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Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Honors Red Ribbon Week in October

CHICAGO, Oct. 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In recognition of Red Ribbon Week, October 22-30, Gateway Foundation is elevating awareness about the fastest growing form of substance abuse in the U.S., prescription drug abuse. As the largest provider of drug and alcohol treatment in Illinois, Gateway Foundation will build upon the Red Ribbon Week anti-drug education efforts taking place in schools by reaching out to parents and community leaders with resources addressing the growing concern of prescription drug abuse.

"Over the past few years the number of individuals treated by Gateway for prescription drug abuse has nearly doubled. While many assume that mainly teens struggle with this form of addiction in our experience, prescription drug abuse is more prevalent in older adults, women and people who consume alcohol on a daily basis," explains Dr. Phil Welches, Clinical Director, Gateway Foundation. Low cost and accessibility has fueled America's prescription drug abuse frenzy. Often free and easy to find, 70 percent of teens and adults who abuse prescription pain relievers say they got them from a friend or relative, often without their knowledge.

The term "abuse" of prescription drugs is defined as use without medical supervision for the intentional purpose of getting high. Opioids/narcotics/pain relievers, depressants and stimulants are the categories most commonly abused.  If a person gets in the habit of abusing pharmaceuticals, bad things can happen, including:

  • Individuals who abuse depressants, including benzodiazepines, tranquilizers, barbiturates and sedatives, place themselves at risk of seizures, respiratory depression and decreased heart rate.
  • Stimulant abuse can cause high body temperature, irregular heart rate, cardiovascular system failure and fatal seizures. It can also result in hostility or feelings of paranoia.
  • Individuals who abuse prescription drugs by injecting them expose themselves to additional risks, including contracting HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis B and C and other blood-borne viruses.

Signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse include:  constricted pupils, slurred speech, personality changes, mood swings, irritability, excessive energy, avoiding sleep; sweating, flushed skin, loss of appetite; and forgetfulness, sleepiness and clumsiness.

Be Proactive, Talk About the Facts
Gateway Foundation encourages parents to take advantage of Red Ribbon Week and continue the dialogue with their kids about the risks associated with all types of drugs and alcohol use. Children who learn the facts and dangers about drug use and underage drinking from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use than those who do not. Research shows when parents talk openly about the dangers of taking drugs and drinking with their children, teens have better self-control and develop more negative perceptions of these risky behaviors.

For more answers about prescription drug abuse including brochures for download, visit If you know someone demonstrating signs of prescription drug or other substance abuse, Gateway Foundation can help.  For more information, visit or call 877-321-RECOVER (877-321-7386) today for a free consultation.

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment
Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is the largest provider of substance abuse treatment in Illinois, offering services for adolescents and adults at treatment centers throughout the state. As an organization, Gateway Foundation has treated over 425,000 people and currently helps more than 29,000 individuals a year reclaim productive healthy lives.  

SOURCE Gateway Foundation Alcohol and Drug Rehab
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