Did you know that the opioid drug crisis is not one that is limited solely to the United States? According to information gathered by the National Institute for Health’s National Institute for Drug Abuse, it was estimated that between 26.4 million and 36 million across the globe abuse these addictive substances. In what often begins as a simple response to managing pain, more than two million people found themselves battling an addiction to opioids. Most had been originally prescribed these painkillers by their doctor in an effort to relieve them of their pain.
Once a person in pain was no longer able to find relief by using opioids — often due to their physician’s reluctance or inability to prescribe the ever-increasing amounts of painkillers needed to do so — they often turned to heroin to do so. According to figures released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), almost half a million people were addicted to the street drug heroin in 2014.
Opioids and Their Place in American Society
The use of opioids has a valid place in American society. Unlike the stereotypical addict that is sometimes still portrayed in movies, books and other forms of media today, the reality is that an addiction to a substance like an opiate painkiller or heroin is just as likely to happen to a law-abiding citizen who goes to work everyday than it is to anyone else in the country. According to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults aged 55 to 64 had the largest increase in overdose death rates from 4.2 of every 100,000 in 1999 to 21.8 people per every 100,000 in 2015. In terms of their actual death rate, adults between the ages of 45 and 54 had 30 deaths out of every 100,000 attributed to overdose. This was the highest across all age groups studied.
Once a person is prescribed an opioid painkiller, he or she could become addicted. How? Over time, the receptors in the brain become less responsive to the effects of the opioids. This is one of the key factors that can spurn a person — even one who would normally follow their doctor’s orders to the letter — to take more than the recommended amount of their pain medication.
Heroin Steps In
According to the latest figures available from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for 2012 and 2013, the number of people in the state of North Dakota aged 12 years and older who were dependent on an illicit substance, such as heroin, numbered about 10,000 or 2.7 percent of the population in this segment.
Currently, heroin has a solid reputation as a street drug but it had its start as a prescription medication, much like opioids. Around the turn of the 19th century, the medical profession was prescribing heroin to their patients in order to help relieve pain. Because both heroin and opioids are derived from opium and they affect the same brain receptors, people who are addicted to painkillers today often turn to heroin when they are unable to obtain medications such as Vicodin, Percocet or OxyContin legally.
Another reason why people who find themselves dependent on prescription painkillers turn to heroin is that it is less expensive. One their tolerance for opioids has built up, it takes more pills to obtain the same effect. At prices of between $60 and $100 per pill, sustaining this type of habit can be extremely costly. The street value of a single pill of heroin is around $10 — a significant decrease that allows the individual to remain pain-free for a longer period of time.
Substance Abuse Treatment Options in North Dakota
Medical professionals understand that the success of treating an addiction to opioids, heroin and other substances rests of the approach taken.
The importance of detoxification cannot be overstated. Over time, the brain makes less of the natural opioids that are present within it as it adapts to the substances the individual is ingesting or snorting. When a person stops taking the substances that her or his body is dependent on suddenly, pain, vomiting, diarrhea and shakiness can follow. Without the proper medical care, the person is vulnerable to relapsing in an effort to stop the physical and mental effects that detox can bring on. In many cases, specialized medications can be started under a doctor’s orders. These include methadone, suboxone and more and are designed to lessen the severity of the symptoms.
Inpatient Drug Treatment
An inpatient drug treatment program in North Dakota is the ideal solution for an individual who is dependent on opioids or heroin. With a full roster of supportive services, inpatient care offers a safe place from which to recover from the side effects of an addiction.
In North Dakota — like most other states in the country — inpatient residential treatment programs feature detox, counseling and medication support through the entire process. There are programs to suit every person from those that are religiously based to those that treat dual-diagnosis or co-occurring conditions. With a focus on addressing the complete person in a holistic manner, today’s inpatient drug treatment programs are the preferred choice.
Outpatient Drug Treatment
An outpatient drug treatment program can be particularly useful for those people who have undertaken inpatient treatment in a residential facility. In this environment, medication-assisted treatment that provides a gradual process of stepping back from heroin and opioids by using medications like suboxone, methadone and more helps stave off a relapse while ensuring that the person’s quality of life does not suffer.
One study cited in the National Institutes of Health found that those people who were given suboxone as part of a medication-assisted treatment program displayed significantly lower rates of relapse. When compared to other drugs, the relapse rate for opioids can be as high as 90 percent. SAMHSA supports the use of medication-assisted treatment as a crucial component in providing services for the whole person. A clinically-driven aspect of a comprehensive treatment plan, medication-assisted treatment — when combined with behavioral therapies — is the most successful option.
North Dakota Drug Treatment Programs
In North Dakota, it’s understood that not every program is going to be the right one for everyone’s needs. In order to effectively address the drug crisis that is sweeping through the state, a variety of substance abuse treatment options is necessary. The three highlighted below are designed to provide the reader with an appreciation for the diverse range of programs that exists within the state.
North Dakota Teen Challenge
The North Dakota Teen Challenge program provides adult men and women with a Christ-centered approach to recovering from substance abuse and addiction. A residential program that encompasses 12 months and involves four graduated stages, North Dakota Teen Challenge provides a supportive environment and individualized courses that are grounded in Biblical principles. Once the participant has completed a minimum of 12 months in this residential program, re-entry services, such as counseling, mentoring and temporary housing, are extended to facilitate the smooth entrance back into society.
New Freedom Center
At New Freedom Center in Bismarck, a holistic approach is employed to address the health of the individual who is struggling with an addictive disease. People who are part of their residential program have access to resources that address their psychological, physical and spiritual needs. These include family therapy, medication monitoring, individualized treatment planning and other services as determined by the individual’s unique needs.
Heartview Foundation has served more than 27,000 patients from across the United States and Canada since 1964. Heartview Foundation offers a 12-bed residential treatment center for individuals over the age of 18. After undergoing detoxification while being closely monitored by the medical staff, the individual begins group therapy, yoga, art, outside excursions, relaxation techniques, anger management and other supportive services designed to facilitate their recovery from illicit substances.
Whether you realize that you have an addiction to opioids, heroin or some other substance, or it is your friend or family member who needs such services, finding the right drug treatment center can be confusing, complex and time-consuming. At DrugRehab.org, we’ve helped thousands of people from all walks of like — just like you! We take the mystery out of finding the right drug treatment program in North Dakota so you can get the help, support, resources and tools to live the life you desire. Contact the caring professionals at DrugRehab.org today to learn more.