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February 2011

January 2011

New Pain Medication with No Addictive Properties

The addiction treatment community has wrestled for years fighting addictions and pain. Programs have developed different approaches to treating those with chronic pain issues. It is a difficult and a delicate issue that concerns many in the medical and addiction treatment industry. How to properly detoxify a patient and treat the underline pain that the individual is suffering from can be very tricky. The patient will present for drug treatment with the desire to be removed from pain medications, however the fear from the patient of the pain that will present as soon as medications are removed from the body becomes a barrier for the individual seeking treatment. It is a double edge sword and if not properly done, can create unnecessary pain for the patient.

 

A powerful new painkiller, which was developed on the basis of the research conducted at Stony Brook University and with no apparent side effects or addictive qualities, may now be only a year or two from the consumer market.

 

"This offers a major paradigm shift in the control of pain," declares Dr. Simon Halegoua, Professor of Neurobiology & Behavior at Stony Brook who in the 1990s, teamed up with fellow Stony Brook professors Dr. Gail Mandel and Dr. Paul Brehm to identify a novel sodium ion channel involved in the transmission of pain. They predicted that a drug aimed at blocking this channel, PN1/Nav 1.7, would control pain. PN1 (Peripheral Neuron 1), is uniquely expressed in peripheral nerves such as those involved in pain transduction.

 

When a patient is given an opiate like morphine, pain signals are still transmitted from sensory nerves to the central nervous system. Morphine action throughout the brain reduces and alters pain perception, but it also impairs judgment and results in drug dependence," explains Halegoua, also director of the Center for Nervous System Disorders at Stony Brook University. "With drugs targeting the PN1/Nav1.7 sodium ion channel, the pain signals would not be transmitted, even by the sensory nerves. And since the central nervous system is taken out of the equation, there would be no side effects and no addictive qualities."

 

The potential for such drugs is enormous -- the reduction or elimination of pain for patients with cancer, arthritis, migraine headaches, muscle pain, pain from burns, and pain from other debilitating diseases.

 

He notes that drugs in both oral and topical ointment forms, based on the research he conducted in a basement laboratory at Stony Brook with Mandel, a molecular biologist, and Brehm, an electro physiologist, are currently in Phase II clinical trials in England and Canada.

The Research Foundation of the State University of New York is the holder of the various patents originating from the work of the Stony Brook researchers. Icagen Inc., now in partnership with Pfizer, holds the exclusive license to these patents and has announced their own drug has now entered Phase I clinical trials in the U.S.

 

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by Sober Sky) from materials provided by Stony Brook University.

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Intervention Services

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Do you or a family member need intervention services? 

One great intervention service that I highly recommend is a place called Stepping Stones Interventions.  With many years of addiction intervention experience Greg Long will be more than happy to help you and your family get the help that is needed.

 

 

 

You can visit his services at http://www.steppingstonesinterventions.com

Stepping Stones Interventions

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Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Legislative Conference February 16, 2011 Austin, Texas

Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Legislative Conference

February 16, 2011 Austin, Texas

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Summer Sky Treatment Center Attends Dallas Addiction Conference

 

Summer Sky Treatment Center recently attendedthe 2011 Dallas NOVA Conference.The conference is conducted annually by the Dallas Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals. The conference presented an update on addiction. The theme of the conference was “Communities in Circles” which focusedon the impact of addictions in our communities.

 

Stephenville, Texas January 25, 2011—Summer Sky Treatment Center,  the Texas Based Drug Rehab Center responsible for  treating over 10,000 individuals,  is pleased to announce continued support to families, individuals  and addiction professionals in Dallas, Texas. Summer Sky sent a team of addiction treatment professionals to the Dallas Nova Conference on January 21st and 22nd. Summer Sky was proud to have its Chief Clinical Officer, Jennifer Holbrook-McKenzie MA; LCDC, serve as a speaker on Peer Assistance for Addiction Professionals. Jennifer is the President of the Texas Addiction Professionals Peer Assistance Network, an organization dedicated to helping addiction professionals find recovery from substance use and mental health disorders and helps assist counseling professionals in returning to safe practice while protecting the public and promoting professional accountability.

 

The Summer Sky Team was pleased to offer four scholarships for students entering the addiction counseling field to attend the upcoming 2011 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Legislative Conference to be held in Austin, Texas on February 16, 2011. This legislative conference will focus on substance abuse funding, substance abuse bills in the 82nd Legislature and strategies for prevention and legislative advocacy. Summer Sky is supporting individuals at the state and national levels in the fight against addiction. Summer Sky offers treatment for those who suffer with drug and alcohol disorders and related dual diagnoses. The population they serve is adult and adolescent males and females. They also have a facility exclusively dedicated for Public Safety Personnel only called Eagle Force Academy that will be opening in the very near future as the only one of its kind in the U.S. Admission is limited to the specialized populations of law enforcement, firefighters, corrections officers and emergency personnel. For more information about Summer Sky Treatment Center and Eagle Force Academy, contact an admissions specialist at 1-888-857-8857 or visit them on the web at http://www.summersky.us and http://www.eagleforceacademy.com.     

 

Source: Scott Kelley, LCDC

Summer Sky Treatment Center

1100 McCart Street

Stephenville, Texas 76401

1-888-857-8857

skelley@summersky.us 



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Officials fear bath salts becoming the next big drug menace

By Sheila Byrd

FULTON, MISS. - When Neil Brown got high on bath salts, he took his skinning knife and slit his face and stomach repeatedly. Brown survived, but authorities say others haven't been so lucky after snorting, injecting or smoking powders with such innocuous-sounding names as Ivory Snow, Red Dove and Vanilla Sky.

Law enforcement agents and poison control centers say the bath salts, with their complex chemical names, are an emerging menace in several U.S. states where authorities talk of banning their sale. Some say their effects can be as powerful as those of methamphetamine.

From the Deep South to California, emergency calls are being reported over exposure to the stimulants the powders often contain: mephedrone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone, also known as MDPV.

Sold under such names as Ivory Wave, Bliss, White Lightning and Hurricane Charlie, the chemicals can cause hallucinations, paranoia, a rapid heart rate and suicidal thoughts, authorities say. In addition to bath salts, the chemicals can be found in plant foods that are sold legally at convenience stores and on the Internet. However, they aren't necessarily being used for the purposes on the label.

Mississippi lawmakers this week began considering a proposal to ban the sale of the powders, and a similar measure is being sought in Kentucky. In Louisiana, the bath salts were outlawed by an emergency order after the state's poison center received more than 125 calls in the last three months of 2010 involving exposure to the chemicals.

In Brown's case, he said he had tried every drug from heroin to crack and was so shaken by terrifying hallucinations that he wrote to one Mississippi paper urging people to stay away from the bath salts.

"I couldn't tell you why I did it," Brown said, pointing to his scars. "The psychological effects are still there."

While Brown survived, sheriff's authorities in one Mississippi county say they believe one woman overdosed on bath salts there. In southern Louisiana, the family of a 21-year-old man says he cut his throat and ended his life with a gunshot. Authorities are investigating whether a man charged with capital murder in the December death of a Tippah County, Miss., sheriff's deputy was under the influence of the bath salts.

The stimulants are not regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, but are facing federal scrutiny. Law officers say some of the substances are being shipped from Europe, but origins are still unclear.

Gary Boggs, an executive assistant at the DEA, said there is a lengthy process to restrict these types of designer chemicals, including reviewing the abuse data. But it's a process that can take years.

Mark Ryan, director of Louisiana's poison control center, said he thinks state bans on the chemicals can be effective. He said calls about the salts have dropped sharply since Louisiana banned their sale in January.

Ryan said cathinone, the parent substance of the drugs, comes from a plant grown in Africa and is regulated. He said that MDPV and mephedrone are made in a lab and that they are not regulated because they are not marketed for human consumption. The stimulants affect neurotransmitters in the brain, he said.

The drugs cause "intense cravings," he said. "They'll binge on it three or four days before they show up in an ER. Even though it's a horrible trip, they want to do it again and again."

Ryan said at least 25 states have received calls about exposure, including Nevada and California. He said Louisiana leads with the greatest number of cases at 165, or 48 percent of the U.S. total, followed by Florida with at least 38 calls to its poison center.

Rick Gellar, medical director for the California Poison Control System, said the first call about the substances came in Oct. 5, and a handful of calls have followed since. But he warned: "The only way this won't become a problem in California is if federal regulatory agencies get ahead of the curve. This is a brand-new thing."

In the Midwest, the Missouri Poison Center at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center in St. Louis received at least 12 calls in the first two weeks of January about teenagers and young adults abusing such chemicals, said Julie Weber, the center's director. The center received eight calls about the powders all of last year.

Richard Sanders, a general practitioner working in Covington, La., said his son, Dickie, snorted some of the bath salts and endured three days of intermittent delirium. Dickie Sanders cut his throat but missed major arteries. As he continued to have visions, his physician father tried to calm him. But the elder Sanders said that as he slept, his son went into another room and shot himself.

"If you could see the contortions on his face. It just made him crazy," Sanders said. He added that the coroner's office confirmed that the chemicals were detected in his son's blood and urine.

Sanders warns that the bath salts are far more dangerous than some of their names imply.

"I think everybody is taking this extremely lightly. As much as we outlawed it in Louisiana, all these kids cross over to Mississippi and buy whatever they want," he said.

A small packet of the chemicals typically costs as little as $20.

In northern Mississippi's Itawamba County, Sheriff Chris Dickinson said his office has handled about 30 encounters with bath-salts users in the past two months alone. He said the problem grew last year in his rural area after a Mississippi law began restricting the sale of pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in making methamphetamine.

Dickinson said most of the bath-salts users there have been meth addicts and can be dangerous when using them.

"We had a deputy injured a week ago. They were fighting with a guy who thought they were two devils. That's what makes this drug so dangerous," he said.

But Dickinson said the chemicals are legal, leaving him no choice but to slap users just with a charge of disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor.

Kentucky state lawmaker John Tilley said he's moving to block the drug's sale there, preparing a bill for consideration when his legislature convenes shortly. Angry that the powders can be bought legally, he said: "If my 12-year-old can go in a store and buy it, that concerns me."

- Associated Press

To get help for problems with drugs contact Summer Sky Treatment Center at 1-888-857-8857

 

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Addiction Treatment Centers in Texas

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Addiction Treatment Centers are located around the State of Texas. Many great treatment programs exist. Each program is unique and offers different types of approaches to the treatment of addiction. Programs offer different levels of care. Some of the types of facilities that are present in Texas include inpatient, residential, short-term, long-term, and intensive out-patient programs.  Some programs have detox programs attached to the treatment programs and some do not provide this level of care.

Effective Addiction Treatment

Addiction treatment centers offer a variety of modalities that are effective for individuals that need treatment. Some of the available treatment modalities that are most common are medication and behavioral therapy and when used together this can increase the likely hood of someone getting free from an addiction. Detoxification is normally the first approach to addiction treatment and then is usually, followed by treatment. Some programs offer extensive relapse prevention therapies; others are brief in this area of treatment. It is recommended that individuals that are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, seek a program that has a medical detoxification program attached to the facility, or enter into a detox program, before entering into other types of treatment programs. Most effective addiction treatment programs, offer a continuum of care that includes a customized treatment regimen. The focus of the care should be in the area of life, medical and mental health. Programs that offer individual or group drug counseling are very helpful to individuals. Cognitive behavioral therapy, Multidimensional family therapy, Motivational interviewing, and programs that offer strong 12-step focuses are effective at the treatment of addiction. Overall the approach of the addiction treatment program should utilize many different approaches and modalities to be effective.

Access to addiction treatment in Texas is not equal to all individuals in the State of Texas. Texas has some very great programs and some are even nationally recognized treatment programs. However, not everyone can get access to treatment in the programs in Texas. The sad reality is that unless you carry a health insurance plan or have the ability to pay for treatment out of your pocket, then finding treatment in Texas can be very difficult. Texas does have State funded treatment programs for those that do not have insurance or the ability to pay for treatment privately. The State funded treatment programs have limited beds and often require a long waiting list that an individual has to be on, before a treatment bed becomes available.

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Study: Newer Antipsychotic Drugs Are Overused

Researchers Say Many Doctors Prescribe Drugs Despite Lack of Evidence of Effectiveness

By Brenda Goodman
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
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Jan. 7, 2011 -- Many people taking powerful psychiatric medicationsthat increase their risk of weight gain and diabetes are prescribed those drugs when there’s little evidence that they will get any benefit from them, a new study shows.

What’s more, experts say that even when these drugs, which are known as atypical antipsychotics, are prescribed as recommended, they may not be safer or more effective than the less expensive, older medications that they’ve apparently replaced.

“Atypical agents were once thought to be safer and possibly more effective,” says study researcher G. Caleb Alexander, MD, an assistant professor in the department of medicine at the University of Chicago Hospitals. “And what we’ve learned over time is that they are not safer, and in the settings where there’s the best scientific evidence, they are no more effective.”

How Drugs Developed for Schizophrenia Became Used as Antidepressants

The first generation of drugs to treat serious mental illnesses like schizophreniawere introduced in the late 1950s and 1960s, but those drugs often had disfiguring and painful neurologic side effects like muscle spasms and tremors and caused involuntary movements like facial grimacing.

In 1989, the first of a newer generation of atypical antipsychotic drugs, Clozaril, was introduced with the promise of being more effective than its predecessors, with fewer side effects. Other medications in the class soon followed, including Abilify, Geodon, Invega, Risperdal, Saphris, Seroquel, and Zyprexa.

“Since there were all these new drugs, and it costs 700 to 800 million to bring a drug to market, drug companies needed to make that money back,” says Jeffrey Lieberman, MD, chairman of the department of psychiatry at Columbia University, who was not involved in the study. “These drugs were marketed aggressively.”

The study, which was published online in the journal Pharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety, documents what Lieberman and others believe were the effects of that marketing.

Researchers found that the number of office visits in which a doctor documented a patient’s use of atypical antipsychotics more than doubled since the mid-1990s -- climbing from 6.2 million in 1995 to 14.3 million by 2008, making them the top-selling pharmaceutical drug class.

Over time, the way doctors prescribed those drugs changed, too, with doctors becoming more likely to prescribe these powerful medications for conditions in which they had not been rigorously studied or FDA approved, such as anxiety,depressionattention deficit disorder, and for aggression and agitation in dementia patients.

In adults, for example, the use of any antipsychotic medication -- old or new -- remained relatively stable from 1995 to 2001. But from 2001 to 2006 use of the medications doubled, the study showed, indicating that doctors were becoming quicker to turn to these powerful drugs.

In children, the use of the drugs skyrocketed, increasing 800% from 1995 to 2005.

“Time and time again what we see is medications that are prematurely adopted in populations that have little or nothing to gain, and this study is yet another example of how both doctors and patients may overenthusiastically or prematurely adopt medicines beyond the evidence base,” Alexander says.

Atypical Antipsychotics Become a Target of Lawsuits

In many cases, government regulators felt that pharmaceutical companies promoting these drugs broke the law by encouraging doctors to prescribe them “off-label.” Off-label drugs are those prescribed by doctors for purposes not approved by the FDA.

According to a report released in December 2010 by the consumer watchdog Public Citizen, some of the largest drug company settlements with the federal government in the last two decades were for the unlawful promotion of atypical antipsychotic drugs.

In 2010, for example, the drug company AstraZeneca paid $520 million to settle allegations by the federal government that it engaged in unlawful promotion of its drug Seroquel, which is the top-selling atypical antipsychotic.

AstraZeneca Responds

AstraZeneca offered the following written response to the findings of the new study:

“AstraZeneca believes that Seroquel is a safe and effective medication when used as recommended in the prescribing information and offers clinicians, patients and their loved ones an important treatment option.

Doctors need a range of options as they seek an appropriate treatment for individual patients, because they recognize a one-size-fits-all approach to treating all people with mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia is not possible. Doctors consider the needs of individual patients and the array of treatments that are available, including prescription medicines. Doctors are trained to carefully make these choices.

The company has worked diligently with the FDA to ensure that the safety profile of Seroquel is reflected appropriately in the prescribing information so that health care professionals can weigh the risk and benefit of Seroquel when making treatment decisions.

It is AstraZeneca’s policy to promote our medicines and to conduct interactions with healthcare professionals in compliance with the laws and regulations that govern the healthcare community in the United States. We train AstraZeneca employees to follow our compliance policies.”

Putting the Brakes on Inappropriate Use

Experts feel the overuse of these medications will need to be addressed on several fronts.

“There are several strategies that can be used to achieve more rational use of these and other psychotropic medicines, including patient and physician education, FDA empowerment, and denial of payments by public and private payers for uses that lack sufficient scientific evidence,” Alexander says.

Lieberman said more comparative effectiveness studies would help doctors better understand when drugs in the atypical antipsychotic class were superior to each other or to older drugs, and that would better inform prescribing practices.

“It’s a bit like going to the supermarket and trying to buy laundry detergent: This one has enzymes; this one has brighteners.” he says. “But we don’t really know how the drugs compare to each other.”

Many felt that the solution should not include preventing doctors from being able to prescribe drugs off-label.

“Off-label prescribing is an important component of practice,” Lieberman says. “The reason is that it really takes a lot of money for a drug company to jump through all the hoops to get an FDA indication. There may be good evidence that a drug is effective in a given condition, but the company doesn’t see enough of a market there to get it approved.”

But he admits that many doctors may be using too free a hand with the prescription pad.

“On the other hand, you don’t want to be promiscuous and abuse that privilege,” he says.

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