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In Burlington, Vermont, the police chief sees soccer moms hooked on heroin.

In Knoxville, Tennessee, addicts desperate for help are waiting six months to get into treatment facilities.
And, in Ohio, the Republican governor who had long called for the repeal of Obamacare has since sidestepped the GOP Legislature to enroll his state in Medicaid.

The United States is in the grips of one of the worst heroin epidemics in its history, due in part to a flood of cheap doses of the drug, which can be had for as little as $4 apiece, ordered on dark corners of the Web and delivered to your front door in the suburbs. In some regions, heroin is deemed “highly available” by local police in more than three times the number of communities as it was just seven years ago.

We’ve got soccer moms on heroin … you walk down any street in any town in Vermont right now and chances are there is at least one house where someone is dealing with this. This is a completely underground, behind-closed-doors phenomenon.
The resurgence of the deadly drug has sparked a flurry of action from governors’ mansions and statehouses across New England and the Midwest to small-town police stations from northern Kentucky to Wisconsin.

“It’s really on the top of everyone’s radar from a public health perspective,” said Thomas MacLellan, director of homeland security and public safety for the National Governors Association. Even Capitol Hill and the White House are weighing in on what’s become a full-blown health crisis that cuts across geographic, social, racial and economic boundaries.

Estimates on the number of U.S. heroin addicts range from 300,000 to 500,000, up about 75 percent from five years ago. And while that is just a minor portion of the nearly 24 million Americans that abuse drugs overall, heroin use is growing faster than all others.

Given the drug’s nasty reputation and deadly nature, the heroin epidemic has been called a full-blown health crisis that cuts across geographic, social, racial and economic boundaries.

“We’ve got soccer moms on heroin … you walk down any street in any town in Vermont right now and chances are there is at least one house where someone is dealing with this,” said Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling, who has seen heroin trafficking cases in his area increase fivefold in just two years. “This is a completely underground, behind-closed-doors phenomenon.”

State legislatures are considering more heroin laws than ever, Congress has held a series of hearings, and even governors are taking it public – even as some critics say the response has come too late and more could have been done to prevent the spread of heroin.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin in January went so far as to devote nearly his entire state of the state address to what he called the “rising tide of drug addiction and drug-related crime spreading across Vermont.”

All told, heroin and related opioid pain pills have killed more than 125,000 in the last 10 years. And federal data indicates that another 75,000-plus pain pill abusers will turn to heroin annually.

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One early victim of the crisis was Casey Wethington, who died in 2002 of a heroin overdose at the age of 23.

“Within six months of learning about Casey’s heroin addiction, we were burying him,” said his mother, Charlotte Wethington of Morning View, Kentucky, who is now an anti-drug activist.

“We have a tremendous amount of needless deaths – tens of thousands,” said Wethington. “These statistics are real people. And those who knew them, their lives will never be the same again.”
‘Cycle of addiction’

It is impossible to understand the heroin surge without understanding the drug’s link to prescription painkillers including OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet. The drugs are heroin’s chemical sibling, all containing compounds derived from or similar to opium, one of the world’s most dangerous drugs.

“Heroin is just a symptom of the prescription drug problem,” said Joseph Rannazzisi, deputy assistant administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, during a U.S. Senate hearing in May on the topic.

From 1999 to 2010, the sale of opioid painkillers increased 300 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to “medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month,” the CDC reported in November 2011. The drugs are now prescribed to 12 million Americans a year.

With the reformulation of prescription opioids to make them harder to abuse and new regulations aimed at curbing prescribing the drugs, addicts are turning to heroin by the tens of thousands.

“People are going to go where the drugs are, and right now, the cheapest and easiest way to keep that addiction going is through heroin,” said DEA spokesman Rusty Payne, noting that the agency spotted this “cycle of addiction” as soon as 2009.

Mexican drug dealers met the new demand with a new supply of cheap heroin, delivered to customers’ homes and not sold on street corners. Payne says more than half of all heroin in the U.S. now comes from Mexico – a huge change from previous decades when most of the drug originated in Asia. And it’s cheaper and easier to use than ever. Mexican heroin sells for $4-10 a dose, compared with $40-80 for an 80-milligram opiate pain pill.

But more than that, new powder heroin can be snorted as well as injected, removing a psychological barrier for some users and introducing a new generation to the highly addictive drug.

Now, federal research indicates the problem is growing even faster.


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Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the federal medical agency that tracks drug abuse and helps shape policy, says surveys indicate 80 percent of recent heroin addicts switched from opioid pain pills.

Those same surveys show that 3.6 percent of the nation’s 2.1 million opioid pill addicts turned to heroin since 2007, a percentage that Volkow predicts will grow.

Until 2007, the U.S. did “a great job as a country containing the spread and use of heroin,” said Volkow in an interview. Then heroin use exploded, “doubling in some states.”

The nexus with pain treatment makes heroin “a very sensitive issue” for policy makers “because we can’t just do away with opioid medication,” Volkow said.

Far-reaching impacts

States and local governments are struggling to keep up with the ongoing crisis.

• In Butler County, Ohio, the home of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, the number of children being removed from their parents’ custody doubled between 2010 and 2012, with heroin accounting for more than half of all child removal cases in the county in 2012.

• In Knoxville, Tennessee, 73 people died from drug overdoses last year, more than from homicides and traffic accidents combined. According to a new report, opiates of some sort were involved in at least 36 of those deaths. (It’s hard to say which ones were heroin because of the difficulty in differentiating heroin from other substances through tests.) “Heroin got here later than other places, but it is here now full blast,” said Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch.



• In communities across Kentucky, heroin abuse is “spreading like a cancer,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control in May. The problem is most acute in Northern Kentucky just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. “We are losing close to 100 fellow Kentuckians a month to drug-related deaths,” McConnell said. “This is more lives lost than to fatal car crashes.” Actually, drug abuse deaths now exceed car fatalities nationwide according to the CDC and NIDA.

Law enforcement officials aren’t the only ones dealing with the strain. Treatment facilities are overwhelmed, with communities such as Knoxville reporting wait times of six months or longer.

“We have 40 beds available, and we’re increasingly having to turn people away,” said Ginger Marshall, the volunteer alcohol and drug treatment coordinator for the Lost Sheep Ministry in Knoxville. “This is just overwhelming everyone. It doesn’t help that most insurance only pays for 30 or 60 days of treatment, when it can take that long just to get the drugs out of your system.”

Said Kolodny: “We have effective treatments; unfortunately in the communities hit hardest by the epidemic, the availability of treatment does not come close to meeting demand.”

States battle epidemic

Governors and other state officials across the country are taking drastic steps to control the epidemic, which is worst in the Great Lakes, New England and Mid-Atlantic regions along with New York and New Jersey.

Narcotics Lt. Jesse Duncan looks over a bag of heroin that weighed in at nearly 6 grams as he discusses evidence collected in the Louisville area on Jan. 30, 2014.
(Photo: Alton Strupp, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal)
In Delaware last year, 2,750 adults who identified heroin as their drug of choice sought state-funded treatment, the highest number since at least 1987. State Health and Human Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said kids have gotten into the juvenile treatment system for heroin as young as 12.

At least 18 legislatures have considered new heroin legislation this year, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Subjects range from allowing easier access to drugs that counteract opiate/heroin overdoses for first responders and even the public, as well as possible leniency for low-level heroin offenders who agree to treatment. Some of those states and at least five others also are debating legislation that would toughen sentences for major drug crimes and trafficking involving heroin.

In Massachusetts, for example, deaths from heroin and related opioid drugs spiked by more than 90 percent since 2002, leading Gov. Deval Patrick to declare a public health emergency in late March.

The declaration created new regulatory powers for public health officials. Patrick also created a $10 million trust fund to create a court diversion system for non-violent drug offenders to get them into treatment, and sunk $20 million into the state’s drug treatment system.

Last year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich expanded Medicaid in his state partly because of the heroin problem. He bypassed a Republican-controlled Legislature to enroll Ohio in the Medicaid expansion allowed by the Affordable Care Act, even though he wants Obamacare repealed. Part of his reasoning: the state needed federal money for drug and addiction treatment because of heroin.

It has wreaked havoc!



In the Cincinnati neighborhood of Saylor Park along the Ohio River, Erin Clark’s cheeks flush from pride as she talks about her new baby on the way and being next in-line to serve as president of her two daughters’ Parent Teacher Organization next year.

“I enjoy life, and I don’t wake up with that anxiety and that overwhelming craving,” says Clark, whose addiction to prescription opioids led her eventually to heroin in 2012.

The 31-year-old married mother has been clean for nearly two years. Getting this far has included weaning her body from her deadly addiction with Suboxone, a low-level prescription opioid that helped her through the severe withdrawals.

She stopped taking the medication last January, after her husband lost his insurance. Clark says she still had slight withdrawals, but she kept herself busy caring for her daughters, husband and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Too many opioid and heroin addicts can’t find the help they need when they finally look for it, said Clark. “We need more treatment facilities and education,” she said.

Wethington, the anti-drug activist who lives across the river in Northern Kentucky agrees.

The fervor with which state and federal officials are acting now is encouraging, she says, but much delayed.

“I was trying to sound the warning bell and nobody was listening,” said Wethington, who now works as an addiction and recovery counselor. “They were in denial that this could ever come to their house, and unfortunately it has wreaked havoc across our state and our nation.”
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Alcohol Awareness


 The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence,

Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow,” —

prevention of alcoholism. Local NCADD Affiliates

Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors. Annually, over 6,500 people age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured.


  • Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
  • Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
  • More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
  • 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
  • Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.

Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America’s youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people.

“Underage drinking is a complex issue,” says Greg Muth, chairperson of the NCADD Board of Directors, “one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort. As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that for some, alcoholism and addiction develop at a young age and that intervention, treatment, and recovery support are essential for them and their families,” says Muth. “We can’t afford to wait any longer.”

In support of the NCADD National Network of Affiliates and other organizations who want to work in support of the campaign, NCADD has developed the following NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month resource materials:

Alcohol Free Weekend:  April 4-6, 2014

An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 4-6, 2014), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. During this seventy-two-hour period, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans, young and old, to participate in three alcohol-free days and to use this time to contact local NCADD Affiliates and other alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.

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See Also:

Drinking Too Much Too Fast Can Kill You

NCADD’s Self-Test for Teenagers

Facts About Underage Drinking

“I Wasn’t Having Fun Anymore”

Stories of Recovery

Underage and College Drinking

Ten Tips for Prevention

Family History and Genetics

Alcohol Energy Drinks


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Understanding Alcohol and Alcoholism

If you’re visiting the NCADD website to find out about alcohol, you are in the right place.  We have chosen to have a separate section about alcohol because it is our most commonly used drug and it represents our number one drug problem.

Ethanol, commonly known as alcohol, found in beer, wine and spirits (like whiskey, gin, scotch, vodka, etc.) is a psychoactive drug that has a depressant effect.  Alcohol, consumed across cultures, often used to help and promote social interaction, is popular, generally accepted and legal.

However, for millions of individuals and family members, alcohol is a source devastating pain and loss.  Alcohol is addictive and the state of addiction to alcohol is known as the disease of alcoholism.

But, to begin to better understand alcoholism, there is a great deal we need to talk about regarding alcohol and it’s effect on the individual, the family and many of major problems faced by our society – crime, drinking and driving and in the workplace.  In addition, we need to discuss the special role that alcohol plays in problems among women, veterans and seniors.

Within this section of the NCADD website, we offer valuable information about:

NCADD Affiliates offer a range of services including help for individuals and family members.  If you are concerned about your own alcohol or other drug use or that of someone you care about—a child or other relative, a friend or co-worker—please make the contact.  You will be able to speak to someone who will listen, assess your needs and provide information about available services, costs and how to deal with another person’s alcohol and/or drug use.  Help is just a call or visit away—Make the contact now!

Posted on March 24, 2013 by Lisa Frederiksen •

April –is an annual celebration founded and sponsored by the NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence) to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help. 2013 marks the 27th year of this annual celebration.

This year, is taking a slightly different approach to its celebration of Alcohol Awareness Month – namely taking this opportunity to raise awareness about the “family-ness” of alcohol misuse – both those that misuse and those affected by Secondhand Drinking (SHD).

Secondhand Drinking is a term to describe the impacts on a person who is on the receiving end of someone’s drinking behaviors. Drinking Behaviors are the behaviors a person engages in as a result of excessive alcohol changing brain function (see brain images at end of post). These brain changes are caused by a variety of drinking patterns ranging from binge drinking to heavy social drinking to alcohol abuse to alcoholism. These drinking behaviors include:
– drunken arguments
– physical fights
– verbal, physical or emotional abuse, neglect, bullying
– driving while impaired, riding in a car with an impaired driver, getting a DUI
– unprotected, unwanted, unplanned sex, sexual assault
– problems at work or in school
– domestic violence.

As an example, secondhand drinking is what happens to the spouse and children of the veteran who turns to alcohol after his/her tour of duty ends – alcohol to relieve his untreated PTSD (1), s/he’ll never find a job and confused feelings about returning to civilian life. His/her abuse of alcohol, untreated PTSD and the combination thereof changes his/her behaviors drastically. This throws his/her family into a tailspin as they all jockey for what to do to make him/her want to stop or get help. It’s what happens to that veteran’s son at school after a particularly rough night of parental arguing about the drinking, when he can’t concentrate in class and is embarrassed by his schoolmate’s snicker when he fails to answer the teacher’s question. He’s fuming by recess and tracks his classmate down, punching him in the face. For that he’s sent to the office, only to have his parents called because he’s a behavioral problem – again.

It’s what happens to the husband whose wife repeatedly promises to stop or cut down but every night can’t keep her promise. When he confronts her, she starts her offensive attacks on something he has or has not done as the reason for her drinking, causing him to go on the defensive and engage in the crazy, convoluted arguments that ensue. He rehashes these arguments over and over in his mind the next day while at work, unable to complete the task at hand, which holds up the next stage of the project on which his team is working.

Secondhand drinking is what happens to the boss whose life and the life of his daughter and the lives of every member of his immediate and extended family are shattered when his daughter is paralyzed in a head-on collision caused by a drunk driver. As you can see, SHD can be a one-time event, but its ripple effects will last a lifetime causing physical and emotional outcomes unfathomable to most.

Secondhand drinking is real. It hurts. And it can forever change a person’s life (at least until they understand it and can treat/change it). This is especially true if they are the family member or close friend who, over the course of their ongoing exposure to SHD, become victims, suffering their own consequential physical and emotional impairments. They often experience quality-of-life changes that are beyond a “healthy” person’s comprehension. See The Health Consequences of Secondhand Drinking.

The heartening news is that understanding the causes of secondhand drinking (namely another person’s alcohol misuse, brain changes and subsequent drinking behaviors) is helping people (especially family members and children) learn what it takes to protect their emotional and physical health.

Since NO ONE SETS OUT to cause secondhand drinking and NO ONE SETS OUT to cope with it in unhealthy ways, BreakingThe’s 2013 Alcohol Awareness Month celebration will run posts throughout the month to raise awareness about this “family-ness” of alcohol misuse and secondhand drinking. Topics will include:

  • Screening for Secondhand Drinking
  • Screening for Alcohol Misuse
  • Understanding Drinking Patterns and What It Takes to Cross The Line from Use to Abuse to Dependence
  • Getting Help for Secondhand Drinking
  • Getting Help for Alcohol Misuse
  • How to Talk and What to Say to Children About a Family Member’s Drinking

And if you prefer the more traditional celebrations of April as National Alcohol Awareness Month, click on this link for logos, proclamations, press releases, background information, etc., as provided by NCADD.


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Background Information 
– Neuroscience for Kids – Alcohol (UWEB)
– Facts about Alcohol Poisoning (NIAAA)
– Frequently Asked Questions (NIAAA)
– Alcohol and Your Health: The Pros and Cons (MayoClinic)
– Snapshot of Drinking Consequences(NIAAA)
– Information for Specific Audiences(LKCAF)

Interactive Tools
– Alcohol Calorie Calculator (NIAAA)
– Alcohol Quiz (British School of Motoring)
– Alcohol-use: The cost of crossing the line(MayoClinic)

Resources for Educators
– Substance Abuse Prevention Training(SAMHSA)
– Understanding Alcohol: Investigations into Biology and Behavior (NIAAA NIH)
– Prevention Education Tools (SAMHSA)
– Brief Interventions (NIAAA)

Resources for Students
– the cool spot: young teen’s place for info on alcohol (NIAAA)
– Tips for Teens (NCADIHHS)
– A Message for Teenagers (AA)
– Body Effect (ALAC New Zealand)
– Just for Kids (NACOA)
– Your Life: Your Choice (

Help for Individuals
– Getting Help (NIAAA)
– Substance Abuse Help for Individuals(SAMHSA)
– Just for Kids (National Association for Children of Alcoholics)

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Understanding Drugs and Drug Dependence

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Drugs, legal and illegal, are consumed across cultures, and are used for a wide variety of reasons, including, in the case of prescription drugs, to promote health.  However, illegal drugs play a very different role in our society and the effect they have those who use them.

Besides alcohol, our number one drug, some of the most commonly abused drugs include: marijuana, amphetamines, methamphetamine, barbiturates, cocaine, methaqualone, opium alkaloids, synthetic opioids, benzodiazepines, including flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), phencyclidine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy), ketamine, anabolic steroids and a host of legal prescription drugs.

Regrettably, for millions of individuals and family members, drugs have become a source of devastating pain and loss.  Many drugs are addictive and the state of addiction to drugs is known as drug dependence.

But, to begin to better understand drug addiction, there is a great deal we need to talk about regarding drugs and their effect on the individual, the family and many  major problems faced by our society  –  crime, drugged driving and drugs in the workplace.  In addition, we need to discuss the special role that drugs play in problems among women, veterans and seniors.

Within this section of the NCADD website, we offer valuable information about:

NCADD Affiliates offer a range of services including help for individuals and family members.  If you are concerned about your own alcohol or other drug use or that of someone you care about—a child or other relative, a friend or co-worker—please make the contact.  You will be able to speak to someone who will listen, assess your needs and provide information about available services, costs and how to deal with another person’s alcohol and/or drug use.  Help is just a call or visit away—Make the contact now!



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Some people say it is DANGEROUS.

Others say it is HARMLESS.

Some even want to turn it into a MEDICINE.

Here’s what you should know about the most widely used illicit drug in America. – 

From:  NCADD brochure, Just The Facts:  Marijuana.

Derived from the hemp plant, cannabis sativa, marijuana, is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves.  Marijuana is the most commonly used and abused illicit drug in the U.S..  While marijuana contains more than 400 different chemicals, the main mind-altering chemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.  The level of THC content in marijuana after cultivation can range from less than 1% to more than 30% and has been increasing dramatically, making marijuana increasingly potent and more addictive.

MYTH:  Marijuana is harmless.

FACT:  According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), in 2010 there were over 572,000 marijuana-involved admissions to hospital emergency rooms. The same report inddicated that during the same timeframe, an estimated 11,406 emergency department visits involved a synthetic cannabinoid product, sometimes referred to as “synthetic marijuana” and commonly known by street names such as “Spice” or “K2”. (Source:

How is Marijuana Used?  Commonly known as pot, weed, herb, dope, reefer, grass etc., marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (joint) or in a pipe, waterpipe, bong or in a blunt (a cigar emptied of tobacco and refilled with a mixture of marijuana and tobacco).  Marijuana is also mixed in baked goods (e.g., cookies or brownies) and brewed as a tea.  A more concentrated, higher THC content, resinous form of marijuana, is called hashish and, as a sticky black liquid, hash oil.  Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive, usually sweet-and-sour odor.  Marijuana is sometimes laced with crack cocaine and/or hallucinogen phencyclidine (PCP), making marijuana more dangerous.

Marijuana- Short-Term Effects:  The effects of a “joint” are generally felt within a few minutes and reach a peak between 10 and 30 minutes.  Overall, most of marijuana’s short-term effects wear off within 2 or 3 hours.

How Does Marijuana Affect the Brain?  When someone smokes marijuana, THC is absorbed by the lungs and into the bloodstream, which carries the THC to the brain and all other organs throughout the body, producing the “high” that users experience.  The parts of the brain most affected include those that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentrating, sensory and time perception and coordinated movement.

Marijuana- Long-Term Effects:  According to NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), research has shown that, in chronic users, marijuana’s adverse impact on learning and memory can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off.  As a result, a daily marijuana smoker may be functioning at a suboptimal intellectual level all of the time.  Research has also shown poorer cognitive abilities than non-users, including memory capability, math and verbal skills.  And, as discussed earlier, marijuana can be addictive.

MYTH:  Marijuana is not addictive.

FACT:  Each year more teens enter treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than all other illicit drugs combined.

According to NIDA, long-term marijuana use can lead to addiction for about 9% of users and increases among those who start young (to about 17%) and daily users (25-50%).

Long-term marijuana abusers trying to quit report withdrawal symptoms including irritability, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, anxiety, and drug craving.  The symptoms begin within about 1 day after last use, peak at 2-3 days, and subside within 1 or 2 weeks.

If you are concerned about your use of marijuana or that of a friend, here are 12 Questions used by Marijuana Anonymous and visitGet Help.

Marijuana and Mental Health:  A number of studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia with age at first use to be an important risk factor.  High doses of marijuana can produce an acute psychotic reaction.

How Does Marijuana Affect the Lungs?  Numerous studies have shown marijuana smoke to contain 50-70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke.  Marijuana has a higher burn temperature, is inhaled more deeply and held in the lungs longer than tobacco smoke.  As a result, marijuana smokers can have many of the same problems as tobacco smokers like daily cough, more frequent acute chest illness, and a heightened risk of lung infections.

What About “Medical” Marijuana?  The potential medicinal properties of marijuana have been the subject of substantive research and heated debate.  There are two FDA approved cannabinoid-based medications that include synthetic compounds;  dronabinol (Marinol®) and nabilone (Cesamet®).  Both of these medicines can be prescribed by physicians.

After careful consideration and review, the NCADD Medical-Scientific Committee, Delegate Assembly and Board of Directors adopted an NCADD Position Statement:  Opposition to Medical Marijuana.

Adderall Abuse Symptoms,

Signs and Addiction Treatment


Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine that is used to treat the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD. This drug is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. Adderall is prescribed by a physician who will normally start a patient on a low dose, gradually increasing it if necessary.

Adderall abuse occurs when people take Adderall for reasons other than medical need. Some people may take Adderall to help them stay up longer, for instance. For more Adderall facts and to learn about the signs of drug abuse, contact our hotline at1-888-913-2609 to help an Adderall addict.

Signs and Symptoms

Adderall can cause side effects, and abusing Adderall can cause side effects to be more likely to occur. Some symptoms of Adderall abuse include:

  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
  • Headache
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

There are also side effects that can be severe. These may occur in rare cases when the medication is taken as prescribed, but the severe side effects are more likely to occur when the medication is not taken as prescribed. Some severe effects include:

  • Pounding or fast heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Seizures
  • Weakness in the arms or legs
  • Numbness of arms or legs
  • Dizziness
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Verbal or motor tics
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Changes in vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Mania
  • Itching
  • Swelling (in the case of overdose or allergic reaction)
  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Blistering or peeling skin

These side effects can be dangerous, so it is important to seek emergency help as soon as possible or to consult your doctor immediately. For information on your local emergency services, intervention specialists or to talk with someone who can help you understand the side effects of Adderall, contact our hotline at 1-888-913-2609. We can help you get the help you need to stay drug free.

If you suspect an overdose, call 911 or your local emergency services. Some symptoms of overdose include:

  • Feelings of panic
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Quickened breathing
  • Uncontrollable shakes
  • Confusion
  • Coma
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat

For more info and articles about the symptoms of overdose, contact our 24-hour hotline at1-888-913-2609. Our staff can help you understand the ways Adderall can affect your body, whether it is taken as recommended or recreationally.

Effects of Adderall Abuse

Adderall abuse facts indicate that Adderall abuse can lead to more serious side effects. Adderall problems like tolerances, dependency and addiction can occur when the drug is not taken as directed. Patients are more likely to overdose and to cause harm to their bodies when the drug is misused.

Adderall Abuse Treatment

Knowing the facts about Adderall can help prevent needing treatment by preventing addiction. However, if you or someone you know needs treatment for Adderall addiction, rehab centers can help. Rehabilitation centers will help by providing detoxification services and will aid in treating patients for psychological addictions as well as physical.

Adderall Statistics

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, also called NSDUH, approximately 6.4 percent of fulltime college students between the ages of 18 and 22 used Adderall in a recreational way in the past year. On top of this, 89.5 percent of students who reported Adderall abuse also participated in binge drinking in the past month, and over half of those students were heavy abusersof alcohol.

In 2006 and 2007, the NSDUH reported that students going to school fulltime between the ages of 18 and 22 were two times as likely to have used Adderall recreationally, opposed to those in the same age who do not go to school full time.

Students who were in college fulltime using Adderall for recreational purposes were also recognized as being three times as likely to have used marijuana, and they were eight times more likely to have used prescription tranquilizers recreationally as well.

Teen Adderall Abuse

Teen Adderall abuse is common because of stress and time management issues at college. If you help your child learn about the dangers of Adderall abuse and better ways to manage time, activities, homework and other school-related items, he or she will be less likely to need the drug to stave off sleep.

Resources, Articles and More InformationFor more information about Adderall and the potential damage it can cause for patients when it is abused, contact us at 1-888-913-2609.

15 Scary Facts About Adderall Abuse

(Before It’s News)

Along with tuition, students swallowing or snorting Adderall, Ritalin, and other amphetamines available by prescription (or, more likely, available via connections with prescriptions) stands as one of the most volatile issues impacting the education system today, particularly at the college level. Seeing as how society tends to push achievements as the be-all, end-all of existence, it’s easy to see why so many turn toward abusing these drugs when the desperation to perform grows way too overwhelming. All this despite the fact that they’re essentially shoveling unregulated speed, which most wouldn’t otherwise touch, into their mouths and nasal passages just to gain an advantage over the competition. When one starts looking at the true reality of Adderall abuse, things start growing more than a little dim.

  1. College students are twice as likely to abuse Adderall:
And, from there, full-timers between the ages of 18 and 22 were the demographic most at-risk for taking the stimulant without a prescription, at twice the rate of part-timers and older students.
These numbers, which fluctuate based on individual campuses, reflect a study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Only around 2% of these hold a prescription, and 14% state that their peers have made offers of money or favors if they agree to hand over their pills.
Seeing as how it’s a stimulant and all, it is entirely possible to form an addiction to Adderall and similar prescription drugs. Especially when one starts consuming the pills without a doctor to take weight, possible interactions, and other factors of responsible medication into consideration, the risk of both addiction and a dangerous, potentially deadly, overdose increase.
Even kids using Adderall responsibly and beneath the care of a doctor have still lost their lives to the stimulant. While no definitive statistics about deaths stemming from an overdose seem to exist just yet, science does know that the most severe overdoses result in heart attacks, deadly blood clots, and other circulatory issues. Especially when engaging in behaviors exerting too much stress on the heart. Just like every other drug of its kind out there.

  • Overdoses can also alter brain chemistry permanently:

    Overdose survivors still might not necessarily make it out of the incident unscathed. Given Adderall’s chemical nature, the drug can completely change a user’s personality with prolonged use. And even if it doesn’t directly kill him or her, such a switch can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. Neither scenario is exactly worth earning a few extra grade points.

  • Adderall abuse is most common during midterm and finals weeks:

    Understandable, since college kids feel the extra pressure to PERFORM PERFORM PERFORM despite balancing numerous responsibilities. And with midterms and finals holding so much clout, the tensions do nothing but mount. On the national level, between 30% and 40% of undergraduates reported abusing Adderall and similar stimulants during these strenuous times.

  • Some students take it recreationally:

    Most reported incidents of Adderall abuse occur when desperate students without prescriptions need to focus on exams or assignments, but a few do enjoy it for recreational purposes. For one thing, it’s an incredibly easy-to-find amphetamine, what with doctors prescribing it for ADD/ADHD and other common learning disabilities. And since it’s available via the medical field, crushing it up and snorting doesn’t exactly carry the same stigma as cocaine or speed, even if the side effects remain largely the same.

  • Adderall is considered a Schedule II Controlled Substance:

    Meaning anyone caught with pills not prescribed by a doctor is subjected to the very same criminal charges as those possessing opiates, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, and other amphetamines. Drugs in this class involve an extremely high risk of addiction and overdose, and exact penalties vary from state to state. Suffice it to say, though, intent to sell carries a much higher penalty than buying and could mean a potentially career-destroying felony.

  • Dealers can get between $7 and $10 per pill:

    It’s cheap, especially when one considers the cost of more difficult-to-acquire drugs. A college student diagnosed with ADD/ADHD can sell off their prescriptions and make a nice little profit — sometimes up to 800% — from exploiting their peers’ drive to succeed. This isn’t exactly a recommended strategy for chipping away at tuition costs, of course (see the previous fact).

  • Some students fake ADD/ADHD symptoms to acquire prescriptions:

    Around 95% of those reporting abuse, in fact. Such exaggeration means receiving prescriptions for dosages much bigger than their brain chemistries can actually handle. And messing with dopamine levels, as mentioned before, doesn’t exactly bode well for long-term mental health in the event students start hitting the (pill) bottle harder than they otherwise would and become addicted. Meanwhile, individuals who genuinely need the pills to function — studies have shown a physiological root to ADD/ADHD — wind up facing stigma and marginalization as a result of everyone co-opting and parodying their very real struggles for an easy drug fix.

  • Most college-age Adderall abusers hold a GPA of 3.0 or below:

    Although, of course, that doesn’t mean those with GPAs in the much higher range are immune to giving it a go, either. What makes Adderall, Ritalin, and other amphetamines so appealing on campus is how they concentrate focus and render it far easier to cram in all the work required of them in a society promoting success at all costs. It makes sense that comparatively underperforming students would turn to them in order to gain an edge over temporal, academic, and resourceful setbacks.

  • In 2006, an estimated 7 million Americans admitted to abusing prescription stimulants:

    These aren’t just the stereotypical high school college students, either, and chances are the exact number has increased since 2006 thanks to greater accessibility and a heightened awareness of Adderall’s benefits. They work on both ADD/ADHD users and those without the diagnoses, though the former have medical professionals regulating dosages to prevent horrific side effects as much as possible.

  • Adderall abusers are more likely to be binge drinkers:

    According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 90% of college students who ingested Adderall without a prescription also binge drank or qualified as “heavy drinkers” over those who did not. This statistic applies to both of-age and underage respondents.

  • Colleges have had to specifically cite Adderall abuse as against school policy:

    Every college out there — or, at least, the staggering majority — sports an illicit substance policy in its student handbook. But in order to combat the recent spate of Adderall abuse, schools such as Duke, Wesleyan, and Dartmouth have all had to amend theirs to include prescription drug abuse.

  • Forty percent of teens think it’s OK to abuse prescription drugs because they’re “much safer” than the street equivalent:

    This is despite the fact that Adderall, when used outside of a carefully controlled environment, is basically the exact same thing as the street equivalent. Furthermore, 29% believe that, because of its prescription status, addiction is impossible, and 39% think that, because of this, it’s acceptable to abuse without using a doctor as an intermediary.

Contacts and sources:
Christine Seivers

Adderall Addiction:

Lessons from a Son’s Suicide

Fourteen million young people between the ages of 20 and 40 take the prescription drug Adderall, or one like it, to treat Attention Deficit Disorder.

Many who take it and even those who prescribe it believe it’s helpful, or at least harmless.

But that’s not always the case. For Richard Fee, his Adderall addiction led to his suicide.

‘Adderall Destroyed Him’

Since childhood, Richard Fee lived a storybook life: straight-As, star athlete, lots of friends. Then he started taking Adderall.

His mother, Kathy Fee, said she hardly recognized her son when he was taking Adderall.

“It just changed his whole thought process,” she recalled. “His mental process, his actions, the things that he did.”

Over the course of three years, Richard’s life spiraled out of control — until his father found Richard hanging in his closet.

Through tears, Ricky Fee remembers that awful moment.

“Worst possible thing you can possibly imagine,” he said. “I mean here was this great kid who had everything going for him. Everything. Smart, good-looking kid, and the Adderall just destroyed him.”

Dangerous Felony

Adderall is prescribed for people with Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADD. It works on the brain to help them focus.

But some people who don’t have ADD believe Adderall helps them focus, too, and take it to help them study.

Richard appears to have been one of those. His father recalled a conversation when Richard was in college.

“Richard had mentioned to me that he had gotten an Adderall from one of his friends at exam time,” he said.

Richard is not alone. An estimated one in five college students take Adderall, largely unaware of the physical danger and the legal danger. It’s a felony to give your prescription to someone or use someone else’s prescription. READ MORE>>


Risky Rise of the Good-Grade Pill

Lisa Wiltse for The New York Times

“Now I have to worry about this, too? Really? This shouldn’t be what they need to do to get where they want to, ” said Dodi Sklar, after listening to her ninth-grade son, Jonathan, describe how some classmates abuse stimulants.

He steered into the high school parking lot, clicked off the ignition and scanned the scraps of his recent weeks. Crinkled chip bags on the dashboard. Soda cups at his feet. And on the passenger seat, a rumpled SAT practice book whose owner had been told since fourth grade he was headed to the Ivy League. Pencils up in 20 minutes.

“No one seems to think that it’s a real thing — adults on the outside looking in. The other kids in rehab thought we weren’t addicts because Adderall wasn’t a real drug. It’s so underestimated,” said a recent graduate of McLean High School in Virginia, who was given a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. and was prescribed Adderall.

The boy exhaled. Before opening the car door, he recalled recently, he twisted open a capsule of orange powder and arranged it in a neat line on the armrest. He leaned over, closed one nostril and snorted it.  READ MORE>>

In Their Own Words: Stories of ‘Study Drugs’

Young people submitted personal accounts of their experiences with prescription drugs in high schools.


Fewer Prescriptions for A.D.H.D., Less Drug Abuse?

Should doctors prescribe fewer stimulants for teenagers, to try to limit the number of young people abusing these drugs for an academic edge?


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