Tag Archives: Opioid Addiction

Tag Archives: Opioid Addiction


prescription drug abuseThe opioid epidemic has become a national concern as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports a four-fold increase in opioid-related deaths between the years of 2002 and 2017. When we talk about opioid abuse, it’s mostly centralized around prescription drugs and how friends and family members obtain these from loved ones. There are yet many cases of those who were prescribed these drugs but later developed dependence to them, but the air has been a bit murky as we’ve had trouble identifying direct links to addiction for these individuals. Of course, acute, chronic and emotional distress play a role in opioid dependence, but what exactly led up to that point? Sometimes the best way to find these answers is to speak directly with those who have experienced it.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment sought to explore these pathways that have led to opioid abuse or dependence by assessing and interviewing 283 adults with opioid dependence. Overall, 121 participants revealed more than one pathway that led them to where they are now.

Three major pathways were identified:

  • Inadequately controlled chronic pain
  • Exposure to opioids during acute pain episodes
  • Chronic pain amongst individuals with prior substance use disorders (SUDs)

This information provides us with a firm groundwork on what we can do to better support those with chronic pain; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that on the public level, we can educate our communities so that they may better protect themselves and their loved ones from opioid dependence. At the state level, drug monitoring programs have already been set in place to serve as interventions. Healthcare providers have also become more attuned to the needs of their clients, which is where more customized treatment becomes important.


Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

How Is Opioid Abuse and Depression Affecting Our Teens?The opioid crisis has sparked a national conversation on opioid use and the amount of help we’re providing to our communities. Teens are especially at risk for this; the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has emphasized the fact that many adolescents are mixing opioids with other drugs. Of those who do this, a survey found that 58.5% are taking opioids alongside marijuana, 52.1% alongside alcohol, 10.6% along with cocaine, 10.3% with tranquilizers, and 9.5% with amphetamines. About 1 in 8 high school seniors have reported using opioids for non-medical reasons, which places them at an increased risk for abuse and overdose. We can’t always know the effect that certain drugs will have on us and combining them with other substances makes it an even riskier situation.

In 2015, the results from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health were assessed. Adolescent reports showed that major depressive episodes are quite common in teens, and this can occur alongside periods of opioid use. For some, the substance abuse occurs unexpectedly – sports injuries, medical conditions and other related issues make chronic pain and real problem, and prescribed opioids are meant to help relieve some of that discomfort. Since they produce such great feelings of relaxation, however, it’s hard not to become hooked to them – and before you know it, your teen is taking their medication in higher doses or more often than they were originally advised.

Teens with depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder and sleep disorders were found to be at higher risk for developing opioid dependence, so it’s critical that we start keeping a close eye on our youth. Parents who use opioids may also increase their teens’ chances of using by simply making that type of medication more accessible – even if that was unintended. As the teen brain develops, it’s important they seek help if substance abuse occurs. The quicker help is sought, the more likely they are to mitigate some of the potential risks that abuse can cause to the brain and body.

What else can be done to help prevent opioid abuse in teens? Well, if your teen is taking any kind of medication at all, make sure they attend regularly scheduled doctor’s appointments. Monitor their medication use, and keep an eye out for symptoms of abuse, such as sudden changes in appearance, behavior, eating or sleeping patterns. Adolescents aren’t always able to look out for themselves, and this is where we step in.


Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966, and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-844-ARCH-ORG.

How Prescription Opioid Addiction Affects the Mind and Body

When we’re in pain, it’s our first response to want to make it go away – and sometimes if that pain becomes too searing, too distracting, or too uncomfortable, we’re willing to do anything to make it go away. Prescription painkillers can make that situation 10 times better – but it does come at a hefty price. The opioid epidemic has shown us just how easy it is to become addicted to these drugs, as they make virtually all our stress and pain disappear. People who find themselves in a predicament of prescription opioid addiction often experience different quality of life (QOL) factors than people who are otherwise addiction-free. Rather than focusing directly on recovery, understanding the impact of prescription opioid addiction on the mind and body while it’s active can help us understand what our loved ones, friends and community members are going through.

Researchers conducted a study to explore this very comparison of QOL between people with opioid addiction and those in the general population. They found that those with opioid addiction experienced much worse physical and mental health compared to otherwise “healthy” individuals. Not only that, but they found several characteristics that were more likely to cause a person to experience worse QOL if they were addicted to prescription opioids:

  • Females showed lower mental QOL scores
  • Older age was associated with lower physical QOL scores
  • Participants with chronic pain scored lower on QOL
  • Individuals who also had a substance use disorder (SUD) other than opioid dependence did score worse on QOL than those with only opioid addiction
  • Smoking nicotine did seem to reduce QOL
  • People who also had major depression disorder found themselves with lower QOL

Quality of life overall is often thought of regarding physical and social functioning, physical and emotional limitations, mental health, general health and bodily pain experienced. A person’s QOL can become greatly reduced when opioid addiction is present, and this is what makes recovery so important. There are a number of resources and support that a person can use to push past their obstacles and find a lifetime of health and happiness. Oftentimes, it’s small steps that can be taken to improve even chronic pain – and it’s all a matter of finding what works best for the individual.

Improve your quality of life today by taking steps towards managing the elements of your life that have been holding you back. Now is the time!

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

By: MELANIE KILGORE-HILL
Published: September 14, 2017

Specialists Address Disturbing Trends, Skyrocketing Death Rates

The Opioid Crisis hits Nashville Tennessee - Cumberland Heights treats Addiction to Opioids and Heroin

More than 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder, which contributed to more than 33,000 overdose deaths in 2015, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, a growing number of treatment options are helping to break the addiction cycle and bring healing to families in Middle Tennessee and beyond.

The New Face of Addiction

“Once upon a time, opioid addiction was limited to healthcare professionals with access,” said Chapman Sledge, MD, FASAM, chief medical officer at Cumberland Heights.

 

An addiction specialist for more than 20 years, Sledge said programs like Cumberland’s primarily treated those suffering from alcoholism a decade ago. Fast-forward to 2017, and the 50-year-old program regularly sees housewives, teenagers and executives – all patients addicted to prescription opioids and, more recently, heroin.

 

“Eight years ago you rarely saw heroin in Nashville,” Sledge said. “When Tennessee became more aggressive with the Controlled Substance Monitoring Database Program, it cut down on multiple prescriptions from multiple prescribers, which tightened up the illegal supply and drove cost up.”

 

To help prevent abuse, pharmaceutical companies also made the drugs less dissolvable. That shift opened doors for mom-and-pop heroin dealers to set up shop, offering an alternative that’s cheaper, easier to get, and more potent than prescription opioids. Today, heroin is often the most popular opioid for first-time users, leading to more overdose-related deaths than ever.

 

Dr. Chapman Sledge, MD of Cumberland Heights Top Opioid Medical Doctor“The thing that’s a game-change is the rate at which people are dying and the desperation among families,” Sledge said. “It’s so incredibly dangerous because the potency has changed. With prescription opioids, we knew what to expect from a single dose … but with heroin, it’s difficult to judge potency.”

Evolving Therapies

Enter medication-assisted therapy (MAT) including fast-acting opioid antagonist drugs, now a standard in pharmacies and emergency departments nationwide. In fact, certain antagonist therapies are available without a prescription in many states, including Tennessee.

 

Also growing is the number of in- and out-patient treatment options now available. At Cumberland Heights, patients undergo an evidence-based, 12-step recovery process that focuses on spiritual healing, as well as physical. In 2016 the program treated more than 2,000 men, women and adolescents through their two main campuses and 11 outpatient offices.

A Lifelong Journey

While inpatient treatment programs traditionally last 30-60 days, those with substance abuse disorders typically face a lifetime struggle with addiction. “We understand that this is a potentially lifelong disease, and we provide medications for that.”

 

Breaking the Cycle

Like Sledge and Lee, Russo-Appel said the stigma around addiction is changing. “Many believe addiction is found in the lower socioeconomic class or the homeless, but it’s startling to see the number of high functioning, well educated people battling this,” she said. That’s because addiction so often starts with a valid prescription for chronic pain. “PCPs and other providers are all coming into an understanding that this has gotten out of control,” she said. “We now have task forces and doctors signing pledges on how to prescribe opioids moving forward.”

 

Russo-Appel said stopping the addiction cycle begins with prevention efforts as early as grammar school. “We need more awareness programs and access to care,” she said. “The heart of our mission is access. How do we get treatment to as many people as we can?”



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