The opioid epidemic has reached staggering levels across the United States, and Vermont is no exception. According to the Vermont Department of Health, there were 106 deaths due to opioid overdoses in 2016, and 51 overdose deaths due to heroin. With so many people suffering from dependency and overdoses, the need for appropriate treatment options has never been more pressing. Fortunately, Vermont has a number of excellent treatment centers where you can get the help you need to recover from opioid dependency.
If you are struggling with opioid or heroin use, it is important that you understand you are not alone. While these drugs are certainly powerful, it it can be challenging to get clean, it is very possible to get your normal life back. Once you reach out to the right treatment center and start getting care from healthcare professionals, you will be well on your road to recovery.
At DrugRehab.org, we are dedicated to helping you find the right rehab option in Vermont. Please let us know if you are interested in treatment. We are standing by to assist you.
Understanding Opioids And Opiates
While “opioid” and “opiate” are often used to describe the same thing, there is a difference in what each term refers to. Opioid is used to describe the synthetic or semi-synthetic substances designed to mimic the narcotic properties of the opium poppy. The prescription medications given for pain relief are referred to as opioids. Opiates include any drug derived from the opium poppy, naturally or synthetically, including heroin.
There are a variety of opioids on the market for pain relief, including:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
The pain relief that comes from taking opioids is caused by a flood of endorphins in the brain. The human brain has opioid receptors, which receive endorphins released by the brain naturally. With opioid drugs, a flood of endorphins – far more than would occur naturally – is released into the brain. The opioid receptors are overloaded, producing a reduction in pain. However, along with pain relief often comes euphoria. Not only is physical pain relieved, so is emotional pain. Users may feel a general sense of well being, reduction in stress, more sociability, etc.
Why Are Opioids So Addictive?
Addiction is complex and tends to have more than one cause. But there are some physical reasons why opioids in particular are so addictive. The overload of endorphins that occurs after taking opioids is so powerful that it causes the brain to stop producing its own endorphins. When the opioid wears off, the brain is left without its normal level of endorphins – which leads to feelings of lethargy, depression, irritability and other unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The easiest way to relieve the unpleasant symptoms is to take more opioids.
People become dependent on opioids to feel normal. While they can still get a sense of euphoria by taking more and more of the drug, ultimately it is the need to feel stable and “OK” that leads to addiction. Once dependency develops, it is impossible to feel well without the drug.
One of the most unfortunate things about the current opioid addiction epidemic is that many of those struggling with dependency were prescribed opioids from their doctor. They may have needed the drugs for surgery, to recover from an injury or for chronic pain. Taking opioids, even as prescribed, will lead to dependence. But many users found that the more they took, the better they felt. And regardless of whether they took them as prescribed, or took more than recommended, in the end the prescriptions almost always run out.
Many heroin users were first using prescription opioids, but were no longer able to get their prescriptions refilled. They turned to heroin because it was available, and far more affordable than trying to purchase prescription opioids on the black market.
The street drug heroin is derived from morphine, which is derived from the opium poppy. Heroin, which is snorted, smoked or injected, is a powerful opiate all on its own. However, it is often cut with other substances. Some of these cuts are toxic, while others may be much more powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl. The result is that heroin users never know what they are getting. They may take a normal dose for their tolerance level, but still wind up overdosing because of the synthetic opioids used to cut the heroin.
There were 51 deaths due to overdose related to Fentanyl in 2016, according to the Vermont Department of Health, with two Emergency Department visits for heroin overdose out of every 10,000 Vermonters in the same year.
Detox And Treatment For Heroin And Opioids
There are a variety of ways to get treatment for heroin and opioids in Vermont. Some of these include:
The powerful nature of heroin and other opioids causes significant changes to your physiology, changes that must be reversed once you stop using the drug. The process of stopping use, letting the drugs leave your system, and of returning to a more normal physiology is referred to as detoxification. When you quit using opioids, your brain will be left without the endorphins that are required to feel normal, and it will take time for the brain to start producing adequate amounts again.
The symptoms that accompany withdrawal can be severe, including:
- Flu-like symptoms
Medically Assisted Detox
Fortunately, the detox process can be made easier through modern medicine. Medically assisted detox centers offer a way to go through detox under the supervision of a medical professional. You can get medication which will help to ease the withdrawals and you will have the support necessary to make it through to the others side.
Many people try to detox on their own, often by going cold turkey. While it is possible to detox this way, doing so is not recommended. It is not necessary when medically assisted detox is available, and you are far more likely to relapse once you start going through serious withdrawals.
Getting Through Detox Before Treatment
No matter how effective treatment for heroin and opioid dependency can be, it only works if you have gone through detox first. Detox prepares you for the more long-term work of treatment. Any treatment center you choose will want you to go through detox first, either at the treatment center, or at another treatment center, before you start regular treatment.
Inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, medically assisted detox, gender-based programs, teen programs, adolescent programs – there are numerous options when it comes to opioid treatment. You should discuss your specific situation with a treatment professional to determine which treatments are best suited to your circumstances.
Inpatient treatment – often referred to as residential treatment – is the standard for opioid dependency. With inpatient treatment, you get to leave your normal life for a while and focus fully on getting better. You will live at the treatment center, eat your meals there and spend your days in various treatments to help you learn how to live without opioids.
Treatments offered at inpatient centers may include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Group Therapy
- Adventure Therapy
- Holistic Treatments
In contrast to inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment is made up of visits to the treatment center while living away from the center – usually at home. Outpatient treatment varies in intensity, but most of the time visits occur two to three times a week. The rest of the time you will go about your day-to-day life.
Outpatient treatment is often recommended for those who have already completed an inpatient program. Having support after leaving the inpatient center can be invaluable for staying clean.
Medication Assisted Therapy
Methadone is the most well-known medication assisted therapy, although buprenorphine (suboxone, zubsolv) are becoming increasingly popular. With methadone, you must go to a treatment center to get your prescribed dose of methadone regularly to help you fight your cravings for opioids. Buprenorphine can be taken at home after getting a prescription from your doctor.
Treatment Centers In Vermont
Vermont is home to a number of different treatment centers. Some of these include:
Located in Bradford, VT, Valley Vista offers inpatient programs that are tailored to men, women and adolescents. Here the treatment team strives to provide respect, validation and anonymity for everyone – supporting you on your journey towards an opioid free life. There is staff available 24/7 at the treatment center. Once you are finished with the inpatient program, Valley Vista can help you determine what programs can help you maintain your sobriety long-term.
Spring Lake Ranch
Situated in the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont, Spring Lake Ranch has been helping people recover from addiction since 1932. Spring Lake Ranch is unique in the program it offers. Every day, residents in the program go about the work necessary to keep a community running. Small crews work at different jobs like farming, gardening, tending livestock and other tasks. There is also a shop crew that builds furniture and makes repairs, as well as a woods crew that fells trees and collects lumber for heating and building.
The team at Spring Lake Ranch work to create a warm, welcoming community that is inclusive and respectful for all patients. Once you are finished with your program at the Ranch, you can transition into the Transitional Living Program in Rutland.
Teen Challenge of New England
As the name suggests, Teen Challenge of New England has a comprehensive residential treatment program for teens in Vermont. They also offer an adult program, so anyone can come to the treatment center who needs help. Located in Johnson, VT, Teen Challenge of New England is dedicated to helping people – both young and old – to live a drug free, healthy and happy life.
Get The Treatment You Need – Contact Us Today
If you are ready to seek treatment for heroin and opioid dependence, either for you or for a loved one, please contact us at DrugRehab.org. Our team is here to answer your questions and to help you find the treatment you are looking for.