Author Archives: hesty

Have You Talked to Your Parents About Drugs? The Startling Rise of Baby Boomer Drug Abuse

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, drug abuse rates are rising rapidly among Baby Boomers. The Baby Boomer generation of Americans who were born in the years following World War II extends from 1946 to 1964 and includes people who are currently between the ages of 63 and 49. Overall, the Baby Boomers comprise a large segment of the United States population, given that more than 75 million people were born during that period. The fact that they are increasingly using drugs provides reason to be worried about the impact this could have on the future of the country. The most alarming piece of information in the WLRN report was that the 55-59 age group is the one which is experiencing the most significant rise in drug abuse rates. The reasons for this, however, are not necessarily what you might assume.

Given that the Baby Boomers were the generation which was in its teens and twenties during the 1960s and 1970s, when drug use exploded among the American youth, it would be natural to expect that this is the major reason why boomers are now using drugs more. Indeed, many do smoke pot as an old habit which persists from the days when they were young. Other street drugs are common, as evidenced by the fact that the number of emergency room admissions for cocaine abuse among South Florida baby boomers has been steadily increasing, whereas it has been on the decline for the general population since 2006. Street drugs are not, however, the primary reason which is driving the rates of boomer drug abuse.

The number of baby boomers who are receiving treatment for addiction to prescription drugs has exploded since 2001, when 15 percent of those in treatment were members of the boomer generation as compared with 30 percent now. Following alcohol, prescription drugs are the most common reason why boomers end up in rehab, with sleeping pills and opiate painkillers being the two most prevalent drugs of addiction.

What is driving the increase in baby boomer drug addiction?

Given that prescription drugs are actually the leading drugs of addiction among baby boomers, it is evident that the rising tide of addiction among that generation of Americans is not necessarily a result of their drug use during youth. More commonly, what is happening is that one of these people goes into see his or her doctor with a complaint such as insomnia, back pain or anxiety, and is walking out with a prescription for Ambien, Vicodin or Oxycontin, or Klonopin. These and similar drugs are highly addictive and susceptible to abuse, and patients are at great risk of developing a dependence. A doctor from a local addiction treatment center is quoted in the PBS story as saying that most physicians receive very little training on the subject of substance abuse and addiction, and that they very often use prescriptions as an easy solution for resolving a patient’s symptoms, even if it is not actually a treatment.

Compounding the problem is the aggressive marketing engaged in by drug companies — most of which rake in annual revenues in the tens of billions of dollars — and the way that the pharmaceutical industry lavishes doctors with gifts such as free trips to “medical conferences” in Hawaii and other exotic locales as a way to compel them into helping to sell the drugs. The doctors stand to make more money by writing quick prescriptions so that they can spend less time with each patient; the drug companies stand to make massive profits; and the patients very often wind up addicted.

Drug Abuse – When it Reaches the Point of no Return

Drug abuse, naturally enough, conjures up a locale which is rather the regular haunt of the addicts. A person may take to drug abuse for a number of reasons like peer group pressure, psychological pressures, or simply for the kick that the habit gives to the user. And, when the person keeps on repeatedly consuming the item(s), drug abuse assumes serious proportions.
However, a person is not deemed an addict unless the person demonstrates certain symptoms which are very typical of the ailment which is progressive by nature. Hence, if a person consumes too much of alcohol or for that matter drugs or even if the general state (physiological and financial) of the person is sliding, in proper medical terminology that person is not at all an addict. This is because these symptoms are mere predictable signs of the ailment but none of them in itself pertains to the disease of addiction.

Drug abuse has assumed alarming proportions across the globe what with the drug barons forcing the grassroots peddlers or their main conduits to entice the youth to fall into their pit of no return. There are also copious instances of nondescript shops selling drugs to school kids and all in the disguised forms of sweet toffees or candies. With time, these children find it absolutely difficult to come out of that vicious cycle. Hence the utmost attempts of the concerned authorities to nip in the bud all such moves to rope in the new generation into the drug abuse closed circuit.

Many western tourists frequent the Asian countries to get their hands on such natural drugs like bhang which is exotic to those places. In fact, the Golden Triangle encompassing the South East Asian countries of Myanmar, Thailand and the subcontinent has long been one of the main sources of the global narcotics substances.

Drug abuse alters the brain’s main sites known as the receptors. Regular drug abuse can definitely change the brain’s sensitive cells and even prevent the brain to utilize the necessary nutrients. These receptors are the primary units for transmission of vital information. Drug abuse further stops the brain from also recognizing the information highways made up by chemicals. The information is transmitted by surges of electricity. Drug abuse strikes this very pillar of mankind’s information technology. Therefore, repeated drug abuse changes the brain’s chemical layout, and even clogs the vital channels of information. The most dangerous aspect of drug abuse is the irrevocable damage caused to brain’s cell.

7 Teenage Drug Abuse Myths Exposed

Teenage drug abuse is a serious issue. However, some people, including parents, may not realize the severity because of commonly accepted myths. For parents, it is important to get accurate drug abuse information.

1. Myth: Using prescription drugs is less harmful than street drugs.

Fact: Many prescription medications intended to alleviate pain, depression, or anxiety are just as dangerous and addictive as illegal drugs. Because of this assumption that prescription drugs are safer, many children are more willing to start experimenting with these medications. And more often than not, teenage prescription drug abuse is accompanied by alcohol consumption.

Prescription drugs are only safe when taken as directed by a doctor. The wrong dosage and/or potential interactions with other drugs, one’s diet, or physiological makeup may have damaging or even deadly effects.

2. Myth: Using alcohol or marijuana as a teenager is a normal part of growing up.

Fact: Less than half of American teenagers drink alcohol or smoke marijuana. Exposing a developing child to such substances is illegal for good reason. Besides the lasting damage it can cause to the brain, using substances can also harm teenagers’ social development.

In hindsight, people who experimented with substances as teenagers report they were “looking for something.” Trying to have a good time, simplifying social interactions, or solving problems with drugs or alcohol often means they are learning to go to those substances for help. This maladaptive learning process is not easily unlearned.

3. Myth: Drug testing will only further alienate my child.

Fact: If a child is demonstrating signs and symptoms such as isolation, sleeping during abnormal times, becoming increasingly argumentative and confrontational, or easily agitated, then something serious may be wrong. Drug testing is a starting point for discerning what’s wrong and finding a solution. Mending a tumultuous relationship with your child begins with understanding the problem.

4. Myth: Drug abuse only really happens in impoverished or low-income areas.

Fact: Studies have found drug addiction and alcoholism occurs across socio-economic levels and ethnicities. Drug abuse is prevalent in both private and public schools throughout the country. Although rates of substance abuse vary somewhat based on gender, age, and socio-economic status, about one in 10 people who abuse drugs become addicted, which is why some mental healthcare professionals refer to drug use as Russian Roulette.

5. Myth: Drug addiction is a question of moral fiber or character.

Fact: Most addicts start as occasional drug users. While some may view drug use as an immoral choice, drug addiction is a “disease of the brain,” says Dr. Alan Leshner, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. At a certain point, the choice to use becomes a compulsion. Changes in brain chemistry through drug abuse result in uncontrollable drug addiction.

6. Myth: An addict or alcoholic has to really want to be sober for drug treatment to be effective.

Fact: A majority of youth sent to treatment centers are not there through choice. When drugs or alcohol consume a person, the last thing they “want” is rehabilitation. Whether for legal reasons or family reasons, many people seeking substance abuse treatment did not make the choice alone. In fact, those who have been pressured into treatment through a process of confrontation, coercion, or ultimatum appear to do better. Studies demonstrate that the reason someone seeks treatment has little influence on how well they will do.

7. Myth: After a treatment program, an addict shouldn’t need any more treatment.

Fact: Unfortunately, drug addiction is generally a lifelong struggle. Like many diseases, relapse and remission cycles are possible. Although some people can quit immediately, or after one drug treatment program, most require long term plans with strong support and resources and even repeated treatment programs.