Opiate Addiction

Movies About Drug Abuse

Hollywood is known for its glitz, glam, and drama.  With new movies coming out every year, the goal is to entertain, and dramatization is one way to capture and captivate their audience.

Unfortunately, with drama also comes many inaccuracies. There are many movies about drug abuse in particular, but as a South Florida behavioral healthcare center that has plenty of experience working with drug addicts, we know that a lot of them get it wrong.

Inaccurate Films About Drug Addiction

Not only do the films get it wrong, but many movies related to drug addiction glorify drugs. They focus on the high and the fun of partying rather than the crash and the impending negatives that come with it. These films aren’t just inaccurate, but they can be a bad influence as well. One study found that teenagers with the most exposure to alcohol use in films were more likely to try alcohol than their peers who had minimum exposure.1

Our residential rehab in Palm Beach is listing some movies related to drug abuse that got it wrong.

Pineapple Express

This action comedy is a memorable film about marijuana that shows the drug in a comedic light. Although the main character is on the run because of his smoking habits, the exaggerated story seems so farfetched that it does little to actually deter anyone from smoking. The movie’s comedic tone also doesn’t show the reality of a drug addiction and the negatives the come with it. Instead, it may only make someone want to try marijuana more.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Prescription drugs, alcohol, and cocaine play a major role in this movie. Based loosely on the true story of Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street often uses drug use as comedic relief or as a way to enhance the lifestyle of the rich and famous. The main characters are always partying and when Belfort overdoses and tries to drive home, the scene is meant to be hilarious. Besides the financial trouble that ensues, the movie doesn’t discuss withdrawal symptoms, a drug detox, or the negative health effects of long-term drug abuse. The real-life daughter of Tom Prousalis, an associate of Jordan Belfort, even spoke out about the film saying, “Your film is a reckless attempt at continuing to pretend that these sorts of schemes are entertaining…We want to get lost in what? These phony financiers’ fun sexcapades and coke binges?”

We’re The Millers

A great movie for a good laugh, We’re the Millers depicts drug smuggling in a comedic and less than accurate light. A group of four people pose as a family on vacation in Mexico and use an RV to transport an enormous amount of drugs back to the United States. While the movie take a lighthearted look at what can happen when people get mixed in with the drug trade, the comedic moments overshadow the actual danger. The film also has a happy ending for the “family” of drug smugglers even though they broke the law.

Superbad

This comedic tale of two misfit teenagers mentions drugs and alcohol a whopping 172 times. The focus on partying and drinking neglects the negatives that come with drug abuse. Instead, drug and alcohol abuse are seen as cool, harmless, and lots of fun.

Real life addictions are often much more serious than what you will see in the movies about drug abuse. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, get help immediately. Call us today at 888-280-4763 to get started and to learn more about Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches.

 

Sources:

  1. AAP News & Journals Gateway – Alcohol Use in Films and Adolescent Alcohol Use

 

 

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Signs of A Functioning Alcoholic

To many people, the stereotypical alcoholic is someone who is noticeably drunk most of the time.

They might be isolated from their friends and family because of their drinking. They may have lost their job because they were hungover and may even be homeless carrying around a bottle in a brown paper bag. While some people with alcohol abuse disorder may fit this mold, not everyone qualifies. Some alcoholics you may never suspect.

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Cocaine Found Floating Off the Coast of The Florida Keys

Many tourists flock to the Florida Keys for their fishing charters, but fish may not be the only things you will find in those waters.

Cocaine was found floating off the coast of the Florida Keys in early August. The U.S. Coast Guard recovered the cocaine bails and an investigation on where they came from began.

In the span of three days, the Coast Guard found six bails total of the illegal drug after boaters began reporting the floating bails. The first bail of cocaine was found floating 10 miles east of Islamorada. The next day, two more bails of cocaine were found. Finally, on the third day, three more bails were discovered, only this time 15 miles east of Marathon. Together, the bails contained over 280 pounds of cocaine that is worth an estimated $3.8 million.

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Florida drug bust

Florida Drug Bust

The Largest Drug Bust in Brevard County History

Known for the Kennedy Space Center and the quiet beaches, Brevard County is not usually the place for crime or drug busts, but recently this sleepy county made big news. After a six-month investigation, there was the largest drug bust in Brevard County history. 60 people have already been arrested and more than 100 people have warrants out for their arrest. Brevard County police found firearms, $100,000 in cash, and a combination of drugs including kilos of fentanyl, meth, and heroin. Brevard County Sherriff Wayne Ivey commented, “That is enough fentanyl to kill everyone in Brevard County.”1

Not only was this Brevard County drug bust spanning across the county, but the sheer enormity of the bust leads to suspicion that the illegal activity was reaching outside of Florida as well. The suspects involved in the drug operation range in age and gender, proving that drug abuse knowns no bounds. The three suspected leaders of the drug trafficking include Brand Huff, Jonathan Walker, and Megan Wilborn who were taken to Brevard County Jail with high bails. 1

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photo of a young woman looking at fentanyl pills

How Worried About Fentanyl Should You Be?

If you had never heard about fentanyl before the results of Prince\’s autopsy were revealed, you are not alone. The drug has been around for more than 30 years, but has managed to fly below the radar of most everyday Americans. Unless you are suffering from excruciating pain after surgery or from advanced cancer, fentanyl has probably been completely invisible to you. With the news now popping up about the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths, how worried should you be?

Journey to the U. S.

Fentanyl is currently a Schedule II synthetic opioid used to treat chronic pain.[1] But this drug did not get its start in this country. It was first synthesized by Dr. Paul Janssen in 1960 in Belgium.[2] He and his group of chemists were attempting to develop analgesics (pain relievers) that would easily migrate into the central nervous system (CNS). The initial batches of fentanyl, which were produced for intravenous uses, were 100 – 200 times more potent than morphine in the animal subjects tested. Initially, Dr. Janssen would not get U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for fentanyl because of its potency. After a merger with Johnson and Johnson and the agreement to only use fentanyl in combination with other drugs, it was introduced to the U. S. in 1968. In 1972, fentanyl was approved for standalone use.[3]

A Patch, a Pill, a Snort and a Squirt

Initially, fentanyl was introduced as an injectable under tradename Sublimaze® in 1968. Since this introduction, it has been modified and reformulated. Currently, pure fentanyl and numerous analogs, which are developed by slight maneuvering of the basic chemical structure, are available. One of the most deadly analogs is acetyl fentanyl, which has been connected to a number of overdoses deaths in the United States.[4]

Pharmaceutical versions include tablets, pills, lozenges, nasal sprays, skin patches and even lollipops.

A distinction should be made between pharmaceutical fentanyl and non-pharmaceutical fentanyl (NPF), which is illicitly-produced and often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine to heighten its effects. Forms of the pharmaceutical versions include tablets, pills, lozenges, nasal sprays, skin patches and even lollipops. They are prescribed for pains associated with cancer, when other opioid medicines have proven ineffective, HIV- associated neuropathy and as an analgesic during and after various surgical procedures, including heart.[5]

Some of the specific brands include:

  • Actiq® – Transmucosal lozenge (Placed between the cheek and lower gum then sucked)
  • Abstral® – Sublingual tablet (Dissolved on the floor of the mouth)
  • Duragesic®- Transdermal patch (placed on a healthy, unbroken skin location)
  • Fentora® – Buccal tablet (placed between the cheek and gums)
  • Lazanda® – Nasal spray

The U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recently issued a warning to law enforcement officials about the handling procedures. The deadly effects of fentanyl can be easily absorbed through the skin or accidentally inhaled if the powder becomes airborne.[6]

NPF comes from many sources and can be just as deadly as pure fentanyl. On the street, it has been sold as fentanyl, an additive in street heroin or completely camouflaged as another drug.[7] The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working with other agencies, developed a definition for an NPF-related death. It is defined as one in which:

  • Fentanyl caused or contributed to it
  • No evidence of pharmaceutical fentanyl was presented
  • Toxicology testing confirmed fentanyl in the body[8]

Even pharmaceutical fentanyl can be used for illicit purposes. When patches are not properly disposed, leftover fentanyl gel can be extracted.[9] Guidelines have been established for the correct procedures for fentanyl disposal.[10]

The Path across the U. S.

Fentanyl has taken a circuitous route across the world and the nation since its inception in Belgium over 50 years ago. Abuse of the drug began recreationally in the 1970s,[11] appearing on the streets under names such as Apache, China Girl, China White, Murder 8 and TNT, to name a few.[12] It was initially just stolen from pharmacies, but was eventually used to lace cocaine and heroin to increase profits for illicit drug dealers. According to the CDC, one gram of pure fentanyl can be broken down into 7,000 doses for street sales.[13] The DEA estimates that a kilogram of fentanyl powder can be bought for $3,300 by drug traffickers and sold at 300 times the amount.[14]

Throughout the 80s and 90s, the DEA occasionally discovered illicit fentanyl labs, but the turn of the century and millennium ushered in an explosion of the drug’s popularity.[15] From 2005 – 2007, the CDC reported over 1,000 fentanyl-related deaths.[16] After a spike in fentanyl seizures in 2007, it appeared that the drug had faded away, but it made a strong comeback in 2014, leading the DEA to issue a nationwide alert in March of 2015.[17] Seizures of fentanyl have spiked in New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida, New Hampshire and Indiana.[18]

While illicitly produced fentanyl is being brought into the U.S. primarily by Mexican-based drug cartels, they are purchased directly from China, according to DEA reports.14 The drug is so potent that it is prescribed in micrograms instead of milligrams. When a drug with this level of potency is cut into heroin and prescription opioids, the results are often deadly. From 2013 to 2014, there were more than 700 fentanyl overdose deaths in the U.S.18 While Prince’s tragedy may appear to be unique, rising statistics show that it is anything but.

Protect Your Family from Opioid Addiction

One of the biggest differences between an addiction to a prescription opioid and an illicit drug is that a person can develop an opioid addiction by following doctor’s orders. When a person is using prescription drugs for pain over a long period of time, eventually tolerance sets in and stronger drugs and higher doses are needed. It appears this was the unfortunate case with Prince.

If you’ve been taking more and more painkillers to find relief, or you’ve noticed someone close to you taking more prescription meds than seems necessary, it may be time to seek treatment. A tragic overdose is always a possibility when increasingly taking powerful opioids.

Our opioid addiction experts at Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches are fully versed in the dangers of fentanyl and other opioids and will create a personalized addiction treatment for you or an important person in your life. One of the biggest mistakes people make when dealing with addiction is waiting too long before seeking help. Make sure you and your family don’t make the same mistake by contacting our professionals today at  888-432-2467.

 

 

 

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