The opioid epidemic has ravaged South Jersey and we can no longer remain silenced by misplaced shame.  It is absolutely true that Atlantic County has the highest per-capita overdose death rate in the country. Not one of the over 3,000 counties in the United States has buried more than one out of every 1, 584 residents to overdose. Recovery Force is the credentialed organization by and for people affected by this epidemic and people recovering from it.  We are a big tent and exclude no one, as we embrace multiple pathways to recovery. We are a united group comprised of the diverse larger recovery community, including people from 12-step fellowships, others utilizing medically-assisted recovery, individuals subscribing to recovery yoga or perhaps a harm-reduction pathway. We are a volunteer workforce providing services free of charge to our community. Many of us are paying it forward. Others are involved in our movement so their loved-one was not lost in vain. We are joined by family members and friends of people in or seeking recovery. We also are home to the hundreds of South Jersey families that lost a loved one to this epidemic. No community has made progress in solving its problems without citizens impacted mobilizing their forces and recovering out loud.  Recovering Out Loud changes the culture of the community to one of hope, pride and acceptance. Start today by clicking the button above and  finding a way to take part in the International Overdose Awareness Day events planned for August 31,2019 

IN THE NEWS.....

Do Opioids Help With Sleep?

People with chronic pain often rely on opioids to manage their discomfort through the night and get a better night’s sleep, but a new scientific review indicates that opioids don’t usually improve the quality of sleep, and may actually make sleep worse. Authors of the review, published in the journal Sleep Study Reviews, found that although people often self-reported that they got better sleep while on opioids, “the effect is inconsistent, small, and may be accompanied by excessive daytime sleepiness.”Lead study author Dr. Nicole Tang told Science Daily that studies need to use objective measurements of sleep quality, since self-reporting by patients can often be unreliable. "The way people experience sleep could be quite different from what you get from physiological measurements. It is not uncommon for patients to report an improvement in their sleep quality when the severity of sleep disordered breathing has increased and without significant changes in important parameters reflecting deeper and more restorative sleep,” she said. “This phenomenon is perplexing, and may reflect the inherent challenge in reconciling a wide range of ambiguous bodily information to make a categorical judgement whether sleep has improved or not after opioid therapy."One of the reasons that opioids may not improve sleep is because opioids affect the breathing system. This can make people more likely to deal with sleep apnea events, which affect the quality of sleep.According to Science Daily, insomnia is 42% more common among pain patients taking opioids than it is among pain patients who are not on opioids. Tang said that there needs to be more studies on the use of opioids to assist with sleep. Future studies should include examinations of how different opioid doses affect sleep differently, she said. Study co-author Dr. Harbinder Sandhu is currently doing more research into opioids and sleep. "The benefits of opioids on managing chronic pain in the short term is well-evidenced,” she said. “But we have not seen long-term benefits in managing pain and the effect on sleep is unknown. Results of the study will help to inform future interventions in opioid pain management.”Dr. Chantal Berna, another study co-author, said that people need to talk with their doctors about the benefits and drawbacks of using opioids to enhance sleep. "Decisions regarding introducing or maintain[ing] long term opioid therapy are based on balancing risks and benefits with the patient suffering from chronic pain,” Berna said. “Given that side effects and risks are sometimes not clear to patients, assessing vigilance as well as sleep both subjectively and with overnight objective measures before and after introducing opioids can be useful."

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