Sharing essential tips for families of heroin addicts is today’s guest author, Josh Butcher, founder of Ohio Addiction Recovery Center. When asked to share a bit of his background and reasons for founding Ohio Addiction Recovery Center, Josh explained:
I grew up in a middle class family in the suburbs of Columbus. From a young age I always felt like I didn’t fit it for one reason or another and throughout my adolescent years that feeling grew more and more, to the point that I made a decision to try alcohol. For me, drugs and alcohol were never the problem, the problem was myself and that I was trying to fill a hole within my spirit with something that took away an uneasy feeling I had. My entire teen years were filled with drugs and alcohol until the point that I found myself in jail. It was at that moment that I was given an opportunity to make a decision, go to treatment or go to prison. For me the choice was easy. 8 years later I’m back in my hometown providing a service to the people of my childhood community that is turning people’s lives around and restoring hope. My dream has finally came true with the advent of Ohio Addiction Recovery Center, I get to give back to the place that I took so much from in my addiction.
Five Essential Tips for Families of Heroin Addicts by Josh Butcher
Heroin overdoses and deaths have dominated the national conversation for the last several years. According to information provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 4.2 million Americans have tried heroin at least once in their lifetime and 23 percent become dependent on the drug. The devastating effects of heroin abuse have had tremendous impacts in states such as Ohio which had second-highest number of drug overdose deaths nationwide in 2014.
If you are a parent or a family member of a heroin addict in Ohio or anywhere in the United States, is it absolutely crucial to provide the healthy and compassionate support that is needed for the addict to find help.
The following are five essential tips that your family can follow in helping your addicted loved one.
Do Not Enable
Perhaps the most important tip that families need to keep in mind is to not engage in enabling behaviors such as giving the addict money or giving them a place to live rent-free. By helping the heroin addict in this manner, you are allowing them to continue their behaviors without facing the consequences. Addicts are accustomed to manipulating others to get what they want, and when family members say no it can stop them in their tracks. If you utilize this tactic with your loved one, expect resistance—but you must stay firm.
Get Support and Get Educated
For families of heroin addicts, it is extremely important to seek meaningful support. A great place to find the support and encouragement you need in helping your loved one tackle their heroin addiction is through the resources provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. SAMHSA provides informative articles regarding heroin addiction as well as a comprehensive directory of the treatment facilities and professionals you can turn to. By seeking meaningful support in this manner, your family is less likely to engage in enabling behaviors that can make your loved one’s addiction worse.
It is equally important to become educated on heroin as a drug and how people can become addicted to heroin. In the last few years, many of those who turn to heroin have abused prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and Percocet. For those who make the switch to heroin from these prescribed medications, they do so because of the cheaper cost and its wider availability.
Offer Your Loved One the Opportunity to Change
As the family of a heroin addict, you want to provide encouragement and support to your loved so they can bring about change in themselves. You are able to bring forth these “positive enabling” behaviors by eliminating any negative enabling behaviors as described in the first tip. You want to let your loved one know that you truly care about them, but you are no longer going to contribute to their addiction. If the addict does make a true commitment to change, you can assist them in finding a treatment center that fits their unique needs.
If you are looking for a treatment center in Ohio or elsewhere in the United States, finding one with a wide variety of effective treatment services that are proven to work is an excellent start. The best drug treatment programs offer essential services such as medical detoxification, individual and group therapy, life skills training and relapse prevention education. These services will provide your addicted loved one the tools they need to address and overcome their heroin addiction. In you need additional information on what to look for in an effective drug treatment program, The National Institute on Drug Abuse features an excellent guide regarding the principles of effective drug treatment.
Inform Other Family Members and Friends
While chances are good that other family members and friends may already be aware of the situation, it is good policy to speak to them and tell them truthfully about what is going with your loved one. You must be very clear to other family members and friends not to them with any financial assistance in any form or a place to stay. If the rest of the family is on the same page as you, it becomes increasingly difficult for your loved one to continue to act in the way that are accustomed. It may be very difficult, but if you choose to be open and completely transparent about what is going on, you can have a positive impact on the course of your loved one’s addiction.
Understand the Consequences
The importance of finding quality heroin treatment in for your loved one cannot be stressed enough. If you can’t get your loved one help, the consequences they can experience can be very harrowing. Your loved one can experience severe legal consequences and can end up in prison or jail. They may also wind up in the hospital or other medical facilities for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, your loved one may end up dying due to their heroin addiction. The positive steps you take right now will go a long way in helping your loved one find the help they need.
Are You Looking For Help in Breaking the Cycle of Heroin Addiction?
If your family is dealing with a heroin addiction, you may feel overwhelmed in your search for quality heroin addiction treatment. You may feel unsure of what to look for in drug treatment, and you may not know who to talk to in discussing options. A great place to start your search is the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) webpage. The NIH website provides great information on addiction research, trends and statistics, and provides invaluable resources on where you can find the treatment that your loved one needs.
In addition to the information on the NIH website, you can contact your family doctor, physician or local health provider for the treatment options in your region. If your area features a non-profit recovery advocacy organization, they also can provide you with excellent information.