Heroin addiction is a form of drug abuse that is becoming an epidemic across Canada and the USA, and this form of substance abuse can have deadly consequences. There are plenty of warnings and information available about the dangers of heroin and the highly addictive nature of this substance, so why do people continue to try this drug? Many people do not understand the appeal of this drug, or how it can be so addictive that even trying heron once can cause an individual to become hooked. Many people do not start out with heroin abuse, often these individuals start off using narcotic prescription pain medication. At some point the physician may start to wean the individual off of the drug, causing the user to look for a replacement.
There is a large illegal demand and black market for narcotic prescription pain medications, and these drugs can be costly on the street. In these situations heroin addiction usually happens because heroin may be much less expensive while providing many of the same opiate effects. No one starts out with the idea that they will engage in drug abuse and end up with a heroin addiction. Many teens and young adults start using this drug and believe that they will not get addicted, and then they end up hitting rock bottom before they know it. Heroin is a drug that is very addictive, destroying the user and devastating everyone who cares about them. Blame and anger are not what the person with a heroin addiction needs, instead they need compassion and effective treatment to eliminate their addiction and get their life back together again
Alcohol abuse is a common problem that affects millions of people, but are medications necessary to stop the substance abuse? Every individual is unique, and some people can stop their alcohol intake on their own. Others may require professional help, and there are some medications which may be used during alcohol abuse treatment in order to eliminate or manage withdrawal symptoms or prevent further alcohol abuse. There are also medications that can be used to keep you sober while you are in the recovery process so that you do not relapse. Someone who has been abusing alcohol for a long time may have developed a physical dependence on the drug, and without medical detox that provides any medications needed the result could be seizures and other serious or even life threatening problems.
Some of the medications that may be provided for alcohol abuse include:
Anti anxiety drugs like benzodiazepam and other benzodiazepenes. These drugs work to relax the body, and they have been shown to be effective at treating certain withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens and seizures.
Seizure medications may be used to prevent or treat any seizures, as well as other serious withdrawal symptoms that could increase the risk of a seizure while detoxing.
Disulfiram, also called Antabuse, is a drug that can help someone stay in recovery. This medication makes you ill when combined with alcohol and it can prevent a relapse during recovery.
Naltrexone prevents the drinker from experiencing the typical pleasure that they get from consuming alcohol. This removes the motivation to drink because the effects are not felt.
A high functioning alcoholic seems like a contradiction but the fact is that many people with an alcohol abuse problem may seem to function well. When most people think of someone with an alcohol problem they picture someone who has hit rock bottom, homeless and alone and drunk in a gutter or losing everything because they will not stop drinking. Some people have a problem with alcohol yet they do nt seem to be devastated by this substance abuse, and these individuals are what the professionals call high functioning alcoholics or just functioning alcoholics. This type of alcoholic is different from what is expected, and their life does not seem to be impacted by their alcohol use in the same way.
A high functioning alcoholic may seem fine even while they are engaged in alcohol abuse, and these individuals may e able to hold down a good job, keep their family together, pay bills on time, and even have friends and a rich social life. This does not mean that they are not affected and harmed by the alcohol abuse though. A high functioning alcoholic may seem fine on the outside but they still need treatment to stop the alcohol abuse that is harming them in more subtle and less visible ways. These individuals may seem motivated, responsible, and hard working. The last type of person you would suspect of being an alcoholic because they seem to have it all together in spite of their excessive or too frequent drinking. Eventually everything will collapse, and the impact of the alcohol abuse will start to show if treatment is not received.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has unveiled a plan to deal with the epidemic of substance abuse in the USA and North America, but can she actually pull it off? The plan has a many pronged approach, and this is necessary because drug and alcohol abuse does not have a one size fits all solution. When Hillary Clinton was First Lady and Bill Clinton was president he signed a bill into law that called for longer criminal sentences for those who had previous drug crimes on their record, a move that he now believes was a mistake that just made the problem worse instead of resolving the issue. As a contender for the presidency Hillary has promised to commit $10 billion over the next decade in order to end the quiet epidemic of substance abuse in the USA.
The attitude towards substance abuse and addiction have changed, and almost every North American either has a problem with substance abuse or they know someone with this type of problem. Alcohol and drug abuse are no longer faceless issues that happen to someone else, they have become real and tangible obstacles to a normal life for many people. Medications are available to treat heroin addiction, and changes under the Obamacare law mean that health insurance companies must provide some substance abuse treatment benefits for those enrolled in the health plans. Now that Hillary Clinton has unveiled her plan to address substance abuse in the USA and North America hopefully the other presidential candidates will also do something to address the problem as well.
Recent news stories, and stories going back several years, discuss pill mills and efforts by law enforcement to crack down on these facilities. What are pill mills though, and do they contribute to prescription drug abuse? These are physicians, clinics, and pharmacy facilities that provide strong prescription medications without a legitimate need for these medications. Patients receive a variety of narcotic prescriptions from these facilities, and many of the patients do not have a medical need for the drugs that are dispensed to them. These are not the same as pain management clinics, which may also prescribe strong narcotic medications but this is done under close medical supervision when there is a legitimate medical need for these drugs.
Pill mills are basically drug dealers with a medical or pharmacy license, pushing strong narcotics that contribute to the epidemic of prescription drug abuse that is going on all over North America right now. Patients who visit these clinics usually receive no real medical treatment at all. The patient is seen by the medical professional for a few minutes at most, and then prescriptions are provided or refilled for the patient. Pill mills are partially responsible for the epidemic of prescription drug abuse, and many states and countries are cracking down on these unethical facilities. There have been cases of clinics and physicians prescribing hundreds or even thousands of powerful pain pills every month, many of which end up on the street being abused. Patients who have a legitimate medical need for pain control can get the required care at a pain management clinic, where oversight is much stricter and patients are routinely screened for signs of prescription drug abuse.
Can a needle exchange program make a difference in HIV rates? A recent study suggests that this may be the case. The study credits a needle exchange program in Washington, DC with preventing hundreds of cases of HIV infection. The program initially launched in 2007 and it was aimed at intravenous drug users. The study estimates that 120 new HIV infection cases were prevented and $44 million was saved in just two years on HIV treatment costs because of the lower number of infections. The study findings were published by the researchers in the online AIDS and Behavior journal in the September 3, 2015 edition.
According to researcher Monica Ruiz, who is associated with George Washington University in Washington, D.C., “Our study adds to the evidence that needle-exchange programs not only work, but are cost-effective investments in the battle against HIV. We saw a 70 percent drop in newly diagnosed HIV cases in just two years. At the same time, this program saved the District millions of dollars that would have been spent for treatment had those 120 persons been infected.” There are both those for a needle exchange program and those against it. Advocates point out that drug users have access to medical care, and that HIV infection affects the entire community and not just the individual. Some believe that these programs just encourage drug abuse, but the truth is that the individuals will use the drug whether they have access to clean needles or not. Protecting the public from infectious diseases and lowering the spread of HIV is a good goal in itself.
The next time you see your dentist don’t be surprised if they have a few new questions for you, questions about substance abuse and the use of illicit drugs. According to the latest survey over 75% of dentists in the USA ask about drug and alcohol use with their patients, and over 50% of the dentists who responded believed that they should be allowed to drug screen new patients. Some people feel that this is going too far and that it is an invasion of privacy because the dentist is primarily involved in the care of the teeth and oral tissues, not the general health and well being.
The lead author of the dentist survey on drug abuse, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City associate research scientist Carrigan Parish explained “Because dental care routinely involves treating pain and emergencies, dentists may encounter substance-seeking patients who complain of pain more severe than anticipated based on the nature of their dental condition, who report lost prescriptions for opioid pain medications, or who only seek dental treatment sporadically.” Parrish went on to say “There are a sizeable number of people whose visit to a dentist represents their sole interaction with the health care system, highlighting the significance of the dental visit as a key opportunity to identify substance use disorders. However, our findings underscore a significant barrier in dentists’ attitudes that may limit the potential of the dental venue to play a role in screening for substance misuse.”
A new research study on mindfulness meditation had caused some debate because of the conclusion that the researchers reached. Those who are against mindfulness meditation have cited a British study that claims severe side effects like depression, confusion, and panic, but how accurate are these study results? Many people use mindfulness meditation during recovery and as part of their everyday lives. The British study that has cast doubt on this type of meditation involved a group of prison inmates, and these inmates engaged in a single weekly session for 90 minutes for a period of 10 weeks. The inmates involved in the study showed an improvement in mood and lower levels of stress after the trial program, however the aggression exhibited by the inmates did not decrease.
One obvious issue with the research study on mindfulness meditation is that all of the participants were prison inmates, a population that has a higher than average rate of mental illness and psychological issues. This group is hardly representative of the general population, and a few sessions of this method is not sufficient to bring about drastic change in prisoners. Another issue with the study is that mindfulness meditation should be practiced daily for at least 20 minutes each session in order to get the maximum benefits from this technique. One thing that the research study did reinforce is that this technique can help lower stress and improve your mood, and these benefits make the practice of mindfulness meditation worth the time and effort.