There is an epidemic in America. More people in the United States are addicted to prescription opioids and illegal opioids than ever before. These powerful pain-killing drugs like heroin, OxyContin and morphine can destroy the lives of individuals, families and entire communities.
Opioid addiction is an epidemic that is taking lives all over the country. From April 2020 to April 2021, almost 100,000 Americans died from a drug overdose, with most of these deaths being opioid-related.
Understanding the Epidemic
Washington and Oregon have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic. In 2020 alone, 1,200 Washingtonians died of drug overdoses. Oregon has one of the highest rates of prescription opioid misuse in the United States, with more than five overdose deaths per week.
Physical dependence is a normal outcome for those who are prescribed opioid painkillers, but dependence could quickly become a substance use disorder. When people no longer have access to prescription painkillers or feel like they need more, they may turn to illegal drugs like heroin.
Commonly Abused Opioids
There are many popular opioids, but a handful are most commonly associated with a substance use disorder:
There are many risks associated with opioid use. Even when they are used as prescribed, opioids can slow respiration and cause unconsciousness. Over the long-term, opioids can cause side effects when misused, including:
- Sleep-disordered breathing
- Hormonal abnormalities
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
When a person stops using opioids, they may experience withdrawal symptoms as their body adjusts to the absence of the drug. These opioid withdrawal symptoms may be mild or severe, depending on individual factors like:
- Which opioid they’ve been taking
- How large of a dose they usually take
- How often they use opioids
- How long they have been taking opioids
The timeline for withdrawal symptoms can vary based on whether the person has been taking a long- or short-acting opioid:
- Short-acting opioids (Percocet, heroin, Vicodin, etc.): Symptoms usually start within 12 hours of the last dose. Symptoms then peak within 24 to 48 hours, and resolve over three to five days.
- Long-acting opioids (OxyContin, MS Contin, etc.): Symptoms generally start within 30 hours of the last dose exposure and may last up to 10 days.
Withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Excessive yawning
- Nose running
- Tearing up
- Muscle aches
- Trouble sleeping
- Racing heart
- High blood pressure
Because of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, many people who have an opioid addiction choose to complete a medically supervised detox. If you attempt to detox from opioids on your own, you may be tempted to relapse once withdrawal symptoms become severe or your cravings become overwhelming. In a detox center or a treatment facility, you will have medical assistance throughout the withdrawal process. Your healthcare team can make these symptoms easier to handle.
Opiate Replacement Therapy or Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
For many patients with opioid addictions, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the gold standard of treatment. In MAT programs, behavioral therapy is combined with medications in the treatment of substance use disorder. Synthetic opioids like methadone, suboxone and Subutex are prescribed to prevent withdrawals. They also block the effects of other opioids and opiates so that patients can not feel the high from heroin or other opioids.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you are struggling with an opioid addiction, it’s time to take back control by seeking treatment. At The Recovery Village Ridgefield, we offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. We understand that an addiction is a health condition that needs to be treated. After you have completed medically-supervised detox, you can transition into an inpatient treatment program.
Our facility is convenient to Seattle, Washington; Tacoma, Washington; Portland, Oregon and Eugene, Oregon. Located in the Cascade Mountains, The Recovery Village Ridgefield provides the perfect serene backdrop for healing. If you are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, seek the treatment that you deserve. Give us a call today.
- American Society of Addiction Medicine. “National Practice Guideline for the Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use.” June 1, 2015. Accessed November 29, 2021.
- Baldini, AnGee; Von Korff, Michael; Lin, Elizabeth H. B. “A Review of Potential Adverse Effects of Long-Term Opioid Therapy: A Practitioner’s Guide.” The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, 2012. Accessed November 28, 2021.
- Oregon Health Authority. “Reducing Opioid Overdose and Misuse.” Accessed November 29, 2021.
- Washington State Department of Health. “Opioid Awareness Dashboards.” Accessed November 29, 2021.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Provisional Drug Overdose Death Counts.” November 17, 2021. Accessed November 29, 2021.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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