Afghanistan Positioned Perfectly to Fuel American Opiate Addiction Epidemic

With news about General McChrystal’s recent firing due to insubordinate comments made against the Obama Administration, Afghanistan is at the top of the news yet again. There were further comments released over the weekend by military brass that described the conflict in Afghanistan as one in which theUnited States doesn’t really have a clear path to victory. A Different Kind of Threat from Afghanistan The situation is not good there, but at home there’s a different epidemic that we’ve been writing about.  The epidemic of opiate addiction due to prescription drug abuse. The progression of OxyContin and Vicodin addicted men and women graduating from opiate pills to heroin continues to claim lives at an alarming rate. A New Look at the Futility of the Drug War in Afghanistan In an excellent article written by Alfred J. McCoy and published on TomDispatch.com, he outlines the history of the heroin industry in Afghanistan. Cultivation and trafficking of heroin has been funding tribal groups like the Taliban since those forces have been…

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Children Addicted to Opiates-A Sad Situation in Afghanistan

Those of us who are on the front lines of addiction treatment know that detoxification from opiates can be a grueling experience that is difficult to witness.  Imagine having to help a child under the age of 5 through such an ordeal. A recent article on CNN.com shows us a tragic side effect of the global system of opiate addiction and supply that OxyContin acts as kind of a fuel for. Of course, it is logical that the community where about 75% of the world's heroin is manufactured is going to be hit hard by the phenomenon of opiate addiction.  This would be Afghanistan, where the poppies are grown, harvested, and processed into heroin. The result is that the drug opium is widely available and abused.  Sadly, families become hooked on the sensation of smoking opium, and the addiction is passed on to babies often through the act of breastfeeding. The United Nations estimates that 1 million out of 18 million Afghanis are addicted to opiates. Afghanistan has some…

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OxyContin: ‘A Rocket Ship to Heroin

I just wanted to post a shout out to the Cape Cod Times which published an article with the most accurate title that describes the relationship between OxyContin and heroin I have ever read. OxyContin: 'A Rocket Ship to Heroin' Click above to read the article. Some highlights: OxyContin has become so widely abused that the addiction rate for the drug in Massachusetts increased by 950 percent over the past 10 years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "OxyContin is not just a gateway to heroin, it's a rocket ship to heroin," Tolman said. More people have also been dying from overdosing on heroin and OxyContin. Between 2002 and 2007, 3,265 people in Massachusetts died of opiate-related overdoses, officials said. By comparison, Massachusetts lost 78 soldiers in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq during that time. "We need to consider opiate medications to be poison," Capeless said. "It has legitimate uses, but it is still poison."

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Massachusetts Government Battles the OxyContin Epidemic

  U.S. Congressman Bill Delahunt held a meeting earlier this month to address the related issues prescription drug abuse and heroin overdose.  Unless you are a first time visitor to our blog, then you will be familiar with our take on the connection between OxyContin and heroin overdose. We’ve written at length about how the epidemic of heroin addiction and overdose is closely related to the abuse of prescription drugs like OxyContin.  The State of Massachusetts recently released a report that stated “The Commonwealth is in the midst of a serious and dangerous epidemic.” This same report pointed out that between 2002 and 2007, 78 citizens of Massachusetts lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan while 3,265 citizens died from drug related causes. Representative Delahunt headed up a committee on April 12th to try and brainstorm solutions to this growing problem.  Delahunt discussed the prevalence of prescription medications that are illegally purchased in Florida and brought to Massachusetts.  85% of the country’s OxyContin prescriptions are written in Florida. Rep.…

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Accidental Prescription Drug Overdoses on the Rise

Accidental overdose of prescription drugs has become the second leading cause of death in the United States, according to a study in the recent issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study’s researchers found a 37 percent increase in accidental poisoning by opioids, sedatives and tranquilizers between 1999 and 2006. In comparison, accidental poisonings by drugs and other substances increased 21 percent during that time. “People have seen the headlines related to Heath Ledger, Michael Jackson, Anna Nicole Smith and they think that’s tragic but maybe contained to Hollywood,” Dr. Jeffrey H. Coben of West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown told Reuters Health. “But the fact of the matter is we are seeing, across the country, very significant increases in serious overdoses associated with these prescription drugs.” The prescription drugs most likely to be abused include the following: Opioids, such as OxyContin, morphine, methadone and Percocet Sedatives and tranquilizers, including Valium, Xanax and Ativan The number of hospital admissions due to the accidental overdose of…

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