Imodium Abuse As A Result Of Opiate Withdrawal

Imodium Abuse as a result of Opiate Withdrawal

Imodium, which contains the active ingredient loperamide, is an over-the-counter medication used to treat diarrhea. It had long been thought that this medication did not hold serious potential for abuse. In fact, in 1980, a study was conducted to study just this. The study compared the effects of loperamide to that of codeine, an addictive opiate; and determined “loperamide poses little threat of potential abuse,” the study also noted that participants who used higher amounts of the medication (12-60mg) reported that it “was “liked” little or not at all, and was identified as “dope” at a frequency less than that for a threshold dose of oral codeine.”

Now, nearly forty years later, it’s becoming clear that these determinations can in certain circumstances prove false. What medical experts are finding—as is supported by the surge of personal accounts that are cropping up on the internet—is that this is not the case. Loperamide is becoming increasingly abused by individuals that are using it to either self-treat opiate dependence or withdrawal, or to seek the euphoria associated with these drugs. It is being increasingly misused in proportions that, in the most extreme reported usage, exceed the recommended dosage by amounts as high as 25 to nearly 50 times.

Why Are People Misusing This Drug?

A recent study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that misuse and abuse of Imodium is on the rise. The study’s authors wrote “our data are consistent with national poison center data, which demonstrated a 71% increase in calls related to intentional loperamide exposures from 2011 through 2014.” They cited the following reasons why this abuse is becoming so prevalent: “loperamide’s accessibility, low cost, over-the-counter legal status, and lack of social stigma associated with its use contribute to its potential for abuse.”

For those that are struggling with an opiate addiction and are either not able to find or afford their drug of choice or are struggling with the symptoms of withdrawal as they attempt to stop using it, taking loperamide seems like a simple way to obtain their goals.

Some people may unknowingly stumble into this misuse as they take the drug to treat constipation which is one of the most common side effects of an opiate withdrawal. In the process of taking the drug for this purpose, they may begin adjusting the dosage on their own accord as they find that the drug is moderating other withdrawal symptoms as well. Other people begin taking excess amounts of the drug right off the bat in the hopes that it will substitute the other opiate(s) they were taking and alleviate their concerns.

Imodium bottle_imodiumThough the effect is minimal, and not encountered by every person that takes this drug in large proportions, some people take massive doses for recreational purposes and claim that they experience a more minimal sense of the high or euphoria that other opiates create.

Currently, there are no restrictions on the amount of this drug that an individual can buy. For this reason people are able to take this medication in large proportions in an attempt to mimic the effect of other opiate drugs.

How Does Imodium Cause These Effects?

Opiates bind to one or both of two locations where opioid receptors are located within the human body—within the brain or within the gut. Typically, opiates that are commonly abused, including illicit drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers, bind to the receptor sites within the brain. It is the interaction of the drug on these binding sites that causes the euphoric feelings that individuals that abuse opiates seek.

A second study, also focusing on the dangers of loperamide abuse, published in the journal Clinical Toxicology describes loperamide as having “peripheral mu-opioid receptor activity.” As a result, if used as recommended, it has a limited ability to pass through the blood-brain barrier preventing it from binding to the receptors within the brain in any significant capacity. Instead, it binds primarily to the ones within the gut, specifically those within the intestines.

When used properly within this therapeutic range only miniscule amounts of the drug pass through the blood-brain barrier. The danger and damage occurs when a person consumes an amount in excess of the recommended dosage. In these quantities the drastically heightened levels of loperamide in the system allow for larger amounts of the drug to pass through the blood-brain barrier causing a feeling, that though significantly less, is claimed by some to mimic the effect of other more serious opiates or temper the uncomfortable feelings of withdrawal.

Over-The-Counter Does Not Mean Safe

Within groups that misuse this and other OTC medications there is a common misconception that because something is sold without a prescription that it is automatically safe. This is true if the medication is used within the bounds of its intended purposes, meaning that the purpose, dosage, and frequency of use all fall within the perimeters of what the medication is manufactured for. When a medication is used beyond this, in proportions that are greater than the intended dosage, risk and danger rise proportionately.

What Are The Dangers Of Imodium Abuse?

The study presented by the Annals of Emergency Medicine found that this use is accompanied by dangerous and even deadly results. It detailed that “in the overdose setting it causes significant central nervous system and respiratory depression, cardiac dysrhythmias, and death.” In addition to these risks, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s DailyMed reported that an overdosage can cause “urinary retention, paralytic ileus and CNS depression.”

Imodium Abuse As A Result Of Opiate Withdrawal_3 out 5The study’s authors spoke of two individuals that took massive quantities of loperamide and subsequently overdosed. Emergency services were contacted and what followed for both failed to prove life-saving. Despite medical intervention and support, including “manual cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), naloxone, and standard advanced cardiac life support (ACLS),” both individuals died prior to arriving at the emergency room.

The Clinical Toxicology study detailed five cases of loperamide abuse, it reported that “3 of the 5 patients had life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. One of the patients experienced a second life-threatening arrhythmia after he resumed loperamide abuse.” The good news is, that this study reported that “discontinuation of loperamide resulted in complete resolution of cardiac conduction disturbances.”

As with any drug use, risk may rise if this medication is combined with other drugs, especially drugs that suppress the CNS. If you, or someone you love, has any fear that you’ve overdosed on loperamide seek medical attention immediately.

Don’t Manage Your Addiction Or Withdrawal On Your Own

contact-drugrehab_1Attempting to undergo the withdrawal process on your own can be daunting and at times dangerous. It is never recommended that anyone, under any circumstances, self-medicate the symptoms of withdrawal. This process should be supervised by trained professionals that can direct and provide you with the care and medical and emotional support that is necessary within this process.

If you’re misusing or abusing Imodium or any other product that contains loperamide, struggling with an opiate addiction, wanting to quit using but are fearful of facing withdrawal symptoms, or find that you’re self-medicating your withdrawal symptoms in any other way, please allow us to offer you the help and assistance that can be crucial to obtaining sobriety and finding lasting recovery. Here, at, we have a patient, trained, and compassionate staff that is standing by to help you make the best decision about your care today.

Demerol (Pethidine): A Commonly Abused Prescription Opiate


Demerol (Pethidine), the brand name for meperidine, is a prescription opiate designed to relieve moderate to severe pain. The effectiveness of Demerol makes it a useful tool for alleviating the pain experienced during labor and delivery, severe accidents, and other chronic medical conditions.

Demerol works by altering the body’s perception of pain in the central nervous system. The effects are similar to that of morphine and can cause feelings of pleasure or cause giddiness. The potency of the euphoria experienced while taking Demerol can lead patients to become dependent in a short period of time. Understanding the risk involved with taking Demerol can help patients make an informed choice about pain management.

Demerol Administration

Demerol is classified as a schedule II controlled substances and cannot be obtained legally without a prescription. Due to the high risk of addiction, physicians rarely prescribe the drug for outpatient use.

When prescribed, Demerol can be taken orally in tablet or liquid form, or through an injection administered by a physician. The average dose is taken every 3-4 hours or as needed. The effects are experienced for 4-5 hours.

People who abuse Demerol to get high often crush, chew, snort, or inject the drug to quicken and lengthen the effects. These behaviors increase the risk of overdose by increasing the onset speed of its symptoms.

Behavioral Indicators Of Demerol Addiction

When an individual becomes addicted to Demerol, they may seek prescriptions by visiting multiple doctors or the ER with faked or self-inflicted injuries. This type of uncharacteristic behavior is often a symptom of opiate addiction. Other common behavioral indicators of Demerol addiction include:

  • “Losing” prescriptions to obtain more from a physician
  • Disengaging from friends, family, and community to hide drug abuse
  • Borrowing money, selling possessions, or stealing to afford the drug
  • Lying about the amount consumed
  • Driving under the influence or engaging in other risky behaviors
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work or home
  • Mood swings, agitation, depression, or impulsiveness

Demerol is often called “Juice,” “Dillies,” Dust,” or simply “D” on the street and can cost anywhere from $2.50-6 per dose. Behavioral changes often interfere with daily function or rationality of those struggling with addiction.

Physical Symptoms Of Demerol Abuse

As with most opioid medications, a tolerance can build over time, making the drug less effective at normal doses. Unfortunately, this means even people who aren’t abusing the drug may end up developing an addiction by treating their pain symptoms. Some physical symptoms of Demerol abuse include:

  • Frequent tiredness or “nodding off”
  • Gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.)
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Disorientation
  • Trouble breathing
  • Constant itching

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has labeled opiate addiction an epidemic, prompting stricter regulation of opioid prescriptions. Recent surveys suggest that teens who reported abusing prescription opiates claimed that the drugs were both easier accessed and considered not as dangerous as street drugs. The CDC is hoping to raise awareness and educate the public on the dangers of opioid abuse.

Demerol Overdose Statistics And Symptoms

Demerol overdose is common due to the drug’s high potency. Though many people don’t see the dangers of prescription medications, nearly 50% of opioid overdose deaths are from prescription opioids. Since 1999, the number of deaths from prescription opioid overdose has nearly quadrupled. Demerol overdose symptoms include:

  • Respiratory failure
  • Extreme drowsiness or lethargy
  • Weak, limp muscles
  • Hypothermia and cold, clammy skin
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Demerol becomes significantly more dangerous when combined with other substances. Central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as alcohol and barbiturates can intensify sedation and increase the risk of respiratory failure. Stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines can interact with Demerol by masking intensity, rendering the user incapable of regulating the amount of drugs being consumed. It is important to seek medical attention immediately in the event that opiate overdose is suspected.

Demerol Detox And Withdrawal

Demerol withdrawal intensity will vary, depending on the severity of the addiction, the volume of drug that was used, and how frequently it was used. Symptoms of withdrawal are typically experienced within 24 hours of the last dose, although some begin to feel symptoms in as little as three hours. Symptoms peak around 2-3 days and last about 1-2 weeks.

Common symptoms of Demerol withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety, paranoia, and agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating, chills, and dry mouth
  • Heightened blood pressure

A medical detox program is highly advised to help alleviate these symptoms. Doctors typically advise tapering off the drug to decrease the harsh effects of Demerol withdrawal. Additional treatment options can aid in medically-monitored rehabilitations.

Treatment Options

Demerol cravings often continue after detox, which is why follow-up care is so important. While detox eliminates the dangers of physical addiction, psychological dependence may still remain. A plan of action can help to overcome temptation and maintain sobriety while in recovery. Common treatments used to treat Demerol addiction include:

Suboxone and Subutex – Both medications contain the same active ingredient buprenorphine, which is used to aid in managing the pain and discomfort of opioid withdrawal. Suboxone contains an added opioid antagonist called Naloxone, which lessens the likelihood of relapse by blocking opioid receptors in the brain.
Supervised care with therapeutic services through a rehab facility – Many outpatient care centers require new patients to undergo detox with an inpatient rehabilitation facility prior to admission.

Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation plans include cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, and motivational enhancement therapy to help those struggling with addiction embrace recovery, develop the tools to cope with everyday life, and remain sober after rehab.

Regaining Control

If the effects of Demerol addiction are interfering with your life, you may feel overwhelmed by the prospect of recovery. The good news is that you’re not alone. Many individuals have walked away from Demerol addiction with a new sense of health and well-being.

Admitting to yourself that you need a change is the first step in identifying and resolving the problem. Recovery is not an easy process, but one that is possible with persistence and the loving care of a support group. This can include friends, family members, and professional rehab experts.

We Can Help

contact-drugrehab_1If you or a loved one is struggling with Demerol addiction, now is the time to regain control. The caring staff at is here to guide you through the recovery process and help you find the tools needed to find relief from addiction in a healthy and safe way. Contact us to take the first step today.

Adderall Abuse On College Campuses

Adderall Abuse on College Campuses

Adderall is a prescription medication used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It involves the use of two stimulants, amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which work together to affect chemicals in the brain that calm hyperactivity and improve impulse control.

Unfortunately, the positive effects of Adderall are often negated when people misuse or abuse it. Studies have explored the trend of college students abusing Adderall to enhance concentration and stay awake for longer periods to study. To many, it seems like a solution to the pressures of academia, but the effects of Adderall abuse can be damaging.

Full-Time Students And Adderall Use

In 2008, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In this study, full and part-time students were surveyed to assess the correlation between abuse of Adderall and other risky behaviors.

The study found pointed toward heavier usage (6.4%) in full-time students and less in part-time (3.0%). Even worse, the survey found that nearly 90% of all Adderall users binge drank in the past month with 50% of them being heavy drinkers.

Furthermore, full-time college students who abused Adderall were three times as likely to have used marijuana, eight times more likely to have used prescription tranquilizer, and five times more likely to have abused prescription pain medications than those who had not abused Adderall.

Student Opinion On Cognitive Enhancement

In 2008, 1,800 students were interviewed regarding the use of Adderall for cognitive enhancement. Of the students surveyed, 81% believed that the drug was “not dangerous at all” or only “a little dangerous.”

Many students claimed that it didn’t seem to be a big deal, as the amphetamines contained in Adderall did not have the same effect as those found in methamphetamine. In the same study, many students claimed to use Adderall once or twice every week to work more efficiently with a heavier workload.

Adverse Reactions With Adderall And Other Substances

Abuse of Adderall can be dangerous, and when used in conjunction with other substances, it poses a heavy risk of causing significant damage to the body. Taking it in conjunction with prescription medications, such as antidepressants, opiates, blood thinners, pseudoephedrine, and phynylepherine, can increase the risk of adverse reactions.

Adderall is commonly used to counter the depressant qualities of alcohol and shut off the warning signs of overconsumption. This can lead to many dangerous side effects, including paranoia, agitation, heart palpitations, alcohol poisoning, coma, stroke, or even death.

Common Signs Of Adderall Addiction

It’s not uncommon to feel pressure to get ahead in school. While Adderall may appear harmless at first, it carries with it the risk of addiction. Some of the most common signs of addiction include:

  • Increasing tolerance to the effects of the drug
  • Taking the drug despite negative consequences
  • Trouble working without Adderall
  • Overspending
  • Needing the drug to stay awake

In college, these problems can interfere with your studies or force you to drop out. Even if you are taking Adderall once or twice per week, there is a chance that your body will become more tolerant to the drug. This could mean a higher dose is necessary to feel the effects, which could lead to Adderall overdose.

Signs Of Adderall Overdose

Many individuals respond differently to amphetamines and toxic overdose symptoms are possible even in very small doses. Some of the main symptoms of Adderall overdose include:

  • Tremors, muscle twitches, and insomnia
  • Confusion, hallucinations, and panic
  • Aggressiveness, depression, and seizures
  • Fainting, gastronomic distress, and coma

In rare cases, an Adderall overdose can be fatal. People with preexisting heart conditions are advised to avoid amphetamines due to the negative effects on the heart. Amphetamine drugs can be addictive with repeated use and may cause severe withdrawal when stopped abruptly.

Adderall: Not Worth The Risk

Aside from the physical and psychological risks associated with abusing Adderall, there are additional problems for students to consider. If Adderall is found on campus,there are repercussions that could range from law enforcement involvement to expulsion.

Many schools uphold a “zero tolerance” policy regarding the possession, use, and distribution of substances on campus. If students are found in violation of this policy, it is possible to lose financial aid. When considering the many risks involved with the abuse of Adderall, it’s easy to see how it could hurt an otherwise promising college career.

We Can Help

Contact Us About ServicesThe college experience can be highly stressful, which is why many college students rely on the stimulating effects of Adderall to stay ahead. If you or a loved one is struggling with Adderall dependence, the caring staff at is here to help. We can offer guidance and support to help you get on the right track. Contact us today to get started.

Signs of Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Abuse and Addiction

Signs of Dilaudid (Hydromorphone) Abuse and Addiction

Prescription drug medications are crucial for keeping a person safe from the debilitating agony caused by a variety of health problems. Unfortunately, many pain medications come with a heavy price: addiction. Some, such as Dilaudid (also known as hydromorphone), are opioids. Frighteningly, over 33 million people in the country use these types of substances.

As prescription drug overdose deaths continue to rise across the nation (over 20,000 every year, according to the National Institute On Drug Abuse), it is important to understand how Dilaudid addiction begins and to have the ability to spot signs and symptoms of its abuse. The following information will give you a guide for spotting this addiction in yourself or your loved one.

What Is Dilaudid?

Dilaudid is one of the many drugs classified as “schedule II,” a classification that means it possesses the abilities to impact the pleasure centers of the brain. This makes it an opioid, and one that runs a high risk for severe psychological and physical dependence.

However, doses of two to four milligrams (in either pill or liquid form) are often used for their pain-relieving effect. In cases of serious accident, it is often given intravenously to people in comas and is particularly useful for treating the pain associated with cancer and severe burns. When taken at a safe level, it dulls the mind and central nervous system and generates a comfortable sense of ease, both physical and mental.

Unfortunately, when it is taken at high levels or for sustained periods (longer than a few weeks at a prescribed level), abuse and addiction are likely. The addictive nature of Dilaudid and its effects on the mind and body make it a particularly problematic drug to abuse.

Dilaudid is also offered under the brand names Exalgo, Palladone, and Dilaudid-hp. When it is purchased through illegal vendors, it goes by other names, including Peaches, M-80s, and Dillies.

Likely Physical Symptoms

Taking Dilaudid causes a variety of changes in your body that should be obvious quickly. When a person takes Dilaudid, their pupils will dilate, their movements will become slower and more deliberate, and they may start slurring their words. Dilaudid is a depressant, so its immediate effect is similar to alcohol or marijuana.

However, it is important to separate Dilaudid symptoms of use with those of abuse. Many of these symptoms are likely whenever a person uses Dilaudid, and when properly used, they should pass in a few hours. When a person shows a continual occurrence of the following symptoms, then they may be abusing Dilaudid:

  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Slowed breathing
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Problems with digestion
  • Dizziness and balance problems

These symptoms will come and go depending on the severity of Dilaudid abuse. For example, light use isn’t likely to cause severe heart problems, but prolonged and heavy doses could cause severe heart palpitations that could be life-threatening.

Behavioral Symptoms That Can Be Disturbing

People who are addicted to Dilaudid often go through a troubling array of personality changes that may be hard to understand. For example, they may suddenly become very angry or aggressive when you ask about Dilaudid or may obsess over their next dose. These behavioral indicators suggest that their mental focus has shifted almost entirely to using and obtaining Dilaudid.

It’s not uncommon for a person suffering from addiction to Dilaudid to change in this way. In fact, they may start ignoring or avoiding friends completely and become isolated in their own little world. Sadly, they may even get caught stealing prescription medications from other people’s cabinets or even get arrested trying to buy Dilaudid on the street.

One of the most common behavioral issues associated with Dilaudid addiction is “doctor shopping.” This is the act of going to several doctors and trying to get a prescription. If your loved one is continually complaining about and changing their doctor because they won’t prescribe them Dilaudid, they may be doctor shopping.

Withdrawal Symptoms To Watch

Your loved one may suffer from all the above symptoms without a physical addiction to Dilaudid. A true physical addiction is most notable when a person suffers from withdrawal symptoms after not using for several hours. Dilaudid withdrawal symptoms that indicate your loved one is suffering from addiction include:

  • Severe and unexplained sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle and bone pains
  • Cramps
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Racing heart

If your loved one is suffering from these symptoms, rush them to the hospital right away. Don’t give them a dose of Dilaudid in these instances. It may be tempting to give them some, as you may think it would take the edge off of the problem a little.

Unfortunately, this type of withdrawal self-medication could easily cause the body to shift into an overdose reaction. Once at the hospital, your loved one can be put on a low-dose of safe replacement medicine and works through their withdrawal in a controlled manner.

Disorders That May Contribute To Dilaudid Addiction

Simply using Dilaudid doesn’t ensure that a person will become addicted. In fact, when taken as prescribed, addiction can be easily avoided. However, people with certain mental health disorders often turn to using Dilaudid due to the way it helps calm the symptoms of their disorder. If this use turns into addiction, a co-occurring disorder has developed.

As a result, people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia are often discouraged from taking Dilaudid. People who have suffered from other substance use disorders in the past (particularly alcohol or opioid addiction) should also be careful about their use of Dilaudid.

Unfortunately, many people suffer from undiagnosed mental health disorders and may fall into Dilaudid abuse as a way to self-treat their illnesses. Once the claws of co-occurring disorders sink in, it can be hard to pry them loose. Thankfully, it is possible to reach sobriety when a user commits to completing drug rehab.

You Can Beat Your Addiction

Please contact us today at to learn more about how we can help you beat your Dilaudid addiction.Addiction to Dilaudid can feel like a hopeless problem. However, you aren’t alone, as there are people all across the country who need treatment for this substance. Please contact us today at to learn more about how we can help you beat your Dilaudid addiction and regain the life of sobriety you deserve.


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Is Buprenorphine An Opiate?

Is Buprenorphine an Opiate?

Opiate abuse and dependence is on the rise. It might come as a surprise to know that buprenorphine, a medication that is commonly used to treat opiate dependence, is in fact an opiate itself. Unfortunately, this is the case and it can complicate your recovery. Thankfully, there is hope in using this replacement medicine.

What Is Buprenorphine?

In 2002, the FDA approved buprenorphine, as delivered by Subtex or Suboxone, as a treatment for opiate addiction. Since then, several other preparations of this medicine have been approved. Used most commonly as an alternative to methodone, it is the first drug that is available to treat opioid dependence outside of a clinic setting. According to archived documents from the former National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) it is “used to treat addiction to any type of opiate, including oxycodones such as OxyContin and Percocet.”

The NDIC states that “buprenorphine is a derivative of thebaine, an extract of opium. The drug is an opioid (synthetic opiate) partial agonist.” This means that while buprenorphine is an opioid (with the capacity to produce opiate effects such as euphoria and respiratory depression) these effects are present in a decreased capacity in comparison to drugs that are full antagonists, such as methadone or heroin.

How Does Buprenorphine Work?

Buprenorphine is primarily used to treat pain, but its use extends beyond this, as it is also used—and perhaps more widely known—for its use within opiate detoxification and maintenance. Here is what you need to know about its effects:

  •  As Treatment For Pain Relief: Buprenorphine is used as a medication (narcotic analgesic) to treat pain. This medication binds to the same receptors as other opiates (including prescription painkillers), so it also has similar pain-fighting effects. The preparations of this include: Buprenex, Butrans, and Belbuca.
  • For Treatment Of Opiate Addiction: For those that suffer from opiate dependence, this drug is used as a part of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) or therapy to help people taper off opiates. Buprenorphine binds to and occupies the same opioid receptors as the abused drug, creating the same effects. It is for this reason that cravings are reduced. Like any opiate, buprenorphine works on the Central Nervous System, but in this case it causes decreased withdrawal symptoms.

It also aids in the withdrawal process by negating the euphoric effect if a person takes the illicit drug while using buprenorphine. Typically, buprenorphine is administered in a clinic or doctor’s office by means of an injection. However, there are two types of medications that may be taken at home due to their availability by prescription:

Subutex: This is straight buprenorphine which is most commonly used in the initial stages of treatment, specifically during the withdrawal process.

Combination Of Buprenorphine And Naloxone: Suboxone, Zubsolv, and Bunavail combine buprenorphine with another medication called naloxone which is an opioid antagonist. The naloxone is a preventive measure added to prevent people from abusing buprenorphine by means of crushing and snorting or injecting it; if someone does either of these things they will experience acute withdrawal symptoms. This medication is used during the maintenance stages of treatment.

The Risks and Side-Effects Of Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is metabolized by the liver and for this reason your doctor may suggest routine blood work to monitor your liver functions. If you take pain medications, such as morphine or codeine, the buprenorphine will block their effects. And while the risk of overdose is fairly low, a risk still exists. This is especially true if more is taken than necessary.

Unfortunately, buprenorphine can cause respiratory depression if used improperly. This risk increases if taked in conjunction with the following: alcohol, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, sedatives, or tranquilizers. It can cause nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness, and may cause fainting.

However, many of these side effects are present primarily if buprenorphine is misused or taken in high amounts. And thankfully, of you stick to the dosage prescribed by your doctor, your risk of experiencing these side effects decreases greatly.

Can Buprenorphine Be Addictive?

Yes, though it’s nowhere near as addictive as methadone and other opiates. says that “Buprenorphine is a narcotic analgesic similar to morphine, and has the potential for being abused and misused.” Being that buprenorphine is an opioid and does cause euphoria, some people may use this drug in a manner other then prescribed and develope a dependency.

Thankfully, buprenorphine is easier to manage than other opiate replacement therapies. And it can be easily tapered off than methadone, making it easier to slowly decrease dependency.

Find Out The Truth About Your Drug Use Today

Contact Us About ServicesIf you or someone you love could benefit from this drug — or if they suffer from an addiction —please be proactive and get help today. At, we can help you find a treatment center near you that offers buprenorphine treatment. Contact us today to learn more.

Drug Overdose Deaths At All-Time High

Drug Overdose Deaths At All-Time High

America’s Leading Cause of Accidental Death is Now Prescription Drug Overdose, CDC says

The stories are painfully familiar in American life.

A student athlete injures his leg playing football, gets addicted to opioid painkillers and progresses to heroin.

A suburban mother, the victim of a car accident, finds relief from the powerful narcotic OxyContin. She loses her insurance coverage and switches to heroin to soothe her pain.

Teenagers raid the family medicine cabinet and swap pills at house parties. A few of them begin a deep descent into drug addiction.

America is facing an unprecedented epidemic of prescription drug abuse, overdose deaths and rising heroin use among people addicted to opioids.

More Americans died from drug overdoses in 2014 than any previous year on record, according to a report released this month by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 47,055 drug overdose deaths in 2014 in the United States, an all-time high and a 6.5 percent increase over 2013.

Opioids – primarily prescription painkillers and heroin – were involved in 61 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2014. The rate of fatal opioid overdose has tripled since 2000, the CDC reported.


“Opioid disorders have reached alarming levels throughout our nation, and we must work together to overcome this serious public health threat,” said Kana Enomoto, Acting Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

“It takes collective effort from all parts of our communities to educate people about this problem and help prevent it,” Enomoto said. “Everyone needs to know how to identify people with opioid disorder, help them find treatment, and know how to help prevent overdose deaths.”


Death from accidental prescription drug overdose has surpassed car accidents as the leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, according to the CDC. In 2014, there were approximately one and a half times more drug overdose deaths than deaths from motor vehicle crashes, the CDC reports.

The agency notes two interrelated trends: a 15-year increase in overdose deaths involving prescription opioid pain relievers, and a recent surge in illicit opioid overdose deaths, driven largely by heroin.

“These findings indicate that the opioid overdose epidemic is worsening,” the CDC notes in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published January 1, 2016. “There is a need for continued action to prevent opioid abuse, dependence, and death, improve treatment capacity for opioid use disorders, and reduce the supply of illicit opioids, particularly heroin and illicit fentanyl.”

West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in 2014, with 35.5 deaths per 100,000 people, followed by New Mexico (27.3), New Hampshire (26.2), Kentucky (24.7) and Ohio (24.6). Fourteen other states had statistically significant increases in the rate of drug overdose deaths between 2013 and 2014, the CDC noted.


Abuse of prescription opioid drugs such as OxyContin and Vicodin is a key reason for increased heroin use, according to drug experts and law enforcement officials.

Both heroin and opioid painkillers are derived from the same opium poppy plants, bind to the same receptors in the brain and have similar euphoric effects. People who are addicted to prescription opioids sometimes turn to heroin as a cheaper, more accessible opioid — although illegal and unregulated.

“The increased availability of heroin, combined with its relatively low price (compared with diverted prescription opioids) and high purity appear to be major drivers of the upward trend in heroin use and overdose,” the CDC notes.

Fatal heroin overdoses have more than tripled since 2010, from 1 death per 100,000 people to 3.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2014. The sharp rise in heroin deaths “is closely tied to opioid pain reliever misuse and dependence,” the CDC says.

Nearly half of young people who inject heroin say they first abused prescription opioid drugs before feeding their addiction with heroin, according to three recent studies by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

“Many of these young people report that crushing prescription opioid pills to snort or inject the powder provided their initiation into these methods of drug administration,” NIDA reports.

A half century ago, the typical heroin user was a young impoverished teenage boy whose first opioid drug was heroin. Today, the typical user is more likely to be a suburban, white middle-class young adult who previously abused prescription painkillers, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in May 2014.


To reverse the current opioid epidemic, health experts recommend greater access to naloxone (Narcan), an effective antidote that can reverse an opioid overdose. They also emphasize the need for safer prescribing of prescription opioids and effective treatment for addiction — including medication therapies such as buprenorphine and naltrexone that can reduce strong opioid cravings and prevent relapse.

“Efforts to ensure access to integrated prevention services, including access to syringe service programs when available, is also an important consideration to prevent the spread of hepatitis C virus and human immunodeficiency virus infections from injection drug use,” the CDC notes in its report.

SAMHSA publishes a free Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit for first responders, treatment providers and people recovering from opioid overdose. To access the toolkit, which was updated in 2016, click here: 2016/All-New-Products/SMA16-4742

To learn more about the safe use of prescription opioids — and how to handle an opioid emergency — click here:


1-800-NCA-CALL (800-622-2255) 24-hour helpline sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

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If you or someone you know needs help finding treatment, contact us today to get help.


Super Bowl Painkiller Addiction Ad

Super Bowl Painkiller Addiction Ad

In the second quarter of Superbowl 50, Astra Zeneca ran a TV ad promoting a new medication to combat constipation from opioid medication called Movantik. The medication has been promoted since August, at the beginning of the football season. The black and white commercial appears to be a spoof, making light of the specific side effect. In the beginning, a man is sitting in a restaurant when he hears a toilet flush. Tall letters spell out “Envy,” as another man leaves the restroom with a smile on his face. The narrator explains, “If you need an opioid to manage your chronic pain, you may be so constipated, it feels like everyone can go, except you.” The camera then pans to a dog relieving himself on a patch of grass, presenting a silly overtone to the viewer.

The Increase In Opiate Use

The underlying message in the ad is hard to ignore. Unlike most Superbowl commercials for chips, sodas, and car insurance, Astra Zeneca promotes a medication to ease a side effect of opiate use. While this is not the first prescription drug to earn a spot in the Superbowl ad lineup, the Movantik ad is a clear indicator of the rise in opiate use. So, what necessitates a Superbowl commercial, at a staggering $5 million for a 30-second slot?

  • An estimated 114.4 million Americans watched the Superbowl in 2015
  • 259 million people were prescribed opioid pain relievers in 2012
  • Opioid prescriptions have more than quadrupled since 1999, and increased greatly (average of 37 percent) for each year between 2010 and 2013

With the rise in popularity, it is no wonder that side effect management for opiate use is a focal point in modern pharmaceuticals. Opioid medications can be a powerful tool for chronic pain, and Movantik may prove useful in relieving some discomfort from constipation during pain treatment. The magnitude of the ad, however, still raises a red flag. The need for this medication is clear, but so is the alarming increase in opiate use.

So, What’s The Big Deal?

Many patients are prescribed opioids for chronic pain, as well as for short-term use. Patients recovering from surgery, for example, may receive opioid medication for pain management during rehabilitation. While opioids are effective in easing discomfort, they carry a high risk for dependence if the necessary prescription is exceeded. This may lead to continued use, self-medication, and addiction. In some cases, patients may resort to illegal substances to satiate opiate dependency. This may lead to further complications:

  • 4 out of 5 people addicted to heroin started out using prescription opioids
  • In a 2014 survey, over 94 percent of heroin users claimed to use the drug because it is “easier to obtain than opioid prescriptions”
  • Aside from constipation, opiate use can cause serious side effects, further necessitating medication management for the symptoms
  • The number of opiate overdose deaths have nearly quadrupled since 1999, matching the increase in opioid prescriptions
  • Almost 19,000 overdose deaths occurred in 2014 due to prescription painkillers

The need for such a large advertising spot is indicative of the astonishing rise in opiate use over a short span of time. The numbers suggest that more liberal administration of opioids for pain management are responsible for increased cases of addiction and overdose death. When considering statistics, it’s hard to see the Movantik commercial as just a message about opiate-use constipation.

Seeking Treatment

The use of prescription opioids have skyrocketed over the past several years. The Movantik Super Bowl ad caused a big stir, as it is indicative of the overuse of opiates in the United States. With this incline in opiate use, we continue to see the incline in opiate addiction. Millions of people experience the toll that opiate addiction takes on everyday life. Personal, professional, and health complications are an unfortunate reality, leaving many feeling helpless. Thankfully, there are many options available for those seeking treatment.

We’re Here To Help

We can answer any questions you may have about prescription opioid use, preventative measures, and treatment resources in your area. Contact us today.Opioid medications can be beneficial for those suffering from chronic pain. In some cases, these highly addictive drugs develop into opiate dependence. If you or someone you know is suffering from opiate dependence, the caring staff at is here to help. We can answer any questions you may have about prescription opioid use, preventative measures, and treatment resources in your area. Contact us today.

How Long Should I Stay On Suboxone?

How Long Should I Stay on Suboxone

If you are struggling from an opiate addiction, you are not alone. In 2013, 2.4 million people abused or were dependent on opioids such as painkillers and heroin. Many people have turned Suboxone to recover from addiction. This medicine helps safely simulate the sensation provided by opiates and can help you slowly and safely withdraw. However, the side effects of suboxone mean that you can’t use it forever.

Side Effects

Although Suboxone is a useful medication for those suffering from opiate addiction, some find the side effects associated with the drug unpleasant. Some common side effects are: sleep disturbance, dizziness, confusion, nausea, headaches, and stomach pain. While these side effects are rare and usually tolerable, it’s important to keep track of their severity. Discuss it with your doctor to help create a timetable for lowering your doses.

Finding The Right Dose

Before quitting suboxone, the first thing that is recommended is talking with your doctor about your dose. The goal of Suboxone therapy is not to keep you on the lowest dose, but the correct dose. Talk to your doctor about what the proper dosage should be for you, and if you are talking a lower dose, see if you can increase your dose. Have a doctor monitor your progress with an increased dose and see if it helps with your overall well-being.

But how do you know if you are taking the right dose? Doctors mention that the way to tell if you are taking the right dose is that you feel the same both before and after taking the medication. If you feel any difference in your dose, then it’s not the proper dosage and should be adjusted accordingly. An average dose of Suboxone (buprenorphine) is about 16mg each day and some patients need 24mg per day.

Tapering Off

Doctors will generally start lowering your dose of dose of Suboxone once you start feeling normal and balanced. Generally, you can stay on Suboxone for lengthy periods of time without suffering from too many negative side effects. However, you should start tapering off your dosage if you fit the following criteria:

  • You are over 30
  • Your confidence is higher
  • Employment has become stable and consistent
  • A support system has been put into place for you emotionally
  • Cravings have become almost absent

As Suboxone treatment and addiction is so individualized, there’s no general timetable for quitting. Some people may only need it a few months, while others may require it for a year or more. It’s important to play the situation by ear.

How Can I Get Off Suboxone?

Once you and your doctor have decided to wean you off Suboxone, you need to take the situation slowly. Your doctor will need to monitor your progress: in fact, you may need to be monitored anywhere between four to six weeks or five to six months as your doctor lowers your dose.

During this time, your doctor should meet with you weekly to monitor your progress. And after you are completely off Suboxone, your doctor should check in with you two months after your last dose to make sure everything is going well.

Attend an inpatient or outpatient treatment facility is often a good idea for many people getting off Suboxone. There you can receive more counseling and psychosocial treatment for your addiction. At some clinics, you can taper your dose down to 2mg within 8-10 days. While at an inpatient facility, they may give you a monthly Suboxone injection to prevent relapse.

Contact Us

Contact us, we can help you find alternative treatments to help you recover from opiate addiction.Struggling from an opiate addiction or with a Suboxone treatment can feel frustrating. Be sure to talk with your doctor if you have questions or concerns regarding your Suboxone treatment. Or contact us at We can also help you find alternative treatments to help you recover from your opiate addiction.

Women May Be More Susceptible Than Men To Painkiller Abuse

Women May Be More Susceptible than Men to Painkiller Abuse

Painkillers are a vitally important tool for helping people recover from serious injuries. Unfortunately, they can be highly addictive if utilized improperly. And this problem seems to strike more women than men. Understanding why painkiller addiction is so common in women can help you find a solution that works for your or anyone you love that is suffering from this poorly understood problem.

Studies Confirm The Problem

Multiple studies seem to confirm that women are more susceptible to painkiller addiction than men. For example, a study in the Biology Of Sex Differences found that found that 52 percent of women addicted to opioids were introduced to their addiction through painkillers. This painkiller use led to a much higher rate of heroin use in women.

Another study, published by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that nearly 18 women die from painkiller overdose every day. This surprised many addiction experts, because men have been shown to suffer more overdose deaths than women.

These two studies confirm that painkiller addiction strikes women at a higher rate than men. Unfortunately, they also confirm that it can also lead to more serious addictions and problematic usage later in life, usage that can lead to death. Understanding what causes this predilection towards painkiller addiction is crucial to understanding how to treat it.

What Causes It?

There are multiple theories on why women seem to be more vulnerable to painkiller addiction. One study, titled Females are More Vulnerable To Drug Abuse Than Males, found that women were prone to suffer more heavily during the key transition phases of drug addiction – initiation, binging, and relapse. Breaking down these sections and addressing how they affect women is illuminating:

  • Initiation – this is the phase when a person is introduced to a drug. For women who are addicted to painkillers, initiation is often a result of suffering from an injury that requires a prescribed painkiller. And since studies have shown that women have a lower threshold of pain than men, initiation is more likely.
  • Binging – this is the phase when a person begins taking their drug at a higher rate. The excessive amount of drugs in their system triggers a physical and mental addiction. And since women suffer from pain more acutely than men, they are more likely to use too much medicine to treat it.
  • Relapse – this is the phase when a person starts using again after quitting. Women often relapse into painkiller addiction because their pain has not subsided. However, the same study previously mentioned also found that estrogen increases a woman’s pleasure and pain sensations, which makes relapse more likely.

The “passive” role men press on women often makes addiction more likely. This role makes it harder for women to say no, such as if their doctor prescribes them a pain medication or if a friend or family member gives them medicine to use without it being their own prescription.

Gender Roles Can Also Play A Part

When addressing painkiller addiction, few people take the time to consider the influence that gender roles play. Women, especially mothers, are often the most caring and nurturing members of the family. Unfortunately, this means they are more likely to ignore their painkiller addiction in order to “hold the family together.”

In fact, housemothers may feel they can’t attend rehab because they need to stay close to their children. This is especially true in families that may not be able to afford hiring a sitter or nanny if she were to go attend a rehab center.

What Can Be Done To Stop This Problem?

First of all, any woman with an addiction to painkillers needs to honestly assess the situation and understand that she has a problem. Any addiction is problematic, even if it is to a medicine that has been prescribed by a doctor. That understanding helps open the door to full recovery.

Next, the necessity of her painkiller needs to be medically assessed. Often, people who are addicted to painkillers continue using them long after the pain has disappeared. However, if there is still pain to be treated, doctors need to find an alternative treatment option. Physical therapy and holistic treatment options (such as massage therapy) are often useful in these situations.

Finally, a treatment option needs to be chosen. Treatment requires several steps – detoxification, rehabilitation, and aftercare. Detoxification helps safely eliminate all traces of the addictive painkiller from the body. Rehabilitation utilizes various treatments to improve their physical and mental health. And aftercare helps a person maintain sobriety after rehabilitation is finished.

Choosing between an inpatient and outpatient rehab requires addressing her specific needs. For example, a housemother may do well with outpatient care, because it lets her come home at night to spend time with her spouse and children. However, inpatient rehab may be necessary for anyone who suffers from a severe and debilitating addiction that requires constant care over a longer period of time.

Contact us at to speak to one of our helpful counselors.Interested In Learning More?

If you or someone you love is suffering from painkiller addiction, you need to reach out for help. Contact us at to speak to one of our helpful counselors. They will assess your problem, help you find a solution, and guide you through the process of implementation.

Silent No More – Teen Drug Addiction Crisis

Silent No More - Teen Drug Addiction CrisisGrieving Families Break Taboos, Humanize Drug Addiction Crisis

She spoke candidly at James’ funeral in Brockton, Mass., recounting how a high school football injury led to her son’s prescription opioid addiction. An honor student and gifted athlete, James progressed to heroin and fatally overdosed on July 31, 2013 at age 26.

Two years later, Patrick relapsed and died. Avitabile invited the local media to attend the funeral, hoping to educate others and change public attitudes about addiction. Patrick’s obituary honored him as a kind and gentle man with a great sense of humor, who loved street bikes and motorcycles, and spending time with his son and fiancée. The notice also reflected the cruel reality of Patrick’s departure on August 17, 2015:

“After a successful year of recovery, he lost his battle to the disease of addiction.”

“I wanted people to hear the truth. It needs to be talked about,” Avitabile says. “People just want to believe this is all about behavior – parents who did right or did wrong – and I’m telling you, it’s a disease. I saw it.”

Enge Murray’s family battled the disease for years. Her son Carl “lit up a room,” she says. “He had that charm. He played hockey, football, baseball. He had everything going for him and then OxyContin and heroin took his life.” Murray chose not to hide the cause of death in her son’s obituary:

“Carl D. Giannelli, age 31, of Tewksbury, passed away from Chemical Dependency on December 6, 2014.”

“I never want another family to feel what I’m feeling,” Murray says. “It’s raw pain, it never leaves the front of your brain. All day you think of it, and it wakes you in the middle of the night.”

An Urgent Wake-Up Call

Murray and Avitabile exemplify a budding movement that’s facing down the stigma of addiction. Increasingly, families are stepping out of the shadows, sharing their stories, and putting a human face on one of the largest public health crises in America.

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of injury death – responsible for more deaths among people ages 25-64 than motor vehicle accidents, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. Every day, an estimated 114 Americans die from drug overdoses, and 61 of those deaths (53%) are due to prescription medications.

Bottle_bottleThe Murray and Avitabile families fought the ravages of addiction in Massachusetts, where the epidemic is especially dire. The state health department reports 1,089 overdose deaths in Massachusetts in 2014 – up 20 percent over the previous year. At a recent community forum in Wilmington, officials revealed that the Merrimack Valley region leads the nation in heroin sales and usage, The Lowell Sun newspaper reported.

“In our area, there were 40 overdoses and six fatalities last week,” notes Murray. “It’s a state health crisis and no one wants to say that heroin kills.”

Rev. Phillip Earley told the Wilmington crowd: “Tonight, I hope we will dispel the myth that it cannot happen in your family, or the flipside of that myth, that it only happens in problem families. Such a myth is not only false, but also very dangerous to the health and well-being of your child,” The Lowell Sun reported.

Nationwide, loved ones are sharing their pain on Facebook and in tributes on and other online obituary sites. Some are unflinchingly candid, such as this obituary written by the parents of Molly Parks, who died April 16, 2015 from a heroin overdose in New Hampshire:

She enjoyed theater, fashion, reading – especially Harry Potter, and will always be remembered for her fearless personality and her trademark red lipstick.

Along Molly’s journey through life, she made a lot of bad decisions including experimenting with drugs. She fought her addiction to heroin for at least five years and had experienced a near fatal overdose before. Molly’s family truly loved her and tried to be as supportive as possible as she struggled with the heroin epidemic that has been so destructive to individuals and families in her age bracket . . .

Molly’s obituary ends with an emotional plea to other families:

If you have any loved ones who are fighting addiction, Molly’s family asks that you do everything possible to be supportive, and guide them to rehabilitation before it is too late.

A Disease, Not a Moral Failing

An estimated 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs, yet only 11.2 percent get the treatment they need, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The trend persists despite major advances in neuroscience that regard addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain disease – requiring long-term care strategies like any other chronic illness.

One reason more people don’t seek help, experts say, is fear of the deep stigma that still surrounds addiction.

For example, a recent survey of 709 Americans reveals that 64 percent of respondents say companies should be able to deny employment to people with a drug addiction.

The survey also shows that 43 percent of respondents think people with a drug addiction should be denied health insurance benefits, and only 22 percent would be willing to work closely on a job with a person with drug addiction.

“Our research suggests that the public tends to think about addiction as a moral failing as opposed to a chronic medical condition that can be responsive to treatment,” says Colleen L. Barry, Ph.D., who conducted the survey in 2014 as associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at Johns Hopkins University.

“That high level of stigma is really damaging in terms of getting people the treatment they need to get well,” Barry says. “They may blame themselves and also potentially get a lot less support from those around them.”

Avitabile recalls how the stigma affected her family.

“We were very upstanding members of society, I taught CCD (religious education for children), my husband Louie volunteered as a coach for children’s basketball and football. We went to church every Sunday,” she says. “Then your children start having trouble and the rumors start. And one by one, you start losing your friends.”

Avitabile describes how relationships transform in the grip of addiction.

“People who know you and love you, they stand by you,” she says. “People who didn’t really care for you to begin with, that just reinforces why they didn’t like you. And everybody in between, they just lean on the side of staying away because there must be something wrong. It’s a very lonely, sad path.”

Both Avitabile and Murray emphasize that their children did not want to die, but struggled mightily with addiction.

Murray went to court five times to force her son into treatment. When Carl achieved short-term recovery, he struggled to find work – unable to drive because his license had been revoked. He relapsed often and was so desperate to get help, he used jail as a detox, Murray says.

“He would offend and then get warrants and hope they would give him three months or six months so that would give him time to get clean – healthy and ready to start a new life,” Murray says. “He called it (addiction) the ‘bully at the corner store.’”

Carl expressed his disdain for drugs in a Mother’s Day letter he wrote from jail in 2012:

“I’m thinking about how I had good things going for me last year and how quickly they get snatched away by just getting high and living that lifestyle. And it brings nothing but a miserable lifestyle. . . I just can’t seem to get it ever. Ten steps forward and 20 steps backward. It’s (expletive) torture. It’s like a life sentence, this addiction.”

“. . . hopefully something breaks for me. I just don’t want to go back to getting high. I am tired, just worn . . . out. I’m totally powerless and on my knees with it.”


Contact us to get more information about drug treatment centers that can save lives.Getting Help


1-833-473-4227 24-hour hotline providing free, confidential referrals to treatment programs and rehab clinics nationwide. Sponsored by; counselors available 24/7.

1-800-NCA-CALL (800-622-2255) 24-hour helpline sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.

1-800-662-HELP (4357) 24-hour National Drug and Alcohol Abuse Hotline offering information and referral services to people seeking treatment and other assistance; sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)




These websites include online forums, mutual aid organizations, 12-step programs and other support resources for people with addiction: (Heroin Anonymous 12-step Fellowship) (Heroin Addiction Online Support Group) Addiction Online Support Group)



Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

This free brochure from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration gives families and friends information on medication-assisted treatment. To order or download a copy, click here:

The Facts about Naltrexone for Treatment of Opioid Addiction

To order or download this free brochure on Naltrexone, click here:

The Facts about Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction

To order or download this free brochure on Buprenorphine, click here:



Reviews questions to ask when searching for a rehabilitation program. A free publication from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Heroin Mixed With Fentanyl Causing Overdoses


Heroin is an extremely addictive drug on its own. Fentanyl is a narcotic and sedative used to help alleviate pain after surgeries or other procedures. It is a synthetic opioid analgesic. On its own, Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. It is also used for pain such as for those who are in the end-stages of cancer. It’s not a drug to be taken lightly.

Now, just imagine combining heroin and fentanyl in a cocktail-like mixture; it’s a disaster waiting to happen. Fentanyl overdoses are so similar to heroin overdoses, sometimes it is extremely hard to determine which drug was abused (if used separately). If a patient visits the ER for an overdose, urine samples do not pick up on fentanyl at all.

Just as long ago as March 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration issued a national alert warning that there has been a national uptick in heroin-laced-fentanyl overdoses. Seizures by law enforcement of illegal drugs mixed with fentanyl have also surged. In 2013, there were 942 submissions of fentanyl drug mixed confiscations, in 2014, there were 3,344 cases. Confiscations of fentanyl have more than tripled during that time. And now, fentanyl mixed with heroin is causing many overdoses and deaths.

An Unknown Cocktail

When fentanyl is mixed with heroin, the results can be fatal. This is a concoction of a prescription drug and a street drug, with disastrous effects. Buying drugs off the street, such as heroin mixed with fentanyl, is a mixed bag. You never know what you are going to get. Some addicted individuals do not know that the heroin they bought off the street has been mixed with fentanyl, often causing terrible end results (extreme addictions, side effects, or death). For those who do know that the heroin is spiked with fentanyl, they are seeking a greater high. Fentanyl is given to patients who suffer from pain but are for those who have become “immune” (developed a tolerance) to other opioids. This is why they search for a stronger alternative.

Abuse of fentanyl and heroin is like many other substance abuses, it alters the way the brain functions, leading to addiction. Abusing drugs leads the user into a vicious circle. They first try drugs, such as opiates, and receive incredible highs, but after using the drugs for a while, their systems become dull and desensitized. This causes the individual to seek out more potent forms of a drug, in order to feel the same (or even stronger) highs.

Just A Little Bit

Those who buy heroin on the street may not know if it contains fentanyl. The dealers on the street may not even know how much fentanyl has been mixed with the heroin. Even a small amount of fentanyl mixed with heroin can be lethal because fentanyl on its own is so powerful. Just a tiny amount can have a huge impact on how it affects your body. Because prescription opiate medications are harder or even inaccessible to obtain and are costly, some believe this has pushed more people to use heroin mixed with fentanyl.

A Special Note To Those Who Are Struggling

Fentanyl is so potent that it is used as perhaps a last resort to experience the thrills of being high after other drugs just don’t have the same effects. So the serious question to ask is: Why are you doing this to yourself? If you are abusing heroin mixed with fentanyl knowingly or even unknowingly, why are you abusing drugs at all? Is there an underlying reason why you are putting your body though so much damage? Maybe you suffered a trauma, like a sexual assault, and you want to hide the pain. Or perhaps you suffered the loss of a loved one and you turned to drugs to numb reality. Maybe you just wanted to experiment with drugs after you were given a prescription medication, and you are embarrassed that you have developed a craving or addiction. Or maybe you are addicted to heroin, and you did not know your drugs were spiked with fentanyl, and now you crave that high.

Maybe there is no “real” reason for your drug use and you are just making bad choices and are seeking a high. But, realize there are better ways to effectively cope. There are better ways to address your emotions. Look at yourself in the mirror. Is this the person you want to be? Look at your life. The next time you decide to use drugs, the next time you visit someone on the street for your next high, the next time you overdose, could be your last. Do you realize how serious this is? You could die. No matter how good or great a high feels, there is always a risk that you could die. A high is temporary, death is permanent.

Seek Help Today

This is your life. Seek help now. Even if you feel that nobody cares about you, it’s not true. There are people who care for and your well being. And you need to reach out to those who can help before it’s too late. Maybe you are reading this right now because you are searching for something, anything to help you because you feel guilty and at a loss. Maybe you stumbled upon this blog post and these words are hitting home right now. And perhaps you even feel helpless. Abusing drugs has likely destroyed or severely strained your family relationships, your ties with friends, or your devotion to a spouse or partner. But you are not alone. There is hope and there is help. Don’t wait. Contact us today at and we will be there for you, helping you each step of the way as you find a new and healthy life.

Contact us today at and we will be there for you, helping you each step of the way as you find a new and healthy life.

For More Information Related to “Heroin Mixed With Fentanyl Causing Overdoses” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From

Ultram Abuse: Similar To Opiate Addiction


Ultram (also referred to by its generic name Tramadol) is a drug used to help alleviate moderate to severe pain. In some ways it is a narcotic-type drug. Ultram is an extended release drug which means that it is used for round-the-clock pain. Extended release drugs are those which release different doses of medicine into your body at different times.

Never crush up, chew, inhale the powder, or mix it with water and inject it into your veins. This erases the time extended release qualities of the drug and you may give yourself a life-threatening dose of the drug if administered in this way. Administering the medication in those ways can lead to quicker tolerance of the drug and can lead to a faster addiction. Using the drug in these ways can be warning signs of abuse.

If you are currently using Ultram, make sure that you are taking it as the doctor prescribed. This drug can be addictive, even at normal doses, so take extreme caution while using Ultram. Always keep your medicine stored in a safe place away from others (such as teens, children, loved ones, and pets). And make sure you keep your medication is accounted for (count the number of pills you have to make sure that only you are taking them). And never give your prescription medication to another person (especially those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse or addiction). Misuse of Ultram can mimic an opiate addiction.

Abuse Of Ultram And Opiates

Maybe you were prescribed Ultram to alleviate pain from an accident or injury. Or perhaps you started taking the drug as prescribed but you started to have more pain, so you doubled up on a dose. Increasing a dose can lead to addiction. Abuse of Ultram is similar to an opiate addiction, and misuse of the drug can cause severe complications or even death.

Opiates are a type of opioid that have extremely addictive properties to them and naturally occur in the poppy plant. Opioids are used in pain relievers, anesthesia, or cough medicines. There are actually three categories of opioids. There are naturally occurring opioids such as morphine. There can be manufactured (synthetic) opioids such as methadone and Demerol. And there can also be semi-synthetic versions (where the plant is mixed with other materials) and these include heroin created by morphine.

Some common opiates include the following:

  • Codeine (Tylenol 3)
  • Methadone
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lorcet)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvocet)
  • Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin)
  • And others

Some side effects of opiate addiction are as follows:

  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Seizures
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Insomnia
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Slowed breathing
  • More pain
  • Itching
  • Altered mood
  • Constipation
  • And others

Now, here are some side effects of Ultram abuse, and you should start to notice similarities:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Stopped heartbeat
  • Seizures
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Heart attack
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion and/or delirium
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • And others

Also, if you are mixing Ultram with alcohol (which you should NEVER do) or other drugs, it can create a cocktail of side effects. Also remember that a potential side effect for either Ultram or opiates could be death.

Ways That Ultram Is Abused:

Ultram is prescribed by doctors because it is considered a lower risk drug for abuse and they often think it is a “safer” alternative if you must take an opioid for your pain. However, it can still be abused. Some ways that can lead to Ultram abuse have been discussed. If you use Ultram in the following ways, this may either be an indication you are abusing the drug, or can show signs of an addiction:

  • Crushing or chewing Ultram
  • Diluting it with water and injecting it into your veins
  • Smoking or snorting the substance
  • Taking a higher dose than prescribed
  • Taking it more times than directed
  • Mixing Ultram with drugs or alcohol for a cocktail effect

Trying to figure out if a loved one may have an addiction might be tough. If you notice they have changed their behavior with taking the drug, this could be an indication of abuse. If you see the person snort the medication this is also a sign of abuse that should not be ignored. Think about the number of times the prescription has been filled. Are they running out of the drug faster than they should be? This could be another indicator that the person may have an addiction and it certainly warrants further investigation.

Also, watch your wallet. If a loved one is addicted to Ultram, they may do anything they can to get the next fix, including stealing money from you in order to purchase the drug. Make sure that you are not negligent in keeping track of your personal finances (cash, credit cards, etc). And stay alert. Sometimes, those who are addicted to a substance will find ingenious ways in getting what they want or hiding the truth and evidence. You need to stay alert and aware if you suspect that someone is abusing the drug. Don’t ignore the signs and seek professional help.

Contact Us For More Information

Contact us at for more information or reach out to us if you're experiencing addiction to Ultram or any other substance.Use caution when taking Ultram for moderate to severe pain. And take your medication as prescribed. If you are addicted to Ultram, abusing the drug can cause severe complication or death, so seek help today. Addiction to Ultram is similar to an opiate addiction, and this is a serious situation. Contact us at for more information or reach out to us if you’re experiencing addiction to Ultram or any other substance. We are here to get you the help you need when you need it.

What To Do If A Friend Or Loved One Overdoses

What To Do If A Friend Or Loved One Overdoses

If you have a loved one that suffers from drug addiction, the thought of overdose is always in the back of your mind, and you pray everyday that it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, drug overdoses are a rising problem, so you must be prepared to take control of the situation, should it ever occur.

First, Don’t Panic

If you suddenly find yourself in a situation involving a loved one who has possibly overdosed, keep a cool head. Panicking will do neither of you any favors: panic and anxiety will kick you straight into survival mode, which will make it hard for you to think straight. As a result, you may make mistakes in critical decisive moments.

More importantly, you need to keep them as calm as possible. Panic and anxiety are contagious and if your loved one is overdosing, they are either on the threshold of those emotions or may develop them if they see you panicked. Being a stoic loved one can give them the anchor they need to stay calm.

Call Medical Emergency Responders Immediately

The moment you see a loved one suffer from overdose symptoms, call local emergency services as quickly as possible. They are going to need a variety of information from you, such as the age, weight, height, and gender of the person who is overdosing.

The operator may give you some instructions on how to care for the overdose victim. For example, if your loved one is still conscious, they may ask you to help them feel comfortable. If they are unconscious, they may want you to turn them over on their side in case of vomiting. Most importantly, they are going to want to know what kind of drug was used. Sometimes the person overdosing can tell you. Other times, they may be too confused or paranoid to talk or may even be unconscious.

Quickly Diagnose The Overdose Symptoms

When your loved one can’t identify the drug causing their overdose, you have to do it for them by assessing their symptoms. Symptoms often vary slightly depending on the drug type used. But identifying the exact symptoms can help you prepare the attending medical experts use the right emergency treatment procedure.

Symptoms for the following drugs include:

  • Opiates – Constipation, nausea, vomiting, spasms, difficulty breathing, decreased pulse rate, low blood pressure, confusion, drowsiness, seizures.
  • Alcohol – Blue skin, poor breathing, confusion, slurred speech, anger, low temperature, inability to wake.
  • Cocaine – Increased heart rate, high blood pressure, light-headed, dehydration, uncontrollable muscle twitching, panic attacks, aggression, vomiting.
  • Prescription Drugs – Symptoms vary depending on the drug, but irregular heart beats, agitation, drowsiness, and uncontrollable movements are seen in many prescription drug overdoses.

Try To Find The Paraphernalia

Though a quick diagnosis of overdose symptoms can give you a clue as to the drug used, you need to find the actual paraphernalia as quickly as possible as well. This is especially true if they use more than one type of drug, such as cocaine and alcohol, on a regular basis.

Remember, though, that you aren’t a drug expert. What looks like cocaine to you may in fact be heroin. Your identification of the drug is just a tip for medical experts to help them treat the overdose properly.

Common Drug Hiding Spots

Sometimes the drugs which your loved one overdosed on are right near them or right out in the open. Other times you may not. Overdoses aren’t always the immediate and explosive situation that Hollywood and television portrays: often it takes an hour or more for symptoms to appear.

As a result, your loved one may have successfully hidden their paraphernalia. Common hiding spots for illicit substances include:

  • Dryer lint vents
  • Cosmetic items
  • Gaming consoles
  • Posters
  • Pringles cans
  • Difficult-to-reach closet spaces
  • Back of the toilet
  • Pens
  • CD/DVD/Game cases

Don’t spend more than a few minutes looking for these items, especially if you are alone. After all, your loved one’s overdose symptoms could become life-threatening while you’re rifling through hand bags.

Discover The Reasons For The Overdose

Once your loved one has been treated, you need to find out what led to their overdose. If you’re lucky, your loved one was a first time user who underestimated the drug and may never use again. However, illicit drug overdoses are more common in long-term sufferers: their body often demands larger doses as it acclimates to its effects.

However, there’s another potential cause of overdose that often gets overlooked: suicidal tendencies. This cause is especially prevalent in instances of prescription drug overdose in people who don’t otherwise use illicit substances.

Identifying suicidal thoughts isn’t easy because people often hide these feelings successfully for years and seem to live a happy life. Watch out for these common suicide symptoms:

  • Extended periods of depression
  • Thoughts of inappropriate shame
  • Direct suicide threats
  • Personality changes
  • Sudden focus on death and dying
  • Hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in life

If you believe your loved one overdosed due to suicidal tendencies, talk to a therapist or doctor, or contact us at as soon as possible and try to get them into therapy.

Talk To Them About Rehab

After an overdose, you need to perform an intervention and try to get your loved one to a drug rehabilitation center. But you can’t come in with excessive judgments: screaming, threatening, and cajoling will only create more anxiety and is likely to drive your loved one away from treatment.
Instead, calmly talk to them about their overdose and how worried the family is about their health. Express your If you have any questions about overdose, intervention, or drug rehabilitation, please don't hesitate to contact us as soon as possible.acceptance and care repeatedly to make them feel comfortable and loved. Often, generating feelings of acceptance and compassion is enough to get your loved one back on track.

If you have any questions about overdose, intervention, or drug rehabilitation, please don’t hesitate to contact us as soon as possible. We can give you the guidance you need to help your loved one reclaim their life.

Neural Pathway to Treat Cocaine Addiction Might Be Possible

Neural Pathway to Treat Cocaine Addiction Might Be Possible

Pharmaceuticals Could Help Cocaine Addiction

Using other types of drugs to treat drug addiction such as cocaine is not a new concept but it may be debatable. Repeated cocaine use and addiction to cocaine increases the brain’s amount of dopamine (the pleasure centers of the brain). Every time a person uses cocaine, they are essentially changing the chemistry of their brain. Those who have fewer dopamine receptors in their brain are more likely to develop an addiction because they are seeking out cocaine, which is a dopamine-increasing drug.

Scientists have recently found a neural pathway that was undiscovered until now. Using pharmaceuticals may be the next best way to help those recovering from a drug addiction. The neural pathway is thought to maintain a person’s likelihood to relapse. Relapse is central to a cocaine user’s problems because of cocaine’s changes to the brain, making the habit so hard to shake.

In a recent study using lab mice, scientists were able to increase or decrease the animals’ relapse by controlling their Activin receptors. Activin receptors are closely linked to pleasure and reward in the brain. Cocaine changes the brain’s connection to neurons because it changes the shape of cells. Scientists don’t yet fully comprehend why Activin receptors link up with cocaine usage, but they think that the receptors control certain genes which stop cocaine from changing neural pathways. The goal of using pharmaceuticals with neural pathways is to prevent relapse from happening.

What Else Can Mice Reveal?

Scientists say that 1 in 5 people who try cocaine will develop an addiction. Some people, however, do not develop an addiction and scientists are trying to figure out what makes their brains different from those who do develop an addiction. In the study with mice, scientists allowed the animals to poke their noses through an enclosure that contained cocaine. Some of the mice obsessively poked their noses through, seeking more cocaine, while other mice only poked their noses through a few times and couldn’t care less. Scientists discovered that the mice that were not addicted to cocaine showed a strong resilient factor. The resilient mice had stronger inhibitory circuits which gave them better control over how often they visited the drugs.

Why Neurons And Addiction Go Hand-In-Hand

It used to be common knowledge to think that our neural pathways were well-established and rather rigid when we reached adulthood. Recent research however, shows that our brains are much more intricate and adaptive than that. The brain is constantly making new neurons and pathways throughout our lives. For example, if someone is in a tragic car accident and suffers from brain damage, neurons rebuild new pathways around the damaged area. This is called neuronal plasticity. And it happens more often than you’d think.

How We Can Think About Neuroplasticity And How It Changes Us

Imagine you are driving to your favorite restaurant, which you have visited many times. Your brain is wired and recognizes if you have used the same roads over and over again to reach your final destination. Now imagine the next time you drive to your favorite restaurant, a new construction sign is posted and the road is closed for 3 months. You must take a detour that you’ve never used before to get to your favorite place. After driving the detour (maybe several times if you keep visiting the restaurant), your brain learns to adjust and adapt to this new route.

This detour method and adaptation is exactly the same way our brains operate when it comes to cocaine or drug addiction. When a person retrains their brain to associate cocaine with stress-relief or even pleasure, the brain gets rewired to think that this is the new and correct path to take. It’s a good feeling that is hard to break and your brain just wants to keep repeating that feeling over and over again. You have, in effect, changed your neuron pathway the same way you would if you had to learn how to drive a new detour. This is why looking into neuron pathways is so important if we want to understand addictions. Luckily, just as the brain rewired itself for cocaine addiction, the brain can rewire itself after an addiction. Though it is very difficult to do, it can be done. And that is why pharmaceutical use to stop cocaine addiction relapse may help.

Hope For The Future

While scientists are still trying to figure out exactly how neurons and Activin receptors are linked to addictions such as cocaine, perhaps pharmaceuticals that prevent a relapse from happening is the next best thing.

If you’d like to know more about how neural pathways can help cocaine addiction, please contact us at you’d like to know more about how neural pathways can help cocaine addiction, please contact us at We are here to give you the best information for getting into treatment for addiction and making moves toward a new and drug-free future.

Music Therapy For Addiction Treatment


You know that jolt of happiness you can get by hearing your favorite song on the radio? That feeling is the basis for music therapy. Music can have a very profound impact on your mood, well-being, and life in general. It allows you to express emotions you might not otherwise be able to reach or accurately convey. Music therapy involves using melodies of various sorts to help you solve your problems—emotional, physical, or cognitive. According to the Saint Jude program, music therapy allows individuals struggling with substance abuse to self reflect and self assess.

How Does It Work?

Music as a valid form of therapy has been around since the early 1800s, when medical students Edwin Atlee and Samuel Mathews both published papers referencing their success at using music to treat patients. Both World Wars saw musicians touring army hospitals, playing for the wounded to raise their spirits and promote healing. Today’s music therapies expand from this base.

In the world of addiction, music therapy is used as a tool, not as a cure itself. When used with other treatments, it can be very effective.

Go back to that song on the radio, and how it affected you. Music is a very emotional thing, and as such, can do a lot of good. It helps purge negative emotions, manages stress, and alleviates boredom. It can also get a person to feel less lonely, increase concentration, introduce meditation, and ease the symptoms of depression. Some addicts find it very difficult to explain the underlying causes of their problems, the “why” of how drugs or alcohol came into their life. In many cases, music has proved an effective way to communicate those underlying issues.

How Is It Used?

The Saint Jude program lists various ways music can be incorporated into addiction treatment, including drum circles, recording a personalized relaxation CD, discussing lyrics and how they relate to substance abuse problems, creative improvisation on various instruments, making compositions, and song-building.

Of these, drumming is the most often utilized because it is a social activity, requiring multiple people to work together to create a harmony. Drum circles create a sense of connection between yourself and your fellow drummers, and can also create a natural altered state of consciousness, which appeals to recovering addicts. It’s often used in meditative therapies, as well.

How Alternative Is Music Therapy?

Not very! That song on the radio doesn’t elicit an emotional response in just you, after all. Music therapy and other alternative treatment methods are continuing to grow in popularity and become more accepted as a traditional approach to rehabilitation. They’re well thought of in the treatment world, and used in programs all over, often with so-called “traditional” treatments. Music therapy is considered an action-based therapy, like gardening or working with animals or art. These types of therapies are all designed to help you get outside yourself and your addictions through the process of nurturing, creating, and working with others.

Let Us Help You Find The Music

Contact us today at to learn the sweet sounds of recovery.If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and is looking for help, contact us. We can guide you to a facility that includes music therapy, or other treatment methods that will best suit your needs. Contact us today at to learn the sweet sounds of recovery.