Tag Archives: opiates

Opiate Dependence Versus Opiate Maintenance

Opiate dependence versus opiate maintenance, is there a difference? A lot of people wonder if it is possible to be addicted to a drug such as Oxycontin or Oxycodone form simply taking a drug as directed. The answer to this question is “yes”, however, the answer is much more complicated in reality.

Addiction is usually physical, mental and behavioral in nature. One symptom is being physically dependent on the drug and using more and more of it to get high — also known as building a tolerance. Regular use will cause this tolerance even if you don’t abuse it, so this isn’t the only factor. Opiate dependence means that a person is addicted – which means they’re using it to get high, and they are using it to function normally. For the sake of this article, opiate dependence and opiate addiction will be used interchangeably.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re worried about opiate addiction:

  • Are you using opiates to get “high”, rather than for pain? If you’re using opiates to get high, that’s abuse and you’re a candidate for addiction.
  • Do you need more and more of the drug to get the same “high”?
  • Have you tried doctor shopping or illicit means to get more of your pills so you don’t run out? Do you run out of your prescriptions early?
  • Have you avoided certain people, places or activities because you would rather be somewhere that you can be high without scrutiny?
  • Has your family or your doctor expressed worry about your pill use?

Addiction is a disease that is progressive in nature. A person with a substance abuse disorder will start to display drug seeking behaviors when they are running out of their drug and choice. As withdrawal — which is quite physically uncomfortable and sometimes painful — sets in, an addicted person may become desperate. They may feel the need to doctor shop, purchase drugs on the street or steal leftover pills from family members to get their “fix”.

Do You Have a Problem with Opiates?

Addiction can affect anyone from any walk of life, even when there is no history in a family. There are many signs and symptoms of addiction that can and should raise red flags for addicted persons and their loved ones.

If you or somebody you love is suffering from the disease of addiction and needs rehab, there IS a way out. Recovery is not only possible, it’s amazing!

We can help you reclaim your life and put the pain of addiction behind you. All calls are 100% confidential, please call us today at 800-737-0933

What You Should Know About Pain Pill Addiction- It Is Not Uncommon as You May Think

Pain pills or painkillers refer to a wide variety of drugs; however, the ones that are highly abused are opioids, sedatives, and stimulants. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, xanax, valium, and dexedrine are among the highly abused prescription pills. The effectiveness of these drugs makes them addictive. These pain pills work on the opioid receptors of your brain to numb pain and create an addictive high.

One of the tell-tale signs that you have a pain pill addiction is when your mind is focused on when you will take your next dose and whether your supply is sufficient. Pre-occupation with your pain medication may later cause you to exceed the doctor’s recommended dose. Eventually, you begin going to more than one doctor for the same subscription or going to other sources to replenish your medication supply. Afterwards, you will realize that your pain, the reason you were on the prescription pills, subsided a long time ago but you are still on pain meds. Before you know it, you are having problems with your personal relationships and your daily routine activities.

 

How Pain Pill Addiction Can Affect Your Body

Pain killer abuse is likely to affect different parts of your body. Opiates suppress your body’s capacity to breathe and interrupt the normal functioning of your lungs. Medical research has determined that opiate abuse is likely to cause pneumonia.

Pain pill addiction is also associated with constipation. Abusing pain killers will mean that one may need to use laxatives to facilitate bowel movement and this is likely to damage the sphincter or anus.

Prescription drug abuse can also affect your liver. Every drug you take is broken down and processed by your liver. Therefore, the liver can store toxins after the breakdown process. The most notable cause of liver damage is acetaminophen, a component in many prescription formulas. Drugs such as Lortab, Vicodin, and Percocet have high levels of acetaminophen.

Another devastating effect of addiction to prescription pills is rhabdomyolysis and kidney failure. Rhabdomyolysis occurs when a person lies completely immobilized after abusing pain killers to the point of becoming comatose. The addict’s tissues start to disintegrate and the chemicals produced during this breakdown pour into their blood stream and begin damaging other organs. This is one of the main causes of kidney failure. Damage of the heart may also occur, including heart attack.

Many people manage chronic pain using prescription medication. A high percentage of these people unknowingly slide into pain pill addiction. If you experience any of the above tell-tale signs of addiction to prescription medication, you need to consult a doctor before your problem becomes a tragedy. If you are ready to put your addiction problem behind you, call Genesis House at 800-737-0933 and trust us to get your life back on track.

Uniformed Services

Why Do Police Officers and Firefighters Face Addiction Issues So Often?

Addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can become afflicted with the disease of addiction regardless of his or her income, education level, race, religion, etc. People’s professions dot not make them immune from addiction, even if their profession is a police officer or a firefighter.

You may consider it ironic for a police officer or a firefighter to face addiction issues. However, as the addiction rates of the general population have surged in recent years, the addiction rates among police officers and firefighters have surged in proportion. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that 806,400 law enforcement workers suffer from addiction. A study done in 2012 showed that 56 percent of firefighters were binge-drinkers. There are a variety of factors behind the prevalence of addiction in police officers and firefighters.

  • Stress

Police officers and firefighters have very high-stress jobs. The shifts are long, and the work is physically taxing and mentally taxing. The hours are not limited to nine to five on weekdays. Police officers and firefighters have to work late night shifts, overnight shifts, weekend shifts, and holiday shifts, so they are given little time for family, recreation, and decompression.

  • Traumatic Experiences on the Job

Police officers and firefighters are bombarded with violence on a constant basis. Their genuine feelings regarding these traumatic experiences often go unexpressed. Family and friends often do not want to listen to a police officer and firefighter talk about the details of his or her job. Police officers and firefighters do not get the opportunity to support their fellow workers due to confidentiality policies prohibiting them from discussing cases. Often, police officers and firefighters detach from all emotions as a survival mechanism, and using substances are a method to make that possible.

  • Mental Health Disorders

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression tend to be prevalent among police officers and firefighters. These mental health disorders tend to go untreated among police officers and firefighters due to the stigma surrounding mental health disorders in the United States and the profession. Using alcohol or drugs is a way for them to self-medicate these undiagnosed and untreated disorders.

There is Hope for Police Officers and Firefighters

Police officers and firefighters are often hesitant to seek help for their addictions for several reasons.

  • Stigma surrounding substance abuse in their profession
  • Denial, thinking “I am not like those people I arrest” “I’m a police officer or a firefighter, so this cannot happen to me”
  • Stigma from their community because of their substance abuse and profession
  • Losing their Job

While they have legitimate reasons to be concerned, they should not make their concerns a barrier to getting into recovery. If their addiction goes untreated, it will only worsen and may lead to incarcerations, institutionalizations, or death. The benefit of recovery outweighs the stigma and potential losses. There are many resources police officers and firefighters can turn to for help.

  • Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA) and Narcotic’s Anonymous (NA)
  • Intensive-Outpatient (IOP)
  • Employee Assistance Programs
  • Psychologist or a Psychiatrist
  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Inpatient Detox
  • Family and/or Friend Support

If you or someone you know is a police officer or firefighter who is suffering from addiction, seek help or encourage him or her to seek the help he or she needs. It will be beneficial in the long-term. Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Detox during pregnancy

Is Detoxing While Pregnant Safe?

Continued use of drugs and alcohol puts your unborn baby at serious risk. Congenital disabilities, miscarriage, and stillbirth are all possibilities if your addiction continues untreated. Detoxing is the safest way to ensure the health of your baby. High-risk situations need a medical detox under the supervision of a doctor. Addiction to drugs and alcohol affects over five percent of all pregnant women. The first step is to speak with a doctor about the safest treatment for both you and your baby.

Different drugs have different withdrawal symptoms when you stop using them. Some drugs such as heroin create severe physical withdrawal. Others, such as methamphetamines can cause extreme psychological cravings. Alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal can result in death without doctor supervision. Due to these concerns, it is necessary that you do not stop “cold turkey.” Aside from your drug of choice other factors can affect the withdrawal process. These include your method of use such as smoking, snorting, or injecting. Length of use and environmental factors will also determine the severity of withdrawal. Make sure adequately trained professionals monitor your detox as withdrawal is harmful to the fetus.

 

Detoxing from Opiates while Pregnant

You may be wondering about detoxing from opiates while pregnant. The opioid epidemic has medical professionals rethinking what was once conventional wisdom. It was before thought that detoxing from opiates is too risky for pregnant women. Pregnant women now have some options:

  • Methadone is a safe choice for your fetus. You should be aware of its association with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Your baby could become addicted in the womb and experience withdrawal once born. You must visit a clinic once a day to receive your methadone dose.
  • Buprenorphine is weaker than methadone. It has less physical dependence and fewer withdrawal symptoms. Unlike methadone doctors prescribe buprenorphine for use at home.
  • Counseling is an essential part of your detox with medically assisted treatment (MAT). Once you have completed detox, you will need to explore the causes of your addiction.

Detoxing from drugs while pregnant is essential for your health and the health of your baby. You do not want to wait until your baby is born before asking for help. If you are ready to start your journey towards recovery, please feel free to contact us 24 hours a day at 800-737-0933

 

Is My Doctor Responsible For My Opiate Addiction?

The US has the highest prescription of opioid drugs in the world. According to the Center for Disease Control, one out of 5 patients with non-cancer pain gets opioids prescription. The drug is a pain reliever, rehabilitation medication and used during surgery.

Aggressive Prescription Without Educating Patients

The Opioids craze began in the 1990s when pharmaceuticals marketed the drugs and aggressively highlighted the advantages but made no mention of the risks; ever since opioids have become a necessity in pain treatment. Doctors often prioritize patients’ recovery and may overlook any aftermath. Equally, doctors can identify an opiate addict just by observation.

Physicians’ contribution to the opiate addiction menace that has claimed many lives is subject to debates. Most proponents of opioids argue that there is no other alternative for pain treatment.

Nevertheless, the overarching issue is where to draw the line with opioid prescriptions. The federal and state government have tried to regulate the prescription of opioids. The state of Massachusetts adopted the law that limits the drugs prescription to a seven-day supply. Also, before prescribing the drugs practitioners have to check a database to ensure that it is not a repeat prescription. The physicians must screen the patient for addiction.

The Addiction Phase

The body naturally produces opioids that can heal normal pain. Prescription opioids, on the other hand, are more efficient in dealing with major pain. Unlike the natural neurotransmitters, prescribed opioids produce dopamine that regulates cognition, motivation, feeling of pleasure, movement, and emotion. It then overstimulates the system and trains your body to rely on opioids to function normally. In an attempt to imitate normal brain chemicals, the drugs generate abnormal messages in the brain. The drugs block pain receptors. When you stop using the drug, even a minor ache can feel extremely painful.

Dependency on opioids to function leads to addiction. As you continue to use the drugs, body functioning slows. Your body begins to react to prolonged use and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Some of the signs of withdrawal include;

  • Anxiety; – the hippocampus, the section of the brain that controls emotions overrides causing anxiety
  • Sweating; – hypothalamus can no longer properly regulate the body temperature hence you will sweat nonstop regardless of the body temperature
  • Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea; – the body tries to remove wastes through diarrhea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramps
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heartbeat rates

The choice to permanently deal with the opioid problem is entirely personal. Addiction is a choice and is treatable. You can reach out to the Genesis through 800-737-0933 to begin treatment in a serene environment that offers personalized quality care.

Does Vivitrol Really Work for Opioid Dependency?

Vivitrol, a form of naltrexone, is an opiate/opioid antagonist. This means that it works on opioid brain receptors in a manner opposite that of opioids. In other words, when a person takes an opioid medication, the molecules of that medication “fit” into receptor sites in the brain, very similar to the way a key fits into a lock. This causes the opioid effects such as pain relief and euphoria. Opioids can also cause unpleasant effects like nausea, and if enough is taken, can even cause life-threatening suppression of the brain’s breathing center. Opioid antagonists like naltrexone work to reverse these effects and/or prevent them from occurring.

Is Vivitrol Safe? Is it Effective?

Vivitrol is safe as long as you are not allergic to it. It must be used with counseling, and the patient cannot be actively dependent upon opioids when they begin therapy. Vivitrol is given only once a month. It’s a long-acting injection. As long as the patient stays compliant and keeps their injection appointment, Vivitrol is extremely effective. This is because the antagonistic effects of naltrexone in the brain totally prevent any “high” from opioids. Even if the patient weakens and takes them, they will feel nothing because the brain’s opioid receptors are blocked. Only one molecule can occupy a receptor at a time, and naltrexone has a higher affinity, or priority, for the brain’s opioid receptors.

 

Benefits of Vivitrol Therapy:

It’s Not Addictive

Vivitrol works by blocking opioid receptors, not by stimulating them. There is no danger of addiction to Vivitrol.

Helps Patients Break Their Addiction

Recovering addicts can focus on rebuilding their lives, knowing that “giving in to temptation” won’t have the desired effect. They know they can’t get high so they think about other things.

Steady, Automatic Dosing

Because Vivitrol is an extended-release injection, there is no need to take a pill or go to a clinic every day. It provides 24-hour blockage and therefore protection against any opioid-induced “high” for a full month.

Some Possible Disadvantages

Like any other medical therapy, Vivitrol isn’t perfect. For example, if the patient actually needed pain relief, say, due to an accident, because their receptors are blocked, they would not experience the pain relief normally provided by opioids. Also the success of Vivitrol depends upon the patient continuing to show up for their injections on time.

Looking for opiate addiction treatment? Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Why Do They Still Prescribe Opiates If They Cause Addiction?

The United States is currently facing an opiate addiction epidemic, with opiate-related deaths quadrupling since 1999. There were approximately 19,000 deaths linked to opiates in 2014 alone, and it is estimated that up to 36 million people abuse these substances worldwide. Despite these numbers and all the problems that opiate addiction can cause, many of them are still being prescribed by doctors across the country. Some would argue that prescriptions for medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin should be taken off the market, while others believe that these drugs are helpful as long as they aren’t abused.

Opiates are often prescribed to help patients deal with pain after suffering an injury or while they recover from a major surgical procedure. They have also proven useful for those living with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, endrometriosis, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. These are all painful chronic conditions, and many people who live with them need some kind of medication just to maintain a good quality of life. Should they be expected to go without medicine that they arguably need because so many people abuse their prescriptions?

The Dangers of Opiates

The thing that makes opiates so dangerous is that they produce an intense high that makes them very addictive. The short-term effects of these drugs include pain relief and a feeling of euphoria. The relief from pain is attractive to anybody living with chronic pain or even acute pain from an injury, while euphoria is a common desired effect of many drugs. Abuse of opiates can also cause people to become addicted in as little as three days. Some of the side effects of opiate abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • A depressed respiratory system

Long-term opiate use can cause problems such as chronic constipation, liver damage, and brain damage resulting from a depressed respiratory system.

With as dangerous and readily available as opiates are, should doctors stop prescribing them? Many people say yes, and the government has even encouraged doctors to avoid prescribing them. On the other hand, they do have their uses as long as they are taken as prescribed. Short-term opiate use can help people recover from injury and illness, but doctors need to make it clear that these drugs should only be used in the short-term.

If you believe that you are developing a dependence on opiates or you have struggled with substance abuse, there is help available. Contact us today to learn how you can recover from opiate addiction. Call Now 800-737-0933

Why and How Is Fentanyl Getting Into So Many Drugs?

America is in the midst of the worst drug epidemic in its history. Opiate addiction is ripping apart families nationwide, and addiction to harder narcotics like heroin is on the rise. If your family is one of those affected by opiate addiction, you may have heard of the dangers of a new, more powerful opiate called fentanyl. Unfortunately, overdoses on fentanyl have risen drastically over the past few years. So why and how is fentanyl spreading? In order to answer that question, you must understand what fentanyl is and does.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid, similar to drugs like oxycontin and morphine. In fact, all opiates are products of the poppy family of plants. Of course, this makes all of these drugs powerful pain killers. Fentanyl is roughly 10,000 times as strong as morphine, and used only in the most extreme and controlled cases for pain management. Unfortunately, as much as a quarter of a teaspoon of fentanyl is easily enough to kill a person, especially one with low or no tolerance to opioids.

 

How is Fentanyl getting into so many drugs?

As drug and law enforcement agents have become more educated on the dangers and ubiquity of opioids, they have cracked down on doctors over prescribing opiates like hydrocodone and oxycontin. Unfortunately, opioid addiction can begin as early as 2 weeks into a pain management treatment schedule, so even those with small doses of prescribed medication can become addicted. As control over prescription pills has tightened, addicts typically turn to the cheaper and more readily available heroin.

Unfortunately, drug dealers have begun cutting their supplies of heroin with small amounts of fentanyl. Fentanyl provides a stronger high for a much smaller dose, so dealers can make more money off of a smaller supply of heroin.

Why is Fentanyl put into so many drugs?

While drug and law enforcement agents have aggressively pursued the manufacturers and suppliers of street opiates like heroin, they have created another problem. Fentanyl is easier and cheaper to create than heroin, and offers a much stronger high for a much smaller amount. As addicts have a much higher tolerance to opiates than non-addicted patients, many of them will seek out the strongest drug possible: fentanyl. In order to stop fentanyl from destroying your community, it is imperative to stop opiate addiction from spreading in the first place with a visit to a rehab center.  Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Running Away From Addiction: Travel Out of State For Rehab

If you or a loved one are suffering from some type of addiction, you may be looking for options for treatment. Your focus is probably on treatment centers and programs close to home. While there are many good reasons to look for programs within your city, county or state, there are also some valid reasons to look beyond the borders to treatment facilities out of state.

You can easily find many programs around the country for the treatment of drug, alcohol or other addictions. Here ate a few reasons to look outside your home state for your treatment program:

  • A new setting gives you a new perspective.
  • You can get away from the negative influences in your life.
  • You may find programs with unique treatment options not offered in your area.

These are just a few of the benefits of attending a treatment center in another state. When you select this option, it can feel like a brand-new start.

 

How to Find an Out-of-State Rehab Program

If you’ve decided to try a rehab program in another state, you will want to do some research for the right one. You can do much of your work online. Many programs have their own websites, which will tell you about the services they offer and any special requirements.

You can also ask for a recommendation from a doctor or other professional. Their contacts often extend beyond local networks, and they can help you decide on the right program for your needs.

Look for reviews on the programs to find out from others what it’s really like. Testimonials provide a first-hand look at how it works and the pros and cons. While it should not serve as the sole basis for your decision, reviews can provide valuable information.

Contact the rehab center. Be prepared with a list of questions you may have about the facility and the programs offered. While you may not be able to tour the center in person, you should be able to talk to people and get answers to the questions you have.

Going away from home for addiction treatment can be a frightening concept. However, it can also give you a new start, which can be the incentive for you to keep going and win the battle against the addiction.

Call Genesis House Today:  800-737-0933

Why Do Opiates Cause Constipation?

Constipation is having hard stools, excessive strains when passing bowels, infrequent stools, partial bowel evacuation, unsuccessful defecation, or spending too much time passing stool. Constipation has two common classifications:

  • Primary constipation, which results from natural anorectal function or colon defects
  • Secondary constipation that occurs because of pathologic changes, for instance, intestinal obstruction and medications such as opioids

 

Low fiber intake, inadequate body fluids, physical inactivity, spinal cord compression, high calcium levels, kidney problems, or diabetes can lead to bowel dysfunction too.

Constipation can arise because of pharmacologically-based reasons including taking opioids. Opioids are analgesics used for pain relief. Unfortunately, opioids cause hard stools. 81% of patients on opioids to reduce chronic pain end up having opioid-induced constipation (OIC) or opioid-induced bowel dysfunction (OBD), says Salix Pharmaceuticals.

How Opiates Cause Constipation

Opiates include prescriptions medicines for pain, methadone or suboxone, morphine, illicit opiate heroin, which doctors say leads to an opioid epidemic in the United States. Opiates change the way the gastrointestinal tract functions. The pain relievers prolong the time the stool takes to move through the human gastric system.

A person on the pain reduction drugs will have increased non-propulsive contractions across the jejunum or the small intestines midpoint. Consequently, the longitudinal propulsive muscle contractions can slow down affecting how food travels through the intestines.

Food that does not normally move through the digestive tract causes partial stomach paralysis or gastroparesis. Food will remain within the digestive organ for far too long. Further, the opioids cause the reduction of digestive secretions making the patient not have the desire to defecate.

The side effects of illicit opiates abuse begin in the brain with the victim experiencing hallucinations and later digestive issues such as hard stools. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication methylnaltrexone bromide -Relistor or naloxegol-Movantik can treat OIC. The two medicines reduce constipation arising from opioids without affecting the patient’s brain opioid receptors.

Other reliable IOC treatment methods include the use of stool softeners, usually the docusate sodium (Colace). Increasing fiber intake, eating more fruits, whole grains, and vegetables help a great deal. Also, request a doctor if you can use daily stool softeners or stimulant laxatives.

When the stool overstays in the intestines, the body will absorb all the water in it, making the stool too hard and unable to move.

We have helped thousands of people detox and recover from Opiate addiction.  Call us today to learn more 800-737-0933