Although substance abuse can damage lives and relationships, addiction is a treatable disease. Addiction treatment is generally implemented through a combination of medications and behavioral therapies. Medications are best used for addictions to opioids and alcohol, and help reduce cravings, maintain abstinence and promote engagement in and completion of treatment. Therapy is useful for changing thinking and attitudes towards drugs, promoting healthy lifestyles and developing the skills and tools needed to cope with stressors and avoid relapse.
In Ohio, addiction treatment is monitored by the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OhioMHAS) department. Treatment approaches in Ohio are tailored to each person’s patterns of substance abuse and whether or not they suffer from co-occurring mental illness. OhioMHAS believes treatment works and can help people achieve a fulfilling life despite struggling with mental illness and addiction.
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that’s characterized by an inability to control drug or alcohol use. Substance use turns into addiction when using drugs or alcohol causes problems at home, work, school or relationships. Once a person continues to use substances despite harmful consequences, they’re likely suffering addiction.
Repeated substance use causes changes in the brain that affect decision-making, judgment, and self-control. These changes can make it difficult for someone to resist intense urges to use drugs or alcohol, worsening the cycle of addiction. Noticing the following signs of addiction can help a person enter treatment earlier and improve their chances of recovery:
- changes in eating habits (eating more or less than usual)
- frequently changing friend groups
- inconsistent sleeping patterns
- losing interest in favorite activities or things
- often tired or sad
- neglecting important meetings or appointments
- problems at work or school
- problems with personal hygiene (messy, not bathing, changing clothes or brushing teeth)
- spending lots of time alone, neglecting time with friends and family
- unexpected mood changes or being nervous or cranky
- unusually energetic, talking fast or saying things that don’t make sense
Addiction Treatment In Ohio
The state of Ohio is committed to improving treatment outcomes and quality of life for people struggling with addiction and mental illness. Effective treatment programs use evidence-based practices and other strategies to promote recovery with community-based services. Ohio wants the best programs to:
- ensure timely access to care
- focus on clients and families
- integrate physical, mental health, and addiction services with social and emotional supports
- promote healthy, safe and drug-free communities
- use community resources to provide recovery supports
Addiction treatment programs are tailored to the unique needs of the individual. Treatment is likely to vary from program to program, but many will incorporate the essential components of effective addiction treatment: behavioral therapy, medications, peer support/support groups, coping skills and education, treatment or evaluation for other mental or physical health conditions and aftercare planning.
Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Rehab Programs In Ohio
Addiction treatment programs in Ohio can be outpatient, where a person continues to live at home and travel daily or weekly to receive treatment, or inpatient (residential), where a person leaves home and lives at a facility to receive around-the-clock care and attention. Selecting either an outpatient or inpatient program should be based on individual needs and preferences, as there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment.
OhioMHAS is supportive of both treatment options for addiction, as long as the programs are evidence-based and provide support in recovery. Both inpatient or outpatient services can be effective, but inpatient care in Ohio, like The Bluffs, can provide mental health and behavioral healthcare, ongoing support and a warm environment to help a person learn how to live a balanced life in recovery.
The Ohio Opioid Crisis
Compared to the rest of the nation, Ohio has been one of the states hit hardest by the opioid crisis. In 2016, 86% of all overdose deaths in Ohio involved opioids, with over 3,600 people dying from an opioid-related overdose. The staggering number of deaths overwhelms individuals, families, and communities across Ohio.
Between 1999 and 2016, overdose deaths have increased nearly nine times. While an earlier concentration of overdose deaths occurred in major urban areas, like Cincinnati and Cleveland, the opioid epidemic has spread over the entire state. In 2016, every county in the state recorded at least one death related to drug overdose, affecting both rural and urban communities.
While overdose deaths are usually the main point when discussing the opioid crisis, there are many layers of opioid abuse and addiction in Ohio. It’s estimated almost 100,000 people struggle with opioid abuse or dependence, although it’s difficult to collect accurate data, so the number is likely even higher. What’s clear, however, is that Ohio is undergoing a serious health crisis that requires accessible and effective treatment for addiction.
How Ohio Is Combating The Opioid Crisis
The Governor of Ohio started the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team to respond to the growing opioid crisis back in 2011. Since then, several initiatives on different state and local levels have worked closely with public health officials, law enforcement, parents and many other members of the community to help manage the crisis. Ohio is doing the following to reduce overdose deaths and opioid abuse:
- creating accessible pathways to treatment and recovery
- encouraging appropriate use of and availability of pain medication
- expanding access to overdose reversal medication through Project Dawn
- cracking down on drug trafficking via law enforcement
- preventing youth drug abuse before it starts
In 2017, the legislature passed a bill that strengthened prescription drug oversight, encouraged effective treatment and supported overdose prevention. Naloxone, the opioid reversal medication, will expand and become more accessible in halfway houses, homeless shelters, and schools.
Start Talking! — An Ohio Youth Prevention Program
To prevent youth drug abuse, the Governor and his wife launched the Start Talking! campaign to help parents, educators and community leaders start a conversation about addiction with Ohio’s youth. It’s reported many substance-free teens give credit to their parents for their decision to not use drugs or alcohol. Other role models, like teachers and authority figures, can similarly make a positive influence on teens by simply talking to young people about drug use.
The Start Talking! the program incorporates four different initiatives to help parents and other influential adults make a difference in young people’s lives: Know!, Parents 360 Rx, 5 Minutes for Life and Building Youth Resiliency. Through these programs, Start Talking! encourages conversation, peer-peer connection, education, and healthy substance-free adolescents.
The Most Common Drugs Of Abuse In Ohio
Ohio has been hard-hit by the opioid crisis. Opioids, however, aren’t the only drugs of abuse that raise concern. The most commonly abused drugs, according to several individuals participating in recovery programs, include:
- heroin and fentanyl
- prescription opioids
- cocaine and crack cocaine
- other prescription drugs
Ohio Heroin And Fentanyl Abuse And Addiction
In Ohio, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between heroin and fentanyl. Many people in Ohio report much of the heroin sold on the streets is really fentanyl or carfentanil (an elephant tranquilizer). Addiction treatment professionals also agree that if the heroin isn’t fentanyl, then it’s actually adulterated or cut with fentanyl. One county’s coroner’s office noted fentanyl was present in over 75% of the recorded 168 drug-related deaths in the early months of 2017, while heroin was only present in 19%.
Cutting heroin with powerful opioids, like fentanyl and carfentanil, has resulted in many individuals being hooked more on fentanyl than heroin. It’s been reported that the pink, gray, purple or white-colored heroin may actually be fentanyl or be laced with fentanyl. Both drugs are mostly used by intravenous injection, which is often called “shooting.”
Prescription Opioid Addiction In Ohio
Although the street availability of prescription opioids is decreasing in Ohio because of stricter laws and more awareness about overprescribing opioids, individuals still report pills are available for purchase on the street. Buying prescription opioids illegally is dangerous because it’s hard to say what the drugs actually are. Percocet, for example, may really be heroin and fentanyl pressed into pills that resemble Percocet, individuals report.
Prescription opioids are abused by taking them orally without a prescription, or by snorting or injecting them. These drugs are also commonly mixed with alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, crack-cocaine, and benzodiazepines to increase the intoxicating effects, which is a sign of abuse and addiction.
Ohio Suboxone Abuse And Addiction
Suboxone, the brand name for buprenorphine, is generally used to treat people dependent on opioids. In Ohio, however, Suboxone is bought, sold or traded on the streets. The increase in illegal Suboxone is attributed to more people becoming addicted to opioids, and then being prescribed Suboxone as a form of treatment.
Within the drug market, Suboxone is now a form of currency in Ohio. People sell or trade Suboxone prescriptions for other drugs or money. People may try to illegally obtain Suboxone to avoid uncomfortable symptoms caused by withdrawal from heroin or other opioids. Some street names for Suboxone include octagons, rounds, and subs. Suboxone is abused through sublingual strips (under the tongue) and intravenous injection (shooting).
Methamphetamine Addiction in Ohio
It’s reported that drug cartels from Mexico are producing large amounts of methamphetamine to be distributed throughout Ohio because of the potential for huge profits. Methamphetamine, also called meth, is pushed by drug dealers selling heroin and other illicit substances. Powdered meth (“shake-and-bake”) is also locally produced and “cooked” out of trailer homes, storage lockers and other secluded locations in the woods.
Crystal meth (“ice”) use in Ohio is widespread. During the first several months of 2017, crime labs in Ohio reported over 3,700 cases involving methamphetamine. Because it’s often produced in the cartel’s super labs, crystal meth in Ohio is powerfully addictive. Injecting meth is reportedly the most popular way to use the drug, followed by smoking and snorting.
Cocaine And Crack Cocaine Addiction In Ohio
Cocaine is often abused in the “bar scene” to counter the intoxicating effects of alcohol so people can drink more. Powdered cocaine is often cut with additives like baby laxatives, baking soda, Adderall and fentanyl. Cocaine laced with fentanyl is dangerous and can lead to overdose.
Crack cocaine is even more prevalent than powdered cocaine in Ohio and may be increasing because many heroin dealers are also selling crack. Crack cocaine is mostly smoked, but can also be broken down with lemon juice and vinegar and injected. The drug is highly addictive and people may become hooked after just one hit.
Ohio Marijuana Abuse
Like many states in the U.S., marijuana is commonly used and abused in Ohio. Medical marijuana was legalized in the state in 2016, increasing the use and availability of the drug. With more states in the U.S. legalizing marijuana, as well as less stigma facing use, Ohio is likely to see more people abusing marijuana.
Marijuana concentrates and extracts, like wax or dabs, are becoming more popular in Ohio. Individuals in recovery report different forms of marijuana are more accessible in Ohio because of legalized medicinal use. Marijuana is typically smoked or ingested orally and is often mixed with other drugs like alcohol and cocaine to intensify the effects.
Ohio And Prescription Drug Addiction
Other sedative-hypnotic prescription drugs, like benzodiazepines, are often illegally bought and sold in Ohio. Crime lab reports suggest Xanax is the most abused prescription benzodiazepine. There has been a rise in demand for benzodiazepines as the heroin and opioid crisis worsens in Ohio. Many people seek benzodiazepines to help aid with opioid withdrawal.
In some cases, dealers are re-pressing Xanax pills that have been cut with fentanyl. Law enforcement also reports some Xanax pills are also being cut with heroin. Benzodiazepines are often mixed with other drugs and alcohol to intensify the sedating effects of both drugs. Street names for sedative-hypnotic prescription drugs include benzos, downers, nerviews, blues, bars, footballs, and pills.
Ohio Alcohol Abuse And Addiction
Like many places in the U.S., the people of Ohio struggle with alcohol abuse. Although a legal and socially acceptable substance, heavy alcohol abuse can lead to addiction, dependence and a full-blown alcohol use disorder (AUD). Each year between 2010-2014, more than 600,000 adults living in Ohio reported heavy alcohol use within the past month.
Out of all the people struggling with alcohol problems, only a small portion receives treatment. On average, over 90% of people with an alcohol use disorder do not receive treatment. While treatment can be beneficial for people struggling with alcohol abuse, many fail to seek treatment before hitting rock-bottom.
Finding Addiction Treatment In Ohio: The Bluffs Rehab
It’s assumed people must hit rock-bottom before seeking treatment, but this is false. The earlier a person seeks treatment, the better the outcome. While there is no right treatment best for everyone, quality treatment programs use evidence-based practices to help people focus on themselves and make the changes necessary for healing, personal growth and successfully living with addiction.
The Bluffs Rehab, in Sherrodsville, is an ideal place for recovery in Ohio. Located on 80 acres of scenic wooded countryside, the Bluffs features comfortable accommodations and qualified staff to ensure all issues surrounding addiction are adequately met and addressed. Treatment plans are individualized and tailored to the unique needs of the person. High-quality medical care, comfort, and evidence-based treatment options make the Bluffs a great spot to focus on recovery and work towards a life worth living.
- Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities — Recovery is Beautiful
- Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring Network — Surveillance of Drug Abuse Trends in the State of Ohio, Combating the Opioid Crisis, Start Talking!
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Easy-to-read Drug Facts: What are some signs and symptoms of someone with a drug use problem?
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Behavioral Health Barometer, Ohio 2015
- Swank Program — Taking Measure of Ohio's Opioid Crisis