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Illegal Drug Addiction in Vermont

 

Drug addiction is a serious problem across the United States, with professional treatment often needed to fight addiction. People abuse a wide array of psychoactive substances, including legal drugs like alcohol and nicotine, prescription drugs such as Valium and OxyContin, and illegal drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Illegal drug addiction in Vermont needs to be tackled through a combination of education and drug treatment, including medically assisted detox and rehabilitation regimes. While it is possible to overcome addiction by yourself, most people benefit greatly from access to professional treatment services. If you know anyone who is living with illegal drug addiction in Vermont, it’s important to contact a specialized treatment center as soon as possible.

What is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is recognized by the patterned consumption of psychoactive substances despite negative consequences. People who abuse illegal drugs continue to use them even when social and health problems become apparent. While drug abuse is normally accompanied by uncontrolled and excessive use patterns, some experts have argued that all illegal drug use is abusive in nature due to unknown purity levels. People abuse a variety of illicit substances, including marijuana, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, bath salts, heroin, MDMA, and LSD. These drugs can all be classified in one of three drug classes: central nervous system (CNS) depressants, CNS stimulants, and hallucinogens. Other than marijuana, depressants are more likely to cause physical dependence and stimulants are more likely to cause psychological dependence. While hallucinogens such as LSD and mescaline have been associated with potential mental health problems, they are unlikely to cause either physical or psychological dependence.

What is Drug Addiction?

An addiction is defined as the compulsive engagement in substances or behaviors despite the existence of negative consequences. While most drug rehab centers specialize in psychoactive substances, some facilities also tackle behavioral addictions such as food addiction, sex addiction, exercise addiction, and gambling addiction. Addictions are both positively reinforcing and intrinsically rewarding, with certain pleasurable behaviors and substances meeting this criteria. The immediate pleasures derived from these stimuli influence behavior patterns, with long-term exposure often leading to tolerance and dependence over time. Drug and alcohol addiction exacts a high toll on American society, with specialized treatment often needed to break the bonds of abuse and addiction.

Drugs that cause a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome are known to be physically addictive, including alcohol, heroin, prescription opiates, and prescription sedatives. Drugs that cause an emotional-motivational withdrawal syndrome are known to be psychologically addictive, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine, and MDMA. Medically assisted detox and extensive medication treatments are often needed to treat physical drug addictions, with psychological addictions generally treated through psychotherapeutic measures alone. Relapse is a common feature of drug addiction, with recovering addicts always advised to enter a relapse prevention program during rehab or on an aftercare basis.

Illegal Drug Statistics in Vermont

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the state of Vermont experiences problems with a variety of illicit drugs. According to the State Estimates of Substance Use from the 2007-2008 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 11.64 percent of Vermont residents reported using illegal drugs during the past month, compared to just 8.02 percent of the national population. This puts Vermont in the top 10 states with regard to illegal drug use, with Vermont first in the United States for past-month illegal drug use among people aged 12-17, past-year marijuana use among people aged 12-17, past-month marijuana use among people aged 12-17, and past-year cocaine use among people aged 18-25. Four percent of Vermont residents reported using an illegal drug other than marijuana during the past month, compared to the national average of 3.58 percent. Despite the scale of drug use and the extent of early-age exposure, a lack of education and treatment programs has been recognized across the state.

Rehabilitation

Rehab programs are based on pharmacotherapeutic or psychotherapeutic principles, with rehab facilities often specializing in a particular treatment approach. Also known as medication therapy, pharmacotherapy programs involve the use of medications to support abstinence and recovery. Most psychotherapy programs are based on cognitive and behavioral principles, with some programs also using motivational techniques. Cognitive behavioral therapy and family therapy programs are widely applied in rehab centers, with some facilities also instigating contingency management systems. Contingency management offers an alternative approach, with these systems treating the consequences of drug taking behavior rather than the precedents. The Community Reinforcement Approach (CRA) has proved successful in treating opiate, cocaine, and alcohol problems, with a voucher system used alongside community-based positive reinforcement and vocational reinforcers. While these programs do not address the emotional and environmental issues surrounding drug abuse, they can be a powerful way to change unhealthy behavior patterns.

Heroin Addiction and Treatment

Heroin is a potent and highly addictive opiate drug that is known to cause both physical and psychological dependence. Heroin is normally administered by smoking or intravenous injection, with people often graduating to injecting after first smoking the drug. While heroin does have some legitimate medical uses in parts of Europe, the vast majority of heroin is produced for the black market. Treatment for heroin addiction includes medication therapy and psychotherapeutic support, with medically assisted detox kicking of the treatment period before rehabilitation and aftercare support.

Cocaine Addiction and Treatment

Cocaine is a highly addictive CNS stimulant that is associated with psychological dependence and addiction. While cocaine is not physically addictive in the same way as alcohol or heroin, dependent people are likely to experience severe emotional and motivational withdrawal symptoms when they stop drug intake. Treatment for cocaine dependence consists of behavioral therapy and counseling, with relapse prevention and 12-step programs also initiated on an aftercare basis.

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