Opioid addiction takes the lives of almost 50,000 people each year due to overdose. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 48,006 people overdosed on opioids in 2020. These substances are doctor-prescribed pain killers that come with highly addictive side effects. Over ten million people misuse opioids each year. With these numbers being so high, why are doctors constantly handing out these addictive drugs? Opioid addiction treatment centers, like the Harm Reduction Center, are working to help fight this epidemic.
Not only are opioids prescription pain relievers, but they also include the highly addictive and dangerous heroin and fentanyl. The misuse and addiction to these opiates is a serious national crisis that affects both public health, as well as social and economic welfare. For example, the estimate of the “economic burden” brought about by opioid misuse in the US is $78.5 billion per year. This number includes the cost of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement all as a result of opioids.
Opioid Overdose Crisis
The pharmaceutical companies in the late ’90s promised healthcare providers that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioids for pain relief. Thus, resulting in the increased rate of doctors prescribing these drugs. However, this increase in prescriptions led to a widespread diversion and misuse of these substances before realizing their extremely addictive nature.
The overdose rates began to skyrocket, and by 2017, over 47,000 people in the US died of an opioid overdose. Furthermore, 1.7 million people in the US during 2017 suffered from a substance use disorder related to opioids.
Physical Dependence and Detox
The physical dependence on opioids occurs when a person on the medication feels as if they need it to function. Opioid addiction and misusing this substance change certain areas of the brain. The parts of the brain altered are responsible for your mood, as well as reward behavior. This is why opioid addiction can cause significant mood swings and behavior issues.
Long-term abuse can alter not only the brain but almost all of the body’s systems. When trying to detox from opioids sine of the withdrawal systems you can experience include:
- Diarrhea/stomach pains
- Dilated pupils
- Chills/body aches
- Severe mood swings
The first step towards opioid addiction treatment is to detox in a center to help manage withdrawal systems in a safe and professional setting.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Options
Unmanagable withdrawal symptoms are one of the biggest factors for relapse and continued drug abuse. However, there are medications used during detox and the treatment process to help manage withdrawal symptoms. There are also counseling and behavioral therapies used in conjunction with the medication to further help with opioid addiction.
The types of medications that help with opioid addiction treatment include:
- Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
Methadone is a long-acting opioid that is used to help prevent and manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Although this substance affects the same parts of the brain as other addictive opioids, it doesn’t give you a high feeling. Detox and treatment centers use methadone in a controlled setting to ensure the proper doses are being administered.
Another medication used during detox and treatment is buprenorphine. Just like methadone, buprenorphine affects the same receptors of the brain with less strength. Buprenorphine has less risk of overdose and can be used in combination with naloxone which is why it is a popular choice for opioid addiction treatment.
Furthermore, buprenorphine comes in several different forms including:
- Tablet (Suboxone, Zubsolv)
- Shot (Buprenex, Sublocade_
- Tab placed in the mouth against the cheek (Belbuca)
- Skin patch (Butrans)
- An implant placed under the skin lasting roughly six months (Probuphine)
Lastly, the medication naltrexone helps to block opiate receptors. Naltrexone does not help manage withdrawal symptoms or cravings, which is why it is combined with buprenorphine. It can either be combined with other medications, or used on its own after detox as a part of a broad recovery treatment program. Naltrexone can be taken by mouth (Revia) or injected (Vivitrol).
Counseling and Behavioral Therapies
Medications to help during detox and sobriety can only take you so far. Counseling and behavioral therapies are long-term maintenance options to help people get sober, as well as maintain their sobriety. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is using medications along with couseling and behavioral therapies.
Counseling and therapy help individuals deal with social, as well as personal problems that may have caused the addiction and issues that may arise after treatment. This includes:
- Issues in your personal and professional life
- Awareness of the influences of the people around you
- Negative or positive relationships
Some of the therapies you can experience during treatment programs include:
- Contingency management
- Motivational interviewing
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Family therapy
- 12-step groups
- Support groups
If you are looking for opioid addiction treatment or any other addiction resources contact the Harm Reduction Center in Boynton Beach, Florida. HARC is a private healthcare facility offering addiction and mental health treatment and services. We offer all levels of outpatient care, including Medication-Assisted Treatment. If you are ready to take the first step towards recovery and freedom, contact us today.