The Fort Collins Drug Abuse and Addiction Menace
Fort Collins is a city located in the Northern parts of Colorado state. It has a population of 164,207 people and a median household income of $53,775. The city has some of the most breathtaking natural sights, architectural designs, state of the art restaurants and museums. Its road network, railways and airports make it ideal for business and tourism.
Despite these positives the city is grappling with a drug abuse and addiction problem that is threatening to dim the future of its teenagers while cutting short the lives of the adult population. While law enforcement has been doing its best to contain illicit drug use the trends are still painting a bleak picture. It is worth noting that this city forms part of the alarming trends that make Colorado a hotspot for drug addiction. In 2015 about 904 residents of this state died from drug use while an estimated 847 lost their lives to alcohol. Some of the most commonly abused substances in Fort Collins include alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana, cocaine and heroin.
Commonly Abused Substances in Fort Collins
Some alternative street names for this substance include suds, hooch, cold one, brewskis, hard stuff and booze. While most people think it is a harmless drink the truth is that taking too much of alcohol can have serious repercussions as noted below.
- Damage to the kidneys and liver
- Possible development of ulcers
- Triggering of various types of cancer
- Financial problems
- Straining of family relations
- Damage to the brain
This substance can sometimes be referred to as meth. It is a powerful drug that is misused for recreational purposes. It can be taken through injection, inhaling and smoking. Some of the negative effects of meth are as follows.
- Increased chances of getting infections due to sharing of needles
- Loss of moral values leading to stealing, robbery and other forms of criminal activity
- Financial problems
- Dependence and addiction
- Damage to internal body organs
This substance is extremely popular throughout the country. It is often depicted as the best drug for individuals that want to have fun which is why it is the gateway drug to addiction. Some of its negative effects include the following.
- Decreased chances of getting a job
- Damage to the brain and other body organs
- Decrease in IQ
- Lack of motivation
- Financial difficulties
- Addiction and dependence
Why are residents of Fort Collins using drugs?
Taking a look at some of the proven reasons why people take drugs can be a good way to get to the bottom of the problem and possibly stop it before it begins.
Stress – when people are going through stressful times in their life they may lack a fall back plan or coping mechanism which is why a large number fall victim to drug abuse. The use of alcohol or drugs while under immense stress tends to subject users to a lot of dangers. These individuals may become careless enough to drink too much alcohol and use drugs that are acquired from unknown sources. To avoid such problems individuals should develop sound stress coping mechanisms such as meditation, praying, talking to a professional counselor or close friend.
Fun – for some people the use of drugs and alcohol is simply a fun affair. They believe that being high is the only way to ensure that they are having a good time. While a few bottles of beer may make the mood merry drinking too much eventually leads to problems. It is equally important to point out that drugs such as cocaine and heroin may give euphoric effects and boost the partying mood but the end result is always misery. Individuals need to understand that having fun does not have to include getting intoxicated and risking their own lives or those of loved ones.
Peer influence – there are a lot of youths that are hanging out with peers who are already hooked on alcohol and other drugs. Such people are constantly bombarded with remarks of being outsiders or weaklings because of their inability to use substance. Sooner or later these individuals give in to pressure and start using drugs. To be safe from such occurrences non-users should avoid groups of drug users or develop strong values that enable them to withstand criticism and influence.
Lack of self-confidence – people that have low self-esteem or confidence tend to be shy or timid about facing crowds or members of the opposite sex. To avoid embarrassing themselves they may opt for drug use. While some drugs are able to boost confidence for a short period of time the ultimate price one has to pay for using them is not worth it.
Dealing with trauma – going through difficult experiences such as divorce, violence, losing of the limbs or breaking up with a loved one can be extremely painful and may take a toll on the emotional and psychological aspects of life. People that have gone through such traumatic experiences may start using drugs as a way of numbing the pain they have to deal with on a daily basis. Such people are advised to talk to a local religious leader or professional counsellor who can then help them resolve their internal problems.
Curiosity – there is a significant number of Fort Collins residents who are using drugs purely out of curiosity. It is after the initial use that they become fond of the euphoric effects of drugs. Such individuals should be content with knowledge of the effects of substance instead of venturing into actual use.
Pain management – people who have chronic conditions that cause unbearable pain are often given prescription medications to manage their situation. While some of these individuals eventually get well there is a significant number that becomes addicted to the use of these prescriptions drugs. Such people end up craving for drugs even after they finish the prescribed dosage. It is important for people to follow instructions when using any prescription medication and avoid taking them for recreational purposes.
What are some risk factors for drug abuse?
Poverty – people that are living below the poverty line are at a greater risk of taking drugs and alcohol. Such individuals have a lot of free time to spend making it possible for them to engage in substance abuse. Most of these people go through stressful situations and lack self-confidence which is part of the reason why they tend to use substances. It is also true that such people may buy drugs from unknown sources which further puts their lives at risk.
Lack of supervision – it is important for teenagers to be kept under supervision at all times. Those who are allowed to remain unsupervised for prolonged periods may start using drugs knowing that they are not going to face any punishment. It is also true that families with parents who are always busy with work or spend little time with their children end up having to deal with teenagers that are hooked on substance.
Lack of law enforcement – it is not enough to have restrictive laws when it comes to the use, possession and trafficking of substance. Law enforcement efforts must be beefed up to ensure that anyone found in violation faces a harsh penalty. Keep in mind that people are likely to be discouraged from using drugs if they know that there is potential to go to prison.
Family of users – individuals that come from families of users may end up using themselves. This is because they are frequently exposed to the effects of substance and that makes it possible for them to normalize use. They start perceiving substance use as something commendable and able to give a pleasurable experience. Adults in any family are advised to avoid using drugs or alcohol in front of teenagers. They should avoid keeping these substances in places that can easily be accessed by young people who may misuse them.
Peer users – an individual that has friends who are using drugs may start using drugs himself. Non-users are usually called names such as weakling or sellout and this can make them feel despised. To avoid such titles non-users may start using drugs and eventually become addicts.
Availability – the availability of substance makes it easier for people to start using. Because alcohol and methamphetamine are available in Fort Collins a lot of drug addicts reporting for treatment will be treated for complications related to these substances as opposed to cocaine or heroin which are not available in large quantities.
How do you know if someone is using?
Knowing if a friend, son, daughter or relative is using drugs may be key to preventing drug abuse and addiction. Below are some of the signs and symptoms associated to drug use and abuse.
Secretive behavior – people that are starting to use substance tend to be guarded about their activities. They may isolate themselves from other people from the home. Individuals may not disclose their real location or who they are hanging out with. This secretive behavior is meant to avoid raising any kind of suspicion.
Unusual odors – substances such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin and alcohol usually produce distinct odors. This means anyone that is using them is likely to have some unusual smells emanating from their body, breath or clothes. If you are keen on such issues you may just be able to know if your loved one is taking drugs.
Unusual activity – because of their need to take drugs some individuals may start coming back home later than normal. They may also come back home during odd hours. Such individuals may be dealing with the effects of intoxication which is why they start developing these unusual habits.
Sudden change of friends – because the old friends may not be keen on taking drugs, users opt for new ones. They seek out individuals that are able to provide drugs or engage in similar activities. The sudden change of friends is often unusual and does not have any elaborate explanation.
Loss of interest in hobbies – if a teeenager was quite passionate about football or cycling they may suddenly lose interest in the hobby. Instead they will acquire new hobbies that take them away from the crowds. They may develop a liking for video games or anything else that gives them room to be alone or unsupervised.
Increased need for money – drugs and alcohol are not free meaning that anyone using them must first of all be able to raise funds. This is why users tend to develop a need for more money. They may even use antisocial means such as stealing, lying and bullying to get some money for the substances they need.
Marks on the skin – drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin are popularly taken by way of injecting into the veins. This leads to the development of scars from frequent puncturing of the skin. In certain cases individuals may develop skin allergies and abscesses.
Intoxication – taking drugs inevitably leads to intoxication and this can have some of the most obvious signs and symptoms. Signs of intoxication include slurred speech, slowed walking, impaired judgement, dilated pupils, bigger pupils of the eye, confusion, nausea, vomiting, blackouts, aggression, hallucinations and hyperactivity.
Accidents and altercation with police – users who try to operate machinery or drive may end up getting involved in frequent accidents. It is also true that these individuals may find themselves on the wrong side of the law for using illegal drugs or driving while under the influence.
How do people get addicted to drugs and alcohol?
The path to addiction is not always obvious for individuals using drugs or alcohol. Individuals progress from one stage to another without even realizing that they are slipping into addiction. Here is a look at some of the things that occur before people are fully addicted to substance.
1.Introduction to substance
Regardless of the substance in question individuals begin by learning about it in one way or another. People may become aware of substance by talking to friends, observing family members using or watching a movie that depicts the drug as being desirable. It is at this stage that individuals develop curiosity regarding the particular substance and while some people are content with knowledge others progress to the next stage.
- Experimenting with the substance
Individuals not satisfied with knowledge of substance may develop a passion for finding out more about the drug or alcoholic drink they were introduced to. This curiosity reaches its peak making the individuals try out the substance in question. For a few people this initial experiment turns out to be unpleasant due to negative effects. However, for a significant number the euphoric effects coupled with possible bonding with friends makes for a good experience. It is the people who have an enjoyable experience that tend to progress to the next stage.
- Regular use of substance
Because of the pleasurable or pain numbing effects of drug use a lot of people develop a sharp liking for it. This makes them use drugs and alcohol on a regular basis. Some people resort to drug use whenever they have no commitments to work of school. Unknown to them is that regular use eventually leads to the next stage.
- Problem use of substance
People who continue using drugs may tip over to risky use. This means they start losing control over their actions when it comes to substance intake. A large number of drug users end up becoming tolerant to drugs and alcohol forcing them to increase intake or mix up substances as a way of achieving the pleasurable effects they desire. The problem with mixing substances is that it can lead to poisoning or overdosing. Taking too much alcohol or drugs also accelerates the rate at which internal body organs deteriorate.
- Substance dependence
It is at this stage that individuals start putting their lives at extreme risk. At this point the body is already accustomed to regular administration of drugs. Those who fail to get a regular amount into the system may go through difficult withdrawal effects as noted below.
- Sharp abdominal pains
- Muscle cramps
- Extreme anxiety
- Suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- Insomnia or irregular sleep patterns
- Cold chills alternating with profuse sweating
- Full blown substance addiction
It is at this point that doctors declare individuals completely addicted to substance. To make this clearer it is important to note that addiction is a psychological condition in which drug users feel an uncontrollable desire to take drugs despite the obvious negative implications it causes. Some signs of drug addiction are listed below.
- Addicts are often overactive or underactive depending on the substance taken
- Addicts usually develop repetitive speech patterns
- Extreme loss of weight or malnutrition
- A change in eating habits
- Feelings of guilt after using drugs
- Genuinely desiring to quit using but failing to do so
- Continued use of substance despite harmful effects to self and family members
- Poor grooming habits
- Experiencing withdrawal effects when drugs are not taken
- Mixing drugs to get high
- Thinking and talking about drug use most of the times
- Ignoring responsibilities for the sake of drug use
- Missing classes or appointments because of intoxication or its effects
Getting Help for a Drug Addict
Drug addicts are not always aware of their condition. A significant number believe they are able to quit using drugs at any time they want. This is why any friend or family member of the drug user must take the responsibility of providing assistance. Simply talk to a local health worker or make a phone call to any rehabilitation center for advise on how to approach the issue. Avoid criticizing or confronting drug addicts because it may end up worsening the situation. Instead talking to them in a gentle and caring manner is likely to produce better results.
Once the drug addict agrees to treatment he or she will have to be taken through a process of assessment. Here a doctor or counselor asks certain questions, runs physical and lab tests to ascertain the extent of addiction and determine if the individual needs any other form of care. The rehabilitation representative will then take the addict and family members through possible treatment programs and some of the requirements that must be met before the drug addict is enrolled for treatment.
Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Individuals that are found to be addicted to substance may be treated under the following arrangements.
Inpatient programs are best suited for people that have become extremely addicted to substance and any attempt at detoxification is likely to produce extreme withdrawal effects. Under this arrangement drug addicts are required to stay at the rehabilitation center for 30 to 90 days depending on the treatment program recommended by doctors. This arrangement allows doctors to monitor the patient and respond to any matters that arise. It is quite effective because it removes the patient from the things that trigger drug use and confine them to an area that has no substances that may be used for intoxication. People under this type of care get some time away from the society to rethink their lifestyle and come up with better plans for the future.
This program is commonly recommended for individuals that have recently become addicts. They are not seriously affected by the consequences of addiction and can therefore receive treatment without having to stay at a rehabilitation center. In most cases patients under this program are instructed to attend short treatment sessions at the rehabilitation center before they can go back to their homes and continue with daily routine. A particular advantage of this type of care is that patients get to interact with their loved ones on a daily basis. These individuals are also able to continue executing their daily obligations. This treatment options is quite cheap when compared to inpatient care.
Partial hospitalization programs
Under this type of treatment drug users are required to stay at the rehabilitation center throughout the duration of treatment. However, they are allowed to leave the center for a specified period of time on a daily basis. This allows them to interact with family members and friends on a regular basis. They may also use their free time to check up on their businesses or engage in hobbies.