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Help available for addictions

September 18, 2012
The Herald-Star

You don't have to look past the daily police reports to know there is a drug addiction problem in the area.

Men and women in their 20s are hooked on pain pills and heroin and going into stores to try to steal items to sell to support their habit. They often are caught in possession of hypodermic needles.

Thieves break into empty houses to steal copper piping.

And, of course, there are the gunshots fired by drug dealers trying to protect their so-called turf.

People don't have to live like that but drug and alcohol abuse has taken over their lives.

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in Ohio and across the country.

Now in its 23nd year, Recovery Month is a nationwide celebration sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Addiction is a very serious disease that impacts the brain. Recovery is a lifelong process of staying free of alcohol or drugs.

Experts say that 25 percent of Americans die as a result of substance abuse, and the average alcoholic dies 26 years earlier than he or she would otherwise.

Locally, the Jefferson Behavioral Health System and Trinity Behavioral Medicine provided treatment to about 500 people in 2011.

Drugs can put a grip on a person that is difficult to break.

Only about 2 percent to 5 percent of the persons seeking treatment for opiate addiction can experience recovery in the first year of treatment. For heroin only about 20 percent can achieve recovery, and, for cocaine, less than 5 percent. Alcoholics entering treatment can have up to a 49 percent chance of recovery in the first year of seeking help.

Seeking help is the key. The chance for recovery is zero without seeking treatment.

There are many professionally run programs in the area offering help, but it is up to the addict or alcoholic to make the first step.

Chances are they will stumble and relapse along the way. They will always be a recovering addict. There are also many narcotics and alcoholic anonymous meetings held almost every night of the week in the area.

Family and friends see the damage of addiction. But many times the addict won't admit his or her problem or seek help until they hit bottom. Sometimes it is too late. The number of accidental drug overdoses in the area has been climbing over the past several years.

Recovery does work but that first step is always the most difficult.

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