in the lurch by Purdue Pharma.

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Is This Psychiatry?

by Anonymous

The days where you could go see a psychologist or psychiatrist and talk out your problems and learn life skills are quickly becoming a way of the past. The power to heal has increasingly shifted away from doctors to the all-powerful insurance and drug companies. Traditional insurance and health plans are now replaced by more “efficiently” managed care models. This means that when a patient is offered mental health care he or she is more times than not prescribed medication. Why? This is because the doctors are given financial incentives to do so. According to the ICSPP, for the same billing time a doctor is paid more money through the insurance companies to prescribe medication than to actually administer therapy. The Drug companies are marketing these “cure-all” drugs by using extremely aggressive and corrupt tactics. They use misleading promotional information and give the insurance companies the excuse to say that medication is the safest treatment investment for patients.

Annually the drug industry spends up to 60 billion dollars on marketing their drugs. They spend half of that on research and development. Most notable is the industries investment in there lobbyists in Washington that they use to sway public policy. The drug industries lobbying and campaign dollar contributions are topped only by the insurance industry. This has directly led to an industry friendly regulatory policy at the Food and Drug administration, the agency that approves its products for sale and most directly oversees drug makers. More than a third of the industries 3,000 lobbyists were at one time federal officers. Many of who were former senators and congressmen who hold a great influence inside the capital hill committees that oversee the drug bills. Probably the most tragic outcome to our society that has been brought on by this incestuous relationship has been the Medicare provisions. Medicare is a government funded insurance program that provides health insurance to 41 million people across our country. As a consequence of drug industry lobbying, government programs like Medicare are barred from negotiating with drug companies for lower prices. This will take wealth from our countries sober working taxpayers and put it directly into the pockets of the drug industry. According to Professor Allen Sager of Boston University 61% of Medicare money spent on prescriptions will become profit for the drug industry.

So, doctors are financially rewarded from the insurance and drug industries for prescribing medication. The drug regulatory officials are financially rewarded from the drug industry for passing favorable policy bills. It is a trifecta attack on our countries sick people. It is simply criminal market manipulation. This has created a culture where now patients expect to be medicated to solve their mental problems. Instead of therapeutic work, people have come to expect to be doped so they can forget their problems. It’s sad that these doctors, insurance companies, and drug companies are more than happy to deal them these drugs.

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From Powerlessness to Empowerment

by Jonas

“Hello, my name is Jonas and I am an addict.” This public confession at a l2-step meeting is almost universally accepted as the beginning of the road to recovery for anyone seeking treatment for a substance abuse problem. The collective response to this statement by the other members in attendance is a solemn “Hello Jonas.”. This affirmation can be roughly translated, in the context of the meeting, as “Yes you are and so am I”. The implication is that the 12-step members were born addicts, are addicts, and will continue to be until they die. This ritual plays out daily at the more than 20,000 l2-step chapters with the participation of it’s more than 2,000,000 members as well as the vast majority of rehabilitation centers in America.

The emphasis on the personal and social designation of an individual as a perpetual, incurable addict or alcoholic as a basis for change and rehabilitation seems to be a fairly counter-intuitive introduction to treatment. This seems akin to a person saying “My name is Bob and I will always have a minimum wage job” or “My name is Julie and I will never receive a college education” as an avenue to achieving those goals. So what is the rationale behind this act? The l2-step model espouses the notion that alcoholism and drug addiction are incurable progressive diseases and frequent acknowledgment of that fact is vital to keep relapse at bay.

In order to take a realistic look at these claims, lets look at concrete definitions of these terms. Alcoholism is dermed as ” the habitual and compulsive consumption of alcohol to excess” and drug addiction is defined as “the condition of being addicted, spec. The habitual use of narcotic drugs”. It seems odd that the 12-step model would characterize their members as such considering that many have not been intoxicated in months, years, or decades. There seems to be a fundamental gap between the modem conception of addiction and that of the 12 steps. That said, this model continues to dominate the field of rehabilitation with over 250 organizations based on this approach.

The 12-step approach to rehabilitation originated in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1935 by two alcoholics. As medical science of that era had no understanding of dependence it was generally considered a symptom of a lack of moral fiber and practiced by degenerates. By accurately observing that the later stages of alcoholism had a physical quality, the founders came to the conclusion had that individuals were predisposed to alcoholism by a physiological abnormality. They felt that the only option open to them in the area of recovery was the denial of personal responsibility and the seeking of divine intervention. This idea rapidly gained acceptance and eventually ballooned into what is now the face of the rehabilitation industry.

Predictably, the understanding of addiction has advanced dramatically over the past 73 years. Rather than being considered an innate condition, addiction is generally considered to be a temporary physical state induced by the initial consumption of a substance. This condition persists during active use but subsides over time after use has ceased and the person maintains a period of sobriety. The mechanism at blame appears to lie in the areas of the brain dealing with survival motivations and pleasure. Pleasure usually follows as a reward an action taken by the individual that in some way enhances survival such as eating, having sex, getting a raise, receiving praise, etc. In the case of addiction, however, that natural process is completely turned in its head. Drugs and alcohol mimic an intensely amplified version of survival satisfaction although the act they took in consuming the substance is harmful to them. Since the brain doesn’t know the difference the addict then concentrates their efforts in the realm of substance abuse and begins to rapidly deteriorate. This accounts for people drinking or using at the expense of food, sleep, family, friends, relationships, and employment. Although those associated with the person can readily observe that they are destroying themselves, the addict feels that he has a leg-up on the fundamental motivator of human behavior, the obtainment of pleasure. Eventually, as the addict gains some clarity on the destructive nature of their actions, it is easy to understand why he may feel that something is fundamentally wrong with him physically. Although he may feel diseased, evidence points out that his cravings are nothing but an induced inclination.

Now that the nature of addiction is essentially established where does this leave the 12­step approach and its effectiveness in combating addiction? Not a single study has been conducted that has been able to show that the percentage of people who got clean using this approach is any greater than the percentage of those who got clean on their own. That is a remarkable fact considering the 12-steps are nearly synonymous with rehabilitation.

Critics argue that the 12-step’s insistence on powerlessness is counterproductive and actually prompts members to relapse. It produces the perception in the individual that he must be vigilant against the drink or drug lurking around every comer compounding any residual problems brought about by prior use. These combine to create an extremely stressful situation, which is interesting because environmental stress is the leading factor in initial drug of alcohol abuse. Apart from actually being offered drugs or alcohol stress is also the primary relapse trigger beating all other factors by 300%. This gives rise to a revealing cycle that begins with a person experiencing stress in some aspect of his life. Seeing no way to meet the problem head-on, his “solution” is to replace the satisfaction he would feel in resolving the issue with the satisfaction of using or drinking. Eventually, this approach to dealing with problems is firmly established and the consumption itself becomes the primary problem. Once again a solution is required and, for most, the only one available is a 12-step program. There any hope of self-sufficiency is duly met with the theory of powerlessness, the central tenet of the 12-step program. This brings about the recurrence of a stressful environment and after varying periods of sobriety, most relapse closing the cycle. What makes the process all the more insidious is that while this is occurring it appears to the newcomer that the 12-steps are fostering long term sobriety. The snowball effect of this process seems to be what has propelled the 12­steps to the forefront of substance abuse treatment.

So if the 12-steps don’t work, then what does? The answer is evidently old-fashioned success. 80% of ex-addicts who have achieved long-term sobriety cite life success as the contributing factor. This includes the formation of goals and the achievement of those goals, whatever they may be, as long as they are productive. This seems very sensible. If a person were doing well in life, why would they need to rely on the crutches of drugs and alcohol? Over time these simple, successful actions serve to stabilize the brains survival and pleasure seeking functions.

There is a vast array of 12-step alternatives ranging from the holistic to those utilizing the latest psychiatric advances but the most successful tend to be the most practical. The highest success rates are those which focus on fundamental life-skills. The methodology employed by the multinational Narconon network has evidently made huge strides in this field. At its more than 100 treatment centers worldwide, patients are rehabilitated by treating substance abuse as a symptom of an underlying issue. The program seeks to address the core of what led the person to the drug lifestyle in the first place and this usually turns out to be an inability to deal effectively with environmental stress. The length of the program is usually between 2.5-4 months but the patient is allowed to stay as long as is necessary to make the change required. During this period the patient is guided through a series of 8 life-skills courses ranging from communication to courses on ethics and morality. Eventually he is able to assume responsibility for the behavior that brought about his need for treatment and is given a systematic way to move forward with life ambitions. By giving patients the ability to deal with life on its own terms, Narconon has achieved an unheard oflong-term success rate of75%. From all accounts the condition in which they graduate the program is far from powerless.

Recent medical advances have made abundantly clear that the road to rehabilitation lies not in a theory of powerlessness but empowerment. If you or a loved one are seeking treatment it would be wise to consider an option with proven results. There will be a day when you can introduce yourself without carrying the stigma of being an addict.

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Social Intervention

By Anonymous

If you or someone you know has experienced the effects of drug addiction, I am assuming that you have seen the television show Intervention. The popular show on A. & E. chronicles the attempts of family and friends to persuade a loved one with a substance abuse problem to enter treatment.  Though they may be reluctant to go, it is for them a black and white personal decision.  The question they are faced with is “Do I want to go?” not “Am I financially able to go?” If the person agrees, it’s done and there are no further considerations.  The person suffering is whisked away to a quality treatment center where they are able to receive the services they require.  Unfortunately, for the large majority of Americans without access to large amounts of disposable income or Hollywood connections this road to rehabilitation is in stark contrast to reality.  For them it means mortgages, loans, credit card debt, reliance on family and friends, or seeking the assistance of an inferior, government funded treatment center.  In light of the fact that there are over 30,000,000 addicts and alcoholics in America, why do many find it so difficult to obtain competent treatment?  The fact is that rehabilitation is an extremely expensive proposition.  The care required costs tens of thousands of dollars, which is far from feasible for the average American.

The cost of addiction to the American taxpayer is estimated at over $400 BILLION annually.  This translates to over $1312.00 in taxes per citizen to provide State and Federal law enforcement, government funded rehabilitation, incarceration and oversight of drug offenders, and social services to the addicts and their families.  This occurs while drug arrests have risen exponentially and addiction rates have plateued at between 9% and 10%.  A clue to this static addiction rate might be that while State and Federal government has provided an astounding 76% of the funds spent to treat addicts/ alcoholics only 1 in 5 were serviced at a specialty treatment center. Additionally Government funded treatment centers fall within a narrow band of the available treatment options that do not take into account the individual needs of those seeking rehabilitation.   It seems that the American taxpayer has been charged with funding vague, beurocratic solutions to problems that are unique to the individual addicts/alcoholics involved.  If a Governmental campaign of this magnitude has yielded no tangible results, clearly another angle of attack required.

The American Medical Association as well as the American Psychiatric Association has classified alcoholism and drug addiction as treatable diseases, so where do the insurance companies stand?  Apparently a comfortable distance from the people suffering as the overwhelming majority of those who failed to receive treatment did so due to either a lack of heath insurance coverage or due to a lack of insurance coverage that provided for treatment. In fact only 25% of addicts and 42% of alcoholics were aided by private insurance despite the well-established characterization of the condition.  With the costs associated with treatment being what they are it is necessary for these companies to provide coverage that gives access to treatment options that are tailored the needs of the individual.

As insurance companies are disinclined to provide the services required by those insured or enroll past substance abusers, the situation seems pretty bleak to the majority of those attempting to get help.  While there is no overnight solution, there are a few things that can be done to nudge the industry and society in general in a more rational direction.  The most pressing issue is the encouragement of congress to mandate that private insurers cover the detoxification and treatment of those with policies struggling with addiction.  This is being hotly debated in Congress as the Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act.  This bill seeks to ensure that the insurance companies behave responsibly in seeing that the insured are provided access to the treatment that they pay for and deserve.  You can obtain information about what you can do to help pass this legislation at   www.nmha.org or at  www.wellstone.org .  Congress is extremely close to passing the bill and it is vital that you act as soon as possible as their August recess is approaching and they will likely adjourn in September.

An optimistic outcome of the passing of this legislation is that it might prompt the insurance industry to launch long-term studies into treatment options alternative to Alcoholics Anonymous.  While for the past 73 years it has been the backbone of mainstream recovery there has not been a single study that has proven it more effective than no treatment at all. This is not to say that it doesn’t work for anyone, but there are a sizable percentage of patients who find its theory of powerlessness incompatible with their view of addiction. Most people are often unaware that other options exist.  There are a variety of centers that approach the problem of addiction with practical, down-to-earth solutions and it would be to the mutual benefit to the insurance companies and the substance abusers to investigate these alternative avenues.

For many coping with addiction the issue isn’t inadequate coverage, it’s a complete lack of it.  With the cost of substance abuse treatment rivaling that of treating cancer this is a seemingly impossible obstacle to overcome.  The solution to this seems to be the adoption by Congress of Universal Coverage.  In this system currently being debated in the presidential campaign every American would have access to affordable health insurance.  This would broaden the base of those paying into the insurance system drastically lowering the rates, which have risen close to 5 times the rate of wages over the last decade.  The result is that affordable insurance is no longer the privilege of those working for large corporations and the government.  The State of Massachusetts has already done exactly that.  Every citizen of that state is covered and pays on a sliding scale in accordance with their wages.  This shows that it can and does work.  Again, the only way to see programs such as this enacted nationally is to get involved.  The only thing standing between you and coverage for you and your family is apathy so call your congressmen, speak with your friends, and judge the candidates on their commitment to your future.

While few will be able to reasonably expect that a television show will swoop in and save the day, we can hope for a sort of intervention.  This will be the collective intervention of those who recognize and act on the deeply flawed nature of insurance payments for the treatment of addiction.  We ask the insurance companies to INSURE so that hopefully, soon, the choice to get treatment will be as simple as deciding to go.

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Still flying over the Coo Coos Nest

by Arlis Jones

Okay, so believe it or not, here is what is going on in the world of substance abuse and depression therapies.  According to the National Mental Health Association there are over 100,000 patients a year undergoing Electrocunvulsive therapy or ECT.  This is a therapy that’s sole purpose is to produce a grand mal seizure by way of electric charge to the patient’s brain.  Apparently the clinical effect produced from body jarring volt treatment renders the patient temporarily free of depression.  But is this a real long-term fix and why would people go to this extreme?  The answer is no, this is absolutely not an effective therapy for depression or anything else.  The side effects from ECT are absolutely debilitating for a patients long term-health.  Severe memory loss and dazed hysteria occurs in 80% of patients.  So what could possibly possess someone to undergo this treatment, and out of pocket no less? Most patients say it is because they feel hopeless living in the daze brought on by anti anxiety and anti depression medications that doctors are giving to them like candy.  The problem seems to be that patients underlying issues are not being addressed and they are being manipulated into thinking that these cure all medications are the way to happiness.  Without true life skills therapy this desperation for quick fix therapy will haunt our society.  But how do we really rehabilitate someone with depression or on drugs and what does it mean to rehabilitate.  By definition what does it mean to rehabilitate well it means to bring back to a former state. Does doping up a depressed person with hardcore medication, clouding their mind, really restore their ability to be happy?  The fact is that these drugs end up compounding a person’s underlying problems and the person is far worse off.  At Freedom Center we use a drug free approach to rehabilitation.  In fact we believe and it is proven that even residual drugs left in the body can have a harmful effect on recovery.  We have a portion of the program where the person goes through Sauna and Vitamin treatment in order to sweat out all of the toxins and drugs out of there bodies and bring them back to there former physical state (Rehabilitation).  Once these toxins are completely expelled the student is now clear minded and is ready to learn.  Now a student can cope with fixing their underlying issues.  Every part of our program brings the student back to who they were before they used drugs.  This all brings you back to the person you really are.  The drug companies are making record profits by changing people into something they are not.  These big business drug companies are nothing but white collar drug pushers, creating a culture of addiction.

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Confronting Addiction

by D.P.

Before this program my life was legally, emotionally, and physically in shambles.  By doing drugs I had lost control of my life and everything in it, ruining relationships and hurting all of the people I cared about the most.  The Narconon program has given me the skills to confront any problem or situation I encounter, to communicate with others and handle them when they are having difficulties, and to regain control of my life and everything in it.  I am more confident in myself and my abilities than I ever have been.  This is a GREAT feeling.

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It’s Just a “few drinks”…..right??? Wrong!

by D.W.I.

Everyone knows the pressures of adolescence is a time that brings about changes physically, emotionally and mentally. These changes can be overwhelming. This could lead to risky behavior like drinking and drug usage. Stress and peer pressure are major contributing factors. Teens today are under a lot of pressure to be socially accepted and be part of the “in crowd”. Sadly enough more often than not, this means attending parties with friends where drugs and alcohol are present. It usually starts out with “just a few drinks” or a little marijuna. That stuff is harmless right? Wrong! Alcohol is the most widely available and deadly of all drugs. Yes, alcohol is a drug, it affects every part of the body, not just your liver and kidneys.

Alcohol affects the Central Nervous System (CNS) and your brain as well. It is used to “relax” or “wind down”. It also lowers inhibitions which is especially disturbing for teenage girls who would not usually engage in promiscuous sex which leads to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s) and unwanted pregnancies. Surveys of High School students found that 18% of females and 39% of males say it is acceptable to force sex on a girl if she is high or drunk. Not only is this shocking information, it is morally wrong and socially frowned upon bit it is illegal. Does the term rape ring a bell? Strong language, huh? Most experts and media like to soften it by calling it “date rape” or even “drug facilitated sexual assault”. No matter how much one tries to sugar coad it-its rape, plain and simple.

Which brings me to another point, trouble with the law. Among the 6 million plus incarcerated in our country, nearly 40% were estimated to have been drinking at the time of the offense. Among violent offenders, 41% were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. These staggering statistics alone should be enough to keep our youth abstinent from drugs and alcohol, sadly enough, its not. But wait, the nightmare doesn’t end there.

Alcohol is deadly and the statistics prove it. Each year approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. This includes 1,900 deaths as a result of drinking and driving, 1,600 from homicides, 300 suicides, and hundreds of others stemming from injuries such as falls, burns and drowning.

So ask yourself what can I do to prevent teen alcohol use and protect our children? Here are a few steps you can take as a responsible parent to, hopefully, prevent these tragedies:

  1. Spend time with your kids regularly
  2. Listen and talk with your children; try to understand the pressures placed on them by peers and society as a whole and make it safe for them to talk to you about what they are going through.
  3. Keep track; know where your children are, what they are doing and who their friends are.
  4. Get them involved in after school activities such as sports, volunteer work, etc….
  5. Reward them for positive behaviors; positive reinforcement goes a long way with young people
  6. Be a role model, don’t use drugs or alcohol to excess—they are your children and they look up to you!
  7. Most importantly, be their friend. Let them know that they can talk to you and make sure they feel safe enough to do so when the time comes-and it will come. Be there and be ready for it.

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