Drugs: The Obvious Silent Killer

Drugs: The Obvious Silent Killer

A look into drug abuse and why no one is talking about it.
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Cervical cancer, hepatitis, chagas, nonmelanoma, colon cancer, osteoporosis, fatty liver disease, coronary artery disease, diabetes and high blood pressure. Some of you are uncomfortably familiar with these diseases. Some of you have these or have had family members suffer from one or more of them. These are all considered the top silent killers.

What if I told you I thought there was another? Another silent killer. We all know about it. There are people dying every day from it. Everyone probably knows at least one person who has died from it within the past year. I, unfortunately, would run out fingers and toes counting the number of people who I know who have either died from it, or are digging their own grave because of it.

Have you figured it out yet? Right this second I bet you're asking if it is so common, why do I think it's a silent killer? I think that drug addiction belongs on that list. Did you guess right? If you didn't, chances are that you're not directly affected by drugs, and that is awesome. If you did answer correctly, I am so sorry.

You see, drug addiction is a disease. It takes over your everything. Clouds your judgement. Makes you reliant. The drugs make you think that it's okay. It betrays your trust, settles in your nervous system and it becomes the only thing you can think about.

I'm sure that you're reading this, thinking to yourself that it's not something you have to worry about. Think again. You probably have someone in your family suffering from addiction in silence. It might not even in silence. Maybe it’s your brother having a relapse. Maybe not. Maybe it's a close friend. Maybe it's neighbor, possibly even a coworker.

I'm also sure that if you're that person suffering from addiction, you think that it won't happen to you. Didn't I already say this? Think again. Every person that has died from drug abuse probably said the same thing. It is estimated that 570,000 people in America alone, die from drug abuse. What makes you think you're so special, that it won't happen to you?

All life is, is a ticking time bomb. Many of us don't get second chances. Sure, people have died on operating tables, drowned in bathtubs, even died from drug overdose, and they have been brought back. Someone was fortunate enough to find them in time, they were in the perfect storm of circumstances. The amount of people saved is very low compared to the amount of people not saved.

Why do I care so much? I didn't know most of my mother's side of the family, herself included, because drugs were more important to them. Some of us are working on repairing broken relationships, even when it's so hard because there are some things that time cannot fix.

I gave up hope a long time ago when it came to my mother. Losing hope was one of the hardest, yet easiest things I ever did. It was then I decided that the only thing I could do was promise myself that I would never be like her. I promised that I would never subject my kids to any hint of that kind of life. Over sheltering? Maybe. However, my kids will know what is important. They will know that drugs are real, that they take over everything, and that life is in limited supply.

There are people in my family suffering right now. They need to wake up, come out of that clouded vision they're in, and make the same realizations. We can't make people change. We can't eliminate drugs. We can be there for their kids when everything falls apart, and we can help them pick everything back up. We can tell them it's not their fault. I can tell you that it isn't your fault either.

Drug addiction is a silent killer. Comes in when you've done everything to try stop it. Drugs tell you that everything will be okay, even when that's the farthest thing from the truth. Things will be okay, until they're not. Ask yourself if you want to be the one picking up the pieces, or if you're the one they're picking up.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr: Fredrik Krey Stubberud

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Stop Demonizing CBD Just Because You Associate It With THC

CBD doesn't get you high, do your research.

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I'm sure you've heard about CBD already, but if not, then let me break it down for you. Cannabidiol, CBD, is one of the hundreds of cannabinoids identified in the cannabis plant, but unlike the THC in the marijuana plant, it doesn't have any psychoactive properties.

CBD doesn't get you high.

When extracted from the plant, CBD has proven to be effective in the medical field. It has shown to be effective in the treatment of epilepsy, in the management of pain, in reducing depression and anxiety, and relieving cancer symptoms, among a host of other uses. New research from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York has revealed that CBD may be beneficial for society as a whole, too.

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital conducted the study to understand how we can fight the opioid epidemic through the discovery of alternative treatment options by assessing the potential effects of CBD on craving and anxiety in heroin users.

42 drug abstinent men and women between the ages of 21 and 65, who had recently stopped using heroin, were recruited for the study. Two groups were formed out of the participants: a control group that received a placebo and a test group that received CBD doses ranging from 400 mg to 800 mg per day. After administration, participants were exposed to neutral environmental cues and cues that would be considered drug-use inducing over three sessions. The cues in the environment were tested because an addict's environment and the cues it gives are the strongest triggers for relapse and continued drug use.

The results of the research hold great promise for the future of CBD.

Participants who were in the test group and given CBD had significantly reduced cravings for heroin, and noted feeling less anxiety when exposed to drug-use inducing cues. Moreover, the CBD had a lasting effect on this group as it continued to reduce cravings and relieve anxiety for seven days after the last dose was administered. In essence, this is the most important takeaway from the research: CBD had lasting effects well after it was present in the body. Numerous vital signs like heart rate, skin temperature, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation were taken to ensure only objective results were obtained since cravings and anxiety are subjective feelings. Another finding was a reduction in participants' heart rate and salivary cortisol levels, which would have both increased in the presence of anxiety-provoking images.

I think the evidence points to a logical conclusion: CBD is safe, it is effective in treating opioid addictions, and it is beneficial for those who experience a host of issues from pain, to anxiety, to epilepsy or to illnesses. Now is the time to keep pushing for legalization to continue larger scale studies and introduce CBD as a valid treatment option.

"A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll and enormous health care costs." - Yasmin Hurd, director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

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