Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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Treatment in Tempe, Arizona

Tempe, Arizona is a middle-class suburb of Phoenix, Arizona with a population of 172,816 people. It’s proximity to the Mexican border has lead to an epidemic of huge proportions with methamphetamine and opioids such as heroin and prescription pain killers. The Mexican Sinaloa Cartel has used Tempe and other towns surrounding the city of Phoenix in Maricopa County as a drug trafficking hub to transport marijuana, heroin, meth and cocaine to the rest of the country. This make the supply of these drugs in this town easy to find and incredibly cheap.

The city of Phoenix was featured in the TV documentary, Drugs, Inc. in the episode Cartel City, Arizona. It documented the struggles that the city and surrounding areas, such as Tempe, face as the cartel’s gateway to the United States. Interstate 8, a major highway south of Phoenix, is the busiest drug trafficking route in the United States. The Maricopa County sheriff’s office is constantly scouting and patrolling this area. This area has hundreds of illegal aliens that carry backpacks full of drugs from the Mexican border to Phoenix by way of the desert to be distributed to the rest of the country.

While the adult drug problem in Tempe, as well as the rest of the state of Arizona is enormous, it falls shy in comparison to the drug statistics on Arizona youths. According to the CDC, Arizona ranks 6th in the country for teens using drugs and alcohol. Astonishingly, the most surprising statistic is cocaine use among high schoolers is among the highest in the country. Arizona youths were also among the highest population of kids who smoke marijuana before the age of 13, binge drinkers, and abuse prescription pill. These kids are more likely to be contemplating suicide or attempt suicide than their counterparts in the rest of the country. These children also claim to be able to precure drugs on school property.

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80% of heroin users state that prescription pain killers were their gateway to opioids. Tempe Union High School has taken a step towards keeping their student athletes from becoming addicted to pain killers after sustaining sports related injuries. The plan requires the parents to work with coaches and teachers to make sure that the students receive only the dose they need. It puts the responsibility with adults to keep the kids from becoming addicted.

Tempe has also started a medical disposal program. Two deposit sites have been set up at the police stations in the town for unused prescription drugs to be dropped anonymously. People are discouraged from flushing medication down the toilet as it can be added to the surrounding ground water, and eventually make it back into the drinking water. Authorities are also worried about unused prescriptions being left around and falling into the hands of people, kids especially, who might abuse them.

If you live in Tempe and have fallen victim to substance abuse don’t hesitate to seek treatment. There are enormous resources in at your disposal.

Crime in Tempe, Arizona

A few years ago, Tempe made the list of the most dangerous suburbs in the United States. The precarious position this town finds itself in as a drug trafficking hub for the Sinaloa Cartel, it makes perfect sense that the crime rate would be high. The police have a herculean feat trying to stay on top of the drug activity in the area.

The crime rate in this town is 47% higher than the rest of the state of Arizona and 78% higher than the rest of the United States. Although most of the crime appears to be property theft, Tempe does have its share of violent crime, that is typically drug related.

The county does have a drug court program to help those charged with non-violent, drug crimes as an alternative to jail by having them seek court supervised treatment for their addiction. This program has been show to be very successful in rehabilitating drug abusers and helping them stay off drugs and become contributing members of society.

Drugs Abused in Arizona

Methamphetamine

Heroin

Prescription Drug (ex: Pain Killers)

Cocaine

Marijuana

Alcohol

Drug Risks

Methamphetamine

Meth can ravage the body in many ways. Nothing demonstrates this more than Faces of Meth, a program started by the Multnomah County Sherriff’s Office in Oregon. This drug prevention program shows the mug shots of people arrested for meth over the years and the changes in their faces is shocking. Everything from the dull sunken eyes, the lack of teeth and distorted cheekbones and jawlines, as well as, scabs and sores on their faces. These pictures are incredibly disturbing and yet an accurate depiction of the realities of a meth addiction.

In addition, meth can cause malnutrition and drastic weight loss. Users are also at risk for stroke, heart attack, seizures and death. Users also suffer from cognitive issues and behavioral problems such as violent behavior, psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia, anxiety, and depression. Users who inject the drug also expose themselves to diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis.  

It doesn’t take someone using more than a few times to become completely addicted.

Opioids (Heroin and Pain Killers)

Opioids are very powerful and highly addictive pain killers. Most people on heroin got their start on prescription pain killers. These are dangerous drugs that can not only cause a cornucopia of health issues, but the risk of overdose is enormous. In the state of Arizona, more people die from opioid overdose than in car crashes.

People who use opioids for a long period of time eventually increase their bodies sensitivity to pain. It also seems to affect their hormones in a negative way such as decreasing testosterone in men and abnormal milk production in women.

Users are also subject to an increase susceptibility to infection, heart attack, lung complications, including pneumonia, as well as kidney and liver problem and abscesses.

Signs of Addiction

Some people have a hard time recognizing the signs of addiction. It is especially difficult to see it in someone that you love. There is that part of everyone that would rather remain in denial.

Physical Signs

Severe weight loss and change in appetite.

Declining physical appearance and lack of hygiene and grooming

Slurred speech and lack of coordination and impaired motor skills.

Odd smells on clothing, breath or dwelling

Change in sleeping patterns (sleeping more or sleeping less)

Behavioral Signs

Drastic change in attitude- has mood swings, emotional outburst and unnecessary anger

Dropping grades or poor performance at work, loss of job

Change in friends or hobbies

Risky behavior – multiple sex partners, illegal activity, getting in trouble with the law

Acting paranoid, fearful or appearing out of it

Inexplicable financial difficulties

Getting Help in Tempe, Arizona

Getting help for an addiction is perhaps the hardest part of the journey to reclaiming your life. Putting yourself at the mercy of others is more than a little uncomfortable. If this is your first time entering into rehab, the process can seem overwhelming. There are lots of people who are ready to help you on your road to recovery.

Finding a Facility in Tempe, Arizona

There are lots of quality rehabs in Tempe, Arizona and the nearby city of Phoenix. You or a loved one will need to do a small amount of investigating to make sure that your rehab of choice has three things. First and foremost, you need to make sure that your preferred facility is properly licensed and accredited. This will assure that the facility adheres to proven practices and that staff are required to hold specific certifications and degrees to work there and administer certain treatments. Secondly, it’s important that you check the facility’s success rate for individuals completing their program. Finally, it is vital that the rehab facility has an aftercare program. You will need support to maintain your sobriety once you have completed your treatment program.

What is an Assessment?

You will undergo an assessment, an interview and possibly a physical exam. You will meet with one of the facility’s specialist to who will question you about your drug use, your personal history, as well as pertinent questions in regard to your life and dependencies. They will use this information to create a treatment program especially for you. Although this can be uncomfortable to divulge extremely personal and sometimes embarrassing information to a perfect stranger, it is necessary in order for them to help you. You are in a safe place, free from judgement and criticism. Therefore, it is essential that you be completely honest and forthcoming with your history.

Many times, there are also underlying mental health issues that could be exacerbating your addiction and impeding your recovery. These are usually diagnosed at this time.

What is Pre-Intake?

The pre-intake is a simple procedure in which the facility will determine if you require a period of detox before beginning treatment and determine which counselor will work best with you. 

What is Intake?

This is the process of getting you enrolled in the rehab center. The facility will work out your placement, process your insurance and place you in either detox, inpatient or outpatient treatment.   

What is Detox?

When you are fighting a powerful addiction, such as meth or opioids, like heroin or pain killers, your body may need a period of detoxification. The withdrawal from these drugs can be very intense and difficult to handle. Detox can be dangerous and should be carried out under the care of a medical detox facility. These facilities know what to expect and will be prepared for any complications that might arise.

There are medications that can help ease the craving and help with the other unpleasant symptoms as well. Patients in detox have 24-hour supervision and will have support through this difficult time. The intense desire to use again will make this a tough period to go through but the support from the staff and the help through detox will keep the patient from using and get you over the hump.

What is Inpatient and Outpatient Treatment?

Inpatient treatment is where patients are cared for in a hospital setting. They receive around the clock attention and guidance. This is important as the patient will still have an intense desire to use again. An inpatient facility will keep the patients away from the drugs. The length of the stay will be determined by their counselor, which can be anywhere from 30-90 days. Sometimes there are issues that need to be addressed in intense counseling, such as mental illness and other deeply buried problems that have brought about the drug use in the first place. These will be addressed during this time.

RTC- Residential Treatment Center

Residential treatment centers are more like a home and less like a hospital. The patients still have full time, round the clock care. This is a more relaxed environment, ideal for patients requiring in depth counselling but not needing the medical treatment that patients dealing with more intense mental illnesses or physical detoxification might need.

PHP-Partial Hospitalization Program

Partial hospitalization program is not as extreme as residential treatment. Patients in the program are not under the deep scrutiny that patients in other programs are. Patients in this program are given the chance to regain control over their own life and exercise self-control. They learn coping skills in rehab that they will be able to use in everyday life. They aren’t left to their own devices, as they still have a great deal of supervision and counseling support as well as support from their fellow patients. This is the first step in reentering their everyday life again and they will typically be housed in sober living quarters. They have more freedom, and this is vital to the recovery process that they are able to begin to stand on their own 2 feet.

IOP- Intensive Outpatient Program

For addicts who do not require detox and are able to keep from using without being placed in an inpatient program. These patients are assessed as being the least likely to relapse. They have to attend frequent meetings, but they are able to still be involved in their normal everyday life, such as continuing to work, raise children, or attend school. These patients need to be extremely strong and diligent against using again.

What is Aftercare?

This is probably one of the most important steps of the rehab journey. This step is an enduring commitment to staying drug free for the rest of their life and the treatment center will help patients on their journey. Unfortunately, 50% of people who make it through rehab will eventually relapse. Therefore, having support when the itch to use comes along, can help recovered addicts stay clean and sober. Once leaving rehab, patients will be told that they need to enroll in a 12-step program, like NA or AA. With the pressures of everyday life and the easy access to drugs in Tempe, former addicts need to stay diligent and use all of the coping skills that they acquired in treatment but most importantly, they need the support of people who understand what they are going through.

What is Sober Living?

Some individuals are not quite ready to leave rehab for their real life. They don’t feel that they are ready to face the challenges without the support they are receiving. A sober living community is a safe place where recovering addicts can live and have a support network. The half-way house has strict rules that residents must follow but they have the freedom to come and go as they please. The sober living facility allows for a drug free lifestyle and helps former addicts grow stronger as they begin to step out on their own.

The Power is in Your Hands

This is a very frightening and uneasy period in your life. The pull of the drugs is strong but your desire to get clean can be even stronger. You aren’t alone, many people are there to help you and give you the extra strength you need. The decision to quit drugs and remain sober is the best decision you will ever make. You are stronger than you realize and the first step towards a new life is making the decision to get help.

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