All posts by danielleanguiano

Experts predict rise in heart infection with increase of heroin use

By Dani Anguiano

An infectious disease that can affect intravenous drug users is expected to increase as a result of rising rates of heroin use across the United States, according to Sharon Kelley, CEO of Associates in Emergency Medical Education based in Tampa, Florida.

“We’re already seeing increases of Endocarditis from all the increase in IV drug use,” Kelley said of the potentially life-threatening heart infection that affects heart valves by causing them to malfunction.

According to Dr. Robert Sade, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, there is a relationship between the condition and intravenous drug use. Continue reading

Jails lack resources to care for heroin addicts, experts say

By Dani Anguiano

Sonja Radtke, 30, a recovering heroin addict, says experiencing heroin withdrawal feels a lot like going through hell, but it is much worse in jail where treatment is limited.

“Like, I throw up blood and have seizures when I get sick, but [jail staff] really don’t do anything,” Radtke said of her withdrawal experience while incarcerated in an Illinois jail.

Similarly, Chenel Jones said the pain that she experienced while withdrawing from heroin was so intense that she became delusional.

“Because it’s hell,” Jones said. “I just asked God to take my life. I had gave up – it’s so painful and it’s so sickening.”

The jails where Radtke and Jones experienced withdrawal are among the more than 5,000 jails and prisons across the United States, many of which lack the resources to provide treatment for heroin withdrawal and detoxification. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care says methadone-based treatment is highly effective for opiate addiction, but only a handful of facilities have a methadone program, such as Rikers Island’s Key Extended Entry Program. Heroin use has reportedly skyrocketed across the country in recent years leaving more and more facilities ill-equipped to offer treatment. Continue reading

Bipartisan drug proposal garners praise from drug professionals

By Dani Anguiano

Drug policy experts and substance abuse professionals have called for strong action to tackle heroin abuse as well as expressed optimism about a $25 million legislative package to be proposed by Illinois lawmakers.

House Democratic Assistant Majority Leader Lou Lang, (D-Skokie), and state Rep. John Anthony, (R-Morris), recently announced their plan to propose legislation that will address what health-care professionals describe as a heroin epidemic. The legislation would require, among other things, the development of a drug prevention program for schools, the establishment of a medication take-back program, and increased access to drugs that fight heroin overdoses.
Continue reading

Health professionals: more alcohol deaths than CDC report suggests

By Dani Anguiano

Several health care professionals have said that a recently released CDC report, which revealed that on average, six people die from alcohol poisoning each day in the United States, while jarring – doesn’t show the full societal cost of excessive drinking.

According to the CDC report released earlier this year, researchers found that the majority of people dying are middle-aged, white males who aren’t alcoholics.  Continue reading