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Getting to the heart of the matter

February 13, 2011
By CATHY BROWNFIELD, Family Recovery Center

Let's get to the heart of the matter. Traditionally February is Heart Month. The greeting card industry, candy makers, rose growers and vendors everywhere are targeting everyone to remember those they love with cards, gifts, dinners, desserts-even marriage proposals.

Everyone likes those little gifts and surprises from one heart to another. Yet, how sad it is when a heart stops beating too soon.

Three of the most devastating and troubling consequences of substance abuse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are:

1.)The negative effects of prenatal drug exposure that causes behavioral issues, attention problems and the abilities to think, remember, reason or use language in infants and children.

2.)Negative effects of secondhand smoke which increases the risk of heart disease and lung cancer in non-smokers.

3.)Increased spread of infectious diseases. Drug abuse by injection is related to the spread of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C. Other forms of substance abuse result in intoxication, judgment is impaired and risky sexual behaviors occur without protection from infection.

Though you may think what you are using is harmless and bad things only happen to other people, consider the people in your life and how they would feel if you were suddenly gone forever. Now take a look at the effects of some commonly abused substances that have the power to stop a heartforever.

Nicotine increases risks of cancer, emphysema, lung disease and cardiovascular (that's heart) disease. Alcohol can damage the brain and other organs.

It affects high brain functions like problem-solving and decision-making, memory and learning coordination.

Marijuana increases heart rate and harms the lungs as well as increasing the risk of serious mental conditions (like schizophrenia) in those already vulnerable to mental illness. Inhalants are so dangerous it takes only one time of using to cause heart failure in a healthy person. These agents damage brain, heart, kidneys and lungs.

The abuse of cocaine can have serious consequences affecting the heart, digestive, nervous and respiratory systems in the body. Ecstasy and LSD increase body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, among other symptoms. Abuse of steroids can result in severe acne, heart disease, liver ailments, stroke, infectious diseases, depression and suicide.

Is it worth the risk? Conflict in your home is NOT OK. Wouldn't you rather enjoy the gift of life, give the people you love roses and candy hearts and see in their eyes the love reflected back at you?

Substance abuse is a problem, but with help it can be overcome. Family Recovery Center can help set you on the path to recovery with education, prevention and treatment programs for the individual with the abuse problem and the family of that person.

For more information, contact us at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468 or by e-mail,

Happy Valentine's Day tomorrow!



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