Healing Stories: Opiate Overdose. The Four Keys To Turn the Epidemic Around
Over 125 people die every day in the US from opiate overdose. From heroin to prescription drugs like vicodin, oxycodone, roxycodone and more. The tragedy continues in a country that has the resources to turn this problem around.
For the past 28 years, number one best-selling author, counselor, life coach and holistic addiction recovery coach David Essel has helped many people addicted to opiates turn the corner to lead a drug free existence. Is it easy? No, but it is worth the effort’s that David talks about below.
The four key ingredients to turn the opiate addiction tragedies around…
” Over 25 years ago I started to work as a holistic addiction recovery coach in the world of addiction and recovery. From alcohol, to street drugs, to prescription drugs, to food, sex, spending and so much more. But the one drug that is the most brutally difficult to watch someone go through withdrawl from has to be without a doubt opiates.
I have had multiple clients sit in my office, or let me repeat that, lay on the floor in my office during our sessions for the first 30 minutes in a fetal position, shaking, sweating and experiencing dry heaves.
It is been so sad to watch them for 30 straight minutes in this extreme state of pain, then to slowly rise, sit on the couch and do their best to begin the session of the day. It’s not easy for them, nor has it been easy for me to watch them riddled in pain.
But on the flipside, I have helped many many of these addicts get totally clean, and stay clean, through the points below that I think are crucial if we want to try to turn this epidemic around.
But first, how did we get in the situation to begin with? What has really caused this incredible addiction to opiates in our society? In the August 4 2017 edition of USA today, Dr. Marty Makary, a professor of surgery and health policy at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, claimed that physicians are the root cause of this addiction to opiates.
Interesting isn’t it? That one of the leading physicians in America will call his profession out as the major cause of opiate addiction. And how is that?
In his own words he talks about over prescribing, in his practice, opioid prescriptions for a number of years. “Take C-sections. One of the most common operations paid for by Medicaid tax dollars. Some doctors appropriately prescribe 5 to 10 opioid tablets after the procedure, in combination with non opioid meds as recommended by the American Pain Society. While other doctors are still doing what I did for years. Give every patient a bottle of 30 to 60 highly addictive opioid tablets. We need to take away the matches not put out the fires.” That is from one of our leading doctors in society today.
So here are four keys I think we really need to look at in order to turn this epidemic around:
Number one. Medications and supplements to help in the withdrawal process. In the image I painted above, watching someone go through days upon days of intense withdrawl symptoms due to opiate addiction, we have found that there’s a variety of products available some medical, some over the counter, to help individuals go through, and work through the withdrawal phase.
The most well-known is the pharmaceutical called Suboxone, which must be prescribed by a physician, and if done correctly, can help decrease the cravings for the opiates as well as decrease the withdrawl symptoms my clients go through.
But there’s a catch. In my experience, I’ve seen way too many clients come in who are addicted to Suboxone. The doctors, whether they knew it or not, are having these individuals on long term use of Suboxone which in my professional opinion is uncalled for. Not necessary. But when they come in, and they’ve been on Suboxone for three, four, or five years… They start to feel both emotionally and physically dependent upon the drug. They’re afraid if they go off it they will not only experience withdrawal but they will start craving again the opiates that they been trying to get away from.
My advice? I think physicians should be responsible in the prescribing of Suboxone, because it does work, but only for a 3 to 6 month period of time where they should be working with their clients weaning them off this very strong pharmaceutical drug.
The other supplements that we use in my practice, since I am not a physician, would be the amino acid DLPA, or DL – phenylalanine, Tyrosine as well as the herbal supplement Kratom.
In our practice we have seen the combination use of these supplements, have helped people to decrease their mental and physical cravings for opiates, and begin to see that they can lead a life without these highly addictive and destructive drugs.
One of my clients, a 30 year on and off opiate addict, could not believe the power of DLPA. He mentioned to me many times during our months of working together that he never thought he would be able to walk away from these powerful drugs but the supplement DLPA, which affects mood and pain regulation, is the answer he had been looking for.
But the supplements are not miracle workers. They are just one of the many steps we can take to help clients get off the opiate addiction cycle.
Number two. In my practice, the number one cause of all types of addiction, is the fact that we don’t know how to deal with emotions in society today. So let’s take someone who had surgery, they were prescribed opiates for their recovery, but then they found that not only did the opiate take away their pain, but it took away boredom, anxiety, nervousness, and even depression after surgery.
So once they are “healed”, and they no longer have access to their own prescription, withdrawl sets in. But, if they had learned as we teach in our holistic addiction recovery program, how to deal with the emotions of boredom, anxiety, stress from all areas of life, and they were weaned off the opiates appropriately with Suboxone, DLPA etc.… We give them a much better chance of learning how to live life drug-free.
Number three. Medical and emotional support versus law enforcement. A recent article, September 24, New York Times, described the incredible powerful response the country of Portugal has had in dealing with opiate addiction and overdose. Once they decriminalized opiates and cocaine use, and instead put their health department system in charge of dealing with opiate addicts, the number of overdose deaths dropped dramatically in this country. We need to follow their lead. We don’t need more policeman on the street. We don’t need more incarceration. We need a very viable approach to mental health and addiction withdrawal through our health departments not through law enforcement.
Number four. Education. This is a tough one. Most of the addicts I’ve worked with had no idea what they were heading into when they started playing around with opiates. There is not one addict I’ve ever worked with who said they knew at some point they’d be injecting heroin in their arms. There needs to be a greater amount of education, once again by our health department, in our school systems, and universities. Not just warning about the dangers of opiate use, but educating people on the correct use of opiates for pain relief.
And this goes for doctors as well. With the quote above out of USA today, I think every doctor in America needs to take an educational course on opiates, looking at the number of prescribed pills per health challenge, and making sure that they’re not writing prescriptions to keep patients happy, but writing prescriptions in order to keep people from being addicted.
In our holistic addiction recovery program we also teach people how to keep their blood sugar levels normalize through diet, so that they don’t hit the bottoms, lack of energy where they reach out for opiates to lift their moods. We also go over spiritual practices, emotional practices, cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, exercise to release endorphins in the brain so that these individuals have a chance to become healthy, and free of addiction for the rest of their life.
One of my clients wives called me several weeks ago after her husband had been clean through our program from his opiate addiction for four months. She was almost crying on the phone. She thanked me for bringing her husband back. Someone she had not “seen” in 20 years. To me, working as hard as we do on education, and holistic addiction recovery approaches, this call made it all worthwhile.”
For more information on how David can help you with any addiction issues please click here