Because numerous clinics decline to offer sleeping medication to the individual withdrawing from opiates, many addicts discharge themselves early from the treatment process (Carver). In regard to treatment, Carver notes:
Detoxification technology is being transformed in an increasing number of countries by the introduction of rapid opiate detoxification (ROD) techniques. Instead of discontinuing opiates abruptly or over a few days and allowing withdrawal symptoms to develop (a technique which adds the stress of anticipation to the actual pains of withdrawal), an alternative technique is to precipitate acute withdrawal over a space of three to four hours by administering opiate antagonists. These drive all opiates off the opiate receptors but also start the process of normalising the receptors so that the worst symptoms of withdrawal are over in two to three days rather than the two to three weeks which is typical in conventional programmes for most patients (Brewer 1997). Naltrexone is the usual opiate antagonist used. As well as being more efficient and humane, these techniques are also more cost-effective than conventional methods. (Lahej et al. 2000; Carreno et al. 2002, as cited in Carver, 2004, p. 102)
Starting Over Grace Rountree, 18-years old, Paul S. Martinez (2007) reports in "Former pill addict gets a new lease on life," comes from a "good Christian family." As she was home schooled, Rountree was not routinely exposed to drugs as many youth who attend public school may be. At the age of sixteen, however a friend, at Rountree's local church, and a relative introduced her to prescription drugs. In time, she not only began to abuse the prescription drugs, she also started selling them after she learned she could receive four to six dollars a pill (Martinez). To obtain the drugs, Rountree met individuals suffering with real health issues, and subsequently went into pain management clinics to obtain the prescription drugs. From Rountree's prescription drug business, she discovered she can spend $150 on the doctor visits plus the prescription, and then easily transform that amount into $1,500 (Martinez, 2007). Each day, the group Rountree worked with would "visit' several different clinics, as well as routinely travel to Houston to hit more clinics. The cost for the easy profit, however, hit home to Rountree, when she finally got caught. Currently, she is on probation and required to take weekly drug screenings (Martinez, 2007). During the same time frame Rountree was charged with the illegal purchase of prescription drugs from a pharmacy, law enforcement officials in the same area arrested three doctors: Carlos Domingo Cunado, Ramiro Hernandez and Douglas Wayne Wheeler, I for prescribing the same combination of narcotics to every patient without an adequate medical examination. Documents later confirmed that the medical board took away the medical licenses of each of the three physicians (Martinez, 2007).
Rountree stated that getting off of prescription pain pills was one of the hardest things she has ever done. Currently, as she strives to get her life back on the right track, Rountree works at a full time job and plans to enroll in college (Martinez, 2007).
What Can be Done to Help Resolve the problem of Opiate Abuse
It may be unrealistic to expect to wean people from opiates, as for a particular group of people, no matter what their moral character or plans - the pull of opiate addiction may prove too strong for them to withdraw without help (McKnelly, as cited in Weslander, 2007, Biological dependency section, ¶ 4). The death of the Daniel, the 20-year-old son of the former Playboy model, Anna Nichole Smith, shocked those who knew this family, as well as many throughout the world, who avidly followed Smith's tumultuous life. Dr. Joshua Perper, Broward County medical examiner, reported in regard to Daniel's death: "The cause of death was combined drug intoxication with chloral hydrate being the major component and the other drugs being contributory....the infection in the buttock and also a viral flu were contributory causes (Miami Herald, 2007; Perper, as cited in Anna Nicole, 2007, ¶ 9). Less than five months after Daniel's death, when Smith also died prematurely from a lethal combination of an accidental overdose of sleeping medication, combined with other prescription drugs, suspicions of opiates contributing to her death arose. Perper, however, argued that Smith's overdose was accidental, and noted a number of reasons suicide had been ruled out. "Although Smith had been severely depressed following Daniel's death, which came just three days after the birth of her daughter Dannielynn, she had recently been happier, Dr. Perper said" (Perper, as cited in Anna Nicole, 2007, ¶ 9). The amount of chloral hydrate Smith had ingested was not necessarily lethal, and a person attempting to kill him/herself would not likely have left a half-full bottle of this particular medication. However, suspicions regarding that prescription goods contributed to Smith's death continues, as the medical examiner's report specifically stated: "Miss Smith had a long history of prescription drug use and over- self-medicating" (Perper, as cited in Anna Nicole, 2007, ¶ 11). At the time of Smith's death, she had prescriptions for eleven drugs, a mix of chloral hydrate (a colorless crystalline solid; soluble in water' used as a sedative and hypnotic) a powerful depressant.. Taken individually, these drugs may help one sleep, relieve anxiety and pain, and decrease symptoms of attention-deficit disorders. Drugs in Smith's possession, however, combined and ingested, could have lead to her untimely demise
In "Attorney General Curran releases report: "Prescription for Disaster: The Growing Problem of Prescription Drug Abuse in Maryland"; Calls for electronic prescription monitoring program and increased penalties for pharmaceutical diversion," the Attorney General pleads for government officials' help incorporate Maryland into an electronic monitoring program for prescription drugs, which 21 other states currently participate in. Attorney General Curran contends this practice would end the incidences of increasing a prescription drug abuse, currently on the rise. The electronic prescription monitoring program, containing a central database of all prescriptions written and dispensed in the State, would help detect abuse and diversion. This program would additionally help counter doctor shopping, which would in turn, help doctors, pharmacists and law enforcement officials identify individuals, abusing medications, who need treatment ("Attorney General," 2005). Curran cautioned, however, that a prescription monitoring program must be designed carefully, and draw upon the input and expertise of pain management specialists, pharmacists, law enforcement, patient advocates and others. Already discussing options with medical and pharmaceutical experts, Curran emphasized it is vital to ensure the program protects patient privacy, and does not interfere with the legitimate use of pain relievers and other drugs. The purpose of the program, according to Curran, is to ensure the people who truly need prescription medications continue to obtain them, but keep the legal drugs out of the wrong hands, and off of the black market (Curran, as cited in "Attorney General," 2005). Crackdown on Prescription Abuse Government officials stress that statistics confirmed that even though illicit drug use may be declining overall, the abuse of prescription drugs is increasing. Due to the contemporary increase in prescription drug abuse, the DEA, is currently requesting help to counter this critical problem. During 2005, John P. Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, asked President Bush to increase funds for the 2005 budget to attack such illicit use of prescription drugs, projected to increase by $20 million, to $138 million. Most of this funding was to reportedly be directed at reducing the abuse of opium, and morphine-based painkillers (Kaufman, 2004). In addition, the DEA is trying to also stop the abuse by eradicating online abuse by perpetrators. During a one-week analysis of online sales of prescription drugs, reports indicated that approximately 495 Web sites advertised controlled prescription drugs, with 157 of those online sites selling opiate-based drugs. Of the 495 Web sites selling the highly addictive drugs, such as, OxyContin, Percocet and Darvon, only 6% required a verifiable prescription for the order to the field (Kaufman, 2004). A completely appalling, component of the scenario is the fact that none of these Websites take any measurements to avoid children or youth obtaining these highly lethal drugs.
The Pain Relief Network, albeit, challenges DEA concerns in this area. The Pain Relief Network argues that the Government is trying to make the process for those individuals who rightfully need their medications even more difficult.
The Pain Relief Network stresses is that many individuals who for the medications online need the drugs, as they are still in pain (Kaufman, 2004).
Curbing Drug Abuse
On February 21, 2001, few weeks after Ryan Haights 18th birthday, Francine Haight, Ryan's mother received the phone call parents hope to never receive. Ryan died from overdose of prescription pain pills. At the time, Francine was at a total loss, as she did not even know Ryan had been prescribed any kind of pain medication. When Haight investigated how Ryan obtained the prescription drugs that contributed his death, she learned Ryan did not…