Substance misuse and addiction can happen to anyone. Pilots, nurses, aircraft mechanics, police officers, parents, kids, teachers — no one is immune. According to Medicinesafe.org, 115 people in the United States die from opioid overdose daily.
According to Psychology Today, addiction is a condition in which a person engages in use of a substance or in a behavior for which the rewarding effects provide a compelling incentive to repeatedly pursue the behavior despite detrimental consequences. It may involve the use of substances such as: alcohol, inhalants, opioids, cocaine, nicotine and others, or behaviors such as gambling or sexual addiction. There is scientific evidence that the addictive substances and behaviors share a key neurobiological feature — they intensely activate brain pathways of reward and reinforcement, many of which involve the neurotransmitter dopamine.
“There is no shame in being addicted; what is a shame, is that people don’t know that confidential, reliable help is available,” shared Dr. William Vail, field Consultant/contractor for Employee Assistance and Work/Life Program at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
Because of their career fields or security clearance, military and federal employees may not ask for help or want to admit that they or a family member have an addiction or misuse problem.
“All calls are 100 percent confidential,” said Vail, who works as an independent contractor and is under no obligation to alert supervisors or employers. “My job is to make sure people get the help they need. It is up to them if they want to tell their employers or not.” Not all people struggling with addiction or misuse need full-time, live-in help, and may be treated with medications and counseling that will not conflict with their work schedule.
“It can only take as little as five days of using of a narcotic or substance to become addicted,” explained Joseph Hunter, CEO and founder of Cycles of Change Recovery and Design for Change Recovery. “People can become addicted without even realizing it.” Getting a prescription for surgery, a toothache or a backache, can lead to an addiction even in healthy, stable people, who don’t use alcohol to have never taken recreational drugs.
Design for Change Recovery has recently been approved to accept TRICARE Insurance, which many veterans and federal employees have. Since addiction affects entire families and not just the consumer, free family workshops, open to anyone interested, are offered at 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays 38700 5th Street West, Suite E in Palmdale. Free family weekend workshops are also offered every six weeks at various locations. The drug and alcohol addiction rehab center has been awarded an AAA rating, which is the highest rating, from the Joint Commission, based on excellence in behavioral health treatment and evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to be the best treatments for certain conditions.
For help with general inquiries, call the 24-hour toll-free line 800-222-0364. “People may be new to the area or they simply do not have the time to do any research,” said Vail.
Veterans, family members and federal employees are encouraged to call Vail at 661-277-1183 for more information on addiction and recovery resources. All are encouraged to visit www.cyclesofchange.com or call 877-883-8515 for more information on addiction recovery — even if you are not covered by insurance.