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Davenport, Iowa Fights Drug Abuse

Along with the rest of the country, cities like Davenport, Iowa continue to fight drug and alcohol abuse. With a population of a little over 100,000, Davenport’s biggest abuse problems are alcohol, marijuana and the ever-increasing threat of opioids.

Iowa’s binge drinking rates among residents 18 to 25-year-olds far exceeds the national average. Recent studies indicate about 70 percent of Iowans in this age group admitted to binge drinking during the last 30 days. Among Iowa’s high school students, 24 percent reported getting into a car with someone who had been drinking in the last 30 days. Another 11 percent admitted to drinking and driving at least once in a month. That number is much higher than the national average of 8 percent. Along with the risks of death from alcohol poisoning, binge drinking also contributes to other social hazards in Davenport including auto collisions, accidents, including accidental drownings, and crimes ranging from assault and rape to murder.

https://statesymbolsusa.org/states/united-states/iowa

Marijuana use among Iowa teens in cities like Davenport have also increased over the past three years. In fact, more people were killed in traffic accidents related to marijuana than any other drug, according to the Iowa Department of Transportation’s most recent evaluation. More Iowans also are cited for marijuana-impaired driving than impaired driving related to any other drug, including alcohol.  Marijuana-related emergency room visits have more than doubled in the past ten years. The perceived low risk of marijuana as a recreational drug has fueled both use and abuse.

One of the most critical drug issues in cities like Davenport include the abuse and overdose risk of opioids. Opioid pain relievers, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, contributed to 14 percent of the 297 drug overdose deaths in 2015. During the same period, deaths due to heroin increased 83 percent. As opioids become no longer available via prescription many addicts turn to heroin for a reduced cost and an equivalent high.

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

How Iowa is Fighting Back

Iowa law enforcement and government officials are developing initiatives to reduce drugs in Iowa’s cities. Their efforts include scrutiny by authorized healthcare practitioners including prescribers and pharmacists. With the Iowa Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), these practitioners can access information regarding their patients’ use of controlled substances to prevent abuse of opioids through over-prescription.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy is also working hard to raise awareness of the dangers of drugged driving at the state level. The program focuses on providing additional training to law enforcement to help identify drugged drivers so that the focus is not entirely on alcohol related stops, which have let many drug- impaired motorists slip through the cracks.

In addition, the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign for Iowa is providing awareness messaging regarding the abuse of drugs and alcohol, including the gateway risk of marijuana leading to harder drugs and the dangers of binge drinking.

At the forefront of any anti-drug program however, is the people who see loved ones first hand suffering from addiction. They are the ones who can get the addicted the help they need.  

Identifying Drug & Alcohol Addiction

Knowing the symptoms of drug abuse may vary from drug to drug, but the overall characteristics remain the same. Assessing a loved one who is suffering with addiction is the first step towards getting them help. Becoming aware that drugs have become a problem in a loved one’s life begins with some of the following red flags.

Using drugs to feel normal

When dependency has reached a stage of addiction, normalcy is defined by the high the drug produces. The ability to perform every day, simple tasks requires the drug. Functioning addicts may not even consider their usage an addiction as it allows them to go to work or school, not realizing the harmful effects it is causing long-term.

Tried to quit and failed

If a loved one has tried to quit using drugs or alcohol and find themselves back using, then it is time to seek help. Not being able to quit often leads to feelings of failure or a sense of having no will-power. Too many addicts realize too late that drugs establish a psychological and physical need that is difficult to beat without professional assistance.

All money is spent on drugs and alcohol

When most of an addicted person’s money goes to their drug of choice, they are facing a serious problem with addiction. Alarmingly, many addicts will forego essentials like food, rent and bills to feed their habit.

Risky behavior

The influence of drugs may lead the addicted to take more risks in every day life. They may drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol, which endangers both themselves and others. They may become reckless regarding unprotected sex or associating with people or visiting places that may be dangerous.

Failing performance at work or school

As an addiction deepens, the drug takes precedence over other responsibilities in life.  Poor performance at work or at school is often an indicator that drugs or alcohol have become a preoccupation. Frequent absenteeism may lead to failing grades at school or getting fired at work. Often an addict will feel that it is just bad luck, not realizing it is their addiction that is causing issues in their life.

Understanding the Reasons for Addiction

Why people becomes addicted is a complex issue, involving both biological and social factors.

Genetics or individual biology. Many individuals may have a genetic likelihood for addiction and not know it. Even if substance abuse is not present in their immediate family, past generations may have suffered from addiction and have passed on addictive genes.

Family history of addiction. When immediate family is abusing substances, this behavior often compels teenagers to try drugs and alcohol at an early age. The use of drugs and alcohol becomes okay in a household that is suffering from addiction. Statistics show that parents who used illegal drugs or abused alcohol put their children at a greater risk of substance abuse. In a report on family drug and alcohol use, it was discovered that of children under age eighteen, 13% lived in a household where a parent or other adult used illicit drugs, and 24% lived in a household where a parent or other adult was a binge or heavy drinker.

Peer pressure. Social groups have a major influence on youth when it comes to trying drugs and alcohol. A recent survey about teens, peer pressure and drug and alcohol use found peer pressure to be a significant factor in substance abuse. The study concluded that teens with friends who do drugs and drink alcohol are more likely to do the same, and that teens who do drugs and drink alcohol are more likely to convince their friends to do it too. Also, teens who do drugs and drink alcohol are more likely to seek out other teens who do the same.

Mental health issues. In many instances, mental health plays a role in drug and alcohol use. More than 8.9 million people nationally are reported to have both mental health and substance abuse disorders occurring at the same time.

What Rehab Needs to Know to Help the Addicted

Every recovery center needs to better understand an individual’s addiction in order to provide the best treatment.  That may mean a variety of tests and interview questions conducted by recovery specialists, doctors and therapists. Pre-intake is the process of evaluating a patient to understand the best course of treatment. It is during this process that long-term inpatient care or outpatient care will be recommended.

Pre-intake tests may include:

  • Medical Evaluation. Doctors determine the physical health of the addicted. This evaluation includes the impact addiction has had on current health as well as understanding other pre-existing medical conditions that may complicate addiction treatment.
  • Psychiatric Evaluation. Psychiatrists will evaluate the mental health of the patient. Like medical health, psychiatrists look for the impact of drugs on mental well-being as well and the presence of pre-existing mental health issues.
  • Cognitive Evaluation. Psychiatrists will also look at learning and perceiving ability to determine if these capacities have been impaired by drug and alcohol use. Also, they will determine if any learning disabilities are present.
  • Toxicology Evaluation. Doctors will determine what substances the patient has been taking as well as understanding for how long. This test determines the severity of the addiction.

Understanding Detox

Detox is the first and often the most difficult step in the recovery process.  Ending drug and alcohol use abruptly, detox triggers numerous physical reactions in the body.  Even though medications may help ease the symptoms, detox is still a painful episode in a recovering addict’s journey. Many factors determine the severity of detox including the health of the individual, the type of drug used, how long the drug has been used and if other drugs were also used in combination. Because of the risks of the detox process, it is not recommended that anyone attempt detoxing without the assistance of medical professionals.

Symptoms of Detox

  • Extreme lethargy, loss of appetite, night sweats, restlessness and tremors
  • Clammy skin
  • Nausea, vomiting and stomach cramps
  • Agitation and excitability
  • In some instances, there is severe anxiety and sometimes hallucinations
  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Disorientation and racing thoughts
  • Nervousness and depression

After detox, understanding what will happen during treatment is important for a recovering addict so they will have no misconceptions about recovery. Here are some points every patient must learn.

What is withdrawal? How long does it last?

What Every Rehab Patient Needs to Know

It’s not just about detox.  Many addicts come to rehab thinking they get to leave right after the detox process is complete. Detox is just the beginning.  Inpatient and outpatient programs are the long-term solution to drug addiction recovery.  

Long-term recovery should not be delayed. Getting treatment for drug addiction as soon as possible can prevent the addiction from becoming worse and avoid the possibility of an overdose. After detox, an addict may want to leave and return for treatment later. This is a mistake.

Treatments are different for every person. There is not one type of treatment. Recovery professionals will customize the treatment plan to fit the individual based on all the information gathered during the pre-intake process.

There is no quick and easy remedy for addiction.  Therapists and recovery specialists will get to deeper personal causes of addiction that may include family life and past harmful experiences that have make drugs appealing. The process takes time.

Mental health may be a factor in addiction.  Recovery specialists look at the overall mental health of a patient. Many times, other mental health issues like depression or anxiety have compounded the addiction, or be the primary cause.

Physical health affects treatment. Long-term drug and alcohol use may have caused health issues from liver damage to HIV. These medical problems must be co-treated along with addiction.

Family impacts recovery. Many addictions start at home either because another family member is using drugs or alcohol, or family life has many stresses which lead to habitual drug use. Helping the family recover along with the addict is an essential part of the treatment plan.

Medications may be prescribed. Medicines that help with the recovery process can ease withdrawal symptoms during the detox process and reduce drug cravings during long-term treatment and during aftercare.

An addict must be actively involved in getting well.  Often addicts will enter treatment with a passive point of view. This attitude only causes treatment to last longer or minimize its success. For someone seeking true recovery, they must be committed to the process and be ready to engage in the treatment options recovery specialists recommend.

Understanding the Treatment Options

With the help of recovery specialists, a patient will be able to pursue one of two treatment options after detox: inpatient treatment or outpatient treatment. In some instances, inpatient partial hospitalization may be necessary if the severity of the addiction has impaired mental or physical health. Otherwise, most recovering addicts will receive one of these two primary treatments, which have differing benefits for the patient.

Benefits of Inpatient Treatment

Round the clock care. With treatment professionals always on call, the advantage of continuous care through cravings and depression helps overcome the risk of relapse. This option is only available at an inpatient facility.

The companionship and support of fellow addicts. Group therapy brings together patients to assist each other through the recovery process.  Sharing relatable stories and offering personal support, free of judgement, a recovering addict learns from others and finds hope in the realization that there are others engaged in the same struggle for recovery.

A safe environment free of temptation. The risk of relapse comes mainly from the drug-laden home life or neighborhood where drugs can be found. The protection of residential inpatient care seals out those harmful influences and nurtures the recovering individual toward recovery.

The option of partial hospitalization. Partial hospitalization is always an option, even after an addict has entered residential treatment without needing it initially.  If withdrawals become worse or other medical needs become urgent, the patient can continue receiving treatment for addiction while also addressing medical concerns.

The opportunity for patients to change lifestyle.  The advantage of many inpatient facilities is the presence of additional wellness services.  Many rehab centers will include nutrition counseling, exercise classes and even holistic classes such as yoga or meditation.  These added benefits, along with everything else provided by inpatient care, help realign a patient to a sober life, so they can become free of drugs and alcohol and also other unhealthy habits.

Benefits of Outpatient Treatment

In some cases, a less severely addicted patient may receive outpatient treatment. Outpatient programs allow some recovering addicts to continue a life without the restrictions of inpatient facilities. They are able to live with family and go to work while receiving treatment throughout the week. Outpatient usually also becomes the next step for many inpatient treatment patients as well.  Gradually reintroducing the recovering individual into family life, work life and school while continuing to get support from recovery professionals helps reduce the risk of relapse. Outpatient also has the advantage of introducing a patient to innovative recuperative therapies. These methods do not replace traditional twelve-step programs, but augment them with insights through faith, common experiences among participants, family and the need for more life experiences beyond drugs and alcohol.

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Age-Related and Experience-Related Therapy Methods

Familiarity helps many addicts with recovery, so counselors may arrange for groups to be composed of like individuals to make therapy operate more smoothly. For example, teens and young adults may feel more comfortable in a group session composed of others like themselves.  They can relate to high school, dating and parents and how these issues have been affected by addiction.  Women may feel more comfortable speaking about their drug experiences with other women exclusively, especially regarding sensitive issues such as sexual assault.  Because war veterans have had such unique experiences, often groups will be made up entirely of those who have returned from war and can engage together in a different battle against drugs and alcohol.

Faith-Based Methods

Because spirituality is key to many of the twelve step programs that founded addiction treatment, some counselors may place greater focus on God as a means of personal growth and support. Prayer and Bible study may make up many of these sessions and in some cases are an extension of a local church.

Experiential Treatment Methods

Some counselors feel that the group session itself may be too constricting, especially for addicted individuals who haven’t experienced much of life outside of drugs.  Experiential therapies use art projects, fitness challenges and field trips to broaden the horizons of patients and help them see the meaning and value of a sober life.

Family-Focused Methods

Because family is so important to the recovery of an addicted individual, family therapy is often a choice recommended by recovery specialists. When fellow family members are also experiencing addiction, family therapy tries to prevent that influence from causing a relapse in the recovering individual.  To do this, family enters treatment along with the addicted individual, partly to help the addict confront issues of addiction at home, and partly to help family members seek recovery.

Should I choose inpatient or outpatient?

The Advantages of Aftercare

The primary goal of aftercare is to ensure that the recovering addict remains sober after treatment is complete. Because addiction can sometimes be a life-long struggle, many support groups continue the work to maintain sobriety once inpatient treatment or outpatient programs are finished.

After Care Support Programs

The foundation of the treatment of alcoholics was the twelve-step program. This program was so successful that to this day it is the cornerstone of addiction treatment.  Using the goals of each step, the program encourages recovering addicts to stay on a sober path. Support groups have also become specialized, addressing specific addictions including:

What happens after discharge?

A Life Lived in Sobriety

Along with the continued support of aftercare programs, the recovering addict must now put together a life in a sober world.  There are continual risks for relapse. The stresses of sober living can negatively impact someone on recovery. Pressures at work, school and even family life can trigger a desire to slip back into addiction and escape these stresses. Old drinking buddies or druggie friends may still be around.  Old friendships formed under the influence of drugs may be renewed, even while sober.  If those old friends are still using, then the influence is strong to join them in drug use again.

Triggers are all around in a sober world. The name of a street corner where drugs were purchased or heard on the news initiates thoughts of drug use and can cause a relapse.  Perhaps dealing with a certain family member such as a mother or father with whom a difficult relationship still exists can trigger a desire to get high. Beyond all the treatments and support groups, however, it is up to the recovering individual to remain on a sober track.

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