This Week's Addiction and Recovery News Roundup

Alternatives to Opioids for Pain Management and Tommy Lee’s Substance Struggles: This Week in Addiction and Recovery News

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Tommy Lee’s Son Claims His Father Is An Alcoholic

Mötley Crüe’s legendary drummer Tommy Lee is an alcoholic, according to Lee’s son Brandon. People reported that a “scuffle” Monday night between father and son resulted in a hospital visit for the 55-year-old rocker. Brandon now claims that the fight was due to Tommy Lee’s alleged alcoholism. “I’m devastated at the events of the last several days that have been a result of my father’s alcoholism,” Brandon told People in a prepared statement. “I’ve worked tirelessly organizing an intervention and it’s incredibly upsetting that it never came to fruition.” The 19-year-old added that he’d hoped for Tommy’s recovery to be a private family matter. “I have and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as needed,” he said. “I love my father and just want to see him sober, happy and healthy.” Lee, however, shot back at his son on Twitter, saying that no intervention had been arranged in the first place.

America’s Opioid Crisis Hitting Children The Hardest

NBC News reported this Monday that more kids than ever are being sent to pediatric intensive care units (PICUs), thanks to opioid-related poisonings and overdoses. The story comes after a team of University of Chicago Children’s Hospital researchers discovered that the number of kids sent to PICUs doubled between 2004 and 2015. The findings were published in the journal Pediatrics, noting that even children under 6 years old were in danger, since opioid painkillers now account for the majority of drug poisonings in the US. “The exploratory nature of young children makes them particularly vulnerable to harm from accidental medication ingestions as opposed to adolescents and teenagers, who are more likely to have intentional ingestions, including for recreational purposes or for self-harm,” the researchers acknowledged.

Chronic Pain: Opioids Aren’t The Only Option

Encouraging results continue to emerge from research studies about prescription opioids and chronic pain. According to CBS News, new evidence supports the case against prescription painkillers when it comes to chronic pain. “Opioids have this reputation as being really powerful painkillers, and that is not what we found,” said Dr. Erin Krebs, the lead researcher in a “rigorous” year-long study. For patients with persistent back aches or arthritic pain, Tylenol worked just as well at managing pain as opioids like Vicodin, oxycodone or fentanyl. The study, which involved nearly 250 patients in Minneapolis, affirmed that opioids are no match for “physical therapy, exercise or rehabilitation therapy” in the face of chronic pain. Krebs also said that the study also advocated for other non-opioid drugs. Regardless, while prescribing rates for opioids have dipped in recent years, they’re “still much higher than two decades ago.”

British Baby Boomers Abusing Substances More

An alarming story in The Times indicated that “ageing baby boomers are becoming the largest group of problem drinkers and drug users” in the UK. A new report argues that deaths caused by drug and alcohol abuse are rising among older people in Britain because they have “not woken up to the changing face of addiction.” The report argued that over-65 individuals should be routinely questioned about drinking habits and drug use when visiting their physicians in order to better identify who’s at risk and who’s not. Interestingly, the UK report echoed a similar report from last year (as reported by The New York Times), which noted that problem drinking was on the rise. In fact, the US study said that the number of older adults who engaged in “high-risk drinking” had jumped 65% in just one year’s time.

Australian Drug Offenders Barred From Public Housing

Australians will be denied public housing if they have drug offenses on their criminal records, the New South Wales (NSW) government announced this week. According to The Guardian, the NSW government claimed that it would bar individuals from public housing if they’ve been “recently charged or convicted of drug supply or drug manufacture offenses.” Sydney social workers swiftly criticized the NSW’s decision, saying that it sets a “dangerous precedent” and blocks drug offenders from making positive progress in their lives. “The key thing for me is that this is a really troubling precedent that extends punishment beyond the judicial system, which really has not worked anywhere,” Community Restorative Centre Director Mindy Sotiri said, citing evidence that similar efforts failed in the US. Still, lawmakers are quick to defend their new strategy in areas riddled with drug problems: “What we’re trying to do is to break those [areas]down,” Social Housing Minister Pru Goward said.” If our tenants are going to have a good shot at getting their lives back on track, we need to remove the temptation to go back onto drugs.” While Goward noted that there is more public housing available in inner-city Sydney than anywhere else in NSW, critics remain worried that the strategy will simply turn Sydney’s suburbs into “a dumping ground for drug dealers.”

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Paul Fuhr is an addiction recovery writer whose work has appeared in The Literary Review, The Live Oak Review, The Sobriety Collective and InRecovery Magazine, among others. He is the author of the alcoholism memoir “Bottleneck.” He's also the creator and co-host of "Drop the Needle," a podcast about music and recovery. Fuhr lives in Columbus, Ohio with his family and their cats, Dr. No and Goldeneye.