The Substance Abuse and Addiction Menace in Frisco, Texas
Frisco is a city in the state of Texas and forms part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. As of March 2018 it had an estimated population of 173,884 people and a median household income of $112,155. The unemployment rate is placed at 2.90%. The city is known for having a robust economy, state of the art infrastructure and some of the best vacationing locations. However, it is facing a drug use and addiction epidemic that is threatening to dim its bright future. Being located in the state of Texas, this city forms part of the alarming statewide statistics of narcotics as detailed below.
The Most Commonly Abused Substances in Frisco
A closer look at some of the most commonly used and abused substances in Frisco can be helpful in anticipating and forestalling teenage use.
On the streets this substance may be called by a number of names including booze, juice, brewski, hooch, hard stuff and suds. One of the most shocking things to know is that students in grades 7 up to 12 are already experimenting on this substance. It is the most commonly abused substance throughout Texas and this can be attributed to the fact that it is legal for individuals over the age of 21. It is also easily accessible to people who fall under the legal age.
Individuals take alcohol for recreational purposes. However, this should be done in moderation. Going overboard when it comes to alcohol consumption can have a myriad of complications to users and their loved ones. The immediate short term effects of consuming too much alcohol include impaired judgement, slurred speech, memory lapses, impaired motor functions and slowed reaction time. Other complications that may arise include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headaches and blacking out.
Most people ignore these short term effects because they only last for a few hours. It is the long term effects of alcohol that make it one of the deadliest of substances in the market today. Here is a list of the possible effects of unregulated long term alcohol use.
- May lead to inflammation of the liver
- May trigger development of certain cancers including breast, colon and mouth
- Can lead to development of ulcers
- May lead to damage of the heart muscle
- Increases blood pressure
- Leads to financial difficulties
- Strains social and professional relations
- Individuals may end up becoming dependant or addicted to it
- Damages the kidneys
- Leads to sexual problems especially for men
This is one of the most lethal substances being abused in Frisco today. In the year 2013 authorities reported a total of 319 heroin related deaths throughout the state of Texas. It is worth pointing out that in the same year Texas was ranked at number 3 for the total amount of heroin seized by law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
Heroin is sometimes referred to as diamorphine but may go by a variety of street names including smack, brown sugar, dope, black stuff, black eagle, mud, chiba, skag, number 4, dragon, nose drops and brown crystal. When undiluted the substance is available as a white powder. Mixed with certain additives it may be available in colors such as rose-gray, brown or black. Individuals that take this substance do it by way of snorting, smoking or diluting in a liquid before injecting into the veins using a syringe and needle.
Possession, use, distribution or trafficking of heroin is a criminal offense in Texas city meaning anyone found doing any of the things mentioned is liable for prosecution and imprisonment. Individuals often use heroin because of the euphoric effects it produces. What most users are unaware of are the devastating long term effects noted below.
- Causes inflammation of the gums
- Leads to severe constipation
- Weakens the muscle system because of frequent injections
- Compromises the immune system of users
- Causes itching which eventually leads to damage of the skin
- Compromises memory and intellectual performance
- Leads to breathing illnesses
- May cause extreme depression and introversion
- Users may strain professional and social relations
- Leads to inability to achieve orgasm for both sexes
- Causes financial problems
- Users may become dependant and addicted to it
- Causes damage to internal organs
- May lead to death
This is often termed as the gateway drug to addiction. Most people use this substance before trying out other types of drugs. it is available in most parts of Frisco with reports indicating that in the year 2002 a total of 555,324 kilograms of the substance were seized in Texas.
Marijuana is usually taken by way of smoking. However, recent studies show that alternative means of taking it include brewing as tea, inhaling as vapor and mixing with foods before eating. The euphoric effects of marijuana may last between 15 minutes to 3 hours depending on the mode of intake, amount and individual factors. Some of the negatives of taking this substance are listed below.
- Poor performance in school and an increase in chances of dropping out
- A decline in IQ
- Increased chances of using other substances
- Financial difficulties
- Straining of social relationships
- Increased dependence on welfare
- Lower chances of getting employed
- Damage to internal body organs
- Dependence and addiction to marijuana
- Lower life satisfaction
Cocaine is a substance that is derived from the coca plant which is commonly found in North America. Due to the proximity of Texas to Mexico which is a hub for illicit drugs it is easy to understand why the substance is becoming a menace in Frisco. In 2002 over 17,008 kilograms of the substance was seized in Texas this was more than reported in any other state. Individuals take this substance for recreational purposes because of the rush and high that it produces. Most users take it by snorting, injecting into the veins, smoking or inhaling in the form of vapor. A look at some of the devastating effects of cocaine should help discourage anyone flirting with the idea of use.
- Intense drug cravings
- Extreme depression
- Respiratory failure for those who smoke it
- Infectious diseases and abscesses for those who inject it
- Malnutrition and weight loss
- Extreme tooth decay
- Damage to tissues of the nose due to sniffing
- Damage to the lungs, kidneys and liver
- High blood pressure that may lead to stroke and heart attacks
- Development of hallucinations
- Breaking of family relations
- Job loss
- Antisocial behavior such as stealing and lying to get money
- Dependence and addiction
In 2013 Texas authorities reported 622 deaths related to the wrongful use of prescription drugs. It is worth pointing out that most of these drugs are prescribed by doctors in the hope of managing pain or other ailments only to end up being misused. Some examples of prescription drugs that are abused include Adderall, Xanax, Suboxone and Methadone. Some effects of abusing these drugs include:
- Dependence and addiction
- Irregular heartbeat
- Extreme paranoia
- Heart failure
- Craving of drugs
- Social isolation
- Death from organ damage and overdose
How to Detect if a Loved One is Using Drugs
Parents, teachers or guardians who pay close attention to teenagers under their care have a better chance of detecting drug use as opposed to those who hardly spend time with their young ones. Nonetheless anyone can be able to detect drug use in a family member by being keen on the following signs.
Physical signs – when someone starts using drugs you are likely to notice a deterioration in their physical appearance. They no longer pay attention to what they wear and may end up becoming untidy. It is worth pointing out that in most cases you are able to detect unusual smells from the user’s clothes, body and breathe. These individuals may start gaining or losing weight rapidly. Other physical warning signs for you to be on the look out for include dilated pupils, tremors, slurred speech, passing out at work or school, bloodshot eyes and impaired physical coordination.
Behavioral signs – drug users do not only develop physical signs they also go through a significant change in behavior. Users may change the group of friends they hang out with without any good reasons. They start being secretive about their activities and may have an unexplained need for money. In most cases these people start missing classes or experience a drop in their academic or professional performance. Getting into trouble more frequently when it comes to issues such as fights, drunk driving and accidents are other signs to be wary about.
Psychological signs – even though these may take some time before becoming apparent they can also help you determine if someone close to you is using drugs. Most users become fearful or paranoid without any good reason. They lack motivation and may appear lethargic most of the times. When confronted about small matters users may become irritable or aggressive. Unusual hyperactivity, agitation or giddiness for short periods are also signs to look out for.
Why Residents of Frisco Might Abuse Drugs
Understanding why people use drugs may be helpful when it comes to reasoning with them and providing them with guidance as a way of dealing with the problem. Here are some of the most common reasons why individuals take to using drugs.
To deal with difficulties – individuals that are going through challenging times in their lives may start using drugs as a way of coping with their circumstances. Getting fired from work or lacking enough funds to pay for rent are among some of the issues that may push people to drug use.
Past experiences – people that have gone through traumatic events in their past may start using drugs as a way of seeking attention or dealing with the pain of the events that took place. Some of these people may have been raped, beaten or verbally abused while in a relationship.
Peer pressure – in most cases of teen use the cause is peer pressure. Young people start using drugs because their seemingly cool friends are already doing it. Some of these young people use drugs to impress the opposite sex.
Pain relief – prescription drugs are usually given to patients to help them cope with the excruciating pain that they may be undergoing. The problem is that after a short while of use these drugs become addictive thereby forcing individuals to keep using.
Having fun – drugs such as cocaine and alcohol are taken to enhance the experience of having fun or partying. Keep in mind that both of these substances work by enhancing the feelings and energy levels of the individuals that use them. Alcohol is a depressant which means it turns off the part of the brain that feels pain while cocaine boosts energy levels and makes users feel like they are in a fantasy world.
Boredom – individuals that lack anything to do for prolonged periods of time inevitably become bored. It is at this point that they resolve to use drugs as a way of passing time. It is because of this that people are encouraged to develop hobbies to keep them occupied during their free time.
Understanding the Risk Factors of Substance Abuse
Risk factors are things that increase the likelihood of individuals using and abusing drugs.
Poverty – research has shown that people who are living below the poverty line are at a greater risk of using and abusing drugs in Frisco. Such individuals have a lot of free time meaning they are able use drugs without any repercussions at work or home. To make matters worse they can only afford drugs that are unapproved by relevant authorities and being sold on the streets.
Past trauma – people that have experienced traumatic events in the past such as divorce, rape and physical violence are at a greater risk of using drugs.
Availability – individuals that have easy access to drugs are likely to become users as compared to those who have to go out of their way to get drugs. A teenager living in a family with drug users is at a greater risk because he or she is able to get the drug and use it.
Lack of supervision – teenagers that are not kept under close supervision are at a greater risk of using drugs. This is because they have the leeway to experiment on substance without having to worry about punishment for their wrongdoing.
Gender – research has shown that men are twice as likely to use substance as compared to women.
What are the stages that lead up to full blown drug addiction?
The process of addiction can be prolonged or short depending on factors such as type of drug, amount used and the individual’s biological and psychological makeup. An individual using heroin is more likely to get addicted to the substance faster than someone that is using marijuana. This is because heroin has more potent compounds as compared to marijuana. Here are some of the stages of addiction.
This is the first time that an individual comes into contact with a substance. Teens may interact with the substance when they observe friends or relatives using them. Introduction to a prescription drug is usually done by a doctor who recommends it for treatment of a particular ailment.
This is the second stage and is often characterized by heightened curiosity about the effects of the particular substance. At this point individuals are no longer content with knowledge of the drug but want to experience it for themselves. They often use it in small amounts to avoid any negative effects.
- Regular use
Users who get to this stage have become fairly accustomed to the use of the substance of choice. They enjoy its effects which is why they may incorporate it into their fun activities. This means they turn to the substance whenever they feel like having a good time. At this stage there is no apparent danger because use is moderated.
- Risky use
It is at this stage that most users and their loved ones start experiencing extremely worrying negative effects of substance. Users who get to this point start caring less about their hygiene and grooming habits. They do not pay attention to their academic or professional obligations and may start neglecting their domestic duties. They use their substance of choice at any opportunity they get even while at work or in school. They also increase the amount of substance they take because the body has become tolerant to it.
At this point users have become too accustomed to the use of the substance that failure to get a regular dose leads to withdrawal effects. These effects may include cold chills, sweating, nausea, vomiting, paranoia, anxiety, hallucinations, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, social isolation, headaches and extreme cravings.
- Full blown addiction
Continuous use of any of the substances on the list above eventually leads to full blown addiction. People who get to this stage are psychologically compelled to use the substance which is why they are said to be suffering from a serious disease that needs professional medical care. At this point users are unable to quit using drugs even if they genuinely want to.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
Despite the hopelessness and excruciating pain that individuals addicted to drugs experience treatment for addiction is available. By reaching out to a local social worker, religious or community leader you can find help for yourself or a loved one that is battling addiction. The first step toward getting treatment is to accept the fact that addiction is a disease that must be treated professionally. Treatment may take place under inpatient or outpatient arrangements.
Inpatient care – this refers to programs that require patients to stay at the rehabilitation facility for the duration of their treatment. This may take anything between 30 to 90 days. Inpatient treatment is usually recommended for drug users who have been greatly affected both physically and psychologically. This arrangement allows doctors to monitor the patient and respond to any emergency accordingly.
Outpatient care – this refers to treatment programs that do not really require a patient to stay at the facility. Instead the patient is allowed to go on with their daily routine except for the fact that he or she has to attend several sessions of treatment at the facility. This arrangement is provided to drug users who have not been severely affected.
What happens during addiction treatment?
Detoxification – most treatment centers take patients through a process of detoxification. This basically refers to getting rid of the substance from the body. The use of special medicines, diets and exercise make up part of the things that help speed up the process of detoxification.
Medical care – because a large number of individuals admitted under inpatient care programs are known to to suffer from infections and diseases, doctors may have to carry out special medical treatment. These individuals are provided with oral medication or injections to help reverse physical health conditions that may be compromising their quality of life.
Counselling – patients are taken through various sessions of counselling to help them identify dangerous thought patterns and develop the necessary skills to break free of them. Counselling allows individuals to resolve past psychological trauma that may be triggering drug use.
Spiritual teaching – individuals who had strong spiritual beliefs prior to addiction are provided with spiritual guidance or teaching. This allows them to come to terms with the shortcomings they may have while inspiring them to pursue a better spiritual path.
Physical therapy – to help patients relax and be free of stress caregivers may provide massage sessions. Participating in fun activities such as swimming, playing of football and other sports can be part of the treatment process. It is equally important to point out that exercising helps patients regain their physical fitness.
Proper dieting – while receiving treatment at a rehabilitation center patients are provided with the ideal diet to help in nutritional nourishment. Keep in mind that most drug addicts tend to suffer from malnutrition.
Aftercare – once patients have completed their treatment they are provided with follow up care. This ensures that they do not relapse or fall back to drug use.