- Last Updated: May 18, 2023
Derived from the opium poppy plant, prescription opiates are highly addictive pain-relieving drugs. These drugs, such as oxycodone, fentanyl, and hydrocodone, bind to opioid receptors in the brain and body, reducing pain and producing feelings of relaxation and euphoria. While prescription opiates can effectively manage moderate to severe pain, they are also highly dangerous due to their addictive nature. Misuse and abuse of prescription opiates can lead to physical dependence, overdose, and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 500,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in the United States between 1999 and 2019, highlighting the urgent need for increased awareness and prevention efforts. It is essential to understand what prescription opiates are, their potential risks, and how to use them safely to avoid the harmful consequences of their misuse.
What is Prescription Opiate Abuse?
Prescription opiate abuse refers to using prescription opioids in a way that is not prescribed by a doctor or for reasons other than medical treatment. Prescription opiate abuse can have serious consequences, including overdose and death. In recent years, the number of overdose deaths related to prescription opioids has risen dramatically. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 14,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in 2019.
Several treatment options are available for individuals struggling with prescription opioid abuse. These may include medications, such as methadone and buprenorphine, which can help to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can also effectively treat opioid abuse. Additionally, support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, can provide ongoing support and encouragement for individuals in recovery.
It is important to note that treatment for prescription opioid abuse should be individualized and may involve a combination of different approaches. It is also crucial for individuals to seek help from qualified healthcare professionals who can provide appropriate treatment and support throughout the recovery process.
Symptoms of Prescription Opiate Abuse
- Drowsiness and fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slowed breathing or difficulty breathing
- Confusion or disorientation
- Poor coordination or motor skills
- Constricted pupils
- Poor decision-making and judgment
- Mood swings, including irritability and agitation
- Insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns
- Respiratory depression
Signs of Prescription Opiate Abuse
- Frequent requests for early refills or lost prescriptions
- Seeking prescriptions from multiple doctors or pharmacies
- Using prescription medication for non-medical purposes
- Selling or sharing prescription medication with others
- Withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop or reduce usage
- Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school due to drug use
- Continuing to use prescription medicines despite negative consequences
- Secretive or deceptive behavior related to drug use
- Changes in social circles or withdrawal from activities once enjoyed
- Financial difficulties or legal problems related to drug use or acquisition
Prescription Opiate Rehab Treatment Options
Prescription opiate abuse is a severe problem with devastating consequences, including overdose and death. Fortunately, several treatment options are available for individuals struggling with prescription opiate abuse. Treatment may involve a combination of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), behavioral therapies, and other supportive services. Here are some of the most common treatment options for prescription opiate abuse:
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
MAT is a treatment approach that combines medications with counseling and other supportive services to help individuals overcome addiction. For prescription opiate abuse, MAT typically involves using medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone. These medications reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for individuals to reduce or stop prescription opiates.
Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist that can be taken once a day to manage cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that can be taken daily or as a monthly injection and is often prescribed in combination with naloxone. This opioid antagonist blocks the effects of opioids. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist taken daily or monthly to stop the effects of opioids and reduce cravings.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a form of talk therapy that helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors related to drug use. CBT can effectively treat prescription opiate abuse by assisting individuals in developing coping skills and strategies to manage triggers and cravings.
CBT typically involves several sessions with a therapist or counselor, during which the individual learns to identify and challenge negative thoughts and beliefs about drug use. The therapist may also help the individual develop alternative coping strategies and problem-solving skills.
Outpatient treatment is a non-residential treatment option that allows individuals to receive treatment while living at home and participating in work or school. Outpatient treatment for prescription opiate abuse may include medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies, and other supportive services. It typically involves regular check-ins with a healthcare provider and individual and group therapy sessions. Outpatient treatment can be an effective option for individuals with mild to moderate addiction who have a stable support system at home.
Inpatient treatment, also known as residential treatment, is a more intensive treatment option that involves living at a treatment facility for an extended period. Inpatient treatment for prescription opiate abuse may include medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies, and other supportive services. It typically involves a structured schedule of therapy sessions, group activities, and other therapeutic interventions. Inpatient treatment can be an effective option for individuals with severe addiction or those requiring more intensive care.
Other Treatment Options
Other treatment options for prescription opiate abuse may include holistic therapies, such as yoga or meditation, and support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous. Holistic therapies can help individuals manage stress and anxiety. At the same time, support groups can provide ongoing support and encouragement for individuals in recovery.
Prescription opiate abuse can have serious consequences, but with the proper treatment and support, individuals can overcome addiction and achieve long-term recovery. Treatment for prescription opiate abuse should be individualized. It may involve a combination of medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapies, and other supportive services. Individuals need to seek help from qualified healthcare professionals who can provide appropriate treatment and support throughout recovery.
Food for Thought
Remember, you are not alone in your journey toward recovery. Seeking help for addiction takes courage and strength, and many resources are available to support you. Whether through therapy, support groups, or medication-assisted treatment, many options exist for overcoming addiction and achieving long-term recovery. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask for help; remember, there is hope for a brighter future.
By coming this far, you’ve already taken the most significant leap toward treatment. Resume your journey thru our gateway to treatment centers in your area by calling 888-546-6005 or locating the best facility for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Prescription Opiates
Prescription opioids and prescription opiates are often used interchangeably, but there is a slight difference between the two.
Opioids are a broad category of drugs that include natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic compounds that bind to opioid receptors in the brain and body to reduce pain. Opiates, on the other hand, are a specific class of opioids derived from the opium poppy plant, such as morphine and codeine.
The length of time that opiates stay in your system can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of opiate, the dose, and your metabolism. The length of time a drug test can detect opiates can vary depending on the type of test used, the individual’s drug use history, and other factors. Generally speaking, the effects of short-acting opiates, such as heroin and morphine, last for several hours. These drugs can be detected in the body for up to three days after use. Long-acting opiates, such as methadone and fentanyl, can have effects that last for up to several days, and these drugs can be detected in the body for up to 10 days or more after use. It’s worth noting that drug tests can detect the presence of opiates in a person’s system even after the effects of the drug have worn off.
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Yes, fentanyl is an opioid drug, which means it is an opiate. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid similar in structure and effects to natural opioids such as morphine and codeine. It is typically prescribed to treat severe pain, such as pain from surgery or cancer. It is sometimes used to manage pain in people who tolerate other opioids.
Like other opioids, fentanyl works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking pain signals. It can also produce feelings of relaxation and euphoria, leading to addiction if misused or taken in high doses.
However, fentanyl is much more potent than other opioids and can be more dangerous if misused or taken excessively. It is estimated to be 50-100 times more powerful than morphine, and even small amounts can be lethal. Fentanyl is also sometimes added to other drugs, such as heroin or cocaine, without the user’s knowledge, which can increase the risk of overdose.
No, cocaine is not an opiate. Cocaine is a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. At the same time, opiates are a class of drugs that act on the opioid receptors in the brain to produce pain relief, relaxation, and euphoria.
Cocaine is derived from the leaves of the coca plant. It is a powerful stimulant that can produce feelings of energy, alertness, and confidence. However, it can also cause adverse side effects, such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, and addiction.
When taken as directed, suboxone can block the effects of other opioids for up to 24 hours or longer, depending on the dose and individual metabolism. It’s worth noting that the effectiveness of suboxone in blocking the effects of other opioids can vary depending on the type and potency of the opioid. In some cases, a higher dose of suboxone may be needed to block the effects of certain opioids. It’s important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions carefully when taking suboxone or other medication for opioid dependence or addiction.
Yes, methadone is an opioid drug, which means it is an opiate. Methadone is a synthetic opioid commonly used to treat pain, but it is also used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) programs for opioid addiction. Methadone is different from other opioids in some ways. It has a longer half-life than drugs like heroin, which means it stays in the body longer. This makes it helpful in managing opioid addiction by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Methadone is also less likely to produce the same intense euphoria as drugs like heroin, making it a safer alternative for people struggling with opioid addiction.
Opiate withdrawal is generally not life-threatening but can cause uncomfortable and distressing symptoms. However, severe complications can occur in rare cases, especially in people with underlying medical conditions. For example, dehydration due to severe vomiting or diarrhea can lead to electrolyte imbalances, which can cause heart or kidney failure. Pneumonia or other infections can also develop due to weakened immune system function during withdrawal, which can be dangerous in people with pre-existing health conditions.
Suppose you or someone you know is considering quitting opioids. In that case, it is critical to talk to a healthcare provider about the safest and most effective way to do so. However, it is essential to note that the risk of death from opiate withdrawal is much lower than the risk of death from an opioid overdose or other complications of opioid addiction. Seeking professional medical care and supervision during withdrawal can help manage symptoms and reduce the risk of complications.
Opiates can cause itching or pruritus as a side effect, which is thought to occur due to their impact on the central nervous system. Opiates bind to specific brain and spinal cord receptors, activating nerve fibers that transmit itching or other unpleasant sensations.
The exact mechanism by which opiates cause itching is not fully understood. It is believed to involve a complex interplay of various neurotransmitters, including histamine, serotonin, and other chemicals that regulate sensory processing.
Itching is a common side effect of many opiates, including morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Some people may be more susceptible to this side effect than others. The severity and duration of itching can vary depending on the dose and duration of opiate use. In some cases, antihistamines or other medications may be used to manage opiate-induced itching. Regardless, consulting with a healthcare provider before using additional medications is essential.
Yes, Percocet is an opioid medication that contains two active ingredients: oxycodone, which is a potent synthetic opioid, and acetaminophen, which is a non-opioid pain reliever. Oxycodone works by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which can help to alleviate pain but also has the potential for abuse and addiction.
Percocet is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe physical or psychological dependence. It is typically prescribed for managing moderate to severe pain. Still, it should only be used as directed by a healthcare provider and per the prescribed dosage and duration.
Yes, heroin is an opiate. It is derived from the opium poppy plant. It belongs to the same class of drugs as prescription opiates, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. Heroin is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in the United States. Heroin use can lead to addiction, overdose, and other serious health consequences.
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