I need some advice. I have an extended relative going to college at Keiser University near Daytona Beach, Florida. He’s a junior studying kinesiology. We’ve never been especially close, but he’s always been fun to be around during our holiday get-togethers.
Earlier last week, my mom called and said that he might have to go to rehab. I was shocked to hear that his parents and older sister think he’s abusing painkillers. That doesn’t even make sense. I asked my mom how anyone could be addicted to painkillers.
She told me that they weren’t talking about generic ibuprofen or Tylenol but rather prescription drugs like Vicodin. I’m still struggling to understand it all, but on top of that, my mom asked if I’d consider talking to him as a last resort. Apparently, his parents think he’s more likely to talk to someone else in the family who’s also currently in college.
What should I do?!
This sounds like a real dilemma. It’s definitely normal to feel anxious and confused. Confronting a possible drug addict is no simple feat. Your first move before succumbing to the pressure should be to research as much as you can about substance addiction and dependency. It won’t be possible to do much of anything without an appropriate grasp of the subject.
You might be surprised to learn how widespread opiate addiction and dependency really are. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) report that . Countless public health specialists are under the impression that the crisis can’t be curbed sufficiently without reducing how frequently physicians prescribe addictive substances (e.g., Percocet, Vicodin, OxyContin, Codeine, etc.). That reality could be applicable to your relative because he may very well have a legitimate prescription for the painkillers he’s administering.
Another important factor, aside from understanding the greater context, is to consider the different risks. The worst-case scenario is your relative escalating from opioid-based prescription painkillers to heroin. There’s no guarantee you can prevent that leap. The best chance he has is getting into a treatment program.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of . One such possibility is known as Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), which combines behavioral counseling with specific drug therapies. This approach utilizes medications such as Methadone or Buprenorphine/Naloxone (or “Suboxone”). The objective of using these long-acting drug treatments is to gradually wean addicts off short-acting opioids.
Make no mistake, though: MAT exposes patients to alternative opioids to help them mitigate the physiological withdrawal symptoms associated with detox. Many consider the treatment highly effective. Investigating a could prove insightful to your research. You might find that particular example especially intriguing because it taps into .
These are some initial suggestions that ought to keep you temporarily preoccupied. Don’t take anything you read for granted. This subject is both sensitive and extremely nuanced. Record what lingering questions you have and discuss those things with your family. There’s no reason to educate yourself alone.
“I avoid looking forward or backward, and try to keep looking upward.” -- Charlotte Brontë