According to a study released last year by the journal Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, the average intravenous drug user, or, PWID (persons who inject drugs), is about 42 years old. These individuals mostly have long histories of intravenous drug use, which includes various attempts at treatment, records of violence, pasts full of trauma or abuse, and more. During the time of the study, a large percentage of PWID did not access any treatment. Additionally, a significant percentage of the participants attempted to get treatment but were not able to.
Psychology of Addiction
Interestingly, despite the length of intravenous drug use in an individual’s story, they were not prevented from getting treatment. Meaning, that the presence of long term intravenous drug use was not a deciding factor against their ability to get treatment. In fact, it was helpful. One factor that did play a part in the PWD’s ability to access treatment was whether or not they had previously been to treatment. Addiction treatment is often criticized for operating a “revolving door” similar to that of prison systems. The psychology of addiction, often like the psychology of crime, is in part about familiarity, habit, routine, and comfort. Though there is a way to live a more quality life, PWID might feel that intravenous drug use and subsequent rounds of treatment is the only life they know. At an average age of 42, that’s about half a lifetime. Those who had previous experiences with treatment for their intravenous drug use had more difficulty trying to get treatment later on.
Having the appropriate resources available for long term and short term intravenous drug addicts is imperative to recovery. Early interventions for short term users could prevent long term use, promoting instead a lifetime of recovery. Instead of treating long term intravenous users like lost causes, it is important to help them rehabilitate as well so they can serve newer IV drug users as a model of recovery.
Intravenous drug use of any substances- often cocaine, methamphetamines, and/or heroin- is highly addictive. Individuals report feeling as addicted to the needle and the process of intravenous drug use as they do the drug substance itself. Injecting drugs delivers a more immediate and potent high, causing a dramatically stronger chemical dependency.
Recovery from intravenous drug use, at any stage in life, is not impossible. Aurora Recovery Center is here to show you the way. We provide a spectrum of care to help recovering addicts transition safely through each stage of treatment. From medically assisted detox to sober living, our goal is to light the way to lifelong recovery. For help, call us today at 844-515-STOP.