The United States is currently facing one of the biggest drug problems ever seen. Over the past several years, prescription drug overdoses have eclipsed car accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths in the country. Since 1999, prescription opioids in particular have become a serious problem. Opioid sales and opioid prescriptions continue to climb, and a lack of awareness of the dangers of prescription drugs is a large part of the substance abuse problems in the United States.
Oregon’s Substance Abuse Problems
Each state has unique challenges when it comes to curbing substance abuse, and Oregon has enacted several measures aimed at stopping prescription drug abuse. According to Oregon’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, nearly one in four Oregonians received a prescription for opioids in 2013. While many substances hold the potential for addiction, opioids have some of the strongest withdrawal symptoms once addiction sets in, and it is extremely easy to fall into prescription opioid abuse due to the effectiveness of these medications.
Illicit drug use in Oregon typically measures above the national average, and the state ranked fourth in the U.S. for past-month drug use during 2012 and 2013. Drug abuse is a widespread issue in Oregon reflecting equivalent rates among all age groups, and 23% of Oregon prison inmates are incarcerated for drug charges. Although statistics indicate that methamphetamine is responsible for most of the drug-related criminal activity in Oregon, nearly 75% of Oregon law enforcement officers report that heroin is readily available in most areas, and availability has actually increased over the past years. This is a common issue in the U.S. because prescription opioids are a very easy segue to heroin use.
Patterns Of Addiction
Many prescription opioid addicts begin their struggles with substance abuse due to an injury or surgery that medically necessitates prescription opioid painkillers. Opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone are extremely effective at eliminating pain, but, unfortunately, many people do not understand the inherently dangerous aspects of these drugs. Some doctors do not adequately warn patients about these dangers or prescribe these powerful medicines too liberally. Some patients take them longer than they should, and others use their prescription opioids meant for physical pain to treat emotional or psychological stress.
From Prescriptions To Heroin
Eventually, many people who use prescription opioid painkillers over an extended period of time develop a dependency. Doctors will only provide prescription refills out of medical necessity, and some patients may believe the pain they feel from withdrawal is actually indicative of their previous condition. Opioid withdrawal can entail excruciating pains, dehydration, delirium, hallucinations, emotional outbursts, disorientation, combativeness, mood swings, and severe anxiety. The detoxification process for opioid use is dangerous, and many addicts die from withdrawal symptoms.
Individuals who become addicted to prescription opioids may readily turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative once prescription refills are no longer available. Heroin is incredibly potent, and since illicit drugs are not regulated, drug dealers are free to adulterate their wares however they like.
Some heroin becomes tainted by pathogens, fungus, and other disease-causing substances during transport. Some dealers mix other substances into their heroin to produce different effects or to pump their sales volume and make more money. Heroin overdoses are common because most addicts will unintentionally take too much, or they seclude themselves while dosing and do not have help available should they need it.
When a family learns of a loved one’s substance abuse problem, it’s easy for emotions to run high and tension to boil over. Substance abuse affects far more than just the addict’s health. Families have lost homes, children have been placed in foster care, and relatives have met financial ruin due to a loved one’s substance abuse. It’s important to show addicts the effects of their actions, and an intervention is not only a great way to accomplish this constructively, but it also helps start the recovery process off on the right foot.
Drug & Alcohol Intervention in Oregon
Some addicts may have trouble accepting treatment, while others are so caught up in their addictions that they refuse to seek help. Staging an intervention can be incredibly stressful, but it’s vital for the addict’s friends and loved ones to show the addict they care and want him or her to seek treatment. An intervention is essentially a planned confrontation with an addict about his or her behavior.
At Family First Interventions, we understand how devastating substance abuse can be for families, which is why we offer the services of a professional interventionist to families nationwide. When you work with Family First Interventions, a team member will fly to your location to help facilitate the intervention and guide the family through the process. An intervention is inherently delicate – the addict often feels as though he or she is being attacked or outnumbered and, often retreats or attempts to deflect their loved ones’ arguments.
A professional interventionist will not only help guide discussion and plan the intervention, but they will also help everyone keep their emotions and tempers in check. A healthy and constructive intervention hosted by a professional interventionist from Family First can be the final push many addicts need to finally seek help for their addictions.