Beginning in 1975, Monitoring the Future has conducted an annual study of how many individuals, including school-aged children, use drugs, what kinds of drugs they use and when they use them. In one recent study, they found that 0.8% of eighth graders in the United States had used heroin at least once in the year prior to the survey.
Parents are continually struggling to understand the world in which their children live and the challenges they face. One way to be aware of what is happening in the lives of our children is to understand their language, including slang as it refers to the street names for the drugs children may already have been exposed to.
Here is a list of popular drugs and the street names they are known by.
Many parents forget that tobacco products contain nicotine, which is a drug. Many children and teens who begin smoking early are more likely to try drugs or alcohol while they are still in school. The common street names for tobacco products include:
- Ciggs, smokes, butts: Regular tobacco cigarettes
- Chew, spit, snuff, snus, dip: Dipping or chewing tobacco
- Narghile, shisha, argileh, hubble-bubble, goza: Hookah (non-filtered smoke from a water-based smoking device)
Opiates can include prescription drugs as well as heroin. The common street names for prescription drugs popular among teens include:
- Hillbilly heroin
- Tabs (short for Lortab)
- Vikes (short for Vicodin)
- Percs (short for Percocet)
- Happy pills
Heroin is an opiate, but because of the popularity of this dangerous drug and the non-pill form in which it is used, it has street names of its own.
The street names for heroin include:
- Black tar
Depressants include several categories of medications, including barbiturates like Nembutol, benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium, and sleep medication, which can include over-the-counter or prescription medications.
- Barbiturates are called yellow jackets, yellows, red birds, reds, Barbs, Tooies and phennies.
- Benzodiazepines are called candy, downers, sleeping pills, tranks or bars.
- Sleeping pills are called A-minus or zombie pills.
Stimulants are used in the treatment of common childhood or teenage conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and are often readily available to teens. Slang for stimulants includes:
- Skippy the smart drug
- Vitamin R (Ritalin)
- Hearts or roses
- Black beauties
While cocaine has declined in popularity since its hey-day in the 1980s, it is still widely available and used by both teens and adults. There are many slang terms for cocaine, including:
- Crack, specifically the form of rock cocaine that is smoked rather than injected or inhaled
Methamphetamines are available in two distinctly common forms - crystal and powder. Each has their own set of street names.
- Go fast
Marijuana has seen an increase in use among young people in recent years, after a decline following the counter-culture drug movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Marijuana is known by a wide array of slang names:
- Mary Jane
This list encompasses the most popular drugs used by teens and adults around the country. For more information on these and other drugs, please visit the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
More than 50 percent of people who suffer from drug addiction also suffer from a mental illness. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than one-third of alcoholics also suffer from a mental disease. Finally, when one looks at all of the people who deal with mental illness, almost 30 percent of them also suffer from drug or alcohol addiction.
The numbers speak for themselves. When treating addiction in a recovery setting, it is imperative to address the possibility of mental illness in the person seeking treatment.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?
When an addict or alcoholic also suffers from a mental illness, they are said to have a “dual diagnosis.” The first diagnosis is the addiction; the second is the mental illness. Such mental illnesses can include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Major depression or bipolar disorder
- Personality disorders
In some cases, the mental illness existed prior to the drug abuse and may have been part of the reason the addiction developed in the first place. Self-medicating is an aspect of addiction brought on by the addict’s need to “treat” an undiagnosed condition, like those mentioned here. The addict does not know they have a treatable mental illness but they know they feel “better” when they use.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Once a diagnosis has been made, there are several treatment options, or combinations of options, that the treatment center may use.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one option. This type of therapy involves a resetting of the thought process as it relates to behaviors and actions. Rather than operating on the notion that the addict has “no other choice” but to use drugs or alcohol to deal with issues they’d rather avoid, they learn that their own thoughts determine their reactions. Their actions are therefore not determined by the outside world.
Change the thinking and you can change the actions.
Sometimes, retraining how an individual thinks is not enough when it comes to a serious mental illness diagnosis. A treatment provider may choose to offer medication to the addict to address the mental illness. Antidepressants, anti-psychotics and anti-schizophrenia medication, when used correctly and responsibly, can make a huge difference in the way an addict sees himself and the world around him. Suddenly, those obstacles that caused him to self-medicate are controlled by legal, monitored prescriptions, and the world isn’t such a scary place anymore.
The Correct Diagnosis Takes Time
The diagnosis process can take a while. It may be weeks into the recovery process before the proper diagnosis is discovered. Diagnosing a mental illness depends on several factors, including the willingness and honesty of the individual being treated. Unlike physical illnesses, a simple blood test will not always provide the correct diagnosis, so the psychologist must glean the information from the behavior patterns, emotional responses and truthful statements from the addict. Many addicts have little control, at least in the beginning of the treatment process, over how they behave or what they might say to get what they want. This can delay a proper diagnosis for several weeks or months.
The importance of addressing the possibility or established existence of mental illness is crucial to the recovery process. If an addict completes the recovery program but does not address the underlying factors that may have contributed greatly to the use of drugs and alcohol, they will most certainly find themselves in a position to relapse.
There have been studies conducted over the years to determine just how different men are from women. Do women heal differently than men? Do women cope differently, better or worse than men? Is there a difference in the recovery process for women compared to men? While the jury is still out on many of these inquiries, women already know the answer. Women are affected by their life experiences in a way that is unique to their gender, and sometimes, men just don’t get it.
This is one of the reasons why it might be a good idea to seek a female-only rehab program. Here are a few more.
- Safety and Security From Emotional Blockages
Many women turn to drugs or alcohol to escape the pain of a traumatic experience. Sexual abuse, domestic violence or sexual assault may play a part in why some women turn to drugs. If this is the case, being forced to communicate directly with men in a group dynamic, or simply being exposed to men throughout a residential treatment process, could block the addict’s ability to truly discover herself and her reasons for using. If the woman is fearful of the presence of men, her recovery may suffer.
Choosing an all-women recovery center removes this emotional blockage and provides the addict with the knowledge that she is safe and secure among other women - some of whom may have the same fears and motivations that she does.
- Healing Styles
Men have one way of handling stressful situations, especially when it comes to sharing how they feel or what most frightens them. Women have an entirely different way of nurturing their own feelings. While men tend to react with defensiveness to others’ emotions, women are more apt to soothe and tend to others’ needs.
When women experience the same emotional environment as a group, they are more likely to help each other and accept new members more quickly. This is especially true if there are no thoughts of ego or competition for the attention of men in the group.
- Women Face Problems in Recovery That Men May Not Understand
In many cases, women fear entering recovery because of the effect it may have on their children or partners. Women are often seen as the center of a household and family, caring for and tending to their partner’s and children’s needs. Because of these factors, when women do choose to enroll in a treatment center, they carry with them the additional guilt of having “abandoned” their families, even though recovery is the best possible choice for their families.
An all-woman treatment facility or rehab center is better equipped to handle these additional issues and place the female addict’s mind to rest concerning their partners and children.
- Sexual Orientation
Many lesbians have been subjected to homophobia by men and society in general. This condition may contribute to their addiction problems. By centering a treatment program in a gender-specific way, all women, both homosexual and heterosexual, can become empowered by acknowledging their gender and the role it plays in their lives.
In addition to these issues, women are more apt to be open and honest about their feelings of inadequacy, insecurity and low self-esteem when surrounded by a gender-specific group.
Once you’ve come to the decision that you must enroll in a drug rehab center to combat your addiction, it’s time to get serious about finding the right facility for your recovery. Many factors come into play when finding the specific facility that will best suit your needs. Some drug treatment programs offer only inpatient services while others are exclusively outpatient. Some rehab centers offer traditional and alternative therapies while others are strictly traditional. There are holistic clinics, facilities that include luxury accommodations and lifestyles, and facilities that are more of a medical or hospital environment.
In order to determine which drug rehab center is right for you prior to enrollment, you may want to ask a few questions.
- What kind of services do you offer to recovering addicts?
This is one of the most important questions to ask of a potential rehab center. You will need to make certain that the treatment styles and services offered will match with your personality, and your ability to utilize them. For instance, if you are not a fan of horses, paying for equine therapy from which you will not benefit may not be your best option. On the other hand, if you respond well to touch therapy but the facility does not offer therapeutic massage to help with the effects of withdrawal, you may be cheating yourself out of a tool that can help you succeed.
- How long is the recovery program you offer?
The length of programs varies from one facility to another. Determining how long each program is can help you choose the right one for you, based upon how long you can realistically afford to be away from your family. This is especially true if you happen to be the sole wage earner in your family or a single parent.
- Can I stay longer if I feel I need to?
At the end of the treatment cycle, you may or may not feel as though you are prepared to leave. There are many cases where fear plays a part in this decision; however, there are other times when it is in the best interest of the addict to remain in treatment for a few extra weeks. It’s a good idea to determine, in advance, if additional time in treatment is a possibility.
- Does your facility accept insurance or bill my insurance company for me?
Nobody likes to think about the cost of rehab treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. Unfortunately, most people must consider the financial impact that treatment will have on their family. Many insurance companies now provide at least some benefits for drug addiction recovery services. Make sure you find out if the facility in question can bill your insurance directly, and if not, can help you file for your reimbursements on a regular basis while you are residing at the facility. Having these regular reimbursements or disbursements to the facility will help to reduce the amount of stress associated with the early recovery process.
When a member of your family is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the effects can be hard to deal with. On one hand, it pains a family when one of their own suffers. You’ll do anything to help them because you love them. On the other, deep down, you know that enabling their substance abuse is only harming them further. Unfortunately, when you’re close to a situation, you may not realize how subtle enabling can actually be.
There are many ways that a family can help a drug- or alcohol-addicted loved one. From helping to pay for rehab to simply being tough when it’s called for, you can make a difference in the life of your family member.
Do Not Enable Addictive Behaviors
Addictive behaviors include a myriad of phases and techniques which an addict will use, sometimes without even realizing they are doing it, to get what they need. These techniques include:
- Anger or withholding of affection
- Sympathy-seeking behavior
One of the most difficult but effective ways to help your loved one is to not buy into these maneuverings. For instance, if your addicted family member states they need a few hundred dollars to keep their power on, chances are they have spent money on their addiction rather than paying their electric bill. Paying the bill for them will only serve to tell them they have done nothing wrong by not living up to their responsibilities. There is also the chance they will use the money loaned to them for a legitimate purpose to buy drugs or alcohol to further their addictive behaviors.
Instead, offer to help them pay for treatment.
Do Not Assist the Addict
When your child, parent, sibling or other person close to you is unwell, it is difficult not to offer assistance. When they fall down, we want to pick them up. When they are in withdrawal, in the case of addiction, we want to help them through it any way we can.
While a licensed detox facility will medicate an addict in withdrawal to wean them from the effects of their preferred drugs, it is unwise for a layperson or family member to use this technique while the addict is simply unable to “score” their drugs for the moment. Giving a heroin addict your prescription pain meds when they ask for them to “get them through” is a crime. It is also unhealthy for the addict and only serves to remind them that you can be counted upon to enable them.
An Intervention is the process through which the family and friends of an addicted individual confront the addict to get them help they need. By uniting forces, each member of the intervention group can speak their mind to the addict to let them know several basic facts:
- That they are loved
- That they are ill and need help
- That they have an opportunity to get help immediately
- That the intervention group will support them emotionally throughout the process
The notion that an addict must hit his or her own personal “rock bottom” in order to effectively seek recovery has been modified through the intervention model. It is possible for family members to “raise the bottom” for the addict by showing them in a structured setting, under strict control parameters, the effect their drug use has had on them, as well as their entire family.
The decision of whether or not to enter treatment for alcohol and drug addictions should not have to be financial in nature. However, for most Americans, the finances of a drug treatment program are a very real issue. One way to pay for treatment for yourself or a loved one is to determine whether your insurance carrier includes it in their benefits. You might be surprised how many policies now have at least some coverage for drug treatment. The costs associated with the effects of drug and alcohol abuse over long periods can cost far more than the treatment itself.
Questions You Need to Ask Your Insurance Provider
Each policy is different and depends upon which coverage selections were made when the policy was created. If your policy comes through employment, the company you work for determined the coverage based upon how much they wanted to pay for their share, as well as how much the employees could reasonably afford for their premiums.
By asking the right questions, you can find out exactly what kind of and how much coverage exists for drug treatment.
- Does the policy cover inpatient, outpatient, residential or all treatment options?
Some policies are set up on a prerequisite basis. For instance, you may have inpatient residential coverage, but it is only available after intensive outpatient services have been exhausted and failed. Another type of coverage might cover medical detox, but not residential care after the detox period has been completed.
These are important questions to ask prior to admitting yourself or a loved one into facility. If insurance is unable to pay, you may be on the hook for the remaining bill or you may even be forced to leave if the facility cannot verify your ability to pay.
- Does the policy cover “extras”?
Some treatment centers are set up like hospitals, and others are set up like five-star hotels and resorts. Choosing a five-star resort-style rehab when your insurance only covers the medically necessary expenses can put a serious crimp in your budget. For instance, a regular rehab center might charge $400 per day for a room, while one of the more exclusive centers might charge $1,000 per day. Your insurance company may pay the exclusive facility, but they are only going to pay the $400 of which they approve. The remaining $600 per day would then come out of your budget after you’ve completed rehab. In most cases, without the proven ability to pay, the upscale rehab center may ask you to transfer to a more medicinal setting that your insurance is more likely to cover.
- Does the policy allow for alternative therapies?
Many rehab treatment centers have incorporated alternative therapies like equine, art and music, martial arts or sound therapy into their daily routines. There is a chance that the providers of these services are independent contractors who will bill your insurance for each session. You’ll need to know if your insurance will cover this type of activity before you attend the sessions so you aren’t presented with a large, unexpected bill at the end of your treatment term.
There was a time, not too long ago, when an individual who went to rehab was stigmatized. The general public believed that this individual must have fallen into one of several categories:
- Out of control or incorrigible
- A criminal
- “An idiot”
- A bum
Thankfully, times have changed.
Education and Media Attention Have Taken Away the Stigma of Rehab
Everyone has problems. Life in our modern society isn’t easy. Some people have financial difficulties. Others have trouble managing children, aging parents and full-time careers. Some have drug and alcohol issues that need to be addressed. Thanks to prominent media campaigns and profound educational efforts over the years, when an individual chooses recovery over addiction, they are generally applauded for their decision, rather than chastised.
Recovery Success Stories - The Comeback Kids
There are several notable individuals who have made the decision to change their lives, despite what the “world” might think of them.
- Robert Downey, Jr.
Acclaimed actor Robert Downey, Jr. was exposed to drugs from a very early age, and ultimately faced several felony charges. Addicted to heroin and given a sentence that included a forced stint in rehab, he has since chosen to live his life in sobriety. He is the star of the Iron Man franchise of major motion pictures, and his career and personal life have thrived due to his good choices. In fact, his choice to actively participate in his own recovery, regardless of whether the choice to enter rehab was his, have brought him to the point of being a role model for millions of fans around the world.
- Robin Williams
The energetic and award-winning comedian Robin Williams was a close friend to another world-famous comedy icon, John Belushi who died of a drug overdose in 1982. Shortly after the tragic death of his friend, Mr. Williams entered rehab voluntarily for cocaine and alcohol addiction. His career, at this point, was on an upswing. He was the very popular Mork on the television program Mork and Mindy and had starred in the major motion pictures Popeye and The World According to Garp.
Had Robin Williams worried about the stigma that may have been attached to his choice to enter rehab, attempting instead to stop using drugs and alcohol on his own, he may not have succeeded. He may have even succumbed to the same violent and tragic death of his friend, Belushi. Robin Williams is also proof that everyone is human. Years after successfully completing drug and alcohol rehab, he began drinking again. He immediately entered another rehab program, this time more visibly while at the top of his world-renowned career and saved himself once more.
Whether a stigma is attached to drug or alcohol rehab isn’t really the question. The question is whether there is a stigma attached people who choose to use drugs and alcohol rather than making the decision to save their lives, the lives of others they may affect, and to make a difference in their own corner of the world.
In order to understand the effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in drug treatment, it is important to understand exactly it is. According to the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists, CBT “is a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the important role of thinking in how we feel and what we do.”
Broken down, it is fairly easy to understand.
The word “cognitive” means “to think.” The word “behavioral” refers to actions - what we do and how we behave. CBT operates on the belief that how a person thinks will directly affect the choices he makes and the actions that he takes. In opposition to this is the belief that other people or other forces are responsible for our reactions. In other words, the belief that we do things in reaction to what happens to us, rather than making clear, responsible decisions.
When applied to someone afflicted with addiction, choosing to operate under the notion that the individual addict somehow has no choice whether they will use drugs or consume alcohol can undermine the entire recovery process. More and more therapists have turned to the CBT model of thought as it relates to action.
How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Work in Drug Treatment?
CBT helps a recovering addict see the relationship between their own cognitive thoughts and the resulting behavioral actions. The techniques involved in the therapy process include:
- Homework assignments
- Analyzing past decisions and choices
- Establishing alternatives
Time Plays a Factor With CBT in a Drug Treatment Setting
Because of the limited time that an individual may spend in a recovery center or treatment program, time is of the essence. CBT is not an open-ended, ongoing therapy model that can take years. Rather, it is a short-term, established program that can take an average of 16 weeks to complete. This makes CBT ideal for treatment centers as well as intensive outpatient programs.
Establishing a Partnership Between Recovering Addicts and Therapists
The Cognitive Behavioral Therapy model involves establishing a trust between the therapist and the patient. It also depends upon active participation from the patient, specifically. This is helpful in the recovery process for addiction because the recovering addict must learn that his or her choices and actions make a profound difference in the direction of his or her life.
CBT includes daily homework assignments. Part of this process helps establish a record of responsibility for the recovering addict. She will learn that there are rewards to be gained when she applies herself to the work at hand.
Redirecting Learned Behavior
The model upon which CBT was originally created is one of education. It is based upon the idea that everything we know about ourselves - how we react, how we think, how we approach the world - is learned over the course of a lifetime. CBT is designed to help the sufferer “unlearn” bad habits and create new reaction skills.
Overall, CBT is a retraining of the thought process to provide a platform for making better choices in the future. The recovering addict who actively engages in CBT with a qualified, trained provider may find that their decision-making process is clearer and more effective.
Why do some people use drugs and never become addicted? What makes a person choose to use drugs? These are questions that many addicts and their families have asked themselves repeatedly as they come to terms with an addiction. The answers are not clear, however, and depend on many factors. A dual diagnosis is one possibility. In order to know how to treat a dual diagnosis, one must understand what it involves.
What Is a Dual Diagnosis?
According to the National Library of Medicine, a dual diagnosis is the coexistence of an alcohol or drug dependency or addiction with another type of mental illness. The mental illness may be any of the following:
· Personality disorders
· Anxiety disorders
Which Comes First? Mental Illness or Drug Abuse
An individual may turn to drugs for any number of reasons. In the case of a dual diagnosis, determining which health event came first — mental illness or addiction — can play a part in the treatment. Therefore, the treatment for an individual with a dual diagnosis (also be aware that there may be more than one mental disease at play) will vary depending upon the kind of affliction being dealt with.
For instance, an individual who begins using drugs for recreation may find his or her life deteriorating around them. They may overspend on their habit, costing them their quality of life or even their career. They may ultimately lose friends and family, causing them to question their worth. These events can lead to depression and anxiety, which will need to be treated with the addiction issues.
For another individual who suffers from anxiety disorders, depression or borderline personality disorder, the drug addiction may be the result of self-medicating to “treat” their undiagnosed mental illness. In this case, the treatments for addiction must address the underlying cause of the drug and alcohol abuse in order to increase the odds that the addict will not relapse.
Intensive Therapy Treatments
When an addict chooses recovery and enters an inpatient or outpatient treatment program, he will have access to intensive mental health counseling on a regular basis. This therapy is important to diagnose whether a dual diagnosis may exist. If it does, the recovering addict will then participate in counseling for both issues.
Our modern medical community has researched mental health issues extensively and medications have been developed to help individuals suffering from mental illness. Options other than dangerous self-medication with drugs and alcohol exist to provide those afflicted individuals with healthy, happy lives. Part of the recovery process may involve the prescription of antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications or anti-psychotic medications that will normalize the minds and bodies of the mentally ill individual.
Mental Illness Is More Common Than You Might Think
There has long been a stigma associated with mental illness. Times are changing, however, as our modern society has learned how common such disorders truly are. For the recovering addict, it is much healthier and the prognosis is much better if a dual diagnosis mental illness is treated responsibly through counseling and medication under the care of a health professional.
Seeking treatment in a center than can offer help with dual diagnosis cases can give the recovering addict a much better chance of survival and continued, stable recovery than drug addiction counseling alone.
There has been much speculation about the coincidental deaths of several prominent, famous or infamous musicians who have died under drug- and alcohol-related circumstances at the age of 27. These artists include:
- Brian Jones. The former member of the Rolling Stones who drowned in 1969. Drugs and alcohol were suspected to be a major contributing factor to his drowning.
- Jim Morrison. The lead singer and front man for The Doors, a 1960s counter-culture rock band known for its psychedelic sounds and fantasy-like aura.
- Janis Joplin. The charismatic young woman who made her mark in a world dominated by men, only to suffer the effects of drugs and alcohol a mere three years after reaching stardom.
- Kurt Cobain. Arguably the godfather of Grunge, his band, Nirvana, took the down-to-earth garage band sound of Seattle around the world.
- Jimi Hendrix. The master of the “controlled-distortion” guitar riff who defined the 1960s in terms of music, funk, jazz and rock.
- Amy Winehouse. The incredibly talented vocalist and musician most famous for her hit song “Rehab” who died under confusing circumstances that led many to speculate alcohol may have been involved.
Fans of these amazing artists have often pondered what wonderful lives they must have had. Others consider how distraught they must have been, how tormented by their respective art. Over the years, writers and bloggers have make excuses for them, citing how the world would have been robbed of the masterpieces of creation born of the “Club 27″ had they not been so tormented, artistic and soulful.
The truth is entirely different.
The Truth About Club 27
Each member of what has been called “Club 27″ (because each of the individuals died when they were 27 years old) was addicted to or heavily abused drugs and alcohol. In each of these cases, the addict died as a result of their drug use, with the exception of Brian Jones and Amy Winehouse, where drugs and alcohol are strongly suspected.
Each of these young talents could have survived, continued to create amazing works of art and lived long, healthy lives entertaining the masses and establishing a greater catalog of works to leave behind for future generations.
While Amy Winehouse had attended rehab as recently as a few months before she died, many of the others had made no attempt to seek help. In fact, with the counter-culture drug movement of the 1960s, several members of the club probably didn’t see that any problem existed.
There Is Nothing Romantic About a Drug-Related Death
There are only two manners in which an addict can use drugs for the final time. The first is to enter rehab - to make the final choice to never use drugs or alcohol again. The second manner to stop using drugs became the involuntary choice for the members of Club 27 as well as thousands of other people each year. It doesn’t take a scientist to realize that the first option is the better of the two.
The artists who make up Club 27 are gone forever. With them, untold numbers of artists, doctors, mothers, children, musicians and everyday Joes have been lost to the illness of addiction. If you’re suffering from addiction, don’t rob the world of the artistic masterpiece that is you. Choose life.