Not all addictions begin with a cigarette puff or in your parents’ liquor cabinet. Some start with a doctor’s prescription. What happens when young adults and even adolescents develop an unhealthy relationship with painkillers? In this article, we will explore the abuse of prescription painkillers and the NJ opiate detox and treatment options that are available to those struggling with addiction.
Prescription Painkiller Abuse
Opiate prescriptions are not uncommon. Most individuals are familiar with these drugs or have heard of names like Vicodin and Oxycontin. In fact, despite being highly addictive, adolescent opiate prescriptions have nearly doubled in the last twenty years, according to an article in The Charlotte Observer. The article, which features opiate use by young athletes, also presents startling statistics about the abuse of heroin by those abusing painkillers.
Eighty percent of heroin users made the switch to heroin after abusing narcotic painkillers, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
While not everyone prescribed opiate painkillers becomes addicted, continued use over time can lead to dependency. The body becomes accustomed to both the pain-relieving and chemical effects of opiates.
It is estimated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse that more than 52 million Americans over the age of 12 have abused painkillers in their lifetime. NJ has seen a steep increase in its opiate abuse numbers in the past several years. (View more infographics here.)
NJ Opiate Detox and Treatment
For those struggling with addiction to opiate painkillers, detox is the first step in recovery. Detox simply refers to the removal of a toxic substance from the body.
NJ opiate detox can be done at home, but can be challenging and unhealthy. Because withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult to withstand (and even deadly), medical detox is often recommended. Medication may be administered to help cope with withdrawal symptoms.
While detoxing is the first step, recovering from addiction is a lifelong process. One’s body may be rid of the abused substance, but behaviors must also change. Some medical detox programs will provide therapy as well. This is because recovery is most successful when both the body and mind are treated. A therapist will help an individual identify the root of their addiction. (It is not uncommon for disorders, such as depression and anxiety, to co-occur with substance abuse.) They will also help an individual build skills to cope with stress in a healthy way.
If you or someone you know is struggling with opiate abuse in New Jersey, call (855) 436-7792. GenPsych offers both outpatient ambulatory detox services and adult substance abuse treatment programs throughout NJ. For more information, visit our detox page here.