Driving and Smoking
When it first appeared that recreational marijuana would be approved across the country, one of the concerns brought up was about users driving under the influence. When someone drives and drinks, you can ask him or her to walk a straight line, take a breathalyzer test, and so on, but determining if someone is high on pot is a problem. LiveScience reports that there’s no way to measure marijuana with a breathalyzer, so researchers use blood tests, but blood concentrations of marijuana’s active ingredient THC “can stay persistently high in chronic users” so that’s not a good test. In traffic-fatality studies, any amount of THC in the blood, no matter how tiny, counts as a positive drug test. So at least some of the smokers whose deaths are counted in studies may not have been high at the time of the accident. However, a study in JAMA reported in April contains data on car crashes after parties held on April 20, the day that smokers often get together and celebrate, and it’s not good. Based on 25 years of data, it seems that in fatal accidents between 4:20 p.m. and midnight each year, “there was a 12 percent increased risk of a fatal car crash compared with the control dates.”
Getting sick from Marijuana
How do you pass the word that marijuana can make you very very sick? Through the general media, and blogs like this. An article in April might surprise you because it was so unexpected. A heavy marijuana smoker began vomiting and experienced pain to such an extent that he was laid low every few weeks, for years. He tried on antidepressants, anti-nausea and anti-anxiety drugs, and…nothing. There were trips to the ER. He had his appendix and his gallbladder out and two endoscopies, and saw a psychiatrist. The only relief he could get was from taking a hot shower. About 10 years later, a doctor finally convinced him he had a disorder linked to his smoking. The man had C.H.S., cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome, which causes cyclic vomiting in heavy marijuana users. The only thing that stops it is to stop smoking weed. Marijuana smokers suffering from C.H.S are showing up more frequently in ERs, and it’s become a common problem in the last five years, according to medical professionals interviewed for the article. (People likely are more prone to admit to the amount of their smoking since marijuana has become legalized in more states.
Medication from Medical Marijuana
Unbelievably, a couple million are affected. Doctors aren’t even sure why vomiting occurs, especially when pot is used to cure nausea. But the effects can be devastating. Some smokers have lost jobs because they miss so much work going to doctors, and one person cited had broken bones from vomiting. Another went so far as to have exploratory surgery to check for a bowel obstruction. Drug for epilepsy coming from marijuana ingredient Who would have thought it? Cannabidiol, found in marijuana, can help epilepsy and is found in a drug called Epidiolex that is about to become the first “cannabis-derived medication” in the U.S. An F.D.A. advisory panel has recommended that it be approved, and it’s assumed that wen this happens, the drug is. The active ingredient does not make people high, which distinguishes this medication from medical marijuana. Designated an “orphan drug,” Epidiolex is thought to be especially helpful for two rare forms of epilepsy whose seizures have not responded to current medication. For more information please contact our luxury drug rehab in California at (866) 569-9391.
Often, the stereotype of someone suffering from alcohol or other substance use disorder is that they’re down and out, barely functioning most of the time, and always looking for the next drink or fix. Yet if you’re at all knowledgeable about addiction, you know that addiction affects people at all socioeconomic levels, including executives in the corner office and other white collar professionals.
These employees often work in highly stressful jobs, such as in high-tech companies, where much is expected of them. They also fall prey to the stigma of addiction, so the fear of losing their job is strong.
Denial is strong at this level, and the excuses are many. Perhaps the most common is that they don’t have a problem. Some people say they deserve to drink or take drugs because of all they’re dealing with, or even that they can do their job better with drugs. (I interviewed one woman addicted to oxycodone who said she took a handful of pills every day just to feel normal.) Others say they could never take time from work for treatment.Tyler Fitzgerald, Clinical Director of Summit Estate, says his experience has been that most companies are incredibly supportive of people getting help, especially in Silicon Valley. “What they won’t put up with is the absenteeism, the hangovers, and the outbursts,” adds Jon Heller, Summit Estate’s Admissions Director.
You may have done some research and learned that effective treatment facilities group people with similar needs for the best results. A teenage boy does not have the same rehabilitation needs as a high-level executive, for example. Summit Estate caters to white collar professionals with stressful jobs. “We’re the non-luxury luxury treatment center,” says Fitzgerald. “This is not the kind of place where people come and are pampered and get to sleep until and have breakfast brought to them. We don’t emphasize the things that aren’t necessary. We focus on real treatment for real people.”
Similarly, he explains, the reintegration program is an intensive daily program that can be built around people’s work schedules, if need be. “People continue working with their therapist and their treatment team while being reintegrated into the community and learn how to deal with the everyday stresses of work.”
Even during the program, people who absolutely need to keep in touch with work can be accommodated. “What we do is take away excuses not to come,” says Fitzgerald.
On Psych Central, Dr. David Sack explains that addicts may think they’re “getting away with” their addition quite awhile before taking action: “High-functioning addicts are masters of disguise whose struggles with drugs and alcohol may go unnoticed for years, often with increasingly severe consequences. A … position of power at work … may cushion them from the consequences of their drug use, while a sense of self-importance or belief that they can resolve their own problems may prevent them from seeking treatment.”
Fitzgerald offers the perfect conclusion for this post with an apt observation about treatment: “Our clients could be at their bottom. They could have been called in at work and spoken to about their performance, or perhaps other people have noticed they’ve been intoxicated or are increasingly missing deadlines or work. Everyone’s bottom is the same — you’re up against a wall, and the rug’s about to be pulled out from under you and you’re going to be exposed. Our clients often come to us in a state of panic that they’re going to lose their job; this is the time to save it.”
Drug addiction is a very serious condition that is very hard to overcome. When you abuse of any type of narcotics, it’s highly likely that you have changed the natural chemical balance in your brain. In this case, attending a drug rehab program is essential to find a successful solution.
Chemical imbalance can increase dependence on drugs, and cause you to need larger and larger doses to reach the same high as you continue using. On the other hand, when your body is deprived of the drug for an extended period of time, you may suffer a wide range of negative side effects, which can include but not limited to cold sweats, headaches and shaking.
Overcoming drug abuse and addiction is a difficult and intricate process since drug abuse affects your body both physically and mentally. When overcome by drug abuse, you are unable to think and reason properly which can result in thinking that your drug use is not a problem. Once you have accepted that drug abuse is a problem, it’s extremely difficult to cope and deal with the withdrawal symptoms.
Basic Steps to Recovery
There are a few steps required to start the journey in overcoming drug abuse:
- Recognize the problem
This very first step in overcoming a problem is always recognizing that you have a problem and accepting that your actions or behavior is problematic.
This can be a very difficult thing to do, especially after a long time of qualifying the behavior as a choice that you can stop at any time you choose. It takes a great amount of strength to accept the reality of your problem and do something about it.
- A want for change
Once you accept that you have a problem, the next step is wanting to change your destructive behavior. Without making excuses, you need to take a good look at your life from an outsider perspective.
Look at the costs involved in your addiction, which are not limited to finances, but also include your health and relationships. Think about the advice you would give yourself if you were an outsider looking in at your life.
- Get help
As if it’s not difficult enough to recognize that you have a problem, approaching someone else to ask for help is just as difficult, especially admitting that you can’t handle the problem on your own. There is a huge misconception that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
In fact, asking for help is a sign of great strength and that you have the willpower to get overcome the abuse and become even stronger. The next step would be to find the best drug addiction treatment center available for you.
- Find professional help
The only way to successfully overcome drug abuse is to seek professional help. Once you have the support of friends and family, consulting with a professional will give you the facilities and tools to help with addiction. Professionals are well-equipped with the right tools and knowledge to help you detox your body from the drugs to eventually overcome addiction. Once you have dealt with the previous steps, you will be able to start removing drugs from your system and learn how to cope with a new drug-free lifestyle.
Find the proper Drug Rehab Program
At Summit Estate, we have a team of professionals dedicated to problems like the one you’re going through now. Give us a call at (866) 569-9391 to know more about how we can help you change your life for good.
When interventions are successful, a process of Bay Area recovery is started. It is vital that some support network exists and that the network provides positive encouragement for the recovering addict. For a person going through relapse, a change in mindset is needed. Relapsing is not a sign of failure. It is a sign that current treatment methods need to be tweaked or changed so that the abuse can stop again.
Around half of people who enter rehab will relapse at some point, whether in two weeks or 30 years, the point is to be available and help where and how you can.
Find the best course of treatment (and stick to it!)
This will often be done by the Medical Detox / drug rehab program; however, it is vital to help the recovering person to stick to the schedule. More so, if the treatment is not as effective as desired, you as a loved one are often one of the first to notice any regression in the addicts’ behavior. Being alert to changes in behavior and mood can often head off an ‘’episode’’.
A change of lifestyle
Finding out what caused it is the first step to long-term recovery. For some recovering addicts, it was often people or places that would trigger the need for whatever drug they were abusing. Reducing these triggers as much as possible exponentially increases the likely success of a rehab regime.
Reducing the triggers is one thing, however, situations will arise naturally where the recovering abuser will be tempted to use drugs again. In these situations, being available to distract or help the person may be vital, at the same time you could also help take them to get more professional help if needed.
Prepare for the worst.
Hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Accept that relapse may happen and have a plan for if/when it does.
Having a plan of action that the person in recovery agrees to is also just as important, often the abuser will recognize that they will not be in ‘’headspace’’ to make rational decisions. It may even be necessary to have ‘’power of attorney’’ for the person assigned to you, though this is only done in exceptional circumstances.
Most importantly is that you make yourself available! Having a proper support network is vital to a person’s recovery. Every recovering addict will have moments of weakness, getting involved can often be the difference between a bad few days and a death spiral back to addiction.
Knowing that others care for them and are willing to help with their problems can make all the difference to an abuser in the internal fight between substance dependence and the desire to be drug-free. Call Summit Estate at (866) 569-9391 to learn how we can help you win that battle.
Unless you are fully committed to recovery, the chances are high that you will relapse. You have to give it everything you can or it’s just a matter of time before you’re back to where you were before. You have to reach that point where you say “I will do whatever it takes to stay sober”. It is important for you to be committed to a sober life with Medical Detox.
You have to realize that recovery is a process that’s never over.That is why it requires determination and commitment. Staying in the present and being fully committed one day at a time, instead of living in the past or the future, is a key to making it through your medical detox.
A roadmap to recovery
You need to have a treatment plan in place or it’s much easier to get lost along the way. You need to decide on what path you will take – rehab, twelve-step meetings, outpatient therapy. Talking to your family and friends about these plans is a good idea as they can help you to stick to them.
A support system
A strong support system can make a real difference. If your family is not supportive, look for support from fellow group members, counselors, and doctors. It’s very hard to go through the recovery process on your own without someone you can lean on when you’re tempted to use again and who can talk you through the temptations and reinforce your commitment.
Dealing with high-risk situations
High-risk situations include being with people who still use substances and going to places where you used to consume them. Putting yourself in these situations will very likely lead to relapse. Stay away altogether and if you find yourself in such situations inadvertently, leave as soon as possible. Changing who you socialize with and removing negative influences is one of the most critical components of remaining sober.
Dealing with cravings
It’s not uncommon to experience cravings when you’re in medical detox. What you need to do is plan ahead of time how you’re going to tackle them. They often don’t last that long. In time, you learn coping mechanisms and the cravings become less and less.
Building up your self-confidence
In order to stay sober, you need to develop some self-love and find a sense of purpose. Recovery involves more than just staying away from drugs or alcohol. It’s also about gaining an insight into the behaviors and patterns that lead to substance abuse and developing new ones. The process of staying sober requires the same commitment as getting sober. You can never relax your commitment to wellness.
Summit Estate can help you go through your rehab journey and make you defeat your addiction for good. Give us a call at (866) 569-9391 and clarify all your doubts and concerns today.
Before agreeing to take part in any rehabilitation program or treatment center for alcohol or drug addiction, it is important that you know what you should expect from the chosen program or facility. Not every program is identical and offers the same level of care, experienced staff, therapy styles, or amenities. There are some programs that you find may be very basic in their approach, and perhaps they will not offer you the effective treatment you need most. It is good to know what makes for effective rehab in California today, so you know what to look for and expect.
Comfort with Rehab Programs
Looking at the programs offered by a facility is critical to see if this facility will be ideal for you and your needs. Different facilities take different approaches to treatment and provide different programs, so understanding what is offered is important. You want to select a place that offers programs that you will be comfortable attending. If the only program offered involves group therapy sessions, and you are not comfortable with that approach, treatment will not be effective for you. Look closely to see that they offer treatment options best suited to your needs.
Consider the Methods of Rehab
Effective rehab in California will offer different methods for rehabilitation. You want a place that can help you from start to finish and beyond, provide you with the medical care for detox, the inpatient or outpatient treatment sessions for addiction or dual diagnosis treatment, and give you the aftercare needed to help you sustain your recovery and succeed. Programs that offer specialized and personalized care may offer you greater options and methods so you can get the care that is best for you.
Effective Rehab for You is Here
When you are seeking a rehab facility in California to help yourself or a loved one, look at what we have to offer here at Summit Estate Recovery Center. We are one of the top programs in Northern California and can offer you and are committed to helping you overcome your alcohol or substance addiction so that you can turn your life around and have a bright future. You can find out more about us and our services when you look at the pages here on our website, but you may also phone us at 866-569-9391 at any time so you can speak with us and make arrangements to get on the path to recovery.
Pity the average citizen trying to figure out what’s going to happen with healthcare. During the week of July 9, proposed legislation changed in a day.
Before July 13, this is where things stood:
BCRA—the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017, released on June 22—was still waiting to be approved by the Senate before being sent to the president’s for signing. More than a few people were worried, especially those concerned about healthcare coverage for those suffering from addiction. Ask anyone—those working in addiction and recovery, to families of loved ones caught up in the disease, to anyone who has been through an insurance coverage nightmare or who has heard tales from friends—how difficult it can be to navigate the system when the problem is addiction and mental health, it hasn’t been easy.
For years, a number of people had been working for parity in coverage for mental health and addiction disorders, and Obamacare —the Affordable Care Act —achieved that, according to The Fix. The ACA was passed in 2008 and by 2014, what so many people dreamed about came into being, starting with increased access to healthcare for many “by expanding Medicaid and offering low-cost insurance through the ‘Health Insurance Marketplaces’.” The law also stopped insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions, such as substance abuse.
BRCA benefits are listed at https://www.dpc.senate.gov/healthreformbill/healthbill61.pdf and explained at sites like http://www.benefitspro.com/2017/07/12/breaking-down-the-senates-bcra-proposal. (The latter is a resource for benefits professionals.) Even Wikipedia does a good job of explaining them.
Addiction experts were sounding off about what it would mean should BCRA pass. A July 6 opinion column on an independent Park Forest, Illinois website included comments from over 60 experts who opposed the proposed healthcare act. The Senate’s version of healthcare repeal would cripple national efforts to address this public health epidemic, the article said, and the piece backed that statement up with several arguments. Two are below.
1 “Research has clearly shown that substance use disorders are complex, chronic medical conditions, best treated with comprehensive and integrated care” (and we cannot go back to financing them separately and treating them the same way, as before the ACA.)
2 Medicaid reductions and caps in BCRA mean that many substance abusers will lose coverage for treatment designed to save their lives.
On July 13, the Senate introduced a revised plan:
1 The new bill has an amendment allowing inexpensive, deregulated insurance plans
“as long as Obamacare-compliant plans are sold.”
2 States will receive more money for their healthcare initiatives, including $45 billion for fighting drug addiction.
There is more, but those seem to be the changes most important related to addiction treatment.
Two moderate Republicans immediately took issue with the revision, saying that it will “hurt people with pre-existing conditions…who got coverage under Obamacare” and adding that the reductions in Medicare funding will hurt low-income families and others.
The revised bill also increases the number of people who will be left without insurance.
The finishing touches to the plan are due July 17, and now, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Bill Cassidy have yet another proposal.
If you’re not following all this, it’s understandable. There will not be a quiz.
Every person who commits to recovery from alcohol or substance abuse must face the fact they may relapse. That’s why all quality treatment programs design a re-entry plan for their clients meant to last past the first few days after discharge. Clinicians, counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists all understand one crucial thing about recovery: it’s a life-long process.
Substance abuse treatment professionals know that creating a custom, multi-layered, comprehensive post-treatment support system is the key to sustained sobriety. If you’ve been through rehab yourself – whether your program was residential, outpatient, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient – it’s almost certain you spent hours in classes, workshops, group therapy, and individual sessions on the subject of relapse prevention.
Because the statistics on relapse are scary: The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that 50-90% of alcoholics and 40-60% of people recovering from substance abuse relapse in the first four years after rehab.
That’s the reason you learned how to identify your triggers. That’s why your counselors and therapists taught you how to rebuild your social network and stack it with people like sponsors or recovery partners who are as committed to recovery and sobriety as you. That’s why you learned how to set healthy boundaries with family members and old friends from your use and abuse days, and that’s why you learned stress-management techniques from yoga to meditation to exercise to sleep hygiene.
That’s also why you need to understand that relapse is not the end of the world – but you do need to do something about it.
What Should I do if I Relapse? Do I Need to Return to Rehab?
The answer depends on you.
The first thing you need to do is identify what really happened. Meaning you need to understand the difference between a slip and a full relapse. A slip is typically a very short, one-time occurrence where you drink or do drugs for one day or one evening, but quickly realize the danger you’re in and get back on your sobriety program right away. A full relapse, on the other hand, is when you fall back into your addictive patterns for days, weeks, months, or even years.
Don’t misunderstand, though: a slip is serious. It’s an indication you need to shore up your sobriety plan, identify why you slipped, and recommit yourself to recovery. If you slipped and righted the ship immediately, then it’s unlikely you need to return to rehab. If you truly relapsed, however, that’s a different story. The hard truth is that if you went down back down the rabbit hole, you probably need help getting back out.
You need to get back into rehab.
Returning to Rehab: How to Do It
Intense feelings of guilt, shame, frustration, and anger typically accompany relapse. All these feelings are valid and reasonable. They also don’t help. Yes, you need to work through them. Yes, a bit of anger can act as a catalyst and get you back on track. But the important thing to remember – something you most likely learned when you were in rehab the first time – is that you need to let go of what’s done, focus on where you are now, and commit your recovery.
Here’s a list of things to help you get back into rehab after relapse:
- Own it. If you relapsed, it’s done. You can’t go back in time, you can’t undrink a drink, you can’t unsmoke a joint, and you can’t untake a pill. Take personal responsibility for your relapse. Don’t try to shift accountability to other people or circumstances. Face reality and move forward.
- Don’t beat yourself up. If you need to, go ahead and re-read the relapse statistics above to remind yourself that relapse is part of recovery. You’re not alone: people have been there before and you can use their wisdom to help you move forward. Spending time wallowing in your shame and sorrows will exacerbate the downward spiral. Don’t do it. Remind yourself of how good it was when you were following your program, and know – really know deep inside – that it’s possible to get back to that good place.
- Use the phone. If you went into an extended relapse, it’s likely the people in your support network know about it. They’ll be ready to help you get back on track. Pick up the phone, dial those numbers, or go to a support group meeting and talk. Don’t wait: do it now.
- Evaluate Your Sobriety Strategy. That may seem too obvious to say, but it’s important: if you relapsed, something went wrong with your long-term sobriety plan. You need to take a long, serious look at what went wrong and what you can do to shore it up to decrease the chances of it happening again.
- Take action. Get yourself back into rehab. Quickly. You may want to go back to your original treatment center, or you may not – that’s up to you. Some people find comfort in working with familiar faces in familiar places, while others may want to start new, with a completely different approach and a new set of doctors, counselors, and therapists. Both choices are equally valid. It all depends on you.
Returning to Rehab: A Learning Experience
Committing to treatment and recovery the first time was probably the most courageous thing you’ve ever done in your life. It’s time to tap into that same courage again. You know you can do it because you’ve done it before. This time around, you have the advantage: you know what works, what doesn’t, and you know you’re not immune to relapse. Recovery is like a muscle. If you slipped or relapsed, it’s time to strengthen that muscle again – and the only way to do that is to get to work.
You may be humbled, but there’s also reason for optimism: you can take all this knowledge back to rehab with you, and get more out of the process this time than before. Every relapse prevention workshop you attend will have that much more meaning. You’ll understand – and hopefully embrace – the entire concept of relapse prevention in ways you never did before. If you had doubts, they should be gone now: this time around, you can take the insight of your therapists and counselors, the collective wisdom of your recovery partners and support system, combine it with your personal experience, and create a post-rehab sobriety program that significantly decreases your chance of another relapse. Even better than that, you can pay it forward, and use your experience to help others in rehab for the first time, the same way your recovery partners helped you during your first rehab experience.
If you’re reading this article and you’re in the middle of a relapse, call us here at Summit Estate now at:
This is your chance to get back on track.
Don’t let it slip by!
Heroin and opioid addiction continues to be a growing problem around the globe. Prescription pain relievers are incredibly addictive, damaging lives and increasing overdose death tolls in nearly every state. Opiate and heroin abuse affects the welfare of all societies, including Northern California. The problem in California has reached an all-time high due to low drug prices, easy access to drugs, and lack of awareness. Exploring the drug problem in Northern California can help our community find a solution.
Heroin And Opioids In NorCal: Surprising Statistics
Heroin And Opioids In NorCal- Surprising StatisticsIn 2013, California hospitals treated over 11,500 people suffering an overdose of opiates or heroin – the equivalent of one overdose every 45 minutes. This statistic shows a shocking 63% increase in overdose cases since 2002. Researchers believe this rise is partially due to consistently low prices and plentiful amounts of black tar heroin in California pipelined from Mexico. Every office in the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in San Francisco reports the dominance of black tar heroin and that it’s easy to obtain.
According to data gathered by the Sacramento Bee, hospitals in rural superior California have the highest rate of opioid overdose patients. The county averages for overdoses per 10,000 residents were the worst in Northern California. Here’s an overview of the greatest county averages in overdoses per 10k residents from 2006 to 2013:
- Plumas County: 9.1
- Lake County: 8.8
- Humboldt County: 8.4
- Shasta County: 8.1
- Tuolumne County: 7.5
Local counties faired slightly better on the scale but still had high overdose numbers:
- Nevada County: 5.1 (400 total overdoses)
- Yuba County: 4.1 (234 total overdoses)
- Sacramento County: 3.3 (3,723 total overdoses)
- Placer County: 3.3 (918 total overdoses)
Overdose Deaths In California
Shasta County hospitals helped more than 1,150 overdose patients between 2006 and 2013—more than triple the average for the entire state. The rates of overdoses were also higher than the statewide average in Sacramento County, Placer County, and El Dorado County.
In 2013, there were a total of 6,108 ER visits due to opioid overdoses—a rise from 3,517 in 2006. The number has steadily increased each year, as have the number of hospital stays. The number of overdose deaths has risen since 2006, but there was a slight drop in 2012. This may be due to people seeking help before their problem gets out of control or advances in how hospitals treat patients suffering opioid overdoses. Still, an average of 1,752 people die from opioid overdoses in California every year.
The Relationship Between Opioids And Heroin Abuse
Recently, there’s been a statewide switch from prescription opioids to heroin, with a particularly high increase among young people. Evidence suggests that as prescription drugs become less available and more difficult to obtain, drug users are shifting to heroin. For example, a downward trend in OxyContin abuse directly correlated with an increase in heroin use in a study by the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
Additionally, drug users will build a tolerance for opiates and prescription painkillers, making them more likely to find heroin, which is easy and cheap to purchase in most major cities in California. In some communities, heroin costs less to purchase than prescription opioids. Between 2005 and 2012, the number of known heroin users in the United States almost doubled, from 380,000 to 670,000.
Unfortunately, the risk of overdosing is increased with heroin when compared to prescription opioids. Heroin addicts can’t control the purity of the drugs they purchase, leading to heroin that may be contaminated or mixed with other, unknown drugs. Previously, heroin use was a problem almost strictly in urban areas. Now, the DEA frequently encounters heroin in small towns and suburbs in California.
Sources Of The Heroin And Opioid Problem In Northern California
California officials attribute the ongoing problem to a number of different variables that have changed over the years. An increased patient awareness of the right to pain relief, various organizations that support the use of large doses of opioids, and aggressive marketing from the pharmaceutical industry have all contributed to the issue. Some doctors prescribe opioids loosely without properly educating patients on the addictive nature of such drugs.
Easy Access To Prescription Meds Through Family
Based on a survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the majority of people (54.2%) aged 12 and older who used pain relievers non-medically say that they obtained the drugs from a friend or relative for free—whether by consent or theft. Reducing the number of unused painkillers improperly disposed of may help prevent people, especially young people, from developing a drug addiction. Keeping prescribed pain medications hidden or counting them carefully can also help.
Methods Addicts Use To Obtain Drugs
While only 18.1% of respondents said that they obtained the drugs from one doctor, the 54.2% of people who got them from friends state that 81.6% of their sources got the drugs from one doctor. Patients with addictions can gain access to prescription pain medications relatively easily across the United States. In 2001, there was a movement toward prescribing more opioids, stating that doctors largely undertreated chronic pain. This led to the Pain Treatment Act and Bill of Rights. Since then, doctors have more openly prescribed pain medications for common health complaints without fear of retaliation.
One of the methods addicts use to get their hands on large amounts of opiates and painkillers is “doctor shopping.” Doctor shopping refers to the act of going to multiple doctors and complaining of the same symptoms. A patient may go to one doctor complaining of a health issue, either real or fake, and obtain a legitimate prescription for pain relievers. Then, the same patient will go to a different doctor and do the same thing. Doctor shopping allows addicts to consistently receive a high number of opioids with real prescriptions.
Opioids are available for purchase online, without the need for a prescription, through illegal online pharmacies. Law officials do their best to locate and shut down illegal Internet pharmacies, but they still exist. Online pharmacies may not sell customers prescription-grade opioids, posing an even greater threat to users.
Easy Heroin Availability And Low Prices
Los Angeles is a known collection and distribution point for black tar heroin from Mexico—the primary form of heroin the DEA encounters in Northern California. From there, tight-knit groups transport the drugs to locations in the Central Valley. San Francisco is a significant destination for this heroin, as are San Jose, Redwood City, and East Palo Alto.
Heroin availability has quickly spread throughout California, cropping up in counties such as Sacramento, Placer, Nevada, and Yuba that didn’t previously report heroin problems. The plentiful amount of heroin results in low prices. Prices vary across communities and depending on the purity of the drugs, but heroin typically is less expensive than other addictive drugs. The average cost of 0.1 gram (a single dose) of heroin on the street is only $15.
Effects Of Heroin And Opioid Addictions
Drug addictions can lead to a plethora of negative outcomes, and the price it costs the individual abuser, the community, and the nation as a whole is high. Many drug abusers don’t realize the extensive consequences of heroin and opioid addictions and each drug’s effect on daily life.
Not only do heroin and opioids have devastating mental and physical health effects, but they also cause damages to a person’s finances, employment, quality of life, and relationships. A drug addiction can take over literally every aspect of life until the user has nothing left except his or her addiction.
Effects On The Human Body
Doctors often prescribe hydrocodone and oxycodone in drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin to treat moderate to severe pain. These medications attach to proteins (opioid receptors) found on nerve cells within the body and brain. These receptors reduce the perception of pain, producing a sense of peace. Opioids can also lead to mental confusion, drowsiness, and nausea. When someone abuses opioids, that person is at risk for serious medical complications such as coma and fatal overdose.
Heroin is well known as a drug with a high risk of overdose. Since there’s no regulation for the drug, most users have no way to know exact dosages or purity levels. Chasing the rush, or the feeling of euphoria, that typically comes with heroin leads users to increase their dosages more and more. Heroin can cloud mental function, slow breathing and heart function, and sometimes result in coma, permanent brain damage, and death.
Costs Of Addiction For The Addict And The Community
Opioid and heroin addictions can severely damage a user’s personal life. Addicts no longer express interest in achieving goals, education, working, or cultivating personal relationships. Relations with spouses, children, parents, and friends suffer—sometimes leading to damages that addicts may never be able to repair. Drugs take over every aspect of life, making it impossible for an addict to see past his or her addiction. With intervention and treatment, addicts can take their lives back. Without treatment, they risk eventually dying from overdose.
The community cost of providing healthcare, emergency services, and treatment programs for heroin and opioid addicts is remarkably high. The Centers for Disease Control ranks California as the number one state in the country for total health care costs from opioid abuse, exceeding $4,263 million in 2013. This was $2,299 million more than the number two state, Texas, which totaled only $1,964 million by comparison. The estimated total cost of opioid abuse in America is $25 billion annually.
California’s Lost Work Productivity
In 2010, illicit drugs cost California more than $15 billion in tangible costs, and though this statistic has yet to be updated, other stats suggest this number is much higher now. This includes $5.321 billion in wage work costs alone. Addicts lose productivity while using and abusing heroin and opioids, losing the desire to go into work, and eventually failing to show up at all. Illegal drug abuse also leads to incarceration, resulting in lost time at work and being terminated from jobs. Business costs also include increased employee turnover and higher insurance costs. The citizens and state economy bear 76% of all tangible costs of substance abuse in California.
Violent Crime Increases Across Counties
Violent crime and property damages are often related to street gangs in California who distribute heroin, among other drugs. Street gangs are involved in crimes such as burglary, assault, auto theft, carjacking, mugging, and home invasion. The U.S. Department of Justice states that much of the violent and property crime is in the Northern California region. This is due to trafficking, group rivalry, and drug abuse. Often, illicit drug abusers commit crimes like robberies to pay for their addictions.
The Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program strives to reduce drug trafficking, lowering the impact of illicit drugs like heroin in the ten Northern California counties within its region. Part of the Northern California High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area’s goals is to reduce drug-related crime and violence throughout the area. This program locates major drug threats in each region and implements initiatives to put an end to drug trafficking.
Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome In California
One of the most tragic effects of opioid and heroin abuse in Northern California is the rising number of infants born with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), or a dependency on drugs from birth. In 2015, doctors diagnosed about 1,190 California newborns with NAS—up more than 50% from 2014. NAS leads to withdrawal symptoms as the drugs leave the baby’s system, including tremors, vomiting, fever, and restlessness. Neonatal withdrawal is painful for babies, although it doesn’t typically have a long-term effect on their health.
NAS causes lengthy hospital stays compared with normal births, resulting in increased healthcare costs. The average length of stay for a baby without NAS is about 2.1 days, costing around $3,500. In contrast, a baby with NAS has to stay 17 days or longer, costing $66,700. This resulted in an estimated total of $1.5 billion for hospitals in 2012—8% of which state Medicaid programs pay. As the rate of babies born with NAS increases, so does the total cost to California.
Finding A Solution For Opioid And Heroin Addiction
Opioid and heroin have become runaway drugs in California in part due to lack of community awareness and initiative to stop drug abuse. Currently, there are a number of anti-drug campaigns and programs running throughout Northern California, including the Northern District of California Project Safe Neighborhood, a state agency that focuses on areas of high violent crime and drug activity.
Staying on top of the growing trend toward heroin in NorCal and learning what you can do to prevent drug addiction and help current addicts are important steps to take during this time of high drug activity.
Reduce Future Drug Abuse
Addictions can start at an early age, with kids snatching prescription opioids from their parents’ medicine cabinets. Early intervention programs can help put young adults back on the correct path before a drug problem gets out of control and leads to tragedy. Research intervention centers in your area, and learn how to discuss a drug problem with your teenager. Preventing drug-related death, crime, and other tolls starts with spreading awareness to the next generation.
Many Northern California counties have launched community coalitions against drugs. They bring together leaders from the medical sphere, public health department, clinics, law enforcement, and addiction treatment providers to collectively work to decrease drug use and the overprescribing of pain medications within the community. The California HealthCare Foundation recently began an initiative to support new opioid safety coalitions throughout the state. Joining your local coalition can be a fantastic way to support local efforts against addictive drugs.
Support Sufferers And Addiction Research
Research on how best to treat opioid and heroin addictions continues throughout America, leading national recovery center leaders to discover new, more effective ways to reduce withdrawal symptoms and help abusers recover for good. Donate to your local recovery or research center to help further the knowledge industry leaders have about this growing epidemic. Northern California is just one region out of thousands across the country that can benefit from more advanced treatment research.
If you know someone who has a problem with opioids or heroin, learn how you can help them on the road to recovery. Getting past a drug problem is 100% possible with the right mindset and resources. In many cases, your friend or loved one will need an intervention to recognize that he or she has a problem and that treatment is the only solution. Once the addict agrees to seek help, support his or her efforts to embrace treatment and continue on the path to a drug-free life.
Get Professional Help
Drug addictions are complex—especially since there’s a medical component to the problem. Addicts need therapists, recovery programs, support groups, and treatment centers with the right tools and resources to facilitate healing. Thousands of people who have struggled with substance abuse have successfully overcome addiction and led normal, happy lives. Recovery isn’t possible without support from friends and family. Be there for your loved one, and know when to call in a professional for help.
If you feel you’re at risk of becoming addicted to prescription medications, heroin, or any other substance yourself, seek help from a treatment center such as Northern California’s Summit Estate Recovery Center immediately. Treatment centers are no-judgment zones where you can obtain the help you need to prevent or end a drug dependency.
If you would like to learn more news about addiction and drug, read more Summit Estate blogs.