Painkillers

opiate-addiction

Information about Opiate Addiction

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Opiate addiction has definitely been on the rise in recent years. For whatever reason, people are turning more and more to both prescription painkillers, as well as to street drugs like heroin (this is at least partially driven from people who get addicted to prescription opiates).

How opiate addiction can start

Opiate addictions can start when people least suspect it. Just about any accident, injury, or illness could be the thing that pushes us into a situation where we are experiencing chronic pain and are in need of medication.

Usually it will be a doctor that prescribes opiates to us, but in some cases a friend or family member will innocently give us a prescription medication (almost never a good idea to begin with) and thus we might get started on opiates that way. Once the ball is rolling, most people will start actively seeking out their drug of choice in order to avoid withdrawal. Whether this means gaming multiple doctors or buying heroin off the streets, people will go to many lengths in order to maintain their state of being. Avoiding withdrawal is a powerful motivator.

Opiate addiction symptoms

Most addicts will go out of their way in order to hide an addiction from the world. But eventually it will start to show through, both in their behavior and in their attitude.  The signs of opiate addiction are really more behavioral than they are physical.  Some of the symptoms of opiate addiction might include:

* Obsessing over medications.

* Obsessing over doctor appointments and the need to get more medicine.

* Being restless, irritable, and angry when not getting enough opiates.

* Being preoccupied with getting more drugs.

* Lying about how much they have used or where they got the medication.

* Lying to doctors or faking injuries or illnesses in order to get more medicine.

* Self inflicted injury in order to get medication.

There are other symptoms as well but this just gives you a general idea.  Keep a careful watch for these opiate addiction signs and you can probably detect this fairly early in a loved one’s behavior.  Different addicts will have different ways of coping with addiction and attempting to deal with their life while keeping their using hidden. Any unusual behavior might point to active addiction.

Treating opiate addicts

There are a number of different options for treating opiate addicts. The problem with them is that they are all pretty much guaranteed to fail if the addict does not want to get clean. There is no way to change a person’s mind from the outside…the healing process starts from within. Specifically, it starts with an internal decision to make a major change in your life. Without this huge decision, without this total level of surrender, there can be no lasting changes when it comes to addiction.

Therefore, the best treatment for an opiate addict is the one that the addict is more willing to engage with. If they are resistant to the idea it is not going to work anyway, period. They have to want it for it to be effective.

opiate_addiction
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It would be nice if there were a shot or a magic pill that could make people change at this fundamental level, but right now there is no such thing. The motivation still has to come from within, and it is still the determining factor in recovery success.

Long term help for the opiate addict

Getting some help in the short run is great. Going to a 28 day program or even shorter can, and does, help opiate addicts to recover. But the success rates of such programs remain quite low, and really the problem is not stopping….it is staying stopped. Therefore, if an addict has tried and failed with short term solutions already, then they should shift their strategy towards longer term solutions.

There are a couple of routes you could go with this. One is to find long term treatment, where a person checks in and lives for a period of months or even years. Halfway houses are an example of this strategy. Another long term approach might be to find a therapist to work with on an outpatient basis, though this strategy is a lot less intensive and might not work for everyone. Finally, drug maintenance can also be a long term strategy, though I would caution that this probably needs to be combined with other strategies in order to be effective.

Oxycontin addiction

Many opiate addicts in particular are addicted to Oxycontin. This is a powerful medication that contains a very powerful synthetic opiate and is only available with a prescription. But of course there is a huge black market for the substance because it is so addictive.

Addicts use Oxycontin in many different ways. Usually it is crushed up and snorted but it can be taken via just about any conceivable route other than smoking it. Many people who found themselves taking this prescription opiate for their pain find it very difficult to just stop taking it cold turkey, because their body has become used to the pleasurable effects that the drug produces.

Oxycontin has a high abuse potential because it is a powerful opiate medication. Therefore Oxycontin addiction remains fairly common.

Vicodin addiction

Another popular prescription medication that has a lot of abuse potential is Vicodin. This is actually Hydrocodone and the general opinion is that it probably gets over prescribed in the United States. When over the counter medications such as Tylenol or Motrin may have sufficed in the past, doctors are more quick to prescribe Vicodin instead, and patients are more quick to request it. This is unfortunate because the drug has the potential to be addicting, and in most cases a lessor pain medicine would have actually worked.

Another big problem with Vicodin addiction is that the opiates contained in this medication are almost always packaged with acetaminophen. This can be really hard on the liver when an addict starts to abuse Vicodin, because they are getting way to much acetaminophen into their system.

Suboxone

Opiate dependence is sometimes both detoxed with Suboxone, as well as to use this medication for long term drug therapy maintenance. Suboxone is a pill that contains 2 different medications in it: one is a synthetic, partial opiate, and the other is an opiate blocker called Nalaxone. The Nalaxone is in the pill so that it the pill cannot be melted down and injected, thus lowering the abuse potential of the medication.

Some opiate addicts take Suboxone for a long term drug maintenance in order to avoid street drugs or other opiates. It can also be particularly useful for opiate addicts who are suffering from chronic pain conditions that cannot be controlled with non-addictive medicines. Most people who use Suboxone for long term drug therapy take it twice a day, and this helps control cravings for opiates as well as to medicate their body for any pain issues they may have.

It is certainly not for everyone but it has definite application for a select group of opiate addicted users. In addition, the drug is fairly expensive and in some situations this can be cost prohibitive for some people, depending on how they are funded or whether they have insurance or not.

Opiate addiction help comes in many forms

So there are a number of options for treating opiate addiction. There are therapy groups, 12 step programs, short term treatment centers, long term treatment centers, individual counseling sessions, outpatient programs, drug maintenance program, group therapy, and so on. You can even find help online and possibly look up an opiate addiction forum. The key is not that one of these works better than the others, or that there is some magic combination of things that will work. Instead, the key is that each addict is unique, and their treatment that ultimately helps them is probably going to be unique as well. Therefore, we should strive for:

1) Repeated attempts at sobriety – if they do not succeed at first then they have to come back from a relapse and try again. Try something new. Try new strategies. Do something different if you want different results.

2) Customization – a recovery program should be unique and custom fit to the individual. Right now we have more of a one-size-fits-all approach. Certain programs do not work for everyone. We need to find what works best for the individual.

3) Positive creation of a new life - emphasis is on the creation of a new life in recovery, rather than on the addiction and the baggage from the past. Moving forward, setting goals, finding new purpose in life…these are the goals of the “new recovery.”

Getting past opiate addictions and living a new life

Many people have successfully overcome opiate addictions and managed to find a new way to live. The process usually starts slowly and the addict might be pretty down at first. But there is hope for a better life if they are willing to stick it out. Eventually they will transition into a new life in recovery and their life will have meaning and purpose again for them.

Actively creating this life is the point of recovery.

I have seen this trend towards opiate addiction treatment develop over the last 5 years or so, especially with younger people, because I work in a treatment center and I end up treating these patients for opiate withdrawal. I am not sure on the exact numbers regarding opiate use these days but I can definitely tell that it has become a bigger problem.

What if I have chronic pain issues?

People who suffer from chronic pain in their body have a particularly hard time getting off of opiate drugs. This is because they have accustomed their body to a certain level of painkiller, and when they remove it, they feel even more miserable than what a typical withdrawal would produce.

Opiates might be useful in some cases for getting someone through a period of intense, acute pain. But when you are suffering from long term, chronic pain, and you also happen to be addicted to the painkillers, then you are locked into a losing battle. Eventually you will have to take more and more of the drug just to feel normal, and it will no longer dull the pain with the efficiency that it once did. In a case like this, a big part of the solution is going to be addressing the chronic pain without the use of opiates.

Doing this might take some research on your part, especially if your doctor does not seem to be well educated about addiction. You might have to shop around and find someone who is more willing to work with alternatives and is more knowledgeable about drug addiction. There are almost always alternatives to opiates if you have chronic pain, it is just a matter of experimenting enough to find something that works for you.

The decision to overcome addiction

Just like with any drug or alcohol addiction, a person has to want to change if they are addicted to opiates. No one is going to be able to force a change in this case if the person does not genuinely want to get help.

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of denial with opiates. Many people can easily justify their use to themselves in a number of ways. For one thing, a lot of people have at least some physical pain in their body that they might have started medicating with opiates, so this is one form of justification. The second form of justification is that most people who are addicted to opiates tell themselves that they believe that their body reacts differently and that they simply need more of the drug than most people do. This is part of the “uniqueness” that all addicts and alcoholics go through when they are wrestling with the idea that they have a disease of addiction.

It is very difficult to break through all of this denial because the cost of doing so is so high. The opiate user knows that they are going to have to face a mountain of reality if they have to face life without their drug. Not only will they have to deal with any physical pain and the reality of dealing with physical existence without drugging their body, but they will also have to face the fact that they have been medicating their emotional state all along and now they will have to deal with their emotions if they choose to get clean. This emotional component is actually a much bigger deal for most people than the physical aspect of things and this is why we stay addicted to drugs and alcohol in general. It is not so much the physical component that keeps us trapped, but the threat of having to face life head-on without self medicating and actually deal with our real feelings and emotions without hiding behind our drug use.

When someone is hooked on opiates (or alcohol, or other drugs), they get into the habit of being able to instantly medicate their mood–how they actually feel–by simply taking their drug of choice. If they are having a bad day, if they are upset with their boss, if they are stressed out about something in their life, they can escape any of these mental or emotional states through taking their drug. This is what people are actually addicted to….this medicating of unwanted emotional states. This is what perpetuates addiction. On some level, the opiate addict understands that this is what they are up against if they choose to get clean. They have to be miserable enough or tired enough of doing drugs in order to take on this challenging task….the task of having to deal with their raw emotions and learn how to live without medicating them.

Getting through withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal is a nightmare. Even though it is technically less dangerous than alcohol withdrawal, it is probably more miserable in terms of how a person actually feels. Symptoms can include upset stomach, vomiting, tremor, severe anxiety, and cold sweats, just to name a few. Depending on which opiate and how much of the drug a person was taking can make these withdrawal symptoms vary quite a bit in terms of intensity.

There are a couple of options for getting through withdrawal, the least appealing of which is to simply kick the stuff cold turkey in the “comfort” of your own home. Any opiate addict who has tried this can tell you that it is not fun, and this is why the addiction is so prevalent. Avoiding withdrawal perpetuates the disease.

A better option for just about anyone is to seek treatment in a drug rehab setting. At least there you have the benefit of having your withdrawal symptoms treated and addressed as you come off the opiates. Most treatment centers will give medications and slowly ween you down off of them in order to minimize the withdrawal symptoms altogether. This might not be a completely pain free detox but it is a lot better than kicking the drugs cold turkey.

The other benefit of detoxing from opiates in a treatment center is the added support that you receive there. In most cases you will be exposed to their residential program as well, in which they attempt to teach people how to live a life without drugs.

What about drug therapy or drug maintenance?

One option for people who are trying to recover from opiate addiction is to take a synthetic opiate every day so that they do not return to their drug of choice. This is a highly controversial approach because essentially the addict is submitting themselves to dependence on the drug in order to try to limit and control their use. For example, some people take a drug called Methadone on a daily basis in order to stay off of heroin or other opiate drugs. This is generally distributed from a clinic. There is also the option of using a pill called Suboxone for long term opiate drug maintenance. This medication is probably a better option for most people because it does not produce the same “doping effect” that methadone does, but it still helps people who have a strong addiction to opiates.  Of course, there are some negatives with Suboxone as well….all things that you should discuss with your doctor, of course.

For someone who has struggled with opiate addiction for a long time, and has never succeeded in really accumulating any clean time, drug therapy can seem like a good strategy that might be highly beneficial to them. I think at some point, people get desperate enough and think of this as a magic bullet. They see opiate maintenance as a possible cure for their problem. I think it is important to stress that drug therapy is pretty much useless without an accompanying change in lifestyle and a dedicated effort at personal recovery. In other words, if the only thing a person does is get on drug therapy, they are not going to enjoy lasting, long term recovery.

I believe this to be the case because I work in a treatment setting and I have been able to get a feel for the success rates with drug therapy over the last few years. Those who go on some sort of drug therapy have a tendency to keep coming back to treatment (for detox and residential treatment). What does this tell us about drug therapy? It tells me that it doesn’t really work that well in most cases.

This is not to say that it does not work for anyone, or that a person should never consider it. I still think there are certain addicts who are good candidates for drug therapy, simply because they have abused their body for so long with opiates that they have little chance of ever feeling normal again without some sort of “help.” In extreme cases like that I think drug therapy might be a necessary component so that a person can even have a chance at recovery.

Just understand that drug therapy is not a magic bullet.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opiate addiction

The best step for most people who are struggling with opiates is to seek professional help. This will generally mean attending treatment at a local treatment center or drug rehab. There, you can get detoxed from the drugs and start learning a new way to live without medicating yourself. If you have chronic pain issues, then you would do well to start exploring new ways to deal with your chronic pain as well. The most important thing at this point, though, is that the person surrenders to the idea that they have a disease and that they need to ask for help. Doing so is probably the best indicator of real change for the addict.

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  • http://www.newbeginningsdetox.co, Dennis Hansen

    I also agree with the comment about particular kinds of drug treatments as a combatant against this case of addiction, because I too work with addicts and find it hard in forming any type of reasonably high results from drug therapy. As stated in the third paragraph of “What about drug therapy or drug maintenance?”, I’ve noticed the turnover rate associated with addicts that have undergone drug therapy to their reentry back into said rehab facilities. Even though the numbers are inconclusive, some do show an increase in relapse patients that in fact receive further treatment. I will say that medicines such as opiate in its earlier days of development had resulted in numerous patient rehabilitative success stories. However, these numbers have progressively deteriorated over time.
    Though, this form of treatment isn’t for every patient, I still recognized the significants of it in relation to the more extreme users. Opiate, like many other painkillers on the market stems not only from traumatic accuracies and/ experiences but have also been known to develop from the terminal of an ongoing financial situation and having to deal with the stresses associated as a result of it. Unfortunately, this issue has now became an everyday concern that we as a society have been constantly trying to overcome, and therefore unavoidable. The misuse of this particular medicine is due to the opium derivatives within the drug that can makes it quite addictive. Especially if the substance intake isn’t administered and observed properly by some sort of detoxification specialist. Seeking professional help is always the first step toward the road of recovery. I try to teach my patients that,”Recovery isn’t just about recognizing that you have a problem and solving it, but gaining understanding that as long as you have someone who cares you won’t achieve the success of recovery alone.”

    – New Beginnings Detox

  • Low Down-East

    When I realized I was in over the ceiling,was in fact the very days that I would temporarily delay the drudge by a desire to feel normal.And that not of lack of pain,rather,a reckoning of normalcy.It would only last a brief period,and I would suffer in agonizing symptoms of procrastination and absent mindedness.As I look back it was neither good nor condusive,just needing the jolt.And it was never like it used to be,just always too repetitive and dissapointing.I had become psyched into fooling myself,not anybody else.Funny thing seemed to me,though,anybody didn’t seem to mind I was functioning with a lack of pizazz or pomp.It’s not me.”I’m a fun person to be with”I would think.But never did they say do you feel alright or why are you acting like that?Only I knew it wasn’t right.I’m sure they talked,but,what is a gift if the person you give it to doesn’t take it?What should someone say when a gift is given to them,or even if they want it?I think it would be,”thank you”.
    Good article.Thank you!It’s a real story that I can learn from.-aa

  • Patrick

    That is a profound explanation there, Low Down East. What do you mean when you say “what is a gift if the person you give it to doesn’t take it?” When you said that, I thought about people encouraging me to get clean, and me rejecting “the gift.” But I suppose it might be something other than that too. Thanks for your comment….

  • Spencer

    Wow man your post are very interesting, i myself am trying to beat opiate addiction. and holy shit its a rough and un forgiving road that leads to jail or 6 feet under

    wish me luck

  • Patrick

    Good luck Spencer!

  • Amanda

    Best of luck to you Spencer and anyone else that may read this posting. I am a Certified Addictions Counselor and work with people trying to beat opiate addiction through enrollment at a rehabiliation clinic that administers methadone. It’s not easy…at all. Keep trying different approaches and get some support on your side for along the way.

  • nelly

    I read that oxycontin can not be smoked, which is not true. My boyfriend has been smoking oxycontin since before we were together. Over 3 years. Him and his friends he uses with break it and mis with a small amount of water in tinfoil and then heat it and smoke it… I guess a lot of people do it this way.

  • Brenda

    My husband has had a bad opiate addiction for what i know about 2 years now. This past year has been the worst year ever. I have tried getting him help with the methadone out patient place and that didn’t seem to help becauese he just decides that he is fine and can deal with it and do it. We have three children and my main concern is them i shouldn’t have to waste my energy all on him. Irecently had to go back to work full time and give up being a stay at home mom because he has spent so much money on opiates that we are so behind on bills. He has a very addictive personality and i really don’t know how much more i can take. I have been dealing with his issues since i got pregnant with our first child. First, it was alcohol, in which he has literally threw me across a room. And i always managed to stick by him and now it’s opiates. My love as a spouse has gone away and i feel more like a babysitter. The other day i hit a breaking point. I had this wristlet purse that i absolutley loved and had my license, couple hundred dollars, and camera with priceless pictures in it. As we were leaving to meet up with family on thanksgiving day, i could not find it anywhere. The next couple of days he watched me call the the store that i had stopped in before realizing that it was gone for days and nothing. Acouple days ago, i was turning over my mattress and i could not believe my eyes. There was my purse along with a knife and straws. The money was missing. I just can’t believe he could watch me cry about priceless pictures that were in that camera and knowing it was there all along. Don’t mean to ramble on about my life but i need some advice outside of the faily or friend circle….desperately!!!

  • V_fantastical

    First of all,nelly,who wrote about her boyfriend smoking oxicontin,and how to do it,I feel that is very inappropriate to put on here,a place where people are reading this,because they are trying to get off the drugs not try new ways to do it!For myself I am researching to find ways to get help for myself.As a child,I went through a lot of different types of abuse from my parents and just complete chaos.It caused me to act out,and they sent me to a psychiatrist at the age of 7,and put me on antidepressants.They didn`t want to help me learn to cope with my life,instead throughout my entire childhood I was put on a large amount in dosage and types of drugs,and most of them were very harmful to give to children.I never had anyone actually help me learn how to cope with life any other way except sedation,to suppress it all.That is all I ever knew of,as a teenager and youg adult I began self medicating when anything was wrong,because it was all I knew.I am now trying to get help,but I am so scared!I have physical,chronic pain,and I take oxi just to make it help,and I have very bad anxiety,etc,I take a variety of meds prescribed to me!Noone in my family or my friends,coworkers even know or notice I have a problem.I have been told by so many of those I love and care about,that they are so proud of me for how well I have done with my life,and how great I have everything under control.I feel horrible,I have noone to turn to about this.I am so angry that I was ever put through all of that as a child.The psychiatrists and doctors misdiagnosing me with all these conditions that I didn`t even have.They didn`t know or care that I was a child in a dysfunctional home and dealt with abuse.It is their fault that I have the problems I do now with drug addiction.I wonder,how my life would be if someone was there for me and actually loved and cared about me enough to just treat me good and wanted to help me,instead of sedate me so they didn`t have to deal with me!If only someone was there to teach me how to cope,instead of teaching me that taking drugs was the only solution.I am not the only one,there are many other children now and adults now who are victims,from Doctors giving them medications they do not need,and actually causing them to need what they wouldn`t have needed in the first place!It makes me so angry!

  • colton

    im seventeen and am trying to stop doing opiates. i began doing oxi contin my frosh year a im gonna be a junior. i have a interesting situstion in the sense that i have very easy access to free opiates alot of the time. i havent gotten high in about 5 or 6 days and just feel flat n life less…. i dont think iv ever actually been a addict. no matter how much oxi contin oxy codone or hydromorphone i do when i afta stop for a cpl days for whatever reason i never withdrawal.. my sister is a alllll out opiate junky who sits in her room all day n stays high. the reason i want to stay clean is bc my memory is thrashed.. i went to the doctor and he called it post acute withdrawal. itll take a year to 28 months for me to feel normal again. i just wish id known that opaites arent the bees knees even if it seems that way. i remember swallowing a forty and being sooo high… now i can rail 120 of oc and it just keeps me normal…. idk i hope i can do this, having them so available makes it harder…. not that im religious but prayers or positive thoughts are appreciated lol. thanks

  • Patrick

    @ Colton – Yup, stay away from the crap, all you do now is maintain and avoid being sick…not worth it by a long shot.

    If you can stay clean, you will have so many more opportunities in your life.

    Good luck Colton. Stay strong man!

  • Benny

    hey colton,
    dude listen ive been on methidone for five days now and i couldnt be happier that im off the pills. i feel great! drugs took hold of my life and everything else i owned, I remember taking a perk 10 and being waised, now i can do 200 mgs of oc and not feel a thing. not worth the money! stay clean and sober and your life will change, mine will change in the next few weeks for the better. I know methidone isnt completely clean but its a step im the right direction. i thanks god everyday for the positive people at my clinic and my ability to tell all my friends AND drug deelers to FUCK OFF! I will get my own place a nice truck and this girl that i used to go to highschool with. go to group and stay clean. its not as hard as you think its gonna be. will power man! stay focused on your goals and you wont fail! good luck!

  • bdg

    been off cold turkey from lortabs for 6 days now, this is the hardest thing i have ever done, even childbirth, although i am not convulsing, jerking etc. i am still craving badly, i am not in a position to go to a rehab, i feel very isolated and lonely, the this really sucks and i cannot function normally, sometimes i just want to die

  • bdg

    somebody please tell me something

  • eng

    Im 18 and struggling with opiate addiction. I ran cross country for 3 years which ruined my knees and had severe menstrual pain, and started taking them as a sophmore. my mom works as a pharmacy tech and is in the same boat. she has chronic pain and started taking them from where she works. she offered me one for knee pain and ive been on them since. addiction runs very high in my family so i feel like my chances of overcoming arent good. i need professional help through medication like suboxone or something similar considering the amount i take daily but dont know where to start. my last dose was at 6 yesterday so ive been off them 21 hours. at times i get so frustrated and so depressed that i considered suicide. i want to be stronger in my faith and overcome this. im past the depression and now im just MAD! I wish i had known the risks and what i know now. i feel so ridiculous being 18 and addicted to hydrocodone and im mad that something like ths has gotten in the way of all mydreams and accomplishmen

  • Patrick

    @ bdg – I think you should seek treatment or rehab. They can help you get set up on Suboxone if that is necessary. You might hesitate to ask for help and go to rehab, but think of how much better your life will be 10 years from now if you never abuse drugs again, versus struggling with addiction over the next 10 years.

    Treatment is really the best investment you can make right now, even if seems like a headache. Just do it!

  • Alanon

    To the lady whose husband stole her purse and is addicted to first alcohol, now opiates. You should find local al-anon meetings. Go to at least 6 or 7 before you decide if it’s for you.

  • sara

    My boyfriend has had an opiate addiction for eight years. Starting with vicodin and moving on to heroin. He quit cold turkey with Heroin over a year ago but since has abuse any pain pill or patch he can find. I left my husband for him since we were life long friends and I finally found him. Ive always been in love with him since I was a kid. We were together for a year and he hid it for a while. I didnt understand the addiction so I ignored it at first. Then I saw that it consumed his day. He quit his job, layed in bed all day, and when he was up he was constantly chasing pills. I started helping him buy the pills because I saw how much pain he was in when he didnt have them. Very very expensive!! Then one night he said he was going to get more pills and never came back. Turned his phone off. He was gone for a week and then came back all strung out…scary. This happened five different times with i love yous and ill change as soon as he came in the door. This was emotionally traumatic for me because I love him so much. I knew he was acting like this because of drugs and I wanted to save him. Finally after much pressure from my ex and my kids not being allowed around him until he is 90 days sober, and the fact that he was hospitalized for respiratory failure, and then a car accident he/we decided to go to the suboxone clinic. He has been going to a suboxone clinic for two months now. The pill was working for him but I still saw no moitvation to get up and going. A month ago he disappeared again. Gave me a kiss and an I love you and Ill see you later and then turned the phone off again. I have bailed him out of many financial situations to get him on track with promises of paying me back. I invested thousands of dollars in trying to get him well. We were going to get married. Now that I want him to get a job and help with bills and pay his debts, including child support he has bailed again. I dont know if he is still going to the suboxone clinic or not, but I heard he is. I have all his personal items and dont know what to do with them. I know he will be back and I am trying to stay strong and not let him back in my life. It is heartbreaking to see someone you love so much be addicted to opiates. I need to learn how to cope with loving an opiate addict and losing him over and over to this disease. I need to understand his brain and sense of reasoning. Does he think this behavior is ok? Are there any support groups for us?

  • josh

    Oxycotin can be smoked on foil

  • Lisa

    Well alot has been said on this. I’m a recovering heroin addict. I’ve tried methadone maintence and I tell you I didn’t really want to stop so I did both. This private clinic told me that I just needed to keep going up on my dose and my cravings would stop. I kept going up and they really didn’t stop. Finally I made a desicion that I didn’t want to live that way anymore. I stopped taking my methadone and tryed to detox. The second day I got into a detox center and started a long drawn out process of detox. I kept thinking why when I wanted to get off heroin, didn’t I just go into detox followed by a rehab. I was able to stay clean and it’s been 4yrs. I’ve enrolled myself in college, have a beautiful son, and have the same job for three years now. I even managed to work my way to management. I pay my own bills and have my own place. Yes, from time to time I have hard days but never as bad of a day as a good day in addiction. I guess I say all of this because if people who are addicted to opiates could only see the otherside and feel the freedom I feel. It won’t happen untill that person wants it. That is the saddest most frustrating part. To me now I don’t wake up wondering how I’m going to avoid withdrawl. Heroin to me now seems like a distant dream. The best of luck to anyone struggling with this horrible disease. Life is wonderful on the otherside.

  • http://www.opiateawareness.org Ron

    In memory of Kasey Osborne, my beautiful love… I am starting the Opiate Awareness Institute to bring awareness to young men and women about the dangers of Opiate abuse… It will take me a few months to get this going full bore, but anyone who wants to advocate against abusing opiates is welcome to join me… My girl died over the damn things and I will not just let it go… feel free to write me at info@opiateawareness.org Whatever you Higher Power is, you must evoke it to overcome the addiction… Don’t end up like Kasey…

  • Judy

    I NEED HELP TO GT OFF THIS DRUG, MY LIFE IS GOING IN THE SHITTER SOME ONE PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HELP MEI DONT KNOW HWERE TO START MY ADDICITON STARTED BY BRING PERSCRIBED BY THE DOCTOR
    VERY SAD IN THE HAMMER……………………………..

  • Anonymous

    To the victims

  • Just me

    Time and prayer seem to help. Been doing Vicks, perc, and onyx for a couple of years and went to church to ask god for help. unfortunately after church ran into a friend with a stash. Got me an oxy but fortunately it made me sick. Ended throwing up and having a headache for two days.. On the second day found more drugs but after taking them got sick again. Thanks God! I took them expecting to get high after asking for your help and you helped me by making me sick when I took them. Been a few days now and finally starting to feel better and beginning to eat again…

  • Marcia

    I got my now 22 year old son of a Oxy/H/ Subox addiction a few years ago the right way and he’s still clean.

    #1. Buy “End Your Addiction Now” Book. Read it and get what you need.

    #2 LEAVE ALL USER FRIENDS BEHIND. PERIOD. If you can’t do that part, the rest won’t work. If you happen to live with the user and you are really, really really BOTH COMMITTED to the same plan, maybe. If he/she isn’t willing to do this – you shouldn’t be with that person anyway. In either case, have someone with a bit of compassion and that you trust around the first few days to a week to be there for you, just in case one of you is caving, or just to run a hot bath or get you a puke bucket… I don’t think it’s a big deal to take a 1/4 of a Subox a couple times a day for the first few days – there’s really no reason to be in complete agony – but not more than a little for a few days – your goal is to get off drugs, not switch. Being a little sick isn’t the end of the world – being a lot sick, just isn’t necessary.
    #3 Eat only organic food and as much of it uncooked as possible, even beef and fish – I don’t think you should eat raw chicken, but trust me, grass fed raw beef is good and who doesn’t like sushi-mi? If you can’t stand the thought of raw meat, skip meat for now, cause there’s no meat in the average grocery store you should ever eat. Try to get Wild caught fish – Trader Joe’s has a decent selection in the freezer section that’s affordable and unless you live in the way-back-40, you have one reasonably close. LOTS of fruit and green leafy veggies – like pounds of it every day. Cut out sugar – all of it- certainly no soda’s, candy bars, etc… only what’s in fruit cause sugar triggers drug cravings. Lastly, try to eat food with sugar in it a couple hours apart from food with fat in it – it will digest/absorb faster/better and you need all the help you can get in that department right now! Take walks when you’re able or just lay in the sun if that’s all you can manage. The sun is how your body produces Vitamin D, which fights depression.
    #4 Acupuncture, massage and hot baths for pain – if you can’t afford it, see if there is a holistic practitioner who is willing to barter or wait till you are better and working again. Acupuncture is a huge relief though detox.
    #5 As soon as you can, start exercising – even if it’s just a few minutes at a time. The drug residue attaches to your fat cells and when they get used for extra energy the drug in small quantities is released back into your blood stream which can be a cause of relapse. Exercising to a sweat will get all that crap out of your body faster so you don’t have to deal with that possibility and exercise can become an addiction in it’s own right – just a much healthier one than you currently have.

    The book will give you a list of Nutraceutical Supplements to increase the vitamins and minerals of the organic diet to replenish and balance your neurotransmitters, which stabilize your mood and make you feel good without medicating. This may sound expensive – that’s what most think when they hear words like organic, but let me tell you, it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than drugs, not to mention a funeral. Drugs not only keep you from eating right, but diminish the amount of nutrition your body absorbs because of all the side effects – constipation, nausea, etc and since you are putting synthetic chemicals into your body, that in itself causes the body to have to use energy to fight this foreign substance.

    It may seem way to easy that you can simply eat your way to health, but a healthy brain comes from no other source. You have nothing to lose by trying it – eating well has certainly never killed anyone! Best of Luck. The good news is, this is a great pay forward program. When you’re better, help someone else. Let’s get our world healthy.

  • J

    I’ve been struggling with Opiate addiction now for more than four years. I pray every night that I will be able to get off of Vicoden and Percocet soon. I’ve tried rehab. I did a 28 day program and I was clean for around 6 months. During this time I used Suboxone which only delayed and completely killed my recovery at first. Tramadol was my key to success. I was able to wing off with that. Like most addicts though I convinced myself that I would be okay if I got a prescription for Vicoden and only took one a day. That was 2 years ago and I’ve been trying to quit ever since. I’m hoping someone can answer a question for me. I have no insurance and I only have about a thousand dollars to spend. I need a rehab facility that won’t use methadone or suboxone and will take the tramadol I’ve been prescibed and give it to me while in treatment. That way I can wing off easily. Theirs no way I’m going cold turkey. Nobody should have to go through that. The pain just makes you more likely to use again. Also I’m considering moving away. I live in Texas close to my sister and nephews and my mom and her new husband. Everytime I try to quit they don’t understand. I’ve been honest with them and told them I just need some time to recover but they make me feel guilty about not seeing them and my nephews for a few weeks. It’s very easy to recieve opiates in TX. Does anyone know of a rehab facility I could stay at for a month or so and maybe a state I can move to that doesn’t hand out vicoden like it’s bp medicine? I would really like to move to Hawaii. It’s the most relaxing place I’ve ever been. Please let me know if you have any advice. Thanks.

  • Anonymous

    I quit my self and the best thing for ya is to ween your self off with tramado good luck its a rough thing to do and ya have to wanna quit

  • Anonymous

    Tramadol wks for withdrawals but can also cause withdrawal. No shortcuts for beating withdrawal. U gotta suffer. 6 mths clean now off suboxone an still cold chills , b ready to battle long term or forget it.

  • Linda

    I have been onVicodin for seven years for fibromyliga.I wish i could quit taking this drug, but just cant.I have quit smoking sueccesfully but cant get off this drug
    I know some day it is going to kill me………………Iwould do anything to get off this horrible drug

  • Anonymous

    how long does methadone stay in your system

  • Anonymous

    is anybody out there with an answer

  • Patrick

    @ Anonymous – the half life of methadone is quite long. Google the half life and you will know your answer. 3 days would be on the low side. 5 days is probably about average for most people. But it can be even longer than 5 days in some cases. It can vary based on metabolism I believe.

  • Anonymous

    does anyone talk about the effect of oxycontin once the person has gone cold turkey at home and put their family through the pain and destruction that it causes, not being able to support them, only getting told the day the drugs ran out, and how they behave towards their loved ones. Maybe it is a selfish thing on the family watching all this and feeling resentful of who the person has become. the addition is kicked but the hurt and pain is still there with the family does anyone actually support them. the family are left picking up the pieces to all of this, all i can say it is a nasty drug and if any Doctor says take this as pain relief do not touch it unless it is for end os life as the consequenses for getting off the drug are soul destroying for everyone

  • Robert

    I have been taking pain killers for so long I have lost track of time. I think it’s been 4 or 5 years now with short periods of so called sobriety. I have smoked pot since I was 18 off and on. Again periods of complete sobriety but smoking is the least of my problems. I have gotten up to as much as 10 (Vicodin 10mg ) per day but mostly 10 Percocet (5mg) per day. On a good day I only take 6 each. I have tried kicking it several times but have only been sober for 4 days max before the pain becomes unbearable. I have physical ailments of chronic prostititus and rheumatoid arthritis. I used to have a very strong will and have quit smoking cigs twice. Once for three years and another of 18 months. My pains lead me back to the opiates every time and now I feel out of control. I think I am having low testosterone and severe anxiety. I feel like I am rambling and all I can think of is my next dose. Can someone help soon? I am worried I am killing myself and the thought of being without my family is tearing me up! Please help me somebody!

  • Anonymous

    Sobriety is part of THE process

  • Justice for All

    You people are sadly misinformed, biased, and completely ignorant regarding the situation here. Do you think it right and proper for people to suffer needlessly with chronic pain, here in the “land of the free,” when alcohol is glamorized! Alcohol which accounts for 40-50%+ of all rapes, suicides, homicides, and fatal car accidents. Alcohol which costs tax payers more than all illegal drugs put together. Alcohol, which is the ONLY drug to have a constitutional amendment banning it! Does nicotine not kill?! You folks are so clueless it’s absolutely beyond belief. Not only is this drug war mentality completely contrary to this nation’s fundamental laws (go research how many of the country’s greats, including the founding fathers, consumed opiates) but it’s a failure and it’s killing us slowly and insidiously. No nation in human history has even been as Draconian as “the land of the free” on this issue. Besides making people suffer while you hypocrites booze it up, smoke cigarettes, gamble, watch porn incessantly, etc. the drug trade is now (to my knowledge) the number one source of revenue (or close to it) for domestic and international terrorist groups. Our prison system is broken, our country is financially broken and you idiots can’t see a damn thing. It’s so unbelievable and outrageous I don’t have words. Shame on all of you traitors to your nation in continuing to advocate a war (again to justify your own vices in demonizing “the other”) that is tantamount to slavery, the most despicable of human rights abuses, and traitorous (check out article three section three of the US Constitution). So continue to enjoy your vices you hypocrites and yield like mindless sheep to the propaganda war that’s eviscerating our nation from the inside out…the universal law of consequences invariably comes to be and this is definitely no exception.

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