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A mother reveals what it's like to live with a son addicted to heroin

Catharine was afraid to get busted for her own drug use at the time, Debby tells me. Debby is in tears as we talk. The questions are hard for both of us. I was asking Debby to relive the day her son died. The night before Joe died, Debby goes on, he woke her at 2:30 a.m., badgering her for money. This was routine by then. She gave her son $40 — the money that killed him. The toxicology report identified heroin and cocaine in his system. “You hold the guilt of handing him the money that he used to buy the dope that killed him,” she tells me. “Could I have been stricter? I just wanted to go back to sleep; I just was so tired. So horribly sad, I’m thinking. I take a deep breath and tell myself to keep it together. “Did he look peaceful when he died?” I ask Debby. She paused. “Yeah, he did,” she responded, her eyes misty. Joe’s family held a private viewing after he died. It was mostly family members who attended. Debby says Joe had “burned most of the bridges” with his friends by then. Even his family doesn’t like to remember. “I can go to a family event, and nobody mentions my son’s name,” Debby says, “and that hurts.

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What Women Want (From Addiction Treatment) Anita walked out of the treatment facility discouraged. She knew they were trying to help, but the counseling and support groups simply didn’t suit her needs. She felt the programs didn’t address her personal struggles, and they failed to see how her needs as a woman differed from the needs of the men in treatment. So she decided it was time to find a program designed with women in mind. Anita’s reaction isn’t unreasonable or uncommon. Women have unique needs, and addiction treatment programs must address them to be more effective. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that 15.8 million women over the age of 18 have used an illicit substance in the past year, yet women are less likely than men to seek treatment. This discrepancy can be attributed to the distinct obstacles women face when seeking treatment. Women, especially mothers, fear being judged and labeled as a “bad parent.” As the primary caregiver, women also have to address child-care needs before entering into treatment. Other barriers to treatment include social stigma, interpersonal relationships, and socioeconomic factors. These recovery roadblocks can discourage a lot of women, but for those who choose to get help, a gender-specific approach can greatly improve the odds of a successful recovery. If a program aims to effectively treat women, their approach must be designed to address the gender barriers and a woman’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Complex family dynamics: Women may be in unhealthy domestic relationships or struggle with their interactions with parents or siblings. They may also be concerned with childcare while in treatment. Higher rates of domestic abuse: Substance abuse is more prevalent among women who experience domestic abuse. Additionally, women in abusive relationships often report being coerced into using substances by their partners. High rates of trauma: The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 80 percent of women seeking treatment have a history of trauma . Negative, distorted self-images: Women struggling with substance abuse often have low self-esteem and can feel purposeless, lost and unworthy of help. Physical changes: As their bodies go through the recovery process, women experience physical changes that can affect their mood and health. Unhealthy eating habits: These often escalate into full-blown eating disorders . Researchers found women respond better when addiction treatment offers solutions that are sensitive to these unique needs. The best programs provide an environment that: private health insurance alcohol rehab private health insurance alcohol rehab

Despite all of the associated negative aspects (addiction, overdose, crime, etc.), codeine still has a positive intent. Codeine is commonly prescribed for the treatment of mild to moderate pain. Codeine attaches to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are located on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, GI tract, and other organs. Once codeine attaches to the opioid receptors, the codeine effects come on, which include, but are not limited to: As human beings, we already have an endogenous painkilling system that is capable of producing pain relief , sedation, and euphoria. This natural pain relief system is activated when we exercise , eat certain foods (e.g. dark chocolate  and  chili peppers ), or perform other activities. For example, imagine a man who has just run five miles along the beach. As a result of this intense physical exertion, his body naturally produces its own opioid chemicals, known as endorphins and enkephalins, thus reducing pain, and promoting euphoria naturally (“runners high”). We already produce natural opioid chemicals (endorphins/enkephalins) in the precise amounts our bodies were designed to handle. The problem arises when an individual has been using Codeine or another opioid drug for a period of time. After prolonged use of codeine, the production of endogenous opioids is inhibited, which accounts in part for the withdrawal syndrome that results from the immediate cessation of the drug. The continuous use of codeine overrides our natural ability to produce endorphins and enkephalins. The brain comes to rely on codeine to create these neurotransmitters. When a person stops using codeine, the brain doesn’t start creating these endogenous opioids right away. It short-circuits, leading to withdrawal symptoms, and deteriorating psychological function. Whether an individual is abusing codeine or even taking codeine as prescribed by a physician, the continued use quickly leads to tolerance. Tolerance is a state of adaptation in which exposure to a drug induces changes that result in a decrease of the drug’s effects over time.