For several years, organizations inside and outside the government have sought to stop the flood of opioid abuse from getting worse. Although they are making significant progress in slowing the tide of people who misuse prescription opioids or use heroin, there are also thousands of Utahns in clear need of treatment for their opioid dependence. For the nearly 100,000 people in Utah who have an opioid addiction or are at risk for developing one, there could be a treatment program that helps them to successfully overcome their addiction and find a better way of life.
What Are Opioids?
Historically, people have taken different types of drugs to relieve pain. One of these drugs was opium, made from poppies. The most common prescription pain relievers in use today are called opioids. They may be made from natural or synthetic compounds that mimic the effects of opium in the body. The side effects of opioid use include pain relief, euphoria, sedation, constipation and others.
There are several known opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and morphine. Some may be given to patients during or after hospital treatment, as a way to manage pain. By comparison, heroin is illegal in all forms, and is actually referred to as an opiate. Nationwide, more than one-third of people 12 and older used opioids and opiates in the past year. The widespread medical use of opioids by the general population can often lead to misuse of prescription pain relievers, even for medical reasons. Prolonged use may lead patients to develop a dependence or a tolerance for the drug, requiring them to continue to take the medication, often at higher doses. About 92,000 Utahns misused opioids in the past year, and nearly half met the definition of a substance use disorder for prescription pain relievers.
How Does Heroin Compare To Opioids?
Like prescription pain medications, heroin has a decades-old history in the United States. Heroin is typically injected into a vein, snorted, or smoked. It may come in a white or brown powder, or in a liquid substance called “black tar heroin.” All types of heroin are considered illegal in the U.S. It is sold illegally to people who may use it or sell it to others. As an opiate, heroin produces much of the same side effects as prescription opioids. The illegal status of heroin means that it is not officially regulated during production, sale, or consumption. This means that it can be substituted or combined with other deadly substances.
Why Is Detoxification From Heroin And Opioids Important?
The first step in treatment for dependence on heroin or opioids is commonly referred to as detoxification or detox. Detox is a vital part of any successful treatment plan. A person who has developed a reliance upon a certain drug or other substance may suffer from withdrawal symptoms as the drug leaves their system. Common withdrawal symptoms for opioids include pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Addiction experts are realizing the benefits of going through detox in a medical setting, with medical assistance available to minimize the symptoms of withdrawal and stop the likelihood of an immediate relapse into use of the drug. Once detox is complete, it is possible for patients to begin to address the circumstances that led to the addiction and make a plan to prevent a relapse.
What Is Inpatient Treatment?
For opioid and heroin dependence, inpatient treatment is often considered a preferred method. About 57,000 Utahns need treatment for illicit drug use but do not get it. In an inpatient environment, a person can often go through detox, try various therapies to help understand the factors that make addiction more likely, and readjust to functioning in society without the use of opioids. Inpatient treatment options range from a few weeks to several months, and are designed to address the individual problems faced by a particular person.
There are many different methods employed during inpatient treatment, and they vary between scientifically-proven therapies and alternative approaches. Group therapy is a common feature to encourage the support of others during the recovery journey. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most best-known methods. With CBT, you are encouraged to think deeply about your actions and reactions to certain situations, allowing you to formulate better coping strategies for everyday stresses. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is very similar to CBT, with a notable difference. People undergoing DBT are encouraged to recognize discomfort or agitation in certain situations, without necessarily needing to act upon the difficulty. DBT is more commonly recommended for people who have a substance use disorder and another mental illness.
Each inpatient treatment facility will maintain a unique focus, and some of them prefer to specialize in some way. For example, you might choose a facility that provides treatment from a particular religious perspective, or one that serves to address your addiction concerns from a holistic standpoint. You may also consider an organization providing adventure therapy, which treats patients in a different physical environment, such as the wilderness.
Are There Outpatient Treatment Options?
Although many inpatient treatment programs have an outpatient component, there are also organizations that offer a plan of recovery that is exclusively outpatient. Inpatient treatment is considered significantly more effective for people recovering from opioid addiction, but some people simply cannot abandon certain responsibilities at home to enter an inpatient program. Outpatient methods could vary quite widely, from intensive daily programs that only have you going home to sleep at night, to very basic programs of group or individual therapy a few times a week. It is up to you and your doctor to decide what level of treatment you need, based on your opioid dependence and medical history.
How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?
Although many people are familiar with addiction recovery programs that rely on complete abstinence from all drugs during recovery, medication-assisted treatment is gaining recognition due to its long-term effectiveness. There are several drugs available that can help people going through detox and into recovery to manage their side effects and cravings for opioids.
Methadone is a well-known opioid agonist, which delivers a very slow dose of the drug orally to help decrease withdrawal symptoms. Newer combinations of drugs, such as buprenorphine and naloxone, decrease the cravings while simultaneously making it hard to get the high from the use of opioids or heroin. Under the advisement of a doctor, some people may take these medications for months to discourage a relapse and make recovery more effective. Many facilities adhere to the older abstinence protocol, despite evidence that medication-assisted treatment is more practical and more likely to contribute to long-term success when combined with other therapeutic approaches.
Which Centers Offer Opioid Treatment in Utah?
Since there are so many types of treatment you can take for opioid and heroin dependence, you have a number of available facilities in Utah designed to help you pass through detox and recover from addiction.
Journey at Willowcreek
This Salt Lake City location offers a comprehensive line of treatment options, ranging from short-term inpatient to long-term residential treatment, as well as intensive outpatient programs. The facility provides medical-assisted treatment, and is conveniently located near downtown Salt Lake.
Red Rock Canyon School
On the southern end of the state, this facility in St. George presents a long-term treatment solution for people facing addiction as well as other mental health conditions or trauma. Adolescents and adults are welcome, and the center accepts several major insurance carriers.
Addiction and Psychological Services
Located in Provo, this center provides an extensive program of treatments and services balancing substance use disorder and mental health needs. The facility specializes in co-occurring disorders, in an inpatient or intensive outpatient format.
Getting Help Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, you should know that you do not have to cope with it alone. An effective treatment program in Utah and information from DrugRehab.org might be the key to a successfully beating the addiction for good. To learn more about resources available or for help identifying the right treatment center for you, contact us at DrugRehab.org.