Working to Stop the Hurt: Hope in the Face of Addiction
The question is looming large for Warren and Clinton Counties: What are we going to do about drug addiction, and specifically opioids like heroin and fentanyl?
To call it an epidemic may not be strong enough. Recent statistics in Warren County alone show a huge jump in deaths resulting from drug overdoses - from 11 in 2004 to 40 just ten years later. It got worse in 2015, when overdoses claimed 60 lives according to the Warren County Drug Task Force.
Some groups like the Task Force are trying to tackle addiction head-on. Others include the Warren County Opioid Reduction Task Force, the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Warren County, and the Clinton County Opioid Prevention Planning Team. They are trying to develop plans for prevention and treatment of addiction to opiates and other drugs that can work toward stemming the tide of drug abuse and addiction affecting so many families. Those plans are looking at strategies like:
- more access to treatment services in the region,
- increased funding for counseling and other treatment services, and
- development of information resources.
The effects of drug abuse and addiction are far-reaching: family members lose trust in one another, people get fired from jobs, they lose track of family obligations, verbal or physical fights happen as their tempers get short - the list of possible effects goes on and on. The emotional wellbeing of everyone involved can suffer. Addiction can devastate relationships beyond repair, even rip family members away in a death caused by overdose.
Signs of Drug Abuse and Addiction
If you think a family member, friend or co-worker is addicted, here are some things to look for:
- losing interest in favorite hobbies or activities
- being tired or sad for several days
- saying things that don\'t make sense
- sleeping at times of day that seem strange
- missing important events or appointments
- having problems at or missing work a lot
Treatment Offers Hope
Treatment options are available, and they can help. When people get into treatment and stick with it, they learn new ways to cope with the triggers that might have led to their drug addiction.
Just as each person is unique, so is the approach needed to treating their addiction. Some may benefit from what\'s called Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT. This uses medicines that block the good, euphoric feelings of taking the addictive drug, making it perhaps easier to quit. Counseling may be better for other people, allowing them to talk with a counselor about why the addiction happened, its effects on personal relationships and work, and how they can better deal with problems to avoid going backwards.
It takes time, and relapses can happen. That\'s why it\'s important for family members, friends and co-workers to help where they can: offer encouragement, take walks, or do things to help the person in recovery to move forward.
Get help or help someone you love and care about get help. Working together, answers can be found - and lives can be restored.