Heroin Overdoses Spike in Roseville, California
Heroin in Roseville, California has increased 80 percent. The highest risk age groups alarmingly are among teens ages 12 to 17. The popularity of the drug may be due to its low cost and availability. Though the spike is mostly related to the recent opioid epidemics that have struck the country, including cities like Roseville. Addiction to drugs like OxyContin quickly lead to heroin addiction. In a recent study more than 2,500 people who were addicted to opioids in the area. When a new version of OxyContin was introduced that made it harder to inhale or inject, many addicts shifted to heroin to get their high.
According to the Center for Disease Control 75 percent of opioid addicts switch to heroin as a cheaper alternative. Nearly 8, 200 Americans die every year from heroin overdose.
Because of the epidemic, Roseville police officers and paramedics now carry naloxone to stop heroin overdoses when encountered. The drug blocks the effects of opioids and has become an essential tool in the prevention of overdoses in Placer County. When injected the drug works within two minutes. It may also be sprayed in the nose. Multiple doses are sometimes required to stop an overdose. Unfortunately, only a few are lucky enough to have rescuers arrive in time to reverse a heroin overdose. Schools and the community now turn to education about opioids and heroin as their only other measure to prevent addiction.
The Death Risk of Heroin
Derived from the poppy flower, heroin becomes readily available on the streets as an injectable substance. It acts as a natural pain reliever and produces a powerful and euphoric high which also slows breathing and lowers the heart rate. When an overdose occurs, the drug has essentially shut down the heart through sedation.
Long-term damage includes kidney disease and liver disease. Many heroin addicts also catch pneumonia because of their compromised immune systems. Infectious disease spread through hypodermic needle use and are common illnesses in areas where heroin is heavily used. HIV and hepatitis infections rank high among heroin addicts using shared needles.
Once deeply involved in the cycle of use, heroin addicts rarely reach out for help. Often family and friends must step in to help and this begins by identifying a heroin addiction.
Assessing the Signs of Heroin Use
Determining if a loved one is suffering from a heroin addiction, family and friends can look for clear signs so they can start intervention.
- A constant euphoric, almost zombie-like state
- Episodes of depression that may last for days or weeks
- Chills and fever
- Tired and indifferent behavior
- Lying about where they are going or what they are doing
- Losing interest in friends, family and activities that once had meaning
- Deceptive and suspicious behavior
- Stealing to support their addiction
- Reckless behavior including crime or ending up in questionable neighborhoods to get drugs
- A distant look in the eyes
- Needle marks may appear on arms or even between fingers and toes
Hospitalization and Pre-intake
Sometimes an emergency room visit for an overdose is a godsend. It brings the issue of addiction front and center for the addict and the family and offers the opportunity for the consideration of rehab. A hospital may also act as a stage in the pre-intake process making the necessary evaluations that can smoothly transition an overdose patient into a treatment center.
Tests that take place during pre-intake
Medical Evaluation- doctors will test to see the physical impact heroin has had on the patient and if further hospitalization is necessary before transporting them to a treatment center.
Psychiatric Evaluation-a psychiatrist will determine the mental state of the patient, both to understand the influence heroine has had on the psyche of the patient as well as any other mental health issues that may be occurring.
Toxicology Testing- Actual tests for the drug will be done to determine the amount of heroin being ingested regularly and if other drugs are also being taken.
A Personal History-The recovery specialist need to know everything about a new patient. Aside from all the clinical testing, there needs to be an intensive interview to understand family history, any history of abuse and a deeper examination of personal life to better know why drugs may have taken hold.
Intervention and Intake
The hardest phase of the recovery process for any drug addiction and especially heroin is convincing the patient they must pursue rehabilitation. No treatments will ever work when an addicted person refuses or simply “goes along” with the proceedings. Family and friends need to express the love they feel for an addicted individual as well as the pain they have been caused from their addiction. Loved ones need to reach past the hardened crust that dependency builds and touch the person they used to know deep inside that shell. Finding compassion and understanding is the only way to move an addicted person toward recovery.
The Detox Process
The process of ridding the body of the physical addiction to heroin has many risks, which is why it is never recommended that a person attempt detox without the aid of recovery and detox professionals. Recovery specialists can help ease the pain and suffering of detox with prescribed medications. Methadone can aid in easing the symptoms and cravings and Subutex relieves the physical dependency somewhat. Recovery specialists can also monitor medical conditions through the process. Seizures are not unheard of, and having an expert at hand is essential for managing medical emergencies during the detox process if they occur.
Dealing with Withdrawals
The body begins to have adverse reactions to the absence of drugs in the system. Heroin can cause severe reactions including extreme perspiration and anxiety. Vomiting and nausea accompanied by muscle pains that seem endless are also common. The ability to endure this ordeal is the critical step toward longer recovery. Overcoming the drug requires reclaiming the body away from its hold on the addicted person, both psychically and psychologically. The physical part is the detox. The psychological part will take longer and is the next stage of the recovery process.
An Education on the Treatment Process
Understanding what will happen in treatment is important for a recovering addict so they will have no misconceptions about recovery. Here are some points every patient will gain from the intake process.
Time should not be wasted. Getting treatment for drug addiction as soon as possible can prevent the addiction from becoming worse.
Treatments are different for every person. There is not one type of treatment. Recovery professionals will customize a treatment plan that fits the individual based on several factors including the severity of the addiction and medical makeup.
Recovery is a personal journey of discovery. Therapists and recovery specialists will get to deeper personal causes of addiction that may include family life and past harmful experiences that make drugs appealing as a way to escape harsh memories.
Mental health may be a factor in addiction. Recovery specialists look at the overall mental health of a patient. Many times, other mental health issues like depression or attention deficit disorder have compounded the addiction. In many instances, it may be the root cause of experimenting with drugs.
Physical health matters. Addiction may have caused health issues from liver damage to hepatitis. These health concerns become a part of the treatment plan as they need to be recognized as a complex component of the recovery process.
Rehab doesn’t end with detox. Many addicted people come to rehab thinking they get to leave right after the detox process. This is just the first step. Inpatient and outpatient programs are the long-term solution to drug addiction recovery.
The impact of family on addiction. Many addictions start at home either because another family member is using drugs or alcohol or family life has many stresses which lead to drug use. Helping the family recover along with the addict may become a critical part of the treatment plan.
Medications may be prescribed. Medicines that help with the recovery process can ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce drug cravings. Many drugs like methadone may become a part of treatment that extends into outpatient care and into aftercare.
Committing personally to treatment. Drugs like heroin can make an addict reluctant to seek help. Interventions help to coax an addicted person toward treatment, but in the long run, if they are not ready they will not recover. Treatment must be a personal commitment they make above the urgings of loved ones.
Finding a Treatment That Fits
During intake, recovery professionals will determine what style of treatment is necessary. Intake procedures are customized to fit the patient. They may determine if medications are helpful and what types of therapy may work best. They also may help the patient decide on the best course of treatment between the two existing types. Residential inpatient care or outpatient care both provide similar services but focus on different aspects and degrees of addiction for different kinds of patients.
Residential Heroin Recovery Centers
Residential treatment center creates a protective and comforting oasis for the addicted. If there is a negative home environment that is influencing heroin addiction or if drugs in their school or neighborhood is impacting their usage, residential treatment is the best option. Inpatient centers provide the essentials of care including:
-24/7 care and medical support-An important factor for severe withdrawal situations and where other medical conditions may compound the addiction treatment
-a support network of recovering addicts- Here a patient can learn from the experiences of others and realize that he or she is not alone with their addiction.
–overall health program. An important part of the recovery process that focuses on well-being, exercise, nutrition and counseling as a comprehensive part of recovery.
Outpatient Alternatives for Heroin Treatment
There are instances where resident care is not necessary or simply not accessible. Often, residential rehab can he expensive or many heroin addicts are functional drug addicts. This means they are still able to manage some semblance of a life and residential treatment would interrupt that. Though residential treatment is preferred for most heroin cases, outpatient treatment is another possibility. Here recovering addicts can receive the best care from licensing counselors and recovery professionals without staying in a facility. They balance therapy, medication and life all together.
New Age Approaches for Drug Addiction
Many drug rehab centers, both residential and outpatient, are implementing more holistic care therapies into their recovery regimen. Based on Eastern practices, these simple therapies help heal mind, body and spirit. By all means, these will never replace traditional heroin addiction treatment. They do however provide a supplemental advantage that can enhance and progress the healing process faster. Incorporate holistic care into existing treatment plans has become common for helping individuals with recovery.
Using techniques like yoga and meditation, therapists can help recovering addicts focus more on their health and personal healing. Acupuncture is another technique that refines personal focus. Combined with other treatments, these non-traditional therapies can help realign a person spiritually and mentally so that recovery is not just about medicine and meetings.
Twelve Steps to Aftercare
Long-term recovery for any drug requires goals that are attainable. Twelve step programs are used by rehabilitation centers, both impatient and outpatient because they set benchmarks for recovery. Heroin addicts, like all drug addicts, need to find a path of recovery that is gradual and includes steps that bring them closer to a positive horizon of long-term sobriety.
How the Twelve Steps Apply to Heroin Addiction
Twelve-step programs are used by seventy-four percent of rehabilitation and drug treatment centers. The basic philosophy is that addicted people help each other through the recovery process and help each other maintain a life of sobriety.
How addicts learn who they are through twelve steps
- Admitting a powerlessness over heroin-they are not in control of the drug, but they are in control of their life
- Accept a greater spiritual power great than yourself-abandon self-centeredness
- Spirituality not the cravings of drug addiction defines a life
- Self-examine fearlessly to discover why drugs were chosen
- Admit that you are at fault and have harmed yourself and others
- Embrace spiritual healing, not just physical health
- Ask God to remove weakness that hold you back from recovery
- Go to those you have damaged and seek to make amends
- Amending your damage whenever possible becomes your motto
- Always humbly seeking forgiveness
- Heal yourself through prayer and meditation
- Find that spiritual awakening
Build Back Your Family Bonds
The addiction cycle ruins families. Parents and siblings watch a person wither away under the influence of addiction and it destroys them as well. Sometimes family members turn away from the addicted to save themselves, emotionally and psychologically. This abandonment leaves lasting wounds that need to heal for both the family and the addicted. Through family therapy sessions, many of these past wounds can be addressed and the healing process can begin. Trust and love have to be reaffirmed for both the family and the recovering addict.
Getting Back to Life: The Balance of Sober Living
For a recovering addicted person, temptations abound. Commercials on tv and billboards, ads in magazines and on social media promote the party life they can no longer live. Sober friends still like to party and their activities are filled with risks that can lead a recovering person down the path of relapse. Also, triggers never seem to never let the recovering person go and must be dealt with on a daily basis.
How Heroin Addicts Respond to Triggers
Triggers are not just common drug references in crime tv shows, they are personal connections to places and things. These mental switches can remind the addicted of the ease and euphoria of an addicted life.
The encounter of old drug friend is one of the most common triggers, evoking fond memories of drug use that can endanger sobriety.
Places where drugs are purchased excite the recovering person when it is mentioned on the news during a drug bust or when they drive past the location, which to anyone else is just a street sign.
Taking Temptation Head On
The commitment of the recovering doesn’t have to be a fight they take on alone. They can talk with counselors and rely others in their group therapy sessions to help them through trigger episodes.
Handling Life Responsibilities
Addiction makes it harder to do many of the easiest things in life. Even while recovering, a person is unaccustomed to the stresses that come with family, work and school. The temptation to get away from these social demands can cause a recovering person to relapse into drug use. Recovering individuals need to stay focused on recovery and turn to counselors and the support of others in group sessions to work through a potential relapse.
Turning to Sober Living Facilities
In many instances, a recovering person can rely on sober living facilities as another option for managing the risks of relapse. If a recovering person follows the house rules and remains sober, they can share a home with other recovering addicts and continue to go to work and school during the day. For many in the recovery process the sober living facility allows a gradual realignment with the sober world while providing a continuous environment of support.
Relapse Defiance Through Personal Awareness
Relapse looms large in a recovering addict’s life. But there are ways to avoid slipping back into drug use. Focusing on these steps keeps relapse out of a sober life.
Complete Normalcy Takes Time
Wanting to just be a normal person again may not seem like a relapse risk, but many recovering addicts take on too much, too soon. Family, work and school can all be normal pressures for a sober person, but for one struggling with sobriety they can be tense and anxious. Anyone recovering from drug addiction needs to gradually ease back into normal life. Too much stress or pressure can trigger a desire to escape back to drugs. Taking the time to Talk to counselors about what is the best breakdown for goals is one approach for easing into the demands of sober living.
Old drug buddies can become poison to a recovering addict, luring them back to a drug addicted way of life. It may be necessary to end these types of relationships, even though some may reach back to childhood, which makes it all the more difficult. Nothing, however can compromise sober living and some friends simply need to go away. In other instances, broken relationships that were healthy once, need to be repaired. Rebuilding those ties with parents, siblings and loved ones is a part of the healing process that needs to occur.
Communication is Important
Without clear communication, family and friends may still view a recovering person as an addict and remember all the past wrongs they have committed under the influence of drugs. A recovering person may feel they can never get through to their loved ones and this barrier can become a temptation to give up and return to drugs. A recovering person may agree with family and friends and feel like they are still a bad person and that there is no hope.
Talking to family and friends about addiction can be awkward for some. But it is the only way to face unresolved issues, especially those issues in family life that are a direct result of addiction. Taking the time to talk about personal matters regarding past drug use and understanding what is expected from loved ones helps to rebuild those broken relationships and start anew.
A recovering person who values all the benefits of a sober life will find maintaining it much easier. The best contribution treatment gives is the experience and accomplishment of the long path of recovery. Knowing that they have made progress and achieved much can help any recovering addict avoid the temptations of relapse.
Sober Living Touchpoints
The goal of all rehab treatment is the extended sober living of a recovering person. After the intensity of detox and the involved process of inpatient or outpatient treatment, a recovering addict can make life changes that can help ensure a sober life will last.
Make Friends with Sober People
Negative drug-related friendships will drag down a recovering person and bring them back to a life of addiction. Any recovering addict can develop new friends who already lead a sober life. The risk of temptation drops when associations are free of drugs.
Many long and valued friendships may be established in group therapy as well. Recovering addicts become friends with other recovering addicts and build lasting relationships that continue to heal long past group sessions.
Discover New Activities
Replace the focus on drugs with a focus on life. Finding new ways to become engaged in life helps a recovering person stay away from drugs. Hobbies and travel are some of the activities that easily replace heroin. Many recovering addicts discover the power of charity work. Through giving, they discover compassion and care.
Exercise is often incorporated into many residential treatment programs. It can divert the energies from drug use to physical activity. Continuing exercise into sober life can give any recovering person energy and stamina. Physical fitness also builds self-confidence and personal well-being. When a recovering person feels better, they also look better.
Learning and Growing
Drugs negate education and the will to learn. Once that cycle of addiction is broken, knowledge becomes valuable and reading becomes meaningful. Recovering addicts will discover education as a foundation for personal growth. It also keeps the sober mind sharp and fosters compassion.
A Healthy Diet
While on drugs, personal health takes a backseat. Then during the recovery process, many individuals will turn to food to replace drugs, which can lead to weight gain and depression. With sober living, a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables replaces junk food. The recovering person may feel new energy and enjoy a healthier personal appearance because of a change in diet. Combined with exercise, healthy eating can also change mood for the better.
Most addicts do not sleep well. Addiction to drugs like heroin can mean days completely unconsciousness, sleeping away life. For other drugs, like cocaine, days and nights are spent awake leading to a sudden crash. Both sleeping pattern are unhealthy. In a sober life, getting enough rest and getting rest on a regular schedule will change health and outlook. A recovering person will discover a new alertness and new energy levels.
The Next Stage of Life
Sober living leaves one of the most important questions open. What to do with the rest of my life? Most addicts presumed they would not lead a very long life. When the opportunity arises through sober living, new possibilities abound. Ideas and inspirations many recovering people had as children now become tangible. They can dream and plan for a life rather than spin in the endless circle of addiction. With sober living comes hope.