Heroin Hits Massachusetts Hard in Wake of Highest Overdose Deaths In History

As we probe states across the country that have been hit particularly hard with today’s modern heroin epidemic, one leads the way on many fronts: Massachusetts. In highlighting some of the more recent headlines, we hope to reveal the devastating, and crippling effects heroin, and other illicit drugs, are having on the residents and small towns in the commonwealth state, as well as to share what they are doing about the situation to help those affected. Continue reading Heroin Hits Massachusetts Hard in Wake of Highest Overdose Deaths In History

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Abuse

While the true addictive nature of marijuana has been a topic of controversy for years, there is little doubt that long-term use will eventually have a negative effect on the user. Short-term effects are relatively well known, seeing as many major motion pictures and feature a character known as the “stoner” or “pot head”. Common side effects of short-term use include lowered reaction time, anxiety, paranoia, increased heartbeat, and sleepiness. Most of these side effects are completely harmless, and dissipate within several hours. Because there are no immediate dangers involved in smoking marijuana, many users believe it to be totally harmless. This is not the case.

Long-Term Effects of Marijuana Abuse

Because cannabis is illegal in most states, it has been difficult to conduct any prolonged studies on lasting effects of long-term use. However, studies that have been held have investigated both the positive and negative effects of long-term use. In many cases, marijuana is the first illicit substance adolescents are exposed to. The most widely used illicit drug in the entire Western world, well over half of the general population has experimented with marijuana at some point in time. Long-term exposure poses the risk of irreversible impairment of cognitive function to children and pre-pubescent adolescents that are exposed to the drug at an early age. In adults, however, long-term central nervous system effects of cannabis are entirely indistinguishable from any psychiatric disorders that may have been pre-existing.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

It has been estimated that somewhere between 10 and 20% of those who use marijuana on a daily basis will become dependent. Marijuana addiction has been a topic of debate for years, though evidence pointing towards eventual dependency is solid. Marijuana abuse is defined in the DSM-5 as a condition requiring treatment, and the rates of those being admitted to treatment facilities for the primary reason of marijuana addiction have been skyrocketing in recent years. While cannabis has far less addictive potential than drugs like methamphetamine and heroin, it has proven to be more addictive than drugs like LSD and mescaline. While no exceedingly harmful long-term effects of prolonged marijuana abuse are clear, the drug is known to worsen manic symptoms of bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other forms of psychosis. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to marijuana, one of our trained representatives would be more than happy to assist in answering any questions you may have.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol is by far the most frequently abused chemical substance throughout the country – and has reigned supreme since its introduction into society. While many tend to partake in alcohol consumption because it is “safe” and socially acceptable, the long-term effects of prolonged alcohol abuse are extremely detrimental, and often lethal. However, long-term effects of alcohol consumption can have cardioprotective health benefits. Though be weary of using this as an excuse if you tend to imbibe more than you should. One glass of wine on a Saturday night is exceedingly different than a fifth of vodka first thing in the morning. If you are overindulging, the consequences may be fatal.

Long-Term Consequences of Alcoholism

Long-term effects of alcohol abuse include malnutrition, alcoholic liver disease, chronic pancreatitis, and cancer. Psychological damage is also likely to be done with extended periods of daily and excessive alcohol consumption. Many chronic alcoholics will begin hallucinating or becoming delusional after years of daily use. Typically, there are twelve major risks involved with chronic alcoholism. Each is severe, and many can co-occur depending on the severity of the alcoholism.

  1. Pancreatitis

Heavy drinking has been known to inflame the pancreas, interfering with the digestive process. Up to 60% of pancreatitis cases are caused solely by heavy drinking.

  1. Gout

Gout is caused by the formation of uric acid crystals within the joints. Heavy alcohol consumption can cause gout, as well as aggravate existing cases.

  1. Cardiovascular Disease

When one is drinking heavily on a regular basis, their platelets are more likely to clump together and for blood clots. In many instances, increase in blood clots will eventually lead to heart attack or stroke.

  1. Cirrhosis

Alcohol is extremely toxic to liver cells. After prolonged periods of heavy drinking, the liver may be so scarred it cannot function properly. Liver function is essential to overall health, and cirrhosis can be lethal.

  1. High Blood Pressure

Over-consumption of alcohol can disrupt the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the constriction and dilation of blood vessels.

  1. Nerve Damage

Alcoholism is known to cause what is called alcoholic neuropathy – a painful condition that arises because alcohol is highly toxic to nerve cells.

  1. Anemia

Alcoholism causes the number of oxygen-carrying red blood cells to diminish, resulting in anemia. Anemia may cause shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness.

  1. Cancer

When large amounts of alcohol are consumed, the body converts it into acetaldehyde – a potent carcinogen. Cancer is more common amongst drinkers that additionally use tobacco regularly.

  1. Dementia

Alcoholism speeds up brain atrophy – the shrinkage of the brain. Memory loss is an extremely common side effect amongst binge and daily drinkers.

     10. Seizures

Not only does heavy drinking cause epilepsy, and sometimes cause seizures in those who do not have epilepsy – alcohol consumption also interferes with medications used to treat convulsions.

     11. Depression

Recent studies show that depression actually results from extensive heavy drinking, rather than the other way around. Additionally, symptoms of depression are proven to decrease once an alcoholic maintains sobriety for a prolonged period of time.

    12. Infectious Diseases

Not only does alcohol consumption majorly suppress the immune system, but those who drink excessively are more likely to engage in risky sex – therefore contracting sexually transmitted diseases.



Long-Term Effects of Painkiller Abuse

In recent years, prescription medications have become one of the most frequently abused chemical substances amongst every age group in communities throughout the country. Of all pharmaceuticals, opiate painkillers are the most frequently abused. Teenagers and young adults have easy access to such medications, mostly because they are so over-prescribed to adults. Half empty bottles of painkillers are forgotten about in medicine cabinets, and curious adolescents looking for a cheap high do not stop to consider potential consequences before depleting the stash. Unfortunately, opiate painkillers are highly addictive, and dependency often forms in young adults far more easily. Of course adults are majorly affected by the widespread abuse of opiate painkillers as well as youth – and long-term effects of persistent use are causing severe health issues (and in many cases, death) across the country to this day.

Long-Term Effects of Painkiller Abuse

In many cases, painkillers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone are prescribed to individuals following a sports injury, surgery, or to treat chronic pain. Even when prescribed they are commonly abused based on their highly addictive nature and potency. Short-term effects of painkiller abuse include overdose – an occurrence that has rapidly become the leading cause of accidental death in the vast majority of states countrywide. Long-term effects are extremely injurious, and often lead to death eventually.

After physical and mental dependence has taken hold, tolerance begins to develop, and the pills are needed in greater amounts in order to achieve the same high. After prolonged periods of consistent daily use, painkiller abuse is likely to lead to addiction. Once an individual feels they need the painkillers in order to function, it is probable that they are addicted. Addiction leads to daily use in order to avoid symptoms of painkiller withdrawal, which include flu-like symptoms, anxiety, tremors or shaking, poor appetite, insomnia, moodiness, confusion, and sweating. Usually these symptoms become evident as soon as one stops using the drugs, and persist for up to several weeks after use has been discontinued.

If an addict continues to use to avoid withdrawal, long-term effects will begin to develop. Such consequences include respiratory failure, decreased cognitive function, and psychological symptoms such as severe paranoia and depression. Recent studies show that the steady development of major depression is a common denominator amongst most painkiller addicts.

If you or someone you know is battling an addiction to painkillers, feel free to call one of our trained representatives. We would be more than happy to answer any and all questions you may have regarding painkiller abuse, and how to get help.

Long Term Effects of Meth Abuse

Methamphetamine is often said to be the most rapidly addictive of all illicit substances currently circulating the underground drug market. “One hit and you’re finished”, many a meth addict has claimed. Thus, one of the most blatantly obvious and serious negative consequences of frequent use is addiction. Physical and mental dependency almost instantaneously occurs with first-time use, and tolerance tends to develop rapidly. This means that greater quantities of the substance are required each time an addict uses meth in order to produce the same euphoric feeling that was achieved initially. If the addict does not use the substance after prolonged use, they will experience withdrawal. Symptoms of meth withdrawal usually include depression, anxiety, confusion, changes in mood, insomnia, and violent behavior. Many addicts will continue using simply to avoid withdrawal, despite the fact that they are no longer experiencing any sense of euphoria upon use.

Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

Long-term effects of meth abuse include many psychotic features, such as paranoia, delusions, and intense hallucinations. Significant changes in the brain cause many of these psychological symptoms to persist for months or years after an addict discontinues use. While neurobiological effects of methamphetamine abuse can be permanently damaging, some consequences are at least partially reversible. Meth abuse has negative effects on non-neural brain cells called microglia – cells that support brain health by protecting the brain against infectious agents as well as eliminating damaged neurons. However, too much activity surrounding the microglial cells is likely to damage healthy neurons, causing lasting and severe brain damage.

Aside from serious brain damage and persisting deficits in thinking and motor skills, long-term methamphetamine abuse is likely to result in serious physical damage. Physical effects include weight loss, skin sores, and severe tooth decay and dental problems. What is frequently referred to as “meth mouth” is caused by a lack of dental hygiene as well as the fact that addicts typically grind their teeth while under the influence. Skin sores result from picking and scratching at the skin – typically related to delusions and tactile hallucinations. Overall, methamphetamine use is extremely dangerous and often permanently injurious. If you or someone you love has been using meth, it is crucial you seek professional help immediately. Feel free to call one of our licensed representatives, who would be more than happy to assist you with any and all questions you may have.

Synthetic Drugs – A Deadly Trend

Over the course of the past several years, an increasing variety of synthetic drugs have become readily available to the general American public. The most common synthetic drugs on the market today are synthetic cannabinoids and synthetic cathinones (related to amphetamines). Both drugs can be purchased in legal retail outlets, frequently under guises such as “herbal incense” or “jewelry cleaner”. While only 2 varieties of synthetic cannabinoid were identified in 2009, that number jumped to a staggering 51 in 2012. In fact, synthetic drugs have rapidly become one of the biggest substance-related issues the nation as a whole currently faces. In 2012, 1 in 9 12th graders reported using synthetic marijuana in the past year, making it the 2nd most frequently abused drug amongst high school seniors after marijuana. Overall, synthetic drug use is far more prevalent amongst the younger portion of the population, and has proven to be a highly dangerous, often lethal trend.

Synthetic Marijuana

Known on the streets as “K2” or “Spice”, synthetic cannabinoids are marketed as a safe and legal alternative to marijuana. Chemical additives are combined with dried plant material, and said to produce a high similar to the high produced by THC (the main mind-altering chemical in marijuana). In fact, “Spice” is far more dangerous to consume, and has been linked to innumerable emergency room admittances and several deaths – while marijuana has been linked to no deaths and very few emergency room visits over the course of past decades. This drug is made with designer chemicals that are said to induce paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. Those who frequently use synthetic cannabinoids claim they are highly addicting, and the consequences of using DRASTICALLY outweigh the benefits (of which there truly seem to be none).

Bath Salts

The side effects of prolonged (and even short-term) bath salt use are typically very similar to the effects produced by synthetic marijuana. Bath salts are sold as “jewelry cleaner” or “plant food”, and usually marked with a label reading “not for human consumption”. The exact chemical ingredients of the drug remain unknown, thus it is hard for the DEA to illegalize its compounds. The most common symptoms linked to the drug are hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts and tendencies. There have been several highly publicized suicides completed by individuals within days of using bath salts, proving that mental distress can last beyond the wearing off of the hallucinogenic effects of the drug. It is unknown whether or not bath salts are addictive, though it is speculated that they are.

Designer synthetic drugs pose a major threat to society based on their highly toxic nature and their ready availability. Synthetic drugs have quickly proven far more dangerous than their imitated alternatives. If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to spice, bath salts, or any other variety of designer drug, seek help as quickly as possible – soon, it may be too late.

Choosing the Right Drug Rehab For You

Choosing the right  drug rehab for you will undoubtedly be one of the most life-changing and fundamental decisions you will ever make. When choosing a drug rehab, it is important to remember that everyone’s needs vary greatly, and your individualized preferences are extremely significant. Because of the fact that treatment programs do not only treat addiction, but also treat underlying causes and past emotional pain, it is imperative that you look into exactly what therapeutic methods and core issues the program you are looking into will focus on.

No matter what drug rehab you decide upon, it is vital that you look for several staples every reliable rehab should possess.

  • It is important that the program is licensed and accredited, ensuring the operation is legal and effective.
  • You will want to look into the success rates of the drug rehab you are considering entering – make sure the effectiveness of the treatment methods used is backed by solid evidential proof
  • Make sure that the treatment center offers comprehensive aftercare services in order to prevent relapse, such as their own  sober living facility or recommendations to a licensed facility nearby

Typically, residential treatment lasts anywhere from 30-120 days. 90 days is often recommended, for it takes quite awhile for all remnants of chemical substance to naturally leave the body, freeing the mind from the “fog” that tends to settle in very early sobriety. While accommodations are not quite as important as the treatment plan the drug rehab offers, you still want to feel comfortable staying in the facility for an extended amount of time. If you cannot take a physical tour, try to take a virtual tour, or look at photographs of the treatment center you are considering.

There are many slight variations of the typical  drug rehab. Some rehabs will focus exclusively on alcohol, while others concentrate on addiction as a blanket term. Still others will cater to addiction to one specific type of drug amongst one particular age group, such as opiate addiction in adolescents and young adults. Many rehabs are gender specific, and some are geared exclusively towards members of the LGBT community. Many treatment centers incorporate holistic methods of recovery, focusing on the mind, body, and soul inclusively. Take all of these differences into consideration when deciding which drug rehab will best fit your needs.

Allow One of Our Representatives to Find a Drug Rehab For You

While so many options to choose from, picking the right rehab for you may seem somewhat overwhelming. Fortunately, help is always available – simply contact one of our trained representatives and we will gladly place you in the  drug rehab that best suits all of your highly individualized needs.