Heroin and opioid dependency is a growing problem throughout much of the United States. From the smallest towns to the biggest cities, more and more people are finding themselves in the difficult position of being dependent on opioid type drugs. Many of those struggling with dependency found themselves in such a position after initially being prescribed opioids by their doctor. Now they cannot stop using opioids, and many move on to heroin once they can no longer obtain their prescription medication.
Dependency on heroin and opioids makes it almost impossible to lead a full, healthy, productive life. And getting off of these drugs can be extremely difficult on your own – which is why it is so important to seek help from a rehab center. Rehab is the most effective way to leave opioids behind and go on to lead the life you want.
Fortunately, there are a number of great rehab options available in New Hampshire. We are here to answer your questions about rehab and to help you find the best rehab for your needs, so please don’t hesitate to contact us. The team at DrugRehab.org is here to help!
Opioids and Opiates – What You Need to Know
While the word “opioid” is used often to refer to drugs like heroin and prescription pain killers, technically opioid describes only synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs created from opiates. Many of the prescription medications people get for pain relief are opioids. For instance, fentanyl is a full synthetic drug. The drugs that are naturally created from the opiate poppy, like heroin, and the synthetic drugs are all referred to as opiates.
Most of the prescription pain killers that people get from their doctor are opioids, including:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
The narcotic properties of the opium poppy, specifically the ability to control pain, are what drug makers are seeking when they either naturally derive a drug or create a synthetic equivalent. However, from the first time humans began harvesting the opium poppy, there has also been a desire to take advantage of the euphoric properties of the plant as well.
The pain relieving effects of opioids are remarkable, which is why they are so widely used around the world. The drugs make it possible to ease the pain of chronic pain sufferers, while also helping with pain for those going through surgery or those who have been injured. Of course, the euphoric properties are equally remarkable, which is what makes the drugs so attractive and ultimately addictive.
It is important to remember that while many people do first come to opioids for recreational use, many more are first exposed for medical needs. Unfortunately, once their prescription runs out, or once they realize that taking more than prescribed produces greater euphoria, the addictive nature of opioids becomes readily apparent.
Why are Opioids Addictive?
Opioids are powerful substances that release a substantial amount of endorphins into the brain – far, far more than occur naturally. When the user repeatedly takes opioids the brain begins to adjust to the flood of endorphins and reacts by lessening its own production. The user’s brain has adapted to expect regular use of the opioid. When the user stops taking the drug, the brain is left without the endorphins, leading to nasty side effects and symptoms – also known as withdrawals. Insomnia, increased sensitivity, depression, irritability and other problems arise. The easiest way to get the endorphins back, and to stop the withdrawals., is to take more opioids.
The cycle of addiction starts when the user must keep taking the drug to feel good – or even to feel normal. Opioid tolerance can develop quickly, so the user often has to take more and more to feel the same feeling. Soon the user is taking far more than he or she would have at first, and keeps having to take opioids to avoid withdrawals.
Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely debilitating, which is why many who are dependent on opioids focus so intently on maintaining a supply of their drugs. If they quit or run out, then the withdrawals start. For those who are no longer able to get a refill of their prescription opioids, often the only option is to seek something similar on the street – which may lead to heroin use.
Heroin is derived from morphine, and is the most popular opiate found on the streets. Heroin can be taken a variety of ways, including injection, snorting and smoking. Most users start out smoking or snorting, but due to increased tolerance may eventually start injecting the drug – because injection generates the most intense sensation for heroin users.
One of the biggest problems for heroin users is the uncertainty about what they are taking. Because it is a street drug from unknown sources, it can be cut with any number of things. Lately their has been a wave of overdoses among heroin users because suppliers are cutting the drug with fentanyl or other extremely powerful synthetic opioids. The user takes what would be a normal dose for heroin, but the synthetic cut is much, much stronger, which leads to overdose.
Stats on Opioids in New Hampshire
According to the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), there were over 400 deaths in the state in 2015 due to drug overdose. The rate of overdose deaths has increased two and a half times since 2011. Because the majority of the recent overdoses have been due to opioids, the DHHS has significantly increased its funding for substance abuse prevention and treatment.
Getting Help – Detox and Treatment for Heroin and Opioids
While heroin and opioids are some of the most difficult drugs to quit, help is out there. Treatment centers offer options that are effective both short and long term.
When a regular user stops taking heroin or opioids, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms that are so strong that they drive the user to abandon quitting and go back to the drug. Because the opioid has been providing the endorphins in the brain, there will be a severe absence of those endorphins when the user quits taking the drug. Eventually the brain will begin to produce endorphins again, but until that happens withdrawals will persist.
Withdrawal symptoms may include:
- Flu-like symptoms
Medically Assisted Detox
Many treatment centers offer a better solution than quitting cold turkey and suffering through the worst of the withdrawals. Medically assisted detox is a detox plan that includes medical supervision during detox – including medications that can significantly decrease the severity of withdrawals. Detox is only the first step towards full rehabilitation. Medically assisted detox provides a valuable way to get through that step and move on with the main treatment process.
The Necessity of Detox Before Treatment
Treatment for heroin and opioid dependency is a lengthy process that challenges even the strongest individuals. Without going through detox first, it is impossible to be adequately prepared for treatment. All treatment centers will advise detox before entering the main stage of treatment.
Options for Treatment
Everyone faces his or her own unique journey from dependency to freedom. It is possible to choose several different options for treatment based on what will work best for your needs. But, while you are ultimately the one who will decide what you do, it is advised that you speak with a treatment professional who can guide you to the ideal treatment for your situation.
For the majority of those who are dependent on heroin or other opioids, inpatient treatment is the best way to get clean. When you go to an inpatient treatment facility, you have the chance to escape from the environment and circumstances that facilitated your drug use. You have the opportunity to focus fully on the task at hand, which includes not only avoiding using opioids, but learning skills that will help you to avoid using in the future.
Inpatient treatment usually involves a stay of 30 to 45 days, although some stay longer depending on their circumstances. Also referred to as residential treatment, you will stay at the facility, be provided with meals, and have 24/7 care from full-trained medical professionals dedicated to your success.
Some of the treatments offered at inpatient treatment centers include:
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Group Therapy
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Adventure Therapy
- Holistic Treatments
With outpatient treatment, you visit a treatment center two to three times a week while still tending to your obligations, including school, work and family. For heroin and opioid users, outpatient treatment typically comes after they complete treatment at an inpatient facility. Outpatient treatment is an excellent too for transitioning back into daily life, giving you support and ongoing care as you integrate what you learned at inpatient treatment with the real world.
Medication Assisted Treatment
Medication assisted treatments include methadone and buprenorphine (suboxone, zubsolv). These medications are designed to help those who are dependent on heroin and opioids to transition from dependency to sobriety. Methadone treatment requires visiting a clinic regularly for medication, while buprenorphine can be obtained through a prescription and be taken at home.
Treatment Centers in New Hampshire
Our team can help you to find the right treatment center in New Hampshire. Some quality rehabilitation centers include:
The Farnum Center, in Manchester, New Hampshire, offers an idyllic location and effective treatment options. It is situated on a three acre site that includes volleyball courts, a pool, basketball courts and yoga. Treatment options are gender specific, and include medically assisted detox and inpatient treatment.
Green Mountain Treatment Center
Green Mountain Treatment Center is located in Effingham, New Hampshire. They offer a unique integrated treatment program that combines therapy, CBT, DBT, trauma therapy and more with a holistic approach that treats the patient as a whole.
The Phoenix House is in Dublin, New Hampshire. The team at Phoenix House treats not just the patient, but the family as well, creating a warm and welcoming environment focused on real and lasting change. They offer inpatient and outpatient programs for teens and adults.
Contact Our Team to Start on the Road to Recovery
Please contact us at DrugRehab.org to start your journey down the road to recovery. We are standing by to answer your questions and guide you to the right rehab option for your unique needs.