Narconon Fresh Start Increases Drug Addiction Awareness to Prevent Overdose Deaths During the Holidays

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Family holiday gatherings are too often the settings where families first learn about drug addiction problems within the family. Narconon Fresh Start drug rehabilitation and prevention is making an increased effort to bring awareness of drug abuse to families this season through a new series of articles and videos.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in 2012. Among people 25 to 64 years old, drug overdose caused more deaths than motor vehicle traffic crashes. Drug overdose death rates have been rising steadily since 1992 with a 117% increase from 1999 to 2012 alone. In 2011, drug misuse and abuse (use of illicit, prescription or over-the-counter drugs in a manner other than as directed) caused about 2.5 million emergency department (ED) visits. Of these, more than 1.4 million ED visits were related to pharmaceuticals.

A big part of the problem is the non-medical use of prescription drugs - using drugs without a prescription, or using drugs just for the "high" they cause. In 2010, about 12 million Americans (age 12 or older) reported non-medical use of prescription painkillers in the past year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicates that the people who used prescription painkillers non-medically were 19 times more likely to initiate heroin use than people who did not use them.

Gerry Marshall, president of Narconon Fresh Start drug rehabilitation program, has witnessed the rise in prescription drug abuse over the last 10 years. For this holiday season, his organization has created a new Holiday Hope video and written articles to educate and offer solutions to families about this problem. “Although we help people with all types of substance abuse issues,” Marshall states, “over the last 10 to 15 years we have seen more and more people come into our centers having started out their addiction on prescription drugs, mostly pain pills. This is really becoming an epidemic now affecting not only your typical street drug users but people from all walks of life.”

“Right after the Holidays,” Marshall continues, “we usually get an increase in people looking for help, because families often first become aware of their loved one’s drug abuse problem at a family gathering. This is why we are choosing this time of the year to step up our efforts to educate family members. It is very important that family members understand signs of prescription pain medication or opiate abuse so they can take action to prevent a potential overdose. Some of the most common signs of opiate abuse are - abnormal sleeping patterns, excessive lethargy or tiredness, very constricted pupils, and loss of appetite. They should also look out for flu-like drug withdrawal symptoms such as increased anxiety, irritability, excessive yawning, runny nose, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, and chills. In addition to those signs, they may also observe that prescription medication has gone missing or that their loved one is experiencing a loss of motivation in life, depression, or anxiety. Other drug abuse symptoms are increased separation from the family, stealing to support the habit, or unusual tardiness or absence from work, family or social functions.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends better access to substance abuse treatment, stating that effective, accessible substance abuse treatment programs could reduce overdose among people struggling with dependence and addiction and they encourage states to increase access to these important programs.

Narconon Fresh Start provides a unique drug-free detoxification and rehabilitation program that helps ease the discomforts associated with drug withdrawal and teaches the life skills necessary to maintain sobriety.

For more information on recovery or to learn more about drug addiction, please contact Narconon Fresh Start at 855-734-2223.

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Clark Carr
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