Many people have experience with opiates and don’t think twice about it. Anyone who has ever received a prescription for pain medication might have received an opiate. Taken as prescribed, these medications should be safe to use. Some people, however, can develop a dependence on the medication which can lead to misuse or abuse.
Regardless of whether people develop issues with opiate dependence or abuse, opiate use can lead to death. Sometimes those who misuse prescription drugs function well for a while, but opiates drive tolerance, and some of those people will find they need to change to using illegal drugs to get the same effect they used to get from legal prescriptions.
What Are Opiates?
Our body produces its own natural “feel-good” chemicals when we experience something we enjoy. Opiates trigger the same systems, but they trigger them much more than the body’s natural activity. The enjoyable feeling becomes heightened, and the brain’s reward centers quickly associate the substance with almost immediate pleasure.
People may become addicted to opiates through different paths. Many of these have to do with tolerance and withdrawal. As explained by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people who receive prescription drugs for pain and take them every day will begin to develop a tolerance, meaning the body gets used to the substance. At this point, the person may require more of the substance to relieve the same amount of pain.
A person who has begun using more than the recommended amount of prescription opiates may experience withdrawals when they do not have access to the substance. In this situation, some people might feel uncomfortable enough to seek an alternative drug or medication to get rid of the withdrawals.
According to the NIDA, opioid overdoses killed thousands of people in 2019 and have since shown no signs of slowing down. Many medical professionals and first responders also report increases in fentanyl overdoses. This synthetic opioid can be 100 times more potent than morphine, although people selling it rarely sell pure opioids. Heroin cut with fentanyl can cause overdoses when people do not realize how powerful the dose might be. Fentanyl has also become a substance of choice for people who have reached a high tolerance for heroin.
Because all opiates can trigger receptors in the brain, they all have some potential for abuse. However, some have been designed to be harder to misuse. Physicians are required to be more careful about writing unnecessary prescriptions for opiates to reduce the potential for abuse and addiction. However, some people have a legitimate need for opiates for pain management. These people should have ongoing monitoring to make sure the prescriptions get taken as recommended by the doctor.
Most people who take opiates as prescribed have no problems with becoming dependent on them. However, anyone who feels like their prescription painkiller use has become a problem should contact a substance use disorder professional for treatment guidance.
How is Opiate Addiction Treated?
For opiate use disorder, a detox program will help clients go through their body’s natural process of expelling the substance while managing the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
In detox, people may receive medications to avoid withdrawal symptoms while the substance leaves their bodies. For opiates, one of the most common medications for detox and withdrawals is buprenorphine which is another opioid. Yet this specific medication helps stimulate the opioid receptors to keep them from overreacting but does not produce a “high” as other opioids might.
Yet this specific medication helps stimulate the opioid receptors to keep them from overreacting but does not produce a “high” as other opioids might.
Supportive medication helps people remain safe and comfortable during the detoxification process. Methadone can be a medication used for opiate withdrawal symptoms. Methadone is a synthetic opioid and can be dispensed daily. Unfortunately, methadone is aso addictive, but methadone programs can reduce some of the adverse effects of addiction.
Buprenorphine keeps opioid receptors calm but does not produce a high. Still, people can develop a tolerance or an addiction to any opioid which is why medical supervision to monitor the use of this medication is imperative. Naloxone, used for treating overdoses, blocks the action of opioids to keep them from producing effects.
How Does Everlast Treat Opiate Addiction?
Everlast Recovery Centers treats opiate addiction on an individualized basis. We consider each client’s circumstances and the nature of their substance abuse problems to create an individualized treatment plan. While many opiates have the same side effects, a client may have come to the substance’s misuse in various ways.
After detox, people transition to our comfortable residential program where they learn new coping skills, receive intensive individual and group therapy, and work on building the tools to deal with life after treatment.
As a part of a client’s aftercare plan, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) may be recommended in individual cases. Although our goal at Everlast is always abstinence, we recognize that each client is unique and their treatment guided by their individual needs. At Everlast, we are committed to providing you with the necessary tools to experience a happy, healthy, and successful recovery.