The pandemic has caused a crisis for public health, and not all of the crisis is rising cases of the novel coronavirus. Overdoses and addiction involving opiates are getting worse, not better. During a time of isolation and uncertainty, many people who suffer from opioid use disorder have fallen between the cracks, causing a resurgence of the opiate epidemic. A new report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) discusses the dangers of opioid and other drug abuse during the pandemic.
Addiction isn't going away, and for addicted people, the tools to get clean and sober are becoming less accessible. There is more than one reason for this happening. Some people who are new to recovery have slipped back into using drugs, while others have found it is impossible to get the help they need right now. Others who weren’t addicted before may have begun to abuse opioids to cope with the difficulties of the situation. Either way, the saddest part of this crisis is that the epidemic is getting worse, and there isn’t necessarily enough help to go around for the most vulnerable people.
Opiates, Relapse And Recovery
Many people who have begun abusing opioids are people who achieved sobriety in the past. The good news is that they know what tools are available to help them get sober. The bad news is that it is humbling and painful for many of them to go through the process again. In some cases, they may have to wait for detox space to become available. They may be able to hide their drug and alcohol use because people don’t see them in person.
Relapse is often a part of the recovery process for people with opioid addiction. A person who is getting high needs to know that they can achieve sobriety again. Relapse isn’t the end. For many people, it can be a way to practice a stronger recovery program and find lasting sobriety.
Many people addicted to drugs have lost access to community programs that have closed and doctors who administer Medication-Assisted Treatment such as methadone. However, telehealth and other therapies have emerged to fill the gap.
There are still tools available for people who need to find their way back just as there are tools for people who want to get sober for the first time.
Drug Use Adds Danger When It Comes to COVID-19
Opioid use disorders are far more dangerous for the active user during this pandemic. Addiction, like coronavirus, doesn’t discriminate against who it infects. People who use opioids have compromised their lungs, which are depressed when a person is using drugs. This is what can cause death during an overdose. People who use drugs like opiates, methamphetamine, and cocaine also may be more vulnerable to heart damage.
Science shows that people with health issues are more at risk, and that includes people with addiction and opioid use disorder. A person who uses multiple substances, such as marijuana or alcohol, alongside opioids, maybe even more vulnerable. Coronavirus attacks the lungs, which already struggle and receive damage when a person is smoking or using substances to excess. Combined with alcohol or marijuana, the lungs can become infected more easily and the virus can do more extensive damage.
Many people with substance use disorders may not be able to wear a mask or keep it one. They can end up sharing needles, pipes, and other paraphernalia. Addicted persons are more frequently homeless, which can expose them to crowded conditions or outdoors in the elements. It is very difficult for a person who is addicted to socially distance or take good care of their health in these circumstances.
Getting Clean From Opiates During a Pandemic
While the type of help available to people who want to recover isn’t exactly the same, there are still opportunities to get clean and sober once and for all.
Addiction treatment centers are ready and willing to help you begin to get your life back together, one day at a time. You deserve to live a life free from addiction. Give us a call to learn about how we can help you get started on the journey to recovery. You can reach us at 619-363-4767.
Vivitrol, also known as naltrexone, is a form of medication that is used in Medication-Assisted Treatment to block the effects of opioid drugs. This means that if you’re taking Vivitrol, and use an opioid, you won’t feel any pain relief or feelings of euphoria. People usually get an injection of Vivitrol while they are also in drug treatment. This allows them to focus on their recovery and not any uncomfortable, longer-term withdrawal symptoms or cravings.
More recently, Vivitrol injection has also been used to treat alcoholism by reducing the urge to drink. Some people have been able to maintain long-term sobriety, although this type of treatment is still in its beginning stages. The drug should always be coupled with drug and alcohol treatment to be most effective.
How Does Vivitrol Prevent Relapse?
Vivitrol injection is used to prevent relapse for people in recovery from an opioid use disorder. It isn’t meant to help people begin detox; it’s given after a withdrawal period to prevent future cravings. Most people get the shot after they have been entirely sober for two weeks or more. For people who drink, Naltrexone helps reduce cravings but it cannot be used with a person who has alcohol in their system.
Vivitrol makes it easier for people who have started on their recovery journey to continue. Opioids are an especially addictive substance and have a high relapse rate, even for those who have detoxed completely. Vivitrol helps calm cravings for opioids or alcohol. It also blocks the effects of drugs – so if you get high, there won’t be any “reward” or elation.
Vivitrol injections are meant to be used as a part of a complete treatment program. Without behavior modification and therapy, few people achieve long-term sobriety. Vivitrol helps lessen the intensity of a desire to use, giving a person “breathing space” between their addiction cravings and their desire for recovery.
How Is It Taken?
The drug itself is typically injected and can be taken once a month. Some people prefer a daily pill, which is also available. Once they have acclimated to the drug, there is a maintenance dose required to continue to prevent cravings.
A doctor will typically be the one who prescribes and administers your prescription. Treatment centers also have trained medical professionals that can do this for you.
Getting Help for Addiction
Addiction, also known as substance use disorder, has severe effects on the body, mind, and spirit. We want you to know that you don’t have to get high anymore if you don’t want to! There are hope and help available to help you reclaim your life and begin a journey to recovery. Contact us for more information on our Medication-Assisted Treatment options at 619-383-4767.
Suboxone, also known by the drug’s generic name, buprenorphine, is a drug that is used to help people with opioid use disorder get and stay sober. Often it is an integral part of Medication-Assisted Treatment programs. This type of treatment includes medication as well as therapy and behavior modification. This helps people make the life changes necessary to achieve long-term sobriety.
MAT is underutilized in the treatment industry, but it is vital for opioid use disorder. Studies show that it is an important and exciting tool for people addicted to opioids. In fact, without MAT, at least 90% of OUD patients will relapse. When people are using medication like Suboxone to aid their recovery, their chances for relapse or overdose is just 50%.
How Does Suboxone Work?
Buprenorphine helps people get sober from opioid addiction through a couple of functions. For one thing, Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it partially activates the opioid receptor. The drug also suppresses withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings.
Unlike some of the other medications used for similar purposes, buprenorphine doesn’t cause severe side effects or euphoria. It is a long-lasting medication that helps the person’s system that is only needed once a day.
How Long Does a Person Take Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is a drug that is safe and doesn’t cause harmful side effects for most people. Doctors tend to view the drug as similar to other drugs for mental health disorders – some people will probably need to take it for years or even for life to ward off opioid cravings. It is not addictive and does not get the user high. It helps stop the nasty withdrawal effects, and compulsion to use.
People don’t develop a tolerance for the medication, but it can have interactions with other drugs. A physician or other qualified medical staff will help determine if Suboxone is a good fit. They can also help a person with an opioid use disorder to determine the length of time they may need to use the medication.
Getting Help for Addiction
Medication-Assisted Treatment works, study after study shows. But you need a provider that is willing to prescribe it and help you plot your next steps to stay in recovery. Learn more about our options, and how we can help by calling us at 619-363-4767.
Addiction (also known as substance use disorder) is a devious and sometimes confusing disease. However, many signs and symptoms may alert loved ones to the fact that a person is in trouble with their drug or alcohol use. Drug-seeking behavior, financial issues, and drama with relationships and even the law are signs that something is wrong. People who are addicted to drugs may have different symptoms, depending on the drug they use. People can become addicted to any mind-altering substance. However, some drugs are more addictive than others. These are important to know because “hitting bottom” or experiencing negative consequences can snowball quickly for the drug user as they begin to need more of the drug.
- Heroin: Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs and one of the most dangerous. It’s been used in many years all over the world as a narcotic, derived from the poppy plant. As an opiate, heroin quickly affects the brain, eliminating any pain signals and giving the user an intense euphoric high. Users rapidly also develop a tolerance to the drug, making them need more amounts to get the same rush they first experienced when getting high. When a person who uses heroin problems tries to cease using, they experience intense withdrawal symptoms. Often they choose to use again because these symptoms are so unpleasant or painful.
- Opioids: Similar to heroin, opioids are fueling an addiction crisis across the Unit4ed States due to lax prescribing and regulation. Opioids such as Oxycontin, Percocet, and Vicoden are all highly addictive drugs. They operate in the same way as heroin, with the difference being that they’re pharmaceutical drugs. They are made in a lab, not from the poppy plant, but they work the same way. Withdrawal is a considerable issue that stops people from getting help for this addiction, and people often resort to heroin when they can’t get their drug of choice.
- Crack cocaine: Crack cocaine spurred a crisis of addiction, drug wars and mass incarceration throughout primarily inner-city communities in the 1990’s. Many stereotypes still surround this drug, and a lot of stigmas encompass its use. However, crack is incredibly similar (just more potent) to its more “designer” counterpart, cocaine. Crack is considered more addictive than cocaine because it’s more powerful, and its high is short-lived. Many people who use crack are unable to quit because of its powerful high. It gives users euphoria and more energy, making them jittery as well as high. The intense lasts about 15 minutes. People who become addicted to crack crash from that high and seek it again immediately, without realizing that they are quickly becoming addicted to the drug.
- Methamphetamine: This drug is also an “upper” with a high that can last for hours and cause the user to stay awake for hours or days. The high stimulates almost ten times as much of dopamine as is normal, causing extreme euphoria, adrenaline and sometimes paranoia too. The brain chemistry is immediately effected when a person has used meth. With the extreme high comes an extreme crash – making the user feel depressed and lethargic almost immediately after they “come down”. The withdrawal effects of meth are dangerous and can include nausea, vomiting, tremors, fever, seizures and hallucinations.
Many other drugs are addictive out there, but these are some of the most dangerous and, unfortunately, popular among addicted persons. Help is available no matter how bad you feel your addiction is! Recovery is possible.
If you or somebody you know thinks they have a problem with drugs, help is available. Please give us a call at 619-363-4767.