Addiction to heroin and other opioid drugs is a serious problem that people are battling in every state, with Iowa being no exception. In fact, 309 overdose deaths in Iowa due to opioids or heroin occurred during the previous year as of 2015, according to the latest figures available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Opioids belong to a class of drugs that have a similarity to the alkaloids that occur in opium poppies (from which opium and derivative drugs are derived). People have been using opioids throughout recorded history as painkillers. Unfortunately, the addictive power of opioids can lead to people abusing them. As a consequence, use of these drugs is illegal unless the person has a prescription.
Keep in mind that not all addictions are to drugs that are illegal. Opioids are frequently prescribed by doctors for completely legitimate reasons, and people can find themselves addicted to them before they realize what has happened, as they recuperate from an injury or surgery.
Someone has a back injury after an automobile accident, and the doctor prescribes opioid painkillers to ease the tremendous pain. But when the patient continues to take the drugs after healing and ends up becoming addicted with no idea that this could happen, he or she runs into problems when the prescription runs out and no refills are available.
Under such conditions, the patient may resort to buying prescribed opioids that were diverted from legitimate sources (stolen from a pharmacy or from a person who got a prescription by faking a painful injury, for example). When no prescription drugs are available on the street, the patient might resort to using heroin and become addicted to it.
What Is Heroin Abuse Like In Iowa?
Heroin is among the more powerful opioid drugs. You can find it in brown or white powder, with some versions on the street being of a darker, stickier substance, called black tar heroin.
Drug dealers will frequently dilute the heroin they sell to make even more money. As a result, the precise dosage that an addicted individual takes in may be more or less than expected. This can lead to overdose and even death from heroin. In Iowa, approximately 3,000 people aged 18 and above have used heroin, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Detox From Heroin And Opioids In Iowa
The key to a person getting off heroin and opioids is often to undergo a detoxification program. Without detox, a number of side effects may come into play.
Typically, withdrawal symptoms are unpleasant but are not deemed life-threatening (only a medical professional can determine the degree of danger for any individual, though). Symptoms of detox tend to begin within 12 hours after the person’s last dose of a fast-acting opioid (like heroin), or within 30 hours after taking a prescribed, longer-acting opioid.
For example, the patient may experience vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea. Muscle aches, agitation, profound anxiety, or irritability are also common side effects. Depression could increase further while the patient in detox is experiencing alternating sweats and chills with no relief in sight. Whether you have a runny nose and muscle aches, or find your eyes tearing up to an excessive degree, the body undergoing detox will go through a number of changes. It’s best to have the help of medical professionals who have the experience and expertise to guide you into the right protocol for detox.
To that end, drug rehab centers will work to get the person free of harmful opioids by initiating a medically-assisted detox. Otherwise, the pain and emotional turmoil that can result from detoxification without medical supervision can prove to be quite powerful, potentially interfering with a smooth progression to getting off these dangerous drugs.
Obtaining Inpatient Treatment For Opioid Addiction
When you enter an inpatient treatment program for your opioid addiction, the staff will offer you access to several different treatment modalities. For example, many patients find it useful to participate in group therapy, because they can quickly see that they are not alone in their addiction, with other people around them reporting similar stories of how they came fall into addiction.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is a process that helps the person address the thinking behind drug use and addiction, and helps turn the mind toward more productive thoughts and behaviors. Other methods to help people get free from opioid addiction include holistic treatments, which address various aspects of your life, from family and work situations to how you grew up and saw others coping with their problems, with or without dangerous drugs.
Outpatient Treatment For Opioid Addiction In Iowa
For some patients who need to end their addiction to opioids, their present circumstances may make it hard to participate in an inpatient treatment program. They can avail themselves of treatment on an outpatient basis, preferably with the recommendation of a physician who has examined them and knows about their addiction.
An individual may have responsibilities at home, work, or school that would prevent him or her from taking time to attend an inpatient facility. Because inpatient treatment is invaluable for those suffering from an opioid addiction, going the outpatient route should be considered carefully and in consultation with a medical professional.
Medically-Assisted Treatment For Opioid Addiction
People do not have to get off of opioids by themselves. Medical professionals have developed methods to treat opioid addiction with the help of other medications. For example, a doctor could prescribe methadone, which helps a patient who needs to detox from a short-acting opioid, such as heroin.
Other options for medication-assisted detox include buprenorphine (Suboxone, Zubsolv, Subutex). Suboxone is often prescribed when patients have entered the maintenance phase of their treatment. It includes a substance called naloxone, which will not be activated unless the patient takes an opioid, in which case the naloxone blocks the body’s opioid receptors from taking in the heroin or other substance.
Getting Help At A Drug Rehab Center In Iowa
When you or a loved one have determined that it’s time to break free from addiction to heroin or other opioids, you’ll want to find a suitable treatment center that you can depend on. In Iowa, approximately 9,731 people are in treatment, according to the latest figures from SAMHSA. You can join their ranks if you have an addiction yourself, or you can help a family member or friend arrange for treatment in Iowa to get off opioids for good.
There is a lot of information to process when you are trying to help yourself, a friend, or relative deal with opioid addiction. Getting past emotional turmoil and guilt to do research into getting help from professionals can be overwhelming, but we can help.
Recognizing that you have an addiction to dangerous substances like opioid drugs, whether from a doctor’s prescription or from illegal street drugs such as heroin is just the first step on your road to recovery. Many people find themselves with questions about how they can get help for themselves or for a loved one. For more information or help, please contact us at DrugRehab.org today.