Understanding Evansville Substance Abuse and Addiction
Evansville is a city located within the state of Indiana. It has a population estimate of about 119,775 people, a median household income of $35,996 and an unemployment rate of 4.70%. With a booming economy and exceptional security statistics the city is arguably one of the best places to conduct business and reside. It has some of the best entertainment spots, museums and tourist attractions. However, its elaborate road networks, railways and airports make it vulnerable to drug traffickers. Coupled with a young and curious population that is continually taking to the use of drugs this city is facing a drug abuse and addiction dilemma of unprecedented proportions.
Statistics show that about 5,867 residents of the city use marijuana, 2,569 people abuse prescription medication while 961 are battling cocaine addiction. A further 467 people are using hallucinogens while 245 use inhalants. These statistics are an alarming trend to both law enforcers and medical care providers. While a lot of effort has been put in curbing illegal drug activities much still remains to be done especially with regards to treating people that are already addicted to substance.
Most Commonly Abused Substances in Evansville
Meth is a central nervous system stimulant which is why a lot of users take it right before going out to a nightclub or party. Some of the street names used to refer to this substance include chalk, fast, ice, cold ice, crank and speed. An important fact few people realize is that one can actually get hooked to meth after the first time of use. This drug is quite potent and drains the body’s resources in such a way that the entire system is affected. While it produces some pleasurable effects immediately after being taken the truth is that it turns deadly in a few days. This substance can be taken through a number of ways including inhalation, smoking, sniffing and injecting into the veins. The short term pleasurable effects of this drug can last between six to eight hours. Below are some of the consequences of continued use of meth.
- Causes a decrease in appetite
- Leads to malnutrition and loss of weight
- Damages the kidneys and liver
- Causes partial paralysis of muscles due to frequent injections
- Causes breathing difficulties for those who sniff or snort it
- Can lead to dependence and addiction
- Meth poisoning or overdose can result in death
Heroin or Diamorphine is an opioid drug that is sometimes used for pain relief. However, this is only allowed under strict medical supervision. It is an illegal substance in the state of Indiana meaning anyone found using, selling or trafficking it is liable to prosecution and sentencing to jail. It is taken in a similar manner as meth with some of the most common methods being injecting into the veins, smoking and inhaling as vapor. The substance produces a false sense of wellbeing and significantly reduces painful sensations. These effects often make users grow fond of the drug and can sometimes cause them to engage in dangerous stunts. Below are some of the effects of taking heroin.
- Development of skin allergies
- Damage to nose tissues for those who sniff the drug
- Damage to the muscle system
- Weakening of the immune system
- Dependence and addiction
- Damage to the kidneys and liver
- Difficulty in breathing for those who snort the substance
- Damage to the lungs
- Death due to overdose or poisoning
- Breaking of the family unit
- Loss of jobs
- Poor performance in academics
- Compromise in sexual functioning
Marijuana or cannabis is a substance that is made from the leaves, stems and flowers of the cannabis plant. It is popularly known on the streets by a number of names including ganja, weed, pot, herb, harsh, dope and dragon. This substance is often the first one to be used by individuals that are experimenting on drugs. It is taken by means of smoking, inhaling as vapor, brewing as tea or mixing in food. Despite the fact that it is portrayed in positive light in a number of movies and songs the truth is that it can have detrimental effects on users over time. Below are some of the consequences of taking marijuana over the long term.
- A decline in intelligence quotient
- Financial difficulties
- Loss of job or difficulty in finding employment
- Poor performance in school
- Sexual problems for men
- Damage to the lungs
- Damage to the kidneys and liver
- Breathing difficulties
- Dependence and addiction
- Higher chances of getting involved in accidents
Alcohol is a substance that may be referred to by a number of street names including hooch, booze, brew, cold one, hard stuff and suds. It is a legally accepted drink throughout the United States. While a number of people drink it responsibly there is a growing percentage of people that are taking unregulated amounts of this drink. A particular problem is binge drinking. This refers to a situation where men take more than 5 drinks within 2 hours while women take more than 4 drinks within the same period of time. Because of this short duration between drinks the body is unable to rid itself of the toxic effects of the drink and this speeds up the rate at which negative consequences develop. Below are some of the short and long term effects of taking too much alcohol.
- Nausea and vomiting
- Damage to the liver
- Kidney damage
- Possible development of ulcers
- May trigger cancer of the colon or throat
- Leads to financial difficulties
- May cause loss of job
- Compromises ability to get good academic grades
- May lead to frequent accidents
- Causes breaking up of the family unit
This substance is popularly known as coke and may go by a number of other names including pearl, flake, powder, basa, base, rail, stash, yeyo, white, blow, line and dust. It is a stimulant meaning it tends to boost alertness and energy levels in users. It is taken by various techniques including injecting into the veins, smoking, sniffing, and inhaling as vapor. Once ingested individuals tend to enjoy euphoric effects. People under the influence of cocaine tend to feel happy and seem to have no problems. However, this short term pleasure quickly turns deadly as the effects mentioned below are bound to take place sooner or later.
- Increased vulnerability to diseases and infections due to weakened immune system
- Partial paralysis of the muscles due to frequent injections
- Higher likelihood of contracting infections such as HIV and hepatitis
- Damage to the kidneys and liver
- A likelihood of giving birth to a baby with defects or cocaine related problems
- Lack of employment
- Problems sustaining relationships of any kind
- Difficulty in performing daily obligations
- Poor performance at school
- A likelihood of going to jail
- Dependence on the substance
- Addiction to cocaine
- Death due to overdose or poisoning
Top Reasons for Substance Abuse in Evansville
Boredom – when individuals go for prolonged periods of time without anything to do they may decide to start using drugs as a way of keeping themselves entertained. A lot of these individuals do not realize that their actions are jeopardizing their own health and the welfare of the entire family.
Peer influence – a significant number of people start using drugs only after being prompted by their friends or romantic partners. They do this to avoid being called weaklings, outcasts or other names that may be demeaning. Some start doing drugs to prove to their partners that they actually love them and would do anything for them. Such situations usually take a downward turn for the worse because of the negative effects of substance.
Pain relief – people that are dealing with chronic pain may have no option but to seek relief from doctors. These doctors run tests before prescribing medications that are able to manage painful situations. The problem arises when individuals fail to use drugs as instructed and instead take the wrong dosages or use these drugs for recreational purposes. It is such mistakes that end up leading to prescription drug abuse and addiction.
Psychological trauma – when people go through an extremely painful situation they tend to get affected psychologically. Accidents, violence and sexual abuse are some of the things that may cause severe trauma. Individuals that have gone through these experiences may start taking drugs as a way of coping with the emotional and psychological pain they feel. However, the pain they experience does not go away even after several times of use. The key to resolving this psychological problem lies in paying a visit to a professional therapist or counselor who can assess the situation and provide healthier alternatives of dealing with trauma.
Confidence boost – for some people the prospect of approaching the opposite sex or delivering a public speech can be dreadful. These individual lack self confidence or are simply shy in nature. To remedy their situation such individuals wrongfully use confidence boosting drugs when they are planning on giving a public speech or talking to someone they fancy. Indeed these drugs may give a false sense of confidence over the short term but will ultimately result in dependence, addiction or death due to overdose or poisoning.
Fun times – when people come together to have a good time they tend to get intoxicated. A large number of people prefer taking alcohol during parties or family meetings. There is a significant percentage of people who also opt for stronger substances such as cocaine and heroin. While these party drugs may enhance the fun experience their end result is catastrophic.
Experimenting – in a lot of cases young people take alcohol and other types of drugs to find out what their effects feel like. The initial experience they get plays a great role in whether they will use substance again or quit altogether. Those who enjoy the euphoric effects derived from drug intake tend to want more while those who go through less than ideal experiences usually quit.
Fear of withdrawal – individuals that have developed a dependence on substance may genuinely wish to stop taking drugs but are unable to do so because of the painful withdrawal effects that ensue. Such people end up taking drugs for no other reason except to avoid withdrawal.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug Use and Abuse
There are times when young people or young adults may be using drugs secretly and unless someone close to them is able to detect the habit users may quickly slip into the trap of addiction. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with drug use and abuse.
Unusual odors – when people are smoking, inhaling or sniffing substances they end up having unusual smells emanating from their bodies, clothes or breath. Close family members or friends may be able to notice a consistent occurrence of unusual smells from such individuals. However, this in itself is not a sign of substance abuse which is why you are advised to be keen on the other signs noted below.
Secretive behavior – a number of new drug users do not want anyone to know about their newly acquired habit. That is why they are likely to isolate themselves from other people in the family. These individuals may start locking themselves in a room or spend more time outside without letting anyone know about the whereabouts.
Marks on the skin – those who are used to injecting substance through the veins are likely to develop marks on the skin. Prolonged use of substance through this method eventually leads to severe damage to skin and possible allergic reactions.
Intoxication – having knowledge on the signs of intoxication can be another way to tell if a loved one is using alcohol or other types of drugs. Some of the tell tale signs of intoxication include bloodshot eyes, enlarged pupils, dizziness, confusion, blackouts, slurred speech, impaired walking, slowed reaction, spacing out, hyperactivity or lethargy and unusual change in behavior.
Change of friends – most drug users wish to hang out with people who have similar interests. That is why they may be forced to abandon their old group of friends and find new ones who are drug users themselves. In the same breath these individuals may lose interest in their former hobbies and change their hangout places.
Increased need for money – to acquire substance individuals must be able to raise some money. This is why drug abusers tend to develop a serious need for more money. When asked about the reasons why they need money they never give a clear explanation. Instead they manufacture reasons that do not really add up.
Irregular attendance – whether an individual is in school or already working a common trend is decline in the number of days in which the individual goes to school or work. This is attributed to the fact that users may be dealing with the aftermath of intoxication when they should be at their place of work.
Frequent issues – individuals that use substance tend to rub a lot of people the wrong way which is why you are likely to hear of reports of fights, accidents and run-ins with law enforcers.
The Stages of Addiction
For some people the first instance of drug use can result in addiction. This is common for powerful substances such as methamphetamine and heroin. However, there are individuals that progress gradually from one stage to another until they are no longer able to quit drug use on their own. Here are the stages involved in the process of addiction.
- Introduction to alcohol or drugs
This is the first instance in which individuals get to learn about alcohol or drugs. It is at this point that the individual learns about possible effects of taking the drug. For those people who are introduced to drugs as good things the risk of using is high. However, individuals that get to learn about substances and their negative effects stand a better chance of avoiding the second stage.
- Experimenting with substance
The second stage involves trying out alcohol or drugs. Because of the peer pressure or the overwhelming curiosity that has built up inside, individuals may feel a strong urge to experiment with the drug. A large percentage of people try to limit their substance intake during this initial stage because they are not sure about the reaction they will get. For a few fortunate souls the first experience is characterized with unpleasant effects such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, confusion, allergic reactions and abdominal pain. Such individuals vow never to use drugs again. For those who are unlucky the first instance of use results in a pleasurable experience characterized by happiness, false sense of security and confidence.
- Regular use of substance
Because of the enjoyable effects they derived from the first time they used drugs a lot of people are compelled to try it out again. This time they are more relaxed and the fear of negative effects has relatively diminished. After a second and third use individuals end up becoming fond of the substances they use. This stage is often characterized by a steady pattern of use. This may include taking substance every weekend or during holidays.
- Problem use of the substance
People that are fond of using substance may quickly slip into the fourth stage which is sometimes referred to as risky use. Individuals at this stage start throwing caution to the wind and instead take substance at every opportunity they get. They start spending too much money and time on substance which is why they may develop financial problems and alienate loved ones.
- Dependence on alcohol or drugs
Risky use of alcohol or drugs inevitably leads to dependence. Individuals usually develop a tolerance for the substance they use forcing them to take a larger quantity or mix up substances to ensure they get the desired euphoric effects. Because of the excessive amounts of the substance in the system the body wrongfully interprets that substance is part of it. This is why users who fail to get a regular dose of substance end up experiencing the withdrawal effects noted below.
- Muscle pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Cold chills
- Profuse sweating
- Extreme paranoia or fear of the future
- Anxiety and restlessness
- Drug cravings
- Depression coupled with suicidal thoughts and tendencies
- Social isolation
- Sleep disturbances
- Loss of appetite
- Addiction to drugs or alcohol
The powerful impact of drugs usually lead to addiction over time. At this point individuals are not only physically dependant on substance but they are also psychologically compelled to keep using drugs despite the obvious negative effects that keep occuring. Indeed there are a lot of drug addicts that have been rushed to emergency rooms due to overdose or poisoning only for them to come out and resume drug abuse. Addiction is a condition that holds the victim captive even when they want to stop using. That is why it is necessary for individuals to get professional treatment. Below are some signs of addiction.
- Feelings of guilt after taking substance
- Trying to quit substance use in vain
- Extreme cravings for drugs
- Talking or thinking of drugs or alcohol most of the time
- Missing important appointments due to drug use or intoxication
- Straining of relations due to drug related issues
- Frequently going to hospital for drug related complications
- Inability to say no when presented with alcohol or drugs
- Experiencing withdrawal effects when trying to quit
- Spending too much money on drugs despite having other responsibilities
Treatment for Substance Addiction
Immediately you determine that a loved one is using substance you should reach out for professional help by approaching a local health worker or making a phone call to any rehabilitation center. A member of the staff of the rehab you call will give elaborate instructions on how intervention can be done. After successful intervention an addiction patient is enrolled to either inpatient or outpatient treatment program where the following may take place.
Detoxification – this refers to a process in which the body gets rid of the remnants of drugs or alcohol from the system. Doctors may provide alternative medications to ensure that patients do not have to contend with serious withdrawal effects during this stage.
Counselling – here a professional therapists conducts a series of talks with the patient to try and identify dangerous thought patterns and develop techniques to avoid them. Counseling sessions ensure that patients are able to regain control over their thoughts and emotions.
Disease and infection treatment – patients that are suffering from any other diseases or infections are provided with relevant medication to reverse or manage their conditions.
Physical therapy – medicinal massage, aided motor movements and exercise are among some of the things that may take place during treatment.
Nutrition – nutritionists at the rehabilitation center are charged with the responsibility of coming up with the best diets for recovering patients. This ensures that all recovering patients regain health.
This type of care does not require an addiction patient to stay at the rehab center. The patient is given instructions on how to break free of their habit while continuing with normal routine. This arrangement is ideal for people that are still in control of their thoughts and actions even though addiction is starting to become problematic. Outpatient care is cheap and allows people to stay at work or continue attending classes. It also gives patients the freedom to mingle with loved ones on a regular basis.
This type of treatment has a requirement that the patient stays at the treatment center for the duration of the treatment program. It is highly recommended for individuals that have lost all self-control. It is also ideal for people that are suffering from other physical ailments or conditions that are precipitated by addiction. This type of care allows doctors to monitor patients on a 24-hour basis. It is more expensive when compared to outpatient care.
Partial hospitalization care
This refers to a program under which the patient is allowed to leave the rehabilitation center for a limited period of time. This could be a few hours in the evening or afternoon. The patient is usually allowed to leave the facility to mingle with family members and friends at home.