OPIATES – HEROIN AND PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
The term opiates refers to substances that are derived from opium, which is extracted from the poppy plant. Opioids refers to synthetic (man-made by chemical reactions) drugs that act in a similar manner to opiates. For simplicity, opiates and opioids are often referred to as opioids. When a naturally-occurring opiate is used to synthesize an opioid, the product is referred to as a semi-synthetic opioid.
Opioids are life-saving medications and are prescribed for multiple medical disorders, such as cardiac arrest, angina, cough, and are also widely used during local and general anesthesia. There are a vast number of opioids, numbering in the 100s, both on the prescription drug market, as well as the black market. In some cases, a particular opioid may be permitted to be prescribed in a certain country; whereas, it is illegal in other countries. For example, the prescription of heroin as a pain reliever is legal in Great Britain, but illegal in the United States.
Regardless of the reason for the prescription, opioids can become drugs of abuse. Opioids act the same as do naturally occurring endorphins, which produce a “high,” and block pain by natural means in the brain and spinal cord. As such, opioids are highly addictive, producing the sought-after feelings of emotional well-being and euphoria (a state of bliss).
Remember that opioids can be referred to by using the brand name, generic name, or street name. Here is a brief list of commonly found opioids:
Opium, morphine, codeine
Heroin, meperidine, oxycodone (Oxycontin), oxymorphine (Opana), hydrocodone (Vicodin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
Methadone, Fentanyl, buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex)
Regardless of the class of the opioid, they all act in a similar fashion to relieve pain, slow the breathing rate, decrease blood pressure, and produce a euphoric “high.” Opioids can be abused by snorting, intravenously, orally, inhalation, and via absorption through the skin and mucous membrane of the mouth.
Due to the illicit nature of opioid use, chronic use typically leads to severe consequences, such as medical problems, crimes and other legal problems, the loss of employment, financial difficulties, social problems, homelessness, and mental health issues. It is imperative that anyone addicted to opioids receive professional treatment in a prescription drug rehab. Prescription drug rehabs will also treat addictions to heroin and opium.
Because of the severe consequences of opioid abuse and dependence in the United States, particularly prescription drug use, the government has “cracked-down” on the production, distribution, and prescription of these substances. Because of this, prescription drug abuse has decreased; albeit, at the same time heroin abuse has been on the rise.
Illicitly using heroin has a high-risk of overdose because the user cannot be certain of the ingredients, nor of the level of purity. Also, heroin is typically used by the I.V. or nasal routes, which provide a more rapid effect on the central nervous system, which can lead to respiratory and cardiac problems that result in overdose.
Those who are addicted to opioids do have hope, if they are willing or prompted to seek treatment. Typically, these patients will require detoxification in an inpatient or residential drug detox, followed by intensive treatment. Since the social consequences in these patients is typically harsh, and mental health issues may be present, the drug detox should be followed by the admittance of the patient to a reputable, experienced drug rehab that provides support services such as Case Management, therapy, and medical and psychiatric services.
Behavioral Wellness and Recovery treats patients suffering from prescription drug abuse and heroin addiction in a non-threating environment. We hope to remove the shame and guilt that is often felt by these patients, in order to provide a firm foundation for a strong recovery. Should you have questions or if you or a loved one requires treatment, you can contact one of our Admission Specialists by calling 800-683-4457. Your means to stop the madness is only a call away.
BEHAVIORAL WELLNESS & RECOVERY
704 West Nields St., West Chester, PA 19382 | (800) 683-4457
Serving Philadelphia, PA, Lancaster, PA and Wilmington, DE