First step to addiction recovery has to come from addict

Heroin has replaced crack cocaine as the drug of choice in many areas of the state.

There are overdoses every week. Paramedics have to administer a drug to counteract the effects of the opiate.

The addicts can’t hold a job, so they steal whatever and wherever they can. There are drug dealers waiting to hand out more heroin to the users. The vicious cycle of theft and heroin injections continues daily for so many young men and women on both sides of the Ohio River.

Just as crack cocaine nearly took away a generation decades ago, heroin is threatening another generation.

Drug abuse can take over the lives of people, but they don’t have to live like that.

September is National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month in Ohio and across the country.

Now in its 24th year, recovery month is a nationwide celebration sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Addiction is a very serious disease that impacts the brain. Recovery is a lifelong process of staying free of alcohol or drugs. Drugs can put a grip on a person that is difficult to break.

Only about 2 percent to 5 percent of the persons seeking treatment for opiate addiction can experience recovery in the first year of treatment.

For heroin, only about 20 percent can achieve recovery, and, for cocaine, less than 5 percent. Alcoholics entering treatment can have up to a 49 percent chance of recovery in the first year of seeking help.

Seeking help is the key. The chance for recovery is zero without seeking treatment.

There are drug and alcohol treatment programs in the area offering help. But it is up to the addict or alcoholic to make the first step. Chances are they will stumble and relapse along the way. They will always be a recovering addict. There are also many Narcotics and Alcoholic Anonymous meetings held almost every night of the week in the area.

Family and friends see firsthand the damage of addiction. Sons and daughters are on a path of self-destruction. Family and friends can plead for the addict to get help but it is up to the person sticking a needle in their arm to make that first step.

Recovery does work but that first step is always the most difficult.