Learning more about a condition or substance can help you better understand its effects, and probably cope better with what is happening to you or to your loved one. It enables you to make informed decisions around care, treatment, and recovery.
Information can also help debunk myths and stigmas associated with addiction and mental health issues.
Check our Community Resources tab for helpful links to online resources that provide quick and easy ways to learn about mental health and addiction.
What is heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug made from morphine, a natural substance taken from the seed pod of the various opium poppy plants grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. Heroin can be a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin.What are the effects of heroin?
Heroin enters the brain rapidly and binds to opioid receptors on cells located in many areas, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure and in controlling heart rate, sleeping, and breathing.
|Short-Term Effects||Long-Term Effects|
Other Potential Effects
Heroin often contains additives, such as sugar, starch, or powdered milk, that can clog blood vessels leading to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain, causing permanent damage. Also, sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug use can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.
Heroin is highly addictive. People who regularly use heroin often develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects. A substance use disorder (SUD) is when continued use of the drug causes issues, such as health problems and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home. An SUD can range from mild to severe, the most severe form being addiction.
- severe muscle and bone pain
- sleep problems
- diarrhea and vomiting
- cold flashes with goose bumps ("cold turkey")
- uncontrollable leg movements ("kicking the habit")
- severe heroin cravings
A person can overdose on heroin and die. Naloxone is a medicine that can treat a heroin overdose when given right away, though more than one dose may be needed.
A range of treatments including medicines and behavioral therapies are effective in helping people stop heroin use. However, treatment plans should be individualized to meet the needs of the patient. For more information about getting treatment for heroin addiction, call the Crisis Call Center at 1-833-580-2255 (CALL).
The ADAMHS for Montgomery County opposes the legalization and commercialization of marijuana for recreational purposes. In addition, legalizing marijuana for medical use should not be decided by legislative or voter initiatives. Marijuana should be subject to the same research, consideration, and study as any other potential medicine, under the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The supports controlled research into the benefits of cannabis-based medicines which follow the basic tenets of good medicine, and which would provide scientifically-valid support for the conditions it is proven to help; controlled strength and purity; appropriate dosage levels; and safe means of administration.
Marijuana is one of those drugs that people continue to perceive as harmless, similar to alcohol and prescription drugs. There is a level of social acceptance that you don’t necessarily see with other drugs of abuse. But regardless of that, there is a substantial body of research showing health and safety risks from marijuana use.
These issues are particularly troubling for young people who are driving a car or operating heavy machinery. And marijuana impairment often lasts longer than the impairment from other substances, because the chemicals in marijuana are fat soluble so they take longer to leave the body.
Behavioral Health Issues:
|Higher rates of depression and schizophrenia|
|Despite popular belief, people can become addicted to marijuana. Almost 400 people in Montgomery County receive addiction treatment services for marijuana addiction|
Currently, about 44% of 12th graders have used marijuana in their lifetime (which is higher than the national average of 35%), with about 7% of them indicating that they smoke daily. However, data over the last 20+ years indicates that marijuana use by high school youth has stayed about the same.
While that may appear to be good news, marijuana is now the second most widely used drug by high school-aged students, surpassing tobacco for the very first time. That means that more high school youth smoke marijuana than smoke cigarettes.
We also know that the percentage of teens who will use marijuana for the first time doubles between the ninth and 12th grades and that about one in six high school seniors are at high risk for a substance use disorder.
Research shows that parents are the #1 influence on a youth’s decision to use drugs. That means parents need to talk to their kids and be very clear that marijuana use – and ALL drug use – is unacceptable. I know this makes some parents nervous. Parents should begin these discussions early in a child’s life because that makes children more likely to listen. Parents should stay calm and non-judgmental during these discussions.
Talk about the health risks of marijuana use, talk about the dangers of driving under the influence, talk about legal issues – such as jail time – and what all of this might mean for their futures. In addition to talking TO your kids about marijuana, parents should ASK their children about their thoughts and concerns. Do they know of anyone who uses marijuana? Do any of their friends use marijuana? Do any of these friends drive while they are under the influence?
If you think your child is using marijuana, the earlier you can get them help, the better chances of saving them from the health and impairment consequences, and the potential that they may become addicted. You can get help for your child by contacting CrisisCare at 224-4646.
ADAMHS On Marijuana Legalization Montgomery County ADAMHS opposes the legalization and commercialization of marijuana for recreational purposes. In addition, legalizing marijuana for medical use should not be decided by legislative or voter initiatives. Marijuana should be subject to the same research, consideration, and study as any other potential medicine, under the standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The supports controlled research into the benefits of cannabis-based medicines which follow the basic tenets of good medicine, and which would provide scientifically-valid support for the conditions it is proven to help; controlled strength and purity; appropriate dosage levels; and safe means of administration.
Drug Addiction | Rx Medications
Prescription medications are powerful tools against acute illness and chronic conditions. But when those same medications are used by someone other than for whom they were prescribed, for uses other than what was intended, and in excessive quantities and combinations with other substances, they can be dangerous, addictive, and even deadly.
"Generation Rx" is a term often used for those who think there must be a pill for every ill. However, many of those substances, particularly those prescribed for pain control, are derived from or synthesized opiates - essentially acting on the brain in the same way that heroin does. That can lead to addiction that is very difficult to break.
Easy access to prescription medications makes them powerful temptations for young people and others prone to abusing these drugs.
Keeping Drugs Away from our Schools & Streets
- Use prescription medications only for the use and for the person prescribed
- Secure your prescription medications - especially opioid pain control medications - in a locked cabinet out of view of visitors
- Take advantage of "pill drops" for any leftover medications, such as when a family member passes away (Rx Drop box locations)
Benzodiazepines are a class of medications commonly used to treat anxiety and other conditions such as insomnia, detox, and seizures. They are one of the most commonly used medications with 10% of Montgomery County residents being prescribed.
Some examples of benzodiazepines are:
Benzodiazepines are meant to be used short term (less than 12 weeks). Long term use of these medications can cause severe side effects and withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive. Long term use can cause physical dependence and interdose withdrawal (when more of the medication is needed in order to prevent withdrawal sickness in between doses).
So what is the problem?
In some cases of long-term use, the user may experience an increase in the symptoms the medication was supposed to treat such as increased anxiety, rage, feeling as if they are going “crazy”, depression, suicidal ideation, and panic attacks. However, it is not easy to withdraw from this medication because…
Benzo withdrawal can cause death!
Benzo withdrawal is riskier than heroin withdrawal. The symptoms include tremors, hallucinations, suicide, muscle pains, panic attacks, sensory abnormalities, insomnia, seizures, and in extreme cases death. Withdrawal can last a week but in some cases, it has lasted for months and some people may still experience symptoms for years. Withdrawing from benzodiazepines cold turkey can result in death. A SLOW taper is advised under medical supervision.
Call to Action:
Do to the severity of the withdrawal many treatment centers currently do not have the legal authority, lack protocols, or are medically ill-equipped to accept clients who are wanting to detox from benzodiazepines, and opiates simultaneously. Do to this many individuals are unable to access the services they desperately need. Please join in helping us address this by advocating for:
Increased and more effective training for healthcare professionals.
Detox protocols that address this dual substance addiction issue and its intricacies.
Increased knowledge in the community about the dangers of Benzodiazepine abuse.
Developing comprehensive in-patient and out-patient supports for individuals experiencing Benzodiazepine detox.
Call Montgomery County Opiate Treatment Coalition 937-443-0416
Brain scans can show structural and functional differences in brains that are affected by mental illness. Mental illness is real. It is not imagined and cannot be "willed" away.A mental illness is a physical illness, just like any other, that affects the brain. These disorders canprofoundly disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, moods, ability to relate to others and capacity for coping with the demands of everyday life. Mental illness can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing.
Mental illnesses include such disorders as schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic and other severe anxiety disorders, autism and pervasive developmental disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses that affect the brain.
Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people with serious mental illness need medication to help control symptoms, but also rely on supportive counseling, self-help groups, assistance with housing, vocational rehabilitation, income assistance, and other community services in order to achieve their highest level of recovery.
Here are some important facts to know about mental illness and recovery:
Important facts to know about mental illness & recovery:
|Mental illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They are not a reflection of a person's character or intelligence and cannot be overcome through willpower|
|Mental disorders fall along a continuum of severity. The most severe and disabling conditions affect five to ten million adults (2.6 – 5.4%) and three to five million children ages five to seventeen (5 – 9%) in the United States|
|Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability (lost years of productive life) in North America, Europe and, increasingly, in the world. By 2020, major depressive illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world for women and children|
|Mental illnesses strike individuals in the prime of their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable|
|Without treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is more than $100 billion each year in the United States|
|The best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and supports|
|Early identification and treatment is of vital importance; By getting people the treatment they need early, recovery is accelerated and the brain is protected from further harm related to the course of illness|
If you or someone you know has a mental illness, you can find local treatment support here. Treatment and support services are available right here in our local communities to provide you with the help you need and deserve. You do not have to face this alone. There is hope - recovery is possible with proper treatment and care
Getting Help for Alcoholism
Get the facts on alcohol and the impact abusing alcohol can have on people.
Slightly more than half of Americans aged 12 or older report being current drinkers of alcohol. SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that in 2013 there were 136.9 million current alcohol users aged 12 or older, with 22.9% classified as binge drinkers and 6.3% as heavy drinkers. About 17.3 million of these, or 6.6%, met the criteria for an alcohol use disorder in the past year.
Excessive alcohol use, including underage drinking and binge drinking (drinking 5 or more drinks on a single occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on an occasion for women), can increase a person’s risk of developing serious health problems, including brain and liver damage, heart disease, hypertension, and fetal damage in pregnant women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol use causes 88,000 deaths a year.
Many Americans begin drinking at an early age. According to the SAMHSA report Behavioral Health, United States, 2012, about 24% of eighth graders and 64% of twelfth graders used alcohol in the past year.
According to the NSDUH:
9.5% of men report heavy alcohol use (binge drinking for 5 or more of the past 30 days) compared to 3.3% of women.
People reporting two or more races had the highest rate of heavy alcohol use at 8.9%, and 7.3% of non-Hispanic whites reported heavy alcohol use. African Americans reported heavy alcohol use at 4.5%, and Hispanics reported it at 4.8%. At 2%, Asian Americans had the lowest rate of heavy alcohol use
Only 7.7% of adults with an alcohol use disorder received treatment in the past year
Helpful links include:
Alcohol Screening, the NCADD Alcohol Abuse Self Test and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, also Alcohol Rehab Guide.
NotASingleDrop.org is Ohio's website about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). FASD refers to conditions such as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), fetal alcohol effects (FAE), alcohol-related neurodevelopmental disorder (ARND), and alcohol-related birth defects (ARBD).
The FASD Statewide Steering Committee is a partnership that includes representatives from 9 state agencies, 3 universities, providers, and parents. Our mission is to establish efficiency in state systems resource allocation, coordination of services, and augmentation of available resources to address FASD.
Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) is responsible for the planning, funding and monitoring of public mental health and alcohol and other drug addiction services.
Under Ohio law, the ADAMHS is one of 50 Boards coordinating the public behavioral health system in Ohio. ADAMHS has the legal responsibility and authority for the provision of mental health and addiction treatment services and contracts with provider agencies to deliver services that assist consumers and clients on the road to recovery.
The is statutorily empowered by the Ohio Revised Code Section 340 to establish a unified system of service and supports for individuals with mental illness and addiction.
FAQ's about the ADAMHS...
ADAMHS has received the highest level of recognition possible by the Ohio Association of img-COQSealCounty Behavioral Health Authorities for administering increased accountability and consistent standards that advance the behavioral health system.
Call the Ohio Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-589-9966.
It’s free, confidential and available 24 hours a day!
Problem Gambling Quick Facts
- Problem gambling refers to any gambling that goes beyond the “normal” bounds of gambling for fun, recreation or entertainment
- Compulsive gambling (or pathological gambling) is a recognized and treatable illness
- Providing financial bailout for compulsive gamblers may actually make the problem worse
- Gambling is not a way to solve financial problems
- Children of problem gamblers may be at higher risk for a broad range of health, mental health and school-related problems
- Bragging about winning, exaggerating wins, and/or minimizing losses
- Spending a lot of time gambling, thinking about or planning to gamble
- Restless or irritable when not gambling
- Borrowing for gambling
- Hiding time spent gambling or hiding bills and unpaid debts
- Lying about how much time or money is spent on gambling
- Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain
Tips for Responsible Gambling
- Gamble only if it’s fun
- Think of the money you lose as the cost of entertainment
- Set a dollar limit and stick to it
- Set a time limit and stick to it
- Accept losing as part of the game
- Don’t borrow money to gamble
- Don’t let gambling interfere with family, friends, or work
- Don’t gamble to win back losses
- Don’t use gambling as a way to cope with emotional or physical pain
- Know the warning signs of problem gambling
What is Fentanyl?
WHAT IS IT?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opiate analgesic similar to but much more potent than morphine. It is typically used during anesthesia, to treat patients with severe pain, or to manage pain after surgery. It is sometimes used to treat people with chronic pain who are physically tolerant to opiates. It is a schedule II prescription drug. However, recent overdoses have been connected to illegally produced and trafficked fentanyl, not diverted pharmaceutical fentanyl.
In its prescription form, fentanyl is known as Actiq, Duragesic and Sublimaze. Street names for the drug include: Apache, China girl, China white, dance fever, friend, goodfella, jackpot, murder 8, TNT, or Tango and Cash.
- Like heroin, morphine and other opioid drugs, fentanyl works by binding to the body’s opiate receptors, highly concentrated in areas of the brain that control pain and emotions. When opiate drugs bind to these receptors, they can drive up dopamine levels in the brain’s reward areas, producing a state of euphoria and relaxation – and in some people, the urge to use the drug again and again. Medications called opiate receptor antagonists act by blocking the effects of opiate drugs. Naloxone is one such antagonist. Overdoses of fentanyl should be treated immediately with an opiate antagonist.
- When prescribed by a physician, fentanyl is often administered via injection, transdermal patch or in lozenge form. However, the type of fentanyl associated with recent overdoses was produced illegally in underground laboratories and sometimes mixed with (or substituted for) heroin in a powder form.
- Mixing fentanyl with street-sold heroin or cocaine markedly amplifies their potency and potential dangers, including the Risk of DEATH! Effects include: euphoria, drowsiness/respiratory depression and arrest, nausea, confusion, constipation, sedation, unconsciousness, coma, tolerance and addiction.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone (also known as Narcan) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug (heroin or prescription pain medications). When administered during an overdose, naloxone blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing. Naloxone has been used safely by medical professionals for more than 40 years.
If naloxone is given to a person who is not experiencing an opioid overdose, it is harmless. If naloxone is administered to a person who is dependent on opioids, it will produce withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal, although uncomfortable, is not life-threatening. Naloxone does not reverse overdoses that are caused by non-opioid drugs, such as cocaine, benzodiazepines (e.g. Xanex, Klonopinand Valium), methamphetamines or alcohol.
|Visit the State of Ohio of Pharmacy website to learn more.|
Naloxone must be administered by a third-party because the overdose victim is unconscious or otherwise incapable of administering the medication personally. In Ohio, a pharmacist or pharmacy intern under the direct supervision of a pharmacist can dispense naloxone without a prescription. Visit the State of Ohio of Pharmacy website to learn more.
- Has no pharmacological effect and has no potential for abuse (non-scheduled);
- Can be safely administered by intranasal, intravenous or intramuscular injection;
- Works rapidly (2-8 min.) and wears off in 20-90 minutes;
- Produces no effect if opioids are not present.
How do I know if someone is overdosing? :
If someone takes more opioids than their body can handle, they can pass out, stop breathing and die. An opioid overdose can take minutes or even hours to occur. A person who is experiencing an overdose may have the following symptoms:
- Slow breathing (less than 1 breath every 5 seconds) or no breathing.
- Face is pale and clammy.
- Blue lips, fingernails or toenails.
- Slow, erratic, or no pulse.
- Snoring or gurgling noises while asleep or nodding out.
- No response when you yell the person’s name or rub the middle of their chest with your knuckles.
Overdose Risk Factors & Prevention
Opioids include both heroin as well as prescription medications used to treat pain such as morphine, codeine, methadone, oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percodan, Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco), fentanyl (Duragesic, Fentora), hydromorphone (Dilaudid, Exalgo), and buprenorphine (Subutex, Suboxone). The following are some common risk factors for opioid overdose as well as some prevention strategies:
Many overdoses occur when people mix heroin or prescription opioids with alcohol and/or benzodiazepines. Alcohol and benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan and Valium) are particularly dangerous because, like opioids, these substances impact an individual’s ability to breathe. Avoid mixing opioids with other drugs or alcohol. If prescribed an opioid and a benzodiazepine by a prescriber, take only as directed.
Tolerance is your body’s ability to process a drug. Tolerance changes over time so that you may need more of a drug to feel its effects. Tolerance can decrease rapidly when someone has taken a break from using an opioid. When someone loses tolerance and then takes an opioid again, they are at-risk for an overdose, even if they take an amount that caused them no problem in the past. If you are using opioids after a period of abstinence, start at a lower dose.
Your physical health impacts your body’s ability to manage opioids. Since opioids can impair your ability to breathe, if you have asthma or other breathing problems you are at higher risk for an overdose. Individuals with liver (hepatitis), kidney problems and those who are HIV-positive are also at an increased risk of an overdose.
A person who has experienced a nonfatal overdose in the past has an increased risk of a fatal overdose in the future. To prevent a fatal overdose, teach your family and friends how to recognize and respond to an overdose. If you or someone you know needs help, please call 877-275-6364 to find an addiction services provider near you.
An overdose is a MEDICAL EMERGENCY! Call 9-1-1 immediately
|Get Naloxone without a prescription
Ohio licensed pharmacies which dispense
naloxone pursuant to OAC 4729-5-39 without a prescription
(Deaths Avoided with Naloxone)
Project D.A.W.N. Website
List of Project DAWN sites
How Seasonal Changes Can Affect Our Mental Health
The effects of seasonal changes on our mental health can be profound. Many changes accompany the shifting seasons: the length of daylight; the intensity of the sunlight; our diet; our routine; how and where we spend our time.
As late fall turns to winter, it's common for people to feel tired, unmotivated, and depleted. Anxiety can increase, too, because these changes can create a vague, unsettled feeling. Also, symptoms of depression can begin or increase. There's a specific disorder called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that is directly tied to seasonal change.
The following tips help enhance mental health through the changing seasons:
- Create a new routine that helps you enjoy things despite the early darkness (reading, board games, crafts, puzzles, etc.)
- Work in movement throughout the day (brief walks, stretches, climbing stairs, etc.) to keep your energy level constant
- Stock up on a variety of favorite teas or coffees, depending on your personal caffeine tolerance
- Be mindful of what you eat, for diet affects mental health
- Identify what you love about the season, and be intentional about incorporating that into your life.
Exposure to cold temperatures can cause serious or life-threatening health problems. The most common cold-related problems are hypothermia and frostbite. When the weather plummets into the single digits, most of us want to do nothing but stay in bed under the covers. And for good reason: With extreme cold weather comes health hazards like frostbite, seasonal affective disorder and even an increased risk of heart attacks.
The elderly, young children, adults under the influence of alcohol and the mentally ill are some of the most at risk for hypothermia, which is an abnormally low body temperature.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia (hi-poe-THUR-me-uh) occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C).
When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system and other organs can't work normally. Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system and eventually to death.
Hypothermia is often caused by exposure to cold weather or immersion in cold water. Primary treatments for hypothermia are methods to warm the body back to a normal temperature.
Shivering is likely the first thing you'll notice as the temperature starts to drop because it's your body's automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself.
Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:
- Slurred speech or mumbling
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Weak pulse
- Clumsiness or lack of coordination
- Drowsiness or very low energy
- Confusion or memory loss
- Loss of consciousness
- Bright red, cold skin (in infants)
Someone with hypothermia usually isn't aware of his or her condition because the symptoms often begin gradually. Also, the confused thinking associated with hypothermia prevents self-awareness. The confused thinking can also lead to risk-taking behavior.
Frostbite, results in a loss of feeling and color in affected areas such as the nose, ears, cheeks, chin, fingers or toes.
Most cases of frostbite include the following symptoms:
- skin feels prickly and/or numb
- skin is discolored (red, white, gray, or yellow)
- pain around the exposed area
- blisters on the skin
- skin turns black
- joints and muscles are stiff or not functioning
- swelling, redness, or discharge in the frostbitten area