Opiate drugs are some of the most addictive substances abused by people in the United States and around the world. Millions of prescriptions are written for opiate pain relievers each year. Many people develop an opiate addiction without ever diverging from their prescribed dose. An opiate addiction treatment center in Washington helps people who have become addicted to prescription pain pills. Also, those with an addiction to illegal opioid drugs can seek treatment at such a facility.
Discover Recovery is a leading opiate addiction treatment center Washington. We help men and women overcome opiate addiction using evidence-based treatments. In this article, we introduce you to the FDA-approved medications used during opiate treatment at a drug rehab. We hope that learning about these medications will help you overcome any reluctance you may have about seeking help at an opiate addiction treatment center in Washington state.
What are opiates?
Opiates are substances that are derived from the seeds of the opium poppy plant that grows in many parts of the world. These drugs are used in medicine to treat mild, moderate, and severe pain. Many prescription pain relievers are opiate or opioid drugs. However, due to their powerful pain-relieving effects, opiate drugs have very high rates of abuse and addiction. Many people who use these drugs end up needing help at an opiate addiction treatment center because they are unable to quit without medical intervention and professional care.
What is opiate addiction?
Opiate addiction is characterized by a powerful craving or compulsive urge to use an opiate drug even when its medical use is no longer valid. Opiate medications have a high potential for abuse even when taken exactly as prescribed. Many prescription opioid painkillers are diverted or misused. When someone misuses these drugs, over time, obtaining and using the drug takes a priority over everything else in the person’s life. This is known as opiate addiction and it needs to be treated at an opiate addiction treatment center.
The opioid abuse problem in the United States
You may wonder why we need a specialized opiate addiction treatment center. It may surprise you to learn that roughly one-third of patients who are prescribed opioid drugs to manage chronic pain end up misusing them. Approximately 1 in 10 of such persons develops an opioid use disorder or addiction. Such individuals need professional help at an opiate addiction treatment center to quit.
In 2012, there were nearly 260 million prescriptions written for opioid pain pills and about 2 million Americans later developed an addiction to them. What’s more, up to 6 percent of people who misuse prescription opioids transition to illegal drugs. Roughly 8 out of 10 people who use heroin report that they started out by first misusing prescription pain pills. Meaning, it is common for someone to start with prescription pain pill misuse and later start using higher risk substances. Seeking care at an opiate addiction treatment center is especially important because this drug is associated with a host of health problems, risky behaviors, and overdose deaths.
Are opiates and opioids the same thing?
When you talk about an opiate addiction treatment center, is it the same as opioid addiction treatment? The two terms opiates and opioids are often used interchangeably but there is a subtle difference between them. Opiates are natural substances derived directly from the opium plant. They include morphine and codeine. Opioids, on the other hand, are synthetic substances that are manufactured in a laboratory to mimic the effects of natural opiates. Some opioids are partially synthetic, meaning they contain a mix of synthetic and natural opiates. Both opiates and opioids exert similar effects on the human brain. It does not matter whether the drug comes from a natural source or is manufactured in a lab. Both are highly addictive and their abuse needs to be treated at an opioid or opiate addiction treatment center.
Different types of opiates and opioids
Morphine is a powerful medication that is used to treat severe pain that cannot be controlled with other pain medications. It comes in a liquid and long-acting tablet formulation that can be taken every 4 hours or every 8-12 hours, respectively. Morphine is available under various brand names such as MS Contin and Kadian. Morphine addiction needs to be treated at an opiate addiction treatment center.
Codeine is a less potent opiate that is used to relieve cough and mild to moderate pain. It is present in some over-the-counter cough remedies which are abused, especially by young people, who may combine the codeine with sugary drinks to produce a mix called sizzurp or purple drank. Many people do not realize the addictive potential of these cough remedies and the need to seek help at an opiate addiction treatment center.
Fentanyl is a synthetic pain reliever that is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Beginning in around 2013, the United States has experienced a wave of overdose deaths involving opioids, specifically illegally manufactured fentanyl, underlining the need for timely care at an opiate addiction treatment center. Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with other drugs like heroin, increasing the risk of fatal overdose.
Hydrocodone is an opioid pain reliever that is the active ingredient in Vicodin. It is typically available in combination with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. People with a Vicodin addiction should not delay getting help at an opiate addiction treatment center because abuse of this drug can lead to serious health problems.
Oxycodone is a prescription opioid painkiller that is sold under brand names like Percocet and Oxycontin. It has a high potential for abuse and addiction. If you or someone you know is abusing “oxy,” an opiate addiction treatment center can help you quit.
Substitute Drugs and Treatment
Methadone is an opioid agonist that is commonly used as a substitute for heroin. Methadone maintenance treatment at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington has been found to reduce IV drug use, other risky behaviors, and criminal activity associated with opiate abuse. MMT (methadone maintenance treatment) involves taking a daily dose of methadone to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for heroin. It is worth remembering that methadone is an opioid itself and can be addictive. However, it is safer to be on methadone than using illegal heroin because many opiate abusers inject heroin and the purity of the drug is unknown. On the other hand, methadone is given orally at a controlled dose.
Methadone maintenance is one of the most successful treatments offered at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington. However, the demand for MMT programs far outstrips the supply, and wait-lists are typically long in the United States. For this reason, methadone detoxification (gradually reducing the dose) is attempted in some opioid-dependent individuals, but it remains controversial due to a lack of proven results. Scientists are working on developing more effective methadone tapering regimens that can be offered at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington.
Unlike methadone which is a full opioid agonist, buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. Buprenorphine, therefore, has a slower onset and longer duration of action. This means it can be dosed on alternate days, meaning a person does not need to visit an opiate addiction treatment center Washington every day. Also, because buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, the risk of unintentional overdose is lower compared to full agonists like methadone. However, the disadvantage is that the efficacy of buprenorphine is limited. An opiate addiction treatment center Washington may combine buprenorphine with naloxone in a 4:1 ratio to reduce the liability for abuse.
In terms of a comparison between methadone and buprenorphine, the results are mixed. Methadone is somewhat superior to buprenorphine in terms of retention in treatment with flexible dosing regimens. Studies have also found that patients with prior methadone maintenance experience tend to do better on buprenorphine compared to those who are methadone-naïve. The clinical team at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington can help you decide which is a better option for you, methadone or buprenorphine.
In general, methadone maintenance is the first-line of treatment for opiate addiction, especially in individuals with a severe history of drug abuse. However, a distinct advantage of buprenorphine is that while methadone must be given at a specialized opiate addiction treatment center Washington, buprenorphine can be prescribed by primary care physicians, thereby improving access to treatment.
Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of heroin and other opioid drugs. It is used to help people quit using opiates. The benefit of a medication like naltrexone is that one does not develop tolerance or dependence and it is a generally safe medication with few side effects. For this reason, oral naltrexone is often prescribed at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington to prevent relapse in opioid addicts.
Studies have shown that combined naltrexone maintenance and psychotherapy at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington is effective in reducing heroin use. However, naltrexone alone does not show results that are very different from placebo.
One of the major problems associated with naltrexone treatment at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington is poor retention in treatment and adherence to the medication. One of the reasons is that there are no withdrawal symptoms from naltrexone that encourage its continued use. Meaning, the medication works by blocking the effects of the opiate drug of abuse but has no reinforcing effects of its own. To counteract the high dropout rates, an opiate addiction treatment center Washington may prescribe sustained-release formulations of naltrexone to improve outcomes.
Effects of opiates
Why do so many people end up needing care at an opiate addiction treatment center? The reason is that opiates are tranquilizing and pain-relieving drugs that produce euphoric effects. People who misuse or abuse opiates experience pleasurable feelings and pain relief, which encourages repeat use. Over time, this progresses into compulsive drug-seeking behavior, whereby a person may go pharmacy shopping or doctor shopping in an attempt to obtain the drugs from multiple sources. Without drug rehab at an opiate addiction treatment center, the problem can escalate. Many people transition to the illegal drug heroin which is also an opioid. Heroin is often cheaper and more easily available from street dealers. However, it is often injected and carries additional risks, such as HIV.
The most straightforward method of managing opiate detoxification at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington is through a gradual reduction in the dose of methadone or buprenorphine. However, this treatment is time-consuming and is associated with poor retention. Rapid opiate detoxification is sometimes offered at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington to reduce the duration of opiate withdrawal symptoms and manage patient discomfort. This type of treatment reduces the time between opiate withdrawal and naltrexone commencement. Ultra-rapid opiate detoxification is an extension of rapid opiate detox in which anesthesia is used during withdrawal. However, not every opiate addiction treatment center Washington will offer ultra-rapid opiate detox because the treatment is controversial and its safety and efficacy are questionable.
Getting help at an opiate addiction treatment center
Discover Recovery opiate addiction treatment center is a leading residential drug rehab facility located in Long Beach, Washington. We offer a range of evidence-based rehab programs and multiple levels of care to address all your needs. Our opiate addiction treatment center is designed to support you in recovery by providing a comfortable and safe environment. We offer a holistic rehab program that addresses all the underlying causes of addiction. The clinical team at our opiate addiction treatment center has extensive experience in helping people like you overcome opiate addiction.
Seeking help for opiate abuse not only reduces the negative health consequences of addiction but is also associated with a reduction in other risky behaviors such as IV drug use and mortality. There are several effective medications available to treat opioid dependence. At Discover Recovery opiate addiction treatment center Washington, we use evidence-based treatments and FDA-approved medications for opioid detoxification. The detoxification protocols at our opiate addiction treatment center Washington have been developed keeping in mind patient comfort and long-term efficacy. We understand that most opioid-dependent individuals will suffer a relapse at some point in their history of drug use. To reduce the risk of relapse, we offer an aftercare program at our opiate addiction treatment center Washington with continued access to support groups and resources after formal addiction treatment is completed.
If you or a loved one could benefit from care at an opiate addiction treatment center Washington, talk to us at Discover Recovery today and take the first step towards a sober future.