Opioids are drugs that work on opioid receptors in the nervous system and GI tract primarily to cause pain-relieving, sedative effects. They are typically prescribed for moderate-severe or end-of-life pain, and have a high potential for abuse.

Common examples of opioids include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone. Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive derivation of morphine.

 

Who is at risk for opioid addiction?

No one is immune; even patients who take opioids for legitimate medical reasons can become addicted. Medical necessity does not “protect” against addiction, yet this misconception is causing some physicians to overconfidently write opioid prescriptions without monitoring for addictive behavior. Medical professionals must always be on the lookout for warning signs and be ready to intervene as needed; even patients who take the drugs exactly as prescribed can become addicted. 

However, the reality is that legal opioids are highly effective for treating pain, and only a small percentage of patients prescribed opioids become addicted, even among those with highly addictive tendencies. It should be noted, though, that the risk of addiction does slightly increase for individuals who take opioids for a long time (more than three months) or at high doses (over 100 morphine milligram equivalents (MMEs)). The risk also increases for adolescents, and individuals with depression and/or substance use disorder(s). Additionally, genetics account for 35-40% of the risk associated with addiction.

 

What are some of the symptoms of opioid use?

  • Euphoria
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constricted pupils
 

What are some of the symptoms of opioid overdose?

  • Slow/shallow breathing
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Clammy skin
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death
 

What should I do if I have an opioid use disorder?

Please call us here at Two Dreams if you find yourself struggling with opioid use; our lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Two Dreams offers a safe, judgment-free place to start the healing process. There are many different ways to start managing addiction, and we understand that what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. We provide inpatient, intensive outpatient, and outpatient services based on the unique needs of each individual and the level of care needed. Our trained counselors, under the supervision of a physician, are happy to talk through these options with you and help decide which placement will best fit your needs. We ensure that the transitions into and out of treatment are as stress-free as possible by guiding you through each process step-by-step. Additionally, we provide step-down transition programs to help you shift out of the treatment center setting.

Our expert staff has been helping people with addiction for decades, so you can be sure that you and your loved ones will be in good hands. Dr. Andrea Barthwell, founder and CEO of Two Dreams, is widely regarded as one of the “Best Doctors in America” in the field of addiction medicine. She served as president of the American Addiction Society of Medicine (ASAM), as well as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction in the White House under President George W. Bush. Her renowned status and experience in the field have allowed her to shape Two Dreams into the outstanding recovery center that it is today—one that is able to provide state-of-the-art care and services to those in need. We are here to help you in any way that we can; we are on your side.

 

Additional Resources:

http://www.samhsa.gov/atod/opioids

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/InformationbyDrugClass/ucm337066.htm

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/summary

https://www.surgeongeneral.gov/priorities/opioids/index.html

http://www.hhs.gov/opioids/index.html

https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/spring11/articles/spring11pg9.html

https://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/prescription-pain-medications-opioids

https://www.theacpa.org/treatment/opioids