Opiates and Anxiety Meds are Deadly

400 is a big number. 400 is an especially big number when it is a percentage. Anything that is increasing or decreasing by 400 hundred percent is usually something of concern. Over the course of  fifteen years, between 1999 and 2014, opiate overdose deaths in middle aged white women rose 400 percent. Opiates are not the only cause of this concerning number. Anxiety medications like benzodiazepines accounted for a dramatic share of the deaths- almost a third.

Common Opiates

Opiates can range from street drugs to prescription drugs. Prescription opiates are painkillers, prescribed to treat trauma, injruy, surgery recovery, or chronic pain. Opiates are used as painkillers because of their morphine content. Morphine is an analgesic which the body naturally produces when it ingests opium. All opiate medications derive from the opium plant. Common prescription opiate painkillers include: Hydrocodone, Oxyncontin, Oxycodone, Zohydro, Norco, Codeine, and Percocet. Recently, “designer drugs” or synthetic drugs have been opiate imitators. Drugs like Fentanyl, Carfentanil, W-18 and U-4770 are synthetic opiate drugs. Morphine is also produced when the body ingests heroin, which is a street version of opium. Heroin can range in its potency and purity making it an unpredictable drug.

Common Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are prescribed primarily to treat anxiety. While benzodiazepines are not meant, or indicated by doctors, to be habit forming, many find they become dependent on the drug. Without their regular dose of anti-anxiety medication people experience the same symptoms of withdrawal addicts do despite not even abusing the medication. Benzodiazepines work in a similar manner to opiates by slowing down the central nervous system and causing a feeling of calm and painlessness. Common Benzodiazepines include: Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Atavan. Xanax is a popularly abused drug. Cases of fentanyl, the strong synthetic opiate, being disguised as Xanax, have surfaced in southern and east coast areas.

The Washington Post reports that caucasian women are five times more likely than caucasian men to be given a dual prescription of both opiate painkillers and anti-anxiety benzodiazepines. Thankfully, the government is taking action to prevent any more increase in female drug related deaths. The CDC, the center for disease control, released a guideline encouraging doctors to educate patients on the risk of taking opioids and benzodiazepines together. The FDA, the food and drug administration, is now requiring a warning label on both medications, advising about the overdose risk for taking both medications.


Everything You Need to Know about W-18

What is W-18

Like the recently famous drug Fentanyl, W-18 is a synthetic opiate. Opiates are analgesic drugs, meaning they create pain relief. Prescription painkillers, morphine, and heroin are all opiate drugs. The human brain has naturally occurring opiate receptors which, when blocked with opiate production, help slow down the heart and reduce pain. Some people are sensitive to opiates and cannot naturally receive the help opiate drugs give them. Synthetic opiates were developed to help such people recovery from traumatic injury, surgery, and cope with chronic pain.

How Strong is W-18

W-18 is derived from Fentanyl which was already reported to be 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Morphine is what the body naturally creates when it ingests anything derived from the opium plant. W-18 is reported to be up to 10,000 times stronger than heroin and other opiate drugs.

Where is W-18 Being Found?

Similar to the concerning situation with Fentanyl, W-18 is being discovered as parts of other medications. Bags of heroin, pills, and other form of drugs, are showing up with W-18 in overdose victim’s toxicology reports. W-18 has been discovered in multiple parts of America, Asia, and recently Tasmania.

Where does W-18 Come From?

Most sources believe that W-18 and other synthetic drugs are being manufactured in China, then brought into the United States via Mexico. However, synthetic drugs like Fentanyl and W-18 are also categorized as “designer drugs”. Designer drugs are advertised and sold on social media channels as well as obscure areas of the internet regarded as the “dark web”. Though social media platforms like Instagram do their best to regulate the use of certain images, content, and hashtags, it is almost impossible to keep track of every drug dealer. Making matters worse, drug dealers are advertising W-18 as other kinds of drugs like Xanax, which is a benzodiazepine prescribed to treat anxiety.

How will W-18 Be Stopped?

As new versions of synthetic opiates are discovered, government officials are hurriedly trying to classify them as Schedule 1 substances. Unfortunately, the problem with synthetic drugs is that the “recipe” is rapidly changing. Specifying each new type of synthetic opiate takes time and it is difficult for enforcement agents to stay ahead of the game.

Can W-18 Addiction Be Treated?

As with any drug, there is a solution to the problem of addiction. W-18 addiction is rare because the drug is so powerful it commonly causes overdose. Recovery is possible, however. There will likely be a need for detox, and long term intensive treatment.


Commonly Abused Substances

Synthetics

Synthetic drugs are the most difficult to regulate by law enforcement officials, medical doctors, and psychologists. Synthetic drugs are not traceable to a plant or particular chemical like many other drugs. Instead, synthetic drugs or “designer” drugs are made, quite literally, with everything under the kitchen sink. As a result, determining how the drug will effect the brain and body is unpredictable. Synthetic drugs are powerful stimulants, creating a fast and furious high and almost instantaneous dependency. Generally the effects and symptoms of Synthetic drug abuse include:

Paranoia

Rapid heart rate

Overheating

Slurred speech

Irrational thoughts

Fear of being chased by evil forces

“Superhuman” strength

 

Methamphetamines

Crystal Meth is a highly abused stimulant and synthetic drug. Also known as “ice” or “glass” the crystal like shards are smoked or injected. Meth is abused for its stimulant properties, causing people to stay awake for as long as ten days. Effects and symptoms of meth abuse include:

Dilated pupil

Suppressed appetite

Erratic behavior

Insomnia

Focus on picking the skin

Paranoia

Rapid weight loss

 

Alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance, contributing to high numbers of death and alcohol-related injury each year. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks per sitting, which is about two hours. Drinking abusively can impair basic cognitive and motor functions, judgment, and thinking. Alcohol damages the liver, brain, and body. Effects and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

Incoherence

Blackout

Slurred Speech

Poor Judgment

Vomiting

Imbalance, or stumbling

Needing more alcohol or not knowing one’s limits

 

Stimulants

Cocaine is the most popularly abused stimulant drug. Crack and other amphetamine drugs like Adderall and drugs used for studying are popular as well. Stimulant drugs work with the central nervous system, quickly accessing the brain and putting into hyper speed mode. Cocaine can cause in overdose with just one hit while other amphetamines taken in large quantities can cause heart complications. Effects and symptoms of stimulant abuse include:

Hyper focus

Ability to stay up all night

Maximized productivity

Jittery behavior

Suppressed appetite

Irritability

Aggression

 

Opioids

In 2014 approximately 28,000 Americans died from overdose on opioids including heroin and prescription painkillers. Opioid overdose is caused by respiratory depression, the slowing of the heart until it stops. Opioids are highly addicting, but through subtle means like chronic pain treatment. Opioids create euphoric sensation through muscle relaxation and feelings of warmness. Dependency on opioids result in brutal withdrawal symptoms, causing a need to continue using the drugs just to avoid the withdrawal. Effects and Symptoms of opioid abuse include:

“Nodding out” or falling asleep frequently

Slowed movement, or doing nothing at all

Rapid weight loss

Change in skin pigment and elasticity

Irritability when not on the drug

Constipation

“Pinholed” pupils

Severe symptoms of withdrawal

 

Benzodiazepines

Introduced in the 1950’s as “mommy’s little helper” benzodiazepines became famous for “taking the edge off”. Famous brands like Valium and Xanax are prescribed to help cope with anxiety. Though marketed as non-dependency forming, regular users of these drugs experience immediate symptoms of withdrawal when they miss a dose. Abusing Xanax can result in euphoric sensation similar to opioids. Effects and symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse includes:

Slow movements

Shallow breathing

Loss of judgment for physical pain

 

Enlightened Solutions offers hope and healing for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Our doors are open to men and women seeking holistic, 12 step based treatment. If you are concerned you or a loved one are suffering from problems with drugs or alcohol, call us today. We have a solution. 833-801-5483.