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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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® 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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Does Alcohol & Drug Use Make COVID Symptoms Worse?

Drug addiction is a serious medical condition that can profoundly impact every aspect of an individual's life. It can damage relationships, cause financial problems, and lead to various health care problems. Left untreated, addiction can be deadly. Amid the unprecedented global pandemic, drug addiction presents an even greater danger to public health as it can make COVID symptoms much worse than they already are.

People who use drugs are more likely to contract the virus and experience severe symptoms if they become infected. Additionally, those who are addicted to drugs are more likely to engage in risky behaviors that can spread the virus to others. For example, they may share injection needles or fail to observe the safety measures like wearing masks, washing hands, avoiding crowded areas, or coughing to the elbow, thereby increasing the risk of transmission.

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The Relationship between Addiction and Severe COVID-19 Symptoms

Recent studies suggest that alcohol and drug abuse may make COVID symptoms worse. This is a significant discovery, as it could mean that people already struggling with addiction may be at an increased risk of developing more severe symptoms if they contract the virus.

One cross-sectional study compared the hospitalization rate for COVID in 2020 in those diagnosed with substance use disorders vs. those without these disorders. The findings were that those with alcohol or drug use disorders had a greater chance of being hospitalized for COVID-19 infection than the general population. This suggests that they suffer worse conditions or physical symptoms than the non-using population. The study also noticed higher mortality rates among hospitalized SUD patients than in the general population.

The Centers for Disease Control also notes that people with underlying conditions like substance use disorders, chronic heart, liver or lung disease, etc., are likely to get severely ill from COVID-19. Severe illness from COVID-19 can also increase the sense of hopelessness that makes it so difficult for suicide prevention strategies. 

These studies underscore the importance of seeking addiction treatment. If you are worried about how COVID might impact your addiction, please consult your doctor or therapist for guidance.

Why Do Drugs Make COVID Symptoms Worse?

Drugs make COVID-19 worse by weakening your immune system, making you more likely to get other infections, interfering with treatment, and increasing risk factors where you are more likely to spread the disease to others.

·      Weakened immune system: Some drugs, such as steroids, can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight the virus. 

·      Making you more likely to get other infections: Drugs that suppress your immune system can also make you more likely to get infections and autoimmune diseases like HIV/AIDS. These infections can be serious and even life-threatening. 

·      Interfering with treatment: Some drugs can interfere with how your body responds to treatment for COVID-19. This can make the disease worse and increase the chances of death. 

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Besides, drugs also affect the body in a range of other ways. For example:

·      Opioids cause slow breathing, reduce oxygen in the blood, and result in brain damage or death. 

·      Stimulants like cocaine, meth, and amphetamine increase heart rate and blood pressure, making it harder for the heart to pump blood and can lead to a heart attack or stroke. These drugs can also cause acute respiratory failure.

·      Smoking or vaping crack cocaine, heroin, or marijuana can increase lung damage risk and make breathing harder. It can also worsen COPD, asthma, and other lung conditions.

·      The effects of alcohol on the immune system are also well-documented. Alcohol abuse can increase the risk of developing various infectious diseases, including pneumonia and tuberculosis.

Should I Get a COVID-19 Vaccine if I'm on Drugs?

Yes, you should get a COVID-19 vaccine if you're on drugs. The CDC recommends that everyone vaccinate against COVID-19, regardless of their drug use status. You don't even need to have health insurance to get the vaccine. When considering the adverse effects that COVID-19 has on addiction patients, vaccination can be your best line of defense. It might even save your life.

On the bright side, 12.46 billion doses have been administered globally today, and there haven't been any documented cases of a person having adverse health effects due to drug use.

However, people with certain medical conditions should talk to their doctor before getting the vaccine. These conditions include:

·      A history of severe allergic reaction to a vaccine or ingredient in the vaccine

·      A weakened immune system due to cancer, HIV/AIDS, steroid use, or other conditions

·      If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also talk to your doctor before getting the vaccine.

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Do Addictive Drugs Affect the COVID-19 Vaccine?

There is currently no evidence that alcohol or drugs affect the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. If you are taking medications to treat an addiction, it is important to speak to your doctor about whether or not the vaccine is right for you. You might also want to err on the side of caution and abstain from use before and after receiving the vaccine.

Harm Reduction Strategies for Those Unable to Stop Abusing Drugs or Alcohol

Among the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, those who struggle with substance abuse face unique risks. In addition to the dangers posed by the virus itself, the COVID restrictions made it difficult for many to access treatment and support services. As a result, harm reduction strategies have become even more important for those unable to stop using drugs or alcohol. These strategies include:

·      Create a safe space for drug use. This can be done by ensuring that all surfaces are clean and disinfected and that ventilation is adequate. Not sharing drug-use equipment like needles, vapes, cigars, bongs, etc. 

·      It is also important to have a supply of clean needles and other supplies on hand and a first-aid kit in case of accidental injuries.

·      Observe COVID-19 restrictions to curb the spread of the virus-like washing hands, avoiding crowded spaces, and social distancing. 

·      Additionally, it is crucial to know your limits and always use drugs under the supervision of someone who can assist if necessary.

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By following these harm reduction strategies, those unable to stop using drugs or alcohol can help protect themselves and others from the potentially deadly effects of COVID-19. In addition, these strategies can also help to reduce the spread of the virus among those who are most vulnerable.

Protect Your Health with Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it's important to seek professional help. There are a variety of human resources and treatment options available, and the right one for you will depend on your individual needs.

If you're struggling with addiction, don't wait to get help. Treatment can help you to overcome addiction and achieve recovery. It can also provide vital support and resources during difficult times. Seek treatment today and begin your journey to a healthier, happier life.

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What Are the Most Popular Drugs Used at Music Festivals?

Drug use is rampant at music festivals due to the carefree atmosphere and the availability of drugs. Many people view drug use as a part of the festival experience and feel that it enhances the music and the overall atmosphere. The overall atmosphere of festivals can make it difficult to “dance safe.”

However, drug use can also lead to negative consequences, such as bad trips, overdoses, and arrests. According to the National Institute on Drug Use, drug use can also trigger or worsen mental health disorders. As a result, individuals need to be aware of the risks associated with drug use before they choose to use drugs at a music festival. Health care is not and should not be top-of-mind when attending a music festival but drug use makes future health care issues a problem.

Popular Drugs Used At Festivals

According to a Drugabuse.com study of 976 people in the United States, 53% of those attending live music events admitted to using illicit drugs or alcohol, with more than 93% consuming alcoholic beverages. Additionally, about 40% of festival goers used marijuana at live music events, followed by 8% who each used hallucinogens or MDMA.

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Here are some of the most popular drugs used at music festivals:

Each of these drugs produces different effects, depending on the individual's physiology, the dose taken, and the person's state of mind. While some people may enjoy the effects of these drugs, others may find them uncomfortable or frightening. Keep in mind that each person reacts differently to drugs, so it is important to be cautious when taking any substance.

Most Intoxicated Live Music Event Genres

The study by drugabuse.com also found that festival goers abused drugs or alcohol more in some music event genres than in others.

In the study, EDM, heavy metal, and alternative music events had the highest percentage of people who drank alcohol or used drugs, with 67.5%, 52.2%, and 60.6%, respectively. Indie rock and reggae were also found to be relatively high on the list, with 60.2% and 60.0% of respondents saying they had used alcohol or drugs in the events. Classical and Rock music events had the lowest, with 39.8% and 39.6%.

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Consumption at Concerts

Here is a quick look at consumption at concerts per substance, according to Drugabuse.com

Popular Substance at EventsPrevalence in Music EventsPercentage
AlcoholAlternateHeavy MetalEDM  57.6%56.2%54.9%
MarijuanaReggaeHip-Hop/RapEDM33.3%29.6%29.3%
MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly)EDMReggaeIndie Rock25.6%4.8%3.0%
HallucinogensEDMIndie RockHeavy Metal9.8%4.8%3.8%
CocaineEDMHip-Hop/RapBlues8.5%3.3%2.9%
OpioidsHip-Hop/RapEDMReggae2.6%2.4%2.4%

Why Do People Use Drugs at Festivals?

While the use of drugs is certainly not limited to festivals, several factors can contribute to drug use at these events.

Anonymity

The anonymous and often crowded nature of festivals can make it easier for people to buy and use drugs without being detected.

Availability of Drugs

The availability of drugs at festivals is usually higher than at other events, as dealers know that there will be a demand for their products. Besides, things like alcohol are often heavily promoted in such events since manufacturers usually sponsor.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is often a factor, as people feel pressured to conform to the behaviors of those around them.

Just for Fun

Many people use drugs as a way to let loose and have fun. The relaxed atmosphere of a festival can make it seem like an ideal time to try new things. Others use drugs to try to stay awake and not miss out.

Enhance the Experience

For some people, taking drugs is also a way to enhance their music experience. Certain substances can cause colors and sounds to seem more intense, leading to a more immersive and enjoyable experience.

Makes Sharing Space Easier

Drug use can make sharing space with large groups of people easier. In crowded environments, drugs can help to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of social connectedness.

Some people also use drugs to self-medicate, relieving anxiety or boredom. However, it is important to remember that drug use comes with risks. Overdosing or mixing drugs can lead to serious health problems and even death.

Dangers of Using Drugs at Music Festivals

Drug use is common at these events and can lead to serious side effects. Ecstasy, for example, can cause dehydration, overheating, and heart problems. Club drugs like ketamine and GHB can cause vomiting, hallucinations, and blackouts. And marijuana use can impair your judgment and coordination.

There's also a risk of combining drugs in dangerous ways. For example, one might drink alcohol to quench the thirst from ecstasy use. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, such mixing masks the impact of ecstasy and can lead to accidental overdose and death.

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There are also increasing cases of drugs being cut with other substances, which can make them more potent and dangerous. For example, cocaine may be cut with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can be deadly even in small amounts. MDMA may be cut with n-ethylpentylone, a psychoactive drug linked to adverse effects such as anxiety and paranoia.

In addition, drugs like MDMA can cause dehydration and overheating, which can be dangerous in a crowded and chaotic environment like a music festival. Because of the drug-related harm involved, it is important to be aware of the dangers of using drugs at music festivals and ensure that you stay safe if you attend one of these events.

Ways to Stay Safe At Music Festivals

If you choose to use drugs at a music festival, you can utilize some harm reduction approaches to reduce the risks.

How to Attend a Music Concert Without Participating in the Substance Use Culture

Just because substance abuse is common at music festivals doesn't mean you have to participate. There are plenty of ways to enjoy these events without using drugs or alcohol. You can choose to attend smaller, local events that may be less likely to involve drug use. Alternatively, you can look for festivals that focus on specific genres of music, such as jazz or folk, which tend to attract a more mature crowd.

You can also take steps to create a drug-free environment at a festival. If you're camping, for example, you can choose to stay in a designated sober camping area. And if you see someone who looks like they're struggling, don't be afraid to reach out and offer help.

Music festivals can be a great way to enjoy your favorite artists and explore new genres of music. But it's important to be aware of the risks of drug use at these events. By being informed and taking precautions, you can stay safe and have a great time without putting yourself, and public health at risk.

Understanding the Risks & Dangers of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine is a powerful dissociative drug that has been used for medical and recreational purposes for decades. While it is not as well-known as other drugs like cocaine or heroin, Ketamine's availability has increased in the recent past.

Ketamine abuse is most common among young adults, who are often drawn to the drug's ability to produce an out-of-body experience. Because Ketamine is legal in the United States and can easily be accessed in local veterinary clinics, it has become a popular drug of choice at clubs and parties.

It is also one of the most common date rape drugs. When used in this way, it can cause memory loss and make it difficult for a person to resist sexual assault. Ketamine is also sometimes used to spike drinks.

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What Does Ketamine Do?

Ketamine is a Schedule III drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has an accepted medical use but also a high potential for abuse and dependence. Ketamine is most commonly used as an anesthetic in veterinary medicine but has some limited uses in human medicine.

Ketamine is a safe and effective medication with few side effects when used as directed. However, Ketamine can be abused for its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects. Ketamine can cause serious health problems, including respiratory depression, cardiovascular collapse, and kidney damage when misused.

Ketamine abuse can also lead to addiction and mental health problems such as anxiety and paranoia. Because of the risks associated with ketamine abuse, the drug should only be used as directed by a medical professional.

Ketamine Use

There are a variety of ways that Ketamine can be administered. It can be insufflated, injected, consumed orally, or smoked.

Ketamine is also frequently abused with other substances, such as cocaine, MDMA, or amphetamines. This can lead to addiction to these other substances and, worst cases, overdose deaths.

Ketamine Abuse and Addiction

People abuse Ketamine for its dissociative anesthetic effect. Dissociative drugs distort sounds, self, colors, sights, and environment, making people feel out of touch with reality. That's why Ketamine is used as a party or club drug.

Abusing Ketamine for long periods of time can cause addiction. Ketamine addiction happens because the drug binds to the NMDA receptor in the brain and creates changes that lead to compulsive drug-seeking behavior. NMDA receptor helps to regulate pain perception, emotions, and memory.

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People addicted to Ketamine may feel like they need the drug to function normally. They may keep using Ketamine even though it is causing problems in their lives.

Symptoms of ketamine addiction include:

The Dangers of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic that is often abused for its hallucinogenic effects. However, ketamine abuse comes with a range of short- and long-term dangers.

Short-term dangers include:

Long-term dangers of ketamine abuse include:

In addition, chronic ketamine abuse can lead to "K-holes," a dissociative state in which users feel detached from their bodies and reality. K-holes can be extremely dangerous and have been known to lead to suicide.

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Here's a quick look at the side effects of Ketamine abuse:

Body systemHigh doseLow- to-moderate dose
Cardiovasculardangerous changes in blood pressure, heart rate, chest painHigh blood pressure, depressed or elevated heart rate,chest pain and low blood pressure (rare)
RespiratoryRespiratory depression (when taken rapidly or with CNS depressants or alcohol)An increase in breathing rate
RenalKidney toxicity (with chronic abuse).Kidney toxicity (with chronic abuse).
GastrointestinalNausea and vomitingNausea and vomiting
Central Nervous System (CNS)Amnesia, delirium, panic, coma, elevated body temperature, fear, violent behavior, hallucinations or terrors (k-hole effect), seizures.Agitation, time, shape, body image and sound alterations, confusion, numbness, dizziness, lethargy,  detached feelings, drowsiness, flashbacks, hallucinations, loss of coordination, sedation.
Others Exaggerated strength, severe anxiety, panic, fear, anxiety, respiratory depression, and aggression, muscle rigidity, death from overdose (especially if combined with alcohol, other CNS depressants).Rapid eye movement, salivation (IV use), dilated pupils, tears, spasm of the larynx (rare).

Treatment for Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that is abused for its hallucinogenic effects. It can cause dissociation, hallucinations, impaired motor function, and addiction when used recreationally. While there is no specific treatment for ketamine abuse, several effective approaches can be used to address the problem.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, for example, can help people change their drug use patterns and develop healthy coping mechanisms. In addition, medication can be used to manage the symptoms of ketamine withdrawal and help prevent relapse. With proper treatment, it is possible to overcome ketamine abuse and lead a healthy and productive life.

Get Help Today

Ketamine abuse is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. If you or someone you know is struggling with Ketamine or other substance abuse, please seek help immediately. Many resources are available to help you get started, and we urge you to take advantage of them.

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Texas Overdose Trend Remains At All-Time High For 2022

Substance abuse harms individuals’ physical, mental, and behavioral health. It also affects their families and communities at large. In some instances, it may result in overdose deaths.

A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that over 4,000 people in Texas died due to drug overdose in 2020 alone. The same report revealed that overdoses claimed a total of 93,000 lives in the United States in 2020.

Experts connected the rise in drug addiction deaths with the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Robert Redfield, the CDC director, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected individuals with substance use disorders. The need to isolate left them bored and lonely, thus they used drugs and alcohol for solace.

report by DSHS revealed that opioid use is one of the leading causes of overdose deaths in Texas. Other drugs reported causing overdose deaths are cocaine and methamphetamine.

Director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Deb Houry, said that the significant increase in overdose deaths is worrying.

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How to prevent drug overdose deaths

Until recently, there was no state-wide system to collect overdose data. Researchers at the University of Texas have created a digital reporting and surveillance system to track this data. The system, commonly known as Project CONNECT. Its purpose is to give stakeholders a clear picture of the Texas overdose crisis and influence future interventions.

The CDC also made the following recommendations in a bid to reduce the number of overdose deaths:

What you can do

Everyone has a role to play in preventing overdose deaths. There is a high chance that someone you know or someone from your community may overdose at some point, but not all overdoses should end in death.

To prevent overdose deaths in your community, you can:

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Ways to talk loved ones into getting treatment

When a loved one is struggling with an addiction, you may be at a loss on what to do to help them. You wouldn’t want to risk losing anyone due to a drug overdose.

Addiction treatment is a personal choice, so you can’t force your loved one to get treatment. The best you can do is be there for them every step of the way. However, you can do a few things to convince your loved one to get substance abuse treatment. Here are some of the most important ones.

Be non-judgemental

If your loved one admits that they are struggling with drug addiction, try to react as calmly as possible. Talk to them in a non-judgemental manner and offer to help them. If your loved one doesn’t confide in you, but you notice they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may have to approach them with the issue. Try to be as non-judgemental as possible.

Research the effects of the drug

When your loved one is an addict, it would be best to research the short-term and long-term effects of the drug they are addicted to. When you are well informed, it is unlikely that they will misinform you on the seriousness of the problem. Additionally, they will more likely listen to you when you sound like an expert.

You can get information on various drugs on our website.

Seek professional help

Drug addiction is a chronic illness. Therefore, it needs professional intervention. Reach out to rehab facilities, doctors, or counselors to get relevant information.

Choose a convenient place and time to talk to them

When you decide to approach your loved one to air your concerns, choose a place and time when you would both be comfortable. Do not exhibit aggressive behavior as they may be defensive as a result. Instead, remain calm, maintain an even tone, and focus on the issue at hand.

It would be best to try talking to them when they are as sober as possible. This way, it will be easier to reason with them.

Listen to them

If your loved one is willing to talk about their addiction, listen to them. Give them a chance to air their side of the story, but don’t let them sway you into believing their problem is not serious. Additionally, it would be best to be mindful of how you react or respond.

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Bring up treatment options

From your initial research, you will notice several treatment options available depending on the drug your loved one is addicted to. Some treatment facilities offer both inpatient and outpatient programs. Let your loved ones know their options and help them select the one that suits them best.

Be supportive    

Your loved one will need a lot of your support throughout the treatment and recovery process.

Most treatment programs have medical detox as the first step of treatment. It is arguably the most challenging part of treatment, and most patients feel like they want  to give up. Be there for your loved one and offer emotional support to better their chances of recovery.

You may also have to accompany them to support groups which play a significant role in ensuring recovering addicts maintain sobriety.

What if they don’t want to get treatment?

Sometimes, addicts may refuse to voluntarily get treatment, posing a danger to themselves and those around them. When this happens, you may have to opt for interventionist court-ordered Rehab. You can petition the court for the order if you can prove your loved one’s addiction endangers them and others.

Get help today

If you are searching for trusted and proven drug treatment, Texas has one of the finest. More Than Rehab provides high-quality addiction treatment for Texas residents. We offer unique, individualized treatment programs based on successful national models.

Our experts will take care of your loved one throughout the recovery process, including medical detox, inpatient rehabilitation, and our comprehensive outpatient program. We also provide additional support for Texas overdose victims through sober living arrangements.

Drugs are Getting More & More Potent

It is true that drugs are getting more and more potent these days. Unlike in the past, drug dealers are now selling stronger doses of drugs to attract consumers and also outshine the competition.

According to researchers, the increasing potency of drugs is a sign of an ever-growing recreational drug marketplace, fueled by the rising popularity of stronger drugs. It could also indicate that the drugs are widely available to consumers, forcing dealers to offer punchier products.

Competition in sectors like food or fuel is great for the end-user. It brings about better products and services, helping the consumer get the best of what the market has to offer. But when it comes to drugs, competition can be deadly. It can lead to drug overdoses and overdose deaths.

That’s because dealers do anything to make their drugs stronger and more appealing to end-users. For example, they’ll cut drugs like heroin with other highly potent drugs like fentanyl to spike effects, etc. Sadly, this can cause severe side effects, and in worse cases, overdose deaths. 

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The potency and purity of drugs in the market have reached new levels. It’s an alarming trend especially since the country is dealing with an opioid epidemic that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. At the moment, drug poisoning deaths are the number one cause of injury death in the US, exceeding guns, homicide, suicide, and car crashes.

Organizations like the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction and the US Drug Enforcement Agency produce annual reports on drug testing and thorough evaluation of substances they encounter. They also list out drug pricing details, and surprisingly, cheaper substances are often more potent than expensive ones. That’s because the cheaper ones are inexpensively mass-produced or readily available to meet the demand.

In the US, the average purity of cocaine, heroin, and marijuana increased by 11, 60, and 160% respectively between 1990 and 2007, while their prices, adjusted for purity and inflation fell about 80%. With that in mind, let’s now look at specific drugs and how potent they’ve become.

Marijuana

Today’s marijuana is three times stronger than it was about 25 years ago. This is according to a study published by the National Library of Medicine. The THC level found in marijuana went from 4% to 12% since 1994, with some strains having a concentration rate of 15-25%.

The growing popularity of marijuana has seen the development of more potent products. Traditionally, the plant was mainly consumed through edible products or smoking. But today, people make extracts and concentrates which are more potent due to larger resin volumes. Resins, which are isolated active compounds of weed, have 3-5 times for THC than a marijuana plant.

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Meth

About a decade ago, the average gram of meth in the US was 39% pure. Today, the Mexican manufacturers produce and sell it in a near-pure state. According to the 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment by the DEA, the purity in 2016 was around 93-96%. Meth is smuggled alongside fentanyl and carfentanil, a very powerful derivative that’s often used as an elephant tranquilizer and can kill a person with one or two specks.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, is a prescription drug that’s also made and used illegally. It’s mostly used after surgery to help patients with pain. But the Mexican cartels and Chinese cartels manufacture and smuggle the drug into the US.

And since it’s easier and cheaper to produce than heroin, many drug dealers make pills or cut them into other drugs and deceptively market them as oxycodone pills or heroin. According to the DEA, fentanyl seized on the US-Mexico border is about 4-6% pure. But the smaller quantities from China have a purity of 90% or even higher.

Heroin

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Heroin is highly addictive and many people find it hard to stop using it, even just after using it once or twice. Many constantly crave their next dose. If a heroin addict quits cold turkey or is unable to find another dose, he or she may develop withdrawal symptoms like sleeplessness, feelings of panic, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweats or chills.

Availability is partly to blame for heroin addiction. Heroin and prescription opioids have the same chemical properties and psychological effects. It’s why many people transition from abuse of prescription medications to heroin. Most of them cite heroin as cheaper, more accessible, and offers a better high. Notably, heroin’s street price has been much lower in the last few years.

As mentioned earlier, drug dealers and distributors are now cutting heroin with fentanyl to increase their supply and make it even more potent. Fentanyl is man-made; so it’s cheaper and easier to obtain than plant-based drugs like cocaine and heroin. Fentanyl-laced heroin is very potent and potentially fatal. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin. That’s why the risk of fatal overdose is much higher with such drugs.

Cocaine

Like heroin, cocaine is also often mixed with the powerful opioid fentanyl. Fentanyl turns cocaine into a much bigger killer than the drug of the past. In the 70s, drug dealers and users mixed heroin with cocaine. This mix is famously known and speedball. Speedball creates an intense euphoric rush that’s known as push-pull. But fentanyl has made it much worse. It makes people addicted to a crisis.

And the situation seems to worsen with the increased supply. A federal survey revealed that about 2 million Americans used cocaine regularly in 2018. In 2011, there were 1.4 million users. The production in Colombia has widened the stimulant market and reduced prices.

Sadly these people who produce cocaine aren’t chemists and don’t always know what they’re doing. But drug users trust their suppliers. Most of them don’t carry naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug because they assume they won’t need it.

Seeking addiction treatment

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Substance abuse is dangerous as is. Alcohol abuse can cause liver damage, and smoking lung cancer. We also know that heroin and cocaine abuse cause adverse effects like heart disease, seizures, lung and liver damage, etc. When people use more potent drugs, the risk is even higher.

Since most of them aren’t aware of the potency, they may use the same dose of a drug, but end up with adverse effects, or even death.

Drug overdoses are fatal. Luckily, many people who have overdoses can be saved if they get immediate care. Usually, death happens due to respiratory failure. Overdose is a scary word, especially since most associate it with death. But these two aren’t always a connected.

A person can still lead a healthy life after an overdose, but only if they learn from it. If you’re wondering where to begin from here, then you’ll be pleased to learn that treatment options exist. Reach out today to get help.

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Texas is Dealing with Even More Fentanyl Problems

Fentanyl is the newest drug to blame for the growing opioid epidemic in Texas. This might sound odd, considering the drug is medically approved and is often prescribed by doctors. However, statistics show deaths involve fentanyl abuse more now than ever before in the state of Texas

The misuse of opioids, including fentanyl, heroin, and prescription opioids, has reached epidemic proportions in the US, leading to over 69,710 overdose deaths in 2020. This is according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Texas, in particular, has experienced an upsurge in overdose deaths, accounting for over 3,000 deaths in 2020. Moreover, trends in opioid abuse in the state point to worsening problems in the coming years.

What is fentanyl?

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Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid used to treat chronic severe pain or severe pain following surgery. It is a Schedule II drug like morphine, only about 50-100 times more potent. When used under doctor’s supervision, fentanyl has legitimate medical use. However, some people use fentanyl at unprescribed levels, exposing themselves to many issues, like tolerance and addiction.

Fentanyl is highly addictive due to its potency. It’s therefore common for those taking prescription fentanyl to experience dependence that’s characterized by withdrawal symptoms upon stopping. Symptoms like sleep issues, muscle and bone pain, cold flashes, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe cravings are uncomfortable and make it hard for people to stop taking fentanyl.

When these people can no longer access prescription fentanyl, they may turn to the streets for options. Unless they enroll in a treatment programthey might not be able to pull themselves out of the hole. Alcohol or drug addictions are best treated by professionals.

On the streets, fentanyl has nicknames like:

Illegal fentanyl is available in different forms, including nasal sprays, powder, pressed pill, eyedroppers, and dropped onto blotter paper. The risks of drug overdose on fentanyl than other opioids are extremely high due to its potency.

In fact, it is now the number one cause of drug overdose deaths. And to worsen the situation, illegal manufacturers often cut fentanyl into other opioids making it even more potent. Examples of these drugs include heroin and cocaine. The lack of quality control on illegal drug production adds another layer of danger.

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Fentanyl epidemic in Texas

Many drugs are sold on the streets of Texas, but none is doing as much damage as fentanyl. According to statistics, the drug has led to a significant increase in opioid overdoses in recent years. In 2020, drug overdose deaths rose to 93,000 and were mostly fueled by the rise of fentanyl.

The scary part is that this year, the Texas Department of Public Safety seized enough fentanyl to kill everyone in California and Texas combined– a 950% rise compared to last year. Most fentanyl enters Texas through the southern border.

Gov. Greg Abbott believes that President Biden’s border policies are the reason behind Texas’s fentanyl problem that begun in 2020 but drastically increased in the first four months of 2021. According to Abbott, people crossing the border come with things that are not visible to the public yet carry deadly danger.

“2mg of Fentanyl has the power to take a life,” read Gov. Abbott’s tweet. “This year, @TxDPS has seized 95lbs of Fentanyl. That’s 21.5M lethal doses. Biden’s deadly border policies are being felt in communities throughout TX and the country. DPS & @TexasGuard are working on getting these drugs off the streets.”

Organizations that traffic fentanyl typically distribute by kilogram. A Kg of fentanyl can kill up to 500,000 people. Sadly, most people who take street drugs have no idea they contain fentanyl. And even those who know they’re taking fentanyl still have no idea that it has a lethal dose.

According to the Center for Disease Control, synthetic opioids are the main culprits behind overdose deaths in Texas and the country at large, rising 38.4% during 12 month period that ends May 2020. In this period, the DEA reports:

Pandemic and fentanyl overdose deaths

The proximity to the border is not the only factor that fuels fentanyl use in Texas. Different sources say there has been evidence of increased fentanyl use during the pandemic. The disruption of the supply chain forced people to turn to drugs they weren’t familiar with. And the stay-at-home measures meant more people were taking drugs in isolation. Other risk factors for fentanyl addiction include:

Where is the fentanyl coming from?

Most of the illegal drugs that come into the US are cultivated in poppy fields in Mexico. They are then distributed by cartels the DEA describes as the greatest drug traffic threat to the US. These cartels smuggle fentanyl and other drugs in passenger and commercial vehicles and through underground tunnels.

Socioeconomic consequences of fentanyl use

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The fentanyl epidemic is having devastating effects on other aspects of public health. It has led to high rates of HIV, hepatitis C, and other illnesses, mostly because of shared syringes. There are also more cases of pregnant mothers passing opioid dependency on their unborn children.

study performed by HHS researchers revealed that cases of neonatal withdrawal symptoms experienced by newborns exposed to opioids while in the womb skyrocketed to over 80% between 2010 and 2017. Not only that. There’s a good chance that the opioid crisis caused an upsurge in the number of children in foster care.

Besides, those struggling with addiction may suffer a job loss or even end up with legal troubles. Addiction is expensive and often puts a strain on family and friends. After all, only those who care about the patient will provide resources to see one through treatment. In some cases, it’s also the close relations that take the most financial heat – like when the person struggling with addiction spends lots of money or they max out the credit in their pursuit to use.

Treating fentanyl addiction

Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids and can quickly lead to addiction. It is therefore, crucial to know the risk factors and warning signs of fentanyl addiction. Awareness can help prevent overdose and related deaths and encourage one to get help.

Facilities offering treatment for drug addiction exist to help those who end up with addiction regain control of their lives. There are also support groups to help one stay on the path to long-term recovery.

What is the 27 Club?

The 27 Club is a term that was coined after it became apparent that many famous people were dying at the young age of 27. These untimely deaths have, over the years, become a cultural phenomenon. In turn, there are lots of theories and cult-related stories thrown around as people try to find a link between these occurrences.

But is the famous 27 Club nothing but stories about high-ranking superstars who mysteriously died at 27, an age when so much was ahead of them?

Well, it cannot be a coincidence that some of the biggest names in art and music die at 27, or is it?

We look at the famous superstars who are members of the 27 Club and find the defining link of what has led to these early deaths.

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Famous Members of the 27 Club

While the 27 Club is an unofficial club as members do not have a common plan or register at an early date, it has brought together a remarkable team of superstars. Every member of this club is a legend, as they managed to attract so much attention and following while still alive. Even in death, they have continued to influence the masses as they were remarkable in their artistry and music.

Still, they all died in remarkably tragic coincidences that can no longer be ignored. Here are some of the top names in the 27 Club and an overview of what resulted in their deaths:

1.       Kurt Cobain

Rock n’ Roll has had its fair share of superstars who commanded a movement, and Kurt Cobain ranks with the greatest. Born on 20th February 1967, Kurt Cobain was the leader of the rock band Nirvana. He was responsible for writing the songs that made them a huge success. However, this success seemed to be the fading star that led Cobain to become more involved with drugs, a behavior he had picked up as a teenager.

A highlight that things were getting out of hand was when he was investigated alongside his wife, Courtney Love, for heroin abuse. Unfortunately, this was not the last of it, as Kurt Cobain was also struggling with depression. When he could no longer take it, he attempted suicide on March 4th, 1994 but survived. A month later, on April 5th, 1994, at the age of 27, Kurt Cobain successfully committed suicide after getting high on heroin.

It is after the death of Kurt Cobain that officially the term 27 Club came to be with his mother reportedly saying, “Now he’s gone and joined that stupid club. I told him not to join that stupid club.”

2.       Kristen Pfaff

The death of Kurt Cobain was supposed to mark a turning point for artists and musicians who died early from drugs, but this was never to be. Just two months after the death of Kurt Cobain, Kristen Pfaff, a member of Hole (Courtney Love’s band), died of a heroin overdose. She was only 27 and was among the mourners at Kurt Cobain’s Seattle memorial.

3.       Brian Jones

The official cause of death for Brian Jones at the age of 27 was reported as drowning in a swimming pool. Nevertheless, this does not sum up what contributed to such a young and talented leader of the Rolling Stones to such a tragic death. A behind-the-scenes evaluation reveals that Brian Jones had used a mix of alcohol and drugs before diving into his swimming pool.

4.       Jim Morrison

Born on July 3rd, 1971, Jim Morrison was a true talent who will forever be remembered as the frontman of the rock band, The Doors. While there was no question about how talented Morrison was, he had a serious alcohol and drug abuse problem.

It became such a big problem that he would show up for shows late, and his onstage performance became raucous. All this led to another tragedy for the Rock n’ Roll fraternity as in July 1971, Jim Morrison died of a drug-induced heart failure caused by a heroin overdose.

5.       Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin got famous by taking over the San Francisco music scene with her bluesy vocals during the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Sadly, even as her career rocketed and she blessed the music world with one hit after another, she needed some love. For Janis Joplin, her place of solace was in heroin and alcohol, a behavior that led to her addiction problem.

One lonely night while in her hotel room, she decided to inject herself with some heroin before going to the lobby for a pack of cigarettes. Janis Joplin would not live to use her packet as she hit her face on the table and fell to the floor.

This was another case of a heroin overdose to break down such great talent at the age of 27. For Janis, her failure to show up for a recording session is what led to questions on her whereabouts, only to be found dead on a hotel floor.

6.       Jimi Hendrix

Tragedy always seems to follow tragedy, and just three weeks before the death of Janis Joplin, the Rock n’ Roll world lost Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was rightfully described as one of the greatest instrumentalists in rock music, and he defied odds to become a superstar. Since he was left-handed, he learned to play the guitar upside down and, because of his outstanding talent, was the highest-paid musician at Woodstock.

Tragically, Jimi Hendrix, like many others before him, died early from drugs. As a superstar who had gotten used to taking drugs indiscriminately, it was only a matter of time before he messed up. On the 18th of September 1970, while at his girlfriend’s place, he took nine Vesparax sleeping pills. This was 18 times the recommended dose, and while his girlfriend found him unconscious, the paramedic could not save him.

7.       Rudy Lewis

Another sad day for the music fraternity was on May 20, 1964, when the world lost Rudy Lewis, the R&B singer for the drifters. At the peak of 27, Rudy Lewis, known for his mellow voice, was found dead in his Harlem hotel room. The cause of death was a suspected drug overdose leaving his fans “On Broadway,” just like his hit title.

8.       Ronald McKernan

Ronald McKernan, popularly known as ‘Pigpen,’ was among the founders of the Grateful Dead. Just like his bandmates, Ron did not escape from the allure of drugs and alcohol. While his mates preferred psychedelic drugs, he was a heavy drinker who first picked a bottle at the age of 12.

By 1970, Ronald McKernan was battling liver cirrhosis, and this escalated to a point he could no longer tour by 1972. In March 1973, he died of an internal hemorrhage and was found two days later by his landlady.

9.       Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat is popular as a graphic artist who defied the rules to create his own and thrive. The self-taught had a way of creating colorful art often juxtaposed with words. As a neo-expressionist artist, Basquiat attracted quite a following and became a celebrity whose every move was closely monitored.

Unfortunately, this bright star shining was cut short by being a temperamental artist and the excessive use of drugs. At one time he even claimed that he could use up to 100 bags of heroin in a day. The end was tragic for Jean-Michel as he died of a heroin overdose in August 1988 at his Manhattan studio.

10.  Amy Winehouse

Finally, a list of members of the 27 Club would be incomplete without the mention of Amy Winehouse. The British singer was a darling to many, thanks to her powerful voice and unique style of singing. The only hurdle to this extraordinary story was that the more she became popular, the more she got deeper into drug and alcohol addiction.

In July 2011, Amy Winehouse was found dead at her apartment, and the cause of death was alcohol poisoning. This was the closing curtain for the singer who had even had short stints at rehabs trying to quit alcohol and drugs. A total of three empty bottles were found at her apartment, and this marked yet another entry into the 27 Club.

Why so young?

Fame has always been known to overwhelm people. The sudden shift from a regular lifestyle into one where your actions are of interest to hundreds of thousands can easily become burdening. This has been the reason why many young people who get famous tend to pick up reckless behavior. The worst of these behaviors, alcohol and drug abuse among celebrities, has led to the tragic 27 Club.

A study released by the British Medical Journal in 2011 sought to understand whether 27 is a dangerous age for celebrities/musicians. This was in the hindsight of so much talk about the 27 Club, with many people concluding that it is the high-risk age when superstars give in to the negative aspects of their fame.

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But, the study did not prove this theory, as it found out that there was no peak in the risk of death for musicians at the age of 27. This means that the musicians who died were only affected by attributes affecting their lifestyle, in this case, alcohol and drug abuse.

The 27 Club is not a coincidence or a conspiracy.

For most superstars who are in the 27 Club, it is always evident that they died early from drugs and alcohol. These are not just numbers that affect those who are in art and music, but a concern of public health that needs instant attention. Overly, as more teenagers and young people get more access to drugs and become addicted, living past 27 becomes too challenging as opioid-involved overdose deaths become a reality.

Luckily, all these tragic stories can be made to stop by taking the right action today. Whether you are a celebrity or a young person still working on becoming a superstar, you can live a drug-free life. More Than Rehab is here to help you have a purposeful life, regardless of the form of addiction you are battling. Give us a call and let us help you walk a path free from the bondage of drugs and alcohol addiction.

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How Chronic Pain Can Lead to Drug Abuse

Pain is a normal part of life. It is our body’s reaction to illness or injury – a warning that something is wrong. Usually, pain lessens as soon as the body recovers. The hurting stops and things go back to normal. But this doesn’t happen all the time. Not when it’s chronic pain.

Chronic pain is a persistent pain that’s ongoing and lasts longer than three months. It lingers on even after the illness or injury has gone away. Chronic pain can limit mobility and reduce strength, endurance, and flexibility. This may make it hard to get through daily activities and tasks.

Chronic pain may last for months or even years. It may feel dull or sharp, causing an aching or burning sensation in affected areas. The pain may be intermittent, steady, or on and off. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 20.4% of adults in the US had chronic pain in 2019.

Currently, it’s the leading cause of long-term disability in the country, affecting about 100 million Americans. Studies show 1 in 4 people with chronic pain will develop chronic pain syndrome (CPS). This occurs when they experience mental health issues like anxiety and depression, on top of the pain.

Chronic pain symptoms

Chronic pain, like other long-term health issues, leads to complications beyond the physical symptoms. It causes depression, feelings of guilt, poor sleep, loss of interest in sex, suicidal thoughts, exhaustion, stress, and anxiety. The consistent pain makes it hard for one to manage tasks, keep up with work or attend a social gathering. This leads to problems with relationships and work. Some studies suggest that the severity of these issues is directly proportional to the pain.

How chronic pain leads to addiction:

Chronic pain intensifies mental health issues that cause addiction

Many studies show a strong link between chronic pain and mental health issues. In one of these studies 10-87% of chronic patients had depressive and anxiety symptoms. Personality disorders are also common among these types of patients. Chronic pain and mental health disorders are linked because they both share neural pathways, making it hard for the brain to distinguish them.

In addition, chronic pain has some profound social and behavioral effects that feed into a mental health condition. Prolonged chronic pain causes social isolation that intensifies issues like anxiety and depression. That’s where addiction comes in.

Experts are learning more and more about the strong link between mental health issues and addiction. According to NIDA, people who develop mental disorders are also diagnosed with substance use disorders. Another report by the National Bureau of Economic Research says that mental issues are responsible for the consumption of the following: 40% of cigarettes, 44% of cocaine, and 38% of alcohol.

Self-medication is by far the most common culprit behind most dual diagnoses. For example, a chronic pain patient with low energy takes crystal meth to increase their drive to get things done. Meth addiction can happen the first time it’s used. To make things worse, the drug can cause horrible side effects on the body. Meth mouth is one of the most common physical side effects of meth use.

Treatment involves prescription opioids that can be highly addictive

Prescription opioids are one of the common drugs that doctors prescribe for chronic pain issues. Since the early 1990s, doctors have been prescribing opioid painkillers like morphine, hydrocodone, codeine, and oxycodone for pain problems. These medicines manage pain well and can improve quality of life when used correctly. But unfortunately, anyone who uses opioids is at risk of developing an addiction.

Short-term use of opioid pain relievers rarely causes addiction. However, when a patient takes them for a long time (or incorrectly), they are likely to abuse the drug, develop tolerance and end up with addiction.

Opioids are highly addictive. They make the body and brain believe that the drug is necessary for survival. So the chronic pain patient will want to keep taking the medication. But as they develop a tolerance to the prescribed dose, they may find that they need even more medication to relieve the pain. This may lead to dependence.

This is why patients have to adhere to their doctor’s recommendations at all times. Opioids are not only addictive but also potentially life-threatening. On average, opioid overdoses account for 90 deaths in America every day.  According to WHO, 70% of drug use deaths are opioid-related – with over 30% of these deaths arising from an overdose.

Withdrawal symptoms cause patients to continue using drugs

Many chronic pain patients become dependent on prescription opioids to avoid pain. But when one takes the medication for a long time, they become tolerant. Over time, the body needs more drugs to achieve the same effect. Extended use alters the way neural pathways work in the brain. And these neurons start depending on the drug to function.

As a result, the patient becomes physically sick when they stop using opioid medication. So, they use more drugs to avoid pain and withdrawal symptoms.

Patients try out alternative drugs to relieve pain

Prescription opioids are hard to obtain. Some patients may opt for alternative drugs that are cheaper and easily accessible – like morphine and heroin. Research suggests that misuse of opioid pain medicines like Vicodin and OxyContin may open the door for heroin use.

According to NIH, about 4-6% of those who misuse opioid medicines switch to heroin. But a staggering 80% of those who use heroin, begin by misusing prescription opioids.

Managing chronic pain

Prescription opioids are often the last resort for chronic pain management among non-cancer patients. Most patients benefit from psychological treatments, exercises, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and NSAIDs. But in cases where opioid medications have to be prescribed, it is crucial that they work closely with their doctor to prevent it leading to drug abuse.

Patients who end up with drug use issues will benefit from addiction treatment. Treatment centers have qualified health care professionals who help address behavioral addictions.  The best ones adhere to the guidance of the American Society of Addiction Medicine when treating co-occurring addiction and chronic pain issues.