Who would have associated a field of fragile flowers with the root cause of the current opioid epidemic in America? Poppy flower seeds are the natural source of opium, which is thought to be the first pain medication.
Morphine - a powerful pain medicine - is the main element of opium. Heroin – quickest acting – is derived from opium.
Opioids are a combination of opium, supplemented with other chemicals (semi-synthetic) or artificial chemicals (synthetic) that imitate opium in the body.
For example, oxycodone aka OxyContin, is synthetic thebaine, which is derived from – you guessed it – the poppy.
OxyContin nabbed a leading role in the opioid epidemic, with the manufacturers claim that, “Delayed absorption as provided by OxyContin tablets is believed to reduce the abuse liability of a drug.”
Not! When Oxy time-released tablets escalated as high as 160mg, it gained notoriety as a favorite of addicts and recreational drug users. When Oxy is sniffed, crushed or injected, users achieve a potent, long-lasting high.
When the prices of “Hillbilly Heroin” (OxyContin) sky-rocketed, illicit users turned to the real deal. Heroin costs less and is more accessible than prescription drugs. The heroin “high” is described as more enjoyable. Heroin is snorted or injected and highly addictive.
Fentanyl is a newer designer drug that is more powerful than OxyContin and fifty times more potent than heroin. Although it’s cheaper, fentanyl is absurdly fatal.
Illegal drug producers are lacing fentanyl with cocaine and/or heroin. Because the pills are frequently masked as oxycodone, addicts or recreational users are unaware they are consuming fentanyl.
Treatment Options for Addiction Recovery
Knowing you are addicted to opioid drugs is all good. But, it’s not that easy. You must admit that you are powerless to change your behavior. But, admitting is not enough. You must desire to make drastic changes in your life. Desire alone won’t get it. Knowing, admitting and desiring must be followed by positive action.
Likely, you fear exploring treatment options. Maybe, you should go it alone? Not one of your better ideas. Chances are, you would experience horrendous withdrawal, ranging from tremors, seizures, serious pain, etc. to severe life-threatening symptoms.
So, if you are sincere about stopping opioid abuse and willing to work towards positive change, there are safe options for addiction recovery. Ideally, you’ll find a recovery center where professionals will design your personalized recovery plan.
However, before active treatment can begin, you must detox. Following detox procedures, your recovery center of choice will help you determine which method of treatment will work best for your situation – as an inpatient or an outpatient. After intensive treatment, it is in your best interests to join a support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Because sustaining sobriety is a life-long process.
Vital steps to recovery should not be skipped. For instance, the detox process and withdrawal treatment eliminates all vestiges of opioids from your body.
As for duration of detox and opioid withdrawal symptoms, there is no definitive answer. On the average, symptoms subside between two-days and two-weeks. But, it takes several months in some cases.
It’s important to detox in a facility where you will be supervised and given medications such suboxone or subutex, which help your body combat withdrawal.
After completing active treatment in a recovery center, Narcotics Anonymous meetings help keep you on the sober path. It is comforting to be part of a group that is unprejudiced because they once walked in your shoes. The aim of the group is to help addicts who are recovering. As soon as you can, connect with a sponsor, who will act as your mentor.
Opioids are tenacious. Once they grab you, addiction is inevitable. Getting sober is tough. Staying sober requires a lifetime commitment. Because addiction is not curable.
Anytime you feel you are going to slip – get to an NA meeting. As they say, when you don’t want to attend a meeting is when you need to attend a meeting.