Don’t let substance use disorders have the last word

A hand rests on a man`s shoulder in a sign of support.

Substance use disorders may change brain chemistry, creating chronic cravings that may be difficult to control without treatment.

Ask for help

Substance use disorders don’t care about age, gender, race, education, location or economic status. Many substances may be misused and become part of a disorder, including:

  • Opioids
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Cannabis
  • Stimulants
  • Hallucinogens

Dealing with a growing opiod problem

In 2019, more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Opiods, mainly synthetic opiods, are the leading cause of overdose deaths.1

These drugs, usually prescribed for pain relief, can be highly addictive, which often makes quitting them difficult. As a result, opioid abuse can destroy families and lives.

Findings from the CDC about opioid drug overdoses in 2019:

Drug overdose deaths and opioid-involved deaths continue to rise in the United States.2

The majority of drug overdose deaths (over 70%) involve an opioid.3

Fight doubts and fears with action, not excuses

Despite all this, there is hope.

According to the office of the Surgeon General, only about 1 in 10 people with substance use disorders receive any type of specialty treatment.4 Seeking treatment may be seen as a social stigma that unfortunately keeps many from getting the help that could save their lives.

The longer a substance is used, the harder it can be for the user to get back to “normal” during treatment. That’s why it’s so important to detect and begin treating substance use disorders as early as possible, according to the Surgeon General’s report.

That inability or unwillingness to ask for help is often due to a combination of reasons, including:

  • Expectations of cost, even with insurance
  • A belief you can handle it on your own or thinking treatment will not help
  • Uncertainty about where to go or how to get started
  • A lack of time for treatment
  • Denial, shame, fear or guilt
  • The feeling that getting treatment shows weak character

Some effective treatment options are available

Any step toward seeking help and treatment may be a step toward getting better. Treatment may focus on:

  • Intensive and early intervention
  • Personalized care that focuses on the whole person—mind and body alike
  • An effort to remove the stigma associated with having a substance use disorder

Treatment options can include:

  • Medication assisted treatment
  • Counseling
  • Peer groups
  • 12-step fellowships
  • Inpatient treatment

Resources

If you feel you or covered family member may be coping with substance use disorders, you can call the Humana Behavioral Health Hotline number found on the back of your Humana member ID card.

If you don’t have a doctor or need to find a new one, search the Humana providers network. Find a doctor, opens new window

You can also look into available state and local help. Many states provide a variety of opioid and drug treatment resources.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), opens new window is an excellent and trusted source for information and guidance when dealing with SUD. The SAMHSA website includes a searchable map for finding nearby treatment facilities or programs., opens new window

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, opens new window hosts a list of sites that can help you find nearby treatment programs and facilities, support groups and more at the state or county level.

Sources

  1. “Drug Overdose Deaths,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed August 12, 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html, opens new window
  2. “Drug Overdose Deaths.”
  3. “Drug Overdose Deaths.”
  4. “Key Findings: Early Intervention, Treatment, and Management of Substance Use Disorders,” surgeongeneral.gov, last accessed August 12, 2019, https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/key-findings/early-intervention, opens new window.