Teen Drug Use Is Down But Opioid Overdoses Are Up

While Teen Drug Use is Down Deadly Opioid Overdoses Are On The Rise

teen drug use
Teen drug use is down, but overdose deaths are up

According to a new report put out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdose deaths among older American teenagers increased in 2015.  This was after a steady decline and in spite of the fact that overall drug use among this group has declined.  The research showed that between 1999 and 2015, drug overdose death rates for 15- to 19-year-olds more than doubled.  In total, there were 772 drug overdose deaths among older teens in 2015, with two-thirds more deaths among males than females. Between 2014 and 2015, the overdose death rate for males in this age group rose 15 percent. For women the rate increased 35 percent between 2013 and 2015.

Noteworthy is that over 80 percent of overdose deaths were unintentional, the rest were due to suicides or homicides involving drug overdose.

Opioids Are The Leading Cause of Teen Overdose

A 2015 study in the journal Pediatrics also found that teens who are prescribed opioids in high school are 33 percent more likely to abuse any opioid or opiate between ages 19 and 23.  Such prescriptions are often the result of a sports injury.

Heroin Use Among Teenagers Is Also More Prevalent

Opioids and prescription pain killers appear to be gateway drugs for heroin.  Heroin is typically less expensive and widely available.  Several states have passed laws limiting how many opioid pills doctors can prescribe at a time.  While many teens begin with prescription opioids, others reach heroin after years of experimenting with other drugs.

Helping Teenagers

There are some bright spots in this reports.  According to this survey in 2016 drug use, other than marijuana, among teens is at its lowest point in decades.   Over the last five years abuse of prescription opioids among 12th graders. Heroin use among 10th- and 12th-grade students remains very low.

For teenagers who develop drub abuse problems and drug addiction, some sort of intervention is critical.  Whether an out patient counseling program, or in patient treatment center, it’s important to help a teenager end their drug use and get their life pointed back in a positive direction.  These are there formative years and some bad habits can be lethal.
If you or your teenagers is struggling with drug abuse, call a professional in your community and get answers and guidance.  And our National Addiction Hotline is here for you 24/7. 1-888-352-6072

Learn the Facts About Opioids and Opiates and read Heroin and Opioid Addiction: In Their Own Words

Alcoholism On The Rise According to JAMA

Alcoholism Statistics
Alcoholism Statistics

Research on Alcoholism Shows an Alarming Trend

Alcoholism, also called alcohol use disorder, has been on the rise in adults in the USA.  A recent study published in the JAMA Psychiatry indicates that the rate of alcohol use disorder rose by 49 percent in the first decade of the 2000s. To put this in perspective one in eight American adults, or 12.7 percent of the U.S. population, now meets diagnostic criteria for alcohol use disorder, according to their findings.  These are staggering statistics.

People often associate alcoholism as something that can wreck a person’s life by causing work issues, family issues, and social problems but there is an array of health problems associated with alcoholic drinking such as “fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, liver cirrhosis, several types of cancer and infections, pancreatitis, type 2 diabetes, and various injuries.”  And while opioid and opiate overdose and deaths dominate the headlines these days,  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 88,000 people a year die of alcohol-related causes, more than twice the annual death toll of opiate overdose.

Who Is Considered An Alcoholic?

The study’s data comes from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a nationally representative survey administered by the National Institutes of Health. Survey respondents were considered to have alcohol use disorder if they met widely used diagnostic criteria for either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence.

Alcohol Abuse

For a diagnosis of alcohol abuse, an individual must have exhibited at least one of the following characteristics in the past year:

  • Recurrent use of alcohol resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home (e.g., repeated absences or poor work performance related to alcohol use; alcohol-related absences, suspensions, or expulsions from school; neglect of children or household).
  • Recurrent alcohol use in situations in which it is physically hazardous (e.g., driving an automobile or operating a machine when impaired by alcohol use).
  • Recurrent alcohol-related legal problems (e.g., arrests for alcohol-related disorderly conduct).
  • Continued alcohol use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems. 

Alcohol Dependence

For a diagnosis of alcohol dependence, an individual must experience at least three of the following seven symptoms:

  • Need for markedly increased amounts of alcohol to achieve intoxication or desired effect; or markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of alcohol.
  • The characteristic withdrawal syndrome for alcohol; or drinking (or using a closely related substance) to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Drinking in larger amounts or over a longer period than intended.
  • Persistent desire or one or more unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control drinking.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced because of drinking.
  • A great deal of time spent in activities necessary to obtain, to use, or to recover from the effects

Theories About The Rising Numbers And Treatment For Alcoholism

“I think the increases are due to stress and despair and the use of alcohol as a coping mechanism,” said the study’s lead author, Bridget Grant, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health. The study notes that the increases in alcohol use disorder were “much greater among minorities than among white individuals,” likely reflecting widening social inequalities after the 2008 recession.

“If we ignore these problems, they will come back to us at much higher costs through emergency department visits, impaired children who are likely to need care for many years for preventable problems, and higher costs for jails and prisons that are the last resort for help for many,” University of California at San Diego psychiatrist Marc Schuckit said.

Man with alcoholism
Alcoholism and related issues are a leading cause in deaths

While the rise in alcoholism is alarming the solution is always the same.  We need better education to avoid it, to recognize the signs and symptoms and also viable treatment.  Sometimes participation in free, confidential support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous is enough to help someone stop drinking and turn their life around.  Others respond well to one on one or group counseling and still others may be in need of detox and in-patient treatment.  The first step, of course, is admitting a problem exists and reaching out for guidance.

If you or a loved one is dealing with a drinking problem  reach out to an organization in your community that specializes in help for alcoholics and addiction, or call your insurance company for a referral.   Our National Addiction Hotline is always here to provide guidance and assistance in determining treatment options as well.

See our report on The Periodic Alcoholic

Heroin And Opioid Addiction In Their Own Words

a mother's overdose fears
a mother’s overdose fears

Opioid Addiction Stories in Their Own Words

The television program, Frontline, has published several documentaries about heroin and opioid addiction.  Recently they asked their audience to open up about their experience with addictions and the responses are powerful.  Some are from addicts themselves, others from a family member or loved one touched by the addiction of someone else.  Each is touching in it’s own way.

Opioid Addiction –  Addicts Tell Their Stories:

 

Someone addicted to opioids

I’m a good person. I’m a contributing member of society. I’m educated. I have a good job, make good money, have wonderful relationships with my loved ones. I’m so completely average. The only thing that sets me apart from that other young business professional that seems to have it all is that I’m addicted to opiates. And the problem is that I tell myself everyday it’s not a problem because I am able to carry my life on in a normal way…I’m not a typical addict. I don’t steal, lie to borrow money, I don’t manipulate people, I don’t engage in promiscuous activity…since it’s not ruining my life in the way of major money, legal, or relationship issues I tell myself that it’s not ruining my life. I’m delusional.

John, from Portland

I have struggled with opioid addiction on and off for 30 years with the most clean time being 7 years consecutive. The thing that I think that people are quickly understanding is that opiate addiction does not discriminate and is not a moral failing. Many of us that have become addicted are intelligent, valuable people who lost control after experimentation, curiosity or having the opiates prescribed. I didn’t ever intend to be a heroin addict; it quickly got out of control and led me to places I never dreamed of.

A former addict from Pittsburgh

You must be vigilant at all times against relapse and you must surround yourself with different places and people. Being in recovery is hard. It’s almost impossible if you stay in your neighborhood and are friends with the same people. You basically have to dump your life and start over.

Craig from Deptford

How it can take over anyone’s life. My childhood was beautiful. My life was beautiful. I was motivated, active, successful, and loved my family. My addiction stole everything from me. Recovery is possible though. In two years clean and sober I have gained so much back.

Sarah who overcame her addiction

That it’s a public/mental health disease, it’s not about being a bad person or morally weak. I also want people to know that with proper long-term treatment it’s possible to recover and live a beautiful life. I feel incredibly fortunate to have my recovery of almost 6 years and to have my life back

addiction stories in their own words
Addiction Stories

People Whose Lives Have Been Affected By Opioid Addiction:

Jenny from Philadelphia

That it is truly a disease that affects so many families. Many times drug abusers have underlying mental health issues. So many people are afraid to talk about it, yet so many are affected by it. The system in place now doesn’t provide the best support for some people who are struggling to stay clean. Loving an addict when they are using is heartbreaking, scary, and frustrating.

Denise from Oklahoma

That it KILLS!! I’ve lost BOTH MY BOYS to heroin overdoses. My 19-year-old Dillan in 2010, and my 28-year-old Matthew just two weeks ago, February 3, 2016!!! THIS KILLS!!!! DEALERS ARE CUTTING DRUGS WITH ALL SORTS OF CHEMICALS…DO NOT USE!!!!

Jennifer from Jacksonville

The chance of dying during relapse after rehabilitation from opioid dependency is the most painful experience your loved ones may have to face. Even in death we love you and wish there was a better outcome. I miss my wife every single day.

Margie who lost her son in 2010, when he was 22

That they never intended for this to happen to them. That they wish they never would have started. They feel pretty bad about themselves already without judgment from everyone else. They were still good, caring people. Addiction just completely overtook them. Their families are devastated. Their siblings and parents left behind are forever affected, forever touched by this disease. This becomes a family disease once it touches even one person in the family. We are not ashamed of them. Through their addiction we continued to love them and forever will.

We are survivors of one the worst wars in America. We cry everyday. We cry for those that will die today, tomorrow, next week, next month and on and on. We cry for their families, and with their families. We are losing beautiful, creative, and loving people, every 19 minutes, and over 120 people a day. It seems like no one cares, that there is no outrage. This is a silent killer, and not enough noise is being made about this modern-day scourge in America.

While I am a mother who lost her son to an opioid overdose, it does not define me, or my family. My son still matters, even though most people cannot bring themselves to even say his name, or recall his memory. I am forever missing my son, Mitchell, and he is my inspiration to wake up and live, every single day

Justine who lost her 16-year-old son to an overdose

That it can take one time; that not everyone gets 10 chances at rehab. That the reckless and glamorous life of your favorite band will not necessarily be your outcome. That you can overdose and die by snorting; needles are not required.

Opioid Addiction Conclusion

These stories are a grim reminder of how getting high for fun so often leads to tragedy.  A life cut off far too soon, a family shattered, a parent loses a child, a young life is taken.  Our hope is out readers will listen and learn and if they are struggling with opioid or opiates they will reach out for help, or that if one who has a family member or loved one is reading they too will reach out for solutions.  Most every community has some sort of social service that can help you find an appropriate level of addiction treatment.  Our National Addiction Hotline is open 24/7 and we are always here to provide guidance and also help you determine treatment options. 1-888-352-6072

To learn more read our special report, Addiction Hotline Facts About Opioids and Opiates

Learn more about Help for Crystal Meth Addicts

The ‘Periodic’ Alcoholic

a periodic alcoholic
Periodic alcoholic often doesn’t show outward symptoms

There are various different types of alcoholics in this world. There are the ‘Functioning’ alcoholics, typically the business people of corporate America who consume to drown their strains but are able to continue fulfilling employment. You will find the ‘Falling down useless’ alcoholics who drink so much every single day which they do not even make sense within their talk or their actions most of the time. And then there is the ‘Periodic’ alcoholic. The ‘Periodic’ alcoholic is among the most troubling alcoholics of.

‘Periodic’ alcoholics are also called ‘binge’ alcoholics or ‘binge drinkers.’ These are the alcoholics that display alcoholic behaviors and actions for certain periods of time but clean up their act for another extended period of time in which they’re able to persuade a lot of people that they don’t have a drinking problem. And though they may not be drinking, they still have that alcoholic change just waiting to be stimulated and create havoc.

A ‘periodic’ alcoholic can easily fool you into thinking they’re stable and together as they can go months as well as over a year without touching an individual drop of alcohol. They can appear totally in control, and then they will start drinking. And since they avoid alcohol for so long, they often lose complete control once they finally do start drinking again that may bring about a few of the worst alcoholic behaviors and accidents imaginable.

The ‘regular’ alcoholic isn’t someone who has realized sobriety but sometimes relapses. A periodic alcoholic for one of the most part, does not think they’re alcoholic. It is not unusual for a periodic to go months without incident and then take one drink. This 1 drink lets the alcoholism free again for however long it lasts. A ‘occasional’ alcoholic remains a complete alcoholic until they do the work to reach constant sobriety and remain in sobriety.

The ‘occasional’ alcoholic may be very dangerous to themselves and others because when they drink they drink in great amounts that severely affect their capability to function. As oppose to your ‘operating’ alcoholic who usually gets mildly drunk then sobers around function, a ‘periodic’ alcoholic will drink themselves into stupors, unconsciousness, and often even into death. ‘Periodic’ alcoholics frequently drink such high volumes that they:

* Become violent

* Make dangerous choices

* Cause accidents

* Suffer alcohol poisoning

* Suffer liver failure

* Asphyxiate on their own vomit, being too drunk to wake-up and release

The ‘Periodic’ alcoholic is a risk to themselves and others. Although they may seem perfectly healthy and normal to many people around them, a ‘occasional’ alcoholic can be quite a ticking time bomb to another location episode of extreme drinking.

If alcoholism is affecting your life call our National Addiction Hotline for guidance and support. 1-888-352-6072

Using Prescription Drug Aid To Stop Smoking

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Prescription drug aid to stop smoking is very important and many people in society have opted for this. Prescription drug aid to stop smoking is necessary for those who are not able to stop without medical intervention. Smoking is a grave problem facing the world. There are so many problems that emanate from the addiction …

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A Young Man Makes an Appointment to See His Family Doctor About His Depression and His Drinking Problems

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Larry eventually decided that he needed to go and see his family physician about his drinking behavior. At first, Larry thought he would be able to basically go online, look for some basic alcohol info , and come to a decision whether or not he was alcohol dependent. Not surprisingly, he found numerous websites that spelled out some of the typical alcoholism symptoms . Thats the positive news. The less than positive news, regrettably, was that Larry manifested a host of these alcoholism sy

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