Life without Alcohol

Is There Life Without Alcohol?

Articles, Australia, International, Malaysia, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States

Let’s get the answer to this question straight out…. YOU BET THERE IS!

Those whose lives revolve around alcohol really are missing out on a whole variety of things that can be enjoyed and achieved without needing to be constantly topped up.

For starters:

Regular or excessive drinking of alcohol leaves its mark. The morning after “one too many” there are not too many things you really feel like doing (apart from lying in a darkened room hoping to find the remote control that will stop it from spinning!).

If these “morning after’s” become a regular occurrence then less and less will be done and an alcohol dependence could begin to be formed.

Get out into the fresh air:

No matter what time of year it is, you are generally able to get out and about. So, don appropriate clothing, grab a loved one or some good friends and go for a woodland walk. Even if the countryside is a mite too far, there must be a choice of parks in your locality that you can stroll around.

This will not only give you good exercise, it will clear the mind and allow you to have meaningful (or meaningless!) conversations without having to shout over the hubbub of the bar or club you generally frequent.

A great addition to that fresh air:

Agree with whoever is joining you that you will make a picnic. Leave it to the individuals concerned as to what they decide to make and contribute.

The laugh you will have as you spread the blanket and hesitantly open the hamper will be a source of fun conversation throughout this fun-filled al-fresco dining experience.

And do not worry if the weather is not up to your feast, simply take it back home and spread the blanket in the living room. Food fights are optional!

Look for an unusual activity:

Scour the local ads and websites for activities that are new but sound fun. Rock-wall climbing will suit some, ice skating others, maybe there is a traditional public bowling green and if not hunt out the nearest bowling alley.

Assuming your health is up to it, don’t dismiss such sports as badminton or squash. Both will quickly wear you down, but should certainly put some colour in your cheeks.

A theatre outing:

This does not have to be a major production. Check out the amateur dramatic societies that are within travelling distance. The plays they put on are entertaining and can have you doubled-up with laughter at the regular innuendos that are all part of an excellent few hours.

The other ‘feel-good’ factor about supporting such a production is that the proceeds usually go to a local school, college or charity, so you will be safe in the knowledge that your entrance fee is going to a worthy cause.

Talking of worthy causes:

Donate an evening or a few hours each week to helping a local charity of your choice. These organistions are always in need of extra hands.

There is no need to over commit initially, but if you get into it then the pleasure will be all yours. You will also feel far better than those “morning after’s” in the knowledge that you have done your small part for an extremely worthy cause.

Drug Withdrawal Management

Why Drug Withdrawal May Need To Be Managed

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, Treatment, United Kingdom, United States

Withdrawal from your substance of choice is not a pleasant experience, but it is something that must be experienced if you are to free yourself from addiction.

How difficult is drug withdrawal?

There is no straightforward set of answers to this one. It depends upon many factors that include:

  • The type of substance a person is addicted to
  • The length of time consistent use has been present
  • The amount of the drug being used daily
  • How rapidly this use is increasing
  • The physical health of the person concerned
  • The mental health of the person concerned

Symptoms to be expected during drug withdrawal:

Ceasing drug use after a sustained period means that the body will react in a negative fashion. These effects will be felt in many parts of the body, particularly the nervous and hormonal systems.

This is why those suddenly ceasing heavy drug use feel:

  • Physical pain – aches and pains throughout the body are common.
  • Blood pressure – Rises in blood pressure or unstable blood pressure levels will occur.
  • Profuse sweating – A person will feel uncomfortably hot, even in rooms that are cool and well ventilated.
  • Severe nausea – Feelings of sickness are often accompanied by the person being physically sick.

If you have decided to go through drug withdrawal without professional help then these are symptoms that must be recognized. If any of these symptoms, a rapidly increasing heartbeat or breathing problems occur then professional help must be sought immediately.

Detoxification should be considered:

This point is particularly relevant for those users that have a long-term history of abuse. Professionally monitored detox can help to ease symptoms and ensure that withdrawal does not cause life-threatening issues.

Detox offers a set of medically supervised interventions that help manage acute intoxication and withdrawal. A successful detox will help to clear the substance from a person’s body while minimizing any physical harm.

Unique plans but 3 constant elements:

Dependent upon which treatment centre a person chooses for detox will depend upon the exact type of procedures involved, but there are 3 major elements all establishments will address. These are:

  • Evaluation: Your detox professional will test for drugs present in the user’s system. They should also establish any co-occurring physical or psychological conditions. This evaluation is important for withdrawal, but will also serve to define the type of treatment a user receives once withdrawal is complete.
  • Stabilisation: This is the core of the detox procedure. It involves the user being assisted to help overcome the various withdrawal symptoms. This can be achieved either by intensive counselling or through the use of medical therapy and medication. Another key factor here is making it clear to the user what their role and responsibilities are during detox, ongoing treatment and recovery.
  • On-going treatment: It needs to be made very clear that detox alone will not ensure a user remains drug free in the long-term. To achieve this recovery, they need to accept and embrace rehabilitation treatment. There are many different types of treatment available and decisions need to be made on which is most suitable for the individual.
Grey Death

Grey Death – Russian Roulette With Your Life!

Articles, Australia, International, Malaysia, United Kingdom

Those who experiment with newly introduced street substances like Grey Death, are finding out that this one in particular is a potential killer.

Authorities have named the new designer drug ‘Grey Death’ due to the colour of this potentially lethal substance, and warned that its grainy mixture increases the risk of serious health issues with some users already paying the ultimate price.

Working around current drug bans:

Ruthless overseas drug labs will concoct any number of new chemical combinations in efforts to get around a country’s current drug bans, but what is known about Grey Death is that it contains the highly dangerous carfentanil.

Make no mistake, minute quantities of this drug can kill, and have already done so.

You do not know what you are purchasing:

Please do not believe the street drug sellers when they describe the ‘contents’ of the bag you are purchasing.

While there is a strong likelihood they will have added fillers of their own to make the stash go further and to increase profit margin, they will have as much of an idea as you do about what the original consignment of the substance they are selling contains.

Not knowing what you are purchasing can lead to serious reactions when a substance is taken. At best, it could send you fleeing to the Emergency treatment facility at your local hospital, at worst it will be an early and untimely journey to the morgue.

Widespread opioid abuse makes detection more difficult:

Due to the increasingly widespread problems of opioid abuse and addiction it is no easy task for officials to pinpoint exactly which chemical is the cause of serious reactions and the death of some users.

Tests on seized substances may well show only one substance as being present when in reality there are others that are as damaging, if not more.

Same, similar, but very different:

Drug enforcement units are aware of a similar street drug that has been around for over 5 years now. This comes by the name of ‘Pink’, but Grey Death is in a league all by itself due to the fact that traces of the potentially fatal carfentanil are contained.

The likelihood of heroin in the mix:

It is also very important for those who dabble in new designer drugs to understand that the chances of heroin being included are very strong indeed.

Heroin is dangerous enough on its own and for this reason many users purposely avoid it, but the underlying risks taken when using a newly introduced drug is that you are unwittingly introducing yourself to heroin.

The onset of heroin addiction can be rapid. If a person is looking for a fast-track to deep dependence and addiction then heroin is the perfect provider.

Think long and hard before experimentation:

Those looking for highs from illegal substances would be well advised to think long and hard before they try Grey Death or any similar grainy substances offered.

What may appear to be the promise of a higher than high ‘high’ may well turn into a low that will stay with the user for the rest of their lives, or prematurely end it!

If you need to ask us anything, you can contact us here.

Heroin Relapse & Overdose

Heroin Relapse – Close To The Surface

Articles, Australia, Education, International, Malaysia, United Kingdom, United States

Heroin is a highly addictive drug and it takes more than most for those dependent upon it to withdraw.

A common theme of those who have managed to kick the drug is that thoughts, feelings and desires for more of the same often surface.

Below we will consider the price of heroin, what high’s it offers, the withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced and why heroin overdose is very much a reality for those who re-start use.

Bargain price!

It is easy to understand reasons for users progressing to heroin. Major factors are its wide availability and the fact that it is not as expensive as many other drugs. Indeed, prescription opiates are far more expensive. An added ‘bonus’ for users is that heroin purchased offers higher purity.

Highest high:

Those users who have been through heroin addiction describe the high as a wonderful, euphoric one. It puts them in their own world and leaves everything else way behind. Relaxation, a pleasant drowsiness and a complete feeling of well-being are some of the reasons that this moreish drug is used again and again.

In short, users cannot get enough of it, but the caveat is that while they may quickly become addicted, ‘Smack’ will not let go easily. It becomes so much of a person’s life that nothing else really matters, and this is where the problems escalate. Heroin users will do pretty much anything to ensure they have a constant supply of the drug.

Trouble with a capital ‘T’:

Physical and mental illness are regular partners to those who remain on heroin for any amount of time. Social exclusion for a person addicted to heroin can be expected, isolation in terms of nowhere to turn are common.

This can lead to a person breaking the law simply to feed their habit. Opportunist theft, burglary and prostitution all constitute ways to get quantities of the drug that will only deepen dependence the longer use continues.

Heroin Relapse – Withdrawal is difficult:

Suddenly withdrawing from heroin will offer pain that can be excruciating. This includes:

  • Greatly increased anxiety.
  • Insomnia and deeply troubled sleep when it eventually comes.
  • Aching bones and muscles.
  • Restless leg syndrome – A user coming off heroin will be unable to keep their legs from shaking.
  • Immense agitation
  • Varying levels of irritability

Then there are the physical symptoms that regularly include:

  • Feelings of nausea
  • Physical vomitting
  • Cold sweats
  • Excess body heat or extremes of cold
  • Diarrhea

Beating heroin addiction is achievable:

While the above symptoms may appear unbearable, they are not. With fierce determination, a heroin user can leave the drug in the past, but they must always be on their guard in terms of a relapse.

Ex-users often relate how tempting it is to climb back on the ‘Horse’, the problems with doing so are many-fold and such thoughts need to be quashed. By re-starting use a user will be undoing a lot of the good work in terms of recovery.

Another serious danger is the risk of overdosing. This is because when a person re-starts use they often do so at dosage levels equivalent to what they were using at their peak. Such huge amounts are simply too much for the body to handle and often result in fatal overdoses.

Please bear this in mind if you have managed to kick heroin and thoughts of returning to use surface at any time.

Drug Abuse Malaysia

Malaysia

Drug Abuse and Lack of Drug Treatment in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, 16 April 2007 – Injecting drug users are overwhelmingly the largest contributor to the spread of HIV and AIDS in Malaysia. And in this country, as in many other societies around the world, they bear a double stigma.

Dismissed by society as addicts or criminals, drug users and their children are again shunned because of HIV, often by their own families. With few options for assistance, they are left to fight their illness alone.

Shah, a former drug user who now leads an effort to reach out to drug addicts, believes it’s time for this to change. He volunteers at IKHLAS, a community drop-in center and outreach program for homeless drug users in the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The center is part of a government harm-reduction program that receives support from UNICEF.

Shah worries that the more society abandons HIV-infected addicts, the heavier a toll it will take on children.

“I feel that children suffer the most in the equation of HIV/AIDS and drugs,” he said. “They see their parents suffer and then die. It is important for us to support the children by supporting their parents, so that children can grow up in the presence of their mothers and fathers and have a normal childhood.”

The experience of Suhaimi – a Malaysian single father living with HIV – illustrates Shah’s point.

Recently, Suhaimi pumped air into a tire while his son Rosyam, 12, tightened the bicycle wheel in place with a wrench. After a pinch to ensure the pressure, he nodded to Rosyam to give it a try. The boy lifted the bicycle upright, climbed onto the seat and pedaled it in circles, watched by his stepsister and two stepbrothers.

They were all members of a family joined by HIV and coping with a recent tragedy. Suhaimi’s HIV-positive wife, Ina, had died of cancer only a few weeks before, leaving him as the sole parent to his biological son and Ina’s three children, including one living with HIV.

“I am the father. I am the mother,” said Suhaimi. “It’s not easy to do this. In the morning, I need to prepare their breakfast, then I need to go to work. I am worried particularly for my daughter.”

Destructive drug habit

Ina was Suhaimi’s second wife; they met in 2004. He learned of his HIV-positive status only after the death of his first wife in 2002.

At the time, Suhaimi was hooked on heroin. He had most likely contracted the AIDS virus through injecting with shared needles. Long before his first wife died, his drug habit was destroying his family.

“When I was taking drugs, we were a family but it was incomplete,” he recalled. “The love wasn’t there. I didn’t carry out my responsibilities for my child’s basic needs. Can you imagine, my son is sitting in front of me and in front of my son I’m shooting drugs?”

Positive environment for children

Suhaimi hopes his difficult experience can help others in similar circumstances. He now works for Positive Living, a network for people living with HIV and AIDS in Malaysia.

It was here that he met Ina, a single mother struggling with her illness. She had been rejected by her extended family and had no place to stay. Suhaimi says Ina wanted desperately for her children to grow up in a positive family environment. Despite her absence, it is a wish he intends to fulfill.

“I’m not expecting huge things from my children,” he said. “My wish is that they become useful. Don’t become like me. I want to give them a good education, so they don’t have a wasted life like mine. You don’t have to be rich. The most important thing is to have a happy family.”

Names have been changed to protect the identities of those profiled in this story.