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Frequently Asked Questions About Drug Addiction and Treatment

Frequently Asked Questions

Addiction and alcoholism are not moral issues. They are chronic, dangerous, and ultimately fatal diseases.

If you have questions about addiction—such as, “How do I know I have a problem?”—this is the page to read. It will help you determine if you have a problem with a substance like alcohol or meth.

After reading about these drugs, we encourage you to contact us for help to recover.

Alcohol

If drinking is causing you problems with your health, relationships, job, finances, the law and/or in other areas of your life, it's important to seek help. The effects of alcohol abuse are serious—even fatal.

How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

Ask yourself these questions. They come from the CAGE questionnaire, used by doctor's offices, to identify cases of alcoholism.

  1. Have you ever felt you needed to Cut down on your drinking?
  2. Have people Annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
  3. Have you ever felt Guilty about drinking?
  4. Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning (Eye-opener) to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?

If you answered "YES" to two or more of the above questions, you may have a drinking problem.

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a disease that includes the following (according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association):

  • Repeated use of alcohol despite recurrent negative consequences
  • Tolerance, or the need to drink increasingly larger amounts of alcohol in order to "feel" its effects
  • Withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms, including nausea, shaking, sweating, insomnia and anxiety occur when alcohol use is stopped
  • An uncontrollable drive to drink

Why can't alcoholics just stop drinking? The inability to stop drinking has little to do with willpower. Alcoholics are in the grip of an uncontrollable need for alcohol, and most require assistance to recover.

Often, those struggling with alcoholism are reluctant to seek treatment for a variety of reasons, including the perceived stigma associated with the disease, fear of withdrawal and a reluctance to be away from family and work obligations. With proper treatment and support, however, many are able to stop drinking and successfully rebuild their lives.

Third leading lifestyle-related cause of death: According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death for U.S. residents annually. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports 17.6 million Americans are alcoholics or have alcohol problems, like binge drinking and regular heavy drinking. Another 50 million, at least, are affected by alcoholism—accident victims, family members, friends, co-workers and others.

Homicides, suicides and other violent acts are more likely to be committed by persons who have been drinking. In fact, alcohol is a factor in 73% of all felonies in the U.S. Alcohol-related problems cost society approximately $185 billion per year. In human terms, the costs can't be calculated—for example, in 2008, there were 11,773 drunk-driving deaths in the US.

Effects of Alcoholism

Short-term effects: Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes numerous short-term issues. Some alcohol-related problems, such as motor coordination and cognitive impairment, slurring of speech, impaired memory, and blurred vision can manifest after drinking heavily over a short period of time. These tend to go away after the person sobers up.

Long-term effects: Other effects of problem drinking are more permanent and develop gradually over time. The long-term effects of alcoholism include:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver and other liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • A variety of cancers (especially those of the liver, esophagus and throat)
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatitis
  • Brain damage
  • Irreversible harm to a fetus during pregnancy

Mental health issues, such as major depression, may also develop. Long-term alcohol abuse has been shown to cause an 800% increased risk of psychotic disorders in men and a 300% increased risk in women.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Alcohol rehab programs: Support Systems Homes has several different types of treatment and levels of care for alcoholics and problem drinkers.

Treatment may include detoxification—stabilizing a person by getting the alcohol safely out of their systems and helping them understand options for longer-term treatment. Detox can occur in a hospital or in a rehab center designed to safely administer detox.

Detox should be followed by residential, day and/or outpatient treatment in a Support Systems Homes facility. Along with counseling, education and therapies, our rehab programs also give you vital post-treatment resources, like legal assistance, job prep and training, housing and more.

Helping families and friends: Because the support of family members and friends is so crucial to the recovery process, Support Systems Homes’ programs also offer a family program as part of your treatment for alcoholism. It's also important for loved ones to begin their own healing process; our treatment center-based family programs can help with this, as can community-based programs such as Al-Anon/Alateen.

"Today our son is one year free of drugs and alcohol. We want you to know how highly we value the contribution you, your staff and the Support Systems philosophy have made to his recovery. This has been a long and bumpy road, with many detours along the way. The reality is it's a never-ending road, requiring constant maintenance. We didn't give up hope, and neither did Support Systems."

-Testimonial

Aftercare: Although alcoholism can be treated, even if an alcoholic has been sober for a long time, he or she must continue to actively maintain a sober lifestyle. With this in mind, our treatment programs offer Aftercare to program graduates. Aftercare is a managed group that meets regularly to guide clients in long-term recovery efforts.

Self-help groups: Many treatment programs also include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, or refer clients to other community-based self-help groups for ongoing recovery support. Although AA is generally recognized as an effective program for recovering alcoholics, not everyone responds to AA's style or message. Support Systems Homes maintains a list of other available recovery approaches.

Fentanyl

America’s new drug addiction threat has a name... and it's fentanyl.

Sound familiar? You’ve probably heard the name but aren’t entirely sure what it is. Perhaps the most high-profile case tied to fentanyl is the musician Prince. Though he may be the most famous victim to meet an untimely death due to this highly addictive drug, he is definitely not the only person to fall prey to its dangers.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is similar to morphine, but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a schedule II prescription drug, and it is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. In its prescription form, fentanyl is known by such names as Actiq, Duragesic, and Sublimaze.

Forms of Fentanyl

When prescribed by a physician, fentanyl is often administered either by injection, transdermal patch, or by lozenge or lollipop. Most recent cases of fentanyl-related overdose and death in the U.S. are linked to illegally made fentanyl. It is sold through illegal drug markets for its heroin-like effect. It is often mixed with heroin and/or cocaine as a combination product—with or without the user’s knowledge—to increase its euphoric effects.

Non-pharmaceutical fentanyl is sold as a powder, spiked on blotter paper, mixed with or substituted for heroin, or as tablets that mimic other, less potent opioids. Street names for fentanyl or for fentanyl-laced heroin include Apache, China Girl, China White, Dance Fever, Friend, Goodfella, Jackpot, Murder 8, TNT, and Tango and Cash.

Dangers of Fentanyl

The high potency of fentanyl greatly increases the risk of overdose, especially if the user is unaware that a powder or pill contains fentanyl.

Since fentanyl is a narcotic, withdrawal can be especially dangerous. The safest approach is professional medical assistance and detox at our rehabilitation centers in California. To learn more about Support Systems Homes' treatment options, please contact us today.

Heroin/Opiates 

Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is both the most abused and the most rapidly acting of the opiates.

How do I know if I have a heroin problem?

Heroin Anonymous developed the questions below as a self-test to help determine whether you may have a heroin problem.

  1. Do you isolate yourself when using heroin?
  2. Have you ever used more heroin than you planned?
  3. Has your heroin usage interfere with your job or school?
  4. Do you find yourself concealing your heroin usage from others?
  5. Are you experiencing financial difficulties due to your heroin usage?
  6. Has your heroin usage caused problems with your partner/spouse or family?
  7. Do you wish you could stop using heroin and find that you are unable to quit?
  8. Have you experienced legal difficulties from your heroin usage and yet you continue to use?
  9. Do you consume the entire amount of heroin you have and then immediately desire to get more?
  10. Have you failed to cut down or quit heroin entirely?
  11. Do you wish you had never taken that first hit, line, or injection of heroin?
  12. Have you continued to use heroin even after you experienced an overdose?
  13. Do you fear other people will find out about your heroin usage?
  14. Are you preoccupied with getting heroin when you do not have it?
  15. Do you have to use larger amounts of heroin to get the same high you once experienced?
  16. Has anyone ever told you that you may have a problem?
  17. Have you ever lied or misled those around you about how much or how often you use heroin?
  18. Do you use heroin at work or in the bathroom in public facilities?
  19. Have you ever pawned something in order to buy heroin?
  20. Are you afraid that if you stop using heroin that you will not be able to function?
  21. Do you find yourself doing things that you are ashamed of in order to purchase heroin?
  22. Have you ever stolen drugs or money from family or friends in order to buy heroin?

If you answered "YES" to one or more of these questions, you may have a problem with heroin.

What is heroin and how is it used?

Heroin is an illegal, semi-synthetic drug processed from morphine, a substance extracted from the opium poppy. It is used as a recreational drug for the intense feelings of relaxation and euphoria it induces. Heroin is typically sold as a white or brownish powder or as a black, sticky substance known as "black tar heroin."

Most street heroin is "cut" with other drugs or with substances such as sugar or starch. Heroin can also be cut with poisons like strychnine.

Heroin is usually dissolved and injected, or the powder is snorted or smoked. All forms of heroin are psychologically and physically addictive, and a tolerance to the drug builds quickly. IV or intramuscular heroin use poses special problems because of the potential for transmitting infectious diseases.

Heroin is a significant drug of abuse in the United States—hundreds of thousands of people in our country are addicted. Over the past decade, researchers have observed a shift in heroin use patterns, from injection to snorting and smoking. With this shift comes an even more diverse group of users.

A recent study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed the number of individuals struggling with heroin addiction has increased by 90%—from 213,000 to 399,000—since 2007.

Heroin use statistics: "Monitoring the Future," an annual survey published by the University of Michigan, found that:

  • 14% of admissions to public-funded drug abuse programs in 2006 were for heroin.
  • Heroin was involved in 189,780 emergency department visits in the U.S. in 2006.
  • 70% to 80% of all new cases of Hepatitis C come from intravenous drug use.

Effects of Heroin Use

Short-term effects: Soon after administration, heroin crosses the blood-brain barrier. Users report feeling a surge of intense pleasure (a "rush"). This is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in the extremities. Nausea, vomiting, and severe itching may also occur.

After the initial effects, the heroin user will typically be drowsy for several hours. Mental function is clouded by heroin's effect on the central nervous system. Cardiac function slows. Breathing also slows—sometimes to the point of death.

List of short-term heroin effects

  • Euphoria
  • Depressed respiration
  • Flushed skin
  • Clouded mental functioning/sedation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Suppression of pain
  • Infectious diseases

Long-term effects: One of the most detrimental long-term effects of heroin abuse is addiction itself. Addiction is a chronic disease, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences, and by changes in the brain. Heroin also produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical dependence, which contributes heavily to abuse. Painful withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced abruptly.

List of long-term heroin effects

  • Addiction
  • Overdose risk
  • Infection of heart lining and valves
  • Infectious diseases, for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis
  • Depressed lung function
  • Collapsed veins
  • Abscesses (at injection sites)
  • Problems with the heart, liver and kidneys
  • Arthritis and other rheumatological problems

Treatment for Heroin and Opiate Addiction

Support Systems Homes provides a variety of effective treatments for addiction to heroin and other opiates (opioids). Some of these several may be used in conjunction, to best help you with recovery.

Detoxification/"Detox": The primary objective of detoxification is to relieve withdrawal symptoms, stabilize participants and prepare them for longer-term treatment. Symptoms of withdrawal (most of which peak between 24-48 hours after the last use) include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps and uncontrollable leg movements.

Medications like Subutex may be used to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals supervise all medications given at Support Systems Homes treatment centers.

Residential drug rehab: Residential treatment participants come to live in a safe, supervised setting for 30 days or more. In our heroin treatment center, they can focus completely on recovering from their addiction. Participants receive drug education, individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, introduction to community-based self-help groups and referrals to community resources.

Therapeutic communities: Research published by The National Institute On Drug Abuse (https://www.drugabuse.gov/) states that one of the most effective drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community (TC) programs lasting 3 to 6 months. TC programs are residential, with participants and therapists living together.

While staying in our TC rehab center you'll receive therapy, education and practical activities. The program length gives participants the time they need to stabilize from their drug use to develop new, healthy behaviors and support networks.

Outpatient treatment: More intensive treatments may be followed by outpatient treatment—regular structured therapeutic groups and individual counseling several days a week, usually for several months. Outpatient participants have stabilized in terms of their drug use, and are appropriate for a level of care that isn't monitored or structured 24/7.

Community-based self-help groups: Groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, along with non-12-step-based programs, are designed to help addicts attain long-term abstinence. Group members gain new tools and support networks to deal with their addictions.

Maintenance programs: Some heroin addicts do not find complete abstinence feasible. In these cases, a maintenance approach—providing a small dose of medication so individuals can function without going into withdrawal—is employed.

Support Systems Homes uses methadone, buprenorphine (Subutex) and levomethadyl in our maintenance programs.

Methadone: About 20% of heroin addicts in the U.S. receive methadone maintenance treatment. Methadone has been used to mitigate opiate addiction for over 45 years. Properly prescribed, methadone relieves heroin cravings; this is crucial, as craving is a major reason for relapse.

Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is used either for long-term maintenance or for medically supervised withdrawal (detoxification) from opioids. It has a higher degree of safety than with methadone and a less-symptomatic withdrawal syndrome. A doctor must prescribe and monitor the medication.

Levomethadyl (LAAM): Similar to methadone, though longer-acting LAAM is a synthetic opioid that can suppress symptoms of withdrawal. In 1993, the FDA approved the use of LAAM for treating clients addicted to heroin. Its long duration permits dosing just 3 times per week.

Methamphetamine

How do I know if I’m addicted to meth?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed the questions below as a brief self-test regarding drug abuse.

  1. Are drugs negatively affecting your work or health?
  2. Do you feel like you need drugs to get through the day?
  3. Are your friends or family members telling you there's a problem?
  4. Have you tried to stop or cut down on your drug use, but were unable to do so?

If you answered "YES" to one or more of these questions, you may have a problem with drugs like meth.

What is methamphetamine and how is it used?

Methamphetamine (also known as meth, crystal meth, crystal, speed or crank) is a synthetic, illegally produced substance of the phenethylamine and amphetamine class of drugs. It is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, with effects lasting from 4 hours to several days, depending on purity and amount used. The drug's euphoric effects are similar to, but longer lasting than, those of cocaine.

Meth is manufactured using over-the-counter cold and asthma medications containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. Among the other ingredients most commonly used in conjunction with ephedrine or pseudoephedrine are red phosphorous, hydrochloric acid, drain cleaner, battery acid, lye, lantern fuel, ammonia, muriatic acid and/or antifreeze.

Use: Methamphetamine can be snorted, smoked in a glass pipe or on foil, injected or ingested orally.

A rampant problem: Methamphetamine has long been a problem in the western part of the United States, especially here in California. In recent years, meth use has spread to the Midwest and further east. There are now 1.4 million meth users in the United States.

  • In 1992, only 5 states reported high rates of drug treatment admissions for methamphetamine/amphetamine issues. By 2002, this number had increased to 21.
  • According to the National Survey on Drug Use, 10.4 million Americans age 12 and up had tried methamphetamine at least once.
  • According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are more than 15,000 deaths annually associated with stimulant use in the U.S.
  • In 2007, there were 137,000 rehab admissions for methamphetamine abuse in the U.S.

Effects of Methamphetamine Use

Short-term effects: Meth releases a surge of dopamine, causing an intense rush of pleasure or prolonged feelings of euphoria. This is the primary effect that meth users seek. Meth gives an almost immediate "high," causing the body to release high doses of adrenaline. This increases your heartbeat, attention and energy level.

List of short-term meth use effects

  • "Rush"/Euphoria
  • Rapid/irregular heartbeat
  • Increased attention and decreased fatigue
  • Increased activity
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased respiration
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increased sex drive
  • Infectious diseases (due to IV use and/or risky sexual practices)

Long-term effects: Methamphetamine is manufactured from toxic chemicals and therefore causes serious damage to the mind and body. Over time, meth destroys the brain's dopamine receptors, making it impossible to feel pleasure. Permanent cognitive damage can occur. Deterioration of the body takes place and chronic abuse can lead to psychotic behavior. Those who inject the drug are susceptible to infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.

List of long-term meth effects

  • Physical changes to the brain
  • Emotional and cognitive impairments
  • Memory loss
  • Liver damage
  • Stroke
  • Violent/aggressive behavior
  • Dependence and addiction psychosis, including:
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • mood disturbances
  • repetitive motor activity
  • Weight loss and other physical deterioration
  • Acne and sores on the skin
  • Severe dental problems
  • Infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis

Rehab for Methamphetamine Addiction

Support Systems Homes provides several effective treatments and services for meth addiction. If it helps your treatment progress faster, we may use more than one of the following in conjunction with each other.

Detox: Meth usually processes through the body within 24-48 hours of the last dose. Meth Detox concentrates on helping the participant cope with the cravings for meth afterward as well as the withdrawal symptoms: exhaustion, insomnia, distorted thinking, memory problems, depression, low energy, and irritability. Our detox program helps stabilize you, and prepare you for longer-term treatment like a residential rehab program.

Residential drug rehab: Residential treatment participants come to live in a safe, supervised setting for 30 days or more. In a structured setting, you can focus completely on recovering from your addiction. Participants receive drug education, individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, introduction to community-based self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, and referrals to community resources.

Support Systems Homes Residential Treatment also offers the chance to form support networks with others in recovery, and to learn healthy lifestyle choices in terms of nutrition and exercise.

Therapeutic communities: Research published by The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that the most effective drug-free treatments are the therapeutic community (TC) programs lasting 3 to 6 months. TC programs are residential, with the clients and therapists living together. Group psychotherapy, individual counseling, education and practical activities are typically offered. The program length gives participants the time they need to stabilize from their drug use and to develop new, healthy behaviors and support networks.

"We were so happy to find Support Systems Homes for our son. While researching various drug rehabilitation programs, we found so many of them lacking in one or more of the components that we felt were so important. Support Systems Homes has them all!"

Outpatient treatment: More intensive forms of treatment may be followed by outpatient treatment, which involves regular structured therapeutic groups and individual counseling that take place several days per week, usually for several months. Outpatient participants are those who are stabilized in terms of their drug use, so they can move to a level of care that is not monitored or structured 24/7.

Community-based self-help groups: Groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and Crystal Meth Anonymous, along with non-12-step-based programs, are designed to help meth addicts attain long-term abstinence. You'll gain tools and support networks to deal with your addiction.

Cocaine

How do I know if I’m addicted to cocaine?

Read these questions (developed by Cocaine Anonymous) as a self-test for cocaine addiction:

  1. Have you ever used more cocaine than you planned?
  2. Has cocaine use interfered with your job?
  3. Is your cocaine use causing conflict with your spouse or family?
  4. Do you feel depressed, guilty or remorseful after you use cocaine?
  5. Do you use whatever cocaine you have, almost continually, until it's all gone?
  6. Have you ever experienced sinus problems or nosebleeds due to cocaine use?
  7. Do you ever wish you had never taken that first line/hit of cocaine?
  8. Have you experienced chest pains or rapid/irregular heartbeats when using cocaine?
  9. Are you obsessed with getting cocaine when you don't have it?
  10. Are you experiencing financial difficulties due to your cocaine use?
  11. Do you experience an anticipation high just knowing you are about to use cocaine?
  12. After using cocaine, do you have difficulty sleeping without taking a drink or other drug?
  13. Are you absorbed with the thought of getting loaded, even while interacting with a friend or loved one?
  14. Have you begun to use drugs alone or drink alone?
  15. Do you ever have feelings that people are talking about you or watching you?
  16. Do you have to use larger amounts of drugs or alcohol to get the same high you once experienced?
  17. Have you tried to quit or cut down on your cocaine use, only to find that you could not?
  18. Have any of your friends or family suggested that you may have a problem?
  19. Have you ever lied to or misled those around you about how much or how often you use?
  20. Do you use drugs in your car, at work, in the bathroom, in airplanes, or in other public places?
  21. Are you afraid that if you stop using cocaine or alcohol, your work will suffer or you will lose your energy?
  22. Do you spend time with people or in places you otherwise would not be around, but for the availability of drugs?
  23. Have you ever stolen drugs or money from friends or family?

If you answered "YES" to one or more questions, you may have a problem with cocaine or a similar mind-altering substance.

What is cocaine and how is it used?

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive crystalline substance obtained from the leaves of the coca plant of South America. It's a central nervous system stimulant, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic. Its possession, cultivation, and distribution are illegal for non-medicinal purposes almost worldwide.

Cocaine is generally sold on the street as a fine, white, crystalline powder. Street dealers dilute it with inert substances like cornstarch, talcum powder and/or sugar. Or with other active drugs like procaine (a chemically related local anesthetic) and similar stimulants.

Other forms of cocaine: Other forms include base/freebase and crack. Freebase is the base form of cocaine, as opposed to the salt form. It is practically insoluble in water, whereas the powder form is water-soluble.

Crack is a lower-purity form of freebase cocaine and contains sodium bicarbonate. Crack rocks appear as off-white nuggets with jagged edges, with a slightly higher density than candle wax. Purer forms of crack resemble a hard, brittle plastic, in crystalline form.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimates that in 2007 there were 2.1 million current cocaine users—of which about 610,000 were crack users. Adults 18-25 have a higher rate of cocaine use than any other age group.

The same survey showed that nearly 1.6 million Americans meet the DSM-IV criteria for dependence or abuse of cocaine (in any form). Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) shows that cocaine was involved in 548,608 emergency room visits in 2006.

Use: The powdered salt form of cocaine can be snorted, or dissolved in water and then injected. The drug can also be used orally and smoked.

Effects of Cocaine Abuse

Short-term effects: Cocaine's effects occur almost immediately after one dose, and disappear within a few minutes to an hour. The duration of cocaine's euphoric effect depends upon how you take it. The faster the drug is absorbed, the more intense the resulting high—but also the shorter the duration. The high from snorting is relatively slow, but it may last 15 to 30 minutes. The effects from smoking are immediate but may last only 5 to 10 minutes.

List of short-term cocaine effects

  • Euphoria
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure
  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Decreased need for food
  • Feelings of restlessness and irritation
  • Paranoia
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Heart problems/cardiac arrest
  • Neurological effects (strokes, seizures, headaches, coma)

Long-term effects: Different routes of cocaine administration can produce different adverse effects. Many chronic cocaine users lose their appetite and experience significant weight loss and malnourishment.

List of long-term cocaine effects

  • Increased sensitivity to cocaine's anxiety-causing, convulsive and other toxic effects
  • Impaired judgment
  • Addiction
  • Permanent changes to the brain
  • Extreme agitation
  • Psychosis
  • Infectious diseases from use of needles and other paraphernalia
  • Infections/abscesses related to injecting cocaine
  • Significant weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Physical deterioration
  • Gastrointestinal complications
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Heart problems, such as artery blockages and heart attacks
  • Lung cancer (from smoking the drug)

Rehab Options for Cocaine Addiction

Support Systems Homes specializes in cocaine rehabilitation for Northern California. We provide several treatment options, which treat cocaine addiction under different guidelines. Depending on the severity of addiction, we may use more than one treatment.

Detoxification: Detox from cocaine can be painful. But it’s a necessary process on the way to recovery. Support Systems detox centers help to mitigate withdrawal symptoms, so you can safely get the drug out of your system.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms can include intense cravings, anger, paranoia, extreme fatigue, depression, nausea/vomiting, muscle pain and trouble sleeping. This is why Support Systems Homes employs medically trained professionals to conduct detox at our rehab centers.

Once detox has completed, we place you in a longer-term treatment option best suited to your needs.

Residential treatment (residential drug rehab): Residential cocaine treatment involves living in a safe, supervised setting for 30 days or more. In this structured setting, you can focus completely on recovering from addiction. Participants receive drug education, individual and group counseling, family counseling, introduction to community-based self-help groups (see below), and referrals to community resources.

We also help you develop a plan for long-term freedom from cocaine, and a support network with others in recovery like you.

Outpatient treatment: More intensive forms of treatment may be followed by outpatient treatment—regular structured therapeutic group and individual counseling several days a week, usually for several months. If you're stable enough that you don't need monitoring or structured activities 24/7, you may be offered outpatient treatment.

Community-based self-help groups: Groups like Cocaine Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, along with non-12-step-based programs, are designed to help addicts attain long-term abstinence. They provide tools and support networks to help deal with serious addictions.

Marijuana

It may sound impossible, but you can in fact abuse marijuana. Abuse cases usually stem from fixating on use of marijuana too often.

Marijuana addiction needs professional treatment, like any other abused drug. Support Systems Homes' rehab programs cover marijuana detox, treatment for addiction, and supportive rehab centers.

How do I know if I abuse marijuana?

The following questions are based on the American Psychological Association's clinical diagnosis test of marijuana addiction. In the last year:

  1. Have you tried to cut down or stop your marijuana use, but were unable to?
  2. Do you need more and more of the drug to get high or just to feel similar effects?
  3. Have you stopped doing things you used to enjoy just because of your marijuana use?
  4. Do you spend a lot of time getting high, working to acquire cash to get high or thinking about getting high?
  5. Have you ever used more marijuana than you had planned?
  6. Do you continue to use even after experiencing negative consequences, such as family or relationship problems, issues at work, etc.?
  7. Do you ever feel anxious if you're not able to get any of this drug?

If you answered “YES” to 3 or more of these questions, you may have a problem with abusing marijuana.

What is marijuana and how is it used?

Marijuana ("pot," "weed," "herb," etc.) is a greenish-gray mixture of the dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of Cannabis sativa, the hemp plant. The major active chemical in marijuana is THC, which causes the mind-altering effects of marijuana intoxication. The amount of THC (which is also the psychoactive ingredient in hashish) determines the potency and, therefore, the effects of marijuana.

Use: Most users smoke marijuana in hand-rolled cigarettes, called joints, among other names; some use pipes or water pipes called bongs. Marijuana is also used to brew tea and is sometimes mixed into foods.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S., with 15.2 million past-month users), according to the 2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). That year, marijuana was used by 75.6% of current illicit drug users and was the only drug used by 53% percent of them.

Marijuana use is widespread among adolescents and young adults. And because today's marijuana is up to 10 times more potent than the marijuana of past decades, it poses serious problems. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), a system for monitoring the health impact of drugs, estimated that in 2008 marijuana was a contributing factor in over 374,000 emergency-room visits in the United States.

Two-thirds of these clients were male, and 13% were between the ages of 12 and 17.

Effects of Marijuana Abuse

When marijuana is smoked, its active ingredient, THC, travels throughout the body (including the brain) to produce its many effects. THC attaches to sites called cannabinoid receptors on nerve cells in the brain, affecting the way those cells work. Cannabinoid receptors are abundant in parts of the brain that regulate movement, coordination, learning and memory, higher cognitive functions such as judgment, and pleasure.

Short-term effects

  • Euphoria
  • Distorted perception (sights, sounds, time, touch)
  • Problems with memory and learning
  • Trouble with thinking and problem-solving
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety

Long-term effects

  • Withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued/lessened: irritability, decreased appetite, insomnia, anxiety and cravings for the drug
  • Addiction to the "high"
  • Increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia
  • Lethargy/lack of motivation
  • Cancers*

*Marijuana smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds as tobacco, sometimes in higher concentrations. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as many cancer-causing chemicals as someone who smokes a full pack of cigarettes every day, thus long-term use poses a risk of cancer.

Treatment for Marijuana Abuse Available in Northern California

If you're looking to be free of marijuana use, seek rehabilitation at Support Systems Homes. Our treatments for marijuana abuse and addiction are described below. If you would be better served by more than one, we may combine several treatments.

Detoxification: Detox helps to clean out your system. It helps you cope with cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, so you'll be ready to begin a longer-term program like residential treatment.

Residential treatment: Clients participating in residential treatment leave their homes to live in a safe, supervised setting for 30 days (or more). In our rehab setting you'll focus completely on recovering from addiction. Participants receive drug education, individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, introduction to community-based self-help groups (see below), long-term planning to stay clean, and support networks.

Outpatient treatment: More intensive treatments may be followed by outpatient treatment, regular structured therapeutic groups and individual counseling several days a week, usually for several months. Outpatient participants are those who are stable in terms of drug abuse, and who are appropriate for a level of care that isn't monitored or structured 24/7.

Community-based self-help groups: Groups like Marijuana Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, along with non-12-step-based programs, help addicts attain long-term freedom from drug abuse. They provide new tools and support networks to deal with addictions.

Prescription drugs

Prescription drug abuse is growing at an alarming rate in the United States. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health published in 2004, more than 6.3 million Americans reported current use of prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons in the previous year.

Do I have a prescription-drug abuse problem?

If you are prescribed drugs such as painkillers and are concerned you have a problem, try answering these questions.

  1. Do you take more medication than prescribed?
  2. Do you need to take increasing amounts of your medication to "feel the effects"?
  3. Are your friends or family members saying there's a problem?
  4. Do you go to more than one doctor to get prescriptions for the same or similar medications?
  5. Do you lie to healthcare professionals in order to get prescriptions?
  6. Do you continue to take excessive amounts of prescription drugs despite negative consequences (fatigue, dizziness, nausea)?
  7. Have you ever tried to control or stop your use of prescription drugs without success?

If you answered “Yes” to one or more of these questions, you may have a problem with prescription drugs.

Effects of prescription-drug abuse

The effects of prescription drug abuse vary depending on the type of medication being abused. This table lists general short- and long-term effects to expect.

Short-term prescription drug effects     

Opioids (opiates), including OxyContin, Oxycodone (Percocet), Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Lortab, etc.:

  • Euphoria
  • Sedation/drowsiness
  • Impaired thinking
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired coordination
  • Blocked pain messages
  • Depressed respiration/overdose/death
  • Constipation

CNS Depressants (such as benzodiazepines, i.e. Valium, Ativan, Xanax or barbiturates such as phenobarbital)

  • Drowsiness
  • Slowing of the heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Slowed/impaired motor coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Impaired thinking
  • Depressed respiration/overdose/death

Stimulants (i.e. amphetamines such as Dexedrine and Adderall):

  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness and energy
  • Depressed appetite
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Increased heart rate and respiration
  • Elevated blood pressure

Long-term prescription drug effects

Opioids:

  • Potential for tolerance, physical dependence, withdrawal and/or addiction
  • Severe respiratory depression leading to death
  • Liver damage

CNS Depressants:

  • Potential for tolerance, physical dependence and addiction
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as seizure, anxiety, paranoia, insomnia, and psychosis when use is lessened or discontinued
  • Impaired memory
  • Liver damage

Stimulants:

  • Tolerance
  • Cardiovascular failure or lethal seizures
  • Severe weight loss
  • Physical deterioration
  • Hostility or feelings of paranoia

Treatment for a Prescription Drug Addiction

At Support Systems Homes, we provide a variety of effective treatments and services for addiction to prescription medications. Depending on which rehab method would be most successful, we may combine several of the following.
(All treatments are given at our California rehab centers by certified medical professionals.)
Detoxification: Many types of prescription medication cause severe addiction when used over time. Withdrawal from the medication is painful and potentially dangerous. To minimize risk, we always perform a detox in our rehab centers, where a nurse or doctor is monitoring you the whole time.
Detoxification helps you stabilize physically. Support Systems staff helps you cope with cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. Afterward we help you find a suitable longer-term rehab program, such as residential treatment.
Residential drug rehab: Clients participating in residential treatment leave their home environment to live in a safe, supervised setting for 30 days or more. In this structured setting, you can focus completely on recovering from prescription drug addiction.

Participants receive drug education, individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, introduction to community-based self-help groups (see below), and referrals to community resources. We help you develop a plan to achieve and maintain long-term abstinence.

Outpatient treatment: More intensive treatment regimens may be followed by outpatient treatment—regular structured therapeutic group/individual counseling several days a week. Outpatient treatment usually lasts several months.

Outpatient participants are those who are stabilized in terms of their drug use, and who are appropriate for a level of care that isn't monitored or structured 24/7.

Community-based self-help groups: These groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Pills Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous along with non-12-step-based programs are designed to help addicts attain long-term abstinence while gaining new tools and support networks to deal with their addictions.

OxyContin

Do I have a problem with OxyContin?

The Walid-Robinson Opioid-Dependence (WROD) Questionnaire is based on the World Health Organization and the American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders clinical guidelines for a diagnosis of "dependence."

  1. Do you often want to keep taking your opioid medication (you have cravings)?
  2. Do you experience lengthy periods of use or binge patterns of use?
  3. Do you have tremors, and use substances to relieve withdrawal symptoms?
  4. Are you able to take more drug without easing the pain?
  5. Do you neglect food, hygiene or health care?
  6. Do you want to continue use the drug despite knowledge of problems caused or exacerbated by it?

If you answered “YES” to 3 or more of these questions, you may have a problem with OxyContin.

What is OxyContin and how is it abused?

OxyContin is a time-released version of oxycodone produced by the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma. It was first introduced to the U.S. market in 1996. It's often prescribed for cancer clients or those with chronic back pain.

Its active ingredient is oxycodone, which is also used in medications such as Percodan or Tylox. The crucial issue, however, is OxyContin's potency. While Percodan and Tylox contain 5mg of oxycodone, OxyContin contains between 10 and 80mg in one tablet!

Abuse: People who abuse OxyContin either crush the pill and ingest it orally, snort it, or dilute it in water and inject it. Crushing/diluting the tablet removes the time-release action, causing a rapid onset and a strong "high."

Statistics for OxyContin abuse: Data shows that OxyContin has become a significant drug of abuse in the United States. And that abuse continues to grow.

  • According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, misuse of OxyContin among people in the United States ages 12 and older significantly increased every year from 2002 to 2006.
  • Data from the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) emergency department system shows that misuse of oxycodone (the main ingredient in OxyContin) rose 152 percent between 2004 and 2008, to more than 105,000 emergency room visits.
  • In 2006, approximately 4 million people 12 and up reported using OxyContin for non-medical uses at least once in their lifetime, and more than 500,000 were new non-medical users.
  • By 2001, OxyContin was the best-selling non-generic narcotic pain reliever in the U.S.
  • An analysis of data from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration found that retail sales of oxycodone "jumped nearly six-fold between 1997 and 2005."
  • 2008 sales of OxyContin in the U.S. totaled $2.5 billion.

Effects of OxyContin Addiction

Short-term effects: Soon after administration, OxyContin can cause a "rush" or euphoric high as well as sedation. Nausea, vomiting, sweating and weakness can also occur. Overdoses can happen when users remove the time-release coating. Effects can last up to 5 or more hours, depending on how much is ingested.

  • Euphoria
  • Depressed respiration
  • Clouded mental functioning/sedation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Suppression of pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Infectious diseases from needle use
  • Toxic overdose/death

Long-term effects: One of the most detrimental long-term effects of OxyContin abuse is addiction itself. Addiction is a chronic disease, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences, and by changes in the brain. OxyContin produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical dependence, which contribute heavily to abuse. Painful withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced abruptly.

If OxyContin is being injected, the user is at risk for HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases as well as infections, abscesses, and acute heart and lung problems. Those who smoke OxyContin can suffer lung damage. Those who snort the drug long term can suffer damage to the sinuses, nasal membrane and throat.

  • Addiction
  • Overdose risk
  • Infectious diseases, for example, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis from using needles/paraphernalia
  • Depressed lung function/lung damage
  • Collapsed veins
  • Abscesses (at injection sites)
  • Problems with the heart, liver and kidneys
  • Damage to sinuses and nasal membrane
  • Damage to the throat

Rehab Programs for Oxycontin Addiction

Support Systems Homes provides several treatment options for OxyContin addiction. Depending on the severity of addiction, we may recommend several of the treatments listed here.

Detoxification: Like most abused drugs, OxyContin creates a physical dependence. Detoxification helps you clean the drug out of your system. Our staff of nurses and doctors monitors you for withdrawal symptoms in one of our rehab centers.* Once detox is complete, we’ll link you to a longer-term rehab program, such as residential treatment.

*For opiate abusers, medications containing buprenorphine (i.e. Subutex and Suboxone) can be used in order to mitigate withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process.

Residential drug rehab: Residential Treatment participants stay in a safe, supervised setting for 30 days or more. In a structured setting, you can focus completely on recovering from their addiction. Participants receive drug education, individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, introduction to community-based self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous and referrals to community resources. You'll develop a plan to help achieve and maintain long-term abstinence.

Outpatient treatment: More intensive treatment options may be followed by outpatient treatment. Regular, structured therapeutic group/individual counseling several days per week, usually for several months. Outpatient participants are stable in terms of drug use (those who are appropriate for a level of care that isn't monitored or structured 24/7).

Helping families and friends: Because the support of family and friends is so crucial to the recovery process, many Support Systems Homes programs also offer visitations as a part of treatment. It's important for family members and loved ones to begin their own healing process.

Aftercare: Even if an addict has been clean for a long time and has regained health, he or she must actively maintain a clean and sober lifestyle. With this in mind, Support Systems Homes offers aftercare to treatment program graduates. Aftercare is generally a regular, facilitated group that helps guide you in long-term recovery efforts.

Community-based self-help groups: Groups such as Pills Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous along with non-12-step-based programs are designed to help addicts attain long-term abstinence. They provide new tools and support networks to deal with addiction and cravings.

Resources and Information​
ALL CONDITIONS

Al-Anon/Alateen
757-563-1600
Fax: (757) 563–1655
Support, meeting information and resources for friends and family of problem drinkers

National Institute on Drug Abuse
800-622-HELP

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)
Information, educational materials, treatment facility locator, and statistics regarding addiction

SAMHSA's National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI)
800-729-6686

ALCOHOLISM

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) World Services, Inc.
212-870–3400
Support, meeting information and resources for problem drinkers

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
301-443–3860
Free informational materials on all aspects of alcoholism, including the effects of drinking during pregnancy, alcohol use and the elderly, and help for cutting down on drinking

HEROIN

Heroin Anonymous
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information

Narcotics Anonymous
818-773-9999
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information

Nar-Anon
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information for families/friends of addicts

METHAMPHETAMINE

Crystal Meth Anonymous
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information

Narcotics Anonymous
818-773-9999
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information

Nar-Anon
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information for families/friends of addicts

COCAINE

Cocaine Anonymous
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information
Co-Anon
​Information for families/friends of cocaine addicts

MARIJUANA

Marijuana Anonymous
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information

Marijuana Anonymous - Loved Ones of Addicts
Information for families/friends of addicts

PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Pills Anonymous
Drug-treatment support, links to meetings, phone lines and information

OXYCONTIN

Pills Anonymous
Support, links to meetings, phone lines and information