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Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Suicide Prevention and Opioid Recovery

Statistics paint a bleak picture when it comes to suicide and addiction. A Psychology Today article cites drug and alcohol abuse as the second most common risk factor for suicide. One in three people who take their own life are under the influence of drugs. Poisoning composes the third-leading method of suicide and three-fourths of those deaths by poisoning use drugs. The article points to drug or alcohol abuse as the leading indicator of suicide risk over depression or mental illness. For true suicide prevention, we must support opioid and addiction recovery.

Links between suicide attempts and addiction include depression resulting from an inability to fight an addiction, the loss of relationships due to addiction and the use of drugs and alcohol to mask mental illness. Persons who abuse drugs may also have lowered inhibitions and show a readiness to take more risks. 

Addiction Recovery Key to Suicide Prevention

Treatment for opioid addiction addresses not only the known addiction but also the mental illnesses and mental trauma triggering the addiction or depression caused by the addiction. Opioid and addiction recovery are key to suicide prevention, but it’s important for addicts and family members to expect a holistic approach to drug treatment. Managing both underlying mental illnesses and addiction improves an addicts chances at recovery and reduces the risk for suicide. 

When an addict seeks treatment, family, friends and their medical team should ask the hard questions “have you considered or attempted suicide or are you considering suicide?”. Asking the hard question does not give your loved one ideas about suicide, but rather opens a conversation about an otherwise stigmatized subject. 

Signs to Know

Not every person considering suicide shows signs of depression. Often family and friends piece together signs of a loved one’s suicide plan after the fact. Because of the increased risk of suicide related to drug addiction, it’s imperative for the addict to seek treatment and for friends and family to ask the hard questions. 

Signs a person is considering suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use
  • Talking about feeling trapped
  • Displaying increased anger or rage
  • Talking about not wanting to be a burden to others
  • Behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping less or more
  • Isolating themselves

If someone you know is talking about suicide, whether they have an addition or not:

  • Ask them if they plan to commit suicide.
  • Listen without judgement.
  • Remove objects that could be used for suicide
  • Stay with the person or leave them in the care of someone else while you get help.
  • Call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Call 9-1-1 if self-harm is imminent.

Parents, spouses, children and friends of addicts worry about overdoses and violence involving their loved one. Suicide adds another line to the worry. Treatment isn’t just about the addiction but about healing behavioral and mental health issues contributing to or caused by the addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid or addiction recovery and suicide prevention, call our behavioral health clinic at 662-282-4359 for an appointment or in case of a medical emergency call 9-1-1.

Teen Drug Use and Abuse Lowest in Two Decades

Teen Drug Use and Abuse Lowest in Two Decades

In a bit of good news, teen drug use and abuse is holding steady at the lowest levels in two decades! We’re excited to Gen Z leading healthier lifestyles that don’t involve alcohol, drugs, or tobacco. Just because more teens than ever are choosing to avoid drugs doesn’t mean the issue has completely gone away. Parents of teens must continue to be aware of the most commonly used drugs by teens and attentive to their teen’s behavior.

Every generation has a drug of choice, usually due to ease of access and sometimes media popularity. Gen Z’s no different. According to a Monitoring the Future survey of teens about drug use, the following substances topped the list of most commonly used and abused drugs.

Alcohol

Although alcohol use among teens has declined steadily since 1980, it remains the most commonly used and abused substance. The majority of adults who enter treatment programs for alcohol abuse began drinking before age 17. Currently, 33% of 12th graders, 19.7% of 10th graders, and 8% of 8th graders reported having used alcohol in the last 30 days.

Marijuana

The next most popular substance among teens is marijuana. As states pass medical and recreational marijuana laws, the substance becomes easier to access. In 2017 (the latest year for which we have data), 22.5% of high school seniors reported using marijuana. In 2016, the number of teens using marijuana surpassed those smoking cigarettes. The younger a person is when they began to experiment with marijuana, the more likely they are to experience negative side effects over their lifetime. Although laws regarding this substance for adults continue to change, it’s important to discourage the use of the substance among teens.

Tobacco

E-cigarettes and other tobacco products fill the number 3 and 4 spots on the list of most commonly used and abused substances by teens. Vaping is more easily concealed than smoking cigarettes and, when available, flavored e-cigarettes were an appealing alternative to other tobacco products. In the survey, 27.8% of high school seniors reported vaping in the last thirty days. In comparison, only 8% of high school students report smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days. 

Opioids

We started with good news and we’ll end with good news. Opioid use among teens continues to decline. Among high school seniors, 4.7% reported misusing opioids (taking them not according to or without a prescription). This does not include heroin use. Most opioid misuse among teens is from prescription drugs not heroin. The number of teens misusing opioids does grow as teens reach 18. 

Through all this good news, we must continue to talk to our teens about the dangers of drug use. Some teens use drugs to fit in with a social crowd, while others may use it as an escape for their current situation.

Everyone’s excited to share a little good news, especially during a time when bad news is so prevalent. However, if your child is part of the percent using or abusing these or any other substances the good news can be bittersweet.

If your teen is exhibiting changes in behavior, a lack of desire to participate in activities they previously enjoyed, or you find your teen using drugs or alcohol, reach out to our counselors or a teen addiction program. Finding help for your teen and your family is the first step toward healing. 

Read more about the drugs most commonly used and misused by teens here.

Celebrating Sobriety Every Day

cupcakes, celebrating sobriety, national sobriety day

Choosing to step out and seek treatment for addiction is one of the hardest decisions you’ll ever make. We’re working hard to remove the stigma of addiction and to encourage more people to choose recovery. For some recovering addicts, celebrating sobriety milestones is an important step in the recovery process. December 11 is National Sobriety Day, but we encourage you to celebrate your sobriety every day.

Celebrating sobriety looks a little different than celebrating life’s other milestones such as weddings and graduations because sobriety is celebrated sober. If you’ve never planned a sobriety celebration, now’s the time to start.

Start Small

Cook a fancy meal at home or try a new restaurant with your spouse, best friend, or immediate family. Small celebrations are especially meaningful if you’re still in the first phase of sobriety. Your family or closest friends will want to celebrate your determination with you and show their support. Make sure they know you’re celebrating sobriety and you expect them to abstain from alcohol during the meal as well. If you’re eating out, ask your server to remove the wine or drink list from the table and not to suggest drinks with your meal.

Get Active

Alcohol and drugs steal our time and our energy. As you progress in your sobriety, you’ll find you have more of both of these resources. Try a new outdoor activity such as hiking, running, biking, fishing, or swimming. Invite supportive friends and family members to join you. Let them know the day’s activity is a celebration of your sobriety and alcohol and drugs are not permitted on the trip. Setting boundaries and surrounding yourself with supportive people are key parts of maintaining your sobriety.

Create New Traditions

As we move into the holidays, a lot of family traditions center around drinking. From grandma’s eggnog at Christmas to champagne on New Year’s Eve and beers during a ballgame, you may find yourself challenged at every turn. Combined with the stress of family gatherings, those temptations may prove to be a powderkeg for you. Choose now to set some new holiday traditions. Bake and decorate cookies together. Serve lunch at a local shelter. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Host a soup cook-off. Every family tradition starts somewhere. Yours starts here with you.

Go Big

The early milestones of recovery may require quieter celebration to keep you on track, but long-term milestones like a year or five-years call for bigger celebrations. By now you’re past the first few hard days of sobriety, but you understand the importance of maintaining your commitment to your new lifestyle. And your friends and family are adjusting to the new you without drugs or alcohol. You may still choose to include a small group of supportive friends and family, but consider an out-of-town trip or a big vacation celebrate. Find a vacation travel planner that specializes in sober travel deals to celebrate on a cruise or trip that skips the alcohol. 

However you choose to celebrate sobriety, we encourage you to celebrate it every day. Each moment lived without the control of drugs and alcohol is a beautiful day. 

If you haven’t chosen a sober lifestyle yet, but you’re ready to kick your addictions, our counselors are ready to speak with you. And if you’ve walked the path of sobriety, but somehow lost your way, we’re here for that too. Call us at 662-282-4359 to speak with someone today.

Suicide Prevention Month: What You Need to Know

suicide prevention month

An average of 129 suicides occur each day in the United States. 129. Let that number sink in for a moment. That means that today, more than 100 Americans will take their own lives. 

Disturbing statistics like this are the reason September has been recognized as Suicide Prevention Month. Organizations like the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline understand the causes of suicide and believe this is one manner of death that can be prevented. 

The Causes of Suicide

Unlike most illnesses or causes of death, the exact cause of each individual suicide can’t always be narrowed down. However, a number of common risk factors are found in many suicide victims according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders such as schizophrenia and some personality disorders.
  • Drug addiction or alcohol abuse 
  • History of abuse or trauma
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Aggressive or impulsive tendencies
  • A major physical illness or injury
  • Lack of healthcare, particularly for mental or substance abuse treatment
  • Relationship, job or financial loss
  • Family history of suicide
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Lack of social support; stigma surrounding mental health, substance abuse, and suicide
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Ease of access to means of suicide
  • Religious or cultural beliefs, especially if suicide is viewed as a noble resolution for a problem
  • Exposure to others who have committed suicide including in real life, internet or media

As you can see, there’s no shortage of risk factors for suicide. It’s important to note that white, middle-aged men are at a greater risk for suicide than any other group. In fact, white males accounted for almost 70% of suicides that occurred in the U.S. in 2017. 

Spotting the Risks

Suicide Prevention Month is a great time to remember to be aware of the risks of suicide. You already know the risk factors, but you also need to recognize the warning signs that come with those factors. You should get help if you or someone you love:

  • Talks about wanting to die.
  • Looks for means for suicide, such as searching for ways online or buying a gun.
  • Speaks about feelings of hopelessness, a lack of a will to live, unbearable pain, or being a burden to others.
  • Begins behaving recklessly or acts anxious or agitated
  • Becomes increasingly isolated or withdrawn.
  • Sleeps too much or too little.
  • Displays extreme mood swings, shows rage, or speaks of revenge. 

If you recognized any of these behaviors or risk factors in yourself or a loved one, don’t wait to reach out and get help. Mantachie Rural Health Care has joined the fight against suicide by providing accessible and affordable healthcare and behavioral healthcare to everyone in our community. Contact us today to learn how we can help you or your loved one address mental and physical issues that increase the risk of suicide.

If you or someone you love is in crisis, dial the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for immediate help. Suicide Prevention Month spreads awareness and saves lives. By sharing this valuable information with someone, you might save their life.

FDA Outlines Successes, Continuing Work to Fight Opioid Addiction

Since 2015, the number of opioid pain prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies has declined by 24%. Prescriptions of the strongest opioids now account for less than 1% of all opioids dispensed in 2018. All positive trends in the fight against opioid addiction, but none mark the end of the crisis. In the midst of these positive numbers, the rate of overdose death continues to increase.

In a letter released at the end of February, Scott Gottlieb, M.D., FDA Commissioner, addressed the success of the agency. He also discussed their plans to continue fighting opioid addiction and providing recovery support for those in the throes of addiction.

Prevention Key to Stemming the Crisis

Gottlieb admits the FDA’s reliance on “rigorous evidence that can often take many months and even years to collect” slowed the agency’s response to the building crisis. They’re taking new steps to respond more quickly to the changing situation.

One key to solving the opioid crisis is reducing the misuse of opioid drugs that leads to a new addiction. In 2019 the agency expects to implement new dosing methods. One solution includes blister packs that allow doctors to more easily prescribe lower doses of medication. They’ll also release suggested dosing based on specific outpatient scenarios.

Continued Support for Addiction Recovery

“Reducing overdose deaths also requires broadening the availability of naloxone,” Gottlieb writes.

The FDA is working with drug manufacturers to make naloxone available as an over-the-counter product. This step makes the product available to people who are not under the care of a physician. It also increases availability to those who may fear the stigma that comes with addiction. While it is not currently available without a prescription, the FDA is seeking industry partners who will help bring the product to market.

Reduction of Illegal Opioid Trafficking

Finally, while prescriptions of opioids continue to decrease illegal sales of opioids online continues to increase. Together with major internet stakeholders, the FDA is working to make it harder for online sales to take place.

“For example, Google now deindexes websites based on our warning letters that cite the unlawful sale of opioids to U.S. consumers. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram redirect users who are looking to buy opioids online to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration National Helpline,” writes Gottlieb.

The organization continues to use analytics and tracking data to identify early trends which will help them react faster to changes in the crisis.

Mantachie Rural Health Care, Inc., continues to work with our community to battle the opioid addiction in North Mississippi. The problems our friends, family, and neighbors experience with opioids are echoed around the country. While we’re hard at work educating the community about the signs and dangers of opioid addiction we’re also dedicated to reducing the stigma associated with it. More education and less stigma mean an increase in people who need help finding it.

But we’re not alone in our fight and neither are you. If you need help finding the recovery resources you need, call our mental health clinic today at 662-282-4359.


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