Journey Healing Centers Releases 3 Signs of Heroin Addiction

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No family member wants to think that his or her loved one is hooked on heroin. As part of National Recovery Month in September, Journey Healing Centers releases 3 signs to look for if someone is using, and how to address addictions before it’s too late.

Journey Healing Centers Medical Director

Dr. Ravi Chandiramani, Journey Healing Centers Medical Director

With the sudden loss of Glee star, Cory Monteith, to a mixture of heroin and alcohol, it was a public wakeup call that it is important to watch for clues versus assume everything is alright.

With heroin and opiate drug use rising over 79% in the past 5 years (SAMHSA) and Journey Healing Centers (private drug and alcohol abuse rehabilitation) seeing a surge in clients addicted to heroin, the licensed doctors and therapists release 3 signs for parents to help prevent tragic losses.

As the ‘Glee’ Cast returns for Season 5 tonight (September 26th), the stars will release drug abuse PSAs to raise substance abuse awareness. With the sudden loss of Glee star, Cory Monteith, to a mixture of heroin and alcohol, it was a public wakeup call that it is important to watch for clues versus assume everything is alright. A special Cory Monteith tribute episode will air on October 10, 2013, and will focus on celebrating his life after an overdose of heroin and alcohol.

What is driving this heroin surge is that prescription pain pills (Vicodin, Oxycontin) can cost as much as $80 each on the street versus a bag of heroin can be as little as $10. Prescription pain pills are also becoming harder to get with doctors and pharmacies tightening up on policies. Heroin and painkillers have the same chemical makeup so drug users are turning to heroin to get the same type of high.

The most important thing that a family member can do is watch for the clues and keep an open dialogue with loved one’s on drug trends and use. While this communication is not easy, Journey Healing Centers licensed doctors and therapists encourage conversations with loving intentions when there are physical and behavioral changes.

1. Look for changes in behavior – If a loved one starts to or suddenly withdraws from their regular activities and responsibilities and/or is constantly making up excuses, changes in friends or withdrawal from family and friends, these may be signs of heroin use. Ask about the changes in a loving way to avoid defensiveness.

2. Look for visible signs – If pupils appear constricted, dry mouth, disorientation, cycles of alertness then nodding off, slurred speech and avoiding eye contact, that may mean the individual is using.

3. Look for physical clues – If there are sudden mood swings, overreactions to criticism, and/or there is drastic weight gain or loss, these physical signs can also be clues of heroin use. These signs are another reason to having a loving conversation about these changes.

A recent survey by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) reports heroin use significantly up with 669,000 users in 2012 compared to 373,000 users reported in 2007. The SAMHSA report also shows 4 out of 5 recent heroin initiates (79.5 percent) had previously used prescription pain relievers non-medically.

The SAMSHA study also shows that people aged 12 to 49 who had used prescription pain relievers non-medically are 19 times more likely to have tried heroin (within the past 12 months of being interviewed) than others in that age group (0.39 percent versus 0.02 percent).

Reports of rising heroin use are especially hitting “affluent middle-class teens”, according to a 48 Hours report in May 2013. The Community Epidemiology Work Group researchers also found a growing numbers of young people seeking treatment for heroin addictions. Many times substance abuse starts out innocently, such as relief for an injury or kids experimenting with pain pills. These experiments then lead to addiction, and often heroin use after pills can no longer be accessed from doctors, family members cabinets or the street.

Journey Healing Centers is also proud to sponsor a special notMykid event with guest speaker Dr Drew on Thurs, October 25, 2013, in Scottsdale, Arizona. For confidential advice or more information on this event, call Journey Healing Centers’ free 24-hour Addiction Hotline: 1-866-774-5119

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Liz Brown

Journey Healing Centers are private drug and alcohol treatment centers in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Salt Lake City, Utah. JHC has a 95% completion success rate (industry average is 48% according to SAMSHA, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Association) and holds the highest level of global accreditation. JHC provides Residential Programs, Outpatient Facilities, Day Treatment, Sober Living Homes, Family Programming, Free Aftercare for Life and a Sobriety for Life Program. The company has been featured on MTV's Gone Too Far, USA Today, Psychology Today, Discovery Channel, People Magazine, NPR, Fox 10 News Phoenix, ABC 4 News Salt Lake City, NBC 12 News Phoenix, KSL and KUTV News in Salt Lake City and many other media.

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