Tag Archives: Overdose

Cocaine Overdose

Cocaine is a stimulant that people often abuse as a recreational “party” drug. While most people incorrectly think it is safer than its close relative, crack cocaine, pure cocaine is just as dangerous and addictive and can cause a fatal overdose.

What is cocaine?

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant, which has been used as a stimulant by South American natives for thousands of years. Processed “pure” cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride, is much more powerful and addictive. Sold illicitly under the names Coke, C, Snow, Powder, or Blow, pure cocaine is usually a white powder. 

Cocaine Overdose

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) categorizes various drugs on a scale based on how addictive and dangerous they are. Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, meaning that while it has highly addictive qualities and a high potential for abuse, it does have potential medicinal uses. Doctors can administer it a local anesthetic in some situations. Other Schedule II drugs include Adderall, Fentanyl and OxyContin. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cocaine was most popular during the 1990’s. However, it is still quite common today and many users see it as a risk-free, fun party drug. In 2014, there were an estimated 1.5 million active cocaine users over the age of 12 in the United States.

Cocaine Overdose

What are Cocaine’s Effects?

Cocaine’s stimulant properties cause a heightened sense of energy and awareness, among other symptoms. While some may find the experience to be pleasurable, it is highly addictive and the side effects can be painful. Other cocaine effects include:

  • Increased energy
  • Euphoric feelings (euphoric high)
  • Elevated mood
  • Elevated self-esteem 

Some of Cocaine’s negative side effects include:

  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Panic
  • Paranoia 
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability 
  • Tremors 
  • Vertigo
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fatal overdose

What Does a Cocaine Overdose Look Like?

In order to understand how cocaine can kill, it’s helpful to understand what an overdose is. Overdose occurs when someone consumes a  substance in a dose high enough to keep vital organs from functioning.  In some cases, depending on the severity, it leads to death or long-term internal damage.  An overdose is possible with almost any drug but is most prevalent with opioids, such as fentanyl. Given that cocaine is a stimulant, it does not cause an overdose the same way an opioid would. While opioids slow down organ function, cocaine can cause cardiac arrest, stroke, respiratory arrest, and sudden death if the drug’s toxicity is too high. In 2015, more than 5,500 people died from cocaine overdose.

Many people wrongly think that powder cocaine is safe because it is not crack cocaine and therefore “purer”. However, this isn’t necessarily true. It is hard to determine purity levels outside of a lab, and pure cocaine still kills in high doses. Further, many dealers lace cocaine products with other drugs. Some dealers mix fentanyl or other dangerous substances into cocaine. This increases the chances of addiction, which is good for a drug dealer’s business. Fentanyl is deadly in small doses, and users often don’t know when it is in the cocaine they buy. In Flint, Michigan, 2 individuals were found dead in 2020 by overdose from fentanyl laced cocaine with another in critical condition. Sadly, this kind of scenario is not uncommon.

Cocaine Overdose

How long does cocaine stay in your system?

It’s difficult to hard to predict how exactly how long cocaine’s effects will last. This changes from person to person, and usually depends on how someone ingests the drug. If snorted, cocaine can take longer to kick in, but its effects will persist for longer. Smoking cocaine creates a nearly instantaneous high that may last only a few minutes. Regardless of how long the effects last, cocaine can still be detected in the system for several days to weeks after ingestion.

Side Effects

Cocaine’s half-life is about an hour. This is the time it takes for the ingested cocaine to enter the bloodstream. In other words, an hour after someone ingests 10mg of cocaine, the amount left over is about 5mg. Even so, cocaine can be detected via saliva from 12-48 hours after last use and in hair for years after ingestion. Further, urine tests can detect cocaine 2-4 days after last use. 

Cocaine Overdose and Addiction: Getting Help

It’s difficult – but very possible –  to recover from cocaine dependence. The drug is highly addictive and its withdrawal symptoms are often painful. This can encourage people to keep abusing the drug – just to avoid the pain. Getting professional help is the best bet for lifetime sobriety. Without it, going “cold-turkey” – stopping suddenly – is dangerous, since the relapse risk is much higher.  Co-occurring mental health concerns can make quitting even harder. When you seek professional help, you increase your likelihood of staying clean. Trained physicians and counselors are  equipped to help you deal with addiction’s the root causes instead of just managing its symptoms.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today to start the journey to health and sobriety together.

Most Dangerous Drugs

When looking at a list of the most dangerous drugs in the US, it is important to specify what “dangerous” means. A danger ranking that is is simply taken from death and hospitalization statistics will look very different from one based on lethal dosage or even the likelihood of an overdose.

What are the Most Dangerous Drugs?

It’s a good idea to understand as many different danger factors as possible when it comes to drugs. This list considers substances which have a high potency as well as a high likelihood of causing (or contributing to) death. 

#1 Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is around 50 to 100 times more potent than Morphine. It is a prescription drug for patients dealing with severe pain, such as cancer or post-surgery pain.  Given its high potency, it does not take much fentanyl to trigger an overdose. Illicitly-produced fentanyl poses a serious public health risk, as it’s common to find fentanyl laced with other drugs. Drug dealers and producers will combine fentanyl with substances like cocaine in an effort to boost profit – as it takes less product to create an intense high.

Another form of fentanyl making an appearance in North America is carfentanil.  Typically used as an Elephant tranquilizer, carfentanil is likely one of the most dangerous opioids known to man. 10,000 times as potent as morphine and 100 times stronger than regular fentanyl, it has no approved medical uses or human applications. It is oftentimes too powerful to risk lacing in other drugs and therefore is less common than fentanyl. The lethal dose of carfentanil is unknown; however, fentanyl can be lethal at the 2 milligram range.

Most Dangerous Drugs

Opioids in general have passed automobile accidents in the U.S. as the single largest cause of death. 

#2 Alcohol

When looking at death count alone, alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. However, it is not alcohol’s potency which presents the biggest risk factor. Most people can enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation without experiencing any serious negative side effects. Rather, it is the increase in likelihood to engage in dangerous activities, and the difficulty in understanding the body’s physical limit that makes it so dangerous. In the United States alone, drunk driving claims around 10,000 lives every year and that figure has fallen by a third in the past few decades. As a whole, an estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes every year – making it one of the most dangerous drugs in the United States, and potentially the world.

Most Dangerous Drugs

#3 Heroin

Heroin is also a form of opioid similar to fentanyl, but much more prevalent in the United States and Canada. It is one of the driving forces behind the opioid crisis in the U.S. Heroin is an incredibly addictive substance which can be injected, inhaled or even mixed with crack cocaine to form a speedball. It is also one of the hardest drugs to quit, as it can cause painful withdrawals. Heroin is the only substance on this list which is listed as a schedule 1 substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). A schedule 1 drug is one which has a very high potential for abuse and has no known medical uses. 

#4 Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an amphetamine type originally used as a nasal decongestant. Some doctors still prescribe it to their patients, though at a dose much too low to create a euphoric high. However, it is more potent than other amphetamines and therefore poses a higher risk to anyone who uses it. It is listed as a Schedule II drug by the DEA because it is given to patients who suffer from severe ADHD, but still has a high potential for abuse. 

#5 Cigarette Smoking

Smoking causes long term health effects which can lead to a whole host of other health problems. Cigarettes rank lower than other drugs since nicotine and other cigarette ingredients do not cause reckless behavior and aren’t inherently dangerous on their own. However, from a deaths-per-year perspective, smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that cigarettes cause more than 480,000 deaths in the U.S every year. Smoking can cause long-term health effects such as cancer and other diseases, and it does harm to essentially every organ in the body. It also causes premature death in most regular smokers.

Most Dangerous Drugs

Smoking can cause:

  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Lung diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Tuberculosis
  • Erectile dysfunction

Most Dangerous Drugs: What to Do During an Overdose

Being able to understand the signs of an overdose can help save lives. Any drug can be dangerous, and overdoses are always a possibility. Some individuals may accidentally take more than their prescribed dose of a medication, which in turn can cause an overdose.

Some signs of an overdose include:

  • Slowed breathing 
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Cessation of breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Dilated pupils
  • Airway obstruction (gurgling sounds)
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Seizures
  • Unconsciousness

What to Do During an Overdose

If you have opioids in your household, or suspect someone to be experiencing an opioid overdose, using Naloxone (brand name Narcan) can help stop the overdose dead in its tracks. However, keep in mind that this will only stop overdoses caused by opioids. The first step should always be to contact emergency services, even if you are not entirely sure someone is experiencing an overdose. Seconds count when someone is unconscious or struggling to breathe. 

Getting Help for the Most Dangerous Drugs

Addiction can be a very difficult thing to beat. Every substance listed above has a high potential for abuse and addiction. However, sobriety is very much possible and there is always hope. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction or abuse, please contact us today so that we we can help begin the journey to a sober life, together. 

Meth Overdose

In late 2019, methamphetamine became the largest contributor of overdose deaths in the United States, slowly passing fentanyl as the center of America’s drug epidemic. In 2017 alone, an estimated 1.6 million people in the United States had reported using meth in the past year and a further 964,000 people had a methamphetamine use disorder. The risk of meth overdose, which can have lasting health effects or even potentially result in death, is serious. Any meth use should be taken seriously as soon as possible.

meth overdose

What is meth?

Methamphetamine is a white crystal-like substance which can be snorted, smoked or injected into the users bloodstream. When taken, the user will experience a powerful euphoric high which can also bring about feelings of confidence, pleasure and make the user feel energized. It’s euphoric properties is one of its more enticing effects which many users begin to crave. Some describe it to be emotionally numbing, therefore allowing them to escape painful emotions and past experiences.

meth overdose

However, meth is also incredibly dangerous due to its high potential for abuse and apparent risk of overdosing. The Drug Enforcement Agency classifies meth as a Schedule II drug which “are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Meth users will find that their bodies begin to develop a tolerance to the drug as soon as after their first use. For most, the first use is the most powerful and impactful experience. Subsequent uses of the drug at the same dose begins to feel weaker and weaker over time. Therefore, meth users will continuously increase their dosage in attempts to recreate their first high. However, this often leads to overdoses, as at a certain point your body can no longer handle the high doses.

What causes a meth overdose?

An overdose is the body’s negative reaction to a drug or outside substance. In most cases, this is caused by taking too much of a drug, either on accident or purposefully. Not all overdoses will be fatal, however, all overdoses can become fatal. According to the University of Arizona’s Methamphetamine and other illicit drug education (MethOIDE) journal, the most common cause of death during a meth overdose is multiple organ failure similar to heat stroke. In rare cases, death can also occur from metal poisoning or contamination from illicitly produced, impure meth. Some signs of a meth overdose include:

  • Chest pain
  • Arrhythmias
  • Hypertension or Hypotension
  • Difficult or labored breathing (Dyspnea)
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Rapid or slow heartbeat (tachycardia or bradycardia)
  • Hyperthermia
  • Sweating

While these symptoms are not unique to meth overdoses, sweating profusely is. It is possible to recover from a meth overdose, however, the likelihood of surviving is highly dependent on how soon the individual receives medical attention. If you, someone you know or a stranger is exhibiting the above symptoms, call emergency services immediately. However, even with the proper medical attention, an overdose can cause lifelong health problems.

How long does meth stay in your system?

Meth is mostly unaffected by your body’s metabolism, unlike cocaine. Therefore, its effects can last from 8 to even 24 hours in extreme cases. This does depend on other factors such as how the drug was taken (orally, injected, snorted etc), the overall health of the individual and dosage. Meth has a half-life of around 10-12 hours, which means it takes approximately 10 hours for the initially ingested drug dose to reduce to half its size (i.e. if you took 100mg, 10 hours later, that would effectively be 50mg in your body). However, its detection rates vary depending on the type of test administered and amphetamine, a metabolite of meth may be detectable even longer past the ingestion period.

meth overdose

Meth Withdrawal

Meth withdrawals begin immediately after someone stops using meth and is highly uncomfortable and with the potential to last weeks. The duration and intensity of the withdrawal period does depend on how long the individual has been using the drug. Generally, those with a longer history of meth abuse will experience more intense withdrawals. Avoiding withdrawals is one of the primary reasons individuals will continue to use meth.

There are two distinct phases of meth withdrawal. The first phase occurs during the first 24 hours after last taking the drug and will include symptoms such as fatigue, increased appetite, anxiety and depression. The second phase will usually last 2 to 3 weeks and usually cause intense cravings for the drug and severe depression. In extreme cases, individuals who have an extensive history of abusing the drug may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) which can essentially extend the withdrawal symptoms up to 6 months or more.

Treatment

Meth is a highly addictive drug. Even just one use can create an immediate desire for more and spiral out of control. It is one of the most dangerous drugs Americans have ever been faced with. However, recovery is absolutely possible. Given the complex nature of the recovery process and withdrawal symptoms, we recommend that you have a plan in place and work with a professional who can guide you during your path to recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with meth abuse, please contact us today so that we can begin your road to lifetime recovery, together.

Ketamine and Alcohol

Many people have seen ketamine on the news as a rising drug of concern. While many think of it as a ‘horse tranquilizer’, though it acts as an anesthetic, there are other uses. Additionally, a lot of research is still necessary to fully understand it. A lot of people use ketamine recreationally and frequently in a party setting. Subsequently, ketamine and alcohol is an increasingly common combination with many not realizing the dangers.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a common dissociative drug with use as an anesthetic for medical purposes. However, as is the case with many medical drugs, it is possible to find and buy on the street. Dissociative drugs distort the users perception of sound and sight. Many users report feeling expressions of dissociation from their body and mind and find it rather calming. It is possible for an out of mind experience to produce powerful effects and leave the user craving more. This often occurs given its blissful and calming effects. However, these effects are also addictive and can cause a user to abuse ketamine in order to feel happy or high. Some clinical trials show the possibility of using ketamine as an antidepressant. However, there is not yet approval due to the lack of understanding on how ketamine affects the brain chemically.

ketamine and alcohol

Ketamine was developed as a replacement for phencyclidine (PCP) but was discovered to have a high potential for abuse and was later categorized as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Specifically, ketamine is a Schedule III which according to the DEA indicates that it has “ a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence.” Ketamine affects many neurotransmitters in the brain, but its full chemical mechanism is not yet understood. So far, scientists believe that it blocks the release of N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA), which is an excitatory neurotransmitter. NMDA is part of the glutamate class of neurotransmitters which represent one of the largest groups of transmitters in the brain. When released, NMDA speeds up brain function and the firing of neurons in the brain and spinal cord; therefore, when ketamine blocks the release of NMDA, the anesthetic and dissociative functions begin.

ketamine and alcohol

Side Effects

Like any drugs, even if someone perceives there are positive effects, there are negative side effects as well. There are plenty of side effects from taking ketamine which often worsen in combination with other drugs. Some side effects include:

  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Bluish lips or skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Confusion
  • Convulsions
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fainting
  • Vertigo
  • Skin rash
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate

Ketamine’s design is to slow brain function in order to help patients feel no pain during surgeries. Given that it slows brain function, it has the ability to affect respiratory performance by slowing your breathing down. 

Mixing Ketamine and Alcohol

Alcohol, when taken in smaller doses, can have stimulant-like effects on the body and brain; however, it is classified as a depressant. A central nervous system depressant slows down critical CNS functions such as breathing and coordination. When mixing two or more drugs (also known as polysubstance abuse), the effects of one will enhance the effects of the other. In other words, the depressive effects of alcohol will enhance the depressive effects of ketamine and vice-versa. While ketamine overdoses are rare on their own, mixing it with alcohol can greatly increase the chances of a fatal overdose. 

ketamine and alcohol

What is an OD?

An overdose, or commonly referred to as an OD, is your body’s negative biological response to having taken too much of a substance or mix of substances. Someone overdosing from a depressant (such as alcohol) will experience a severe drop in blood pressure, body temperature and breathing. A fatal overdose can occur if the effects of the overdose are so powerful, that breathing completely stops. Again, while ketamine overdoses are quite rare, mixing it with alcohol (or any other powerful depressant such as opioids or benzodiazepines) will exacerbate the overall response and can cause an overdose.

Treatment

substance use disorder

Addiction is considered to be a chronic disease which means that the genetic disposition to have addictive behaviors can be passed down from family members- similar to how other diseases such as Type II Diabetes can be inherited. That also means that addiction has similar relapse rates as some chronic diseases which is why seeking professional treatment and guidance is important in achieving a sober life. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), In 2017, 19.7 million Americans battled with a substance use disorder- and that number is on the rise. With more and more people dealing with the difficulties of addiction, many are finding that professional treatment and support groups offer the best chance at rehabilitation. If you or a loved one is suffering with addiction, please contact us today so we can work together to achieve a sober life.

Percocet Addiction

Opioid drug addiction and abuse has been on the rise in the US for some years now and is responsible for more deaths than motor accidents. Opioids also account for a majority of overdoses and have become a major problem in the US. Opioid addiction is a very concerning issue which many people do not fully understand. However better knowledge of the effects and dangers of drugs may help prevent users from falling victim to the drug. It is important to recognize Percocet addiction and take it seriously.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name for the combination of oxycodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen (commonly seen in brand name Tylenol). The acetaminophen present in Percocet helps boost the effectiveness and potency of oxycodone. Percocet is prescribed to individuals who are dealing with moderate to severe pain and can also be prescribed to those who struggle with chronic pain. 

Percocet can have some severe side effects even if taken responsibly, such as:

  • Hypothermia
  • Vomiting
  • Visual disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased thirst
  • Hypo-tension or hypertension
  • Slowed/repressive breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
percocet addiction

Why are opioids so dangerous?

Opioids relieve pain by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain which activates them. These receptors are a part of a system of proteins known as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). They work great as painkillers but can be very dangerous given their addictive nature. When opioids are taken, most people will feel a slight euphoric high. It will calm them down and make them feel relaxed. The issue is that users will build a tolerance to opioids.

percocet addiction

A tolerance is when your body essentially gets accustomed to the chemical and will develop a resistance to its effects- prompting users to take more for the drug to be useful. If someone is abusing this drug just to achieve a high, they run the risk of developing a tolerance and continually increasing their dosage to achieve the same high. At a certain point, the drug will become overpowering and cause an overdose. Most overdoses will cause the complete suppression of the central nervous system which in turn causes critical bodily functions such as breathing to completely stop.

Abuse vs Addiction: What is an addiction?

In the world of drug use, abuse and addiction can mean different things and it is important to understand the differences as it can determine what kind of treatment you need.

 Abuse

Abuse is the misuse of any drug. Instances of abuse include:

  • Taking more than the prescribed amount of a drug
  • Taking someone else’s prescriptions
  • Using non prescribed drugs to alleviate stress or experience a euphoric high

Taking any drug in a manner inconsistent with its labeling can be considered abuse. However, you are usually able to stop your habits relatively easily which is one of the key differences between abuse and addiction.

Addiction

An addiction is considered to be a chronic disease which is characterized by compulsive drug use and the inability to stop using even when the negative effects are known. Given that addiction is a chronic disease, it is common to see former addicts relapse. In fact, addiction has similar relapse rates as other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes.

Percocet addiction is no different. Users who have become dependent on the opioid will find it difficult to effectively become sober- but that does not mean it is not possible. 

percocet addiction

How long does Percocet stay in your system?

Percocet has a half-life of around 3.5 hours. A substance’s half-life will determine how long it takes for the substance to reduce to half of the taken dose to eliminate from your system. However, the substances that make up Percocet and that are unique to the drug (also known as metabolites) can have a longer half-life. It takes around 19 hours for the drug to leave your system. However, it is possible to detect for some time after that. 

Generally, it is possible to detect Percocet in your system via:

  • Saliva 1-4 days after ingestion
  • Urine 3-4 days after ingestion
  • Hair upto 90 days after ingestion

Keep in mind that these figures are for Oxycodone and by extension all opioids. There are a lot of other factors which may affect how long Percocet can be detected in your body such your weight, usage history and metabolism. 

Percocet Addiction Help and Treatment

As previously mentioned, addiction is a chronic disease which has a high potential for relapse. Therefore it is always recommended that anyone seeking treatment do so under the supervision of a professional who is trained to assist individuals who are on the road to recovery. Further, with the risk of withdrawals, it is never recommended that you try and go ‘cold turkey’ on your own. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please contact us today so we may begin your path to a sober life, together. 

Adderall and Cocaine Cocktail Mixing – Drug Pairings


Adderall and cocaine

Mixing drugs is an unfortunately common occurrence in the United States, but many people mistakenly believe some drugs to be less dangerous than others are. The reality is that most drugs have the potential to cause serious and even life-threatening medical complications under the right circumstances. Mixing something like adderall and cocaine can have life threatening consequences.

Similarly, mixing drugs – even prescription drugs – with certain other substances has the potential to cause devastating results.

Why Is Mixing Drugs Dangerous? Can mixing Adderall and cocaine be dangerous?

When a doctor issues a prescription for a certain type of medication, he or she must check the patient’s medical records and known drug history to identify any potentially dangerous allergies or interactions. Doctors also provide prescriptions under the assumption that patients will follow the instructions for proper use to the letter.

Unfortunately, some patients may misunderstand a doctor’s instructions or may believe that mixing a prescription drug with another substance won’t be harmful.

Risks of Adderall Abuse

Adderall is most commonly prescribed for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Unfortunately, Adderall abuse has become one of the leading types of prescription drug abuse in the U.S.

When used correctly for a qualifying condition, Adderall can help manage the symptoms of ADHD and improve:

  • Focus
  • Attention span
  • Short-term memory
  • Motivation

However, Adderall also carries a high potential for abuse, due to the fact it is a very powerful stimulant.

Adderall’s side effects can include several negative symptoms when abused or misused. A person who starts to take Adderall beyond the scope of their prescription may experience long-lasting bursts of energy followed by crashing.

It’s also possible for Adderall to interfere with sleep cycles. This amphetamine drug can also cause paranoia, aggression, mood swings, rapid heart rate and a host of other symptoms. When an individual combines Adderall with other drugs, the risk of adverse side effects dramatically increases, and the effects will differ based on the other substance used.

Adderall and Heroin Abuse

If a person who has a prescription for Adderall starts abusing heroin, there are many possible consequences. On the street, “speedball” is a common term for a combination of an “upper” like Adderall and a “downer” like heroin.

Some people mistakenly believe that a speedball offers the benefits of both drugs while canceling out the negative effects, but this is not the case. Adderall mixed with heroin simply increases the chances of suffering the adverse effects of both drugs at the same time.

Learn the Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

Adderall and Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine abuse isn’t as widespread as it was in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, but it is still a problem for countless Americans. Combined Adderall and cocaine effects can include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Extreme spurts of energy and alertness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Trouble breathing

Both of these substances are powerful stimulants. Taking both together greatly increases the risk of heart attack and brain damage.

Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Similar to the thinking behind a speedball, many people combine Adderall with alcohol in an attempt to experience the benefits of both without the negative side effects. A person may drink to calm down from the burst of energy that Adderall offers, or may use Adderall to wake up from the sleepiness that alcohol intoxication can cause.

Unfortunately, the effects of Adderall can make it harder for the person to feel the effects of alcohol, encouraging him or her to drink more alcohol than he or she normally would; this increases the risk of alcohol poisoning. Heavy consumption of adderall and alcohol also lowers one’s ability to recognize signs of overdose and other serious health issues. Additionally, long-term patterns of combining Adderall and alcohol can lead to heart failure and other cardiac conditions.

Adderall and Xanax Abuse

Xanax is a benzodiazepine medication that can treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders. It can produce feelings of calmness and relaxation, the polar opposite of what Adderall causes. Both Adderall and Xanax are widely prescribed drugs and meant to be used under medical supervision, but both are widely abused.

While there are no immediate dangers of taking both together, doing so can greatly increase the risk of developing an addiction to either or both substances. Adderall and Xanax both carry a significant risk for addiction. Taking Adderall and Xanax at the same time can be incredibly risky for that reason alone. Since these medications effectively counteract each other’s effects, a person who takes both may feel diminished effects of both, eventually encouraging him or her to take more of either than necessary.

Adderall and Marijuana Use

Marijuana’s legal status is a hot topic of public discussion, as many states have legalized medical marijuana, and a few have even decriminalized recreational pot. No matter how a person obtains marijuana, it’s important to know the risks of combining it with Adderall.

Combining marijuana and Adderall has the potential to increase the user’s risk of heart failure. Additionally, these two substances counteract one another and may encourage the user to ingest more than necessary, which can speed up the development of Adderall addiction.

Methadone and Adderall Use

Methadone is a common prescription for opioid addiction. This synthetic opioid medication can help a person transition away from harder opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers. But, methadone also carries the potential for abuse on its own.

When combined with Adderall, the stimulant can actually mask the signs of methadone overdose, potentially putting the individual’s life at risk.

Methadone abuse can lead to respiratory depression, coma, heart failure and a host of other complications. Adderall can effectively keep a person alert and moving through the early stages of an overdose. Meanwhile, others nearby may not recognize the danger before it is too late.

Adderall and Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine (or simply “meth”) is a very powerful synthetic stimulant capable of severe side effects on its own. Adderall and meth together become a very powerful surge of stimulants that can have devastating consequences.

Meth on its own can cause:

  • Delirium
  • Aggression
  • Heightened energy
  • Personality changes
  • Severe brain damage

Combining meth with another stimulant like Adderall, especially over repeated episodes, is something you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.

Risk of Overdosing on Drug Cocktails

Most forms of substance abuse carry a risk of overdose, and it’s essential to acknowledge the risk of overdosing that Adderall presents on its own. Some patients who take Adderall may start using the drug in different ways for more pronounced effects. For example, snorting Adderall and cocaine produces the desired effects much more quickly, but it also dramatically increases the risk of overdose.

Adderall Overdose on Its Own

An Adderall overdose is possible, even without other substances. Too much of the drug in a short time or a concentrated dose can cause tremors throughout the body, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing and several other adverse effects – including episodes of mania or even psychosis. Many people engage in snorting adderall as a means to feel stronger effects more quickly, but this can also increase the damage done.

Most people who combine Adderall with other drugs do so to either counteract or enhance the effects of Adderall, and some take Adderall to counteract or enhance the effects of other drugs.

Some people who experience illicit drug withdrawal may start taking Adderall for its stimulating properties. They may feel relief from the symptoms of withdrawing from other drugs, but this relief is short lived and creates more problems. Mixing adderall and other substances can also heighten the negative aspects of substances increasing risk of overdose.

For example, opioid withdrawal can cause extreme fatigue and depression, and a dose of Adderall may temporarily relieve these symptoms, thanks to this amphetamine’s stimulating properties. Eventually, this type of use will lead to Adderall abuse and make an already bad situation worse.

In severe cases of adderall overdose, symptoms might include:

  • hallucinations
  • panic
  • fever of 106°F (41.5°C) or higher
  • heart attack

Getting Help for Adderall Cocktail Mixing and Abuse

An overdose can lead to respiratory failure, coma or death in a very short time without medical intervention. When an individual abuses Adderall with another illicit drug, these interactions can produce extreme results very quickly.

It’s essential to acknowledge the risks of Adderall abuse, Adderall overdose, and how it can interact with other drugs – licit or illicit. A person who takes Adderall with a prescription may assume that it is safe simply because a doctor prescribed it, but this is only true when the patient takes it exactly as intended and directed.

Additionally, individuals who take other prescriptions or who abuse illicit drugs cannot fall into the trap of believing that Adderall can cancel out the effects of those other substances. If you know someone who has been using Adderall in a dangerous way, like mixing alcohol and Adderall or Adderall and cocaine for example, reach out to Reflections Recovery Center for guidance on how you can help stop their drug abuse.

Learn More About Prescription Drug Abuse

References:

https://medlineplus.gov/methamphetamine.html
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine
https://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/drug-policy/methamphetamine-crystal-meth-drugs
https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/stats/cbp-enforcement-statistics
https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/nsduh-ppt-09-2018.pdf
https://www.mayocliniclabs.com/test-info/drug-book/pod/DrugBook.pdf
https://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/04/25/meth-withdrawal-symptoms-timeline/
https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-63163/adderall-oral/details
https://www.dea.gov/drug-scheduling
https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/16/magazine/generation-adderall-addiction.html
https://www.livescience.com/41013-adderall.html
https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-we-need-medical-meth-cocaine

The Dangers of Fentanyl Patch Abuse: Know the Signs


One of the most widespread problems when it comes to addiction and overdose deaths in America is fentanyl. What is fentanyl? This substance is a synthetic opioid similar to heroin, but capable of producing much more potent effects.

A sample of fentanyl could be as much as 100 times more powerful than heroin, and the lethal dose is much smaller than that of heroin. Some drug manufacturers provide fentanyl medications to ease certain types of pain, particularly chronic pain that hasn’t responded to other treatment methods.

It’s possible to take fentanyl:

  • Orally with a pill
  • Through an edible product such as a lollipop or lozenge
  • With a transdermal patch

Unfortunately, some people have started abusing fentanyl patches because of their potency and viability compared to other forms of opioids like heroin. It’s imperative for anyone with a valid prescription for any type of fentanyl-based medication to take precautions to prevent others from using or having access to it.

Coming into contact with the sticky side of a transdermal fentanyl patch can lead to serious medical issues. Overdose is one of those risks, especially if a child or a person with little tolerance for narcotics touches the patch.

Risks of Fentanyl Exposure

How long does fentanyl stay in your system? That generally depends on the delivery system. An injected dose will be very potent and fast acting, but may not last as long as a dose taken orally.

Fentanyl patches generally release a low dose of fentanyl into the bloodstream over several days. Duragesic, the leading manufacturer of fentanyl patches in the U.S., reports its patches last for about three days before they require replacement.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to manipulate these patches for enhanced effects. Therefore, some people are abusing them in lieu of street heroin. Others simply do not realize that they can be more dangerous than street heroin because they are technically legal with a prescription.

How Do People Abuse Fentanyl Patches?

A fentanyl patch is similar to an adhesive bandage, but the underside has a gel coating that contains the fentanyl. Some people who misuse fentanyl patches will remove the gel and immediately ingest the entire dose at once. This is equivalent to consuming a three-day supply instantly. Others may apply multiple patches at once to absorb more of the drug.

Some people remove the fentanyl gel from patches and combine it with water or melt it down to inject it directly into the bloodstream. It’s also possible to chew on the patches to release the layers of fentanyl quickly; the mucous membranes of the mouth will absorb it into the bloodstream. Fentanyl is incredibly potent, and any of these methods carries a significant risk of overdosing.

When fentanyl enters the bloodstream directly or through the digestive system after a person chews on a patch, the risk of overdose increases dramatically. The body cannot process fentanyl well in these circumstances because it absorbs it too rapidly – compared to transdermal absorption.

Even used patches can still be fatal after a few days. A fentanyl patch may still contain up to 50 percent of the original amount of the drug after three days.

Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Opioid addiction is incredibly powerful and entails some of the most severe withdrawal symptoms of any form of substance abuse. Fentanyl withdrawal can entail:

  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme drug cravings
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Several potentially fatal medical conditions

Some individuals may attempt to take more fentanyl than they can handle to stave off these symptoms, potentially opening the door to an overdose.

Some of the early signs of fentanyl overdose can include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing

Since many individuals prefer to use alone or in seclusion, there may not be anyone around to intervene in the event of an overdose.

Fatal Risks of Overdosing

A fentanyl patch may cause an overdose on its own merit, or an individual may manipulate the patch for a more potent dose and then experience an overdose. Any overdose has the potential to be fatal, and it’s imperative to seek medical treatment immediately if you or someone you know begins to display the signs of overdose.

In particular, a few very dangerous symptoms to stay vigilant for include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extreme sweating
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle cramping

Falling asleep under the effects of fentanyl is also extremely dangerous, especially after taking a large or concentrated dose. The respiratory system naturally relaxes and breathing slows during sleep. Since fentanyl can easily cause respiratory depression, it’s possible for a user to fall unconscious and slip into respiratory failure without anyone else noticing.

Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Many individuals receive prescriptions for fentanyl for legitimate medical reasons. Unfortunately, these medications are very powerful and easily habit forming.

It’s essential for anyone who takes fentanyl medications to heed the instructions from their prescribing doctors very carefully and to only take these medications exactly as directed. It’s also vital to remember that following a prescription’s directions to the letter isn’t a foolproof way of avoiding fentanyl addiction (or overdose).

A person who develops an addiction to fentanyl may start exhibiting strange behavior, and loved ones should pay close attention to the warning signs of fentanyl patch abuse. Some of the signs could include:

  • Using more than the prescribed dose.
  • Appearance of damaged or destroyed fentanyl patches around the patient’s home or in trashcans: This could indicate that someone is opening the patches to remove the gel for a stronger dose.
  • Wearing more than one fentanyl patch at a time: There is no reason to ever apply more than one patch, even for acute pain. Some people mistakenly believe they can apply a patch directly to a specific part of the body for more targeted pain relief, but this is generally not the case. Always follow the instructions that accompany any fentanyl prescription.
  • Purchasing fentanyl patches from other people who have prescriptions.
  • Displaying fear of running out of patches.
  • Declining performance at work or in school.
  • Neglecting household duties, chores and basic living needs, like making meals and cleaning clothes.

Your Role

Do you know a friend or loved one who takes a fentanyl medication for a medical issue or has taken it recently? It’s important to stay vigilant for any changes in behavior that might indicate addiction.

A person in the early stages of addiction may be in denial about his or her behavior, but it will be obvious to others who start noticing some of the telltale behaviors associated with addiction.

Intervention and Treatment for Fentanyl Patch Abuse

It’s possible to develop fentanyl addiction simply by taking one’s prescription as directed. Others can propel themselves further into addiction by taking more fentanyl medication than prescribed.

It is imperative to acknowledge the extreme dangers of fentanyl patch abuse to prevent overdose deaths. Additionally, some individuals need to confront their addiction and seek treatment before it’s too late.

Fentanyl Abuse Detox and Rehab

There is no need to wait to hit “rock bottom” before seeking addiction treatment. The sooner a person struggling with substance abuse enters rehab, the better their chances are of getting and staying sober.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, and its withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Medically assisted detox is the best way to start the recovery process. An intervention can help get the person to this stage if they will not go willingly.

The thought of entering rehab may be scary, but the alternative is much worse. Detox and rehab are hard at first, but going through the recovery process can potentially save your loved one’s life. Instead of risking addiction and possible death by overdose, it’s crucial to spot and address the early signs of fentanyl patch addiction, and then take appropriate action.

See Our Prescription Drug Fact Sheet

Preventing Suicide in Those Addicted to Drugs and Alcohol


Did you know that this month is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month? Suicide claims more than 41,000 American lives each year, so now is as good of a time as any to learn the signs of suicidal thoughts in your loved ones and to reach out to them if they are struggling.

We will cover several of the warning signs and risk factors for suicide in this article, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between suicide and drug and alcohol use. We also want to focus on suicide risks in teenagers and young adults – demographics which are highly vulnerable to thinking about or attempting suicide.

Substance Use and Suicide

Drug and alcohol abuse can be a manifestation of depression and suicidal thoughts, but it can also exacerbate those feelings and make suicide an even bigger threat. In either case, it’s a vicious cycle.

Here are a few stats and facts to know, courtesy of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

  • Suicide is the leading cause of death among Americans with a substance use disorder.
  • Having a co-occurring mental disorder in the mix increases the risk of self-murder even further.
  • People treated for alcohol abuse or dependence are about a 10 times greater risk of suicide than those in the general population.
  • Alcohol use is present in 30 to 40 percent of all suicides and suicide attempts.
    • Alcohol intoxication is involved in 22 percent of all deaths by suicide.
  • Opioids (heroin and prescription painkillers) are present in 20 percent of all deaths by suicide, while marijuana is present is just over 10 percent of all such deaths.

Alcohol and drug abuse tends to lower inhibitions and exacerbate feelings of depression, which partially explains why addicted individuals are at greater risk of suicide.

However, “more research is needed on the association between different drugs, drug combinations, and self-medication on suicidal behavior,” according to SAMHSA.

Mental Illness, Substance Abuse and Suicide

There’s a wide intersection between substance abuse and suicide, and another dimension is added when you consider co-occurring mental health disorders (depression, anxiety, etc.). The findings in a 2011 SAMHSA survey showed just how great the risk of suicide increases as you add a substance use disorder, and then when you add mental illness and substance abuse, into the mix.

According to the survey, the following types of individuals reported suicidal thoughts over the preceding year:

  • People with any substance use disorder in general: 11.2%
  • Those with alcohol use disorder: 10.7%
  • People with an illicit drug disorder: 16.4%
  • Those with co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder: 30.7%

For people without any of these disorders, only 3.7 percent reported suicidal thoughts over the year prior to being surveyed.

Risk Factors for Suicide

You could be at greater risk for suicide depending on a number of ethnic, health, job, sexual orientation, environmental and a number of other circumstances.

Statistically speaking, the following circumstances make for a greater risk for suicidal behaviors:

  • American Indian or Alaska Native descent
  • Engaging in non-suicidal self-injury (such as cutting)
  • Prior attempts of suicide
  • Arduous medical condition(s)
  • Mental health and/or substance use disorders
  • LGBT orientation
  • Current or prior service in the armed forces
  • A man in middle age or elderly years (the rate of suicide in men is 4 times higher than in women in the U.S.)
  • Access to lethal means (such as a gun in the home)

If you’re worried about a family member and he or she falls into one or more of these categories, then you’ll have to be extra vigilant and supportive as he or she battles hard times and toxic thoughts.

Warning Signs of Possible Suicide Attempt

Worried that a loved one may be on the verge of suicidal behavior? Some specific warning signs to look for are if they:

  • Openly talk about wanting to die or kill himself/herself, even in a joking manner.
  • Actively look for a way to kill himself/herself.
  • Introduce drugs or alcohol to the mix, or increase their use of either.
  • Frequently act anxious, restless, agitated or reckless.
  • Sleep too much or too little.
  • Isolate himself/herself from everybody else.
  • Talk about being a burden to family members and others.
  • Mention wanting to seek revenge on someone.
  • Show frequent, extreme mood swings.

Suicide in Younger Americans

Suicide actually occurs in older Americans more than you would think. In fact, the highest rate of suicide occurred among men aged 75 years and older, at least according to SAMHSA data from 2013. In women, those between the ages of 45 and 54 were responsible for the highest suicide rate.

While older Americans are more prone to completing a suicide attempt, it’s the younger ones who battle suicidal thoughts on a more frequent basis. In 2014, the highest rate of “serious thoughts of suicide” occurred in Americans aged 18 to 25, according to SAMHSA.

And here are the numbers among high school students in 2014:

  • More than 17% had seriously considered suicide.
  • More than 13% had made a plan to take their own life.
  • And more than 8% had attempted suicide.

Suicide also happens to be the second-leading cause of death among young Americans between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. The same is true among 25- to 34-year-old Americans. The leading cause is accidents (unintentional injuries), if you’re wondering.

And if you have a child in college, you have to worry about binge drinking increasing the risk of suicide. The 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 74 percent of students who identified as binge drinker had attempted suicide before.

Don’t Forget Drug Overdose Risks

On a related note, don’t forget the threat of a loved one overdosing by accident if he or she is battling suicidal thoughts and has taken up substance use. Your loved one may think about committing suicide and even make plans on doing it, but still a small percentage actually go through with it.

If they are using drugs or alcohol heavily during this whole process, their life may suddenly and unintentionally be taken by another means – drug overdose or alcohol poisoning.

In 2016, more than 4,100 Americans between the ages of 0 and 24 years olds lost their lives to opioid overdoses, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. The highest death toll that year was among the 35- to 44-year-old demographic: more than 9,700 fatal opioid overdoses. There were more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in total in the U.S. in 2016.

Preventing Suicide Crises

Although suicide-prevention efforts are happening on national and local levels, we encourage you to be active on the ground level to help any loved ones that might be at risk. Here are some fairly simple steps you can take to keep a loved one safe:

  • Remove or lock up any objects in the home that can be used in a suicide attempt, such as firearms, knifes, dangerous prescription drugs, etc.
  • If they are in an immediate crisis, stay with them until further help arrives.
  • Talk openly and honestly about suicide, and ask direct questions such as, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
  • When they talk, listen without judging and express that you care and that they are loved.
  • Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice.
  • Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong.
  • Ask what you can do to help, including anything you can get for them, as long as the request is reasonable.
  • If there are multiple people with the person in crisis, be sure only one person talks at a time – to avoid overwhelming the loved one.
  • Both you and the loved one should get familiar with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website and phone number.
  • If they have also been battling drug abuse, schedule an intervention and start making plans for an extended trip to rehab.

Intervention and Rehabilitation

On that last note, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program will provide your loved one with ongoing counseling that can get to the root of low self-worth and suicidal thoughts. Addressing those issues effectively also has the by-product of helping the individual stay drug free for a longer period of time.

Reflections Recovery Center can provide a professional intervention and long-term inpatient treatment help your loved one who is struggling with substance abuse and suicidal behavior. Getting a loved one into rehab as soon as possible not only helps with their suicidal tendencies, but it will remove the threat of overdose, as well, so don’t delay seeking help on their behalf.

Explore Our Drug & Alcohol Rehab Programs

Drug Overdose Crisis Growing in Colorado


The drug overdose crisis is one of the biggest threats the United States faces, and the state of Colorado is no exception to this devastating trend. In 2016, more than 900 people died of drug overdoses in Colorado, which is 300 people more than the number of deaths in auto accidents in the state that year.

Preliminary statistics indicate the 2017 overdose death total will increase in Colorado as well. Experts say pharmaceutical opioids are the cause of about two-thirds of overdose deaths. These include oxycodone, morphine, codeine and Percocet. The remaining third of overdose deaths are from heroin. 

While the Denver and Colorado Springs areas saw more than 100 deaths each due to heroin and opioid overdoses, some of the least-populated areas in the state also endured a disheartening number of overdose-related deaths. These are some of the key findings in the Colorado Health Institute’s recent report, “Death by Drugs: Colorado at Record High.”

Opioid Deaths Rising in Colorado 

Heroin- and opioid-related deaths rose at a rapid pace during the last few years. The Colorado Department of Public Health reported that deaths caused by heroin in Denver have shot up a whopping 933 percent since 2002. The figures also indicate a 759 percent increase in heroin-related deaths from 2001 to 2016 in Colorado overall. Further findings indicate other opioid related-deaths went up 128 percent during the last 15 years.

The 912 deaths in 2016 indicate 16.1 heroin- and opioid-related overdose deaths per 100,000 residents of Colorado. This is an 83 percent increase from the 2001 rate.

Colorado Fatal Drug Overdoses by County

For 2016, the 16.1 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents rate is only slightly higher than the state rate in 2014 and 2015, and it is admittedly lower than the national average of 19.8 drug fatalities per 100,000 residents that year.

Still, these numbers offer little comfort when considering the rate of fatalities within Colorado by county. In fact, when taking a closer look at the death rate resulting from drug overdoses by county, the underlying increase in state overdose fatalities becomes even more apparent.

In El Paso County, 141 people died in 2016 because of drug overdoses, while Denver County saw a similar number (138 overdose-induced deaths). While the numbers are lower in other Colorado counties, this is only because the total number of residents is smaller when compared to more-populated regions.

The fatality rates in smaller counties are remarkably higher than those in populated places when measured per resident. For example, in Huerfano County, there were only six reported deaths because of drug overdoses in 2016, but since the population is 6,700. That means the death rate for this county is an unsettling 152.6 per 100,000 residents.

Below, we have formed two brief lists to provide a glimpse into the extent of the issue within each county and the state of Colorado as a whole. The lists feature the four Colorado counties with the largest numbers of fatal drug overdoses and the four with the highest death rates for 2016.

Colorado Counties with the Largest Numbers of Overdose Deaths in 2016 

  1. El Paso County experienced 141 overdose deaths. With a population of 690,207 residents, the county’s overdose fatality rate for the year was 20.4.
  2. Denver County saw 138 deaths because of drug overdoses. Maintaining a population of 693,292, the county’s death rate was 19.2.
  3. Adams County sustained a total number of 92 deaths. With a population of 497,673 residents, the overdose death rate was 18.6.
  4. Jefferson County‘s population of 571,711 saw 91 overdose fatalities, marking a death rate of 16.4.

Colorado Counties with the Highest Overdose Death Rates in 2016 

  1. Huerfano County had 6,642 residents and saw six drug fatalities, but the death rate per resident was 152.6.
  2. With a populace of 6,497, Rio Blanco County had three deaths and saw a death rate of 52.2.
  3. Las Animas County had a population of 14,082 and saw eight deaths, indicating a death rate of 50.9.
  4. Montezuma County experienced 10 deaths among its population of 26,906. This makes its death rate 42.8.

Consequences of Addiction

As the statistics show, opioid and heroin are far more common than most people think. Not only has opioid use risen in the past decade, but accidental overdoses on prescription opioid painkillers have more than doubled since 1999.

Overdose fatalities and addiction cases are destroying the lives of individuals and families across Colorado and the United States. As the problem worsens, more people are seeking professional drug help in Colorado.

With a concentration on expanding awareness and creating innovative treatment options, Colorado addiction treatment centers and Colorado heroin rehabs continue to demonstrate their commitment to making the state a safer and healthier place. 

Finding Colorado Heroin Rehab Here or Out of State

To treat an addiction to heroin or opioids, it is imperative to address both the physical and emotional health of each individual. If the addiction started due to a prescription that was supposed to address symptoms of physical pain, it is crucial to help individuals find a way to deal with the pain without using these substances.

People struggling with addiction also must address any mental and emotional issues they have tried to bury with substance abuse. In many cases, individuals with physiological issues attempt to use drugs as a form of self-medication. Even if an individual does not have any psychological disorders, he or she  needs to find a way to change behaviors to live a fulfilling, healthy life.

Reflections Recovery Center is located in the neighboring state of Arizona and can help fill the void that Colorado treatment centers leave. With a reputation for helping individuals rebuild their lives and mend their relationships, Reflections is an attractive choice for a number of families who are seeking Colorado heroin addiction help.

Learn About Our Prescott, AZ Location