What Does Long Term Drug Use Do To Your Body?

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

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

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

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

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

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Depressants

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

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

Stimulants

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

Hallucinogens

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

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

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

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

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

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Respiratory System

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

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

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Brain

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

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

Drugs affect the brain in different ways, including:

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Liver

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

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

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Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Kidneys

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

Long-Term Effects of Drugs on the Immune System

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

How to Quit Using Drugs

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

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

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

 

 

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Why Are Opiates Like Heroin So Addictive? 

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

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

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

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

Chasing the Heroin High

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

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

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

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

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

Understanding Heroin Addiction and How it Happens

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

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

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

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

Risk Factors for Heroin Addiction

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

1.    Family history of addiction or mental illness

2.    Childhood trauma or abuse

3.    Previous substance abuse

4.    Mental health disorders like depression or anxiety

5.    A difficult or abusive home life

6.    Peer pressure or a desire to fit in

7.    Access to drugs

8.    Curiosity about drugs

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Healthy Foods to Help With Drug Cravings

Proper nutrition is essential for everyone, but it plays an especially important role in recovering from alcohol and drug addiction. The physical and mental stress of addiction can take a toll on the body, depleting nutrients and damaging cells. The resulting deficiencies can contribute to mental illness and issues like fatigue, anxiety, and depression. This is where healthy foods come in.

Eating a nutritious diet helps replenish the lost nutrients during addiction and provides the energy needed to participate in treatment and rebuild a sober life. It can also help to restore the body's natural rhythms, improve mood, and reduce cravings. As a result, an individualized nutrition plan is an essential part of comprehensive treatment programs.

The specific nutrients that a patient needs will vary depending on the type of addiction, the severity, and the individual's unique physiology. However, the foods that help with addiction and substance use disorders have one thing in common: they focus on whole, unprocessed foods. They often include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains. A detox diet can speed up the detoxification process and promote healing from the damaging effects of substance abuse.

Why Diet Matters During and After a Drug Detox

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Substance use disorders often promote poor eating choices. Besides, many drugs limit the uptake of nutrients from foods. This is why detox with diet is critical to full recovery. However, detoxing from drugs or alcohol can be difficult and dangerous, especially when considering issues like drug or alcohol withdrawal.

You'll need a combination of diet and medication-assisted detox programs to overcome addiction and gain long-term sobriety. These programs provide medical supervision and support throughout the detox process, helping to ensure that you're safe and comfortable.

Inpatient detox programs can also be very helpful for those who have tried to quit cold turkey but have been unsuccessful. It can also help manage withdrawal symptoms. By providing a structured and supportive environment, these programs can increase the chances of success for those seeking to overcome addiction.

Unhealthy Eating Trap after Addiction Treatment

When people think about addiction, they often imagine someone hooked on drugs or alcohol. However, it's important to remember that addiction can take many different forms. The unhealthy eating trap after addiction treatment can be just as difficult to overcome for some people.

It's not uncommon for people to switch their dependence from drugs or alcohol to food after treatment. This is because the same areas of the brain affected by substance abuse are also involved in regulating eating habits. As a result, people who are struggling with addiction may turn to food to cope with their feelings of anxiety and stress.

Unfortunately, this can quickly lead to unhealthy eating habits and even full-blown food addiction. But the good news is there are healthy foods that can help prevent cravings and potential eating disorders.

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Nutrition to Help Your With Drug Cravings

Cravings for foods can be just as intense as drugs or alcohol. Some foods can help you combat cravings that could lead to addiction on your journey to recovery. Here are some examples to get you started:

Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are a good place to start. These foods are nutritious and can also help regulate blood sugar levels. Stabilizing blood sugar can help reduce cravings, mood swings, and irritability, which are often triggers for relapse. In addition, fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber, which helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

By including these fruits and vegetables in your diet, you will be helping your body to heal and recover from addiction.

Eat Healthy Foods to Help your Body Feel Good

Addiction recovery can be a challenging time. It is important to eat foods that will support your body and help you feel your best during this period. Foods like tofu, fish, poultry, and yogurt are all excellent sources of protein and nutrients, which can help to boost energy levels and promote healing.

In addition, all of these foods are low in sugar and unhealthy fats, making them a good choice for people trying to avoid addiction triggers. By including these healthy foods in your diet, you can help to set yourself up for success in recovery.

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Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking lots of water can help to flush impurities from the body and reduce inflammation. As a result, it keeps you healthy and hydrated, which can help reduce cravings. Water also helps curb appetite and can be used as a distraction from cravings.

Avoid processed foods and sugary drinks

Part of recovering from addiction is learning to make healthy choices regarding food. Eating processed foods and sugary drinks can contribute to cravings and trigger a relapse, so it's important to avoid them when healing from addiction.

Instead, focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods rich in nutrients. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains are good options. In addition, staying hydrated is important for recovery, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Once you've completed substance abuse treatment, it's important to do everything you can to prevent relapse. Most rehab centers offer ongoing support, but you might benefit more by joining support groups.

Let More Than Rehab Help You Deal With Drug Cravings

If you're struggling to overcome addiction, it may be helpful to consider making some changes to your diet and getting regular exercise. Eating healthy foods can help reduce cravings for drugs and other unhealthy substances.

There are plenty of resources to help you get started on a healthy diet, so don't hesitate to reach out for support. We are available 24/7. With time and effort, you can overcome addiction and create healthier habits that will benefit you physically and mentally.

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Overdoses Are at an All-Time High: 100,000 Deaths Last Year

Drug overdose deaths have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. In fact, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdoses killed more than 100,000 people in just one year. This is the first time drug overdose deaths have surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in America. Most of these overdose deaths were caused by opioids, including prescription painkillers and synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The State of Drug Abuse in the US

The drug crisis in America is showing no signs of slowing down, and states all over the country are feeling the effects. While some states have been hit harder than others, there seems to be a general trend of rising overdose deaths in almost every state. West Virginia, for instance, had a 52.8% overdose death rate in 2019 and 81.4% in 2020. Ohio had 38.4% in 2019 and 47.2% in 2020.

The states that have been most affected by the drug crisis have been hit hardest by the opioid epidemic. In addition to West Virginia and Ohio, which had a significant rise in overdose deaths cases, other states like Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, Louisiana, and Pennsylvania also had high death rates in 2020.

And while these numbers are alarming enough on their own, they only tell part of the story. Because illicit drugs are becoming more potent and more available than ever before, the drug crisis is only getting worse. To combat this growing problem, we need to invest in education and drug treatment programs that can help people get off of drugs.

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What's Driving Drug Overdoses in the US?

There are many reasons why drug overdoses have become so common. One of the biggest factors is the availability of drugs. With the rise of the internet, it's easier than ever to get your hands on illegal drugs.

Another factor is the potency of these drugs. Drug dealers are constantly trying to one-up each other by selling more potent drugs. This means that even first-time users are at risk of overdosing.

Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are largely to blame for this increase in fatalities

Illegal drug users are at an increased risk of overdose because of the rise in synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Fentanyl is a powerful opioid that is much more potent than other opioids, such as heroin. This increased potency makes fentanyl more dangerous and likely to cause overdose fatalities.

It can also be easily laced into other illegal drugs without the user's knowledge. As a result, drug users may unwittingly take a lethal dose, increasing drug-related fatalities. 

In addition, synthetic opioids are often cheaper and more readily available than traditional drugs, making them more attractive to illegal drug users. The increase in the availability of these drugs is likely to continue to fuel the current epidemic of drug overdoses.

In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in deaths caused by synthetic opioids like fentanyl. New data shows that opioid-related deaths increased from 56,064 in April 2020 to 75,673 in April 2021. Most of these deaths were accidental overdoses, which highlights the dangers of using illegal drugs like fentanyl.

Addiction to prescription painkillers after receiving them from a doctor for a legitimate injury or illness

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Overdose deaths in the United States are at an all-time high, and prescription painkillers are a major contributor to this trend. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 16,416 people died from drug overdoses in 2020. Painkillers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine are highly addictive, and it is easy for users to develop a tolerance and require ever-increasing doses to achieve the same effect.

As users become increasingly dependent on these drugs, they are more likely to turn to illegal narcotics like heroin when their prescriptions run out. This is a dangerous cycle that often leads to overdose and death. In addition, many users accidentally overdose on prescription painkillers because they are not aware of how powerful these drugs can be. As the opioid epidemic continues to claim lives, it is clear that something needs to be done to address this problem.

It's important to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid overdoses and how they can ruin lives

It's no secret that opioids are a serious problem in the United States. Each year, overdose deaths involving opioids claim the lives of tens of thousands of Americans. In addition to the human toll, the economic cost of the opioid epidemic is estimated to be over $500 billion. Despite these alarming statistics, many people remain unaware of the dangers of opioids and how easily they can ruin lives.

This lack of awareness is one of the biggest challenges in addressing the opioid epidemic. Raising awareness about the dangers of opioids is essential to saving lives and reducing the economic cost of this devastating problem. Only by increasing public understanding of the risks can we hope to make progress in tackling this pressing issue.

Get Help for Your Addiction

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Overdose deaths are at an all-time high in the United States. Every day, more than 130 people die from opioid overdose. If you're struggling with addiction, it's important to reach out for help. There are many effective treatments available, including rehab and medication-assisted treatment programs.

These programs can help you overcome addiction and achieve long-term sobriety. If you're unsure where to start, you can reach out to your doctor or a local addiction treatment center. They can connect you with the resources you need to get started on the road to recovery.

Contact More Than Rehab

When it comes to addiction, getting timely help could help save lives. MoreThanRehab provides information and resources on addiction treatment and a safe space for those who are struggling with addiction.

We also offer a range of treatment options, including detox, rehabilitation and therapies to those struggling with addiction who don’t know where to turn. If you or a loved one needs help, call us immediately. Don't hesitate.

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Why Do I Keep Relapsing On Drugs?

If you wonder why you or your loved one keeps relapsing on drugs, you are not alone. Relapse is common among people seeking recovery. Statistics show that approximately 85% of recovering addicts relapse within a year following treatment. For this reason, there is a need for a long-term drug relapse prevention plan.

Although society deems recovering addicts who relapse as not having enough willpower, you mustn’t lose hope. The National Institute on Drug Abuse acknowledges that addiction treatment involves altering deeply rooted behaviors. Therefore, relapse on drugs or alcohol does not mean that the treatment failed. 

The first thing you should do after relapse is to forgive yourself or your loved one. This way, you will have a more positive attitude that will, in turn, help you in your addiction recovery journey. The next step would be to get treatment for the substance abuse. After that, start a drug relapse prevention program. 

Most treatment programs offer relapse prevention programs to address the issue of relapse by teaching you techniques to prevent and manage its reoccurrence. This way, you can successfully achieve long-term sobriety.

Common Reasons Why Addicts Relapse

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Addiction recovery differs from individual to individual. When you’re addicted to illegal drugs, they take control of your life. Consequently, you may not make healthy and logical choices.

Addiction treatment requires time and effort. Being in a treatment program doesn’t mean you will no longer crave drugs. However, you will actively find ways to avoid substance use and address underlying issues. You will also receive treatment for health problems you acquire when addicted to drugs.

Although the causes of relapse differ from person to person, there are a few commonalities. Here are some common reasons why addicts relapse:

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Signs That You Are On The Verge of Relapse

Below are signs that you are on the verge of experiencing a relapse:

  1. You stop making an effort to maintain sobriety. Recovery is an ongoing journey. For this reason, you need to go out of your way to ensure you stay sober. If you no longer do, you are likely to relapse.
  2. You romanticize your addiction days. If you think of your substance abuse days as good days, you may relapse soon.
  3. You try to reconnect with friends from your addiction days. Reconnecting with friends from your substance abuse days will likely lead to relapse.
  4. You now consider drugs or alcohol harmless. This is a dangerous sign of relapse.
  5. You become selfish and moody. Behavior changes are a substantial danger sign of relapse.
  6. You embrace an unhealthy self-righteous attitude.

Dangers of Relapse

Most recovering addicts assume they can quickly achieve abstinence after relapse. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The more you relapse, the harder it will become for you to get sober.

Often, your relapse lasts longer than your recovery. Relapse may also become permanent.

Relapse is dangerous for several reasons. Here are a few of them:

 

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What To Do During Recovery To Prevent Relapse

To prevent relapse during recovery, you should:

 

Get Help Today

If you feel yourself slipping into a relapse, you should seek professional help. Relapse shouldn’t make you give up on your journey to recovery.

If you feel close to relapsing on drugs or need someone to talk to, contact More Than Rehab for help. We have highly qualified experts that will do all it takes to get you back on track and in control of your life.

You can live a happy, healthy, drug-free life with the proper support and treatment.

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How To Be Grateful Even When Times Are Tough

Gratitude is an essential tool for those in the recovery process. It is known to significantly reduce relapse rates, especially during the holidays.

If you feel grateful to be on the road to recovery, the chances are that you won’t relapse. A thankful attitude allows you to face any challenges that come your way and focus on your recovery goal.

Grateful people generally have a positive outlook on life. This outlook influences their behavior and promotes a sustainable recovery-oriented life.

Most people who abuse drugs or alcohol tend to be self-centered, caring only about themselves. If you are in recovery, expressing gratitude makes you less selfish and more aware of the needs of others. Additionally, you will be more in control of your life, more optimistic, and less stressed.

Practicing gratitude influences the behaviors and thoughts of those recovering from addiction and co-occurring disorders. It also helps them appreciate the present and improve interactions with other people.

This article will discuss how to be grateful, even when things are tough. Additionally, we will talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), its symptoms, and how to fight it.

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Gratitude

Here are a few tips on being grateful during the holidays to avert experiencing a relapse.

1.     Have a gratitude journal.

Have a journal where you list at least three things you are grateful for every day. Journaling daily will change your mindset and make you a grateful person overall.

2.    Focus on the essential things.

It would be best to focus on important things, including your relationships with your friends and family, instead of worrying about the unknown. You will realize just how lucky you are to have the people you have in your life at the moment. Interact with your friends and family often. Remember, isolation can lead to addiction.

3.    Change your perspective.

If you’re having a hard time coming up with things you are grateful for, take a moment to think about other people whose misfortunes are more than yours. Changing your perspective will make you realize just how much you should be grateful for.

4.    Savor the good experiences/moments.

During your day-to-day, pay attention to the moments you genuinely feel happy and savor them. Pay attention to how your body feels, and try to relive the moments when you don’t feel grateful.

5.    Appreciate yourself for the small milestones you make.

Most people tend to overlook what they do for themselves, mainly when they cultivate healthy habits during their recovery journey. Remember to always appreciate yourself for the small milestones you make.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that arises due to change in seasons. It is a co-occurring disorder that starts during fall, worsens during winter, and ends during spring. On rare occasions, people get a rare SAD type called summer depression.

SAD is a severe condition that harms your day-to-day life, including how you think and feel. It may cause major depression.

The mild version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is commonly referred to as the winter blues. Unlike SAD, winter blues simply make you feel down since you are mostly stuck indoors.

Who is likely to get SAD?

SAD tends to affect women  and young people more. Additionally, people with mood disorders, e.g., bipolar disorder and mental health conditions, are more likely to get SAD. People who live further north of the equator in high latitudes or cloudy regions are also more likely to get SAD.

People suffering from SAD may suffer from other mental health conditions, including but not limited to eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders.

Symptoms of SAD

Here are a few symptoms of SAD patients are likely to experience:

Those who suffer from summer SAD are likely to experience:

How to fight SAD

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Here are a few tips on fighting seasonal depression.

  1. Work out.

Most times, people’s physical activity decreases during the colder months. Working out is a great way to combat seasonal depression since you fight your body’s urge to be sluggish.

2.    Consider light therapy.

Research has shown that light therapy is a first-line treatment for SAD since it keeps the patient’s circadian rhythm on track.

3.    Participate in social activities.

Most people tend to avoid participating in social activities during the colder months. As discussed above, isolating yourself is a risk factor for SAD. Try as much as possible to participate in social activities and interact with your family and friends.

4.    Have a schedule and stick to it. 

People with SAD often either sleep a lot or have trouble sleeping. Try maintaining a regular schedule to improve your sleeping patterns. This will help reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression.

5.    Ensure you get enough vitamin D.

The  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that insufficient vitamin D may cause depressive symptoms, including SAD.

It is unclear whether taking vitamin D supplements may relieve SAD symptoms, but experts say getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and your diet could go a long way in preventing SAD.

6.   Go on vacation.

If you get SAD during the colder months, you can take a winter vacation to countries with warm climates at the time. Being in a warm place can relieve SAD symptoms.

7.    Be grateful.

As discussed above, gratitude is an essential part of recovery. Purpose to stay grateful and appreciate what and who is in your life.

Conclusion

Being grateful goes a long way in promoting sobriety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most addicts relapse when they can no longer deal with the pressure of their day-to-day lives.

Most addicts can avert a relapse on drugs by cultivating gratitude during recovery, especially during the fall and winter months, when SAD tends to kick in.

Check out our blog for more information on relapse prevention and drug rehabilitation. At More Than Rehab, we offer quality service to everyone struggling with addiction. Contact us today to start your recovery journey.

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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.

Isolation can Lead to Addiction

Addiction is a complex condition that can rarely be attributed to a single cause. One’s environment, genetics, mental health, and past experiences all influence the development of addiction. Studies also point out isolation as a vulnerability to drug addiction.  

Social isolation isn’t necessarily bad: we all crave some alone time, at least occasionally. Being alone can be rejuvenating, meditative, and relaxing. But when the solitude is unwanted or unhealthy, it can become problematic. Isolation has become a growing concern for the health care system.

People who are socially isolated may lack friends, family, or close workmates. So, they tend to feel lonely and depressed. As a result, they may suffer from anxiety, low self-esteem, and other mental health issues, as you’ll notice in this article.

What is social isolation?

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put it, social isolation is the lack of social connections that can lead to loneliness in some people. Those in unhealthy isolation are likely to:

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In some cases, the isolation can include emotional isolation where one is unwilling or unable to share their feelings with others. When this happens, the person can become emotionally numb.

What causes social isolation?

Isolation can be a result of many factors, including:

The effects of isolation

Many studies have shown a connection between isolation and physical health issues. Isolation is a risk factor for issues like heart disease, increased inflammation and stress hormones, diabetes 2, and even disability. An analysis of 70 studies and 3.4 million people pointed out that isolated individuals had a 30% higher risk of dying in the next seven years.

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But the effects of isolation aren’t just physical. They can be mental as well. In fact, numerous studies show a close link between isolation and mental disorders like low self-esteem, depression, social anxiety, dementia, or other mental health concern.

Again, isolation and mental issues tend to feed off of each other. Meaning, an individual might develop anxiety because of isolation, then feel more isolated because of their anxiety, and vice versa.

How isolation leads to addiction

Connecting with other people is an important part of well-being. Humans are social creatures, and not getting enough social interaction can impact health. Isolation can increase the amount of stress hormone cortisol in the body, causing a range of physical health concerns.

Prolonged isolation can lead to mental health issues or worsen the existing ones. When feelings of loneliness go unresolved, it could lead to a range of mental illnesses.

Many studies show a strong connection between mental health disorders and substance use disorders. In fact, as the National Institute on Drug Use puts it, many people who develop mental illnesses are also diagnosed with substance use disorder. Data show high rates of SUD and mental disorders like anxiety, depression, PTSD, and antisocial personality disorders, all of which are common among those who self-isolate. NIDA also points out that people with personality, substance use, and mental disorders were more likely to use non-medical prescription opioids

Isolation may also cause loneliness. When a person is lonely, they may turn to drugs to pass the time or shut down the critical inner voices that tend to multiply in isolation. Speaking of voices, too much isolation leads to fluctuations in thinking, causing one to perceive the world around them negatively. In some cases, the loneliness can make them a little vulnerable, causing them to start looking for reasons people aren’t hanging out with them.

At this point, self-disgust sets in to offer a handy scapegoat. When one fixates on these beliefs and thoughts, they might act in ways to reinforce their actions. They may also abuse substances to cope with their situation or avoid reality. Prolonged use might lead to addiction, driving one further into isolation.

Note that both drugs and social interaction can stimulate one’s dopamine response. Emotional and physical connectedness triggers the production of good feelings, and when that system doesn’t change, one may seek to self-medicate. So they’ll turn to illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. For those struggling with addiction, this can make for a deadly mix under the wrong circumstances.

Unfortunately, at this point, any attempt to stop using ends in withdrawal symptoms. So, one is likely to struggle alone, with no end in sight.

How to overcome isolation

Going out more and making new friends might seem like an obvious thing to do in this case. However, isolation can have an underlying cause that needs to be addressed to build more fulfilling connections. Treatment programs exist to help individuals gain control of their lives. But one can also try out the following:

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How to prevent relapse in isolation

Those who go through substance abuse treatment need physical, emotional, and financial support from their loved ones to regain full control of their lives. Otherwise, they risk relapsing. Finding support in groups like Alcoholic Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can help prevent relapse.

Getting help for social isolation and addiction

The risks of drug addiction are higher among those suffering from isolation. But the good news is that there are facilities that provide medically-reviewed addiction treatment and therapies to help one reopen communication lines and feel less isolated.

East Texas Has an Opioid Problem, From Prescription

If you think that the drug abuse trend in the great state of Texas has anything to do with its closeness to the Mexican border, you are right. Texas shares a 1,254-mile border with Mexico, which is a big factor in the state's drug problem, especially with the illegal drug heroin.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Texas Drug Threat Assessment, this border area is widely used by the cartels to smuggle illicit substances to the United States. That’s because most of is open, including state parks and this makes it difficult to constantly be monitored by enforcement agencies.

Large quantities of cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and meth are trafficked to the country through the border. Federal-wide Drug Seizure System (FDSS) research shows that the amount of drugs seized by officers in the state – most confiscated near or at the US-Mexico border – consistently surpasses that of any other region in the United States

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But despite the law enforcement effort, cartels still find creative ways of ferrying the drugs across the border, whether it’s through roads, air, rail, water, or underground tunnels. And while smuggling happens anywhere across the border, commercial smuggling is prevalent in the Gulf of Mexico and the Rio Grande River.

Prescription opioids in East Texas

Illicit substances aren’t the only drug problem in Texas. The seemingly safe prescription medicines are also frequently abused and can cause serious issues, like overdose and death. In 2018, there were 14,975 deaths involving prescription opioids in Texas, according to the National Institute on Drug Use. Although the national prescription opioid-involved death rates decreased by nearly 7% from 2018 to 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that more than 70% of the 70,630 deaths in 2019 involved opioids.

Prescription drugs produce feelings of calmness and euphoria when taken in large doses. And while they aren’t meant to be taken this way, people may become tolerant over time and begin taking larger doses to feel the effect. This is part of the reason Texas law limits opioid prescriptions for acute pain to 10 days – with no refills allowed. A separate law also mandates physicians to check a state database to track whether patients with moderate to severe pain have already gotten the drugs elsewhere.

The regional needs assessment showed that the lifetime use rates for codeine syrup, Adderall, and benzodiazepines in the south- and northeast Texas were 15.5%, 4.4%, and 4.1%, respectively. Additionally, there were 7 prescriptions per 10 people in northeast Texas compared to 5.2 per 10 people statewide, according to the assessment.

Examples of commonly abused prescription drugs in East Texas include:

Misuse of prescription medicines is widespread, especially among adults and teens. Xanax misuse is particularly prevalent for teens. Houston, which lies in Southeast Texas, near the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston, is a source city for bulk quantities of pain medicines. Most of the supply comes from diverse activities at Houston’s many illegal pill mills, organized pharmacy theft, and prescription fraud.

Counterfeit pill production

The rise of counterfeit pill production makes the prescription drug situation even worse. Fake Xanax and hydrocodone pills containing fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are increasingly being seized. These impure drugs can have severe side effects and lead to overdose and death in worse cases. In fact, reports show that misused opioids accounted for more deaths than any other drugs save for cocaine.

According to the DEA, fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills remain a leading cause of overdose deaths in East Texas and across the country. As cheap, potent fentanyl infiltrates the heroin markets, the drug will augment and supplant white powder heroin in different markets.

Texas is in the top five states for a total number of opioid-related deaths. It also has the second-highest opioid abuse-related health care costs, amounting to over $1.9 billion, according to the City of San Antonio Metropolitan Health District’s overview. Hundreds of people die of overdose every day, and deaths involving schedule II drugs have outpaced those of heroin and cocaine combined since 2002. The crisis has led several East Texas counties, like Upshur, Titus, and Bowie, to hold drug manufacturers like Pfizer Inc., Purdue Pharma, and Johnson & Johnson responsible for the economic burden of opioid addiction.

Opioid addiction

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Opioids such as fentanyl, heroin, and pain medications are highly addictive because they activate powerful reward centers in the brain. These drugs activate opioid receptors on cells situated in many areas of the spinal cord, brain, and other body organs, particularly those involved in feelings of pleasure and pain. When they attach to these receptors, they block pain signals and flood the body with dopamine. This effect can reinforce the act of using the drug, making one want to repeat the experience.

Long-term use of opioids can cause some people to develop tolerance. In this case, they’ll need higher and more frequent doses to achieve the desired effect. But this causes neurons to adapt so that they only work normally when the drug is present. The absence of the drug causes withdrawal symptoms, some of which are life-threatening. At this point, one is likely to rely on the drug to keep these symptoms at bay.

Treating opioid addiction

Chronic pain patients who develop opioid addiction need medical support to quit using the drugs. There are many inpatient and outpatient facilities in Trinity, Newton, Polk, Port Arthur, Tyler, Texas, etc., dedicated to treating people with addiction. Other programs, like the Deep East Texas Opioid Response Program, can also help with addiction care. Many of these programs use medications like buprenorphine or methadone to help individuals get off of opioids. In cases of opioid overdose, patients are given Naltrexone to flush out receptors to reverse the overdose.

Take advantage of the many resources available in the region to ensure you or your loved one is free from opioid addiction. The East Texas Council on Addiction and Drug Abuse is one such resource that acts as the first step for those seeking help. But you can also contact us today to learn how we can help you get off drugs and lead a clean, healthy life.