Opiate Intervention

Opiates are powerful prescription pain relievers which are very, very difficult to quit without detox and treatment. In fact, quitting opiates suddenly without tapering or detox is dangerous and life-threatening. Virtually all opiate addicts will require detox and treatment in order to safely decrease their drug use without severe withdrawal symptoms. In order to get your loved one to detox, you will need to arrange an intervention.

First, the concerned family member or friend will need to contact a treatment center which handles opiate addiction and also offers intervention services. They will speak with an intervention specialist who will walk them through the entire process. They will arrange a date and time for the intervention to take place. A family member or friend will also need to pack a bag for the addict to take with him or her to treatment.

On the date of the intervention, family members and friends will meet at the site of the intervention. The specialist will arrive and the intervention will be underway once the addict arrives. Each friend or family member will have the opportunity to tell the addict while they believe he or she needs treatment. The addict may become angry and leave the location. However, if he or she chooses to stay then he or she will leave with the intervention specialist following the conclusion of the intervention. Most treatment centers offer family therapy and counseling to help the addict and his/her family reconcile any past issues.

What are Opiates?

Opiates are a group of drugs that are derived from the opium poppy plant. They may be prescription (OcyContin, Lortab) and non-prescription (heroin, opium). The word opiates describes drugs that are very closely related to opium and the term opioids describes a group of drugs that contain man-made opiates. All of these drugs may be referred to as narcotics. These drugs are very powerful pain killers. Opiates work because they resemble natural chemicals found in the brain. Opiates impact many different areas of the brain including the limbic system, the brainstem, and the spinal cord.

Side Effects of Opiates

Some of the major side effects of taking an opiate include feelings of relaxation, sedation, and euphoria. Opiates also cause respiratory depression, meaning they slow down the user’s breathing. Common opiate side effects also include dry mouth, sweating, nausea, headache, and loss of appetite. The most serious risk associated with opiate addiction is severe respiratory depression. Taking a large single dose of an opiate can cause slowed or difficult breathing which may lead to death. Opiates are fairly addictive because some people get hooked on the feelings of relaxation and euphoria they experience when taking opiates. Over time, someone who uses opiates will develop a tolerance to the drug. This means they must take more and more of the drug in order to get the same effects. The user’s body will become chemically dependent on the drug and will require chemicals found in opiates in order to function properly. Opiate users may suffer from withdrawal symptoms if they quit the drug suddenly.

Long-term Effects of Opiates

Long-term use of opiates will almost always lead to addiction and tolerance, as mentioned above. Going “cold turkey” with opiates will almost always lead to moderate withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include low energy, anxiety, irritability, insomnia, sweats, and muscle aches and pains. Many users have described these symptoms as feeling like you have the flu. Fortunately, withdrawal symptoms typically last 7 to 10 days, however it depends on how frequently opiates were abused. Long-term effects of opiate abuse include respiratory distress and difficulty breathing. The opiates may also negatively affect the heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs over a long period of time. These effects put the user at risk of contracting physical illnesses.

Opiate Addiction

Has your opiate usage increased over time?
Do you worry about having enough opiates to get you through the day?
Have you experienced negative consequences at work or school due to opiate use?
Have you tried to cut down on opiates, but have failed?
Do you find yourself obsessing over the drug?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions, then you may be addicted to opiates. There are many treatment centers available to treat opiate addiction.