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The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline website is designed to provide interesting and helpful information about the latest research and cutting-edge treatments available for interested readers. Check back often for new blogs.


There is no safe limit for illicit drug use

No safe limits for illicit drugs

With the growing number of emergency department (ED) visits due to the increased abuse of illicit drugs, it has become mandatory to determine the safe limits for consumption to avoid life-threatening repercussions. As in the case of alcohol, it has become essential to implement zero tolerance approach toward drugs.

With the growing menace of drugs, such as marijuana, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), stimulants, etc., among youngsters and other major populations, it has become a matter of serious concern. In fact, alcohol and drug-related mishaps have become the leading cause of legal, social, financial and health problems. Since even the low levels of drug abuse inflict lung diseases and cancer, it is quite difficult to determine the safe limits for consumption. Compared to determining the safe limit of alcohol, it is more complicated to define the same for illicit drugs due to variations in characteristics. Moreover, alcohol, irrespective of the type of beverage consumed, has the same  effects. However, each illicit drug has unique risks of causing major long-term consequences, drug poisoning, overdose, etc.

As in the case of drinking, a majority of the unintentional injuries and accidents witnessed due to illicit drugs occur in people who are not addicted to drugs but have used them. Therefore, there is no safe limit with regard to illicit drugs. As a result, people need to exercise caution while consuming such substances. Moreover, intervention programs are necessary to manage the unhealthy use of substances.

Consequences of unhealthy pattern of illicit drug use

Although people dependent or addicted to certain drugs stand a high risk of suffering from an injury or illness, similar risks stand true in the case of the majority of people not dependent on such substances. Therefore, the consumption of any amount of illicit drugs has quantifiable risks, especially due to nontherapeutic use, as mentioned above.

There is clear evidence about the fact that the consumption of hallucinogenic agents like phencyclidine hydrochloride even in low doses related to multipronged medical consequences. Moreover, the level of complications depend more on the route of administration of the drugs than the dosage, especially in the case of cocaine. People used to intravenous injection witness life-threatening infections and those prone to intranasal use witness nasal septal necrosis.

Moreover, users often witness serious consequences by mixing such drugs with alcohol or using more than one drugs at the same time. The unhealthy use of drugs is associated with myriad  risks to the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, muscular, endocrine and central nervous systems. Some of the other consequences witnessed include toxicity, allergies, serious reaction, dramatic alterations in mood, addiction, etc. Additionally, physiological and psychological dependence on illicit drugs can lead to severe emotional and physical repercussions. Hence, it is impossible to remove the risk of witnessing any kind of harm completely on the consumption of any amount of addictive substances.

Break free from addiction with proper treatment

The persistent and chronic use of substances pushes a person into the vicious circle of addiction. Though it is easy to develop increased dependence and tolerance toward drugs and alcohol, it takes immense courage and efforts to be released from the powerful grip of addiction to achieve sobriety. Since different categories of drugs possess various characteristics, users are likely to witness consequences depending on their physical and psychological conditions.

If you or your loved one is grappling with any addiction, seek immediate help. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline assists in accessing the best substance abuse treatment centers in Texas that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-2658 or chat online to know more about the substance abuse treatment programs in Texas.

Dangers of sedative overdose

Dangers of sedative overdose

The unprecedented escalation in illicit drug trade has tormented millions of lives, families and communities across the world. As per the latest statistics available, it is estimated that almost 28.6 million people in age group 12 and above were the current illicit drug users in 2016. Abusing drugs, whether illicit, prescribed or legal, has a high risk of addiction, numerous side effects and overdose. Generally, the incidents of overdoses are mostly unintended in nature. Individuals suffering from an addiction often meddle with their doses by taking a stronger dose or mixing two or more substances of abuse. Since such drug-abusing practices run the increased risk of turning fatal, a large number of overdose deaths have been witnessed lately.

The severity of an overdose may vary depending on the properties of the drug of choice. However, people often fail to recognize an overdose as the symptoms are quite similar to the ecstatic effects of the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there was a 2.2-fold increase in the total number of overdose deaths from 2002 to 2015.

It is also essential to note that the rate of overdosing on sedatives has soared like never before. Used for treating anxiety and sleep problem, they include different types of drugs, including barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Reportedly, an accidental overdose usually occurs when sedatives are mixed with either alcohol or other drugs.

In such circumstances, it becomes essential to learn the ways to  recognize the signs and symptoms of a drug overdose, such as severe chest pain, seizure, severe headache, difficulty breathing, delirium, extreme agitation, anxiety, etc. Such a measure can possibly help in saving the life of a person.

Ways sedatives can turn fatal

Sedatives are the class of drugs designed to serve the purpose of relaxing the mind. Sedatives or tranquilizers work by depressing the activity of the brain that leads to drowsiness or relaxation.

These central nervous system (CNS) depressants affect the brain by interacting with the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The enhanced GABA activity produce a calming effect to the people struggling with anxiety or sleep issues. As in the case of opioids, people consuming sedatives for an extended period run an increased risk of developing dependence and tolerance toward them.

All sedatives can prove to be dangerous when not taken according to the recommended directions of the doctor. An overdose on sedatives causes unconsciousness, respiratory failure and death in severe situations. Generally, overdose deaths occur due to the mixing of sedatives with alcohol and other drugs, such as heroin, OxyContin, etc. An overdose on sedatives can also occur when one exceeds the prescribed dosages.

Avoid mixing of drugs to stay away from overdose

The rate of overdose due to benzodiazepines has escalated at a rapid pace. In 2013, benzodiazepine overdoses accounted for nearly 31 percent of prescription drug overdoses in the United States. People who overdose on sedatives require intensive care and close examination. The initial treatment include the following procedures:

  • Medicine to puke forcefully
  • Charcoal to absorb the drug
  • Medication to flush the drug through the bowels or bladder
  • Intravenous (IV) fluids

Although the road to recovery comprises numerous challenges and obstacles like a relapse, one can swiftly overcome the barriers standing in their way through proper intervention and early treatment. The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline is a useful online resource that provides valuable information about substance abuse, including treatment alternatives and substance abuse treatment centers in Texas.

If you or someone you know is in need of more information on substance abuse, you can chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-971-2658 to access the best substance abuse treatment programs in Texas.

Excessive marijuana may also lead to vomiting illness

Even though medical marijuana remains illegal under the U.S. federal law, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized it. Whereas 18 of them have only legalized the use of non-psychotic marijuana extract called cannabidiol (CBD), states like Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, as well as District of Columbia have legalized the weed for recreational purposes as well, allowing people to possess and use it without the need for a doctor’s prescription.

Legalization has its own advantages and disadvantages, such as revenue boost and addiction. According to the Arcview Market Research, North America marijuana sales reached $6.7 billion in 2016, growing at a rate of 30 percent. Other advantages include less money supporting organized crime as the drug becomes less profitable in the black market, better safety measures as well as wider access for medical use. On the other hand, the disadvantages are mostly related to health risks because of its addictive nature and also due to the fact that it is considered a gateway drug for more dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Colorado’s ‘pot culture’ and vomiting illness

One of the first states to legalize recreational use of cannabis is Colorado, which has embraced the “pot culture” with its weed weddings and unity bowls. Perhaps one of its most talked about milestones in relation to weed is the increased tax revenues arising out of medical and recreational marijuana sales that reached $1.3 billion in 2016. However, such milestones are also dotted with concerns for public health safety, where cases of children’s hospital and regional poison center (RPC) visits due to exposure to marijuana have increased, based on a study that was published in JAMA Pediatrics on Sept. 6, 2016.

Besides altering brain chemistry and causing mental disorders like depression and psychosis, weed may also lead to a condition known as vomiting illness characterized by nausea, vomiting and abdominal pains. The condition is called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) and its occurrence is becoming more common in Colorado and other states where marijuana use is increasing post legalization.

As identified by Dr. Kennon Heard, a professor with the University of Colorado School of Medicine where one or two cases of CHS are reported on a daily bases, easy access to marijuana exposes users to high tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content on a frequent basis. According to him, people suffering from this condition may also experience kidney shut-down due to dehydration from persistent vomiting and extreme abdominal pain. The symptoms come and go and can last for days and weeks, thereby stressing that anyone having such symptoms should get themselves evaluated by a medical provider.

Similar cases have also been reported at the UC Davis Medical Center, where Dr. John Richards, an emergency medicine physician and professor, has observed that college-goers come in once or twice a day vomiting multiple times an hour and screaming uncontrollably. He attributes the rise in such incidences since recreational marijuana use became legal.

Drug addiction is dangerous

Misuse of any drug, whether prescription-based or an illicit one, is bound to have repercussions on the user’s overall health. Chronic intentional use can lead to addiction, which is hard to quit. An accidental overdose may even cause death. Legalization does not mean that the drug cannot have side effects. If a person chooses to abuse it, he or she is likely to suffer in more serious ways than one can imagine. It is better to be informed than regret.

The Texas Substance Abuse Helpline can answer your questions on addiction as well as provide information on some of the finest substance abuse treatment programs in Texas. Addiction recovery programs often begin with purging the body off the toxins accumulated from long-term use and preparing it for further treatment. Call our 24/7 helpline (866) 971-2658 or chat online with our representative to locate the best substance abuse rehab clinic in Texas which offers customized treatment plans.

Former drug users turn life coaches to help addiction patients

The burgeoning opioid epidemic, now a national emergency, is leading to new approaches to help people overcome addiction and lead a sober life. Known as peer recovery specialists or coaches, people who have overcome a drug habit, are enlisted to help those who are currently in its grip.

There are two advantages of such a situation. In places where there is a scarcity of professional counsellors, peer coaches can step in and offer initial support. Secondly, patients can trust these life coaches as they share common experiences. Their services can be enlisted from the time a person is admitted to emergency department for a drug overdose. Most coaches are expected to stay in touch even after the patients are discharged from the hospital and help them stay sober. Continue reading

“Deaths of despair” spike among White Non-Hispanics, finds study

In 2015, a research by Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton, brought to limelight the fact that the death rates among middle-aged White Non-Hispanics (WNHs) without a college degree was on the rise. After decades of experiencing low mortality, this sudden reversal post the 2008 economic crisis was a cause of worry. Deaton compared this extraordinary turnaround in the mortality rates of WNHs to a “large ship suddenly changing directions.”  Continue reading

Intelligent teens more likely to indulge in drug abuse

Most parents fret over their children’s performance and grades in school. They are paranoid whether their children will grow up to be successful in life. While those blessed with exceptionally intelligent kids can’t stop raving about them, they also have a problem at hand. Because intelligence does not guarantee good behaviour, life practices and health for the whole life. A new study claims that intelligent teens are also most likely to abuse substances. Continue reading

Shocking facts about meth abuse in the gay community

The increased rate of drug abuse has been predominantly associated with homosexuality.  Although this is not a correct portrayal of the gay community, certain drugs have become more popular among them than among their counterparts. Some of the key reasons that have led to the popularity of such drugs are the increased misconception about its psychoactive effects. One of such drugs that has become immensely popular among the gay population particularly living in metropolitan cities is methamphetamine. Continue reading

Legal highs: Risky, intoxicating and addictive

The spike in drug abuse and subsequent frenzy created by the media often promulgate wrong information about a range of drugs available in the market. The distorted data shams the public who largely remains ignorant of the drugs’ complex chemistry and tend to fall into the trap of drug abuse. Most of the time, these substances of abuse remain cloaked in mystery and wonder. Continue reading

Benefits of drug testing during rehab

When someone takes a metamorphic decision to quit drugs or alcohol, he or she is often unaware of the struggles in the form of the crippling withdrawal symptoms and the increased rate of relapse threatening him or her. Everything may seem perfectly fine until a stressful situation may alter the entire decision and roll back his or her situation to square one. Continue reading