In 2017, nearly 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States. That’s a 6.6 percent increase over the previous year’s death toll according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For anyone battling drug addiction, facing that “I need help” moment and knowing where to turn are crucial initial steps. The recovery process can be ridden with pain, denial and shame.
Trying to find the best treatment for you or a loved one can be overwhelming.
How can I get help?
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a website where you can type in your ZIP code and get directions to nearby treatment centers.
The agency also offers a 24-hour free hotline for treatment referrals and support: 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Calls are confidential and offered in English and Spanish.
For treatment options tailored to the needs of veterans, the Veterans Crisis Line directs those who have served and their loved ones to “qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline”: 1-800-273-8255, option 1.
The department’s website says veterans of all “ages and circumstances” can also chat online and text 838255 for support options. The organization says since its inception it has answered more than 2 million calls and dispatched emergency responders more than 70,000 times to callers in distress.
According to the National Survey of Drug Use and Health, about 10 million Americans, aged 12 to 29, need treatment for substance abuse and addiction. The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids offers a toll-free hotline: 1-855-DRUGFREE (378-4373) to assist parents who are seeking help for their children.
Above the Influence is a website for young adults who want to get help for themselves or a friend with an addiction. The site describes warning signs and offers resources for treatment.
Treatment options are not created equal nor one-size-fits-all. When considering a program, the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends choosing a treatment method that is backed by solid scientific evidence. The organization also recommends asking whether a program customizes treatment to the individual needs of each patient, taking into account a patient’s background and particular history with drug abuse.
“Without attending to the social issues [of an individual] we will not see as great of an effect as potentially possible,” says Jack Stein, the institute’s Director of the Office of Science Policy and Communications. “We need to approach substance abuse disorder from a ‘whole person’ perspective.”
Stein also recommends selecting a treatment program that uses a combination therapy approach: one that addresses both detoxifying and the long-term needs of the individual.
Relapse doesn’t automatically equal failure.
What happens if I relapse?
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“We try to encourage families to understand that relapse can occur, but the individual can recover,” Stein said.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse encourages families to view addiction as a chronic disorder like heart disease or asthma, which requires “support and vigilance on the part of the individual.” Staying connected to a community like a local support group is key.
Support charities making an impact on drug addiction
There are many private organizations working hard to fight substance abuse. You can help their efforts by clicking the button below.