LOS ANGELES, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Heroin abuse is on the rise in the U.S., according to data from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which reports that among first-time drug users, heroin abuse rose by almost 60 percent between 2002 and 2012.
Although many people consider heroin use to be primarily an urban "problem" restricted to major inner-city areas and specific at-risk populations, the pervasiveness of the drug was underscored recently when a major Hollywood film star was allegedly found dead from a heroin overdose. His death followed closely on the heels of a spate of 22 heroin-related deaths occurring in a matter of only a few days in central Pennsylvania.
Most experts agree that substance abuse is a disease that requires intensive treatment to control, but when confronted with news reports like the recent one from Pennsylvania, the reaction of most people is one of anger and even blame. But although such reactions may be the first response of many, researchers agree that widespread blame and resentment does more harm than good in actually addressing the overall problem of drug abuse and the addictions of those who abuse drugs.
Michael H. Lowenstein, M.D., is a leading drug treatment specialist who believes being compassionate and understanding will produce better results. Dr. Lowenstein is the director of the Waismann Method(TM), a leading provider of advanced treatment for opiate dependence located in Southern California.
"Most people react to issues of drug abuse with feelings of anger, revulsion or, most commonly, blame - toward both the addict and the addict's family," Dr. Lowenstein said. "The common perception is that the addict is weak - otherwise, why did they get started using in the first place, and why don't they 'just quit'?
"For the addict's family, the common perception is that they've failed to provide a loving environment, or that they were lazy or irresponsible and simply 'allowed' the addiction to occur," he said. "It's sad to say, but many lives that could otherwise be saved may be lost to drugs, simply because of pervasive feelings of shame and failure."
Unfortunately, while not uncommon, Dr. Lowenstein noted that those types of misperceptions can hamper an addict's recovery and result instead in deep feelings of shame, failure and hopelessness that can actually cause a substance abuse habit to continue or even worsen. Many abusers may refuse to seek treatment or fall deeper into the cycle of abuse.
Although it may not be the natural first reaction for many of us, offering support and hope to addicts and their families is one of the most effective ways to combat substance abuse and to help abusers start on the road to recovery. "By providing an understanding and compassionate environment that emphasizes care and treatment over blame and punishment, substance abusers are much more likely to seek treatment," Lowenstein said.
"We believe that one of the best ways that we, as a community, can help drug abusers get 'better' is by showing them we care about them and want them to get well," Dr. Lowenstein said. "Showing compassion and understanding isn't always easy when confronted with the realities and consequences associated with drug abuse, but we need to remember that people who abuse drugs can come from any walk of life - professionals, students, homemakers, athletes - and they need our support in order for recovery to be effective and long-lasting."
The Waismann Method® is based on treating each patient individually through a thorough medical, psychological and social assessment that takes into account every patient's unique needs. The center offers a range of confidential, personalized treatment and aftercare options, including rapid opiate detoxification under sedation, medically-assisted detoxification and other forms of treatment.
To learn more about the Waismann Method® for opiate addiction and its proven approach, visit the website at www.opiates.com or call toll-free at 1-888-987-4673.
SOURCE Waismann Method