Substance Abuse & Addiction in Glendale, CA
Glendale is located in the Los Angeles county of California. As of the year 2014, it had a population estimate of 200,167 people and a median household income of $46,855. This city boasts of some of the most picturesque sights and is known to make for one of the most attractive tourists destinations. With state of the art museums, parks, hotels and restaurants it is easy to understand why a lot of people prefer living or visiting the city.
Despite this glamorous outlook this city is dealing with a substance use and addiction problem that is wreaking havoc throughout its neighborhoods. The city’s airports, railroad and road network have become an enabling factor for substance traffickers. Another aspect that has promoted drug use is the proximity of the region to drug sources such as Mexico.
According to official reports 11 people die on a daily basis while over 40,000 emergency cases are recorded every year in the whole of California. Glendale forms part of these statistics. Some of the most commonly used and abused substances in this city include heroin, marijuana, alcohol, prescription medication and cocaine.
To try and save the city local authorities have put in place elaborate initiatives for curbing the trafficking, possession and distribution of illegal drugs. Educational and religious institutions also run programs aimed at creating awareness on the negatives of substance abuse. However, there are a lot of people that are already hooked on drugs and must therefore be provided with professional treatment. A closer look at some of the substances affecting the city and how addiction can be treated is key to ensuring a better future for Glendale.
The Most Commonly Abused Substances in Glendale
This is one of the most dangerous of the substances that are currently being abused in this city. It is a powerful substance with the potential of becoming addictive after a few times of use. When unmixed with any other substance heroin is usually available as a white powder. However, when mixed with other additives it may be available in gray or black color. Heroin that is cut or mixed with additives is dangerous because the buyer does not really know what is included in the mixture. This is why there are a lot of emergency cases related to heroin overdose in Glendale.
The substance is made from the seeds of the poppy plant and can sometimes be used for pain relief in certain countries around the world. Some street names for this substance include big H, brown sugar, nose drops, junk, hell dust, thunder and horse. Individuals take this substance because of the euphoric effect that it has. Once ingested users may feel relaxed and out of this world. All their troubles seem to become minute or fade away. When the effects of the substance wear off users may feel drowsy and confused.
Long term effects of using heroin are listed below.
- Poor performance at work or school
- Extreme anxiety
- Unbecoming behavior such as lying, stealing and unprotected sex with multiple partners
- Financial difficulties
- Internal organ damage
- Addiction and physical substance dependence
- Death from overdose
- Breaking of family ties
- Getting arrested
- Damage to the brain
The use of marijuana has been growing throughout the United States. This can be attributed to the fact that it is generally being legalized in a majority of regions. It is also included in a majority of movie scenes and music lyrics. People in Glendale take the drug for recreational purposes. It is made from the dried leaves, stems and flowers of the cannabis plant. While it is legal in California, the state has imposed a number of restrictions to ensure that it is not abused. The drug is not be used in public and Individuals under the age of 21 are not allowed to use it.
Users usually roll it up in a piece of paper like a cigarette before they smoke it. There are also instances when it may be brewed as tea or mixed in foods such as cookies making it more appealing to non-users. Individuals that take marijuana tend to feel relaxed and experience a sense of happiness for the duration of the high that it causes. The long term effects of this substance are as stated below.
- A sharp reduction in IQ for people that start using it in their teen years
- Poor performance at work and school due to lack of focus or concentration
- Financial difficulties
- Higher chances of being unemployed
- Mental and psychological issues including inability to tell between reality and hallucinations
- Breaking off of important social relations
- Inability to perform daily obligations
- Stealing and lying
- Irresponsible sexual behavior
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that is derived from the coca plant which is native to South America. This drug is sometimes used as an anaesthetic during delicate surgeries. Nonetheless it is an illegal substance and anyone found in possession or trafficking it can be arrested and sentenced to prison. Most users take this substance by way of snorting or inhaling as vapor. They may also inject into their veins or smoke it. While on sale in the streets it can be referred to with any of these titles: coke, candy, yeyo, stash, coca, snow, rail, big rush and white.
It is often available as a white powder but may sometimes be manufactured as a rock like crystal. On taking cocaine individuals experience a sudden rush of euphoria characterized by happiness and heightened levels of energy. It is the long term effects of this drug that cause devastation to both users and their loved ones as noted below.
- Users may damage their nasal tissues
- Leads to weakening of the muscle system because of frequent injections
- Users may lose their ability to smell things
- Increases chances of contracting conditions such as HIV and hepatitis due to sharing of needles and engaging in unprotected sex
- Weakens the immune system leaving users vulnerable to opportunistic infections and diseases
- Leads to extreme depression
- Causes psychosis
- May cause the user to act in an antisocial manner including lying, stealing and being violent
- Breaks up family units and strains important social ties
- Leads to dependence and addiction
- May cause death due to overdose
- Damages internal body organs such as the kidneys and lungs
This is a legally acceptable drink taken for recreational purposes. It may go by a number of names including booze, brew, hooch, hard stuff, juice and sauce. It is illegal for individuals under the age of 18 to consume alcohol in all states. Despite this age restriction there are a lot of teenagers that are taking to alcohol use within Glendale. This is because the substance is easily accessible and most adults are not keen on supervising the young ones’ activities. It is worth noting that consuming too much alcohol may lead to a number of devastating consequences as listed below.
- Damages the liver and kidneys
- Leads to complications such as development of ulcers
- Can lead to dependence and addiction
- Increases risks of suffering a stroke
- Heightens the heart rate and blood pressure
- Causes social conflict or strains close family relations
- Leads to financial difficulties
Reasons Why People Use and Abuse a Chemical Substance
The use and abuse of drugs often has an underlying reason. Before treatment doctors analyze each patient to determine the root cause of their drug abuse and addiction. This allows the professionals to come up with an effective treatment program. Here are some of the most commonly reported reasons for drug use and abuse.
Stress – individuals that are going through an episode of stress may start using and abusing substance. They do this to try and numb pain or get away from the reality of the pressures that they are facing. Some of the causes of stress may include unemployment, heartbreak and poor grades at school.
Poverty – individuals that are not able to raise money in a consistent manner may start using drugs as a way of passing time and escaping from the reality of the hard life they are experiencing. Indeed a large number of drug addicts across the United States are living below the poverty line.
Peer pressure – a majority of teenagers start using substance because of the pressure they get from friends. Young people may sometimes use drugs to create an impression of being cool as that supposedly earns them respect.
Boredom – individuals that spend long hours without being engaged in any activity may start using drugs or alcohol to deal with the boredom they experience. The problem is that after a few times of using substance they end up becoming addicted to it.
To manage past trauma – people who have had unpleasant experiences in their lives may start using drugs as a way of seeking attention or coping with the internal scarring they are dealing with. Some incidents that may increase chances of drug abuse include physical assault, rape and divorce.
Curiosity – there are a lot of people that become extremely curious about a given substance once they get to know about it. Such individuals may sometimes go ahead and try it out.
To have fun – quite a number of people do not believe they can actually go out to a party and have fun without being high. These individuals use drugs such as cocaine to boost their energy levels and enhance their pleasurable experience when going to party.
Risk Factors for Drug Use and Abuse
Risk factors are basically things that increase the chances of an individual using a particular substance. A look at some of the most common risk factors is key to forestalling any incidents of drug use.
Availability – when a substance is easily available the chances of individuals starting to use it go up. Because alcohol and marijuana are legal drugs they are likely to be used by a majority of people. Another aspect involves proximity to transit and sources of drugs. Being a southern California city, Glendale is situated close to the source of heroin and cocaine that comes from Mexico.
Friends that are users – teens that have friends who are already using drugs are likely to start using themselves. This is because the pressure that mounts on them may sometimes seem unbearable.
Poverty – numerous studies have found that individuals living below the poverty line are at a greater risk of substance abuse. This is because they can only afford hard drugs which end up getting them hooked. They also spend most of their time doing nothing making it possible for them to be high on substance all the time.
Family of users – individuals that come from a family of substance users may get sucked into the habit easily. This is because they are able to access the substance whenever they want.
Lack of supervision – when young people are left alone for a long period they may start using drugs because there is no danger of being caught.
Signs of Substance Use and Abuse
Being able to tell if a teenager is using drugs or alcohol can help in stopping the habit and forestalling the consequences that may otherwise ensue. Some of the signs to watch out for include:
- An unusual deterioration in personal hygiene and grooming
- Suspicious odors from clothes and breath
- Developing of secretive tendencies or isolation from other members of the family
- Obvious signs of intoxication such as slurred speech, impaired walking of blacking out
- Coming back home at odd hours
- Getting unusually low grades at school
- A sudden change in friends and hangout places
- Increased need for money without proper reasons
How One Becomes Addicted
Before becoming addicted to substance individuals go through certain stages. If detected early enough the process can be interrupted and stopped. However, if left unabated the individual eventually becomes an addict.
- Introduction to substance
Introduction to substance may take place at any age with some reports putting it at between 12 and 18 years of age. During this period teenagers are curious about almost everything. They may become aware of a substance when they see a close family member or neighbor using. Some learn about substance through their favorite songs and movies.
- Experimenting with the substance
Having some knowledge regarding a particular substance is no longer enough at this stage which is why a lot of people go ahead to try it out. They want to experience firsthand how the substance can make them feel. While a significant number of people may stop using drugs after this stage there is a large number that enjoys the experience and continue using.
- Regular use
This is the third stage of the process of addiction. At this point individuals have become fairly used to the use of the substance. They also derive a lot of enjoyment from the high they get. Although these individuals may go through short term negative effects they continue using the substance because these effects are not too alarming or painful. Some short term effects of using substance include memory lapses, blacking out, nausea, vomiting, loss or increase in weight, headaches and sleep disturbances.
- Risky use
This may also be referred to as problem use. At this stage individuals are starting to use substance in a careless manner. Their bodies become tolerant to the particular substance making it necessary for them to increase the amount that is taken. They may also start mixing the substance with other additives to boost its potency. It is at this stage that individuals start taking the substance of choice even at inopportune times and places. They may miss classes or appointments because they are high and this jeopardizes their chances of getting good grades or excelling in work related matters.
- Substance dependence
After a prolonged period of drug abuse the human body becomes so used to the substance that failure to administer it leads to withdrawal effects. These effects may slightly differ depending on the type of drug in question and the individual involved. Some of the most common withdrawal effects include:
- Muscles pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme anxiety
- Social isolation
- Cold chills
- Profuse sweating
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- Substance addiction
While substance dependence refers to a state in which the body needs substance to function, addiction is a state in which the individual uses substance regardless of the negative consequences that occur. An addict is not only affected physically but also psychologically. They spend most of their time thinking about or using drugs. Individuals that have reached this stage are unable to carry on with normal living because of their need for substance both physically and psychologically.
Getting Treatment for Substance Addiction
Regardless of the substance that has caused addiction it is necessary for individuals to receive professional care. It is worth pointing out that over 23 million people in the U.S are battling drug addiction but only 11% ever receive professional care. Some of the reasons why people fail to get help include lack of awareness regarding treatment programs, fear of embarrassment, fear of law enforcers, poverty and denial.
If you are battling drug addiction or know of someone that is the best thing to do is seek professional assistance. This can be done by approaching a local social health worker, religious or community leader and explaining the situation. Alternatively you can make a phone call through drug abuse hotlines, such as ours, that are available for the Glendale region.
Once you reach out to a professional you will receive guidance on how to talk to someone that is battling addiction in such a way that they will come to their senses and agree to treatment. Afterwards the individual will be subjected to a series of analysis and tests to ascertain the extent and root cause of addiction. The patient is then admitted into an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Here are some of the things likely to take place during addiction treatment:
Counselling – most programs include counselling sessions aimed at making the patient aware of the things that trigger their drug use tendencies. The patient is advised on how to break from destructive thoughts and instead focus on things that promote better living. Counselling allows individuals to understand the effects of drug abuse to themselves and loved ones. It also gives them anchor points which are integral in keeping them sober after treatment.
Detox – this refers to the process through which the body gets rid of drugs or alcohol. To hasten the process doctors may recommend certain medications, strict dieting and a set of exercises. All these ensure that the body rids itself of toxins without slipping into painful withdrawal.
Disease and infection care – in most cases patients that are enrolled into an inpatient care facility receive professional medical care. This means they are given medication to treat diseases or infections that may be ailing them. Keep in mind that while addicted to drugs individuals have a weakened immune system.
Nutritional provisions – a lot of people abusing drugs end up being malnourished which further weakens their immune system. While receiving treatment such people are provided with a special diet that helps them regain better nutrition.
Exercise and physical therapy – for individuals that may have been involved in accidents due to drug use treatment may involve special physical therapy. This type of care allows patients to regain their physical abilities such as walking and movement of arms and fingers. There are also a set of exercises that may be recommended to help improve fitness.
Comfort – while going through detoxification patients are likely to experience unpleasant withdrawal effects. Caregivers usually try to make their patients feel as comfortable as possible.
Aftercare – after completing the treatment program patients are free to go back to their normal lifestyles. However, they are kept under close watch to ensure they do not relapse. Formation of support groups or being enrolled to sober living homes are some of the options that are available for aftercare.
Please take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information on rehab. Explore our site and give us a call. We have an experienced team that will guide you through every step of the way with understanding and care. Don’t go another day in pain. Get help by giving us a call today!