Substance Abuse, Addiction Effects and Treatment in Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a city located in close proximity to the Ohio River. Some of the most notable places in this city include the Cincinnati zoo and Museum Center. The region has a population of about 298,800 people and a median household income of $34,002. The unemployment rate is placed at 5% with a job growth of about 1.31%. The city is ranked among the top 20 poorest in the United States with estimates putting one out of every three people under the poverty line.
While a great deal of effort has been put into poverty eradication an emerging problem is the high rate of substance abuse and addiction. Not only do adults use and abuse substances in the region even teenagers are becoming victims of drug abuse and addiction at alarming rates. The result is a rise in criminal activities and a growing number of emergency cases throughout health facilities in the region. Each week an estimated 18 people die of heroin related complications, over 15 babies are born with heroin related complications while 180 people are taken to hospital for overdose emergencies.
There are laws in place to punish anyone that is found in possession of illicit drugs. However, this has not been enough to curb the menace of trafficking, dealing and using such substances. It is worth noting that some substances such as alcohol are legal for individuals over the age of 21, but wrongful use leads to the same consequences as using illicit substance. Unless people already addicted to drugs get professional treatment they may never recover and will only form part of the statistics mentioned above.
The Top Substances Used and Abused in Cincinnati
Heroin is usually available in the form of a white or brown powder. It is quite potent which is why users are likely to experience euphoria a few moments after taking it. This drug is illegal in the United States meaning that anyone found in possession, trafficking or dealing in it can be charged for felony. Some alternative or street names for the substance include Mexican brown, brown sugar, tar, skag, number 3, junk, white China, sack and dragon. In most cases users take this drug by injecting it into their veins. A few people may smoke, snort or inhale it in the form of vapor. Regardless of method of intake the effects are almost always the same. While the pleasurable effects are able to last for a few hours it is the negative effects that should get every user worried. Those who frequently inject the drug into their veins are likely to experience a weakening of their muscle system or get infections due to sharing of needles. Constipation and pneumonia are also part of the negatives that may develop. Other consequences of taking heroin are listed below
- Development of blood borne infections
- Infections of the heart valves
- Respiratory depression
- Antisocial behaviors such as stealing, lying and prostitution
- Decaying of the teeth
- Inflammation of the gums
- Loss of sense of smell for those who frequently snort the drug
- Extreme depression that may lead to suicidal thoughts
- Inability to get proper sleep
- Addiction to the substance
- Damage to internal organs
- Death from overdose
This substance is made from the dry leaves, stems and flowers of the cannabis plant. Some common street names used to refer to this substance include weed, pot, ganja, grass, dope, chronic, dagga and gasper. This substance can be used for medicinal and recreational purposes. It is legal in certain states but may have rules and regulations that govern cultivation, possession and place of use. Most people take the substance by way of smoking. A few individuals prefer mixing it with foods such as cookies or brewing as tea. The effects of marijuana include change in perception, euphoria and increased appetite. However, those who abuse the substance are likely to have short-term memory loss and dry mouth. Other negative consequences of misusing this substance are listed below.
- People that use the substance for a prolonged period may experience mental decline or reduction in IQ points
- The use of this substance increases the risk of having a stroke
- Lowers reaction time and impairs judgement which is why it may lead to accidents for people operating machinery while under influence
- May cause hallucinations that involve seeing, smelling and hearing non-existent things
- Causes sexual problems for men
- Most users end up in financial problems due to inability to perform well at work
- Increases chances of antisocial behavior such as stealing, lying, violence and prostitution
- About 9 percent of users end up becoming addicts
- Impairs thinking and makes it difficult for users to solve complex problems
- May damage internal organs including the lungs and brain
- May lead to death
Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that is wrongfully used for recreational purposes. It is made from the coca plant which is native to South America. Anyone found in possession, trafficking or selling the substance can be arrested and charged for breaking the law. Cocaine is also known as coke and may go by a number of other street names including snow, flake, base, basa, yeyo, big rush, stash, white, toot, bump and powder. It is usually available in the form of a fine, white crystal powder.
A number of people take this substance by snorting through the nose. Some people rub it into their gums while others may take it by heating and inhaling the vapor produced. There are also those who prefer taking it by injecting into the veins after dissolving in a liquid. To sustain the euphoric effects of this drug a large number of people take it repeatedly which is why it becomes addictive.
Misuse of this drug ultimately causes weakening of the muscle and immune systems. People who share needles when injecting it into the veins risk contracting diseases such as hepatitis and HIV. Other negative consequences of taking cocaine are listed below.
- Causes paranoia which may be described as an unreasonable mistrust of others
- It constricts blood vessels
- Increases the heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
- Causes nausea, tremors and muscle twitches
- Makes users hyperactive or restless
- Leads to insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Complications to the nose including bleeding, loss of sense of smell, damage to tissues and frequent running nose
- When users take the substance in excessive amounts they may die of overdose
- Damages internal body organs
- Leads to dependence and addiction
- Causes unbecoming behavior such as aggression, violence and stealing
Although it is acceptable for individuals over the age of 21 to take alcohol failure to drink responsibly can lead to negative effects. This substance is as addictive as the rest in this list. Its availability and seemingly harmless nature is what makes it even deadlier than the rest. Other names that may be used to refer to alcohol include hard stuff, hooch, sauce, moonshine, juice and suds. Taking more than 5 bottles for men or 4 bottles for women within two hours is considered binge drinking. This is dangerous and may lead to health problems and addiction. People who misuse alcohol are likely to experience short-term memory loss, vomiting, diarrhea and blackouts. Other effects of taking too much alcohol are listed below.
- Damage to the liver
- Problematic childbirth or giving birth to a baby with alcohol related problems
- Loss of red blood cells or anemia
- Inflammation of the stomach walls
- Development of ulcers especially for those who take dry spirits
- Damage to the user’s nerve system
- High blood pressure
- Development of cancer of the mouth and throat
- Dependence and addiction
- Financial difficulties due to inability to perform work related tasks
- Sexual problems that may include erectile dysfunction
General Consequences of Drug Abuse
When individuals continue abusing drugs despite the warnings they receive they inevitably set themselves up for negative consequences that may affect their own lives and the lives of loved ones. Here is a look at some of the most common consequences of continued drug abuse.
Imprisonment – when individuals are found in possession of illicit substances by law enforcers they are arrested and produced in court before relevant charges are made. The same applies to those who traffic or deal in illegal substances. The result of getting arrested is that the suspect may end up serving prison term.
Accidents – when people drive under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs their judgement is impaired. Their reflexes or reaction times are also reduced significantly. This is why a number of accidents occur in Cincinnati. Accidents not only affect the driver but may also end up hurting innocent people using the road.
Financial difficulties – it is almost impossible for an individual that is abusing drugs to remain productive at the workplace. This means they are likely to get fired or run their business into losses. Once this happens they are unable to raise enough money to cater to needs such as food, shelter clothing and education for children.
Compromised physical health – most of the substances mentioned above have a negative effect on several organs within the body. Misusing such drugs is likely to damage the brain, lungs, heart, blood vessels, kidneys and liver. After a given period of drug abuse users inevitably have to deal with the consequences of poor health
Mental problems – people that abuse drugs not only compromise their physical health but they also risk losing their mental abilities. Indeed there are a lot of cases where drug addicts have been known to lose their ability to solve complex problems or come up with productive ideas.
Breaking of families – drug users often develop unbecoming behavior that may include aggression, violence, stealing, prostitution and lying. These vices end up irking family members and as a result the family unit may break.
Poor academic performance – when young people who are still in school start abusing drugs they become unable to get good grades. Using drugs at odd hours or nursing hangovers when they are supposed to concentrate on academic matters forms part of the reasons why they fail.
Understanding Substance Addiction
When individuals continue using substance for a prolonged period they become addicted. This means that use of drugs or alcohol becomes a compulsive issue rather than a choice. Addicts may sincerely desire to quit but are unable to do so because their will power is weakened. Addiction is a form of slavery to the substance of choice making the individual remain fixated on the substance in such a way that he or she is unable to continue with discharge of daily obligations. Here is a look at some of the things that occur before an individual is completely addicted to a substance.
It is at this point that individuals get to know about a particular substance in detail. They may have heard about it before but took no interest. However, at this point they are interested in learning about the drug. Introduction may be done by a friend, movie, song lyrics or a close family member who is taking the substance. Most people do not use the substance at this point but are keen to learn more about its effects.
Having been introduced to substance individuals are now extremely curious about its effects. They have probably observed how other people react when they take the substance and are therefore willing to try it out themselves. For teens experimentation is often done in secret. Once they take the substance for the first time they enjoy the pleasurable effects that it gives and this endears the substance to them. Most of the people that enjoy the effects will probably use it again at another time.
- Regular use
At this stage individuals have become accustomed to substance use. In a majority of cases they use it for recreational purposes. Regular use may take place twice or thrice a week especially during the weekends and at night. Worth noting is that most family members become aware of the fact that their loved one is using substance. However, the effects of use are not alarming which is why it is ignored in the hope that it is a phase that will soon pass.
- Risky use
At this stage the individual using drugs is getting out of control. They may take the drug in the morning before going to work or school and when they get back home in the evening. It is at this stage that most people develop a tolerance for the substance of choice. This makes it necessary for them to increase the amount of substance they take. Some users may start sneaking the substance to school or work and that puts their careers or academic progress in jeopardy.
- Substance dependence
At this point users have built a high level of tolerance for their substance of choice. It is during this stage that some individuals take higher amounts of the substance within a short period of time. This increases the risk of overdosing. Some people may also start mixing drugs to achieve the kind of euphoric rush they used to enjoy during the initial stages. Substance dependence is a condition in which the body has become so accustomed to a substance that failure to get a regular dose of the said substance leads to withdrawal effects. Examples of these effects include:
- Cold chills
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Extreme anxiety
- Muscle spasms
- Abdominal pain
- Substance addiction
At this point drug users are affected both physically and psychologically. Their thoughts revolve around drug use. They spend most of their times planning on how to get their next shot of cocaine or heroin, using the drug of choice or dealing with the immediate effects of taking drugs. Addiction can affect just about anyone regardless of age, gender or substance of choice.
Why do people use and abuse drugs and alcohol?
From Oakley to College Hill and Avondale to Corryville, individuals use and abuse drugs for reasons that are unique to their own situations. However, here is a look at some of the most common reasons for drug use.
Peer influence – for teenagers one of the most common reasons for using drugs is peer pressure. When teens want to fit in with the group of friends they hang out with they may be forced to start using drugs just like their colleagues.
Family influence – teens living with people who drink alcohol or use any other type of drug are likely to start using these substances at some point in their life. This is because they have observed older people using substance without facing any consequences.
Boredom – some people take drugs to help them deal with boredom. Instead of opting for drug use people are advised to engage in activities that keep their minds busy. These may include going out to the gym, playing outdoor games or organizing camping trips
Past trauma – there are a lot of cases where substance users have admitted to having gone through a traumatic event in the past. Some of these events may include sexual or physical abuse. Individuals with such pasts may resort to drug use as a way of dealing with the emotional and psychological problems they face on a daily basis.
To boost confidence – people who are shy or unable to socialize freely may use drugs to help them gain confidence.
Treatment for Substance Addiction
Before individuals receive professional treatment they must admit to the fact that they are suffering from a physical and psychological problem. In most cases addicts are reluctant to accept this problem. That is why intervention of friends and family members is necessary. Anyone feeling concerned about a drug user can reach out for help by talking to a local social worker, religious leader or health official. Making a call to drug abuse hotlines is another way to seek assistance
Once contact has been made with a professional treatment provider, friends and family members are guided on how to talk to the drug user in such a way that he or she will not be irritated but rather come to terms with the reality and agree to get help. When drug users accept treatment they are enrolled to either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
Inpatient treatment – this is a situation where patients are admitted to a treatment facility and are not allowed to leave until they are through with their scheduled program. Inpatient facilities are designed to offer special treatment to people that have been severely affected by addiction. Under this type of care doctors are able to monitor patients on a 24 hour basis. Medication, physical therapy and behavioral counseling are among the things that may take place under inpatient care.
Outpatient treatment – this refers to care given without necessarily having the patient stay at the rehabilitation facility. It is ideal for people who are not severely affected by addiction but still need professional treatment. Some advantages of this type of care is that it is cheaper than inpatient care and allows patients to continue with their daily routines
Treatment for drug addiction may involve a variety of techniques aimed at resolving physical, spiritual and psychological issues. It is common for doctors to analyze every patient and prescribe a personalized treatment plan. The goal of treatment is to help the individual stop using drugs and instead focus on how to become a productive member of the society. Below are some of the things that take place during treatment.
Medication – provision of medicine that is able to manage conditions such as HIV and hepatitis can be part of treatment. Medication may also be administered to help in faster healing of wounds, ulcers and pain relief.
Detoxification – to ensure that patients are free of drugs and alcohol doctors facilitate the process of detoxification. While the body is able to get rid of toxins on its own, doctors may provide a strict diet and recommended a set of exercises that hasten the process of detoxification. Individuals that are extremely affected by addiction may be unable to respond positively to treatment unless they receive some amount of the drug they were addicted to. This may force doctors to continue administering the substance but gradually reduce its quantity until the patient’s body no longer needs it.
Counselling – because addiction is also a psychological problem caregivers may provide counseling services. This involves talks between a therapist and patient. The talks help patients understand that they are important people in the society and that continued use of drugs is causing pain to loved ones. These talks also help equip patients with knowledge on how to avoid relapsing once they recover.
Exercise – while still using drugs, a lot of people fail to get enough exercise and this can lead to weakening of the immune and skeletal systems. Doctors may recommend certain exercises to promote fitness and boost the immune system.
Physical therapy – it can include medicinal massage and aided movements. This is done to provide patients with some level of comfort and pain relief. It may also be helpful in enabling patients regain some of the abilities they may have lost because of drug addiction.
Support groups – certain treatment programs allo
s patients to form support groups. During sessions patients are encouraged to share some of their experiences and this allows them to learn from each other. It also provides inspiration and a strong place to fall back when things seem to be too overwhelming to bear.
Choosing a Rehabilitation Center
Here are some of the things that should be considered when thinking of the best rehabilitation center to get treatment.
The costs – doing some research on the Internet to find out about the various rates at which different rehabs are offering services is good way to learn about the most affordable. You should find out about the method of payment that is acceptable. This is because some centers accept insurance while others may only offer services to people who pay cash.
Reputation – before settling on any facility find out what other people have to say about it. Avoid rehabs that seem to elicit negative feedback from a majority of people. Instead enroll for treatment at a center that is held in high esteem by a majority of people.
Employee qualifications – prefer rehabs that have employed highly qualified personnel. You can learn about credentials by inquiring from a representative of the rehabilitation center you are interested in. It is important for you to get treatment from a center that is certified and licensed to offer treatment.
Personalized treatment – before enrolling at any facility find out about the type of programs in place. The center you pick should offer personalized treatment plans. This will ensure that the patient recovers quickly and stays sober after discharge.
Patient preferences – when enrolling a patient to a rehabilitation facility consider the age, gender and spiritual beliefs of the individual. This will allow them to get the most suitable care without causing any internal conflicts.