Category Archives: Opioids

How Opioids Work

Opioid drugs can be found as both prescription medications such as vicodin or illicit street drugs such as heroin. Opioids look like chemicals in the brain and body, attaching to nerve cells called opioid receptors. There are three types of opioid receptors: mu, delta, and kappa, each playing a different role.

Opioids Act on 3 Main Areas of the Nervous System and Brain

Opioids act on 3 main areas of the nervous system and brain. When opioids act on the limbic system (controls emotions) it can create feelings of pleasure, relaxation and contentment. When acting on the brainstem (controls the body automatically, ie. breathing) opioids can slow breathing and reduce feelings of pain. When opioids act on the spinal cord (receives sensations from the body and sends to them to the brain), they can decrease feelings of pain.

The Use of Opioids Determine the Effects

Regardless to if you are using an prescription opioid medication or an illicit street drug such as heroin, its effects will be determined by how much you take and how often you take it. When opioids are injected they take effect much faster than any other means of ingestion and with more intense effects. When taken by mouth it can take much longer to see effects, however this is a much safer way to use an opioid drug.

Opioid Abuse

Regardless to if you are using a prescribed opioid drug, abusing an opioid medication not prescribed to you or using an illicit drug such as heroin there are many dangers associated with it.

Regular use of any opioid drug can result in a tolerance, requiring larger doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Prolonged use at any dose can result in the body developing a dependency to opioids, discontinuing its use often results in uncomfortable even painful withdrawal symptoms.

Stopping Opioid Use when Dependent

Depending on the severity of the opioid dependency you may be weaned off the drugs over several weeks to months. This process will gradually lower doses until you eventually do not need the medication and are no longer experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

If you have a severe dependence to opioids you may require professional treatment within an Addiction Rehabilitation Facility to help you.  There you will undergo medical and therapeutic treatment to help you stop use of opioid drugs, lessen symptoms of withdrawal and help you develop the skills needed to maintain your sobriety, preventing you from returning to opioid use.

Teen opioid use

There is a dangerous trend plaguing our nation’s youth. Parents do not know how to handle it, many unsure on where to turn.

In the United States there is an estimated 2.1 million people suffering from an opioid dependency, according to the Nations Institute on Drug Abuse in 2012.

It is no surpise as opioid prescription drugs are the most commonly prescribed pain relievers today.
These medications are extremely addictive and potent that even those taking them for true medical purposes are developing dependencies despite following directions of the prescribing doctor.

It is not only prescribed opioids that are on a rise for abuse, millions of Americas youth are turning to illicit drugs such as Herion for the powerful euphoric and numbing opioid effects.

What is Opioid Abuse?

As a parent you feel you have taught your child right, shared with them the dangers of drugs and addiction, steering them in the direction to keep them on the right track in life. Despite all of our effeorts as parents, some times our children find themselves mixed up in the wrong things. It is important that you know what opioid abuse is.

Teen opioid abuse can happen in many different ways; taking larger doses of an opioid medication than prescribed or taking one that was not prescribed to them, taking the drug by others means than it was prescribed (crushing pills into a powder to be snorted), or taking illicit opioid drugs such as Heroin. All of these means of opioid abuse puts your teen at great risk of developing an addiction and in great danger of overdose and death.

Opioids work by attaching to brain receptors to diminish perceptions of pain, as well as affect areas of the brain associated with pleasure, creating a sense of euphoria, relaxation, and a high. This makes opioid drugs appealing to youth and a highly abuse drug.

Treatment for Opioid Abuse

Treatment for teen opioid abuse takes place in a residential treatment facility. The process begins with detoxification, allowing your teen to get past the major physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with opioids.

He/she will then move onto an assessment to determine the severity of their addiction and create a treatment plan tailored to their individual needs. At this point your teen will move through the rehabilitation process with medication assistance, medical treatment, therapy, individual counseling, group counseling and chemical dependency education.

There is no quick fix for opioid addiction, it is important to seek treatment immediately and help to create a sober environment for your teen, encouraging them throughout the treatment process and offering them the support they need to maintain lifelong recovery.

What Are Opioids

Opioids come in three different forms: natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic. These are all narcotics that derive from the opium poppy or are made synthetically in laboratories for pharmaceutical purposes. Opioids are often abused and affect the brain receptors that are responsible for the release of neurotransmitters. This allows people to cope with high levels of physical pain that would otherwise be intolerable.

When used correctly, prescription opioids or “pain killers” are an effective tool for pain management.

When abused, opioids can be taken orally, or by snorting, smoking, or injecting.  Abuse of opioids leads to a high risk for addiction.  Physical addiction typically occurs around 6 weeks of the initial opioid abuse, but psychological addiction/dependency can be noticed in as little as 48 hours.

Once the addiction occurs, opioid-dependent people will experience physical and psychological withdrawals if they stope abusing. Symptoms of withdrawal include: severe flu-like symptoms, pain, depression, and anxiety.  After the sever or acute withdrawals have been overcome, post-acute withdrawal settles in and for a much longer period of time. The brain is damaged damaged by opioids and physical healing of the brain typically begins 12 to 18 months after sobriety.