My Son’s Journey With Addiction

my sons journey
My son’s journey with addiction has been a long heartbreaking one. He went from a thoughtful young man to one that didn’t care about his grades or going to class. He started pulling away from his true friends and started hanging around people we didn’t know. He became rebellious and lost interest in family gatherings. As he got older his lack of sleep affected his ability to stay focused and keep a job.
He tried a few programs locally but they focused on medication and not on recovery. We wanted him to enter a long term program but we knew it had to be his decision.
My son had a friend in California that invited him out for a chance at convincing him to try a recovery program out there.
Sarah helped him to find Matt Fidlow, admissions advisor of The Last House, and with the help of Andy Allen my son entered their program January 2019.
The Last House program was very strict and regimented but we knew he needed that in his life.  The young men worked the 12 Step Program at their pace with their sponsor and attended AA and NA meetings daily.  He learned many lessons working this program and the bonds the young men shared became just as important to their wellbeing as the life lessons.
While at the house he met life coaches and recovering addicts living in a sober community.  Having honest conversations with those he met, my son began to think he could live a different life than the one that brought him there.
We were and still are so proud of him for the hard work he put in to graduate the 12-month program at The Last House.  He is now working in the recovery field as he rebuilds his life.

We are so grateful for The Last House and it’s supported as our son changed his life.  We all know being an addict is an everyday choice but with the tools he learned from Last House and the people he surrounds himself with, our son will have the opportunity to live a full and productive life.

Thank You So Much Last House!
Joan and Tony Nelson

Matt W. – A Last House Success

matt wicks last house success

Before I came to The Last House I was a broken little boy who was angry and ran away from what life threw at him. I knew I could not drink like a normal person but I didn’t care. My reality was too much for me to go through sober. My alcoholism drove me to some very dark places and to hurt people I loved the most. There were so many signs in my life that showed me I needed to change. Getting kicked out of rehab and living in a crack house was not enough. My dad walking in on me with a needle in my arm was not enough. Leaving a hotel room while my family was sleeping, on my 21st birthday, to go smoke crack on Lower Wacher drive after just one drink was not enough. Ijust needed to go through all of these things for me to get the willingness to give treatment a real chance. I had heard of a wilderness treatment center in Utah but it cost a lot of money and I was on probation, so I couldn’t leave the state. My sick mind told me I could not get better and to just forget it. I went on another run, leaving the sober living I was at. After a horrible experience, I took the train to my mom’s place asking for help. That same day we got a call from the treatment center saying  they would scholarship me  to their treatment center. Later on, I got a call from probation saying I was being let off early, to go to treatment out of state.

To this day I believe God had given me a chance to save my life. Two days later I was on a plane to Utah. My experience in wilderness cleared my mind and gave me a conception of God. I had a choice of aftercare sober livings. It was between Los Angeles, Cincinnati, and Louisiana. LA sounded cool so I went with that. I can recall entering the house and the brotherhood I felt from my housemates and the support from the staff. Slowly I started to change. Between all of the groupings, moving houses and working the steps with my sponsor Matt, my life changed for the better. I cannot thank this place enough or really convey the gratitude I have for The Last House. It helped me save my life and taught me to love. Today I can handle what is put in front of me, show up, have integrity, and values. I am so proud to be graduating this program. B

Acupuncture as an Alternative to Opioids

Acupuncture-as-an-Alternative-to-Opioids

Pain medication prescriptions are at an all-time high and alongside it, the opioid addiction rate also increases.  Opioids are a good form of pain relief when taken as prescribed but if they are abused they are one of the most addictive types of analgesic available.  As more and more people are prescribed them the medication has become more freely available and thereby open to abuse.

Why is it being called an ‘ Opioid Epidemic’?

As addiction rates have risen so have deaths directly related to overdose and now the overdose rate for prescription opioids have overtaken those of heroin.  The risk is now well known but the numbers still go up.  The reason for this because many people underestimate the risks of drugs if they have been prescribed by a doctor and consider them to be safe.  While an opioid works well to block pain it also gives the user a sense of euphoria so it is easy to look at the benefits of the drug whilst simultaneously ignoring the potential risks. If opioid drugs are used incorrectly or for long periods the user develops a tolerance and requires higher and higher doses to maintain the same effect.

Of course,  many people use opioids and never become addicted however, once tolerance starts to develop a person can rely on the drugs to feel normal, they become dependent and from there, addicted.  If someone has a long term painful condition they are more prone to addiction than those who only need them for a short time.

As rates of addiction rise, overdose-related deaths have skyrocketed. Prescription opioids are How Acupuncture can offer an alternative to painkillers

As the risk of opioid use become well-known people are looking for safer alternatives and are starting to turn towards holistic methods of managing their pain.  Many have found a useful substitute by using acupuncture and there are many reasons why people prefer it to conventional medication.

It is more natural:  Painkilling medications mask the pain; acupuncture stimulates the body to promote healing.  The human body is designed to heal itself and acupuncture assists this.

It is effective:  while pain killers relieve the pain by temporarily masking it, they do not cure the underlying cause.  In 29 studies pain levels were reduced by 50% using acupuncture.  The results of the studies which involved 18,000 people were published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Acupuncture can be used for multiple conditions:  The treatment is used to treat many conditions, from mental health disorders like anxiety through to physical problems like menstrual cramps.

No negative side effects:  Acupuncture has no side effects, it does not produce euphoria or cause withdrawal symptoms.  Many who have used opioids in the past report unpleasant side effects including nausea, vomiting, fainting and dizziness.

It is safe: In our culture, we are constantly bombarded with pharmaceutical products to manage pain.  Opioids remain a good form of pain relief but more people are looking at the risks and then moving over to safer solutions.  Even if a person is using opioids for pain management acupuncture can help with dose reduction and withdrawal.

Some people find the idea of acupuncture worrying but it is worth consideration because it is risk-free.  It does not have any of the negative physical or mental effects associated with opioids that can often outweigh the undoubted benefits of taking the drug.

A skilled acupuncturist can help a client cope with any worries and anxieties and it will likely continue to grow in popularity as a viable alternative to opioid-based products.  If you help with addiction Contact Us at The Last House.

Medication Assisted Treatment

medication assisted treatment

The withdrawal process for substance abuse can be painful or, in some cases, even fatal.  As a result, there are several medications to help that are used within medically controlled environments.  These medications assist people with the most difficult part of their recovery from drug or alcohol addiction and keep them safe whilst they go through the detoxification process.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: Help with the Symptoms of Withdrawal

Addiction recovery is challenging and success depends both on the substance used and how the individual is assisted with the early symptoms of withdrawal.  These cravings and symptoms are the hardest part of recovery and although they are necessary, fear of these can hamper the person’s progress or lead to relapse.  Some of the cravings are milder than others and these can be managed without medication.  However, some of the withdrawal symptoms can be painful, distressing or deadly and it is here that medication-assisted treatment can help people stay safe and have a more comfortable detox experience.

Medications Used to Manage Withdrawal

The type of medication used will depend on the addiction and the nature and severity of the withdrawal symptoms.  Some of the more common types of medication used are:

Vivitrol

Vivitrol is used to block the effects of opioids and is helpful for those with opiate addiction.  Unlike other medications, Vivitrol is injected and is only used once a month and it cannot be used until detox has been completed so it is not suitable in the early stages of recovery.   Vivitrol is very effective and helps a person maintain their recovery.  The main risk is that it can cause a decreased tolerance to opioids so, in the case of a relapse, the risk of overdose is raised.

Methadone

Methadone reduces craving and eases withdrawal symptoms by blocking the action of opioids.  However, unlike Vivitrol, it must be taken once each day.  There is a slight high produced with Methadone which leaves it open to abuse.  It will produce sedative, relaxing and anti-anxiety effects and can give a feeling of euphoria.  Additionally, people who use Methadone to withdraw from heroin or other opiates find they then need help to withdraw from the Methadone.  However, despite having some withdrawal symptoms these are much less severe.

Narcan (Naloxone)

This medication is used to block or reverse the effect of opioid drugs and delivered by injection – either into a muscle or vein – or by nasal spray.  It will only work against opioids and is only designed to be used in cases of overdose so it is very effective in emergencies..  Narcan is not routinely used as a mediation-assisted treatment in detox programs.

Antabuse (Disulfiram)

Antabuse is used specifically to help with alcohol detoxification and acts on the liver to stop it from breaking down a substance called acetaldehyde.  This is produced by the body in response to alcohol consumption and if levels build up there can be several unpleasant physical effects.  If a person drinks while taking Antabuse they will experience vomiting and other symptoms within around 10 minutes.  The drug stays in the body for many weeks after it is last taken so if a person consumes alcohol at all within that time they will experience these negative effects.  This is what makes the drug an effective deterrent and causes the person to completely avoid alcohol.

If you have any questions regarding withdrawal, detox or the drugs used in medication-assisted treatment contact us at The Last House and ask to speak to one of our admissions counselors.

Last Day to Apply for The Last House College Scholarship!

last house college scholarship

Today is the deadline for The Last House College Scholarship applications.  If you haven’t applied yet, today is your last chance to apply for $1000 in financial aid for the spring semester of college.  The Last House is dedicated to furthering the personal development of those who are trying to improve their lives.  In that spirit, we are offering a $1,000 college scholarship to individuals who are interested in mental health education.  Ideally, we would like to choose a candidate whose life has been affected by Drugs or Alcohol and who is looking to help those who are still suffering.

Requirements

-U.S. citizen or permanent U.S. Resident

Deadline for submissions is December 10 2019

-Enrolled or accepted in an accredited college or university

-High School seniors are encouraged to apply

-Minimum GPA of 3.0

-Consent to be listed as the winner of The Last House College Scholarship on our website

-Awarded funds must be spent on college tuition, room/board, or other education related expenses.

 How to Apply

Applicants must provide basic student information along with a Personal Statement in essay form (500 words max) as to why they deserve The Last House College Scholarship.  Expressed interest in drug and alcohol treatment or mental health is preferred.  Applicants can optionally provide an additional essay or letter on our Google form.

APPLICATIONS FOR THIS SCHOLARSHIP ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED

Check our scholarship page to apply for a scholarship for the next semester.

10 key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

10 key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

10 key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

10 Key Advantages of Long Term Rehab

Treatment options for drug and alcohol abuse have grown in recent years, but long-term rehab remains one of the best methods and provides a level of care that many other shorter options do not.  Often entering a drug rehab facility is what makes the difference between relapse and long-term sobriety.

Some of the shorter options include ‘cold turkey’ withdrawal or outpatient treatments.  Neither of these will provide the consistency of physical and psychological support that a long-term option does.  Additionally, long-term facilities offer safety and supervision which many addicts need and find reassuring.

Choosing between a bewildering array of options can be overwhelming.  Here are 10 good reasons for choosing a long-term rehab facility for yourself or a loved one:

Reason #1 To remove enabling or negative influences

When a client enters a drug rehab facility their communication with the outside world is limited and monitored.  This helps to remove any of the negative environmental influences and also isolate them from those who have enabled their drug use.  This means that they are not discouraged or undermined in their attempts to achieve sobriety by preventing access to drugs or negative influences. This removal from ones environment is only one of the advantages of long term rehab.

Reason #2 To live in a drug and alcohol-free environment

A long-term rehab facility is a no drug and alcohol zone.  The client must live at the facility and, unlike outpatient treatments which allow the individual to go back into the environments that enable them to access drugs or alcohol, clients may only leave on approved or supervised trips. The facility is a safe, supportive place which provides stability and freedom from temptation.

Reason #3 To establish routine and structure

Once a person is dependent on or addicted to drugs they often lose any structure in their life which leads to more likelihood of substance abuse.  Within a rehab facility, the clients have full days which are structured to include all their therapies and other activities to help them towards health and sobriety.  The aim is to encourage activities that help them stay away from drugs or alcohol and also start to learn coping strategies to stay sober in the long term.

Reason #4 To access 24/7 support

Long term rehab provides staff 24 hours a day so there is always someone on hand to give support when needed.  These professionals are there at all times for the benefit of the client, providing help, advice and support at critical moments on the journey to sobriety making relapse less likely.  This is yet another one of the advantages of long term rehab.

Reason #5 To receive medical support and supervision

In the early days, many clients experience unpleasant physical or mental withdrawal symptoms, yet with the right medical support the worse symptoms can be alleviated.  This benefits the client immeasurably and is also reassuring to family, friends and loved ones who can see that the client’s struggles are being dealt with sympathetically, appropriately and safely.

Reason #6 To facilitate personal growth

Choosing a long-term rehab program gives the client time to focus on themselves away from all the pressures of day-to-day life.  This is a good opportunity to look at areas of personal growth and how they can direct energy away from destructive people and activities and towards more productive, positive pastimes to help maintain sobriety long term.

Reason #7 To live in a sober environment with sober peers

This is particularly valuable for young adults who may have related to their peers through drugs and alcohol use.  Within a long term rehab facility, they can form relationships with other people who are sharing the experience and working towards their sobriety.  This allows them to develop new ways of relating to others and it provides critical support through the harder stages of withdrawal.

Reason #8 To access more therapy options

Long-term rehab and treatment programs offer many experiences, therapeutic interventions and treatment that will benefit the client on all levels.  Physical, mental and emotional needs are equally important and utilizing many different types of therapy and treatment can help the clients start to relate what they learn to their own real-world experiences.  Many therapies allow clients to develop new interests and take up new hobbies that they can continue when they leave, filling time productively with positive activities that do not involve seeking and using drugs.

Reason #9 To address nutrition problems

Those that abuse substances often neglect their nutrition which can then lead to worsening withdrawal symptoms and poor health.  Inpatient rehab looks at the nutritional needs of each client and produces a nutritionally sound diet to support them through their journey to sobriety.

Reason #10 To get help with returning to the real world

Once the client has been assisted to withdraw from drugs or alcohol treatment will help them develop tools to help them stay sober.  By participating in treatment the client will have developed mechanisms for avoiding their triggers and staying away from negative influences, they will be able to avoid relapse by putting the healthy lessons and tools in place once they move on from their stay.

If you would like to learn more about treatment for addiction, particularly long-term treatment programs please contact us.  At The Last House, we will work with you to give yourself, your child or your loved one the best chance of moving forward to an addiction-free life.

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Fentanyl Abuse:  The Prescription Killer

Fentanyl Abuse The Prescription Killer

Fentanyl Abuse The Prescription Killer

Fentanyl Abuse:  The Prescription Killer

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a drug given to relieve chronic pain.  The opioid shot to fame after the rock icon Prince died as a result of an accidental overdose of the drug.

 

Fentanyl is one of the strongest prescription painkillers available and is currently taken by millions of people across the US to help control their pain.  However, it is also fast becoming a drug of abuse.

 

All opioids treat pain effectively but carry a risk of addiction.  The problem with Fentanyl is its strength and the way it works.  Fentanyl was developed as a fast-acting pain killer in 1960, however, while the effects are rapid they are also short-lived making the user look for an additional dose.  The other problem is that the margin between safety and overdose is very small giving the drug a high overdose risk.  Fentanyl is most commonly used in hospitals because of this risk and the fact that it is 100 times stronger than morphine, making it a high-risk candidate for abuse.

 

Opioids are often prescribed after surgery for a short period of recovery, but for some, they are needed in the long term.  They are effective but also risky and the abuse of opioids is growing nationally.

 

Fentanyl Fatalities

 

The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has announced that 1,000 people in the US died from an overdose of Fentanyl between 2005 and 2007. Nurses, doctors and anesthesiologists have a high risk of abusing the drug because of its availability in hospital, however, it is more usual to see the abuse of prescription Fentanyl and this is increasing in line with its availability in the community.

 

Watching for Signs of Fentanyl Abuse

 

Users often experience a range of unpleasant side effects when using Fentanyl including:

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness, headaches
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating and itching
  • Slower breathing
  • Nausea, poor appetite, weight loss
  • Poor appetite
  • Shaking
  • Visual problems

 

In the case of overdose the person may quickly become unconscious and a coma and death my follow.

 

In addition to the side effects of the drug, a user may also experience long-term physical or mental issues including suppressed immunity, fits, delusions, paranoia and personality changes.

 

How and why is Fentanyl abused?

 

Like other opiates, Fentanyl gives the user feelings of euphoria alongside making them feel more relaxed, drowsy and calm. It is a powerful opiate and dependency can develop in a short time.  The drug comes as a pill, injection or a dissolvable film.  Once addiction occurs the users often move onto other opioids like heroin because it is cheaper and easier to find.  Sometimes Fentanyl is mixed with other drugs like heroin to increase the effect and in the case of illegally sold Fentanyl, it can be cut with other street drugs making a potentially lethal cocktail.

 

Treating Opioid Addiction

 

Opioids withdrawal can be life-threatening so it is always done under medical supervision.  The symptoms range from mild discomfort through to extreme pain and this often causes a relapse.  The solution has been to help an individual through withdrawal by using medication.  This makes the process more comfortable and reduces the risk of relapse.

 

After detox is complete a good treatment program will look at the underlying mental or psychological processes that lead to addiction, helping people develop an understanding of their motivations and encouraging them to develop new ways to cope with stress.

 

Residential treatments like those offered by The Last House are known to be the most effective because people are removed from environments where they can fall back into old patterns of obtaining and abusing substances.  Time away from peers, negative environments and stresses can help lay a firm foundation for long term sobriety.

 

 

How to Help Your Child Stop Smoking Pot

How to Help Your Child Stop Smoking Pot

How to Help Your Child Stop Smoking Pot

How to Help Your Child Stop Smoking Pot

It is normal to feel emotional if you find that your son or daughter has been using marijuana.  These emotions can range from the guilt that you did not take action before, or you could just feel upset at the thought that your child has started abusing the drug.  Whatever your feelings, drug use is something that many parents of teens face.  It can be difficult to tackle but you must work with your child to address the issue before it goes too far.

Finding Out Your Child is Smoking Pot

Most teens will go to extraordinary lengths to hide any suggestion of substance abuse from their parents so if you do find out you are halfway towards getting the situation in hand.  Although finding marijuana or smoking paraphernalia may cause conflicting emotions, it also allows you to discuss the issue with your child.  It could be that you have already noticed changes in behavior and that finding evidence is merely confirmation of your suspicions.  In any case, before approaching your child, take into account the following:

  • Only start a conversation when your child is sober
  • Focus on communicating calmly and avoid confrontation. Becoming angry or hostile will be counterproductive.
  • Make sure you can present evidence or examples that cut across your child’s ability to deny substance use.
  • Come to the table with ideas to help them stop using the drug.
  • Set clear boundaries – drug abuse will not be tolerated and prepare some consequences for them if they continue. You must choose things you will be prepared to follow through for these to be effective.
  • Think of ways you can establish trust between yourself and your child.
  • Provide opportunities to reconnect with your teen.
  • Always be responsive when your child seeks to find ways to change their behavior.

You may need to use a professional interventionist if your child’s situation is severe.  These trained individuals can provide an outside perspective and help you to approach the topic in a more impactful and positive way.  They often facilitate the conversation and help parent and child move forward, including helping them obtain and begin treatment programs for addictions.

 

Treatment Programs for Marijuana Abuse

It is possible that a person can stop using marijuana without any professional help but you may consider that your child should start a treatment program.  These programs help your child by providing coping skills and tools they can use to stay sober.  Occasionally the use of marijuana can be a sign of other mental health disorders for which the child is self-medicating.  Professionals can help ascertain if this is the case.  Treatment programs are an important consideration for most teens who are abusing marijuana.

While there are arguments that marijuana itself is not addictive it has been shown to cause a dependency; where a person only feels normal when using the drug.  The earlier drug use starts the more likely a person is to go on to develop an addiction.

Some of the signs your child may need to seek professional help include:

  • Craving the drug
  • Tolerance – needing to use higher doses more often to get the same high
  • Marijuana takes on more importance than other activities
  • Unable to stop using marijuana

 

Therapies for Marijuana addiction

The main goal of any treatment program is to help young adults develop the coping mechanisms they need to avoid turning to drugs when they experience stressors or triggers.  Sending your loved one to treatment is the answer to the question of How to Help Your Child Stop Smoking Pot.   The focus is often on developing coping strategies, problem-solving skills and looking at lifestyle changes.  This is all working towards a more positive and healthy approach to challenges they may face in life.

The programs encourage the child to become more independent and confident that they can manage sobriety and deal with life without drugs.  Additionally, they will also be encouraged to develop skills and activities to help prevent relapse and become assertive enough to feel able to say ‘no’.

There are many adverse effects on a teen’s physical and mental health that occur from the abuse of marijuana so it is important to intervene as early as possible.  Whatever method you choose, whatever program they start, it is something that you will need to work on with your child and starting the conversation is the vital first step.

If you have any questions about marijuana abuse, any concerns about your child or you want to discuss how to get your son or daughter the help they need please contact us at The Last House by completing our contact form or calling one of our admission counselors.

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How Can I Help My Son Stop Drinking?

How Can I Help My Son Stop Drinking

How Can I Help My Son Stop Drinking

How Can I Help My Son Stop Drinking?

Alcohol is legal and many young adults find it easy to obtain.  Even those who are not legally old enough to drink can often find someone willing to buy it for them, or they can find it at home or in the home of their friends.  As a result of this ease of access, it is one of the common substances that young adults experiment with and some of them will go on to abuse it.

If you start to suspect that your child is drinking alcohol you will want to tackle the issue and have your child stop.  This is a perfectly natural response but you must approach the issue with care.  If your child is under 18 it will be much easier for you to get them into a treatment program but once they are over 18 it can prove more difficult.

Here are some of the options available if you want to help your child stop drinking:

The first thing is to gather evidence and to try to find out what your child’s situation is.  If you can do that it can make it a lot easier to open a conversation and move things forward.  If things are already at the point where you need to take immediate action there are some key ways you can help your child quit drinking:

  1. Discuss the dangers of drink

Having an open and honest conversation about how damaging alcohol can be is the first step.  We know certain physical effects can linger as well and there are other serious issues to consider too, such as the increased incidence of risky behaviors such as drinking and driving.  Young people tend to be more impacted by a discussion of this nature and this may be enough to turn them away from alcohol.

  1. Enlist their friends

Often children can be unresponsive to their parents but they do care a lot about what their friends think.  Peer pressure has often been implicated in substance abuse so having their sober friends talk to them can have a huge impact and could make all the difference  because, many time, kids will take on board the concerns of their friends in preference to that of their parents.

  1. Don’t have alcohol in your home

Removing all alcohol from your own home will remove immediate access to it.  Even if your child doesn’t have a problem with abusing alcohol getting it out of the house will remove the temptation and may help them to just stop drinking.

 

  1. Lead by Example

If your child sees you or another member of the household drinking regularly it might be worth thinking about cutting back and, by setting the example, you could be encouraging your child to look at their own actions.  In particular, if you have a problem with alcoholism, then working together to quit could be a positive way forward.

 

  1. Set up an intervention

Having a professional intervention can be a wake-up call for your child and make then realize how serious the situation is.  Hopefully this would lead to them seeking some help.  For children under 18 parents can get them into treatment regardless of their willingness to go.  Interventions are good for young adults over the age of 18 but you cannot force them to get help if they are not willing.

 

  1. Take your child to meet a professional

Having your child talk about some treatment options with a professional means that the issue can be discussed in a safe space without judgment.  The feedback they receive from a professional will be unbiased and will look only at the benefits for your child.  If your child is present then he or she will feel more in control of their recovery and can talk about any worries or concerns they have.

 

  1. Take your child to rehab

If your child is under 18 you will be able to decide to have him or her go to rehab and you will not need their permission to do so.  If your child does refuse or will not accept they have a problem then  rehab may well be the best step to take.

 

If you have any questions about how to get your child or loved one the help they need to quit drinking please Contact Us at The Last House and talk to one of our trained admission counselors.

 

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The Abuse of Prescription Stimulants by College Students

The Abuse of Prescription Stimulants by College Students

The Abuse of Prescription Stimulants by College Students

The Abuse of Prescription Stimulants by College Students

Alongside abuse of alcohol and drugs, there is an increasing problem of prescription stimulant drug abuse among college students.  These drugs are legal and often easy to obtain.

Many students are reporting that they have used a prescribed stimulant to help improve their academic performance.  In fact, in a survey, 58% of students said that they knew their friends abused these drugs and around 28% said they had shared their prescribed stimulants.  52% of those students who had been legally prescribed these drugs had experienced peer pressure to share them with others.

As prescription stimulants have become more common they have created a culture where their use is normalized and this has led to the development of more cases of addiction and abuse.  Of students who had been prescribed stimulants 50% said they were using them to improve their academic achievement. Those who go on to abuse these drugs often feel that their use is justified by the results.  This self justification feeds the abuse of prescription stimulants by college students.

The wider problem is that college students are not being equipped to deal with stress without using drugs and therefore they are actually putting themselves at risk for the future, both physically and mentally, and are at higher risk of developing a problem with addiction.

The misuse of stimulants can be life-threatening.  Prescription drugs are designed to be used strictly following a doctor’s instruction and by the person for who it is prescribed.   The abuse of these stimulants can lead to:

  • Cardiovascular problems – high blood pressure, heart attack, raised heart rate, stroke
  • Breathing problems
  • Organ damage
  • Seizures
  • Death

Students who are already misusing medication often go on to indulge in other negative behavior like heavy drinking or the abuse of street drugs, tranquilizers and pain killers.  Over time drug misuse causes the user to become tolerant and need higher and higher doses to get the same effect.  Eventually, this can lead to dependency and addiction.

Why college students misuse medication

Students are often put under a lot of peer pressure to conform; if it seems that everyone is misusing drugs they may well consider it a normal part of college life.  Other reasons why prescription medications can be misused include:

  • Concerns about grades – looking for improvements in performance
  • Feelings of euphoria and a reduction in stress
  • Feeling less anxious when taking the drugs
  • They help avoid dealing with problems

One of the best ways to help someone avoid becoming addicted is to recognize the early signs and tackle the problem early on.  If someone can be seen using more and more of the medication and become unable to function without it there is a bigger problem to be addressed. One way is to provide opportunities for students to develop healthy coping strategies that do not involve relying on drugs or alcohol.

Education about the risk associated with the misuse of prescription drugs is vital; lack of information can leave students open to the risk factors that lead to abuse, dependency and addiction. Keeping a close eye on prescription drugs in the home can prevent or highlight an early problem before it develops.

If you have any concerns about your drug use or that of a loved one, please Contact Us at The Last House to discuss your options.

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