So many of the men and women we treat started off abusing prescription drugs, like:
- Oxycodone and similar opioids (known as OxyContin, fentanyl, Percocet)
- Hydrocodone (brand names Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet, Norco)
- Benzodiazepines (like Xanax)
The person who is prescribed these drugs (or obtains them illegally) gradually grows more tolerant to the drug causing them to use higher quantities to experience the euphoria they have grown accustomed to. The gradual nature of this tolerance combined with the difficult withdrawal symptoms can work together to ultimately control someone’s life. After a time, users report they need to have the drug in their system to merely “feel normal,” let alone experience a euphoric “high.” Users who have become physically addicted to these medications and then halt using them will experience:
- Stomach cramps
- Fever and chills
- Overwhelming cravings that effectively cause an obsession with the drug
Eventually, because of cost, access, or other factors, many narcotic medication abusers gravitate to heroin for relief. Opiates and heroin are described as having an extremely strong grip on their abusers, ranking them among the most difficult addictions to overcome.
The Heroin Overdose Epidemic
Every day our newsfeed is filled with examples of cities and townships whose emergency services are overwhelmed by the heroin overdose epidemic. Overdose is now the most common preventable cause of death, recently displacing both car accidents and firearm deaths for the first time in history.
The unsuspecting purchaser of illicit heroin on the street will have no reliable way to gauge the potency of the drug and the sad result is that they may accidentally overdose. The proliferation of Chinese manufactured counterfeit opiate medications like fentanyl has particularly had a disastrous effect on the opiate abusers in various cities. These bootleg versions of recognizable medications have unpredictable and frequently misunderstood potencies, causing ‘waves of overdoses’ to sweep through entire communities when the drugs ‘hit the streets’ in various locales for consumption by desperate opiate-addicted buyers.
If you were not aware of the scale of the opiate epidemic, you are not alone. We have been fighting to raise awareness about how critical this health epidemic is in our country. One example of how widespread and serious this problem is the recent article on CNN about how librarians have been critical in the saving of lives as they are often the first responders for overdoses that occur in libraries. Also, overwhelmed emergency services have led to some shocking proposals like the Ohio official who has recommended that ambulances do not respond and resuscitate overdose victims who are needing help for the third time.
Thankfully, there is an increasing awareness of this deadly phenomenon in our society, and the slow wheels of legislative change are in motion, enacting laws to curb the prescribing of opiate drugs, and providing relief for those who are in the grasp of addiction.
Getting Help at Hope by the Sea
We are the premiere heroin treatment center in California, offering a setting and services specifically designed to help our clients recover from opiate addiction. Our heroin addiction treatment program typically begins with a medically managed detox, and then the client enters our residential treatment program. Getting through the physical aspects of heroin addiction opens up the clients to therapies to heal the mental, social and spiritual depravations caused by heroin addiction.
Once the individual is making good progress in their recovery (usually after 1-3 months), we work with them to gradually “step down” through lower levels of care which allow them to resume their career (or academic program) while still receiving the support of our clinical staff who will be closely familiar with their recovery and monitor their response to life’s various stressors in order to make sure that their recovery is not threatened by the challenges they are faced with.
If you or someone you care about is abusing heroin, opiate medication, or any other drug, contact us today at 949-539-0140.