Second Opinion LIVE: Inside the Epidemic

Second Opinion LIVE: Inside the Epidemic


(Narrator) Behind every heartbeat is a story we can
learn from as we have for over 80 years Blue Cross
and Blue Shield companies are working to use the knowledge we gained from our
members to better the health of not just those reinsure but all Americans.
Some call it responsibility. We call it a privilege. Second Opinion is funded by
Blue Cross Blue Shield. Funding also provided by the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Foundation. Committed to the health and well-being of the Rochester New York
community since 1982. Second Opinion is produced in conjunction with UR Medicine. Part of University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester New York Welcome to Second Opinion LIVE: Inside
the Epidemic. For the next half hour we want you to open your eyes and take
notice. We want you to take notice of a growing and deadly public health problem
just today declared a public health emergency by President Trump: addiction
and overdose. We don’t just want you to be informed we want you to take action. Drug overdose deaths are now the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United
States and the ten counties served by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s
Office deaths related to heroin opioids fentanyl and related substances grew
from 11 deaths in 2011 to 206 deaths and 2016. Chances are your life has already
been affected by the addiction of a loved one or a family member. Maybe you
are the one struggling with addiction. If you think you don’t know anyone
suffering from the disease of addiction chances are you are wrong. Opioids are
here, heroin is here. No matter where you live it is in your backyard. I’m your
host Helene Biandudi-Hofer and joining me in the studio tonight is Juan Vazquez.
(Juan) Thanks Helene let’s start with what you can do. We have experts ready to take
your call tonight if you feel you need help with addiction or if a family
member friend or coworker needs help. The phone number is five eight five seven
five six three six three six. The people on the phones provide help and treatment
for people dealing with addiction the number again is five eight five seven
five six three six three six and your call will remain anonymous. Also tonight
I’ll be monitoring our twitter feed if you want to tweet the hashtag is 2ndOp. Also our second opinion website has information about overdose and
substance abuse, you’ll find a video tool kit that will help you start
conversations in your own neighborhood, there are links, a reading list and much
more. (Helene) Drugs are truly in all of our backyards numbers for the Monroe County
Medical Examiner bear out the fact that heroin use is growing in the region
ten county area served by the Medical Examiner’s Office deaths related to
heroin opioids fentanyl and related substances increased by 142 percent from
2015 to 2016 we are here in the studio tonight with people who are not just
numbers they are living with addiction and they are here to help us understand
what’s going on inside the epidemic and let’s start with Carlee Holsizer and I
appreciate you being here it’s good to have you thank you for having me so
Carlee you are currently in recovery and I want you to take us to the beginning
of your story with addiction how did drugs come into your life and why? (Carlee) so drugs played a huge part in my life mainly because I was so insecure and so
broken just growing up and I had broken household father and alcoholic and my
mom in recovery and so I knew the difference between what recovery looked
like and I knew what addiction looked like and from such a young age I knew
that I didn’t, I thought that I didn’t want to be anything like my dad. I didn’t
want to dabble with anything or use anything and slowly but surely you know
with problems at school with bullying with just that insecurity and feeling
not only that I’m missing out on something but that I never quite fit in
drugs filled that void for me. So I started using around 12 years old with
alcohol that progressed to marijuana and ultimately led me down the road to
opiates (Helene) so you just outlined this path for us so it started with alcohol yeah in middle school transitions who I understand was
it synthetic marijuana (Carlee) Marijuana and and synthetic
marijuana yes. (Helene) and then by the time you were 17 years old at that point you were
using in prescription pain medication. If you can Carlee, explain for me this shift.
so how did you go from being someone who maybe was using drugs to feel good you
mentioned the fact that you were bullied and there were insecurities that you
were dealing with it was something that helped you to feel good right how do you
transition from that to being someone who needs drugs. (Carlee) so using was fun at the beginning I didn’t want to feel any of the pain and that’s that’s where my
escape was was just I didn’t want to feel pain
and it it allowed me to feel the good allowed me to get that high feeling but
it slowly robbed me of that as well and it became something that my body needed
that my mind just needed you know I’m not it’s it’s the drugs that makes
somebody an addict it’s the reaction to the drugs not not the actual chemicals
themselves (Helene) So it was there ever a point and you struggle with addiction that
your family your parents or friends your teachers that they realize that you were
struggling with this? (Carlee) My mom did find out my junior year and you know we took
action she took action I remained abstinent for about seven months but
then fell right back into the grips of addiction and teachers were also they
didn’t quite know but when I got into recovery they were like okay something
something was up now we know what happened so (Helene) and you mentioned the age
when your mom discovered it how are you able to hide it up until that point? (Carlee) I honestly don’t know I tried to be sneaky with it. I tried my hardest to hide it because it
was something that I I was ashamed about you know looking back like there was a
lot of shame there was a lot of guilt and I’m honestly surprised that it did
even I don’t know Helene: and you said your mom wanted to get you help
you weren’t ready at the first time when she said let’s do something (Carlee) I don’t
think we understood how how severe it was at the time because at this time I
wasn’t using opiates yet so it had an addiction as an addiction but it wasn’t
to the point where I was ready for help absolutely not (Helene) well it’s important to know what to look for if you are concerned about opioid use and here is
Patrick Seche from the University of Rochester and he has our second
opinion 5 take a look hello I’m Patrick Seche and I am here
to tell you five early signs of an opioid use disorder the first sign is
taking an opiate medication for anything other than for which it was prescribed
if you have severe acute pain from an injury or accident the opioid medication
is intended only for the pain from that event you must discontinue use of that
medication once the pain is at a level you can tolerate and dispose of the
unused medication in an appropriate manner next is using a larger amount of
the medication than indicated on the prescription if the amount prescribed
does not seem to be sufficient for your level of pain you must return to your
healthcare provider for further assessment third is taking other
people’s of your medication opioids are very potent medications and should only
be taken under the direction of a prescribing health care provider you
should never take pain medication that was not prescribed to you another early
sign of an opioid use disorder is taking opioids for recreational purposes the
risk of becoming addicted to opioids when you use them to feel good or to
relieve stress is extremely high and the fifth early sign of an opioid use
disorder is combining opioids with other medications or substances also taking an
au-pair with alcohol or medications such as benzodiazepines will put you at
extremely high risk for an overdose and it is important to know death can occur
from an opioid overdose and that’s your second opinion 5 (Helene)Patrick Seche is here in the studio
with us he is an addiction expert from the University of Rochester Medical
Center and welcome thank you for being here Patrick. (Patrick)thank you for having me (Helene)so
Patrick how challenging is that I was asking Carlee how she was able to hide it
how challenging is it for friends and family to be able to identify the signs
the red flags perhaps some of the patterns involved with addiction (Patrick) you
know most people are not aware of the signs and symptoms of addiction if
you’re not in the field you know a lot of times you know people are in denial
there’s a lot of shame associated with addiction so so they go to great lengths
to hide any of the symptoms the impact and the effects that the substance is
having on their lives so it’s usually it’s not until you know it’s at the
point where things are out of control that family and friends are really
discovering that there was a problem and and sometimes even when the problem is
discovered you know people will try to hide it because their shame associated
with addiction there’s a stigma associated with it (Helene)Carlee explain she
became addicted to pain meds after why is her story one that we seem to hear so
often when we’re talking about whether recreational use of pain meds or
prescribed use (Patrick) so specifically with the opioid epidemic what we’re seeing is a
lot of times it’s starting with prescription opioids are starting with
pills pills are something that’s a part of our culture you know people will view
it as something that is safe that it’s it’s safer then you know a street drug
like heroin so so it’s easy for people to get into a habit of starting to use
or opioid pills for you know that’s not prescribed to them for for reasons that
it’s not prescribed and before they can realize that it’s dangerous and
addictive they’re they’re already they’re already have a substance use
disorder at that point (Helene) well Carlee we just heard you explain how you went from
wanting the drugs to actually needing them so Patrick what happened to Carlee
what why that shift explain what’s taking place in the body to get to that
point (Patrick) so one of the first things that happens
is developing a tolerance to the drug so needing more of that drug to get the
same effect so the body develops a tolerance as you use it over time it
becomes tolerant so you need more for that same effect and you know one of the
next things that happens then is it’s a loss of control the person needing to
using more of the substance than they plan to use attempting to stop not being
able to stop because you know they’re physically dependent when the drug is
not in their system they’re physically sick and really neat so when Carlee
refers to moving to needing the drug it’s that physical dependence on the
drug where if she if you don’t take it you’re getting sick (Carlee) as I was using it I wasn’t getting that high feeling that I got the first time my my tolerance for
it was you know shifting so I I would agree with that definitely the same
experience (Helene) one question I’m gonna ask you about this in terms I want to go
back to the identification factors does age at all play a factor and and how we
see or able to identify so would the symptoms or of addiction displayed by a
young person like Carlee when they differ with say somewhere in their 30s or a
baby boomer who was addicted to opioids or prescription pain meds
(Patrick) they’re basically the same I mean some of the characteristics may be different
to someone that’s older you know because there’s an impact on a person’s life so
if it’s someone that’s older that has a job have a family what you start to
notice is you know starting to have problems at work you know not being as
not paying as much attention to the family we’re in a younger person some of
the signs are not being interested in activities that they’re normally were
interested in that they’re normally enjoyed you know those activities you
know are not as enjoyable anymore because the substance is becoming the
primary thing in their life at that point
(Helene) Well if Carlee’s story already has you thinking about getting help or about
trying to get help for someone you love please call five eight five seven five
six three six three six we have people trained in addiction and
recovery and they want to hear from you they can help you find resources right
here in the Rochester region (Juan)Thanks Helene where you’re watching
second opinion live inside the epidemic and we’re talking about the addiction
and overdose epidemic here in the Rochester area and I’m here with Michael
Cardona and Michael thank you for being here tonight (Michael) Thanks for having me, Juan (Juan) I
want to talk a little bit about how you started using heroin tell me the story
about how you came to start using heroin (Michael) Well it’s similar story I started with pain medication but I quickly went to heroin when the pills changed the
formulas and I wasn’t able to do them the way that I was doing them I went to
heroin (Juan) and what what were you doing anything else along with heroin at that
time or along with the pain medication that you were taking? (Michael) um yes I would fluctuate between marijuana drinking cocaine but heroin was everyday drug (Juan) so you were you started off with with painkillers and and how much were you
taking? (Michael) at one point um i consumed a heavy dosage anywhere fluctuated between
200 to 600 milligrams a day of oxycontin oxycodone (Juan) that’s a lot too
and there’s a cost factor into this. How were you able to to pay for that if this
is something that you were becoming relying on. (Michael) Honestly any way possible (Juan) so you change the composition you that you moved on to here why was it
that heroin was this next step you took (Michael) It gave me the same feeling that the pills did it was cheaper much more efficient was easier to get (Juan) So there was it was much more readily available for (Michael) right (Juan) did you did you overdose at all? (Michael)
multiple times I don’t know the exact number (Juan) so tell me tell me a little bit
about do you do you remember any of the overdoses that happened to you (Michael) there was one actually where I had woken up three or four days after I overdosed (Juan) three or
four days (Michael) yes having no idea (Juan) You not know anything (Michael) correct woke up in the
hospital in ICU and my first reaction was to tell my family oh my god
I have court today and the nurse just like relax on you at court three days
ago (Juan) Wow. So was any of those overdoses that made you stop what was it
that made you finally stop? (Micheal) I think I really had to hit bottom I had to lose
everything for me because my addiction was so strong that I would I would go
back and forth with sobriety but I had to lose everything (Juan) So, what about
now you are in recovery now tell me a little bit about recovery what treatment
are you doing right? (Michael) now I’m currently involved heavily with my church in a
12-step program and I completed outpatient recently. A lot of my recovery
right now is based with people who are in recovery and through Fitness. Striving
to do better all around in life (Juan) Some people have not done a recovery right
you talked about before that you had lost everything what do you mean you
lost everything when you lost it (Michael) Every one of my family due to how bad my addiction was no one wanted to be around me my car person that I was involved
with for a long period of time all relationships with everyone you know I
really lost hope I had accepted death and I was okay with that (Juan) But now
you’re in treatment your recovery in you and you’re helping out people – (Micahel) correct (Juan) excellent excellent well thank you for sharing your story tonight it’s much
appreciated hope it can help somebody don’t forget that if you need help or
you think someone else does there’s a number to call tonight five eight five
seven five six three six three six and that’s the number that you can call to
make sure that you get help this evening (Helene) And now we are going to talk about
treatment and Patrick What does good solid treatment look like? (Patrick)So initially if there’s the need there’s withdrawal so we have to manage withdrawal
and a lot of times you know that well it’s done with medication to manage the
physical symptoms of withdrawal and for for opioid dependence good treatment a
lot of times involves medication assisted treatment combined with
counseling. Long-term treatment in an outpatient program is what you know
research has shown to be you know very successful in treating opioid dependence. (Helene)And one thing I’ve heard with it with medication assisted therapy some people
have said you’re treating an opioid addiction with opioid medication and
they would say how is the individual ever able to really get clean so is
there any truth to that how would how would someone know that this is actually
a good fit for them medication assisted therapy (Patrick) Right so you know we’re talking earlier about what happens in the body you know opioids are very physically
addictive and even after someone stops using the opioids and maybe they could
get treatment for a couple of months you know there are things that happens with
cravings and the changes in the brain that you know treating the opioid
with medication over a long period of time along with counseling where someone
is learning skills coping skills you know skills of how to avoid drugs and
learning how to regain things they might have lost in their lives whether it’s
family education vocational you know getting to a stable point and the
treatments and individualized so you get to a point where you know whether it’s
you can get off the medication or you remain on a stable dose of the
medication and engage in recovery as we heard earlier that you know
recovery activities after treatment is also an a very very important component
of long-term success with opioids (Helene) I would have to imagine that the road to
treatment the road to recovery is a very different road for different people but
this is not just one road and they all look alike (Patrick) There is you know addiction
there is no one-size-fits-all so there isn’t that you know medication works for
everyone so you know some people don’t need medication
some people you know don’t need to go to a licensed treatment some
people can do it with self-help and do it with so it’s a it’s a variety of ways
that people can engage in treatment and recovery from addiction the you know the
goal is to find what what is it that’s going to work for someone and and be
able to provide it (Helene) Carlee you’re nodding when Patrick said this is definitely not a
one-size-fits-all approach (Carlee) Well if we look at it if we look at addiction as a
brain disease I mean everybody’s brain is different so it’s important to
embrace and support multiple pathways to recovery (Helene) Well we sometimes picture a person dying immediately when they overdose but is
that true take a look at the Second Opinion Myth or Medicine (Narrator)According to
the World Health Organization opioids are responsible for a high proportion of
fatal drug overdoses around the world and when someone dies, it’s often thought
they die quickly and alone. Is this true? Do people die immediately when they take
an opioid overdose? Is this myth or medicine? (Dr. Baciewicz) People die immediately when
they take an opioid overdose…That is a myth and I will tell you why. I’m doctor
Gloria Baciewicz, addiction psychiatry division chief at the University of
Rochester Medical Center. We often think that when people take an opioid overdose
they die immediately, even instantly and this can theoretically happen but often
you have minutes to hours before respiratory depression becomes severe
enough to stop the person’s breathing and lead to death. Those few minutes or
hours present the window of opportunity for family or friends to assist the
person, to call 9-1-1 or use a naloxone or narcan kit to reverse the opioid
overdose, or to do basic first aid measures. And that’s medicine!
(Narrator)Not sure if it’s myth or medicine? Connect with us online, we’ll get to work
and get you a second opinion. (Juan) Our number is five eight five seven five six
three six three six tonight call now to get connected with the help if you need
it. People are standing by to take your call. So joining us now is Gates chief of police James VanBrederode Good evening chief (James) Good
evening thank you for having me (Juan) Thank you for being here.
So we’ve heard about addiction issues here in the Rochester region overdose is
something now that law enforcement is dealing with and you personally have had
to deal with overdose too. You actually had to revive somebody who overdosed (James)
yeah unfortunately this problem has become very prevalent throughout all our
communities and about six weeks ago I was on my way to a ribbon-cutting
ceremony about an addiction treatment facility and I was driving up the road
and I came up to a major intersection and there was a car at the red light the
person had overdosed was slumped over the wheel, respiration was very shallow,
they were eyes had been rolled behind their head and I had to pull them out of
the car lay him in the middle of the street check their their breathing and then we applied the narcan what’s the ambulance
the fire department responded now the narcan does reverse the effects of the
opiate and in this case the person was saved but it could have been a very
dangerous situation you know had he been driving when he suffered that instead of
stopped at the red light you know we could have had a major accident or
somebody could have been hurt or killed. (Juan)You’re administering life-saving drugs like narcan we’re gonna get to that in a second, you’re seeing the signs of
overdose this is all do isn’t it I mean this is something that in law enforcement you
didn’t have to deal with before you’re dealing with this now (James) yeah this was a learning curve for all of us in law enforcement but unfortunately because
we’ve been on so many of these it’s become very routine and we do have a
system in place when we when we come across somebody exactly what needs to be
done and quite frankly as long as the person has had a heartbeat when we’ve
arrived we’ve had a successful save with just
about everyone but again this was something that we never did in the past
but we had to because of what’s going on (Juan)So you got an example here of narcan or
naloxone what is it and how does it work? (James)This is a a nasal spray applicator the narcan is going to be introduced through the nasal passage. This is the applicator
we’re gonna take our applicator we’re going to remove the cap we’re then going
to take our vial of narcan we’re going to stick it into the applicator we will
then introduce the end of the applicator up to someone’s nostril and then we will
push the tube which will dispense the liquid narcan into the nasal passage and
we would do that with both sides both nasal passages and unfortunately as
we’ve seen more and more different drugs are being introduced into the heroin
sometimes it takes two or three of these applicators to bring somebody back (Juan) What do people who are afraid to help you know what should they do? (James) a couple of years ago a law was introduced the Good Samaritan law to give people the right
to call 9-1-1 if they are experiencing an overdose or perhaps they are a co
user and our presence so that the police will come assist you and you will not be
charged with any drug possession that is there and the intent of that again was
saving someone’s life is more important than being arrested for possessing these
drugs (Juan)So really nobody should be afraid to call 9-1-1 if they see somebody
overdosing they don’t know what to do the best thing to do is call no matter (James)Right absolutely it’s all about calling 9-1-1 and seeking help for for your
friend and not to be afraid of being charged (Juan)Excellent all right well thank
you so much for being here tonight chief VanBrederode. We’re gonna be
closing the program in just a moment but the phone lines will stay open tonight
until 10:00 p.m. if you need help connecting with resources there are
folks here to help you tonight. The number is five eight five seven five six
three six three six, Helene (Helene) before we go tonight I want to get the last word
to Michael and Carlee and I’ll start with you Michael what do you want people to
understand most about addiction? (Michael) I would just really like to send a message to
the families that are directly affected by the disease that there are multiple
pathways to recovery it is possible and – no matter what
always support the person struggling (Helene) Carlee (Carlee) and anybody out there that’s
struggling like Michael said multiple pathways as well as just it’s never too
early and it’s never too late (Helene)Well I would like to thank both of you for
being here and thank you for your time next week on Thursday November 2nd I’ll
be back here as we further the conversation about addiction that’s on a
special edition of Need to Know. Our coverage and community conversations
will continue throughout this year and next year and coming up on WXXI
“Reversing the Stigma” a documentary about recovery it’s followed by the Second
Opinion episode “Opioids to Heroin Addiction”. Again thank you to our guests
our volunteers on the phones and thank you for watching. Good night (Narrator)Bhind every heartbeat is a story we can
learn from as we have for over 80 years Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are
working to use the knowledge we gained from our members to better the health of
not just those we insure but all Americans
some call it responsibility we call it a privilege. Second Opinion is funded by
Blue Cross Blue Shield. Funding also provided by the Louis S and Molly B Wolk
foundation. Committed to the health and well-being of the Rochester New York
community since 1982. Second Opinion is produced in conjunction with UR Medicine part of University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester New York

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