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Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Anyone who takes opioids is at risk of developing addiction. Your personal history and the length of time you use opioids play a role, but it's impossible to predict who's vulnerable to eventual dependence on and abuse of these drugs. Legal or illegal, stolen and shared, these drugs are responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the U.S. today.

Addiction is a condition in which something that started as pleasurable now feels like something you can't live without. Doctors define drug addiction as an irresistible craving for a drug, out-of-control and compulsive use of the drug, and continued use of the drug despite repeated, harmful consequences. Opioids are highly addictive, in large part because they activate powerful reward centers in your brain.

Opioids trigger the release of endorphins, your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters. Endorphins muffle your perception of pain and boost feelings of pleasure, creating a temporary but powerful sense of well-being. When an opioid dose wears off, you may find yourself wanting those good feelings back, as soon as possible. This is the first milestone on the path toward potential addiction.

At Solrei Behavioral Health in Orlando, Florida, our providers have extensive experience treating opioid addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, call the office today or request an appointment online for help. Telemedicine visits are also available.

How do you identify opioid abuse and addiction?

Is someone you love abusing opioid medications? It may not be easy to tell, especially in the early stages of addiction. Perhaps you've noticed changes in your loved one's moods or behavior that don't add up. Or maybe your intuition is telling you there's a problem. Even if you can't put your finger on anything specific, it's worth taking stock of your concerns. If your instincts are right, speaking up could save the life of someone dear to you.

Ask yourself some questions about your loved one's personal risk of addiction and the changes you may have noticed. If your answers point toward a possible addiction, reach out to your loved one's doctor. He or she is a critical partner if you determine it's time to take action.


According to National Institute of Health, in 2020, an estimated 2.7 million people aged 12 or older, in the United States had an opioid use disorder (OUD) in the past 12 months—including 2.3 million people with a prescription opioid use disorder. overdose deaths involving opioids have dramatically increased over the previous decade to 80,411 deaths in 2021. Besides overdose, consequences of the opioid crisis include a rising incidence of infants born dependent on opioids because their mothers used these substances during pregnancy and increased spread of infectious diseases, including HIV and hepatitis C (HCV), as was seen in 2015 in southern Indiana.

Effective prevention and treatment strategies exist for opioid misuse and use disorder but are highly underutilized across the United States. An initiative of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) began in 2015 to address the complex problem of prescription opioid and heroin use. In 2017, HHS announced five priorities for addressing the opioid crisis:

  1. improving access to treatment and recovery services

  2. promoting use of overdose-reversing drugs

  3. strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance

  4. providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction

  5. advancing better practices for pain management

Effective medications exist to treat opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications could help many people recover from opioid use disorder, but they remain highly underutilized. Fewer than half of private-sector treatment programs offer medications for opioid use disorders, and of patients in those programs who might benefit, only a third actually receive it. Overcoming the misunderstandings and other barriers that prevent wider adoption of these treatments is crucial for tackling the problem of opioid use disorder and the epidemic of opioid overdose in the United States.

Some factors increase a person's risk of opioid addiction even before they start taking these drugs — legally or otherwise. Your loved one is at increased risk of opioid addiction if he or she:

  • Is a younger age, specifically the teens or early 20s

  • Is living in stressful circumstances, including being unemployed or living below the poverty line

  • Has a personal or family history of substance abuse

  • Has a history of problems with work, family and friends

  • Has had legal problems in the past, including DUIs

  • Is in regular contact with high-risk people or high-risk environments where there's drug use

  • Has struggled with severe depression or anxiety

  • Tends to engage in risk-taking or thrill-seeking behavior

  • Uses tobacco heavily

What are opioids?

  • Opioids (also sometimes called narcotics) are powerful substances related to chemicals found in the opium poppy plant. Some opioids are used medically for pain relief.  Opioids are highly addictive. A person is at risk of developing an addiction to opioids after 3-5 days of taking a prescribed pain reliever. Approximately 3/4 of individuals who use heroin, started by using opioid pain relievers. Taking too many or taking very potent opioids can cause an overdose, which may result in death. Some examples of opioids include:

  • Heroin (aka Black Tar, Dope, Junk, or Smack) is not used medically, but can be bought on the street and is injected, smoked, or snorted. Heroin is also sometimes contaminated with fentanyl, carfentanil, and other very potent drugs, increasing the risk of accidental overdose and death.

  • Oxycodone (aka OxyContin, Oxy, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet, and Endocet),
    Hydrocodone (aka Vicodin, Norco, Lortab, Lorcet, and Vicoprofen),
    Codeine (found in combination medicines such as Tylenol #3 or Robitussin AC),
    Hydromorphone (aka Dilaudid), and
    Morphine (aka MS Contin and Roxanol) are all strong prescription pain medications, sometimes found in combination pills with acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other medicines.

  • Fentanyl (aka Sublimaze, Subsys, Duragesic, and China White) is a very potent prescription pain medication that is increasingly abused. Fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Only a tiny amount can cause a fatal overdose.

  • Methadone (aka Dolphin) is a long-acting prescription opioid that is sometimes used as part of the medical treatment of opioid addiction.

  • All of these drugs can be deadly, but help is available to treat people struggling with addiction.

How do you treat opioid addiction?

There are three main choices for medication to treat opioid addiction: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. These medications are used along with counseling and other support.

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*This a non-treatment consultation. You can discuss your needs with a provider to help determine if we are the right fit for each other.

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-  Albert Camus

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We all have unique needs and and at times need help. Solrei Behavioral Health focuses on creating individualized treatment plans in order to improve mental health. Our compassionate care guarantees comprehensive support. Learn more about some of our most common services.

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