Opiates come in different forms, from street heroin to prescription drugs such as Vicodin — but one common thread found in all types of opiate addiction is the damage it causes to both addicts and their loved ones. For help in combating opiate addiction, call Treatment Solutions today at 877-640-1943.
What are opiates?
Opiates are a group of drugs derived from the Asian poppy seed, and have a high potential for abuse. It’s difficult for regular users of opiates to avoid getting hooked. Drugs that fall under the opiate family include heroin, morphine, opium, codeine, oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Prescription opiates are typically taken in pill form, while heroin can be a white or brownish powder usually dissolved in water and then injected.
Heroin is known by a variety of street names, such as Smack, Big H, Hell Dust and Nose Drops (liquefied heroin). Prescription opiates, meanwhile, are often referred to not by their medical drug name, but by the brand names they are marketed under. These brand names include Vicodin, Percocet, Tylenol-3 and Methadose.
How are opiates consumed?
The methods of ingesting opiates vary upon the specific drug being used. Heroin, for example, can be injected, smoked or sniffed/snorted. Prescription opiates are typically taken in pill form, and sometimes with alcohol to intensify the effects. This is a combination that also increases the health risks of opiate addiction.
The use of needles to inject heroin has serious health complications, as heroin needles have been linked to a significant number of new HIV/AIDS and hepatitis cases. Regardless of how opiates are consumed, the threat of overdose is very real. Emergency rooms typically see more overdose deaths from prescription opiate abuse than from heroin abuse.
How Widespread is Opiate Addiction?
Both heroin and prescription opiate abuse are serious problems in America. But while heroin is often seen as a dangerous threat to our society, the danger of prescription opiates is sometimes overlooked.
According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 400,000 Americans used heroin in 2004, including 120,000 first-time users. The number of prescription opiate abusers was considerably higher — 11.2 million Americans used these drugs for “non-medical” purposes in 2003, according to SAMHSA. Many prescription opiate users eventually become heroin users, as well.
What are opiates’ short-term effects?
Opiate users will almost immediately feel a euphoric feeling from the drug (also known as the “rush”) that lasts several hours. According to the LSU Health Science Center, other, less-enjoyable short-term effects include:
- User may go “on the nod,” drifting back and forth between alert and drowsy
- With large doses, user cannot be awakened, pupils become smaller, and the skin becomes cold moist and bluish in color. Breathing slows and death may occur.
Opiates’ long-term effects:
- Infection of the heart lining and valves
- Pulmonary complications, including various types of pneumonia
- Clogging of the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys or brain, causing infection or death
- Physical dependence and addiction, including severe withdrawal symptoms when the user attempts to quit
- Liver disease
- Higher tolerance to the drug. This forces the user to ingest higher amounts of heroin to achieve the same high, increasing the risk of a fatal overdose.
The Drug Abuse Warning Network estimates that in 2002, there were 93,519 heroin-related emergency room visits. Other opiates — primarily prescription drugs such as oxycodone — accounted for 119,185 emergency-room visits that same year. For more information on opiate abuse, call us today at 877-640-1943.
What are the risks of opiate addiction during pregnancy?
Opiate addiction can have severe, tragic consequence during pregnancy. According to the LSU Health Sciences Center, nearly half the women dependent on opiates suffer anemia, heart diseases, diabetes, pneumonia, or hepatitis during pregnancy and childbirth. Infants born to these women often have withdrawal symptoms which may last several weeks or months, and many of these babies die.mThe Western Journal of Medicine has found opiate use during pregnancy can lead to infants being born with mental retardation and behavioral abnormalities.
Why is opiate addiction so hard to overcome?
The fact that many prescription opiates are legal, even though they’re intended to be used only for medical purposes, can lead some opiate addiction to be overlooked. Friends and relatives of a prescription opiate addict may not think there’s a problem because the addict isn’t buying an illegal substance.
The withdrawal symptoms experienced by opiate addicts who attempt to quit are another serious obstacle in beating opiate addiction. Many addicts who try to stop using find themselves going back to opiates just to make the unpleasant withdrawal feelings, such as diarrhea, cramps, sweating and nausea, go away.
Opiate addiction treatment is the answer.
Opiate addiction treatment can help you or your loved overcome withdrawal symptoms through a caring opiate detox program. During detox, our medical staff will administer medications that can ease, and in some cases even eliminate, withdrawal symptoms.
After the detox period is over, our comprehensive opiate addiction treatment centers give clients the encouragement and relapse prevention skills needed to stay clean and sober in the future. Treatment Solutions provides a free referral service that will connect you to the best opiate addiction program for your needs. Our recommendations are based solely on quality and what center is a good fit for our clients, as we’re not affiliated with any particular treatment facility.
Overcoming opiate addiction isn’t always easy, but it can be done with the right help. Call Treatment Solutions today at 877-640-1943.
No matter your insurance, be it Cigna, Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross / Blue Shield (BCBS), Assurant, Unicare, United Health Care, Anthem, Carefirst, Asuris Northwest Health, Golden Rule, Celtic Insurance, Fortis, Health Net, Kaiser, Vista, Shelter, Wellpoint, Tri Care, Accordia or even Medicare, and state insurance — we can help you find opiate addiction treatment. We also offer many affordable self pay options as well as luxury opiate rehab.