Will Government Initiatives Help The Opioid Crisis?

Around 30 states have implemented new laws and policies, limiting physician’s ability to prescribe opioid pain pills to their patients. The most common method is to put a limit on the first prescription for opioid pills, stipulating that it should be for a week or less. There are also rules about the potency of these pills.

Some state governments have also increased or initiated funding to educate people on the dangers of opioid addiction, treatment, and prevention. This needs to be stronger than a warning label from the pharmacist.

States hope to lower the rate of addiction to opiate pain pills and slow the supply of legal opiate pain pills that seeps into the black market. However, the problem is deeper with ingredients, such as fentanyl, and pill makers available on the dark web. Building a wall would have little effect as small quantities of fentanyl to make these pills come through the mail.

Curbing prescriptions is a start, but people who have already developed an addiction will find the pills needed to sustain their addiction harder to obtain from legal sources, such as their doctor. Many individuals addicted to opiates order variants of the drug online from other countries and have them delivered right to their door.

Individuals addicted to opiates go “doctor shopping” to find other doctors who turn a blind eye or have several fake IDs set up to evade identification to ensure their supply never runs out. People who obtain opiate pain pills through their doctor sometimes sell the pills to other individuals addicted to opiates, rather than use it themselves. Some doctors also continue to prescribe them, for physical and mental health concerns.

Street drugs are the answer for many people who have been thrown off the system and this is riskier. Alternatives to opiate pain pills, such as heroin or fentanyl are often cheaper on the street, readily available and are often times much more potent. There is also the concern that people needing their fix will take whatever is available, and that can raise the risk of overdose.

Dr. Cidambi argues there are better ways to deal with the problem.

First is education. Many of these medications are prescribed by physicians who do not fully understand the addictive nature of these medications. Healthcare providers need to be educated on these issues so they can prescribe responsibly. They will be armed with information about the dangers the medications pose, are will be able to counsel their patients.

Once they understand the potential dangers, they will also be able to recognize the signs of addiction. Through continuous education, they will understand how addiction develops and be able to intervene before the patient becomes addicted.

Second is to provide more treatment options. Working with a patient on an outpatient basis allows them to engage in treatment while not disturbing their daily life. It also reduces the stigma associated with the disease of addiction.

The integration of the home environment into treatment and involvement of family, or other loved ones results in better outcomes. This is vital, as the patient is still in touch with his work and the patient’s family now understands the chronic nature of addiction better. It enables the patient to begin making lifestyle changes when they are in treatment with professional detox support.

Identifying Alcohol or Drug Abuse in the Work Place

Addiction Expert Dr. Indra Cidambi Spells Out Warning Signs Your Co-Worker May Be Abusing Drugs

New York – January 20, 2016 – Substance abuse (alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs) in the workplace is a serious issue with negative consequences for employers. Over 77% of illicit drug users are employed in the workplace, according to a National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, and statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor show that alcoholism alone results in 500 million lost workdays every year.

“The use of drugs or alcohol in the workplace has profound implications for the employer,” says leading Addiction Expert, Dr. Indra Cidambi. Employees who use drugs are likely to miss work, which may negatively impact costs and customer service. They are more likely to file workmen’s compensation claims, as workplace accidents are more likely, or, in some cases, it may increase an employer’s liability if employees harm others or steal. Consequently, employers need to be able to recognize warning signs of substance abuse:

1. Personality Changes: “Individuals affected by substance abuse show distinct changes in personality, with no identifiable cause,” says Dr. Cidambi. They are likely to become more moody and irritable and they have difficulty paying attention. They may lose their motivation and energy and display an “I don’t care” attitude.

2. Physical Signs: “Physical symptoms of addiction are also evident,” says Dr. Cidambi. “Physical symptoms to watch for include: cold, sweaty palms and shaking hands; a runny nose and frequent rubbing of the nose; red, watery eyes; and a loss of interest in personal care and hygiene.”

3. Frequent Restroom Use: People who use substances at work have a frequent need to carve out some private space – they may need to ingest, snort or inject drugs, sleep off the effects, or pass out. They may also experience nausea, vomiting or other drug/alcohol-related side effects, which could send them to the bathroom more frequently.

4. Unexplained Absences/Tardiness: Individuals using substances are frequently unable to fulfill their responsibilities. They are more inclined to call in sick or show up late for work. “Employees with a substance abuse disorder tend to experience more job turnover as a result of absenteeism or overuse of sick time,” says Dr. Cidambi. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), employees with substance abuse issues were more likely to report frequent job changes in the past year.

5. Always in Need of Money: “The cost of obtaining drugs or alcohol for heavy, daily use can be prohibitive,” says Dr. Cidambi. Consequently, the need for money is chronic and employees using substances may frequently borrow money from colleagues. They may even build relationships with co-workers just so they can borrow money.

“It is not always that any of these signs and symptoms by themselves point to substance abuse,” cautions Dr. Cidambi, “but a cluster should be a cause for concern.” Alcohol and drugs can invade all facets of the workplace without regard to occupation or demographic group and they can impact the employer financially. If you know someone who is exhibiting these signs, it is important to get that co-worker/employee the help they need. It may be by talking to the co-worker’s immediate boss or contacting Human Resources.

 

About Dr. Indra Cidambi

Indra Cidambi, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Network Therapy, is recognized as a leading expert and pioneer in the field of Addiction Medicine. Under her leadership, the Center for Network Therapy started New Jersey’s first state-licensed Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification program for all substances nearly three years ago. Dr. Cidambi is Board Certified in General Psychiatry and double Board Certified in Addiction Medicine (ABAM, ABPN). She is the Vice President of the New Jersey Society of Addiction Medicine. She is fluent in five languages, including Russian.

About the Center for Network Therapy

Center for Network Therapy (CNT) was the first facility in New Jersey to be licensed to provide Ambulatory (Outpatient) Detoxification Services for all substances of abuse – alcohol, anesthetics, benzodiazepines, opiates and other substances of abuse. Led by a Board Certified Addiction Psychiatrist, Indra Cidambi, M.D., experienced physicians and nurses closely monitor each patient’s progress. With CNT’s superior client care and high-quality treatment, Dr. Cidambi and her clinical team have successfully detoxed roughly 1500 patients in five years. CNT also offers Partial Care and IOP programs.

Thedoctorschannel.com : 3 Step Protocol May Save Patients from Drug Abuse

The Doctor’s Channel is a television channel aimed exclusively at doctors. In the interview, Dr. Cidambi recommends 3 steps doctors should take while prescribing opioid pain medications in order to minimize the chances of addiction to pain pills.

Long Island Backstory : Addiction to alcohol and drugs with the mothers of TAM (The Addict’s Mom)

2. Dr. Cidambi discusses addiction to alcohol and drugs with the mothers of TAM (The Addict’s Mom). How to identify if a loved is addicted? How to take steps to get them into treatment?

Insurance

In-network with:

Aetna
AmeriHealth
Anthem BCBS
Beacon Health Options
Emblem BCBS
GHI
Empire BCBS
Horizon BCBS (EPO, HMO, PPO)
Oscar
QualCare
United Health/Optum/Oxford
Emblem GHI*
Humana*

 

* If the QualCare logo is on the
insurance card