Addiction rates on the rise in Louisiana

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Louisiana is still in the midst of hurricane season. While there is not too much activity at the moment, experts warn this can be a stressful time for those suffering from addiction.

Louisiana resident Chris McMahon is almost 18 years sober, suffering from alcoholism and painkiller addiction.

According to McMahon, the treatment has changed even in the last 10 years.

“It is now viewed as a brain disease. It’s not a moral failing. It’s not something that is wrong with you and you just don’t have enough willpower,” McMahon said.

The Center for Disease Control ranks Louisiana as the 19th state with the highest opioid overdose rate in 2015.

According to the CDC, drug overdoses in Louisiana increased 14 percent from 2015 to 2016. 561 deaths across the state involved opioids.

Experts say addiction spikes during times of high stress – such as hurricane season or holidays.

“Remember your recovery and sobriety has to come first. Even if your loved ones are drinking around the Christmas tree you have to put yourself and your recovery first,” McMahon said.

McMahon now owns addiction treatment center Longbranch Healthcare, treating those suffering from addiction – similar to the one he went to 20 years ago. 

The center partners with Tulane University to give patients multi-faceted care.

McMahon said he is thankful he can use his story of recovery to help those still suffering. 

“Really it’s all God. Because God had way bigger plans for me than I had for myself and it’s just a gift. All of this was given to me by other people and I’m trying to give it back,” McMahon said.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, you can call the substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.

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