Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Vital Drug Issues and Treatment in McKinney, Texas

While tornado activity in the McKinney area is above the state average and over 150% above the U.S. average, the tornadoes are not the only danger present to its’ residents. That’s why McKinney Drug Rehabs are here to help!

The city of McKinney, Texas is a picturesque suburb of Dallas, located in Collin County and the Northeastern area of the state. With a population of 172,318, the city is comprised of predominately white inhabitants, with a median age of 35 years old and an impressive median household income of $87,356 which is well above the state’s average of $56,565. Nearly half of the cities’ residence have obtained a Bachelor’s degree or higher, and the town boasts a low rate of unemployment at only 3.5%. Of those employed, nearly 90% of them work in a white-collar environment such as business professionals, sales, management positions and office or administrative support. The area is known as being one of the most successful, affluent cities in not only Collin County, but all of Texas as well. Crime rate in the area is consistently low, nearly 50% lower than the United States’ average year after year. The city is also known for it’s excellent public education system and thriving local economy, which draws more and more young families to move to the area each year.

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

McKinney boasts neighborhood streets lined with picture-perfect houses, stunning new cars in every driveway, and perfectly manicured green lawns. Most neighborhoods offer things like golf courses, community biking trails and parks, glimmering pools and resident-only clubhouses. Nearly everyone in the city is upper-middle class and wealthy, and although this is great for local economics, it also puts a lot of pressure on the younger generations living there. 

The city has recently seen an increase in heroin and other opioid use in the past few years, and surprisingly the people using it are getting younger and younger each year. Alcohol and D.U.I. arrests have always led the area, with Texas as a whole having the highest amount of alcohol-related deaths in the entire United States, but heroin use has slowly been creeping up as well, among other drugs. 

Collin County, including McKinney has a higher rate of arrests made for possession and trafficking of heroin and other opioid drugs among juveniles compared to the rest of the state. It is widely believed that the pressure put on the younger generations to “keep up with the Jones’s” is leading those under 20 years old to look to opiates for an escape. Many of the teens that are abusing opiates are high school and college students, athletes, and those with scholarships that feel the need to strive for perfection in an effort to impress their families and continue the tradition of success. They suffer from perfectionism and anxiety, which leads them to seek an escape and ease their minds, even if only for a moment. Their parents are often naïve to the problem, having a hard time believing or admitting that their successful child would ever consider doing drugs, so they continue to use while remaining unnoticed. 

While the area has not yet reached the “epidemic” levels that other parts of the country are dealing with, heroin and other opioids are now the #1 drug of choice for those admitted to rehabilitation facilities under 23 years old. The other opioids include prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, LorTab, Norco and Dilaudid, which are all opiate-based and have similar effects as heroin. A doctor in McKinney was recently arrested for over-prescribing opiate-based painkillers, after an investigation confirmed he had prescribed more than 1.5 million hydrocodone pain pills in just 16 months. An influx of synthetic opioid drugs like Fentanyl has recently reached the area as well, being brought by Mexican and Columbian trafficking groups. Texas’ close proximity to Mexico makes it one of the first stops for cartels to bring the black tar heroin that results from Mexican opium production, making it the most prevalent drug in the area of McKinney. The county has also seen an increase in Mexican and Columbian residents as well.

The opiate abuse problem in the McKinney area and Collin County has been affecting the juveniles of the area the hardest, and parents are seeking help and direction in helping their children learn to live drug free. Collin County has implemented a county-wide substance abuse program that offers free or low-cost addiction evaluations, referrals to treatment facilities or mental health professionals, educational classes for adolescents and/or their families on drug abuse warning signs and prevention, as well as free information to the public addressing the area’s latest drug trends and their affects on the nearby communities. The goal of the program is to lower the rate of drug use by adolescents through prevention education, as well as teaching parents and family members the warning signs that are often hard to see if their child is hiding an addiction to heroin or other opiates.

What to Look For

It is often difficult to tell when someone may be abusing drugs, especially when using drugs like heroin and opioids. While many people seem to think their child or love one may be “too good” or smart to abuse drugs, that is often not the case and the abuse continues on too long unnoticed and is often realized too late after an overdose has occurred. Signs of opiate abuse can be anywhere from blatantly obvious or very concealed, depending on the type of opiate and amount used. Typical symptoms include constricted pupils hidden behind glassy, dazed eyes that seem to have no life hiding behind them, as well as a slower breathing rate, alternating between a feeling of euphoria to extreme tiredness, dry mouth, flushed skin and constant itching. The most obvious symptom is “nodding off”, in which the opiate slows the heart rate and breathing pattern so much that the person falls asleep anywhere at any time, essentially losing consciousness momentarily. Prolonged use also causes weight loss, frequent sickness due to a weakened immune system, and symptoms of withdrawal may occur if the user goes too long between doses. Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, fever, vomiting, chills and shaking.

When to Get Help

If you see signs of drug abuse in someone you love, or are struggling with drug abuse yourself, there is hope. There are many methods of treatment and options available to those that are willing to partake in them. Once the addict is ready and willing to commit to a life of sobriety, the recovery process can begin. While there are many different roads to recovery, all methods usually begin with similar steps to help the patient better understand the options available to them for their current unique situation.

Assessment

Most recovery facilities will begin with a general assessment of the user to determine a few important factors that are imperative to their success in treatment. Whether recovery begins with a trip to the local hospital after an overdose or by voluntarily entering a rehabilitation program, an assessment will be done to determine the addicts’ current severity of addiction and the severity of it. This typically consists of questionnaires or surveys the medical professional will give the patient, with questions regarding their current drug of choice, amounts they use, methods of use, and a few open-ended questions about how the patient currently feels about their situation. Assessments usually also include a pre-intake physical and/or mental examination to rule out any emergency medical care that may be needed, and help the medical professionals make their best recommendation for the user. Once the assessment is complete, the medical professional will make a suggestion on which type of treatment would be best for the patient based on their individual circumstance and will often refer the patient to what they believe will be the most successful method of rehabilitation.

Intake

The intake process is usually one of the more difficult steps in recovery for the patient. Once they have chosen their path to recovery and entered a facility, the intake process begins. They are usually evaluated by medical professionals again, but more in depth this time. This includes meeting with medical doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors, or psychologists to evaluate many aspects of the patients’ life. Mental evaluations will be done to determine if there are any mental disorders or disabilities that may be contributing to the drug abuse, and therapy or counseling will be scheduled accordingly. The counselor or psychologist will ask many tough questions that may be difficult for some people to answer. They will ask about other illegal activities the patient may have participated in during their addiction, immoral things they may have done to support their habit, difficult or traumatizing things from the past that may be contributing to the addiction, and deep feelings that the addict may have been suppressing and avoiding for years. Some things may be hard for the addict to admit to because they feel embarrassed or ashamed of things they’ve done, and others may avoid the subject for fear they will be judged on the poor decisions of their past. In reality, all of the questions need to be answered openly and honestly in order for the medical professionals to determine the best methods of treatment for the patient. It is imperative for the long-term success of the patient that they are as honest as possible, and it is always good to remember that all answers are confidential and private, only between themselves and the professionals helping them along the way. The information gathered during the intake process will be utilized in the treatment facility of the patient’s choice, and once completed the patient can begin the detox process.  

Detox

Detoxification is a vital step on the road to recovery. Under medical care, the patient begins the detox process to rid the body of any remaining drugs in the system. Depending on the drug of choice, method of administration and length and severity of the addiction, detox and withdrawal can take anywhere from a few days, up to a few weeks for severe cases. This is caused by the brain and body being deprived of the drug(s) it had become dependent on and having a negative reaction in response. Symptoms of withdrawal can be nausea, vomiting, chills, fever, anxiety, loss of appetite, headache, and in extreme cases heart palpitations and tremors. While the body detoxes, a facility may aid the patient with their symptoms by providing various medications to ease the symptoms and make the withdrawals more manageable. Once there are no traces of drugs left in the system and the symptoms of withdrawal have subsided, the patient can begin the real treatment necessary for a successful recovery in the facility they decide is the best fit for their situation.

Treatment Options

Inpatient Program: An inpatient program, which is also sometimes referred to as a residential treatment facility, is the most comprehensive and complete method of treatment for a recovering addict. They require the patient to live within the facility, under 24/7 care of the professional staff of medical professionals to help them along the way. For some patients, the choice to enter a residential program is a difficult one, because it means completing the process away from family and friends, and potentially taking a leave of absence from a job or school. However, inpatient programs allow the patient to focus 100% on their recovery and devote the most time and effort to being successful. Different facilities offer different amenities, but most include daily group and/or individual therapy sessions with a therapist or counselor, medical monitoring by a doctor or nurse, and classes to educate the patient on the proper steps of maintaining sobriety. Programs typically last between 28-90 days, depending on the patient’s needs, and are sometimes covered by insurance. Some higher-end facilities offer luxury treatments and methods of recovery like acupuncture, outdoor therapies like hiking or surfing, and spa treatments to help relieve stress.

Outpatient Program: An outpatient recovery program is similar to a residential program in its approach but does not require the patient to reside within the facility. Instead, once the patient is done with detox and enrolled in the program, they are required to check into the facility a few times each week for a total of 10-12 hours of meetings and therapy sessions. Medical and mental check-ups are usually performed weekly, sometimes alongside a mandatory drug test. These programs also last between 28-90 days on average but allow the person in recovery to be closer to loved ones, live at home, and continue working or going to school if they need to. These programs are usually for the milder cases of addiction, as there is less accountability of the patient and they are not supervised 24/7 as they would be in an inpatient program.

Aftercare: Once the program of choice is completed and the patient is ready to tackle sobriety on their own, a plan of action needs to be in place for proper aftercare. This varies from person to person, as some people need more help and accountability than others. Typically, a person will continue their sobriety with the help of Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) or Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings weekly or even daily if they desire. Some facilities also provide aftercare group meetings for those exiting the program to help educate them on the best ways to continue living a sober life. Those in recovery may also seek the help of their own personal therapists or psychologists to give them someone to talk to about things that may be triggering them to relapse once they are on their own. Between 40-60% of people on average relapse after completing a recovery program, so a clear, easy-to-follow aftercare plan is vital in success.

Sober Living: Another option to help a recovering addict maintain sobriety is a sober living home, which is sometimes referred to as a “halfway house”. This is a type of rehabilitation group home to help recovering addicts transition from a life of addiction to one of productive sobriety. The residents are required to pay monthly rent, contribute to household chores, pass random required drug tests, along with other rules that vary from house to house. Many halfway houses require residents to look for a job during their stay, return home by a curfew, and go on group outings or attend group and/or individual meetings. Violence and drugs or alcohol are forbidden in the house and ignoring or breaking the rules can result in fines, extra chores, and sometimes even being removed from the home. These group homes are a good option for those recovering addicts looking for a safe place to live with like-minded individuals that might need help transitioning back into the sober world. Many addicts have not had a home or job in years due to their addiction, so help is often required to get back on their feet.

What are you waiting for?

There are many options available to those in all stages of drug or alcohol addiction that are looking to recover. Whether it be in a residential program, sober living home, or with the help of Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, sobriety can be a refreshing reality that most addicts could never dream of. Proper education and aftercare are vital for success, and if you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, please reach out and research the best options available to help them on the path to recovery.