A Guide to Opioids

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Presentation Description

The opioid crisis in the United States continues to wreak havoc, especially in the case of prescription opioid painkillers. Learn more about these dangerously addictive drugs and how you can seek help for yourself or a loved one. Learn more at https://www.crystalrunhealthcare.com/specialties/behavioral-health

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Presentation Transcript

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• Opioids are a type of drug derived from opium poppies. Today they are often lab synthesized. • Prescription opioids are commonly used for the short-term treatment of severe pain. The illegal street drug heroin is also an opioid. • Examples of prescription opioids include hydrocodone Vicodin oxycodone OxyContin Percocet morphine codeine oxymorphone and fentanyl.

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• Opioids have an extremely high risk of addiction particularly when used for long periods and/or in high doses. • Opioids hijack the brain’s natural reward system creating a dependency where feelings of pleasure cannot be felt without higher and higher doses of the drug. • The sensations of pain relief and relaxation are what constitute the “high” that addicted individuals find themselves chasing.

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• In 2012 more than 2 million Americans were estimated to abuse opioid painkillers while only 467000 were estimated to abuse heroin.¹ • The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that more than 130 Americans die each day from an opioid overdose.² • 21-29 of patients taking prescription opioids for chronic pain are estimated to misuse them in some way. Approximately 8-12 of such patients develop an addiction.²

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• Over time addicted individuals become susceptible to withdrawal symptoms like vomiting cold flashes muscle and bone pain diarrhea and severe cravings. • Overdose can slow breathing enough to deprive the brain of oxygen resulting in permanent neurological damage coma or death. • Changes to brain chemistry can have a noticeable effect on mood and behavior a formerly reliable professional can become untrustworthy and erratic.

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• Non-opioid alternatives for chronic pain include: • Over-the-counter painkillers ibuprofen aspirin acetaminophen • Massage and/or physical therapy • Steroid and/or anesthetic injections nerve blocks • Surgical intervention • Hypnosis meditation or other relaxation techniques

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• Because opioid drugs are so strong it can be dangerous to quit “cold turkey.” A safer option is to slowly taper down the dose. • Tapering may be recommended if opioids aren’t working well enough if a patient experiences severe side effects or if a doctor suspects a risk of overdose or substance abuse disorder. • The plan should be individualized to minimize withdrawal and maximize pain management. It should progress slowly the CDC recommends a decrease of 10 to start with careful monitoring.³

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• Common signs include: • Slurred speech uncoordinated movement appearing drowsy or “out of it” throughout the day • Suspicious medication-related behavior taking it for a long time going through it fast empty bottles piling up seeing a lot of different doctors to get pain meds • Problems at work and at home losing jobs financial issues fighting with family missing major events ignoring responsibilities

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• Have an honest talk with the doctor who prescribed the medicine. Your doctor may recommend a tapering plan or refer you to a detox facility. • If your addiction is severe consider a residential program for an immersive opioid addiction treatment experience. • For support at any point in your recovery journey turn to the behavioral health experts at Crystal Run Healthcare.

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Crystal Run Healthcare is a private New York medical practice dedicated to providing patients with the highest quality of care. Our Behavioral Health department is staffed by a knowledgeable and experienced team of psychiatrists psychologists and licensed clinical social workers. If you or one of your loved ones are struggling from opioid addiction you can easily book an appointment with many Crystal Run Healthcare behavioral health specialists through the website or contact us if you need additional assistance.

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1. https://drugabuse.com/featured/the-effects-of-opiates-on-the-body/ 2. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/opioid-overdose-crisis 3. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/clinical_pocket_guide_tapering-a.pdf

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