Tag Archives: Opioids

Tag Archives: Opioids


Signs of prescription drug abuseAddiction can slip right into our hands and, before we’ve even realized what’s happened, we may find ourselves in a harsh cycle that is too hard to simply break. Prescription drug abuse is a major concern in the United States today, and the opioid epidemic has highlighted that. Even in 2014, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published some very devastating numbers: between 26.4 million and 36 million people around the world abuse opioids. There have also been links between non-medical opioid use and heroin, which means that there is a consistent need for education and prevention strategies around the world.

If you’re a loved one of someone whom you believe may be abusing prescription drugs, it’s time to know the signs:

  • Have they continued using their medication, even long after they’ve been done needing it?
  • Do they seem to be using mildly vague symptoms as a reason to get prescribed more medication?
  • Are they suddenly acting different?
  • If they don’t use their prescription medication, do you witness them experiencing flu-like (withdrawal) symptoms?
  • Do they become defensive when others express concern about their drug use?

These are just a few of the major warning signs, but if your gut is telling you that something may be wrong, it’s worth looking into.

A 2015 study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research discovered that even with steps in place to further prevent and monitor prescription drug abuse, individuals may find other tactics to obtain prescription drugs – such as through online sources. Family members and friends are encouraged to follow up with their loved one to ensure they seek help if it’s needed. Thankfully, recovery from prescription drug abuse is possible – but it does take some time and effort.

Treatment for prescription drug abuse may include detoxification, individual and group therapy, medication assistance, nutrition therapy, 12-Step programs and much more. Recovery is about treating not only the addiction, but also the mind, body and spirit. If you’ve been struggling with addiction, don’t wait any longer to seek help. The time is now.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Opioids are an addictive prescription drugAs the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states, there are several drugs that fall into the class of synthetic opioids, such as: heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and others. Some opioids are prescribed for injuries or other health-related concerns but are monitored by a physician. Others, like heroin, are illegal – but still, many find their way into opioid addiction. The opioid epidemic has taken so many lives due to overdose and it’s safe to say that even those not addicted are still impacted. Friends, family members, children and more all experience the pain that opioid addiction brings about. What makes them so addictive?

Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on cells that are located in the brain. Harvard University emphasizes that when opioids lock onto a cell, they affect the way we think, feel and control our bodies. The messages that our cells send one another become altered, which is also how our signals of pain often become muted when opioids are taken. We naturally have opioid receptors in our brain and these are involved in monitoring our stress responses, mood, learning, memory and more. As humans, we’ve created opioids that closely resemble the “code” that our natural opioid receptors have, so they work similarly in blocking pain. The problem is that since they’re substances, they do create addictive effects.

Alongside feeling free from pain, many people experience a sense of euphoria. What may start as one simple attempt to treat back pain could become a dependency if a person becomes too attached to the effects that opioids can provide.

According to the New York Times in 2017, over 2 million Americans are estimated to have a problem with opioids. Many of these drugs either started as prescription medication and were not taken as the doctor recommended or were sought out and retrieved from a friend or family member. If you are struggling with opioid addiction, it’s time to seek the help you need – today. Addiction does not define you and recovery is possible.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Safe Start – Cumberland Heights’ Response to the Opioid Crisis
We created Safe Start, a recommended medication-assisted treatment to anyone diagnosed with a moderate to severe opioid abuse disorder

Safe Start

In 2017, nearly 70,000 people died from drug-related overdoses, and research shows opioid abuse is more rampant than ever. A report from the National Safety Council says more people died from accidental opioid overdoses than car crashes in 2017.

Cumberland Heights is very in tune with the epidemic and that’s why we created Safe Start, our official response to the opioid crisis. Safe Start is medication-assisted treatment and recommended to anyone diagnosed with a moderate to severe opioid abuse disorder.

Essentially, it’s extended release Naltrexone, a long-acting opioid antagonist used to reduce cravings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids if they are used. Unlike other medications used to treat opioid addiction like methadone, there is no chance of dependency with Naltrexone. Naltrexone can also be an effective treatment for alcohol addiction.

Dr. Chapman Sledge, Chief Medical Officer at Cumberland Heights says as a stand-alone treatment Naltrexone is not effective. “The basis of a strong spiritual foundation in the recovery process is essential. Medication is only part of the solution,” said Sledge.

The Proof

Before the FDA approved Naltrexone for opioid dependence in 2010, they conducted a study dividing opioid addicts, primarily heroin users into two groups going through the same course of treatment. The only difference was one group got extended release Naltrexone and the other group was given placebo. The groups were monitored for 24 weeks. The group that got the Naltrexone injection had 90% abstinence confirmed on urine drug screens compared to 35% abstinence among the group that got the placebo injection. As a secondary measure, the study looked at cravings. Cravings were decreased by 55% in the group that received the extended release Naltrexone injection. In the group that got the placebo, cravings increased.

How it Works

This is how Safe Start looks for a patient coming into Cumberland Heights: Once the patient is evaluated and it is determined Naltrexone would be a good tool for them in their recovery, they will detox in a safe residential setting and then have 7-10 days for the receptors to clear before staff administers Naltrexone.

As they continue with their recovery, and transition out of residential treatment, Cumberland Heights sets them up with a plan that ensures they get their shot every 28 days. Dr. Sledge says it is reasonable to discuss discontinuing Naltrexone after a year if recovery is solid.

If you or someone you know is struggling with Opioid Dependence or Opioid Addiction, please visit our Admissions section to learn more about what to do and how we can help.



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