Finding Addiction Treatment While Transitioning Out of the Military

addiction in the military

Addiction recovery is necessary when one is addicted to a drug, alcohol, or multiple drugs. It doesn’t matter if it is an illicit drug, a prescribed medication, how one obtains it or in what form one uses it in, addiction is a serious problem today and many are plagued by the effects of the substance when using it.

We are seeing a pattern with our military personnel, where young veterans barely 30 arrive home over-medicated on a concoction of prescription psychotroptic (like Ritalin, Adderall, etc.) and painkiller (opioids such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, etc) drugs, prescribed by military doctors.

It is a hard truth that over-medication is an epidemic among our armed forces. Some of our veterans take upwards of 20 to 40 pills a day, and half of them are psychotropic medications. The results can be unpredictable in that one doesn’t know what effects these drugs have on a person.

According to a 2010 report by the Military Times in the time between the war’s peak (2001-2009) antipsychotic drugs jumped 200%. AstraZeneca sold $340 million worth of the psychotic medication Seroquel to the Armed forces, primarily as a sleep aid. There were 54,581 prescriptions written for active duty service members in 2011 alone (later the company was successfully sued for “off-label” use and kickbacks being paid to doctors in order to promote its use). This is just one example of one prescription medication being overly (and wrongly) used in the military.

Another report, this time provided by the Center for Public Integrity, shared that from 2005-2011 about 49,000 veterans killed themselves, which is more than double the rate of the civilian population. When so many medications have warnings on the labels for suicidal thoughts, it is no surprise, only unfortunate and unnecessary, that so many veterans are committing suicide.

By early 2013 the official website of the U.S. Department of Defense announced the incredible statistic of military suicides which occurred in 2012, averaging one per day, far exceeding those killed in battle. Only a month later the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs shared a staggering statistic of veteran suicides all the way up to 22 a day, which is 8,000 a year. The suicide rates became so extreme that the U.S. Secretary of Defense termed suicide in the military an “epidemic”.

One wonders how many of the military personnel have been prescribed these psychotropics and opioid medications without any real reasons, when the facts reveal that 85% of military suicides have not even seen combat, and 52% were never even deployed!

The Department of Defense’s fiscal spending from 2002 was at $3 billion, by 2011 it increased to $6.8 billion; with the current rise of prescription medications dispensed in the army, it is not as much as a surprising shift in expense when we know that the military has spent at least $2.7 billion on antidepressants and $1.6 billion on narcotic painkillers over the last decade, and from the time of 2001-2009 alone the Department of Defense’s orders for anxiety medications and sedatives like Valium increased 170%. By 2009 17% of active duty service members were on antidepressants (even more had been prescribed a medication) and 1 out of 6 active military members was on some form of a psychiatric drug. Out of 160 active duty suicides, one-third of them had prescription drug medication involved.

It is also surprising to note that alcohol use is in fact higher among the men and women in military service than it is among civilians. In 2008 almost half of the active duty service members reported binge drinking in 2008, and 20% of military personnel binge drank weekly in a month.

Even though illicit drug use is lower among service members, a report by the Institute of Medicine stated that 11% of service members in 2008 admitted they were abusing prescription pills; this was up from 2% in 2002 and 4% in 2005. The easy and widespread access to prescriptions allow for greater chance of addiction, an example of this is the quadrupling of pain reliever prescriptions alone from 2001-2009, written by military physicians at almost 3.8 million. 

There was a 682% increase of prescriptions in the military from 2005-2008, from which there are so many terrible stories of lives lost from addiction to medications.

It is painful to realize that our service men and women survived the war but don’t have much of a chance to survive the drug cocktails which are prescribed to them for PTSD or other manifestations.

What Is Rehab?

Rehab is a treatment center which rehabilitates a person from drug use or addiction, the purpose of a rehab is to allow an individual to become sober and live a drug- or alcohol-free life. Illicit, painkillers, psychotropic – these are all drugs that millions and millions of people are addicted to or are trying to come off of.

When our service men and women are being prescribed so many drugs while in the military, the least we can do for them when they come home is to help them to come off these addictive and dangerous drugs.

This needs to be done in a safe manner, gradually, with a health regimen in place; treatment centers are meant to assist our loved ones so that they are no longer dependent upon drugs.

Drugs should not be a problem our veterans have to face, they should be presented with the time and love of family and friends who missed them while they were away on duty serving and protecting our country.

When transitioning out of the army, we want to hear fewer prescription numbers, fewer addiction rates, and lower suicides, and to do this we need to increase drug addiction recovery rates for our military and limit or eradicate the exposure of our service men and women to prescription drugs.

Addicted to Heroin: Why it Doesn’t Have to be a Death Sentence

heroin addiction

What Percentage of Heroin Users Die?

Heroin is a highly addictive opioid or painkiller, which actually kills more Americans than Heroin and Cocaine combined (according to the Centers for Disease Control). It goes to show that all of these drugs are more dangerous than people realize.

Heroin is the number one killer of illegal drug users, it is a serious drug. No drug is safe. They all have harmful and dangerous effects, and one can overdose from them. Heroin is highly overdosed, and one in ten Heroin overdoses end in death.

You never know what you are getting when you buy any drug, it can have other toxic contaminants (such as Fentanyl, rat poison, etc.) that can bring about death and this is inclusive of Heroin. Whether mixed with other drugs or straight, Heroin is factually a deadly drug.

Some statistics on Heroin and the deaths caused by Heroin overdoses alone are:

  • Approximately 3 out 4 new Heroin users became hooked to Opioids through prescriptions first.
  • In 2002 Heroin overdose deaths were at about 2,000, by 2013 they jumped up to 8,000. That is an increase of more than 286%
  • According to a 2008 report by the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction, Opiates, mainly Heroin, were involved in four out of every five drug-related deaths in Europe.
  • In 2014 Opioids (which include both prescription painkillers and Heroin) accounted for 61% of all drug overdose deaths.
  • From 2014 to 2015 alone, Heroin overdose death rates increased by 20.6%
  • About 13,000 people died in the year 2015 from Heroin Overdose
  • Heroin overdose deaths are consistently on the rise, they have more than quadrupled since 2010

Note, that these statistics are overdose-related deaths only, this doesn’t include all deaths caused by Heroin, such as car accidents, crimes related to it, murders, accidental deaths, deaths from neglect, death by malnutrition, and much more.

Heroin Overdose

Heroin overdose is a major issue, as is using the drug at all, as using even once can not only be horribly agonizing and distorting to the body and mind, but can kill the user. 

Heroin use is on the rise. Overdose deaths from Heroin have recently increased. Heroin is a devastating drug ruining the lives of hundreds of millions of people.

Besides all of the other numerous affects that Heroin causes on the body alone, it effects the primarily life organ of the body – the heart:

  • A common heart problem caused by Heroin use is an infection on the surface of the heart known as Infectious Endocarditis from which intravenous heroin users are 300 times more likely to die from.
  • The heart pumps blood to the entire body, keeping it alive and well; Heroin use can bring about what is known as Arrhythmia which affects the rate in which the heart beats, not allowing it to pump the necessary blood to the body’s organs including the brain.
  • Another serious condition, known as a Pulmonary Edema, is when the heart isn’t pumping well and blood backs up in one’s veins. It backs all the way up into the lungs and continues into the part of the heart that it shouldn’t be in- the left side of the heart. Blood flows into the air spaces in the lungs, constricting oxygen until one can’t breathe or one has a heart attack.

Heroin causes so many more deadly injuries to the body than just the heart. A sad fact of Heroin is that most users die in their homes and/or in around another person, which suggests that Heroin addicts live with other Heroin addicts. The apathy and unawareness, that comes with Heroin use, about doing anything- even when on the brink of death, or in order to save another’s life, is shocking.

Save Lives, End Heroin Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, back in 2011 4.2 million Americans over the age of 11 had tried Heroin at least once, and an estimated 23% of them would become addicts, which equates to about 1 million of them. Almost two decades later, with statistics on Heroin quadrupling and beyond, one can see how widespread Heroin addiction is becoming – and why it needs to come to its end immediately.

Share the facts, actual truths about Heroin. Past addicts who have come out and told of their horrors while on the drug, make a huge difference in the world, as these are the realities of what Heroin brings about. The destruction of lives, the insanity, the lack of care for anything but the drug, the dismissal of family, the living standards, the criminal acts, and so much more, are the ruins of Heroin.

In knowing what percentage of Heroin users die, how many people have used Heroin, how many crimes have been committed in relation to Heroin use, how many families have suffered when Heroin was around, how many children are exposed to Heroin, what all of the effects of Heroin are, the physical and mental states caused by Heroin on any individual, what the total monetary burden on society is from Heroin alone, babies born addicted to Heroin, neglect of children by Heroin addicts, how Heroin is introduced and promoted in society, Heroin purchases funding murder and so many more statistics, can we then truly begin to address the situation.

By truly understanding what terrible situations come about in relation to Heroin use and the lives that it affects, can we become a responsible nation and lead others in ending the torments of Heroin.

Information about the problems Heroin causes in people’s lives needs to be shared.

Heroin doesn’t need to bring death and suffering, the reality is that addiction to Heroin can be overcome for good. One can return to a productive, purposeful and meaningful life once more, with their loved ones safe and happy.

Drugs are not to be lightly considered, they should be avoided at all costs, the lives ruined from Heroin alone are enough of a wake-up call. We as a society should demand of ourselves to take the responsibility to end the well-accepted drug epidemic.

The Most Dangerous and Addictive Legal Drugs

Even though laws are put in place to protect a country’s citizens, they can’t always be a surefire way to prevent all bad things from happening to them. This is especially true when talking about addiction; the law distinguishes between legal vs. illegal drugs, but that doesn’t stop some people from abusing each of them. There are many dangerous and addictive legal drugs, and you can find them anywhere from your doctor’s office to your local pharmacy.

Even though medications are made to help people feel their best, the individual can abuse them to the point of feeling physically and mentally worse. These seemly harmless over-the-counter legal drugs can cause chronic problems, serious side effects, and even accidental overdose. In 2015, there were 263.47 billion sales from pharmacy and drug stores in the United States alone. With these statistics on the rise, more and more people are being affected negatively by legal drugs.

The Most Dangerous and Addictive Legal Drugs

Alcohol — Most people forget that alcohol is a drug, too. Even though alcohol is legal for individuals who are at least 21 years old in the United States, it’s addictive and dangerous qualities can leave detrimental effects on the person’s physical health and personal life. The substance can be found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol makes the individual feel happier as it dulls their pain and impairs their judgment. Long-term alcohol use can result in sexual problems, high blood pressure, and brain damage.

Nicotine — Nicotine is the substance in cigarettes that causes people to become addicted to them. Both a stimulant and a relaxant, the drug causes people to experience a pleasant feeling as well as a rush of adrenaline. About 40 million adults in the United States still smoke cigarettes even though the statistics have been decreasing over the years, and the CDC states the smoking cigarettes is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States.

Caffeine — Even though coffee is a vital part of many individual’s morning routines, it contains one of the most addictive substances: caffeine. This drug can also be found in chocolate, soda, tea, and many other foods and drinks that we may not even realize. Caffeine can cause insomnia, increased heart rate, and twitching, while caffeine withdrawal symptoms may include lethargy, headaches, and dizziness.

Valium — Valium is the fourth most prescribed drug in the United States. It has been prescribed to treat individuals with sleeping problems, anxiety disorders, and seizure disorders. Many people who take Valium for long periods of time end up forming a dependence on the drug, which means that they cannot function properly in absence of the drug. Side effects of Valium can range from drowsiness to depression.

Opioids — Even though some opioid drugs are very illegal, some of these painkillers can be prescribed by doctors to relieve pain. They are a commonly abused medication due to their tendency to change brain chemistry and become incredibly addictive. These drugs release dopamine in the brain that creates euphoric experiences for the individual. People may also stay on opioid drugs to avoid the harsh withdrawal symptoms that come in the absence of the drug.

Ritalin — Commonly prescribed to treat ADHD or ADD, Ritalin works on the brain similar to how cocaine does. This drug contains the active ingredient methylphenidate, and there were about 16 million prescriptions for these types of drugs in 2012. Ritalin’s side effects include nervousness, heart palpitations, and vision problems. Although legal, long-term use of this drug can result in liver and kidney damage, malnutrition, or heart attack and stroke.

Adderall — This drug is commonly used by individuals who need to stay awake for long periods of time such as students or athletes. Adderall is similar to Ritalin because of its use for people with ADHD, but it can be more addictive because of its longer-lasting effects. The drug produces high levels of dopamine in the brain which makes the individual experience insomnia, headaches, and restlessness. Even though this drug is legal, over 116,000 Americans were admitted to a rehabilitation program for addiction to medications like Adderall.

Ambien — Ambien is a legal medication prescribed to help people with sleeping problems. Long-term Ambien use results in people not being able to sleep without the drug at all; their body becomes dependent on it. Ambien can also cause individuals to feel more anxious during the day, become extremely hungry, and do strange things at nighttime when sleep is supposed to be taking place. It has been known for Ambien users to have blackouts; they may get into their cars at night and wreck with no memory the next day of what happened.

Why are Some Drugs More Dangerous than Others?

Drugs interfere with the brain’s communication system, also known as the brain’s neurotransmitters. Some drugs release a lot larger amount of neurotransmitters than other drugs do, and this prevents them from recycling neurotransmitters. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is defined as, “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain — they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.”

So, why are certain drugs illegal and not others? Some of the most common illicit drugs fall into the psychoactive category, which are drugs used mainly for recreation with no medical purposes. When a drug is not considered to have a reason for consumption that will benefit the person’s physical or mental health, it is usually considered to be illegal. In the United States, legal drugs are classified into Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs, and if a drug does not fit into one of these categories, it is considered to be illegal.

If you or a loved one is seeking help for an addiction, call Choices Recovery at 1-877-467-8431 to get started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. At Choices Recovery, you will be given the necessary information you need to make decisions for treatment programs, addiction and recovery resources, detoxification, and more. Call Choices Recovery today!

Why Emotional Stability is Necessary in Addiction Recovery

There are negative and positive emotions one experiences in life, being able to recognize these and make actions based off of one’s positive emotional states is a skill in and of themselves. For stability in life, one should have a healthy body and a good selection of abilities, big or small; one can use to attain a positive emotional state and lead a successful life.  Emotional stability in addiction recovery is crucial to lasting success.

Life Skills in Recovery

When one is dealing with addiction or is in recovery from addiction, life skills can be an excellent asset and resource to utilize in being able to take on life to the fullest and stay clean and emotionally stable.

There are many programs one can find and participate in to enhance one’s life skills and abilities. Today, there are tools offered in all kinds of areas from all different types of groups and one should thoroughly look over different options to find what best suits his or her needs and desires and what seems most logical and accurate to them.

Home skills

There are life skills available in household care that one could utilize to improve one’s home living standards better and make life easier and more organized in general.

Some of these home skills could include:

  • Cleaning
  • Organizing
  • Laundry
  • Kitchen care
  • Cooking
  • Sewing

Such skills can make life at home more pleasant and keep one busy and in the here and now. It gives one time to gather one’s thoughts, and it allows a space for living where one can feel competent and able to do other things in one’s life, and not feel disrupted or agitated from messy living or a disorganized lifestyle.

Finances

Another essential part of life that one might want to take a class in, which gives them the skill to organize their finances, and set themselves up for better control of their monies and improve income flow chances is that of personal finance.

Some of these financial skills could include:

  • Balancing a checkbook
  • Budgeting
  • Paying Bills
  • How to save money
  • How to open a bank account
  • Different bank account options
  • Managing debts
  • Personal accounting

Relationships

There are social and relationship skills. This can include communication or learning how to repair broken relationships, or how to build a successful relationship.

This is valuable for personal relationships such as with a family member, a friend, or a girlfriend or boyfriend, but can also be helpful for getting a job, or with coworkers, and more.

Relationship skill courses one could find might go over:

  • Communication skills
  • Improving relationships
  • Personal values course
  • Building a successful relationship
  • Professional relationships
  • Integrity and honesty tools
  • Social Skills
  • Ups and downs in life courses

Healthy Eating and Nutrition

An essential skill set for maintaining emotional calmness and poise is that which pertains to food. Knowing what healthy food is, which foods contain which nutrients, what different vitamins and minerals your body and mind needs and what they do for them, and also, how to prepare food for yourself which would include how to cook.

Some studies and classes you might want to take regarding food could include:

  • Shopping
  • Nutrition
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Digestion
  • Food types
  • Nutrients of food
  • Herbs
  • Preparing food
  • Cooking

Physical and Emotional Benefits

It is important to know how to care for oneself physically and emotionally, besides of course the necessary and beneficial aspect of healthy eating there are other skills one should know to maintain one’s physical well being.

Some other physical health benefits one could learn about are:

  • Cardio exercise
  • Strength exercise
  • Endurance exercise
  • Stretching
  • Hydration
  • Sleep
  • Personal grooming
  • Personal hygiene
  • Massage
  • Detoxification for overall health
  • Skincare routines
  • Dental care

Job skills

Job skills are necessary for finding and maintaining a job which can support one financially and help one to be fiscally stable and secure. A feeling of pride comes with a job well done and a sense of self-respect and a renewed energy from working hard at something, not to mention the new skills and abilities which are gained from working any type

Some job skills are:

  • Resume writing
  • Interview skills
  • Job finding
  • How to keep a job
  • The meaning of hard work
  • Fair exchange
  • Working with others
  • Collaboration
  • Focus
  • Dedication
  • Manners
  • Organizational skills
  • An ability to help
  • Contribution
  • Confidence

Constructive Activities

Finding constructive pastimes to become active in can be highly beneficial to staying focused and can give one inspiration and motivation in life. One can experience a wide emotional range from arts or other constructive activities, and they can provide a positive outlet for emotion as well as a way to focus that emotional energy into something uplifting.

One can learn a lot of life skills just from participation in a constructive activity alone, these skills can also boost confidence, provide an outlet or escape, they can teach one dedication or the sense of achieving goals. A hobby could even turn into a career path or a passion for a person.

Hobbies and constructive activities could be:

  • Learning the history of music
  • Learning to play an instrument
  • Creating music
  • Reading
  • Researching
  • Studying
  • Writing
  • Gardening
  • Art
  • Crafts
  • Sports
  • Animal care
  • Organizing
  • Dancing
  • Mechanics
  • Science
  • Machines
  • Nature activities
  • Food connoisseur

There is so much to learn in life, there are so many things to gain out of living a sober life, and there are infinite skills one can try to undertake, all of which are supportive of a full and productive life. There are many types of tools one could use from various life improvement courses which can give one the necessary skills one needs to get through life and live it well.

Importance of Emotional Stability in Addiction Recovery

Dealing with addiction is much harder and tougher than after one has become clean. When one is sober one can then adjust his or her life so that he or she stays sober for life. One can focus on their recovery from addiction, and the next step would be leading one’s life as one would wish to see themselves. Then one can begin setting and achieving one’s goals with the help of their life improvement courses, classes on home and financial management, physical health and nutrition and other life skills now learned.

Having gone down the destructive and scary road of addiction, and through the tough and arduous road to recovery, one is now at the peak where he or she can choose a new path and find a mountain to climb with goals and a life of meaning and purpose. It is vital one sticks to his or her integrity and personal codes of ethics to take that hike upwards and stick to it.

One who has recovered from addiction can now not only grow as a person, but repair relationships that they feel should be repaired, form new friendships, engage in group, religious, or community activities, and is now a contributing member to society who can feel good about themselves, their family, and their actions in life.  This is when the emotional stability in addiction recovery makes a difference.

A New Start

Now one can pursue new endeavors and find things out about life one wasn’t even striving to learn before, and one can begin a new start with fresh eyes and a present mind and find activities which have meaning and which provide some sort of fulfillment to them.

The hard part is now over, you should rejoice and plan the next part of your journey, the journey of a constructive life, one which you feel good about and in which you can expand as a person with your own unique capabilities.

The life skills that you now have should help you to succeed, you can begin to encourage yourself, and to enjoy life, possibly for the first time.

Do Heroin Addicts Have a More Difficult Time Staying Sober?

heroin recovery

Heroin is one of the most dangerous and addictive drugs there is. It quickly breaks down the immune system making one a sickly, unhealthy person with extreme weight loss and other physical complications and, ultimately, dead.

Most Heroin addicts turn to Heroin after being introduced to opioid prescription medication. This is an unfortunate truth as opioid-based prescription medications are more and more common and being pushed to the average person for use as a painkiller such as when recovering from an injury or a mere headache when other painkillers “don’t work”.

Some medications which are opiates include:

  • OxyContin (Oxycodone)
  • Oxecta (Oxycodone)
  • Roxicodone(Oxycodone)
  • Perocet (Oxycodone and Aceteminophen)
  • Endocet (Oxycodone and Aceteminophen)
  • Roxicet (Oxycodone and Aceteminophen)
  • Targiniq ER (Oxycodne and Nalaxone)
  • Hysingla ER (Hydrocodone)
  • Zohydro ER (Hydrocodone)
  • Codeine
  • Actiq (Fentanyl)
  • Durasegi (Fentanyl)
  • Fentora(Fentanyl)
  • Lorcet (Hydrocodone/Acetaminphen)
  • Lortab (Hydrocodone/Acetaminphen)
  • Norco (Hydrocodone/Acetaminphen)
  • Vicodin (Hydrocodone/Acetaminphen)
  • Dilaudud (Hydromorphone)
  • Exalgo (Hydromorphone)
  • Demerol (Mereidine)
  • Dolophine (Methadone)
  • Methadose (Methadone)
  • Astramorph (Morphine)
  • Avinza (Morphine)
  • Kadian (Morphine)
  • MS Contin (Morphine)
  • Ora-Morph SR (Morphine)

Can Heroin Addicts Recover?

Most addicts are addicted for years and years of their lives, ousted by family, and they go from rehab to rehab, sometimes half a dozen, sometimes a dozen or more and some even end up in and out of jail from illegal actions to which they were driven, from being under the influence.

Unfortunately, landing in jail is sometimes the only resort in which an addict stays clean for a long period of time, because when in rehab addicts can come away with a whole new network of users and dealers to turn to when overwhelmed by drug cravings.

Heroin is a highly addictive illegal drug that millions of people all over the world are unable to overcome. Even experts place the relapse rate of heroin addicts as high as 80% and, according to the National Institutes of Health, only approximately 20% of the nation’s Heroin addicts have even sought or received treatment for their addiction.

Still, with all of the addiction to Heroin in the world, and the addiction to medically prescribed opiates which turn into Heroin addiction, and the incredibly high relapse rates, and the very low Heroin-addiction-sought treatment rates, there is hope for the Heroin user.

Recovering from Heroin

Many heroin addicts have indeed recovered fully. Recovering Heroin addicts have to fight against the mental influences of the drug and the physical influences of the drug, both altering the normal state of a person, and both compelling the user to inject, sniff, smoke, or otherwise consume it any way they can. Not only that, when recovering from Heroin, addicts go through an extremely painful withdrawal to come out the other end without a dependency on the horrifying drug, and their lives change for the better — only to go up and up from there.

One of the struggles a heroin addict faces, in a treatment center, is that there are Heroin addicts all at different stages of addiction and recovery. When one has come in to a rehab deciding to be free from drugs and stay clean, and somebody else has come in, without the interest of straightening up and instead is a bad influence, encouraging others to leave and get high, it can make sobriety a struggle, on the other hand, it is a better chance for all of them to get over their addiction and arrive at a drug-free lifestyle, than not to try at all.

Some have found that more intensive inpatient programs for Heroin addiction, such as 28-day, three-month, or longer, have been more effective than outpatient programs, as patients can be more focused and committed to recovery.

At Choices Rehab we focus on rehabilitating the Heroin addict back to a drug-free life through many of our programs. One of the recovery program’s we offer is called SMART, which is a therapy used as a supplement to one of the 12 step programs. SMART seeks to enhance motivation to abstain and teaches self-reliance and self-empowerment while helping to cope with urges and provide support, encouragement and engage in open discussions. SMART also assists with problem-solving and managing behaviors and to achieve a balanced lifestyle. We have many other programs that help in the recovery process, through music, life skills, taking responsibility, spirituality, and Men and Women’s groups.

Preparing for a Sober Life

Drug addiction can be very hard to overcome, millions and millions of people the world over try to overcome it, while drug companies, dealers, manufacturers, TV, and media make billions profiting off of lives lost to the terrible effects of drugs. Lies are told about drugs, and the truth about drugs can be hard to find, education on drug addiction is a necessary topic that isn’t focused on, enough. The regrettable effects of a drug are not only tormenting the body and mind and spirit while using but also when withdrawing. The nutrients, vitamins, and minerals lost from drugs start to become apparent to an addict when no longer made unaware by the effects of the drug. The family, friends, loved ones, problems, situations and solutions to life are no longer numbed into silence. One can achieve his goals and dreams, one can have interests and passions again.

When preparing for entering a rehab, one should learn everything they can about that rehab to make sure its activities and programs seem like a good fit. One should compare its statistics and measurements to see what its success rates are.

One should find out what health programs they have for physically rebuilding the body back up after the harrowing effects of Heroin. Vitamins and minerals are depleted from Heroin addiction, the organs of the body are stressed, the liver is overloaded with toxins and the body needs these and other nutrients to recover, to make it through withdrawal, and to heal. They also help with the mental effects of Heroin withdrawal, for many vitamins, like the B vitamins, counter-act depression and anxiety.

One would want to ensure they were going to a rehab that didn’t put them on another drug to help them get off of Heroin, because it won’t do much good to go in addicted to one drug and come out addicted to another.

It would be good to prepare oneself for alone time, “me time”, a time to relax and re-cooperate, to confront and shatter the addiction and those around one holding one down and keeping one high. It might be nice to have a journal to write about the recovery process and encourage oneself to stay true to the goal. Maybe to plan for an interactive art or recreational activity while in rehab, to focus, practice dedication and discipline and to lose oneself in the creative process. Or to take part in an extroverted activity like nature participation, walking, hiking, dancing, martial arts, or exercise programs. One could start this preparation by just choosing what it is they want to be involved with and thinking about what it would be like, or one could start taking walks or drawing.

One could begin to help the body detox by adding vegetables to their diet at home, to begin counteracting the effects of Heroin or other drugs, and to begin supporting the body for the withdrawal, and to help it reduce cravings, all by giving it the nutrition it needs through green leafy vegetables.

There is a lot one can do to prepare to enter a rehab program.

There is even more one can look forward to once recovered from addiction. One’s whole life is ahead of them, it is no longer near-death, it is near-life, once clean. There is so much to achieve, to get out of life, and when you do you will feel good about yourself, and stronger than you ever did, and more connected with your loved ones.

Many people often challenge, “Can Heroin addicts recover?” The answer is yes, they can.

The Stigma Against Heroin Addicts: Why It Deters Them from Getting Help

heroin addiction

Heroin is classified as an opioid, which comes from the Opium Poppy or a synthetic chemical similar to it. Opioids not only include Heroin but other nefarious drugs such as Opium and Morphine as well as doctor prescribed drugs like Oxycodone and Hydrocodone.

It all started with an Opium addiction in the US in the 1850s. So the method of helping the addicted come off of Opium was to provide addicts with a substance that was supposed to be less potent and non-addictive, and this substitute was called Morphine.

Morphine addiction soon rose to a greater substance problem than Opium had been.

To help these junkies come off of Morphine, they came up with yet another new, “non-addictive” drug, and this new drug, in fact still as highly addictive as ever, is called Heroin.

One doesn’t need to guess what the cure-replacement to Heroin is, as it is common from “treatment center” to “treatment center” and that is Methadone. Methadone, like the other treatment drugs, is of course, more addictive than Heroin.

Not only does the medical industry come up with this unworkable “replacement drug” but it is they who often get Heroin addicts addicted in the first place. Doctors, rather than dealers, give out pharmaceutical medications, which are in fact, opiates. They are from the same derivatives as Heroin since they are all opiates.

The prescriptions dispensed are, as one could assume, incredibly addictive, but they are also expensive. The person with an injury who was given these to mask their pain, now addicted and time gone by, which does the actual healing of the injury, are now no longer prescribed them, and at this point they are addicted, and naturally, turn to what is most similar in high and dirt cheap -Heroin on the street.    

Heroin Epidemic

Heroin is not just a problem of the tough and gritty, desolate and homeless street-gang member. As mentioned above it is a common problem for those who were prescribed it by the hands of an MD, but they are not the only people it ruins the lives of, Heroin is also in the hands of the small and innocent children.

It is a sad fate, that illegal drugs are being pushed to school children. A little over ten years ago, the Survey on Drug Use and Health found that 9.5% of kids from 12-17 were current illegal drug users. Often starting with marijuana which easily and quickly extends to harder drugs like Heroin. Heroin is not only injected but smoked, or sniffed or used in various other forms, sometimes erroneously conceived as being“less dangerous” or “less addictive”. Another study done even earlier in time, from between 1995 and 2002 found the number of youth in America from age 12 to 17 who used Heroin at some point in their life, had increased by an incredible 300%, one could only imagine what the increase rates are now, almost two decades later.

Around the same time, the mortality rate of Heroin addicts was estimated to be twenty times greater than the mortality rate of non-Heroin-users.

A little bit later on, in 2008, a report was done by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime which stated that 16 million people worldwide used Opiates which includes Heroin, Opium, Morphine and Synthetic Opiates. That same year the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction found that Heroin alone was used by 9.2 million people.

Still, going a bit further on in time, Federal Health Professionals in the USA have reported that between 2002 and 2013 Heroin deaths quadrupled, and every year since then they have continued to rise sharply. It is noted that statistics on overdose deaths tend to be under-reported, and with that in mind, as well as the fact that it has been many years later, one could conclude that death rates have increased astronomically in the present.

The Bird Flu was the most recent scare, thought to become a massive epidemic, and so, professionals like coroners prepared for it thinking that their mortuary would become so full that they would need over-sized trailers to put bodies in, instead there is a different epidemic, that these trailers are being used for; the drug epidemic.

Drugs are the real enemy to Americans. Out of reported overdoses, 64,000 people died from a drug overdose just last year, almost half of them from Heroin alone.

When we realize more people died from drugs last year than from the Vietnam War, or than from gun violence and car crashes, and even than the AIDS epidemic, we realize the true threat to the American people. There is a consensus among experts predicting that half a million people will die of opioid addiction alone in this coming decade, that is the equivalent of a huge, bustling city like Baltimore!

Millions of people around the world are addicted to Heroin. But do Heroin addicts recover?

Can a Heroin Addict Stay Clean?

One wonders, do Heroin addicts recover? Can a heroin addict stay clean? Yes, the answer is yes to both.

Although recovering from heroin addiction can be tough, and some experts place the rates of recovery possibly as low as 20%, while only 20% of the nation’s heroin addicts have even sought treatment, it can seem like an uncertain result. This is why alternative and natural rehab facilities are becoming greater and greater in number; they get results.

With Methadone on the rise and with who-knows-what the next “replacement drug” that will be medically “approved”is (and yet a more addictive drug despite reports otherwise), it is no surprise that conventional rehabs are coming out with such low rates, and that more and more high-quality, alternative, detox-focused and nutrition-oriented rehabs are coming to light.

The stigma against Heroin addicts not being able to recover is primarily started from the medicos who addict the prescription-turned-Heroin-user and then turn them on to a stronger, more addictive drug with the assertion and claim that it is the necessary replacement drug to help the addicted get off of Heroin.

The only other mark of disgrace associated with Heroin addicts is truly the fact that they are addicted to a substance which factually causes addiction in humans, and is yet labeled as a “mental illness”.

The stigma against Heroin addicts will be removed as more information and proof is being shared among the public that there is an alternative to getting the addicted off of drugs, and it is not only common sense and true health, but it works.

It will be intriguing to see what the statistics of Faith-based and other similar alternative drug rehabilitation centers come up with and when asked, “Can a Heroin Addict Stay Clean?”the answer will always be, not out of encouragement, (though there might be some of that in there too) but it will be one out of the sheer fact of it, – “Yes.”

Clean Eating

What is Clean eating? Clean eating is merely what it sounds like, eating clean foods. This would be chemical-free foods that aren’t sprayed and don’t have additives or random things added to your foods such as a tomato having the genes of a pig (GMO). How do you find foods which don’t have pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides sprayed on them, and aren’t made using GMO methods, or don’t have other harmful toxins in them? Lucky for you these are all classified under one term, Organic. Besides the big sign that points to “Organic Produce” there is another way to find out if your fruit or vegetable is Organic or Genetically Modified, if for example, you’re at some general store or a cafeteria. If you pick up a fruit, say an orange, you will notice a sticker attached to it. On the sticker there is a code of digits. If there is a five digit code that starts with the number 9 this signifies it is an organic orange. If however, it is a five digit code beginning with the number 8 it is a GM orange.

Eating whole foods, vegetables, fruits, and good fats and high-quality proteins that are Organic, and avoiding sugar and things that turn into sugar once eaten such as grains, would be an excellent way to feed your body healthy, clean foods.

Drugs Deplete

Drugs deplete your body’s supply of vital nutrients and interfere with its natural abilities to heal and produce its own vitamins and minerals and to absorb an intake of vitamins and minerals. They often make you so disconnected from your body and surroundings that you don’t know when your stomach tells you that you are hungry, or when your sensory perceptions alarm you of pain. Addiction causes damage to your body to such an extent that you need to heal it, not only organ by organ, but on a cellular level. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can actually cause such metabolic imbalances that it can create addictive cravings and other mental symptoms that can block recovery and potentially lead to relapse.

A number of drugs interfere with digestion and absorption of food which includes vitamins and
minerals, resulting in deficiencies and so nutritional needs are increased.
One prime example of a necessary vitamin that you can get from oranges and other citrus fruits, kale, collard greens and other green leafy vegetables, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, is Vitamin C. Vitamin C is such an incredible vitamin for drug rehabilitation. This vitamin is severely depleted by drugs and alcohol. It has been shown to prevent and to minimize the toxicity of drugs and allergic reactions. It has been proven to help with withdrawal, such as from Opioids, and to decrease dependence on drugs like Morphine. Some withdrawal symptoms that vitamin C helps with are stress, anxiety, and depression.

Nutritionist Adelle Davis wrote in her Drugs Versus Nutrition, on Detoxification by Vitamin C:
“When 300 to 800 milligrams of vitamin C were given daily with a single drug, the period of treatment
was considerably shortened, and larger, more effective doses could be used when needed. The
vitamin also helps to prevent the liver damage known to be caused by a number of drugs.”
One other extremely important class of vitamin worth expounding upon are the B vitamins. B1 is similar to vitamin C in that it helps with withdrawal symptoms but it also helps with moodiness or nightmares that occur from the depletion of this vitamin. The B vitamins are neuro-protective and they too, provide the potential to reduce addiction.

Some depleted vitamins and minerals from drugs that should be replaced include:
 Vitamin C
 The B Vitamins (Citicoline, Niacin, B1, B2, B5, B6 and B9)
 Vitamin D
 Zinc
 Calcium
 Magnesium
 Iron

Some examples of specific addiction-caused deficiencies are:
Alcohol: B1(thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B6(pyridoxine), and B9 (folate) are common B vitamin deficiencies brought on by drinking, and can lead to complex issues such as neurological disorders. Other common deficiencies of vitamins and minerals include, but aren’t limited to, Vitamin C, Calcium and Iron.
Opiates: These include Heroin, Opium, and Morphine but also prescribed medications (such as OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Demerol, Fentanyl, Dolophine, Vicodin, Endocet, Percocet, Methadone and so many more). These do so much damage to the body, and it’s various functions, one of which is the digestive system. Other examples could include nausea, vomiting, breathing issues, loss of memory, and depression.
Stimulants: These would be Crack, Meth, Ecstacy, Ritalin, Adderall and Nicotine. Stimulants create nutritional deficiencies in multiple areas. A prime issue with Crack and Methamphetamines is that they often times cause users to stay up for days, which is wearing on the body. Other issues could include convulsions, malnutrition, brain damage and so on. There is also a host of emotional problems such paranoia, anger, anxiety, panic, depression, and psychosis.

Clean Foods, A Clean Diet

Foods that help counteract Alcohol depletion:
 Milk
 Butter
 Yogurt
 Spinach
 Kale
 Chicken
 Fish
 Asparagus
 Bone Broth
 Ginger

Foods that replenish Opiate depletion:
 Kale
 Collard Greens
 Beans
 Fermented vegetables
 Sauerkraut

 Keifer
 Cabbage
 Cauliflower
 Avocados
 Turmeric
 Raw Honey

Foods that help with depletion caused by stimulants:
 Kale
 Fish
 Eggs
 Milk
 Broccoli
 Tomatoes
 Artichoke
 Brussels Sprouts
 Soup
 Lemon

In addition to food, hydration is also a key element to implement when recovering from drug
addiction or alcohol dependency as water is greatly depleted from the body, and alcohol in particular, is notorious for dehydrating the body. Your body needs to be hydrated to function at all. Every cell, tissue, and organ needs it. It boosts your immune system, which fights against disease, illness, and allergies. Water carries what we need to heal and grow, it also helps the liver and similar organs to carry away waste from the body. Drinking plenty of water helps one recover from the effects of addiction and also helps cleanse the body of an unhealthy diet, pollutants, and other harmful toxins. If one has been vomiting or having diarrhea from the effects of the toxins expelling from one’s system it is vitally important to increase water intake.
One way to help your body use the water you drink is through Electrolytes. Electrolytes are made up a group of over 70 vital minerals like Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium, Chloride and Calcium. Electrolytes balance the systems in the body which regulate not only hydration but also nerve and muscle function, immunity, digestion and overall recovery.

Foods and Drinks that help with Electrolytes and Hydration:
 Pineapple
 Coconut
 Papaya
 Mango
 Banana
 Lemon
 Lime
 Kale
 Collard Greens
 Turnip Greens
 Eggs
 Brazil Nuts
 Coconut water
 Kombucha
 Electrolyte packets that can be added to water

What drug addiction and alcohol abuse are doing essentially, is giving the body poisons which deprive it of its natural resources and confuse its functions and capabilities, but you are healing the body and now giving it what it needs not only to repair itself but to function properly and operate well. There are many elements to taking care of the body, exercise, sleep, hydration, but one of the first orders of business is to ensure clean eating.

Faith and Addiction: How the Major Religions View Recovery

faith and addiction

Religion is an important matter and in the matters of addiction, recovery, and relapse it is very relevant; as there are more than 350,000 religious congregations in the United States, a total of 95% of Americans have some religious faith, and research has shown that spiritual persons are less likely to abuse alcohol and other drugs.

Studies done on alcohol abuse have shown that 88% found lower alcohol abuse for those with a higher religious involvement. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, studies have shown those who hold the importance of religion are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs. One national study showed that among religious adolescents, 9.9% had used marijuana, compared with 21.5% of adolescents whom religion was only a little important.

Religion has been associated with positive drug-related outcomes and most religions explicitly prohibit or discourage substance use, therefore there is a certain resilience and ability to recover from substance addiction in those who practice a religion. This shows that abstinence and addiction are lower for those of religious beliefs and that religion could very well be a vital agent in overcoming addiction.

CHRISTIANITY

Christianity presently is the largest religion. In 2010, it was found that there were 2.18 billion Christians and a total 32% of the world’s population is considered to be Christian. Therefore, Christianity is the majority leader of religiously affiliated treatment programs in America. One of the most well-known treatment programs in the world is A.A (Alcoholics Anonymous) which is based on the Bible. Christianity is based on relieving oneself of one’s sins, by confessing and repenting for them. Some verses from the Bible that could be studied, or prayed upon, which might free one from the sins of addiction include:

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
[1 Corinthians 10:13]

“Whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.”
[Hosea 4:11]

“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
[Ephesians 5:18-20]

BUDDHISM

Another example of a major religious faith is Buddhism. Buddhism is a centuries-old Eastern practice that today is still widespread across many countries and cultures, made up of over 360 million people who practice it. In religious rehabs, Buddhism is additionally adapted in recovery for the substance addicted to overcome addiction through meditation and other similar processes.

HINDUISM

Another Eastern religion is Hinduism, with billions of followers the world over, it is the third largest religion and is in fact recognized as the oldest known religion. One of the pieces of this religion is so successful that people in all walks of life practice it to the degree that is has become a health and self-improvement fad, yoga.

Hindu techniques are very powerful and address the mind, spirit, body, and emotional state of a person. Hinduism teaches that the entire universe is connected including living life in balance with nature. Hindus have a daily relationship with God but turn to God for help as a last resort, with taking responsibility for self and others as the first intention. Meditation and self-control are other techniques used in the Hindu religion and the health of the whole person, instead of only their addiction habits, are zeroed in upon. All of these methods can be and are used in addiction recovery.

ISLAM

In the Islamic religion, the use of drugs and alcohol is forbidden, addiction is viewed as a sin. The Quran is the Book they turn to for guidance in life and through addiction, the “Six Articles of Faith” summarizes Islamic beliefs about God, angels, prophets, the afterlife, and predestination. The purpose of life is to live in a way pleasing to their God, Allah, and in turn, gain His forgiveness and entrance into Paradise. Here is a verse related to alcohol and addiction:

“Satan only seeketh to breed animosity and spites among you by means of wine and gambling and would keep you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer; will ye not then desist?”
[Sura 5 – Al-Maeda (MADINA): Verse 91, Translation: Eng-Abdul Daryabadi]

JUDAISM

Judaism began as early as 2000 BCE, and today has approximately 14 million followers, and 3.5 billion others follow religious beliefs that are directly influenced by Judaism, such as Christianity and Islam. In Judaism, like Islam, they believe that there is only one God.

Huston Smith in The World’s Religions expounds upon the influence of the Jewish religion upon current civilization: “It has been estimated that one-third of our Western civilization bears the marks of its Jewish ancestry.” Sacred texts that serve as a basis for Jewish law and spirituality include the Torah and the Talmud, also the Temple can be turned to for support and strength when overcoming addiction and other spiritual hardships.

NON-DENOMINATIONAL

One doesn’t even have to have a specific religious belief to be accepted at most religious-based rehabs, some are more devout while others are looser in their religious application. The main aspect is that most major religions view addiction as a problem to be overcome, and recovery not only as possible but as achievable.

Statistics on Addiction Recovery

An estimated 208 million people use illegal drugs. In the month prior to a survey done in 2007 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the results showed that 8% of the population aged 12 and older, or 19.9 million Americans used illegal drugs. The top 10% of American drinkers, 24 million adults over the age of 18, consume on average 10 drinks per day.

Statistics on addiction recovery rates are hard to find due to the varying degrees of quality for each treatment center and due to the different types of substance abuse. Because drug addiction is such a prevalent problem today, the statistics on its usage and on relapse rates are the focus; as to fix a problem one must first know what the problem is. However, it is necessary to know what percentage of addicts recover from treatment and that varies from rehab to rehab, and as more studies are done on this and as more alternative programs continue to surface, as they are, we will know more on addiction recovery rates.

Some statistics for inpatient treatment plans show that:

  • Out of 73% of addicts who completed treatment, 21% remain sober after 5 years.
  • Out of 51% of addicts who completed residential treatment, 21% remained sober after 5 years.
  • Out of 43% of addicts who completed outpatient drug-free treatment, 18% remained sober after five years.

Addiction recovery is possible. The more alternative addiction recovery programs that continue to pop up, the more religious rehabs become known. This will then increase the number of detox-based rehabs, resulting in greater chances that statistics on addiction recovery will rise.

Relapsing on Probation: Is the Justice System Failing Addicts?

heroin recovery

Why Do People Relapse on Drugs?

Drug addiction is a huge problem. As the drug trade is a $400 billion dollar industry, one could imagine the struggle against relapse when rehabs don’t always bring about recovery.

Addiction relapse is very common because drugs are a poison that interferes with your body’s normal functioning and chemical interactions, vital organs such as the brain and heart. They slowly kill the body in such a way that one usually starts hallucinating, can become paranoid, and so much more depending on the drug of choice, and the user is not thinking about anything else but getting that high. The body begins to build a little tolerance over time to the drug it takes so that the same high is unachievable and the addict feels they need to use a higher dose to try to achieve that same high. So often a never-ending cycle, which on the downward spiral of their lives, often result in death by overdose.

People often think of drugs as, “not being that serious,” that, “peer pressure is more important,” or simply that, “just one hit,” isn’t going to turn them into a user for life, but the fact of the matter is that nearly all users who start of down that path don’t think that they are going to become addicted. The dependency on drugs really becomes in the addict’s altered reality, more a necessity of life than food, shelter, or water, not to mention family members being cast aside in their tunnel view of the next high.

When a Drug Addict Relapses

Finding the right rehab so that the addict doesn’t relapse can be very tricky. Often times there are other addicts at a drug rehab who have a different drug of choice from the other users, and in describing their highs and the drug, and even sometimes sneaking the substance in, other users can get out and, not find their normal drug of choice, turn to one they heard about that sounded like a similar high or stronger high. Usually, something happens in their life, such as “friends” who have a bad influence on the user, start coming around, wanting to get high with them or having the intent of dealing so that they, themselves can get their next high too. Or dealers come banging on their door pushing. Or they have a stressful situation come up, such as a job loss or a loved one pass, and not coming up with another solution, they turn back to the drug. Although it can be difficult to predict, willpower and exposure influence the relapse.

One of the questions at present in relation to the judicial system and addicts is, in the eyes of a judge, whether or not a relapsing addict should go to prison or to rehab.

Should the Justice System Have a Hand in Rehab?

Court ordered rehab is when the judge and prosecution feel that a defendant would benefit from rehab rather than going to jail, and the judge makes that the pronouncement. One suggestion is for the judge to create a plan that the addict can implement if they feel they are going to relapse, such as a number they can call or somewhere they could go be that would help them stay clean, but some are concerned with what could this entail; could someone be institutionalized against their will simply because they are addicted to drugs, and experienced the unfortunate but common relapse? But what gives the court a right to interfere with someone’s personal choices bad as they might be, or individual challenges that they face?

One such famous example from 1962 is Robinson vs. California which was taken to the Supreme Court. The syllabus states: “A California statute makes it a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for any person to ‘be addicted to the use of narcotics,’ and, in sustaining petitioner’s conviction thereunder, the California courts construed the statute as making the ‘status’ of narcotic addiction a criminal offense for which the offender may be prosecuted ‘at any time before he reforms,’ even though he has never used or possessed any narcotics within the State and has not been guilty of any antisocial behavior there.”

The main thing to consider is whether it is effective or not for a judge to rule, shouldn’t it be a personal choice of the defendant and isn’t that choice their right? Or should someone who is destructive to themselves and society (and most importantly who is actively partaking in an illegal activity) be under the authority of a judge, dictating that he go to rehab instead of jail time?

Another common factor that holds much concern over the potential of a judge ruling rehab for the addicted is the fact that all rehabs are different and vary in quality and result, and some that might work for one person, might not work for another. For example, if an addict was very religious and felt that their only way to reform was from God’s forgiveness and acceptance first, and guidance next, and they were very devout and didn’t feel they could possibly recover otherwise, yet a judge not wanting to enter into religious matters, enforces the addict to go to a cut and dry rehab. Beside the addict not being able to express his grievances he might not want to go to a rehab and could suddenly have addiction relapse.

A more basic example might be that a person has been to 10 rehabs and has been addicted for more than half his life, and simply doesn’t want to go to rehab, could the law enforce him to come clean, and will it result in recovery? Yet another stance is how far could this be taken? Could a judge get a criminal out of jail time simply because he was also a drug addict?

Where Does the Judicial System Fit In?

Recovery can occur, whether it happens the first time, after relapse or even in or out of rehab, but it seems that rehab nonetheless should remain for the addict to choose, not a judge to enforce. Just as a judge shouldn’t be able to adjudicate whether or not a person should be put into a mental institution, or, as ridiculous as it may sound, ruled to take part in an intensive weight loss program. Recovery only occurs first and foremost with the willingness of the addicted and his decision to achieve a drug-free way of life.

A common question is, “Why do people relapse on drugs?” There are many reasons that the addicted relapses, but it is important to remember, the long road can truly come to an end and persistence can win out. Call Choices Recovery and let us help you on the road to recovery.

The Hidden Causalities of IV Drug Abuse

iv drug abuse

IV Drug Abuse

IV drug abuse is most commonly associated with heroin, and although it primarily is heroin that is used intravenously, Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Morphine, Amphetamines, and even prescription drugs are also abused through IV injection.

An estimated 13.5 million people in the world use opioids, which includes 9.2 million who specifically use heroin, some estimate figures as high as 900,000 in the US alone, while the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported 153,000 current heroin users. Drugs related to the opium flower, besides heroin, which were all originally medical pain relieving drugs include but aren’t limited to Methamphetamine, Morphine, Codeine, Methadone, Laudanum, Vicodin, Oxycontin, and Percocet some of which dated back as far as the 16th century. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime gave a report of amphetamine-type stimulants totaling 24.7 million abusers.

Friends and Family

Friends and family surrounding the IV drug abusers suffer tremendously by watching almost helplessly as their loved one dwindles downwards in addiction thereby ruining their life, and they, too, are the casualties of IV drugs. The addicted know the hardships they are causing on their friends and family and upon themselves but are driven to it by the painful mental and physical effects of the drug. Some stories of heroin addicts and other IV abusers are:

“You believe that coke will increase your perceptions, that it will allow you to surpass yourself, that you will be able to control things. It’s bloody nonsense. After a while you don’t pay your bills anymore, you don’t wash yourself anymore, you give up your friends, your family. You will become defenseless and alone.” —Nigel

“Heroin cut me off from the rest of the world. My parents kicked me out. My friends and my brothers didn’t want to see me anymore. I was all alone.”—Suzanne

Babies

One of the worst hidden casualties of IV drug abuse is the most delicate and unsuspecting victims: babies. In the last decade, babies being born addicted to drugs have increased by a staggering 500 percent, and according to a study done by the University of Michigan, a baby is born every hour addicted to some sort of opiate in the US.

Cocaine, the second most trafficked illegal drug in the world, like heroin and the other aforementioned drugs, is also used for IV injection. Cocaine is a multi-billion dollar enterprise worldwide and is one of the most dangerous drugs due to the higher and higher dosages the addicted needs because of the adapting tolerance levels of the body. Even schoolchildren as young as eight become addicted, not to mention the children born to cocaine-addicted mothers, many of which are afflicted with birth defects.

Being born addicted to drugs and suffering from withdrawal is medically termed as Neo-Natal Abstinence Syndrome, NAS. This is unimaginably painful for the baby. The same study mentioned above revealed that 13,539 babies are born with NAS each year. It is hard to realize that mothers who are addicted continue to use while pregnant resulting in newborns arriving suffering from extreme withdrawal symptoms every 25 minutes. In just one decade, the babies being born addicted to drugs quadrupled in the US, Kentucky is one of the worst hit, with originally just 28 drug-dependent babies born in the year 2000, to an unbelievable 1,409 in 2014.

“Welfare money was not enough to pay for our meth habit and support our son so we turned our rented home into a meth lab. We stored the toxic chemicals in our refrigerator not knowing that the toxins would permeate [go into] the other food in the icebox.

When I gave my three-year-old son some cheese to eat, I did not know that I was giving him poisoned food. I was too stoned on meth to notice, until twelve hours later, that my son was deathly ill. But then I was so stoned it took me two hours to figure out how to get him to the hospital five miles away. By the time I got to the emergency room my boy was pronounced dead of a lethal dose of ammonia hydroxide—one of the chemicals used to make meth.” —Melanie

Not just US babies are tortured from NAS, it is a worldwide issue. Addiction plagues not only the user and those that surround her but also her innocent newborn.

Society

It is known what the drug user inflicts upon himself. We have covered what the family and friends go through and also the faultless babies, not only are they pained, but the community around him hurts, the taxpayers of the country endure, and still, the society as a whole suffers.

According to the Center on Addiction Research, federal, state, and local governments spend close to $500 billion each year on addiction and substance abuse. Over the past four decades, they have spent over 1 trillion dollars on the war on drugs and taxpayers are the ones who get stuck with the bill.

There are various infections related to opioid drug use, including MRSA which costs around $6 billion a year to treat in the U.S., or $60,000 per patient, and Endocarditis which costs around $50,000 a year. One example of a single uninsured user’s four treatments of Endocarditis was almost $400,000 and that wasn’t including her cardiac surgery or other past and potential future treatments due to her addiction.

The average cost for a baby’s stay in the hospital is also over $50,000. Heroin addicts and other IV Drug addicts affect more people than probably thought imaginable. The addicted, their family, friends, neighbors, and society as a whole are dramatically traumatized by drugs.

Stories of Heroin Addicts

Stories of heroin addiction are as numerous as there are heroin addicts, 9.2 million users, if not more when considering the friends and families who are casualties of the heroin user with their own stories.

Some personal stories of heroin addiction are:

“From the day I started using, I never stopped. Within one week I had gone from snorting heroin to shooting it. Within one month I was addicted and going through all my money. I sold everything of value that I owned and eventually everything that my mother owned. Within one year, I had lost everything.

I sold my car, lost my job, was kicked out of my mother’s house, was $25,000 in credit card debt, and living on the streets of Camden, New Jersey. I lied, I stole, I cheated.

I was raped, beaten, mugged, robbed, arrested, homeless, sick and desperate. I knew that nobody could have a lifestyle like that very long and I knew that death was imminent. If anything, death was better than a life as a junkie.”—Alison

Drugs equal death. If you do nothing to get out, you end up dying. To be a drug addict is to be imprisoned. In the beginning, you think drugs are your friend (they may seem to help you escape the things or feelings that bother you). But soon, you will find you get up in the morning thinking only about drugs.

Your whole day is spent finding or taking drugs. You get high all afternoon. At night, you put yourself to sleep with heroin. And you live only for that. You are in a prison. You beat your head against a wall, nonstop, but you don’t get anywhere. In the end, your prison becomes your tomb.” —Sabrina

“People believe that heroin is super, but you lose everything: job, parents, friends, confidence, your home. Lying and stealing become a habit. You no longer respect anyone or anything.”Pete (Quotes of users taken from Foundation for a Drug-Free World)

Heroin Addiction Recovery Stories

Heroin addiction recovery stories are sadly less numerous but are nevertheless inspiring and give heroin addicts and their families hope. Furthermore, when broader reaching, they have the possibility of getting other heroin addicts recovered, once and for all.

They range from someone like Christina’s who started from painkiller addiction to someone like Corey’s who went through his addiction and came out the other end, wanting to help other people. Watch their videos and see their full heroin addiction recovery stories.