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Texas Drug Rehab Expansions Across Texas

The great State of Texas has seen a recent expansion into its alcohol and drug treatment sector. The need for treatment in Texas is growing daily and yearly. More people need treatment but can not get access treatment. Most of the request for treatment is related to an indigent treatment. Many new organizations have popped up in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, Texas. The problem with this expansion is that the treatment programs are out-of-network treatment programs and this causes a larger barrier to access of treatment services. The Texas Indigent Treatment System has long waiting list for beds.

Another problem is high deductible insurances are keeping individuals from receiving alcohol and drug treatment. Simply put the high deductible insurance plans reduces a person’s decision to ask for help which is one reason for the higher deductible plans, however the insurance companies have yet to figure out that placing barriers to access to care only forces more admissions into emergency room departments which increases the healthcare dollars needed to address alcohol and drug-related health needs.

The State of Texas needs some legislation on this matter as well as indigent funding to address the indigent population. If the Texas Legislative branches would look at the current systems and increase state funding and modify regulations on higher deductible plans, then they could make a huge impact with the Opiate Crisis in Texas. One great idea is for managed care insurance companies to become aware of this and to set up a waiver program for those needing access to medical detoxification for alcohol and drugs. They would only be saving dollars and lives and cutting their own cost in the long run.  

There are of course many other ideas to help people access alcohol and drug treatment. However, not many of those ideas are ready to start and are projected a few years down the road.   

Texas Treatment Sector Concerns:

Why are so many new programs in Texas? The simple answer is the perception that due to a larger population of insured lives in Texas that treatment organizations can increase their revenue by opening more treatment centers across the State of Texas. It’s simply capitalism at work, and investor groups are looking to turn some financial profits by expanding their organizations in larger states. Many long-term treatment programs in Texas have been concerned with the new expansion trends and have voiced their concerns to industry insiders, state agencies, professional organizations and counseling groups in Texas. The main concern is that the expansion could create the problems associated that Florida Treatment Centers have experienced in the last 5-years or more. Texas wants to be a step above the national addiction treatment industry by staying true to experience, innovation, ethical standards and providing evidence-based addiction treatment.  

Texas Treatment Problems:

The biggest area of concern for Substance use disorder facilities in Texas is workforce shortage of qualified counseling staff. The current system of educating and training counselors as well as counselors retiring is causing a workforce issue in the Texas Addiction Treatment Sector. There are professional associations like the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals that are looking at the problem and developing ways to address the issue. However, there are many other organizations that are paying attention to the workforce issues in Texas. Another concern is the emergence of websites that have become consumer sites for placement of patients into rehab centers. Many of these placement center websites are operating with no regulation and have shady practices of trying to scam unsuspecting individuals into using their paid only treatment center advertisement relationships while knocking wonderful treatment programs that have been helping individuals and families for decades in the addiction treatment sector. This is a whole issue that needs to be addressed soon before more people get hurt. The main thing is that consumers visit the treatment center websites and call and talk to the actual treatment center staff before deciding on which program to attend.            

Alcohol and Drug Treatment Trust:

Texas has long held its treatment center sector as one of the best places to receive treatment in the entire nation. The experience and professional and ethical standards related to regulation have always been a mainstay of the Texas Rehabs that provide services. The traditional substance use disorder profession takes pride in providing quality and effective treatment services in outpatient, detoxification, residential and partial hospitalization programs.

The treatment centers that are making an impact in the lives of Texans are licensed by The Texas Department of State Health Services and accredited by The Joint Commission or CARF accredited.   These programs have shown continued strength and consumer protection to the people that use their substance use disorder services. The Joint Commission requires that each Texas Rehab Program monitor its programs for quality, effectiveness and focuses on providing outcomes.

Cost of Treatment:

The cost of addiction treatment centers in Texas range from $8,000 to $90,000 dollars per month. However, the price is not an indicator of one program is more effective than another program. Each program figures out their negotiated treatment rates with the insurance companies. Many programs that are cost-effective treatment rates offer more services than the costlier treatment programs. It's not a matter of if you pay more you receive more from the treatment providers. The fact is Texas has many programs that have been in operations for more than 20-years and some that are within a 5-year window of operation, and they are all great programs.   

 

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Drug to treat alcohol use disorder shows promise among drinkers with high stress

Thursday, September 29, 2016

 

NIH-funded multi-site clinical trial suggests that smokers may also benefit.

 

A new medication that targets part of the brain’s stress system may help reduce alcohol use in people with alcohol use disorder (AUD), according to a new study by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

“We’re committed to developing new medications to provide effective therapy to a broader spectrum of people with AUDs.

George F. Koob, Ph.D., Director, NIAAA

“Medications have become an important tool for treating alcohol use disorders, but current medications are not effective for all people with AUDs,” noted NIAAA Director George F. Koob, Ph.D. “We’re committed to developing new medications to provide effective therapy to a broader spectrum of people with AUDs.”

As reported online in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers led by Raye Litten, Ph.D., acting director of the NIAAA Division of Medications Development, conducted a randomized clinical trial of a new compound, called ABT-436, designed to block the effects of vasopressin, a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus of the brain. 

“Vasopressin helps to regulate the pituitary adrenal axis and other brain circuits involved in emotion,” explained Dr. Litten. “As such, it plays a role in regulating stress, anxiety, and their interaction with AUD.”

Dr. Litten, first author Megan Ryan and their NIAAA colleagues worked with NIAAA’s multi-center Clinical Investigations Group, to recruit 144 alcohol-dependent adult men and women for the 12-week study. During a 28-day baseline period, female participants consumed at least 28 drinks per week, while male participants consumed at least 35 drinks per week. Participants were then randomized to receive either placebo tablets or ones containing the ABT-436 compound. Researchers monitored participants’ alcohol consumption, as well as their mood changes and smoking habits, as these are known to co-vary with alcohol consumption.

Researchers found that participants receiving ABT-436 experienced more days of alcohol abstinence than those receiving the placebo. In particular, participants who reported high levels of stress appeared to respond better to ABT-436, in that both the frequency of their drinking and the number of heavy drinking days they experienced decreased.

“Our findings suggest that potential future studies with drugs targeting vasopressin blockade should focus on populations of people with AUD who also report high levels of stress,” said first author Ryan, a clinical project manager in the NIAAA Division of Medications Development.

Smokers may be another population that could benefit from ABT-436. In addition to its effects on alcohol consumption, study participants receiving the new compound   experienced a reduction in smoking. The researchers suspect that ABT-436 might be targeting the same areas in the brain that relate to withdrawal and stress, and, in the process, influencing both tobacco and alcohol use disorders. Additional research is needed to determine if that is the case.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol use disorder, and alcohol problems. NIAAA also disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at www.niaaa.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

 

 

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National Recovery Month 2015

September is here! It's the official month of recovery. Every year in September we celebrate addiction recovery all across the United States. This year will you please help us all celebrate that recovery is an option and millions do recovery from addictions.

Addiction Treatment is available to those who want and need treatment. Below is the Presidents Proclamation for Recovery Month.

 

  

Presidential Proclamation -- National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, 2015

NATIONAL ALCOHOL AND DRUG ADDICTION RECOVERY MONTH, 2015

- - - - - - -

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Every day, resilient Americans with substance use disorders summon extraordinary courage and strength and commit to living healthy and productive lives through recovery.  From big cities to small towns to Indian Country, substance use disorders affect the lives of millions of Americans.  This month, we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to all those who are seeking or in need of treatment, and we recognize the key role families, friends, and health care providers play in supporting those on the path to a better tomorrow.

This year's theme is "Join the Voices for Recovery: Visible, Vocal, Valuable!"  It encourages us all to do our part to eliminate negative public attitudes associated with substance use disorders and treatment.  People in recovery are part of our communities -- they are our family and friends, colleagues and neighbors -- and by supporting them and raising awareness of the challenges they face, we can help eradicate prejudice and discrimination associated with substance use disorders, as well as with co-occurring mental disorders.  Prevention and treatment work, and people recover -- and we must ensure all those seeking help feel empowered, encouraged, and confident in their ability to take control of their future.  Americans looking for help for themselves or their loved ones can call 1-800-662-HELP or use the "Treatment Locator" tool atwww.SAMHSA.gov.

My Administration remains dedicated to pursuing evidence-based strategies to address substance use disorders as part of our National Drug Control Strategy.  Seeking to widen pathways to recovery, our strategy supports the integration of substance use treatment into primary health care settings and the expansion of support services in places such as high schools, institutions of higher education, and throughout the criminal justice system.  In the wake of public health crises related to non-medical use of prescription drugs and heroin in communities across our Nation, my Administration has pledged considerable resources to help Federal, State, and local authorities boost prevention efforts, improve public health and safety, and increase access to treatment in communities across the country.  And the Affordable Care Act has extended substance use disorder and mental health benefits and Federal parity protections to millions of Americans.

Behavioral health is essential to overall health, and recovery is a process through which individuals are able to improve their wellness, live increasingly self-directed lives, and strive to fulfill their greatest potential.  During National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, we reaffirm our belief that recovery and limitless opportunity are within reach of every single American battling substance use disorders, and we continue our work to achieve this reality.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 2015 as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.  I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. 

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of August, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.

 

BARACK OBAMA

 

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Texas Drug Rehabs Innovative Thinking

Texas Based Drug Rehab Summer Sky is changing the face of addiction treatment. They are on course to launch some of the newest evidence based addiction practices as well as cutting edge recovery support systems in 2011. Traditional Drug Rehabs in the last five years have fallen behind the curve, when it comes to advancement of addiction treatment practices. Summer Sky who has been known to introduce new and innovative addiction practices is again making progress in the area of evidence based treatment practices. In 2009 Summer Sky begin the process of building a treatment team that is focused on quality of care and results. They introduced the first Texas 30 day model of treatment to incorporate Equine Therapy, Music Therapy, Art Therapy, Aquatic Therapy. This type of addiction expansion was unheard of for a 30 day treatment program. It was usually the practice of 90 day or long- term drug rehabs that offered this type of services. It  did not take long for other Texas Drug Rehabs to begin the process of setting up programs that implemented this type of therapy practices. In 2010 Summer Sky once again pushed the status quo and implemented the first Recovery Team into and addiction treatment program in Texas.

This has allowed the clinical team to focus  on solid clinical services and allow the recovery team to work with the clients on individual recovery, just like it is going to be when they get out of treatment. The lines have become clear for the clients on what the 12-steps are all about and how they fit into their life. 

The Recovery Team and Clinical Team collaborate on many aspects of and individuals recovery and treatment.  Also  the facility implemented Massage therapy and Yoga to the programs. This is usually reserved for luxury facilities.

If you are looking for a rehab center that is making a difference in the Addiction Field Summer Sky is to place to go for great treatment.

 

 

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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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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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Popping a Pill Can Help Some Alcoholics Curb Drinking

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ScienceDaily (Dec. 17, 2010) — A little-used medication can help treat alcoholism, an updated review of studies confirms. At any given time, about 5 percent of the population suffers from an addiction to alcohol, often with devastating consequences to work, family, friends and health. Twelve-step programs have been the mainstay for helping alcoholics to quit drinking, but a significant number of people who try these programs do not find them helpful or suffer relapses.

The Cochrane review finds that the medication naltrexone -- brand names are Depade and ReVia -- when combined with counseling or interventions like Alcoholics Anonymous, can help cut the risk of heavy drinking in patients who are dependent on alcohol.

Naltrexone works by blocking the pleasurable feelings, or "high," a person gets from drinking alcohol, thereby reducing motivation to drink. Naltrexone can be taken daily as a pill and is available as a long-acting injection.

The review was published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates medical research. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing medical trials on a topic.

"Hundreds of drugs have been tried for relapse prevention [in alcoholism] and basically all others have failed," said Michael Soyka, M.D., senior author of the review. "From a clinical point of view, there are few pharmacologic options for the treatment of alcohol dependence, so it is important to study those options that look promising." Soyka and lead review author Suanne Roesner are associated with the psychiatric hospital at the University of Munich.

Alcohol dependence is different from alcohol abuse or misuse. The symptoms of alcohol dependence include craving for alcohol, an inability to control drinking, the presence of withdrawal symptoms if one tries to quit and tolerance -- the need to increase alcohol amounts to feel the same effect. People who only abuse alcohol and are not dependent on it have no trouble controlling their drinking, once they decide to do so.

Soyka and colleagues examined the results of 50 previously published high-quality studies on naltrexone and alcohol dependence. Overall, the studies enrolled nearly 7,800 patients diagnosed with alcohol dependence. Of these, about 4,200 patients took naltrexone or a similar drug called nalmefene. The rest of the patients took a placebo or had some other type of treatment. Treatment with naltrexone ranged from four weeks to a year, with most patients receiving about 12 weeks of treatment. Most patients also received counseling.

Researchers found that patients who received naltrexone were 17 percent less likely to return to heavy drinking than were patients who received a placebo treatment. "That would mean that naltrexone can be expected to prevent heavy drinking in one out of eight patients who would otherwise have returned to a heavy drinking pattern," Soyka said.

Naltrexone also increased the number of people who were able to stay abstinent by 4 percent.

While at first glance that might not seem like a miracle cure for alcoholism, Soyka said that the effectiveness of naltrexone is on par with medications used for other psychiatric conditions.

"Naltrexone is moderately effective in reducing alcohol intake. It's about as effective as antidepressants in depressive disorders," he said. "From a safety point of view, there are few safety concerns. Nausea is the most frequent side effect."

Carlton Erickson, Ph.D., director of the Addiction Science Research and Education Center at the University of Texas in Austin, says naltrexone can help a person with alcohol dependence move toward the goal of abstinence.

"Anytime you reduce the severity of drinking, the individual is more open to treatment for abstinence," he said. "It's almost like putting them through a series of steps if you can get them to cut down; once they start to cut down they are more likely to become abstinent with continued treatment and continued exposure to 12-step programs." Erickson is not associated with the review or any of its authors.

Despite its possible benefits in treating alcohol dependency, naltrexone is not widely used in the United States or elsewhere, Erickson said. Some addiction specialists fear that the widespread use of naltrexone or other medications will result in patients not receiving the counseling or psychological interventions they need.

There is also a lingering attitude that the treatment of alcohol dependency must rely solely on psychological or spiritual methods.

"People in 12-step programs typically don't believe in medications for the treatment of alcoholism," Erickson said. "Therefore they are unlikely to accept anyone into their 12-step meetings who is on a medication like naltrexone. Secondly, they would not want to accept it for themselves, unless a physician talked them into it as part of their treatment plan."

In addition, most large alcohol treatment centers, with the exception of Hazelden, do not advocate for the use of medications in the management of addiction, he said.

However, Erickson said that naltrexone is FDA-approved only as an adjunct to abstinence-based therapies, like Alcoholics Anonymous. "Naltrexone is not something you give to someone who says 'I want to stop drinking, give me a pill.' Naltrexone is only a helper to that process. The medication itself is not a magic bullet."

The review discloses that two authors received speaker/consultancy/advisory board honoraria from pharmaceutical companies.

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted (with editorial adaptations by ScienceDaily staff) from materials provided by Health Behavior News Service, part of the Center for Advancing Health. The original article was written by Katherine Kahn.

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Novel Vaccine That Produces Strong Immunity Against Cocaine High Poised To Move Quickly Into Human Trials

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Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Cornell University have produced a long-lasting anti-cocaine immunity in mice by giving them a unique vaccine that combines bits of the common cold virus with a particle that mimics cocaine. 

In their study, published January 4, 2011, in the advanced online edition ofMolecular Therapy, the researchers say this novel strategy might be the first to offer cocaine addicts a fairly simple way to break and reverse their habit. The approach could also be useful in treating other addictions, such as to nicotine, heroin, and methamphetamine. 

"Our very dramatic data shows that we can protect mice against the effects of cocaine, and we think this approach could be very promising in fighting addiction in humans," says the study's lead investigator, Ronald G. Crystal, chairman and professor of genetic medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. 

"The vaccine suppresses the stimulant effects of the drug," said Scripps Research Professor Kim Janda, a co-author of the paper and a pioneer in the field of developing vaccines against addictive drugs such as cocaine. "Unlike other types of treatment, a vaccine such as this one does not interfere with the neurological targets of the drug, but instead blocks cocaine from ever reaching the brain in the first place." 

In the new study, the vaccine effect lasted for at least 13 weeks, the longest time point evaluated in such an approach. Since the vaccine likely will not require multiple expensive infusions, the researchers hope that it can move quickly into human trials.

Clinically, this sort of therapy could be given to people in treatment programs to aid in their recovery. And, like most other types of treatment, it will only be useful for those who want the help. 

"This vaccine would be most applicable for addicts who are who are interested in getting off the drug," said Janda, the Eli R. Callaway Jr. Chair in Chemistry and a member of the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology at Scripps Research. "In essence we view such vaccines as 'immuno-helpers' for treating substance abuse, and, in the case at hand, it might prove to be extremely useful for crack addicts whose relapse rate is exceedingly high." 

The Drug 

According to the latest statistics available from National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2008 5.3 million Americans age 12 and older had abused cocaine in any form and 1.1 million had abused crack at least once in the year prior to being surveyed. 

Cocaine, derived from the leaf of the Erythroxylaceae coca plant, is a highly potent drug that, as a salt, is either snorted or dissolved in water and injected directly into the bloodstream. The salt is also often neutralized to make an insoluble "free-base" form that is smoked. 

Once ingested in the bloodstream, the drug crosses the blood - brain barrier and accumulates rapidly in the brain. "The brain levels rise very rapidly once cocaine is taken into the system," said Janda. 

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Addiction

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Addiction is a chronic disorder proposed to be precipitated by a combination of genetic, biological/pharmacological and social factors.

Addiction is a compulsion to repeat a behaviour regardless of its consequences.

A person who is addicted is sometimes called an addict.

Addiction is often characterized by a craving for more of the drug or behavior, increased physiological tolerance to exposure, and withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the stimulus.

Many drugs and behaviours that provide either pleasure or relief from pain pose a risk of addiction or dependency.

For more information about the topic Addiction, read the full article at  Wikipedia.org, or see the following related articles:

Note: This page refers to an article that is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the article  Addiction at Wikipedia.org. See theWikipedia copyright page for more details.

Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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