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  1. ZenobiaSky
    18888.jpg BENNINGTON, Vt. -- The sudden roundup Wednesday of suspected drug dealers in the area has led to an increase in the number of people seeking treatment for symptoms of opiate withdrawal, a local health official said.

    Dr. Adam Cohen, medical director of the emergency department at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, said patients began seeking treatment Wednesday afternoon, even as the long-planned sweep by more than 100 police officers was ongoing.

    "Operation County Strike" resulted in the arrest of 52 people by Wednesday night that police and prosecutors allege are drug dealers.

    "I think you can definitely connect the two events," said Cohen, who declined to provide a specific number of patients.

    A smaller drug sweep in the recent past that netted 16 suspected dealers also produced an increase in withdrawal symptoms, he said.

    "This isn’t the first time that they’ve done this sort of thing," Cohen said. "Typically, for a period of several days, we’ll see an influx of patients with withdrawal symptoms that we have to take care of."

    Withdrawal is common in people who abuse opiates, which are derived from opium and typically used to treat pain. When a drug user experiences withdrawal symptoms depends on the drug’s half-life, or the length of time the drug is active in one’s body. Different opiates have varying half-lives, but heroin and morphine have half-lives of just hours.

    Cohen said users using other opiates may not experience symptoms for 48 to 72 hours.
    "Very likely we’ll be seeing this for at least a week," he said.

    The symptoms are likely to include stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea and sweating, according to Cohen. But those symptoms are also common for other ailments.

    "They appear a lot like people who just have a stomach bug," Cohen said. "You have to play detective. Very rarely will they be forthcoming because usually what they’re hoping for is that you’ll give them an [intravenous] narcotic. Obviously, you don’t want to do that if their symptoms are from withdrawing from drugs."

    Emergency department doctors will look for other clues, Cohen said, and review a patient’s medical history for prior drug use. Patients suffering from withdrawal are often "very fixated" on getting intravenous opiates. "That’s kind of a tip-off," he said.

    Additionally, drug users going through withdrawal tend to have dilated pupils, goosebumps, salivate more and have a runny nose, according to Cohen.

    "Once you identify that someone is an addict, either because they’ve told you or because you’ve figured it out on your own, of course, we’ll avoid giving them any opiates," he said.

    Inpatient rehabilitation is not usually an option from the emergency department because drug withdrawal is not considered to be life-threatening, Cohen said.

    "You don’t die from opiate withdrawal, it’s just very uncomfortable," he said.

    The hospital is "putting the finishing touches" on updated protocols for prescribing opiates in the emergency department. Cohen said hospital officials recognize "that the medical system has an impact on the opiate abuse problem." Hospitals across the nation are looking to be more cautious, he said.

    "It doesn’t mean it will be more difficult for people who appropriately need pain medications," Cohen said.
    But, the emergency department will "try to cautiously limit the amount of opiate that is prescribed through the emergency department." The emergency department is not the best place for opiate prescriptions because doctors often do not have an established relationship with the patient.

    The hospital also plans to begin using a statewide prescription database to ensure that patients are not "doctor shopping," Cohen said.

    By Neal P. Goswami, New England Newspapers Posted: 01/19/2013 01:50:25 AM EST
    http://www.thetranscript.com/ci_22407956/withdrawal-treatments-rise-after-drug-raid

Comments

  1. DOG-CHOPPER
    It makes you wonder if the busted dealers have sort this help to look good in the eyes of the courts.

    Its amazing how many people that get busted seek this route.

    In general it just gives users and drugs a bad name and makes it look like the police have done a good job.

    Usually i have seen drug busts doing negative things to communities which include stealing and increased violent crimes.
  2. wickedMISSfit
    I have seen similar outcomes after one or many drug dealers are busted. When you see how many people suddenly get sick its not hard to see how much of an effect the dealers had on large amounts of people.
  3. Drugjail
    Same as in Thailand!
    They actually RECOMMEND people 'seek treatment' so that if they are busted one day they can claim they are ill.
  4. strawberry1
    I've seen lots of drug busts myself, & it does cause more crime in my opinion. It's not like these drug dealers are holding a gun 2 the users heads. Where I live is NOTHING BUT DRUGS, DEALERS, USERS, YOU NAME IT IT'S HERE...
  5. coolhandluke
    from time to time a bust around here will result in somewhat of a draught around, prices go up a little, people have to find new connections, but the everything still keeps going. i've never found it do be as dramatic as this story is painting, there's always going to be dope coming in from other cities and sources.
  6. mousa5511
    Why is it so obvious that you would not want to give someone in heroin withdrawals IV morphine? Would that not immediately eliminate all of their symptoms by treating the underlying problem? Wouldn't people withdrawing from IV opiates be almost no risk for overdose (high tolerance/none in the blood)? Since when is it a good idea to go with a number of more harmful medications/procedures to treat the symptoms when you can simply treat the cause? And then you could maybe titrate the morphine dose down as gradually as possible to "soften the landing." I bet more people would stay clean, too - get past withdrawals and they may not start back up, leave them in withdrawals and they will do anything to make it go away (and now that they're buying, maybe just a few more hits...).

    Do you know what the standard protocol for alcohol withdrawal is? IV alcohol. They actually upgrade the ROA! Why isn't it so obvious that alcoholics should not get alcohol? Or is there some kind of double-standard here?
  7. JJ1234

    If that is the standard(new to me, I thought they used benzo's for this), then it is because alcohol withdraws can be life threatening while opiate withdraws are considered to be not so deadly or at all.

    Other than that I agree with treatment of heroin addicts with IV heroin or morphine. It's just considered too taboo of a thing I guess since this stupid ass war on drugs started. It would also piss off makers of suboxone and subutex is my guess. These big pharmaceutical companies hold a vast fortune therefore power over many laws that are made or not.

    I mean it doesn't make sense not to do it this way. Most opiate addicts could lead normal lives if drugs were provided for them. I'm not talking about subutex or methadone either. I mean is it so bad to live life a little high(not nodding!)? I sure the hell don't think so!
  8. runnerupbeautyqueen
    Reading this makes me angry. Obviously you don't want to give suffering drug addicts drugs, because they deserve to suffer for their bad choices. Its only everyone else who deserve to not be in pain.

    What about someone who drives drunk and gets badly but not deadly hurt in an accident? Should he be forced to tough it out because his injuries aren't life threatening?

    I cant understand why people should be forced to suffer when we have the power to alleviate their pain. Does pain make you a good person? If so, why? They bitch about how drugs are bad because of crime, disease, overdose, gangs, etc. but none of that is true when a nurse gives someone a little morphine. But instead of doing so they turn people back to the street where they are forced to either be sick or deal with crime, disease, overdose, gangs, etc. Give them a controlled dose in a controlled setting or stop complaining when the addicts are forced to accept uncontrolled drugs in dangerous settings.
  9. strawberry1
    Strawberry 1 here, I most def agree, why shouldn't an addicts pain from withdraw be elieviated, just as an alcoholics. I truly believe its the drug manufacturers muti millionaires bull, that allows these addicts 2 suffer, turn 2 the streets, crime, ect... It's just a hot mess.
  10. pharmycologist
    Bigpharma profits insanely off of recreational or abusive use of prescriptions. The number of people who like to use these drugs recreationally and who don't even illegally buy pills of the street, and instead go strait to a doctor and pharmacy, is overwhelmingly high, from amphetamines to benzos and opiods, it is beyond easy for anyone with decent acting skills to walk in and get a controlled substance within minutes of talking to a prescriber.
  11. DOG-CHOPPER
    The biggest drug dealers of the most addictive drugs are our governments.

    Government Drug programmes are used to control people and to keep track of problematic citizens as addictive medications are administered .
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