Opioids include non-prescription drugs like heroin and prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine. While many people benefit from using these medications to manage pain, prescription drugs are frequently diverted for improper use.
As people use opioids repeatedly, their tolerance increases, and they may not be able to maintain the source for the drugs. This can cause them to turn to the black market for these drugs and even switch from prescription drugs to cheaper and more risky substitutes like heroin. These substances vary in purity and strength, which increases the risk of serious medical complications or overdose. An average of 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.Opioids reduce the perception of pain but can also produce drowsiness, mental confusion, euphoria, nausea, constipation, and can depress respiration
Learn the warning signs of opioid overdose and how naloxone and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs can help treat and prevent it.
Opioid overdose is life-threatening and requires immediate emergency attention. Recognizing the signs of opioid overdose is essential to saving lives.
Call 911 immediately if a person exhibits any of these symptoms:
-Their face is extremely pale and/or feels clammy to the touch
-Their body goes limp
-Their fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color
-They start vomiting or making gurgling noises
-They cannot be awakened or are unable to speak
-Their breathing or heartbeat slows or stops
Opioid overdose can be fatal and requires immediate medical attention. Consider the following actions:
-Call 911 if you suspect that an overdose has occurred
-If the person has stopped breathing or if breathing is very weak, begin CPR (best performed by someone who has training)
-Make sure that your family members, caregivers, or the people who spend time with you know how to tell if you are experiencing an overdose and what to do until emergency medical help arrives. You will probably be unable to treat yourself if you experience an opioid overdose.
Naloxone is a medication used in treating opioid overdose.
Preventing Opioid Overdose
Overdose can occur with non- prescription drugs like heroin, prescription drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine and even with medications used in MAT like suboxone, and methadone. mixes opioids with other medications, alcohol, or over-the-counter medications. An overdose can be fatal when mixing an opioid with alcohol, over-the-counter medications or anxiety treatment medications, including derivatives of Benzodiazepine, such as Xanax or valium. Always follow the instructions you receive with your medication. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions or are unsure of how to take your medication.
The following tips can help you or a loved one avoid opioid overdose:
-Take medicine as prescribed by your doctor
-Do not take more medication or take it more often than instructed
-Never mix pain medicines with alcohol, sleeping pills, or illicit substances
-Store medicine safely where children or pets can’t reach it
-Dispose of unused medication promptly
Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder
The treatment of opioid use disorder includes the combination of the following:
-Day or Nigh Treatment/Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
-Intensive Out- Patient Program (IOP)Out-Patient Treatment (OP)
-Individual TherapyGroup Therapy
The most effective behavioral health approach involves a combination of counseling and medications. Early treatment is the best.
Suboxone for Opioid Use Disorders
Buprenorphine is used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to help people reduce or quit their use of short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. People may safely take medications used in MAT for months, years, several years, or even a lifetime. Buprenorphine is prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling, behavioral therapies, and participation in social support programs and provides a whole-patient approach to the treatment of opioid dependency.
Vivitrol for Opioid Use Disorders
Extended-release injectable naltrexone (Vivitrol) is approved for treatment of people with opioid use disorder. It is important that medically managed withdrawal (detoxification) from opioids be completed at least 7 to 10 days before extended-release injectable naltrexone is initiated or resumed. Research has shown that naltrexone decreases reactivity to drug-conditioned cues and decreases craving. Patients who have been treated with extended-release injectable naltrexone may have reduced tolerance to opioids and may be unaware of their potential sensitivity to the same, or lower, doses of opioids that they used to take. Extended-release naltrexone should be part of a comprehensive management program that includes psychosocial support.
Day or Night Treatment/Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)
Individuals who have been suffering from substance abuse, and/or behavioral health disorders may benefit from PHP services. PHP is a huge first step for people who require more support than is offered in an IOP but is less restrictive and structured than a Residential Inpatient Program. Some of the program components include Individual counseling; Group counseling; Counseling with families; Substance abuse education; Life skills training such as anger management, communication skills, problem-solving, relapse prevention, decision making, relationship skills; Non-Verbal therapies such as recreation therapy, art therapy; Training in health and medical issues; Employment or educational support services.
Intensive Out-Patient Program (IOP)
This level of care is designed for people who completed detoxification and are free from all physical side effects and withdrawal symptoms. It is a transition to a regular daily routine and balanced, productive lifestyle with a high level of healthy, professional support. Some of the program components include Individual counseling; Group counseling; Counseling with families; Substance abuse education; Life skills training such as anger management, communication skills, problem-solving, relapse prevention, decision making, and relationship skills; Non-Verbal therapies such as recreation therapy, art therapy; Training in health and medical issues; Employment or educational support services.
Out-Patient Treatment (OP)
Outpatient/Aftercare is the final step-down level of care which is created specifically for individuals who have completed the entire continuum of care from Partial Hospitalization to Intensive Outpatient. Patients are supported in their new sober life and help them cope with the situations they face on a daily basis as they transition back into a healthy and productive lifestyle. Some of the services provided: Individual Counseling on a weekly basis; Family Counseling; Substance Abuse Education; Relapse-Prevention Skills; Co-Occurring Disorders Therapy; Trauma Recovery Therapy; Employment/Educational Support Systems; Motivational Training; Case Management Services; Legal Case / Court Assistance.