Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Drug Stats and Treatment in Lancaster, California

Lancaster, California is located in Los Angeles County. This community of 161,043 which nestles in Antelope Valley has been named the state’s Number 1 stressful city. This is in terms of factors such as violent crime, family breakdowns and long working hours. Unsurprisingly, there is an alcohol and drug problem here. According to the city’s website alcohol is the primary drug of choice in Lancaster city.  However, substance abuse figures for California are not as high as other states in the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, (CDC) California registered just 11 deaths per 100,000 people in 2016 compared to West Virginia, the worst affected state which recorded 41 deaths per 100,000. In 2017, California registered just under 2000 opiate overdose deaths while figures were up in other states.

If you live in Lancaster, and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.
Lancaster Addiction Treatment Centers

Reasons for California’s Lower Opioid Death Rates

Opioid overdose deaths, which had been rising steadily in California, began to come down from 2014 when the state government rolled out its Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). This forced doctors to track the prescriptions held by their patients, to stop them from getting more and more prescriptions from different doctors at the same time. Consequently, there was a 12 percent decrease in prescriptions for opioids in California in the 2015 to 2016 period.

Further anti-drug measures included the availing of injection sites that allowed drug users to exchange their dirty syringes for new ones. Since the middle of 2017, clients at these sites have also been provided with strips that allow them to tell whether the next high they experience, contains fentanyl. Narcan, the drug that revives people who have overdosed, is also being increasingly availed. Additionally, law enforcers continue to clamp down on drug-related crime and trafficking in Lancaster and other cities.

The Growing Fentanyl Menace

The opioid problem is, however, threatening to engulf California again. State data shows that fentanyl deaths went up 47 percent in 2016. The CDC recently reported that opioid overdose deaths, most of which were connected to fentanyl and heroin, rose by 30 percent in the entire country, in 2017. Data from the California Department of Public Health shows that in 2016, synthetic opioid use resulted in 324 deaths in California. This represented a rise of about 50 percent since 2015. About 75 percent of the 2016 deaths were attributed to fentanyl. The California figures were much better than for other states. New York, for instance, lost 1,100 lives to synthetic opioids in the same year.

But rising figures in California are still worrying. The CDC reports that drug abuse is the main reason why people visit the Emergency Room in Los Angeles County.

The type of fentanyl that’s medically prescribed is a synthetic opioid that comes in the form of patches. It’s used in the management of chronic pain such as cancer pain. Despite the federal government increasing twofold, its efforts to stop opioid pain medication from being overprescribed, the type being made in labs, such as acryl fentanyl, is flooding the illegal drug markets at a rapid pace. And it’s being sold to people without them knowing that heroin has been added to it to increase its potency. The synthetic fentanyl is sometimes being passed off as heroin because it resembles it in appearance.

It’s worth noting that legal medicinal fentanyl has up to 100 times the power of morphine and as such has serious health problems when abused in its natural state. It’s even more dangerous when mixed with other substances. Although there are now strict rules for the guidance of doctors who prescribe opioids to seriously ill people, and although the use of Narcan continues to become more prevalent, the fentanyl analogues are said to be increasingly resistant to it.

How to Determine That You Need Help

So if you live in Lancaster and are using alcohol, heroin, fentanyl and any other opioids or a mix of opioids, you have serious addiction and should seek treatment right away. There are numerous centers in and around Lancaster to get you the help you need. Below are some ways that you can determine that you need help.

What are the signs that I will develop a prescription pill dependency?

Early warnings signs of prescription pill addiction are as follows:

  • Consuming more medication than you need
  • Taking the pills beyond the time they were prescribed for
  • Consuming pills that were not prescribed for you
  • Getting numerous doctors to prescribe the pills
  • Switching to heroin and synthetic opioids when the pills are unattainable.

How do I know I’m heading towards heroin addiction?

Heroin is illegal and it’s highly addictive. It’s increasingly being mixed with more potent illegal drugs such as fentanyl analogues to increase its potency.  But you can stop the addiction in its tracks and get help. Here are the risk factors for heroin addiction:

  • Increasingly directing your money resources towards obtaining heroin
  • Increasingly favoring your own company
  • Becoming more and more anti-social and anger driven
  • Favoring clothing that cover the entire body
  • Mixing heroin with other drugs to get a greater ‘high’

Extended heroin use has been linked to mental and physical issues. The CDC reports that heroin-associated deaths increased four times between 2010 and 2015. When heroin enters the body, it attaches itself to certain brain receptors and stimulates them. This act of stimulation releases dopamine which creates the euphoric feelings. The need to be constantly stimulated causes addiction. So heroin has a powerful impact on the pleasure areas of the brain. This leads people into taking more and more of it to increase their pleasure.

Why is it deadly to over-drink?

Alcohol abuse and binge drinking have been noted as problems in Lancaster.  Their long-term effects are liver cirrhosis, irreversible memory loss, failure of organs such as liver, heart and kidneys, as well as stroke, coma and death. Binge drinking is defined as having 5 drinks or more within two hours. It is the major factor in alcohol overdoses. When it begins in adolescence it usually develops into full-blown alcoholism

What are the growing signs of alcohol addiction?

  • Increasing absence or lateness to work or school
  • Increasing disengagement from family
  • Mixing of alcohol with dangerous drugs
  • Consuming 15 drinks or more over a week.

Treatment Protocol for Substance Abuse in Lancaster CA

Overdosing on heroin, fentanyl and other dangerous drugs is not the preserve of the destitute and low income citizens. Prevalence includes the affluent citizens of Lancaster too. There are numerous centers in Lancaster that deal with all levels of opioid addiction. Join them today and stop the substance abuse from causing serious and irreversible health problems.  

What can I expect from treatment?

Substance abuse treatment basically involves the following:

  • A detox – done in a medically-supervised environment, to get the substance out of your body.
  • Inpatient or Outpatient rehab to help you change your addictive personality and prevent a relapse.
  • Aftercare to get you started on various self-help and support procedures to keep your recovery ongoing after treatment.

Where do I get treatment?

You can join a residential facility that offers everything from medical detox through to aftercare—all in one setup.  There are other centers that offer just the detox so once your detox is over at such a center, you need to get straight into a rehab program to complete the rest of your treatment.

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How am I initiated into treatment?

When you approach a treatment center, you will be assessed by specialists so they can work out the kind of treatment that will suit you as an individual. Tests will be conducted and you will sign a form giving details about the origins, duration and depth of the substances you’ve been taking, details of any psychological problems you’re experiencing alongside your dependency, and insights into your family and other relationships. All this information will help in drawing up a plan that’s specific to your problems.

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What happens in detox?

Detox is the process by which the drugs or alcohol, or both, are medically pumped out of your body. FDA-approved medication may be used to help control the withdrawal symptoms which may be deadly. It’s all done under the watchful eye of trained medical personnel.  Detox may last between 3 days and 2 weeks, or longer if your addiction is chronic and complicated. It normally happens right after you’ve been assessed and is ideal for alcoholism, all forms of heroin and opioid abuse, and for long-term addiction in general.  Most people are required to detox but they may get a pass if their assessment reveals that their addiction is not serious.  

Can’t I just quit “cold turkey?”

Self-detox is not recommended. The withdrawal symptoms can be deadly. When you stop drinking or taking drugs suddenly, you will become extremely unwell and will have very uncomfortable cravings. The detox process abruptly alters the chemical functions in the brain and this can throw off the body’s usual functions. The result may be seizures, and stress to organs such as the heart. Other uncomfortable symptoms may include headache, nausea, and muscle spasms Alcohol withdrawal can lead to tremors, hysteria and convulsions.

When not treated through meds and other help, withdrawal symptoms may lead to heart failure. The medication is tapered off gradually to get the body used to being drug-free. A medical detox is therefore essential for addiction to alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids such as oxycodone and heroin. So don’t suffer detox on your own, enroll with one of Lancaster’s detox or inpatient facilities and have it professionally done.

Can I simply do the detox?

The medical detox is just one step in the substance treatment protocol, albeit an important step. But it’s not enough to ensure long-term recovery. It doesn’t get rid of your addiction. It simply takes the harmful chemicals out of your body. Addiction is usually driven by psychological factors and these need to be uncovered and dealt with. At a rehab center, you’ll identify the reasons behind your addiction, and the situations that make you vulnerable to substance abuse and you will learn techniques to help you handle your challenges in a less destructive way.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

Inpatient Treatment

If you’re a chronic drug user or alcohol addict, residential rehab is essential in getting you well again. It would be your next step after medical detox. 

How will inpatient treatment help me?

Inpatient treatment has a range of benefits for patients. These include:

  • Treatment at a live-in facility far away from the temptations of your former environment, and where there’s constant care from clinical staff and trained addiction specialists.
  • An overall program, but also an individualized program that is carefully monitored and altered in keeping with any changed circumstances.
  • Behavioral therapy using scientific means to uncover the reasons behind your addictive personality, and to teach you better ways to cope with life’s problems.
  • Treatment of any coexisting problems such as depression that may be complicating your addiction. Medication may be used.
  • Group therapy to enable you to engage with others, share your experiences and hone your communication skills. All this will go towards changing your addictive behavior.
  • Family therapy to help bring you closer to family members so they can help provide a supportive environment for you long-term recovery.
  • Supplementary services to help strengthen you both physically and mentally. These could include fitness training, yoga, meditation and massage.
  • Induction into aftercare procedures such as 12-step programs to help you maintain your sobriety after treatment.

How long will my inpatient treatment last?

Some centers have a quick-fix treatment program of 30 days. But you can also stay for 2 to 6 months or even a year. You should be guided by how much progress you are able to make within a given time. Many people feel that one month is not enough to fully address the fine details of their addiction. Studies have shown that the longer you stay, the more successful your recovery. 

Outpatient Treatment

What do outpatient centers typically offer?

Unlike the inpatient system, you don’t live at the center but attend as required from your home. But it also involves behavioral, therapy, group and family counseling, and also physical care if it’s needed. However, it’s not recommended as the next form of treatment after detox for chronic or hardened drug users or for alcoholics. It’s ideal for people with minor addiction who may or may not have detoxed. They may attend treatment a few days a week at times that don’t interfere with their work, home or school activities.

What are IOP and PHP?

IOP refers to the Intensive Outpatient Program while PHP refers to the Partial Hospitalization Program. Both may be offered at an outpatient facility. They are popular with people who’ve been in inpatient care and who still feel they need some help before fully taking up their lives again. These options may also appeal to the mildly addicted who may feel that the regular option is not rigorous enough for them.

IOP clients receive treatment several times a week while PHP client, attend all day, returning to their homes at night. These options are said to be effective when clients have supportive home environments to return to at the end of the day.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?


What benefits can I get from Aftercare?

No matter how long you’ve been in treatment, you’re still prone to a relapse. So you have to make sure you have the necessary support to prevent it from happening. The best treatment facilities will start inducting you into local support groups early in your treatment so that you can continue to attend them even after your treatment is over. They include 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).  It’s important to continue to engage with your peers in the long-term in order for your recovery to be ongoing. You could also arrange for your medication to be continued until it is safe for you to discontinue it. And you may want to continue to have regular visits with therapists and counselors until you feel strong enough to do without them.

What is the purpose of a sober living home?

If you’ve been through inpatient care, you may want to enter a sober living home to strengthen your support system before you return home. These facilities are run by long-term recovering addicts and they give guidance and counseling. You may also choose to attend outpatient therapy from there.  

Sober living homes are an additional transitional step you might like to take after inpatient care and before going back to your usual life. It gives you a chance to consolidate what you learned in a comfortable environment surrounded by your peers and also supervised by your peers. There’s still some structure, as well as rules to be obeyed, and chores to be done. There’s also group therapy. And you’ll have practice reintegrating back into society like finding a job.