It’s safe to say that the substance abuse crisis touches nearly everyone in the United States. Most people know of at least one person who has been affected by it, even if they have not personally seen the challenges that such an addiction can create. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) notes that as many as 36 million people around the world abuse opioids, with 2.1 million Americans doing so.
Nearly 500,000 additional individuals are addicted to heroin. These sobering statistics are also evident in Louisiana. Indeed, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly three percent—or about 95,000 people in the state aged 12 years or older had a dependency on illicit drugs from 2009 until 2013.
Opioids: Where It Often Starts
Few people addicted to either opioids, heroin, or another substance start off their addiction journey intending to become dependent. In fact, the majority of people start off with legal prescriptions from their physicians for some type of pain. Vicodin and Lortab, both of which contain hydrocodone, are commonly-prescribed painkillers that are used extensively in the medical profession to treat pain. Oxycodone, sometimes better known by its common brand names of Percocet and OxyContin, is another narcotic painkiller that is often prescribed by medical personnel to control pain. While medications containing oxycodone and hydrocodone are often prescribed for a patient to take at home, morphine, another common painkiller, is found almost exclusively in a hospital or clinical setting.
Opioids can be highly addictive. There is a fine line between providing the patient with enough of the medication so that their pain is relieved but not so much that they become dependent on its effects. Unfortunately, many people who suffer from chronic pain issues find that they have a difficult time managing this delicate line. As their bodies become tolerant to the effects of the opioids prescribed by the doctor, an individual begins to need increasing amounts to keep the pain manageable. At some point, the physician is likely to balk at increasing the strength of the medication.
Heroin, unlike medically-approved opioids, is often easier to obtain on the streets. It also tends to be cheaper than prescription painkillers, 10 dollars per dose and up to 100 dollars per dose, respectively. Heroin also comes as a fine powder that doesn’t need to be crushed before being snorted or mixed with water and injected. For those individuals who cannot legally obtain a prescription for opioid painkillers, heroin provides many of the same euphoric effects as other opioids.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, fatal overdoses due to the use of opioids such as oxycodone and morphine account for 29 percent of the total, while those involving heroin numbered eight percent. Just five years later, in 2015, opioids were responsible for 24 percent of these deaths, while heroin skyrocketed to 25 percent. The addition of fentanyl, a powerful additive that is also sometimes used to completely replace the heroin sold on the streets, is the primary reason behind this spike.
Options For Substance Abuse Treatment In Louisiana
Treatment for addiction to heroin or opioids is different than for other types of dependencies. A treatment approach that is patterned around these differences helps protect the individual from withdrawal symptoms and relapse while supporting them during their entire recovery period.
Because a sudden withdrawal from either substance results in intense cravings that most individuals cannot resist on their own, medication-assisted treatment is the preferred approach when someone enters a substance abuse program in Louisiana. Under the careful supervision of a medical professional, the individual is assessed and one of several medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine (Zubsolv or Suboxone), is prescribed for use during the detox phase. These medications help block the brain from the effects of the heroin or opioids, decreasing the chances of a relapse because of the insatiable cravings for the substance in question. A step-down approach that is designed to slowly wean the individual off of the illicit drugs is often undertaken.
Like medication-assisted treatment for detox, inpatient treatment is the best method of addressing addiction to opioids and heroin. Successful pain management is often at the heart of many people’s addictions to these substances. Finding a way to effectively manage that pain is one of the primary factors that must be addressed in order for an individual to retain their sobriety long-term.
In many cases, there are other, underlying factors at play as well. A variety of therapies, including group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), individual therapy, adventure therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and more, can be utilized to address these factors. These types of intensive therapies are best implemented as a part of an inpatient program in a residential setting.
Outpatient treatment is often offered as an extension of inpatient treatment to ease the individual back into society. In other cases, some people might find that an inpatient residential treatment program is not the ideal method to help them with their opioid or heroin addiction. Outpatient treatment programs are often provided by drug treatment centers that offer other treatment options as well.
Medication-assisted treatment combines the use of medication, behavioral therapies, and counseling to provide an individualized and patient-focused treatment plan. According to the SAMHSA, research has shown this combination to be highly successful in treating addiction. Medications commonly used in this program include FDA-approved buprenorphine and methadone.
The combination of services offered to individuals are designed to curtail or reduce the use of illegal drugs while also reducing criminal activity and the spread of infectious diseases. In order to successfully improve the lives of those involved in the program, each component follows a duration that is sufficient enough to meet his or her individual needs. Frequent assessments by medical staff are essential in determining the preferred treatment medications as well as their applicable durations.
Opioid Treatment Centers In Louisiana
Louisiana is home to many well-regarded drug treatment centers that offer multiple programs focused on opioid and heroin addiction.
An addiction to opioids or heroin is not something that anyone intends to happen. In spite of this, many people feel anger, shame, and other strong emotions when addressing their addiction. DrugRehab.org is here to help you weather this challenging time in your life. Whether you are seeking out drug treatment options in Louisiana for yourself, a beloved friend, or a family member, our caring, compassionate and professional team at DrugRehab.org can help! Contact us today for more information.