Why Many People Don’t Seek Treatment for Addiction

-+*In the United States, more than 23 million people live with addiction. The greatest number of these people are trapped in the abuse of alcohol. And while a smaller number cite drugs as their primary problem, the truth is that with polydrug use (the use of multiple drugs at a time or close together) the norm rather than the exception, the lines are definitely blurred. The biggest group of people going to rehab are going because of alcohol problems. But look closer. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports on the substances that drove 1.8 million people to…

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Is it Okay if Your Child Drinks a Little or Smokes a Little Marijuana?

-+*As long as he (or she) is not overdoing it, are you okay with a little drug use by your kids? Does it not worry you if your child drinks as long as they do it at home or the home of someone you know? And how about marijuana? Is this fairly harmless, as far as you’re concerned? And if they smoke, is it just not worth arguing about? Just as long as they don’t move on to “hard drugs” like heroin or cocaine. Maybe these ideas horrify you. Maybe they don’t. For many parents, they are acceptable. Should they…

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Troubles in Oregon and Massachusetts Point out the Problem with Legalization Efforts

-+*On November fourth in Oregon, as in several other states, there is a vote about the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana. As this takes place, Oregon struggles with a terrible problem with opiate use and addiction. As this opinion piece in the Portland Tribune points out: • In the twelve years between 2000 and 2012, more than 4,000 people in the state died due to their abuse of drugs. • Oregon’s death rate from opioid (synthetic drugs similar to morphine or heroin) has quadrupled • Oregon’s death rate from heroin overdose has tripled • In just medical costs,…

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Is Addiction to Blame for Violence Against Partners

-+*Research published recently by the University of Michigan revealed an alarming fact, that 1 out of every 5 men in the United States admit to having been violent towards his partner at some point. The study was conducted with a population sample intended to be representative of the nation as a whole, casting the spotlight on a disturbing aspect of domestic relations in American society. It was released in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, using data gathered from 2001 to 2003 and made available in the National Comorbidity Survey-Replication, which involved survey responses from around 10,000…

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Trying to Understand a Methamphetamine Addict

-+*  From time to time, there are shocking and painful news articles that feature a person who was using methamphetamine heavily before the event reported in the news. For example, this story from Utah, June 2014. A woman apparently gave birth to seven infants over a period of time and killed six of them, hiding the babies’ bodies in the garage. (The last baby was stillborn.) She was a methamphetamine addict. In the news report, the police stated that she did not want to deal with the responsibility. A heavy methamphetamine addict is nowhere near this coherent. This may be…

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E-Cigarette Use – Harmless or Another Gateway to Drug Abuse?

-+*Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity, first being offered as an alternative to smoking, a way for smokers to kick their habits. They provide nicotine and flavoring but not tar and other harmful chemicals. An electronic cigarette uses a small battery to heat a canister of synthetic nicotine with or without other flavorings. Propylene glycol is also heated to make a puff of vapor that is inhaled along with the nicotine. So the smoker feels like they have had a puff off a cigarette. Now, young people are picking up the habit of using e-cigarettes. As more teens start using…

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Benzodiazepines and Cognitive Loss

-+*Benzodiazepines are a widely-prescribed class of anti-anxiety drug. You may not realize it, but most of these drugs are intended for short-duration use. After several weeks or months of use, most of them lose their therapeutic effect. All of these drugs are addictive and have a high potential for abuse which is another reason to only prescribe them for brief periods. While a couple of more recent additions to this list have a longer therapeutic effect, they still have that risk of addiction. A person wanting or needing to come off benzodiazepines must work closely with a doctor because of…

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After Naloxone – What’s Next for Opiate Addicts?

-+*One after another, police departments and emergency responders are being equipped with naloxone devices. If you haven’t heard of these yet, they are devices that provide a pre-set amount of the drug naloxone. This drug will quickly reverse the effects of an opiate overdose. It has the potential to save the lives of many people who would not make it to the hospital to be revived. Opiates work by slowing down the breathing. When breathing slows down enough, a person dies. When naloxone is administered, it directly counteracts the effects of the opiate and a overdoser often perks up in…

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Robin Williams: Drugs Legal and Illegal

-+*“It’s just literally being afraid. And you think, oh, [the alcohol] will ease the fear. And it doesn’t.” This is Robin Williams, four years ago, speaking with an interviewer from the British newspaper The Guardian. He is explaining what it was that drove him to relapse into drinking in 2003, after 20 years of sobriety. “For that first week you lie to yourself, and tell yourself you can stop, and then your body kicks back and says, no, stop later. And then it took about three years, and finally you do stop.” He stopped, getting into rehab and then settling…

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Bringing Back a Culture of Sober Living to America

-+*It has not been that long since drug use was something that few people struggled with or talked about. Before the 1960s, marijuana was just used in isolated areas and heroin use was restricted to certain circles of the population, usually in urban areas. Heroin spread through the jazz and Beatnik subcultures in the 1950s, then when US soldiers went to Southeast Asia in the 1960s, some developed heroin abuse habits and brought those habits home with them. Cocaine use spread across the country in 1985, creating tens of thousands of addicts and filling jails. In the late 1960s, marijuana…

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