Parish Nurse Links

Opoid Use

When I started to look at Heroin use in my home area of Western Maryland. I was surprised to learn Western Maryland is not only on the Heroin Highway but only a brief stop. The area begins in Baltimore, a decades old heroin stronghold, and travels along Interstate 70 through Hagerstown, Maryland to Interstate 81 into Martinsburg, West Virginia and then on into Virginia where we stopped in Winchester. This was part of an investigation by a Washington, DC television station. So I started to prepare resources for these areas of Province III. On January 13th, 2107 while viewing the Justice station on TV a program on drug production was showing. These street dealers from the Hill in Pittsburg actually showed how heroin is mixed or cut with rat poison, embalming fluid, other prescription drugs (secret ingredient) and then mixed with brown sugar. I guess being a child of the 1960”s I thought most used heroin by injection but today even snorting is possible depending on preparation. Heroin at the current time is one of the cheapest street drug available to addicts but depending on the amount used they need a “fix” every few hours usually less than eight hours. What to look for in a family member or friend if you think they are using drugs. Unusual sleepiness, declining activity, or sleep disturbances “Lost” or stolen prescriptions or medication Frequently missing appointments unless receiving a renewed prescription is expected Unwillingness to try non-opioid treatment options Using prescribed opioids to self-medicate another problem, e.g., insomnia Irritability Repeatedly running out of medication early Drug hoarding during periods of reduced symptoms Injecting opioids intended for oral use Using more of the opioid to get a euphoric effect Failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home Continued social or interpersonal problems Lack of interest in social events This is not a complete list of signs and symptoms, nor is it a method of diagnoses. Only a medical professional can determine the diagnosis of opioid addiction. These are just some items to get us thinking. Please note the resources are only part of many that are found on the internet or from your on physician or clinic.

Resources Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church, www.episcopalrecovery.org National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) – www.drugabuse.gov Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – www.samhsa.gov National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA) – www.niaaa.nih.gov USA Addiction Treatment Partnership – www.quitalcohol.com Faces and Voices of Recovery – www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org Substance Abuse and Addiction Recovery Alliance – www.saara.org 12 Step Fellowships Alcoholics Anonymous – www.aa.org Al Anon – www.al-anon.alateen.org Codependents Anonymous – www.coda.org Families Anonymous – www.familiesanonymous.org Narcotics Anonymous – www.na.org