By Ken Marlborough
Drug abuse or substance abuse is a widespread issue. Although popular culture has created certain stereotypes for the drug abuser, all are susceptible to drug addiction. The intensity of addiction, the type of substance abused and the effects may vary based on the genetic makeup of the individual among other environmental factors. It is heartening to note that drug addiction is treatable. This treatment process is also called drug rehabilitation.
Rehabilitation aims to integrate the person back into society to become a productive member. The process may involve avoiding the drug, learning new stress management skills, other behavioral treatments but often involves the use of specific medications. Another prominent component of drug rehabilitation programs is the use of a physical location with a controlled environment where the patient is taught life skills while undergoing treatment. Treatment centers can be private or government operated.
Popular celebrities often make the news when they go into treatment but there were over 1.7 million admissions to treatment centers in 2003 of which 23% are for alcohol abuse, 15% for marijuana and 14% for heroin. The largest age group entering drug rehab programs is 36 to 40 years old but all age groups have needed treatment. It is a fact that half of US teenagers try marijuana before finishing high school. It can affect school performance and sports adversely. Long term use can lead to addiction. There are a few treatment programs geared specifically for marijuana users. Rehab involves counseling and group therapy. The ultimate goal of teen drug rehab programs is to allow the teenager to be abstinent from drugs. They help the person become productive and overcome the health effects of the drug as well as the withdrawal symptoms.
Other drug rehabilitation programs are geared for specific drugs. For example methadone maintenance programs distribute a synthetic opiate, methadone to prevent the physiological effects of craving while avoiding euphoria in patients who have heroin addiction.
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