What Does it Mean When Everyone's Searching "Are Drugs Safe?"
If you really want to know what's on people's minds, look at Google Trends. Whatever people may say on social media or in person, whatever they may be willing to express in public, you don't know what they're really thinking about until you check their search history. A look at Google's numbers today shows that we've been seeing quite a few people in California searching for terms like "is salvia safe?" or "is DMT safe?" or "how to safely use MDMA." On the one hand, at least people are taking precautions. Before the internet, the best a drug user had to go on was information from fellow users, which often came down to urban legend. Drug use isn't necessarily the safest hobby in the first place, but flying blind only makes it more dangerous. That said, these searches do tell us something else...
We're Seeing More Drug Users in California These Days
Now, the sad fact about drug use is that it's only a problem for some of us. A lot of people will experiment with drugs and alcohol in their youth and never develop a dependency. Others may stumble onto drugs at a particularly bad time in their life, and immediately take to it as a crutch. Not everyone who experiments with drugs and alcohol will become addicted, but many will. Of course by the most basic rules of mathematics, the more people there are using drugs, the more people you will see developing a dependency. We're seeing more of these "are drugs safe" searches lately, and the searches are a bit like the ants that you see above ground: For every ten you can spot, there's a hundred you can't.
The Questions People Ask
Some of the questions people ask are interesting to say the least. Just to give you a few examples:
- Is it safe to smoke suboxone?
- Is it safe to inject molly?
- Is it safe to inject liquid methadone?
- Can you smoke buprenorphine?
- Cocaine on suboxone?
- Dangers of snorting suboxone
- is it safe to snort oxycodone?
- Is it safe to snort is it safe to snort gabapentin?
These are just to name a few. Any drug that's on the market, legal or otherwise, people are looking for creative ways to take it and combine it with other drugs.
Anticipating The Long Term Effects
If we can believe what these search results are telling us, that drug users in California are on the rise, then there's quite a bit that we can extrapolate from that. One of these things that we can suspect to be true is that we're probably going to see a lot more people looking to attend rehab centers in California. Again, many of these users will probably experiment with drugs to some degree, and then put it aside and never think about it again. Some people play around with drugs and alcohol in college, and they're lucky enough to never overdose or fall in with a bad crowd or become addicted. Those are the lucky ones. Others become addicted very quickly. That first experiment becomes "just one more," just one more becomes a habit, and a habit becomes a full-blown addiction. These are the people who will, sooner or later, have to do something about it, or let the addiction control their lives forever.
How Long Will It Take?
Every addiction is different. One person might realize that they're addicted right away and pursue an addiction recovery program only a few months after their first encounter with opiates, meth or crack cocaine. Others might spend years, even decades using drugs on a regular basis before they decide to seek help. And of course, some will never seek help. There's no timeline for how long it will take for a wave of addicted people to start seeking help, it's more of a rolling process: If we're seeing more drug users in California, then we can expect to see more people coming into rehab centers into the indefinite future. Again, not every user will need rehab, not every user will accept the need for rehab, but for every one who doesn't set foot inside a recovery center, there's one who will.
Drugs have always been around, but why are more people in California using now? It comes down to a number of factors:
-The opiate epidemic. As you may have heard, there's been a massive spike in the use of opiates and other prescription drugs lately. It stands to reason that this spike would hit California, as well. There are a few theories as to why this is happening, with the most likely possibly being the over-prescription of opiate pain killers.
-The deep web. Sites like Silk Road make it very easy to explore the world of exotic drugs. We're not trying to take a stance on the free market here. In fact, many sources suggest that legalization could help to regulate drug use and prevent overdose and treat addiction. But the fact is that deep web sites make drugs more accessible than ever before.
-California has a lot of money and it's only gotten richer with the tech boom. It's one of the richest states in the union, and many people run out of legal ways to spend all that disposable income. Experimentation with drugs often comes next.
What This All Means
The silver lining to all of this is that the more data we have on drug use, addiction and overdose, the more data we have to put to use on treatment and rehab. It's not exactly ethical to experiment on humans to find out the effects of dangerous drugs and addiction, and of course we'd rather nobody ever have to suffer addiction. But if you're looking for a bright side to the epidemic, we may be seeing this data put to use to develop more effective methods of treatment. This also means that you may want to keep an eye on any loved ones who have had a history with drug and alcohol addiction.
Many who have been through recovery have a strong success rate and they might never touch drugs again. For others, exposure alone can mean relapse, and drugs have never been more available in California than they are right now.
If you or a loved one are in need of help with addiction, please contact an addiction counselor today. You can change your life with that one call.