Drug Addiction News

Taking the Pain Out of Addiction NOVA Next | PBS

by Admin | April 17, 2017

In his St. Louis clinic, psychiatrist Dr. Arturo Taca sees many well-heeled patients trying to detox from heroin: doctors, lawyers, nurses. “Normal people with normal values getting addicted to heroin,” he says.

One thing they all have in common is that they have to fight the pain that comes with the symptoms of withdrawal from opioid addiction.

Brian Comer was one of those patients. In college, Comer was introduced to using prescription painkillers, like oxycodone or Vicodin, as party drugs. “It’s such an easy way in,” Comer says. “There’s no easy way out.”

Read full article here

The Bridge Device Featured on Web Center 11

by Admin | March 06, 2017

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF)- Some would call it the "missing link" in the opioid epidemic. A new device helping addicts get clean.

Thank you to the courageous individuals for sharing their struggles.

See full video here

The Bridge Device article on The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

by Admin | February 12, 2017

Neuromodulation with percutaneous electrical nerve field stimulation is associated with reduction in signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal: a multisite, retrospective assessment


Background: Finding an effective, non-pharmacological approach to treat opioid withdrawal could remove some of the barriers associated with pharmacotherapy. The BRIDGE® is a noninvasive, percutaneous electrical nerve field stimulator developed to target pain. Objectives: This pilot study aimed to determine (1) the effects of the BRIDGE on withdrawal scores during the induction phase of opioid withdrawal therapy, (2) the percentage of subjects who successfully transitioned to medication assisted therapy (MAT). Methods: Adult patients treated with the BRIDGE during medically supervised withdrawal were included in this open label, uncontrolled, and retrospective study. The clinical opioid withdrawal scale (COWS) scores were prospectively recorded at different intervals (20, 30, and 60 min) and analyzed retrospectively.

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Online Video Tele-Health Service now offered at INSynergy

by Admin | January 12, 2017

INSynergy is first to incorporate Video Tele-Health into its already innovative program. INSynergy uses telemedicine software that lets you teleconference with our clinical staff with high-definition video and audio in HIPAA-compliant visits that allow face-to-face interaction. You can use a remote device, such as a laptop or phone, during the consultation, from your location – either in your office or even at your home.

INSynergy's innovative telemedicine solutions delivers high-quality addiction counseling to patients over a secure video chat, connecting with patients on their own schedules and from their choice of location. INSynergy clients appreciate the availability of telemedicine, since they can conveniently keep their appointments with minimal inconvenience and without the commute. Although tele-medicine is not a replacement for traditional patient care, it is a useful service that many INSynegy clients love to use. 

Changing the Narrative of Opioid Dependency Treatment

by Admin | January 11, 2017

Arturo C. Taca Jr., MD, FABPN, discusses the growing problem of opioid dependence in the US and potential treatment options.

The Bridge Device now available at INSynergy

by Admin | December 15, 2016

A new device designed to help with the pain during withdrawal from opiates could become another important tool in helping deal with heroin/opiate addiction in the county.

The device attaches to the ear.

The device, called the BRIDGE, was first used and developed by Dr. Arturo C. Taca, Jr., along with by an Indiana company, Innovative Health Solutions.

The BRIDGE has been FDA cleared to be used in acute or chronic pain. As a tool, The Bridge can help with one of the most challenging aspects of overcoming an opioid addiction - the pain during the initial detox.

A little larger than a half dollar, the Bridge fits behind the ear and sends electrical feedback to the brain, blocking the pain signals that are associated with withdrawal of opiates during detox. A person wears it for five days, long enough to make it through withdrawal, before turning to long-term assistance to stay sober, such as counseling and medication-assisted treatment such as Vivitrol. INSYnergy has pioneered a patent-pending process called The INSynergy-Bridge Protocol which transitions persons in withdrawal from opiates more comfortably onto Vivitrol, a long acting, monthly injection of naltrexone, which is non-addicting and non-divertible.

The Bridge uses neuro-modulation, or electrical stimulation of specific areas of the brain, to counteract the effects of opioid medications for people who have become dependent on legally prescribed pain medications or heroin.

Heroin Withdrawal Gets Pioneering Treatment from St. Louis Doctor

by Admin | December 12, 2016

Riverfont Times St. Louis | To break a heroin habit, an addict must live through the personal hell known as withdrawal. Like a debilitating flu, the process afflicts the body with fever, tremors, nausea, muscle aches and diarrhea. And those symptoms might not even be the worst part.

"With the flu you don’t have this component of fear, this unusual preoccupation with dying in pain," says Dr. Arturo Taca, a board-certified addictionologist who runs a clinic based in Creve Coeur. It's all too common for patients to return to drugs after just a few days of anguish, he says.

But a little more than a year ago, following his own preoccupation with neuroscience, Taca deployed a groundbreaking treatment helping addicts defeat withdrawal. The results are generating waves of interest in addiction clinics across the country.

Read full article here

The Bridge Device featured on CBS St. Louis

by Admin | September 01, 2016

New Device to Treat Heroin Addiction Might Be Available Soon

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A new way of treating heroin addiction will soon be available to anyone suffering from withdrawal symptoms.

Dr. Arturo Taca with INSynergy Addiction Treatment Center in St. Louis, joined KMOX Thursday morning to talk about the new device. He says it’s about the size of a quarter and hooks behind the patient’s ear.

“The withdrawal syndrome is painful and is hard for people to get off of them, because the only thing that can make the symptoms go away, is using more opioids or heroin,” Taca says.

Read full article here

The Bridge Device featured on The Fix

by Admin | July 22, 2016

Could This New Device Offer Pain-Free Heroin and Opioid Withdrawal?

The groundbreaking behind-the-ear device is designed to help users in the initial stage of kicking narcotics. 

Could This New Device Offer Pain-Free Heroin and Opioid Withdrawal?

Innovative Health Solutions (IHS), a company based in Versailles, Indiana, has a bridge to sell you. No, really. 

The BRIDGE is a newly invented ear device by IHS that aims to remove physical pain for opiate addicts during detox and withdrawal. It’s the first non-narcotic alternative, but this is not a long-term solution. It is a tool for addicts to get through the first five days of withdrawal. After that, many addicts will still have to struggle with the emotional compulsion to use, so this isn’t the magic bullet for long-term abstinence.

Read full article here

KMOV Interview with Dr. Taca and Ashley Halker

by Admin | January 08, 2016

Kent Ehrhardt of KMOV interviews Dr. Arturo Taca and Ashley Halker about treatment options for opiate addiction.

View the interview video here

Great Day St. Louis interviews Dr. Taca about heroin addiction

by Admin | December 15, 2015

Dr. Arturo Taca from INSynergy explains how they can help with treating heroin addiction at Great Day St. Louis.

View the interview video here

Dr. Arturo Taca, Jr., St. Louis Psychiatrist, elected Midwest Chapter President of American Society of Addiction Medicine

by Admin | November 16, 2015

Dr. Arturo C. Taca, Jr., Diplomate of ABPN / ABAM, a St. Louis-based psychiatrist, and founder / medical director of INSynergy, was recently elected President of ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) Midwest Chapter for a 3-year term.

ASAM has 39 state and regional chapters throughout the United States that involve members in local activities, education and state advocacy efforts.

"Addiction is a real public health issue. I'm honored to be asked to by our members to help lead and serve our region to educate the public and treatment providers about how we can make a difference," said Taca.

Dr. Taca is a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He completed medical school from the University of the East and medical internship and psychiatry residency at St. Louis University. He founded INSynergy, an outpatient substance abuse program based in Creve Coeur, in 2011.

Other officers elected to the ASAM Midwest Chapter are Drs. Evan Schwarz (Secretary)  and Christina Davila (Treasurer and President Elect). Dr. Schwarz practices Emergency Medicine and specializes in medical toxicology at Washington University. Dr. Davila is a psychiatrist from Kansas and Medical Director of Awakenings Treatment Program in Kansas City.

Founded in 1954, ASAM is a professional society representing over 3,600 physicians, clinicians and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine. ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction.

Founded in 2011, INSynergy also addresses the psychological and psychiatric issues that lead to addictive behaviors such as ADHD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression. INSynergy Treatment Center is the premier alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility in St. Louis, MO. Patients at INSynergy are treated using a modern-day approach combining medical pharmaceutical therapy with counseling. To learn more, please visit www.insynergystl.com or call (314) 649-STOP (7867)

View the original article here

St. Louis Magazine gets expert opinion from Dr. Taca regarding opiate use in St. Louis, MO

by Admin | March 31, 2015

Prescription opioid abuse is a national epidemic, but St. Louisans have reason to be especially concerned. “We, in St. Louis, are one of the worst cities for opiates,” says psychiatrist and addiction specialist Dr. Arturo Taca. “[And] when prescription painkillers become harder to get a hold of, people switch to heroin for a faster, cheaper high.”

With a high demand, a high supply will follow, and a number of factors make St. Louis an attractive hub for drug dealers. “Strategically, St. Louis is a great place to distribute,” notes Taca. “We are right in the middle of the country. We’re small enough to not have as many resources as other cities to stop the issue. If I were a drug dealer, I would think, ‘I could get away with this.’”

What was once viewed as a strictly inner city problem has hit the suburbs—affecting all kinds of people throughout the bistate area. “I see lawyers, doctors, [all kinds of] professionals for addiction treatment, and young teens who start using their parents’ pills,” says Taca. “The problem is all over. You can throw a rock in any direction in St. Louis and find an opioid dealer.”

Unlike Washington University School of Medicine professor and researcher Dr. Theodore Cicero, who considers marijuana a viable solution, Taca believes introducing medical cannabis would have the opposite effect.

“So far, we are far from encouraging prescription writing marijuana for these conditions. In the same states that have legal cannabis, we are seeing a ton of psychosis, intoxication. Medical cannabis would cause more problems than help at this point.”

Even though opioid abuse, accompanied by an increase in heroin use, is a challenging public health crisis, there are preventive measures that could lower the rates of opiate addiction and overdose.

And prevention begins with regulation. “Fixing this epidemic has to start with the physicians and the medical system. There are parts of it that are broken,” says Taca, “We need physicians who are trained in addiction and more toxicology tests to see if people are taking their medicine on a regular basis.”

Taca further states that the market for competing opiate antagonists, drugs that block opioid receptors in addicts, is unevenly distributed, making it harder for smaller companies to excel. “Companies like Vivitrol have the ability to help a lot of people, but they make maybe $100 million annually, while larger companies like Pfizer are making $2 billion quarterly.”

One essential preventive measure that both Cicero and Taco stress is to establish a prescription drug monitoring system in Missouri. “We are the only state to not have an electronic monitoring database,” says Taca. “That would exceedingly cut back on doctor shopping and prescription overdoses.”

Cicero adds, “It’s embarrassing we don’t already have one.”

View the original article here

Flanagan Counsels from Experience

by Admin | September 15, 2011

When Eric Flanagan counsels a patient with a substance abuse problem, he speaks from experience.Flanagan, a substance abuse associate counselor for INSynergy, overcame his own addition to drugs and now hopes his story will inspire others to do the same.

"My addiction began because I had the wrong idea of what a real man was,” Flanagan said. “I gave in to peer pressure and thought doing drugs would make me ‘cool.’ After years of negative consequences, I was able to overcome my addiction with the help of some wonderful substance abuse counselors and my family, who never gave up on me. It took a total lifestyle change to overcome my addiction. I had to change most of the people, places and things in my life.”

Flanagan completed his associate degree in human services from St. Louis Community College in December. He returned to school at age 50 after being laid off from Chrysler, taking advantage of a tuition assistance program offered by his former employer. A conversation with a St. Louis Community College enrollment representative helped steer him toward the field of human services.

“After working in the auto industry my whole adult life, it was quite a challenge for me to go back to school,” Flanagan said. “There were many times I wanted to give up on my education, but the students, instructors and my family motivated and urged me to continue.”

The employment opportunity at INSynergy also came about by a chance encounter. A conversation with classmate Teresa Taca led to an interview for a practicum experience with Taca’s brother, Dr. Arturo Taca, who is the founder and medical director of INSynergy. After a second practicum there, Dr. Taca offered Flanagan a job.

“I was very fortunate to be able to do my practicums at INSynergy,” Flanagan said. “My human services instructor (Jan Osler) always told us that you never know who you will meet who might advance your career. She was so right.”

Personal experiences, plus skills and strategies gained in the classroom, have served Flanagan well in his present job.

“Understanding the physiology, effects and reasons behind addiction really has prepared me for my job,” Flanagan said. “My instructors also emphasized communication skills because without them, you can’t effectively counsel a client.”

Flanagan plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and then hopes to complete a master’s degree.

“I feel fortunate to be employed at INSynergy at this time,” he said. “I believe I am getting in on the ground floor before the business grows, which will afford me opportunities to advance my career.”