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West Virginia, for all of its gorgeous scenery and lovable quirks, actually leads the nation in several categories of drug abuse. The West Virginia Drug Control Update shows that the state leads the nation in several areas of drug abuse among people from the ages of 18 to 25. Some of those categories include past-year cocaine use, past-month use of any drug other than marijuana and dependence on any illegal drug.
Using drugs often means health problems and a deteriorated quality of life, but in West Virginia you actually have a greater chance of dying from drug abuse than the national average. There are many types of drugs that can easily lead to a fatal overdose, and those drugs happen to be the most popular in West Virginia. One area of the state, McDowell County, actually has the 5th highest rate of drug poisoning deaths in the entire country! Every year, over 38 people out of every 100,000 die from being poisoned by the drugs that they are choosing to abuse.
These drug abuse trends are a serious epidemic across the state, and concerted action is needed right now if we are going to turn it around.
Drug abuse in West Virginia can’t go ignored. If anyone thinks that it isn’t that big of a deal, they only need to look at the numbers of residents that are dying in the state to see how wrong that idea really is. Waiting for the government or some other entity to turn the situation around isn’t going to work either, as these trends are only getting worse and no one seems to be doing much about the problem.
If we want to protect our families from drug abuse, we have to take action at home. The very best way to do this is to decide that we will watch out for drug abuse among our own families and groups of friends so that we can handle it when it appears.
For example, not everyone actually knows the signs of drug abuse. Do you really know what the physical symptoms are for usage of the most popular drugs in the state? If you don’t, how would you actually know if one of your children or your best friend was actually using drugs? They might claim that they had the flu or some other common ailment, but someone that was truly educated could spot the difference between getting sick and being hooked on a drug.
In order to help that education take place, here is a list of the drugs most commonly abused in West Virginia. Study it, and then start learning to recognize the symptoms and signs that someone is using each drug.
This is currently the worst drug problem in West Virginia, by far. While illegal “street drugs” used to be the worst epidemics across most of the US, in recent years they have been usurped by legal drugs that are supposed to be safe for patients to take. These pain pills were manufactured to give relief to patients suffering from long-term pain, but authorities quickly realized that patients were getting addicted to them in record numbers. Even if you follow your doctor’s advice exactly, it is still very possible to get hooked on these powerful drugs that are very similar to heroin and morphine.
This drug is popular across the US, but it has less than half the popularity of the much more dangerous category of prescription opioids. That isn’t to say that marijuana isn’t dangerous on its own, though, because it is. Recent studies have shown that marijuana use can actually lead to brain abnormalities and lowered IQ, especially if you start using the drug at a young age while your body is still developing. West Virginians need to ignore the drug use advocates that are pushing for legal recreational usage across the entire country and stick to the facts. This is a dangerous drug that we do not want in our communities any more than it already is.
While this drug is on the downswing in terms of usage rates, it is still a powerful stimulant that can easily cause overdose deaths. Cocaine has long been one of the most popular drugs throughout the east coast of the United States, but in recent years it has dropped in market share in West Virginia. Currently, it has less than one eighth the popularity of prescription opiates and less than one third the popularity of marijuana. That is no reason for families to not be on the lookout for this drug, however.
While it is chemically very similar to the prescription pain pills that are sweeping across the state, heroin is slightly behind cocaine in terms of current popularity. That could all change soon, however. When pain pill users can’t afford to maintain their expensive addiction any longer, they often turn to heroin as a cheaper and equally powerful option. While the pills can cause overdoses easily, heroin has the added danger of being the cause of the spread of deadly diseases such as Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. While it’s not the most popular in West Virginia, it is definitely one of the main drugs that families should work to keep out of their neighborhoods.
When it comes to the increase of drugs being used across the state, it is useless to wait for someone to come and save West Virginia. Individual families need to start fighting back against the spread of these poisons in our state. One of the very best ways to do that is to push for access to effective drug rehab centers for every addict.
With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, coverage for drug rehab centers is now a legally-mandated part of almost all health insurance plans. Families need to take advantage of that provision to help their loved ones get help for drug addiction when it rears its head.
Taking fast action is a major part of success in this endeavor. If we aren’t willing to talk to our friends and family members to find out what is going on when it looks like they might be using drugs, there is no way that we can tell for sure what they’re going through. We all need to have the courage to have that difficult conversation.
If you’re ever unsure of whether or not someone you know may be using drugs, don’t hesitate to contact a professional drug rehab counselor in order to ask questions about what you might be seeing. That rehabilitation professional might even be able to talk to your loved one directly in order to help you figure out what is going on and help them locate listings for West Virginia drug rehab facilities. It’s more than worth it if this helps handle a potentially deadly addiction.
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