Heroin Addiction Could Fast Replace Addiction to Prescription Drugs
- Tuesday, 24 June 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
It’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.
Zac Efron and Addiction: A Common Tale
- Tuesday, 20 May 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
For those who first came to know Zac Efron through his early child star performances, seeing him struggle through his early adulthood may be a dose of harsh reality. The handsome young actor enjoyed a squeaky clean image after working on films like High School Musical, Hairspray and 17 Again. Now, he is turning in adult performances in movies like the soon to be released Neighbors. But getting from youth to adult hasn’t been a smooth journey.
Efron says that it was tough when his career hit a temporary pause. He also says that Hollywood young people face many of the same struggles as any other person their age. He says that problems with over-controlling parents and a bad crowd of friends contributed to his involvement with alcohol abuse, cocaine addiction and experimentation with the club drug Molly. Many young people in America deal with that same bad combination – though perhaps without the high-profile career component.
Efron who is now 26 years old spent time last year (2013) trying to break free from the addiction cycle he’d gotten into. Like so many before him, Mr. Efron said he felt an emptiness within that he couldn’t seem to fill. That inner void separated him from all his closest relations and eventually interfered with his ability to work.
When he wasn’t able to show up for scheduled shootings on Neighbors because of substance-induced stupors it was time to ask for help. The actor entered rehab for alcohol or cocaine addiction and returned to work only to relapse soon thereafter. Following a second bout of rehab the actor has made some necessary life adjustments to ensure future sobriety.
Efron has embraced fitness, both with diet and exercise. He has separated himself from party friends from the past. Reportedly, he is a regular attendee at Alcohol Anonymous support group meetings.
The young actor seems finally headed in a better direction free from substance abuse. His story reveals the common thread that runs through so many stories of addiction. His story also shares the elements common to recovery.
If you or a young person you love is struggling with substance misuse you don’t have to stand by and watch. Contact the professionals at Family Guidance. They know the story and how to write a happier ending.
Zohydro ER the New Addiction Threat
- Friday, 16 May 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
Nearly 50 percent of drug overdose fatalities in 2010 were linked to prescription painkillers. In 2010 that meant that almost 20,000 people died from misuse of a prescription medication intended to provide short-term pain relief. While some of those deaths were completely accidental, many were the result of prescription drug addiction.
Now, in 2014, fears about addiction to prescription painkillers have not gone away. If anything they’ve been rekindled. That’s because the FDA has just this year given the pharmaceutical company Zogenix permission to produce a new and more powerful painkiller. The new drug is called Zohydro ER and it represents the most potent form of hydrocodone ever available.
Hydrocodone is already the most often abused painkiller in the country. Until now hydrocodone was mixed with acetaminophen (active ingredient in Tylenol) and sold under popular brand names like Vicodin and Lortab. Zohydro ER will contain no acetaminophen – it is pure hydrocodone.
The other major difference between Zohydro ER and other forms of hydrocodone has to do with how long the drug’s effects last. Current forms of hydrocodone are fast-acting and doses must be repeated every several hours. But Zohydro ER is a longer-lasting, extended release tablet which means that one pill will deliver more painkilling power.
These differences also mean that Zohydro could well pose a greater risk for addiction. The new drug is more powerful and has no built-in protections against crushing which makes it an ideal target for abusers looking for a powerful pill they can pulverize and then snort or inject. Other prescription painkillers have been reformulated to protect against this kind of abuse. Not Zohydro.
Setting aside the medical arguments about whether or not opioids like hydrocodone are even effective in treating chronic pain, plenty of people are raising their eyebrows and their voices against the FDA’s decision to release Zohydro. The addiction threat is just too great.
Meanwhile, if you or someone close to you is already struggling with an addiction to prescription drugs or any kind of drug, contact the addiction specialists at Family Guidance.
Overuse of Painkillers Has Led to American Addiction
- Friday, 11 April 2014 13:00
Family Guidance Center
Painkiller addictions often start as an innocent plea for relief but can turn quickly into so much more. The true risk of painkiller addiction though may still remain largely unknown by patients and physicians alike.
Dr. Wen, head of patient-centered care research at George Washington University’s Department of Emergency Medicine says that narcotics are disproportionately dispersed to the American public for pain. Even though only five percent of the global population resides in the United States, we consume 80 percent of all opioid painkillers. Powerful drugs like Percocet, OxyContin, and Vicodin once reserved for severe chronic pain, are now being doled out like candy.
But just because a drug comes from a doctor doesn’t mean it can’t be deadly. Quite the contrary – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death toll from prescription painkillers is six times higher than fatal overdoses caused by the street drug heroin. Research also indicates that prescription drugs are a gateway to addiction, with approximately 33 percent of drug users admitting to getting their start with prescription medications.
Some doctors are only recently learning the dark side of overprescribing such powerful painkillers. Well-meaning physicians feel a duty of care to minimize the suffering of their patients and help with pain relief by whatever means necessary – especially since physician compensation may be directly affected by patient satisfaction scores. But as often is the case with prescription pain pills, the risk may outweigh the rewards.
Dr. Wen says that prescription narcotics shouldn’t necessarily be the go-to form of treatment for all types of pain. She advises that the benefits of other alternatives including natural medicine, over-the-counter options, and physical therapy should also be explored.
American painkiller addiction has become an epidemic. Family Guidance Center has professionals that can help, regardless of income. To find out more, contact Family Guidance Center.
Bringing Addiction to Light Could Save a Life
- Friday, 04 April 2014 10:00
Family Guidance Center
When one family member is affected by addiction, it impacts everyone in the home. Regardless if they like to admit it or not, most people know a problem exists, but addressing it can be uncomfortable and difficult to do. Family dynamics and roles evolve as a coping mechanism, and while it may seem easier to just ignore the situation that’s actually the worst thing to do.
Addiction, whether it is related to drugs, alcohol, or some other type of compulsive behavior can have dire consequences for both the person directly living with the issue and the entire family. Resentment, embarrassment, and frustration are common emotions experienced by family members as they watch a loved one lose his job, get into legal trouble, suffer health issues, or become violent, etc., as a result of the addiction. Addiction can also tear families apart and even be deadly.
In many families, there can be someone who may unknowingly support the individual in his destructive behavior. This support can be financial or emotional, and while well-meaning, almost always serves to perpetuate the disease of addiction and can seriously hamper recovery efforts. This person typically doesn’t like to discuss the topic of addiction and would rather pretend that everything is alright from the outside. Sometimes they may display a decision to just “live with it” or not get involved.
The first step toward recovery is acknowledging that a problem does exist. The family’s role in this process is crucial as oftentimes it is difficult for the affected person to see past the blinders of his addiction. Since addiction is considered a disease that affects the entire family, it’s also important that each member participates in the treatment process.
Family Guidance Center can provide your family with the necessary tools and resources to identify symptoms of addiction and move forward with recovery. To find out how, contact our team of addiction treatment professionals.