A Closer Look at Drug Abuse and Addiction in Abilene, Texas
Abilene is a city that falls within Taylor and Jones counties. It is a former frontier settlement within the state of Texas. It has an estimated population of 120,958 people and a median household income of $42,766. The unemployment rate in this city is placed at 4.10% with a job growth estimated to be 34.60% over the next ten years. This city is renowned for having some of the best learning institutions and business opportunities. The security statistics for the region show that it is among the safest places in the United States. However, the use, trafficking and sale of illicit substances such as cocaine, meth and heroin is becoming a cause for concern.
Not only are teenagers getting into the habit of drug abuse there is also a large number of the adult population that is hooked on alcohol and other substances. While learning and community based institutions have come up with initiatives meant to create awareness on the dangers of drug abuse a lot still remains to be done. Law enforcers have also played their role in apprehending and prosecuting substance related offenders. Treatment for drug addicts is key to ending the sufferings that they have to endure. It also ensures that the family unit remains stable and desirable.
To put things into perspective research has shown that over 5,594 residents of this city are actively using marijuana while 2,249 are taking prescription medication in a manner that they should not. An estimated 916 Abilene residents are addicted to cocaine while 416 are hooked on hallucinogens. According to these trends, this year will see over 700 people arrested for drug related charges, 32 people will lose their lives to alcohol while 6 lives will be lost to illicit drug use. A further 6 lives will be lost to driving while under the influence and 166 people will lose their lives to tobacco.
Top Reasons for Drug Abuse in Abilene
People that use substance give different reasons for their habits and understanding these issues is key to managing the situation. Below are some of the most common reasons given for drug abuse in Abilene.
Stress management – people that are under intense stress may opt to use alcohol or other substances as a way of getting some form of relief. Keep in mind that the use of substances such as heroin and cocaine have the effect of inducing happiness and a false sense of wellbeing. Residents of Abilene that fall under this category may keep using substance without realizing that it does not really solve anything but rather creates even more problems.
Entertainment – a lot of people within this city believe that they must be high to have fun. They end up drinking several bottles of beer or injecting powerful drugs into their veins. All this is done because of the pleasurable experience that is derived from substance use. Drugs such as cocaine and meth boost energy levels and keep individuals active for longer periods. These substances present a seemingly good option for individuals that want to stay awake throughout the night while at a nightclub or house party.
Experimentation – there are a lot of teens that are simply taking drugs because they are curious about what would happen or how they would feel immediately after. These individuals fail to realize that even one time use of methamphetamine has the potential of causing addiction. It is also true that experimenting on drugs that are manufactured by quacks can be all it takes for one to go through poisoning and possible death.
Peer influence – young people hanging out with groups of people that are known to take substance are at a great risk of starting to use substance themselves. This is because there are individuals within such groups who tend to put a lot of pressure on their colleagues to use substance. These individuals may make fun of non-users and as a result force them to succumb to pressure.
Poverty – people that are living below the poverty line or those who are unemployed may resort to drug use as a way of passing time and dealing with the hopelessness they tend to have. It is worth pointing out that individuals under this category are not able to afford properly manufactured alcohol which is why they may go for illicit substances. As a way of making the effects of substance last for a longer period these individuals may cut or mix various substances. This has the potential of causing drug overdose or poisoning.
Family feuds – when members of a family are embroiled in family feuds they may start using substance as a way of dealing with the pressure that they are under. Some of the most explosive family feuds may involve how to distribute family inheritance and divorce. Some of these feuds may be taken to court and the cases can drag for a long time meaning that drug users are likely to continue with the habit for a long time.
Confidence boost – individuals that are shy or lack confidence may take substance as a way of boosting their confidence. They do this to gain enough courage for delivering public speeches or so that they are able to talk to the opposite sex.
How do people slip into addiction unknowingly?
Hardly anyone that drinks alcohol or takes drugs ever thinks of becoming an addict. A lot of individuals that are suffering from addiction today made a series of mistakes which landed them into their condition. Understanding how this process takes place can help just about anyone empathize with drug addicts.
- Introduction to drugs
Everyone learns about drugs at one point in their life. For most people this takes place during the teenage years. Reports have indicated that 12 and 13 year olds within Abilene are learning about substance through their friends, relatives, movies, music lyrics and social media. It is at this age that parents and teachers are advised to provide as much information as they can regarding the dangers of substance abuse. Failure to educate these young people about the consequences of addiction may mean the young ones grow in curiosity to a point of learning from the wrong people. As a parent the last thing you want is for your child to learn about drugs from a dealer or user.
- Experimenting with drugs
Young people that are not given proper guidance with regards to substance use and abuse end up in this stage. A lot of the times people opt for drugs that seem less powerful. These may include alcohol and marijuana. The problem is that once they try out these substances and enjoy the experience they are likely to do it over and over again. As time goes by individuals start venturing out of their comfort zones and instead start using potent substances such as cocaine, meth and heroin. Young people that receive continuous guidance on the dangers they are exposing themselves and loved ones to are often persuaded to drop the habit of substance use and abuse.
- Regular substance use
At this point individuals have not yet slipped into dangerous habits but are flirting with the possibility of dependence and addiction. Regular use refers to a situation where users are fascinated by the effects of drugs. It is because of the pleasure they derive from drug use that they continue using. At this stage it is easy to predict their behavior when it comes to substance abuse. Most people prefer taking alcohol or drugs during the weekends because they are not committed to any official or school work. Regular users may also do drugs during the holidays and on special occasions such as birthdays.
- Problem use of substance
People who continue taking drugs without thinking of the consequences likely to ensue end up slipping into the fourth stage which is characterized by erratic behavior and an increase in drug use. It is at this point that a lot of negative issues start arising. Some people end up crashing their cars while others may damage machinery. A number of individuals start missing important appointments simply because they are intoxicated or nursing the effects of previous drug use. When confronted about drug use a lot of people lash out at their friends or loved ones. They become quite protective about their habit and swear they can quit at any time they want. It is also at this stage that individuals start developing a tolerance for substance.
- Dependence on substance
Before slipping into the dependence stage people develop a tolerance for substance. This is basically a condition in which a small amount of alcohol or drugs no longer produces euphoric effects. The individual is forced to mix substances or increase the quantity taken to achieve the euphoric effects desired. When people take substance for a long time their body may start mistaking it as a part of the contents within the system. Once an individual becomes dependent on drugs he or she cannot quit using without experiencing withdrawal effects. The body is so used to having the substance within the system that absence is wrongfully translated as being abnormal.
- Addiction to substance
Because of the frequent use of drugs individuals end up getting hooked. This is a state in which users are psychologically compelled to use drugs even though they are experiencing a lot of negative consequences. When battling addiction people may be rushed to hospital due to issues such as breathing problems, abdominal pain and substance poisoning. What is disturbing is that even after such incidents addicts still go back to using drugs. They seem not to care about their own lives or the pain they are causing to loved ones. The truth is that a lot of times drug users genuinely want to quit. They also know that their habit is inflicting pain on close friends and family members. However, they are unable to stop using drugs on their own. Indeed it is common to note that addicts quit substance use for a short time before slipping back to the habit all over again.
Why do people not get help for their addiction?
Despite the dangers posed by addiction a lot of people fail to get professional treatment. Studies have shown that only 11% of people that are battling addiction actually get treatment. With over 44,000 deaths per year directly attributed to substance abuse and overdose in America, it is extremely worrying to look at the figures. Here are some of the reasons why residents of Abilene are not receiving proper care for addiction.
Fear of imprisonment – there are a lot of people that are addicted to illegal substances. Such people are afraid of coming forward and seeking medication because of the possibility of being arrested. These individuals fail to realize that most courts are lenient on addicts who admit their problem and seek help. As a matter of fact a lot of people escape prison sentences by simply accepting to go to rehab instead.
Lack of information – some people do not have any idea on treatment options for drug addiction. These individuals continue battling addiction hoping that one day it will end on its own. The truth is that unless substance users get help they may only damage their internal body organs or lose their life due various complications.
Lack of funds – there are many families that would love to take their loved ones to rehabilitation facilities but lack enough funds to cater for treatment. These are families that fall below the poverty line. Anyone that is seeking help should be made aware of government initiatives that seek to help addicts without requiring them to make payments. There are also certain rehabilitation centers that offer treatment with flexible payment options to ensure that patients get well while making partial payments on an ongoing basis.
Shame – there are certain people that find drug addiction quite embarrassing. They conceal their problem because they do not want any of their neighbors, friends or relatives to know. These people should learn that addiction is not something to be ashamed of. In fact there is a large percentage of people that fell into the trap of addiction without even knowing what was happening. As noted earlier even one time use of certain substances can lead to addiction.
Denial – another reason why people do not get professional help is that they do not want to accept that they are suffering from a serious condition. It is because of denial that professional caregivers often arrange for intervention. During this process the patient is approached by various family members in such a way that is respectful and genuine. The drug user is made to understand how their habit is inflicting pain on the family unit. The individual is also provided with information on how continuous use of substance is likely to lead to dangerous outcomes.
Unsupportive friends and family – when people slip into drug addiction it is easy for family members and friends to shun them altogether. They do this out of ignorance because the condition renders the addict incapable of making informed decisions. There are a lot of people who actually believe that addicts can stop using drugs anytime they want but that they are only stubborn about it. The truth is that a supportive family can be integral in ensuring that an addict receives professional help.
Picking the Right Rehab for Treatment
To choose the most suitable rehab for yourself or a loved one there are certain factors you need to think about. Compare the various facilities offering treatment and settle on the one that is likely to meet your needs. Below are some of the things to keep in mind.
Costs – the last thing you want is to seek addiction treatment from a rehab that is too expensive for you to comfortably afford. By comparing the rates charged by the various rehabs in the region you should be able to find one that is reasonable considering your financial capabilities. Picking an expensive rehab simply because of good reputation may mean that the patient has to drop out halfway through treatment because of inability to pay the required amount.
Reputation – talk to a few people who have been in a rehab or know of a loved one that was once admitted to a rehab nearby. Such people are able to give information regarding the facilities that are considered to be exceptional. You can also learn about reputation by reading through reviews that have been posted online by people who have had interactions with rehab facilities.
Personnel qualifications – before going for treatment find out about the credentials of the various workers offering treatment. This will help put your mind at ease. Keep in mind that some patients may go through extreme withdrawal which is why they must be taken care of by highly qualified individuals. Some patients also require intensive medical treatment for diseases or conditions that may have occured while they were addicted to substance.
Customized treatment – drug users tend to have unique problems with some suffering from infections while others may be dealing with malnutrition. There are also individuals that abuse drugs because of stress while others do it as a way of dealing with painful situations. For each patient admitted into the rehab, doctors must come up with a customized treatment plan. This ensures that each patient receives the best care and recovers within a short period of time.
Getting Treatment for Drug Addiction
If you or a loved one is battling addiction it is encouraged that you take the initiative and seek help. Talking to a school teacher, social worker, religious or community leader can be a good way to get more information about addiction and where to go for help. There are also various telephone numbers that are shared on social media and other addiction websites that can be of help. Once you get in touch with rehabilitation service providers the following are likely to take place.
This refers to a process in which family members are given guidance on how to talk and interact with a drug addict. It is done in such a way that the addict will realize the pain he or she is causing to family members. Intervention also makes it possible for individuals to understand the possible outcomes of substance abuse and addiction. Anyone that is holding a grudge or has a negative mindset with regards to the addict is discouraged from participating in intervention. Instead only the people that are genuinely concerned about the drug addict are involved.
Once a substance addict has come to his or her senses they are then taken through an assessment process. Here caregivers are likely to ask several questions just to understand the patient’s psychological and mental state. The patient is also taken through a series of physical and lab tests to ascertain if there are any other co-occurring conditions that may compromise health and hamper treatment.
During this stage substance addicts or their guardians are provided with various forms to fill. There are certain rehabilitation facilities that hold talks with the family and substance user to ascertain that they are committed to getting treatment regardless of the duration of time it takes. These people are also given information regarding the details of treatment and the costs they will have to pay.
Having complied with all the requirements stipulated drug users are then enrolled to a treatment program. It is at this point that individuals are listed as patients within the rehabilitation facility. The patient is required to receive treatment under an inpatient or outpatient program depending on the results that were found in the second and third stage. Most treatment programs take between 30 to 90 days.