The world of treatment for opioid addiction is upside down: The best treatments for cutting relapse and preserving life are stigmatized and relatively cheap, while less successful and more expensive residential approaches are featured as models in the press and on television programs like Celebrity Rehab.
“The layperson still typically assumes that addiction treatment is residential treatment and that’s a misconception,” says Sam Arsenault, director of National Treatment Quality Initiatives for Shatterproof, an addiction advocacy organization. Opioid use disorder (OUD) can often be treated effectively on an outpatient basis, she says, although residential treatment may be appropriate for some.
They Were Addicted to Opioids. Now They’re Running the New York Marathon, The New York Times
Ryan Stevens sat on the edge of a concrete balustrade in Central Park after finishing three laps around the reservoir.
She and her fellow runners from Odyssey House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, joked about a grueling 19-mile run around New York that they had finished the week before, as well as other pressing details, like where to go for dinner.
Ms. Stevens, who is 36 and lives in the Morris Park neighborhood of the Bronx, was prepping for Sunday’s New York City Marathon — her fourth, she said — as a member of a unique group of competitors: former drug users who turned to running as part of their recovery from opioid addiction.
Two common naloxone products, Narcan and Evzio, remain chemically stable after their expiration dates, according to new research.
Naloxone, the generic name for the drug, is sometimes called a "save shot" or a "rescue shot" because of its ability to bring someone back from an opioid overdose. It has long been used in hospitals and by emergency medical technicians, but as the opioid addiction crisis sweeps the nation, it has become more widely available to people addicted to drugs and those around them.
Narcan, a naloxone nasal spray, was found to be chemically stable for 10 months after its labeled expiration date. Evzio, a naloxone injection, was chemically stable for at least one year after its expiration date. The products tested were not kept in ideal storage conditions, the researchers say.
The statistics are grim. The U.S. is still firmly in the grip of the opioid scourge. Americans of all ages are dying, children are being orphaned, we’re spending billions of dollars (possibly even a trillion) on addiction interventions, and people are still in pain.
Technology has certainly contributed to the epidemic. The proliferation of prescription medication (not to mention synthetic opioids and heroin) on the Internet and particularly the Dark Web has made it relatively easy for [people with drug addiction], dealers, and children to get their hands on opioid painkillers. A simple Google search can bring drugs right to your door. While the Silk Road has been shut down (three times now), buying drugs online is still only slightly more challenging than hopping on Amazon to stock up on school supplies.
On Nov. 5, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner's office announced that singer Mac Miller died from a lethal combination of fentanyl, cocaine, and alcohol in his Studio City, California, home. But as America's opioid crisis continues to claim the lives of private citizens and celebrities, like Miller, Tom Petty, Prince, Lil Peep, and others, it becomes even more important to destigmatize substance use, and that starts with how we talk about it.
"Fentanyl is extremely dangerous and misunderstood," Jess Keefe, Senior Editor at Shatterproof, a nonprofit that works to end stigma around substance use, tells Bustle. Myths around fentanyl, which was involved in each of the overdose deaths above, make it more difficult for people to talk accurately about its role in today's opioid crisis, and about substance use in general. "The unjustified fear and panic makes things worse," Keefe says, "and it’s harder for people to get help."