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Dangers of Bath Salts Abuse in Teenagers

bath salts abuse

Bath salts have become extremely popular among teenagers in recent years. Despite its name, this is not the kind of substance that you use for bathing. They have similar effects as that of the other illegal substances, which are covertly sold at parties, concerts and music festivals.

Bath salts are synthetic cathinones that act similarly as a khat plant. They are usually sold as a white or off-white powder, placed in small plastic or foil packages, and labelled as “not for human consumption”. The substance may be injected, snorted, ingested, or mixed with other liquids.

The drug may be referred to by drug dealers as jewelry cleaners, plant food, or phone screen cleaner, and can be bought online or in headshops. They carry different street names to deceive non-users and authorities alike from getting then caught. Some of the common street names of bath salts are:

  • Bloom
  • Blue Silk
  • Cloud Nine
  • Cosmic Blast
  • Flakka
  • Ivory White
  • Lunar Wave
  • Red Dove
  • Purple Wave
  • Scarface
  • Vanilla Sky
  • White Lightning

Using bath salts can produce an extreme euphoric feeling, which may lead to dangerous behaviors.  They act on the brain the same way as other types of drugs like amphetamines and ecstasy. Bath salts are made from a variety of chemicals which include mephedrone, pyrovalerone and methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV). It is said that MDPV is 10 times more potent than cocaine.

There are several variations of bath salts that contain different ingredients. The most commonly found synthetic cathinones in bath salts are:

  • Butylone
  • Ethylone
  • MDPV
  • Mephedrone
  • Methcathinone
  • Methedrone
  • Methylone
  • Naphyrone

These are strong stimulants that may be sought by users who have tried taking methamphetamine and cocaine. It is highly addictive and can trigger an intense craving for the drug.

Why are Bath Salts Abused?

Being a stimulant, it is a drug of choice among people who want to get “high” to clear their thoughts from any pain, disappointment or fear. Some individuals may feel that they could not go on with their lives having to deal with the everyday stress, leading them to turn to drugs with the hope of being relieved from all the negativity.

It is quite common among teens to use bath salts since it can be a more inexpensive option compared to other drugs. Users may find it easier to purchase bath salts since they can only be bought online at $20 per gram, compared to other drugs that are sold as high as $80 per gram.

Facts and Figures on Bath Salts Abuse

It was in 2010 when bath salt addiction became known in the United States. Several reports revealed that there were people having unlikely behavior such as eating other people’s faces and all other erratic behaviors. Prior to this, bath salt addiction was never a public health concern nor any parent’s nightmare.

Here are some facts about bath salts abuse:

  • Over 22,000 ER visits in 2011 were reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) due to the use of synthetic cathinones.
  • It significantly dropped to 2,691 in 2012 and 996 in 2013. The decline continues to this date.
  • In 2012, 91 people were arrested and there were 167,000 bags of synthetic cathinone seized from the government operation.
  • There are over 150 new types of cathinones developed in 2012.
  • Bath salts use is common among people in their twenties, although there are also reports that at least 1 percent of high school students are addicted to bath salts.

Dangers of Bath Salts Abuse

Baths salts are addictive and dangerous, and may cause unfavorable signs and symptoms. The short-term effects of bath salts use usually last for 3-4 hours. These are manifested by the following symptoms:

  • agitation and irritability
  • decreased ability to think clearly
  • delusions and hallucinations
  • depression
  • distorted sense of reality
  • dizziness
  • insomnia
  • mood disturbances and psychosis
  • panic attacks
  • paranoia
  • suicidal thoughts

Some of its physical effects are:

  • brain swelling
  • chest pains
  • decreased muscle and body control
  • feeling sick and throwing up
  • heart attack
  • increased blood pressure and body temperature
  • irregular heartbeat
  • nosebleeds
  • seizures
  • stroke

Bath salts users may eventually develop dependence with the said drug. Because of this, they may feel the need to take frequent large amounts of the substance until they attain the kind of euphoric feeling that they want. Long-term effects of bath salts use are:

  • depression and other mental health issues
  • dizziness and blurred vision
  • headaches
  • higher chances of getting sick because of malnutrition
  • insomnia and restlessness
  • physical exhaustion
  • reduced appetite and health problems from not eating properly

A person who uses bath salts may experience intense heat, which would make them almost tear off their clothes to help them cool immediately. Their extreme behavior may lead to aggressive and extremely uncontrollable attacks or cause self-inflicting pain.

It is possible that long-time bath salts users may cause their muscle tissues to break down, which can result in kidney failure or even death.

It can significantly cause damage to the whole well-being of an individual. Because of this, heart problems are also likely to happen with frequent use.

Synthetic cathinones are the known components of bath salts. However, there are other mixtures of chemicals that are now used, which only the drug manufacturers themselves know about. The mixture of these unknown chemicals can be deadly which increases the risk of developing lethal side effects.

Individuals taking other medication along with bath salts use such as sleeping aids, antidepressants, and painkillers.

Mephedrone and MDPV are two chemicals found in bath salts that are classified as Schedule I drugs in der the Controlled Substances Act of the Drug Enforcement Agency. All substances under this classification have a high potential for abuse and have no accepted medical use.

bath salts powder

Incidents of Bath Salts Abuse

In 2012, a homeless man was viciously attacked along MacArthur Causeway in Miami by someone who was reported to be taking bath salts. Reports revealed that the attacker was found eating the face of the homeless man. Despite the man being demanded to stop by police authorities, the man just growled and bared his teeth, almost like a wild animal, which eventually forced authorities to shoot at him. The incident was named as the “Causeway Cannibal” case.

[Authorities for the above case has since ruled out any links to bath salts abuse. The violent outburst of the said user was caused by marijuana. Evidently, the outrage may be brought about by taking large amounts of the drug that lead to paranoia.]

Another incident involved a 35-year old woman from the U.K., wherein she admitted to using bath salts as her means of losing weight. She did shed off some pounds, but it turned her into a paranoid and aggressive insomniac. She later on developed brain damage, which caused her early death.

In Washington state, a couple figured in a high-speed chase. After they crashed, the man shot his wife and then himself. Their child was also found dead in their home, where packets of bath salts were also found by police authorities.

These are all brought about by substance abuse that has caused the lives of innocent people. You can just imagine how people under the influence of bath salts can act like wild beasts, zombies, vampires, and murderers.

How To Deal With A Family Member with Bath Salts Addiction

It is crucial that family members should be aware of the possible signs of drug abuse. Most often, the cause of drug addiction is when users would turn to drugs instead of facing their problems. Parents in particular should always spend time to talk to their children, especially their teens. Adolescent life can be a confusing stage for teens wherein they need more love and support from the family.

Drug addiction is not only a problem of the user but can also affect the lives of the people around him. If you suspect a member of the family to have an unusual behavior, immediately keep an eye on the family member and start an intervention.

Effects of Quitting Bath Salts Use

Turning away from any form abuse or addiction can have a positive impact on any user. Quitting can reduce their risk of developing any mental health problems. Bath salts are mind-altering drugs that may affect the behavior of anyone who uses it. Being a stimulant, one may experience extreme euphoric feelings, which may lead to hallucinations and paranoia.

Not using any kind of drug can significantly increase productivity at work, leading a person to experience better performance.

Taking bath salt may likely to develop an aggressive behavior. Therefore, quitting can result to more harmonious relationships with people around him.

Diagnosis and Testing

Synthetic cathinones can stay in the body for a period of 24-72 hours. Unfortunately, standard urine drug tests may not detect the presence of this drug. Most drug tests cannot detect the various ingredients found in the drug. There are now more drug testing laboratories that offer specialized synthetic cathinone testing.

The factors that influence drug testing are:

  • The amount of drug used
  • User’s metabolism
  • Height and weight

Treatment for Bath Salts Addiction

It is possible that one can quit using bath salts on his own. However, it could be difficult to deal with the cravings most especially without the support of family and friends.

The type of treatment is determined by a specialist based on the severity of the addiction.  There are options available for treatment:

Inpatient treatment

This is a rehabilitation center that needs the user to be admitted for several weeks until he recovers. It is more helpful for patients to be in this kind of environment since the user will be surrounded by therapists, physicians, and nurses who can protect the user from having a relapse.

Outpatient treatment

This kind of treatment involves sessions made once to several times a week. The downside of this option is not having a 24-hour supportive environment.

Final Word

As one of the most vulnerable sectors of society, teenagers need to be in the company of people who are after their welfare. If you have a teenager in the family, all it takes is to build and nurture your relationships with them. Not only will they be more open to talk about their feelings and confusions, but they can also ask some of the toughest questions in life – and this includes drug abuse.

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Most Common FAQ on Drugs Asked By Teens

Despite reports on the rising number of incidents related to drug abuse, a lot of people would still turn to drugs as their means of recreation or their last resort to mask off their problems. What makes this very alarming is the fact that children way before pre-teen stage have already been exposed to such illicit drugs. At this very innocent stage in the life of children, they may view drugs as just another kind of “amusement” that can provide them with an “unusual high” as part of their normal lives.

This article aims to provide information and awareness to prevent the use of illegal drugs and to hopefully combat unnecessary exposure of children from these substances. Here are some of the most common questions about teen drug abuse, and answers to the frequently asked questions by teenagers regarding these substances.

teen drugs

What is drug abuse?

Drug abuse refers to the inappropriate consumption, ingestion or intake of prescription drugs or drugs that are found to have no legitimate medical purpose or benefit. It may also be referred to as a form of brain-altering condition wherein a user experiences various psychological issues that often lead to unfavorable results.

What factors influence teens to take drugs?

Children are taught in school about how they should avoid getting hooked on drugs, smoking and alcohol use. However, since children are naturally curious, they will always be curious to try on something new, and that includes trying drugs.

Apart from mere curiosity, peer pressure plays a very significant role. Teens want to “belong” or be part of a “cool group”. Unfortunately, not all groups may be good influences. As a result, some groups would persuade their new “recruits” to try drugs and force them to think that drugs are their best friends – as their means of escape from their problems.

Other factors that may trigger teenagers to use drugs include:

  • Low self-worth
  • Desire to enhance performance

How come some individuals get addicted to drugs and some don’t?

Drug addiction is a complex disease, which means that there are contributing factors that may lead one to become addicted. These factors may be because of genetics or because of the influence of the environment. Nevertheless, the likelihood of getting addicted to a particular drug or substance may vary from person to person.

What drugs do teens tend to abuse?

The most commonly abused substances among teens are alcohol and tobacco. They also tend to favor inhalation of fumes from household chemicals, pens and glues. Older teens, however, would often use marijuana, synthetic marijuana (known as Spice or K2), and other prescription and over-the-counter medication.

Which drugs can be very addictive?

The answer to this question is variable because the effect of drugs on each individual. The reason behind this is that several factors may come into play, such as genetics, age, dosage taken, length of time that the drug has been used, and frequency of use.

What are the dangers of inhalants?

There are various household products such as cleaning liquids and solutions, glue, lighter fluid, and aerosol sprays that are being inhaled by younger teens to obtain an alcohol-like high. Because these are readily available, younger teens have easier access to these substances, making them some of the common things that young people try to use.

Although the effects from inhaling these substances may be for just a short period of time, prolonged inhalation may cause severe reaction towards the body such as suffocation and heart failure. Long term use can also lead to liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, bone marrow damage and consequently, brain damage.

At what age does drug abuse become prevalent?

teen peer pressureAccording to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted in 2015, an estimated 119 million Americans aged 12 or older used prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past year, representing 44.5 percent of the population.

Meanwhile, About 97.5 million people used pain relievers (36.4 percent), 39.3 million used tranquilizers (14.7 percent), 17.2 million used stimulants (6.4 percent), and 18.6 million used sedatives (6.9 percent). In 2015, 18.9 million people aged 12 or older (7.1 percent) misused prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past year.

If both parents were drug users prior to having a child, will the child be addicted to drugs?

The fact is, when a baby is born from a mother who is a drug user, the baby may be born addicted to the drug and may suffer withdrawal symptoms. But ultimately, children exposed to such substances in the home have a high risk of becoming addicts themselves.

What are the effects of drug addiction in the brain?

Habitual intake of illicit drugs can severely alter the brain’s function. This is because the effects of these substances either mimic or block the natural flow of neurotransmitters.  Even when a user may have been relieved from its physical attachment to the drug, there would always come a time that a “healed” user may want to do drugs once again.

effect of drugs on teen brain

As a person takes an addictive substance, the limbic system releases dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical that make the user feel good. This encourages habitual substance abuse. To get hooked on drugs again after years of detoxification may be triggered by familiar situations which may have been the cause for addiction before.

What are “club drugs” or “party drugs”?

These are illicit drugs that have gained notoriety in clubs or rave parties. Some of the common party drugs include:

  • Ecstasy
  • GHB
  • Ketamine
  • Rohypnol
  • LSD
  • Methamphetamine

There are also other kinds of synthetic drugs sold as Ecstasy which may be more fatal than Ecstasy itself.

  • Piperazines like BZP and TFMPP
  • PMA/PMMA
  • Mephedrone (mostly outside the US)
  • bk-MDMA (methylene)
  • MDPV

The popularity of party drugs stems from the euphoric feeling that it brings to the user. These drugs have a tendency to enhance the light feeling of people who frequent bars and night clubs. Unfortunately, these substances also pose serious health risks that range from nausea and dizziness to cardiac arrest and death.

ecstasy-molly-mdma-pills-party-drugs

What is Ecstasy?

This drug is known as an empathogen-entactogen, which means that it provides a feeling of empathy towards another person even if you have just met the person. Ecstasy is also commonly known as “Molly” in the club environment.

Ecstasy affects three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. When Molly is taken, the compound releases an enormous amount of these neurotransmitters and increases its activity.

What are the effects of Ecstasy use?

Drug users may claim that Ecstasy is good for their bodies because it helps them to carry a “happy” attitude. While this may be true for some users, Ecstasy use can also present the following effects:

  • Greater enjoyment of dancing
  • Distortions of perceptions, particularly light, music and touch
  • Artificial feelings of empathy and emotional warmth
  • Increased body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate
  • Threat of dehydration
  • Increased energy
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of fatigue when it would be normal
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • Chills
  • Muscle cramping

After the effect of Ecstasy wears off, what happens?

The effect of Ecstasy lasts between three to six hours. Unfavorable symptoms may be experienced such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Less interest in or pleasure from sex
  • Problems sleeping
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Poor memory
  • Drug cravings
  • Paranoia

Now that marijuana has been approved in some U.S. states, are teens free to use them like adults?

Despite the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, it is still prohibited under federal law to manufacture, possess, buy or use marijuana if you do not have the necessary permits. Only adults above 21 years of age are allowed to have an access from legitimate shops wherein they should also have to secure permits when they intend to use marijuana for recreational purposes.

How are drugs classified?

The Drug Enforcement Agency has categorized drugs into Schedule I, Schedule II, Schedule III, Schedule IV and Schedule V. The drugs are scheduled depending upon the drug’s acceptable medical use and the drug’s abuse or dependency potential.

As the schedule number increases, it means that the drugs that are categorized under them are less dangerous and may have some medical use than the ones categorized before them.

What are the signs of substance abuse?

drug abuse teen depressionIt is common among teens to go through certain issues during puberty. Along with these physical changes is their curiosity with so many things, which include the use of alcohol and drugs.

Parents are advised to talk to their children when they notice changes in behavior or appearance, including the following.

Changes in appearance: You may notice that your child pays less attention towards grooming. Other signs include loss of appetite or unexplained weight loss, red and glassy eyes and frequent use of eye drops or breath mints.

Changes in attitude: An attitude that is getting worse, disrespectful behavior and lack of concern about the future may be an indication of drug addiction or substance abuse.

Changes in behavior: Your child may be slowly staying away from family gatherings, performing poorly in school, developing a sneaky behavior, hanging out with new friends but reluctant to introduce them to the family, having loss of interest in other activities, lying, or stealing.

Is teen drug abuse treatment the same as adult treatment?

Adult treatment is not the same as teen treatment because adults usually have to deal with long term use and abuse. Having said that, parents should be able to look for an appropriate program for their teen kids wherein there should also be involvement of the family to speed up the process of the treatment.

There are underlying reasons why teens succumb to such predicament, and this should be the best way to come up with the proper solution to the teen drug abuse issue.

Can teen substance abuse be prevented?

Teens that are less exposed to alcohol, cigarette and drugs are less likely to use them when they become adults. It’s the responsibility of parents and family members to teach the dangers of using these substances.

When parents have time for their children, the children will feel that they are being given importance and that they feel very much loved. Establishing a good relationship with your children allows them to freely talk to you about anything, including drugs. This leads teenagers to become more guided and receive better advice to any kind of problem rather than resorting to friends who may influence them to get hooked on different vices.

When the family is able to support one another, this builds up confidence to teenagers, thereby making a huge impact on their personalities.

parent intervention teens

What is detoxification?

Detoxification is the process of taking drug components out of the body so that the individual may be able to function normally again. This is proven to be effective, but only if there is no permanent damage to the brain due to prolonged drug use.

The general process of detoxification is done by slowly limiting the amount of drug that the user takes. During this process, withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, sleeplessness and irritability may occur.

An effective detoxification process also includes giving counteractive drugs that will help eliminate the unfavorable withdrawal symptoms, which will then aid in completely getting rid of the illicit drug compounds from the system.

Detoxification is only part of drug abuse treatment, and is never designed to be the ultimate solution. After several weeks or months of treatment, the individual is recommended to undergo psychological therapy wherein self-confidence and love is being restored with the help of the individual’s loved ones.

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What To Do When People Around You Are Using Drugs

It could really be a difficult challenge for people to accept that the people they love are using drugs. It does not matter whether it is your child, your spouse, a sibling, or a very close friend of yours—once you find out that they are into drugs, this will probably make you feel that you were not able to do your job to give them adequate support and guidance.

Self-blaming does not result to a positive outcome. What you need to do is try your very best to help them put their attention to new things.

Here is a rundown of the things that you can do in case a person you care about is apparently into drugs:

Address the problem

parent intervention teens

In any kind of problem, you need to confront the issue and accept that it happened. When you do not put in the effort to talk things out with the person using drugs, you are allowing the person to stay in the dark moment of his or her life.

However, it is also expected that this step will be very difficult because there is no single approach that can be effective for all. As a result, you really have to think about the right approach that you will use so that the intervention will be easier or more comfortable for both parties.

Establish communication

phone-communication

It is also important to remember that communication is a two-way street, so make sure that you give them your full attention when they start speaking. Listen attentively and just let them talk about the things they wish to share.

It may also be probably helpful to ask about their future plans and offer your time and assistance. This way, they will have hope that they can achieve their plans, especially if there are ways for them to get over their addiction.

A very large percentage of drug addicts rely on illegal drugs because they are depressed, or because they are suffering from other mental illnesses. In this case, you may ask the person concerned if it is alright for them to visit a specialist who can help him/her in the process. Assure him/her that they are not alone in this.

Be someone’s companion in the process

support

Some addicts resort to drug abuse because they feel that nobody cares for them. Some addicts consider the temporary happiness that drugs can give them as an escape from the painful past or the troubled present.

One strategy that may work to help recovering addicts forget about their dark moments is through hobbies and new activities. If the person concerned is a family member, you may want to ask for the person’s close friend to help you in determining what possible activities may work best.

Once you have confronted and talked to the person, you may now exert your best effort to become the best companion there is. You have the power to distract the person from bad habits, by being that person who opens doors for new adventures for them to engage in.

You may ask the person if any of these sound exciting for him/her: traveling, art lessons, foreign language classes, or sports. Any new activity or a forgotten hobby may probably sound exciting, especially if he/she does it with your company.

The main idea is that you have to make the person feel that you are available. Time is the key.

Encourage the person to ‘sweat out’ the addiction

exercise-mountain-biking

While cooking and baking may sound like a good choice to deflect a person’s attention from doing drugs, sweating out the urge of using drugs is also a very reliable strategy.

Breaking sweat triggers the body to produce higher levels of happy hormones such as serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. These hormones make someone feel happier and contented, and therefore prevent a person from thinking negative thoughts. Music therapy, when partnered with regular exercise, is a good way to deal with almost any type of addiction.

Once a person you love has acknowledge that he/she needs therapy before any type of intervention from experts, it may probably be a good idea to go put exercise as part of the daily routine.

Getting support from family members

family recovery

There is no greater rock to rely on than family. Problems and struggles are easier when you go through them with family.

Once you find out that a family member of yours is doing drugs, it would be best to privately discuss the problem with the person first. Afterwards, the both of you may consult other family members on what possible solutions can be done. You have to assure the person that he/she is loved no matter what, and that the family is not going to judge the bad decisions he/she made.

Dealing with a close friend’s drug addiction is another story. If you are the first one to find out, you have to respect the person’s decision if he/she wants to discuss it with his/her family. Although it is a given that the family should know, all you can do from here is to advice your friend to ask from his/her family’s help whenever he/she is ready.

Once your friend agrees, try your best to offer your full support in the next steps he/she plans to take. After all, you are essentially your friend’s family too!

Getting support from self-help groups

counselling

Some recovering drug addicts attend self-help groups to make them understand their situation better through varying perspectives. You probably have an idea how the drill works in self-help groups: people who share similar circumstance are brought together to discuss how they successfully went through the challenges.

Encouraging a loved one of yours who is into drugs to attend self-help groups will probably help the person in the long run. Perspectives from members of these groups will give the person a better understanding of his/her situation using other lenses.

Discuss treatment options with the person

If the person acknowledges that he/she cannot get over drug addiction without the help of a specialist, you need to be ready to offer other treatment options.

However, make sure that the decision is an outcome of the person’s thorough self-assessment so that the process will be easier. The treatment will be more worth it for the person because it is his/her own decision, and he/she is aware that it is a need to make his/her life better.

Help the person set attainable and meaningful goals

A vital part of the process of helping someone going through drug addiction is making him/her feel that the plans he/she sets are important. While these goals are personally set by the recovering addict, you need to make the person feel that he/she is not alone in the scheme of things.

If, for instance, the person sets a timeline of his/her plans after getting treatment or therapy, you have to ask help from others on how you can all put in efforts to make the treatment plans work.

The abovementioned strategies may be helpful for people to get away from their drug addiction. However, there is also a need to know the root causes why people use drugs in the first place. Knowing the reasons behind drug addiction can also make things easier for people to accept their loved one’s drug addiction. As said earlier, self-blaming is never part of the solution.

Read on the following common reasons why people resort to using drugs:

1. Stress reliever

The body has a natural response to stress, but the way we go through different sources of stress will always vary for every person.

We need to be aware that people have different outlets to relieve stress: some sleep for longer hours, some eat in huge amounts, some go spend large amount of money for shopping, and others do strenuous activities such as sports. However, some people use illegal drugs to relieve their stress, claiming that using drugs is the only thing that gives them a different kind of high.

More often than not, they consider the bad habit as their stress reliever because they become less sensitive of the daily pressures of life caused by work, family conflicts, and failed relationships.

Because of the temporary high that drugs provide, users will rely on them believing that the feeling kills the stress they are going through, even just for a while.

2. Peer pressure

Some drug addiction cases are results of peer pressure and the longing to fit and feel wanted in a group. If the person is in close contact with those who are also into drugs, there is a big chance that the person will be invited and forced to use drugs too.

Peer pressure does not only happen at a young age. In fact, it knows no age, although teenagers are most vulnerable to it.

If a family member of yours is doing drugs as a result of apparent peer pressure, then it would be best to advice the person to limit interactions with these bad influences. If you are a parent of a teenager doing drugs with his/her friends, it may be best to talk to your child and make him/her feel that you understand what peer pressure does to a person. It is a wake-up call for you to spend more time with your family, especially your child who’s undergoing identity crisis.

3. Boredom

Boredom is a scary and tricky state that brings about a lot of possibilities. Sadly, one possibility is doing drugs. People using drugs out of boredom have probably very few options on where to dedicate their spare time.

Having said that, it is very important to offer your time to deflect attention by sharing hobbies and interests with people recovering from drug addiction. It does not have to be a grand activity. You may simply download movies and watch it with them, go to the park and have a small picnic with family and common friends, or visit museums that offer free admission.

Most Commonly Abused Substances

One of the reasons why people use drugs is because they find it too available and that it can be easily and readily accessed anytime. Here is a list of commonly used drugs that are considered popular compared to others:

  • Cocaine
  • Cannabis / marijuana
  • Heroin
  • Ecstasy
  • Amphetamines
  • LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide)
  • Opium
  • Psychedelic Mushrooms
  • Solvents

Conclusion

Early intervention is key to addressing drug addiction, and it’s important that you give your time and attention to your loved one who may be addicted to drugs. On a final note, your mindset to help them should not be disciplinary in nature. Rather, it must come from love and concern for the recovering addict.

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Data Monitoring May Be The Key To Address Prescription Drug Abuse

There is an ongoing and growing problem on opioid use and abuse, becoming a pandemic on its own. Many people have fallen victim to opioid use because the drug is readily available and accessible.

The U.S. Department of Justice decided to take matters into action and enacted a program that can effectively monitor and lessen the opioid abuse. Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) is a state-run electronic database to track the prescribing and dispensing of controlled substances. This program is designed to monitor drugs that are suspected to be addicting. Also, it also provides critical information regarding a patient’s controlled substances prescription history.

Opioid Abuse and Addiction

A brewing problem against drug addiction has been increasing with the use of over-the-counter medicine as a means for opioid abuse. Opioid analgesics intended to relieve pain are often used improperly, resulting to abuse and addiction. It has becoming a wide-scale problem that has resulted to opioid overdose.

From 2003 to 2009, the numbers of death caused by drug overdose has increased to 61 percent in Florida alone. Most of the fatalities are caused by the infamous opioid pain relievers oxycodone and benzodiazepine alprazolam.

Addiction to opioids such as prescription pain relievers, heroin and morphine affects the health and social welfare of most societies. There are roughly 26.4 million people who abuse opioid while there are approximately 2.1 million users in United States, 470,000 of which are already addicted and are suffering health issues because of their addiction.

Opioid is a respiratory depressant that can cause death when abused and used regularly. The reason why it has become the popular choice for addicts is because it is easily available and accessible. Prescription pain relievers can be easily bought in drug stores and is readily available in black markets.

Opioids are substances that acts like opioid receptors for a morphine-like effect. The drug is highly addictive and can illicit physical dependence when used and abused. These receptors can mediate the psychoactive and somatic effects, which produce the tendency for the user to have an altered state of mind.

Abuse of opioids can lead to side effects like itchiness, nausea, euphoria and respiratory depression.

What is Prescription Drug Monitoring Program?

The National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSL) defined Prescription Drug Monitoring Program as the statewide electronic database that collects the data on a particular drug dispensed in the state. It is housed under specified regulations by administrative and law enforcement agencies.

NAMSL distributes the data from the individuals who are authorized to receive the information for the purpose of their profession. Since PDMP is used as a tool by states to address prescription drug abuse and addiction, it is served with several purposes such as to provide support access to effectively and properly use controlled substances as medication. This is to educate individuals about the use of PDMP and potential abuse and addiction to other prescription drugs that will help to identify, determine and prevent the drug abuse and diversion.

PDMP also serves the purpose of information dissemination in outlining use and abuse trends as a form of public health initiative. This is an important part of the program to facilitate and encourage the intervention and treatment of persons addicted to prescription drugs.

As of October 16, 2011 there are 37 states running operational PDMPs that have the capacity to receive and distribute controlled substances. Some of the states with fully operational PDMP include Ohio, Wyoming, New York, North Carolina and South Carolina. There are also eleven states that have enacted the use of PDMP to alleviate drug abuse even though it’s still not fully operational, and these include Alaska, Washington, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Arkansas and Maryland. Each of these states has a designated agency as to which will oversee the Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs, and these comprises of health departments, state law enforcement or pharmacy boards.

The Alliance of States with Prescription Monitoring Programs maintains a list of the state contacts to ensure that each state agency will be given attention. The group helps state agencies monitor how the program is going, guarantee that each state control will have the access to PDMP information, and also receive short descriptions as to the purpose of the programs in alleviating drug abuse in the society.

It is also important to note that The National Alliance State Drug Laws are provided links as to each state’s statute, regulations and law pertaining to prescription drug monitoring. In order to effectively run the prescription drug monitoring program, federal funding should be readily available in implementing the grant needed to proceed with the program.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance together with the Office of Justice organized and administered the Harold Rogers Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (HRPDMP) to provide three types of grants for planning, implementation and enhancement. Since inception, 47 states and 1 U.S. state territory have been funded under the grant program.

In an effort to administer the grant program effectively, the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting Act (NASPER) was enacted last 2005 to implement and enhance different programs for prescription drug monitoring. Since it has been created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, NASPER has received $2 million in 2009 and 2010 to support grants in 13 states.

Although NASPER and HRPDMP are part of a working force duo in terms of prescription drug monitoring, they still have different purposes. HRPDMP’s responsibility is to enhance the capacity and scope of regulatory law enforcements and agencies to collect data from controlled substance and should be maintained through a centralized database administered by an authorized agency. On the other hand, NASPER aids in managing the grant program under the authority of HHS.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program to Mitigate Opioid Use and Abuse

Since there is a steady growth and increase on the opioid use and abuse leading to addiction, some government agencies and health organizations are looking for a way to resolve this issue. The specific issue of opioid abuse and addiction can be solved by an effective information campaign. Letting the patients know the harmful benefits of the drug can be a useful way to lessen the abuse of opioids.

Prescription drug monitoring programs should have basic patient information and must also have the following data:

  • Prescription number
  • Date the prescription was issued
  • Date that the prescription was last filled
  • Number of refills ordered

It is important to know how many times the patient has used the drug and how often they have their prescription filled. The database of PDMP is updated by a pharmacist, who enters prescription data into the database within three days after dispensing. This is to ensure that a person or a patient is taking the controlled substance or medication properly, thereby reducing the risk of opioid abuse.

Prescription drug monitoring programs are highly effective tools that run in each state for the government to utilize in order to lessen the abuse of prescription drugs.

The programs collect and analyze electronically transmitted data, which are administered and submitted by pharmacists and practitioners. The data collected are used to manage and support the state’s efforts in research, enforcement and abuse prevention.

Prescription drug monitoring program is an operative tool and method to mitigate the abuse of opioids. However, there are also underlying disadvantages and inconsistencies when utilizing the program. Some of these hindrances that pose problems on the effectiveness and success of prescription drug monitoring data systems include the following;

  • Inconsistency of the prescribers of the program
  • Inconsistency in sharing the information across states
  • Access to data separate to the one being used to access the records
  • No mandatory requirement for the prescriber to consult with the database before prescribing and distributing the controlled substances

Proposed Actions to Address the Opioid Epidemic

Opioid abuse is imminent and is quickly becoming a wide-scale problem due to easy access and availability of these drugs. One effort that has been taken into action is implementing programs like the PDMP to aid in monitoring and collecting data that can mitigate the use of opioids. However, the current programs being executed and applied today still contain loopholes that make them limited in terms of their success in combatting drug abuse and addiction.

An ideal prescribed drug monitoring program should be able to alert the administrators of signs that pertain to illegal and aberrant drug procurement behavior. Furthermore, it should also be able to monitor controlled substances that fall within Schedule III, Schedule IV and Schedule V. These types of drugs and substances are prone to addiction and can be highly addictive, and that is why it is important to take these drugs only when necessary.

Actions to address the opioid endemic and take action in combatting the addiction problem is improve on prescribed drug monitoring programs and also enhance information dissemination as to what the state and health providers need to know to make the program effective. To improve the use of the program, it is important that PDMP should have easy access and real-time updates to the database.

Interstate accessibility is also integral to make sure that the centralized database is always up to date, and it must be synced together as well. There should be mandatory reporting on the update with controlled substances.

To make the PDMP a useful tool to mitigate the diversion of opioids, research should be done to optimize the use of the program. Also, the goal of a research study should be able to differentiate users and non-users, and the schedule by which clinicians and pharmacists should respond to the data.

Another effort and action to be considered is to expand access to treatment. When treating opioid overdose, it is better that physicians are well-prepared in treating opioid use disorder. Also, increasing the availability of community treatment programs should also be prioritized.

Lastly, an inter-agency task force should be created and grouped for the advancement on the access to mental health and abuse use treatment. The goal of this group is to promote best practices and develop additional agency guideline.

These plans in improving the programs are to expand public health partnerships to invest more in community policies that will help in combatting the opioid abuse epidemic.

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Mobile Apps To Help In Drug Addiction Recovery

Recovery from addiction can be a difficult process. It would need a lot of support, encouragement and even technology to help the recovering individual become successful with drug addiction recovery. In this article, we will look at some mobile apps that help in drug addiction recovery.

Over the years, there has been an increase in the number of health-related apps. Nowadays, you can find apps for breaking habits, for tracking goals, and drug addiction recovery. Technology has given recovering addicts convenient and practical tools to help them walk away from addiction. From tracking sober time, managing triggers and emotions, and finding and sharing meetings, apps for addiction recovery are aplenty whether you are using an iPhone or an Android.

mobile apps for drug addiction recovery

Today’s youth just cannot live by without their smartphones. They post and check their Facebook timelines, play games, catch up on the latest news, and send messages to friends using their smartphones. For this reason, an app that can help them recover from drug addiction can make sense.

Here are some smartphone apps that can help with addiction recovery:

Sober Grid

SoberGrid uses geo-location features to help users connect with other people who are close by. The aim of the app is to help recovering addicts strengthen their recovery networks. It also serves as a platform for users to get support when they have a feeling that they might relapse.

SoberGrid also allows users to post their pictures on their Facebook newsfeed as well as block someone from using the app. Android phone users can download the app here.

iHeal

For people who have just left a rehabilitation or recovery center, a relapse is still possible. They would need a tool that can help tell if such relapse is likely. To address this, software developers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created an app for achieving such goal.

iHeal comes with a device that is worn on the user’s arm. This gadget is designed to monitor bodily indicators such as body movement, skin temperature, and heart rate. The device also warns users if they are in the “danger zone” and adjusts itself accordingly depending on the situation.

Twelve Steps – The Companion

There are many 12-step based apps to choose from but Twelve Steps – The Companion is unlike the rest. It is both comprehensive and fun to use. It is also one of the first recovery apps that became available and has undergone several updates already.

The app’s home screen provides the user with their sobriety stats which are displayed in years, months, and years. It also has a “one day at a time” world that counts down the days of recovery until 1,000, which makes the recovery process fun and uplifting.

The app also includes the entire “Big Book” of Alcoholics Anonymous. This feature comes in handy for traveling alcoholics who cannot carry the book all the time wherever they go. The app can be downloaded in the Apple Store as well as in Google Play.

For Android users, you can download here.

Field Guide To Life Pro

Field Guide to Life Pro is an award winning app from Betty Ford Foundation. It comes with a year’s worth of addiction recovery support. Among its main features include daily guidance, reminders and inspirations. It also includes a sober counter, a personal progress monitor, community support, and relapse prevention tools.

The app provides access to several video clips of recovery experts and people saying positive and encouraging messages to the recovering addict. App developer Hazelden was the recipient of The White House Behavioral Health Patient Empowerment Challenge Award for offering crucial first year support to recovering addicts.

For Android users, download the Field Guide to Life app here.

A-Chess

A-Chess is an acronym for Addiction – Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support system. The app comes with inputs from treatment providers, clients, family members, primary care providers, and technology experts. It comes with a bevy of features for predicting, detecting, and preventing relapse. With the app, users can connect with other members for support. It also provides the recovering addict with a platform to engage in discussion groups, and have video chat sessions with counselors.

The GPS technology that comes with the app alerts the user when they are near a high-risk location such as a liquor store. One of its most outstanding features is the panic button, which sends a text message to support prompting a response for assistance. While waiting for a response, the app will send helpful features such as relaxation guides, discussion boards, and even a recording of their own motivational recovery story. When they are in a high-risk location, the app will cause the phone to ring, and several recommended coping strategies will be displayed.

A-Chess works on smartphones running on Google Android 2.3 or higher. You can download the app here.

Friend of Bill

A simple sobriety counter can already do wonders to any recovering addict, but this easy-to-use app presents the duration of staying sober from years to as detailed as minutes. You have the option to change how this app displays the time of your sobriety. In addition, each significant statistic related to sobriety comes with a slogan to motivate you to go on.

Friend of Bill is available in iOS.

One Day At A Time

Carry the famous Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous on your mobile device. One Day At A Time contains everything that you will enjoy from the book. It contains built-in features such as keyword search, access to Daily Meditations, integration of sobriety dates of your fellow recovering addicts, and easy connection to emergency contacts.

Download this app for iOS and Android.

Ascent

One effective method of avoiding relapse is by connecting with peer-recovery experts who can guide people towards full recovery. This is where the Ascent app can provide assistance, by giving users round-the-clock access to coaches who can help them get back on track in case of a potential relapse.

Unlike other downloadable apps, Ascent comes with a package that includes a connection to a coach and a support team. Users of the app can add notes for personal motivation, play videos about recovery, and track progress. It also provides opportunities to learn more about addiction recovery through the community messaging system.

Check this download page for Ascent.


 

No Replacement For Actual Intervention

It is worth noting that these apps can never replace face-to-face interaction or counseling. According to Nancy Bartnett, an Associate Professor at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies, one of the drawbacks of these technological developments is if they could really treat a serious alcoholic. “It’s not the same as going into treatment or meeting with a counselor or getting medication,” Barnett said in a news release.

Meanwhile, Mary Andres, Associate Professor of Clinical Education at the USC Rossier School of Education, explained that these apps can never replace the real thing. “You can’t replace the value of face-to-face identification and the phenomena that happens in group.” Andres said.

Nevertheless, Bartnett believes that mobile apps can serve as bridges or as an adjunctive kind of help. “They can help people to get to treatment, help people to stay in treatment, and get them thinking about treatment,” Barnett explained.

Whether you are already in recovery or thinking about walking away from your addiction, these mobile apps may help you get to the right path and become successful with your goal of becoming finally free from drugs.

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Suspecting Drug Use By Your Kids? Follow These Five Tips

Drug abuse has always been a lingering issue in the global scene, and especially in children and teenagers. It’s important for parents and guardians to always be on the lookout for the potential of their kids to engage in drug use.

drug abuse teen depressionIf you suspect your teen children to be using (or abusing) drugs, here are five steps to help you address the issue:

1. Check signs of drug use

You may not be a licensed psychologist or drug abuse expert, but you may have observed some tell-tale signs that your child may be using drugs. Some of these include missing prescription drugs in the home cabinet, frequent and excessive use of perfume (to remove smoke odor), decline in academic standing, or less frequent socialization.

2. Search their things

Although it may appear as an invasion of privacy, searching your child’s things could give you hints on their potential drug abuse. Try to do a search discretely over your kids’ room, particularly in desks and drawers, under the bed, behind the closet, or any possible space that’s good for hiding stuff.

3. Intervene immediately

A prompt intervention is a good way to start handling a drug problem, but try to make it less painful and direct. Create an atmosphere of a welcoming discussion for your children. If you feel like your emotions will get the best of you, postpone the discussion to another time. Eventually, if you feel like your child is using illegal drugs, consult a professional who can handle the situation better.

4. Implement preventive actions proactively

Restrict access to things that can potentially induce substance abuse at home. Examples include locking the liquor cabinet, making a regular inventory of the medicine cabinet contents, or verifying his performance in school.

5. Be understanding

Drug abuse may be a sensitive and alarming problem, but don’t let your child think that you’re going to police and punish them for what they did. Instead, be a parent by caring for your kid’s welfare and eventual healing. Be as understanding as possible while being firm on saying no to illegal drug use.

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