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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.

Read more: The Professional's Perspective: How to "opioid-proof" your home

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Opioids—prescription and illicit—are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. In 2015, the five states with the highest rates of death due to drug overdose were West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Ohio and Rhode Island. Take a look at this map from the Centers for Diseace Control, which uses the color red to identify states where drug overdose deaths increased significantly. How does your state stack up?

cdc red

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John and DeniseJohn and Denise Perry, Co-Founders, Clean & Sober Recovery Services, Inc.

These days, we’re seeing an overwhelming amount of information about the opioid epidemic. And you may be wondering what the opioid epidemic means to you, your family and your community.

Chemical-dependency on opioids takes a huge toll on the entire family. Our free and confidential Family Support meetings and our FREE Recovery 101 eBook can help everyone understand how we got here.

But first – what is an opioid, anyway? In a nutshell, opioids are man-made versions of opiates, the narcotic substance that originates with the humble poppy. Opioids can take the form of legitimate pharmaceutically-produced pain medications like Norco OR they might be street-manufactured illegal look-alike medications that include deadly synthetic formulations.

Read more: What's all this talk about opioids really mean?

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many roadsThe recipe for recovery calls for belonging to a group as an essential ingrediant. AA isn’t the only way; in fact, a recent study from the Alcohol Research Group found that people in recovery who attended alternative support groups (Women for Sobriety, LifeRing, and SMART Recovery) experienced more cohesion and greater satisfaction than members of traditional 12-step programs. Learn more about how these programs develop a healthy sense of belonging.

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