San Diego Local Community News

Patients Need More Information on Drug Rehab
America has been facing an opioid crisis since the late 1990s, where some portion of its population started getting hooked on prescription and nonprescription drugs. Since then, there has been an unprecedented increase in overdoses and fatalities and drug-related health problems that keep compounding the addiction problem.
Drug addiction is a chronic ailment where the individual has intense cravings that lead them to seek and consume drugs compulsively and uncontrollably. They do so with total disregard of the adverse effects of such habits on their part and others close to them. One of the significant drug aftermaths is altering the signaling pathways in the brain, which then paves the way for destructive actions.
Drug Rehab centers have been playing a crucial role in the rehabilitation of patients. However, many patients still don’t know much about these rehabilitation centers and how they could benefit from them. As we are still facing a drug crisis in the country, patients (first) should have more information on rehab if we are to contain this crisis.
The Drug Crisis Data
As per 2017 data, the opioid crisis was responsible for 47,600 of the 70,200 drug overdose deaths across the country, and the rate of extended abuse of these drugs is rising. Drug overdoses are now the biggest killer of people under 50, and two-thirds of these fatalities are directly linked to opioid use.
The consumption of prescription painkillers is so pervasive in our culture that a study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health surmised that over 92% of Americans had taken a potent painkiller in 2015. This finding points to a disturbing trend where doctors are prescribing pills such as OxyContin or Percocet despite their high likelihood to cause trouble for the masses.
This national study found that 11.5 million reported having misused painkillers they had obtained through unlawful methods such as buying off the streets or by doctor shopping. Also, 1.9 million adults polled were found to have a full-blown dependency on opioids, and this number is rising each year as drug abuse escalates to addiction.
Misuse of these drugs can happen in several ways: purchasing pills without a legitimate prescription, taking more doses than instructed or consuming pills to get high. 50% of this cohort of drug abusers obtained pills from friends or relatives that goes to show the depth of this crisis. People are unlawfully handing down drugs while knowing the adverse consequences of such behavior.
Based on these statistics, it is apparent that the medical profession is failing miserably in its efforts to protect the population from this unfortunate opioid trap. Patients or people pretending to be ill can easily access these meds and pass them on to relatives and friends who are feeding their drug habit.
The Role of Big Pharma
Research published in the “Population and Development Review” shows by the mid-1990s, the US drug crisis matched that of comparable nations like Sweden. However, this pandemic grew in leaps and bounds by the late 1990s as Big Pharma went to war with aggressive marketing tactics of opioid painkillers. At the turn of the millennium, illicit heroin infiltrated the market, paving the way for another wave of drug overdoses. Since then, overdose fatalities in the US have outpaced other comparable nations like Finland and Sweden, which once topped the charts.
Big Pharma is keen to target customers in places like West Virginia, where residents are primarily dependent on coal mining jobs. Workers in this line of work are prone to injuries that necessitate pain prescriptions, and pharmaceutical manufacturers took advantage of this ripe market to drive up sales for pain pills. This state has the highest incidences of drug overdoses nationwide, and there is no end in sight, at least going by how often paramedics are called upon to the same homes to revive patients.
Cabell County, West Virginia was the focus of a 2017 documentary “A Community Overwhelmed with Opioids” that explained just how badly this crisis is affecting the quality of life. Official reports indicated that at least 10,000 residents were dependent on opioids like heroin and prescription meds, and at the time this documentary was filmed, there had been 100 fatalities. Moreover, officials predicted there would be 2000 overdoses by the close of 2017, and this crisis is not just crippling lives but affecting businesses as they can barely find recruits who can pass drug screening tests.
The health consequences of West Virginia’s opioid crisis extend to newborns as well, as evidenced by the number of babies born with a drug dependency at Cabell Huntington Hospital. One of every five newborns has been exposed to opioids like heroin, prescription pills, and other drugs like fentanyl before birth. The facility has established a low-stimulant environment where these babies can receive treatment to rid their bodies of drugs, and hopefully, they can lead healthy lives. Nonetheless, the enduring effects of this prenatal exposure to opioids remain unclear at this point.
Apart from West Virginia, the drug crisis has taken hold in places where opioid prescriptions are rampant such as Alabama, Arkansas, and other parts like California that boast unprecedented access to illicit drugs.
Efforts to Counter Addiction
Addressing the burgeoning crisis of drug addiction in the country will need more federal funds allocated to viable programs for countering the pandemic. Abuse of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol exerts an enormous burden on the federal government with the National Institute of Drug Addiction, estimating an annual budget of $740 billion to combat this scourge. Expenses come in the form of health care, lost productivity at work, and rising criminality that keeps law enforcement on their toes.
The government is presently investing substantial portions of the federal budget to cracking down on pharmacists who are overprescribing meds. As explained above, Big Pharma is chasing healthy bottom lines over the wellbeing of the population they serve, and the broken system of prescribing opioids is feeding the beast. Subsequently, the demand for prescription painkillers is unwavering, so doctors are now curtailing this habit by issuing smaller doses for shorter durations. The government must also combat the ingrained culture of handling the pain as the “fifth vital sign” alongside other vital signs like blood pressure and heart rate.
Embracing a stepped-care way of managing pain is yet another way of countering this crisis. This approach works by encouraging genuine patients to handle pain through nondrug methods like yoga and acupuncture. If the pain persists, the attending physician can prescribe milder medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, etc. before escalating to opioid-based meds.
Patients must also be well-informed on the looming dangers of addiction to opioids, so they give consent before accepting prescriptions. Physicians will then ask them to sign an accord for opioid treatment explaining the pros and cons of this line of treatment. If all fails, people who can recognize they are abusing one drug or another, or are dependent need rehabilitation.
Drug Rehabilitation Programs
While there are many rehabilitation programs around the country, there is still a long way to go in combating this issue. Drug Rehab applies diverse methods of rehabilitation that entail counseling, prescribing medications, sober living, behavioral therapy, group therapy, and faith-based recovery. With millions of people abusing drugs and others far along the addiction path, patients seeking rehabilitation are in dire need for more information about these treatment programs.
Patients need to understand that addiction is a multifaceted condition stemming from the interplay of genetic, behavioral, and environmental influences that are not easy to overcome without professional intervention. Rehabilitation, therefore, is the process of applying medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for people who are dependent on psychoactive substances like alcohol, street drugs (e.g., cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, etc.), and prescription drugs.
The overall aim of rehabilitation is to help patients to overcome this dependency and stop the use of these controlled substances, including legal ones like painkillers. As a result, patients can negate the adverse effects of drug use on their lives, general body health, and avoid undesired behaviors that may trigger legal battles. Patients can opt for inpatient or outpatient programs depending on the severity of drug abuse and dependency, among other crucial factors.
Outpatient programs are developed for patients whose circumstances can be expertly programmed around the patient’s schedule, thus allowing them to continue working and other life’s responsibilities. This approach requires patients to attend scheduled counseling and medical treatment at the rehab facility with less demand for time. Patients can find enough stability to overcome their drug proclivities and addictions without needing to enroll at a facility.
While outpatient treatment does not necessitate round-the-clock supervision, it does require total devotion from all sides to ensure success. Additionally, the patient must remove all drugs and paraphernalia from their home, workplace, and generally stay away from triggers. Addiction is a relapsing disease, so patients must be ready to be accountable for their actions to avoid reversion. Outpatient programs can either be the first channel used or a transition channel upon finishing an inpatient program.
Inpatient drug treatment is heralded as the gold standard for managing addiction as patients have access to full-time care at the hands of specialists. This care extends beyond the rehab centers to a more long-term arrangement to help the recovering addict or drug user remain clean as their lives resume normalcy. Most drug rehabs offer three inpatient programs (residential, luxury, or executive) to suit the unique needs of patients at different price points.
Executive programs have a high level of privacy, and they ensure a lower staff to patient ratio for more personalized care, and understandably, they don’t come cheap. Clients can enjoy spa treatments, gourmet cuisines, yoga and meditation, and a host of other necessities to increase their comfort. On the whole, drug treatment programs can last for 30, 60, or 90 days, and they provide the following services:

  • Detox Services
  • Psychotherapy
  • Holistic Interventions
  • Dual Diagnosis
  • Aftercare Services

Combating addiction is a top priority for patients and their families, but this starts with getting the right information about treatment and what it entails. It is imperative to appreciate that recovery is a journey that does not have a finite end as the patient cannot just declare themselves as cured. Qualified rehab centers emphasize on a complete overhaul of the addict’s life, eliminating the common triggers that set them down this unfortunate path.

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