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impact of addiction on family

The Impact of Addiction on Family

How Addiction Affects a Family

Addiction affects not only the life of the person struggling with addiction but also the lives of everyone he or she cares about. Families can suffer the effects of addiction emotionally, financially and even physically. In some cases, family members may be inadvertently contributing to an individual’s addictive behaviors. By learning to understand how addiction can impact a family, you can be prepared to offer your loved one the support he or she needs while protecting yourself and the others you care about.
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How Drug and Alcohol Abuse Can Damage Family Ties

When a person is struggling with addiction, getting the next fix becomes their top priority. The disease of addiction can lead a person to do things that are otherwise out of character, and these behaviors can put a serious strain on family relationships.

In pursuit of feeding their addictions, addicts may:

  • Lie or fail to keep promises
  • Borrow or even steal money from family to pay for the addictive substance
  • Be unreliable and struggle to meet family commitments
  • Forget about important duties or become distracted
  • Engage in illegal behaviors

Addicts may struggle to maintain employment as a result of their addiction, leading to additional financial strain for themselves and their families. Addicts may also suffer mood swings and other uncharacteristic behavior as a result of a substance’s effects or the effects of withdrawal if they cannot get a regular fix.

All of these issues can quickly compound to create a hostile environment at home.

The Impact of Addiction on Children

Addiction has an especially powerful effect on families when the addict is a parent. Children require care and attention, but the disease of addiction can take away a parent’s time and ability to care for his or her family.

Parents struggling with addiction may forget to take care of their own needs and the needs of their children. This may include missing meals, forgetting to pick kids up from school or failing to keep up with laundry and other chores.

Additionally, it may be unsafe for the children to be around the addicted parent. Mood swings and poor judgment can lead to explosive outbursts, and a parent caught up in the effects of drugs or alcohol may not be alert enough to protect children from dangers around the home. Sadly, there is also the risk that the parent may overdose in the presence of their child, putting their child in serious danger as well.

If only one parent is an addict, the other parent may experience significant stress while trying to deal with family responsibilities alone. This can put stress on the marriage, creating domestic turmoil at home that may affect the children as well.

For these reasons and more, children feel the impact of family addiction very strongly. Kids growing up in these conditions are more likely to face drug and alcohol problems of their own later in life.

Getting Help for Addicted Family Members

Most people who struggle with addiction do not want to hurt their families. However, they may be unable to break the habits and behaviors on their own. Similarly, family members are poorly equipped to handle the realities of addiction on their own.

Love is not enough to overcome the power of addiction, and loving family members run the risk of enabling the addiction further by continuing to provide financial support or shouldering the consequences of an addict’s actions. For this reason, it is important to seek the help of qualified professionals outside of the family.

A professional intervention followed by drug treatment can help your loved one get the help he or she needs without putting further stress and risk upon your family. Together, you can work toward healing and recovering from the addiction and its effects on those you love.

SOURCE:

drugabuse.gov

Study Confirms Fentanyl’s Role in Opioid Epidemic

fentanyl opioid epidemicThe fentanyl epidemic in the United States is growing by the day, but because it is a relatively new additive, there is little research to compare the current situation with history. However, a recent study conducted by researchers at Boonshoft School of Medicine Center for Interventions, Treatment, and Addictions Research (CITAR) at Wright State University provides more concrete evidence about the fentanyl problem in this country. This is important because in order to reduce the number of people who ingest this powerful drug, there will need to be evidence of its growth and education about what exactly is fentanyl and how to avoid its use.

Fentanyl is a pharmaceutical drug that is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Most commonly, the drug is prescribed to cancer patients, but is also given in hospital settings to combat major pain issues. Regarding abuse, fentanyl has gained popularity with drug dealers because of increased potency when it is combined with heroin. Due to inadequate testing procedures, many experts believe that a greater number of overdose fatalities involved fentanyl than previously reported.

Heroin dealers are now mixing the drug into the supply in order to create a stronger, more intense high and to increase profits. But, because of this new combination, more and more addicts are suffering from fatal overdoses. Other studies have shown that most opioid users are not even aware that they are ingesting fentanyl, and actively try to stay away from the drug in an effort to avoid these types of overdoses. This goes against the suggestion that addicts will seek out fentanyl in order to get a stronger high. Further research has shown that many drug dealers are getting their hands on fentanyl not from legitimate hospitals or doctors, but from illegal labs that have mimicked the recipe.

“The findings of our study highlight the urgent need to include testing for fentanyl and fentanyl analogs as a part of standard toxicology panels for biological specimens used by substance abuse treatment centers, criminal justice institutions and medical providers. Communities also need to assure that sufficient supplies of naloxone doses are provided to first responders and distributed through community overdose prevention programs to mitigate the effects of opioid overdoses,” explained lead author of the study, Raminta Daniulaityte.

While there are still more long-term studies that need to be conducted on the fentanyl problem, this is a step forward for medical professionals who are looking to educate addicts and the public on the dangers and prevalence of the drug.

The Rising Societal Costs of the Heroin Epidemic

Heroin EpidemicSome may think that drug abuse is a problem with only one victim – the user. However, their family members also suffer as well and society feels the effects in the form of dollars. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, taxpayers shelled out more than $51 billion in 2015 to go towards the fall out of the heroin problem.

Incarcerations due to heroin abuse and the sale of the drug, treatment costs, treatment of infectious diseases caused by heroin use, cost of treating infants born addicted to heroin, loss of productivity at work and heroin deaths were all variables used to calculate the astronomical number. This record-breaking amount is like pouring salt in the wound of already having the highest number of overdose deaths.

The researchers went even further and determined how much each heroin user costs society. According to the data, a single heroin user can cost taxpayers as much as $50,799 a year. This is due to the above variables as well as the fact that heroin users are more likely to be unproductive, and have large blocks of time where they are not working or contributing to the economy.

Interestingly, patients with different chronic problems cost society much less. For instance, a person who is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease costs society about $2,567 a year. And a person who has diabetes generally costs about $11,148 a year.

“The downstream effects of heroin use, such as the spread of infectious diseases and increased incarceration due to actions associated with heroin use, compounded by their associated costs, would continue to increase the societal burden of heroin use disorder,” explained Dr. Simon Pickard, one of the lead authors of the study from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Of course the research is not only to illustrate the burden heroin addiction has on society, it also indicates that effective treatment and prevention efforts are perhaps the only way to get this incredibly high number down. By getting more people the help they need, not only are we saving billions of dollars, but most importantly, we’re saving lives.

Fentanyl More Prevalent in Drug Supply than Previously Suspected

fentanylRecent news that opioid-related overdose deaths rose again keeps the alarm sounding that more has to be done to help save lives. One of the biggest contributors to these fatalities has been the addition of fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid that is usually reserved for treating chronic and extreme pain, such as in cancer patients and after major surgeries. However, drug manufacturers and distributors have discovered that they can add it to other drugs to increase potency while making their supply last longer.

“What we see across the country is the drug cartels moving away from heroin and moving toward these opioids they’re going to produce themselves. People think they’re buying one thing and they’re actually buying another. The stuff they’re selling is so powerful. Some of the stuff we’re seeing produced is 50 times more potent than heroin, as if heroin wasn’t bad enough,” said Van Ingram, executive director of Kentucky’s Office of Drug Control Policy.

What makes fentanyl-laced heroin so dangerous is that users usually have no idea that they are taking such powerful opioids and so they use the same quantity as they normally would. However, instead of getting the same result, they are ingesting a deadly amount and never make it long enough to receive a dose of naloxone to combat the overdose.

Recently, a safe injection facility in Vancouver, Canada implemented a testing procedure so users could test their drugs for the presence of fentanyl. Their report was shocking, as over 1,000 tests they found an extremely high percentage of the drugs contained fentanyl. This included over 80% of the heroin and even 80% of the methamphetamine and 40% of the cocaine.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has also released reports warning of the increasing presence of fentanyl in street drugs. Since users have no way of knowing what is really in the drugs they’re getting nor how potent they are, there really are only a few viable long-term options to fixing this problem. There has to be a stronger effort to get people into effective treatment programs and there has to be more focus on providing better prevention programs for people of all ages to stop addiction before it starts.

Heroin, Fentanyl Lead Surge in Overdose Deaths

Although there has been a lot of coverage about the opioid epidemic and the record number of overdoses, until recently there hasn’t been a more detailed look at exactly which substances are tied to the most fatalities. With updated information from the National Center for Health Statistics, it is clear that heroin and fentanyl are the biggest overdose threats currently.

Information from 2010 to 2014 showed a sharp increase in the number of heroin-related deaths, while those resulting from prescription painkillers remained relatively the same over that time period. In 2010, the most overdose deaths were from oxycodone, which amounted to 5,200 that year, while there were about 3,000 from heroin. Just four years later heroin led the way with over 11,000 deaths. It accounted for nearly a quarter of all overdose fatalities.

Researchers were also interested in the fact that many of the overdose deaths involved more than one drug. Nearly half of all overdoses included multiple drugs being taken. One of the deadliest additives has been fentanyl, as it is incredibly potent and highly dangerous. Another important aspect of the multiple substance issue is that there are many accidental deaths caused by mixing prescription drugs, such as a painkiller and sedative while drinking alcohol.

While current drug policies are changing to focus more on treatment and rehabilitation, it is likely that more still needs to be done in order to reverse the upward trend of heroin overdose deaths in this country. The nation has been making much more of an effort over the past year, and we will have to wait to see statistics on whether that has been working. Either way, much more can and should be done to help save lives.

If you have a loved one struggling with an addiction to heroin or any other combination of drugs, contact Desert Cove today to find out more about successful treatment options.

Carfentanil Latest Synthetic Opioid to Hit North American Cities

Authorities have issued warnings about the effects of carfentanil, a potent synthetic opioid. It has similar properties to heroin and has been used as an elephant tranquilizer. Recently, though, carfentanil has made headlines due to its deadly consequences.

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued a warning to the public about the safety risks of carfentantil in September. It is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, which a drug that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Carfentanil is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.

The lethal dose for this drug in humans is unknown. Carfentanil is the most deadly opiate among the illicit street drugs, and taking a few granules the size table salt can be enough to prove fatal.

Illicit Drug Users Don’t Know they are Taking Carfentanil

Carfentanil is showing up in a number of communities in the United States and Canada, where it has been linked to several overdose incidents as well as deaths. Overdose victims believe that they are taking heroin and don’t realize that the drug they are buying has been laced with carfentanil, fentanyl or another harmful synthetic.

The issue of street drugs having other substances added to them is nothing new. There have been many reports over the years of users coming to harm due to ingesting something they didn’t realize had been added to the drugs they were buying.

Signs of Exposure to Carfentanil

The symptoms of exposure to carfentanil include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Disorientation
  • Sedation
  • Clammy skin
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Respiratory arrest

These symptoms usually start within a few minutes of exposure to the drug and require immediate medical attention. Carfentanil, like other fentanyl-type drugs have the potential to work very quickly.

Naxolone is an antidote for opioid overdose, and can be administered for carfentanil exposure. If this option is available, administer a dose immediately while waiting for help to arrive. Continue to administer an additional dose every two or three minutes until the affected person is able to breathe on their own for at least 15 minutes or until emergency services arrives.

Straight Talk with Teens for Drug Abuse Prevention

drug prevention groupHeroin use among 18-25 year olds has more than doubled since 2002, but remains low still for younger teenagers, thankfully. However, given the national trend, we must place extra attention on prevention efforts to keep our youth safe so that they not only remain drug-free in high school, but are better prepared for their time afterward.

Instead of incorporating heroin education in catchy slogans, or scare tactics, many people are educating students simply by talking to them and sharing open, honest and real information. This straight-talk version of drug education may be seeing better results than any other campaign. For instances, some high schools have implemented clubs that are centered around drug abstinence and positive peer influence.

Clubs that focus on staying healthy and revolve around education and engaging in activities that are drug-free are not a new concept. In fact, some form of these clubs have been around for decades. Some of the more recent activity has been focused on the heroin problem and the decisions that many teens have to face regarding it and other drugs.

“All of our students have a story of somebody in their family who is an addict or a friend of a family member or something of that nature,” explained Erin Parsons, a history teacher and co-founder of the Marshall Country Drug Free Club.

Perhaps one of the most influential aspects to drug-free clubs is the power of peer influence. Heroin experimentation is arguably a peer-driven activity, and clubs like the one in Marshall County are looking to use that same phenomenon for positivity. The more agreement that can take place among young people to stay away from heroin, painkillers and other drugs, the more they can have an impact on the behaviors of their peers and avoid the pitfalls of millions of young adults who wind up needing treatment for their substance abuse.

Hormones May Help Women Overcome Addiction

psychopharmacologyAs researchers discover more information about drugs and their interactions mentally and physically, some powerful data shows that women become addicted to drugs faster than men, but there are more addicts overall who are male. However, the mechanisms that cause this phenomenon can also help women overcome their substance abuse.

Researchers at Davidson College in North Carolina have discovered that hormones likely play a role in this difference between men and women and their susceptibility to misuse drugs. They then wanted to see if these hormones could be used to help reduce subsequent drug use, and their findings were published in the journal Psychopharmacology.

“There are a lot of data to indicate that women transition from that initial use to having a substance-use disorder much more rapidly,” explained Mark Smith, a psychologist at Davidson.

The researchers were able to track drug use in female rats as they went through their menstrual cycles. They found that the hormones, progesterone and estrogen, proved to be factors in significant reduction of drug use. For example, when a rat’s hormone levels were the highest, the amount of heroin that was consumed went down drastically, leading to a direct correlation of reduction of drug use.

This new information points to estrogen and progesterone as possibly being effective supplements for women who are seeking treatment for opiate addiction. However, there are still a lot of questions researchers have to answer before this type of medication becomes available to female addicts. For instance, the researchers are unsure if estrogen, or progesterone or both are responsible for the decrease in the urge to consume opiates. Research trials are being conducted to find out the answer to these questions, and similar studies must be done with humans to better determine the real-life application of this information.

How the Drug Climate is Changing

opioidsSeveral years ago stories of mass overdoses and tainted heroin would have shocked the nation. Nowadays, these stories are becoming too commonplace. While laws and regulations are making prescription narcotics more difficult to obtain, and the demand for potent drugs is increasing, so drug dealers are improvising and often making a very dangerous situation much worse.

Opioids mixed with fentanyl have become the newest trend among illicit drugs, and the deadly combination has been claiming record numbers of lives. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is generally only administered in hospitals to patients with severe pain. Drug manufacturers have begun to include Fentanyl in batches of heroin and even batches of pressed pills. Addicts who are not expecting such a lethal drug often maintain their usual level of use, thinking it is the same potentcy. This causes mass overdoses in an area where the local dealers continue to include fentanyl in their heroin batches.

Many prescription painkiller addicts will argue that pills are safer than heroin. The idea that you always know what you’re taking and how much is no longer true. Drug dealers have changed the landscape of painkillers obtained on the street as well. In order to meet the demands of prescription drug addicts, dealers now have the ability to make their own “pills” putting in whatever ingredients they can get their hands on. Addicts begin unknowingly consuming anything that their dealer sells them. This can, and has, caused deaths throughout the country.

“Anyone can press a pill these days. It’s not very expensive or difficult. Even if you look it up, and it matches something you saw online, it could still literally be anything,” explains Lori Kufner, who works at the harm reduction organization Trip! Project.

Law enforcement and health officials are warning the public that street drugs are becoming more potent and unpredictable. Experts urge addicts to seek help before they fall victim to a “hot batch.” However, some addicts are not only undeterred, but are even seeking out the combination as a way to get stronger drugs. As a heroin addict becomes more entrenched in their addiction they oftentimes need more and more of the drug to feel the same kind of high. The promise of an extra powerful batch of heroin can entice addicts to buy more and use more.

Given that the drug scene is constantly changing – and getting worse by most accounts, there has to be more diligence on the part of friends and families to get help for their loved ones. The statement that their next hit could be their last has never been more true than it is today.

Contact Desert Cove now to find out how our addiction treatment program can help.

Opiate Dependent People Suffer More Medical Complications

prescription opiatesIn one of the first studies of its kind, researchers have found that people who are dependent on opiates are much more likely to require additional medical services than people who aren’t. In fact, one recent study found that the number of opiate-dependent people who received additional medical treatments rose 3,000% from 2007 to 2014.

The study authors poured over data from 150 million patient records, and they were able to identify anyone who had been diagnosed with an opiate dependency, heroin abuse problem and any problems caused by opiate consumption. This allowed the researchers from FAIR Health to also see what other medical services these patients required, some of which included additional lab costs, treatment re-admissions, medications and more.

The research team also found that the numbers and percentages of people in this category varied from state to state. For instance, Rhode Island reportedly had the highest rate of opiate dependency, while Montana and Maine had the lowest. Despite this, each state is still feeling the effects of opiate abuse and the toll it takes on the overall healthcare system and in communities throughout the country.

“The reality is, even in states that have done that [providing more treatment options for people seeking help], demand is far in excess of what they can provide. What this tells you is this is not limited to a problem of the poor and unemployed. This is a problem that is cutting right across society,” explained Allan Coukell, senior director for health programs at Pew Charitable Trusts.

While the major concern with opiate and heroin abuse will always be overdose deaths, there are still a lot of health risks associated with taking these drugs. Users are more likely to suffer from emotional problems, respiratory issues, liver problems, injuries and the spread of diseases from sharing needles.

This information provides even more evidence as to why it is so important to reverse this deadly trend and get people into treatment programs. The cost is much more than the dollars associated with the additional care. We must stop the cycle with effective recovery centers and prevention measures.