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Opioid Addiction

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Understanding Opioid Addiction

Opioids come from the poppy plant and have been recognized for thousands of years for their ability to relieve pain. They bind to receptors in the brain responsible for receiving pain messages and block them. They also release chemicals that increase pleasure and feelings of happiness. This feeling is the primary cause of addictions that often follow from irresponsible use. Although many times opioids are prescribed by a doctor to reduce strong pain, the pleasantness and joy it causes can lead to uncontrollable cravings for more of the substance and higher dosages. There are also opioids that have been chemically manufactured. These are called synthetic opioids. Examples are fentanyl and heroin.

Detecting Opioid Use Disorder

At a time where it is noticeable that opioids are disturbing functional life of a user it is quite possible that Opioid Use Disorder has developed. For instance, if someone is neglecting his job or family responsibilities due to their constant need for opioids, an evaluation should be made, and one should seek addiction treatment immediately.

Statistics of Opioid Abuse in Indiana

Experts have broken down the Indiana opioid epidemic into three distinct waves. Currently, the state is dealing with an increase in synthetic opioid overdose deaths, pointing to an increase of illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF). The more potent drug has become cheaper and more available than heroin. Over 1000 Hoosiers die yearly from opioid overdose and the number is rising.

Avenues Recovery Center, a drug and alcohol detox and residential treatment center in northeastern Indiana, understands the great danger opioid abuse is posing to residents and the effect it is having on our neighborhoods. To combat this, Avenues has developed programs specializing in overcoming fentanyl addiction and establishing and maintaining productive lifestyles for their clients.

What is Naloxone

Upon encountering an opioid overdose, Naloxone should be administered immediately. Naloxone (widely known as Narcan due to its original brand name) is a non-selective opioid antagonist.  It binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, competing with the illicit substance and temporarily blocking its effects. Quickly restoring slowed or stopped breathing to normal levels, it is the difference between life and death for many overdose victims.  It is not addictive and is the best emergency response for an occurring overdose.

Rapidly spiking overdose rates have encouraged legislators both at the state and federal levels to adopt policies aimed at increasing accessibility. Third-party prescriptions, first responder authorizations and allowing prescriptions for caregivers or family members of an opioid addiction sufferer are all among measures taken in many states to combat opioid overdoses.

It is important to note that emergency services and professional medical help is required even if it seems the overdose has been successfully reversed.

FAQs about opioid addiction

What are commonly abused opioids?
  • Oxycontin
  • Vicodin
  • Percocet
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Heroin
What are risk factors that cause opioid addiction?
  • Family history of opioid addiction
  • Relationships with people suffering from opioid addiction
  • Opioids are easily available
  • Sufferers of chronic diseases who are prescribed opioids for legitimate reasons
  • Genetics
What are some signs and symptoms of opioid addiction?

Behavioral

  • Mood swings
  • Confusion and impaired judgement
  • Neglect of work and social responsibilities
  • Possession of needles and other paraphernalia
  • Engagement in illegal activities

Physical and Mental

  • Incessant scratching
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • Nasal sores and bleeding
  • Injection tracks
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Depression and thoughts of suicide
What are the health risks of opioid addiction?
  • Heart disease
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Visual impairment
  • HIV and STDs
  • Stroke
Learn More About Opioid Addiction Treatment

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Brooke Abner,

Motivational Coach