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Family Guidance Blog

The Changing Face of Heroin Addiction

Heroin Addiction Replacing Prescription Drug Addiction as Leading Substance Abuse

heroine addictionThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported a new and worrying trend. Heroin addiction is replacing prescription drug abuse as a leading drug problem. In fact, while heroin has been increasingly taking the lives of males and females both young and old with little racial distinction (Latino, black and white), those considered most at risk for heroin addiction are very different from those considered at highest risk a decade and a half ago.

The new CDC report is derived from the study of 2013 drug-related death certificates in which heroin was a risk component. Comparing the statistics with those of previous years the CDC identified a 400 percent rise in heroin deaths since 2002. In recent years the problem of heroin addiction has escalated exponentially. Just five years ago (2010) there were 3,000 reported heroin-related deaths. In 2012 that figure climbed to 5,925 heroin-associated deaths and by 2013 8,257 Americans were lost to a heroin-linked fatality.

While the number of heroin-related overdose deaths is trending upward, the age of overdose deaths is trending downward. Fifteen years ago heroin deaths occurred mostly among older (45-64 years) black males living in the West or Northeast. Today, the majority of heroin deaths occur among young (18-44 years), white, Midwest males.

Just what accounts for the shift remains unclear. There are some who believe that heroin use is rising in tandem with decreased access to prescription drugs and among those who were initially opioid abusers. The CDC however, reports that 96 percent of heroin users also take other drugs, often prescription drugs. This shows a possible link between prescription drug use and rising heroin addiction. Prescription drug abuse can work as an early clue to high risk for heroin use.

The good news is that treatment for heroin addiction is available. If heroin is affecting someone you love, don’t wait until they become a statistic. Contact Family Guidance Center and let us help.

The Physical and Emotional Effects of Long-Term Drug Abuse

Where Long-Term Drug Abuse Does the Most Damage

When someone you love is involved with drugs it can be difficult to know what to do. Yet the reasons to intervene early are myriad. Among them is the fact that long-term drug abuse can damage a person’s physical and emotional health. Here are just a few ways that untreatedlong term drug abuse drug abuse can affect the person that you care about.

Emotional Health

The more a person uses drugs, the more they feel dependent on them in order to cope with everyday situations. Because of this, long-term drug abuse can spark a problem with anxiety. It is common for users to spend more and more time thinking about using, planning how and when to use again. Eventually, this fixation becomes an unmanageable anxiety in between times of using.

Over time your loved one may need more drugs to find the same “good” feeling. At the same time, the lows in between the highs get lower. Depression is another common side effect.

Physical Health

Tobacco is not the only substance which can harm the lungs; meth, crack cocaine and marijuana all can damage the lungs.

Kidneys are filters for the human body. Whatever goes into the body passes through the kidneys for safety treatment. Long-term drug abuse repeatedly pushes toxins through the kidneys and can ultimately lead to kidney failure.

Heart problems can happen the first time a person uses some drugs. It can also be weakened by repeated drug use.

These are not comprehensive lists. But you can see how long-term drug abuse can affect both your physical and your emotional health. At Family Guidance Center we can help you to plan an intervention. Call us today, our addiction treatment services program is the only local program offering outpatient and inpatient treatment along with a social detoxification treatment program.

Drug Abuse Where You Don’t Expect To Find It

Mom 1The proliferation of prescription drugs has infiltrated mainstream culture and created drug abuse problems in segments of the population where it is often least expected. Adolescents, moms and senior citizens have all become increasingly represented at addiction treatment centers across the country.

1. Adolescents
The number of young people misusing prescription drugs now outstrips the number of those who abuse methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine put together. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that eight percent of kids between the ages of 12-17 are struggling with prescription drug abuse. These drugs can interfere with important development still taking place in young, growing bodies.

2. Senior Citizens
On the other end of the spectrum are the elderly of whom 3 million are reportedly abusing prescription medications. Seniors often take several prescription drugs to treat various ailments and not always prescribed by the same physician. This means that they have more access to powerful drugs and less oversight over the use of those drugs. It is anticipated that as the baby boomer generation finishes entering retirement age, abuse problems could continue to climb among this age group.

3. Young Moms
Moms are attempting to do more than perhaps ever before. Many work outside the home. Yet moms still believe they should be able to manage affairs on the home-front, at their child’s school, in their marriage and as the family social director. It’s an impossible task they’ve set for themselves and when they fall short, they feel stressed. An alarming number of young moms have turned to prescription sedatives to help them cope. Millions are addicted.

Whoever you are and whatever circumstance has led you into drug abuse, help is available. The Family GuidanceCenter knows how to help. Contact us today.

Senior Drug and Alcohol Abuse on the Rise

Pill Addiction 1The topic of drug abuse is often one that is associated with youth. However, substance abuse among America’s aging population is a growing concern. In fact, nearly 22 percent of senior citizens confess that they drink each and every day. Many of the elderly are also taking a prescription medication of sorts, a potentially lethal combination that’s certainly cause for alarm.

Recent figures show that alcohol abuse rates for those over age 65 hover around 17 percent.  Senior substance abuse may stem from a variety of life circumstances. The following can all be triggers in the absence of proper coping skills:


  • Death of a spouse
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of purpose after retirement
  • Sleep problems
  • Chronic illness


According to information published in the journal Geriatrics, the problem only stands to get worse. By 2020, elderly figures for abuse are expected to be twice what they are now due to a combination of lifestyle and attitude differences and the increasing number of baby boomers entering retirement.
But alcohol isn’t the only culprit. According to the Geriatrics report, prescription drugs are at high risk of abuse among the elderly – more so than in generations past, especially if alcohol is involved.

Not surprisingly, seniors aren’t likely to be peddling on the streets for drugs. Instead, their sources are closer to home – namely well-meaning family or friends who share medications or doctors who fail to realize the potential for misuse. Commonly abused prescription drugs by the aged include benzodiazepines and opiates. “Benzos” such as Valium and Xanax are frequently prescribed for depression and anxiety, while opiates like OxyContin and Percocet are used to treat ongoing pain.

A caretaker who suspects abuse should contact the individual’s healthcare provider. Some common warning signs of abuse are:

  • Irritability or appearing disoriented
  • Seclusion
  • Sudden changes in sleep, eating habits, or weight
  • Depression or loss of interest in things once important
  • Falls or unusual bruising


At FamilyGuidanceCenter, we understand that mental health plays an integral role in the overall picture of wellness. That’s why our treatment program offers a coordinated care approach that includes attention by mental health experts as well as physicians and other team members. With assistance from FamilyGuidanceCenter, it’s possible to enjoy a rewarding life, regardless of age. Visit our website for more information about local treatment plans.

Heroin Grips Rural America

Heroin 1In the quiet Midwest state of Missouri, the hard-core street drug, heroin, is not-so-quietly leaving its mark. While it may not be surprising to find heroin in bigger cities like St. Louis and Kansas City, more often than not, the drug is digging its claws into small town America. In Missouri alone, during the four year period from 2007 to 2011, the state saw heroin related deaths increase threefold, from 69 to 244.

Not long ago in rural Des Moines, Iowa authorities intercepted an 11 pound package of heroin along with a shipment of meth totaling three pounds. On the street, such a load would have commanded upwards of $1.3 million. The amount of heroin confiscated in Des Moines was 440 times higher than the entire amount of the drug reported in the town for the previous year.

Per information from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nationally, figures for people who report using the drug have spiked in excess of 50 percent from 2002 and 2011. The rise in rural heroin use is believed to be driven by the stricter regulation of prescription drugs such as OxyContin, which are frequently abused and sold to others for misuse.

The illegal drug trade doesn’t just affect its users. It ruins families and can negatively impact surrounding communities as drug use is often deeply tied to violence and crime. While confronting the drug war may at times seem like a futile effort, united initiatives can produce promising results. Prescription medication take-back campaigns, increased prescription drug scrutiny, community prevention programs, and public drug education all can help discourage drug use.

Family Guidance Center has programs aimed at helping families work through the disease of addiction. Just as with physical illness, substance addiction requires professional guidance and a commitment to wellness. With expertise from Family Guidance, individuals can experience lasting recovery. Contact Family Guidance for more information about local inpatient and outpatient programs.