Sadly, you see it just about each and every day in the police blotters we publish. You hear and see reports on TV and across the net. You hear about possible drug activity in our own city parks. This past Thursday, we published an account of a young woman arrested for felony theft. She stole her boyfriend's car and cash to allegedly purchase drugs in Canton. When arrested she was carrying a crack pipe and two syringes. This past summer, a recovering addict said that heroin could be routinely purchased within a 10-minute walk in any direction from downtown Salem. Many of us painfully know the perils of hard-core addiction such as with heroin which someone said is as easy to buy around here as a six-pack of beer.
Addiction doesn't follow a particular demographic. It can strike and haunt the young, old and all in between. It could care less about a victim's gender, profession or education. It is an equal opportunity destroyer.
It's not always heroin. There's pot and cocaine. Prescription drug abuse is rampant. You may know someone hooked on pain pills. Maybe you are. Same with alcohol. Some seemingly can't function in their daily lives without alcohol. It's like their plasma. Then there is always the denial factor. Experts say the average alcoholic dies 26 years earlier than he or she would otherwise. How stark is that figure?
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. 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. Fortunately in our immediate area there is help. The Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board contracts with two excellent in-county facilities that offer outpatient alcohol and drug treatment services: The Counseling Center and Family Recovery Center. The MHRS Board also contracts with Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic in Youngstown for detoxification services. For more information, call the Board office at 330-424-0195, or visit our website at www.ccmhrsb.org.
Sometimes the first step of recovery ultimately is the biggest. For those addicts in need or for those trying to help an addict, please take that first step. There is no shame in admitting you need help. It could save your life.