The opioid epidemic in America is nothing short of a national crisis and was declared a public health emergency. As of 2018, the National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that every day, “more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.”
In fact, opioids are affecting people of all ages and backgrounds. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explains that overdoses on opioids—which include prescription pain relievers, heroin, and fentanyl—”rose 30% in all parts of the U.S. from July 2016 through September 2017.”
As the demand for action and help echoes throughout communities, Recovery Centers of America are here for those struggling with opioid abuse and have the tools, expertise, and facilities necessary to end the cycle of addiction.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help with drug addiction, call 1-800-RECOVERY or visit RecoveryCentersofAmerica.com now.
It’s impossible to turn on the news and not hear about opioids and the devastating impact they have on tens of thousands of people throughout the country everyday. But what, exactly, are opioids?
The CDC explains that opioids are, “Natural or synthetic chemicals that interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain, and reduce the intensity of pain signals and feelings of pain.”
Because of the euphoric feeling they can produce, in addition to the pain-relieving feature, they are often misused. These highly addictive substances can include prescription opioids (such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and oxymorphone), as well as pharmaceutical Fentanyl (a synthetic opioid used as an anesthetic and pain reliever, that is more potent than both heroin and morphine.)
Addiction to opioids can start when a person takes the medicine in doses or ways that was not prescribed to them by their doctor, or via illegal usage. Opioids alter the brain, as well as the spinal cord and organs in the body that are vital to the feelings of pain and pleasure. The high that opioids produce create a non-stop cycle of wanting to recreate the “good” feeling (which can include drowsiness and confusion), and the results can be harmful, and as we see time and time again, life-threatening.
Opioid abuse can lead to hypoxia, a condition, the CDC explains “that results when too little oxygen reaches the brain. Hypoxia can have short—and long-term—psychological and neurological effects, including coma, permanent brain damage, or death.”
Other side effects can include lethargy, paranoia, nausea, constipation, and liver damage. Those who abuse opioids can become dependent on them and even gain a tolerance that allows them to take more.
In addition to the physical harm opioids can cause, these substances also wreak havoc on the emotional well-being and financial state of abusers and those around them.
Ridding the mind and body from opioids can be a challenge, but seeking care and treatment in order to achieve long-term sobriety could save a life. When it comes to getting off opioids, it’s strongly recommended that the addict do so in a medically supervised detox facility.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms can include muscle pain, severe cravings, sleep issues, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, cold flashes, bone pain, and uncontrollable leg movements.
Recovery Centers of America has facilities that are conducive to helping those get free of their opioid addiction. Depending on the severity of the addiction and its impact on the patient, how long the detoxification will take will vary from person-to-person. The full detox process typically takes anywhere from 4-7 days to complete, but it could be longer or shorter.
During their time in detox, patients will receive around-the-clock care and support from our highly regarded team of doctors, nurses, and therapists who will help them get through the detoxification process and on to the care and work done in inpatient and outpatient (both 30 days each) treatment.
With the help of Recovery Centers of America, you won’t have to become part of the opioid statistics.
Just like other opiates, the use of heroin continues to rise at shocking levels in the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, as of 2016, roughly 948,000 Americans reported using heroin.
Heroin—which is a white or brown powder, or a black sticky substance known as black tar heroin—can be injected, sniffed, snorted, or smoked by its users. Heroin a highly addictive opioid drug made from morphine.
Its intense, addictive qualities stem from its ability to make users feel euphoric, pain-free, and has a profound effect on the brain and overall nervous system.
Since it creates a feeling not unlike those found in abused prescription and pharmaceutical opioids, those who abuse those substances are vulnerable to turn to the illegal drug as an alternative. Not only does heroin give a similar high, but it is often cheaper and more readily available for consumption than a drug that would require a prescription.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that, “Among new heroin users, approximately three out of four report having abused prescription opioids prior to using heroin.”
The abuse of heroin can lead to a number of alarming effects, including nausea, vomiting, losing consciousness, damaged tissue, abscesses, stomach cramping, liver and kidney disease, pneumonia, and mental disorders.
For those who inject heroin, there is the possibility of having collapsed veins, as well as the high risk of contracting the HIV and/or hepatitis C virus.
Heroin abuse can be fatal. In fact, the CDC points out that, “heroin overdose death rates increased by 19.5%, with nearly 15,500 people dying in 2016” alone.
When a heroin overdose occurs it often triggers hypoxia, a condition in which the amount of oxygen reaching the brain decreases. Hypoxia can also lead to coma and permanent brain damage. In the case of an overdose, the medication Naloxone needs to be given right away by an emergency responder in order to reverse the opioid overdose.
As frightening as these facts may be, heroin abusers and addicts can get the help and guidance they need to survive and get sober.
For those who chose to get clean from heroin and it’s life-threatening risks, Recovery Centers of America provides addiction treatment in a safe, secure environment under the supervision and guidance of our doctors, nurses, counselors, therapists, and specialists.
Addicts will not only go through detox, but they’ll undergo treatment in both inpatient and outpatient care, where they’ll learn more about their disease through education and therapy, as well as how to maintain their sobriety.
The horrific, potentially deadly impact of opioids on users is something that requires immediate attention in order to achieve lifelong health and sobriety.
One of the ways to help an addict free themselves from the grip of highly addictive opiates (be it prescription medications or heroin), is the administration of certain medications to treat opioid use.
These medications can be a highly effective in getting addicts off of opioids and keeping them off of said substances.
For opioid addicts who are going through withdrawal symptoms, such as intense cravings, there is Buprenorphine (or Subutex). Unlike the opioids that lead to addiction, Buprenorphine does not produce the high by activating and blocking opioid receptors in the brain.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse describes Buprenorphine as a partial opioid agonist, “meaning that it binds to those same opioid receptors but activates them less strongly than full agonists do.”
For patients going through opioid withdrawal and addiction treatment at a Recovery Centers of America facility, Buprenorphine/Subutex can be administered by our highly trained doctors. The medications are only given during the first five days of detox/inpatient care, and the dosage is gradually lowered over five days until it is completely stopped.
Suboxone vs Methadone
The well-known and widely-used addiction medication Methadone prevents negative withdrawal symptoms and reduces cravings for opioids. NIDA explains that Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist that works by acting on opioid receptors in the brain—”the same receptors that other opioids such as heroin, morphine, and opioid pain medications activate.”
Methadone occupies and activates the opioid receptors, but it does not produce the euphoric state that the addictive substances produce.
Methadone can still become addictive for some users, who physically come to depend on the drug over time. It can also be abused as a non-medical substance. For those who don’t have access to the drug after becoming dependent on it, methadone withdrawal symptoms can include cravings, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, agitation, runny nose, and body aches.
A possible life-threatening side effect of Methadone recovery and withdrawal can be relapsing on opioids, which could lead to overdose.
While Methadone has been around since the 1950s, the addiction medication Suboxone has made its way into the recovery realm in the 2000s. The medication, which has not yet been approved by the FDA, is designed to stave addicts off of the withdrawal from opioids. But, unlike Methadone Suboxone is formulated not to induce any sort of high. (Abuse and overuse of Methadone can, induce a high.)
Medications like Methadone or Suboxone can only be given or prescribed by health professionals. For instance, those who visit clinics first have to go through a complete evaluation which determines what they need it for, such as medical-assisted therapies.
Heroin is an incredibly potent drug, with a harmful and powerful effect on the mind and body of its users.
Much like the negative side effects of using the drug itself (which can include vomiting, cramping, kidney disease, liver disease, mental disorders, and even death) the withdrawal from heroin is anything but pleasant. But, unlike the symptoms of heroin use, the effects of heroin withdrawal lead to recovery and rehabilitation.
When going through detoxification from heroin, someone can experience a range of withdrawal symptoms that include runny nose, painful muscle spasms, severe abdominal cramps, body tremors, pounding heart, rapid breathing, heavy perspiration, chills, anxiety, irritability, severe nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, cravings, and extreme fatigue.
Withdrawing from heroin without medical supervision can be deadly. Under the care of a detox facility, the side effects of withdrawal can be treated in safe, secure environment.
For those who seek treatment at Recovery Centers of America, a patient going through heroin detoxification will be under 24-hour supervision from a highly trained and respected team of doctors, nurses, specialists, and therapists.
Our health professionals will ensure that the detox from heroin goes as comfortably as possible in order to move on to the next phases of recovery, inpatient and outpatient care, all of which are the building blocks to lifelong sobriety.
The Experts Say Environment Affects Recovery
Addiction specialist Adi Jaffe, a UCLA postdoctoral fellow, said, “People, places, and things…play a big role in reminding addicted individuals about their behavior, and they are often enough to restart old behavior, even among those who have been absent for a while and especially for those unprepared for their effect.” (Psychology Today)
Which is Why RCA Builds Beautiful Facilities with Free Community Centers
Our addiction treatment centers are located in your neighborhood – making it easy for our families to participate in the treatment and recovery process.
Patients are treated in safe, 24/7, medically-supervised centers for addiction excellence with nursing, medical, and psychiatric care available seven days a week.
We put patients before profits, providing 40% of our space for free for addiction recovery meetings for community addiction organizations and our neighbors in recovery, as well as their families, friends, and loved ones. We have intentionally built our treatment centers as world-class, beautiful facilities to inspire confidence in our patients as they heal and because patients who are treated well, get well sooner and stay well longer.