Tag Archives: opioids

Undergoing Heroin Withdrawal Treatment

18 Oct

Individuals who use heroin recreationally, especially those who are showing signs of addiction, should seek heroin withdrawal treatment before they experience any of the adverse effects caused by the use of the drug. Heroin is a dangerous and highly-addictive drug and its continued use can cause – after the euphoric “rush” – hazardous consequences. Below are the outcomes and steps of heroin withdrawal.

  1. Heroin works by numbing the synapses (junctions between nerve cells that carry impulses) in the body. When people with heroin addiction stop taking the drug, these synapses are suddenly activated back, and this triggers the many painful symptoms of withdrawal. The pain may occur as early as within five hours after the last hit.
  2. It is important that people who plan on stopping using heroin seek the advice of a health care provider. A medical practitioner will be able to provide medications that will make heroin withdrawal treatment more tolerable. People who do not have a doctor can go to their local emergency room or health clinic for assistance.
  3. Patients should take the medicines prescribed to them to reduce the pain that will result from stopping the use of heroin. Medications, such as methadone, clonidine, and buprenorphine, may also reduce the time spent in withdrawal. Those who suffer from severe symptoms will also be provided additional medication based on their needs.
  4. Within the first 12 hours, the patient will start detoxing and will experience diarrhea, vomiting, excessive yawning, and insomnia, which are all constantly accompanied by pain. Apart from these, they may also experience extreme shaking, hot and cold sweats, nausea, and a crawling sensation in the skin. This normally lasts for five to ten days.
  5. After detox, it is highly suggested that patients enter either an outpatient or inpatient rehab program. This is not compulsory for all heroin users, but it could be very helpful for those who were highly addicted and have a high chance of returning to using the drug. In some rehab programs, methadone is used as a temporary substitute to heroin.
  6. Those who decide not to enter a rehabilitation program should still seek counseling after heroin withdrawal. This is because abuse of any kind of hard drugs is normally instigated by personal issues, which a person has to resolve in order to become fully treated.
  7. As an alternative to rehab programs and professional counseling, heroin users may attend Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or SMART recovery as part of their relapse prevention. The time after stopping the use of heroin can be socially uncomfortable and individuals are likely to feel better around people who have been in the same situation as they are.
  8. Lastly, former heroin users could benefit from undergoing evaluation for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, such as AIDS, can be transmitted through sharing of needles), as well as for possible underlying mental illnesses (such as depression or bipolar disorder). The appropriate physical or psychiatric treatment should be taken avoid further complications.

Heroin withdrawal treatment, like the withdrawal treatment of any hard drugs, is challenging and painful. But it is the necessary step to beat addiction and ensure that addicted individuals get another chance at a better life.

Prescription Drug Facts

29 Sep

Prescription drugs are generally prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, and, if properly taken, prescription drugs are effective in treating their targeted ailment. However, some prescription drugs are highly addictive.

 

Most Abused

Opioids such as OxyContin, Percocet and Kadian (morphine) are among the most abused prescription drugs. Central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as barbiturates (Nembutal) and benzodiazepines (Xanax and Valium) are also highly abused. Stimulants such as dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methylphenidate (Ritalin), which are used to treat narcolepsy (sleep disorder), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity, are commonly abused as well.

 

Street Names

Prescription drugs can often be obtained on the streets. Consequently, many prescription drugs have street names: OxyContin–Hillbilly heroin, Oxycotton and Oxycet; Percocet–Percs; Vicodin–Vikes and happy pills; Ritalin–kiddie cocaine, West Coast and Vitamin R; Xanax–totem poles; Benzodiazepines–downers, candy and sleeping pills; Amphetamines–Bennies, Black Beauty, Hearts and Speed; and Barbiturates–Blue Birds, Barbs and Phennies.

 

Risks

The inappropriate use of prescription drugs (using without prescription, medical permission, or not as prescribed) can cause addiction. The excessive use of opioids, pain relievers and narcotics can cause the user’s breathing to slow or stop. Abusing depressants, tranquilizers and sedatives in general can result in respiratory depression (inadequate ventilation), reduced heart rate and seizures. A dependency on stimulants can cause deviant heart rate, elevated body temperature, seizure and cardiovascular shutdown.

 

Illegal Trafficking

A 2007 study by Columbia University, sponsored by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), revealed that 210 hours were spent recording the number of Internet websites that were distributing specific prescription drugs. Through search engines and email campaigns, 187 Internet websites were found guilty of selling prescription drugs over the Internet; 84 percent of these sites did not require prescriptions to purchase the drug. A mere 30 sites required a prescription. However, 17 of them stated that a faxed prescription was sufficient, 4 stated that the prescription had to be mailed and 9 said that they would contact the physician before distributing the drug.

 

Prescription Drug Views

According to the Kaiser Public Opinion Spotlight, most prescription drug users in America agree that prescription drugs have had a positive effect on their lives. 54 percent of adults report using four or more prescription medications daily. There is mixed perception on the pharmaceutical industry, however. Seven out of ten adults report that the pharmaceutical industry is too focused on making money instead of helping individuals. 79 percent believe that high profits are to be blamed for the high costs of prescription drugs, which many feel are unreasonable.