ASK MAx: THE OPIOID EPiDEMIC-MAYBE IT IS NOT SO BAD!!!!

Team of doctors.

LET’S TALK ABOUT…THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC-MAYBE IT IS NOT SO BAD!!!! How many doctors does it take to cure a disease? A primary care physician, an internist, an oncologist, a radiologist, a surgeon, an anesthesiologist, a medical toxicologist, an addictionologist, and, by time you are cured, if you are, a psychiatrist.

The phenomenal advances in western medicine have brought us to treating specific diseases and specific parts of the body, rather than the whole person.

In 2010, Dr. Frank Lipman blogged on the Huffington Post (8/15/10) about when we talk about “a “health care” system and health care reform, what we’re actually talking about is a “disease care” system and disease care reform. Doctors of modern western medicine are trained to treat disease with drugs and surgery. They are not trained to keep people healthy.”

Consequently, we are in the midst of a national opioid epidemic.

Imagine a healing system that depends on treating the whole person using a combination of western and eastern practices; medical and alternative.

Dr. Lipman points out “At medical school, we doctors are taught how to treat the symptoms of disease, rather than how to prevent disease in the first place. For example, throughout our training we receive very few lectures on nutrition, despite the fact that diet is fundamental to good health. Nor are we trained in other lifestyle modalities that help keep people well, such as exercise and relaxation therapies. We are taught nothing about the wisdoms of alternative medical systems that have been helping other cultures for centuries.”

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Because of the overprescribing of opioids, as well as the growing illicit drug market, crackdowns on how, when, and how much, opioids are prescribed. Physicians are being urged to consider complimentary alternative medicine (CAM) using an integrative model.

In addition, the Center for Disease Control reports “U.S. societal costs of opioid abuse are estimated at $53.4 billion which includes $42 billion in lost productivity, $8.2 billion in criminal justice costs, $2.2 billion in inpatient and outpatient medical costs, and $944 million due to medical complications (2%).”

Traditionally, insurance companies are slow to start legitimizing CAMs by reimbursing for out-of-pocket costs. With the changes presently being demanded by government oversight, insurances are being forced to come to terms with integrative medicine. This means reimbursement for CAMs prescribed by providers.

The insurance companies are considering alternatives that meet “medical best practices”. This means that there has been sufficient research completed to show that whatever CAM is used will show a reasonably promising outcome.

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Chiropractic has been established as an alternative paid for by insurance for over fifty years. acupuncture, nutrition, and “exercise” are beginning to be recognized as legitimate by insurance companies.

As the opioid epidemic has forced a crack in the door of insurances to pay for alternatives, rather than prescribing opioids, medical practitioners are opening their minds to considering all the options.

Some of those options may include meditation, yoga, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), Pilates, Feldenkrais, massage, breath therapy, and Tai Chi.

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Imagine all the people in pain, living a conscious healthier life.

Imagine one doctor treating one client before disease occurs.

You may say I am a dreamer, but, I am glad we talked about this. Of course, it is just my opinion.

 

 

OPINION


Springfield Times

“Ask MAx” is published weekly in the Springfield Times, Springfield, OR. You can subscribe to the Springfield Times at http://www.springfieldtimes.net/.
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This column is reprinted on the internet at HealerToday.com. You can comment on this article and make suggestions for future columns, at maxfabry@HealerToday.com.

Or, snail mail your topics to Lifestyle Changes, PO Box 1962, Eugene, OR 97440.

Lifestyle Changes

 

 

ASK Max :MORE ON THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC!!!

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LET’S TALK ABOUT…MORE ON THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC !!! Several of my readers have been contacting me about fears of how the opioid epidemic will be effecting the pain medications they are presently taking for their individual pain management.

One man passionately exclaimed to me “My back pain is real!” He had a morphine pump permanently implanted to manage his chronic pain. He had two concerns about everything he is reading about “cracking down on prescription drug providers”.

The first concern is that the doctors will remove his pump in lieu of “some alternative approach”. “Before I had this pump I was taking all kind of narcotics—both legal and illegal. I have had this pump for three years—three years of well managed pain and consciousness.” He pointed out the increase in family activities, and, generally more appreciation of life.

The second concern he had was that people that haven’t experienced the level of pain he has “…won’t be able to understand why I need ongoing treatment. They will just point to me as an addict or junky.”

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Opioids are also called narcotics. Common types of opioids include hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), morphine, and methadone. Fentanyl, typically used to treat advanced cancer, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. Heroin is an illegal highly addictive opioid.

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the “most recent cases of fentanyl-related overdoses ” connected with the illegal heroin market. “It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product-with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects.”

It is not uncommon to find an heroin/fentanyl combination overdose victim deceased with a needle still in their arm.

At one time there was a clear separation of “us” and “them”: “us” the responsible opioid users monitored by an ethical medical physician. “Them” being the illegal drug users that steal other’s prescribed drugs, obtain their fixes from illegal/unethical prescribers, or buy/steal their drugs from the street culture that originates with illegal domestic and foreign cartels.

Unfortunately, over a decade the “us” and “them” have become blurry.

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The CDC “Heroin use has increased sharply across the United States among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes.”

A highly respected well-dressed professional woman recently came to me because her doctors took her off “all pain medications”. She had almost died from an “accidental” overdose. She was still detoxing from that experience. It was obvious that she was drug seeking.

Just when I thought she was making progress, she decided she needed to have some “dental work” done that she had been putting off. The dentist prescribed Vicodan for pain. Her “unintentional” cycle began all over.

The difference between “us” and “them”: “us” puts the accountability in the medical practice prescribing; “them” assumes the accountability of finding what they need haphazardly on the illegal market.

Now that the Opioid Epidemic has changed the face of “addiction”, pharmaceutical prescribers are going to have to pay closer attention to who are “us” and who are “them”.

Glad we talked about this. Of course, it is just my opinion.

 

OPINION


Springfield Times

“Ask MAx” is published weekly in the Springfield Times, Springfield, OR. You can subscribe to the Springfield Times at http://www.springfieldtimes.net/.
_________________________________________________________________________________

healertoday-logo-sm

This column is reprinted on the internet at HealerToday.com. You can comment on this article and make suggestions for future columns, at maxfabry@HealerToday.com.

Or, snail mail your topics to Lifestyle Changes, PO Box 1962, Eugene, OR 97440.

Lifestyle Changes

ask MAx :THE SPREADING DRUG EPIDEMIC!!!

 

somaLETS TALK ABOUT …THE SPREADING DRUG EPIDEMIC!!! In 1931 Aldous Huxley wrote a book called “Brave New World”. The “World State” government used “soma” to control the population primarily to discourage intelligent critical thinking. “Soma” the ideal pleasure narcotic drug, kept the citizens of the World State enslaved in a hallucinogenic euphoric state void of emotions and personal connections.

Around the 1960’s  an open culture of drug use excelled—the great escape of masses of individuals seeking escape through a euphoric state—we had entered the age of “soma”

As we delve deeper into the secrets of the brain, we are beginning to understand the chemical dynamics of the cause of the drug epidemic spreading like wildfire through the U.S.

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There is a part of our brain called the basal ganglia that produces “dopamine”—a neurotransmitter that plays a number of roles for mind-body functions—it is the pleasurable reward regulator. Dopamine also regulates behavior, attention, inhibition, sleep, mood, learning, etc. Excess and deficiency of this vital chemical is part of the cause of addictions.

A child giggles as they are thrown in the air. People scream as they go up and down, round and round on a roller coaster. Risk takers step out of planes at 15K feet. No one is immune from seeking pleasure.

Addictions are associated with abnormal dopamine levels in the brain. As the levels of dopamine neutralize, the brain needs stronger and more stimulants.

Heroin, morphine, and other opioid drugs, works by binding to the body’s opiate receptors, highly concentrated in areas of the brain, driving up dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation.

The drug epidemic has gradually been spreading across the US. Deaths from drug overdoses have jumped in nearly every county across the United States, driven largely by an explosion in addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin.

According to the Center for Disease Control, “Heroin use has increased across the US among men and women, most age groups, and all income levels. Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes. Not only are people using heroin, they are also abusing multiple other substances, especially cocaine and prescription opioid painkillers….the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled, and more than 8,200 people died in 2013.“

The epicenter of the drug epidemic seems to be located in New Hampshire. Just as they were starting to get a handle on their heroin deaths, enter Fentanyl.

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Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate analgesic that is similar to morphine, but more potent. It is prescribed to treat patients with severe pain, manage pain after surgery, and for people with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to opiates.

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Fentanyl, which looks like heroin, mixed with street heroin or cocaine markedly amplifies their potency and potential dangers. Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin, and, up to 100 times more potent then morphine.

The CDC reports that nationally, the total number of fentanyl drug seizures reported by forensic labs went from 618 in 2012 to 4,585 in 2014.

So, is Fentanyl soma?

Glad we talked about this. Of course, it is just my opinion.

 

Glad we talked.

OPINION


Springfield Times

“Ask MAx” is published weekly in the Springfield Times, Springfield, OR. You can subscribe to the Springfield Times at http://www.springfieldtimes.net/.
_________________________________________________________________________________

healertoday-logo-sm

This column is reprinted on the internet at HealerToday.com. You can comment on this article and make suggestions for future columns, at maxfabry@HealerToday.com.

Or, snail mail your topics to Lifestyle Changes, PO Box 1962, Eugene, OR 97440.

Lifestyle Changes