Date: June 9, 2016
Host: Jim Schneider
Guest: Dr. Sandra Dettmann
Dr. Sandra Dettmann is an addiction medicine specialist, CEO and owner of the Dettmann Center based in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She is also an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University, Kirkhof College of Nursing and Cook-DeVos Center for Health Services in Grand Rapids. She is also an assistant Professor at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She is a licensed physician and surgeon and is board certified in addiction medicine, emergency medicine and numerous other licenses.
How serious is the problem of prescription drug abuse? The Center for Disease Control has declared opioid use to be a national epidemic. Also, in the U.S. individuals are at a higher risk of dying today from a drug overdose than they are in a car accident.
Dr. Dettmann believes that addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer. She also feels it’s society that seems confused about this issue and that addiction is a disease. No one wakes up at age 12 one day saying they want to be a drug addict or an alcoholic because it’s such a glamorous life. The disease chooses them. Where these individuals do have a choice is in how they choose to control their disease. She said that a diabetic can come to her and she can prescribe insulin for them, show them how to take it, show them how to check their blood sugar and what diet to follow. What she can’t do is make them do it. The onus is on the individual to control their disease.
She admits, the disease of addiction does carry with it bad behaviors, nevertheless she sees addicted individuals as good people with a bad disease. She feels it’s no different than people who contract cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes. There is not a stereotypical ‘face’ you can put on those who are addicted and abusive with drugs. Judges, lawyers, doctors and more become addicted. The disease of addiction is not limited to those living on the streets. In fact, 82.3% of heroin users started with prescription drugs.
So what drugs/medications are part of the controversy? Dr. Dettmann listed Vicodin, Methadone, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Morphine and Fentanyl. When taken as directed and stopped at the appropriate time, that’s the proper use of such medications.
This brings up what Dr. Dettmann cited as the difference between chemical dependency and drug addiction. The analogy she gave was that of a newborn baby of a heroine addict. That child would not be viewed as a drug addict. They’re not lying, cheating, stealing and manipulating to obtain more medication. However, that child is chemically dependent. They are sick without the drug. In other words, there are people who begin innocently with, for example, back pain. They are prescribed opiates and a couple of months later when the doctor refuses to prescribe more opiates, they are sick without them.
This Crosstalk also provides information concerning the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, the use of Naloxone to help cope with withdrawal, the great increase in opioid use in America despite no overall change in the amount of pain people are reporting, specifics on the powerful narcotic known as Fentanyl, dangerous ‘Skittles parties’, the need for more dialogue on this issue, a warning for Christian families and more.
Dr. Dettmann’s phone number