In 2018, the United States government behind President Donald Trump finally stepped forward and proclaimed the country was in the middle of a opiate addiction crisis. The first opiate drug that usually comes to mind is heroin. Indeed, the nation is facing a crisis because of heroin abuse.
It's like a flashback to the 1970s and 1980s when both cocaine and heroin became the favorite illicit drugs among the nations's growing drug culture. The cocaine was picking people up and the heroin was putting them down. The government knew back then how devastating heroin could be to the American culture, yet did very little to stem the tide of heroin abuse.
Fast-forward to today and very little has changed. Actually things have gotten worse. People are now abusing other opiate-based drugs such as prescription painkillers and the ever-dangerous fentanyl. All of these substances create the same kind of euphoria. They also create the same kinds of side effects, including:
- Shallow breathing and other breathing issues
- Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
- Confusion and memory lapses
- Damage to the pulmonary system - heart issues
- Liver disease
- High potential for overdose
- Addiction - the ultimate side effect
In the case of fentanyl, the side effects can be as much as 10x more dangerous than the side effects from heroin. The problems related to opiates are escalating. That's why we see more and more addiction treatment centers offering drug-specific heroin addiction treatment programs. The beauty of having such a program is the same treatment protocol can then be easily extended to other opiates.
Do Heroin Rehabs Treat Other Opiate Addictions?
The short answer is yes. As mentioned above the same threaten protocol will work for any opiate type addiction because all opiate addictions affect the addict in the same way. The only real difference between the aforementioned drugs, aside from heroin and fentanyl being illicit drugs, is the strength of each drug. Prescription drugs are designed for everyday use. The lower potency of these pills will require the user to abuse these substances over a longer period of time before addiction occurs. With heroin, an addiction is possible with a few weeks of abuse. Fentanyl is so highly addictive that people have become addicted in days.
The way most rehabs approach treating addiction to each of these substances is the same, though the intensity of treatment might scale upwards for people addicted to heroin or fentanyl. The treatment of addiction to any opiate follows a simple formula:
- Step 1 - Detox
- Step 2 - Therapy and counseling
- Step 3 - Recovery and relapse prevention
Here's a closer look at these three steps.
Step 1 - Detox
Opiates are all highly addictive substances when used improperly. Because of the potential for some rather severe withdrawal symptoms, a medically monitored detox program is usually mandated for anyone entering rehab with opiate addiction. The simple fact is many addicts need help getting past withdrawal symptoms like sleeping issues, tremors and convulsions, severe pain from cramping and hallucinations. If medical professionals are standing by to offer comfort and medicine when things get really uncomfortable, the patient stands a much better chance of getting past their cravings and withdrawal safely.
Step 2 - Therapy and Counseling
When detox has been completed, the patient should be able to participate in therapy and counseling at a high level. They need to approach this aspect of treatment with the utmost openness and honesty. This will make it easier to identify and address the personal issues that gave birth to the addiction and gave it a reason to keep going. By identifying specific issues and the triggers that prompt drug use, the patient will get the opportunity to develop better-coping skills, which will be needed as the first line of defense against relapses.
Step 3 - Recovery and Relapse Prevention
After rehab, recovery has begun. Staying clean requires a life-long commitment to following a set of rules in order to stay away from triggers and temptations. For people who need additional help with relapse prevention, resources like sober living, outpatient counseling and 12-Step meetings are available to help them fight the good fight.
If you are addicted to any type of opiate and want help, you are just one call away from salvation. For more information about our opiate addiction treatment programs, you can call us at 800-737-0933.