opioids and naloxone now top priority by surgeon general

To fight the current opioid epidemic, United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams has issued an advisory urging the public to carry and to be prepared to use naloxone, a drug that can reverse the effects of opioid overdose. Naloxone (also known by brand names Narcan or Evzio) is a safe, FDA-approved medication that has been proven to reverse opioid overdoses in minutes. It comes in the forms of a nasal spray and an injection.

As the U.S. faces an unprecedented drug overdose epidemic largely from opioids, Adams says having naloxone on-hand is a simple step toward saving lives in our communities. While some argue that its easy availability would encourage opioid abuse, he remarked Wednesday in a program at Harvard University, “As a physician, when people are dying, when you come across a trauma scene, you’ve got to put on a tourniquet. Naloxone is that tourniquet.”

In case you don’t already know, go here to learn about how naloxone works, how to spot an opioid overdose, and how to access and administer this lifesaving medication.

revisiting the alcohol-related death of tim bergling, aka avicii

This is something that really made me realize how much everything is being put back together for me in a good way. Last May I had a pretty critical brain surgery — a good thing, thank you — and this much later I’m still in the process of putting my pre-surgery memory back together again. Here’s a really interesting example:

I was cruising blogs today on my second coffee and came across a post by It’s Going to be Another Bumpy Year that reminded me of a pretty significant music-related death last April. Tim Bergling, Swedish musician, producer, and DJ professionally known as Avicii, committed suicide largely as a result of physical and mental abuse from continual alcohol abuse.

But I’m jumping ahead.

Bergling – who chose the moniker Avicii because the word stood for the lowest level of Buddhist hell – started his career uploading his music before timing and talent catapulted the then-20-year-old DJ to fame overnight. Apparently, his new manager in 2007 was the right move at the right time. Within a year, Avicii had landed on Forbes‘ Highest Paid DJs of 2012 list; by 2014, he was Number Three on the list thanks to an impressive $28 million in earnings that year, the result of a tortuous touring itinerary.

The dance number and vid Seek Bromance had really fired up a shift change for him in 2010, followed by the single Levels  in 2011. And less than a year later, he was onstage with Madonna. Honestly, not too bad for a guy who seriously started out messing with music as a 16-year-old in his bedroom “hoping to have a chance to play a gig in a real club,” whose first-ever “professional” DJ gig was playing to less than 50 students at a high school prom.

And by then his world had already begun to crumble.

Back in September, 2017, Avicii told Rolling Stone Magazine he was simply unwilling or unable to say “no” to the drinks that were constantly thrust into his hands, or to say “no” to the people, or to the partying, or to the lifestyle. And to further complicate matters, his health had been severely suffering for a few years.

In January, 2012, Avicii was hospitalized for 11 days in New York City with acute pancreatitis, definitely a consequence of heavy drinking. In March, 2013, he was hospitalized again for similar symptoms while touring Australia. Doctors urged him to have his gallbladder removed, but he declined.

On March 28, 2014, several days before he was due to headline Ultra Music Festival in Miami, Avicii was hospitalized a third time with excruciating pain, fever, nausea, and other symptoms of acute pancreatitis. In the hospital, he learned that not only had his acute pancreatitis returned, but his appendix had burst. This time, both his gall bladder and his appendix had to be removed. Months of scheduled events were canceled so he could recover. He was encouraged by doctors to begin taking Percocet, the highly addictive opioid pain reliever.

By the middle of 2015, the DJ had completely fallen apart. His last tour was in 2016 and then he decided to pull the road plug, desiring to give up touring and stick to studio work. But it was too late. His mental and physical health had begun to fail as a result of the constant major alcohol intake. Avicii was found dead after he committed suicide in Oman last April.

He was 28. I’m going to be 69 next month, so I’ve lived through the that the industry had to offer me. I was firsthand witness to a lot of crazy stuff, though, and I lost quite a few friends over the years who became casualties because they were unable or unwilling to establish some boundaries. It’s still pretty meaningful to go back through events like this one.

It means life goes on.

rachael wurzman on how social isolation leads to relapse

What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction, and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman — and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.

watch this highly familiar, very excellent little flick: successful alcoholics

This 2011 Sundance film features rising stars T.J. Miller (“Get Him to the Greek“) and Lizzy Caplan (“True Blood“), reunited for the first time since “Cloverfield.” Miller and Caplan, who co-produced the 25-minute film, play a couple who have mostly managed to balance their alcohol intake and their professional lives, only for things to start to unravel. Until one day they don’t and they, mostly she, realize they have a, er… problem.

a true story

Here’s a little vid well worth watching. ‘I Think I was an Alcoholic’ is based on the cartoon strip by John Callahan. It is, as one might think, a true story.

keith richards quits drinking. kinda.

First of all, I guess I don’t get to run this classical little bon mot anymore:

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I have to admit when I first came across the news at Storm in a Wine Glass, I was a little surprised… but not a whole lot. And then reading the disappointing and totally unsurprising 3 ‘graphs at Consequence of Sound simply affirmed what I guess is the best to settle for. I mean, after all, Keith is the one who reportedly [i.e. never happened] had two complete blood transfusions to clean up his system. Be that as it may, here’s Keith’s take in Rolling Stone on the big shift: 

“It’s been about a year now,” Richards says quietly. “I pulled the plug on it. I got fed up with it.” While he admits he still has “a glass of wine occasionally, and a beer,” it’s a major step for a guy whose hedonism is a key part of his legend. “It was time to quit,” Richards says. “Just like all the other stuff.” Was it an adjustment? “You can call it that, yeah,” he says with a laugh. “But I don’t notice any difference really – except for I don’t drink. I wasn’t feeling [right]. I’ve done it. I didn’t want that anymore.”

The Stones. Wow… It’s been pretty interesting to watching these guys live a lot longer than they probably planned on. But, hey! That happens to a lot of us, moi assi. Oh, well. Enjoy.

eric clapton: always worth revisiting

This excellent 1999 interview with Ed Bradley from 60 minutes has held up through the years. In the interview, an unabashedly candid Clapton — clean and sober 12 years by then — pointed his finger at a surprising culprit that paved the way for his brutal addictions: “When I was five, six years old, I was cramming sugar down my throat as fast as I could get it down,” he said. “I became addicted to sugar because it changed the way I felt.”

Watch the whole thing.

steven tyler speaks out on addictions

“I’m nervous here because I’m telling you all my truth,” the Aerosmith founding member and lead singer said. “I am also a drug addict and alcoholic and fighting it every day.”

“I had it all. I didn’t care,” he said. “And I hurt my family and my children and my friends. If it wasn’t for the program of AA, I would have nothing. I’m a better drug addict and alcoholic than I am a musician. I got to keep it in check.”

Read the whole thing here.