It is an unfortunate fact that millions of Americans (some of them mere adolescents) are addicted to hard, dangerous drugs such as heroin and opioids, and these habits can kill. This is a major public health concern in the United States, which is why many health agencies are carefully tracking how often Americans abuse these drugs, and how often they seek help. The good news is that it is never too late for an addict to seek treatment, and they can visit methadone treatment centers, heroin treatment centers, and heroin detox clinics to get free of drugs the right way. Trying to get free of drugs alone is both risky and difficult, but at methadone treatment centers and rehab clinics, it is much safer and more likely to work. How often do Americans abuse these drugs? And what does rehab entail?
Drug Abuse Rates
In the past few years, many statistics were gathered to track how often Americans abused hard drugs. In 2015, just to name one example, 20.5 million Americans aged 12 and up were suffering a substance abuse disorder, and and two million of them were abusing prescription pain relievers and 591,000 were abusing heroin. Among these users, some 21,000 adolescents had abused heroin within the last 12 months, and 5,000 were current users. And in 2016, about 948,000 Americans reported that they had used heroin within the past year. These rates are higher than those of the mid 2000s; in 2006, 90,000 people started using heroin, and in 2016, around 170,000 had started using it.
Abusing drugs involves all kinds of risks, and not just to the user’s health. Drug abuse is often associated with alienation from friends and family, job loss, serious financial strain, and crime (such as stealing items to sell to fund that drug habit). It should also be noted that drug overdose is the #1 cause of accidental death in the United States; in 2015 alone, 52,404 Americans died this way. Some officials have gone as far as to say that opioid abuse is a national health crisis due to the high number of lethal overdoses. This is a major reason why addicts are urged to seek treatment at once, such as at methadone treatment centers.
Sometimes, drug abusers seek medical help on their own, and other times, they experience an intervention where concerned friends and family confront them and urge them to get help at methadone treatment centers or detox clinics. This is much better than trying to detox at home, which is likely to end up in the addict relapsing to escape the unpleasant side effects of withdrawal. Sometimes, withdrawal symptoms will lead to dangerous complications that may threaten the addict’s life. So, an addict may visit methadone rehab clinics instead, where medical professionals can take over. Methadone is a legal, over the counter drug that helps inhibit an addict’s cravings for hard drugs, and its effects may last between 24 and 36 hours. Of course, an addict who is prescribed methadone must be careful to use it as directed, so they can achieve the desired results and not accidentally form a new drug habit. Fortunately, methadone treatment has proven highly successful in the past.
A heroin or opioid addict may also visit a detox clinic, where they are checked in and then spend a few days in the clinic. The addict will be monitored as they detox and allow the drugs to leave their system, and medical staff may intervene in a timely manner if any harmful complications arise during this phase. Once the addict’s body is cleared of drugs, only then are they ready to take the next step and begin counseling and therapy to talk out their problems. Therapists can help the addict figure out how to lead a drug-free life and address the problems that led to drug abuse in the first place, and recovering addicts may even have access to vocational rehab services for gainful employment. Taking part in anonymous support groups can go a long way to help recovering addicts and alcoholics stay clean of substance abuse, and they may be cheered up to know that they aren’t all alone.