COVID-19 otherwise known as the Coronavirus began its spread at a seafood market in Wuhan, China. It has now arrived to spread in the United States, with the CDC reporting 4,226 confirmed positive patients in the country. The death toll of the US has reached 75, as this virus is especially dangerous for the elderly and immunocompromised.
People are making personal sacrifices across the globe to slow the spread of coronavirus. Schools, malls, movie theaters, sports seasons, and restaurants have temporarily closed. We’re washing our hands and cleaning surfaces more than ever, as well as not touching our faces.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine has already released Coronavirus guidelines on recommended precautionary steps to take to protect patients.
Is it Safe to go to Treatment?
If you are facing a drug and alcohol addiction problem right now, it’s natural to wonder if it is in your best interest to pursue treatment during this outbreak. No matter what, it is always a wise decision to get help for a drug and alcohol addiction.
Treatment centers will continue to diligently follow ASAM Coronavirus precautions. Furthermore, during these times of uncertainty, we’re diligently monitoring the latest information from the World Health Organization and CDC.
The health and safety of staff and patients is the highest priority.
The World Health Organization advises every country’s citizens to be diligent in the following:
- Stay informed: Get information from trustworthy public health authorities.
- Wash your hands regularly: Use soap and warm water for 30 seconds or use antibacterial rub.
- Maintain social distancing: Keep three feet between you and another person.
- Avoid touching your face
- Sneeze and cough into a tissue or your sleeve.
Coronavirus Precaution Measures for Addiction Treatment Providers
Lipi Roy, MD, MPH suggests the following coronavirus precautions at addiction treatment facilities:
- Screen visitors to the facility by phone. Ask them about common coronavirus symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath. Also, ask about their previous activities. For example, were they recently exposed to someone who tested positive for the disease? Or, did they do any recent traveling abroad?
- Take careful precautions in the waiting room. Roy suggests, “Post signs about hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Advise people to sit six feet apart. Mask and isolate sick patients in private rooms, if possible.”
- Make medications widely available. Some facilities may need to consider a temporary overhaul of their process. For example, patients commonly come in for care on a daily basis in opioid treatment programs. But doctors may need to prescribe medications multiple times per week instead. Fewer visits to the facility diminish the spread of the disease.
- Modernize therapy sessions. In other words, replace face-to-face sessions with video chats.
- Sanitize surfaces: Be diligent in maintaining clean and sanitized surfaces that people frequently touch. These may be doorknobs, light switches, toilet handles, cabinets, remote controls, and much more.
Don’t Let Coronavirus Stop You From Making a Positive Change
The shortage of drug addiction doctors who specialize in addiction is adding to the growing epidemic. Read further to learn about why we need more doctors to pay attention.
Drug Addiction is Overwhelming America
Many people assume that people addicted to drugs or alcohol are homeless and jobless. But this isn’t always the case. With 5.47% of the population in America addicted to alcohol or drugs in 2017, drug addiction affects every demographic. There are many people who become addicted to drugs after being in an accident. Some people start drinking to numb their feelings instead of seeing a medical professional to get the help they need. The shortage of addiction doctors who specialize in addiction add to this problem.
Anyone can become addicted to something at any time. Certain people are more likely to become addicted to certain drugs than others. Women, for example, are far more likely to become addicted to stimulants than men. This is because many are self-conscious about the way they look. Many use stimulants to try to keep their weight down and end up addicted to them. Men are far more likely to become addicted to harder drugs, such as heroin.
Recovering from a drug addiction without help is very difficult to do. Those trying to recover often need professional help in order to overcome their addiction. This is where medicated assistance becomes valuable. Addicted people can’t buy medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms over the counter. An addicted person needs to get a prescription for the medications in order to gain access to them. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of addiction doctors within the United States who have the credentials to prescribe these medications.
We Need Drug Addiction Doctors More than Ever
People often think that any doctor can prescribe addiction medication, but that isn’t the case. There are actually less than 3,000 doctors throughout the nation who can prescribe these valuable resources to those trying to recover from addiction. We’re proud to have one of these addiction specialists at the head of our team.
Nicki Rippeteau, M.D. has committed herself to saving lives and helping others for over 30 years. Her philosophy aligns with ours, and together, we’ve pledged to help as many people as possible. But we need more addiction specialists. In order to gain access to this addiction specialty, doctors must go through thorough training and certification.
The training and education are essential when it comes to prescribing these medications. The doctor needs to be able to identify real addiction. They need to know how much of the medications each addiction needs. What’s more, they also need to assess the appropriate dosage for their patients. In addition to focused medical training, doctors need board certification from the American Board of Preventative Medicine. Finally, he or she needs to obtain certifications from multiple addiction boards such as the American Board of Addiction Medicine or the American Osteopathic Association.
Addiction doctors need to monitor the progress that their patients make in recovery. They need to identify if a relapsed has taken place to ensure that they get the best care possible. Having medical and psychological treatment helps patients overcome every aspect of their addiction.
Many people make the mistake of assuming that addiction is only physical. In fact, addiction is a mental health condition with physical and psychological symptoms. People often relapse when they start to experience the withdrawal symptoms that come when they stop using drugs. The medications that are prescribed to treat withdrawal symptoms make recovery easier. Pairing the prescription medication with mental addiction treatment can better the chances of long-term success with their recovery.
What’s the Solution to the Shortage of Drug Addiction Doctors?
It’s important to know that drug abuse often occurs in rural areas. With only a little over 5% of people actually getting the addiction help they need, providing more treatment options is crucial. The growing epidemic has been exacerbated by the lack of addiction treatment facilities in these areas. In order to slow down the growth of the epidemic, we need to provide people with access to the help that they need.
The first step that needs to take place is for people to voice their concerns about the addiction epidemic. Letting legislators know that constituents want to see change can spark change. The government spends money based on where they see a need for change. Letting your legislators know that there needs to be a change in the availability of addiction treatment can make it more accessible for people in rural communities. You can contact your legislators by email, phone or even by mail.
For more drug addiction treatment to be available, there simply needs to be more doctors going into the field. There are new models for addiction care being introduced on a regular basis. These new models entice providers to want to work in addiction care. The models make it easier to provide those suffering from addiction to get the care that they need.
Educating people about addiction is important. Medical professionals need to inform their patients when they are taking medications that could lead to addiction. Helping people realize that there is help available to them is also crucial. Establishing more drug treatment facilities across the United States will make it easier to diminish drug addiction in this country.
To encourage more people to reach out for the addiction help that they need, we need to erase the stigma that comes with addiction. Addiction can happen to anyone. People don’t choose to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. It often happens before they realize it. Many people hide their addiction as much as they can for fear of being judged by others. This weaves a life of isolation and secrecy.
The stigma that comes with addiction can be debilitating. Supporting loved ones who are battling an addiction can be the best way for them to get the help they need. While it may be difficult to find help in certain rural areas, there are treatment options available elsewhere. Your loved one may have to travel for treatment. In fact, some doctors suggest that traveling for treatment is ideal. It removes distractions and temptations. Providing addicted loved ones with transportation, financial assistance or simply emotional support could be the change that they need.
The sooner the country gets more access to drug addiction treatment, the sooner the epidemic can be managed. Doing everything that you can to promote drug addiction treatment can help make the epidemic more manageable in your area.
It is very common for people to use drugs as some point in life. Prescribed drugs can be used with some level of safety if you take them as prescribed, but the danger of abuse always exists. If you self-medicate or use illegal drugs, then, the risk of addiction is even higher.
There are several reasons why people start using. Drugs are often used as a problem solver. Sometimes people use stimulants to stay awake when they are tired. During other times, they just want to sleep better or believe that using drugs will enhance their party experiences.
This attitude can have several negative effects on your health. When you use drugs without any support from a professional, you may be harming your health without knowing it. If you are using more than one drug, you can even suffer from dual addiction. It is hard to be addicted to a single substance, so being addicted to two is considerably worse.
The Dual Addiction of Meth and Heroin: Kim’s Story
If it is hard to live with one addiction and it is even worse when you have dual addiction to substances. Kim, 47, started out just like many people who abuse drugs. She used to try to fix a problem.
According to her, it all started around 25 years ago. After her parents got divorced, she started to suffer emotionally. She turned to methamphetamine as a safe haven from the pain. She affirmed that, by using it, she could finally “feel normal” again. The drug was used as a tool that helped her to cope with all the pain.
This situation is not uncommon as many people start abusing substances after a trauma occurs. Their personal stories might be different, but their pain is generally similar. Just as Kim did, people experiment with drugs at first to feel better for the moment and eventually a pattern develops.
The more the drug is used, the more you need to use it in order to keep feeling relief. This makes the situation spiral out of control pretty quickly in most cases.
The Start of Kim’s Dual Addiction
In some cases, the addiction can be the cause for a second addiction. At first, Kim only used meth for around nine years, but then she looked for treatment. Everything was alright at first, but her body really missed the feeling she got from the drugs.
Heroin, her second addiction, appeared as a new solution. It calmed her down instead of invigorating her because heroin is an opiate. At first, she thought, “heroin’s great. I don’t do speed anymore”. She was glad to get rid of the paranoia and agitation.
Methamphetamine can cause psychosis, as affirmed by the Suzette Glasner-Edwards and Larissa J. Mooney. Roughly 40% of all meth users can suffer from symptoms such as agitation or delusions. Also, the absence of methamphetamine on a person’s body can trigger depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, the situation ended up getting out of control pretty quickly for Kim and she became a victim of dual addiction.
Kim was not fully aware at first, though. She described this phase of her life as being “the chemist with your own body”. According to her, she was “balancing, trying to figure out your own prescription” to simply feel better. Now, she has finished her treatment for both drugs and is in recovery. After suffering for over two decades with the problem, she enrolled in a residential treatment program for women based in San Francisco.
She was very lucky, though. The Journal of the American Medical Association has recently published a new study which affirms that amphetamine-related hospitalizations were up by 245% from the eight-year period that ranges from 2008 to 2015. Many people were not as lucky as she was.
Kim has been sober for a year now and is finally trying to find her own balance without the need for other substances. This is never easy, but it is an important step in order to regain your health and control of your own life.
The Theory of Self-Medicating with Drugs and Alcohol
Self-medication is often a harmful practice. While the act of self-medicating may not seem logical to outsiders, the truth is that they often have strong reasons for it. As can be seen from Kim’s story, the reason why so many people self-medicate is that they are in pain.
Another popular reason people self-medicate is that they believe they have undiagnosed mental problems. Unfortunately, the internet is often not very helpful as it makes it easy to self-diagnose yourself incorrectly. The best option is to always look for a doctor whenever you feel that there is something wrong with you. Bipolar disorder, post-traumatic syndrome (PTSD) and similar issues should be treated by actual professionals.
Being a Chemist with Your Body: Dangers of Illegal Drugs and Your Health
There is no easy fix for life and all the pain that comes with it. Being your own doctor might sound like a good idea, but the truth is that by using illegal drugs in order to “fix” your emotional issues and your pain, you may be risking your life.
Drugs such as amphetamines and heroin are not legal nor regulated, therefore they often have serious impurities. Uncontrolled usage of these substances can even cause overdoses in some cases and most people do not recover from them.
Even legal substances such as alcohol can be easy to abuse if you are not careful, especially when you mix them with other types of drugs. If you want to really solve your problems, you have to take a deep breath and acknowledge them. The first step is to look for help.
If you are ready to finally get off drugs for good, the road to recovery you choose can make the battle for sobriety even more difficult. You can choose to detox in a professional facility or try to go cold turkey to gain freedom from your addiction. Let’s take a closer look at how these two different methods affect your brain, body and recovery.
Addicted Brain: The Need to Stay in Active Addiction
Many people wonder how people can make the conscious choice to take a drug even though they are aware of the dangers involved. The answer is simple: your brain. Your body is made up of chemicals and so are drugs. When you ingest drugs into your system, you begin altering the way that your brain is functioning. Drugs will alter the way your cells send and receive information. Different types of drugs affect the brain in different ways such as:
- By imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers
- Over stimulating the brain’s ‘reward circuit’
- Binding to the receptors in the brain
- Overflooding the brain with excess chemicals
The severity of the effect of the drug on the brain (and subsequent addiction) will vary depending on your drug of choice. Marijuana, for example, will produce similar chemicals to your brain’s natural neurotransmitters and will send abnormal messages. This will result in the user feeling ‘high’.
Other drugs, which are considered much more addictive, such as cocaine and methamphetamine, will cause your brain’s nerve cells to release an abnormally large amount of natural neurotransmitters. It may also prevent the brain’s natural process of recycling the transmitters between neurons. This change will result in a much different high that can be much more addictive because of the overstimulation in the brain’s reward system which can produce feelings of euphoria.
How Does the Brain Become Addicted?
As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain starts to adapt to producing large amounts of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter. The brain has several dopamine pathways, one of which is critical to the motivational component of the reward motivated behavior.
As the brain begins to adapt to these surges, it naturally produces less dopamine or reduces the number of dopamine circuits in the brain’s reward system. This change will make the user enjoy the drugs they useless, but also enjoy many everyday activities less, as well.
The brain is now forming a tolerance for the drug as well as a dependency. The decrease in dopamine production causes the addict to use drugs in order to bring up the dopamine production to normal levels.
Comfort and Care: Nurses vs Housemates
When the choice is made to stop using drugs or alcohol, there are two different approaches one could take: detox or stopping cold turkey. When a user decides to quit drugs immediately and without any medical supplement, it is referred to as going ‘cold turkey’. Without proper medical supervision the consequences of this choice can be severe.
According to Dr. Richard Honaker, those who choose to stop using their substance of choice cold turkey run the risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Heart palpitations
- Heart rhythm problems
The risks of going cold turkey can even be fatal. There are three substances that withdrawing cold turkey can lead to death: alcohol, opiates and benzodiazepines. Many people who choose to go cold turkey may rely on friends or family for support. Unless your support system has a medical background, they may not know how to spot the signs that you are in medical trouble. While they may be able to offer emotional support, they do not likely have the skills to help to determine what caused the addiction in the first place.
Because of all of these dangers, many people seeking recovery from their addiction will choose to detox rather than go cold turkey. Detoxing is when the user is given a safe and controlled environment to rid their body of their substance of choice.
Users are often put under 24-hour supervision with medical professionals who are familiar with the symptoms they will be experiencing and trained to help make the process as easy as possible. In some cases, the patient may be given medicine to help ease their withdrawal symptoms. Although many of these medical aides also carry their own risk of addiction.
Medication vs. No Medication
Many rehab graduates have shared that the withdrawal process is the most intimidating on the recovery journey. The process can also be painful, traumatic and scary for those around you. By choosing to detox in a controlled setting rather than at home surrounded by family and friends you are opening yourself up to the possibility of medications that can make this process as easy as possible.
Many treatment centers are able to utilize medications to block the effects of opioids and repress the thoughts of relapse. This combination can provide a much needed strength for your chance of sobriety. The delivery of these medications varies from a strip placed under your tongue to an implant placed in the arm.
The Support Needed: Detox to Rehab
Another benefit of beginning your treatment plan in a detox setting is an easier transition to a rehab center. These centers can often help stop the cycle of addiction by offering group therapy sessions that can not only determine the cause of the addiction, but equip the individual with the tools to fight the urge to relapse.
This is one of the big reasons that many treatment centers feel it so important to add detox services to their rehabilitation centers. This seamless transition offers the support needed to complete the first year of sobriety and onto a sober lifestyle. Are you ready to take the first step toward your recovery? Give us a call today to be connected to a treatment center that is right for you.
It can be challenging to help a loved one struggling with addiction. Sometimes a direct, honest conversation can start the road to the recovery and relationship healing. But it’s not always that easy. When it comes to addiction, the person with the addiction often struggles to see it and acknowledge it. A more focused approach may be needed to help the addict. You may need to join forces with others who love the person and take action through a formal intervention. An intervention can motivate someone to seek help for their substance abuse. Knowing when how to stage it can help make it work.
What is an Intervention for Substance Abuse Disorders?
An intervention is a formal or informal meeting that includes family, loved ones, friends, and/or professionals in hopes of inspiring an addict to change their negative behaviors.
A discussion is held about the reality of the situation and how the addictive behavior is affecting the lives of individuals who love and care for the addict. The group will encourage the person to seek help for their addiction.
A successful intervention is a combination of education and support with the goal of providing the addict with a structured treatment opportunity that will creative a positive change.
Warning Signs that Their Addiction is Out of Control
It may not always be readily apparent when it is time to stage an intervention. It’s common for things to progress slowly in terms of the severity of a person’s misuse of drugs and/or alcohol.
Those suffering from addiction are often in denial and struggle to face the harsh reality of their dependence and its negative effects on the lives of those around them.
According to the MayoClinic.org, some warning signs that may indicate it is time to join forces and suggest treatment through intervention include:
- Overdose: The person has an overdose and needs to go to the hospital. They are also experiencing acute health problems due to the drug and/or alcohol use. And they are struggling with increased mental health issues due to ongoing misuse of a substance.
- Legal Issues: The person is arrested due to drug-related behaviors and/or choices made due to the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
- Violence: The person harms someone while under the influence. This may occur during domestic violence, sexual assault, or driving under the influence.
A trait of addiction is exhibiting both physical dependence as well as psychological dependence on a substance. This generally manifests in the person when withdrawal symptoms occur because the person is without their drug of choice. This also means that the person prioritizes getting and staying high or drunk over everything else, no matter what damage it causes to others. When the person is unable to stop using, even when willing (and wanting), and the need to use drugs or alcohol trumps the physical and mental health of oneself and others, it is time to stage an intervention.
How to Plan a Successful Intervention
It is imperative to properly plan an intervention in order to maximize all chances of success. When planning your intervention for your loved one, consider the following:
- The Group: Carefully consider which family members and close friends to involve. Do not include anyone who supports or condones drug or alcohol use in any way. Choose people who truly have your loved one’s best interests at heart.
- The Professional: Families should always consult a professional for help with the intervention. Interventions work best when assisted by an addiction counselor or intervention therapist.
- The Location: It’s best to choose a space where the person will feel comfortable and safe. A private location is always better than a public place.
- The Information: Educate yourself on your loved one’s addiction. The more you know, the more help and support you can provide. If you do not understand what you’re dealing with, you may have difficulty conveying your points to your loved one.
- The Message: It’s good to know what you are going to say beforehand. Take some time to discuss with the intervention group what needs to be said and how you are going to say it. Avoid using “you” statements; those indicate blame. Instead, use “I’ statements that convey how the addict’s behavior has or is personally impacting you.
- The Treatment Plan: If you are encouraging your loved one to seek treatment, have a treatment plan ready. Find a treatment center that is appropriate and is available to begin treatment the same day as the intervention. All arrangements need to be made beforehand.
- The Worst Case Scenario: Plan ahead for your loved one to continue denying they have a problem and refuse your suggestion to seek treatment. Decide with the group if there will be a backup plan or an ultimatum.
Also, consider how you can stop any enabling behaviors with the addict; this includes limiting access to money, housing, or any other support you provide that allows the addictive behaviors to continue.
Who Should Perform an Intervention?
Interventions need to be performed by a group of people who are close to the addict. Typically, these are close family members.
Alcohol.org states, “The intervention will not be as effective if the group consists of many acquaintances who have only superficial relationships with the person.” Having the intervention led by individuals who share a strong bond with the addict, brings the intervention to a close and intimate level. This is important because it has meaning for both the subject of the intervention and the group of loved ones performing it.
Is it Time for an Intervention?
If your loved one is struggling with addiction, you do not need to feel helpless. You can’t control whether or not someone living with addiction will agree to treatment and remain sober. An intervention can help protect your overall well-being. If your loved one refuses to go to treatment, do not give up. Distorted thinking is an issue when dealing with your loved one in active addiction. You may see the situation clearly but your loved one may not see their frequent abuse of their drug of choice as an addiction. Learning how the disease of addiction and the support groups that can help you may help you the next time you try to talk to your loved one.
There is a wealth of information online, however, you may want to speak to an addiction specialist to discuss your particular situation and navigate how best to handle it. Recovery is a journey. With the right treatment and support, you and your loved one can start on the right path. Staging an intervention is often the best possible way to begin.
It’s fair to say that most people know that heroin is not only a drug, but a dangerous- highly addictive drug. When the news and social media platforms begin to alert the public with announcements warning people of a deadly strand of heroin, most begin to wonder what it is, where is comes from, and what to avoid on the streets.
Over the past year, purple heroin, also known as PURP, has made headlines warning communities of the highly toxic drug and it’s contributions to the rise of overdoses. But, what exactly is PURP and what makes it so deadly?
What is Purple Heroin?
Purple heroin, also known as PURP is a deadly mixture of heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil. It is essentially the mixture of one deadly drug with another. Carfentanil is a tranquilizer used to put elephants and other large mammals in a state of anesthesia for surgery. A dose as small as a grain of sand (20 micrograms) of carfentanil can kill you.
According to Corey Peterson, Director of Admissions at Better Today, purple heroin is 100 times more potent that fentanyl, 5,000 times more potent than heroin, and 10,000 times more potent than morphine because it is cut with deadly amounts of carfentanil.
In an article posted on CBC News in March 2018, Hamilton Ontario, Canada’s public health unit issued a warning about purple heroin stating it was laced with highly toxic amounts of fentanyl and likely contributed to multiple overdoses during recent weeks. Since then, multiple arrests have been made in the trafficking of purple heroin but it’s not enough to slow down the overdose epidemic.
Purple heroin is not a regulated substance and the concentrations of fentanyl can vary. Small amounts of fentanyl can cause great harm and it is highly suggested that it shouldn’t be taken when alone.
Local addiction experts say it is only a matter of time before this deadly drug makes its way to smaller cities. Parents are encouraged to pay close attention to their children so that PURP does not claim another life. Peterson states in his interview that an immediate indicator of opioid use, is pinpointed pupils in the dark.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid. This means it is made in a laboratory. Fentanyl and carfentanil are labeled as cousin drugs. Like morphine, fentanyl is used to treat people who suffer from severe pain especially after surgery or breakthrough cancer pain. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. In fact, fentanyl is also stronger than oxycodin and heroin.
More recently, fentanyl is being mixed with other drugs and sold on the streets but with deception. Someone who uses what they think is heroin may actually be using a mixture or pure fentanyl. Currently, pills are made to look like oxycodone or Xanax but are actually fentanyl. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), this is because it takes very little to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a cheaper option. This deception is proving to be fatal.
Street dealers are selling drugs cut with fentanyl and/or carfentanil with the intention of offering their buyers a hard hitting, longer lasting high. Like fentanyl, carfentanil has no smell or taste; so detection is nearly impossible. The benefit to dealers is more profit.
Synthetic opioids, are the most common drugs involved in drug overdose deaths in the United States. The NIH reports, in 2017, 59.8 percent of opioid related deaths involved fentanyl.
Opiate Overdose Awareness
Opioid overdose is life threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Recognizing the signs of an opioid overdose can save lives. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), states that 911 should be called immediately if a person exhibits any of these signs:
- Person’s face is extremely pale and/or feels clammy to the touch
- Their body goes limp
- They are unable to speak and cannot be awakened
- Their fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color
- They start vomiting or making gurgling noises
- Their breathing or heartbeat slows or stops
It is imperative for patients and caregivers to know that unintentional overdose (also known as accidental overdose) can occur with prescription opioid pain relievers. This especially includes fentanyl. If a doctor’s instructions are unclear, ask a pharmacist for clarity. SAMHSA offers tips on how to avoid an unintentional overdose:
- Take medication as prescribed by the doctor; do not take more than prescribed or more frequently.
- Never mix your medication with alcohol, sleeping pills, or illicit substances. An overdose can be fatal when mixing an opioid and anxiety medications.
- Medication should be stored in a safe place where children or pets can not get it.
- Unused medication should be disposed of promptly.
Children are especially vulnerable to unintentional overdoses if they take medication not intended for them.
Overdose Prevention: Naloxone
Naloxone is a medication used in treating opioid overdose. It is designed to rapidly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It is basically used to restore normal respiration. A person who overdoses on heroin or opioid pain medication will experience slow breathing or breathing will completely stop.
According to SAMHSA, Naloxone is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent overdose by opioids such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone. It blocks opioid receptor sites, reversing the toxic effects of the overdose.
Purple heroin is so potent that, Aisling Higgins, communications officer in the city of Hamilton, reported in an email, “Anecdotally, we have heard multiple reports of cases that are requiring more than one kit of Naloxone (>2 doses) for overdose reversal which is why it is so important to call 9-1-1 to seek medical care for overdose.” The Guardian Weekly reports that overdoses involving carfentanil can take up to six Naloxone shots or more to counteract the overdose.
Health officials and drug experts believe purple heroin first surfaced in Canada and has been spreading south ever since. It’s safe to say that drug users should avoid any street drug with a purplish tint to it.