Tag Archives: Heroin

Heroin in Film

Substance Abuse in Media

The depiction of alcohol and drugs in film is nothing new. Substances have been portrayed in a variety of ways, ranging from casual use, to abuse and addiction. Many films, including The Hangover, are centered around wild nights fueled by alcohol. In The Wolf of Wall Street, many of the characters engage in binge-drinking and abuse of various illicit substances. While both films do touch on consequences in some ways, the movies present the substance abuse in a comedic manner. As heroin is highly-addictive and considered a “hard” drug, it is not usually thought of or portrayed in a light manner that abuse of other substances might be. There are, of course, some movies like Trainspotting which is considered a “black comedy”. This type of movie usually takes a comedic look at topics that are taboo, like heroin addiction.

In a study done on illicit substances in media, researchers found, “Media can influence audiences in four key ways…” which includes, “…indirectly shaping individual and community attitudes toward risk…”* With heavy-drinking often portrayed as comedic, it’s understandable that many do not recognize it as a problem in real life.  With heroin, this is less likely, but how it is portrayed in a movie can still have a significant impact on viewers.

Trainspotting (1996)

Trainspotting follows a variety of characters, with Mark Renton being the main character we see. Mark, and many of his friends, are lower-class in Scotland. For them, heroin addiction is a way of coping with their problems and they often express that it makes them feel better about their place in life. At one point in the film, Mark expresses the sentiment that their lives have little meaning outside of addiction. Various events, including arrests and a death, cause the group to reconsider this at certain points. A couple of times, Mark maintains maintain sobriety for a short time, determined to stay sober. However, something, whether a traumatic event or simply craving heroin, draws him back in. As most of his friends are struggling with addiction, it is difficult for Mark to maintain sobriety for a long amount of time.

True to real life, addiction is often a way that people cope with their lives. For some it is a past trauma. For others, it is something like their social and economic class, which can be traumatic in its own way. While Trainspotting is a black comedy and finds some humor in it, the movie does accurately depict how difficult it can be to break the cycle of addiction. When the majority of your social group engages in the same behaviors, this can make sobriety more difficult to achieve.

Wild (2014)

Wild is based on a memoir written by author Cheryl Strayed. The movie primarily follows her journey to walk 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. She embarks on this journey in hopes of continuing her recovery from addiction and other issues in her past. While hiking, the movie presents flashbacks that take the viewer through her life to help understand her actions. As a child, Cheryl grew up with an abusive, alcoholic father before her mother finally divorced him. Her mother was her closest friend and when she died at 45 years old from cancer, this caused Cheryl to spiral into a deep depression.

Following her mother’s death, Cheryl turns to heroin and anonymous sex in an attempt to cope with the pain. In the process, she strains relationships with her husband (they eventually divorce), family, and friends. Her addiction and depression also prevents her from finishing her education or developing a career. At one point, Cheryl denies her addiction and states that she is in control and is just experimenting. Heroin is not the sole focus of Wild, but it is a topic that is present for most of it. They do a good job of subtly showing how people might turn to addiction, their denial or reasoning, and how it destroys different areas of their life.

Many people dealing with addiction often have trauma in their lives, whether from before or after addiction. Cheryl had a traumatic upbringing with her father and then the death of her mother at a young age. The abuse of substances obviously varies, but it is incredibly common to numb pain through addiction.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

An interesting fact about Requiem for a Dream is that the word heroin is never said by a character. There are various illicit substances used and the film does touch on different addictions. There is Harry Goldfarb, his mother Sara, his girlfriend Marion, and his friend Tyrone. At the start of the film, Harry and Tyrone are pawning Sara’s TV, which they do regularly after she buys it back, to fund their heroin addiction. Sara suffers from a food addiction and, after going to a doctor, begins to take amphetamines. Harry expresses concern for his mother and wants her to stop using drugs. Despite his concern, he is not capable of acknowledging his own addiction and how it is ruining his life.

Throughout the film, it’s clear that all four characters are delusional and using substance abuse to cope with something in their life. Sara is a reflection of many older people in real life; her husband is dead, her son suffering from addiction, which she enables, and she is incredibly lonely. Tyrone hopes to escape the ghetto. Quite often, people are trapped by economic circumstances and it is an unfortunate reality that they then turn to addiction as a means of coping. Harry and Marion are both struggling with mental health issues. They use heroin, and other substances, as a means to cope and feel something.

Sara’s husband died at some point and Harry is all she has. Because of this and her own addiction, she fails to recognize or try to help her son’s addiction. Harry, Marion, and Tyrone are all unable to see what their addiction is doing to their lives. Their relationships with one another rapidly deteriorate as they make compromises, face violence and arrest, and lose any sense of purpose to feed their addiction.

Utilizing Media to Understand Addiction

All of the films mentioned above have had significant impact on our culture. While other substances are frequently talked about or shown in media, heroin has been and is still a taboo subject. They all accurately show the depths to which heroin addiction can take people. Each film also portrays the way addiction reaches the community around you, and how it affects your friends and family. Different people may be able to get varying messages from the film. For people watching their loved one go through addiction, it might help provide insight into the causes and the path that led them there. Anyone who has struggled with addiction, or still is currently, it can show that they are not alone in their experiences. Trainspotting, in particular, shows that relapse is a very normal part of addiction and does not mean anyone should give up in their efforts to maintain sobriety.

*Resources:
Illicit drugs and the media – NIH

Arizona Opioid and Heroin Trends in 2018


Statistics on Arizona Opioid and Heroin Trends

The United States makes up around 5 percent of the planet’s total population but uses approximately 80 percent of the opioid supply around the world. Additionally, one in four people who have been prescribed opioids for long periods in a primary care environment end up struggling with addiction.

Arizona Opioid Addiction Statistics 2018

Arizona High School Students Active Heroin Use - Reflections Recovery CenterFour out of 10 adults in Arizona know someone who struggles with an addiction to prescription painkillers.

In 2016, a total of 431 million opioid pills were prescribed to patients. That number of pills is enough for every person in the state of Arizona to have a two-and-a-half-week supply of opioids.

Opioid deaths, prescription drug deaths and heroin deaths have all increased since 2012. In fact, heroin fatalities in Arizona have tripled and opioid deaths have skyrocketed.

This all spells an epidemic that opiate drug rehabs in Arizona and throughout the nation are doing their best to clean up.

Estimated Non-Fatal Overdoses in the Past 8 Months

The crisis has taken such a toll in Arizona – and throughout the United States – that statistics are unfolding in months, rather than years. Some areas of the country are harder hit than others, and Arizona is high on the list of states suffering from opioid deaths. As you might suspect, some parts of the state suffer more than others.


Metro Tucson Non-Fatal Overdoses

According to opioid overdose statistics for 2018, the metro area of Tucson contains five communities that all had an estimated number of more than 60 people who overdosed without dying:

  • Tucson Central
  • Tucson Foothills
  • Casas Adobes
  • Tucson East
  • Tucson South

Only Tucson Estates reported having zero non-fatal overdoses in the past eight months.


Metro Phoenix Non-Fatal Overdoses

Though the Tucson numbers regarding non-fatal overdoses are large, the metro area of Phoenix has seen more. In fact, 18 different communities in the metro area of Phoenix reported more than 60 non-fatal overdoses in the last eight months. There were no communities in metro Phoenix that reported zero non-fatal opioid overdoses.

Other Arizona County Non-Fatal Overdoses

Of all the other cities in Arizona, only Kingman, Prescott, Prescott Valley and Florence reported more than 60 non-fatal overdoses. The larger metro areas of Arizona reported numbers that were significantly larger regarding non-fatal overdoses than the other areas of the state.

Common Arizona Ages for Opioid Use

To get a sense of how the opioid crisis is impacting state residents, consider the ages of those most affected. The statistics from this year and the last decade highlight who becomes dependent and at what point addiction takes hold.


Most Frequent Ages for Possible Overdoses This Year

Arizonans between the ages of 25 and 34 are the ones who experience the most opioid overdoses. Residents of age 75 and older reportedly were the least likely group to experience opioid overdoses. Around 15 percent of these possible overdoses were fatal.

Children Affected by Opioid Addiction

Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a condition that occurs when a newborn is exposed to opioid drugs while in the mother’s womb. So far in 2018, there have been more than 600 cases in Arizona of babies born with possible drug-related withdrawal symptoms. A government report also said that 52 percent of mothers in these cases were being medically supervised while taking opioids while pregnant.

Fatalities Among Different Age Groups over Last 10 Years

Though 25 to 34 was the most common age group for possible overdoses over the past eight months, the most affected demographic has traditionally been a different one.

Overdose fatalities between 2007 and 2016 were the highest among Arizonans between the ages of 45 and 54. Other than children and teenagers 14 years old and younger, people aged 75 years and older were still the group that suffered the fewest amount of fatalities.


Overdose Hospitalizations and Deaths in Arizona

American Opioid Overdose Statistic InfographicFrom 2007 to 2016, hospitalizations due to prescription opioids rose by 64 per 100,000 people in Arizona. The peak was in 2011, with 162 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

Of the possible opioid overdoses in the last eight months, 14 percent of those people were hospitalized in 2016 for a reason that involved opioid use. About 13 percent of the people who were hospitalized in 2016 died in the last eight months from a drug overdose.

As those statistics indicate, the period after someone is released from an overdose is a dangerous time.

Seeking help from a treatment center like the men’s rehabilitation programs at Reflections Recovery Center is the best way to start turning things around. Reflections uses personalized treatments and the calming attributes of nature to offer support and comfort during this dangerous time.

Prescription Drug Overdoses and Fatalities in Arizona

Drug use statistics reveal that 39 percent of the people who experienced a possible opioid overdose in the past eight months had a prescription for opioids at least two months before their overdose. About 2 percent of the people who overdosed died as a result.

Of the fatal overdoses, 29 percent of them were using only prescription opioids and were not using any other types of drugs. Meanwhile, 32 percent of this group used more than one drug.

Though it is more dangerous to be taking multiple types of drugs, even just one prescription opioid medication can be fatal if taken too often or in large quantities.


The Use of Naloxone to Counteract Overdose

Many different emergency medical services and law enforcement professionals administered naloxone (an opioid overdose antidote) to Arizonans from mid-2017 through March 2018. In fact, EMS, law enforcement and other individuals administered nearly 4,500 doses outside of a hospital during this time frame.

Best Heroin Treatment Centers

If you’re looking for a drug rehab in Gilbert, AZ, Mesa, Chandler or Phoenix, consider heading up north a short ways instead. Prescott’s Reflections Recovery Center is located apart from the bustling metro areas and offers many desirable amenities and services.

Reflections offers a men-only program, which, for many, is more conducive to long-term recovery than the standard co-ed experience. Reflections focuses on clinical and holistic treatment, as well as using the outdoors to help men in recovery get the tools they need to avoid relapse.

Learn About the Symptoms of Heroin Abuse

How Long Does It Take for Opioid (Painkillers/Heroin) Cravings to Go Away?


When Will Opioid Cravings Finally Stop?

Do heroin cravings ever go away? Opioid addiction, including heroin, is one of the most debilitating and habit-forming types of substance abuse.

Opioids produce powerful effects that cause the brain to crave more doses, rewarding the user with a surge of dopamine in each dose. Eventually, an opioid user will only feel this “reward” neurotransmitter by consuming more opioids.

Cravings can start very soon after beginning opioid use, both for heroin and prescription opioid painkillers. When people struggling with opioid addiction finally start the recovery process, one of the most commonly asked questions in recovery is how to deal with heroin cravings.

The Cravings Never Really Stop

A common phrase heard in recovery centers is that “cravings never go away.” This may sound discouraging or even defeatist at first, but people say it with good intentions. What the people who say this mean is that recovery is not a one-step process. Cravings do not magically stop once you finish recovery.

Opioid cravings will not last forever, but they last for a lot longer than most people would like. Recovery is an ongoing process that lasts for the rest of one’s life, and the power of cravings diminishes with time.

During recovery, people struggling with opioid addiction will learn new coping techniques and relapse prevention therapies for managing environmental triggers. Substance abuse recovery will also help an individual struggling with addiction manage the stages of cravings.

Acute Withdrawal

The most significant cravings appear very soon after a person’s last dose of opioids. The detoxification process typically involves the most significant cravings, sometimes causing individuals experiencing them to:

  • Lash out violently
  • Experience extreme emotions
  • Attempt to escape recovery
  • Undergo a significant medical decline

The acute withdrawal period is dangerous for advanced opioid users, as the body starts to shut down and cravings become more overwhelming.

After detox, the first few days and weeks of recovery may also entail a degree of acute withdrawal. Cravings become obsessions, and this is a very delicate time for anyone struggling with an opioid addiction.

People in recovery at this stage often experience significant cravings first thing in the morning, during alone time, and during stress. As time goes on, these cravings appear more sporadically and with less intensity.

Early Recovery

A few months into recovery will typically mean less frequent and less significant cravings. People at this stage will start to go for longer periods of time without cravings, and they will typically start to master the craving control techniques learned in recovery.

This is still a sensitive time, and environmental stressors and the sudden return to “normal life” can create the temptation for relapse. However, with every craving successfully quelled, the person moves closer to true sober living.

Managing Stressors in Long-Term Sober Living

Some people report feeling “normal” again in as little as six weeks after completing rehab, while others say it took six months or more to start to feel this way. Every person is different, and the psychological factors behind addiction may have deep roots that take time to uncover.

After about a year, every person who struggled with addiction and completed rehab will have likely faced all of the environmental triggers that could lead to relapse. Facing these temptations and applying the lessons learned in recovery builds a strong bedrock for lifelong sobriety.

Relapse Prevention Therapies

People who have been living sober for years will still report feeling cravings from time to time, but these cravings are more of an annoyance than a pressing issue at this point. After a few years of sober living, the relapse prevention techniques learned in rehab become almost second nature.

Aperson entering rehab for the first time may feel like the cravings will never stop. However, the future will start looking more hopeful after they get into the swing of rehab and recovery. Several therapies during rehab will help an individual struggling with opioid addiction to handle the psychological triggers that could lead to a relapse later.

EMDR Therapy

A common therapeutic treatment for substance abuse is eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Originally developed in the 1980s as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, EMDR aims to change the way traumatic memories are stored in the brain. These memories often have a significant impact on an individual’s cravings and addictive behaviors.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) emphasizes how we think and feel, and how those thoughts and feelings translate into action. CBT uses the Socratic method and draws on concepts from ancient philosophy to help individuals understand their emotional responses to cravings and other addictive behaviors.

CBT can help a person struggling with opioid addiction to understand the impact that his or her own thoughts have on the addiction, instead of focusing solely on environmental triggers.

On the other hand, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) focuses on psychosocial treatment. It includes mindfulness techniques, and helps the patient regulate emotions. DBT also helps with tolerating pain (not changing it) and maintaining stronger relationships with others.

Don’t Let Fear of Cravings Stop You

Ultimately, everyone who enters substance abuse treatment will deal with cravings on some level. Some people experience them more acutely and for a longer period of time than others. Nonetheless, the fear of cravings should never deter you from seeking treatment for substance abuse.

Cravings are intense and uncomfortable, but they diminish over time. Patients at Reflections Recovery Center learn how to manage these cravings in healthy ways to achieve lifelong sobriety.

See the Other Clinical Therapies We Offer

Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse vs. Heroin: Differences and Similarities in Treatment


Treatment Comparison: Opioid Prescription Drug Abuse vs. Heroin Abuse

Prescription opioid painkillers and heroin have a lot in common. They are both opioids, with chemicals that bind to receptors on cells in the brain and body. Addiction to either drug is very serious, but treatment is possible.

Not surprisingly, the process for opioid detox is similar to detox from heroin. Here’s what to know about the steps to recovery for both drugs.

How Are Prescription Painkillers and Heroin Similar?

Several drugs fall into the class of “opioid.” Many are prescription painkiller medications, including oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.

Heroin is also an opioid. Opioids block pain receptors, while simultaneously affecting the brain’s reward system. This can result in a euphoric feeling, or high. On a molecular level, the chemicals in both drugs are almost identical.

Someone with a heroin addiction and someone with a prescription opioid addiction both suffer dependencies on essentially the same substance. The signs and symptoms of dependency are the same for both heroin and prescription opioid drugs. The similarities between prescription opioids and heroin are what have driven the dramatic increase in heroin-related overdoses in recent years.

Many people who become dependent on prescription pills will turn to the black market to stave off withdrawal when they can no longer legally obtain the opioids. Many turn to heroin for the same effects.

To further complicate the matter, there has been an influx of counterfeit pain medications into the black market that actually contain fentanyl – a potent and potentially deadly opioid substance.

Fast Action Is Important for Both Types of Abuse

It is a misconception that heroin addiction is more serious than prescription painkiller addiction. In many ways, the two drugs are identical. Medical professionals need to treat someone with a prescription opioid addiction as if he or she were using heroin.

Similarities between the two drugs include:

  • In terms of substance dependency and withdrawal, the two are the same.
  • The urgency to get both types of users into detox as fast as possible is the same.
  • Heroin and prescription drugs both pose high risks of death from overdose.
  • Withdrawal from either drugs can be deadly if the user is not in a medically assisted detox setting.
  • Fentanyl disguised as prescription painkillers puts both types of users at risk of death from accidental exposure.

In April 2016, the first reports of fentanyl pills marketed as generic oxycodone on the black market surfaced. Police attributed 14 deaths in California and nine in Florida to counterfeit painkillers.

Fentanyl is an opioid that’s 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It can be fatal in tiny doses. Fast enrollment in a detox center is crucial to preventing overdose deaths – especially with camouflaged fentanyl floating around.

Similarities and Differences Between Prescription Opioid Detox and Heroin Detox

Both types of addiction are life threatening and require professional treatment. A detox center will treat both types of addiction almost exactly the same, except perhaps for small differences in approach. During detox, professional physicians will usually administer medications that help ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawal to make the process as painless as possible.

Slowly, the physician will start to remove the opioids from the system, replacing them with the detox drugs and possibly supplements and nutritious meals. Weaning users off slowly is critical to their overall health and the success of recovery.

After detox, it’s not wise to jump right back into the real world. Most addictions stem from underlying issues, such as trauma or mental health conditions. The full rehabilitation process is important for long-term recovery from both types of opioids.

The main difference between prescription painkiller detox and heroin addiction treatment is the rehabilitation process. During rehab, the user will need to learn skills that help prevent relapse, as well as how to live a fulfilling, sober lifestyle. This might take different steps depending on the drug.

The Importance of Personalized Opioid Addiction Treatment

Successful recovery from opioids depends in large part on the treatment center. While addiction recovery is a very personal endeavor, the support system and professional help available during the process can make or break the process.

Another similarity between prescription painkiller rehab and heroin rehab is that both require individualized treatment tailored to the person. This is true for all types of substance abuse disorders. Recovery is not one size fits all. It takes treatment that’s specific to the individual for the best outcomes.

At Reflections Recovery Center, we understand the similarities and differences in treatment for various substances and forms of the same substance. We offer opioid addiction treatment for all forms of this drug. You won’t find cookie-cutter treatment plans for heroin or opioid pills here: All guests of our programs receive 100 percent customized treatment.

It’s important for each individual to receive a treatment plan that addresses his or her specific needs. This includes dual diagnosis treatment for underlying issues, trauma-informed therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, and dietary/nutritional therapy to address deficiencies in diet.

Highly specific programs help those in treatment have an easier time adjusting to sober life, and more readily accept the recovery process.

What to Know About Heroin and Prescription Drug Rehab

Despite the striking similarities between heroin and prescription painkillers, there is not one recovery plan that’s appropriate for everyone. While detox treatment for either drugs has many things in common with the other, it is the customization of both processes that will facilitate successful recovery.

At Reflections Recovery Center, our all-men treatment programs are so individualized and specific that clients clearly see the path to long-term recovery. We take the time to truly address all aspects of a person’s addiction and mental health struggles.

Whether you need treatment for an opioid addiction or know a man who does, Reflections Recovery Center is a premier destination. We help individuals understand how recovery and sobriety fit into their lives, and how to say goodbye to substances for good.

Let us walk you through a heroin and/or opioid prescription drug rehab program specific to your unique needs. With our help, opioid addiction recovery is more attainable than you might think.

See Our Rehab Program Overview

Heroin Overdoses and Deaths an Ongoing Emergency in Virginia


Most Americans are aware of the ongoing problems in the country related to prescription opioid abuse, opioid addiction and overdose deaths. While prescription opioids represent the majority of accidental drug overdose deaths in the country, heroin is a close second.

Many people who develop an addiction to prescription opioid painkillers easily transition to heroin use. Virginia has seen some of the worst effects of the ongoing heroin problem in the country, particularly when it comes to heroin overdoses and deaths. 

Prescription drug abuse in Virginia has been a problem for years, but reports indicate that heroin is overtaking prescription pills as the leading cause of overdose deaths in the state. Surveys of new heroin users indicate that 4 out of 5 users report having used prescription opioid painkillers before moving on to heroin.

Virginia’s Problems with Heroin

2016 saw staggering numbers of overdose deaths in Virginia, ranging from three to nine deaths per 100,000 residents in some areas to as many as 33 to 52 deaths per 100,000 residents in others.

More than 75 percent of all overdose deaths in Virginia in 2016 occurred from opioid use, or 1,133 out of 1,420 deaths. This figure could increase, as the results of 60 cases are still pending. Since 2013, drug overdoses have been the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia.

Other stats worth noting:

  • Fairfax County had one the highest rates of overdose deaths in Virginia in 2016.
    • 80 of the 103 recorded overdose deaths happened due to opioids.
  • In Northern Virginia, opioid deaths increased dramatically in the past five years, from 180 in 2011 to 310 in 2016.
  • The highest per capita overdose death rate in 2016 was in Fredericksburg, with 11 deaths among it’s population of less than 30,000.

Heroin Overdoses and Deaths on the Rise

While prescription opioids have represented the lion’s share of overdose deaths throughout the country for several years, a few states, including Virginia, have marked an increase in heroin- and fentanyl-related deaths. In 2012, prescription opioids were responsible for 435 out of 572 opioid overdose deaths in Virginia, and “only” 185 happened due to heroin or fentanyl use.

In 2016, that figure increased dramatically. Out of the 1,133 opioid-related overdose deaths in “Old Dominion” in 2016, 810 occurred due to fentanyl and/or heroin use.

The remaining 469 were due to prescription opioid deaths, indicating a trend away from prescription opioids and toward illegal opioids like heroin and fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that can be as much as 100 times as powerful as heroin. It continues to cause serious problems in Virginia, and the state reports the number of fentanyl-related deaths tripled between 2012 and 2016.

Recent Heroin Bust in Virginia

In March 2017, law enforcement officials announced the end of “Operation Purple Rain.” A drug bust spanning Maryland and Virginia led to the arrests of 11 individuals running a massive heroin trade ring. The 11 individuals from Fairfax County, Alexandria, Prince George’s County and Prince William County worked together to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin, a potential street value of up to $1 million.

In total, the bust led to the seizure of 400 grams of heroin, 330 grams of cocaine, 7 pounds of marijuana, 19 grams of PCP, 10 firearms, and about $18,000 in cash. While the seized drugs have not yet been linked to any of the recorded overdose deaths in 2016, law enforcement hopes that increased pressure on drug dealers will make heroin harder to buy and calm the growing number of overdose cases in the state.

Consider Heroin Rehab Outside of Virginia

In VA, help for heroin addiction can be hard to find. Many people struggling with heroin addiction also find that staying in their local area is difficult. The familiar places and faces can make it difficult to separate oneself from an addiction and start the recovery process.

Reflections Recovery Center Offers Specialized Treatment for Men

Anyone searching for help for heroin addiction in Virginia needs to know their options for treatment out of state, as well. Heroin rehab outside of Virginia may offer some individuals a better chance at recovery than in-state options. Some people struggling with heroin addiction may require specialized treatment, or may simply need to recover far away from stressors and triggers that enable their addictions.

Located in Prescott, Arizona, Reflections Recovery Center is an award-winning substance abuse treatment facility for men. Specialized heroin treatment for men in Virginia may be difficult to find, and we are certain our unique program can offer the best possible recovery experience.

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin addiction in Virginia, avoid becoming one of these tragic statistics and start toward recovery with the comprehensive and award-winning treatment offered at Reflections Recovery Center.

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Addiction and Drug Overdoses Rising in Utah


Utah generally has the reputation of being one of the most family-focused states, with most residents placing a high value on family life and traditional values. However, this reputation has not prevented the rising tide of drug addiction and overdose rates to take hold in the state, and opioid addiction in Utah appears to be a continually worsening issue.

Additionally, some lifestyle trends in Utah, including the high Mormon population, may actually be worsening the issue. This notion may seem counterintuitive given the religion’s strict stance on substance use.

Rising Death Toll in Utah

In 2015, an average of 24 Utah citizens died every month from opioid overdoses. From 2013 to 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Utah seventh in the nation for drug overdose deaths.

The issue isn’t constrained to a particular area or demographic. People from all income brackets, ethnic backgrounds and financial situations have suffered the ill effects of the opioid epidemic, spurring the federal government to deploy several million dollars in additional funding to fight the opioid crisis in the state.

In Salt Lake County, about 59 percent of opioid users were unemployed, while 13.6 percent held full-time jobs. In Summit County, one of the most affluent areas of Utah, only one-third of opioid users held full-time employment, and 23 percent either worked part-time or not at all.

Health insurance coverage for substance abuse is another problem in the state, with as many as 80 percent of opioid users within a county having no coverage for treatment, such as in the case of Wasatch County. Addiction help in Utah isn’t accessible for everyone struggling with opioid dependency.

Paths to Addiction and Overdose

The trends in Utah mirror those found throughout the country when it comes to opioid abuse and rising overdose death rates:

  • In 2000, the number of prescription opioid-related deaths in Utah was only about 60.
    • By 2012, that number dramatically increased to more than 250, and it stayed that high or higher through 2015. (Many other states in the country have reported similar trends.)
  • Since 2000, prescription drug deaths in Utah have increased 400 percent.

Researchers and law enforcement officials have highlighted one cause for concern when it comes to opioid abuse in Utah. While most residents consider “street” drugs like heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine to be taboo, they may view bottled drugs prescribed by doctors as harmless and safe, not realizing the high risk of addiction and overdose these drugs carry.

The vast majority of people developing opioid addictions today are ones who start taking opioids with a legitimate prescription. They gradually build tolerance and require more of the drug to achieve the desired effect.

Opioid Addiction in Utah Leading to Accidental Deaths

Drug Overdose Deaths in Utah Statistic - Reflections Recovery Center

Although there have been some declines seen in prescription death rates in Utah over the last few years, heroin-related deaths have increased in that same time frame.

Unfortunately, people who do not have access to substance abuse treatment or healthy alternatives to prescription opioids will turn to heroin as a substitute.

Prescription opioids like OxyContin are very expensive on the black market, while a dose of heroin can be as little as $5. Prescription opioid abuse can easily lead to heroin abuse in a very short time.

Overdose deaths in Utah are often accidental. For example, if an older individual takes one opioid pill per day before bed and forgets that he or she already took a dose, he or she may mistakenly double dose. This is potentially life-threatening, especially at night, as opioids can cause respiratory depression.

The Utah Department of Health reports that most overdose deaths involve individuals who suffer from chronic pain and take prescribed medications.

Answers to Opioid Addiction in Utah

It may be difficult for some Utah residents struggling with addiction to admit their problems and seek help. Utah has a very high Mormon population, and illicit drug use is taboo in their religion.

However, they view prescribed medications as safe and acceptable, leading some to believe their prescription opioids are safer than they truly are. They may also feel ashamed or frightened at the idea of ostracism for admitting their addiction. Men seeking a trauma recovery center or a substance abuse treatment program may not find the right answer within Utah. 

Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona

Reflections Recovery Center is a male-only substance abuse treatment facility in Prescott, Arizona. This means it could be a perfect solution for anyone seeking addiction treatment for men in Utah.

For anyone living in Utah who is finding it difficult to locate the right long-term addiction treatment, AZ can offer a fantastic setting for recovery only a short trip away. Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona can provide hope using both time-tested treatment methods and the latest holistic therapies that you’ll be hard-pressed to find at most other facilities.

If You or a Loved One Suffers from Addiction, Get Recovery Help Now

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The Role of OxyContin Abuse in Opioid Addiction


Introduction

The long history of opioid abuse in the United States dates back more than a hundred years. It continues in the form of heroin and painkiller abuse, despite many attempts to eliminate it.

The rise in the number of those addicted to OxyContin stems directly from pharmaceutical companies’ influence on the market. One large company in particular used marketing to distort the public’s knowledge and perception of opioid-based painkillers in order to keep sales numbers high. It claimed the drug provided 12-hour relief with a single pill, an enticing offer to many suffering from chronic pain.

The truth about the dangers of OxyContin, unfortunately, lies in the details, information which the company omitted.

The Origin Of Oxycontin

Stronger Doses OxyContin Higher Highs Lower Lows - Reflections RecoveryIn 1996, Purdue Pharma released a new opioid-based formula designed to provide long-lasting relief from pain.

Gone were the days, the company bragged, of patients consuming multiple pills a day to find relief from pain. The promise, backed with a robust marketing campaign, hit home.

Prescriptions for painkilling medications jumped by 8 million from 1995 to 1996 as patients began clamoring for the new wonder drug.

Two years later, Purdue Pharma changed tactics. It directed a new campaign at medical professionals using a video promotion that showed six people claiming relief from chronic pain after they received OxyContin.

The company put this material in almost 15,000 locations for use in patient education libraries. The campaign was effective, and the year following the video’s release saw an increase of 11 million opioid painkiller prescriptions over the previous year.

Purdue Pharma did not relent, buying ads in medical journals across the country in 2000. In 2001, The Joint Commission, a nonprofit group charged with determining hospital standards and accrediting medical centers, released a book directed at doctors wherein the commission argued that addiction posed no significant risk to patients taking opioid-based painkillers.

Purdue Pharma paid for the book to be published. Other sources released similar information, increasing the chances the information would be taken as accurate.

However, all was not well for Purdue Pharma. In 2007, the company faced charges of misbranding the drug and hiding its potential for addiction. Three top-level executives pleaded guilty and the company paid $635 million in a settlement with the U.S. government.

OxyContin Reformulated

Purdue Pharma returned to the opioid scene in 2010, unveiling a new tamper-resistant version of OxyContin that the company claimed was a stronger deterrent to misuse because it was extremely difficult to crush. The corporation claimed this would reduce the number of people snorting or injecting it. Surveys revealed a 23 percent drop in the drug’s abuse in the next two years, but experts pointed out that other factors contributed to that decrease.

Many abusers reported changing opioid types or simply switching to heroin, a cheaper, more readily available option. Nearly a quarter of the people questioned said that the deterrent properties did not slow their abuse of the drug.

The manufacturers of OxyContin, as well as other companies selling opioids like Percocet, maintained the safety claims of their products and insisted that the drug, when properly used, continued to play a major role in pain relief.

The Current State of Opioid Abuse

In March of 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stepped in, making bigger moves to combat this epidemic. The CDC director stated that no other medication used regularly for the relief of a non-fatal condition matched the fatality rate of opioids. The CDC studied the effects opioid drugs had on pain relief and found no significant improvement and potentially a worsening effect.

The CDC’s study concluded that:

  • As many as 26% of patients suffering from chronic pain take prescription opioids.
  • 1 in every 550 patients on opioid-based therapy died from causes stemming from opioid use within an average of 2.6 years after initiating treatment.

Presentation to the U.S. Senate

Dr. Nora Volkow presented a report to the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, highlighting several alarming statistics regarding opioid use and abuse:

  • Opioid prescriptions rose at meteoric rates from 76 million in 1991 prescriptions to 207 million in 2013.
  • Increases in emergency room visits related to opioid abuse climbed during the same time frame, as did the number of patients admitted to rehabilitation for OxyContin addiction.
  • By 2015, prescription drug abuse accounted for as much as 10% of Americans over 12 years of age reporting a substance abuse disorder
  • As many as one-fifth of individuals who abused heroin developed an addiction from the use of prescription opioids.
  • Deaths from overdosing on prescription opioids tripled from 1990 to 2010, when it reached 16,651 deaths.
  • By 2002, opioid poisoning accounted for more deaths than heroin or cocaine. In 2015, this number exceeded 20,000, with heroin claiming almost 13,000 more.
  • Deaths among women from prescription overdoses increased in excess of 400 percent in the first decade of the 21st century, compared to a 237 percent increase among men.
  • Heroin overdose deaths tripled among women from 2010 to 2013, bringing the death rate from drug overdoses to 1 in 100,000 women.

Children Are Affected, Too

Adolescents face an epidemic as well, with the number of adolescents that had a prescription for opioid-related drugs doubling from the mid-1990s to 2007.

More than 275,000 young individuals reported nonmedical use of opioids in 2015, with another 122,000 reporting an addiction problem with the drugs. These children most often received the drugs from a friend or relative passing on unused pills.

Dr. Volkow also reported that the risk for addiction increased when the drug was consumed in a manner that increased the potential for a euphoric high. This included the more common ways of misusing the drug: snorting or injecting, along with drug pill combinations and mixing alcohol with opioid use.

Conclusion

The dangers of these drugs remain strong today, as the country witnesses a continuing rise in the number of deaths and addictions directly tied to opioid abuse. The trend matches the increase in prescriptions of the drug.

Much misinformation still exists about proper dosage. The problem presents a complexity that requires further study. The medication does offer beneficial relief when prescribed and used correctly for those truly in need of pain relief. Yet, it can place the patient at risk for much worse problems.

 Want to Learn More About OxyContin’s Health Risks?

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Indiana Overwhelmed by the Opioid and Heroin Crisis in 2017


Every state in the country is facing the effects of the drug epidemic that has swept the nation for over a decade. Since 1990, drug overdose death rates nationwide have more than tripled, and the rising number of drug-related crimes and deaths are forcing state lawmakers to take decisive action.

Indiana has certainly felt the effects of this crisis, and the state is currently overwhelmed with opioid painkiller and heroin addiction cases.

Indiana’s Struggles with Opioids

State hospitals in Indiana report nearly 400 overdose-related visits every week. In 2016 alone, 619 Indiana residents died from opioid overdoses. These staggering numbers have spurred Indiana lawmakers to create a multifaceted plan to curb these trends.

The Indiana Commission on Drug Abuse recently approved a dual approach to substance abuse: curbing the number of overdose deaths by increasing the availability of naloxone, and increasing access to substance abuse treatment programs. In some Indiana counties, the drug overdose death rate per 100,000 residents is as high as 47, eclipsing the national average of 11 by a wide margin.

While Indiana faces issues with several types of drugs, heroin and other opioids continue to be the top priority for state lawmakers. Increasing the availability of naloxone to those who need it is definitely step in the right direction. Naloxone is one of the few drugs capable of reversing the effects of an opioid overdose, and Good Samaritan laws protect those who seek emergency medical care for others from facing drug charges.

Prescriptions Leading to Heroin Use

One of the most troublesome aspects of the opioid crisis is the fact most addiction cases arise from normal use of prescribed drugs. Many people receive opioid medication prescriptions for legitimate medical reasons, and some turn to heroin once they run out of refills.

Heroin is relatively inexpensive compared to prescription pills on the black market, so many people with opioid addictions try heroin as a more cost-effective means of maintaining their habits. Unfortunately, heroin is not only extremely potent, but also susceptible to tampering.

The Fentanyl Problem in Indiana

Indiana Hospitals See 400 Drug Overdose Visits Each Week - Reflections RecoveryDrug dealers often alter their heroin supply with other substances to either create a larger batch of sellable product or to alter the product’s effects. Many Indiana law enforcement officials have reported fentanyl in seized drugs.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is vastly more potent – and therefore more deadly – than heroin. The lethal dose of fentanyl is a fraction of the size of a lethal dose of heroin.

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security also reported several seizures of carfentanil, an opioid compound that is up to 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

The fentanyl issue exposed another dangerous trend: drug dealers disguising their wares as candy. Indiana police recently arrested a 30-year old man after a sting operation for selling SweeTARTS candies laced with drugs. While drug dealers often employ this tactic to hide their supplies from police, if a child were to find one of these candies, it could easily lead to a fatal overdose.

A New Health Crisis Due to the Opioid Epidemic

Indiana has also suffered an unexpected problem due to increased heroin use in the state. Many drug users do not have access to clean syringes and often share their paraphernalia with other users. When sharing syringes, drug users risk transmitting communicable diseases such as hepatitis, HIV and other infectious medical conditions.

Austin, Indiana became the epicenter of the largest HIV outbreak in the United States. Many factors – including decades of economic decline, a median household income lower than the state average, and a flood of illegal drugs from nearby metropolitan areas like Indianapolis and Chicago – created a perfect storm with disastrous public health consequences.

In 2015, health officials reported 81 positive HIV tests in a single week in Austin. Socioeconomic issues, lack of access to treatment, and general malaise over life in Austin are all contributing factors to this epidemic.

How Is Indiana Fighting Back?

A WalletHub study recently reported that Indiana ranks 14th in the nation for drug abuse, and state policymakers are enacting measures to drive public awareness of this continuing problem. The study also showed that Indiana has had the highest rate of methamphetamine lab-related incidents in the country.

Additionally, Indiana ranks sixth in the country for college student arrests for drug-related crimes. Finally, the report showed that Indiana ranks ninth in the country for prescription opioid painkiller use, with a rate of about 109 prescriptions for every 100 residents.

An outlook report from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration does not project an end to the crisis anytime soon. Not only is Indiana floundering amid the ongoing opioid crisis, but the entire Midwest region of the United States is suffering as well. Even robust, trustworthy, and reputable treatment centers in the state are struggling to keep pace with the growing demand for opioid addiction treatment.

With no clear end to the problem in sight, no concrete solutions from Indiana policymakers, and limited access to treatment and recovery resources in the state, it falls on individuals to stay updated on these disturbing trends and understand the importance of seeking treatment as soon as possible.

Don’t Wait to Seek Help

Reflections Recovery Center understands the challenges facing people struggling with addiction. We help clients from all over the United States, and Indiana residents are sure to find a viable treatment plan with us.

However, the best way to treat substance abuse is with prevention and advocacy. If a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it’s imperative to encourage them to seek treatment before the problem escalates to critical levels.

Finding accessible, comprehensive opioid addiction treatment in Indiana is difficult. Those who are struggling with substance abuse or whose loved ones are searching for treatment options must be open to the idea of traveling out of state for treatment.

Heading to Reflections in Prescott, Arizona can offer a healing environment in a new location and new climate, where Indiana residents struggling with addiction can get the care and individualized attention they need to overcome substance abuse.

Learn About Traveling to Northern Arizona for Treatment

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Financial Woes Could Add to the Addiction and Drug Problems in Illinois in 2017


Over the past two decades, the United States has experienced the most widespread substance abuse in its history. Since 1990, drug overdose deaths in the country have more than tripled, and drug overdoses have overtaken car accidents as the leading cause of accidental death in the country.

Each state has felt the effects of the opioid crisis, and Illinois appears to be in particularly bad shape, due to the state’s insolvency. If Illinois cannot pay its debts, create new public health initiatives due to a lack of funding, or even pay the state’s pensioners and lottery winners, where can state lawmakers find the funds needed to combat the drug crisis in the state?

Illinois Facing Bankruptcy

The state of Illinois has been operating without an approved, balanced budget for almost two years. Conflict between the governor and the Democrat-controlled state legislature has led to disagreements over budgeting. The state owes billions to state vendors, and pensioners worry for the security of their pensions.

Unions demanding higher wages and higher taxes for public spending have also created issues for Illinois, and there is still no clear end in sight. At this point, it doesn’t seem to be a question of if Illinois will go bankrupt, but when.

One of the adverse results of this insolvency is that many public programs will face funding cuts. If health and human services suffer in this manner, Illinois may not have the funds to deal with one of the most pressing problems in the state: the opioid crisis.

Other states have been able to allocate additional funds and boost the efficacy of existing addiction treatment programs since they have the financial flexibility to do so, but it doesn’t appear that this option exists for Illinois.

Illinois’ Struggles with the Opioid Crisis

Heroin-related overdose deaths in Illinois jumped 22 percent between 2013 and 2014, and the issue has only worsened since. The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority recently surveyed sheriffs and police chiefs, and more than half of the respondents reported that heroin is the largest drug threat facing Illinois.

Last year, 2016, Illinois saw a 48 percent increase in heroin distribution, 59 percent increase in heroin-related transportation, and the reported demand for heroin in Illinois skyrocketed by 83 percent.

The Problem Is Getting Worse, Not Better

Opioid Overdoses Illinois Lives In 2016 Statistic - Reflection Recovery CenterAs more patients grow dependent on prescription opioid painkillers, their refills will inevitably run out and they will have to either enter substance abuse treatment or find another means of maintaining their habits.

Unfortunately, heroin is easily accessible in Illinois, so many people who begin with prescription opioids and become addicted turn to heroin as a cost-effective substitute. The Chicago area alone witnessed more than 1,000 deaths from heroin overdoses in 2016.

Despite a highly successful conviction rate in state drug courts and hundreds of drug dealers put behind bars, Illinois anti-drug advocates claim that these measures have had little effect on the availability of heroin in the area.

These same advocates have successfully pushed for greater accessibility to naloxone, the anti-overdose drug capable of saving the lives of individuals experiencing an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, comprehensive treatment programs in Illinois are difficult to find and stretched to capacity.

The Illinois Regions Hit Hardest by Heroin

Southern Illinois has felt the effects of the opioid crisis more acutely than the rest of the state. In 2016 alone, almost 1,200 people died of opioid overdoses across Illinois. From 2008 to 2016, the number of prescriptions in state for opioid painkillers increased about 18 percent, from 1.77 to 2.09 per patient.

Southern Illinois counties including Hardin, Pope, Gallatin, Johnson, Perry and White saw the prescription rate jump 30 percent, from 2.16 to 2.75 prescriptions per patient.

The Drug Pipeline

Another reason Illinois is suffering acutely from the opioid crisis is the availability of heroin in the area thanks to drug cartels. Cartel members move drugs from Mexico into the United States, and the Chicago metropolitan area is a major drug trafficking hub that helps cartels ferry their products across the country.

Illinois law enforcement recently seized more than 190 kilograms of heroin, disrupting a major drug pipeline running from Mexico to Chicago. An extensive operation lasting more than a year involved surveillance and raids on drug operations in the city, and the investigation resulted in 19 arrests.

Where Does Illinois Go from Here?

Illinois citizens have many questions concerning the widespread drug problem in the state. If the state defaults on its debts, how will the state help mitigate the ongoing substance abuse problem in Illinois? If the state has to cut funding to health and human services programs, what will this mean for the already overtaxed substance abuse treatment services in the state?

People struggling with addiction in Illinois may soon have to face the fact that the state simply does not have the resources to effectively handle the problem, and already-struggling relief programs are not going to be able to sustain their current efforts without government assistance.

It’s unknown whether Illinois will seek a federal bailout to pay its debts, but the governor of Illinois has already spoken against further burdening the taxpayers due to the fiscal irresponsibility of the state’s Democratic legislature. While these issues speak to the financial issues facing the state of Illinois, there is little focus on the opioid crisis from state lawmakers because there simply aren’t enough resources to dedicate to effectively handling the issue.

Seeking Treatment out of State

Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, Arizona accepts male clients from all over the country, so anyone living in Illinois who is struggling with opioid addiction should consider that worthwhile treatment close to home may not be an option. Reflections caters primarily to young adult men who are suffering from heroin or opioid addiction.

Illinois residents struggling with addiction and their families don’t need to feel hopeless due to the state’s fiscal insolvency. Reach out to the Reflections team for help before the problem turns fatal.

Learn About the Logistics of Traveling to Northern Arizona for Rehab

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Can My Loved One Reclaim Their Life from Heroin?


If you have discovered your son or family member uses heroin, you may be filled with worry, fear and confusion. You probably have a lot of questions swimming around inside.

It’s no secret that heroin is a highly addictive substance. It carries an alarmingly high risk of overdose and death. Here at Reflections Recovery Center, we know addiction doesn’t only affect the one using heroin, but also his loved ones. There is a way out. And we can help.

What You Can Do to Help a Loved One Who Is Addicted Heroin

The man in your life already has one critical component in his favor – family support. Begin with an intervention to help him realize the importance of getting treatment right away. If he cannot admit he needs help with heroin, contact us today and we can connect you with a professional interventionist.

Get Help For Heroin Addiction Before It's Too LateOnce your family member can admit he has a problem, he has taken the first step toward recovery.

Successful recovery from heroin addiction is possible with the proper services. Reflections Recovery Center can provide you with several resources to help in the initial phases of getting your loved one into treatment, and we will be by your side throughout the treatment process.

When your loved one enters treatment with us, we assign you a Family Communication Specialist who works solely to maintain, repair or improve relationships between the client, his family and his therapists. Our specialist will provide you progress updates and be available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

A family’s love and encouragement can provide a wonderful supportive network that is so valuable for anyone struggling with drug abuse. And we want to involve you in achieving a successful recovery.

What the Treatment Program for Heroin Looks Like

Heroin is a powerful drug, so the withdrawal symptoms can sometimes be severe, even life-threatening. There’s no way to know for sure how extreme withdrawal symptoms will be until it happens, which is why we recommend to never attempt withdrawal alone. Medical supervision during detox is important to ensure the safety of your loved one.

We offer medically assisted detox, where physicians are on hand to keep an eye on vital signs, administer medication if intense withdrawal symptoms occur, and help make the transition to sobriety as comfortable as possible for the client.

Because each person reacts differently to going off of heroin, the detoxification process will be customized to the unique needs of each client. We also make non-medical therapies available to clients as they go through detoxification and recovery.

From the moment of detoxification on, we begin nourishing our clients with nutritional meals and supplements. Substance abuse frequently leads to malnutrition, and we prioritize healing the physical needs of our clients from day one. We have a licensed naturopathic physician on staff who provides a physical exam to all new clients. Not all rehab centers can offer this service.

Beyond Physical Healing

We believe in treating the whole person. Healing is needed in many ways, and recovery is found through nurturing the mind, body and spirit simultaneously. That is why we provide a holistic treatment approach that combines traditional clinical treatment with proven alternative therapies that complement evidenced-based therapies.

Your loved one is unique and his path to recovery will be unique to him. We make sure each of our clients receives an individualized treatment plan to accommodate his needs.

Quick Action Brings Hope for Loved Ones Addicted to Heroin

As dangerous as heroin is, yes, there is still hope with the right treatment. Addiction to heroin is a serious life-threatening condition. But getting the right help quickly can save your loved one’s life.

You have not lost him forever. You can stop the suffering. But you need to act now.

Act Now to Get Your Loved One the Help He Needs to Get Off Heroin

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