Relapse Prevention Planning

The decision to quit using alcohol or drugs is an important first step on the path to a new life. The hard work of getting sober follows. Recovery may free you from many of the problems that substance abuse caused in your life, but you will still have to face the everyday stressors and major life changes that everyone must deal with. In the past, you may have dealt with stress and change by drinking or using drugs. That is no longer an option. By thinking ahead and planning strategies for dealing with trigger events, you can be more confident about avoiding relapse on your road to recovery. Relapse is a process that begins long before you take a drink or use drugs. Many people in recovery have found that coming up with a relapse prevention plan is an effective strategy for staying healthy and avoiding substance abuse. A relapse prevention plan that covers the following areas can help you defuse a relapse before it begins. Identifying high-risk situations…

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Slight Drop in Prescription Drug Abuse among Young Adults

Prescription drug abuse in the U.S. has dropped to the lowest level since 2002, reflecting a crackdown on over-prescribing doctors and black market drug dealers. Prescription drugs are no longer being abused quite as prominently as they once were, especially by young adults. In fact, the abuse of prescription drugs dropped to the lowest level since 2002 . Experts are crediting the drop in drug abuse to crackdowns at federal and state levels on doctors who offer prescriptions for profit and on patients who have obtained drugs by visiting pill mills and doctor shopping. Young adults, who were among the largest group of abusers of prescription drugs, have also showed the greatest drop in abuse. The number of young adults, defined as those between the ages of 18 to 25, who regularly abused prescription drugs went from 1.9 million to 1.7 million, roughly a 14 percent drop. Only 3.6 percent of those abused pain relievers, such as Percocet, or Vicodin. In 2010, 7 million people used pain killers, tranquilizers,…

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New Mexico Drug Problems

Recently in New Mexico the battle against drug related deaths has become more difficult than ever. New Mexico has the highest drug overdose death rate in the entire nation. This high death rate may be partially due to the fact that the state’s funds and attention have been focused on prevention of other substances of abuse. Alcoholism and heroin addiction have haunted the state for years, but the drug of choice by addicted individuals has recently switched to prescription drugs. Awareness activism and law enforcement have lagged behind this trend. In a span just short of 10 years the drug overdose rate has jumped 60% in New Mexico, with the majority being prescription drug related. Prescription drug overdose rates now outnumber that of all other This epidemic in New Mexico is especially worrisome due to the fact that it doesn't affect one small facet of the population. Prescription drug abuse spans socio-economic, race, gender, and age barriers. There seems to be no end in sight. Not only do many…

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Prescription Medication Abuse – A National Crisis

The abuse of prescribed medication is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States. Prescription drugs are a close second to marijuana on the list of drugs that are abused in the United States. This phenomenon has been classified as an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A national survey showed that approximately 30 percent of people aged 12 and over who experimented with narcotics for the first time in 2009 did so by using a prescribed drug for non-medical purposes. Some abusers of prescription medication, in particular teens, hold the belief that these substances carry less risk than illicit drugs because they have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained from a pharmacist. When taken as prescribed for valid medical purposes, prescription drugs are effective and usually safe. However, they are just as dangerous and deadly as illegal drugs when used for non-medical reasons. In the past, opiate overdoses were almost always due to heroin abuse. There is a marked increase in overdoses due to…

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Appalachian Pillbillies

Appalachia is the cultural region that stretches along the famous Appalachian Mountain Trail. If you visit this area, the verdant rolling hills and breathtaking natural landscapes are hard to miss. However, when one looks beneath the beautiful facade, one uncovers a debilitating and dark pattern of widespread prescription drug abuse. Although prescription drug abuse is not an uncommon in other areas around the world, addiction to natural or synthetic opioids or painkillers (such as oxycodone, morphine, codeine, methadone, among others) has reached unprecedented levels in Appalachia. The abuse is so widespread that, in fact, a new term has been coined solely to describe those addicted: pillbillies. Why are Opiates So Popular in Appalachia? The high rate of addiction in Appalachia is thought to be caused in part by the pervasive poverty of the area, where the poverty rate is three times the national rate. Unfortunately, the high poverty rate both causes and is caused by the higher frequency of prescription drug abuse. Those who are addicted have trouble maintaining…

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Good Samaritan Bill – Get Help and Avoid Prosecution

Too often a witness to an overdose will hesitate to call 911 because of fear of prosecution. Whether they are using too, or have drugs (or drug paraphernalia) on them, they think first about avoiding the police, and only second about calling for help for the victim. The California legislature, at the lead of Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D San Francisco), is aiming to change this trend. The 911 Good Samaritan Overdose Response Act is the legislation he has sponsored, in hopes that people will be more likely to get victims the medical attention that they need in the case of an overdose. This law does not protect witnesses from all charges, but merely three specific, lower-level charges; possession of paraphernalia, possession for personal use, and being under the influence. Even this small change, it is hoped, will vastly increase the likelihood that 911 will be called and that an overdosing user can be saved. The California bill was passed in an overwhelming bipartisan effort, with only 20 of 70…

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Prescription Drug Overdose Remains a U.S. Epidemic, Painkillers Big Part of the Problem

We've been chronicling how widespread prescription drug abuse has become a problem of epidemic proportions. According to recent numbers released by the CDC, the number of deaths caused by prescription drug overdose serves as shocking evidence of the problem. There are now more deaths annually from overdose of prescription drugs than car accidents. This is the the result of a steep increase in prescription drug abuse that has occurred over the last two decades. These numbers beg the question of what is behind the trend. Why Prescription Drug Abuse is so Pervasive Prescription painkillers are the key players in prescription drug related deaths. Prescription painkillers now rank as third in popularity among teens who abuse, right after alcohol and marijuana. According to the FDA, one out of every seven teenagers reports prescription painkiller abuse for the purposes of getting high over the course of a year. It is possible that part of what is driving this is easy accessibility and a misconception of prescription painkillers. For many, obtaining a…

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How Drug Abuse Increases Risk of HIV/AIDS

Ever since the first outbreak of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s, the epidemic has been linked with drug abuse and addiction. Since HIV is a blood-borne disease, sharing needles when injecting drugs is known to be a leading cause of infection. Less well known is the fact that drug abuse can lead to risky behaviors such as unsafe sex, another leading cause of HIV is transmission. Drug abuse can affect judgment and lower inhibitions, causing drug abusers to engage in impulsive and risky behaviors including unprotected sex with multiple partners. People who are addicted to drugs may also agree to risky sex in exchange for drugs or money and may be unable to insist on using condom under the circumstances. The CDC estimates that 1.2 million Americans are currently living with HIV. About one in five of these people are unaware that they have the infection and may not be taking precautions against spreading it. Nearly one in four cases of AIDS originates with intravenous drug use. Infected blood…

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Prescription Painkillers Keep Injured Workers Off the Job Longer

Over the past decade, insurance companies that compensate workers who are injured on the job have faced growing payments to workers who were given prescription painkillers for routine injuries. The New York Times reports that insurers spend $1.4 billion per year on payouts for opioid painkillers like OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin. Besides paying for prescription painkillers, insurers are making additional disability payments to workers who are delayed or unable to return to work after being treated with strong painkillers. A 2008 study of workman compensation claims in California found that injured workers who took high dosages of prescription painkillers due to simple injuries like back strains stayed out of work three times longer than workers with similar injuries who were prescribed less medication. A 2010 study conducted by insurer Accident Fund Holdings found that workplace injuries cost an insurer nine times as much when OxyContin or other narcotic painkillers are part of the treatment. Between 2001 and 2008, the percentage of painkillers among all drugs prescribed for workers' injuries…

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