Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

group of MAT patients outside

Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT is a blend of counseling and medication designed to improve outcomes. MAT has been used for opioid addiction since the 1960s and 70s, beginning first with methadone programs focused primarily on heroin addicts. However, the MAT method has evolved far beyond its humble roots. Today, MAT has gained newfound acceptance in a broader portion of the treatment spectrum than ever before. The main reasons for this are simple. MAT has grown more effective with time as new medications have become available and there have been more results to study and learn from.

The biggest reason for the growth in the popularity of MAT though is that it delivers results. As the U.S. has undergone an explosive opioid abuse epidemic over the past 20 years, the demand for effective treatment has grown alongside it. The potential lethality of opioid addiction makes getting it right all that more important. Many may only get one shot at recovery, so they need absolutely every advantage available. When lives are at stake, there is no time for pious condescension or judgment. The fact is that MAT works and it saves lives.

Efficacy of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioids

Research shows MAT is effective. It substantially improves a patients’ chances of staying in treatment and continuing recovery. (1). MAT programs help in early recovery. They can subdue cravings and lower the chance of relapse, especially when opioid blockers are included. Perhaps most importantly, they buy the patient time and breathing room to grow in their recovery.

The most common medications used in MAT for opioid addiction today are buprenorphine and naloxone, usually in combination, sometimes known by the brand name, Suboxone. Buprenorphine is a long-acting synthetic opioid that lacks the powerful euphoric effect of opioids which are often abused. It is this component that helps abate withdrawal symptoms in detox and control cravings when used in an MAT setting. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that helps prevent buprenorphine from being used in ways other than prescribed. Naloxone is also the active agent in the lifesaving medication Narcan, which is used to arrest opioid overdose.

Is MAT Enough?

MAT for opioid addiction does not begin and end with buprenorphine though. Promising results for lasting recovery have been seen with patients who are also prescribed antidepressants and/or non-narcotic medications for anxiety. The combination of medications, if any, which is used will depend on each patient’s profile. Opioid addicted people who have a co-occurring mood disorder like depression are more likely to be prescribed a psychiatric medication as well. However, benefits have been seen with psychiatric medications prescribed for a limited period in early recovery with other patients.

Opioid addicted people tend to have more successful early recovery with MAT programs than without. This does not mean recovery without MAT isn’t possible. But there is research supporting the use of MAT. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are currently conducting a study of over 1,000 patients at more than 60 sites across the U.S. to research MAT outcomes for opioid addiction. (1) This will be the largest study of its’ kind. Final results will be published in Summer 2021. Whether or not MAT is right for you or your loved one is a decision that should be made with medical and professional advice.

If you have more questions about Medication-Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction, please contact us.

 

Sources
(1) https://www.cdc.gov/opioids/Medication-Assisted-Treatment-Opioid-Use-Disorder-Study.html

Signs You Need Treatment for Meth Addiction

woman sitting by a window smoking meth

The numbers surrounding meth addiction in the United States paint a truly frightening picture. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse statistics, well over 1.5 million people used crystal meth in the year 2017, including some 775,00 who had used it in the last 30 days.

Things get even uglier when it comes to people suffering from a methamphetamine use disorder. According to the same national statistics, almost a million people over the age of 12– yes, 12– were experiencing definite health and other consequences because of meth addiction.

Fortunately, there’s hope. There’s hope for those who have already developed a meth addiction and for those who have just used it a few times. The key is knowing when you or a loved one needs help. In this post, we’ll discuss 10 signs that you or a loved one needs treatment for meth addiction.

Signs You Need Treatment for Meth Addiction

We’ll begin with some tell-tale external signs of meth addiction. These are things you might notice simply by looking at yourself in the mirror or glancing at a loved one you suspect might have a problem.

1. Sudden weight loss or frailness
2. Advanced tooth decay
3. Facial sores or acne
4. Hyperactivity and/or twitchy movements
5. Unexplained burns on the lips or fingers

Meth addiction takes an obvious physical toll, so this is far from an exhaustive list. However, if one or more of these physical signs begins to appear, the person in question might need professional help. This is especially true if they appear alongside some of the following behavioral signs of meth abuse.

Behavioral Changes Associated With Meth Addiction

Here are five behavioral changes to watch out for if you fear that you or a loved one is becoming dependent on crystal meth. Some of these signs are apparent to an outside observer, whereas others might only be noticeable to the user themselves. Either way, if the following signs appear consistently, it might be time to ask some difficult questions:

1. Meth addiction can induce feelings of paranoia.
2. It also often causes the user to develop erratic sleep habits. This can include staying up for long periods of time and/or sleeping for excessive periods after a binge.
3. Even short term use of crystal meth can lead to extreme mood swings or unusual emotional outbursts.
4. Once the user reaches a point where it’s difficult to get ‘high’ off of crystal meth, they often begin to experience things like confusion, irritability, and extreme depression.
5. Consistent use of crystal meth can lead to extreme agitation and even violent behavior.

Preventing the Damage

Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug. It stays active in the body longer than most other stimulants and can do severe damage to the pleasure centers of the brain. It can also lead to convulsions, heart failure, stroke, and death.

In the final analysis, however, meth addiction is much like any other form of substance use disorder. Despite the horror stories you’ve heard, meth addiction is a very treatable condition. The first step is recognizing there’s a problem. If you or someone you love starts to manifest the signs we’ve discussed above, please seek help immediately.

Morphine vs. Heroin – What is the Difference?

needle, spoon, morphine bottle, and heroin

It’s no secret that the U.S. is caught in the grips of an opioid addiction crisis. In 2018, (1) approximately 10.3 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids. In 2017, more than 70,000 American’s died from drug overdoses, including illicit drugs and prescription opioids.

Opioids are a class of drugs that are usually prescribed by doctors to treat moderate to severe pain, but also come in illicit forms. They are often used during major surgeries, treatment for cancer-related pain, and to keep patients comfortable at their end of life. Prescription of opioids for chronic or ongoing pain has decreased in recent years as knowledge of opioid dependence has increased and better non-narcotic solutions appear.

Morphine

The oldest man-made opiate, Morphine was invented in the early 1800s and derived directly from opium. America’s first opiate epidemic occurred following The Civil War. Thousands of soldiers returned home with opiate dependencies after having been treated with morphine for injuries. Addiction was little understood in the 19th century, but it soon became clear that anyone who took morphine for more than a few days would feel quite ill if they abruptly stopped.

Morphine is still used in medicine but is generally limited to hospitalized patients or specific circumstances, including severe pain that is persistent and around the clock. For most other applications, one of the dozens of modern semi-synthetic opioid compounds is used instead. Part of the reason why is that more processed and refined opioids have fewer side-effects.

Heroin

During the 1850s, addiction to opioids became a major problem in the United States. Civil War veterans addicted to morphine made up the largest part of the addicted population. Diacetylmorphine was developed in 1874 and was intended to be a non-addictive alternative to morphine. Sold by Bayer under the brand name Heroin, it soon grew in popularity in Europe and the United States. Heroin is 2-3 times as powerful as morphine and ironically turned out to be even more addictive. Instead of halting the opioid addiction wave spreading across the country, heroin only made matters worse. Our understanding of addiction was minimal at best during this time and it wouldn’t be until 1924 when the law finally caught up. The manufacture and distribution of heroin and its derivatives became illegal in the U.S. and Europe in 1925.

Prohibition didn’t do anything to reduce the demand of course, so a black market soon developed. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin. Other common names for heroin include H, horse, hell dust, and smack. It is made from opium taken from the flower pod of the opium poppy. These plants are typically grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Afghanistan, Mexico, and Colombia.

The main differences between morphine and heroin are in potency, heroin being on average 3 times as potent as morphine. Morphine is rarely found in the black market and is almost exclusively in the medical field. Heroin is the opposite; it has no recognized medical use in the United States. Heroin is entirely a black-market commodity and manufactured without pharmaceutical controls for quality, potency or purity. In the last 10 years, an alarming trend has arisen that has an extremely powerful synthetic opioid called fentanyl being mixed with heroin. This has led to a dramatic spike in overdose deaths and only magnifies the peril of heroin use.

If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid dependency, we can help.


Adventure Therapy for Substance Abuse

front of a kayak in a river surrounded by mountains

As you’ve probably heard, again and again, addiction is a disease that affects the mind, body, and spirit of those who suffer from it. Adventure therapy for substance abuse is one way you can address all these elements at once and get your recovery off to a healthy start.

In this post, we’ll examine just what adventure therapy for substance use is and how it can help you make the changes necessary for an authentic recovery.

What Is Adventure Therapy For Substance Abuse?

Adventure therapy for substance abuse uses a combination of nature, fellowship, and personal challenges to invigorate your spirit and increase your feelings of self-worth. Its purpose is to address multiple aspects of your well-being simultaneously and help you access internal recovery resources you didn’t know you had.

While every adventure therapy workshop is a little different, most use some combination of the following methods to promote trust, psychological well-being, and a feeling of community:

  • Kayaking, rafting, and other forms of team boating
  • Rope climbing
  • Skiing
  • Camping
  • Rock Climbing
  • Trust falls

Adventure therapy employs a team approach to problem-solving, thus setting a precedent for the healthy group dynamic that’s so necessary for recovery.

The Benefits of Adventure Therapy for Substance Abuse

Adventure therapy is a fun and challenging way to start off or enhance your personal recovery. Here are some of the benefits clients gain from participating in it:

  • Increased feelings of self-esteem and accomplishment
  • Heightened sense of community
  • A deeper connection to nature and an enhanced spiritual life
  • The formation of trusting, supportive relationships
  • Increased ability to handle stress and frustration
  • Improvements in physical, mental, and emotional health
  • Learning to rely on others and the value of being reliable

Obviously, this is a partial list. Typically, clients all reap a different set of benefits from the activities involved in adventure therapy. However, almost every client emerges from the experience of adventure therapy with a new perspective on themselves, the natural world, and the unexplored ways they can interact with others.

The Value of Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

True recovery requires you to make profound internal and external changes. This is an accepted fact in the recovery community, but it’s a statement that might seem vague to many people. That’s why it’s important to be specific when discussing the merits of this or that treatment modality.

At some point, it becomes clear to most people with a substance disorder that their current way of life isn’t sustainable. In other words, they come to realize that what they’re doing just isn’t working. This is when the question of what to do inevitably arises. Obviously, the answers to this question will be a bit different for everyone. However, there is one thing that most recovered people have in common– they worked diligently to change their habits and consistently get out of their comfort zone.

This is one of the main reasons that adventure therapy for substance abuse can be so beneficial. Addiction is a disease that thrives on isolation and inactivity. Adventure therapy goes a long way toward eliminating these enabling conditions right from the start. No one’s saying that a few days out in the wilderness will change your life forever all by itself. However, evidence-based adventure therapies can definitely help create a renewed self-worth.

5 Warning Signs of Addiction

woman standing in a hallway with her head down

The Nature of Addiction

Addiction is insidious by nature. Any illness of the mind can be especially challenging to overcome because it’s afflicting the very organ we use to think and reason with. If the problem exists within the mind, how can one rely on the mind to solve it? Addiction can take root before you even notice. Chemicals that directly target the ‘pleasure center’ of the brain prey upon our base instincts. To the brain’s reward center, the thing you’ve become addicted to seems as important as the true necessities like food, water, sex that it is designed to drive you towards. The addicted mind will often use denial, irrational justifications, manipulation, and minimalization. All in pursuit of the object of addiction. It can be frustratingly difficult to see around this ‘short-circuiting’ of the mind. What you can do, however, is use a few objective measures to try and determine if you or someone you care about may be addicted.

Here are 5 warning signs of addiction:

Change in Priorities:

Has a drug become one of the most important things in your life? Do you plan your days and weeks around when you can get a substance? Do you cancel plans when your drug of choice isn’t available? Do you shut out people you care about because they may somehow get in the way of your using?

Consequences:

Are you continuing to use or drink in spite of the consequences? Are you in debt or financial distress because of buying drugs, or neglecting to pay bills or both? Have you been arrested due to drugs or behavior while under the influence? Have you continued to use, even when it means people you care about will no longer spend time with you?

Physical Symptoms or Changes:

Do you find yourself needing to use more and more of a substance just to get the same high? (tolerance) Are you at a point where you must use simply to feel “OK”? Do you find yourself getting anxious or even physically sick when you cannot get your drug of choice? (withdrawal) Are you experiencing health problems directly related to drug or alcohol use? Experiencing memory loss or blackouts?

Dangerous or Risky Behavior:

Have you found yourself taking risks that you never would have before? Do you drive under the influence? Have you stolen to support your habit? Are you having unprotected sex regularly with multiple partners?

Denial and Dishonesty:

Do you find yourself repeatedly denying your use or downplaying it to yourself or others? Are you lying to people who care about you to conceal or enable your use somehow? Have you promised yourself or others to cut down or quit, only to fail to do so over and over?

Conclusion

If you identify with one of the categories above, chances are you will find that most of the others apply as well. If you are experiencing these conditions yourself, there is an excellent chance you are addicted. If you’re witnessing them in someone else, that person likely needs help.

The first step towards reversing the downward slide is admitting there is a problem. Denial is an incredibly powerful foe. Simply admitting the truth to yourself can be liberating. Accept that you are addicted. Admit to yourself that you cannot control your addiction. Believe that you can overcome addiction if you commit to accepting outside help. If you can manage those three things, even if you’re not wholehearted about it, you have done something amazing!

You’re standing right on the brink of change. We all have pivotal moments in our lives where a decision must be made which will impact the rest of your life. The moment you accept you are an addict and that you need help is certainly one of them. Strike while the iron is hot, as they say. Don’t wait another moment in misery. If you know you’re addicted or someone you care about is, pick up the phone and call us or at least jump on a chat. There are people who can help you end the suffering and let you begin a new chapter of your life free of drugs and alcohol.

The Importance of Family Support During Rehab

two family members holding hands during rehab

For many of us, entering treatment for addiction will be one of the most important decisions we ever make. The road to acceptance is different for each of us. One of the things we all have in common though is that we benefit from the support of people who care about us. This is especially true when one finally chooses to stop the fight and accept help for their addiction.

Decisions and Acceptance

Almost everyone who struggles with addiction has a string of broken and damaged relationships behind them. When the next drink or drug is always the top priority, people invariably get hurt. People caught up in the throes of addiction may steal money or property. They may react angrily to offers of help. They may say cruel things they will later wish they could take back. Repairing these broken relationships is part of the work of recovery.

However, most of that repair has yet to begin when the addict first decides to enter rehab. The family may even be at their wit’s end by this point. Afraid to trust the addict again. Afraid to hold onto hope that the person they once knew before the drugs or drinking is still in there somewhere. In fact, entering rehab is often almost as much of a challenge to the family as it is to the addict themselves.

Willingness and Support

It is important for the people who care about the addicted person to try to summon whatever courage and faith they have left. That may sound easier said than done, but help is available. This does not mean they must forgive and forget all of the harm that’s been done. Nor does it mean that addiction is an excuse that absolves the addict of all responsibility. If you find yourself caught up in this type of thinking, take a breath and pause. They say the work of recovery is done one day at a time. That is as true for the family and loved ones of the addict as it is for the addict themselves.

All that is needed at this time is the willingness to support the addict in their decision to get help. The acceptance that they are attempting to halt the downward spiral and get well again. This is a time for patience and understanding. As much as you can manage. Therapists and staff at the rehab make the process easier, so parents and loved ones need not worry about what’s expected of them. The best advice is to try and be as supportive as possible and to follow the lead of the patient’s therapist or caseworker.

Recovering Together

Treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab is designed to be a transformative experience. Once the fog begins to clear, the work begins. A person who is in treatment will have good days and bad. They find long-dormant emotions and feelings begin to bubble to the surface. They may be waylaid by alternating waves of guilt and dread over the damage they’ve done to themselves and others. At the onset, recovery is really about facing and accepting the truth and that can be painful. The knowledge that people at home are supporting their recovery can go a long way. Many treatment centers also offer family counseling. Either over the phone or the internet or in person, family counseling can jump-start the healing process.

Perhaps the most important part of family involvement during rehab is that it broadens understanding. If loved ones at home learn more about addiction and what they can do to help, it smooths the transition back to everyday life. Many family and friends of addicts find the 12-step fellowships enormously helpful. AL-ANON, NAR-ANON, and Co-Dependents Anonymous offer the chance to network with others in similar circumstances. They will find support and wisdom in these groups that will make the days ahead easier to navigate. Ultimately recovery is the responsibility of the addict or alcoholic alone. However, having people around them who have some understanding of what they are trying to do and support them can make all the difference in the world. Engaging relatives, loved ones, and/or close friends in the recovery process benefits every person involved, not just the recovering person.

What to Expect From an Outpatient Alcohol Detox

zoomed in photo of coed group therapy during alcohol outpatient detox

Out of the many challenges that recovering people inevitably face, the first ones they encounter are often the hardest. Not surprisingly, this includes the fear and discomfort associated with the detoxification process. Not to mention the temporary loss of freedom that inpatient detox has traditionally entailed. This is just one of the reasons that more and more people are opting for an outpatient alcohol detox when they finally decide it’s time to take action. So what is outpatient alcohol detox how exactly does it work? Read on to discover these questions and more.

How Does an Outpatient Alcohol Detox Work?

Outpatient detox clients usually report to a hospital or treatment facility five days a week, with both morning and evening sessions available. After a detailed health assessment– including the level of drinking and the severity of the client’s withdrawal symptoms, clients can start the detoxification process.

The frequency, nature, and duration of sessions tend to vary after that. If a facility offers therapy sessions during detox, clients might be in treatment for 2-3 hours a day. If not, sessions include little more than a physical checkup (including medication adjustments) and might only require clients to be at the facility for approximately 30 minutes a day.

An outpatient detox program can last anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks, depending on the amount of counseling offered.

In addition to monitoring a client’s physical and emotional health, the most important goals of outpatient alcohol detox are to:

  • Safely eliminate alcohol and any other dangerous substances from the patient’s body
  • Help manage any withdrawal symptoms, often with specialized replacement medications
  • Identify and start to treat any co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Locate and help initiate contact with the resources clients need for a successful transition into early recovery

As you probably noticed, the goals of an outpatient detox facility are identical to those pursued in the inpatient setting. However, there are important differences between the two types of alcohol detox as well. We’ll explore these in the next section.

Risks vs Benefits: Is An Outpatient Detox the Best Choice For You

Here are some of the most important benefits an outpatient detox can offer:

  • For clients with mild or moderate withdrawal symptoms, outpatient detox is just as safe as the old-fashioned inpatient version.
  • Outpatient detox clients get to sleep at home every night and are in a position where they can continue to fulfill their work, school, or family responsibilities.
  • Outpatient detox is substantially cheaper than inpatient detox.
  • Perhaps most importantly, clients can sometimes transition from outpatient detox to an actual treatment program. This continuity is key to getting your recovery off to the right kind of start.

Unfortunately, there are some risks involved in these programs as well. For one thing, some clients may benefit significantly from the immersive nature of inpatient programs. There’s also an increased chance for relapse for some outpatient clients. This is especially true for those who have unstable living situations. 

Outpatient alcohol detox isn’t for everyone. Your fitness for this kind of program depends on your personal situation. But don’t worry– you won’t be making this decision alone. You’ll have a dedicated care team on your side and they’ll help you make this important decision.

Understanding Codependency and its Role in Addiction

Codependency and addiction

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional, one-sided relationship. In a codependent relationship, one person relies on another to have their mental, physical, and emotional needs met. It is very common among addicts, who need the relationship to continue to function while continuing their addiction behaviors. 

Whether you find yourself expending all of your energy in meeting another’s needs– a partner, a parent, a child– or you are the one demanding things of others, it is important to know more about this destructive pattern. Read on to learn more and see how you can take steps to minimize its effect on your life and relationships.

Codependency Early in Life

Codependency is a term that has been around for decades. It was originally a label for spouses of people who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. However, the definition often applies to relationships which do not operate in this partnership dynamic.

Studies suggest that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill or addicted parent, you likely have codependent tendencies in relationships. Here are some symptoms to help you decide if you are at risk:

Symptoms of Codependency

A person does not need to have all of these symptoms in order to display codependent tendencies. However, any of these symptoms is an indicator that you need to more closely examine your relationships. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Low self esteem– you frequently base your feelings about yourself based on what you can do for others
  • A need to please others– saying no to others causes you to feel guilty and anxious
  • An inability to set boundaries– you frequently have an issue defining which problems are yours and which belong to others
  • A tendency to become reactive or argumentative– feeling angry and resentful about what you “have to do” for others, so you overreact to words and situations
  • A need to take care of others– feeling a need to shield others from pain and adverse circumstances, often taking them on yourself
  • A need to control situations and people in your life
  • Difficulty with communication– you have an inability to express your true thoughts and feelings
  • A tendency to obsess over people, problems, or circumstances
  • Denial– you may be not even aware that there is a problem with the way you relate to others around you
  • Problems with intimacy– you experience a push pull when it comes to spending enough time being authentic with others

 

When Codependency Takes Over

Once conditions in your life have become unbearable, or if you realize that these patterns present in any relationship are holding you back from being your most authentic self, it’s time for some pattern-breaking interventions. Depending on the length of time that you’ve spent living in these relationships, you may require the help of a therapist to provide an outside perspective on your situation. Often, an outside perspective is what it takes to begin the process of looking at your relationship patterns objectively and beginning to implement new, healthier ways of living, being and relating.

 

Codependency and its Relationship to Addiction

Codependency is the perfect breeding ground for addiction to flourish. Enabling behaviors such as covering up for another person, making excuses for their behavior, or giving money to them will keep both people locked in a cycle of addiction. In some cases, a relationship addiction can develop in which both the abuser and the observer are so accustomed to their current status quo that they refuse to look outside for help.

 

Breaking the Cycle

Realizing that codependent and enabling behaviors exist is the first step to changing those patterns. Once you’re aware of the problem, you can being working towards solutions. Mainly, stopping the enabling behaviors and getting to the root of the codependent dynamic. 

The enabler needs to realize that the problems in the relationship are not solely theirs to fix. While the addicted individual needs to take responsibility for their actions. Typically addicts will require professional treatment in order to break the cycle of addiction. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with codependency and addiction issues, there is hope. The first step is seeking treatment for the addicted individual. This process will also mean re-establishing healthier ways of relating to each other and creating boundaries for both parties. At Harmony Recovery Group we treat addiction in both the individual and family through family and relationship therapy. Find out how we can help, call us today

Cameron Dallas Shares His Addiction Story

Cameron Dallas talks Alcohol and Sex Addiction

Actor and internet personality Cameron Dallas recently opened up about his struggle with addiction and his commitment to long-term recovery and sobriety. Initially famous for his Youtube and Vine videos, Cameron recently starred in his own Netflix reality show, “Chasing Cameron”. He has gone on to act in some Hollywood films and launch a music career. 

Last year, the 25 year-old star talked about his journey with addiction in an emotional video on his Instagram. Cameron shared that he was not only addicted to alcohol and sex but that he had issues with drugs like ecstasy and cocaine. He finally realized he had a problem when multiple friends reached out and expressed their concerns for his well being. He said he’d tried so hard to hide it but knew he had a problem. 

Treatment

Cameron first sought treatment at 21 years-old, but claims he left the addiction treatment center too early and fell back into his old habits. In December 2018, he hit his low point when he got into an altercation and was charged with felony assault. He knew he had to change his life and was faced with a choice. Continue using alcohol and lose his career, end up in jail, or die. Or achieve sobriety and live a long and happy life. 

Later that year, he sought comprehensive treatment. As is common with addiction, Cameron suffers from mental health challenges. Depression, a common Co-occurring Disorder, meant he often used alcohol to self-medicate. With Co-occurring Disorders it is so important to find treatment which can address all aspects of addiction, including mental health, in order to achieve the best recovery outcome. 

Recovery

Cameron Dallas spent several months in addiction treatment, working on his recovery before sharing his story in August 2019. In his video, he says progress is not perfection and expresses his commitment to this journey. He expresses gratitude to those who stood by him throughout his treatment experience. And apologizes to those he has hurt in the past while in active addiction. 

He hopes that in sharing his story, he can inspire others to make this change too and be an advocate for the recovery community. 

Are You Struggling with Addiction or Substance Use?

Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please don’t wait to ask for help. Our specialist team of caring advisors can discuss treatment options with you and get you on the best path to a happy life. Contact us today.

Addiction and Substance Abuse Rates in North Carolina

North Carolina Addiction and Substance Abuse Rates

Like many other US states, North Carolina is battling growing substance abuse and addiction rates. A study released in 2017 placed North Carolina in the 20th spot in their list of States with the Biggest Drug Problems. The study used data from the U.S. Census, CDC, SAHMSA, and the FBI and used metrics such as arrest rates, overdose rates, meth-lab seizures, and opioid prescriptions per capita. Currently the two substances of greatest concern are opioids and methamphetamine. 

 

Opioid Crisis in North Carolina

Each day, 128 Americans die of an opioid overdose, which includes both prescription and illicit opioids. In 2018 alone, 67,367 people died of an opioid overdose. North Carolina is no stranger to the opioid crisis, having seen numbers grow dramatically since 2014, as depicted in the graph below. 

Part of this problem comes from prescription opioids of which in 2018, North Carolina doctors wrote 61.5 prescriptions per 100 people compared to the national rate of 51.4. 

Prescription opioids are so addictive that they further drive illicit opioid use, as when their prescription runs out or they are no longer eligible for prescription opioids, users turn to the streets to get their fix. However, street prices of prescription opioids are very high, making other sources such as heroin much more affordable options by comparison. With heroin addiction, IV drug use becomes more common. This leads to growing infection rates of HIV and Hepatitis in areas of high heroin usage which is currently the case in NC hotspots. 

 

Related Articles: How Prescription Opioids Lead to Heroin Addiction and Health Effects of Heroin Addiction

 

Methamphetamine Use in North Carolina

Meth use is rising across the United States. According to the CDC, deaths from stimulants – primarily Meth– increased 250% from 2005 to 2015. Law enforcement in North Carolina warn that meth is an ongoing, increasing problem. The drug has largely replaced crack cocaine in the state’s western communities. This is likely because meth is increasingly available, less expensive, and has longer-lasting results. 

Authorities in North Carolina have busted over 1130 clandestine meth labs in the state. They have found labs in places such as office buildings, private residences, apartments, hotels, and even out in fields and forests. However, compared to some states which bust up to 2000 labs per year, North Carolina is not considered a major producer. Authorities state that the majority of the meth distributed in the state is coming from Atlanta. Meth use is linked to various public health concerns including STDs and MRSA. 

 

Alcohol Abuse in North Carolina

As Opioid and Methamphetamine rates grow, they garner the majority of attention when discussing substance abuse rates today. However, issues like alcohol dependency and marijuana abuse are still problems that are wreaking havoc on thousands of lives each year. 

Estimates suggest nearly half a million people in North Carolina have an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse problem. Excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death in the state. And, in 2017, 26% of traffic fatalities were alcohol-related. 

 

Getting Help 

Whatever substance you may be struggling with, whether listed here or not, help is available. Harmony Recovery Group operate two supportive, welcoming facilities in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. If you or a loved one are looking for advice or would like to explore treatment options, call us today. We’re here to help. 

 

Sources

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/maps/rxrate-maps.html

https://www.ncsbi.gov/Divisions/Field-Operations/Clandestine-Labs.aspx#:~:text=In%20North%20Carolina%2C%20law%20enforcement,bags%20or%20plastic%20storage%20totes.