How to handle the holidays and addiction recovery

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - To welcome in a new year many families welcome relatives and friends into their homes. Before doing this local substance abuse counselor Dr. Lin Hogan, who works with Weems Community Mental Health Center, says there are precautions that you need to take if you're taking federally regulated medication.

"I encourage families to lock up their prescription medications," says Hogan. "If you're going to have people over, I'm not saying that everybody is going to be going through your medicine cabinet, but it's a good idea to lock up those things because you never know."

Dr. Hogan says doing this is a good idea because it helps to deter potential problems with pain relieving opioids, like Oxycontin, from getting into the wrong hands.

"It's really important that you keep these medications safe from others who may divert them into the streets and to the public, and that is our responsibility with those medications," says Hogan.

For people who are recovering drug addicts or alcoholics, Dr. Hogan says there are also important precautions that you should take before attending parties where those things might be.

"If you're a recovering alcoholic I encourage you to go with a sober friend. I also encourage you to take your own vehicle no matter what, and if for some reason you start to feel a little bit uneasy then it's okay to say, 'Well, it was nice to see y'all. Happy Holidays,' and go ahead and move on."

The abuse of painkillers, which is also known as opioid abuse, is a widespread problem. According to Dr. Hogan, on average one person per day dies from opioid abuse in Mississippi. He also says each day almost 80 people in the U.S. accidentally overdose because of opioid abuse.