Milwaukee resident tells story of journey from addiction to social work

Wisconsin resident Michelle McKenna stood in front of several strangers telling her story about battling alcohol and substance addiction. When she believed she had hit rock bottom, she actually had further to go. McKenna spoke at an event that kicked off Recovery Month in Milwaukee County, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel stated.

National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month

Recovery Month is a national promotion for drug prevention, treatment and recovery for people dealing with substance and alcohol abuse and addiction. McKenna spoke alongside Mayor of Milwaukee Tom Barrett, County Executive Chris Abele and Common Council President Michael Murphy.

McKenna finally chose to seek help after being convicted of her second felony and losing custody of her son. Today, McKenna works at Rogers Memorial Hospital as a licensed social worker and a drug and alcohol counselor. She has been sober for 13 years and now hopes to encourage others with her message.

McKenna noted one of the biggest hurdles in addiction recovery is dealing with the societal stigmas that surround addiction.

“If I identify myself as a drug addict, an alcoholic, that’s what you see. You see who I was. You don’t see who I am,” McKenna said in the news conference.

Eliminating the stigmas of addiction

Murphy stated how difficult it can be to fully recover from addiction and return to a normal life. He noted that those in recovery are people we know, such as neighbors or co-workers. Murphy also announced the introduction of drop-off bins for unused prescription drugs. The Milwaukee Police Department, the County Substance Abuse Coalition and the County Behavioral Health Division are working together to set up the bins. People can drop off the pills at any time, 24 hours a day. They can also drop them off anonymously.

Since the correlation between prescription pills and heroin use is strong and overdoses are on the rise, law enforcement believes this may be a step in the right direction. They are also hoping to create a system where people can drop off heroin and prescription drugs without being legally punished.

Murphy and others believe that this is a good idea to get people to come forward and pull the drugs off the streets in an honest manner.

The prevalence of opioid addiction

The Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drug Use from 2012 reported that in 2010, the number of drug-related deaths in Wisconsin exceeded 500 in four of the past five years. The number of drug-related deaths that involved heroin more than doubled from 2005 to 2010. Those that mentioned opioids, such as prescription drugs, increased 33 percent.

Drug abuse treatment for mentally ill could reduce future violence

A study funded by a grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that patients with dual mental illness and substance abuse disorder will reduce their chances of being violent in the future if they seek out an drug abuse treatment program.

A difference of opinions

Yet the opinions on the subject are fairly controversial. Some may believe that violent behavior can only be reduced by having the patient improve his or her symptoms of mental illness. However, researchers from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions believe that limiting substance abuse behavior has a larger influence on reducing the amount of violent acts from patients with serious mental illness.

The study authors followed approximately 300 patients over a six-month period. The patients were all admitted to a dual-diagnosis outpatient program that treated mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The study’s findings were published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

“We were surprised to find that the severity of the patient’s psychiatric symptoms was not the primary factor in predicting later aggression,” lead researcher Clara Bradizza stated.

The correlation between substance abuse and violence

The researchers found that substance abuse and addiction had a stronger correlation to violent behavior than mental illness did.

Though a large portion of the mentally ill population does not actually deal with violence or act violently, the risk of acting violently is higher in this population than the general population. There is a strong correlation between substance abuse, mental illness and violence. These significant ties endanger and concern the general community, treatment programs and public policy.

Learning more about dual diagnoses drug abuse treatment

A dual diagnosis of mental illness and addiction is very common, the National Alliance on Mental Illness stated. People can have a dual diagnosis for battling drug or alcohol addiction. In order for people to be diagnosed with a mental illness, they need to fit the symptoms for the illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Often, one causes the other or they appear at the same time.

An interchangeable issue

However, dual diagnoses are much more complex than having either disorder alone. Recent studies have shown that approximately one-third of all people with mental illnesses and one-half of people with severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, also deal with drug abuse. Conversely, more than one-third of those who abuse alcohol and one-half of all drug abusers deal with a mental illness, NAMI stated.

People with a mental illness may try to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, leading to substance abuse. Sometimes, the problem exacerbates because people will not seek help or drug abuse treatment for their issues.

Looking forward

“Our findings suggest that treatment attendance is very important for these individuals and drug abuse treatment programs should include interventions that are likely to decrease drug abuse, as this may provide the additional benefit of reducing the risk of later aggression among dual-diagnosis patients,” Bradizza stated.

Proper drug abuse treatment and handling of mentally ill individuals could protect themselves, their families and society overall.

Study finds stigma of drug addiction worse than mental illness

A study from Johns Hopkins University found that, overall, society is more likely to have a negative attitude toward those with drug addictions than people dealing with mental illness. The findings also revealed that most people do not support the concept of housing, insurance and employment benefits that are given to people with a substance abuse disorder. The findings were published in the journal Psychiatric Services.

A confused perception of drug addiction

Currently, society’s mindset of drug addiction seems to be in limbo. They are unsure whether to view addiction as a chronic condition, such as diabetes, or as a personal issue that needs to be dealt with.

The prevalence of mental illness vs. drug addiction

However, drug addiction is much more prevalent than mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health noted that in 2012, 18.6 percent of adults had some sort of a mental disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that 25.9 percent of people 18 or older abused or were dependent on illicit drugs or alcohol during 2012.

Though many in the medical world know that both mental illness and substance abuse are treatable health disorders, the public tends to view addiction as a personal failing, the researchers noted.

“In recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to talk publicly about one’s struggles with mental illness,” lead study author Colleen Barry, Ph.D., stated. “But with addiction, the feeling is that the addict is a bad or weak person, especially because much drug use is illegal.”

The study authors examined a group of 709 participants during the month of November in 2013. They were surveyed about their thoughts on people with mental illness or an addiction. The questions asked mainly focused on societal stigmas, negative attitudes or thoughts, treatment and policy.

A negative view of drug addiction

The participants had noticeably more negative opinions on people who battle drug addiction than those with mental illness. The researchers also discovered that people may be more opposed to the idea of policies that help people with substance abuse disorders than those with mental illness.

Only 22 percent of those surveyed noted they would work closely on a project with a person battling addiction. However, 62 percent of the participants noted they would work with a person with a mental illness. Some even believe that those with addiction should not work. The findings revealed that 64 percent believed employers should deny people with substance abuse work. Another 43 percent noted that people with addictions should not get health insurance benefits any different than the general public. Conversely, 21 percent were against giving those same benefits to people with mental illness.

Those surveyed did agree on one point: Only 3 in 10 believed that recovery from either mental illness or addiction is impossible.

The media’s influence

The study authors speculate that these stigmas could be formed by the media. Often, the only stories shown on the news are of a drug deal gone wrong in a poor metropolitan area. The stories of affluent people addicted to prescription painkillers are not covered. People who relapse are viewed as failures instead of those battling a chronic condition that is hard to maintain. The stories of people who have faced and overcome addiction are far and few between, the researchers noted.

Barry also stated that long ago, discussing taking antidepressants was controversial. Nowadays, that discussion is incredibly common. These casual conversations often shape public opinion.

“The more shame associated with drug addiction, the less likely we as a community will be in a position to change attitudes and get people the help they need,” stated Beth McGinty, Ph.D.

The researchers concluded that educating the public on these conditions will help change their opinion and help garner support for policy changes that improve treatment and living for people with substance abuse and mental disorders.

Understanding Heroin Withdrawal Signs

While not life threatening, Heroin withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant and painful. This is why victims look for every way possible to get a hand on the drug to avoid experiencing these symptoms. This makes it hard for users to shake off the habit as quickly as they got into it.

Heroin addiction carries with it a variety of destructive effects on the mind, body and life of the addict. Stopping or reducing the dose of Heroin leads to development of withdrawal symptoms, both acute and post acute.

What Leads to Heroin Withdrawal Signs?

Heroin is a form of opioid that you can smoke, snort or inject into your body. Once you take it, it is delivered instantly to the brain, where it is attached to opioid receptors found in your brain. These opioid receptors are the ones that manage your perception of pain and pleasure.

When the dose first hits your brain, you experience a feeling of intense euphoria, usually called the “rush”. As the level of Heroin reduces in the brain, this feeling reduces until you get another dose of the drug.

With continued use, your body becomes dependent on the drug. Your brain will require increasingly higher levels of the drug for you to experience the same level of euphoria you felt at first. Once you stop using the drug or you reduce the dose, physical and emotional symptoms set in; these are the Heroin withdrawal symptoms.

The onset of these Heroin Withdrawal symptoms varies with time and intensity. Typically, these symptoms begin within 6 to 12 hours after the last use or the last dose. These symptoms normally peak within 1 to 3 days, which gradually subside in 5 to 7 days. This is called the acute stage of Heroin withdrawal.

However, some symptoms take weeks or months to subside. This is called the post acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

The onset and severity of the Heroin Withdrawal symptoms is determined by how long you have been using the drug and the dosage you have taken.

Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

These Heroin withdrawal symptoms start 6 to 12 hours after you take the drug or after the last dosage. The symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fever
  • Restlessness
  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Yawning
  • Dilates pupils

Depending on your drug history and the amount you have taken, the symptoms will taper off after 7 days or less.

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

Post acute withdrawal syndrome can last for weeks or even months, depending on the intensity of Heroin use. These extended changes occur due to the physiological changes that occur in your central nervous system due to prolonged Heroin use.

The symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances

This stage includes having strong cravings for the drug; the cravings are brought about by the desire to avoid the symptoms. Cravings are also part of the desire to re-experience the pleasure of the Heroin rush. Changes in social behavior also tend to occur during this stage of Heroin withdrawal.

Why should you be Aware of Symptoms?

When you understand the symptoms of Heroin withdrawal, you will understand what is coming and be better prepared for everything. You will also know how to communicate with your caregiver when you receive help. Don’t wait until the symptoms have become severe before you look for help; call for assistance today to find an accredited heroin addiction treatment center, 800.447.9081.

Facts About Crack Cocaine Substance Abuse

Known colloquially as “rock,” “the hard,” “base” and simply “crack,” crack cocaine is the dangerous and highly addictive freebase form of cocaine smoked for its fast-acting effects. The high from crack cocaine comes on almost instantaneously, and its psychological effects alter the brain chemistry to bring about feelings of euphoria.

Unfortunately for crack cocaine users, these euphoric feelings are, quite literally, all in their head. While confidence, increased energy, alertness and other desirable effects may come from its use, so do feelings of extreme paranoia, a lack of empathy, and a raging addiction that causes some users to stop at nothing to find their next fix.

Learning to recognize the symptoms of crack use may help you save the life of someone you love or call our crack cocaine addiction hotline today for more answers 800.447.9081.

Learn the facts about crack cocaine from the signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction and how to get you or a loved one the help they need.

The Signs and Symptoms of Crack Cocaine Addiction

Immediate physical signs may include: Dilated pupils, a dry mouth, excessive facial movements (mouth twitching, lip chewing, etc.), constant fidgeting, and a burst of energy. Here are

  • Crack cocaine users often lose interest in people and hobbies in their life. Someone using this drug may cut off communication with individuals and start to develop a more covert, secretive lifestyle, often becoming paranoid or hostile if someone questions their aloofness.
  • Speaking of hostility, frequent mood changes are another sign of drug use. The paranoia and restlessness associated with crack cocaine usage can put users through the emotional gamut, becoming happy, depressed, angry, paranoid, etc., all in a relatively short period of time.
  • Weight loss is another sign of crack use. Cocaine severely hinders the appetite, and crack, particularly, keeps most users from eating. The weight loss with crack users is typically very fast and very noticeable.
  • Poor hygiene is also a sign of crack addiction. Shaving, showering and taking care of one’s teeth all fall by the wayside as the addict focuses more on getting his or her fix. Addicts missing teeth and looking very ragged isn’t simply a meme; it’s a reality of drug addiction.
  • Theft is a very common sign of crack addiction. Addicts are sometimes steal money and items from the home that can be sold to support their habit. This includes things like blenders and microwaves and televisions, and even family heirlooms, expensive jewelry, and automobiles.

Recognizing some of these signs does not necessarily mean you are looking at crack cocaine addiction. Weight loss, paranoia, hostility, and other signs could be indicators of crack usage, or it could also be a sign or symptom of many other drugs, or even psychological disorders. So the number-one goal should be to recognize symptoms in order to inquire further about suspicions, not to instantly assume someone matching A and B is an addict.

The Dangerous Effects of Crack Cocaine Use

Crack cocaine is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. Not only can its effects be incredibly damaging, even with short-term use, but the cruel irony is that smokers do not even realize the physical toll it is taking on their bodies. They are typically too preoccupied with chasing that euphoric feeling. The many dangerous effects of this drug include but are not limited to:

  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Frequent headaches
  • A risk of convulsions and seizures
  • A higher risk of cardiovascular disease and sudden heart attack
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tooth decay and gum disease
  • Altered blood pressure (too high or too low)
  • A risk of suffering stroke
  • Chemical imbalances
  • Malnutrition
  • Auditory problems, including hallucinations
  • Reproductive effects; infertility and menstruation disturbances

These are just a few of the many dangerous effects of crack cocaine the average addict will have to deal with. The effects are even worse for women who smoke crack cocaine while pregnant. “Crack babies,” as they’re colloquially referred to, are at an incredibly high risk of being deformed, addicted to the drug, born prematurely, and even stillborn. This drug wreaks havoc on everything it touches, and it does not discriminate.

Scary Facts about Crack Cocaine

The signs and effects of crack cocaine are disturbing, and some of the numbers surrounding this drug are incredibly frightening in their own right. Here are just a few facts about crack cocaine addiction to keep in mind:

  • Cocaine can be cooked into crack with nothing more than household ingredients like baking soda and water, which can turn a cocaine user into a crack addict
  • More than 10 percent of the American population (35.9 million) over the age of 12 have tried cocaine at least once
  • Over 2.1 million Americans are regular cocaine users, with 700,000 being regular crack users
  • Behind marijuana, cocaine is the number-two drug in the nation
  • Cocaine is responsible for three times as many deaths as any other illegal drug
  • There are approximately 3,000 federal crack cocaine offenses every year
  • The Fair Sentencing Act has reduced the mandatory minimum of five years for crack possession, but such a charge will still most likely equate to prison time, and crack distributing may carry as much prison time as some forms of murder

Despite law enforcement’s best efforts to control crack cocaine, it is spreading like wildfire throughout numerous communities and schools, and is even used on famous sporting teams and by those in high standing, like politicians. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of crack cocaine addiction. If you think someone you know is using crack cocaine, call our crack cocaine hotline today 800.447.9081.

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Heroin Addiction: Signs and Symptoms of A Heroin Probelm

Heroin is a strong drug from the opiate family that affects areas of the brain related to pleasure. There is a high risk of Heroin addiction and it can cause several symptoms that will be unpleasant to your mind and body.

1. Radical changes in behavior

Changes in behavior can be a common sign for any drug abuser. The effects of Heroin addiction are similar to all types of opiates. Poor decision-making skills and unclear thoughts are common effects of opiate addiction. An experienced drug abuser may be able to hide certain signs, but behavioral changes can be readily apparent. Lack of interest in usual hobbies and withdrawal from family and friends are also common signs with Heroin addiction.

The level of tolerance also determines the amount of behavior changes. Withdrawal symptoms occur rapidly within 24 hours. When a drug has been used for an extended period of time the withdrawal symptoms can last up to a week and could become fatal if use is stopped suddenly.

2. Highs and lows of fatigue

Heroin is an addictive drug that can drastically affect sleep patterns and energy of a person. Sudden sleeping, resembling narcolepsy, is also common. The fatigue can also cause slowed breathing at times. There can be periods with surges of energy followed by intense levels of sleeping. This level of fatigue can be very confusing for outsiders. Sleeping patterns tend to be illogical and can be coupled with slurred or garbled speech at times too.

3. Flushed skin and bruising

The body quickly experiences euphoria and a rush of blood flow in capillaries against the skin when Heroin is used; this rush of blood flow can cause the skin to appear flushed. The use of needles can cause an external bruising appearance on the skin. With Heroin addiction, over a longer period of time, marks on the skin known as track marks can also be visible where needles were inserted.

4. Body abnormalities

Many drugs affect the way the eyes dilate or look. Opiates such as Heroin cause pupils to become smaller and constricted. The eyelids will appear droopy throughout the period of Heroin addiction or abuse. This is different from normal eyelid heaviness in the morning or late evening. The body will match the eyes and give an overall droopy appearance. There are also a few other peculiar abnormalities to be aware of:

  • Loss of menstrual cycle in women
  • Sharp weight loss
  • Random infections and frequent cold-like symptoms, such as having a runny nose

5. Drug paraphernalia

Heroin drug use has a few markers in the equipment used. Common paraphernalia that can be observed are burnt aluminum foil or spoons with straws; straws will usually have a burn mark on the tip. Several small plastic bags are also commonly found near these equipments. Finding needles and syringes are also common signs if the individual is not diabetic or in need of any legitimate, injectable medication.

If someone you know show signs of drug abuse and Heroin addiction, it’s important to encourage them to seek out help. Loved ones and friends should approach behavioral concerns lovingly and gently, while encouraging users to seek out Heroin addiction treatment plans immediately. Call our heroin addiction hotline today 800.447.9081.

Mixing Heroin and Alcohol – Your Choice – Your Life

Heroin is an illegal drug; it’s also considered one of the most deadly and potent narcotics available. It’s a deadly substance that is immediately addictive and can depress neurotransmitters in the brain. Relaying information from cell to cell, neurotransmitters tell your heart to beat and your lungs to breathe. When those transmissions are interrupted, the body is placed in grave danger. Alcohol depresses neurotransmitters in the same way. The combination of both Heroin and alcohol is doubly dangerous and will cause extreme harm or death.

Ingesting both Heroin and alcohol at the same time can result in a coma, leaving the patient with permanent brain damage that may cause behavioral, cognitive and physical disability problems. Both substances attack the central nervous system, which is responsible for regulating breathing and a person’s heart rate. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take too long to damage the brain when oxygen is cut off. The situation can quickly compound because once the brain loses the ability to function, it can no longer properly regulate other vital organs. If such substance abuse isn’t stopped immediately, catastrophic results can occur and have long-lasting effects.

Substance Abuse Warnings Ignored

Despite the fact that there are ample warnings about the separate use of Heroin and alcohol, the user drastically increases their odds of a stroke or death when both substances are used together. Substance abuse creates the urge to get high; some concurrent addictions occur when a Heroin addict turns to alcohol to fill his/her cravings for Heroin.

Addressing the Triggers of Heroin and Alcohol Addiction

Counseling and medical help are two solutions to helping overcome a Heroin and alcohol addiction. The psychological habits that caused the addiction have to be dealt with for long-term positive effects. Emotional problems, which are prevalent in a fast-paced modern society, are often the main drivers of substance abuse and addiction.

Abusive habits are easy to form because a single smoke, sniff, shot of Heroin or alcohol can cause feelings of euphoria and well-being. However, as any addict will admit, it doesn’t take long for the reality of life to reappear. They soon realize that a quick-fix is not the answer, it’s just a temporary solution that will disappear. The journey back to society begins when the addict makes an effort to find other ways of releasing and dealing with suppressed feelings in a positive and productive manner. Fear, guilt, sadness, boredom, anxiety, loneliness and anger are the core causes that can lead an individual down the dangerous road to addiction.

Maintaining the Right Attitude

The old saying “you are what you eat” remains true. Take the necessary vitamins, eat healthy foods and drink lots of water. Fighting an addiction of Heroin and alcohol will be a very difficult fight for your life. It may take weeks or months to get the gripping habit under control. It means that you will have to do everything differently, including making a change in your social circle.

Recovery is a lot for an individual, who’s challenged with substance abuse, to take on alone! Family members, loved ones and friends do suffer in the supportive role in recovery, as well. Substance abuse affects everyone that is associated with the person who is fighting an addiction. If you or a loved one suffers from Heroin or alcohol abuse, seek help immediately by calling our addiction hotline 800.447.9081. Substance abuse is a sure sign that a life is in danger.

Heroin Overdose: How much does it take to Overdose on Heroin?

Heroin (also called Diacetylmorphine or Diamorphine) is an illegal street drug that is extremely addicting. It is enormously dangerous because an overdose can cause serious harm to the body or even death. When smoked or injected, it gives people euphoria, a feeling of total happiness. The initial high only lasts a couple minutes but is followed by approximately two hours of a tired relaxed feeling. An overdose of a drug occurs when a larger amount is used than the safe amount recommended; however, unlawful drugs, such as Heroin, are not regulated and don’t have specific dosage instructions, making a Heroin overdose highly probable.

How much is Too Much?

A fatal amount of Heroin varies for each individual. Contingent on the pureness and the user’s tolerance level, a Heroin overdose can vary from 200 to 500mg. However, long-time addicts have survived doses of as much as 1800mg or more. There is no general guideline for a guaranteed safe dosage for street Heroin, because the purity of the Heroin and each user’s tolerance both need to be taken into consideration.

How do Users Build Up a Tolerance?

A Heroin overdose can happen when users take a larger dose of the drug than what they are accustomed to. An endurable amount for a long-time addict would have a likelihood of being fatal to a first-time Heroin user. Generally, Heroin users start out with a small amount and slowly increase the dose over time. While they quickly become tolerable to the drug, sometimes the tolerance level can change and drop, especially in people who are occasional users.

What does the Purity of Heroin have to do with Overdosing?

Diamorphine is a white or brown powder made from the sap of the poppy plant by refining the opium and is then sold on the black market. It is a long and involved process, but illegal drug makers do not have an exact science for creating such drugs. All batches of Heroin can vary greatly in strengths, though the drugs may have been purchased from the same dealer. Even tolerant users can unknowingly create the right combination for a Heroin overdose, by usage of the same amount of Heroin but at a higher purity than they are used to.

Symptoms of a Heroin Overdose:

  • Drowsiness
  • Cold clammy skin
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Bluish skin, lips and/or fingernails
  • Abdominal spasms
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Weak Pulse
  • Seizures

How does Heroin Overdose Cause Death?

Heroin affects the central nervous system and intensely slows down the heart rate and breathing. An overdose of the drug can easily result in unconsciousness and cause the heart to stop beating, which is why a Heroin overdose can quickly lead to death.

How can Users Lessen the Risk of a Fatal OD?

While there isn’t a sure way to prevent death from a Heroin overdose, evidence has shown that death is rarely instant. Safety measures can help to diminish the chances of fatally overdosing, such as never using Heroin alone or mixing it with other drugs.

How to Stop Using Heroin

One way that Heroin addicts can stop using the deadly drug and preventing a Heroin overdose is by enlisting the help of a quality rehabilitation program. With the right treatment and support, users can get clean and stay clean. The first step is recognizing and admitting there is a problem. Today’s drug rehabilitation centers are highly advanced and offer more innovative detoxification solutions. Contact our heroin addiction hotline today. We’re available 24/7.

4 Deadly Drug Combinations to Avoid

In today’s world of stress and anxiety, many people find themselves turning to various drugs to ease the pain and help them get from one day to the next. Unfortunately, there are those who feel if one type of drug helps some, then combining it with another will work twice as well. However, there are many deadly drug combinations that can produce serious if not lethal effects when taken together. As the popularity of prescription drugs and supplements continues to rise, the risk of using dangerous drug combinations has also risen. To make sure you or a loved one does not run the risk of serious illness or death, here are four deadly drug combinations that should be avoided.

1. Valium and Alcohol

For people seeking a way to fall asleep after a stressful day, valium has proven to be a prescription drug that does its job very well. Because it acts as a depressant to the body’s central nervous system, it helps to increase sedation. However, sometimes if relief does not come as fast as you would want, alcohol is consumed in an attempt to speed up the process. The danger here is that alcohol works just like valium, acting as a depressant and increasing drowsiness. If combined together, the two lead to confusion, impaired memory and eventually loss of consciousness and a coma, resulting in death.

2. OxyContin and Alcohol

One of the most popular prescription drugs for managing pain, OxyContin has also become one of the most addictive for many people. Though given to people with the hope it will provide them with relief from the pain associated with an accident or injury, when combined with alcohol it gives the person a huge sense of euphoria, followed by bouts of extreme depression. As with the first drug combination of Valium and Alcohol, the drug combination of these two increases the sedation effect both have on your body, leading to respiratory depression and overdose.

3. Prinivil and Potassium

High-blood pressure is a common problem for which many people take medicine, but it can be deadly if combined with potassium. By decreasing the effectiveness of the blood pressure medicine, a person’s heart works harder and therefore its rhythm can get disturbed, leading to irregular heartbeats and ultimately death. People who combine these with over-the-counter decongestants can also experience the same effects, due to the fact the decongestant decreases the effectiveness of the blood pressure medication.

4. Cocaine and Prozac

These two together can be a deadly drug combination. Cocaine, already illegal to use, often hides the effectiveness of the drug, leading people feeling they need to take more to get the intended results. Combining these two drugs can also lead to dangerously high blood pressure, extreme depression and death. Many who have taken both have such extreme depression that there have been reports of suicide. Seizures have also been known to result from this drug combination, as have high levels of confusion and dizziness.

If you or a loved one is using any of these deadly drug combinations, the time has come to stop and get the necessary help to kick the habit. While it often sounds like a good idea at the time, combining these drugs can mean the start of an addictive cycle and puts your health or even your life at great risk. Rather than try to use dangerous combinations of drugs to deal with life’s issues, it’s much better to get the help you need to cope with issues and be able to lead the life you deserve.

Family History May Increase Risk of Precription Drug Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is the result of a person making the wrong decision to over medicate themselves. However, the decision to do so can be affected by your gene pool or the environment you grew up in. The following are five things in your family history that may put you at risk for prescription drug abuse.

1. DNA

A person’s DNA is made from chromosomes from their parents. This and other molecules form to resemble a ladder, and the sequence of these cells determines a person’s physical and mental qualities. Studies have found that variations in this sequence could increase the risk of addiction.

DNA sequence guides the formation of amino acids. These components form proteins that turn into cells. These cells evolve into the tissues that make up our organs. These organs work together so our body functions efficiently. Chromosomes are bundles of genes. If one or more gene sections in DNA become mutated, this will affect a person’s personality or physical makeup.

2. Hereditary Mental Disorders

Up to 90 percent of people diagnosed with a mental illness have one or more family members who also suffer from the same disease. The most common illnesses are depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, ADHD and autism. About 33 percent of them also abuse the medications they are prescribed for their condition.

The genes in their DNA determine how medication is broken down in the body. Genes affect how fast or slow that drugs are broken down by the enzymes in the body. If the break-down process takes longer than normal, drugs stay in the person’s system for a longer time. For those that break down drugs quickly, the effects are short-lived which leaves the patient wanting more. In this case, patients often increase the recommended dosage on their own to achieve the desired effect.

4. Family Surroundings

People are a product of their environment. If they grew up in good surroundings, chances are they will be productive with a high quality of life. However, those who grew up in less desirable conditions often have a rougher road ahead of them. Children who grow up seeing one or more parents abuse drugs misunderstand how wrong and dangerous this situation is. They often experiment with the same drugs found in the household since they are easily accessible.

Parental abusers are also more likely to be indifferent when they discover that their offspring have abused prescription drugs whether or not it was prescribed to them or their parents. Studies show that many of these parents were the ones who gave their children the medication in the first place.

5. Abuse or Neglect

An unhealthy environment of neglect, physical or sexual abuse, or other traumatic experiences greatly affects how a person lives their life. Children suffering from these conditions often exhibit behavioral problems and low self-esteem. Sadly, these unhealthy environments are often passed down to the next generation.

Adults who were abused as children often rely on prescription drugs to numb any mental or physical pain they experience. They may also fall into the wrong crowd of people who have gone through similar experiences and introduce them to pain-relieving methods.

Do not let a family history of prescription drug abuse determine the outcome of your life. Seek medical assistance right away to save yourself. Everyone deserves a good quality of life that is productive and rewarding.