What Emojis Are Kids Using to Buy & Sell Drugs?

When it comes to kids and drug use, there is a lot that parents need to be on the lookout for. Unfortunately, new research suggests that kids are now turning to slang terms and emojis to hide illicit drug use from their parents and the authorities. These covert techniques make it more difficult for adults to detect suspicious behavior, leaving kids at greater risk of addiction and negative consequences.

At the heart of this shift in communication is the rise of smartphone technology. Kids are constantly using emojis, texting slang terms, and engaging in other forms of digital communication on their mobile devices. But while these behaviors were once harmless ways of expressing themselves or staying connected with peers, they can now be used as a smokescreen for illicit drug use.

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With the young ones using coded language or emojis to reference drugs when communicating online, it's much more difficult for parents to recognize troubling behavior. But luckily, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has shared a reference guide to give parents, educators, caregivers, and other influencers a better sense of how young people are using emojis in conjunction with illicit drugs.

According to the DEA, the coded language benefits drug dealers and youngsters seeking drugs. On the one hand, it protects the dealers from getting caught or detected. On the other, it allows minors to buy drugs without their parents or guardians knowing, as the emojis often seem harmless to an untrained eye. The secret codes and emojis also bypass law enforcement's monitoring of certain websites and social media platforms where illegal substances are bought and sold.

Emoji Drug Code: Decoded - A Look Into the DEA's Emoji Chart

Social media has long been a place where illegal drugs are sold. But in recent years, law enforcement agencies have begun to notice the new ways people use emojis to buy and sell drugs.

To share information, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offers this reference guide that decodes the meanings behind some of the most popular emojis used in conjunction with illegal drugs.

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Fake Prescription Drug Examples

Minors and dealers use these emojis to refer to the following fake prescription drugs:

 

Dealer Signals Examples

Drug dealers also have a secret code explaining how the drugs in question may be delivered. For example, they may use a gas pump, car, or cellphone for in-person deliveries and a parachute or shipping box for mail deliveries. According to the DEA's chart, dealer signals include:

Other Drugs

The DEA further explained that other drugs have their corresponding emoji code as well, including:

Other Emojis to Watch Out For

Beyond the emojis provided by the DEA, there are other creative ways in which people are using emojis to buy and sell drugs, including:

ūüĆŅ / ūüćĀ / ūüćÉ / ūü•¶ ‚ÄĒ Marijuana

ūüíČ / ūüźČ / ūüźé / ūüéĮ ‚ÄĒ Heroin

‚õ∑ÔłŹ / ūü•• / ūü§ß ‚ÄĒ Cocaine

ūü§§ / ūü§Į ‚ÄĒ MDMA

ūüí® / ūüö¨ ‚ÄĒ Smoking a joint

‚öóÔłŹ ‚ÄĒ Used to indicate a bong

ūü•ß ‚ÄĒ A large number of drugs

ūüĒģ ‚ÄĒ Cough syrup

ūüŹĒ ‚ÄĒ Crystal meth

ūüíä ‚ÄĒ Prescription pills, heroin, or drugs generally

‚õĹ ‚ÄĒ "Gassed," intoxicated

ūüĒ• ‚ÄĒ To have fun, meaning intoxicated, to "blaze up" or "be lit"

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Why is it Important to Know These Emojis?

Parents and guardians need to know these emojis because kids use them to buy and sell drugs. The emojis seem harmless to an untrained eye, but they have a secret code that kids and dealers use to talk about drugs. In the age where drug overdose deaths in adolescents have increased dramatically, it's more important than ever to uncover teen drug abuse before it's too late.

Drug use is a real problem among minors. While some might try out drugs because of peer pressure, many minors use drugs to cope with mental health disorders like stress or depression. Sadly, drug use is claiming more adolescents' lives each year.

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, overdose deaths among adolescents nearly doubled from 492 in 2019 to 954 in 2020 and increased another 20% in 2021. These deaths are mostly driven by illicit fentanyl, fentanyl analogs, methamphetamine, and cocaine, often in combination or adulterated forms.

As more kids adopt emojis for concealing illegal activity, parents and other concerned parties must take the time to understand their language patterns and educate themselves about this new form of drug-related communication. Watching for warning signs can help, but being proactive by learning the code can be even more effective in keeping minors safe.

What to Do When You Notice A Minor Using These Emojis for Drugs

If you see a minor using any of these emojis in an online chat, in person, or in a text message, it's important to take action. While not all drug-related emoji use is indicative of illegal activity, it's always best to err on the side of caution and address the issue directly with the child in question.

Discuss with them why drug use is dangerous and why you're concerned. If they are using drugs or binge drinking alcohol, help them get the treatment they need to overcome their drug use problem. Treatment centers offer comprehensive programs, including cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy, that can help your child recover from addiction and lead a happy, healthy life. The programs can also arm them with coping skills to avoid relapse in the future.

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What Does Long Term Drug Use Do To Your Body?

When it comes to drug abuse, the main concern is often the immediate health impacts of drug use. However, there are also several long-term effects of drug abuse on various systems in the body. For example, prolonged exposure to certain drugs can cause changes in vital organs like the heart, lungs, liver, and brain.

These changes can lead to serious health problems like liver disease, liver failure, brain damage, mental illness, heart disease, and in some cases, death. Chronic drug use can increase susceptibility to other diseases like cancer or infections due to suppressed immune function.

This article will take a closer look at some of the more common long-term effects of drug abuse on various systems in the body.

Different Classes of Drugs and Their Long-Term Implications on the Body

There are three types of drugs; depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Each one has a different effect on the body.

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Depressants

Depressants like alcohol, cannabis, benzodiazepines, heroin and other opioids slow down the function of the central nervous system (CNS). Depressants may cause slower reflexes, dizziness, and poor coordination and balance when taken in small quantities.

Large doses may lead to nausea, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. When taken over a long period, depressants may cause changes in brain structure, creating long-term imbalances in hormonal and neuronal systems that are not easily reversed. Other common effects include:

Stimulants

Stimulants like amphetamines, cocaine, and MDMA increase the activity of the central nervous system. In small doses, stimulants may increase heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure and cause reduced appetite, sleeplessness, and agitation. Large doses may lead to anxiety, paranoia, aggression, panic, stomach cramps, and seizures. Long-term use has been linked to the following:

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens like LSD, ketamine, and magic mushrooms alter a person's perception of reality. They may cause visual and auditory hallucinations, confusion, paranoia, anxiety, and panic. Long-term use has been linked to the following:

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Heart and Circulatory System

One of the most common long-term effects of drug abuse is damage to the heart and circulatory system. Drugs particularly harmful to the heart include stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine, which can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure. This strains the heart and can lead to conditions like aneurysms, heart attacks, and death.

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Stimulant use can cause cardiomyopathies, myocardial infarctions, aortic dissection, and endocarditis. In other cases, they may exacerbate pre-existing heart conditions, speeding the heart damage. 

Other drugs like opioids and alcohol can slow heart rate and circulation to dangerous levels. Excessive alcohol intake can lead to high heart failure, blood pressure, or stroke. It can also cause cardiomyopathy, a disorder that affects the heart muscle. Alcohol has also been linked to obesity and the long list of health problems that can go along with it.

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Respiratory System

Another common long-term effect of drug abuse is damage to the lungs. This is particularly true for smoked drugs like marijuana, tobacco, and crack cocaine. Repeated exposure to toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke can cause inflammation and promote oxidative stress in the outer lining of the lungs. Over time, this leads to chronic inflammation and scarring, making it more difficult for oxygen to flow through the lungs and into other organs. 

Likewise, drugs like heroin can cause significant damage to lung tissue due to their direct impact on blood vessels. In particular, these substances constrict blood vessels and inhibit oxygen delivery to vital organs like the brain and heart. Drug use has been linked to different respiratory problems, including bronchitis, chronic cough, emphysema, and lung cancer. Inhalation of these drugs can also damage the airways and make breathing difficult.

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Brain

Drugs interfere with the normal functioning of neurotransmitters, which are responsible for transmitting signals from one neuron to another. In particular, drugs affect the release of dopamine and other key neurotransmitters that regulate mood, reward processing, decision-making, and movement.

As these chemicals are disrupted by drug use, users can experience various unpleasant side effects, including intense cravings, confusion, altered consciousness, and impaired motor control. Moreover, prolonged drug use can have lasting impacts on brain development, particularly in adolescents and young adults who are still experiencing significant neurological changes throughout their formative years.

Drugs affect the brain in different ways, including:

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Liver

The liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of the blood, so it's not surprising that drug abuse can significantly impact this vital organ. In particular, drugs like alcohol and heroin can cause liver damage by promoting inflammation and cell death.

Over time, this can lead to cirrhosis, a condition in which the liver cannot function properly. Other drugs, like methamphetamine, can also damage the liver by causing oxidative stress. These changes can lead to liver inflammation, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.

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Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Kidneys

The kidneys are responsible for filtering waste and toxins out of the blood. Drug abuse can damage these organs and impair their ability to function properly. In particular, drugs like heroin, amphetamines, and cocaine can cause kidney failure or damage by causing inflammation and oxidative stress. These changes can lead to kidney disease, which can be fatal.

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Immune System

Chronic drug use can compromise the body's ability to fight off infections and disease, increasing an individual's susceptibility to illness. In addition, heavy drug use has been linked to conditions like HIV and hepatitis, especially among IV drug users. These conditions can compromise the immune system.

How to Quit Using Drugs

The best way to be healthy again is to quit using drugs. Your body and mind can return to normal when you stop using drugs. However, quitting is often the hardest part. Addiction changes the brain in ways that make it difficult to control cravings and resist the urge to use. 

Withdrawal symptoms also make quitting difficult, as they can be uncomfortable and dangerous. So quitting is often more than just a matter of willpower. It requires a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of addiction as well as other possible health care issues.

That's why it's important to seek professional help when ready to quit. Addiction treatment centers like More Than Rehab provide the support you need to detox safely and overcome your addiction. With the right care, you can get your life back on track and restore your physical and mental health.

 

 

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Why Are Opiates Like Heroin So Addictive? 

Opiates are a class of drugs that include both illegal drugs such as heroin and prescription medications such as morphine and codeine. Made from the poppy plant, these powerful substances work by binding to receptors in the brain, triggering feelings of euphoria and reducing pain.

While opiates have long been used for their therapeutic properties, they are also widely abused for recreational use. In fact, opiates are some of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States, with heroin addiction rates skyrocketing in recent years.

According to the National Survey in Drug Use and Health 2019 report, 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids. 9.7 million misused prescription pain relievers, and 745,000 people used heroin. Sadly, overdose deaths involving opioids increased from about 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021.

Most of these overdose deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is now often added to street heroin to increase its potency. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, making it extremely dangerous and highly addictive.

Chasing the Heroin High

The powerful effects of heroin are impossible to resist for many people. Once someone takes the drug for the first time, they quickly become hooked on its potent high and find themselves chasing that feeling over and over again. This process is fueled by different aspects of addiction, like withdrawal symptoms, tolerance, and cravings.

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Withdrawal symptoms set in when a person stops using heroin or reduces their dosage. These symptoms can be both mental and physical and vary in intensity. They can include everything from anxiety and irritability to nausea and diarrhea. In some cases, heroin withdrawal symptoms can be so severe that they lead people back to drug use to get rid of the uncomfortable feelings.

Tolerance occurs when a person needs increasingly larger doses of heroin to get the same effects. As tolerance builds, people start to experience withdrawal symptoms more often, even if they're still using the drug. This can create a never-ending cycle of addiction in which people are constantly chasing that initial high while also trying to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Cravings are another major factor in heroin addiction. These strong desires for the drug can be triggered by anything from seeing drug paraphernalia to hearing someone mention heroin use. Cravings are often so intense that they lead people to use heroin, even when trying to quit.

Ultimately, these factors leave little room for choice or willpower on the part of the person abusing heroin. Instead, they become driven by a compulsion to abuse this dangerous drug in an attempt to recreate that initial euphoric rush again and again.

Understanding Heroin Addiction and How it Happens

At the chemical level, heroin is very similar to opioids like morphine and codeine. Like these drugs, it works by activating opioid receptors in the brain and triggering the release of large amounts of dopamine. This flood of dopamine produces a potent sense of euphoria, which is why so many people are drawn to heroin in the first place.

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However, this intense pleasure also causes addiction to develop and flourish. In the long term, repeated heroin use causes changes in the brain that make it difficult to experience normal feelings of happiness or pleasure without using the drug. This drives people to continue abusing heroin even when they are fully aware of its harmful effects.

In addition, repeated exposure to heroin can lead to tolerance and dependence, both physical and psychological factors that severely complicate the recovery process. Heroin withdrawal issues are persistent and difficult to overcome.

Eventually, one develops an addiction and cannot live without the drug. This is when people start doing things they would never have done before to get their hands on heroin. They may steal from family or friends, lie, cheat, or engage in other illegal activities to get money to buy more drugs. Heroin addiction can happen in less than a week, depending on the frequency of use and purity.

Risk Factors for Heroin Addiction

When most people start abusing opioids like heroin, they assume they're in control and can handle it without getting addicted. But like other mental health issues, substance use disorder can take over a person's life without warning. Some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others, and certain risk factors can make someone more likely to develop a problem with heroin. These include: 

1.    Family history of addiction or mental illness

2.    Childhood trauma or abuse

3.    Previous substance abuse

4.    Mental health disorders like depression or anxiety

5.    A difficult or abusive home life

6.    Peer pressure or a desire to fit in

7.    Access to drugs

8.    Curiosity about drugs

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Treatment is essential if you or someone you love is addicted to opioids like heroin. Opioid addiction is a serious condition that can lead to overdose and death, but there is hope. With the right treatment plan, people can recover from drug addiction and go on to lead happy, healthy, and productive lives.

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Heroin addiction treatment often consists of detox, followed by rehabilitation and therapy. Detox is the first step in treatment and involves getting rid of all traces of the drug from the body. This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process, but it is necessary on the road to recovery and long-term sobriety.

After detox, people usually enter a rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation programs can last for 30 days or more, and they typically involve group and individual therapy, support groups, and other activities designed to help people recover from addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common approach used in heroin addiction treatment, as it can help people change the thoughts and behaviors that lead to drug abuse. 

Patients with dual diagnosis, meaning they suffer from both addiction and another mental health disorder, may need to receive treatment for both conditions at the same time. This is because treating one condition without the other can often make relapse prevention difficult.

Heroin is an extremely addictive drug. If you or someone close is struggling with a heroin addiction, More Than Rehab is always there to help. Give us a call. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year.

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5 Signs Your Loved One is Using Illegal Drugs

Drug use is a growing problem in the United States. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), about 50% of Americans aged 12 and older have used illegal drugs at least once. With this shocking trend, it's no wonder many people are worried about their loved ones using illegal drugs.

If you're concerned that your loved one may be using drugs, it's important to identify the instance of abuse early, so you can intervene before it turns into a full-blown addiction. The longer your loved one abuses drugs, the harder it will be for them to quit without experiencing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Long-term drug or alcohol abuse can also lead to serious health problems, like liver damage, heart disease, and brain damage.

How to tell if someone is on drugs

It can be difficult to tell if your loved one is using illegal drugs. However, some warning signs may indicate drug use. If you notice any of the following signs, it's important to talk to your loved one and get them help:

A shift in mood and personality

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One of the most common signs is a dramatic change in mood or personality. This can manifest itself in various ways, from sudden outbursts of anger to withdrawing from social activities. For example, a person who is usually cheerful may become withdrawn and sullen. Or a person who is typically outgoing may become more introverted and subdued.

These changes in behavior may be accompanied by other signs, such as changes in sleep patterns, appetite, or energy level. Drug use can also cause a person to become more impulsive, irritable, or paranoid. If you notice any sudden or dramatic mood swings or changes in personality, it could be a sign that the person is using drugs, and you should take action accordingly.

Behavioral changes

Another common sign of drug use is a change in behavioral health. This can include neglecting responsibilities, engaging in risky behaviors, or exhibiting criminal behavior. For example, a person who suddenly starts skipping work or school, getting into fights, or breaking the law may be using drugs. They may also isolate themselves from friends and family, become withdrawn and outspoken, avoid eye contact, lock doors, borrow money, disappear for extended periods and chew gum to cover up.

Changes in hygiene and appearance

A change in physical appearance can also be a sign of drug use. The reason is that people abusing drugs don't care about their appearance much more than finding the next shot of drugs. They also may be unable to eat or sleep, leading to weight loss.

Besides, drug admission modes like injection can cause visible track marks and infections that can change a person's appearance. As a result, a person may look unkempt, have bloodshot eyes or red eyes, and dilated pupils. They may also look thin and tired; their skin can be pale or odd in color.

Changes in physical health

If someone is using drugs, it can sometimes cause them to have physical health problems. This might include weight loss, frequent sickness, mouth sores, runny nose, etc. That's because drug use can lead to a weakened immune system, making it harder for the body to fight infection.

Drug use can also lead to accidents or injuries that result in bruises and skin abrasions. But the most obvious physical sign of drug use is slurred speech, like when a person's words are jumbled or they have difficulty speaking. This happens because drugs can slow down the body's central nervous system.

Recognize paraphernalia

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Last but not least, if you see any drug paraphernalia, it's a sure sign that the person is using drugs. This includes pipes, syringes, rolling papers, lighters, and roach clips. Drug paraphernalia is often used to store, prepare, and consume drugs.

So, if you see any of these items lying around it's a good indicator that the person is using drugs. You can find paraphernalia in your loved one's room, car, or even on their body.

Tips when looking for signs of drug use

People who abuse drugs won't make it obvious that they're doing so. In fact, they will often try to hide their drug use from others. So it's important to be vigilant and look for the subtle signs of drug use. Here are some tips:

Talk face-to-face with a loved one

When your loved one comes home, take some time to talk with them face-to-face. This will give you a better opportunity to look for any signs of drug use, such as changes in appearance or dilated pupils. You might also catch some smell of drugs like marijuana, alcohol, or tobacco.

Observe their behavior

Are they more withdrawn than usual? Do they seem more tired or have less energy? Have they been skipping work or school? Are they engaging in risky behaviors? Do they have any mental health disorders? These are all potential signs of drug use.

Listen to what they say

Do they avoid eye contact when talking to you? Do they make excuses for their behavior? Do they seem paranoid or anxious? These could all be signs that they are using drugs.

Trust your gut

If something doesn't feel right, trust your gut instinct. If you think your loved one is using drugs, there's a good chance they are.

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Search their spaces

If you suspect your loved one is using drugs, it's important to search their personal spaces, such as their room, car, or locker. Check the drawers, wardrobe, inside prescription drugs containers, in a plant, under the bed or sofa, between books, inside containers, candy bags, etc. Most drug users hide drugs or paraphernalia in such places.

Check their phone

Nowadays, people use their phones for everything. So it's not surprising that drug users also use their phones to keep track of their drug supply and contact dealers. If you have access to your loved one's phone, check it for any suspicious texts or calls. You can also look for apps associated with drugs, such as those used to buy or sell drugs.

Drug use can be difficult to spot, but there are some warning signs to look out for. If you think your loved one is using illegal drugs, take action and talk to them about it. If they are unwilling to get help, you can reach out to a professional addiction treatment center for help.

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The Importance of Proper Disposal of Unused Medication 

Prescription medications are a vital part of our society. They save lives, improve quality of life, and make us more productive. But like all powerful tools, they can be dangerous in the wrong hands. They can also be hazardous to the environment. That's why it's important to ensure that unused or expired prescription drugs are disposed of properly.

Storing unused or expired medication can be dangerous if you have kids, veterans, and people with underlying mental health issues at home. Kids may accidentally take them, or veterans may deliberately misuse them to self-medicate.

The Dangers of Not Disposing of Unused Medication

Every year, millions of Americans find themselves in need of medication. Medication can be an important part of maintaining our health, whether for a short-term illness or a chronic condition. However, once we no longer need a particular medication, it is important to dispose of it properly. Unused medication can seriously risk our safety, well-being, and environment.

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  1. One of the most significant dangers of unused medication is the risk of accidental poisoning. Medication cabinets often contain pills and potions, which can be easily mistaken for something else. Even a small amount of medication can have serious consequences if ingested accidentally or intentionally. By properly disposing of unused medication, we can help reduce this risk.
  2. In addition to the danger of accidental poisoning, unused medication can also be abused or diverted for illegal purposes. Drug addicts often raid medicine cabinets in search of pills to get high on. By disposing of our unused medication, we can help to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
  3. Finally, not disposing of unused drugs can lead to drug abuse, dependence, and overdose deaths. Every year, thousands of people die from drug overdoses, many of which involve prescription opioids like Vicodin and OxyContin. According to the CDC, about 44 people died each day from overdoses involving prescription opioids in 2020. The NIH also points out that prescription opioids are a gateway drug, with many users turning to illicit opioids like heroin. 

How to Dispose of Unused Medication

Disposing of unused or expired medication can be tricky. You want to ensure that the medication is properly disposed of so that it doesn't end up in the wrong person's hands or the environment. Here are some proper ways to safely dispose of unused medications:

Use the Drug Take-Back Programs

One option for disposing of unused medication is to take advantage of the national prescription drug take-back day or programs. These programs are typically run by state and local law enforcement agencies, hospitals, DEA, or pharmacies and provide a safe and convenient way to dispose of unwanted medication.

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Before you hand over your medication, check with the take-back program to find out the types of drugs they accept and their specific policies. Walgreens, for example, accepts prescription medications, ointments & patches, pet medications, vitamins, OTC medications, ointments, lotions & liquids, inhalers, and aerosol cans. However, they don't accept illegal drugs, hydrogen peroxide Needles & thermometers.

Dispose of the Medications at Home

If the drug take back is not an option, you can dispose of the drugs at home using one of the following ways. Always check your local community information services to see if they allow for medicines dropped off at local collection sites. Note that the mode of drug disposal varies depending on the type of drugs.

Flush the Medication Down the Toilet

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends flushing certain medicines down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed and cannot be disposed of through other means. Flushing is the best way to dispose of medication that is a controlled substance or has the potential to be harmful if taken by someone other than the person for whom it was prescribed. According to the FDA, drugs on the flush list are those: 

If you have veterans, children, or people with mental health in your home that can intentionally or accidentally touch, ingest, abuse, or misuse a medicine on the flush list, they can suffer serious consequences, including death. Some examples of these drugs include those that contain the following words on them: 

You can find this information on the label or leaflet that came with your medicine. If unsure, contact your pharmacist or doctor for advice on how to dispose of your particular medication.

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Dispose of the Medicines in Household Trash

Another option for disposing of medication is to mix it with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and place it in a container with a lid. The container should then be placed in the trash. Before throwing it away, remove all personal information from the prescription label. This will help to protect your identity and keep your confidential medical information private.

Always check your local community information services to see if they allow for medicines dropped off at local collection sites.

Flushing Drugs and the Water Supply

Some people are concerned about flushing drugs down the toilet because they worry that the drugs will end up in the drinking water supply. However, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there is no evidence that pharmaceuticals in the environment harm humans or wildlife. In fact, the EPA states that the concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the environment are so low that they pose no known risk to human health or the environment.

Never Share Your Drugs

Never share prescription drugs with anyone else, even if they seem to need them. Sharing drugs is not only illegal, but it can also be dangerous. The person taking the drug may have an allergy to it, or they may not be able to metabolize the drug properly, which could lead to serious health consequences.

Don’t leave unused or expired medication in your home, even if it is in a child-resistant container. Unused or expired medication can be dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands, and it can also be tempting for someone to take if they are struggling with addiction. If you have unused or expired medication, take it to a drug take-back location or dispose of it at home according to the FDA's guidelines.

What Drugs Are Tranquilizers? How Are They Abused?

If you don‚Äôt mind the risk of having a panic attack, the new Netflix show "Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story" is a chilling account of the Milwaukee cannibal's crimes. It outlines his horrific behavior while revisiting the heinous crimes. Dahmer would lure his unsuspecting victims back to his home or hotel and drug them using tranquilizer drugs like Triazolam and temazepam. These drugs were an unusual but regular part of his killing routine. 

Dahmer would drug his victims first and kill them while they lay unconscious. He would then perform sexual acts with the corpse, eat some of their body parts and preserve others, like genitalia, head, skull, skeleton, etc. In total, Jeffrey Dahmer killed 17 victims between 1978 and 1991. A majority of them were young, gay men.

He Used Tranquilizers Like Triazolam to Drug His Victims

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In the first episode of the 10-episode Netflix series, Jeff takes Tracy Edwards home and hands him the spiked drink. He uses Halcion (Triazolam), a prescription drug that his doctor had prescribed to help with his sleeping issues, to sedate Tracy. A few moments later, Tracy gets groggy and compliant, making it easier for Dahmer to commit his gruesome crimes. But luckily, Tracy Edwards managed to escape and notify the authorities.

How do Sedatives and Tranquilizers Work?

Tranquilizers are a class of drugs that are typically used to treat a range of mental health issues like anxiety disorders, insomnia, etc. They are classified as:

Tranquilizers work by affecting the central nervous system, which helps to slow down the body's response to stress. When used properly, these drugs are generally safe and effective. However, they can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, and impaired coordination.

Tranquilizers should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. They should also never be combined with alcohol or other drugs, as this can create a dangerous reaction.

But like millions of other Americans, Dahmer misused his prescription sedatives - not on himself but on his victims. This ultimately led to the horrific murders for which he is now infamous. Larger doses of tranquilizers can lead to unconsciousness and even death.

Dahmer was later arrested and convicted of the 16 murders he committed. He was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment but died on Nov 28, 1994, after being beaten to death by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution in Portage, Wisconsin.

Prescription Sedatives and Tranquilizers

In addition to Triazolam, other types of sedatives and tranquilizers used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders include:

Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed type of tranquilizer. They work by binding to GABA receptors in the brain, which helps to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Examples of benzodiazepines include:

Barbiturates are sleep-inducing sedative drugs made from barbituric acid. They include drugs like:

Hypnotic drugs or sleeping pills are often prescribed to patients with sleep issues. They work differently on the brain compared to other drugs listed above. Examples of hypnotic drugs include:

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Side Effects of Tranquilizers

The side effects of tranquilizers can include:

Tranquilizer Abuse

According to SAMHSA, about 6.1 million people misused prescription tranquilizers in the past year, constituting 2.3% of the population aged 12+.

People abuse tranquilizers for a variety of reasons. For some, the sedative effects of the medication can provide a sense of relaxation or euphoria. Others may use tranquilizers to self-medicate underlying mental health conditions such as depression or PTSD.

Some people may also abuse tranquilizers in combination with other drugs or alcohol to magnify the effects. Xylazine is a good example of how people abuse tranquilizers.

People are adding a drug called Xylazine to street drugs, making them more deadly.

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Another recent news story has highlighted the dangers of mixing Xylazine with street drugs. According to reports, the tranquilizer drug is increasingly added to street drugs like cocaine and meth, making them more deadly.

Xylazine, or "Tranq" is a veterinary anesthetic that is also used as a sedative in humans. Like other tranquilizers, it slows down the central nervous system, causing drowsiness, dizziness, and loss of coordination. When combined with street drugs, the effects of Xylazine can be even more dangerous. The drug can cause respiratory depression, seizures, and even death.

The spike in Xylazine use was first reported in some parts of Puerto Rico, followed by Philadelphia, where it was found in 91% of opioid samples in 2021. Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) found the drug in 28% of tested drug samples. But some areas of Massachusetts had Xylazine in 50%-75% of samples.

Sadly, as the rate of Xylazine surge, so does overdose rates. A 2015 study of 10 states and cities only found Xylazine in 1% of overdose deaths. However, the percentage increased to 6.7% in 2020 when the country hit a new record for overdose deaths. A year later, in 2021, the record was broken with over 107,000 deaths.

Addiction Treatment at More Than Rehab

If you are struggling with addiction to tranquilizers, it is best to seek addiction treatment. Treatment centers like More Than Rehab offer comprehensive addiction treatment programs to help you recover from addiction and live a sober life.

At More Than Rehab, we offer a variety of treatment options, including inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) programs. This makes it easy to find something that works for you. We also have a detox program to help you safely and comfortably detox from tranquilizers. Don't wait to get help, contact us today. We are available 24/7 to take your call.

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Why is Addiction So Hard to Overcome?

Most people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to do so. In reality, addiction is a complex disease, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. 

People with an addiction may feel compulsively driven to seek and use drugs even though they know the substance is causing them damage. They may want to stop using but feel powerless to do so. Over time, continued substance abuse changes how the brain functions, which can drive an increased need for the drug. These brain changes can be long-lasting and lead to harmful behaviors seen in people with substance use disorders. 

Understanding Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a chronic disease that affects the brain's decision-making center. It is characterized by compulsive drug seeking despite negative consequences. People with addiction often feel unable to control their drug use and continue using despite the harm it causes.

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People who become addicted to drugs often start using substances recreationally or to cope with underlying mental health issues. They may not understand the risks involved and how quickly addiction can develop. Tolerance to drugs builds up quickly, meaning that larger and larger doses are needed to get the same effect. As drug use escalates, so do the risks for negative consequences, including addiction.

Unfortunately, overcoming addiction is not as easy. One cannot just snap out of it; attempting to quit cold turkey could lead to unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. In fact, many addicts will go back to using because the withdrawal symptoms are too difficult to bear.

Why Do Some People Develop Drug Addictions?

Most experts agree that addiction is not caused by a single factor but is instead the result of a combination of genetic, biochemical, and environmental factors. Addiction can also be due to psychological reasons. This means that some people are more vulnerable to addiction than others, even if they're exposed to the same risk factors. 

But just because someone has one or more of these risk factors doesn't mean they will necessarily develop an addiction. Likewise, not having any risk factors doesn't mean someone won't become addicted. Still, the more risk factors a person has, the greater their chance of developing an addiction. 

Psychological Reasons for Addiction 

People with mental issues like anxiety, depression, ADHD, guilt, shame, or bipolar disorder are more likely to turn to drugs as a form of self-medication. Drugs tend to temporarily relieve the symptoms of these underlying mental disorders.

For example, people with anxiety may use marijuana to relax, while someone with depression may temporarily use stimulants to feel happier. However, using drugs in this way can lead to addiction and make the underlying mental disorder worse.

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Biochemical Reasons for Addiction

When someone uses drugs or drinks alcohol, it triggers a dopamine release in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that is associated with pleasure and rewards, and it helps to reinforce certain behaviors. As a result, the person feels good when they use drugs or drink alcohol and is more likely to repeat the behavior.

Over time, the brain's reward system becomes less sensitive to dopamine, and the person needs to use more drugs or alcohol to achieve the same level of pleasure. This can lead to biochemical addiction, as the person cannot control their use despite negative consequences.

Environmental Reasons for Addiction

Exposure to alcohol and drugs at an early age can increase the risk of developing an addiction later in life. This is because the developing brain is more susceptible to the effects of drugs and alcohol.

In addition, stress and trauma can also lead to addiction. People who cannot cope with their problems may turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain. These environmental factors can greatly increase the risk of developing an addiction.

The Challenge of Beating a Drug Addiction

Addiction is a serious issue that affects millions of people around the world. It is a complex condition that can profoundly impact every aspect of an individual's life. Despite the challenges, it is important to remember that addiction is treatable and recovery is possible. Beating addiction is hard, but it is not impossible. 

There are several reasons why overcoming addiction is so difficult.

  1. First and foremost, addiction changes the way the brain functions. Repeated drug abuse alters the brain's circuitry, making it difficult to stop using even when an individual wants to.
  2. Additionally, addiction can lead to physical dependence, meaning that the body becomes accustomed to functioning with the drug and begins to experience withdrawal symptoms when it is not present. These withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant, making it difficult for someone to stay sober for any time.
  3. Finally, addiction often co-occurs with other mental health problems, which can complicate treatment and make a recovery all the more difficult. 

Despite the challenges, however, treatment is possible, and many people do go on to lead healthy, drug-free lives.

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How to Overcome Addiction

Overcoming addiction requires a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses the underlying causes of addiction, as well as the addict's individual needs. Treatment should be tailored to each person and may include detoxification, therapy, and relapse prevention.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating addiction, as each person’s experience is unique. However, certain principles are essential for all successful treatment programs. These principles include:

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don't give up hope. Help is available, and there is light at the end of the tunnel. With treatment and support, it is possible to recover and lead healthy, drug-free lives.

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Can You Get Treatment For A Xanax Addiction?

Xanax is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These drugs are some of the most commonly abused substances in the world. They're also responsible for a high number of emergency rooms visit across the United States. Benzodiazepines slow down the nervous system and have a calming effect on the user. Xanax is typically prescribed to treat medical conditions like anxiety and panic disorders, but it is also commonly abused for its calming and relaxation effects.

Warning Signs of Xanax Abuse

Many people use Xanax as directed by their doctor to treat anxiety or panic disorders. However, some people misuse or abuse Xanax, which can lead to serious consequences. Warning signs of Xanax addiction:

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People who abuse prescription drugs like Xanax may crush and snort the pills or mix them with alcohol or other drugs. Mixing Xanax with other drugs can be dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose and other serious side effects.

Side Effects of Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse can lead to physical, mental, and behavioral health problems. Some of the most common side effects of Xanax abuse include:

Xanax can also cause severe or rare side effects like:

 

How Addiction to Xanax Happens

People who abuse Xanax may start taking the drug as prescribed by their doctor. However, over time they may begin to take more of the drug than prescribed, or take it more often. They may continue to use the drug even when it is no longer needed. This can lead to addiction.

Xanax binds to the brain's GABA receptors and increases the level of the neurotransmitter GABA. This results in feelings of calm and relaxation. However, when people take Xanax regularly, they build up a tolerance for the drug. This means they need to take larger and larger doses to achieve the same effect.

As their tolerance builds, so does their dependence on the drug. And as their dependence grows, so does their risk of developing an addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can occur when someone dependent on Xanax stops taking the medication cold turkey.

These symptoms can include anxiety, irritability, insomnia, sweating, shaking, and seizures. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to Xanax, help is available.

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Xanax Addiction Treatment Options

For those seeking treatment there are different Xanax addiction treatment options available. These treatments can be tailored to the individual's needs. Some of the most common options include:

Therapy and Group Support

Therapy provides a safe space for people to process their feelings and work through any underlying mental health issues contributing to their addiction. There are different types of therapies available, such as:

Other Medications

Many other medications can be used for the treatment of Xanax addiction. These include antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers. Each of these medications can help to ease the symptoms of Xanax addiction and allow the person to better cope with withdrawal.

Antipsychotics can help to reduce paranoia and delusions, while antidepressants can help to ease depression and anxiety. Mood stabilizers can help to even out mood swings and reduce irritability. These medications can be used with therapy and counseling to provide the most effective treatment for Xanax addiction.

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Medication Tapering

Medication tapering is a process whereby the dosage of a medication is slowly reduced over time, helping to minimize withdrawal symptoms. This approach can be used for Xanax addiction and has been shown to be effective in helping people overcome their dependence on the drug. The first step is to work with a doctor or other professional to create a tapering schedule.

This schedule will start with a high dose of Xanax and gradually reduce the amount over time. The goal is to eventually reach a point where the person is no longer taking any Xanax at all. The process can be difficult, but it is often successful in helping people break free from their addiction.

Get Help for your Xanax Addiction

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to Xanax, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Many treatment options are available, and the sooner you seek help, the better. Don't wait to get help. Start your journey to recovery from addiction today.

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The Challenges of Going Back to School for Recovering Addicts

In recent years, drug use among high school and college students has become a growing problem. According to the 2021 Monitoring the Future survey by the National Institute on Drug Use, about 50% of high school seniors have tried an illegal drug at least once.

The availability of drugs and relentless peer pressure can make it difficult for young people to resist trying them. And while most young people who use drugs don't go on to develop a substance use disorder, for those who do, the consequences can be devastating. They may end up with physical and mental health issues and even death due to overdose.

A SAMHSA report showed a strong correlation between drug abuse and dropout rates. Students abusing drugs are more likely to drop out of school than those who don't. But luckily, those who go through addiction treatment can regain control of their lives and get back on track. For some, this means going back to school.

However, going back to school after addiction treatment can present its own unique set of challenges, including:

Juggling a Busy School Schedule and Managing Addiction Recovery

Managing triggers and avoiding relapse is a full-time job for anyone in addiction recovery. But the challenge is even greater for those who are also juggling a busy school schedule. Between classes, homework, extracurricular activities, and social obligations, there is little time for self-care. And when addiction recovery is not given the attention, it needs, the risk of relapse increases.

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The key to managing both a busy school schedule and addiction recovery is to create a support system. This might include finding a trusted mentor or sober friend, attending regular meetings, or working with a therapist. By enlisting the help of others, those in recovery can increase their chances of success in both areas of their life.

Making New Friends and Building Relationships with People Who Are Not Addicts

This can be difficult because the recovering addict may feel like they have to explain their past or justify their choices to the non-addicts. The addict may also feel like they are not worthy of friendship or love from non-addicts.

However, it is important to remember that everyone has a past and that everyone is worthy of friendship and love. If you are a recovering addict, try to be open and honest with new people you meet, and give them a chance to get to know you. You may be surprised at how accepting and understanding they can be.

Staying Sober in a Party-Filled Campus Environment

Returning to school as a recovering addict can be challenging, especially if the campus environment is party-filled. Staying sober in an environment where others are binge drinking, smoking marijuana, or even taking prescription drugs can be difficult, but it is possible.

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Overcoming Self-Doubt and Believing in Oneself Again

It can be challenging for a recovering addict to overcome self-doubt and believe in oneself again. This is especially true when going back to school. The addict may have been out of school for many years and may feel that they are not up to the task of completing a degree. They may also have battled with drug or alcohol addiction for many years and feel that they're not capable of achieving success in sobriety.

However, the addict should remember that they can achieve anything they set their mind to. If the addict is willing to work hard and stay focused, there is no reason why they cannot succeed in school and recovery.

College Programs Designed to Help People Recover

Addiction is a serious disease that can have devastating consequences. Thankfully, there are college programs designed to help people in recovery succeed at finishing their high school diploma or college degree, including:

These programs provide support and resources that can make all the difference in someone's journey to recovery. With the right support, people in recovery can achieve their educational goals and go on to lead happy and healthy lives.

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Benefits of Completing your Education 

For many people in drug addiction recovery, going back to school can be an important step on the road to a successful future. Returning to education can help boost self-esteem and confidence and provide a sense of structure and purpose. It can also lead to improved employment prospects, increased earnings potential, and better relationships with friends and family members.

Moreover, research has shown that people who have continued education are less likely to relapse into drug use than those who drop out. Therefore, returning to school can be an extremely beneficial step for those recovering from drug addiction.

Quitting Drugs and Alcohol Can Make Life Better

Addiction can ruin health, relationships, and finances. If you're struggling with addiction, getting help from a professional drug rehab can be vital to turning your life around. In addition to getting professional help, you can also do a few things on your own to increase your chances of success.

Deciding to quit drugs and alcohol can be daunting, but it's also one of the best decisions you can make for your health, relationships, and future. With the right support, you can overcome addiction and go on to lead a happy and successful life. Call us today to begin your pathway to addiction recovery!

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Do Harm Reduction Efforts Actually Lower Addiction Rates?

In recent years, there has been a growing movement in the United States to adopt harm reduction strategies when it comes to drug addiction and overdose. Harm reduction is a public health approach that focuses on reducing the negative consequences of risky behaviors rather than on eliminating the behaviors themselves. Proponents of harm reduction argue that this approach is more realistic and effective than traditional approaches that focus on abstinence.

There is some evidence to support this claim. For example, a study of needle exchange programs in the United States found that these programs were associated with lower rates of HIV/HSV infections among injection drug users. Another study by SAMHSA notes that these programs save lives by being accessible and available in a way that underlines the need for compassion and humility toward people who use drugs. 

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SAMHSA adds that harm reduction programs provide access to treatment, social services, and health care. They reduce chronic diseases such as HIV/HCV, overdose deaths, and acute life-threatening infections related to unsterile drug injection.

However, it is important to note that harm reduction efforts alone are not enough to address the underlying causes of addiction; they must be part of a comprehensive strategy that includes prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Nevertheless, harm reduction programs can play an important role in saving lives and reducing the harms associated with drug use.

What is Harm Reduction, and what are its Goals?

Harm reduction is a public health approach that seeks to minimize the harms associated with harmful behaviors. It is rooted in the belief that people have the right to make their own choices about their health and well-being and that everyone has the potential to reduce the harms they experience.

Harm reduction approaches provide a non-judgmental way to connect people with services and support. By focusing on reducing harm rather than on eliminating risk, harm reduction provides a more realistic and achievable goal for many people. As a result, it has the potential to improve individual and population health outcomes. The principles of harm reduction include:

¬∑       Respect for autonomy: People should be free to choose their health and well-being without coercion or judgment.

¬∑       Meeting people where they are: Services and support should be tailored to meet the needs of each individual, based on their unique circumstances.

¬∑       Harm reduction is not abstinence: The focus is on reducing harm, not eliminating all risk.

¬∑       Harm reduction is pragmatic: It recognizes that people will engage in risky behaviors and seeks to minimize the associated harm.

¬∑       Harm reduction is evidence-based: It is based on the best available evidence rather than ideology. Harm Reduction Programs and Services A variety of harm reduction strategies can be employed to achieve the goals.

Some common harm reduction strategies include:

Needle Exchange Programs

Needle exchange programs provide clean needles and syringes to people who inject drugs to reduce the risk of HIV, AIDS and other blood-borne diseases. These programs also provide other services such as counseling, referrals to addiction treatment and recovery services, and access to naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose.

Nearly three-decade of research has shown that these programs were associated with lower rates of HIV, hepatitis, and other infections. The research also found that SSP users are 5x more likely to enter drug treatment and about 3x more likely to stop using drugs than those who don't use the programs.

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The Use of Federal Funding to Purchase Fentanyl Strips

Fentanyl strips test for the presence of fentanyl in drugs. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than heroin. It is often mixed with other drugs without the user's knowledge, which can lead to accidental overdoses.

Drug checking with fentanyl strips can reduce this. The US government has funded states and localities to purchase fentanyl strips as a harm reduction measure. The strips can be used to test drugs for the presence of fentanyl, which can help users make informed decisions about whether or not to use them.

Providing Safer Consumption Spaces

Safer consumption spaces are places where people can consume drugs under the supervision of trained staff. These spaces can provide various services, including access to clean needles and syringes, naloxone, counseling, and referrals to addiction treatment and recovery services. They also educate individuals on how to reduce substance use and drug-related harm and curb the spread of infectious diseases. Today, over 66 safe consumption spaces are operating with the approval of law enforcement worldwide, including in Europe, Canada, and Australia. 

Increasing Access to Opioid Overdose Reversal Treatments

Opioid overdose reversal treatments, such as Narcan¬ģ or naloxone, can save lives by reversing the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is a medication that can be administered by injection or nasal spray, and it is available without a prescription in many states. Many states have implemented standing orders programs, which allow health care providers to prescribe naloxone to people who may be at risk of overdosing. The drugs can also be issued to friends and family members of people who use opioids.

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Naloxone used to block the effects of opioids medication Oxycodone Morphine to save life in emergency case

Know Your Source

Know Your Source is a harm reduction program in Vancouver, Canada, that provides information about the purity and potency of drugs to users. The program also encourages users to inject slowly, use in the presence of a sober friend and be aware of the early signs of overdose and how to use naloxone. 

Medication Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a harm reduction approach that combines behavioral therapy with medications to treat substance use disorders. MAT is used to treat opioid addiction and effectively reduces the risk of overdose and death.

These are just a few examples of harm reduction programs and services that can be employed to reduce the risks associated with substance use. Many other harm reduction strategies can be used, and the best approach will vary depending on the community's needs. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, resources are available to help. Treatment and recovery services can provide the support you need to overcome addiction and build a healthier, happier life.

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