Fentanyl Addiction in New Jersey: What Is It and What Do I Need to Know About it?

Unfortunately, it seems as if there is not one family left untouched by addiction. Families all over the world are being impacted by the effects of alcohol and drug abuse. Individuals everywhere are experiencing what it means to be bound by the disease of addiction. Many people here in New Jersey are facing the effects of various types of substance misuse and beginning to seek help for these issues. One of the types of addiction that a lot of people are suffering from is fentanyl addiction.

The effects of this substance abuse problem can be extremely severe and life-altering. So, those who suffer from this issue should seek professional help immediately. Through treatment and therapy, individuals who once struggled to overcome addiction in their lives can gain the skills and strength they need in order to become and remain free from the bondage of addiction. Thankfully, individuals who are fighting fentanyl addiction in New Jersey can get the help they need here at Discovery Institute.

What is Fentanyl?

Substance abuse is often thought of as a problem that involves excessive use of illicit drugs. But, in many cases of addiction, people actually become dependent on and begin to abuse legal, prescription drugs. Fentanyl is one of the prescription medications that have caused negative effects on people’s lives, including addiction and drug abuse. 

Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid drug, is one of the most powerful and potent medications. Many people are aware of the strength and possible dangers of morphine, a powerful painkiller. However, fentanyl is actually stronger than morphine; in fact, it’s about 50-100 times more powerful and potent than this well-known substance. 

Medical professionals may prescribe fentanyl, a pharmaceutical drug, to patients who are suffering from intense or severe pain. Often, the individuals who use fentanyl are dealing with pain that is the result of a surgical operation or they are living with chronic (recurring) pain. 

Some common brand names of fentanyl are the following:

  • Sublimaze
  • Actiq
  • Abstral
  • Duragesic

Sadly, many people use fentanyl illegally. They may buy it from street sellers and, often, this drug is mixed with other substances, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or heroin. This can lead to severe and even fatal results. Fentanyl has many street names, including China Girl, China White, and Dance Fever.

Fentanyl is a drug that falls under the opioid category, so it is in the same group as heroin, morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone. Opioid drugs can be habit-forming and the continuous use of these drugs can often lead to drug abuse and addiction. Individuals who frequently use opioids like fentanyl may eventually begin to build a tolerance for the drug they use, which can be extremely dangerous and harmful.

How Does Fentanyl Dependence Develop?

Addiction doesn’t develop overnight. Generally, people become dependent on drugs over a period of time rather than immediately. So, individuals who use fentanyl are not likely to develop a dependence on or addiction to this drug right away. It may take quite a while for individuals to become addicted to fentanyl. However, the process usually begins with frequent use of fentanyl. 

After using fentanyl for a while without getting treatment, some individuals may build a tolerance for the drug. This means that their bodies will get used to the effects of fentanyl and the regular doses of this drug will no longer produce the desired results. Once a person has built a tolerance for fentanyl, he or she may then begin to use higher doses of the drug or consume it more frequently than recommended. 

Using more of a prescription drug than is recommended is known as abuse. Also, using the substance in ways other than those which are recommended is considered drug abuse. Unfortunately, as a person’s body begins to build a tolerance for fentanyl, it may become dependent on the drug. This might cause individuals to feel uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when they are not using fentanyl.

Since people who regularly use fentanyl might begin to experience these withdrawal symptoms, they may feel that the only way they can feel “normal” is to use fentanyl again. This begins a cycle of substance use that can be quite harmful and lead to some serious results. 

Symptoms and Effects of Fentanyl Use

As with any type of addiction, the effects of fentanyl misuse can be life-changing. Sometimes, the signs of addiction may be difficult to identify. It’s not always easy to identify this problem, so, many people continue living with fentanyl dependence without truly realizing the truth about their problem. 

Some of the symptoms, effects, and signs of fentanyl use may be more short-term (immediate) while others may be long-term and appear only after a long period of fentanyl use and abuse. Upon initial use, fentanyl affects the brain’s pain receptors. Through this action, fentanyl can help to block pain throughout the body, causing the user to feel relief. Fentanyl use can cause a release of dopamine, a chemical that the human body naturally produces. This chemical is responsible for causing a “feel good” sensation. So, individuals who use fentanyl may experience things like happiness and euphoria.

Some of the signs and symptoms of long-term fentanyl use and abuse may include:

  • Confusion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures 
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Itchiness
  • Breathing problems
  • Euphoric experiences
  • Vision problems (i.e. blurriness)

Although it is believed that fentanyl is not addictive, many individuals fall prey to fentanyl dependence and may begin to abuse the drug. Using an excessive amount of fentanyl can lead to overdose. 

Also, as mentioned earlier, it’s not uncommon for individuals to mix fentanyl with other substances in order to elevate the effects of this drug and produce pleasurable yet dangerous results.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person’s body has become used to operating and functioning under the influence of a drug like fentanyl, it can be very difficult for the individual to stop using the drug he or she has been using. This is because the body enters a state of withdrawal when the person goes without using fentanyl. 

Withdrawal symptoms can be very intense and severe. Some of the common symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include the following:

  • Chills
  • Irritability
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Bodily pain
  • Restlessness
  • Sleep problems
  • Involuntary bodily movements

Withdrawal has often led people to relapse and return to drug use. This is why it’s so important to seek professional and medical guidance in order to safely end substance use. Through a detox program, individuals can stop fentanyl use without the fear of relapse as a result of withdrawal symptoms. 

Treatment for Fentanyl Abuse in New Jersey

Here in New Jersey, there are many resources available for those who are struggling with substance abuse. Addiction is serious and should be considered as such. This is why we provide care and treatment here at Discovery Institute. We are committed to helping people overcome substance abuse in various forms, including fentanyl addiction. So, if you are suffering from fentanyl use and desire to recover from this struggle, allow us to walk with you.

At Discovery Institute, our team recognizes the challenges and obstacles that may occur when it comes to recovering from substance abuse. We know that our clients have needs that must be addressed in order to ensure a successful recovery from addiction. Many of the individuals who come to us to get help benefit greatly from our various approaches to treatment.

Our treatment center offers many programs, including drug and alcohol detox programs, residential rehab, and intensive outpatient programs. We also offer individuals the chance to heal and recover through various therapies.

In individual therapy, clients can speak one-on-one with a therapist who understands and can lead and guide them through the challenges of the recovery process. Through group therapy, individuals can discuss their journeys with other people who are in recovery. This helps establish accountability and support systems among those who are working to end addiction in their lives.

We also offer holistic treatment because we understand that, in order to heal from addiction, individuals must be able to focus on various aspects of their lives, including their mental and emotional processes. Elements of holistic treatment may include things such as yoga and physical exercise. Through these components, people can work on their physical, emotional, and mental health as they also move toward an addiction-free life.

Let Discovery Institute Help You Fight Addiction

If you are in New Jersey and have been dealing with the effects of a fentanyl addiction or any other type of substance use problem, please know that you don’t need to fight this problem alone. Here at Discovery Institute, we are ready and willing to help you find your way to a life that is free from substance abuse and its negative effects.

In many cases of addiction, individuals who are suffering from this problem feel overwhelmed by shame, guilt, and hopelessness. But, there is hope for you; addiction treatment can help you overcome the shame of addiction and learn to live without drug and alcohol use. 

For more information about our services or to begin your journey to recovery from fentanyl addiction here in New Jersey, please contact us today by calling (844) 478-6563.

References:

https://www.addictioncenter.com/opiates/fentanyl/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

opiate withdrawal timeline

What to Expect: Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

Unfortunately, opiate abuse and addiction are commonly seen problems in the United States. These issues affect many individuals and families throughout the country, leaving very few, if any, communities untouched.

You may have experienced the effects that opiate addiction can have on a person, either in your own life or in the life of a loved one. You may have also witnessed the challenges of opiate withdrawal. 

Withdrawal from opiate addiction is a difficult but very worthwhile process. If you or a loved one are planning to detox from opiate use, you may be wondering what’s in store. After all, it’s not easy to know what to expect during this step of recovery.

The good news is that the physical symptoms of opiate withdrawal are fairly short. The mental symptoms may be more persistent, but will also pass.

Everyone’s experience will be different, but you’re not alone. Knowing what to expect can help you to mentally prepare. Here’s what you can typically expect from an opiate withdrawal timeline. 

A Brief Overview: What Are Opiates?

Opiates are drugs that are derived directly from the poppy plant. This category of substances includes both natural and synthetic drugs. Some of the opiate drugs which are considered natural include:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Opium

Synthetic opiate drugs that are man-made are often referred to as “opioids”. They are made in a way that imitates opiate drugs; opioids produce effects that are similar to those of natural opiates. Sometimes, opioids are entirely synthetic, containing unnatural elements. But, in other cases, opioids may be partly synthetic and will contain chemicals derived from the poppy plant. Some examples of opioids include the following:

  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Vicodin
  • Methadone

People usually use prescription opiates in order to treat pain. Unfortunately, these substances can sometimes be habit-forming and cause users to become dependent on them. After continued and frequent use of opiate drugs, some individuals may become addicted. 

How Do Opiate Drugs Affect People Who Use Them?

Why exactly do individuals become addicted to opiate drugs? Many people wonder how or even if it’s possible to become dependent on or addicted to legal, pharmaceutical drugs. But, the truth is, these substances can be very strong and, after using them for a while, individuals’ bodies tend to grow used to functioning under the influence of these drugs.

Opiates can help to block pain in the body, bringing relief to the users. These drugs can also cause somewhat calming effects. Individuals who use opiates may eventually begin to stop feeling the effects of the opiates they’re using.

In order to experience the desired pain-relieving and calming results of opiate use, many people take more of the drug than is recommended. Or, they may use the drug more often than directed. This misuse of opiates can lead to emotional and physical dependence and addiction. 

Why is Opiate Withdrawal Difficult?

Firstly, it’s helpful to understand what is happening during the process of opiate withdrawal. Again, opiates activate the part of the brain which produces feelings of pleasure. This means an opiate user or addict associates substance use with positive, “feel-good” emotions.

In addition, the user becomes chemically addicted – meaning they experience a physical need for the substance. It becomes difficult for the individual to function without using opiate drugs. He or she may begin to feel “off” or abnormal without the influence of these substances.

This combination of emotional and physical symptoms makes for a challenging detox. Those who have become addicted to opiates may struggle to stop using these drugs because of their emotional and physical dependence on them.

Our brains actually produce their own natural opioids. Receptors in our brains use them to regulate stress and pain. Chemical opioids are much stronger and attach to the receptors in the same way.

The strength of these opioids induces feelings of euphoria beyond what we would usually experience. Over time, our systems become flooded and weakened by the chemicals and stop producing their own opioids.

This means our brains and bodies are then depleted of dopamine and similar chemicals. This causes many of the withdrawal symptoms – as the body adjusts to the lack of natural or chemical opioids.

Ending Substance Abuse: Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

With the above in mind, you may be feeling concerned about what withdrawal will actually feel like. It’s natural to wonder what you should expect. The good news is that the worst of it will be over within 3 days. Read on for a breakdown of what to expect and when. 

Days 1-3

Withdrawal symptoms will usually start about 12 hours after last use. This will depend on a few different factors, including your body and the substances you were using. In many cases, the severity of withdrawal symptoms causes relapse to become likely within the first 48 hours of withdrawal.

During this time, individuals in withdrawal will likely experience the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Intense cravings
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Excessive sweating 
  • Increased heart rate

Some may even show signs of behavioral and emotional changes, manifested in aggression. Muscles may ache and a headache is common at this stage. Digestive problems and discomfort, such as diarrhea or stomach ache, are also common symptoms of opiate withdrawal. 

The First Days of the Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

During the first couple of days of withdrawing from opiates, some people: 

  • Experience a decrease in appetite
  • Have difficulty sleeping

If you are preparing to end opiate use in your life, you may experience some of the symptoms we’ve identified here. Keep in mind that, even if you’re not able to get proper sleep, it’s important to rest as much as possible during the withdrawal process. If you’re able to take time off from work, this will help.

During opiate withdrawal, the second and third days are often the most intense. This may be why addiction relapse frequently occurs within about 2 days post-use. But, relapse does not have to be part of your story. It’s important to remember that the symptoms will eventually pass. Remember, this is a temporary struggle, for long-term life improvement.

Throughout the most severe period of withdrawal, it’s common to experience mood swings. You may have feelings of depression and hopelessness. Opiate use has been an emotional crutch throughout your addiction. It can be hard to imagine life without drugs.

One of the most helpful things you can do during this period is to get support whenever and wherever it’s possible to do so. Surround yourself with people who will both hold you accountable and encourage you to keep going. Get help and guidance from clinical professionals to make sure that you are safely detoxing. Finally, ensure that there are no opportunities for relapse or self-harm.

Days 3-5

After the first 48 hours of withdrawal, the intensity of the symptoms should subside. The pain will reduce significantly. Sweating, shivers and stomach issues will likely continue into days 3-5, but not as severely.

It’s important to drink lots of liquids to stay hydrated. You may have lost fluids through sweating and diarrhea. If your appetite has returned, be sure to eat some healthy food to nourish your body. Avoid processed food items and focus on consuming vegetables, legumes, and protein. 

Gentle exercise such as walking can also be very helpful at this stage. You may not feel like moving, but exercise helps the body to release a natural chemical called serotonin, which has a positive effect on the mood. Walking also helps to pass the time and keep your mind busy, so you’re less focused on the discomfort you may be experiencing as you withdraw from opiate use.

Be aware that strenuous exercise may not be advisable at this stage. Consult your doctor or detox professional to advise you on this.

1 Week

Most of the physical symptoms should now be pretty mild. Congratulations! You’ve made it through the physical withdrawal!

The mental symptoms of addiction will still require some work. For many individuals in recovery, this is a lifelong process.

As with most addictions, it’s likely that there are emotional difficulties or mental health issues which led to the addiction. Learning about how to manage these will make your recovery much stronger. Understanding your triggers will also help to prevent relapse.

Your treatment program should focus on your physical, emotional, and mental needs as you work to recover from substance abuse. It should take into account any mental health challenges you may be facing.

Also, although physical dependence on opiates may disappear as a result of detox, your emotional dependence on these drugs may still be present. This is why treatment and therapy are so important. Through therapy, you can develop healthy thought patterns and gain emotional stability in order to avoid relapse.

Understanding and Avoiding Addiction Relapse 

Relapse can be a reality during recovery but, thankfully, a support program can prevent it.

It’s very important to be aware that deadly overdoses usually occur during relapse. This is because the body isn’t used to the presence of such high levels of opiates anymore.

During a relapse, an opiate user may go straight in at what had previously been their normal dose. Having been through withdrawal, the body cannot cope with this, and it can be fatal.

In order to avoid relapsing and possibly experiencing an overdose, individuals who are going through an opiate detox should seek counsel, support, and guidance from professionals who understand the difficulties of withdrawal and detox. 

With assistance from people who truly understand your journey and the obstacles you might be facing, you can successfully identify any triggers that might cause a relapse to occur in your life You can also develop strategies that will allow you to successfully deal with those triggers without returning to substance abuse.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Many times, people who desire to end substance use in their lives opt to do so by quitting cold turkey. This means that they simply stop taking drugs abruptly. Although this option may seem like the best approach, it can prove to be unsafe and even fatal if withdrawal symptoms become extreme.

Fortunately, there are other options. You should discuss the detoxification process with a doctor or professional addiction therapist. It may be that you are eligible to receive medication-assisted treatment, also known as MAT. 

This approach to addiction treatment uses substances such as Suboxone or Methadone to make the withdrawal process more comfortable and safe for those in recovery.

An MAT program can be a stepping stone toward making the withdrawal less severe. It will make the recovery process longer but may help to make the journey more manageable overall. Of course, however, you should first discuss this option with your treatment center in order to determine whether this type of treatment is best for you.

Let Discovery Institute Help You Today!

Addiction can make people feel completely alone. Often, those who suffer from drug or alcohol abuse feel isolated and separated from all that matters in life. It can be overwhelming and difficult to work through.

But, if you’ve been feeling alone in your struggle, please know that there is hope for you! Here at Discovery Institute, there are professional staff members who are willing and ready to help you to get through the challenges of recovery in order to enjoy the freedom of overcoming addiction!

You might also consider attending support group meetings for those who have experienced something similar to you. This will help you to understand the causes of your addiction, and how to prevent relapse.

If you’re able to access a detox program or therapy, these options are also likely to aid your recovery. These professionals have supported many people through opiate withdrawal. They will provide a safe environment to guide you through.

For more information about addiction treatment, recovery, and how we can help you here at Discovery Institute, please contact us today by calling  (844) 433-1101. Allow us to be a part of your journey to a new and healthier way of life. We are committed to your well-being and will walk with you, every step of the way! 

References:

http://www.addictionrecov.org/Addictions/?AID=39

https://www.addictioncenter.com/opiates/

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm

opioid crisis solutions

Opioid Crisis Solutions in 2019

Opioids continue to plague America in an epidemic, that unfortunately, isn’t subsiding. In fact, every day, more than 130 people die in the United States, all due to opioid overdoses.

Families have been torn apart and communities continue to suffer every day because of opioid addiction. And it continues to get worse.

So what kinds of opioid crisis solutions are there? What can be done to help these individuals and the addiction crisis as a whole?

Currently, the FDA calls it their biggest public health crisis. They recently issued a press release, detailing some of the actions that will be taken this year, in order to tackle this American crisis. 

Do you or a loved one need help to get clean? It can be hard to know where to begin to put the pieces back together. Keep reading to find out opioid crisis solutions of 2019 so that you can take that next step towards recovery.

What Are Opioids vs. Opiates?

Before we learn about some of the opioid crisis solutions of 2019, let’s break down opiates vs opioids. 

Opiates are chemicals that are naturally occurring in the opium plant. Morphine, codeine, thebaine, and papaverine are all opiates. Thebaine, for example, isn’t used in its natural state. It’s converted into other chemicals, like oxycodone, before it is used. Oxycodone would be considered a semi-synthetic opiate, as would heroin.

Opioids include opiates and semi-synthetic opiates. Opioids are ALSO drugs that MIMIC the effects of opiates, but that are not, however, derived from the opium poppy plant. Fentanyl, methadone, and meperidine are all types of synthetic opioids. 

Because the word opioid is being used more and more to refer to ALL of these drugs, the term opiate is becoming more obsolete.

What Is the FDA Doing?

The FDA pledges to enforce stricter guidelines for prescribers when it comes to issuing opioids to patients.

They have updated Warning labels and expanded the REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) program. For the first time, training will be made available to all health care providers. Thus, nurses, pharmacists, and doctors alike who are involved in the management of patients with pain, will have access to training.

The FDA opioid solutions also include gearing up to reduce exposure by making sure doctors are much more selective in writing prescriptions so that dose, amount, and treatment length better match the need.

They are also attempting to promote the use of non-addictive pain remedies and drugs and are working with other government departments to try and limit the number of illegal drugs entering the country.

How Did It All Begin?

In the early 1990s, deaths began to rise due to an increase in opioids being prescribed to treat pain. Pharmaceutical companies and medical societies assured prescribers that the potential for addiction was very low.

Unfortunately, that claim was far from the truth.

Yet opioids were continued to be prescribed, and not just for cancer patients. 86% of patients using opioids were non-cancer patients by 1999. Abuse became an issue, not only for the patients themselves but for those people that the drugs were being shared with and transferred (or sold) to.

A significant increase in heroin deaths began in 2010. In conjunction, early efforts to pull back on opioid prescriptions were put into place, which led even more people to turn to heroin. Deaths as a result of heroin-related overdoses increased by 286% from the years 2002 to 2013.

In 2013, another huge wave of deaths occurred due to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Since then, the epidemic continues to grow across America. Unfortunately, US Senate discovered, in an investigation, that financial ties exist between opioid manufacturers, medical professional societies, and advocacy groups.

What Are Some Other Opioid Crisis Solutions?

Many attempts have been made to change opioid prescribing patterns. These efforts hold prescribers and pharmaceuticals to higher accountability when prescribing to their patients.

The HHS (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is focusing on 5 major priorities in order to remedy the opioid crisis. They are:

  • Improving access to treatment and recovery services
  • Promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs
  • Strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  • Providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  • Advancing better practices for pain management

The NIH (National Institute of Health), which is a sector of the HHS, is focusing on extensive medical research in order to find new ways to treat addiction, prevent misuse, and finding alternatives to manage pain better.

They also launched HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term), which is a trans-agency effort that will tackle the opioid crisis.

Not only does it focus on new drug alternatives, but it boasts research that provides evidence for the use of mind/body techniques to help patients manage and control pain.

Get the Support You Need

New opioid policy isn’t going to treat your addiction today. While it’s essential that our country moves forward in an effort to minimize opioid addiction, individuals still need care and support to tackle the addictions that affect their lives and their families.

There are many different levels of care available at a treatment center and it’s important that you choose what is best for you and your family. 

Where Should You Go from Here?

You may think that picking up the slack for someone you know who is facing addiction is helpful.

You might think that using empty threats or lying for your loved one will get them to see the light. And you might think that providing them with shelter is keeping them safe by keeping them close.

But all of these are enabling, and it’s important not to enable someone, no matter how much you love them, who is a victim of drug addiction.

Opioid crisis solutions will eventually fix the issue with America. But how will you fix your problem or your loved one’s addiction before there is another fatal overdose?

Help is always here. Call us today to find out the best path to conquer you or your loved ones opioid addiction.

opioid detox

Opioid Detox: What to Expect From Opioid Detoxification

Opioids wreak havoc on your central nervous system. Over time, your body adjusts and requires more and more of the drug to function. If you cut down your dose or cut it out completely, you’ll begin going through opioid withdrawal in as few as 12 hours.

Opioid detox is inevitable whether you have been using for months or years. The first stage of withdrawal lasts for weeks, but the second stage can last for months or even years.

Are you considering an oxycodone or fentanyl detox and want to know what to expect? We put together a guide to the symptoms of withdrawal, how to get through it, and when to seek help.

Signs You Are Going Through Opioid Withdrawal

You might go through opioid withdrawal in an opioid detox center, or whenever you stop or cut back on your usage on your own.

The early signs of withdrawal are unpleasant and mostly physical. You might experience muscle aches, sweating, insomnia, and a running nose. However, there are also psychological symptoms: anxiety and agitation are common, and you’ll begin to feel the need to get a fix.

When withdrawal begins in earnest, it hits you like a truck. Symptoms of late-stage opioid withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Goosebumps
  • Dilated pupils

These often cause great discomfort, but they are inevitable.

When Do the Symptoms Begin?

Symptoms usually begin 12 hours after your hit of heroin or around 30 hours after you last took methadone.

Can Withdrawal Kill Me?

Withdrawal is horrible – there’s no doubt. However, withdrawal symptoms themselves aren’t life-threatening in almost all cases.

There are two things that you must look out for because they can be lethal. If you experience continued vomiting and/or diarrhea, you can become dehydrated and experience hypernatraemia (high blood sodium levels). These can lead to heart failure.

If you or someone you love is going through withdrawal and losing fluids this way, then you should seek medical attention from a hospital.

Trying to quit opioids on your own is the most challenging way of stopping even if you do manage your symptoms. And if you do choose to do so at home, you need to work slowly and ensure you have a solid support system behind you.

The Two Stages of Opioid Withdrawal

You may spend a week to a month completing the full withdrawal from opioids.

The first phase is known as acute withdrawal. These are the symptoms you experience in the first 12-30 hours after your last use from a runny nose and muscle aches to the more serious abdominal cramping and digestive issues.

The symptoms begin to peak after three to five days, and you could experience some of them for as long as a full month (four weeks).

As your symptoms abate, you move into the second phase of opioid withdrawal: post-acute withdrawal. You’ll find the signs here are more psychological and emotional: anxiety, mood swings, low energy, sleep issues, little enthusiasm, and trouble concentrating.

The emotional symptoms are less severe than the physical symptoms at their peak stage. However, they do last longer and may require management.

Withdrawal: At Home or in an Opioid Detox Program?

Are you ready to quit opioids? Unfortunately, withdrawal is inevitable, but you can choose where you go through it.

You have two options for opioid detox: detoxing at home or going to an opioid detox facility.

Detoxing at Home

It’s not impossible to detox at home, but it is also incredibly unpleasant.

You need a strong support system and a stable, healthy home environment to successfully withdraw at home. There should be no access to opioids available to you – at all. And you’ll need careful supervision to help identify any psychological symptoms like depression and anxiety.

Staying at home has its merits: you can be near friends and family and sleep in your own bed.

However, if you don’t have a dedicated care system in place, it is not a good idea.

Overall, home detoxes are more likely to result in relapses – and relapse after withdrawal can be deadly. Additionally, you need to make sure you can get to a hospital in case you begin experiencing dehydration as a result of vomiting and diarrhea.

Detoxing in a Center

Support is an integral part of finding success when you are going through an opioid detox. That’s why detox centers play such a crucial role during the process.

Detox centers can provide professional support in two ways. First, they can provide a medically assisted detox that eases the symptoms of withdrawal and prevents you from turning back to drugs to stave off the adverse side effects. Drugs like suboxone can help patients safely withdraw from serious addictions to heroin or Oxycontin by shortening the length and severity of the symptoms.

By using medical withdrawals, you’ll reduce the risk of relapse an avoid intravenous use and receive medical supervision during the process. However, suboxone is still a partial opioid, so you’ll still need to withdraw from the maintenance doses at some point.

Second, they provide support that keeps you from experiencing one of the darkest parts of withdrawal: depression and suicide ideation.

Suicidal ideation is a dangerously overlooked symptom of withdrawal. Not everyone will experience it, but anxiety, agitation, and depression are all common. Detox centers can provide counseling and regular support to remind patients that the dark days will be over and to protect patients from both self-harm and relapse during the most difficult parts of withdrawal.

These supports are so crucial because suicidal ideation can become suicidal behavior. Additionally, a relapse is dangerous because overdoses are common when a patient is going through withdrawal. What was once a usual dose can become too much for the body, which is extra sensitive after withdrawal.

You Don’t Have to Go Through Opioid Detox Alone

Opioid detox is one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. But it is possible, and you’ll have a far greater chance of success of succeeding.

Using an addiction rehab center means you’ll have both the emotional and medical support you need to detox safely. Ready to learn more? Click here to learn what drug rehab is really like.

Oxycodone: The Gateway Drug

Rehabs in NJ are often questioned about what a ‘gateway drug’ is. Nearly every time the term comes up, however, it’s in association with cannabis (marijuana) and often echos the era of ‘reefer madness’. The basic definition of a ‘gateway drug’ for drug rehab centers in NJ is a ‘lite’ drug which entices the user to either feel safer or compelled to try and find a stronger ‘high’ by experimenting with more potent drugs like heroin.

While there are no statistics or research that backs up the claim that cannabis is an effective gateway drug definitively, research is continuing to pile up showing that prescription opioids act closer to the definition of a gateway drug, though for different reasons. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that forty-five percent of people addicted to heroin started on prescription opioid-based painkillers like oxycodone. Oxycodone and hydrocodone come in various forms as prescription drugs and are prescribed based on various conditions when a doctor treats a patient’s pain or chronic pain issues. Brand names include Lorcet, Lortab, Norco and Vicodin for hydrocodone variants and Oxycontin and Oxecta for oxycodone. Fentanyl is a much stronger form and is distributed under brand names Duragesic, Actiq, Fentora, Lazanda and Sublimaze.

The fear of the gateway drug is that a less powerful drug will lead to more powerful drugs and eventually end with an overdose. What typically happens with those that begin with one of the mentioned drugs isn’t necessarily seeking out of a more powerful high, but instead the prescription drug itself has already formed an addiction and the patient either no longer can afford it, their insurance has run out or they simply cannot find a doctor that will prescribe them more. Because the addiction is already in full swing, the person who is suffering from opioid use disorder will then seek out similar drugs, for which heroin is the most common.

Opioids themselves are a synthetic form of opiates. Opium, heroin and morphine are the most well known opiates. Most users of opioids that find themselves inside the trap of addiction typically find they are seeking more of the drug to subside withdrawal symptoms which compels them to seek out the most commonly found opiate outside of the doctor’s office, which is heroin. Often times, heroin ends up being significantly cheaper and much more powerful than opioids, with the exception of fentanyl which is up to 100 times more powerful than heroin and is responsible for a majority of opioid overdoses.

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While none of this information is to make light of issues with marijuana usage, it’s clear by statistical analysis and behaviors surrounding prescription painkillers based on opioids that it more fully fits the end results that gateway drug definitions warn about.

If you or someone you know might be suffering from substance use disorder, call the best New Jersey rehab, Discovery New Jersey at 844-478-6563. Our staff is ready and willing to help break the addiction that has taken such intense control of your life. 

Hypocrisy In Opioids

Currently, many people seeking sober living in New Jersey through NJ detox centers have been encouraged through the country’s ‘fight against the opioid’ crisis, which has primarily taken place in moderately middle class range suburbs, often times predominantly ethnically white. However, the War On Drugs, which was proposed by the Nixon administration which he signed into law in 1971, was not only ill advised, but was used and continues to be used as an excuse to terrorize minority and poor neighborhoods.

During the 1980’s, there were two different and distinct messages coming out surrounding what essentially was the same drug in different forms; crack and cocaine. Although recently they were finally legislated to carry the same penalties, during the 1980’s, it was quite different.

The messages about cocaine use were sympathetic towards those addicted, encouraging them to find help, while the harsh criminal penalties incurred for crack treated people who had it or used it as potentially threatening and psychotic. Crack, being cheaper, was often found predominantly in lower class neighborhoods, which were where minority families would be found in greater numbers. All of this while happened while disregarding the drugs and their effects weren’t not much different from each other other than price and speed of which the effects could be felt by a user.

Minority communities who lived through this and remember it plainly see the hypocrisy in the ‘opioids crisis’.

For one, they see that crack is still heavily in circulation and still disproportionately tears minority neighborhoods apart at the core, primarily due to it’s cheap price and highly addictive properties, yet doesn’t have the attention that opioids do in the media. The situation creates a self sustaining cycle of generational damage to those communities which have yet to be addressed at large by policy makers and tax money. When put into contrast with the opioid epidemic, as it’s called, it only took 5-10 years for the entire country to begin talking about it, where the conversation about addiction has radically been altered to cater to the middle class which is largely finding out the hard way that addiction doesn’t discriminate as they once thought.

Throwing methamphetamine addiction into the mix, another ridiculously cheap drug which affects poorer neighborhoods, although does tend to affect more white neighborhoods, it becomes clear that policy and action seems to only come when it affects more affluent and stable white communities. While the positives of the conversation around addiction cannot be overstated, considering that the War On Drugs normalized the idea that drug abuse is always a choice of immoral people, a slight against those neighborhoods destroyed by crack, it still hasn’t come to grips with the larger picture of environmental factors and generational damage that occurs when addictive drugs take hold of a community.

Discovery InstituteWhile the tide is slowly shifting, it’s incredibly important at this time to remember that no addiction is the goal, not just protecting certain communities that never thought they would have to deal with the tragedies that are incurred from widespread substance use disorder. It’s time to stop the hypocrisy and address the entire problem rather than focusing on the most convenient for one group of people.

No matter the substance you or a loved one might have an addiction to, addiction treatment in New Jersey is available for you at Discovery Institute by calling 844-478-6563.

Profiting From Illness

In a situation that can only be described as ‘modern immoral marketplace behavior’, several companies which have been accused of fueling the opioid epidemic in the country are now looking to also profit off of treatment for being addicted to the same drugs. A recent lawsuit against one of the main players in the prescription side of the crisis, Perdue, revealed evidence of knowing the highly addictive properties of drugs like Oxycontin which contain synthetic forms of opiates, called opioids.

While they’re highly effective at dulling down pain in hospital patients, many people who take the drug are highly susceptible to addiction to the drug. Often times, money for the prescription version of the drug will run out, leaving cheap heroin the only option for patients, who, if suffering from chronic pain, will seek out the drug anyway to help deal with their constant struggle to simply be mobile without suffering.

This doesn’t end here, though. Recently, an article in Market Size Forecasters seemed to beam about the possibilities of making more money off of people suffering from addiction. In fact, one of the charts showing the growing market of addiction treatment didn’t even use typical boardroom bar charts to show trends, but instead replaced the bars with gold coins, in one of the most impressively tone-deaf and insulting charts ever made. If one believes in the free market, this is just it’s normal function; create a market and then exploit it.

However, people are the product and that product is made more profitable by way of getting them addicted in order to set up treatment. In a country in which there is no civic responsibility by the government to serve the healthcare of its citizens, the only outcome can be this dystopia which is quickly scabbing into not only an incredibly embarrassing moment in U.S. history, but brings with it casualties. The country has already been in the spotlight for having for-profit prisons that were shown empirically to create life-long prison-dwellers that do nothing to rehabilitate criminals (largely comprised of people who were, coincidentally, addicted to some kind of illegal drug), and now investors seem to be eyeballing drug users specifically.

If the prison system was of any indication of the desire for positive effects on the ‘problem’ identified, (a.k.a. The Market), this has the huge potential to become a very bumpy ride. In addition to this, it’s also relevant to mention that drugs like crystal meth have virtually no medications that can directly assist and reverse the effects of their use. For those drugs, like opioids, which do have some medication assisted treatments (MAT), it’s very possible that the ‘free market’ will begin to hold these medications hostage to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, it seems no one has told these investors that the purpose of treatment is to turn an addict back into a welcomed member of a society.

This event should be a reminder that seeking proper treatment will require research and careful decision making on the part of an addict’s loved ones and the person suffering from the chronic illness themselves. Maybe each person reading this should consider taking people’s health ‘off the market’ in the future.

To be treated with the kindness and dignity you deserve and to get you or a family member the help you need to get off opioids for good, contact us today for a top rated rehab center in NJ.

Rehab Options for Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction remains one of the most serious public health threats in the United States. Abuse of pharmaceuticals like oxycodone, fentanyl, and other opiates is proving fatal for many users, and the need for rehabilitation services is great.

Many addicts feel that rehabilitation will not work with their lifestyles, that they will have to leave family, friends, and career behind in order to address their substance abuse issues. While it’s true that inpatient rehabilitation works for many people, outpatient rehab is proven to be highly effective as well.

The goal is recovery, and outpatient treatment can help an addict reach that stage. There are several ways that outpatient rehab in NJ can be used to battle opioid abuse. These techniques are proven methods for helping users overcome their addictions and successfully avoid relapse.

One very helpful tool is group therapy. Addicts often feel completely alone in their abuse, so they gain immediate benefits from simply making contact with other people who are trying to overcome their own addictions. Gathering regularly in groups helps users build strength for each other and in themselves. It also breaks down that isolation by helping them understand that others are in the same situation, and it is very powerful when they are able to help one another in their recovery.

Other addicts may be coming out of an inpatient setting but need support for their ongoing recovery through rehab in New Jersey. For these users, intensive outpatient rehab can be a vital tool in recovery. It establishes a step-down process that eases their transition from a highly-regulated inpatient experience to one that maintains their recovery back home in familiar surroundings.

The ability to make that change from a protected rehabilitation environment to the one where their addiction began is a key part of recovery. It is here that cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful. Whether the problem is alcohol abuse or drug abuse, there are circumstances and triggers in the user’s life that have contributed to the abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps the addict identify and understand those factors so that the patient won’t experience setbacks when returning to their previous situation.

Rehabilitation from abuse of drugs or alcohol is a complex process. Whether it includes inpatient treatment or not, it must involve some outpatient care when the patient is trying to adjust to life without addiction.

This important step can serve either as the complete rehabilitation program or as a step-down component to smooth the adjustment from inpatient care to life back home. Outpatient care that addresses triggers and teaches the recovering addict new strategies for dealing with them is the type of intervention that has the best chance of creating, supporting, and sustaining a lasting recovery.

Discovery Institute is ready to help you or a loved one overcome substance abuse issues of all kinds, either as the sole treatment method or in combination with inpatient care elsewhere. If you’re seeking rehab in New Jersey for yourself or someone else, contact us to get started right away.

Narcan for Opiate Overdose: All You Need to Know

The rate of opiate overdoses in the United States continues to skyrocket—so much so that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers America’s opioid problem to be a full-blown epidemic. In fact, statistics have shown that the problem has reached such a point that an average of 130 Americans die of an opioid overdose every single day. Still, the truth is that many of these overdoses potentially can be prevented through the use of opioid overdose reversal medicines like Narcan.

What is Narcan?

Narcan is the newest FDA-approved formulation of naloxone—a medication that is designed to quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose for a short time until the individual can receive emergency medical attention. If taken within the first few minutes of an overdose, naloxone can restore proper respiratory function in a person who has stopped breathing or is breathing very slowly due to an opioid overdose.

Naloxone itself has been in use since the 1970s, and it is considered the primary go-to medication for anyone suffering from a potential overdose. However, up until recently, naloxone was only available in the form of an injection. This meant that administering the medicine was primarily left in the hands of trained medical personnel. Still, all of that changed once the FDA approved Narcan.

Instead of being injected, Narcan comes in the form of an easy-to-use nasal spray that emits the naloxone directly into the person’s nostrils. From there, the medicine is then absorbed through the nasal lining and directly into the bloodstream.

The fact that Narcan is so easy to administer without medical training or assistance ensures it can be a huge help in the fight against opioid overdoses, and already there are countless physicians and lawmakers who are pushing for greater access to the medication since it could potentially help to prevent many overdose deaths from occurring. Of course, naloxone only provides temporary reversal of overdose symptoms, which means that there is still a high chance that the individual could die without proper help. Nonetheless, the drug typically begins to work in around two to five minutes and could still help to save the individual’s life until emergency help arrives.

How Does Narcan Work in the Body?

As with the injectable form of naloxone, Narcan works by blocking the brain’s opioid receptors. When using Narcan for an overdose, the naloxone binds itself to these receptors in a way that can both block and reverse the effects of any other opioids in the body. However, the naloxone has a very short life once inside the body, which means it can only perform this function for a set period of time after which the person may start to overdose again. This is why it is imperative that the individual still receives emergency medical attention. Still, Narcan is packaged to include two doses, which allows for a second dosing should the person start showing signs of overdosing again.

Narcan alone definitely isn’t enough to solve the current opioid crisis. Nonetheless, it has the potential to be a lifesaver for anyone who is currently struggling with opiates. For this reason, it is most definitely something every opiate user needs to know about.

Addiction recovery in New Jersey is available for you or a loved one at one of the best drug rehab centers in the region. Contact us today to learn more.

Opioid Blocker As Chronic Pain Alternative

Doctors and pharmaceutical companies have been under scrutiny and criticism for their role in the opioid epidemic which has contributed to heroin usage and fentanyl overdoses. Many claim that manufacturing companies who produce drugs like oxycodone overstated their safety for use as a painkiller and doctors for a long time were not cognizant of the highly addictive properties of the drugs. However, with the high increases of drug users who’s addictions have originated from a doctor’s office, there may be a new option, and it bizarrely involves the use of an opioid blocker typically used in people already addicted or experiencing an overdose.

Dr. Bruce Vrooman, an associate professor at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, took part in a review of a studies that substituted the painkillers with a low dose of naltrexone. “A lot of the evidence that we have to date is superior to many of the medications that have been industry-sponsored and made available through marketing to patients or FDA-approved for specific conditions.”

The cases where it is being most looked at is in patients with chronic pain. Often, doctors will have few options for those with chronic pain and will eventually have to give opioids a try. However, since the 1980’s, some patients and doctors have been singing the praises of using a low dose of naltrexone. According to research, which is still ongoing, the idea is that the low doses of naltrexone dampen inflammation in the body as well as kick-start the body’s production of pain-killing endorphins with a reported low occurrence of side effects.  Naltrexone is normally used to treat alcohol and opioid addictions by shutting down opioid receptors, which send signals of pleasure or ease throughout the body when stimulated by drugs or neurotransmitters from the brain and nervous system.

Currently, however, there’s a few roadblocks to further use and study. The drug itself has been available since the 1950’s, making it essentially a public-domain drug. This means for-profit companies are highly unlikely to fund research into its use for chronic pain as the prize for spending the research money is sole manufacturing rights. Without those exclusive rights, there’s market monopoly over the formula and they’d essentially fund research for their potential competitors. The other problem, also tied up in the profit motive, is that doctors are unlikely to hear about it through their normal means of obtaining new information about medicine because of saturation of the same for-profit companies. There is no marketing campaign letting patients nor doctors know that a generic drug is an option which can alleviate chronic pain nor is there a big push in the academic communities to generate more research into its use.

Discovery InstitutePrevention is a big part of combating the country’s addiction problems that claimed over 70,000 lives last year. The more that non-habit forming drugs become a part of the arsenal of pharmaceutical treatments, the lower the risk is for people to become addicted to a drug seeking medical treatment for other ailments. With chronic pain being among one of the more prominent starting points of opioid addiction, finding new and more effective and non-addictive medications can create echos in the future of healthier people and less people suffering from addiction.

If you or someone you know are seeking drug and rehab centers in New Jersey, Discovery offers drug abuse assistance at 844-478-6563. Substance use disorder is a serious chronic illness that often requires drug addiction rehab and therapy.

Outlandish Rumor About Heroin Usage Circulates

It’s known that in a small town, when someone sneezes, everyone else in town instantly knows who it was, but this game of telephone often creates noise in the line. What is simply a normal sneeze that periodically happens will turn into a hot commotion about whether that person is dying, if they’re contagious with some supernatural disease from a country no one can pronounce, or even if they’re trying to fake it for sympathy. People talk, and each iteration of an idea passed around comes with it the biases and projects of the person passing on the information. Eventually the rumors become accepted as somewhat factual and talked about as if there’s any basis for them. This happens in drug addiction talk, too.

Recently, rumors have started sprouting up about ‘narcan’ parties which, even on the face of it, sound ridiculously far fetched but many people who aren’t involved in keeping abreast of the country’s opioid and heroin problem have been spreading the idea around enough that the Cincinnati Enquirer had to write about the falsehoods of it.

The description of the party sounds like it was made up by people who still believe that addiction is a moral failing and involves a bunch of heroin and fentanyl users getting together, bringing their drugs as well as overdose antidote kits and intentionally shoot enough drugs to overdose then have their friends revive them.

Yes, apparently this rumor has gained enough traction that at least one newspaper has reported on it as a plausible scenario. A Nashville-based paper (embarrassing name drop withheld) recently ran the story about narcan parties in Tennessee with a straight face, which prompted a reporter with the Cincinnati Enquirer to investigate the outlandish claims. After speaking to area addiction experts and medical staff who treat overdoses in hospitals, there was a unanimous response to the story being a complete fabrication, sounding more like the plotline to Flatliners than a real thing warranting discussion.

Several interviewed for the debunking of the Tennessee paper’s faux pas including Newtown Police Chief Tom Synan and Amy Parker, a peer support recovery specialist, all expressed concerns at the veracity of the story in the face of the evidence of how both addiction works and how specifically heroin and drugs like naloxone work to revive a person after an overdose.

“First of all, heroin and fentanyl are not party drugs. If you’re addicted, you are literally buying the drug to be well and you do it right away”, Chief Synan responded when confronted with the rumor.

“I don’t know anyone who has ever willingly done this. I’ve heard people remark of how stupid it would be. Even the behavior is counter to that of people who have an opioid addiction.” Parker added.

Rumors of this sort for serious illnesses like addiction can cause major damage and create roadblocks to solutions. While people that understand what addiction is find the story laughable, many people aren’t as hip to the mountains of medical evidence that point to the changes in brain chemistry that control behaviors. Many people still think drug addiction is something you do if you’re a terrible person, which is how a story like this pops into existence. With a culture that largely doesn’t understand addiction or heroin or opioids, the story of narcan parties is in fertile ground to be reported as fact in a Tennessee newspaper.

Discovery InstituteAddiction is a serious disease affecting over twenty million Americans. Rehabs in NJ like Discovery Institute (844-478-6563) offer addiction treatment in New Jersey that focuses on the reality of the chronic illness making it one of the top rated drug rehab centers.

NYT Explores Opioid Addiction

Recently, the New York Times released on an online article with unique animated imagery accompanying it which illustrates how opioid addiction is experienced by those afflicted by it. More importantly, however, is the important message from recovering addicts in various stages of the illness speaking about their own experiences, shedding light and shattering stereotypes that are still wildly popular among society and largely wrong. It also illustrates that this particular addiction that is continuing to affect nearly a million Americans in one form or another does not discriminate. Rich, poor, educated or drop out, the candid recollections of those featured paints a very different picture than how addicts are typically portrayed.

Probably one of the most damaging of beliefs held by a large part of society today is that addiction is something that can simply be ‘walked away from’, that all it takes is will power to get drugs like heroin out of your life. The typical idea of someone deciding one day to stick needles in their arms to get high is ridiculously out of touch with the reality of how people end up using hard drugs but continues to be the viewpoint of many Americans. That notion is completely dismantled by one sentence in particular by Rebecca Ronning, a former user.

“You’re not getting high anymore. You’re just fixing the withdrawal.”

With so few words, the very notion most people have about using drugs like heroin or even oxycodone are destroyed and reconstructed into a very different thing. People use drugs for the first time for a variety of reasons which can put them into the path of addiction and those reasons are not always nefarious or ‘evil’ or ‘stupid’. A large part of the opioid epidemic stems from people who were administered opioid prescription pain killers by their doctor for injury or post surgery care, a far cry from the idea of someone going into a shady ally looking to be dangerously dumb. The image of what an addict is or how they came to be an addict is not a straight line where one starts from a specific point and ends on another specific point.

It’s also easy to forget with all of the attention of opioids sucking the air out of the room that other addictions that existed before the sensationalized headlines were also around with their own stereotypes. Alcoholism continues to exist and claims even more lives than opioids and has even more complications when it comes to developing into a life-wrecking illness. Methamphetamines, another drug that appears both in legal prescribed medication forms and harder illegal forms, adds even more issues with how addiction actually works. Unlike math and engineering which has been studied for centuries, addiction is a new phenomena which is only just now beginning to be understood and this article shows if we think about it as we have in the past, it’s only going to continue to take society by surprise while we’re busy blaming the wrong people and looking the other way when it’s right in front of our faces.

Discovery InstituteAddiction can affect anyone and requires treatment if afflicted. If you or someone you know wishes to return to sober living in NJ or require a detox center in NJ, call Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563. We’re one of the top rated drug rehab centers in the state and offer professional treatment from trained counselors.