What Is An Opiate Detox Program?

One of the most highly addictive families of drugs, both legal and illegal, is opiates. It is easy to quickly develop a need for opiate prescription painkillers, which can branch into illegal opiates such as heroin. What is an opiate detox program? How does it differ from other detox programs?

While many monitored detox programs support the body and spirit without medications as drugs leave the system, the weaning or tapering off during opiate addiction often requires medication assistance. Because detox from opiates can be so uncomfortable and, depending on the number of years you’ve been using, dangerous, medications to lessen the rebound pain you may feel and the general misery of withdrawal can increase your chances of success.

Dangerous in Prescription and Illegal Forms

Opioids are a slippery slope, particularly if you are given a prescription to treat pain. You may be given a slow release opiate to treat nerve pain that works for a time, but then your physician may want to taper off the medication to reduce your risk of addiction. You may seek out the care of another doctor who can provide you with more meds. You may start to struggle to pay for this second prescription and choose to sell some illegally.

You may grind up the pills to override the slow release mechanism designed to protect the opiate receptors in your nervous system from overload. In each case, your nervous system is seeking a higher rush of dopamine from your opiate medications. Prescription opiates that may put you at risk of addiction include:

  • fentanyl
  • codeine
  • morphine
  • oxycodone or oxymorphone
  • hydrocodone

If you have have been given a prescription for any of these drugs, you have been exposed to opiates. The slow release coating on many of these in pill form is formulated to protect you from the rush that often leads to addiction. Illegal opiates commonly found on the black market include:

  • heroin
  • opium
  • compounds of fentanyl

Unlike prescription opiates found in pill form, illegal opiates purchased on the street include a risk of contaminants. Additionally, since many of them need to be either smoked or injected, the risk of damage to your body increases with each dose. An opiate detox program will need to provide you with care to address rebound pain, needle wounds, and possible lung damage. You will need monitoring as to your liquid intake; the nausea of opiate detox can make it very difficult to take in enough fluids to protect your kidneys, liver and gut. You may need IV fluids to help you stay hydrated and dietary support to make sure you’re taking in enough calories. If you have suffered tissue damage at injection sites, wound care, pain management and infection control may also be part of your detox plan. It’s also important to note what opiates do to the gut. Opiates can slow the digestive process, leading to bowel obstruction or perforation.

As you taper off from opiates, you may need to medicate to lower the risk of uncontrollable vomiting or bowel blockages. Opiates can slow the respiratory process. While your lung capacity is not diminished, you may have suffered a slowing of the respiratory system, or a complete shutdown of your breathing process if you have OD’d in the past. Because it’s possible to aspirate any vomit you bring up during respiratory slowdown, you may have infections that need to be treated. Both legal and illegal opiates can suppress the immune system.

Undergoing opiate detox means that you may already be dealing with chronic infections or constant illness. The detox symptoms of nausea and a runny nose may be made worse by underlying infections, both viral and bacterial. An effective opiate detox program will support your physical well-being while you taper off the drug, including help with pain management. You will also have access to counseling to help manage any rebound symptoms of mental illness that come up as you detox. Ready to get started? Call us today at 833-497-3812 to start the path back to health.