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Opiates

Opiates such as heroin and morphine come from the poppy plant. Opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone come from the laboratory. Opiates and opioids are often collectively referred to as opioids. Regardless, opiates and opioids are drugs used to treat pain. Opiates and opioids are narcotic drugs.

Opiate and opioid pain relievers include:

    • Codeine
    • Heroin
    • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
    • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
    • Methadone
    • Meperidine (Demerol)
    • Morphine
    • Oxycodone (Oxycontin)

If you taper or stop taking opiates and opioids after moderate to heavy use for a few weeks or more, a number of uncomfortable symptoms are likely to emerge. This is called opiate or opioid withdrawal. It has been estimated that about 1 million people in the USA used heroin in 2016. In the same year, about 12 million people were purchasing pain pills from street vendors. This means that the bulk of people addicted to opiate and opioid narcotics did not receive their drugs from licensed prescribers.

These opioids can and do cause physical and psychological dependence. This means that an individual is compelled to take an opioid drug in order to prevent substantially uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. As time moves forward, more of an opioid is required for the same effect, a phenomenon known as drug tolerance.

Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiate and opioid withdrawal occurs when chronic use is stopped or tapered down.

Symptoms of early opioid withdrawal include:

      • Agitation
      • Anxiety
      • Muscle aches
      • Increased tearing
      • Feeling like jumping out of your skin
      • Intense discomfort
      • Insomnia
      • Runny nose
      • Sweating
      • Yawning

Symptoms of late opioid withdrawal include:

      • Abdominal cramping
      • Diarrhea
      • Dilated pupils
      • Goose bumps
      • Nausea
      • Vomiting

Although opioid withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable, they are not life threatening. Regardless, many patients— during their height of opioid withdrawal, feel like they are near death as they undergo the pain and discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from opioids on your own is never a good idea, unless it involves recovery-sensitive medical staff, medicines, counseling, and support.

Opiate and Opioid Detox Meds

Medicines used during opiate withdrawal include:

      1. Buprenorphine (Subutex)
      2. Buprenorphine with naloxone (Bunavail, Suboxone, Zubsolv)
      3. Clonidine

Other medicines can help treat:

      • Vomiting
      • Diarrhea
      • Insomnia
      • GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)

But medical opioid detoxification does not equate to recovery from opioid dependence. Medical detoxification plus entry into a drug-free lifestyle does equate to sustained recovery.

Recovery-sensitive recovery programs include:

      • 90 self-help group meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) in 90 days, often referred to as: 90 in 90
      • Recovery-sensitive outpatient counseling
      • Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP)
      • Day hospitalization (PHP)
      • Residential treatment

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