Drug Stats and Treatment in Palmdale, California
Palmdale City lies in Los Angeles County, California. It forms part of the Antelope Valley community and has a population of 158,279. Palmdale, like other U.S. cities is grappling with the growing problem of substance abuse. Drug abuse and alcoholism have ruined people’s lives and many are unsure about what to do to start living healthy lives again. However, if you live in Palmdale, California, there are many treatment facilities to help put you on a firm path to recovery.
A Period of Relative Calm
Drug-related deaths had actually slowed in Los Angeles County in recent years due to the state government’s strict application of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP). This forced doctors to come clean about the number of prescriptions they’d given their patients. This made it hard for patients to obtain numerous prescriptions from different physicians, simultaneously.
ER doctors were also under orders to administer opioid prescriptions only when absolutely necessary, and usually to non-cancer patients experiencing extreme pain. The least possible dosage was to be given and prescribed. Consequently, in the period between 2015 and 2016, opioid prescriptions dropped 12 percent in California.
Another anti-opioid measure was to crack down hard on drug traffickers. From January 2015 to June 2016, about 170 kilos of the fentanyl were seized by federal agent within the state.
California is also increasingly availing Narcan or Naloxone which may be used to restore the status quo during drug overdoses. Often breathing slows down alarmingly, or stops altogether. Naloxone has the effect of restoring normal breathing patterns.
The Drug Threat Resurfaces
Opioid-related overdose deaths are on the rise again in California. Of the 300 synthetic opioid deaths recorded in California in 2016, three-quarters were fentanyl-associated, according to the state’s Department of Public Health. In addition, the Health Planning and Development Office in Los Angeles County reports that the number of visits to emergency rooms by millennials addicted to heroin rose from 114 between January and September 2010, to 237 during the same months in 2016. But generally, increases are being recorded across income levels, genders and ages. Analysts also say the use of Naloxone is becoming increasingly costly.
Fentanyl, a Growing Problem
In 2015, there were 135 fentanyl fatalities in California according to the state’s Department of Public Health. In 2016, this figure rose to 234. Between 2011 and 2013, fentanyl-associated deaths numbered 40 in L.A County, and in 2014 and 2015, they numbered 62 and 46, respectively. The L.A. Department of Public Health says these low figures can be misleading. Fentanyl is often difficult to detect in standard tests. Moreover, when doctors treat overdose patients, they are looking for the more obvious opioids. Additionally, many hospitals are not equipped with the necessary technology to properly detect fentanyl. To further complicate the issue, fentanyl is being combined with heroin and other illegal opioids so that people are actually unaware that they are using fentanyl.
Heroin and fentanyl are dangerous opioids and it’s important to know what they are as well as the risk factors involved in taking them.
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an illegal opioid drug that comes from morphine, a natural chemical derived from the poppy plant. Morphine is used in the treatment of chronic pain. Heroin, a central nervous depressant that easily slows down vital bodily functions such as breathing and heart rate, is often abused with a variety of other drugs and alcohol, which serves to increase its potency.
What are the risk factors associated with heroin?
Heroin is extremely addictive. Regular users can very rapidly become tolerant to heroin. This means they will increasingly need it more often and in higher doses to achieve the high they want, making the risk of an overdose all the more likely.
When people have overdosed on heroin, their breathing becomes slow and it may stop altogether. The overdose in fact lowers the amount of oxygen getting to the brain, leading to coma, brain damage, or death.
The long-term effects of heroin abuse can cause complications in virtually every area of an addict’s life. The long-term effects of heroin abuse are variable, based upon length of abuse, amount used, purity of the heroin, prior risk-taking behaviors, as well as individual genetic makeup. The most common effects of heroin abuse include:
- Collapsed veins
- Infection of heart valves
- Liver disease
- Lung disease
- Abscesses at injection sites
- Heart attacks
- Accidental overdose
What is Fentanyl?
Legal fentanyl is used to treat chronic cancer-related pain, because it has 100 times the strength of morphine. It is also believed to have 50 times the power of heroin. So it’s an extremely powerful and toxic drug when abused.
What are the risk factors associated with fentanyl?
Fentanyl is prescribed with care by doctors and other clinical professionals because it’s so powerful. It’s used for pain that can’t be eased by morphine. But it is increasingly being used outside of these prescription parameters with alarming consequences.
To complicate matters, it resembles heroin in appearance, and is sometimes being passed off as heroin, or added to heroin without the user’s knowledge to make an even more potent mix. These blends are available on the black market. So people are becoming dependent on a highly addictive substance they may not even know they are taking. This makes overdose all the more likely.
You know you’re abusing fentanyl and need to seek help when you’re:
- Taking it in larger amounts and beyond the length of time it was prescribed for.
- Injecting or snorting it, or taking it in other ways it shouldn’t be taken
- Mixing it with alcohol, heroin and other substances
Just a tiny fraction of fentanyl may lead to overdose and death experts say. Here are a few signs of a fentanyl overdose:
- Extremely small pupils
- Dizziness, confusion, weakness
- Extremely slow heart beat
- Chronically slow breathing or none at all
The effects on heart rate and breathing may lead to perpetual damage or death. You should seek help immediately for anyone you see displaying the above symptoms.
Treatment Protocol for Substance Abuse in Palmdale CA
Once you’ve become addicted to prescription pills, alcohol and prescription opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, it is very difficult to get off them without assistance. You need to check into a Palmdale treatment center today. There are so many health problems that these substances give rise to and they will continue to worsen unless you get help for them alongside your addiction.
What are the basics of opioid treatment?
Treatment for substance abuse is extremely beneficial. Not only does it improve your health but it restores faith in your capacity to solve life’s challenges without resorting to destructive substances. The first step in treatment for hard drug or alcohol abuse will be a medical detox which washes the substance out of your system and readies you for the next treatment step which is rehab. This involves joining an inpatient or outpatient facility so you can learn skills and new ways of thinking that help you avoid a relapse. During your inpatient rehab, you should be inducted into some 12-step programs that you should continue to attend even after completing your rehab. They will help you to stay drug-free.
What’s the best type of facility for me?
If you’ve been a hardened drinker or drug taker, and most definitely if you’ve been abusing fentanyl and heroin, your best treatment option would be inpatient care. Better still, if you can get into a facility that offers both detox and rehab. If only inpatient detox is offered, try to go right into an inpatient treatment rehab center in Palmdale, following your detox.
Why do I need an assessment?
When you approach a treatment center, specialists will evaluate you to design a treatment plan that is meant only for you. There will be screening and paperwork to be done. The intake pros need you to be honest about how your addiction started, how long it’s been going on for, and what substances you are actually taking. You need to provide details about your relationships, your work life and other related factors so the best treatment plan can be worked out for you.
What is detox?
It’s the medical process you go through to get the drugs or alcohol out of your system and to deal with the withdrawal symptoms that happen when you abruptly stop using your substance. These symptoms include insomnia, depression, cramps, tremors, and more seriously, seizures. You may be given medication if your symptoms are too severe. The process is supervised by trained detox staff that will watch you like a hawk so as to deal with any potential snags.
If your addiction is severe—that is, if you’ve been taking lots of alcohol and opioids such as heroin and fentanyl—your detox may go on for 2 weeks or longer, still. Your body has to have time to get used to being drug-free. Those who are mildly addicted may not be required to detox
Can I self-detox?
Detoxing on your own is dangerous. Often the resultant withdrawal symptoms are too hard to bear without professional involvement, and without the FDA-certified medication that’s only available at the treatment centers. Withdrawal symptoms can lead to severe brain disorders, organ malfunction, and death, outside of a clinical environment. This is especially so if you’ve been addicted to alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids such as oxycodone, heroin and fentanyl. So you’re better off enrolling at an inpatient detox center in Palmdale where you’ll get all the expert attention you need.
It’s worth remembering that detox is only the beginning of treatment. You’re not cured after detox. You need to follow it up with a stint in rehab so that the reasons that influenced your addiction may be dealt with and so that you can rid yourself of your addictive behavior.
If you’re deeply addicted to prescribed painkillers, heroin, fentanyl or alcohol, inpatient treatment is mandatory after you’ve completed your medical detox.
What is the point of inpatient treatment?
If you’ve tried to get off your addiction alone and without success, then inpatient treatment at a Palmdale facility will be of tremendous help. Here are the benefits to be gained from the most reputable centers:
- Treatment at a residential clinical center, with all round care from qualified medical and addiction professionals.
- An environment free from the influence of drug dealers and drug taking friends.
- Behavioral therapy to restore your self-esteem, and help you cope responsibly with addiction triggers.
- Group therapy to help you make supportive friendships that will stand you in good stead after treatment.
- Relapse prevention strategies to keep you permanently drug-free
- A recovery plan specific to your situation but which can be altered regularly to be more effective.
- Treatment of any co-occurring health conditions that are perpetuating your addiction.
- Complimentary services such as art therapy, mindfulness and meditation, to help turn you into a well-rounded person
- Introduction to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and other 12-step strategies to give you the required ongoing support once you leave formal treatment.
- Medication, if you need it.
How long will my stay be?
Most centers have a short rehab program that lasts 30 days. But they also offer more rewarding programs that last 90 days or even a year. Most people don’t feel ready to leave a treatment center after just one month. Usually this first month takes the form of a settling down period.
How do outpatient facilities operate?
Unlike the inpatient system, you live at home or a sober living facility and you visit the center for treatment at scheduled times. You still get medical care, as well as group and behavioral therapy. There are three options:
Ordinary Outpatient Program
This is for people with a less severe form of addiction. You check in for treatment perhaps twice a week and at times that suit your convenience such as the evenings. Otherwise you continue with your home life as usual.
Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
Treatment for both is intense. If you choose IOP, you’ll attend for several hours per week and with PHP you’ll likely be at the center every day for 7 to 8 hours. Both options cab be an extra measure for people who’ve left inpatient rehab and need some backup before they return completely to their old lives. The homes they commute from have to be stable for these options to work.
What is Aftercare?
Once you’ve completed your treatment at a Palmdale center, you would do well to be a regular attendee at 12-step aftercare programs such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and NA (Narcotics Anonymous). Through them you continue to interact with your peers, drawing from them the support you need to stay drug-free in the future. Your rehab center should have already introduced you to these groups so that continued attendance will be the norm for you once you leave the treatment center.
Another bonus is that if you’ve successfully completed treatment at your chosen center, you will be eligible to join its alumni group. You’re bound to face sobriety challenges away from the center. So it’s a good idea to keep in touch with personnel from there so they can give you the extra support you require during hard times.
Who enters a sober living facility?
Sober living homes are an additional transitional step you might like to take after inpatient care and before going back to your usual life. It gives you a chance to consolidate what you learned in a comfortable environment surrounded by your peers and also supervised by your peers. There’s still some structure, as well as rules to be obeyed, and chores to be done. There’s also group therapy. And you’ll have practice reintegrating back into society like finding a job.