250 Million People Use Drugs! - West Valley Detox
clock_iconJune 15, 2020 clock_icon11 min read

Have you called the serial killer?

More than 250 Million People use drugs- West Valley Detox. Moreover, every year the age of those who first tried drugs decreases. If a few years ago these were people aged 16-17 years old, today children 13-14 years old are starting to try drugs. The number of women who use drugs is also increasing.

Data provided by the annual World Drug Report 2019, prepared by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

According to data provided by the UN, the use of narcotic substances of different origins is constantly growing. For example, today the number of people using drugs is 30 percent higher than in 2009.

Every day, 500 people die from drugs. Some drugs become real “serial killers” – the most dangerous and deadly. And at the same time the most popular. For example, amphetamine, which is also called the plague of the 21st century. It is a synthetic psychostimulant and euphoric. They look like harmless white powder or cute multi-colored pills, which according to many, increase physical and mental activity, and help not to feel hunger and fatigue for a long time. And indeed they cheer up!

However, these temporary joys do not last long: 1-3 hours. Then comes fatigue, exhaustion, severe hunger, aggressiveness. Euphoria is being replaced by deep depression with thoughts of suicide.

In fact, amphetamine inhibits all body systems. First of all, the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system suffer. Immunity worsens, vision decreases, and bone tissue destruction begins. The liver and kidneys no longer cope with toxins.

And the worst of all, to avoid severe side effects, a drug-dependent person takes the next dose before the previous one ends. Such a “marathon” causes severe poisoning – and provokes cardiac arrest, liver and kidney failure, as well as the development of amphetamine psychosis, similar to schizophrenia and death from overdose.

Irreplaceable harm is caused by injecting drugs. According to the World Drug Report 2019, more than 11 million people worldwide inject drugs. People who inject drugs (PWID) experience multiple negative health consequences. They are at an increased risk of fatal overdose and are disproportionately affected by blood-borne infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C. 

Approximately one in eight people who inject drugs are living with HIV. Approximately half of the people who inject drugs worldwide are living with hepatitis C.

Hepatitis C is a significant health concern among PWID and is a greater threat to health than HIV. The higher mortality associated with untreated hepatitis C reflects several factors. Because those living with hepatitis C can remain symptom-free for many years, the problem has remained a “hidden” epidemic until relatively recently, with most cases of the infection going undiagnosed and therefore untreated. According to WHO, mortality from hepatitis C is increasing because of poor access to treatment. In addition, hepatitis C is more easily transmitted through injection than HIV. The prevalence of hepatitis C among PWID is much higher, and almost four times as many PWID are living with hepatitis C as are living with HIV. 

Enemy’s Name is Opioid

It is opioids that are the leading cause of mortality in many countries, as stated by the authors of World Drug Report 2019. Overall, North America continues to be the subregion with the highest annual prevalence of opioid use, with 4.0 percent of the population using opioids. 

According to the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017, deaths attributed to the use of opioids are highest and have shown the greatest increase, in North America. Canada and the United States continue to experience an opioid crisis, particularly related to the use of fentanyl and its analogs. The overdoses mortality rates in the United States and Canada are high, and those countries are making considerable efforts to monitor the situation. In both countries, overdose deaths are not uniformly distributed throughout the country but are concentrated in specific regions. In Canada, the highest rates are seen in the western provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. In the United States, the highest rates are seen in north-eastern and midwestern states.

Overdose deaths continued to rise in the United States in 2017, reaching a record number of 70,237 deaths, an increase of 10.4 percent from 2016. Opioids accounted for 68 percent of those overdose deaths, with 47,600 deaths in 2017. The increase in overdose deaths over the past five years closely corresponds with the increase in deaths from synthetic opioids other than methadone (a group consisting predominantly of fentanyl and its analogs). The rate of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone increased on average by 8 percent per year from 1999 to 2013, but by 71 percent per year from 2013 to 2017. There were 28,466 overdoses involving synthetic opioids other than methadone in 2017, an increase of 47 percent from 19,413 in 2016.

A million of sufferings

Some 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders. Among the estimated 271 million past-year users of any drug, some 35.0 million (range: 23.0 million to 47.0 million), or almost 13 percent, are estimated to suffer from drug use disorders, meaning that their drug use is harmful to the point where they may experience drug dependence and/or require treatment. This corresponds to a prevalence of drug use disorders of 0.71 percent (range: 0.47 to 0.95 percent) globally among the population aged 15–64.

Behind the millions of statistics figures, there are specific fates, people, usually young people who suffer from drugs, who bring pain and anxiety to their families and friends.

First of all, drugs “hit” the human body, destroying it completely. They wash out all useful substances and vitamins, which help the body to be healthy and recover after injuries. In addicts, such a recovery does not occur, as all the organs are gradually disintegrating.

The teeth, the liver, the gastrointestinal tract, the joints, and the bones suffer. Brains cells and the nervous system are being destroyed, processes of regeneration are occurring worse, immunity is reduced. Permanent injections lead to the formation of ulcers, the skin begins to rot, gangrene can develop. 

Male addicts are developing impotence with time, and women are having infertility. But before that, they have all the chances to give birth to children with pathologies – and these pathologies can also appear through generations. A person ages at a record time sharply starts to look a lot worse.

Drug addicts completely destroy not only their body but also their personalities. Everything that worried a person before taking drugs, everything that was important and valuable for him – ceases to interest him. The only thing he worries about is the next dose.

For the sake of drugs, people can go to jail – to steal, to engage in drug sales (including children), even to kill. Although earlier, when being a healthy man,  he couldn’t even imagine he was capable of this. 

Lost in drug addiction, a person is constantly in need of a large number of drugs. Often he loses work, as taking drugs rarely combines with work because of the frequent withdrawals when the dependent is simply not able to work. Sometimes he is fired from work for theft. He begins to spend family savings on drugs, sell valuable family things, or even sell an apartment where he lives.

A drug addict loses old friends and family ties, goes to the bottom of the social life, stops taking care of himself, often suffers from depression, and thinks of committing suicide.

Neither family, nor children, nor love – nothing is a barrier for a drug addict. If the addict makes the relationship, then often his partner also becomes addicted. Drug-addicts can teach their children to take drugs – either specifically, or unconsciously if using before their eyes.

In captivity

Drug dependence does not develop immediately. When a person begins to try psychoactive substances, this happens voluntarily. However, at a certain stage, it is no longer possible to stop taking drugs, since without a regular dose withdrawal syndrome develops. Its appearance indicates the formation of dependence – a chronic addictive disease of the brain, accompanied by chemical dependence.

After the development of addiction, the body can no longer do without a drug and the person’s well-being worsens significantly. During the withdrawal, he experiences severe pain, anxiety, insomnia, digestive and appetite disorders, increased sweating, and other symptoms.

The rate of development of drug dependence mainly depends on the type of psychoactive substance. For example, after taking weak drugs, a dependence develops for a long time, and after taking opiates, cocaine, heroin, or synthetic salts, it develops extremely quickly, literally after several doses.

In addicts, dependence is stronger than in smokers or alcoholics. And if it is a problem to quit smoking or drinking, then imagine, how hard it is to quit drugs. That is why the number of cured of addiction is so small and there is a risk that they will return to consuming drugs. Moreover, this can happen in a year or in twenty years.

Any kind of stress or a difficult situation can lead to this, sometimes it is enough to just remember the sensation of taking drugs – and there’s nothing to be done.

Getting rid of drug addiction on your own is almost impossible. The drug is included in all the vital processes of the body and without the next dose, it can no longer function normally. That is why attempts to quit very often end after the first of several withdrawals, and even if the addict managed to stop taking the drug for a while, then the likelihood of relapse in the future remains very high.

Back to life

Victory over drug addiction in many cases can be compared to victory over death. The first step to this victory is detoxification.

Detoxification, or detox,  is a process that allows you to remove drugs from the body. The detox procedure for drug addiction is not a substitute for treatment, but without it, the dependent will not be able to get rid of the addiction and return to normal life. The goal of detox is to safely manage withdrawal symptoms when someone stops taking drugs or alcohol.

It is important to remember that simply deciding not to use drugs may not be enough. The addict experiences are a whole range of unpleasant, and sometimes painful sensations. All internal organs suffer, depression begins, the addict experiences severe pain. Detox is used to eliminate all these negative signs of withdrawal.

The goals of detox for drug addiction include:

  • Complete body cleansing not only from the drug but also from the products of its decay. It is especially important to remove the poison from adipose tissue, where it can persist for years.
  • Helping the internal organs to restore their normal performance.
  • Restoring the body defenses.
  • Bringing metabolic processes to normal.
  • Work aimed at restoring the nervous system and mental state of the addict.

A good and lasting result in treatment for drug addiction can only take place when all of the above goals are achieved.

In detox centers, a whole range of measures is used to alleviate the patient’s condition including both physical and psychological treatment. It includes:

  • Drug treatment.
  • Individual and group work with a psychologist. 
  • Special diet.
  • Physical exercise.
  • Labor treatment.

Moreover, the last three points are also called the “natural” detox of the body. They usually also include the sauna, the obligatory intake of vitamins and mineral complexes, long walks in the fresh air, and much more.

Drug detox is used if the patient takes heavy types of drugs. For example, “Ultra-rapid Detox” has been developed for people taking heroin. This method is suitable for eliminating any type of drug derived from opium. This procedure is carried out strictly in a hospital, and before its use, a doctor’s assessment of the possibility and admissibility of using this method of treatment is mandatory.

The essence of the method is that special substances capable of removing the drug slowly enter the body of the addict.

The procedure is necessarily carried out under anesthesia, which greatly facilitates the patient’s condition and well-being. After 6 hours, visible changes occur due to a significant decrease in the concentration of the drug in the blood.

Rapid and Ultra-rapid Detox is a complex and expensive procedure. It is used only for the treatment of severe cases with pronounced withdrawal. Additionally, sedatives are used, a large number of vitamins, especially group B, drugs that support cardiac activity, the liver, and kidneys.

However, one should be aware that most people who complete Rapid and Ultra-rapid Detox report a continuation of withdrawal symptoms, albeit with lower severity. Patients who choose fast or ultrafast detox are much less likely to continue treatment, for example, attend inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation.

Because of this, they are less likely to work on relapse prevention, possible concomitant mental illnesses, and life planning, and therefore are more likely to experience a relapse.

No one is alone

In any case, detox is best being carried out under the close supervision of specialists, best of all – in specialized centers. Yes, there are suggestions and methods of detox at home. For mild cases, this may be applicable. But detox with medical supervision in safe and comfortable conditions, with the standing participation of specialists, can give a really good result. After all, the needs of everyone for detox are different and require individual treatment.

The medical team checks incoming patients for physical and mental problems. Doctors use blood tests to measure the number of drugs in the patient’s body. This helps to determine the level of medication needed. A comprehensive analysis of medical history is carried out, a long-term treatment plan is being formed.

The next step is the stabilization of the patient using medication and psychological therapy. The purpose of stabilization is to prevent any form of harm to the patient. The final stage of detox in preparation for a treatment program. Doctors introduce their patients to the treatment process and what to expect. Inpatient rehabilitation gives the best chance of success after detox.

Under medical supervision, detox prevents the dangerous complications of drug withdrawal. Although medical detox limits withdrawal symptoms, some are unavoidable. The most common side effects may include nervousness or anxiety, insomnia, nausea, concentration difficulty. However, the result is worth overcoming this discomfort.

It is important to remember that drug therapy is only part of the process. It helps the human body to overcome the harmful effects of drugs and cope with the consequences of canceling their use. But without the help of a professional psychotherapist, the patient may not be able to cope. The intake of sedative, nootropic drugs, as well as antidepressants and tranquilizers is mandatory.

Direct work with a specialist is of great importance: both individual and in a group. This integrated approach helps the recovering person to cope with psychological dependence, find support, make new friends. All these make it possible to realize the importance of finding a unique place in life, and not to break in search of a new portion of poison.

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