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Drug Addiction


Drug abuse and addiction are complex problems that need professional treatment and ongoing support. People develop problems with a wide range of psychoactive substances, including alcohol, prescription medications, and illicit street drugs. Drug addiction in Hawaii is often treated through a combination of detox and rehab, with aftercare support programs also needed to enable successful reintegration. Depending on the institution in question, individual treatment programs may be available for different types of drugs or patient demographics. Rehab programs are available on a residential or out-patient basis, from intensive short-term programs, through to multi-month treatment regimes. If you know someone who is living with street drug addiction in Hawaii, it is important to contact a professional treatment center as soon as you can.

What is drug addiction?

Addiction happens when a person compulsively engages in rewarding stimuli, despite the existence of negative consequences. While behavioral addictions are also common, most drug and alcohol treatment centers specialize in psychoactive substance addictions. Common behavioral addictions include sex addiction, exercise addiction, food addiction, computer addiction, and many others. Common substance addictions include alcohol, marijuana, prescription opiates, prescription sedatives, heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and several others. Addiction is a learned behavior that normally develops over a long time period. While instant addiction is possible in rare cases with certain individuals, most people get addicted to drugs or alcohol after an extensive history of drug abuse.

Addictive substances and behaviors share two common attributes: they are both intrinsically rewarding and positively reinforcing. What this means from a practical perspective, is that people seek repeated exposure to certain stimuli because they believe them to be beneficial. Most of the problems attributed to drugs and alcohol, relate to the differences between short-term benefits and long-term costs, with ongoing exposure to drugs and alcohol often leading to health problems, social problems, and addiction. Professional treatment is often needed to help break the bonds of drug addiction, including medical detoxification programs, rehabilitation regimes, and aftercare support programs.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

It can be difficult to decide if someone you know needs to access professional treatment services. People react to drugs and alcohol in a variety of different ways, with some people seemingly able to use substances responsibly, and others becoming addicted very quickly. Because denial and secretive behavior are common symptoms of drug addiction, friends and family members who want to help are often unable to get a clear picture of the situation. A crisis intervention may be needed before someone will accept the help they need, and direct and indirect intervention models are both used in different situations.

While many of the signs of drug abuse and addiction are related to the substance and person in question, there are some general signs worth looking out for. Common signs of problematic drug consumption include unexplained mood swings, unexplained sedation or energy, social problems, legal problems, changes to sleeping and eating patterns, changes to social groups, lack of motivation, and lack of school or work productivity. If you are concerned about someone you love, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible.

Drug Addiction and Treatment Statistics from Hawaii

Street drugs take a high toll on modern American society, both in Hawaii and elsewhere. While alcohol and prescription medications also cause significant health problems and death, illegal street drug use is associated with its own set of criminal and legal problems. According to Trust for Americas Health, Hawaii has the 34th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States. While the majority of overdose fatalities are due to prescription opiates, heroin use also influences these figures. According to Friends of Narconon, methamphetamine is the biggest drug threat in Hawaii, with high purity meth readily available and widely consumed across the state. Marijuana is also a major problem in Hawaii, as the state continues to produce high grade marijuana on a commercial and home-grown basis. Cocaine abuse is also problematic among residents, with MDMA, LSD, and heroin abuse also noted in some communities. Despite the popularity of certain drugs on the islands, a lack of treatment centers has been recognized throughout the state.

Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that is widely abused to induce feelings of confidence and energy. This drug is available in two different forms, with powder cocaine typically snorted, and crack cocaine normally smoked. While cocaine is not a physically addictive drug, it is highly addictive and associated with a range of emotional and motivational withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation, including drug cravings, insomnia, lack of motivation, depression, and much more. Medication is largely ineffective when treating cocaine addiction, and rehab programs normally consist of behavioral therapies, counseling sessions, and relapse prevention campaigns.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a strong and highly addictive opiate drug taken by people for its euphoric qualities. Although heroin does have some legitimate medical uses in parts of Europe, the vast majority of heroin is produced and sold on the black market. Heroin is normally smoked or injected intravenously, with users often progressing from smoking to injecting as they develop a habit. Heroin is associated with a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome, and medications are often used to help alleviate and manage withdrawal symptoms. Common withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, sweating, headaches, cramps, and involuntary body movements. Treatment for heroin addiction typically includes a combination of medication treatment and psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational support programs.

Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine addiction is a significant problem in Hawaii and across the United States. Also known as meth or crystal meth, this drug is highly addictive and associated with a range of health and social problems. While meth is not physically addictive in the same way as heroin or alcohol, long-term users often struggle to break the bonds of addiction. Treatment for meth addiction includes a range of psychotherapy programs, with typical treatment modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, contingency management, and family therapy.

If you are living with street drug abuse or addiction and are ready to take the first step in getting sober, pick up the phone and speak to an addiction specialist about the benefits of treatment today.