The United States continues to grapple with a drug crisis that knows no bounds when it comes to those affected. Today, Washington, DC drug use, including heroin and opioids, in individuals aged 12 and older of any race, religion, socioeconomic status, or gender is climbing. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly four percent of those people over the age of 12 (or about 24,000) were using or addicted to some type of illicit drug during 2012 and 2013. This figure is an increase from previous years, such as during 2011 and 2012 when 3.5 percent of this age group indicated that they were dependent on or addicted to drugs.
Opioids: What You Need to Know
There is a perception that many people who struggle with addiction do so with drugs that are illegal. While there is certainly a fair number of individuals who are addicted to illegal substances, there is also a sizable portion addicted to drugs that are commonly prescribed by a licensed physician.
Opioids are prescription medications that fall into the opiate category. A popular method of managing pain, opioids are among the most often prescribed medications in the United States. This is true, in part, because they are so effective at quickly stopping the brain from feeling the sensation of pain.
Hydrocodone is one of the most popular opioid medications. Vicodin and Lortab are two of the commonly prescribed drugs that contain hydrocodone. Available in tablets, capsules and other forms, doctors often combine its use with ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or other non-opioid medications.
Oxycodone is another narcotic opioid that is widely prescribed among the medical community. It is most often found in tablets that are formulated to be time released so that their effectiveness is extended. Percocet and OxyContin are two popular brand names with physicians often combining them with acetaminophen or aspirin.
Morphine is a highly-effective opioid painkiller whose use is often found either in clinical or hospital settings. A powerful drug, morphine is typically administered intravenously to help treat moderate or severe pain in patients. A physician can also order morphine in tablet or liquid form for a patient.
Even as opioids are powerful methods of addressing pain, they can also be highly addicting. Over the past two decades, deaths due to an overdose on opioids more than tripled, according to data gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As an individual continues to battle pain, they seek out higher doses of opioids when their bodies reach a certain level of tolerance for the drugs. According to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG), in 2014, Washington, DC had 83 deaths from opioids. Just two years later, in 2016, that amount had jumped to 198 deaths attributed to opioid overdose.
Heroin: An Opioid Alternative
Prior to 2013, according to MWCOG, the rate of deaths due to heroin overdose in Washington, DC remained somewhat stable. In 2013, though, the city saw a 19 percent spike in such deaths that signaled its epidemic. The reason why deaths from heroin are increasing so rapidly is because, at the street level, the drug is often mixed with other substances, like fentanyl. This has significantly increased the risk of death, with 51 such incidents in 2014. In 2015, the city had 86 heroin-related deaths. By 2016, however, 121 people lost their lives to heroin.
While heroin has a reputation of being a street drug, it is actually a former prescription medication that was in wide use in the 19th century. These days, heroin is commonly used by people who are struggling with an addiction to pain medication. Not only is heroin cheaper than painkillers — one dose of heroin costs about $10, while painkillers can costs between $60 and $100 for a single pill — it is also easy get and requires no prescription. In order to address the addiction to painkillers, manufacturers make the tablets difficult to break up so they can be injected or snorted. Heroin is a fine powder that is ready to use.
Treatment Options For Those Struggling With Substance Abuse
There are a number of different treatment options for those who are struggling with an addiction to opioids, heroin, or some other substance. The first step for many people is a detoxification process. Before becoming drug free, it is important to rid the body of all toxic substances, such as heroin or opioids. In some cases, medically-assisted detoxification may be the best choice. This is typically determined by a trained professional during an assessment prior to admittance to a treatment center.
Inpatient treatment is the most effective drug treatment option for nearly everyone. This type of intensive experience provides the individual with access to a medical staff that is trained in the treatment of substance abuse. In addition to detoxification services, if needed, inpatient drug treatment includes a variety of therapy such as group therapy, individual therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). Some programs offer holistic treatment, adventure therapy, and other options so that an individual can have access to the type of treatment that most closely meets their personal goals and unique situation.
Outpatient drug treatment can sometimes be an option for those who are not able to commit to an inpatient program. More commonly, outpatient treatment is a continuation of inpatient treatment and is considered a step toward recovery for those within a comprehensive program.
Medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction is always overseen by a medical professional. Depending on the program, one or more medications could be used to help the individual to become weaned off opioids. Suboxone, methadone, Subutex, and Vivitrol are just a few of the options for this type of treatment. An individual must undergo a complete screening to determine which treatment option — or combination of treatments — is most effective for their unique needs. As alluded to previously, many case managers and medical personnel use a combination of programs to address the complex realities of opioid addiction.
Opioid Treatment Centers In Washington, DC
Washington, DC is home to numerous treatment centers that are focused on providing those struggling with an addiction to a substance such as heroin or opioids with the treatment and support they need to lead healthy and satisfying lives. A few of the available options are highlighted below:
Founded in 1985, Samaritan Inns provides diverse programs aimed at helping individuals struggling with drug or alcohol addictions, lending them the tools and resources they need to rebuild their lives. So far, their programs have saved over 10,000 people with graduates becoming contributing members of society. In addition to their Adult Treatment Program, Transitional Living Program, and Affordable Housing Program, the Samaritan Inns offers a Women with Children Program that provides services for a segment of the Washington, DC population that is woefully underserved: addicted mothers who have dependent children.
Salvation Army Harbor Light Center
The Salvation Army Harbor Light Center offers hope and reaffirms each person’s value, something that an individual who is addicted to opioids, heroin, or alcohol needs to hear and know. This treatment center provides services such as detoxification, residential treatment, outpatient treatment, and transitional housing to women and men who struggle with addiction. A Christian organization, the Salvation Army Harbor Light Center offers an optional religious component in which 90 percent of individuals who take part complete the program.
Clean & Sober Streets
For men and women who are searching for treatment and rehabilitation for drug and/or alcohol addiction, Clean & Sober Streets has a proven record with their first class graduating in 1988. Since then, the organization has provided more than 5,000 participants with residential treatments of 30 or more days, intensive outpatient treatment of three months, counseling, and case management services. Using a 12-step philosophy, Clean & Sober Streets offers AA and NA meetings, art workshops and more to demonstrate that a life free of drugs and alcohol is not only possible, but satisfactory as well.
Get Help Today
DrugRehab.org can help you find the assistance you need for yourself or a loved one. We understand the confusion you might feel and the questions you likely have when it comes to finding the right drug treatment for this debilitating addiction. Our caring and compassionate team is here to help you. Contact us at DrugRehab.org for more information or life-saving help for heroin and opioid abuse.