What Does Meth Look Like

What Does Meth Look Like

Identifying the Signs of Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of America’s most notorious addictive substances. Use and manufacture of the drug are depicted in TV shows and movies with some regularity. These portrayals sometimes take a romantic or glamorous form. However, there is nothing glamorous about meth use. Anyone who consumes the drug can suffer a variety of serious health harms. Those harms include addiction and overdose. They also include other kinds of potentially lasting damage to your mental and physical functions.

Concerned that someone you know is using meth? Awareness of what the drug looks like can help you spot a potential problem. Knowledge of meth’s characteristic odors can also be important. The same holds true for the settings in which manufacture and use of the drug often occur. If you notice any signs of meth consumption, it might be time seek help for your affected friend or loved one.

What Is Meth?

What is meth? In other words, how is meth categorized and classified by scientists and doctors? Methamphetamine belongs to the amphetamine family of substances. Like all amphetamines, meth is a stimulant. This means that it speeds up the usual rate of activity in nerve cells in your:

  • Brain
  • Spinal cord

Together, these two structures form your central nervous system. Meth also speeds up the activity rate in your sympathetic nervous system. This system triggers involuntary activation of your “fight-or-flight” response. Things affected by that response include your:

  • Heart rate
  • Core body temperature
  • Blood pressure
  • Digestive system
  • Level of sweat production

The vast majority of the meth distributed and sold in America is made illegally. A small percentage of the drug is sold legally as the medication Desoxyn. Today, most meth comes from Mexico. Hidden or clandestine labs also operate in various parts of the U.S.

What Does Meth Look Like

Not all methamphetamine looks the same. Instead, there are three common forms of meth: powder, base and crystal. Meth powder, sometimes referred to as speed, typically has a whitish or off-white color. It can be compacted under pressure to form pills.

Methamphetamine base is a brown, yellow or white substance with an oily or damp texture. Even excluding differences in color, batches of this substance are not uniform in appearance. Instead, base may look waxy or paste-like. Crystal gets its name from its crystalline or rock-like appearance. This form of meth is often translucent, which means that light passes through out. Crystal meth may also have a more solid, whitish color.

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

What Does Meth Smell Like When Smoked

Meth powder and base are not typically smoked. However, users can smoke the crystal version of the drug. What does meth smell like when it’s smoked? There is no single answer to this question. Why not? Meth labs can use a variety of chemicals to manufacture the drug. In turn, these chemicals have an impact on how it smells when burned.

Meth smoke can have a non-specific chemical-like odor. It may also smell more specifically like household cleaning products. In addition, meth smoke can have an odor similar to burning or burnt plastic. No matter the particular odor you smell, one thing is certain. Burning meth has a strong scent that will likely stand out and grab your attention.

What Does Meth Taste Like

Meth can also vary substantially in its taste. Some users of the drug describe its powder or pill form as tasting bitter. All forms of meth may also taste like the chemicals used to make them. In addition, flavoring agents are sometimes added to the drug. These agents help reduce the unpleasant taste of methamphetamine. They may also be used to help the drug seem more generally appealing.

What Does Meth Paraphernalia Look Like

When it comes to drugs, paraphernalia is a term with multiple meanings. It can refer to the equipment involved in the manufacture of illegal substances. It can also refer to anything used to hide illegal substances or consume them.

What does meth paraphernalia look like? Perhaps the most well-known item is a metal or glass pipe used to smoke the crystal form of the drug. You may also notice glass bongs that serve the same purpose.

A wide range of paraphernalia are associated with making meth in clandestine labs. Common examples include:

  • Respirator masks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Various kinds of glassware
  • Hoses made from rubber or plastic
  • Lithium batteries

 

A wide assortment of chemicals are also used to make illegal meth. The list of these chemicals includes things such as:

  • Hydrochloric, muriatic or sulfuric acid
  • Camping fuel
  • Pseudoephedrine- or ephedrine-based cold tablets or capsules
  • Anhydrous ammonia
  • Lithium extracted from batteries
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Lye
  • Ether

All of these substances have a legal, legitimate use. It is only their use in meth manufacture that makes them illegal.

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

How to Recognize the Signs of Meth Cooking

Clandestine meth labs are makeshift facilities designed to produce, or cook, illegal forms of the drug. These labs can be set up anyplace where there is room for them to fit. No matter where you live, you may find one on your street or in your neighborhood or area.

What are the signs of a meth cooking operation? Depending on your situation, you may notice any number of things. One potential telltale sign is a smell in the air that resembles rotten eggs, cat urine or ammonia. You may also notice a house or shed with covered or blacked out windows. Yard or vegetation damage caused by the burning or dumping of chemicals is another possible indicator.

Many meth labs are protected by multiple layers of security. Measures in place may include “No Trespassing” signs and strategically located outdoor cameras or monitors. In addition, they may include high fences and/or guard dogs.

Certain kinds of trash can also point to the presence of a meth cooking operation. Items you may spot include:

  • Large numbers of cold tablet packages
  • Coffee filters that are stained or coated in a powdery substance
  • Broken-down lithium batteries
  • Piles of empty chemical containers
  • Plastic bottles with holes punched into them
  • Used rubber gloves
  • Discarded pieces of hose or plastic

 

Tweaking and Other Meth Warning Signs

Even without smelling anything or seeing actual meth, you may be able to tell if someone is using the drug. One classic sign is “tweaking.” This term refers to a grouping of symptoms that can occur after a period of heavy meth use. Such symptoms may include:

  • Temporary loss of the ability to experience meth’s typical drug effects
  • Extreme agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • A powerful urge to use more meth
  • Violent outbursts
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusional thinking

 

The signs of tweaking overlap in many ways with the effects of meth withdrawal. Other potential signs that someone you know is withdrawing from the drug include:

  • A depressed, irritable or anxious mental state
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of physical energy
  • Unusual slowing down or speeding up of their physical or mental reflexes

 

Withdrawal is just one sign that a person who uses meth has become addicted to the drug. Other indicators of addiction include:

  • Losing control over how much meth they use, or how often they use it
  • Having a routine that revolves around obtaining meth, using it and recovering from
  • Turning down other activities in favor of using meth
  • Not halting a pattern of meth use that clearly causes them significant harm
  • Developing a rising tolerance to meth’s stimulant effects

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

How to Help a Loved One Using Meth

The best thing you can do for a loved one using meth is encourage them to enter a treatment program. This is not always easy to do. Many people who regularly use the drug have undergone profound mental and emotional changes. These changes may leave them unable to think clearly or rationally. A long-term user of meth may also be paranoid, delusional or violent. In addition, like anyone else affected by addiction, they may be in denial about their condition.

Try to approach the topic of seeking treatment as gently as possible. It helps to plan this kind of conversation in advance. It also helps to seek the advice of addiction specialists or intervention counselors.

Forms of Effective Treatment for Meth Addiction

Effective treatment for meth addiction is psychotherapy-based. The treatments of choice are behavioral therapies. Therapies of this type help your loved one change behaviors that support ongoing addiction. One option, cognitive behavioral therapy, is specifically known to help people with meth-related problems. Other therapies used to treat stimulant addiction in general include:

  • Contingency management
  • 12-step facilitation therapy
  • The Matrix Model

 

Family therapy may also be used in the treatment of all forms of substance addiction.

Each form of therapy provides its own treatment benefits. The right combination of options can help your loved one do things such as:

  • Reduce their cravings for meth
  • Cope with stressful situations that may increase their cravings
  • Stay sober during and after treatment
  • Add a self-help group to their larger meth recovery plan

Learn More About Meth and Effective Addiction Treatment at Pathfinders

If you think someone you know is using meth, you may have a number of pressing questions. For example, what does meth look like? What does it smell like? How can you tell if some is cooking meth? What are the signs of meth addiction?

Get answers to these important questions at Pathfinders. With our help, you can detect the potential signs that your friend or family member is using meth. Pathfinders is also a premier provider of treatment for methamphetamine addiction. No matter the extent of your loved one’s addiction symptoms, we offer customized recovery options that suit their needs. To learn more about our comprehensive meth program, call us today.

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Does Meth Remain in Your System a Long Time?

One of the most commonly asked questions from individuals with substance use disorders is how long certain substances stay in your system. This question is often raised for a few different reasons.

Someone might be curious about the length of time meth stays in your system because they’re ready to detox. Other times, it might be because they were sober and slipped into relapse and have a drug test approaching they need to pass.

The best way to understand how long meth stays in your system and how it behaves is by really becoming educated on what meth is and how your body reacts to it. Let’s take a look at this incredibly complex drug and its role in the lives of individuals who abuse it.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a synthetic stimulant that has a reputation for its highly addictive properties. This drug interacts with the central nervous system, leading to an intense release of dopamine, serotonin, and chemicals in the brain that manifests certain feelings and emotions when we engage in certain behaviors.

Technically, there are legal formulations of methamphetamine, such as narcolepsy medication Desoxyn. However, as an illegal narcotic manufactured on the black market, meth is a Schedule II substance on the federal and most state levels.

Throughout the 90s, methamphetamine experienced a boom in certain regions of the United States, leading to challenges with clandestine labs created by users looking to produce the drug themselves. Many of these labs led to explosions because of the crude setup and dangerous substances used to manufacture low-quality meth.

This low-quality version of the drug, otherwise known as crank, is only a fraction of the purity seen with the current version that’s flooded American streets. Many people consider meth, crank, and speed to be the same substance. However, individuals with an ear to the streets consider this to be false, as each of these terms describes a completely different substance, respectively.

Crank

Crank refers to the crudely manufactured version of methamphetamine that’s formulated in backyard and basement labs in remote areas of the United States. The popularity of these labs decreased after DEA crackdowns led to arrests in large numbers.

Additionally, many of the ingredients required to produce this version of meth are on the FDA’s banned substances list or are heavily tracked in an effort to observe buyer behavior. Crank is also known as shake and bake, bathtub crank, biker crank, and easter bunny dope.

Meth

Meth is the name that’s commonly used to refer to the current versions of methamphetamine that are circulating on the black market. Other names for this highly potent, pure form of the drug are glass, ice, tina, clear, and go-fast.

Large quantities of this drug are produced in huge warehouses known as superlabs throughout parts of Mexico. Drug cartels are behind the formulation, creation, packaging, smuggling, and distribution of this drug and rule the market with an iron fist.

It’s not uncommon for seized batches of this drug to test at nearly 100% purity. What used to be a drug considered to be approaching extinction as far as use goes has returned with a vengeance. Currently, meth is the number two most consumed drug in the entire world. This ranking is a side effect of the silent explosion of use that went almost unnoticed because of the opiate epidemic.

Speed

Speed is a term used to describe the pill form of methamphetamine. In the 70s, methamphetamine pills became popular on the black market before cocaine and crystal meth took over. Despite their decreased popularity in America, these pills still exist and are more common in parts of Europe as well as Asia the Middle East.

Despite the different forms of methamphetamine, many of the short-term effects are similar across all variations.

Short-term Effects of Meth

Meth is an incredibly long-acting drug with varying effects felt at different stages of intoxication. Because of the duration of the high, users normally require small doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects.

Despite these lowered doses, the presence of particularly intense short-term effects still has the potential to affect users in a very powerful and highly addictive manner.

Normally users either smoke meth via glass pipe or inject it with an insulin syringe. When either of these methods is administered, the drug reaches the brain very quickly, with injection being the faster of the two.

The result is what’s known as a “rush” – the sudden onset of intense pleasure and excitement. Users may also orally ingest meth or snort it nasally, both of which produce a much longer high with an increased presence of physical energy.

When the drug is swallowed or snorted instead of smoked or injected, the sudden, intense rush is replaced by a constantly maintained spark of motivation lasting for up to 12 hours.

The overall period of intoxication and time the drug remains present in the blood are dictated by what’s known as the half-life. When your body metabolizes the drug faster, the high isn’t felt as long, and the duration in which traces are detectable by a drug test is shorter as well.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Despite the fact that they’re both stimulants, meth, and cocaine exit the body at different rates. Cocaine is quickly removed and nearly completely metabolized in the body, while meth remains unchanged and hangs around much longer. This is what leads to the extended period of intoxication.

Normally the window of intoxication is anywhere between 10 and 24 hours. The overall period is heavily dependent on how much is ingested and at what time of day, how it’s administered, the body’s chemistry, and the function of the liver and kidneys.

Understanding these things about the elimination of methamphetamine from the body leaves the final question of the actual half-life of meth.

The Half-life of Methamphetamine

Understanding the half-life of meth is critical if you’re in the company of someone that suffers from meth abuse disorder. Being aware of this important number allows you to gauge when the individual can expect to experience the initial stages of withdrawal.

Normally, the half-life of methamphetamines in the bloodstream is somewhere between four and six hours. However, this doesn’t mean that all traces of meth are eliminated after this period.

It takes the course of about five half-lives for a substance to completely exit the body. After applying the appropriate math, it’s safe to assume that meth takes about 25 hours to fully vacate the bloodstream.

It’s important to keep in mind that the chemical breakdown products of meth can still be detected in other body systems, including urine, hair, and other sources. The following section highlights each different type of detection and how long they’re effective at tracing meth.

Detecting Meth in Drug Tests

Even when meth is eliminated from the blood, the drug is still detectable in certain types of tests. The following list contains information about each specific testing model:

Urine Tests

Urine testing is normally the most common form of detection when it comes to substance abuse. These tests are conducted fairly quickly and aren’t intrusive. The individual produces a urine sample in a cup, and the contents are examined with a panelled testing component. Normally urine tests can detect the presence of meth for a period of one to five days.

Blood Tests

Remember, blood tests follow the same timeline as the half-life of meth. This means that the drug is only detectable in the blood for about 25 hours.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Saliva Tests

Drug tests that consist of saliva swabs are normally effective at detecting meth for up to two days after the last use. These tests require an absorbent material to swab the mouth or tongue.

Hair Tests

Hair tests can also be used to detect the presence of meth. All it takes is a half-inch sample of hair to detect the presence of meth for up to 90 days prior to the test.

Meth Testing Variables to Consider

The detection times of meth using these drug tests change from person to person. However, there are other factors that may influence the overall detection times.

These factors include the following:

  • The individual’s overall health in question has a strong influence on how fast the drug exits the body. If you have a clean bill of health, your liver probably functions at a high level, meaning toxins are eliminated much faster.
  • When someone uses meth in large quantities very frequently, the detection times will increase significantly. This may be the largest contributing factor to the length of time meth can be picked up by drug tests.

It’s important to remain aware that large quantities and frequent use cause meth to accumulate within a user’s body. This accumulation presents a significant increase in the chances of an overdose being experienced.

Because meth has such a long period of intoxication, when users repeatedly ingest the drug, the body doesn’t have time to recover from previous doses. This accumulation is incredibly dangerous and has the potential to cause stroke, heart attack, and other negative heart-related consequences.

Additionally, large accumulations of meth also increase the chances of experiencing a negative mental health event as a result of meth intoxication. Meth-induced psychosis is common, and can produce potentially dangerous side effects.

This is why it’s critical that users have a strategy for eliminating meth from the system before attempting recovery. Once the drug is completely expelled from the body, individuals can move forward with recovery without the constant fear of meth-induced psychosis and other challenges.

Getting Meth Out of Your System

How do you get methamphetamines out of your system? The only way meth efficiently leaves the body is through the liver. The liver must process this substance, and there’s no other way to eliminate it from your system once it’s been ingested.

Avoiding subsequent doses will help you avoid larger amounts of the drug from building inside of your body. This gives your liver a chance to process the drug and effectively eliminate it from all of your body systems.

Seeking Treatment

If your goal is eliminating meth from your body, the most logical course of action is to enter a medically-assisted detox program. These programs allow you to safely go through the detoxification process under the direct supervision of medical and mental health professionals. This supervision gives the client significant advantages in terms of successfully completing the detox process.

The most severe side-effects of withdrawal may be avoided by taking advantage of medication options provided by a physician. Additionally, being monitored by professionals decreases your chances of experiencing a more severe medical event because of things like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and anxiety, which can all be side effects of detox.

When Meth is Completely Eliminated from the Body, The Road to Recovery

The post-detox period is defined as the time immediately following the drug being expelled from the body. Individuals may deal with the most significant mental challenges associated with recovery during this period.

The mind and body must acclimate to the absence of meth, and this transition can present significant challenges. It’s during this period that clients may become uncomfortable and mentally exhausted.

This struggle may lead to an increased risk for relapse and participating in an inpatient treatment program can help clients safely navigate these rough patches. It’s critical that clients receive education and guidance in the form of mental health counseling and various types of therapy to help them manage their emotions and behaviors.

Learning how to properly manage your emotions and behaviors is one of the largest elements of recovery, as you experience life with a “sober mind.”

Pathfinders Recovery Centers specializes in assisting clients with managing this journey back into normal life and environment. Our compassionate staff is well-trained in providing various levels of care and promoting recovery and mental wellness.

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery and reclaim your life, we encourage you to contact a member of our Admissions department to learn more about our treatment options.

Cocaine Side Effects And How To Tackle Them

Cocaine side Effects

Prevalence of Cocaine Side Effects

Pathfinders Recovery Center consistently emphasizes the need for cocaine side effects treatment. With the right treatment, not only can the client live a happier life but even potentially avoid drug usage. Located in Colorado and Arizona, their expertise of 25 years has helped many people who have gotten admission to the center. They offer multiple forms of care that suit best for the client and help them passage back to society.

Cocaine is consumed by around 14-21 million individuals all over the world, most of which suffer from dire cocaine side effects. It is easier for cocaine to be misused and create an unhealthy dependence between the said drug and the consumer.  Also called cocaine hydrochloride, it is one of the most stimulating and dangerous substances.

It is often used for medical intentions as it helps in relieving pain and anesthetic purposes but has a high potential for substance abuse. In cases like that, it is crucial to seek help from rehabilitation centers to get adequate help as cocaine side effects can get too much to handle.

Why it’s Important to Address Cocaine Side Effects

The longer a person consumes cocaine, the further their brain adapts to it. To get the same high, the individual will need a higher dosage. This may result in a hazardous addiction or overdose.

Stronger, more regular dosages may potentially induce long-term alterations in the chemistry of the brain. The body becomes dependent on the substance. This might make it difficult to concentrate, sleep, and retain information from memory.

Even in younger and otherwise healthy people, use may result in a catastrophic heart attack. Taking big quantities is linked to unpredictable and perhaps aggressive behavior.

This is why it is so important to address cocaine side effects.

Cocaine Basics

The medicine floods the pleasure-controlling areas of the brain with dopamine, an organic biochemical transmitter in the body. This increase generates a high, which is characterized by heightened sensations of energy and attentiveness. It is derived from the coca leaves, which are indigenous to South America. Cocaine, as a nervous system stimulator, raises key life processes including blood pressure, core temperature, and pulse rate. Cocaine users often need less rest, have less hunger, and have greater energy and concentration. They may be more chatty and lively, have greater self-confidence, and feel better.

At this stage, a cocaine dependence may develop, leading a habitual cocaine abuser to feel melancholy, irritated, and worried without it, in addition to desires for the substance. This is the phase where more dire cocaine side effects start showing up. People may continue to misuse cocaine to manage their pleasure and satisfaction and avoid the side effects of cocaine withdrawal. This fundamentally affects the brain’s motivation and reward circuits. Cocaine consumers may believe that they need the substance to feel normal again, which eventually leads up to further cocaine side effects.

Side Effects of Cocaine use

Cocaine side Effects

Any usage, whether for short or long periods, is linked with adverse effects. Cocaine side effects are no different.

Cocaine usage causes restricted blood vessels, pupil dilation, elevated body temperature, breathing rate, and hypertension in the short term.

When short-term usage crosses the border into long-term consumption, the chances of additional and exacerbated undesirable outcomes grow. These long-term health hazards demonstrate the devastating effect cocaine has on the physical health of its users. Cocaine consumption may lead to serious medical consequences. Here are some of the major cocaine side effects:

1. Cocaine effects on breath

Major respiratory and pulmonary problems of cocaine addiction have been recorded more often in recent times, with the majority of patients being injectable consumers, freebase intakers, or crack inhalers. Cocaine effects on breath include acute and chronic effects on the lungs. Cocaine’s effects on the lungs vary depending on the mode of ingestion, dosage size, level of exposure, and the presence of related drugs such as heroin, talcum, or marijuana.

Smoking cocaine may prevent oxygen from reaching the circulation and harm oxygen-transporting vessels, which is responsible for cocaine effects on breath. This may cause significant breathing problems and serious health implications, including irreversible lung damage. Asthma, pneumonia, bronchial asthma, respiratory failure, and emphysema may occur in the user.

2. Cocaine effects on the nose and face

Consuming cocaine via the nose daily may degrade the cartilage and potentially cause the nose to collapse if there is no tissue joining the nostrils. Cocaine effects on the nose and face happen because it restricts blood circulation to the septum, resulting in a gaping wound and a deformed overall nose shape. While the “high” from ingesting cocaine via the nose may last longer than smoking or shooting up, it may cause significant harm.

Cocaine effects on the nose and face cause mucous membrane walls to be damaged and blood circulation to the nose to be disrupted. Although direct contact with cocaine causes damage to the membrane linings, reduced blood flow is caused by cocaine’s effects on neuron releases in the brain, notably adrenaline and norepinephrine. These substances aid in the regulation of blood flow all through the body.

As addiction develops, repeated doses are required to sustain the “high” effect of cocaine. Most of the harm done will be irreversible unless drug usage is stopped. In other terms, once addiction takes hold, cocaine effects on the nose and face keep getting stronger.

3. Cocaine effects on skin

Cocaine has a wide range of effects on the human body. It may harm the skin as well as several internal organs and systems, causing dire cocaine effects on skin. Long-term cocaine usage may harm many different parts of the body. Given that the skin is the body’s biggest organ, it’s no wonder that cocaine is awful for it. Cocaine may gradually destroy this crucial organ that shields the inner workings of our bodies, causing inflammation, blisters, redness, and even rotting of the skin.

Cocaine effects on skin may be caused by a variety of variables, including the reducing agents used to make the drug, how it’s delivered (intravenously vs snorting), and other unhealthy behaviors that might contribute to skin problems, such as poor food, lack of cleanliness, and inadequate sleep.

4. Cocaine Side Effects | Short Term

Because restricted blood vessels impair the circulation of blood in the body, cocaine side effects such as:

  • Stomach discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sickness
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

 

Elevated blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reduced blood flow through the arteries, may raise the heart attack risk.

Cocaine usage may produce behavioral changes because it raises the quantity of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. It may cause a person to become more unpredictable and aggressive, as well as more confident and unstoppable, increasing the possibility of them engaging in risky activities that might result in injury.

5. Long Term Cocaine Effects

Consistent and long-term cocaine usage may lead a person to develop a resistance to the drug, requiring more of it to get the same benefits. When the amount or frequency of usage is increased, the effects of cocaine on their mental and physical health are exacerbated.

Because cocaine messes with the way the human brain processes neurotransmitters, users need increasing amounts of the substance to feel “normal.” Cocaine addicts (like most other drug addicts) feel unmotivated in other aspects of their lives.

Cocaine, when taken or snorted daily, may harm the nasal lining and the structure that separates the nostrils. There is a danger of blood poisoning, plasma infections (such as HIV or hepatitis) through sharing gear, ruptured blood vessels, and skin sores while injecting cocaine.

One of the long-term cocaine effects is heart issues. Some individuals suffer from mental health issues, such as chronic depression. Symptoms of ‘cocaine psychosis’ include hostility and unpleasant hallucinations, frequently of insects beneath the skin.

6. Side Effects of Cocaine Withdrawal

Side effects of cocaine withdrawal may include

  • Extreme cravings
  • Despair
  • Anxiety,
  • Furious outbursts
  • Trembling
  • Sleeping difficulty,
  • Muscular soreness

 

These may endure for weeks.

Because cocaine interferes with the brain’s chemical bonus system, a person who is withdrawing may not be able to sense any pleasure feelings without the stimulus of cocaine to activate dopamine. As a result, individuals who stop using cocaine may feel extreme desires for months or even years. Relapses are rather frequent, to avoid side effects of cocaine withdrawal.

Cocaine Treatment Options

Cocaine side Effects

Substance use disorder (SUD) is complicated, and the most successful treatment method is one that is tailored to an individual’s requirements. Many cocaine treatment options use a mix of various tried-and-true approaches. Although research into possible pharmacological therapies for cocaine addiction is underway, no FDA-approved drugs are now accessible for either cocaine detoxification or long-term treatment of cocaine side effects. As a result, behavioral therapies are the main remedy for cocaine consumption.

On top of the hazards of cocaine usage and harrowing cocaine side effects, those with substance use disorders face the social stigma that comes with addiction. Addiction, on the other hand, is not a choice nor a sign of weakness; it is a complicated medical disorder that may be effectively treated. Many individuals enjoy meaningful lives in recovery with the correct care.

Cocaine treatment options may start with a drug detox program that offers 24-hour medical oversight and management to protect the client’s safety. Although no particular drugs are presently licensed specifically to treat cocaine dependence and addiction, medical detox programs may employ pharmaceuticals to assist control cocaine side effects.

If outpatient counseling and treatment are insufficient, a residential treatment program will not only provide the client with access to peers and counselors but will also separate the client from any possible triggering conditions that would normally induce them to use cocaine. It can eventually help eliminate the other cocaine side effects too.

A residential program will enable the individual to leave their regular life behind to more deeply examine the causes of their addiction, break unproductive behaviors, and be more responsible for keeping clean.

Pathfinders is a recovery center that specializes in treating substance use disorders in multiple ways. Not only do they help in eliminating cocaine side effects, but their team have expertise in treating substance use disorders across the spectrum. Joining a recovery center may not guarantee an instant cure. It can, however, be the first and most important step towards a new, free life, changing its trajectory through your input and hard work in an environment designed to help you every step of the way. At Pathfinders, they offer clients comprehensive levels of treatment.

 

With a full continuum of care options, the team at Pathfinders Recovery is ready to meet you (or your loved one’s) needs with a customized plan of care, built around your unique needs and individual considerations. Please don’t hesitate to call today and speak to their dedicated Admissions team!

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: A Deeper Look

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Combating the Fentanyl Overdose Epidemic

Turn on the news and you’ll undoubtedly hear about fentanyl use in many communities today. It’s quite likely that you may know someone who will succumb to fentanyl overdose symptoms at some point. This is because around 60% of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. today are caused by fentanyl. Clearly, more education is needed in regards to this drug.

Fentanyl as an adulterant has become quite popular. Initially drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine were laced with fentanyl. Many people didn’t know that fentanyl made these drugs more powerful and deadly. Today, people know about fentanyl and some will even admit that it’s their substance of choice.

What You Should Know About Fentanyl

When someone is addicted to fentanyl, they’re addicted to a drug that’s 50 – 100 times more potent than heroin. This is why the drug poses such a high risk for an accidental overdose. Since fentanyl is still being added to many other drugs, there’s the added danger that a person may not even know that they’re taking it.

What is Fentanyl?

Although fentanyl originated as a prescription medication (a.k.a. Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze) that was used to treat severe pain, it’s now being made and used illegally as well. In this regard it’s similar to morphine. Tolerance to synthetic opioids occurs when someone needs a higher dose or needs to use it more frequently to obtain the desired effects.

Where is Fentanyl Found?

Besides being found in heroin and cocaine, counterfeit fentanyl pills are now hitting the street. They’re being sold as ecstasy, oxycodone, and alprazolam. These pills are widely available and easy to purchase. This is dangerous because many people aren’t even aware of what they’re taking.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to fentanyl?

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) warns that someone may come into contact with fentanyl without even knowing it. Therefore, it’s important to understand what some of the signs of exposure in non users include. Some of the things you should watch for include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blue lips or fingernail beds
  • Cold, clammy skin

 

How Should You Handle Fentanyl?

Recently there’s been a lot of talk regarding harm reduction and opioid safety. This is caused by the rise in usage and deaths from such drugs. For the safe handling of fentanyl the CDC suggests you take the following precautions:

  • Whenever you’re in an area where you suspect there’s fentanyl, make sure you don’t eat, drink, smoke, or use the bathroom.
  • Never touch your eyes, mouth, or nose if you’ve touched a surface that you believe may be contaminated with fentanyl.
  • Don’t do anything that may cause the fentanyl to become airborne. If you believe that the drug is already in the air, make sure you wear respiratory protection.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you think you’ve been exposed to fentanyl. This is something you should do even if you wore gloves while in the area. Make sure you don’t use a hand sanitizer or a bleach solution because doing so will enhance the drug’s absorption into your skin.

 

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t take much fentanyl to overdose. Police and first responders are in harm’s way each and every time they respond to a suspected fentanyl overdose. While there are policies in place to help protect them, these policies continually need updated as we learn more about this drug.

How and Why Do People Use Fentanyl?

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Fentanyl is made in a lab. It’s then sold in the form of a powder. Many dealers mix it with other drugs since it only takes a very small amount of inexpensive fentanyl to get high. This is very dangerous because most people don’t even realize that they’re taking fentanyl. Since their body isn’t use to the effects of fentanyl they’re more likely to overdose.

Those who find out that they’re taking fentanyl may willingly replace their other drugs with it. They will typically use it in an eye dropper or as a nasal spray. Some people will make pills out of it so that it looks like other prescription opioids.

How does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?

Fentanyl is an opioid similar to heroin and morphine. Opioids bind to the body’s opioid receptors. These are located in the part of your brain that’s responsible for controlling pain and emotions. After you take opioids numerous times your brain adapts to the drug so you’re now dependent upon it. When this happens you may experience some of the following effects:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion
  • Problems breating

Does Fentanyl Lead to Dependence?

Fentanyl will eventually lead to dependence. This is because of how potent the drug is. Even a person who’s taking the drug under a doctor’s supervision may become dependent upon it. They will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.

Sometimes dependence results in addiction. This is the most severe type of substance abuse disorder. When someone is addicted to drugs they’ll become compulsive in seeking it out. They’ll also continue to use the drug even though it may be causing them problems at work, home, or school.

When someone stops taking fentanyl they will have severe withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. These symptoms include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cold flashes (including goosebumps)
  • Issues with sleeping
  • Severe cravings
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

 

As you can imagine, the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal are extremely uncomfortable. They’re what causes so many people to remain addicted to this drug. The FDA is currently working on medications and devices to help people withdraw more comfortably.

Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?

As with any other drug, it’s possible to overdose on fentanyl. This happens when a drug causes serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms within your body. For instance, when someone overdoses on fentanyl their breathing will slow – even to the point of stopping. When this happens less oxygen makes its way to their brain. This is a condition that’s known as hypoxia. It can result in a person becoming comatized. At that point permanent brain damage and even death may occur.

How Much Fentanyl Can Kill You?

Just a quick note regarding fentanyl overdose amounts before discussing what a fentanyl overdose looks like. Although you never want to experiment with drugs like fentanyl, you may still wonder how much of it can kill you. Based on the amount of fentanyl in your system, here’s what you may be able to expect, but be very aware these are not exact and depend on general opiate and opioid tolerance:

 

  • 25 mcg is not fatal
  • 50 mcg places you at a modest risk of an overdose
  • 100 mcg places you at a moderate risk of an overdose
  • 150 mcg places you at a significant risk of an overdose
  • 250 mcg places you at a high risk of an overdose
  • 400 mcg places you at a extreme risk of an overdose
  • 700 mcg means death is likely
  • 1,000 mcg means death is near certain
  • 2,000 mcg means death is imminent

What are Some Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms?

Typically, opioids are measured in milligrams. However, fentanyl is measured in micrograms. These are 1,000 times smaller than a milligram. Hence why people so easily overdose on fentanyl. It only takes a very small amount to do so. All it takes is 2 mg of fentanyl which is like a pinch of salt.

While fentanyl itself is very dangerous, even worse variants have started to become more popular in recent years. Carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer that’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It only takes the amount of a small grain of sand to kill an adult. This is why professionals call fentanyl and its offshoots the deadliest opionids in existence today. It’s also why it’s important to know what the symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include.

The typical overdose occurs quite quickly. Usually it only takes a few seconds. During these fleeting moments you must determine whether someone is suffering from an opioid or fentanyl overdose. There are some atypical signs that you should look for, including:

  • A person’s lips may immediately turn blue or grey
  • Their body may stiffen and show activity that’s similar to a seizure
  • They may start foaming at their mouth
  • They will be confused before becoming unresponsive

 

Common Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Some of the more typical signs that a person who’s suffering from a fentanyl overdose will show include:

  • Dizziness: They’ll struggle to remain steady on their feet. They’ll also find that it’s difficult for them to remain in an upright position. They can neither sit nor stand but their body will need to lie down.
  • Weakness: Besides theri body being unable to remain upright, it’ll also grow weak. Fatigue is quite common. Even the person’s extremities may become limp.
  • Sleepiness: Since their brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, the person will start to experience feelings of drowsiness.
  • Hypoventilation: You may assume that you’d need to watch for rapid, erratic breaths. However, you should be watching for slow breathing. This is because opioids negatively impact the area of your brain that’s responsible for breathing.

 

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

You can seek help prior to a person overdosing. It’s important to know what symptoms to look for here. When you see any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to seek medical intervention for the person:

  • A slow heart rate
  • Clumsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness when left untreated may result in the person slipping into a coma

 

When someone becomes unconscious you should seek medical attention immediately. These other signs should also be a red flag for anyone who believes their in the presence of someone who’s used fentanyl

What to Do When Someone Overdoses?

Whenever someone you know overdoses on fentanyl, it’s important to treat them with Narcan immediately. Thanks to the ‘Good Samaritan laws’ on overdose you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

These laws have been put in place so you have immunity from arrest and prosecution when trying to help a victim of an overdose.

What should you know about Narcan?

Narcan and fentanyl overdose go hand-in-hand. This is because naloxone acts as a temporary antidote for opioid overdoses. When it’s administered properly naloxone can restore a person’s normal breathing and consciousness. Further treatment will still be necessary due to the depression of breathing. The person who overdosed should be taken to the hospital immediately.

Unfortunately, Narcan revival isn’t without some risks. You need to be aware of the risks of Narcan revival which may include:

  • Increased blood pressure: This is the most common side effect.
  • Nasal dryness, swelling, inflammation or congestion
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Headache

 

Some people who are revived with Narcan may become assaultive upon regaining consciousness. For your safety, this is something you should be prepared to manage.

Treating Fentanyl Addiction

Treatment for fentanyl overdose is similar to treatment for other addictions. You should receive a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy. This combination is the most effective way to treat your addiction.

Medication Assisted Treatment Options

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Two of the more popular medications that are used to help you withdraw from fentanyl include buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding the opioid receptors in your brain that were influenced by fentanyl. In doing so they help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone is another medication that’s frequently used. It blocks your body’s opioid receptors that that fentanyl doesn’t have any affect.

Counseling for Fentanyl Dependence

You should also seek counseling along with any medication your doctor may prescribe for your fentanyl addiction. Behavioral therapy will help you modify your attitude and behavior related to drug use. At the same time, they’ll also help you increase your healthy living skills (e.g., ensuring you take your medication properly).

There are a few different types of therapy that you may find beneficial. These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps modify your behavior regarding fentanyl use. It will also help you effectively manage your behaviors, triggers, and stress.
  • Contingency management is a voucher-based system in which you earn “points” for negative drug tests. These points can be used for items that encourage healthy living.
  • Motivational interviewing is a patient-centered type of counseling style in which your mixed feelings regarding change are addressed.

Getting Help for a Fentanyl Addiction

Fortunately, you can overcome an addiction to fentanyl. When you start exploring fentanyl treatment options you’ll find that our evidence-based medication and therapy are the best treatment around. At Pathfinders Recovery Center we want you to regain control of your life. So, if you need help obtaining your sobriety, get in contact with us today.

Melissa Etheridge’s Son Dies from Opioids

Melissa Etheridge’s Tragic Loss

In May 2020, Melissa Etheridge and her former spouse, Julie Cypher, lost their son to opioid addiction.

Melissa Etheridge announced their loss on Twitter: “Today I joined hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction.

My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today.

He will be missed by those who loved him, his family, and friends.”

Unfortunately, Beckett Cypher was lost to an epidemic that has plagued our country for years. From 2010 to 2017, opioid-related overdose deaths rose from 21,088 to 47,600. In 2018 alone, there were 46,802.

Melissa Etheridge's Son Dies from Opioids Pathfinders - A young man is sitting with a rehab counselor discussing his opioid addiction that has, unfortunately, become an epidemic within the U.S. over recent years.

Opioid Addiction and Dependence

Each year, thousands of lives are lost to opioid addictions including those to prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetics.

Fentanyl is a common example of a dangerous synthetic opioid.

Natural opioids grow inside opium poppy plants.

The flowers are harvested to make prescription opioid pills.

Synthetics are created in a lab to mimic their effects.

They can be made with entirely artificial ingredients or a combination of natural and synthetic.

Through prescriptions, opioids are meant to relieve moderate to severe pain unresponsive to other pain relief methods.

For chronic or severe pains, over-the-counter medications may fall short.

Both prescription and illicit opioids relieve pain and promote relaxation.

For individuals with persistent pains and anxieties, these effects are appealing.

It’s important to remember that opioids are highly addictive and linked to many overdoses.

Our Pathfinders opioid addiction treatment programs can help you turn the tables on your addiction.

Immediate Placement in Opioid Rehab – Get Help Now

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Prescription Opioid Addiction

Prescription painkiller misuse is the second most common form of illicit drug use.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to avoid, and it rarely stops when the prescription does.

Most people who abuse prescription opioids will graduate to a stronger substance.

Most heroin users begin with prescription opioids that they took for a genuine medical need.

With strong and potent substances like opioids, physical tolerance can build quickly.

Once physical tolerance builds, the opioid becomes less effective.

If you have chronic pain or injuries, this tolerance can be difficult to overcome.

The pain relief and relaxation that comes with prescription opioid use initially become much more difficult to achieve again.

This is where opioid addiction begins.

We can help you end this abusive cycle before you take the next step.

Heroin addiction can be harder to overcome. But, the good news is that we can help you with this addiction too to get you to a happier, healthier life.

Learn More About Opioid Rehab at Pathfinders Call Today

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Illicit Opioid Addiction

Researches have spent years studying the links between heroin and opioid abuse.

One study revealed that 86% of those surveyed had used opioid painkillers prior to using heroin. The effects that heroin creates are similar, but they are stronger, faster, and more potent. Sometimes, heroin is cheaper and easier to obtain than a prescription.

This transition is a troubling and dangerous one.

This drug alters your brain chemistry in important ways. It makes it difficult for you to quit even when you are ready and willing to.

But, we know what it takes to end opioid and heroin addictions.

We have spent many years developing the best treatment methods available.

Our methods are research-based, proven, customizable, and comprehensive.

Reasons for Prescription Opioid Use

Opioids block your body’s pain receptors. This signals to your brain that you are no longer in pain.

That is why prescription opioids are given to patients with severe and persistent pains unresponsive to normal medications.

Typically, a doctor will want to exhaust alternatives before prescribing opioids.

However, this is not always the case.

A dehydration headache or a bumped shin may be treated with a heating pad or a dose of aspirin.

However, when you need to have a tooth pulled, break one of your bones, or give birth to a child, your doctor may prescribe an opioid for the pain.

Even when they are prescribed, they are addictive and habit-forming.

With this information in mind, doctors tend to stick to short-term prescriptions. Unfortunately, this is difficult to monitor.

Common Opioids

Some of the most common opioids include:

  • Vicodin (Hydrocodone)
  • Percocet / OxyContin (Oxycodone)
  • Morphine
  • Codeine

Morphine is available through prescription and is often used in monitored medical settings like hospitals.

However, the illicit use of morphine is more common.

Heroin is another popular opioid, but it is one that has no approved medical uses. No amount of heroin use is safe.

Prescription opioid use should be limited to as little as a few weeks at a time.

Sometimes, though, chronic pains can lead to extended prescriptions, illicit purchases, drug swaps, and transitions to stronger drugs.

Overcoming opioid addiction requires dedicated treatment.

Over time, it becomes easier to manage.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Most patients who are addicted to something as strong as prescription opioids will start their treatment program with medical detox.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms scare many people off before they even begin.

However, withdrawal symptoms and overwhelming drug cravings can be eased in our opioid addiction treatment centers.

Quitting at home may lead to relapse, but here, we will eliminate temptations, distractions, and discomforts.

We will set you up for success.

There is a wide range of withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids.

Your symptoms may vary depending on specific individual factors, like the type of opioids you use, the amount, and how often.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids include:

  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Increased sweating and runny nose
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting

Starting with a detox will help you through some of the worst parts of the recovery process.

Enforcing early sobriety and restoring your strength and confidence will give you what you need moving forward.

Trust our dedicated medical team to place you firmly on the path to recovery.

24 Hour Rehab Hotline – Get Help Now

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Opioid Addiction Treatment Settings

At Pathfinders, we offer treatment settings to meet a variety of unique addictions and needs.

We will work with you to choose the program that will benefit you the most.

Our primary treatment settings include:

Residential rehab offers the highest levels of care, support, and guidance, with 24-hour access to our dedicated team.

Our other programs offer unique benefits, high-level care, and convenient flexibility.

Each program offers proven care methods, various therapies, support groups, and so much more.

Melissa Etheridge's Son Dies from Opioids Pathfinders - A group session in a drug rehab is taking place where those suffering from opioid addiction can share their stories, give advice, share coping strategies, and create a support system for the recovery process.

Call our addiction counselor for more information. They are available 24/7, and they will work you through your options and next steps. They will also verify your insurance for you or outline alternative options.

 

Free Insurance Verification for Rehab – Get Help Now

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Pathfinders’ Opioid Addiction Treatment Centers

Choosing the right opioid addiction treatment center does not have to be complicated.

Help is waiting for you right here at Pathfinders.

We customize each treatment program to suit the needs of the person entering it.

We will treat you like an individual, not a number.

Trust us to walk this path with you and help you build a new life based on health and sobriety.

Leave your addiction in the past.

Call Pathfinders today, and we will walk you into your future.

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic in Arizona

The United States as a whole is facing a health crisis of epic proportions. More and more Americans are becoming addicted to – and dying from – opioids. Not one American state goes unscathed. Arizona, in particular, has slowly taken a big hit over the last decade. The opioid epidemic in Arizona now claims the lives of two people each day. The state has begun to collect data regarding opioid abuse. And recently, Blue Cross Blue Shield invested $10 million to reduce opiate misuse. But despite the efforts, many Arizonans are still misinformed about the state-wide epidemic. To help, we’ll explore everything about Arizona’s opioid crisis in this article.

Let’s begin!

When Did the Opioid Epidemic Begin?

The opiate epidemic is a recent phenomenon that has slowly been in the works since the 1990’s. But the presence of opiates in the United States dates as far back as the country’s foundation.

Early History of Opiates in the United States

It’s believed that opium first came over along with the pilgrims aboard the Mayflower. Back then, people used the opium poppy for the same reasons that doctors prescribe them today. Opiates have long treated pain, diarrhea, coughing, and also works as a sedative.

addiction treatment, heroin addiction treatment, dual diagnosis treatment center in arizona, cooccurring disorders treatment, meth detox scottsdale arizona, meth rehab arizonaBy the 19th century, Americans used opium to treat a wide range of medical issues. Doctors prescribed morphine to dying patients suffering from cancer.

Medics also used morphine as an anesthetic. It’s probable that medics administered morphine during the Mexican-American War. It’s also likely that physicians who settled in Arizona brought over opiates. Patented medications for teething and menstrual cramps began to contain opium. After the Civil War, the pharmaceutical company, Bayer, introduced heroin on the national market. Following this, heroin became widely used as a medicine into the early 20th century.

20th Century Stigmatization

In the early 1900’s, the federal government outlawed opiates in all its forms. Doctors could only prescribe them in medically necessary situations.

But even so, physicians during this time were vastly limited when it came to prescribing them. They were also limited when it came to treating opiate addiction. Despite all this, drug abuse continued to increase across the United States. During Prohibition, opiate users were further stigmatized. The concept of “junkie” came into being during this time.

The Rise of Prescription Painkillers

recovery center in scottsdale, recovery center in arizona, recovery center in phoenix, addiction treatment center, dual diagnosis recovery center, dual diagnosis treatment, heroin addiction help, get sober todayAmerican physicians continued to fight for the right to prescribe opiates. Soon after, the federal government began to recognize the medical value of opiates. By the 1960’s, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and other synthetic opiates came into being. Recreational opiate and heroin use skyrocketed during this time. Fears of prescribing opiates arose once again.

But despite all this, the prescription painkiller market surged – and continues to. Even though opiate addiction is now at an all-time high, it’s a problem that our nation has faced for over a century.

Why & How Did the Opioid Epidemic Happen?

Medicine and science have never been as advanced as it is today. We understand how to treat many diseases and conditions a lot better than we used to. However, our understanding of how to treat pain is still extremely weak. And to a large extent, the opioid crisis that our nation and the state of Arizona faces results from this.

Doctors Don’t Understand Pain Treatment & Management

It’s estimated that 100 million Americans live with chronic pain.

With such a big number as this, physicians would seem to have a better understanding of treatment. But that is, unfortunately, not the case.

Doctors only receive about 9 hours of education about pain over the course of medical school. To make matters worse, the federal government doesn’t adequately fund pain research. In fact, the National Institutes of Health only spend 1% of its budget ($358 million) per year on pain research.

Many doctors don’t understand how addictive opiates can be. They don’t understand how to wean their patients off them. Many patients wind up misusing their prescriptions, becoming addicted as a result.

Do Physicians Over-Prescribe Opiates?

It was once believed that American physicians under-prescribed opiates for pain treatment. Because of widespread stigmas against opiates, many doctors continue to fear to prescribe them. But that’s not to say that physicians aren’t over-prescribing them, either.

Many Americans in need of relief don’t have enough access to painkillers. Only about 5% of chronic pain patients have prescriptions for painkillers. But to a larger extent, Americans may have too much access to prescription opiates.

It’s known that some pharmaceutical companies have vigorous lobbying and marketing campaigns. Physicians are often the target of these marketing ploys.

In 2016, doctors prescribed 431 million painkillers. This was enough for every Arizonan to have a 2.5 week supply.

And again, many doctors don’t understand how to adequately treat patients with opiates. As of 2016, more than 70% of overdose fatalities occurred among patients who became addicted while treating their chronic pain. In Arizona, 4 out of 5 new heroin users start because of prescription painkiller misuse.

Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover Alternative Medicine

The opioid overdose epidemic has caused many pain patients to turn to other forms of therapy.

We’ve all heard of physical therapy and alternative therapy, like acupuncture and chiropractic. These forms of therapy yield great results in the treatment and management of pain. But many people suffering in pain are unable to afford them.

Certain health insurance policies may cover acupuncture, biofeedback, massage therapy, and chiropractic care. But as of 2007, Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket for alternative medicine.

This figure is likely much higher today. With high health insurance premiums, many Americans are unable to afford alternative medicine. In Arizona, 17% of residents are still uninsured as rates continue to increase for the insured.

Heroin as a Cheap and Dangerous Substitute

Millions of Americans not only suffer from chronic pain. Many of them are unable to obtain and afford adequate treatment. And many who take prescription painkillers find themselves prone to addiction.

As a result of these factors, many people have turned to heroin for relief.

Heroin and prescription painkillers are all derived from opium. Heroin is specifically derived from morphine while painkillers come from codeine. Despite the slight variations, heroin has the same – if not, a more powerful – effect as painkillers.

Heroin is not only a substitute for painkillers. It’s cheaper and easier to obtain.

In fact, a bag of heroin costs less than a pack of cigarettes. This means that in Arizona, a bag of heroin can cost anywhere from $5-$8.

Most heroin in the United States comes from Mexico. With Arizona right on the Mexican border, heroin is readily available on the streets.

Opioid and prescription overdoses in Arizona have increased in the last few years. But since 2016, heroin overdoses have tripled in Arizona.

Where Are Overdoses Occurring in Arizona?

Opiate overdoses have occurred in both urban and rural Arizona. But some areas are more ravaged by overdoses than others.

A concentration of overdoses has occurred all over the Phoenix metropolitan area. The northeast parts of the Tucson metropolitan area has also experienced many.

The cities of Buckeye, Flagstaff, and Kingman – and all surrounding areas – have also had high overdoses.

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic in Arizona

The opioid crisis has been in the making to become an epidemic since the 19th century. American physicians continue to prescribe painkillers without a firm understanding of them. Nor does the medical community understand how to provide adequate pain treatment.

With rising healthcare costs, many people addicted to painkillers are turning to heroin.

Many Arizonans wonder what is being done to address the opioid epidemic in Arizona. Here’s how the state is fighting the epidemic as of now.

Naloxone

In 2017, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared opioid overdoses a public health emergency. Since then, the state has integrated Naloxone as part of its efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

Slow breathing occurs with opiate use. But when someone overdoses, their breathing can stop altogether. It can also be near impossible to wake someone up while they’re overdosing.

Naloxone, otherwise known by its brand name, Narcan, is a narcotic blocker. When administered, it reverses the effects of opioids. It comes in the form of injections and nasal sprays.

The state of Arizona has trained emergency personnel on how to administer Narcan. Recently, Narcan became available at CVS stores across Arizona.

Narcan is by no means a cure for the opiate epidemic. However, it is an antidote that is saving more lives every day across the United States.

Arizona Opioid Emergency Action Plan

Since the declaration of Arizona’s opioid crisis, opioid overdose cases have decreased.

Statewide overdoses began to decrease after the implementation of new prescription guidelines. This decreasing trend also coincided with the state’s surveillance reporting system.

The Opioid Action Plan came into enactment in September 2017. The action plan aims to increase patient and public awareness as prevention methods. The plan also improves prescription practices and access to treatment facilities.

The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act took effect in April 2018. This law enforces limitations on prescription opioids.

Under this law, physicians can no longer dispense prescriptions themselves. Physicians who prescribe opiates must take routine education courses on opioids. Pharmacies are also required to check into the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program.

Seeking Help for Opioid Addiction

Huge strides in the fight against opioid addiction have occurred in Arizona. But the opioid epidemic in Arizona is still alive and well, much like it is in the rest of the United States.

Still, there is hope for the future of Arizonans affected by opiate addiction.

Do you or someone you know suffer from heroin or painkiller addiction? A healthier and sober future is possible, and the Pathfinders Recovery Center is here to help.

To learn more about how we can help you at our Scottsdale, AZ facility, contact us today!

 

Heroin Effects on The Mind & Body

Heroin Use Today

Heroin is an opioid, first synthesized and sold in the late 1800’s. Like other opioids, heroin has a calming affect on the body, used as an antidepressant and a painkiller. Opioids have been used for centuries to provide relief from pain beginning in Egypt before making their way to Europe and India.

Derived from opium poppy sap, opioids can be found in the form of powder, tablets, pills, syrups and capsules. Heroin is typically sold in a powder that is most commonly injected, but can also be snorted smoked or sniffed. It is one of the most addictive substances on the market, which is why it is the most deadly. It has become one of the most widely used drugs amongst users worldwide with statistics rising everyday.

In the United States, heroin addiction has become an epidemic. In our country alone there are currently over one million heroin users across the nation. This startling number is five times what it was in 2000, increasing at a dramatic, unprecedented rate. Over 10,000 individuals die of a heroin overdose every year, which accounts for roughly 60% of all drug related deaths. In the past, most of the country’s heroin use was confined to urban areas. This is no longer the case as heroin addiction has spiked in suburban and rural communities, as well.

It is important for all of use to be educated about heroin addiction and how to deal with the issues that have risen because of our country’s epidemic. We must be armed with the facts about heroin abuse to start combating the problem and making headway towards a solution for the future. This article is intended to inform others on exactly how heroin addiction affects the mind and body of a drug addict. We will be discuss, explain and explore dopamine, opiate receptors, and the symptoms and side effects of heroin addiction.

effects-of-heroin-addiction

Key Concepts in Opioid Addiction

Opioids are a group of drugs that have been and are still used for medical purposes across the globe. Morpheme and codeine are common opiates that are prescribed to alleviate pain after surgery and to combat the side effects of certain illnesses. These are the key concepts that allow heroin alter our physical and mental states:

Dopamine – A neurotransmitter that controls emotions, motivation, movement and pleasure and plays a major role in reward based systems. Certain drugs, like heroin, produce excess amounts of dopamine in the brain. This dramatic increase in a feeling of euphoria is what keeps addicts coming back for more. The brain is rewarded with a spike in dopamine when a an addict is using heroin, causing it to crave the drug to produce another high.

Opioid receptors – A group of receptors in the brain with opioids as ligands, a molecule that binds to another. When opiates attach to the group of receptors, the brain sends signals to block pain and other senses related to emotion. The result is slower breathing and a calming feeling.

Opiates and Opioids – Alkaloid compounds naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Psychoactive compounds are found in opiates that trigger different sensations in the brain and body.

GABA – A Neurotransmitter that plays an important role in anxiety and more. Typically, GABA inhibits the amount of dopamine that is released in the brain. However, the use of opioids prevents GABA from working properly, allowing excess amounts of dopamine to be produced when heroin is in the system.

What Happens To Our Bodies When We Use Heroin?

When heroin is introduced into the bloodstream it travels to our brain and attaches itself to the opiate receptors in the cortex. What happens next? Our bodies produce dopamine in excess and our brain becomes flooded with the neurotransmitter. We experience an intense feeling of euphoria and pleasure, rewarding our brain for using the heroin. Opioid abuse also decreases our level of GABA. Low levels of this neurotransmitter are linked to irregular sleep patterns, depression, excessive stress, and anxiety. Because GABA is involved in the slowing of dopamine release, without this key component dopamine is produced in higher levels.

During my heroin addiction, the drugs made me not have a care in the world. I felt euphoria every time I was using and I couldn’t be brought down from the high that I felt. The grass looked greener and the sky looked bluer. Prolonged heroin use leads us to this state of being.

What are the Signs of a Heroin Addiction?

Sometimes people are unaware of the signs to look for in other people who may be struggling with a heroin addiction. There are many physical and psychological changes that you may notice a person abusing heroin. These include:

  • Flushed skin
  • Nasea
  • Falling asleep at inappropriate times and places
  • Lack of interest in activities, like school and work
  • Increased lying and secretiveness
  • Poor hygiene
  • Trying to hide body parts
  • Refusing to eat at all
  • Injection marks on the skin

What Are Some Side Effects Of Heroin?

The are many side effects of heroin use that keep heroin addicts using. When the body is not under the influence of the drug, the side effects worsen on an even greater scale. The body begins to go into withdrawal just hours after last use, keeping addicts coming back for more and more.

Here are some short-term effects of heroin abuse:

  • Decreased heart rate
  • Slowed breathing
  • Itchy skin
  • Confusion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Cold sweats
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting

What are the Long-Term Effects of Heroin Addiction?

Over time, continuous heroin abuse results in a decreased number of opioid receptors in the brain, which can lead to more serious issues and even death. After repeated use, our brain becomes custom to being under the influence of heroin and our tolerance decreases. Soon it takes more heroin to feel the same amount of pleasure as before. We feel as though must increase our dosage to experience any form of a high. This is what people often call “chasing the dragon.” It is trying to experience the high that we once had and being unable to achieve it. Your brain’s chemistry quite literally changes and you are unable to achieve the same effects with the same dose. Dr. Steven Dewey, a prominent addictions specialist, calls heroin addiction an organic brain disease. Dr. Dewey explains, “I’ve never seen a drug explode on the scene as much as opiates have.”

Here are some long-term effects of heroin abuse:

  • Hepatitis and HIV caused by use of unhygienic injections (i.e. dirty needles)
  • Pulmonary Edema (fluid in the lungs)
  • Decreased bowel motility
  • Muscle weakness
  • Impaired immune system
  • Poor dental health
  • Decreased sexual function
  • Open wounds, scabs and scars
  • Coma
  • Dealth

At the end of my heroin addiction in 2010, I could not get high and had to use to not feel extremely sick. This is a very dark place to arrive at, but it is darkest before the dawn!

heroin-addiction-signs

What Keeps Heroin Addicts Using?

A while into abusing opiates, us addicts experience withdrawal when our body is not flooded with dopamine and the chemicals are leaving our bodies. These withdrawal symptoms can be painful and unpleasant which is why so many addicts continue to use. They want to avoid what they know will come when the heroin runs out. As difficult as it may be, a safe, effective, medical detox is necessary to move forward with a healthy, happy and sober life.

Some symptoms of heroin withdrawal include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Extreme cravings
  • Depression
  • Body aches
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Sweats
  • Racing heart
  • Hypertension
  • Fevers
  • & More…

I’ve been there and I needed help to get sober. I would not have made it if it wasn’t for the group of people and support system that guided me through my early recovery.

There is a way out. At Pathfinders Recovery Center, you will meet the owners including myself on the first day of arrival, and throughout your stay you will receive the individual time and attention you deserve. Please call or message us if you or a loved one is struggling. Addiction is literally a matter of life and death. We are here 24 hours a day to help.