After making the monumental decision to seek addiction treatment, some people are left wondering where to turn. This decision marks the beginning of a healthier and happier life. However, more changes will need to occur in your life to continue down the road to recovery. Addiction is a disease that requires treatment by professionals. Individuals are usually unable to recover alone and at home. Being in a professional treatment center in Arizona provides a person with many benefits, including lowering their risk for relapse and overdose. It is time to relocate.
Arizona may come as a surprise for many. However, it provides those seeking recovery the perfect environment to cleanse their mind, body, and soul. This next chapter in your life is an important one and will lead you down a healthier path. The choices you make now will help to shape your new life. Give yourself the best chance of success by travelling to Arizona for your treatment.
Access to a Strong Support System
When you enroll in a treatment center, you will have access to all the amenities and bonuses that come with it. This includes the professionals who work there. Most often, a healthcare professional will become available to you all hours of the day and night. This means you can have as little, or as much monitoring that you need. If a medical complication does arise, there will always be someone close by that can help you. This also helps immensely with the detoxification process. This process can often be difficult for those in recovery and sometimes uncomfortable. However, if you are in an environment with medical professionals, you will be able to discuss different options. This will help you to seamlessly transition into the next stage.
You will also be surrounded by peers that will no doubt support you in the recovery process, as they are going through this process as well. While no two paths are the same, you will all share the same goal. Group meetings and activities will often be planned. You will be encouraged or mandated to attend, since these meetings will be filled with important information. These peer groups will help you to feel more understood and foster new growth.
Improvement of Mood and Attitude
The atmosphere and environment of Arizona will promote a more positive mood and overall attitude. This beautiful state boasts sunny weather an average of three-hundred days a year. You might be thinking that Arizona is just dry and hot, but the weather can actually vary. However, it always feels like you’re right in a postcard. Sunshine contains Vitamin D, which is an essential vitamin for overall health. It helps to prevent inflammation and lowers your blood pressure. Feeling sunlight on our bodies and faces can also cause us to have a heightened sense of relaxation. Having access to an environment with near-perfect weather will promote more positive feelings.
Development of Positive Coping Skills
While in treatment, those in recovery will learn necessary coping skills in order to stay on the right path. Addiction is considered a brain disease and disrupts reward pathways. This can make functioning in everyday life a challenge, while also making it difficult to properly manage emotions. While in rehab, you will learn how to cope with your emotions without the use of drugs and alcohol. While in Arizona, you will have access to several healthy outlets, which will make emotion management something that can be looked forward to as a positive step.
Opportunities and Activities
While in Arizona, you will have access to many unique opportunities and activities. When working with a professional, you may discover new hobbies you might be interested in trying. A group outing may consist of hiking new trails, swimming, yoga, or other forms of exercise. This group activities and formation of new hobbies will help a person in recovery with their coping skills, as well as helping them to adapt to a more positive life.
Risk of Relapse Decreases
Traveling to Arizona for treatment helps you to maintain distance between you and your triggers. One of the greatest risks for relapse is exposure to triggers without proper skills in place. This typically occurs when someone decides to stay home. Your mind and body are not equipped to handle this unsafe environment and has a higher likelihood of reverting back to its old ways. While avoidance is a good tactic, it is not forever. You will eventually run into one of your triggers, but it is best to have first learned how to deal with that situation.
Professionals will be able to help you identify your triggers in a safe and productive environment. Then, you will learn how to properly address your triggers and what to do once they arise. Healthcare experts may also help you to purge the negativity in your life or things that may be damaging to your recovery process.
Finding Treatment in Arizona
Making the first step towards a better life is a huge accomplishment and deserves to be celebrated. No two paths on this journey will be the same. Choose an environment that is dedicated to your safety and support. This will ultimately lead you in the direction of success and promote healthy growth. While this decision may seem small in the grand scheme of things, it could have a significant impact on your life. Addiction is a chronic and relapsing brain disease that cannot be treated alone at home. Seek the help you need and enroll in a treatment program today.
A Better Today Recovery Services is located in bright and energizing Arizona. They are home to a dedicated team of professionals that strive to better the lives of those affected by addiction. Their qualified team of experts understand that addiction can happen to anyone and affects all aspects of a person’s life. That is why they take an all encompassing approach to addiction treatment, offering a variety of different treatment options. Call today to discuss what options are best for you.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Phoenix Division has reported that over 1.1 million illegal fentanyl pills have been seized in Arizona this year. This is a huge increase from 2018, during which around 380,000 pills were taken off the streets. The recent seizure includes pills manufactured to resemble oxycodone M-30 tablets. With opioid addiction such a major health concern, having these pills off the streets is a big win for the DEA.
However, this doesn't mean Arizona authorities can relax. The opioid problem throughout the state and the entire country has been an ongoing concern for years. This year's seizure points to a going trend that involves illegal manufacturers using fentanyl but designing them to look like other opioids. This is being done by Mexican cartels who then smuggle them into America for sale on the street.
Because fentanyl is so strong, it can easily result in an overdose if the user mistakes the pills for something else. There's also a bigger chance of increased fentanyl addiction among opioid users.
Understanding "Synthetic" Opioids
When referring to opioids or any drug for that matter, the word "synthetic" may throw some people off. If it's made by pharmaceutical companies, doesn't that mean it's synthetic? Not necessarily.
Synthetic drugs are manufactured using man-made chemicals as opposed to naturally-occurring materials. For example, morphine is a natural substance made from opium found in poppy seeds. Prescription opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone are considered semi-synthetic because they contain opium along with other synthetic materials.
Fentanyl, on the other hand, is completely synthetic. It doesn't contain opium and is produced using only man-made chemicals. Because scientists and drug manufacturers have total control over the chemical makeup of fentanyl, they're able to produce a drug that's stronger than other opioids.
This is why so many opioid overdoses involve fentanyl. It's also why illegal drug manufacturers, like those working for the Mexican cartels, can recreate the drug for sale on the street. Unfortunately, this creates a situation where users don't fully understand what they're taking.
Characteristics of Fentanyl
Used to treat severe pain, fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that's 50 times more powerful than morphine. It's typically prescribed to patients dealing with severe pain related to cancer. Fentanyl comes in several forms, including transdermal patches, lozenges, and pills. Its popularity as a street drug is attributed to its heroin-like effects. In fact, it's often mixed with heroin to intensify the high.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, synthetic opioids were the most common drugs involved in overdose fatalities in 2016. This trend continued to rise in 2017. Most of these overdoses involved fentanyl. With illegally-manufactured, non-prescription fentanyl now being sold on the streets, deaths are likely to increase.
In addition to the threat of overdose, fentanyl addiction is also a major concern for people using the drug legally for pain management and those taking it illegally. Due to its strength, users can quickly form a physical dependency and start increasing their dosage.
Spotting Fentanyl Addiction
A fentanyl addiction carries many of the same symptoms as addiction to other opioids. However, because it's so strong, a person under the influence may seem more inebriated than normal. They may not be able to function as they once did. This is why many people lose their jobs and run into problems with friends and family.
Some of the most common signs of a fentanyl addiction include:
- Social isolation
- Looking sedated or lethargic
- Weight loss
- Lack of concentration
- Nausea or other gastrointestinal issues
- Mood swings
- Lack of motivation
A person who's developed an addiction my also start to have financial issues. This occurs once they've started prioritizing fentanyl over other monetary responsibilities. A person may also start to engage in criminal activity. If you notice this, it's important you intervene right away. Seeking professional drug treatment may be the only way to combat addiction.
Once a person who's formed a fentanyl addiction stops taking the drug, they're likely to start experiencing withdrawal symptoms within several hours. This is due to the drug's extremely short half-life. Physical withdrawal symptoms will come first. These include an intense craving for the drug, sweating, severe anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
These physical withdrawal symptoms will continue to get worse and peak after a few days. In cases of long-term fentanyl addiction, a person could be at risk of developing serious health issues during withdrawal. Dehydration due to vomiting, high blood pressure, and seizures may all be possible. That's why it's critical for an addict to withdraw from fentanyl under the supervision of a medical professional.
Treatment Options for Fentanyl Addiction
If you suspect a loved one has become addicted to fentanyl, they'll need to enter a treatment facility. The first stage of treatment will involve a detox program. This will help them through the physical withdrawal and clear the drug from their body. After that, they'll need to undergo drug counseling in either an inpatient or outpatient program.
Many people have also found success by undergoing opioid replacement treatment. This involves using a drug like methadone to curb cravings. Once an individual is no longer addicted to the opioid, they're slowly weaned off methadone. These programs are meant for individuals who've developed a long-term addiction and can't function without drugs.
After a person has completed their initial treatment, they'll need to continue to engage in substance abuse counseling. Professionals will give them the tools they need to avoid relapse and reclaim their lives after addiction.
Don't Let a Fentanyl Addiction Control Your Life
The opioid crisis is being made much more dangerous by the production of illegally-produced fentanyl. Although the authorities continue to crack down on these street drugs, they can't combat the influx of opioids becoming available to addicts.
If you or someone you love has developed an addiction to fentanyl or any other type of opioid, you need to act fast. The longer you wait to seek help, the harder the recovery process will be. Find a substance abuse rehab center in your area and speak with them about the best treatment program for you.
Since the U.S. has been in the grips of an opioid crisis, many different things have come to light. People talk about how prescription opioids have been over-prescribed for years and how massive companies have had to pay out based on their part in pushing opioids onto an unsuspecting public. People have begun to acknowledge that it’s not just the homeless who turn to heroin. Along the way, another drug has come up that very few had heard of: Fentanyl.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a man-made synthetic opioid. This means that it binds to the brain’s opioid receptors, in the same way that other opiates, such as heroin and morphine do. However, fentanyl is far more potent than either of these two. It can be around 40 – 80 times stronger, and while this does create a fleeting, powerful high – that high can kill you, even on first try.
The reason fentanyl is on the market is because it has some legitimate uses. It is primarily used for pain treatment (because it increases dopamine levels, which affect relaxation and euphoria). It has been effective in mitigating pain for people who have cancer or other chronic diseases that require considerable pain management.
Why Do People Abuse It?
Some people don’t initially realize that they are taking fentanyl. Dealers have found that it can be pretty profitable to mix some heroin in with fentanyl, so the user gets a better buzz. More recently, people buying Xanax and Oxycontin have actually been given fentanyl in pill form without knowing. Dealers make more money, people who abuse opioids are happy, or they end up dead.
Others have discovered that less amounts of fentanyl give them more of a high than heroin. Those who have abused heroin for some time often find they need more and more of the drug, simply to stay sane and not get sick. They don’t need as much fentanyl, so they take that. Other times, they take what they are given.
Some people simply take it for the buzz, and if they haven’t educated themselves on fentanyl, they don’t realize that they are rolling the dice with death, ever time they try it.
Why is Fentanyl So Dangerous?
The main reason that fentanyl is so dangerous is because it is so strong. It is estimated to be around 100 times stronger than morphine when at the same dose. However, there is so much illegally-manufactured fentanyl flooding the market right now that there is no way to tell what strength it is. What is known is that fentanyl is causing far more overdose deaths than other opioids such as heroin and methadone.
Due to the fact many people don’t know that fentanyl is mixed in with their illegal drugs, this puts them much more at risk of overdose, since they may take their usual amounts, not knowing that this could be fatal.
Knowing the Facts
There were reports from California, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio, among others, that policemen had died simply from brushing fentanyl residue off their uniform or grabbing the substance. This isn’t possible. Fentanyl is not corrosive, nor does it kill people unless it is actually ingested. This is not a good thing for people to believe as it could prevent them from helping those who may have overdosed, because they are scared the drug will harm them.
It is almost impossible for any toxicity to occur when you touch fentanyl or come into contact with someone who has taken it. Every second matters when someone has an overdose, so anything you can do to help should be done. Treating an overdose can be the difference between life and death. Holding back can mean someone is left with brain damaged or in a coma.
What if Someone You Know Overdoses?
First, you need to recognize that someone has overdosed on opioids, fentanyl or another drug. There are some signs to look out for:
- If someone’s breathing has become slow or shallow
- If someone is having trouble staying awake or conscious
- If they can’t talk
- If their skin is blue and/or their lips look purple or very dark
- Gurgling sounds – this may mean they can’t breathe properly
If you see some of these signs or if someone is unresponsive, then move to the following actions immediately:
- Tap on their arm or shoulder and shout at them.
- If there’s no response, rub your knuckles along their breastbone.
- Keep them awake and call 911 immediately.
- If you can’t get them awake, and you have naloxone (an overdose reversal medication) then use it.
- If you don’t, begin performing mouth-to-mouth on the person. Tilt their head back, lift up their chin to clear the airway and give two quick breaths to begin.
- Follow with a strong breath every five seconds.
If they aren’t breathing and you know how to perform CPR, then provide it, or call for help from around you to find someone who does. Don’t leave a person if you think they have overdosed. Stay with them until help arrives. Put them in the recovery position – on one side with their opposite hand underneath their head, mouth facing down and to the side, and their top leg positioned on the floor so that they don’t roll over.
Due to the risks that fentanyl presents, if you or someone you know have been abusing any opiate, it’s important to be extra vigilant and know what you are taking. However, the best course is to seek help for your addiction once and for all, so that you won’t be exposing yourself to the danger of fentanyl, or anything else, and can get on with living a life free of drugs.
When you hold interventions for a loved one who is addicted to alcohol and drugs, you are of the belief that they will be convinced to go to rehab to the get the necessary help they need. However, even the most carefully planned interventions sometimes fail.
In a lot of cases, no matter the lengths you go to for your loved one it is still possible they will refuse to get help. Addiction can have such a strong grip on a person that no amount of words will convince them to accept treatment.
You Set Up an intervention and It Failed
For all your good intentions and purposes, the interventions will still prove futile as the person you are trying to help will refuse help to aid their recovery. Addiction and recovery from a bad habit is a hell of a journey. When all your efforts to help a loved one fail you should not lose all hope.
Like any good thing worth pursuing, persistence and grit on your part are an important part of the decision you have taken to help that friend or family member. No matter how carefully planned, there are several ways to move on from a failed intervention.
Reasons for Interventions?
The purpose of interventions is to help an addicted loved one begin on their journey of healing by:
1. Envisioning a life of recovery for themselves.
2. Recognizing and accepting they are struggling with a life-altering disorder.
3. Accepting immediate treatment.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports when patients are enrolled in drug rehab, they stop not only using the drugs and alcohol but they also limit their criminal and violent tendencies, improving their lives at home, their work, and relationships.
The journey of addiction recovery like every journey begins differently. Your addicted loved one may agree to treatment and it may take more effort on your part to ensure they stick to it till the end for their own benefit. There is, therefore, a greater good in continuing to love and encourage the addicted family member or friend to get the treatment they need.
Time for Tough Love
Judgemental Outlook from Participants:
It’s very difficult to hold onto your feelings when talking about your addicted loved one when you’ve been hurt and affected by your loved one’s substance abuse and addiction. When your interventions are lead with emotion and the wrong body language, it appears judgmental to the victim and they may not even start treatment and even if they do, they are most likely not to see the treatment through.
Violence and Aggression:
We commonly know these traits of addicts as they are depressed and need their constant supply of whatever drug it is that makes them happy. We can liken this to taking away a child’s favorite bar of candy. The kid will throw a tantrum and whine. In this case, it is violent and could lead to a lot of destruction and further deteriorate your relationship with the victim. Addicts usually exhibit this behavior because of the feeling of being threatened and judged and this to them is a way of being defensive.
Getting the Support You Need to Try Again
Now to the crux of the matter, what can be done when they refuse to be helped? Refusal to accept the interventions and the help of drug rehab is not necessarily the end of your ability to help them enter treatment.
There are several steps you can take to help your addicted family member or friend. They include:
1. Continued Inter Family Support System:
When family comes together as a unit to plan an intervention, they are often drawn together hoping the addict will agree to treatment. When this fails, they all return back to their normal lives with the shared sense of purpose to help the addict. It’s important to establish regular meeting times, even if they are infrequent, to continue to support the cause of helping your addicted loved one get treatment.
2. No Compromise or Bargain:
Victims of alcohol and drug addiction are of the false belief that they are in control of their actions and can stop whenever they want. They have their judgement clouded by the mantra “a little bit of whatever it is holding them back won’t hurt too much”. In reality, they are not in control and need serious help to stop, and that is where you come in. Do not accept or conform to promises of victims that they will quit on their own. You are a better judge of the situation they have found themselves in. We should not present addicts with many choices to choose from. Don’t accept lies such as “this is the last time I’m taking this or that”, from addicts.
3. Promise Consequences and Stick to Them:
The main goal of an intervention is to get the addicted loved one to accept treatment. Withholding some benefits or removing any enabling behaviors or structures for their habits can help change their minds about not accepting treatment. This is a way of giving them the power of choice to desist from it rather than begging and presenting them with a lot of options. For example, a high school kid involved in drug abuse could be deprived from the regular stipend or support he spends on drugs. Any luxury that helps provide an enabling ecosystem that helps their addiction to thrive should be gradually taken away. This must be done flexibly as any wrong or harsh move could derail any hopes of ever helping the victim get treatment.
4. Educated Second Intervention:
A failed intervention is a learning opportunity; now that you have seen the power of addiction you will be better prepared to face the disease the second time. The more prepared you are for contingencies the more likely it is that you can navigate through the second intervention successfully. When you follow through with the promise of consequences for their actions, it gets clearer to your addicted loved one choosing to continue in their habit is not the safest and most effective thing to do.
5. Seek Help from Us, A Better Today, Recovery Services (ABTRS) to Be Connected With a Treatment Center
Professionals at ABTRS will connect you with a treatment center that provides patient-focused care that is compressive and effective. At ABTRS we can connect you with a facility that can provide the necessary assistance to help your loved one stay focused on the road of recovery.
We pride ourselves in helping treatment centers save lives and promote healthy families. Having helped over 4000 courageous people who have reached out to us about their addiction. Our core belief is that treatment centers should provide patient-focused care that is comprehensive and effective. They can help you in the following ways:
1. Treatment plans tailored to each individual and their needs as everyone’s journey addiction recovery is different.
2. Provide resources and rehab to help your addicted loved ones,
3. Address any potential obstacles as they arise before, during, and after the intervention.
The specialists here at ABTRS know that addiction is a family problem and not just an individual condition. We are here to connect you with a treatment center, offer suggestions, and answer questions about getting through this difficult time.
If you or someone you love has drug or alcohol problem, call us for answers today.
One of the biggest problems facing individuals who’ve developed an addiction is the expense associated with treatment. Like other medical services, detox and rehabilitation can cost thousands of dollars. Most health insurance provides addiction coverage, but you’ll likely have to pay a portion of the bill out-of-pocket. That’s why it pays to know how much coverage you can expect.
If you’ve developed an addiction, professional substance abuse treatment is the best way to recover and avoid a relapse. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, successful treatment options include medication, behavioral counseling, and applications to aid in the withdrawal process. These all require the assistance of a medical professional in a rehab facility.
Entering a treatment center isn’t an easy thing to do. If you’re in this position, you’re probably under a lot of stress and worried about the potential bills you’ll have to pay. However, if you have insurance, some of your treatment should be covered. You just need to figure out how much. Keep reading to learn some crucial steps in determining your addiction coverage.
Understand How Addiction Coverage Works
It helps to understand how alcohol or drug addiction works within the insurance industry. This will help give you an idea of what to expect once you enter a facility and receive treatment. For the most part, addiction coverage is very similar to coverage for other health issues. However, there are some minor differences and things you should know.
All insurance plans within the Health Insurance Marketplace must cover substance abuse services according to HealthCare.gov. If private insurance plans want to be sold in the marketplace, they must cover addiction treatment as well. However, they don’t have to if they aren’t included in the marketplace.
Furthermore, insurance policies that provide addiction coverage do so without applying conditions. For example, they provide coverage for addiction treatment regardless of what drug you’re addicted to and how you became addicted. This means that your provider won’t look at the details of your addiction to determine the amount of coverage you receive. This is determined by your plan.
It’s also important to understand that the majority of states require group health insurers to provide addiction coverage just like they would other illnesses.
Determine What Level of Treatment You Need
The type of addiction coverage you receive from your insurance provider has everything to do with your plan and the type of treatment you require. It’s important you participate in a treatment plan that’s best for your level of addiction.
You also need to consider that your insurance policy may not cover every type of medication needed during your recovery. These medications are typically given to clients who need help detoxing and dealing with severe withdrawal symptoms.
Before you enter a treatment facility, you need to have a meeting with a substance abuse specialist to determine which recovery approach is right for you. Possible treatment plans could include:
- Inpatient treatment programs
- Outpatient treatment programs
- Inpatient detox
- Substance abuse counseling
If you’re suffering from addiction to opioids or heroin, you may need to take part in a maintenance program. These help individuals who need additional assistance to function without the drug. They typically utilize prescription medications such as Suboxone to help patients overcome their dependence.
Consider your options carefully and come up with a treatment plan.
Consult With Your Insurance Provider
Once you’ve determined what type of rehabilitation you require, you can speak with your insurance provider to determine your level of coverage. You could also check the details of your policy yourself, however, this can be confusing. For a more concrete idea of your addiction coverage, it’s better to call your provider directly.
Remember, your particular plan determines the level of coverage you have. Your provider can tell you how they’ll cover different types of treatment. They can also help you determine what medications they’ll cover if you need prescription assistance during the detox stage of your recovery. Make sure you write all this information down to reference in the future.
You also need to ask about inpatient coverage and ongoing treatment. An inpatient program can last anywhere from 30, 60 to 90 days. You need to know how much of this will be covered. If you’ve opted for outpatient treatment, ask your provider how they handle this. You’ll also need to inquire about ongoing treatment coverage for after you’ve finished your program.
Covering all your bases is important during this step. Make sure you understand your deductible along with all policy conditions so you don’t end up with unexpected bills after your treatment has ended.
Seek Assistance From a Treatment Center
You may get all the answers you need regarding addiction coverage from your insurance provider. If you don’t, most rehab facilities have staff on hand who specialize in these matters. They can sit down with you before your treatment begins and go over your policy and what you can expect.
Even if you understand your policy coverage, it’s a good idea to consult with the treatment center anyway. They deal with these types of issues on a regular basis and may be able to provide additional insight into your coverage. You may also get some information on how you can save money on your bill.
If your insurance only covers a small portion of your care, a representative of the treatment center can go over payment options so you know what to expect. Keep in mind that your recovery is the most important thing right now. Worrying about financial issues will only make the process more difficult.
Start Your Road to Recovery Today
Deciding to seek substance abuse treatment is a huge step. Although it may be daunting to think about medical bills at this crucial time, it’s important you understand what kind of help you can expect from your insurance provider. Use the steps discussed above to help you determine your addiction coverage.
We can connect you to a wide range of substance abuse treatment services. Let us help you take the first step toward recovery.
Often, addiction is looked upon as a personal disease: it only affects the person taking the drugs and consuming the alcohol. Families strive to find their loved ones help through different avenues such as rehab or special meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous. While it is important to find your loved one the help they may desperately need, what about the personal health of family members involved in this difficult situation?
Through decades of research and observation, addiction is quickly becoming coined as a family disease. It no longer only affects the central person. It affects everyone in their path. Like an octopus, it has tentacles that wrap around families tightly. They grab hold of every aspect of daily life and eventually penetrate the hearts and minds of families.
Why Get Help When You Are Not the Addict?
Too often families fail to see how the recovery journey of their loved one starts with them. It is hard to remember to take care of one’s self in these times. To answer the question of why let’s look at a few reasons taking care of personal needs is important.
For starters, the personal health of a person can take a turn quickly. The top reason for this is stress. Stress stemming from a loved one’s addiction can lead to serious health problems. A person can experience high blood pressure, heart attacks, panic attacks, and even stroke all from too much stress. The more stress the body is under the more likely a person is to have a compromised immune system leading to sickness they just can’t kick.
A human body can only take just so much cortisol running through their system. Once too much is apparent, mental health issues can arise. Anxiety and depression are in the top spots for popping up in the lives of families dealing with addiction. Along with these monstrous diseases comes sleep problems, digestive issues, and uncontrollable emotions.
The bottom line is that helping yourself can truly help your loved one. Having a clear mind can give a person insight into the situation and better decisions can be made. Taking care to nourish the body will produce the strength needed to face each day. For those struggling with addiction, having family members and friends show support in the rehabilitation process is crucial. It could mean a higher percentage rate of completion and successful sober living.
How Does a Loved One Get Help?
Understanding the need to take care of one’s self is the first step in getting help. Sometimes this understanding comes like a light bulb moment when your loved one realizes their need for help or a personal realization of just how bad the situation has gotten becomes clear. Similar to the way an addict may need to hit rock bottom before realizing they have a problem; family members must do the same. No one wants to believe someone they love has become addicted to drugs or alcohol.
To take the steps needed for help, loved ones can utilize many available tools:
- Support Groups – Loved ones coming together to share their personal stories, words of encouragement, and tears is a fundamental piece in recovery for families. These groups consist of mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, and friends. Each member is there for the sole purpose of lifting each other up and helping addicts become sober. An example of this is the Nar-Anon family and friends group. These groups are open to all who are or have experienced loving someone with an addiction.
- Schools – This may not be a place one has thought of, but for children and teens who have a loved one with addiction, this could be a place of refuge. Guidance counselors could be a source of encouragement for teens and children as well as a guiding light to the right resources. Society cannot dismiss the need for children and teens to receive treatment. They are still developing emotional sensors and controls. With guidance and support, they will be more apt to talk about what they are feeling and process their situation better.
- Rehabilitation Centers – Once a loved one has begun receiving treatment from a rehabilitation center, family members can receive treatment there as well. Rehab centers know how important it is to treat the whole family as well as the person.
Rehabilitation centers also offer family members the experience of being involved. Participation in the intake process, as well as family and friend support groups, is encouraged. They also offer family counseling programs. These programs can help rebuild broken bridges and create a healthy line of communication for everyone involved.
For the Future
The future of a recovering addict and their families is not all flowers and honey. For the addict, sober living can be intimidating and full of unknowns. Families and friends can still worry about their loved one. Will they start using again? Will they be able to hold down a job? Will they be able to resist temptation? All the what-if questions can have families planning for a disaster before it has even occurred.
Families are the backbone of society and especially their loved ones dealing with addiction. In order to keep the backbone strong, get help. Don’t go on this journey alone. Support groups, rehabilitation centers, and schools can help adults and children maneuver the obstacles and travel the bumpy road of addiction recovery. The old saying is that if you can’t take care of yourself, how are you going to take care of someone else? How true are these words! As a loved one, you need and deserve to get help. If you do, then you are better equipped to help your loved one.
You’ve heard it here, there, and everywhere. “The Opioid Epidemic” or the “prescription drug problem in America”. What makes it so intense that people are using the word epidemic? Is it really that widespread?
That deadly? Unfortunately, it is. When it comes to drug addiction, opioids (painkillers and heroin) are the fastest-growing sector. Over 2.1 million people have an opioid use disorder of some kind. And that number isn’t decreasing any time soon.
More than 130 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses. But how did it get this bad? Where did it start?
Get the details (and some hope!) below.
When Did the Opioid Epidemic Start?
Technically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a national public health crisis in October of 2017. That means that it had gotten so bad, that the government of the United States couldn’t count on local government and healthcare to take care of the issue anymore.
The declaration itself says that this “national crisis is a top priority” and committed to investing almost $900 million in funding to help treat and prevent opioid issues.
As part of their national public health crisis announcement, HHS put out a five-step plan for combating the opioid epidemic.
The five steps are:
- Improve access to prevention, treatment, and recovery support services
- Target the availability and distribution of overdose-reversing drugs
- Strengthen public health data reporting and collection
- Support cutting-edge research on addiction and pain
- Advance the practice of pain management
Those steps are all well thought out and essential for coming back from this crisis. Especially the fourth one, as the majority of opioid use addictions come from someone who has been prescribed pain pills for medical use by their doctor.
By making this is a federal issue, the government has provided millions of dollars to go to health centers around the country. That means that they can take more training on opioid epidemic issues and have more people on hand to help with the crisis.
Part of the money and the plan also went to the call for using Naloxone, which is referred to “overdose-reversal drug”.
What exactly is that? There’s a drug called Naloxone, and it can bring people back from the brink of a fatal overdose. But since it’s such a niche drug – it’s only helpful for opioid overdoses, not a lot of doctors, hospitals, and clinics have it.
That’s one part of the “improving access” step – making sure the places that see the most addicts have this drug on hand.
Opioids are depressants, which mean they slow the body process down. When people overdose on opioids, their breathing and heart rate slow down completely, and eventually, their body shuts down.
Naloxone doesn’t reduce the number of opioids in someone’s system, but it can temporarily increase their heart rate and regulate their breathing. That may be enough to bring someone back when they’re almost gone. It can’t treat the lasting damage overdosing has on the physical body, but it saves lives every day!
Strengthening Public Health Data and Getting More Information
At the time when the national health crisis was announced, we didn’t have as much information about the opioid epidemic as we do now.
We now know that 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids, from a study in 2016. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re part of the 2.1 million who have a usage problem (see the difference in the amounts) but it shows how much work the public has to do.
Misuse is common. This means not getting rid of your pain medications (safely) after treating what they were prescribed for. It means taking one that’s leftover when you have a migraine or want to get a really good night’s sleep.
Which leads to public education: safety professionals need to teach people how to safely use and dispose of pain medication, so that there are fewer pills that get into the hands of addicts.
Prevention is key – to stopping about anything people don’t want. Like teen pregnancy or abortions for that matter.
That’s no different when it comes to the opioid crisis. People need to know the proper way to handle pain medication after they’re prescribed and doctors need to be more cognizant of abuse risk factors.
If you have surgery and need pain medication after, you should only take the medication until the pain is low enough that you can manage it with ibuprofen and Tylenol. After that point and when you’re mobile again, you should take your prescription to the local police station, and they’ll dispose of it safely.
That way not only are you not tempted to misuse the medication later, but no one in your household can either.
The other part of prevention is about keeping doctors accountable for what they prescribe. They shouldn’t order bulk amounts of pills for a patient going through a routine surgery. The goal is to also stop getting drug companies from encouraging doctors to prescribe their product – which are pain pills.
If it’s too late for prevention, then it’s time to talk about treatment. How can friends and family help people with addiction or misuse problems get better?
People have to support others and where possible, send them to high-quality treatment centers that treat not only the physical addiction but also the reason they started using drugs in the first place.
Finding a treatment center that addicts can commit to and afford is still part of the problem.
Healing from the Epidemic
If you didn’t know how widespread the opioid epidemic was, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. However, there is hope on the horizon. The government putting out an official alert means that there’s more funding for treatment and prevention available than ever.
You can help end the epidemic by educating yourself and your loved ones on the warning signs of opioid addiction and misuse. If you see something – say something to the person.
And if they won’t listen, hold an intervention or help them find treatment. You’ll be saving their lives, which they’ll realize in the long run.