It’s no secret that heroin and opioid addiction have gained an epidemic status in our nation. Over two million people suffered from an opioid prescription substance use disorder, and approximately 467,000 were addicted to heroin. Perhaps even more disturbing, though, is that many of these people could receive treatment to help overcome and manage their addiction. More than ever, heroin and opioid addiction are treatable, especially with medication-assisted therapy, such as buprenorphine treatment, counseling, and behavioral therapy options.
Knowing what heroin is, what opioids and opiates are, their effects, examples of them, and available treatments can help prepare you to find hope and healing in drug rehab. Help is available for heroin and opioid addiction, and recovering is simply a matter of accepting help. To learn more about the substance abuse treatment programs available, call Vertava Health today at 888.601.8693.
What Are Opioids?
What’s the difference between opioids and opiates? The term opioids used to include only synthetic opioids but now refers to the entire family of opioids and opiates. Opiates are non-synthetic opiate drugs. The use of prescription opioids in America has become rampant. In fact, the NIDA reports that opioid prescriptions are one of the top three most used prescription drug classes.
Prescription opioids produce feelings of calm, euphoria, and relief from pain by way of changing your perception of pain and your response to pleasure. Essentially, opioids produce an immediate, euphoric feeling that distracts you from the pain and changes how your body and brain respond to it. Many people may not realize how dangerous it can be to use prescription opioids. We tend to associate drugs given to us by a doctor as safe and free from harm. Even when taken as directed, addiction can result from opioid prescriptions. Opioids change your brain’s communication pathways, so taking them can quickly cause cravings and dependence.
In addition, when you change the administration of drugs, such as crushing and snorting the extended-release pills to get faster effects, you put yourself at heightened risk.
What Are the Effects of Opioids?
The effects of prescription opioids include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Drifting between consciousness and semi-consciousness
- Flushed skin
- A weighted feeling in the hands and feet
- Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
Opioid addiction can result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, and addiction may seem like endless cycles from which it’s impossible to escape. Yet treatment is available: medication can help ease withdrawal and manage symptoms. Then, inpatient rehab centers, certified medical staff, and evidence-based therapy can all contribute to assisting people to not only overcome addiction but manage it long-term.
Commonly Used Opioids In The U.S.
The number of opioids prescribed in the United States has heavily grown in the past few decades. Millions of people struggle with opioid addiction. With increased prescriptions, increased numbers of use, addiction, and overdose. The following are some of the most commonly used prescription opioids in the United States.
Heroin was responsible for 591,000 substance use disorders in 2015. It is cheap and easy to obtain, so it’s the drug many opioid-addicted people turn to when the prescriptions run out. In addition, the majority of people new to heroin use first used prescription pain relievers.
Doctors typically prescribe this medication for more severe pain. It is available in oral (pill) form or by injection. Signs of use include:
- Inability to stop taking the drug
According to the U.S. National Library Of Medicine, the use of Oxycodone can cause serious breathing problems. Use of it, such as changing the administration of the drug, enhances these side effects. It is available as an oral solution or extended-release tablets. The extended-release tablets tend to be used by crushing and snorting them, and this can force faster effects, increasing the risk of overdose.
Doctors can prescribe hydrocodone to people who will need long-term, severe pain relief. It has a high potential for use, and physicians try not to prescribe this medication to those with any alcohol history due to the risk of abusing the two together. It is available as an extended-release capsule or tablet, the use of which involves crushing and snorting or dissolving in water and injecting.
This medication is often prescribed to treat mild to severe pain and to help relieve severe coughing. For coughing, it works by decreasing the activity in the brain that causes coughing. It comes in tablet, capsule, and solution forms. However, the use of codeine can result in serious breathing problems and other side effects, especially when abused with other drugs such as alcohol.
Fentanyl should not be used to treat pain other than chronic cancer pain. However, despite being prescribed only for people who suffer round-the-clock pain, it can still become addicting. Typical symptoms of use include lethargy, euphoria, and drowsiness.
Buprenorphine is a medication that physicians at addiction treatment centers typically prescribe to treat opioid addiction. Despite being only a partial agonist opioid and being used to help with managing withdrawal symptoms, the drug is still a target of abuse. However, when properly administered and monitored, it can help addicted individuals safely taper off opioid use.
Hydromorphone is used in the treatment of pain. This extended-release medication is typically used for people who will experience long-term, daily pain. It can cause serious breathing problems, especially when forcing a faster effect of the extended-release form of the drug. It is also extremely potent, so many doctors advise patients not to let the drug touch any part of their skin or clothes.
Methadone is also used in the treatment of opioid dependence symptoms but may still cause addiction. Abuse of it is dangerous, as it is meant for careful, monitored administration. Changing the dose can mean heightened adverse side effects, like respiratory distress.
Signs Of Opioid Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms of prescription opioids are similar to those of heroin but also may include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Pupil dilation
- A runny nose
- Stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting
- Trouble sleeping
These symptoms are uncomfortable but rarely life-threatening. It is an overdose that can be life-threatening, and because the withdrawal symptoms are intense, people may return to use and accidentally overdose on the medication.
For those suffering from opioid withdrawal, detoxification may be necessary. Detoxification allows your body to flush out the toxins gained from prolonged use. This is a complex process, as people who require detoxification tend to have been taking opioid drugs for an extended period of time. In other words, they have formed a dependence.
In getting rid of these substances from your system, your body will protest, which is why you feel the withdrawal symptoms. That’s why detoxification should always be monitored. It ensures that all your vital functions remain normal, withdrawal symptoms are at safe, manageable levels, and pain is kept at a minimum. During this process, medication may help ease these symptoms, relieve pain, and help you safely taper off the use of the medication until you no longer experience withdrawal symptoms.
In our inpatient rehab centers, proper detoxification is always attended by certified, professional medical staff. This quality of care can make a vast difference in the effectiveness of your detox session.
End Opioid Addiction Today with Vertava Health
So many people every year are claimed by the opioid epidemic. Yet you can find hope, healing, and fulfillment. You don’t have to become the next victim of opioid addiction. Contact us today if you’re ready to seek treatment, change your behavior, reroute your thought processes, and heal. Call Vertava Health at 888.601.8693 to speak with a treatment specialist.