Friday, March 23, 2012
Today, we're concluding Dr. Rita Hancock's guest post on the ten myths of drug addiction. Today, we're finishing the last five. These posts have been a wealth of information. Thanks, Rita.
Most addicts have a "favorite" class of drugs to abuse. Crank addicts don't necessarily like barbiturates b/c crank addicts like uppers. They might like cocaine, though, b/c that's also an upper.
If you're going to use the term "narcotics," make sure you know what the term means. Not all habit-forming drugs are "narcotics." Narcotics are only one specific type of drugs, even though the term "narcotics" is mistakenly used to describe all varieties of illicit drugs. E.g. a "narcotics" police officer actually investigates abuse of non-narcotic drugs, as well. Drugs that are potentially addictive but are non-narcotic include, amphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, hallucinogens, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, etc.
Naloxone is a medicine used as a antidote for narcotic overdoses. But it does NOT treat overdoses of ALL (e.g. NON-narcotic) controlled substances. On TV shows, I've seen it given for barbiturate overdoses, and that's utterly wrong. It's used ONLY to reverse narcotic overdoses (with examples of narcotics being morphine, codeine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, methadone, etc.). Moreover, the effects of naloxone don't last very long. If the overdose is on a long-acting narcotic like methadone, you're going to have to repeat the naloxone dose after only a short time (like minutes). You might have to give the patient many doses of the naloxone before they're "safe."
Flumazenil is a medicine used as an antidote for benzodiazepine withdrawals (e.g. Valium, Librium, Xanax, etc). In the same way that naloxone is specific for narcotic OD's, flumazenil is specific for benzodiazepine withdrawals. Again, some benzo's are longer-acting than others. If your character overdoses on a long-acting benzo, like Librium, he or she may need several doses of Flumazenil in the E.R.
There's a drug called buprenorphine (an orally absorbable narcotic) that's mixed with naloxone (a narcotic antidote) to form a new type of drug called Subutex (aka Suboxone). It's novel and interesting b/c it can't be abused easily and it's often used to help addicts come off the drugs more safely. It gives the desired therapeutic effect only when you let it dissolve on the tongue. In contrast, if you try to abuse it by swallowing it or by altering it (by crushing, dissolving, etc.), the naloxone takes effect, overriding the narcotic portion, and causes you to go into withdrawals. Doctors have to apply for special licenses to administer Subutex, and they're limited to having only a small number of patients on it at any given time for the purposes of detox.
Dr. Rita Hancock, a full-time physician and author of Christian health books, writes about how emotional and spiritual factors contribute to physical disease through the mind-body-Spirit connection. According to Dr. Rita, “Once these underlying barriers fall away in the healing light of God’s truth, patients automatically feel less physical pain, experience fewer stress-induced symptoms, lose weight, and shed addictive behaviors more easily.” Dr. Rita is the author of The Eden Diet (Zondervan, 2008) and an as-yet untitled release with Charisma House, pending January 2013. She resides in Oklahoma City with husband Ed, and two wonderful children, Lindsey and Cory.