Drug Abuse

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Drug Abuse.

Real Time Death Toll as of

More than 10 percent of U.S. adults abuse drugs
Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment
To Parents Struggling with a Child’s Addiction: 3 Things I Want You to Know

More than 10 percent of U.S. adults abuse drugs

Despite addiction troubles, few seek treatment, national study shows

More than 10 percent of U.S. adults abuse or become addicted to drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and amphetamines at some point in their lives, but few get treatment, according to a study published

The U.S. National Institutes of Health researchers called their work the first detailed accounting of drug abuse among U.S. adults since the early 1990s but did not compare the latest numbers with drug abuse prevalence in the past.

The researchers based their findings on interviews with 43,093 people in 2001 and 2002. They estimated 10.3 percent of U.S. adults abused drugs during their lifetimes, including 2.6 percent who become addicted.

The researchers said 2 percent reported symptoms of abuse or addiction in the previous year. They defined abuse as an intense desire to use drugs to the exclusion of other activities and addiction as physical dependence on a drug.

Men were much more likely than women to abuse drugs, the study found, with 13.8 percent of men and 7.1 percent of women doing so at some point. Drug problems also were more common among younger people, most frequently appearing around age 20.

Whites were more likely than blacks or Hispanics to report they had drug problems at some point, the study, published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, found. There was a higher-than-expected rate among American Indians.

“Drug addiction and abuse are common problems among adults in the United States,” Dr. Wilson Compton of the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, who led the study, said in a telephone interview.

“There’s this myth that they (drugs) are mostly a problem of minorities and that would just not be true,” Compton said.

Only 8.1 percent of drug abusers and 37.9 percent of those who became addicted said they got treatment, the study found.

“We are concerned because treatment rates are this low despite the availability of effective interventions,” NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow said in a statement. “We must encourage the public to view addiction as a brain disease that needs to be treated like any other chronic disease.”

Marijuana most common

The study found that marijuana was the most commonly abused drug — 8.5 percent said they had abused it — followed by cocaine (2.8 percent) and amphetamines (2 percent). (Editor's note: Remember, this study was done in 2001-2017. A lot can change in five years, and probably has.)

The study also looked at abuse of other drugs such as heroin, opioids, hallucinogens, PCP, inhalants, tranquilizers and sedatives. It did not track alcohol or tobacco use.

There was a strong relationship between drug problems and mental illness, particularly people with depression, bipolar disorders and anxiety disorders, Compton added.

Compton said people who come forward for treatment of a serious mental illness should be screened for drug abuse, and drug abusers should be screened for mental illness.

Compton said the costs to society of drug abuse include more crime, illness and family discord, and less work productivity.
Sources: www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18539150/wid/11915773/

Drug & Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Millions of Americans, in fact 22.5 million, needed treatment for drug or alcohol use disorders in 2014. Addiction is a well-researched field, with multiple treatment avenues available for those who are ready to ask for the help they need and want to lead a healthier life. But it also means that treatment options can feel overwhelming at first glance.

How do I know I have an addiction?

Technically the term “addiction” isn’t used anymore when it comes to getting a diagnosis. In the most recent edition Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, drug and alcohol addiction are called “use disorders” (i.e. Alcohol Use Disorder; Opioid Use Disorder). The three most common symptoms of a use disorder include needing more of the substance over time to achieve the same effect, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping use, and being unable to quit even when you know there is a big problem.

Use disorders can range from mild to severe, depending on the number of symptoms you have. These symptoms include:

What should be my first step towards recovery?

Asking for help gives you the best chance in changing the pattern of addiction. Going it alone rarely works, and isolating will only set you up for relapse. Getting help can look like talking to your doctor, a mental health professional, or a loved one. You can also enlist the support of strangers by attending a support group such as Alcoholics Anonymous and asking for local recommendations. Addiction is common, so never be silent for fear that you still shock your doctor or counselor. Their job is to help you take that next step.

Do I need to see a doctor or a mental health professional?

Yes. They will respect your confidentiality, so you should feel free to share all information about your patterns of use. A doctor or mental health professional can evaluate you to determine whether you meet the criteria for a use disorder. Drinking and drug use can cause serious damage to your body, so it’s important to get checked out by a doctor. He or she will conduct a physical exam and other necessary tests. When you go to your appointment, share with your doctor any symptoms you’ve experienced, your habits of use, and other major stressful life events that have occurred recently. The more information you can give them, the better care you will receive.

How can I get help for a loved one with an addiction?

First, understand that recovery requires a willingness to change. However, that doesn’t mean you have to wait until things hit rock bottom to approach your loved one about their harmful behavior. If you’re considering planning an intervention or approaching your loved one about the addiction, always talk with a professional first about how to avoid harm. They may recommend that they be in the room with you to have the difficult conversations. If your loved one isn’t ready to change, self-help groups like Al-Anon also can provide emotional support and guidance for you and your family.

What are the characteristics in an excellent treatment program?

For drug and alcohol use disorders, there are a variety of treatment options. How do you know which is best for you? A stellar treatment program will:

What will happen once I decide to seek treatment?

There are three major components to quitting drug and alcohol use. The first is detoxification, where a person abstains from using so that the substance can leave their body. Medication is often prescribed during this stage to reduce the intensity of symptoms. The second step involves seeking treatment, which might include additional medications, counseling, and evaluation of other mental health problems. Treatment occurs in outpatient or inpatient programs. Finally, you will need to find support for the long-term to prevent relapsing on the substance.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient treatment?

Depending on the resources available, what your health insurance is willing to cover, the intensity of the disorder, and the type of use disorder, mental health professionals may suggest inpatient or outpatient behavioral health treatment.

Inpatient treatment – Inpatient programs are 24-7 facilities that provide housing, medical care, and therapy for those with severe addictions. Over half of people who receive treatment for drug or alcohol use disorders participate in inpatient treatment. Inpatient treatment programs include short-term detox centers, long-term programs which last anywhere from a few weeks to a year, or recovery programs which provide housing to bridge the transition to independent living. Long-term programs are often recommended for those with an additional mental illness diagnosis who require extra support or persons with a criminal history.

Outpatient treatment – Outpatient treatment can range from a individual therapy session once a week to more intensive day programs that offer individual and group therapy, psychoeducational classes, and other activities. The distinguishing factor is that outpatient treatment is not 24-7 and does not always provide onsite medical care. Individuals may transition to outpatient treatment from detox centers or longer inpatient treatment programs.

What types of therapy have been proven to work?

Many types of therapy and multiple behavioral interventions have proven effective in treating addiction. The most commonly used therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people evaluate and correct negative thought patterns and behaviors that lead to addiction. Behavioral therapy such as REBT can provide positive reinforcement strategies that encourage continuing with sobriety. Group therapy has also proven effective when it happens concurrently with individual counseling. Multidimensional family therapy examines how improving the functioning of a family system can reduce the triggers of drug and alcohol abuse.

An increasingly common tool used in treatment addiction is called motivational interviewing (also known as MI). Used by doctors, therapists, and other health professionals, motivational interviewing is a conversational technique that helps a person assesses their readiness to stop the behavior and seek treatment. Rather than trying to convince a person to change a habit, MI acknowledges that there are good things and bad things about using drugs and alcohol and not using them. This helps an individual become more comfortable with moving towards making a permanent change.

Will I be prescribed medication?

Medication alone can’t cure drug and alcohol use disorders, but it can prove extremely effective in reducing the symptoms of withdrawal and the possibility of relapse. Pharmacotherapy can also help reduce the symptoms of other mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, that promote drug and alcohol use. Medications are commonly prescribed for those addicted to opioids (including prescriptions drugs and heroin) and alcohol.

Opioid use medications include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Methadone and buprenorphine work to reduce cravings and the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, and naltrexone keeps opioids from having their usual effect in the brain. While these medications do not cure the addiction, they help prepare an individual for therapy and evaluating what changes can help them maintain sobriety.


Alcohol use medications include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram. Acamprosate diminishes symptoms of withdrawal such as feelings of depression or anxiety, thereby reducing the chance of relapse. Disulfiram (also known as Antabuse) produces unfavorable physical reactions when someone drinks alcohol, such as nausea and facial redness.

What lifestyle changes can I make to prevent relapse?

Once you leave a treatment program, you might find that your old triggers will be waiting on the doorstep when you get home. It’s important to explain to your friends and family that you’re serious about recovery. Develop relationships that aren’t based on drinking or using drugs. Know when and where support groups meet in your neighborhood. Maintain a distance from people, places, and events that promote old habits. Most people with use disorders experience relapse. While a relapse might be upsetting, it is no excuse to give up hope.

Living a healthier life can also lift your mood, give you energy, and reduce the cravings for alcohol or drugs. Getting a proper night’s rest, exercising regularly, and coping with stress effectively can make a huge difference. Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and yoga can also prove instrumental in recovery.

Can alcohol and drug use disorders really be treated?

Yes! Be aware however, that detox is just the first step. Addiction is chronic, meaning that it is a lifelong challenge. Stressful events, anxiety, depression, and other factors can trigger a relapse, so most people need long-term support for their decision to quit. Maybe you’ll always crave the substance, or maybe you won’t, but you can control what goes into your body. Remember, a day where you don’t use is better than one that you do. Make the choice to start your recovery today.

Other Resources

NAMI statement on dual-diagnosis disorders in adolescents.

The connection between Bipolar Disorder and substance abuse.

Bipolar Disorder and alcoholism.

Fluoxetine (Prozac) for depressed alcoholics.

Bipolar Disorder together with substance abuse.

Integrated Treatment for Mood and Substance Use Disorders. (An important book)

Alcoholism in the elderly.

Improving the assessment and treatment of individuals with dual-diagnosis problems.

Dysthymia and substance abuse.

The Betty Ford Center Book of Answers: Help for Those Struggling With Substance Abuse and for the People Who Love Them. (An important book)

Lithium for adolescent substance abusers.

Dual-diagnosis and marijuana.

The relationship between alcoholism and depression.

Management of depression in the context of the naltrexone therapy of alcoholism.

Alcoholism, depression, and the teenage brain.

Intervention: How to Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want Help: Step-By-Step Guide for Families of Chemically Dependent Persons. (An important book)

Bipolar Disorder and alcoholism: One disease or two?

Naltrexone for the treatment of alcoholism.

Major Depression and substance abuse are genetically linked.

Addiction Intervention: Strategies to Motivate Treatment-Seeking Behavior. (An important book)

Source: www.psycom.net/depression.central.substance.html

To Parents Struggling with a Child’s Addiction: 3 Things I Want You to Know

Parent friendships are a funny thing. They don’t start out like other relationships, over shared interests – they start over playdates, school activities and birthday parties, or are the result of our children’s friendships. Others are born out of shared experiences, sometimes in the most unexpected and difficult circumstances. We all know it’s futile to try to manage our children’s friendships, but, one way or another, our children are very often responsible for ours.

One of those less happy ways this can happen is when we discover our children are using substances. Will people think it’s my fault? Is it my fault? What if I’m labeled a “bad mother?” But so much is to be gained from reaching out and asking for help. Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. There’s power in sharing stories.

Many parents feel ashamed, guilty or embarrassed when their child has a substance problem. They buy into the stubbornly prevalent myth that addiction is somehow a character flaw that can’t be cured – even though the science is clear that addiction is a treatable disease and families can and do recover. It’s easy to see why parents might be tempted to shut down and close themselves off from the world.

But when I was recently a Master of Ceremonies for a fundraising event for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, I was deeply moved by the powerful stories shared by parents during their testimonies of heartbreak or recovery. I was one of these parents. My own story began on March 4, 2012. That was the day I got the kind of phone call every parent dreads: “Mommy, I can’t breathe.” It was my oldest daughter Christina, then in her senior year at Yale, two months away from graduating.

Looking back on that March day as I frantically drove from New York to the emergency room in New Haven, and later when we left the emergency room with my sedated daughter crying in my arms, and later still over the hard weeks that followed, I focused on all that I was grateful for: that my daughter was alive, that she wanted to get well, that she had a loving family that rallied around her, and that we were lucky enough to find inspiration and support from other families that had been through similar experiences.

And just over a year later, my daughter taught me a lesson about the importance of sharing stories when she decided to go public and share her own:

Writing this blog a year ago would have been impossible, because of the shame and the deep guilt I felt about being an addict. I have never been abused or neglected. I didn’t grow up in an alcoholic home. I have been blessed with an unconditionally loving family and I have been given every opportunity to thrive. Why then? Why cause the people who love me so much pain? Why be seemingly intent on throwing it all away?

The honest answer is: I don’t know. What I do know — and I have grappled with this over the past 13 months — is that addiction is a disease. It is progressive, it can be fatal and it can touch anyone.

My life as it is today was unthinkable thirteen months ago. Yes, I mean the particulars — I have a steady job and healthy, loving relationships — but more than that I’ve learned to be vulnerable. I’ve learned how to apologize and how to forgive. I’ve learned how much strength it takes to let go. If writing this can help one person feel a little less alone, if it encourages one person to ask for help, if it allows one person to know that no matter how hopeless it feels right now, it can get better, then that is enough.

What she taught me is that it’s important not just for the people suffering from addiction to share their stories, but for their families as well. And I witnessed the power of these family stories the night of the recent Partnership event. It’s inspiring and empowering when you know that others have been through what you’ve been through.

I’m glad to say that Christina recently celebrated her fifth year in recovery. And I’m also glad that so many parents are telling their own stories to help and support others.

2. We can all do our part to erase the stigma and create change.

As a journalist, I know the power of words and stories. They are some of our most important tools not just in helping eradicate the stigma of addiction, but in creating life-saving change. Families are showing up by the thousands on Capitol Hill, speaking out and advocating for legislation to help curb our country’s opioid epidemic. And what they’re also doing is writing the most personal, most heartbreaking obituaries in their local media, not hiding the fact that their son or daughter died of an overdose, so that another family can seek help and never have to suffer the same tragic loss.

Words matter, and they deepen our compassion, empathy, caring, understanding and love. Addiction is one of the most misunderstood diseases in modern society. With addiction often viewed as a choice or a moral failing, families struggling with this disease just do not get the same support that families coping with other illnesses do.

3. It’s important to take care of you.

Finally – and this is true for all parents – it’s also important to remember that to take care of anyone else, including your own child, you have to take care of yourself. It’s like what they say on airplanes: put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. It’s not selfish. Making sure you’re recharged, renewed and resilient is the best way to help your child and your family.

This impulse to discount our own well-being is understandable. But if we are stressed and burned out, we are less able to help our child by remaining strong, calm and optimistic. And when we prioritize our well-being, we’re not just replenishing resources our children need, we’re also modeling behavior that will be as good for them as it is for us.

Some of the parents I met at the Partnership’s fundraiser had never met one another before, but I could see new friendships and relationships already forming. Their shared experiences, their willingness to speak out to stand up for their families, and to demand changes that will support other families was powerful. It’s true of the community they’ve found at drugfree.org, as well.

As Christina wrote, it takes a lot of strength to be vulnerable. But when we can do that, we help not just ourselves but the world around us. The more we take that to heart, the easier it becomes to move from struggle to grace.
Source: drugfree.org/parent-blog/to-parents-struggling-with-a-childs-addiction-3-things-i-want-you-to-know/

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