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Opioid Addiction

Aetna Loosens Restrictions on Addiction Treatment Coverage

February 28, 2017 1:23 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , , , ,

And now a bit of good news for addicts and their families who are concerned about treatment access in this uncertain healthcare climate. Leading health insurance provider Aetna recently announced plans to remove what has been critical roadblock for those seeking coverage for medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. The change will be implemented starting in March and will apply to all Aetna’s private insurance plans. Aetna, who is one of the world’s largest health insurance companies, is the latest provider to announce such plants over the past few months. Anthem and Cigna also announced looser restrictions on MAT with more and more Americans succumbing to overdose.

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Dropkick Murphys’ New Album Tackles Addiction and Substance Abuse

January 16, 2017 6:29 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , , ,

It’s called 11 Short Stories of Pain and Glory and it’s the ninth album from Quincy, MA punk legends Dropkick Murphys. The record was made right here in Texas and was deeply inspired by the Massachusetts opioid epidemic that claimed an estimated 1,747 residents in 2015. Like many other areas of the country, the synthetic drug fentanyl has led to a significant increase or overdose deaths (nearly 13 percent) throughout the state. The band, who have a documented history of advocacy and community activism, has felt the effects of opioid addiction first-hand, with members losing loved ones to the disease.

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What Does 2017 Hold for Addiction Treatment?

January 2, 2017 6:29 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , , , ,

As we begin to settle into another year, it can be overwhelming to contemplate how quickly time passes, and to think about what we failed to accomplish the year prior. The passage of time can be even more overwhelming when we’re working against the ticking clock of addiction. Whether it is ourselves or a loved one that has come to need help for drugs or alcohol, we are quickly reminded of the urgent and decidedly terminal nature of addiction, and the damage it can cause when left unaddressed. To that end, it is worth turning the arrival of a new year to our advantage by examining what is (or should be) on the horizon for clinical treatment in 2017.

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How Vivitrol Helps Families after Treatment

November 29, 2016 4:41 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , , ,

Those of us who have helped our loved ones manage addiction know how difficult it can be. Even after the best treatment and the most positive and encouraging signs of progress, the path can still be difficult. For every single person that suffers from addiction, there is usually a group of people suffering right alongside them. Sometimes this suffering consists of active conflict, including shouting fights and even physical confrontation; other times it can be as passive as watching a loved one struggle through the pain and sickness withdrawal symptoms. Many prefer actually fighting with their loved ones to watching them go through withdrawal because at least they have sense of control over a confrontation.

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An Important Message from Recovery Unplugged Medical Director Dr. David Kramer

November 15, 2016 4:38 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , ,

I’ve treated thousands of patients over my 20-year career as a doctor on the front lines of substance abuse and psychiatric illness. Recently, however, I had a heartrending experience that I feel must be shared; one that brings home the true nature of compassionate and genuine treatment in this fearful and uncertain time when millions of Americans suffer from life-threatening opioid addiction and struggle to access treatment.

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US Prisons Using Vivitrol to Curb Post-Release Opioid Addiction among Inmates

November 14, 2016 4:37 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , , , ,

Addiction and incarceration have been closely linked for decades. One of the primary critics of this country’s current drug laws is that they disproportionately punish non-violent offenders, needlessly crowding the prison system and tearing families apart. Looking at the current incarceration rates in US prisons, it’s hard to disagree with this assessment. It’s also true that prisons, themselves, can be incubators for addiction. Most recently there was a controversy regarding the smuggling and abuse of Suboxone in American prisons, proving once again that even anti-opioid drugs can be diverted and abused. A pilot program that provides Vivitrol injections to addicted inmates may offer medication-assisted treatment with diminished opportunity for diversion.

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Kratom Stays Off of Schedule 1 List Pending Further Inquiry

October 19, 2016 4:34 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , , , , ,

Plans by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to classify kratom as a Schedule 1 drug have been temporarily halted amidst a lawsuit by a group of vendors. The resolution comes after impassioned advocates took to social media, and the scientific community voiced concerns over their ability to further research the plant. The DEA has reconsidered plan, which they made public on August 31, to place kratom into the super-restrictive category after it received more than 2,000 phone calls, most of which were opposed to it. The agency now plans to open up a public comment period where those who have used kratom for medical purposes can share their experiences and relay the plant’s clinical value.

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Missed Opportunity: What Last Night’s Debate Says about the Current State of Addiction Awareness and Political Will

September 27, 2016 4:32 pm / by RU Texas posted in , , , ,

If you’ve been paying attention during this year’s admittedly bizarre presidential election cycle, you will notice that each figure above corresponds to a state that has been tasked with hosting a presidential or vice presidential debate in 2016, the last painting an overall picture of the current state of heroin and opioid addiction in the United States. Despite the urgent and alarming heroin and opioid abuse climate in each state and the country as a whole, however, Americans are not likely to hear any conversation regarding this urgent and pervasive public health crisis.

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RU Texas Medical Director Featured in TMA Article on Narcan

September 8, 2016 4:30 pm / by RU Texas posted in , ,

Earlier this month, Recovery Unplugged Texas’ very own Dr. Carlos Tirado weighed on the availability and accessibility of naloxone (Narcan) in an article published by the Texas Medical Association. The piece described the urgent need for increased Narcan availability in the lone star state, and described a law enacted last year that allows ordinary citizens to administer the drug in a non-medical setting. It also outlined the toll that opioid addiction and overdose has taken on communities all over Texas and described the state’s opioid abuse status in relation to the rest of the country. Naloxone prices have been soaring since 2014.

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Kentucky Hospital Uses Music Therapy to Wean Babies Off of Opiate Addiction

August 30, 2016 4:29 pm / by RU Texas posted in , ,

The power of music to heal addiction is being taken a step further at a hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. Physicians at Cosair Children’s Hospital are using music therapy to treat newborns suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Kentucky’s explosion of opioid addiction has even managed to affect expectant mothers, causing babies to be born suffering from withdrawal symptoms before they take their first breaths. Some of the more common symptoms include elevated heart rate, gastrointestinal distress and tremors. More serious symptoms include seizures and respiratory problems. While these babies are not technically considered addicts, many are born with serious symptoms. The problem has become tragically common in a state that saw 1,087 overdose fatalities in 2014.

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