How Do I Know When I Have A Drug Problem?

It can be difficult to know when you have a drug problem. Many people mistakenly believe that if they're not using drugs every day, they must not have a problem. But drug abuse is about how much you're using, not how often. If your drug use is causing problems in your life - like missing work or school, damaging relationships, or putting your health at risk - you likely have a drug addiction. 

Drug abuse is a global problem. In fact, statistics show that 53 million people in the United States have used illegal drugs or misused prescription medicines within the last year. According to the National Institutes of Health, the risk factors for drug abuse are poverty, substance abuse, lack of parental supervision, and drug availability. But it’s possible to still abuse drugs when all these factors are absent.

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If you’re unsure about whether you have a drug problem or not, it might be best to talk to a professional. They can help you assess the severity of your addiction and recommend the best course of action. In most cases, they will recommend a drug rehab program as part of your treatment for drug addiction. 

With that in mind, let’s explore the warning signs that may indicate you or someone else has a substance use disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

Isolating yourself from loved ones

Isolating yourself from people who care about you is one of the first signs that something is wrong. In many cases, this isolation results from shame or embarrassment about your addiction and feeling like you are a burden. You may also start to lie and manipulate those around you to access drugs. These actions can lead to feelings of guilt and isolation that will put you at a higher risk.

You hang out with other drug users

A change in social circles can be a major red flag for addiction, as it often leads to further drug use and isolation from loved ones. This is usually because you want to continue using drugs or feel like you no longer fit in with non-drug users. You may begin to spend more time with other drug users, which can further isolate you from family and friends.

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Intense cravings

An evident sign of addiction is if you experience intense cravings for alcohol or drug, causing you to continue using even when it is harmful to you or others. Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

Life seems to have no meaning

Another huge sign that you have a drug problem is when you feel like your life has no meaning. Usually, drug addiction can lead to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. When you suffer from depression, you may feel like there is no point in your life, so you turn to drugs to escape the feelings of emptiness and despair. Unfortunately, this only leads to a cycle of addiction and mental disorders.

Have financial problems and debts

Financial problems and debts often result from spending money on drugs instead of other essentials, such as food or rent. In some cases, you may also resort to criminal activity to get money for drugs. As a result, you may find yourself in a spiral of debt that is difficult to escape from.

Life begins to revolve around finding and using drugs

Your drug use starts being a problem when all you think about is drugs and how to find them. You may start lying, stealing, or engaging in other risky behaviors to get the drugs. You may neglect your work, home, and school responsibilities and even stop hanging out with friends and family members.

Increased tolerance

Another sign is finding that you need more and more of the drug to get the same effect. Whether it’s prescription drugs or illegal drugs like cocaine or heroin, you’ll notice you’re taking larger and larger doses because the smaller doses have little to no effect on your brain.

Take dangerous risks

You'll know you have a drug problem when you take dangerous risks, such as driving while under the influence of drugs. This is because addiction can lead to impaired judgment and decision-making and changes in mood and behavior. DUI puts you and other road users at risk and can land you into legal issues.

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Hiding or downplaying your drug use

When you're hooked on drugs, you'll often try to hide your use from family and friends. You may make excuses for why you need to take the drug or downplay the amount you're taking. This can signify that you're trying to hide your addiction from others.

Feelings of distress and loneliness when not taking the drug

If you feel like you can't function without drug use, it's a warning sign that you have a substance use disorder. This means that your body has become so dependent on the drug that you feel distressed and lonely if you don't take it.

Withdrawal symptoms with any attempt to quit

Withdrawal symptoms like nausea, sweating, and shaking are warning signs that you may have a drug problem. Your body will react negatively when it’s used to drugs, and you suddenly stop using it. You may experience a range of symptoms, from mild to severe, including headaches, nausea, sweating, and anxiety. In some cases, withdrawal can even be life-threatening.

Using more substances than you intend to

Using more of a substance than intended is often a sign that someone is struggling to control the use of the substance and that they may be at an increased risk of developing an addiction. This could be using more alcohol than intended or taking more pills than prescribed. It may also mean using a substance differently than intended, such as snorting pills instead of taking them orally.

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Unable to control your substance use

You may feel unable to control how you use the substance, even when you are aware of the negative consequences it is causing in your life. You may continue to use the substance even when it interferes with work, school, or relationships.

Self-blame and have low self-esteem, especially after trying unsuccessfully to quit.

Self-blaming and low self-esteem, especially after unsuccessfully trying to quit, are common among those with drug abuse problems. This can be extremely damaging to mental health and wellbeing. When you're constantly blaming yourself, you're more likely to develop mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Additionally, low self-esteem can lead to social isolation and further mental health decline.

Get help in the best addiction rehab center

If you’re worried that you or someone you know may have a drug addiction, it’s important to seek help. Many treatment programs exist to help you regain control of your life. Rehab centers offer comprehensive care and support so that you can get back on track. Don’t wait any longer – reach out for help today

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Teens In Texas Are Abusing ADHD Medications To Get Ahead

Doctors prescribe stimulant medications like Adderall and Ritalin to approximately 2.5 million Americans every year to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These ADHD medications can help some patients, but they can also be easily abused.

When used as a treatment for ADHD, Adderall and Ritalin reduce symptoms, making it easier for patients to concentrate and control impulsive behaviors. Unfortunately, most people, especially teens, use ADHD medications to get ahead. Most don’t have prescriptions, so they will buy them from friends who have prescriptions.

A Monitoring the Future survey revealed that prescription drug abuse is rising among teens. Approximately 7.5% of 12th graders admitted using Adderall as a study aid.

Most teens downplay the danger of Adderall, while some are simply unaware. By virtue of it being a prescription drug, they assume that Adderall is not dangerous, yet it has harmful side effects, including addiction and substance use disorders.

This article discusses what Adderall is, the Adderall high, its relationship with academic performance, side effects, effects on mental health, and signs of addiction.

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What is Adderall?

Adderall is a drug that contains two stimulants: dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. It comes in two forms, Adderall and Adderall XR.

Medical practitioners designed the drug to improve the attention span and focus of ADHD patients. Sometimes, they prescribe it to patients who need to suppress daytime sleepiness.

Adderall also tends to suppress appetite. Consequently, some people abuse it in the hope of losing weight.

Adderall is classified as a Schedule II drug. This means that its potential for dependence and abuse is extremely high.

The Adderall high

As mentioned above, teen pill abuse is on the rise in Texas, and Adderall happens to be one of the pills teens abuse most. So how exactly does Adderall make you feel?

Adderall increases dopamine levels, giving you a feeling of euphoria. It also stimulates the brain by activating the body’s fight-or-flight responses.

Most teens use Adderall to get high. They often mix it with other drugs and alcohol, which is extremely dangerous and life-threatening.

Since Adderall makes teens feel alert, they are more alcohol-tolerant since they can’t tell how drunk they are. Consequently, it increases the risk of alcohol poisoning.

Why do teens in Texas abuse Adderall? 

Most Texan teens abuse Adderall because they believe it; gives them the necessary energy to focus and get high grades in school, improves their mental focus, enables them to complete their homework on time, and makes studying much more effortless.

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It is noteworthy that most teens often feel overwhelmed and find it hard to balance out their academic work, social activities, and securing internships.

The relationship between Adderall and academic performance

Most high school and college students believe that Adderall is a harmless study aid since it improves attention and alertness. They use it to think clearly and focus, especially when writing papers or studying for exams.

Contrary to their belief, research shows Ritalin and Adderall don’t improve thinking or learning ability in people who aren’t diagnosed with ADHD. There is no evidence that Adderall can help teens improve their academic performance.

Students who abuse Adderall in the hope that it will improve their academic performance may:

Adderall side effects

Adderall use has several short-term and long-term side effects. They are divided into two types: physiological effects and psychological effects.

Physiological effects

They include:

Psychological effects

They include:

How Adderall affects your mental health

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Since Adderall affects dopamine production, you will experience depressive episodes when you don’t use the drug. Additionally, it will be difficult for you to experience pleasure without it.

An NCBI study revealed that using Adderall for a long time may also result in psychosis. You will have schizophrenia-like symptoms, including hallucinations, delusions, and mood disturbances. Additionally, you may experience panic attacks and anxiety.

The effects of Adderall are reportedly worse in individuals with underlying mental health conditions or a history of mental illness.

Adderall and heart problems

Adderall strains the heart and cardiovascular system. Even when you use it short-term, you may experience cardiac problems, including high blood pressure, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure.

When you use it long-term, you are at risk of cardiac arrhythmias and a pounding heartbeat.

Adderall is just one type of ADHD medications that is also known to cause sudden death in teens. The risk with these is higher in those who have heart problems or heart defects.

Signs of addiction

If you repeatedly use Adderall without a prescription, medical monitoring, or care, you may get addicted. Signs of Adderall addiction include:

Withdrawal symptoms

When you abuse Adderall for some time but stop, you will experience withdrawal symptoms. The most prevalent withdrawal symptoms are:

Withdrawal symptoms for Adderall addiction may be dangerous and overwhelming. Therefore, it would be best to have the assistance of medical practitioners and recovery professionals when you decide to stop using the drug.

Get help today

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According to scientific studies, Adderall addiction and mental health disorders go hand in hand. Most Texans teens who abuse Adderall try to commit suicide. Therefore, treatment programs need to address mental health issues in treatment for Adderall addiction.

More Than Rehab offers an evidence-based, scientific treatment approach to ADHD medication addiction treatment. We also treat underlying mental health conditions like depression to give you the best chance at recovery.

We offer individual programs based on your needs. We have inpatient programs, outpatient programs, and partial in and outpatient programs. Our experts will guide and support you during the withdrawal process and teach you to focus and be productive without Adderall.

Contact us today to start your recovery journey and take control of your life. We are open 24/7. We are here to help.

888-249-2191

Holidays 2021: A Guide to Avoiding Relapse Triggers

The holidays are a time when most people reunite with friends and family to celebrate. It is considered a time to drink, eat, and be merry.

Unfortunately, the holidays can also be stressful for people in recovery, and the chances of addiction relapse are relatively high. Emotional relapse may make any recovering addict turn to drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Some common holiday triggers are:

Holiday triggers can easily make anyone in recovery return to drug or alcohol abuse. Luckily, we have a few tips that go a long way in preventing relapse during the holidays. These tips will help you stay sober during the holiday season.

Wake up every morning with the decision to stay sober

Every morning, make a conscious decision to stay sober. Plan how to avoid any triggers you may encounter that day and what you’ll do if you get any cravings.

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Eat healthily

Ensure you eat healthy during the holidays. Staying hungry may result in low blood sugar, which may, in turn, make you more irritable. When you are irritable, you become impulsive and may end up relapsing. Be sure to have a snack with you when on the move and snack every few hours.

Avoid high-risk situations

Evaluate every situation and decide whether they are high-risk or low risk. 

If you are in early recovery, it would be best to avoid high-risk situations. If you must, try to leave early.

It would also help to know your triggers for you to avoid them. Some of the most common triggers are anger, loneliness, fatigue, and hunger.

Make a point of taking care of yourself both physically, mentally, and emotionally. Not doing so may lead to physical relapse or mental relapse, which may in turn, lead to alcohol or drug use.

Carry your own drinks to parties

Most office and family parties have non-alcoholic beverages. However, it wouldn’t hurt to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages. If the party you’re going to will serve champagne, you can carry flavored sparkling water to sip on as other people drink their champagne. Other alternatives are juices or sparkling cider.

Carrying your drinks helps you avoid the temptation of indulging in the alcoholic drinks that are often served at holiday and Christmas parties.

Bring a sober friend along

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If you’re lucky enough to have a friend staying sober during the holidays, keep them close. A sober friend can keep you in check. If you feel the need to drink or get high, your friend will talk you out of it. Additionally, you’re less likely to feel the pressure to indulge when both of you are drinking non-alcoholic beverages.

Have a schedule

You may notice that over the holidays, most therapists cancel their sessions during the holidays since they either want to go on vacation or be with their friends and family. When this happens, you may not have sessions as often as you are used to. 

Try making a schedule of fun things you can do in your free time to keep yourself busy.

Learn to say "no" (politely)

Sometimes, you may not be ready to share details of your recovery journey with friends or family. Therefore, you need to learn how to politely decline their offers without giving out too many details. Practice your responses in advance so that you’re ready when they question you. For instance, if someone offers you drinks, you can decline by saying that you are the designated driver.

Volunteer

Volunteering during the holidays is an excellent pastime for people in recovery. You can choose to volunteer at a local shelter, food bank, or senior living community. Other than keeping you busy, volunteering can help remind you of how lucky you are.

Don’t isolate yourself

Although avoiding holiday parties and people seems like a good idea, it isn’t necessarily. Don’t isolate yourself by staying indoors. Spending too much time in isolation may lead to a relapse.

Try to choose events you can comfortably attend and make time for your friends and family. Show up for office parties and family events, but ensure you don’t relapse.

Have a support system

As mentioned earlier, the holiday celebrations and stressors can be relapse triggers. Having a strong support system can keep you busy and accountable throughout the holiday season. Support system can be your loved ones or peers in groups like Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these groups complement and extend the effects of professional treatment. If you don’t have a support group or if you have travelled to a different city or state for the holidays, check this site for organizations and support groups in your area.

When the craving kicks in, move past it

Cravings will likely kick in during the holidays. The trick is to stay strong and not give in since the urge will pass after a few minutes. Talk yourself out of it, move to a different venue, meditate, or even just take deep breaths. Do whatever you have to do to move past your cravings. You’ll realize that the more you beat your cravings, the easier it becomes in the long run.

Approximately 21 million Americans struggle with substance use disorders, and during the holidays it could be especially tempting. Due to holiday triggers, the relapse rate for people in recovery is typically much higher.

If you’re having a hard time staying sober during the holidays, know that you are not alone. It would help to reach out for extra support during this season. Try booking extra therapy sessions, going for extra meetings, or even starting a new course of therapy. This way, instead of relapsing, you’ll end the year on a sober note.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with substance abuse or experiencing a relapse, contact us for safe and secure addiction treatment. You can also call us at: 1-888-249-2191. We are open 24/7 and have several treatment programs approved by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to help you get back on your feet. Our supportive and caring staff will walk with you, every step of the way.

You can also look at resources on the American Society of Addiction Medicine website.

Prison Time For Drug Convictions In Texas?

Drug laws are different by state. Compared to other states, Texas has more stringent laws on narcotics and controlled substances, including mandatory minimums. Prison time for drug convictions may get you months or even years.

Suppose law enforcement officers in Texas find you in possession of drugs, you may face drug charges that can result in prison sentences, hefty fines, probation, temporary suspension of your driver’s license, or mandatory treatment for drug addiction. These penalties apply regardless of whether you pleaded not guilty or guilty.

Drug charges and penalties vary depending on the type of drug, the amount of drugs found in your possession, and your criminal record. Sentencing laws may change, so ensure this information is up to date & is not intended for legal advice.

There are several experienced drug defense attorneys in Texas who represent clients facing drug charges. They play a significant role in reducing drug charge sentences, and in some instances, have the cases dismissed altogether.

This article will discuss the relevant details on Texas drug laws, possible charges, and possible penalties. We will also look at rehab as an alternative to a jail term.

Possession

If you face drug charges in Texas, you may be wondering, “How much time can you spend in prison for certain drugs in Texas?” It’s best not to go by what you hear from random sources. Guessing 5 to 15 years can get you into a lot of trouble. As discussed above, possession is a serious offense in many states.

Therefore, if law enforcement officers find you in possession of drugs, you will face penalties. Some of the penalties you are likely to face include; jail time, hefty fines, probation, mandatory treatment for drug addiction, and driver’s license suspension.

The severity of the penalty depends on:

Penalties

Texas drug laws classify drug offenses and penalties into four groups. Each group comprises various drugs and has specific penalties. However, some drugs may fall into more than one category. Below is a breakdown of the four penalty groups and the potential prison time for drug convictions in each one.

Penalty Group 1

Penalty group 1 comprises opioids, opium derivatives (including heroin or fentanyl), cocaine, LSD, ketamine, methamphetamine, psilocybin, mescaline, and other hallucinogens. These drugs are known to be highly addictive and dangerous.

The penalties for drugs in this group range from 6 months to 99 years in jail. The fine ranges from $10,000 to $300,00 depending on the amount of drugs you were arrested with.

Penalty Group 2 

Penalty group 2 consists of drugs like Ecstasy, LSD, amphetamines, psychedelic mushrooms, and PCP.

The penalties for drugs in this group vary depending on the amount of drugs you were found with. For instance, if you had less than one gram, your jail term may be anywhere between 180 days and two years. If you had 400 grams or more, you might be jailed for up to 99 years and pay fines up to $50,000.

Penalty Group 3

Penalty Group 3 comprises drugs like opiates and opioids not listed in penalty group 1, sedatives (including Valium), benzodiazepines, methylphenidate, anabolic steroids, and prescription drugs that contain depressants or stimulants and can potentially be abused.

The minimum penalty is 180 days in jail and a $ 10,000 fine. The maximum penalty for drugs in this category (when you’re found in possession of 400 grams or more) is 99 years’ jail time and a $55,000 fine.

Penalty Group 4

Penalty group 4 comprises prescription drugs that have a high-level potential of abuse and opiates and opioids not listed in penalty group 1. Some prescription drugs listed in this category treat medical conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.

The penalties for drugs in this category are similar to those in penalty group 3.

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Marijuana

In Texas, marijuana does not fall under any of the four categories we have discussed above. However, unlike other states where marijuana has been decriminalized, you will face drug charges if you are found in possession of marijuana in Texas. Marijuana has its special charges and penalties.

If officers find you in possession of a small amount of marijuana, the offense is classified as a misdemeanor. If they find you with marijuana that weighs over 200 pounds, it is a felony. You may spend up to 99 years in federal prison, plus pay a fine of up to $50,000.

Below is a breakdown of Texas penalties for marijuana possession.

AmountMisdemeanor/felonyFineJail time
Less than 2 ouncesMisdemeanor$2000180 days
2-4 ouncesMisdemeanor$400012 months
4 ounces to 5 lbsFelony$10,000180 days- 24 months
5-50 lbsFelony$10,0002-10 years
50-2000 lbsFelony$10,0002-20 years
Over 2000 lbsFelony$50,000Up to 99 years

 

Instances when drug charges in Texas can be dropped

There are a few instances when the state can drop drug charges against an individual. When this happens, there will be no conviction record on the individual’s record.

Drug charges in Texas are dropped when the state offers a diversion program for those arrested with small amounts of drugs. The diversion program is rehab that the court orders.

Note that the charge is only dropped after you complete the treatment program. A good number of people have a clean record despite being arrested for drug-related offenses.

Let your attorney give you legal advice on the options you can explore to get drug charges against you dropped.

Rehab as an alternative to jail time

As discussed above, the court may order rehab as an alternative to jail time for individuals caught with small amounts of controlled substances.

While making this order, judges may consider:

If the judge is satisfied that your case falls under the categories above, he/she may order you to go to rehab instead of going to prison.

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The court also gives specific conditions of your rehab depending on the seriousness of your offense and your history of drug abuse.

You should explore the option of court-ordered rehab since it has numerous benefits. Other than having a clean record, you have a chance of overcoming addiction and making good life changes.

Conclusion

Drug charges in Texas are serious and have serious penalties. If officers arrest you with drugs, hire an attorney who understands the judicial system and can protect your legal rights.

Your attorney will review your case and advise you on your options. In Texas, drug charges attract a minimum of 180 days jail time and a maximum of 99 years jail time.

If you are struggling with addiction, or its side effects, contact us to get professional help and potentially avoid running into issues with the authorities altogether. Who knows? Addiction treatment might even save your life.

Friends & Family Can Contribute to Drug Addiction

There is truth to the expression, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.” That’s because ripe apples produce ethylene, a ripening agent. When you store apples together, the ethylene prods other apples to ripen further and eventually rot.

It takes a single apple to start a domino chain that ruins the rest of the bunch. And guess what? The same holds true for drug users. You’re very likely to abuse drugs when you hang out with people who abuse drugs. Not because of weak morals, but because of several mechanisms that we’ll cover in this article.

Understanding addiction

The initial decision to use drugs or alcohol is voluntary for most people. However, repeated use changes the brain in ways that make it hard to quit, even for those who want to. Those recovering from a long term substance abuse disorder have a higher risk of drug use, even after years of leading a sober life. This is especially true if they’re dealing with mental health problems or are hanging around places or people connected to the addictive behavior.

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Friends or family members, who participated in the addictive behavior, are potential triggers for relapse, irrespective of whether or not they’re still using drugs. That’s because they bring back the memories of addiction. In some cases, they may ask you to go out or even tell you stories and share images of their happy moments in your absence. All these can lead you back to addiction.

But relapse is not the only way friends can contribute to drug addiction. This article will discuss different ways friends can worsen your drug use problems. But before we do, let’s look at the relationship between peer pressure and drug use.

Social learning theory

Social scientists who study peer pressure see it through the lens of social learning theory. According to this theory, when people observe other people’s behaviors and reactions using addictive substances, they may wish to replicate what they saw. For example, an agitated friend walks into the room.

They then sniff cocaine or smoke meth. After a few minutes, they’re relaxed and fun to be around. The person observing all this will know that the drug is a good way of coping with stress – because it’s what they’ve seen. So, any time they feel stressed or agitated, they may use the drugs to calm down.

Social learning is the most common way that people learn. When you observe your friends abusing drugs, you become more likely to try out drugs too. That’s because you have learned through observation that drugs achieved a positive result. You could also use drugs out of a need to be part of the group.

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Human beings have a strong need for social interaction. So, it becomes critical to consider the compelling social nature of many addictions. Most addictions need at least the cooperation of other people. And as the addiction progresses, the chances of a person interacting with healthy, non-using individuals become slimmer.

That’s because family and friends eventually disengage. At the same time, addiction takes up most of the addict’s time. In the end, the addict’s entire social circle is dominated by role models associated with the addiction.

How friends and family can contribute to drug addiction

Negative peer pressure

Negative peer pressure can be divided into two parts:

Direct negative often involves peers or friends directly asking you to try something, like abuse illegal drugs. It may be difficult to say no, especially if you are young and are concerned about how they’ll think of you. In some cases, they may hint that you’d be “uncool” if you didn’t take part or even provide reasoning that’s hard to argue against. The fear of losing friends or facing mockery can make you yield. Direct negative peer influence includes your friends or peers:

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Indirect negative is a subtle type of peer pressure and isn’t as apparent as direct negative. It happens when you try out drugs or alcohol just to fit in. Your friends don’t encourage you to participate in risky behaviors, but you feel pressure to do so to continue being part of that social group. Indirect negative peer pressure includes things like:

An NIH study assesses the group influences on an individual’s drinking and other drug use at clubs. A total of 368 social groups representing 986 people were anonymously surveyed. The study found that social groups had a definite impact on the individual outcome.

Group members seemed to know about other members’ drug use or drinking patterns, which were related to their drinking and other drug use. This suggests that normative patterns are established for the group, and social modeling happens within the group.

Signs your friends are making your drug use problem worse

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Positive peer pressure

Not all peer pressure is bad. Friends can influence you into making the right choices. Positive peer pressure is when friends bring a good change in your life – and this can be a useful tool in addiction treatment. In fact, many treatment facilities use this strategy to influence patients’ behavior. The same way a person in a drug-using circle uses drugs to fit in is the same way a person in a sober circle will want to stop using to fit in.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse as a result of hanging out with wrong company, we can help. Contact us today to get started. 

People Use More Drugs in the Summer

You guessed it right – people use more drugs during summer than any other time of the year. But have you ever wondered why that’s the case? Well, according to a post published on the National Drug Institute on Drug Abuse, summer offers more idle time along with social activities like outdoor dance parties and music festivals that increase exposure to drugs. In fact, the post also reveals that most drug problems begin in the summertime.

In 2017 alone, close to 790,000 people tried ecstasy (MDMA/Molly), 800,000 tried LSD, and 3 million tried marijuana for the first time. NIDA funded a study to determine whether this first-time use was related to seasonal changes. Researchers looked at data from the 2011 - 2017 NSDUH, observing about 400,000 people and their first-time use of these illegal drugs.

Participants were asked whether they have used any of the drugs and what month and year they initiated use in the study. Most of them said they tried the drugs during summer than any other time of year. Findings showed that initiation was more likely to happen during summer, accounting for 34% of LSD use, 30% of marijuana and ecstasy use, and 28% of cocaine use. More people started using marijuana, cocaine, LSD, and ecstasy during the summer months.

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Why does drug use increase in summer?

Most people look forward to summer - warm weather, trips to the beach, endless parties, and lots of free time. Teens, in particular, fondly anticipate the summer months because they have no school and are free of responsibilities. Here’s why most of them try out drugs during summer.

More free time

Many young adults find themselves with lots of free time during summer. They have no classwork or projects going on. And even when they’re working, they still have a chance to enjoy summer Fridays and long holiday weekends. With lots of free time in their hands, they are more likely to jump into any activity that will keep them busy – including going to parties (which are all the rage during summer).

Less adult supervision

But with the fun and freedom comes a risk of drug use and addiction. Teens are susceptible to a range of influences, including pop culture, social media, and peers. And with lots of free time during summer and less adult supervision, it’s easy to see why a blend of these factors can influence experimental behavior.

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Social gatherings and parties

House parties, beach parties, music festivals, birthday parties, and so many events are happening, and teens are spoilt for choice. And guess what keeps the party lit? Drugs and alcohol. As we’ve mentioned earlier, teens are vulnerable to lots of things. So they may do things to try to feel good or fit in.

However, these are not always the only reasons teens try out drugs during summer. Some of them have mental health problems that they’re unwilling to address or resolve in some other way. Mental illness and drug use tend to go hand in hand.

Besides, the teen might assume that some drugs are acceptable or even somewhat safe because many other people in the same situations as them are using.

Dangers of using different drugs in summer

Abusing drugs – both prescription and illicit drugs – comes with a range of risks. But using drugs over summer poses even more danger because of the heat. As the temperatures rise during hot, humid summer months, health experts warn of an increased risk for developing heat stroke.

High doses of drugs can cause the body to lose its temperature-regulating abilities, preventing it from cooling down through sweating. This may lead to critical health issues like dehydration and drug-induced fever.

When excessive heat combines with drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, and meth, the results can be deadly. Drugs and alcohol can mask signs of overheating. People who use drugs or alcohol during summer may not notice the temperatures rising beyond the normal levels.

As a result, the body and brain overheat from drugs, putting them at high risk for stroke and death. According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention, an average of 702 heat death-related deaths occurred in the US annually between 2004 and 2018. Here are drugs that are especially dangerous in summer.

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Cocaine

Cocaine disrupts the body’s natural ability to regulate temperature and simultaneously makes one agitated. So, even as the body temperature rises to dangerous levels, one is driven to constantly move about – pushing the body temperatures to extremes. This can result in fatal overheating, which explains why cocaine deaths spike during the summer months.

Ecstasy

People have assumed that ecstasy is a safe drug for a long time, but this isn’t true. Ecstasy causes lots of extensive and alarming symptoms that can worsen with heat. MDMA is particularly dangerous because it disrupts the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This puts users at risk for heat injury, dehydration, and fatal heatstroke.

Alcohol

Alcohol causes dehydration, and that’s what makes it dangerous during summer. It suppresses the production of water reabsorption hormone, causing more fluid to be lost through urination. Besides, alcohol use can cause vomiting that further reduces body fluids. Consequently, this may lead to sleepiness, sticky mouth, headache, decreased urination, and dizziness that can cause the body not to regulate heat.

Amphetamines

Amphetamines like meth delay sensations of exhaustion and heat, and that’s what makes them dangerous in summer. Users don’t just know when to stop, so they’ll keep overworking themselves until they overheat.

Prevention and treatment

Dr. Joseph Palamar, an associate professor at the NYU School of Medicine, told CNN that prevention efforts should target young adults about to finish the school year and inform them about the dangers of using drugs during hot months. According to the doctor, trying drugs for the first time puts one at a unique risk of overdose and death because they might not have prepared for the use or are unfamiliar with the drug.

It’s also important to encourage people to stop using drugs to celebrate because of the associated problems. Instead, they can try sober activities like hiking, learning a new hobby, swimming, doing service, etc. All these can still be fulfilling and come with zero risks for heat stroke and death.

TV Shows About Drug Addiction (And What They Show Us)

Society views addiction as a choice or weakness. So, when someone gets caught up in an addiction, they tend to see themselves as falling short of the standard. They feel guilty of their perceived shortcomings and end up with a negative mindset. The public stigma around the “failings” of those with addiction doesn’t encourage anyone to seek addiction treatment. It also makes it hard for those struggling with addiction to speak about their habits and get immediate help. Luckily, some TV shows about drug addiction are helping to fight the negative stigma.

And since addiction is a chronic disease, it can be challenging for individuals to pull themselves out of it without help. Some try but slip back as soon as the withdrawal symptoms set in. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person’s ability to not indulge in addictive behavior becomes compromised. Unless they get quick access to medically reviewed treatment, addictions, whether to substance use disorder or behavior, can lead to death.

All these may seem like “usual” words until you experience the struggles of addicts and the damage that addiction does. With that in mind, here are some TV shows about drug addiction to give you a glimpse into how it works and its effects.

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Intervention on A&E

Intervention is an American series that profiles one or two people who struggle with addiction. The addicts in this Emmy-winning series believe they’re being filmed for a documentary until their family and friends stage a dramatic intervention. Launched in 2005 on A&E, Intervention is among the first series that highlights the lifestyle of those who suffer from substance or behavioral addictions. It also captures what these addictions can do to families and teaches the various reasons behind the addiction.

Tackling everything from the opioid crisis to alcoholism to eating disorders, Intervention follows addicts whose loved ones have submitted a request for help in getting them into treatment. The series has some disturbing images that depict the realism of addiction that may make you afraid, but that’s the point. Intervention partners with different addiction treatment centers in the US and provides resources for each individual profiled in the show.

As its name suggests, the series sheds light on addiction and its ugly effects on addicts and their loved ones and takes action to improve the situation. According to Screenrant, 70-75% of addicts who appeared on the show are still sober.

Mom on CBS

Set in Napa, California, Mom follows a dysfunctional mother-daughter duo. The two - Bonnie and Christy Plunkett - had been estranged for years due to addiction. Christy, a single mother of two, Violet and Roscoe, encounters a series of challenges.

Her young daughter, Violet, gets pregnant and decides to put her baby up for adoption. She later gets engaged to an older guy and moves out. Roscoe opts to stay with his dad, even though he’s a drug dealer and deadbeat. Despite all that, Christy strives to maintain her newfound sobriety. She moves to Napa, and works as a waitress, and also attends Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.

But her wayward mother, Bonnie, reenters the picture and criticizes her life. Bonnie is also a recovering alcohol and drug addict attending AA meetings. The CBS series has been applauded for addressing themes of real-life issues like substance abuse disorders, gambling, teen pregnancy, cancer, domestic violence, homelessness, rape, palsy, overdose, stroke, ADHD, etc. It has been praised for striking a perfect balance between the humorous and dark aspects of these issues.

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This Is Us on NBC

This Is Us is an emotional and heartwarming story about a unique set of triplets, struggles, and caring parents. While not the central theme, this NBC series shines a light on different types of addiction, including addiction to food, alcohol, and pain pills. Kevin, the first-born Pearson, got hooked on alcohol and painkillers. He struggles with depression and finds it hard to understand that Jack, his dad, had an addiction. Rebecca, his mother, never mentioned it because of shame and fear of stigma.

Sophie, Kevin’s sister, is a nurse but can’t connect his erratic behavior to addiction. That’s to be expected since loved ones usually have no reason to suspect substance abuse disorder. Earlier on, Jack confesses to Rebecca that he didn’t quit drinking when he said he had. But after another attempt to quit, he was successful.

He attends AA meetings and leads a clean life. Kate, Kevin’s sister, also can’t get over binge eating. She attends an eating support group where she meets Madison, who struggles with not eating enough. 

This Is Us shows us that genetics is one of the risk factors for addiction and that sometimes, loved ones won’t realize there’s a problem. It also uncovers the aspect of shame about addiction and that skinny people struggle with eating problems too. Lastly, it shows us that relapse can be a part of recovery.

Addicted on TLC

Addicted is another one of the American reality TV shows about drug addiction that follows the lives of addicts through intervention, detox, and rehab and behavioral therapies. Kristina Wandzilak, a recovered alcoholic, prostitute, and drug user turned family interventionist, guides the addicts and their loved ones through the process as a sponsor and advocate. It’s incredibly raw and shows those struggling with addiction getting drunk and high in close-up detail. Due to its graphic nature, warnings pop up at every commercial break to prepare you for what is coming.

In the show, you see people consuming large amounts of alcohol, injecting drugs into arms, and getting high. You also see the tricks they use to acquire substances. Kristina intervenes and gets them to rehab; some refuse, some get themselves kicked out of rehab, and some successfully go through it. The show also depicts the pain that addiction inflicts on family. You’ll see the anger, anxiety, and other emotions that families experience dealing with a loved one who struggles with addiction.

Celerity Rehab on VH1

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Celerity Rehab revolves around a group of famous individuals as they undergo substance abuse treatment with Dr. Drew Pinsky and his team at the Pasadena Recovery Center in California. The reality TV show premiered in 2008 on the cable network VH1 and was later renamed Rehab with Dr. Drew, which focused on non-celebrities.

It shines a spotlight on celebrity and their substance abuse or behavioral addiction problems and their journey through rehab. Pinsky, a board-certified physician and addiction expert, adds an air of credibility and makes the show more educational.

If you’d like to see more on celebrity addiction, you can stream Too Young to Die on Pluto TV or Prime Video. It bases its stories on celebrities whose lives were cut short due to addiction and overdose. The episodes of Too Young to Die cover American stars like John Belushi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kurt Cobain, who died from drug abuse. The documentary series shows how serious the drug addiction problem is and how it can be too late to help someone.

Reference to a diagnostic and statistical manual can produce more insight into this problem. As well, various treatment approaches exist to help those struggling with short- and long-term addiction. So, if someone close to you is struggling with any form of addiction, it can be a good idea to help them get treatment immediately.

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Alcoholism is Getting Bad Thanks to the Pandemic

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation. It also lowers inhibitions, memory, and judgment. Because of these qualities, many people turn to alcohol to distance themselves from the challenges or stressors they’re facing due to COVID-19. The pandemic is associated with negative economic and health impacts, loss, grief, isolation, prolonged uncertainty and stress.

Recent studies show that people are binge drinking to cope with the negative impacts COVID-19 pandemic. One study found that American adults have sharply increased their alcohol consumption, drinking on more days per week.

The study released by RAND Corporation compared the drinking habits of adults between spring 2019 and spring 2020. Reviewing over 1500 adults across America, participants were asked about their change in alcohol use between 2019 and 2020 during the first peak of the virus.

The study found a 14% increase in alcohol use among adults, compared to the same time last year. This was a 19% increase among all adults ages 30-59. Women, in particular, showed a 41% increase in alcohol use.

Experts warn that the pandemic’s stress could be could be prodding some people to drink alcohol. In the previous years, surges in alcohol use were noted following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2003 SARS, and September 11th terrorist attacks. Such traumatic events and their resulting stressors tend to lead to increased post-disaster alcohol use and abuse.

Why are people drinking during the pandemic?

People are consuming alcohol as a way to manage emotional stress. The pandemic has created collective grief and loss of security and safety with incredible uncertainty. Before the pandemic, alcohol use was already a significant public health concern. The pandemic seems to be fueling this even further with its vast effects, like:

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, people would go out and blow off some steam. They’d go to the gym for a workout or the movies to calm down. But with the lockdown and less social contact rules, that’s not an option anymore. People can’t hang out with their friends and loved ones as they used to. They can no longer engage in activities that help them reduce stress and enhance well-being. But they can access alcohol because liquor stores were deemed essential businesses and stayed open.

When you combine anxiety and stress with the ability to order alcohol through an app and have it delivered to your doorstep within an hour, you get a perfect pathway towards excessive drinking and abuse.

The effects of alcohol on the body

These studies show that many people could be turning to alcohol to cope with pressures created by COVID-19. Drinking alcohol to cope with life situations like boredom or stress can become a habit that leads to substance abuse disorder. When a person self-medicates with alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues, they can develop co-occurring substance use disorder.

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Alcohol is a depressant and sedative that affects the central nervous system. At first, drinking alcohol can reduce fears and take the mind of troubles. It can help an individual feel less anxious, boost mood and make them generally relaxed.

In fact, the effects of alcohol can be the same as those of anti-anxiety medications. That’s because alcohol slows activity in the amygdala, a brain part that prepares the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.

Repeated use decreases the amygdala’s dampening effect. It also causes tolerance and dependence. So a person has to drink more alcohol to achieve a similar level of high. At this point, they can’t stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, nausea, anxiety, headache, confusion, and insomnia.

Mild alcohol withdrawal can be treated at home. But severe cases need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications like seizures.

Who is more vulnerable to increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have been hard on everyone. So, everyone is susceptible and may end up with problems with alcohol. However, studies show that some groups are more vulnerable than others.

Younger people

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol use has led to at least four deaths on college campuses since spring 2021. Young adults face unprecedented stressors: loss of income, the uncertainty of the future, and social isolation, resulting in conditions like loneliness, depression, and anxiety which can increase the risk of heavy drinking.

Women

The psychological stress associated with the pandemic was also linked to greater drinking for women. A study by RAND Corporation and supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism shows that heavy drinking among women has soared. In the survey, 1 in 5 women had heavily consumed alcohol at least one additional day per month compared with the previous year.

Physicians

A survey of 12,000 physicians found that over 40% of physicians experienced burnout, which was amplified mainly by COVID-19. Of these physicians, more than a quarter were drinking to cope with the burnout and resulting stress.

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More studies point to the increase in alcohol use thanks to the pandemic

BlueCross BlueShield survey dubbed “Behavioral health by the numbers: a closer look at the impact of COVID-19” reveals a 23% increase in alcohol consumption since the outbreak began.

Another survey on 1,000 American adults 18 years and older by The Recovery Village found that 55% of the participant had an increase in past-month alcohol consumption, with 18% reporting a significant increase.

How to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19 without alcohol

Healthy coping involves taking part in activities that directly reduce stress or improve wellbeing. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, following creative pursuits, eating nutritious food, and staying hydrated. It is also a good idea for people to reach out for help and get support to make healthier life choices.

Those recovering from alcohol can take part in online Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Such support groups can serve as a pillar to help avoid relapse.

How To Spot A Possible Heroin User

Heroin is an extremely dangerous and addictive illicit drug. It can come in many forms and goes by many different names but it often comes in a fine white, brown, or black powder. Another popular form of heroin is black tar heroin, and as the name implies, it looks like black tar and is sticky and gooey. Heroin is an opioid that was originally derived from the seeds of the poppy plant. It has been used by millions across the globe for some time now but it has recently grown in popularity in America, particularly in the last decade. According to data collected by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 170,000 began using heroin for the first time in 2016, a number that had doubled since 2006. Even worse, data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2018 shows that 128 people die in the United States every day from an overdose on opioids.

A possible heroin user will likely have an addiction that is difficult to treat

An addiction to heroin can be particularly difficult to overcome, especially considering it often leads to death via unwanted overdoses. A lot of times heroin on the street is cut with harmful chemicals, including substances like fentanyl. Unfortunately, fentanyl has become a favorite among dealers as it is particularly powerful, around 100 times stronger than morphine, and it’s also cheap. This is part of the reason as to why there are so many overdoses associated with heroin and the use of other opioids. That is why it is extremely important to get help for your loved one if you believe they might be suffering from a heroin addiction or other type of substance use disorder. If you are unsure whether or not they are a possible heroin user, then here are some tell-tale signs that they are using heroin.

How to spot a possible heroin user:

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Of course, these are just a few of the signs that someone you know may be a potential heroin user. They may also display things like slurred speech, memory problems and a reduced sense of pain. Their pupils may appear constricted and they may also have a constant runny nose or nose sores if they are prone to snorting the substance. If you are still unsure, then please reach out to us for help! We have many trained professionals with years of experience on treating, managing, and helping people cope with heroin use and other addictions. We have the tools necessary to help begin a successful road to a lifetime of healthy sobriety. We hope that your loved one gets the help that they need and we hope to hear from you soon!

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Common Ways Addicts Store or Hide Their Drugs

Anyone who has ever known or loved an addict knows just how far they would go to continue getting high and they would also never question their ingenuity when it comes to trying to conceal or hide their drugs from others. If there is one thing in common between all people who suffer from the disease of addiction, it would certainly have to be the fact that they all lie, at least in one way or another. Many will tell you until they are blue in the face that they haven’t been using drugs or alcohol, even though they are under the influence at the same time they are telling you that.

For any parent of an addict, it can be extremely difficult to trust or believe your child when they tell you that they are no longer getting high, especially if they haven't changed any of their behaviors or actions. Perhaps you have found drugs and paraphernalia in your child’s bedroom before and insisted that they throw it out, never to be brought back in the house again.

Even though they may have the best of intentions, sometimes quitting drugs and alcohol just isn’t that easy. If you are the parent of a teen, or young adult, and have concerns that they are still abusing drugs or alcohol, then keep reading.

Here are some of the most common ways that addicts hide their drugs.

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Writing Utensils

A popular way that teens hide drugs is inside of writing utensils. While that highlighter sitting on their desk or hiding in their pencil pouch may seem harmless enough, it may be used to store pills, marijuana, or even powdered substances. Simply pop off the back and the highlighter instantaneously turns into a pipe for marijuana. There are many videos on the internet teaching teens or young adults how to do just that.

Prop Soda Bottles, Cans, or Candy Containers

A quick search on the internet will turn up tons of fake items used to conceal or hide drugs. Things like unopened soda bottles, soda cans, or candy boxes can actually be stash spots for drugs. If you see the same soda bottle all the time or the same candy wrapper, try opening it up to see what's really inside. If it is a fake item, it will usually have a place to twist open, revealing a hidden compartment.

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Belt Buckles

Who knew that belt buckles were not just for fashion anymore? Well, apparently, they are often used as a way to conceal drugs. Somehow, people have found a way to change these buckles into a secret compartment to hide their drugs. If you suspect that your child is using their belt buckle to conceal drugs, try flipping it over to see if the back slides off.

Hygiene and Makeup Supplies

That makeup bag on the floor in the bedroom, or on the counter in the bathroom, may be serving a more illicit purpose than you might originally think. A lot of make-up supplies come in a tube that can be hollowed out for drug storage. Things like lipstick, lip balm, deodorant, mascara, or hair products can be great hiding spots for people trying to conceal their drugs.

Posters, Wall Hangings, Picture Frames

Don’t let that seemingly innocent boy band poster fool you, teens or young adults have been known to flatten their drugs and hang them behind posters or other wall hangings. Picture frames also make a great spot to hide their drugs, as they can open up the back and stash them inside. Look for tape that is constantly peeling or a corner that looks like it's been folded back and forth if you suspect your child of hiding drugs.

 

Socks and Shoes

Socks and shoes are also extremely common, but not in the way you might think. While some have been known to stash drugs just inside the sock or the shoe, many also have hidden pockets that can be used to conceal drugs as well. Try looking inside the shoe to determine if there are any other areas that might be used to hide drugs. Socks can also have hidden pockets, so be sure to check those too.

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Vehicles

While not necessarily in the home, vehicles are another common way that people hide their drugs. You may be prone to searching their room, but how often are you checking their car? If you suspect your child of using drugs, it may be wise to thoroughly inspect their vehicle. Check places like behind the dashboard, under the seats, or even under the hood.

Vents and Toilets

Air vents are easy to remove and put back on, making it an ideal spot to put something that isn't meant to be discovered. Another popular place to hide drugs is underneath the toilet tank lid. Both are easy, quick, and inconspicuous options when it comes to concealing drugs. Many would not think to check in the air vent or under the toilet tank lid, which is why these are popular options. A quick look in both of these places may ease your mind if you suspect your child of hiding drugs.

Inhalers

When an item is necessary for one’s health, it tends to fall under even less suspicion. But, nevertheless, inhalers have become a popular place to hide drugs. Once the inhaler has been taken apart, it becomes a clever place to stash drugs. This is a great place to check if you are concerned about your child, especially if the inhaler doesn't belong to them.

Game Consoles or Electronics

For those who are even slightly inclined, storing drugs in game consoles or electronic devices can prove to be very easy. Loosen up a few screws here and a few screws there, then voila, a perfect hiding place for drugs. Look for signs that the electronic has been tampered with or taken apart and put back together.

These are just a few of the most common places that people may use to hide their drugs when they don’t want them to be found. If you suspect your loved one may have developed problem with drugs or alcohol, we are here to help! Our trained addiction specialists at More Than Rehab can help answer any questions you might have. We know how to treat and manage substance abuse disorders, and would love the chance to offer help for your family.

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