Substance Abuse and Addiction in Mesquite, Texas
Mesquite is a city within Texas state. It is located on the east side of Dallas and has an estimated population of 143,788 people. It has a median household income of $45,658 and an unemployment rate of 4.0%. This city boasts of some of the best business parks, recreational centers, sporting venues and state of the art buildings. Its road network is considered as one of the most elaborate making it an ideal place to live and operate businesses.
Just like every other city in the United States, Mesquite is dealing with a drug abuse and addiction epidemic that is almost getting out of hand. Teenagers and young adults are frequently rushed to hospitals because of drug overdose or poisoning. There are alarming stories of individuals who have died due to mixing the wrong types of drugs or operating machinery while intoxicated. Below are some of the most commonly abused substances in this city.
Most Abused Substances in Mesquite
Being a legally accepted drink it is easy to understand why a lot of Mesquite residents are falling victim to alcohol abuse and addiction. Experts believe that taking alcohol in moderation is not really harmful to health. However, individuals who go overboard with regards to drinking are likely to experience the following negative effects.
- A weakened immune system
- Deadly damage to the kidneys and liver
- Increased possibility of developing various cancers
- Poor performance at school or work
- Sexual problems including erectile dysfunction
- Financial difficulties
- Dependence and addiction
- Increased chances of being involved in accidents
- Straining of professional and personal relationships
This substance tends to get a lot of attention in movies and song lyrics which is part of the reason why it is popular throughout the United States. Teenagers and young adults prefer taking marijuana because they believe it gives a wonderful experience to users. Most teens think that smoking it makes them appear cooler to their friends. Below are some of the negative effects of taking marijuana over a significant period of time.
- A sharp decline in intelligence quotient
- Reduced chances of finding meaningful employment
- Damage to organs such as the lungs and liver
- Social isolation
- Greater chances of committing criminal offenses
- Sexual problems for men
- Difficulty in managing finances
Individuals that are found in possession of heroin are liable to a jail sentence together with a fine amount as determined by a court of law. This substance is quite potent and may lead to dependence and addiction after a few times of use. Some of its negative effects include:
- Damage to nose tissues
- Weakening of muscles
- Death due to overdose
- Damage to internal organs
- Respiratory or breathing difficulties
- Higher chances of contracting diseases
- Poor work and school performance
- Loss of moral values
Other substances abused in this city include methamphetamine, cocaine and prescription medications.
The Process of Becoming Addicted to Drugs
When people start using drugs they hardly ever imagine that they are likely to get addicted. In fact most users actually believe they can quit using substance at any time they want to. However, once hooked to substance it is almost impossible to break free without professional help. Here are some of the stages involved in the process of addiction.
- Introduction to substance
Introduction to substance usually happens at an early age. Research shows that most teenagers learn about drugs when they observe close relatives or friends using. Some may learn about drugs through social networks, movies or song lyrics. At this point individuals are quite cautious about drugs which is why they may take a significant amount of time before moving to the next stage.
- Experimenting with drugs
The second stage in the process of addiction regards trying out or testing the effects of drugs. Individuals may drink alcohol or take drugs in small amounts. Alcohol and marijuana are usually at the top of the list of experimental drugs. They are easily available and do not produce severe effects which is why most first time users prefer them.
- Regular use of substance
Individuals that go through a bad experience during experimentation may be discouraged from further use. However, those who enjoy the pleasurable effects of substance may start using on a regular basis. For some people use may take place every weekend while others may do it after every three or four days.
- Problem use of substance
It is during this stage that things start getting out of hand for the user. They feel a great urge to use drugs even at times when they should focus on school or professional work. Some individuals may sneak alcohol or other drugs to their place of work or school. Those using illicit substances often have a dealer on speed dial at this point. Users are likely to become defensive about their habit and will become aggressive if anyone tries to warn them against further use.
- Dependence on the substance of choice
People that do not stop using substance at the fourth stage are likely to progress to substance dependence. At this point their bodies develop a tolerance for substance. This means that taking small amounts of alcohol or other drugs no longer produces the euphoric effects they desire. It is because of tolerance that they increase the amount of intake. Some people start mixing drugs to boost potency. Users who do not get a regular dose of the substance of choice experience unpleasant withdrawal effects as noted below.
- Cold chills
- Extreme sweating
- Fear of the future
- Extreme anxiety
- Muscle cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Running nose
- Social isolation
- Racing thoughts
- Full blown addiction to substance
Residents of Mesquite continue taking drugs to avoid the withdrawal effects mentioned above and this eventually leads to addiction. It is important to note that addiction is a condition in which users have a strong psychological urge to use drugs even when it is clearly causing pain to self and loved ones. Some signs of drug addiction may include the following.
- Feelings of guilt after using substance
- Inability to quit using even when you try
- Strong cravings for drugs
- Being preoccupied with thoughts of drug use
- Taking alcohol and other drugs despite the harm caused to health
- Stealing, lying and robbing people for the sake of getting money for drugs
- Experiencing withdrawal effects when you try to quit
- Becoming secretive about drug use
- Missing important appointments due to intoxication
- Taking drugs while at work or school
Signs of Drug Use
Here are some of the signs that can help you know if a loved one is using drugs.
Unusual odors – among the first signs you can detect is an unusual odor coming from the user’s body, clothes or breath.
Secrecy – because new users may not want to raise any suspicion they are likely to become secretive about their activities. A significant number of users tend to isolate themselves from the rest of the family members.
Unusual need for money – individuals are likely to experience a sharp increase in need of money. This is because they require the money to purchase drugs.
Change of friends – users tend to change their group of friends so as to avoid suspicion. Instead they start hanging out with people who have similar interests. This sudden change of friends rarely has a good reason. It is worth noting that most people also change their hangout places.
Change in weight – drugs such as cocaine and heroin tend to suppress appetite which means the user is likely to become less concerned about eating and that can lead to loss of weight. Marijuana on the other hand increases appetite which is why users may start gaining weight rapidly.
Intoxication – another way to know if someone is using drugs or alcohol is to watch out for signs of intoxication. These may include dilated pupils, slurred speech, frequent blackouts, confusion, impaired walking and slowed reaction time.
Why Residents of Mesquite Might Abuse Drugs
Pain management – when people are experiencing chronic pain doctors may prescribe certain medications to help manage their pain or discomfort. However, after a significant time of using these prescription medications individuals may become addicted.
Curiosity – some people start using drugs out of curiosity. They simply want to know how it feels like to be high on cocaine or heroin. What they do not realize is that after this initial experimentation they may end up becoming regular users.
To relieve stress – people that are undergoing stressful situations start using drugs in the hope of finding some short term relief. Some of the things that cause stress include heartbreak, job loss, financial problems and inability to achieve a set goal. It is advisable that people look for healthier means of dealing with stress instead of taking to the use of alcohol or drugs.
Peer pressure – young people start using drugs because their friends are already doing it. Users may make fun of friends who do not use drugs which is one of the reasons why individuals may succumb to pressure. There are also situations where young people believe using substance makes them cool.
Confidence boost – some individuals take drugs because they are about to give a public speech or approach members of the opposite sex. These people do not have self confidence and the use of substances such as cocaine helps them gain confidence.
To pass time – residents of this city may sometimes use drugs as a way of getting rid of boredom. This is common for users who are currently unemployed or have nothing to do during their free time.
Dealing with the past – some individuals start using drugs to help them cope with the pain they undergo due to a past experience. People from a broken family, those who may have been raped or physically assaulted often fall under this category.
Understanding the Risk Factors of Substance Abuse
Some people are more likely to use and abuse drugs when compared to others. This can be attributed to some of the factors noted below.
Peer users – teenagers that hang out with friends that are already using substance are at a greater risk of using themselves. This is because friends that are already using are often pressure their colleagues to try out drugs.
Poverty – residents of Mesquite that are not financially stable or fall below the poverty line are use hard drugs as a way of coping with the harsh realities of their lives. A particular problem is that such individuals are unable to afford pure drugs meaning they have to go for substances that are mixed with unknown additives and this can easily lead to overdose or poisoning.
Lack of supervision – young people that are not kept under a close watch may fall into the temptation of trying out different substances. They do this because they are curious about the effects of the drugs. They are also aware that no one is watching them meaning they are not at risk of being punished.
Gender – while drug use and addiction affects just about anyone regardless of age and sex the truth is that boys are twice as likely to use drugs as compared to girls.
Early aggressive behavior – people who are naturally aggressive during their early years may find it easier to use drugs as compared to those who are shy or laid back. Such individuals want to stand out which is why they may be willing to use drugs as a way of showing their dominance or leadership traits.
Lack of laws or penalty – when a substance is freely available for people they tend to use it because there is no risk of being reprimanded or punished. This is why it is encouraged that schools and workplaces come up with strict rules and regulations to deter drug possession, use and sale.
Family of users – individuals that are raised in a family of drug users are at a great risk of catching onto the habit. They observe older siblings, uncles or parents using drugs without facing any serious consequences. Young people may start believing that using drugs or drinking alcohol is actually a good thing.
Availability – people who have easy access to alcohol or drugs may become curious and actually go ahead to try them out. Those who live in areas that do not have a particular substance are at a lower risk of using and this is why most rehabilitation centers and sober living houses do not allow any drugs or alcohol on the premises.
Getting Treatment for Drug Addiction
When dealing with drug addiction the challenges may seem insurmountable. In a number of cases users have already tried quitting several times but with no success. Individuals are encouraged to stop relying on their own strength and understanding and instead seek professional help. Below are some of the steps involved in patient admissions.
Seeking professional help – making a quick telephone call to a drug abuse helpline can be all it takes to receive guidance on what to do. Once individuals get in touch with a representative from a rehabilitation facility an appointment will be set up at the facility or any place of convenience for both parties.
Assessment – during the first meeting a therapist or doctor asks several questions just to understand the patient’s state of mind. Physical examination and lab tests may be carried out to ascertain the patient’s physical health.
Pre-intake – at this point doctors have determined that the patient requires specialized treatment for addiction. The individual’s name is recorded, the costs and program of treatment are also disclosed to patients and their loved ones. The patient is also given information regarding the rules of treatment and told exactly where they will be staying during treatment.
Intake – patients and their loved ones who agree to the conditions set out above are then enrolled to a relevant treatment program. This may be under inpatient or outpatient care arrangements. It is at this point that a drug user is admitted into a rehabilitation center and listed as one of its patients.
Inpatient care is provided in a rehabilitation facility. Under this type of arrangement patients are required to stay at the facility for a period of about 30 to 90 days. This treatment option is ideal for patients that have been greatly affected by drug use. While at the facility doctors keep a close watch on the patient and try to make them feel as comfortable as possible during the withdrawal phase. It is also under this treatment program that individuals may be taken through intensive detoxification. An advantage of inpatient care is that it provides an environment that is free of drugs and alcohol making it easier for recovering addicts to remain sober. It also gives the patient time away from daily activities which may be triggering stress. Patients under this program get enough time to re-evaluate their life’s goals.
This type of program gives the patient freedom to go home and continue with normal routine after sessions of treatment at the rehabilitation center. In most cases it is given to drug users who are not severely affected by addiction and can undergo detox without close medical supervision. Patients under this arrangement have the freedom to go on with work or school provided they attend all the treatment sessions as required. Compared to inpatient care it is cheaper and less disruptive to both the patient and family members.
Partial hospitalization programs
Under this program patients receive similar treatment to those under inpatient care. The exception is that patients are allowed to go back to their homes in the evenings or at stipulated times. This type of treatment is as effective as any other and allows family members to stay in touch on a daily basis.
What happens during addiction treatment?
Regardless of the type of program a patient is enrolled to the following things may take place.
Medical care – patients suffering from various diseases and conditions must undergo special medical care. Doctors carry out various health examinations including lab tests before administering relevant medications to manage the situation.
Detox – doctors take patients through a detoxification process. During this stage the patient is not supposed to take alcohol or any of the substances that led to addiction. Instead doctors administer medicines that mimic the effects of heroin, cocaine or any other substance that a patient may be addicted to. This helps in managing withdrawal effects while allowing the body to rid itself of the remnants of the toxins in the system.
Counselling – all patients are required to go through various counselling sessions to help them resolve psychological issues that trigger their drug use. During these sessions patients are provided with helpful tips and information to identify dangerous thought patterns that lead to substance use. They are encouraged to come up with anchor points that can help them stay sober even when faced with difficult life situations.
Group therapy – a number of rehabilitation facilities encourage their patients to come together and form support groups. When these groups meet members discuss how drug addiction has affected their health and relationships. It is during such discussions that individuals may get to learn about the importance of getting sober and remaining so. Members get to learn from each other while at the same time encourage others to pursue a better lifestyle. Group sessions give patients an opportunity to form friendships that may be integral to staying sober after completion of treatment programs.
Physical therapy – patients who may have been involved in accidents are provided with devices to aid in motor functions. They also have to engage in several exercises to help them regain lost abilities. Massage therapy is another aspect of treatment that may be recommended for relaxation and pain relief.
Better dieting – nutritionists at rehabilitation centers come up with ideal diets for each patient. This is key to ensuring that each patient regains strength and is well nourished. Keep in mind that poor dieting an further complicate the health of recovering addicts.