Author Ricki Townsend is a Registered Interventionist, Drug/Alcohol Counselor, Ncac1, CADC-CAS, Bri-1, Chaplain and Grief Recovery Specialist. You can find Ricki at A Path to Recovery.

As an epidemic of opioid addiction sweeps across our nation, I’d like to share my "Top 10 Tips" for preventing chemical dependency on opioids:

1) Reduce the number of prescription pain pills coming into your home. After a surgery or an injury, ask your doctor to suggest a non-narcotic pain reliever instead of an opioid.
2) Understand your personal risk for chemical dependency. Risk factors include a family history of drug or alcohol issues, personal experience of childhood trauma (such as the death of a parent, or sexual abuse), and mental health issues including depression, anxiety disorder or bi-polar disorder.

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Thoughts from Don Troutman

Founder of CSTL

No one ever starts out with the intention of being a drug addict.  “Mom and Dad, I want to be an addict or alcoholic, yoked to alcohol or other drugs. I want to be unemployable, destitute, at death’s doorstep.” That’s not how substance abuse (AKA “substance use disorder”) is born.

Instead, it usually begins with playful experimentation that has no harmful consequences. It may begin with a drink that lubricates the wheels of conversation or helps squash anxiety or depression. It may begin with doctor-prescribed pain pills after an injury or surgery. But pretty soon, as if the switch is flipped, drinking to excess or drugging is not by choice anymore. When you’ve turned that corner, you need to drink or take drugs so you can merely make it through the day without getting physically sick or mentally anguished. Then the other dominoes fall:  jail, dishonesty, car accidents, child neglect, job loss…the list goes on and on.

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