Substance Abuse Skyrocketing among Older Americans

The latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health reveals that Americans who are past the age of 60 may be at increased risk of problematic substance use.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration conducts the NSDUH, which provides up-to-date information on a number of health-related topics, such as mental health and tobacco, drug, and alcohol use in the United States.

Substance Abuse among Seniors– The Statistics

Per the NSDUH, the 60-to-64-year-old age demographic saw the largest increase in past-month drug use between 2016 and 2016—38%.  Right now in America, there are over 10 million drug abusers who are past the age of 40.

Of special relevance, by examining  older age groups and how their past-month drug significantly changed from 2016 to 2017, we learn:

60-64 years old:

  • Cannabis: +48% --2017: There were over 1.2 million people in this demographic who use marijuana, an increase of 830,000 the year before.
  • Prescription Opioid Painkillers: +17%--2017: There were 169,000 abusers of prescription opioids, up from 145,000 in 2016.
  • All other opioids (Heroin, Illicit Synthetics): 17%--2017: There were 169,000 current opioid abusers, climbing from 146,000 a year before.

65 and older:

  • Marijuana: +6%--2016-017: The number of marijuana users in this demographic rose slightly, from 1,097,000 to 1,168,000.
  • Cocaine: +118%-- At the same time, the number of coke abusers surged, going from 38,000 to 83,000.
  • Opioid Painkillers: +35%--The number of people who abused pain medications jumped from 176,000 to 235,000.

Because senior citizens are more likely to suffer from long-term chronic pain, they are also more frequently prescribed – and overprescribed -opioid pain drugs.  As a result, SAMHSA reports that between 1992 and 2010, the number of people 50 and older who were admitted to a drug rehab program shot up 136%.

1999-2014:

  • The number of overdose deaths involving opioids among the 55-to-64-year-old demographic ballooned from 226 to 7486 – a troubling increase of more than 3300%!
  • Likewise, the 65-74 age group saw an even-greater increase of 4150%.
  • Among older males, overdoses involving opioids rose sharply,  by 775%
  • Senior females saw a massive increase of 1682%

Another startling discovery from the latest NSDUH is the prevalence of problem drinking within the older population.

  • 60-64: Risky binge drinking episodes went up 14% between 2016-2017, and heavy drinking increased by 15%.
  • Around 1 out of every 5 people in that demographic regularly abuses alcohol.
  • 65+: Binge and heavy drinking increased 23%.
  • 1 out of 8 senior citizens engages in risky drinking behaviors.
  • This works out to nearly 10 million alcohol abusers age 60 and over.

The Dangers of Senior substance Abuse

This level of substance abuse creates significant hazards .

Because multiple prescription drugs are typically taken at this age, drinking or drug abuse dramatically increases the likelihood  of a dangerous  drug interaction.

Also, because alcohol, opioids, and tranquilizers are all Central Nervous System depressants, accidental overdoses and even death become a very real possibility.

Finally, drug or alcohol intoxication can cause a person to forget if they took their medication or not.  This  can be the difference between safe medicating and taking too much.

What Does All of This Mean?

The #1 takeaway from the  is that ANYONE can struggle with substance abuse, dependence, and addiction. The disease doesn’t respect boundaries of age, education, income, or accomplishment.

If you are concerned about how an older loved one’s drug abuse or drinking might be endangering their health, contact Chapman House TODAY. As one of the top drug rehab programs in Orange County, Chapman House provides the structure, treatment, and support needed for successful return to sobriety.

 

 


How to Keep Your Job While You Go to Rehab

Per the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 3 out of 4 substance abusers have a job, but only about 1 in 10 are in treatment.

I’m Afraid of Losing My Job”

One of the major obstacles for many actively-addicted people is the fear of losing  their job or position if they admit that thy have a problem or if they take time off to go to rehab .

  • Will I get Fired…Replaced…Demoted?
  • Will it affect my promotion?
  • What will my co-workers think?

Due to these concerns, struggling substance abusers hesitate, their addiction progresses, and the consequences get worse. Eventually, their career—and the other areas of their life—are damaged far worse than going to rehab ever could.

Protecting Your Career While You Go to Drug Rehab

If you are struggling with a substance abuse disorder such as alcoholism, illicit drug addiction, or the abuse of prescription medications, you CAN get the professional help you need without having to worry about your position, IF you:

  • Learn Your Legal Rights– The Americans with Disabilities Act grants a protected status to workers who  are diagnosed with a Substance Use Disorder. By law, you have the RIGHT to participate in a drug or alcohol rehab program WITHOUT harming your career.

Per ADA guidelines, employers must make “reasonable accommodations” for employees with SUD–i.e., time off to go to inpatient drug rehab, adjustments to their schedule so they can attend outpatient sessions, etc.

Additionally, your insurance company is required provide coverage for rehab and recovery programs.

  • Tell the Truth–Your employer has the right and the responsibility to provide an environment free of drugs and alcohol for ALL workers, in order to protect other workers and the best interests of the company.

It is YOUR responsibility to seek help proactively, before there is an incident. Don’t wait until it’s “too late” – a failed drug test or a workplace accident.

As for any supposed embarrassment you think you might feel– in all truth, your employer probably already had a suspicion that “something” was going on to affect the quality of your work, even if they weren’t exactly sure what that “something” was.

Your employer is also obligated by law under the requirements of the ADA to treat your personal medical needs – drug treatment – as confidential.

  • Use ALL of Your Available Resources–There may be several beneficial programs offered by your job that can give you all the time you need:
    • Employee Wellness/Assistance Programs
    • Sick Leave Accrual
    • Vacation and Personal Time
    • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants eligible workers 12 weeks of unpaid protected leave for medical or family reasons. Drug rehab qualifies.
  • Honor Your Part of the Bargain—When your employer grants you an accommodation they are doing so for two reasons – because of the law, yes, but ALSO because you are a valued employee. For your part, YOU have to:
    • Complete your recommended treatment plan – do not leave residential rehab early.
    • Continue with ongoing aftercare – outpatient drug rehab, drug tests, etc.
    • Attend 12-Step fellowship meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
    • Comply with any “Return-to-Work” agreement that your employer may have prepared.

What's the Bottom Line?

One more, very important point –addiction is a protected disability, but addictive behaviors are not. If you show up to work drunk or high, commit a crime, miss too many days, etc. – you will lose your job. The key to protecting your job while you deal with your addiction is to ask for help before it is too late.

If you are worried about the impact that your drinking and drug use might be having on your career, and you don’t know what to do, let Chapman House help.

As one of the most-trusted rehab programs in Southern California, Chapman House has been offering premier drug and alcohol treatment services in Orange County since 1978. To get the help and support you need, contact Chapman House TODAY

by Albert Fontenot


Facebook Ads Can Boost the Desire to Drink

“There is more information on social media than just a post or a message. We are exposed to how other users respond to a post, and it is those responses that can influence your desire to drink. Our findings suggest that comments left by other social media users may either reinforce or negate the message from a post.”

~ Dr. Jonathan Noel, University of Connecticut

Per a new study just published in the current Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, younger adults who view an alcohol-positive ad on one of their social media sites may feel a greater desire to drink if other people have made comments that support alcohol consumption.

This is a form of online “peer pressure”—companies that manufacture or sell alcohol have significantly expanded their presence on social media, in an attempt to reach more young buyers.  If effective, these corporation-sponsored alcohol ads are often “Liked” and “Shared”,  sometimes by thousands or even millions of viewers.

As part of this study, participants viewed alcohol ads that contained either pro- or anti-drinking comments.  These ads were further separated as to whether they had a higher or lower degree of “user engagement”, as determined by the total number of Shares, Likes, and Comments.  After watching, participants were then asked if  they believed that the ad increased their desire to drink.

Ads that had both anti-drinking comments and a higher degree of user engagement resulted in the lowest desire to drink.  And compared with that established baseline, the combination of pro-drinking comments and high user engagement elicited a much stronger desire to drink— 3.5 times higher.

Even more relevant, study participants who viewed the pro-drinking ads reported that they were more prone to Liking or Sharing the ads than those who looked at anti-drinking posts.

Dr. Noel, who led the study, said, “[H]eavy alcohol users and those who are alcohol dependent may be the most susceptible to the potential effects of pro-drinking comments…and an increased desire to drink after exposure to alcohol cues may predict relapse after treatment for alcoholism.”

What Does This Information about Social Media and Drinking Mean to YOU?

If you or someone you know about has a problem with alcohol, this new study only emphasizes how a person’s environment can affect their behavior. And surprisingly, “environment” can refer to both the real world and online.

As part of the  Chapman House alcohol rehab program, clients learn how to avoid and respond to such external triggers.  While it may not be realistic to totally avoid all social media, there are effective strategies that can minimize any harmful influence.

If you live in Southern California, Chapman House is a premier alcohol treatment program located in Orange County.  Since 1978, Chapman House has utilized an evidence-based approach to recovery, thus helping generations of once-lost alcoholics safely navigate in a newer and healthier sober direction.

For more information and to get the help you need, contact Chapman House TODAY.

 


New Year Resolutions

Resolutions for Recovery, Part 1

“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous New Year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving source – a Sower of Dreams – just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.”

~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

This is Part One of a two-part series

For most people, the New Year is an expectant time of rebirth – a time to make hopeful promises and reinvent ourselves in the image of who we would like to be. This can be especially true if you struggle with a Substance Use Disorder.

If you have a drug or alcohol problem your New Year’s resolutions have even more meaning than most people’s. If the average person reneges on their promises, they laugh it off and say “Maybe next year“, you might need to be successfully in recovery to make it to next year.

If you are reading this, hopefully it is because you are already in recovery or are thinking about getting help for your addiction. If that is the case, here are some suggested resolutions that you can make that – if kept – can help support your recovery efforts.

Resolve to Get Professional Help

You may have the best of intentions, but the fact of the matter is, no one gets clean by themselves. Powerlessness over your drug of choice is what defines addiction. You need help from a trained and experienced professional who specializes in addiction treatment.

If you have been contemplating going it alone, consider all that you gain with the help of a professional:

  • In-depth knowledge and expertise
  • An actual treatment plan, rather than your own guesswork and willpower
  • Structure and accountability
  • Monitoring and evaluation of your progress
  • Freedom from judgment
  • Practical strategies and solutions
  • Connections to other needed services – interventionists, detox facilities, aftercare, etc.
  • Medication for cravings, if needed
  • Referral/treatment for any co-occurring disorders

In other words, professional treatment will do for you all of those things that you cannot or will not do for yourself.

Resolve to Practice Honesty

Addiction is a disease of denial, deflection, and deception. Lying becomes a daily habit that the active addict/alcoholic uses avoid any conflicts that would interrupt their drinking and drugging. Most of all, they lie to themselves, turning a blind eye to the path of pain and destruction that they leave in their wake. Dishonesty becomes their preferred coping method.

For this reason, rigorous honesty is crucial to a successful recovery. When you resolve to be forthright and open – both with others and yourself – then you remove the harmful consequences that came with habitual dishonesty.

There are number of ways that a person in recovery benefits from the practice of honesty:

  • Honesty fosters a renewed sense of self-esteem and trust with yourself to keep your commitments, and with others, which in turn helps rebuild relationships with loved ones.
  • New, positive coping skills are cultivated when you learn to deal with – rather than avoid – any challenges that arise.
  • When you truthfully acknowledge the harm that results from your actions, you are less likely to repeat those behaviors.
  • Consequently, you will also have less shame and guilt – both precursors to relapse.
  • Engaging in one positive behavior – honesty – that supports your sobriety makes it easier for you to practice other positive behaviors.

Most of all, when you stop lying to yourself and rationalizing your behaviors, it is much harder to justify why you are acting a certain way. You will learn how to stop “giving yourself permission”  to use substances and instead learn to think and behave in a way that supports your continued recovery

If you are an Orange County resident and want to break free from the prison of addiction, contact Chapman House TODAY to get more information about how you can make this the year you got your life back.


new year resolutions

Dry January in Orange County

Dry January should be seen as the impetus to change people’s relationship with alcohol forever.”

~ Judi Ryh, Executive with the British Liver Trust

"Dry January" deserves a place among your New Year’s resolutions. Voluntarily giving up drinking for a month is the perfect way to examine your relationship with alcohol. And, if you find it too hard to temporarily give up booze, then perhaps you need professional help.

Dry January: An International Movement

“There were plenty of nights I'd promise myself I wouldn't imbibe but end up indulging, or have four drinks instead of the planned one…These behaviors are red flags for problem drinking, and they're alarmingly common.”

~ Joy Manning, Women’s Health

Originally, Dry January was part of a 2014 public awareness campaign promoted by Public Health England. But when the results were overwhelmingly positive, Dry January quickly became a global observance.

The benefits of Dry January include:

  • 82% of participants report a “sense of achievement”.
  • 79% save money.
  • 62% enjoy better sleep.
  • 62% have more energy.
  • 49% lose weight.
  • At a six-month follow-up, 72% had lower rates of “harmful” drinking.
  • 4% were still alcohol-free.
  • Liver fat, a precursor to liver disease and damage, decreased by 15%.

Dry January: The Bottom Line

“I don’t really see myself as a big drinker, but I was quite shocked to see just how much more I drink in the run up to Christmas. Drinks on nights out with work and friends, as well as a few when I’m at home, all start to add up.”

~ Charlotte Gowing, 38, Dry January participant

You can have a drinking problem and not even know it. What was once an occasional social indulgence  progresses and becomes a regular habit frequently punctuated with heavy or binge drinking. December means Christmas and New Year’s parties, and it is far too easy to cross the line and  over from drinking habit to drinking problem.

Dry January is your chance to test yourself, and if necessary, hit the reset button.

If you live in Southern California, Chapman House your best, most-trusted resource. As the #1 alcohol rehab program in Orange County, Chapman House helps you regain your sobriety so you can live a safe, healthy, and productive life.

For more information and to get immediate assistance, contact Chapman House TODAY.


Happy

The Top Six Benefits of Sobriety in 2019

“I wouldn’t have been able to have access to myself or other people, or even been able to take in other people, if I hadn’t changed my life.”

~ Bradley Cooper, actor

The New Year brings a hopeful outlook. No matter what’s going on in our lives, it gives us a chance to symbolically start over again, clean and fresh. For many people, this means finally seeking help for an alcohol or drug problem.

If that includes you, here are six wonderful reasons why a sober 2019 could be your best year EVER!

Sobriety Benefit #6: You Save SO Much Money

Do you have any idea how much your drinking and drug habits REALLY costs you every year?

  • $100,000 (OxyContin)
  • $50,000-$75000 (Heroin, 2g/day)
  • $40,000-$50,000 (Opioid painkillers)
  • $30,000 (Methamphetamine)
  • $5,000-$14,000 (Alcohol)
  • $10,000 (Marijuana, heavy use)

In recovery, your money belongs to you, not your addiction.

Sobriety Benefit #5: No More Hangovers, Withdrawal, or Dope Sickness

Remember all those times when you partied too hard and woke up in terrible pain the next morning? Or what about how you have the shakes before your first daily drink? Or worst of all, the horrible feeling of being dope sick when you were out and no one was holding?

All of these were clear signs of how substance abuse negatively impacts your health.

But once you are free from the harmful influence of alcohol and drugs, your body and mind can return to normal.

Sobriety Benefit #4: You Will Live a Longer and Healthier Life

Did you know that substance abuse shortens your life by an average of seven years?  That’s not too surprising, when you consider that there are over 200 diseases and health conditions that are directly attributable to alcohol and drugs -cancer, heart disease, and brain damage, along with hundreds of other illnesses and problems.

But by practicing the abstinence and healthy lifestyle changes of recovery, much of that damage can be reversed.  For example, a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine determined that quitting cocaine can significantly reverse some of the drug-induced damage to the heart.

Dr. Shengan Lai said, “Studies of this kind give people hope for a healthier life after stopping drug use.”

Sobriety Benefit #3: You Become a Better Employee

Active addiction affects you professionally -you miss work more often, your production goes down, and your reputation suffers.

And if you are like most people, you put off getting help because you are afraid of losing your job.

But did you know that because Substance Use Disorder is a medically-recognized illness, in most cases, your job is protected if you go to drug rehab? It IS possible to recover AND keep your job.

Sobriety Benefit #2: You Build Better Relationships

Addiction eventually isolates you from your loved ones, until the only relationships you have left are dysfunctional or revolve around drinking and drug use.

But in recovery, but and learn to surround yourself with people who actually care about you and support your sobriety.  Best of all, when you are sober and sincere, you can work on rebuilding other relationships with estranged family members and friends.

Sobriety Benefit #1: You Get to be Present for Your Own Life

Think about it—how many birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and other special occasions did you miss because of your addiction? Just as bad, how many did you attend and half-remember because you were too drunk or too stoned?

In recovery, you get your life back, and that means showing up for all of the once-in-a-lifetime moments that addiction steals. Even better, you get to make memories that you actually remember.

The New Year can mean a New You.

If you are ready to make a change and break free from your addiction, Chapman House can help.  Since 1978,Chapman House has provided premier alcohol and drug rehab in Orange County, helping individuals and families in crisis due to uncontrollable substance abuse.

To get help NOW, contact Chapman House TODAY.

by Albert Fontenot


What Are the Criteria for a Medical Diagnosis of Addiction?

Many struggling substance abusers deny their problem—and delay getting help—because of the stigma attached to addiction. Unfortunately, the perception that addiction is due to selfishness or weakness still exists, even though medical and addiction recovery professionals recognize substance abuse disorder as a chronic illness

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, a diagnosis for an addictive disorder may be called for when the substance abuser exhibits three or more of the following symptoms:

  • Tolerance – the need for ever-greater amounts of the substance to achieve the same pleasurable effect.
  • Loss of Control – an inability to choose frequency or amount of drug or alcohol consumption
  • Failed Attempts to Quit or Cut Back—This could be previous unsuccessful stints in rehab.
  • Disproportionate Time Spent Thinking about, Acquiring, Using, or Recovering from Using the Substance—Preoccupation with drugs or alcohol interferes with everyday life.
  • Abandonment of Other Interests or Responsibilities – disinterest in previously-enjoyed hobbies, withdrawal from social activities, increasing isolation
  • Continued Usage Despite Negative Consequences – health issues (disease, overdose), relationship problems (divorce, separation), financial difficulties (job loss, unpaid bills), or legal complications (fines, arrests)
  • Withdrawal – Within a very short time after use the substance is discontinued, the individual begins to suffer from uncomfortable or even dangerous physical and psychological symptoms:
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Mood Swings
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea, Vomiting, or Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Cramps
  • Headache
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Seizures

Addiction is a disease that hijacks your brain, robbing you of choice. There is no need to delay treatment because of perceived embarrassment or shame. Just as is the case with any other chronic disease – diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma – it is possible to get help, learn how to manage your illness, and no one to live a happy and productive life.


Christmas in Recovery: The 12 Gifts of Sobriety

Real recovery is the best Christmas gift you can give yourself and your family.

While active addiction is all about loss – sobriety, stability, self-respect, and sanity—recovery promises wonderful gifts. If we are willing to work at our recovery, we are rewarded with real blessings .

The very first day of residential detox,  we are continuously reassured that it does not matter how much our addiction stolen from us, recovery IS possible, and life DOES get better.

This Christmas season, let us pause for reflection on and appreciation for all of the gifts that sobriety can bring into our lives.

Gift #1: Hope Replaces Despair

We believe that there IS a way out of active addiction.

Gift #2: Faith Replaces Doubt

We know that if we work our program of recovery, our lives WILL get better.

Gift #3: Courage Replaces Fear

We gain the strength to face our problems instead of running from them.

Gift #4: Clarity Replaces Confusion

Coming out of the foggy world of compulsive substance use, we get a better sense of ourselves and our lives.

Gift #5: Self-Respect Replaces Self-Contempt

We learn to love and value our own selves.

Gift #6: Self-Confidence Replaces Low Self-Esteem

We gain a greater appreciation of our strengths.

Gift #7: Empowerment Replaces Helplessness

We become capable of handling life’s challenges.

Gift #8: Respect Replaces Pity

Others start to believe in us again.

Gift #9: A Clean Conscience Replaces Guilt and Shame

Because we try to do what’s right, we aren’t burdened by regret for our actions.

Gift #10: True Relationships Replace Loneliness

We enjoy the love of people who really care about us.

Gift # 11: Purpose Replaces Chaos

Stronger and more secure in ourselves, we can live more productive lives.

Gift #12: Freedom Replaces Bondage

Best of all, when we aren’t controlled by our addictions, we can live the lives we deserve, becoming who we were always meant to be.

True freedom from active addiction means that we proudly proclaim our RIGHT to be healthy and happy. We have the RIGHT to have good things, positive relationships, contentment in the present, and hope future.

When we take time to acknowledge the gifts of sobriety and recovery, we reaffirm our own value. Even better, appreciating what we gain and re-gain helps support our continued sobriety, because we don’t want to lose it all again.

The holidays are a perfect time for new beginnings and personal renewal. So if you are struggling with any kind of substance use issues—alcoholism, illicit drug addiction, or the misuse of prescription medications-- Chapman House Treatment Centers can help you regain your sobriety and your life.

As the leading alcohol and drug rehab program in Orange County, California, Chapman House employs evidence-based treatment strategies that support your complete and lasting recovery from addictive and mental health disorders. Whether you need detox, residential rehab, an Intensive Outpatient Program, or even partial hospitalization, Chapman House is the trust resource you need.

To get help NOW, contact Chapman House TODAY.


Sober Thanksgiving: Gratitude During Recovery

True recovery means regaining joy and receiving the blessings that addiction threatened to take away forever.  When you get another chance at life after out-of-control addiction, gratitude is more than just appropriate – it is absolutely essential for successful and enduring sobriety.

No matter what point you are at in your recovery – just starting out or working on several years – there are several reasons to be thankful for the sobriety that you have right now.

You Are YOURSELF Again

Addictive substances like alcohol and drugs hijack your brain and alter your personality.  Soon, you become almost unrecognizable, even to yourself. As you heal during recovery and your brain chemistry returns to normal, you become the real YOU once again.

And freed from the constant compulsion to use and drink , you also are freed to make your own choices. YOU are in charge, not your addiction.

You See Things Clearly

Many people new to recovery recall describe their old actively-addictive life as confusing, almost as if it was being seen by through the fog.  But when your vision is no longer clouded by alcohol and drugs, you can see things as they actually are.  This helps you to consciously act in a thoughtful manner, rather than simply reacting to every imagined problem.

Real Fun Without the Guilt

To active addicts, “partying” means getting drunk or high as often as possible.  And when the good times are over, you are burdened with remorse and shame. In successful recovery, you can enjoy yourself alcohol-and-drug-free with your friends and family and worry about waking up tomorrow feeling guilty.

You are Present for Your Life

Addiction robs you of your experiences and memories.  When all of your time was spent drug seeking and using, you missed out on life’s special moments—birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, etc.   Even if you managed to show up, you were often too wasted to remember.  In recovery, you are aware and present for the important occasions in your life. Best of all, you get to keep the memories.

Relationships Can Be Repaired

Addiction isolates you from your family and friends. But as you recover physically and mentally, you can work on bridging the distance. In fact, the Steps of Recovery talk about the need to apologize and make amends. Don’t worry about rejection—if you are sober and sincere, you will be pleasantly surprised how many people are rooting for you.

A Chance to Give Back

Active addiction meant you were focused entirely on your own substance-fueled needs.  But recovery puts you in the unique position to help other people who are still as lost as you once were—by volunteering, serving at 12-Step meetings, or even just by talking it out when they are tempted.  And here’s a wonderful bonus— serving others keeps YOU sober.

You are reading this today because you are still here, and that is the greatest reason of all to give thanks this season. Tragically, too many people never made it to today. They ran out of chances. Be grateful for yours and make the most of it.

Chapman House drug rehab in Orange County is ready to assist you in regaining your sobriety, reclaiming your life, rediscovering joy and hope, and realizing your many blessings.

To take the first, most important step on your journey of recovery, contact Chapman House TODAY.

 

 

 


Destroying Lives: The Dangers of GHB

“(GHB) is the most addictive drug I’ve ever seen. People are desperate to get off of it because it’s destroying their lives.”

~ Dr. Stephen W. Smith

Some people say obtaining GHB is as easy as "ordering a pizza". And although it’s highly illegal, the drug is sold openly on the Internet online, often falsely labeled as “fish tank cleaner”, “stain remover”,  or some other harmless-sounding product.

Like other synthetic “party” drugs, GHB occupies a very specific niche among substances of abuse. Even though it is not as commonly-used as some other illicit drugs, there is nonetheless a growing core of abusers who use it as part of the rave culture.

 Club/Party drugs are abused by people who frequently attend parties, nightclubs, discos, and raves. They produce stimulant, aphrodisiacal, and hallucinogenic effects that enhance the club experience.

GHB – What You Need to Know about this “Social” Drug

Gamma-Hydroxybutyric acid”, or GHB, has a legitimate medical use as a treatment for narcolepsy. This is part of the reason why it is so popular among partygoers, because in small recreation doses, it is a stimulant that allows users to stay awake, party longer, and drink more. However, at higher doses, it paradoxically acts as a depressant.

Reported effects include:

  • A euphoric high
  • Greater sociability
  • Increased affection
  • Enhanced sexual pleasure
  • Deepened music appreciation

GHB’s effects are felt in less than 30 minutes, and last up to 6 hours. While pills can cost $25 apiece, single swigs of the liquid can be purchased for as little as $5.

GHB—Street Names

The most-frequently-heard names for GHB or  “Liquid Ecstasy” or “Liquid X”, but other names include:

  • Goop
  • Lollipop
  • Easy Lay
  • Georgia Home Boy
  • Grievous Bodily Harm

GHB and Date Rape

GHB is usually sold as a colorless, odorless and nearly tasteless liquid that can be mixed with soft drinks or cocktails. This is very frequently without the recipient’s knowledge, leading to:

  • Extreme suggestibility, passivity, and compliance
  • Amnesia
  • Increased sexual arousal

This dangerous combination leaves victims vulnerable to sexual assault or violence.

Adverse Side Effects and Hazards of GHB

GHB has negative side effects ranging from merely unpleasant to downright dangerous to even potentially deadly:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Incontinence
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Severe headache
  • Profuse sweating
  • Uncontrollable tremors
  • Unintelligible or slurred speech
  • Respiratory depression
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Organ damage, especially to the liver and kidneys
  • Coma
  • Death

GHB is often “homemade” in illicit, unsafe makeshift labs. These crude batches can vary wildly in terms of purity, potency, and even formulation. Some GHB “recipes” use dangerous chemicals such as drain cleaner or floor stripper. In recent years, it has been linked to multiple deaths in Orange County.

How Addictive is GHB?

The addictive quality of drugs can be measured by the severity of withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be harshly unpleasant:

  • Extreme agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse perspiration
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Delirium

The painful symptoms of GHB withdrawal make it unlikely that an addict will be able to stop using completely on their own. Professional help is nearly always needed—intervention, detox, medication, and ongoing treatment.

If you live in Southern California and you want to stop using GHB and other club drugs, Chapman House Treatment Centers is the resource you need. Since 1978, Chapman house has been one of the most-trusted drug rehabs in Orange County, and we can help you successfully and safely regain your sobriety.

If you are ready to get help NOW, contact Chapman House TODAY.

by Albert Fontenot