Drugs and Treatment in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is a city in southern California that is fast growing. It is at the center of the country’s film and television industry.
It has an iconic Hollywood sign and a home to several well-known studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and also Warner Brothers. These studios offer behind the scenes tours.
Los Angeles is home to over four million people, with the highest population being that of the youth. However, there is a high rate of unemployment in Los Angeles. Statistics show that over the past years, the percentage rate of unemployment has been rising steadily at an alarming rate. Cases such as unemployment lead to increase in crime rate as the unemployed may opt to use crude ways to earn a living. It is also through this that the people, especially the youth, indulge in the use of drugs leading to addiction.
Drugs are generally poisons. The amount that is taken by a person determines its effect on that person. A minimal amount of drug acts as a stimulant such that it speeds you up. A higher amount acts as a sedative since it slows you down. An even larger amount of drugs do poison and can even kill the user. This is true of any drug, the amount needed to achieve the effect differs with the intention.
Many drugs have another disadvantage. They directly affect the brain of the user. They can destroy the user’s way of perception on what is happening around him or her. As a result, that person’s actions may be inappropriate or destructive. Drugs block off almost all desirable sensations with the unwanted ones.
While providing short-term help in the relief of pain, they also wipe out ability and alertness and spoils a person’s thinking.
Looking at this statistically, there are various drugs and alcohol that are akin to the Los Angeles, especially Heroin. The economic cost in the county is approximately $10.8 billion annually, an extremely grand figure for just a county. This cost further breaks down into the related facets like illnesses ($5.4 billion), traffic offenses related to drug usage (DUI; $2 billion), crime ($2.4 billion), and other injury ($1 billion). These figures are scary considering the fact that Los Angeles county population isn’t as populated as some parts of the state of California, where there is less consumption.
Medicines are drugs. They are intended to speed up, slow down, and change something about the way your body is working, or try to make it work much better. At times, they are necessary since they either act as stimulants or sedatives. Overdosing can kill you as if you do not use medicines as they are prescribed, they can be as dangerous as illegal drugs.
Addiction is bad. No matter what form it takes, there are drugs that are more dangerous than others, they have a long list of side effects and long-term damage that they cause to the user, as well as the addiction factor that can’t be compared to other substances. These are some of the worst drugs to be used, more or less, there are other options.
Recovering from addiction is not a treatment, it is a long process as it is the only way to get to stay clean. But how exactly you go about your recovery depends on you and circumstances around you. The worst of the worst drugs will not stop you from having a future living a fulfilling and sober life if you decide to make an effort toward recovery.
One takes drugs since he/she wants to change something in his/her life. One thinks that drugs are a solution. Eventually, the drugs become the problem. As difficult as it may be to face one’s problems, the end result of drug abuse is always worse than the problem one is trying to solve. The real answer is to get the facts right and avoiding drugs in the first place.
COMMONLY ABUSED DRUGS AND THEIR EFFECTS
Benzodiazepines have been marketed and used since the 60s, as an anti-anxiety medication. The most widely known benzodiazepine is valium, and much like alcohol, it reduces inhibition and causes a mild sedative effect, due to it enhancing the effects of a neurotransmitter known as GABA.
Because it acts similar to alcohol, it is also extremely dangerous in certain dosage or in cases of substance abuse, both due to its addictiveness and the fact that benzodiazepine withdrawal can kill a person, unlike most drug withdrawals.
Benzodiazepines count as sedative drugs, weaker alternatives to the much more powerful and much more dangerous barbiturates, and they carry with them a series of side effects such as potential amnesia and elevated risk of suicide.
Aside from being extremely dangerous when addicted to, benzos, as they are known, are also commonly combined with drugs that increase the substance’s deadliness, including opioids such as OxyContin, and alcohol.
Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication and should under no circumstance be used outside of a prescription. These are not lightweight drugs – yet the high rate at which they are prescribed means many pills of one of the worst drugs end up in the wrong hands, or in the black market, sold on the streets for a quick high and a chance of death.
While methamphetamine is known as the malice that has spread throughout the US, especially across the Midwest, due to how easy it is to produce in a makeshift lab, amphetamines can be just as dangerous and difficult to break as an addiction – and many people, especially kids, struggle with it.
Commonly used as a mental and physical performance-enhancing drug and as a major ingredient in ADHD medicine, common prescription drugs that include amphetamine are Adderall, Dexedrine and Evekeo, as well as others. Amphetamines work differently to methamphetamine, but still, count as stimulants – and are still highly addictive. The availability of amphetamines, especially for purposes that lie well outside any medical reasoning (such as for academic success) has in recent years fueled a new addiction, especially among teens.
Amphetamines have their uses in the fields of medicine, and they can be invaluable for certain cases of mental illness – but getting addicted to amphetamines can send you into a rubber banding experience of increased intelligence and motivation, coupled by terrible crashes brought about by one of the worst drugs to get hooked one. And for many who originally got into the habit and saw it as a risky yet effective way to make it through the academic grind, it often is that habit that sends them into a downward spiral, far away from their original and previous ambitions.
Opioids are some of the worst drugs in existence due to their sheer addictiveness – more addictive than almost any other drug, opioids are a class of drugs that affect the brain’s opioid receptors, killing pain while inducing feelings of euphoria. Opioids range from simple opium tea, cooked traditionally to relieve pain, to opium itself, and refined versions of the plant’s compounds, including morphine, codeine, and heroin, as well as synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil.
In recent times, opioids have grown to the top of the country’s list of concerning illicit drugs due to an explosion in usage across all groups, and a rise in overdoses and deaths. A number of factors caused this issue, most of which have been building up for decades, brought to the tipping point by the creation and distribution of low-quality heroin cut with the extremely dangerous and almost toxic fentanyl, one of the worst drugs to ever hit the country.
Other factors include a rise in wealth inequality and struggling industries, a rise in opioids on the street caused by homemade and imported heroin as well as prescription drugs, and most significantly, the rise in the use of prescription painkillers in the 80s, the effects of which created a new generation of people addicted to painkillers.
Although it might be a surprising addition to some on the list, nicotine is widely considered to be one of the worst drugs to be addicted to due to how hard the addiction is to break – and while the short-term effects are negligible for most, the long-term effects, as well as general availability and ease-of-access to tobacco products, makes smoking one of the hardest things to quit. In fact, while opioids are far more addictive, they’re statistically easier to break away from permanently.
The one thing nicotine has going for it is that it does not kill as quickly as other drugs might. While nicotine itself is incredibly toxic so much so that a small amount of pure undiluted nicotine on the skin can be enough to make you sick – the amounts present in cigarettes is unlikely to put you in the grave. On the other hand, the tar of smoking tobacco will cause long-lasting damage to your health, most notably an increased risk of cancer for yourself and everyone inhaling your smoke.
- Synthetic drugs
Synthetic drugs are some of the worst drugs. These drugs are nothing new, but they have become a challenging new addition to the list of worst drugs for law enforcement agencies trying to catch up to all of the new chemical combinations coming up both on the streets and in legitimate stores.
Synthetic cannabis is a great example: while the dangers of cannabis are questionable to some, synthetic cannabis is a completely different beast, capable of causing massive harm and even accidental overdoses due to the uneven application of synthetic cannabinoids to dried plant matter.
The long-term side effects of many of these synthetic drugs are difficult to pinpoint, due to how varied the products can be, and due to the lack of a larger sample size. Most synthetic drugs, however, including cannabinoids and cathinones (bath salts) should be avoided at all costs.
All addictions can lead to death. These are some of the worst drugs to be addicted to for no good reason.
Heroin is a drug which is made from morphine. This is a natural substance removed from the seed pod of the different opium poppy plants. The plants are grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia.
Heroin can be a white or brown powder. It is also found in a black sticky substance referred to as black tar heroin. Other familiar names for heroin include; the big H, the horse, the hell dust, or the smack.
People can inject, sniff, snort, or even smoke heroin just as the cigar. Some people mix heroin with crack cocaine and referring it to as speed balling.
Heroin enters the human brain quickly then binds to opioid receptors on cells located in several areas. They also affect cells more so those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure, in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.
People using heroin report a feeling of intense pleasure, also known as euphoria.
However, there are other common effects, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Warm flushing of the skin
- Heavy feeling in the arms together with the legs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe itching
- Clouded mental functioning
- The state of being conscious and semiconscious
People who use heroin over the long-term develop:
- Collapsed veins for people who inject the drug
- Damaged tissue inside the nose for people who sniff or snort it
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Abscesses (swollen tissue filled with pus)
- Constipation and stomach cramping
- Liver and kidney disease
- Lung complications, including pneumonia
- Mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
- Sexual dysfunction in men
- Irregular menstrual cycles for women
The Treatment Process
From information gathered, during the assessment stage, an individual who wants to feel the experience in some way has to have some close relationship with anyone who abuses drugs. It is through this that one is enticed to have a taste so as to know how one feels.
Some of the reasons young people have given for taking drugs include;
- To fit in
- Stress and depression
- To escape or relax
- To relieve boredom
- To seem grown up
- To rebel
- To experiment
Fitting in can be due to peer pressure. This is when one is surrounded by drug addicts; it can be friends, relatives or even family members.
One tends to copy the rest so as to look like them and be accepted socially by them. This is to avoid being neglected or undermined.
Stress and depression is also another cause of drug indulgence. One may be undergoing stress due to various reasons e.g.; losing a job, heartbreaks, poverty, sicknesses etc.
People tend to abuse drugs as a way of relaxation. They have a belief that using drugs causes a relaxation in a person’s mind and thoughts. Little do they know that it is a pathway to a quick death as it kills the normal functioning of the body.
Relieving boredom is also one of the reasons purported by drug addicts as a reason to why they use drugs. They say that it keeps their minds occupied
In order to gain respect and recognition, some people think abuse of drugs is the way to go. They tend to believe that one will be respected as they do rank themselves higher than the normal person.
There are some people who find pleasure in doing the wrong things. They always want to be on the wrong side of the law, they are always rebellious and always want to do the opposite so as to seek attention.
People do like to try out new things. This is the spirit of adventure. Some people do try out using drugs so as to have a mutual feeling with the drug addicts. They would want to try out something new. It is through this that addiction slowly comes in a continuous repetition of the same leads to addiction.
This is the means by which the drug is put into a person’s body. Drug addicts use different ways of passing the drugs into their body systems. The drugs do have various side effects, some being short term while others are long-term effects but the outcomes are normally severe including death.
Heroin is abused in different ways; some people do inject it into their bodies, others do sniff the powder, others do snort while others even smoke it just as a cigar.
By injection, they usually use needles and syringes to inject themselves directly into the blood vessels. They prefer injecting it through the veins so that it spreads fast into the other body parts. This is considered the fastest means as it is lumped together with blood and over to all parts of the body.
Sniffing involves inhaling it through the nose into the breathing system. Through this, it goes into the lungs where it is taken is as oxygen is taken into the blood through the bronchioles. This is done by sniffing bit by bit until one gets `high’.
Smoking involves wrapping it in a foil and lighting one end whole inhaling the smoke through the other. In this way, smoke is inhaled into the lungs where it also gets into the body system just as sniffing.
Snorting involves inhaling the powdered form of an illegal drug, through the nose. It works with the same principal just as smoking and sniffing.
Among the effects of this drug include;
- Causes addiction
- Causes cancer
- Distorts the normal functioning of the body
- Causes brain damage
- Kills the nervous system
- Loss of appetite
- Liver damage
- Respiratory depression
- Difficulty swallowing
- Circulatory problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Intense sweating
- Sleep apnea
- Joint pain
- Body weakness
- A runny nose
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased respiratory rate
- Unsteady gait
- Suicidal ideation
- Trouble with the law
- Respiratory arrest
What Is Heroin Detoxification?
This is the process of clearing the body out of a particular substance. As heroin leaves the body, a user will experience several uncomfortable side effects which are also referred to as withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal is the body’s way of demanding more heroin during detoxification. While heroin withdrawal is hardly life-threatening, it can be very unpleasant, more so to the heavy users. Most addicts will feel their first withdrawal symptoms anytime from six to twelve hours after their last use of heroin. If you stop using heroin without the help of any medications, withdrawal symptoms tend to reach their maximum at about three to four days after your last heroin use.
Detoxification involves the help and guidance of a medical practitioner. He/she will guide and assist one through what the addict is going through. This especially is during the hallucination period where one may be feeling so weird and out of control of one’s body.
While hallucinating, one undergoes through different mood changes, behavioral changes, physical changes as well as psychological changes.
- Mood swings
- Interpersonal problems
- Inability to interact normally with others
- Loss of relationships
- Unkempt appearance
- Drug-seeking behaviour
- Changes in normal behaviour patterns
- Failure to fulfil major life responsibilities
- “Nodding off”
- Problems at work or school
- Lack of protective measures
- Hiding the drug in various places
- Feeling disoriented
- Increased sleep
- Slurred speech
- Track marks
- Weight loss
- A constant runny nose
- Scabs or bruises due to skin picking
- A headache
- Dry mouth
- Loss of self-control
- Inhibitory behavior
- Emotional numbing
- Inability to think clearly
- Personality changes
- Inability to think clearly
- Disorganized thoughts
What are the treatments for heroin addiction?
Different types of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction. They include both behavioral and pharmacological.
Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to how the functions and behaves. This results in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV, other diseases and criminal behaviour.
Although behavioral and medical treatments can be very useful when used alone, research has shown that for some people, integrating both types of treatments is the best approach.
Research has established that medical treatment of heroin addiction increases the retention in treatment programs and decreases drug use, infectious disease transmission, and even criminal activity.
When a person who is addicted to heroin first quits, he/she undergoes withdrawal symptoms which may be severe.
Medications can be helpful in this detoxification stage to relieve craving and other physical symptoms which always make a person to relapse. Detoxification is a useful step when it is followed by some type of evidence-based treatment.
The many effective treatments for behaviors available for heroin addiction can be delivered in outpatient and residential environments.
Medicine is usually given throughout the treatment process. This is to help reduce the user off heroin. Usually, methadone and buprenorphine are the most preferred medications of choice.
These medications usually copy the effects of heroin, thus helping to reduce the withdrawal process while reducing the urge to continue using heroin.
Inpatient detoxification is usually recommended for long-term users with severe withdrawal symptoms so as to benefit from twenty-four hours and seven days medical monitoring.
In outpatient detoxification, heroin users undergo detoxification while at home with medical assistance that helps decrease withdrawal symptoms.
Similar to inpatient detoxification, heroin agonists are also regularly used in outpatient detoxification.
Those addicts who undergo an outpatient detoxification will continue to have often clinical check-ins so as to monitor progress and be able to return home every day.
Outpatient detoxification tends to work well for people who are in some way new heroin users, or people who only experience mild addiction to moderate withdrawal symptoms.
A heavy user, however, would more likely succeed with an inpatient medical detoxification program.
Apart from what people may think, healing from addiction does not end with detoxification. Detoxification is just an important step in the process of recovery.
Heroin Counseling and Therapy
As soon as an addict is through with detoxification, it is recommended that he or she take the next special step that is counselling. Here, the psychological aspects of heroin dependence are addressed.
The goal of heroin addiction counselling is to dive deep into the personal history of the addict. This is to get an understanding of what makes the individual to use heroin and to formulate a plan that would assist the addict deal accordingly with any situation that could make him/her renew heroin usage.
Counselling is best used only in certain situations. It is also best used in many cases when counselling is combined with other forms of therapy and heroin treatments.
Aftercare Programs and Heroin Support Groups
What most people don’t understand is that completing a basic addiction treatment program doesn’t mean an addict can go on to a sober life free from challenges that involve heroin. On the contrary, the patient is faced with new challenges.
Once a heroin addict completes treatment and goes out on his own, he will be faced with hurdles, mainly in the form of old friends who are still doing heroin, or stressful situations that could act as a trigger for a renewed craving for the drug.
Getting sober is hard. Making sobriety last is much harder. Most people who go into a residential rehab treatment manage to detox and stay that way during their long stay. But problems begin when they leave.
Sober living involves choosing new friends, a new home away from your previous one and eating a healthy meal, fruits and plenty of water so as to stay healthy. One is also advised to find something to do so as to occupy one’s mind.
To sum it up, all many drugs aren’t medicinal, and they are addictive and do have negative impacts on someone’s life. Drug abuse do lead to death if not checked. It is costly to detoxify the system of an addict so, everyone is advised to completely avoid drugs at all cost. Stay safe, stay healthy and always be wise so as not to fall into abusing drugs.