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Breaking the Dependency

Drug abuse, chemical dependency, and drug addiction can occur with any mind-altering drug or chemical substance. They are available in almost any form imaginable, including liquid, solid, powder, pill, gas, or plant. A person suffering with addiction will find whatever they need to find and will use whatever they need to use in order to feed this deadly disease that centers in the brain and nervous system.

Today, drug problems are not limited to the standard illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and methamphetamine. There are also the “designer drugs” and the “club drugs” such as ecstasy, ketamine, and GHB, and the inhalants like nitrous oxide, amyl nitrate, paint, and glue. The exploding epidemic of prescription pill addiction is causing thousands of deaths from overdose and suicide and very often leads to heroin use when the pills get cut off.

Those suffering from drugs can experience:
  • Loss of sleep
  • Change in eating habits
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Poor attitude about life
  • Anger & irritability
  • Mistreatment of others
  • Lying, cheating & stealing
  • Poor relationships with family, friends & coworkers
  • Problems at work or school
  • Legal or financial problems
  • Giving up favorite activities

Let’s face it: the use of illegal drugs is by definition a problem. The potential consequences of using illegal drugs include, of course, arrest and a criminal record, which can follow a person for life. No one sitting in jail ever expected to get caught, but the basic fact that someone would gamble with that consequence indicates a dangerous level of risk-taking that points to a problem. Just as with alcoholism, an inability to stop using, or an inability to stay stopped, indicates a problem of dependency or addiction.

However, many legal drugs are also used dangerously or illegally. Abuse of opiate and benzodiazepine prescription medication is exploding, and although these pills are readily available from drug dealers, mostly they are simply over-prescribed by doctors and misused by patients or obtained from family members or friends including those in Phelan or Lancaster.

[su_note note_color=”#F0F0F0″]Around the country, computerized governmental databases of these prescriptions have been instituted, and many drug-dependent patients are now cut off cold-turkey by doctors and pharmacies without ever receiving any drug addiction help. Thousands have turned to drug dealers for pills or even heroin, and many others divert drugs illegally from family or friends. In the case of addicted healthcare workers, some steal from their jobs or even their own patients.[/su_note]

Methamphetamine is obviously a huge societal problem today. It is responsible for a great deal of crime and addiction, and its users typically suffer a rapid downhill course. You can google “The Faces of Meth” for a dramatic and sad series of before-and-after photos that speak for themselves. Some of those faces died, some remain in prison, but some finally did get clean. So there is always hope for recovery, even for meth addicts.

[su_quote]Marijuana is now more popular than ever before, thanks largely to the medical marijuana movement, which has been de-facto legalization. We don’t wish to argue whether or not some cases may be medically legitimate, but the largest number of medical marijuana prescriptions are being given to young able-bodied people with vague diagnoses. Very few diseases have actually been scientifically proven to be helped by marijuana any more than by placebo, although it often does help improve appetite in cancer and HIV patients.

Sadly, in most cases, medical marijuana has become the modern day “snake oil” that is promoted to treat almost every known symptom of almost every known disease, and the more vague the symptoms, the grander the health claims. In the opinion of most addiction medicine specialists, it’s another case of doctors creating addicts with prescription pads.[/su_quote]

The marijuana legalization movement is being financed and promoted by hedge funds and venture capitalists and big-money companies using the same “Mad Men” advertising firms that made billions for Big Tobacco using the very same tactics. In 1978, the average THC content of marijuana was 1.4%. Today’s new strains average 18-30%, which of course makes it much more addictive and damaging. Billions more dollars will be made by getting young people addicted to weed by the same profiteers who made fortunes selling cigarettes.

[su_note note_color=”#F0F0F0″]Unfortunately, at the very same time when public opinion (especially among the young) is more tolerant and positive, the actual scientific evidence about marijuana is becoming more and more negative. Groundbreaking studies with advanced brain imaging techniques have proven how permanently damaging marijuana use is to the brain and how it lowers IQ. We also know more about how physically addictive marijuana really is, and how uncomfortable and how long it takes to fully detox through a drug rehabilitation center. The most serious new finding is that marijuana can trigger temporary, or even permanent, psychosis and produces actual schizophrenia in susceptible people.[/su_note]

Although people and their drugs and substances of choice may all be different, the disease of addiction is universal. However, it can always be treated. The brain will also heal from addiction in the same universal way, regardless of the actual addicting substance in Apple Valley, Adelanto, or anywhere else.

[su_quote]We treat all forms of drug problems at First Step Recovery Center, and we firmly believe in treating the whole person and not just their specific drug of choice. We believe that the patient is a person who has the disease of addiction, and we don’t label them as “just another drug addict.”[/su_quote]

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