A substantial part of my law practice deals not only from getting my clients out of trouble or custody - it's with working with them to get the proper treatment and to help them stay out of trouble. My clients know that I care not only about the legal work but take personal satisfaction in seeing them succeed with their recovery and personal life.
Over the years, I've worked with the courts, probation, the State of California and all of the local counties and have developed a vast network of treatment programs and options for my clients. In addition to referring those in need to treatment, I also take a hands on approach with my clients so that they know that they have an advocate working for them to help them get healthy and stay healthy.
Are you or a friend or loved one, addicted to drugs? If so, contact me immediately so that we can be proactive and keep you or your loved one's from getting into (further) legal trouble and to get help and get on the road to recovery.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Drug abuse can lead to drug dependence or addiction. People who use drugs for pain relief may become dependent, although this is rare in those who don't have a history of addiction. The exact cause of drug abuse and dependence is not known, however, a person's genetics, the drug’s effect on the nervous system, peer pressure, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, and environmental stress all can be factors that lead to drug dependence.
Peer pressure can lead to drug use or abuse, but at least half of those who become addicted have depression, attention deficit disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or another mental health problem.
Children who grow up in an environment of drug use may first see their parents using drugs. This may put them at a higher risk for developing an addiction later in life for both environmental and genetic reasons.
People who are more likely to abuse or become dependent on drugs include those who:
Have depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and schizophrenia
Have easy access to drugs
Have low self-esteem, or problems with relationships
Live a stressful lifestyle, economic or emotional
Live in a culture where there is a high social acceptance of drug use.
Commonly abused substances include:
Opiates and narcotics are powerful painkillers that cause drowsiness (sedation) and sometimes feelings of euphoria. These include heroin, opium, codeine, meperidine (Demerol), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), and oxycodone (Oxycontin).
Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants include amphetamines, cocaine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, and methylphenidate (Ritalin). These drugs have a stimulating effect, and people can start needing higher amounts of these drugs to feel the same effect (tolerance).
Central nervous system depressants include alcohol, barbiturates (amobarbital, pentobarbital, secobarbital), benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Xanax), chloral hydrate, and paraldehyde. These substances produce a sedative and anxiety-reducing effect, which can lead to dependence.
Hallucinogens include LSD, mescaline, psilocybin ("mushrooms"), and phencyclidine (PCP or "angel dust"). They can cause people to see things that aren't there (hallucinations) and can lead to psychological dependence.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active ingredient found in marijuana (cannabis) and hashish.
Stages of Drug Dependence
There are several stages of drug use that may lead to dependence. Young people seem to move more quickly through the stages than do adults.
Experimental use -- typically involves peers, done for recreational use; the user may enjoy defying parents or other authority figures.
Regular use -- the user misses more and more school or work; worries about losing drug source; uses drugs to "fix" negative feelings; begins to stay away from friends and family; may change friends to those who are regular users; shows increased tolerance and ability to "handle" the drug.
Daily preoccupation -- the user loses any motivation; does not care about school and work; has obvious behavior changes; thinking about drug use is more important than all other interests, including relationships; the user becomes secretive; may begin dealing drugs to help support habit; use of other, harder drugs may increase; legal problems may increase.
Dependence -- cannot face daily life without drugs; denies problem; physical condition gets worse; loss of "control" over use; may become suicidal; financial and legal problems get worse; may have broken ties with family members or friends.
Some of the symptoms and behaviors of drug dependence include:
Continuing to use drugs even when health, work, or family are being harmed
Episodes of violence
Hostility when confronted about drug dependence
Lack of control over drug abuse - being unable to stop or reduce alcohol intake
Making excuses to use drugs
Missing work or school, or a decrease in performance
Need for daily or regular drug use to function
Neglecting to eat
Not caring for physical appearance
No longer taking part in activities because of drug abuse
Secretive behavior to hide drug use
Using drugs even when alone
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