Tag Archives: drug abuse

Economic Worries can Lead to Drug Abuse

Middle-aged, average Americans are not supposed to die at alarming rates. In fact, with increased health care, social programs and a general improvement of self-awareness, the middle class is supposed to live longer than past generations. However, this is not the case. In fact, ten years ago the number of deceased middle-aged Americans started to climb significantly. In an effort to find out why, two economists, Anne Case and Angus Deaton, delved into the numbers and found a surprising correlation.

They found that other statistics were rising along with the death rate. Drug and alcohol use among this demographic were increasing at a similar rate. What was even more interesting was that as these two things were rising, the economy was taking a nose dive. The uncertainty of the financial future could be causing people to give in to depression and succumb to overdoses, alcoholism and suicides, all things contributing to the death rate.

“Whatever it is these people are unhappy, they’re left behind, some of their jobs have gone away, they’re worse off than their parents were, they’re worried about opportunities for their kids,” explained Deaton.

In a separate study, researchers made a connection between the rise of opioid abuse and the rise of unemployment. They found that countries with more unemployed citizens also had higher rates of substance abuse. It appears that connection is so sensitive that a 1% increase in unemployment effects a 3.6% increase in opioid overdoses. In yet another study, this time in China, researchers found that when trade brought about sudden unemployment there were more suicides and drug overdoses. Examined as a group, these studies certainly indicate that people are greatly affected by the tide of the economy.

But, if rise and fall of the economy can bring about such extreme behaviors, maybe health officials, families and loved ones can use this as a predictor. For instance, if it appears that there are less jobs, or unemployment starts to rise, communities can have programs in place for out -of-work professionals that connect them with their peers, therapists if needed and networking tools to get them back in the work force. There can also be more substance abuse prevention programs for adults.

If you have a loved one struggling with drugs or alcohol due to economic stress, contact us today to see how we can help.

Welfare Recipients to Undergo Drug Testing in Michigan?

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michigancapitolIn order to combat the drug problem in Michigan, the state House of Representatives and Senate have passed legislation to create a pilot program that would perform drug tests on anyone in the state receiving welfare benefits and suspected of drug use. This is one of the first states to try to implement such a procedure. While the bill has not been signed by the Governor, it is hoped that it will be enacted soon.

As part of the pilot program, three counties will be chosen to participate in the trial. Drug tests would be administered in the event that there are suspicions of drug use. The legislation allows for first time offenders to be given the opportunity to enroll in a state-run treatment center. In the event the violator refuses addiction treatment in Michigan, or does not complete the program, all welfare checks would stop. In order to ensure that children of addicts are still taken care of, welfare checks for the children would still be administered, but they would be given to a relative approved by the state.

This new legislation coming up against much dissent, with those opposed to it stating that the new laws are unconstitutional and targets those who are poor. Supporters of the bill are quick to point out that private sector jobs require drug testing frequently. “This bill has to do with the fact that the working men and women of this state who pay for these benefits are subject to the same requirement (drug testing by employers). It’s treating the people who are poor exactly the same as the working men and women of this state,” explained Senator Bruce Caswell.

The Michigan legislature had passed a similar law many years ago, but a judge overruled it, stating it was unconstitutional if there was no suspicion that drug use was a problem. A similar law was overturned in Florida recently. In an attempt to avoid the law being overturned again, policy makers added in the clause that welfare recipients had to fall under suspicion of drug use before they could be tested, as well as provide for minors involved.

Are Students the New Drug Dealers?

rxstimulantThere are often two stereotypes of drug dealers. One is that they are from a bad neighborhood selling drugs in order to make money, the other is that they are extremely wealthy, dealing mostly in clubs and big cities. Neither of these stereotypes fit into the mold of the newest kind of drug dealer – the student. Law enforcement officials have noticed that it is becoming more common than ever before for students to sell their prescription drugs to other students, and recent information from national surveys confirms the trend.

The prescription drugs are usually Adderall or Ritalin, drugs prescribed to those diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). These drugs are commonly given to school-aged children because their disorder often manifests in a classroom environment. For those who are not diagnosed with ADHD, taking these drugs has the same effect that cocaine or even methamphetamine would have on a person. Many people abuse these prescriptions in an attempt to be able to do more school work or get better grades; some people abuse these drugs as a substitute for cocaine or methamphetamine.

For those people who do have a legitimate prescription the pressure can be strong to sell their pills to other students or friends. Dealing these pills to others puts people in the same category as a drug dealer that stands on the corner, though they may not realize this. Often times because the drugs are in pill form and came from a doctor, potential dealers and users do not consider them to be as bad or dangerous as cocaine or methamphetamine. This is a common misconception, and one that can lead to a heavy addiction.

Despite the fact that prescription stimulants usually come from a doctor and pharmacist, it does not mean that they are safe for everyone to take. Ingesting a medication that is not being overseen by a physician and that is meant for a disorder that one may not actually have is always dangerous and can lead to greater problems in the future. The potential for abuse still remains even when taken as prescribed in some cases. An addiction to these types of drugs is just as dangerous to an addiction to any other type of drug, just like a person who sells these drugs is just like any other drug dealer.

Researchers Seek Non-Addictive Painkillers

Handling chronic and acute pain has long been a problem in our society. Long ago it was a problem that was largely ignored by the medical community. If you suffered from back pain or nerve pain you were expected to find ways of coping with it. A few decades ago this viewpoint changed dramatically when more prescription painkillers came onto the market. Doctors were prescribing the addictive drugs for all sorts of pain issues, not realizing how addictive the pills were going to be for some people. As a nation, we have realized that the over-prescription of narcotic painkillers is a real problem, however there still needs to be a way to address pain.

Prescription drug abuse is one of the leading causes of death in our country. Addicts oftentimes become hooked on the pills because they were given a prescription for some sort of pain issue. Since the pills also produce a euphoric effect as well as temporarily masking the pain, many people develop addictions to the narcotics.

Once the dependency is created, addicts tend to start abusing heroin as well. Ingesting heroin allows the addict to feel the same high they would receive if they took a pill, but heroin is stonger, cheaper and easier to obtain. Federal and state government agencies continue to seek solutions for the prescription painkiller epidemic. One road of discovery points to finding a new way to treat pain so that other people will not be sucked into a pain pill or heroin addiction.

Scientists believe they are closer than ever to developing a way to treat pain without the creating more addicts in our society. Cora Therapeutics recently came out to say that they are developing a pain reliever that has proven to be safer than other painkillers currently on the market. By “safer”, the company means that there is less chance for addiction with these new pills than there are with the leading prescription pain remedies. However, as has been seen with many other types of prescription drugs, dependency cannot be absolutely ruled out.

If more doctors begin prescribing these less addictive painkillers, it would seem that a much needed shift in the addiction problem may occur. While this will not stop people from becoming addicts, and it certainly will not cure those who are already addicted, it could be a positive step in the right direction.

Charitable Organizations Help Fight Against Drug Abuse

fundingWhile our nation struggles with the ongoing drug and alcohol epidemic, charitable organizations are stepping up to the plate to offer assistance. For the most part, individual states fund many rehabilitation facilities, community outreach projects and the public services that monitor and prevent further drug activity. The millions of dollars that go into fighting the drug problem is enough to bankrupt any state, however with the help of organizations that sponsor addicts to go into treatment, host educational seminars and generally help the community, states are able to reach more addicts and families than ever before.

One of the largest reasons many charities have developed and gotten involved with the drug plight our communities are facing is because they see the need for further education. Oftentimes charities and organizations are developed after someone loses a loved one to an addiction. Taking the knowledge that many wished they had when the addiction first started and imparting that knowledge onto others is a driving force behind many foundations.

As the number of children in foster care grows due to parents addicted to drugs, and as more and more babies continue to be born already addicted to some sort of substance, it is clear that the need for education and prevention is greater than ever before. Charitable organizations look to helping those with addiction problems before it is too late. “To have a true, long-lasting impact on addiction, on the drug problem substance abuse in general, I’m absolutely convinced we have to be just as much about prevention, treatment and recovery as we are about enforcement,” explained Booth Goodwin, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia.

Goodwin recently spoke at a conference dedicated to those who have developed different non-profit organizations to help fight against drug abuse. During the conference, Goodwin acknowledged that the drug problem is getting worse, especially with the increased amount of heroin on the streets. According to him, states and communities truly need help from charities to further educate and prevent new addicts from developing the deadly disease.