Opioid Addiction

An opioid is a synthetic or natural agent that stimulates opioid receptors and produces opium-like effects. Opioids are used to treat pain but may also be abused because of their euphoric effects. Depending on the amount of drug taken, it can also have symptoms of drowsiness, mental confusion, nausea, constipation and can also depress respiration if taken in excessive. Commonly abused opioids include, codeine, fentanyl, heroin, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone.

Symptoms for opioid use disorder includes:
  • Using larger amounts of opioids overtime
  • Unsuccessful efforts to control opioid use
  • Spending a great deal of time to obtain and use opioids
  • Strong desire to use substance
  • Failure to fulfill major role obligations or social functioning
  • Development of tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms that occur after stopping or reducing opioid use (such as nausea, vomiting, muscle aches, diarrhea, fever, restlessness and insomnia)
Key Highlights
  • In 2014, 1.9 million people had an opioid use disorder related to prescription pain relivers, and an estimated 586,000 had an opioid use disorder related to heroin use
  • Nearly half of US opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription (CDC report from 2016)
  • In 2016, an estimated 6.3% prevalence of illicit drug use among pregnant women, compared with an 13.2% rate of drug use among nonpregnant (National Survey on Drug Use and Health-NSDUH)
  • In US, heroin use in 2016 was 0.5% for 8th graders, 0.6% for 10th graders and 0.7% for 12th The life time use of narcotics other than heroin among 12th graders was 7.8%
Treatment Approach for Opioid Use Disorder

Our office takes a pride in conducting a comprehensive assessment and treatment for individuals with substance use disorder managed by a group of skilled clinicians, who takes an integrative approach in providing variety of services, including outpatient medication assisted detox program (induction, maintenance and stabilization) and evidence-based psychotherapy. Our clinic also offers education and support for families helping their loved one through the recovery process.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder

Subutex (Buprenorphine) / Suboxone (Buprenorphine/ Naloxone)
Buprenorphine is a schedule III-controlled drug. It is a synthetic opioid medication that minimize the effects of opioid withdrawal and reduce cravings. Buprenorphine and the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone are very effective in the short-term and long-term treatment and management of opioid dependence. Buprenorphine alone or in the combination of naloxone work to prevent withdrawal symptoms, however it does not provide euphoria and sedation caused by heroin or other opioids and carries a low risk of overdose. Buprenorphine is currently available as a sublingual tablet containing buprenorphine only, or as a sublingual tablet or sublingual film containing buprenorphine and naloxone. In November 2017, FDA approved Sublocade, an extended-release buprenorphine once a month injection for the treatment of moderate to severe opioid use disorder in adult patients. Our experienced clinical staff will medically supervise the stabilization period and recovery, followed by continuing monitoring and engaging clients in the ongoing process of rehabilitation.

This document is created by Azmeena Hashem (Doctor of Nursing Practice, NP-C)

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