Summer Series: Exploring Addictions (Part 2)

Continuing our community conversation on Exploring Addictions from last Monday, August 13th; we heard from Dr. Sandy Dettmann as she presented information on The Opiate Crisis.

Addiction is an illness. Watch your words. We are talking about people who are addicted, not addicts. We often try to judge the life of a person who is addicted by the way we choose to live our life. We don’t get to live other people’s lives for them.

President Trump said that he was considering declaring an Opioid Crisis, but instead declared an Opioid Emergency. The difference between those two words is billions of dollars in funding that will not be put into helping this situation.

On June 2, 2017, drug overdose became the leading cause of death in Americans under the age of 50.

There are 7.1 billion people in the world. The US makes up 4.1% of the world’s population and is consuming 80-90% of the world’s opiate supply. The #1 drug prescribed is Hydrocodone, also known as Vicodin or Norco. The average age of first use of an illicit drug is 12 years old.

We generate about 50 units of Dopamine a day on average. On the best day of your life you might generate 100 units. One dose of crystal meth generates 1100 units. If you want to give someone a Dopamine bump, smile at them and treat them with kindness.

If you are diabetic and you don’t manage your blood sugars well and you end up in the hospital, we treat you, reeducate you and send you home without shaming you. We don’t treat people who end up in the hospital for drug use this way.

How do you get addicted? You are a 17 year old in Honors society, in charge of your world. You get your wisdom teeth removed and your doctor gives you 40 Norco. You take them as directed by your doctor who you are taught not to question. You run out and you get a refill. After a couple of months the doctor cuts you off. Now you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. You start going through the medicine cabinet to find something to help. You start buying Norco. You switch to heroin when you can’t afford pills.

82.3% of all heroin users began by taking a prescribed drug. How did that happen?

1)    In the year 2000, pain becomes the fifth vital sign and every doctor starts asking you to rate your pain.

2)    Purdue Pharma markets OxyContin as a non-addictive drug.

3)    Patient satisfaction scores start being used to evaluate and sometimes reimburse doctors.

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a solution that work. Suboxone doesn’t make you high, it makes you feel normal and it curbs your cravings. Dr. Dettmann gives her patients cell phone access to her 24/7 and that does more for them than any drug.

The average number of times someone goes into rehab before they have long term recovery is 7.

Who is most successful in recovery? Doctors, airplane pilots, people who can afford the best treatment and have all the support around them – people who get a lot of Dopamine from those around them. Psychosocial interventions are the real cure;. Helping people learn to cope, not dope. To learn to live life on life’s terms.

Best prevention? Find out what makes your kids Dopamine go up, and then give it to them.