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Family Guidance Blog

Addiction to Prescription Drugs in America

The Numbers Remain High for Individuals With an Addiction to Prescription Drugs

addiction Rates of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs still remains high in America today. A staggering 52 million Americans aged 12 and over have taken prescription drugs for non-medical reasons at some point. This often leads to abuse and addiction for many of the individuals.

Once the stories of abuse and addiction leave the front page, it’s easy to forget that such a problem exists. Most Americans have little idea of the magnitude of the remaining problem. The tens of millions who have ever misused a prescription drug represent just one part of this epidemic. Experts also see that more than 6 million Americans have abused prescribed medications in just the past 30 days.

The most frequently abused drugs are on the list of those most often prescribed in our country: painkillers (5.1 million), sedatives (2.2 million) and stimulants (1.1 million). Opioid painkillers, anti-anxiety medications and sleep aids and drugs used to treat ADHD are at the top of the list of misused prescriptions even today. These drugs are highly addictive. So when you have high numbers of abuse, this can lead to higher numbers of addiction as individuals continue to abuse the drugs on a consistent basis.

Other news stories may have taken over the headlines, but the problem of prescription drug addiction remains. Fortunately, addiction to prescription drugs is a treatable concern. With intervention and treatment, young people, adults and older people can start on a journey to recovery from prescription drug abuse. If this describes you or someone you love, contact Family Guidance Center and let us help you. Hope is real and healing is possible.

Talking With Children About Addiction

Addiction 6Addiction does not only affect the individual who is abusing substances. It touches everyone around them. When the person experiencing addiction is a parent, children are also affected.

According to experts, over 28 million children have alcoholic parents. Homes where parents are living in addiction face many challenges. These children face a greater risk for neglect or abuse, are more likely to witness episodes of domestic violence and are four times more apt to develop addiction themselves in the future.

As a result, kids with addicted parents experience more behavioral issues, more emotional problems and a greater amount of academic struggle compared to peers from non-addicted home settings. The children know things are not as they should be. On the one hand, they tend to feel a strong sense of loyalty toward their addicted parent. On the other hand, they often feel resentful, too.

Here are a few tips for talking to the child about the addiction which affects their life:

1. Be truthful, yet age appropriate. You don’t need to give unnecessary details. Do state clearly that there is a problem and there is a plan to address the problem. Hope is real.

2. Explain that addiction is an illness and therefore can be treated. Illness is not the child’s fault. It happens for reasons that have nothing to do with the child.

3. Ask how the child feels and accept their responses (or lack). Apologize where appropriate.

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics has developed a list of C statements that can help:

I did not cause it
I cannot cure it
I cannot control it
I can care for myself by – communicating feelings, making healthy choices, celebrating myself

At Family Guidance we are interested in helping people overcome addiction. We also offer help to those affected by addiction – including children of addicted parents. If this describes your home, contact us today.


Planning an Addiction Intervention

Recovery 1There are many behaviors which can become the basis of addiction. The hard part for those close to someone caught up in an addiction can be watching a downward spiral at the same time that the loved one denies having a problem. Sometimes the only way to help is to join with others in the form of a planned intervention.

Successful intervention requires the combined efforts of loved ones, a mental health professional or a physician. Together these people who truly care about the person in the midst of an addiction will create a stage for confronting and directing the loved one. Typical steps for intervention include:

1. Meeting as a group to learn about the specific addiction (alcoholism, drug abuse, eating disorder, gambling etc.) and available treatment options.

2. Planning in advance exactly what will be said being sure to include instances of unhealthy behaviors and how those behaviors affected the individual and those around them. Interventions are often highly emotional exchanges, so careful and thoughtful wording is imperative.

3. The loved one with an addiction is invited to a pre-arranged location without being told ahead of time what will take place. The intervention team should be at the location and prepared to lovingly confront.

4. Together the group explains what has been observed, its impact and offers a specific plan for treatment.

5. Each member of the group explains how they will respond should the loved one refuse to pursue treatment. Be sure that everyone is prepared to follow through with stated consequences.

At Family Guidance, we offer a range of treatment options for those ready to work through addiction. You don’t have to helplessly watch your loved one with an addiction. You can step in with a plan and offer hope. Call us and learn how we can help.

NFL Team Owner Shares Stigma Around Addiction May Keep People From Seeking Help

Donald Sterling is battling for ownership of his LA Clipper basketball team after recent offensiveAddiction 6 comments were made public. It’s a story that has captured national headlines. But perhaps with less visibility another problem has been brewing.

The controversy centers on Jim Irsay, owner of the NFL Indianapolis Colts franchise. On March 16, 2014, Irsay was pulled over by police while driving in an Indianapolis suburb. Police asked Irsay to submit to a blood alcohol test, a request he refused. By state law, that refusal triggers a one year suspension of Irsay’s driver’s license.

Eventually police officers obtained a warrant that demanded the blood test. But driving while intoxicated was only part of Irsay’s problem. At the time of his arrest, police also found nearly $30,000 worth of prescription drugs and cash money in his car. Effective May 27, 2014, the owner’s driver’s license was suspended for one year. Irsay is also facing four felony charges of possessing a controlled substance.

Irsay has refused most requests for comment, but did grant a print interview with The Indianapolis Star. During that interview Irsay made several oblique references to alcoholism and addiction. He said alcoholism and addiction, while similar to physical diseases such as heart disease or leukemia, still bear a cultural stigma. That stigma, he said, keeps many people from asking for help. The owner mentioned his own family history alluding to unsuccessful battles with alcohol or addiction, especially in the lives of his dad and granddad.

Irsay never directly reported addiction to prescription drugs or alcohol, although the owner has spent time in rehab treatment. He did say, however, that he takes prescription painkillers to deal with back and hip discomfort under the supervision of a physician.

The question making recent headlines is this: if the NBA will go to great lengths to deal with inappropriate language, should the NFL be involved when a team owner has an obvious problem with substance addiction? So far NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has taken no action.

If someone in your life is struggling to acknowledge  a dependence on alcohol or prescription drugs, you don’t have to sit by and do nothing. Contact the addition treatment professionals at Family Guidance. They can discuss some next steps you can take to help your loved one. Call them today.

Heroin Addiction Could Fast Replace Addiction to Prescription Drugs

Addiction 6It’s being reported in news publications all across the country. Heroin is no longer a back alley, inner city drug used by the disenfranchised – it’s quickly replacing prescription drugs as the preferred substance for white, middle and upper-middle class suburbanites. A recent study appearing in the medical journal JAMA Psychiatry shows that the reports are true. Heroin has found a new home.

The WashingtonUniversity, St Louis study collected its data from 150-plus drug addiction treatment facilities located across 48 states. The study’s lead author, Theodore Cicero, says that heroin began as a drug for the lower classes (1940s), then migrated into cities where it became popular with minorities (1970s) and has more recently gained favor among white non-urban dwellers (2010s). Federal agencies from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to the Office of National Drug Control Policy say that the number of heroin users in America has at least doubled just over the past decade – mostly among young, wealthy, white populations.

Most experts attribute the trend to the nation’s recent prescription drug addiction epidemic. Experts studying the phenomenon point to the overwhelming preference among prescription drug abusers for opioid medications. Heroin belongs to the same drug family (opioids) as those painkillers. It’s just much cheaper and easier to get than prescription medications. Especially now that drug dealers are willing to make deliveries in the suburbs.

That means that every successful effort to cut off diverted uses of prescription painkillers will likely see a commensurate rise in the number of heroin users.

Drug addiction is not an availability issue, it is a psychological issue. People use drugs for a reason and until they learn a new way to address that reason, they may turn to another substance to use. At Family Guidance, we understand all about what drives drug use and can help you find new ways to cope. Call us or stop by today.