Prescription Drug Addiction Program

What is Prescription Drug Abuse?

Some medications have psychoactive (mind-altering) properties and, because of that, are sometimes abused—that is, taken for reasons or in ways or amounts not intended by a doctor, or taken by someone other than the person for whom they are prescribed. In fact, prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are, after marijuana (and alcohol), the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. This occurs when a doctor prescribes a potentially addictive drug and the patient grows dependent upon it. In some cases, patients find that the original dosage simply no longer works, and steadily up their dose, creating tolerance that ultimately leads to dependency.

Prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high in America. Here are certain signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for in order to recognize. These medications might be necessary for short or long term use in some cases. However, the sad truth “ANYONE” can go from taking a prescription as directed…but become an addict!

Here’s a list of side effects and possible danger to your health over an extended period of time:

  • Nausea
  • Feeling high
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Increased pain with higher doses
  • Slurred speech
  • Unsteady walking
  • Agitation
  • Problems with memory
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High body temperature

How Are Prescription Drugs Abused?

Prescription and OTC drugs may be abused in one or more of the following ways:
Taking a medication that has been prescribed for somebody else. Unaware of the dangers of sharing medications, people often unknowingly contribute to this form of abuse by sharing their unused pain relievers with their family members.

These are some of the common signs when your prescription drug becomes an addiction:

  • Stealing, forging, or selling prescription drugs
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Excessive mood swings or hostility
  • Increase or decrease in sleep
  • Poor decision-making
  • Appearing to be high, usually energetic or revved up, or sedated
  • Continually losing all  prescriptions so more prescriptions must be written
  • Seeking prescriptions from more than one doctor/doctor shopping

What Are the Other Health Effects of Prescription and OTC Drugs?

Opioids can produce drowsiness, cause constipation, and—depending upon the amount taken—depress breathing. The latter effect makes opioids particularly dangerous, especially when they are snorted or injected or combined with other drugs or alcohol.

Abusing prescription medication can take an extreme toll on your body. You can severely damage your lungs since the opiates and similar drugs can suppress the body’s ability to breathe. A medical research found that opiate abuse is associated with a greater risk of pneumonia.

Your stomach and intestines can also be affected by prescription drug abuse. According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, a narcotics abuser can suffer from something called narcotic bowel syndrome. This is the result of the slowing down of the bowel function. The symptoms of this syndrome include nausea, bloating, vomiting, abdominal distention, and constipation.

COMMONLY MISUSED PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

DEPRESSANTS
Substances: Category & NamePharmaceutical Names
BARBITURATESAmytal, Nembutal, Seconal, Phenobarbital
BENZODIAZEPINESAtivan, Halcion, Librium, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin
SLEEP MEDICATIONSAmbien (zolpidem), Sonata (zaleplon), Lunesta (eszopiclone)

Acute Effects: Sedation/drowsiness, reduced anxiety, feelings of well-being, lowered inhibitions, slurred speech, poor concentration, confusion, dizziness, impaired coordination, and memory
For barbiturates – euphoria, unusual excitement, fever, irritability

Health Risks: Slowed pulse, lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, tolerance, withdrawal, addiction; increased risk of respiratory distress and death when combined with alcohol
For barbiturates – life-threatening withdrawal in chronic users

OPIOIDS & MORPHINE DERIVATIVES
Substances: Category & NamePharmaceutical Names
CODEINEEmpirin with Codeine, Fiorinal with Codeine, Robitussin A-C, Tylenol with Codeine
MORPHINERoxanol, Duramorph
METHADONEMethadose, Dolophine
FENTANYL & ANALOGSActiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze
OTHER OPIOID PAIN RELIEVERS (OXYCODONE HCL, HYDROCODONE BITARTRATE, HYDROMORPHONE, OXYMORPHONE, MEPERIDINE, PROPOXYPHENE)Tylox, Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet,   Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet,  Dilaudid, Numorphan, Numorphone, Darvon, Darvocet

Acute Effects: Pain relief, euphoria, drowsiness, sedation, weakness, dizziness, nausea, impaired coordination, confusion, dry mouth, itching, sweating, clammy skin, constipation
For fentanyl – 80–100 times more potent analgesic than morphine
For oxycodone – muscle relaxation, twice as potent analgesic as morphine
For codeine – less analgesia, sedation, and respiratory depression than morphine
For methadone – used to treat opioid addiction and pain; significant overdose risk when used improperly

Health Risks: Slowed or arrested breathing, lowered pulse and blood pressure, tolerance, addiction, unconsciousness, coma, death; risk of death increased when combined with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants
For oxycodone – high potential for misuse

STIMULANTS
Substances: Category & NameExamples of Commercial & Street Names
AMPHETAMINESBiphetamine, Dexedrine, Adderall
METHYLPHENIDATEConcerta, Ritalin

Acute Effects: Feelings of exhilaration, increased energy, mental alertness
For amphetamines – rapid breathing, tremor, loss of coordination, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness

Health Risks: Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism, reduced appetite, weight loss, nervousness, insomnia, seizures, heart attack, stroke
For amphetamines – delirium, panic, paranoia, hallucinations, impulsive behavior, aggressiveness, tolerance, addiction
For methylphenidate – increase or decrease in blood pressure, digestive problems, loss of appetite, weight loss

Methamphetamine Addiction

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder.

How Is Methamphetamine Abused?

Methamphetamine is taken orally, smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected. Smoking or injecting the drug delivers it very quickly to the brain, where it produces an immediate, intense euphoria. Because the pleasure also fades quickly, users often take repeated doses, in a “binge and crash” pattern

What Are the Other Health Effects of Methamphetamine?

Taking even small amounts of methamphetamine can result in many of the same physical effects as those of other stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines. These include increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and increased body temperature. Long-term methamphetamine use has many negative consequences for physical health, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems (“meth mouth”), and skin sores caused by scratching.

Methamphetamine use also raises the risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C. These can be contracted both by sharing contaminated drug injection equipment and through unsafe sex. Regardless of how it is taken, methamphetamine alters judgment and inhibition and can lead people to engage in these and other types of risky behavior.

Methamphetamine use may also worsen the progression of HIV/AIDS and its consequences. Studies indicate that HIV causes more injury to neurons and greater cognitive impairment in individuals who are HIV-positive and use methamphetamine than it does in HIV-positive people who do not use the drug.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment Options

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana refers to the dried leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The plant contains the mind-altering chemical delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other related compounds. Extracts with high amounts of THC can also be made from the cannabis plant. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.1 Its use is widespread among young people. According to a yearly survey of middle and high school students, rates of marijuana use have steadied in the past few years after several years of increase. However, the number of young people who believe marijuana use is risky is decreasing.

How do people use marijuana?

People smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes (joints) or in pipes or water pipes (bongs). They also smoke it in blunts—emptied cigars that have been partly or completely refilled with marijuana. To avoid inhaling smoke, more people are using vaporizers. These devices pull the active ingredients (including THC) from the marijuana and collect their vapor in a storage unit. A person then inhales the vapor, not the smoke. Users can mix marijuana in food (edibles), such as brownies, cookies, or candy, or brew it as a tea. A newly popular method of use is smoking or eating different forms of THC-rich resins

What are the other health effects of marijuana?

Physical effects:

  • Breathing problems. Marijuana smoke irritates the lungs, and frequent marijuana smokers can have the same breathing problems that tobacco smokers have. These problems include daily cough and phlegm, more frequent lung illness, and a higher risk of lung infections. Researchers still do not know whether marijuana smokers have a higher risk for lung cancer.
  • Increased heart rate. Marijuana raises heart rate for up to 3 hours after smoking. This effect may increase the chance of heart attack. Older people and those with heart problems may be at higher risk
  • Problems with child development during and after pregnancy. Marijuana use during pregnancy is linked to increased risk of both brain and behavioral problems in babies. If a pregnant woman uses marijuana, the drug may affect certain developing parts of the fetus’s brain. Resulting challenges for the child may include problems with attention, memory, and problem-solving. Additionally, some research suggests that moderate amounts of THC are excreted into the breast milk of nursing mothers. The effects on a baby’s developing brain are still unknown.

Mental effects:

  • temporary hallucinations—sensations and images that seem real though they are not
  • temporary paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others
  • worsening symptoms in patients with schizophrenia (a severe mental disorder with symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized thinking)

Marijuana use has also been linked to other mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts among teens. However, study findings have been mixed.

How Does Marijuana Affect a User’s Life?

Compared to nonusers, heavy marijuana users more often report the following:

  • lower life satisfaction
  • poorer mental health
  • poorer physical health
  • more relationship problems

Users also report less academic and career success. For example, marijuana use is linked to a higher likelihood of dropping out of school.

Is marijuana a gateway drug?

Some research suggests that marijuana use is likely to come before use of other drugs. Marijuana use is also linked to addiction to other substances, including nicotine. In addition, animal studies show that the THC in marijuana makes other drugs more pleasurable to the brain. Although these findings support the idea of marijuana as a “gateway drug,” the majority of people who use marijuana don’t go on to use other “harder” drugs.

Is marijuana addictive?

Contrary to common belief, marijuana can be addictive. Research suggests that 30 percent of users may develop some degree of problem use, which can lead to dependence and in severe cases takes the form of addiction. People who begin using marijuana before age 18 are 4 to 7 times more like than adults to develop problem use. Dependence becomes addiction when the person can’t stop using marijuana even though it interferes with his or her daily life.

How can people get treatment for marijuana addiction?

Long-term marijuana users trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms that make quitting difficult. These include:

  • grouchiness
  • sleeplessness
  • decreased appetite
  • anxiety
  • cravings

Behavioral support has been effective in treating marijuana addiction. Examples include therapy and motivational incentives (providing rewards to patients who remain substance free). No medications are currently available to treat marijuana addiction. However, continuing research may lead to new medications that help ease withdrawal symptoms, block the effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.

MDMA Drug Addiction Treatment

What is MDMA?

3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions). It is chemically similar to both stimulants and hallucinogens, producing feelings of increased energy, pleasure, emotional warmth, and distorted sensory and time perception. MDMA was initially popular in the nightclub scene and at all-night dance parties (“raves”), but the drug now affects a broader range of people who more commonly call the drug Ecstasy or Molly.

How do people use MDMA?

People who use MDMA usually take it as a capsule or tablet, though some swallow it in liquid form or snort the powder. The popular nickname Molly (slang for “molecular”) often refers to the supposedly “pure” crystalline powder form of MDMA, usually sold in capsules. However, people who purchase powder or capsules sold as Molly often actually get other drugs such as synthetic cathinones (“bath salts”) instead (see “Added Risk of MDMA”). Some people take MDMA in combination with other drugs such as alcohol or marijuana.

What are other health effects of MDMA?

High doses of MDMA can affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. This can lead to a spike in body temperature that can occasionally result in liver, kidney, or heart failure or even death. In addition, because MDMA can promote trust and closeness, its use—especially combined with sildenafil (Viagra®)—may encourage unsafe sexual behavior. This increases people’s risk of contracting or transmitting HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.

Treating Heroin Addiction

What is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

How Is Heroin Used?

Heroin can be injected, inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction, which is a chronic relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain and characterized by uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter the consequences.

What Are the Other Health Effects of Heroin?

Heroin abuse is associated with a number of serious health conditions, including fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV (see box, “Injection Drug Use and HIV and HCV Infection”). Chronic users may develop collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, constipation and gastrointestinal cramping, and liver or kidney disease. Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia, may result from the poor health of the user as well as from heroin’s effects on breathing.

What are the treatments for heroin addiction?

A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications). Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior. Although behavioral and pharmacologic treatments can be extremely useful when utilized alone, research shows that for some people, integrating both types of treatments is the most effective approach.


Pharmacological Treatment (Medications)

Scientific research has established that pharmacological treatment of opioid addiction increases retention in treatment programs and decreases drug use, infectious disease transmission, and criminal activity.

When people addicted to opioids first quit, they undergo withdrawal symptoms (pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting), which may be severe. Medications can be helpful in this detoxification stage to ease craving and other physical symptoms, which often prompt a person to relapse. While not a treatment for addiction itself, detoxification is a useful first step when it is followed by some form of evidence-based treatment.

Medications developed to treat opioid addiction work through the same opioid receptors as the addictive drug, but are safer and less likely to produce the harmful behaviors that characterize addiction. Three types of medications include (1) agonists, which activate opioid receptors; (2) partial agonists, which also activate opioid receptors but produce a smaller response; and (3) antagonists, which block the receptor and interfere with the rewarding effects of opioids. A particular medication is used based on a patient’s specific medical needs and other factors. Effective medications include:

  • Methadone (Dolophine® or Methadose®) is a slow-acting opioid agonist. Methadone is taken orally so that it reaches the brain slowly, dampening the “high” that occurs with other routes of administration while preventing withdrawal symptoms. Methadone has been used since the 1960s to treat heroin addiction and is still an excellent treatment option, particularly for patients who do not respond well to other medications. Methadone is only available through approved outpatient treatment programs, where it is dispensed to patients on a daily basis.
  • Buprenorphine (Subutex®) is a partial opioid agonist. Buprenorphine relieves drug cravings without producing the “high” or dangerous side effects of other opioids. Suboxone® is a novel formulation of buprenorphine that is taken orally or sublingually and contains naloxone (an opioid antagonist) to prevent attempts to get high by injecting the medication. If an addicted patient were to inject Suboxone, the naloxone would induce withdrawal symptoms, which are averted when taken orally as prescribed. FDA approved buprenorphine in 2002, making it the first medication eligible to be prescribed by certified physicians through the Drug Addiction Treatment Act. This approval eliminates the need to visit specialized treatment clinics, thereby expanding access to treatment for many who need it. In February 2013, the FDA approved two generic forms of Suboxone, making this treatment option more affordable.
  • Naltrexone (Depade® or Revia®) is an opioid antagonist. Naltrexone blocks the action of opioids is not addictive or sedating, and does not result in physical dependence; however, patients often have trouble complying with the treatment, and this has limited its effectiveness. An injectable long-acting formulation of naltrexone (Vivitrol®) recently received FDA approval for treating opioid addiction. Administered once a month, Vivitrol® may improve compliance by eliminating the need for daily dosing.

Behavioral Therapies

The many effective behavioral treatments available for heroin addiction can be delivered in outpatient and residential settings. Approaches such as contingency management and cognitive-behavioral therapy have been shown to effectively treat heroin addiction, especially when applied in concert with medications. Contingency management uses a voucher-based system in which patients earn “points” based on negative drug tests, which they can exchange for items that encourage healthy living. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is designed to help modify the patient’s expectations and behaviors related to drug use and to increase skills in coping with various life stressors. An important task is to match the best treatment approach to meet the particular needs of the patient.

Cocaine Addiction Treatment Options

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. Although health care providers can use it for valid medical purposes, such as local anesthesia for some surgeries, cocaine is an illegal drug. As a street drug, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Street dealers often mix it with things like cornstarch, talcum powder, or flour to increase profits. They may also mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine.

How do people use cocaine?

People snort cocaine powder through the nose, or they rub it into their gums. Others dissolve the powder in water and inject it into the bloodstream. Some people inject a combination of cocaine and heroin, called a Speedball.
Another popular method of use is to smoke cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal (also called “freebase cocaine”). The crystal is heated to produce vapors that are inhaled into the lungs. This form of cocaine is called Crack, which refers to the crackling sound of the rock as it’s heated.
People who use cocaine often take it in binges—taking the drug repeatedly within a short time, at increasingly higher doses—to maintain their high.

What are the health effects of cocaine use?

Short-term health effects of cocaine include:

  • extreme happiness and energy
  • mental alertness
  • hypersensitivity to sight, sound, and touch
  • paranoia—extreme and unreasonable distrust of others

Some long-term health effects of cocaine depend on the method of use and include the following:

  • snorting: loss of sense of smell, nosebleeds, frequent runny nose, and problems with swallowing.
  • consuming by mouth: severe bowel decay from reduced blood flow.
  • needle injection: higher risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other bloodborne diseases. However, even people involved with non-needle cocaine use place themselves at a risk for HIV because cocaine impairs judgment, which can lead to risky sexual behavior with infected partners

Can a person overdose on cocaine?

Yes, a person can overdose on cocaine. An overdose occurs when the person uses too much of a drug and has a toxic reaction that results in serious, harmful symptoms or death. An overdose can be intentional or unintentional.
Death from overdose can occur on the first use of cocaine or unexpectedly thereafter. Many people who use cocaine also drink alcohol at the same time, which is particularly risky and can lead to overdose. Others mix cocaine with heroin, another dangerous—and deadly—combination.

Some of the most frequent and severe health consequences leading to overdose involve the heart and blood vessels, including irregular heart rhythm and heart attacks, and the nerves, including seizures and strokes.

How can a cocaine overdose be treated?
Because cocaine overdose often leads to a heart attack, stroke, or seizure, first responders and emergency room doctors try to treat the overdose by treating these conditions, with the intent of:

  • restoring blood flow to the heart (heart attack)
  • restoring oxygen-rich blood supply to the affected part of the brain (stroke)
  • stopping the seizure

How does cocaine use lead to addiction?

As with other drugs, repeated use of cocaine can cause long-term changes in the brain’s reward circuit and other brain systems, which may lead to addiction. The reward circuit eventually adapts to the excess dopamine brought on by the drug. As a result, people take stronger and more frequent doses to achieve the same high and feel relief from initial withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • depression
  • fatigue
  • increased appetite
  • unpleasant dreams and insomnia
  • slowed thinking

How can people get treatment for cocaine addiction?

Behavioral therapy may be used to treat cocaine addiction. Examples include:

  • cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • contingency management, or motivational incentives—providing rewards to patients who remain substance-free
  • therapeutic communities—drug-free residences in which people in recovery from substance use disorders help each other to understand and change their behaviors

While no government-approved medicines are currently available to treat cocaine addiction, researchers are testing some treatments, including:

  • disulfiram (used to treat alcoholism)
  • modafinil (used to treat narcolepsy—a disorder characterized by uncontrollable episodes of deep sleep)
  • lorcaserin (used to treat obesity)

Alcohol Addiction Recovery Program

What is Alcohol Addiction?

People drink to socialize, celebrate, and relax. Alcohol often has a strong effect on people—and throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power. Why does alcohol cause people to act and feel differently? How much is too much? Why do some people become addicted while others do not? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is researching the answers to these and many other questions about alcohol. Here’s what is known:

Alcohol’s effects vary from person to person, depending on a variety of factors, including:

  • How much you drink?
  • How often you drink?
  • Your age
  • Your health status
  • Your family history

While drinking alcohol is itself not necessarily a problem—drinking too much can cause a range of consequences, and increase your risk for a variety of problems.

Alcohol abuse is which is traditionally known as alcoholism. Regardless, if you know and care about someone who is either definitely an alcoholic or someone who you suspect may be, there are ways to help, start and intervention, and is the process of assisting the process… you might want to seek help for yourself dealing with a loved one with this addiction. Alcohol, as with most substances, abuse is the step directly preceding addiction. However, there are some ways to tell abuse and addiction apart. 

 Our Alcohol Recovery Program

Our alcohol detox program offers a safe and comfortable environment for individuals suffering from alcohol dependency to recover in a tranquil, safe setting. Alcohol detoxification is the essential first step, a supervised period with zero alcohol intake for effective treatment and management of alcohol addiction. Our certified clinical staff members are on duty 24/7 to support clients through the recovery process. In addition to care for alcohol withdrawal symptoms, our clients are also given the opportunity to support one another and receive education and counseling about their addiction problem and its effective treatment.  The Palms Recovery Center provides individualized care and custom long term plan to provide and encourage the adjustment to sustained sobriety.