The abuse of opiate substances like heroin and narcotic painkillers continues to plague the United States. In 2008, painkillers (opioid pain relievers) took nearly 15,000 lives—a number which exceeds the fatalities caused by illicit street drugs like heroin and cocaine combined.
After a public struggle with addiction and many tries at rehab, former Alice in Chains bassist Mike Starr lost his life in 2011. This tragic loss reminds us of the millions of Americans who still battle opiate painkiller addiction on a daily basis and who are in desperate need of treatment.
Prescription Opiate Abuse in the US
Opiate painkillers like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, etc., if not derived from opium, are created to mimic the effects of the substance. These drugs work by interacting with the opioid receptors in the brain to provide pain relief, euphoria and numbness.
Currently in the US, about 75% of prescription drug overdoses are caused by opiate painkillers. These kinds of overdoses, of which there were 475,000 in 2009 alone, occur when too much of the opioid is taken, causing excessive sedation, respiratory difficulties (trouble breathing/no breathing) and other medical complications.
Mike Starr’s Addiction Battle
Mike Starr helped form heavy metal rock group Alice in Chains in 1987. He left the band in 1993, allegedly as a result of his addiction, and later appeared on the TV show Celebrity Rehab during its third season. He returned back to the show in its fourth season to help others.
Starr was found dead in his home in Salt Lake City, Utah, on March 8, 2011. Found with him were prescription substances, including Xanax and the pain medication Opana. Starr struggled with opiate and prescription drug addiction for many years as outlined during his time on Celebrity Rehab.
Reports indicate that just several hours before Starr’s death, he left drug-seeking voicemails—a further testament to his deep struggle with opiates. Starr also lost his band mate Layne Staley to a drug overdose just 9 years prior.
Outline of Opiate Treatment
Narconon is a long-term drug and alcohol rehabilitation program that specializes in opiate addiction. Their counselors have seen the devastation and loss caused by opiate abuse, noting how often addicts miss the opportunity to get help because their habit causes an untimely and tragic death.
“One of the things about opiate addiction is that many consider it an incurable disease,” says Derry Hallmark, Senior Director For Expansion at Narconon Arrowhead. “Heroin and opioid abuse are arguably some of the toughest types of addiction to beat. However, these conditions can be fully overcome with the right type of treatment.”
Narconon’s drug treatment program has had great success with treating opiate addiction, fully rehabilitating addicts for the last 46 years with a permanent recovery rate of more than 70%.
Program participants partake in an intensive program that addresses both the physical aspects of addiction (drug cravings and nutritional deficiencies) as well as the mental/emotional components of the problem.
“We can and do fully rehabilitate those struggling with the severest of opiate addictions,” adds Hallmark. “There is a real solution for this that, using a more natural and drug-free approach, offers an addict a new life.”
Mike Starr, who was only 44 at the time of his death, is just one of many Americans who have lost their lives to addiction. Statistics indicate that there are an estimated 600,000 opiate users in the United States and a staggering 2 million individuals abusing opioids.
For more information on addiction or to help someone you love contact Narconon today by calling 1-800-468-6933.