Warning signs and treatment options

In 2014, the top ten drugs, in order, that killed people were:  Heroin, cocaine, oxycodone, alprazolam, fentanyl, morphine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydrocodone, diazepam.

(source: http://time.com/4607935/these-are-the-10-most-deadly-drugs/)

Are we trying to turn you into a chemist by knowing what all these drugs are? Of course not! But we do want you to know that these drugs are killing people at alarming rates. Six of the top ten drugs listed above are opioids (five true opioids, one a synthetic opioid) and heroin is the #1 killer! The point of telling you this is so you make the connection that HEROIN=DEATH in many, many case, and that HEROIN RUINS YOUR LIFE in almost all cases. This is just fact, not a scare tactic. 

Warning Signs

As you already read, the most common route to trying heroin is through prescription pain medications. It’s a slippery slope! What are the warning signs then of someone who may be using heroin or any other opioid? 

When someone begins abusing drugs, their behavior usually changes. You will see mood swings, a decrease in overall enjoyment in activities, impulsive actions, distancing from you, hanging out with a new group (that is often known for doing drugs), 

Warning signs specific to opioid use according to the Instructional Resource Packet for Heroin & Opioids are:

“changes in physical appearance, academic or social behavior; drastic and sudden changes in peer circles/friends; evidence of paraphernalia; unusual sleepiness or drowsiness; mental confusion; slurred speech; intoxicated behavior; slow or shallow breathing; pinpoint pupils; slow heartbeat; low blood pressure; and difficulty waking the person from sleep.”


Methadone, Buprenorphine and Suboxone are the medications used to treat people with opioid addiction. They are a synthetic form of opium. They work by staving off the horrendous withdrawals but they have an added blocking element so that person doesn’t get high from them. (They do for opioid addicts what nicotine patches do for smokers.) 

The most effective rehab involves a combination of social supports, counseling and medicated assisted therapies (MAT—use of the medicines listed above). The social support is huge because addicts often feel like they are treated as sub-human given the stigma surrounding addiction.  And that stigma is where much of the shame, embarrassment, and horrendous self-talk creeps in, disabling the recovery process.   

Even though the use of MAT has found such success (it prevents overdose deaths by 40-60% of cases) most rehab centers in America are not able to use it due to its expense.

Too many lives are lost and families torn apart—physically and emotionally—from this national crisis, but there is hope! 

If you see someone struggling do not hesitate to investigate further. You could be saving a life. The next post will tell you just how you go about doing that in real time.

Post Question:

What did you think when you heard that 6 of the top ten drugs that killed people were opioids? How does that make you feel?

Answer the post question here

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