For long-term recovery from opiate addiction, a strong and supportive 12-step recovery program offers the best chance for success. With what we know today, Vivitrol is the preferred medication in dealing with opiate addiction. However, it is a personal choice best made with accurate information from an informed health care team.

national drug facts

Help spread the facts about Teens and Opiates, including Heroin, visit the National Institute for Drug Abuse, National Drug Facts Week.

Opioid Facts

Heroin Facts

Teens Prescription Drug Abuse

What Is Your State's Prescription Drug Abuse?

state prescription drug abuse addiction

from NIDA

 

Also to help, here are articles New Hope Recovery Center has written about Prescription Drug Abuse and Heroin:

Most Abused Prescription Drugs

10 Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Warning Signs of Heroin Use

Parent's Guide to Prevent Heroin Use/Addiction

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse

 

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

 

 

 

vivitrol addiction treatmentAs the science of addiction medicine evolves, doctors have begun using new drugs in revolutionary ways that are changing how we think of and treat addiction.  Vivitrol is a drug used to treat both opioid addiction as well as alcoholism.  Since 2006, when it was first approved by the FDA for alcoholism, many patients have shown much success.  In October 2010, this injectable form of naltrexone was approved to treat opioid addiction as well.  It has since been used successfully by many with addiction to opiates and heroin.

What should you know about Vivitrol and it use in addiction treatment?

What Is Vivitrol?  Vivitrol is an extended-release injectable version of naltrexone that is given once a month.  It is known as an opiate antagonist, meaning it works by binding with and blocking the receptor sites in the brain that would normally be affected by opiates or alcohol.

How Does Vivitrol Work?  Unlike an opiate agonist, the opiate antagonist occupies the receptor site but does not activate the receptor.  This means that the site is tied up without the person feeling the “high” that would come with using a drug that activates the site.  Because the receptors are tied up, when someone on Vivitrol uses alcohol or opiates, they do not feel the pleasurable effects of intoxication.

How Is Vivitrol Different From Naltrexone?  Naltrexone requires a daily oral dose and has been used for years in addiction treatment  There are two main downsides to this self-administered daily dose:  1) it is easy for patients to forget the daily dose,  and patients who forget to take the medication are at a greater risk of relapse; and 2) there is a daily temptation to skip the dose for that day,  in order to drink or use or even to have the possibility to drink or use.

Vivitrol largely eliminates these issues.  It is a monthly shot administered by a health professional.  Its effects last for a full 30 days.   Two main benefits to the monthly shot versus daily tablets:  1) medical professionals can monitor a patient’s compliance and remind the patient when the next dose is needed.  Patients have someone to be accountable to and someone who will be talking with them if they are being tempted to use.  2) Patients are freed from the daily decision to take the dose or not and so there is no daily temptation to use.  Many patients report they have a greater peace of mind knowing there is no possibility to use.  (Actually they could use, but it would have no or very little effect on them.)

Pros of Vivitrol Use:

There are many benefits to using Vivitrol under the care of an addictions medicine specialist.  Vivitrol appeals to many doctors and patients alike, who do not wish to treat an opioid addiction with another opioid medication (also known as agonist treatment).

For individuals who have not been heavily addicted for more than a year and the brain has likely not been radically changed by drug abuse, Vivitrol is an ideal tool to use in early recovery.

Vivitrol drastically reduces cravings for opiates and alcohol.

For some, using Vivitrol while actively engaged in counseling and self-help groups such as AA, NA or SMART Recovery results in lasting sobriety, even after Vivitrol is discontinued.

Vivitrol is an ideal choice for patients coming off of methadone or buprenorphine (maintenance drugs) especially in the first few months, when they are at greater risk for relapse.

For those that work in jobs with frequent travel, such as pilots, business consultants, flight attendants, Vivitrol is appealing because it is a safe, supervised method of treatment that does not require daily dosing.

Cons of Vivitrol Use:

Perhaps the biggest con to Vivitrol is its cost.  Unless one has private insurance that covers prescription drugs well, Vivitrol is very expensive.  The shot can run up to $1200 per month (even higher in some cases).  Even with insurance, copays and deductibles can leave a patient paying quite a bit on a monthly basis.  The company that makes the drug offers patients up to $500 to cover copays or off the cost of the shot for those without insurance.  Even with this financial assistance, Vivitrol can be quite expensive.

Another drawback of Vivitrol is that patients can only get started on the drug after all alcohol and opiates are out of the patient’s system.  Generally this means that the patient has gone through detoxification and has been sober and clean for 7-10 days.  This usually only occurs when the patient is an inpatient program or a hospital setting.

Also, Vivitrol is currently only FDA approved for those 18 and older, although it is used “off label” for younger patients successfully and safely.

Finally, as with all prescription drugs, there are side effects.

Individual Decision

Vivitrol has many advantages and several disadvantages.  It is important for patients and healthcare professionals to understand the full picture when considering Vivitrol for substance abuse treatment.  The decision whether or not to take a drug like Vivitrol is an individual, case by case decision and should be made with a doctor who is properly credentialed.  If the decision is made to use Vivitrol, it should be done in conjunction with formal treatment and/or individual or group counseling for the best results.

New Hope Recovery Center has seen good results with clients who have used Vivitrol.  Most report drastically reduced cravings, increased confidence in their sobriety and a greater peace of mind.  Many have reported that they know it kept them sober and clean.  They realized there are points in any month where the stressors and temptation to use may become very high, but by getting the monthly shot, they knew they would find ways to cope that did not involve using.  You can contact New Hope Recovery Center at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or info@new-hope-recovery.com

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Looking for Prescription Drug Rehab?  You are not alone.  Prescription drugs have become a serious concern.  In 2013, nearly 60% of all drug overdose deaths resulted from prescription drugs. Approximately two thirds of prescription drug abusers get them from family and/or friends.  If you believe someone you know is abusing or addicted to prescription drugs, look for these prescription drug warning signs.

How do you find the best Prescription Drug Rehab for you or your loved one?

There are a number of factors to consider in selecting the prescription drug treatment that will work best.

 1. Are you or your loved one abusing prescriptions that they are prescribed by your doctor?  If so, be sure to have the prescribing doctor involved in the addiction treatment.  The need for your prescription will be considered in order to find possible solutions.  You will want the addiction treatment provider to work closely with your doctor.  Your doctor may replace your prescriptions with non-addictive drugs, or may reduce your dosage, or may offer other alternatives to the drug that is the concern.  The important thing is to be honest about your prescription drug use with both the doctor and the rehab staff.

2. Are you or your loved one addicted to opiate-based drugs? If so, your treatment may include medications to aid in your recovery.  More addiction treatment rehab centers work with clients who are prescribed medications for recovery from opiate addiction, such as Suboxone and Vivitrol.  Consider finding an addiction treatment facility that will work with clients on Vivitrol and/or Suboxone if you are addicted to opiate prescriptions such as vicodin, oxycontin and codeine.

3. What are you or your loved one’s unique characteristics? You will want an addiction rehab choice that works extensively with people having characteristics similar to yours or your loved ones.  What is your age?  Find addiction treatment options that treat people in your age range.  The elderly, young adults and working parents have different treatment needs. What is your gender?  Some treatment centers specialize in serving only one gender, some have individualized groups devoted to a specific gender.  Both of these alternatives allow you to receive more personalized treatment. What is your sexuality?  If you are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender, consider finding an addiction facility that caters to the unique needs and circumstances of LGBT clients. What is your race, culture, religion and nationality?  Look for addiction rehab centers that understand your race, culture and nationality.  This will help you feel comfortable, which is very important for your treatment.  It also will allow your treatment to be customized to your situation.

4. What is your past treatment experience?  If you have received treatment for your addiction in the past, consider what led to your relapse.  Would you benefit from treatment that is different  in some way from what you experienced in the past?  A different location?  More involvement from family and friends? One specializing in your unique circumstances?    Longer period of treatment?  Smaller size?  

5. Do you feel comfortable at the facility and with the staff?  Seeking treatment is stressful and anxiety provoking.  However, even with these feelings, can you imagine feeling comfortable at the treatment location?  You will be spending your time at the facility and with the staff.  Do you feel welcomed, appreciated and understood?  Do you feel like you will be treated with dignity and respect? This is important for your recovery.

If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction to or is abusing prescription drugs, seek help immediately.  Prescription drug abuse is dangerous, as shown by the high number of prescription drug overdose deaths mentioned above.  New Hope Recovery Center offers individualized treatment for prescription drugs and for many other addictions.  You can reach us at 888-707-HOPE (4673) or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

The abuse of prescription drugs has been on an increase for many years.  Prescription drug abuse is the nation's fastest-growing drug problem, and the Center's Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic.  The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that nearly one-third of people aged 12 and over who used drugs for the first time in 2009 began by using a prescription drug non-medically.

The number of emergency room visits and the number of deaths from prescription drugs has increased greatly over the past 15 years.  CDC’s analysis shows that 38,329 people died from a drug overdose in the United States in 2010, up from 37,004 deaths in 2009 and 16,849 in 1999. In 2010, nearly 60 percent of the US drug overdose deaths (22,134) involved pharmaceutical drugs.

It should not be a surprise that the most addictive drugs are also the most abused.

Which Prescription Drugs Are Abused The Most?

The most abused prescription drugs tend to fall into three main categories:  opioids, sedatives/depressants and stimulants.

Opioids

Let’s start with the most abused prescription drugs: opioids.  These drugs are in the same family as heroin.  They are typically prescribed for pain relief and sometimes cough suppression.   According to the same CDC report, US overdose deaths involving opioid analgesics have increased from 4,030 deaths in 1999 to 15,597 in 2009 and 16,651 in 2010.  So prescription opioid deaths have increased by more than 400% in the past 11 years.

Over two-thirds of Americans abusing prescription drugs are abusing opioids.  Opioids are particularly dangerous because they slow the heart and breathing.  Opiate addiction frequently begins with a prescription due to an injury or other pain.  For some people, opiates are incredibly addictive and your body can become physically dependent on them, which then requires people to take more for the same pain relief or high.

The most commonly abused opioids are:

Generic Name                    Brand Name

  • Fentanyl                                  Duragesic, Actiq
  • Hydrocodone                          Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet
  • Hydromorphone                      Dilaudid
  • Oxycodone                             OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan
  • Codeine                                   Robitussin A-C, Tylenol with Codeine
  • Propoxyphene                         Darvon, Darvocet-N
  • Meperidine                              Demerol

 

Depressants

Depressants are the second most abused prescription drug.  The most abused prescription depressants fall into three categories: barbiturates, benzodiazepines and sleep medications.  Depressants slow brain activity and general body functions, they are generally prescribed for anxiety or as relaxants and sleep aids.  In addition to slowing brain activity, they lower blood pressure and slow breathing.

The most commonly abused depressants are:

Generic Name                                    Brand Name

  • Barbiturates                                         Amytal, Seconal, Phenobarbital
  • Benzodiazepines                                 Ativan, Halcion, Valium, Xanax
  • Sleep Medications:
  • Zolpidem                                               Ambien
  • Zaleplon                                                Sonata
  • Eszopiclone                                          Lunestra

 

Stimulants

Stimulants are most often prescribed for ADHD (attention deficient hyperactivity disorder), ADD (attention deficient disorder) and narcolepsy (sleeping disorder).  Stimulants are often abused in order to stay up for longer periods of time.  Some feel they aid in concentration or focus, and can be an appetite suppressant.

These are the most abused stimulants

 Generic Name                               Brand Name

  • Amphetamines                                    Adderall, Dexedrine
  • Methylphenidate                                 Ritalin, Concerta

 

Wondering if someone you know is abusing prescription drugs?  You can find out the warning signs.

Looking for more information about Prescription Drug abuse?

Want to know the difference between Vivitrol and Suboxone?

There is hope for those affected by prescription drug abuse.  There are a number of support meetings available across the country.  You can also contact New Hope Recovery Center for information about our programs or referrals to programs near you.  Info@new-hope-recovery.com, 888-707-HOPE(4673), or www.new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Prescription drugs are often abused or misused. Like all types of abuse and addiction there is usually a component of secrecy or denial surrounding the problem. According to Foundation for a Drug-Free World here are 10 warning signs that someone is abusing prescription drugs:

1.  Usage increase – increased tolerance, taking a higher dosage to feel the same effect

2.  Change in personality – a relatively stable shift in mood, energy, and focus

3.  Social withdrawal – less time with people they normally spent time with in the past

4.  Ongoing use – filling the prescription even after the problem has subsided

5.  Time spent on obtaining prescriptions – visiting multiple doctors or spending time researching where and how to get pills

6.  Change in daily habits and appearance – decline in daily living habits and self care

7.  Neglects responsibilities – calling into work sick and not doing normal tasks adequately

8.  Increased sensitivity – sights, sounds, emotions may be more acute

9.  Blackouts and forgetfulness – gaps in memory and forgetting things

10.  Defensiveness – on edge because they may feel attacked even with simple questions

They may also demand more privacy, stay up at odd hours, hide prescriptions, sell possessions, steal from family members, visit multiple pharmacies and/or doctors, or even fake an illness of a child or animal in order to obtain more prescriptions. Not all warning signs means there is a drug addiction, but all warning signs are reason for concern of some kind. Take the next step and address your concerns with your loved one, and at the very least, ask them to get assessed by a professional. If there isn't a problem, then an assessment will be harmless.

Foundation of a Drug Free World: "According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twice as likely to use alcohol, five times more likely to use marijuana, and twelve to twenty times more likely to use illegal street drugs such as heroin, Ecstasy and cocaine than teens who do not abuse prescription drugs."  Although this report is extremely concerning, adolescents and teens that abuse prescription drugs benefit greatly from early interventions.

For more information about prescription drug abuse contact New Hope Recovery Center. If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, it is important to call and go in for an assessment with a professional.  All assessments at New Hope Recovery Center are confidential with no obligation for further treatment. Recovery is possible, let us help. Call us at 888-707-4673 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about prescription drugs? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

Prescription Drug Abuse and Addiction Prescription drug abuse and addiction is something frequently over looked. Stigma is guided by perception and in the field of addiction there is a hierarchy of stigma.  A common stigma easily identified is the public perception surrounding licit and illicit drugs.  Alcohol is perceived as a lesser evil because it is a legal substance, whereas heroin for instance is perceived as one of the most dangerous and hardcore drugs because it is illegal. Alcohol is in fact one of the most dangerous and toxic substances that people abuse and yet it continues to carry less of a social stigma. Prescription pills are perceived as more socially acceptable because they are legal substances that are prescribed by doctors.  However, prescription pills often get acquired illicitly and subsequently abused.

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

More Pain Pills Prescribed In Suburbs Than Chicago People living in Chicago’s suburbs are prescribed up to four times as many pain pills per person as those who live in the city, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows. In the southern tip of Illinois, it’s up to seven times as much, according to the analysis of federal Drug Enforcement Administration records of the numbers of prescriptions written for the two most popular prescription pain drugs — Oxycodone and hydrocodone. Oxycodone, the more powerful of the two, is the key ingredient in the brand-name prescription painkillers OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Hydrocodone, which like oxycodone is an opiate-based drug, is the main ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

 

Prescription drug abuse and addiction is something frequently over looked. Stigma is guided by perception and in the field of addiction there is a hierarchy of stigma.  A common stigma easily identified is the public perception surrounding licit and illicit drugs.  Alcohol is perceived as a lesser evil because it is a legal substance, whereas heroin for instance is perceived as one of the most dangerous and hardcore drugs because it is illegal. Alcohol is in fact one of the most dangerous and toxic substances that people abuse and yet it continues to carry less of a social stigma. Prescription pills are perceived as more socially acceptable because they are legal substances that are prescribed by doctors.  However, prescription pills often get acquired illicitly and subsequently abused.

Prescription drug abuse is defined as taking a prescribed drug for non-medical use or not as prescribed.  Prescription pills come in almost every class of drug with the most commonly abused being pain killers (Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin), Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium), and amphetamines (Adderall & Ritalin).  Women and teenagers are two populations significantly affected by the prescription pill epidemic.  The CDC reports that the rate of deaths cause by prescription pill overdoses has more than tripled from 1999-2008.  There is a public notion that since prescription pills are legal, and people get them from a doctor, that they are in fact safer than illegal drugs.  This is not true. Many first time users and careless consumers will take a higher dosage than prescribed or mix combinations of drugs and/or alcohol which can lead to overdosing. In some cases overdose can occur without the presence of an addiction.

It is estimated by National Survey of Drug Use and Health that around 60-70% of prescription drug abusers get the pills from family members or friends, about 17% have a prescription of their own, and about 5-10% get them from dealers or the internet.  The accessibility of prescription pills being around the house of family members and friends entices a lot of curious first time users to experimentation, especially adolescents.  The public’s perception may blur the lines on the acceptability of using prescription pills recreationally or for self-medication but in actuality the line is clearly drawn.  Using prescription pills for nonmedical use or using someone else’s prescription for one’s own use is in fact drug abuse and needs to be addressed.

If you or a loved one needs help for prescription drug abuse, New Hope Recovery Center is here to help. If you would like information about our programs, contact us at 888-707-4636 (HOPE), info@new-hope-recovery.com or visit us in person.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about prescription drugs? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below: 

5 Things Parents Need to Know About Prescription Drug Abuse Parents of Emerging Adults (ages 18-late 20′s) are important partners in the prevention of drug abuse. In New Hope Recovery Center’s continuing efforts to assist parents, we want to pay special attention to a serious problem impacting Emerging Adults: prescription drug abuse which is the intentional use of medication without a prescription.  Parents may not be unaware of how serious this problem has become, so we want to share 5 must-know facts for parents of Emerging Adults.

More Pain Pills Prescribed In Suburbs Than Chicago People living in Chicago’s suburbs are prescribed up to four times as many pain pills per person as those who live in the city, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis shows. In the southern tip of Illinois, it’s up to seven times as much, according to the analysis of federal Drug Enforcement Administration records of the numbers of prescriptions written for the two most popular prescription pain drugs — Oxycodone and hydrocodone. Oxycodone, the more powerful of the two, is the key ingredient in the brand-name prescription painkillers OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. Hydrocodone, which like oxycodone is an opiate-based drug, is the main ingredient in Vicodin, Norco and Lortab.

 

 

The recent death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman has once again shined a spotlight on heroin addiction. A true epidemic that is not only impacting inner cities, suburbs and rural areas, but also poor, middle and upper classes, the rich and famous included. Phillip Seymour Hoffman passed away in his New York City apartment on February 2nd, 2014 from a drug overdose. In his home police found heroin, as well as several different prescription medications, such as xanax and klonopin. This tragic event has reminded us that addiction is a life threatening chronic disease that does not discriminate. Many people believe that drug addiction only impacts the poor who live in the gutter.  But  addiction can take any life at anytime. Regardless of who the victim is, where they live or what they do for a living.  Overdose deaths related to heroin and opiates have continued to increase and the numbers are staggering.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman was an Academy Award winning actor, who was not only loved by millions around the world, but was also considered one of the most respected actors of his time by his peers. Hoffman started his career with humble beginnings taking supporting roles in TV dramas such as “Law and Order”, but shortly moved to supporting roles in Hollywood films such as “Scent of a Woman” and “Boogie Nights”. In 2004 Hoffman played the starring role in the Truman Capote biopic “Capote”.  It was this role that won him an academy award for best actor. On paper and on screen, we saw what seemed to be a very successful actor, who when not working on his art, was spending time his family.

Hoffman attended New York University, which is where his problems with addiction began. He has stated in interviews that he would use whatever he could get his hands on. It was during these years that his drug use went from experimenting, to abuse and finally to addiction/dependency. In 1989, when Hoffman graduated he checked himself into a 28 day inpatient addiction treatment center.  He remained sober for 23 years. It was during these 23 years of sobriety that he did the majority of his acting and reached goals few actors ever reach. Little is known about Hoffman’s personal life; he was notoriously secretive and would rarely talk about his family or personal life in interviews. What we do know is that throughout the years, addiction stayed with him. Addiction, like diabetes, is a chronic disease which can go into remission, but can also reoccur at anytime if not managed properly.

Sadly, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s addiction to heroin and other drugs reoccurred after 23 years of sobriety.  In 2012, it was reported that Hoffman had began using heroin again after being prescribed strong opiate pain medication for a procedure he had the same year. The use of heroin after using opiate painkillers is a story we see and hear about quite often.  In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse nearly half of all young heroin intravenous users first abused prescription opioids.

In May 2012, Hoffman checked himself into a treatment program for 10 days, but at some point continued to use. 23 years sober and still struggling with addiction, Hoffman found himself in the exact place he was in 23 years prior.

On February 2nd, the world lost Phillip Seymour Hoffman to his addiction. The initial reaction to his death was a mixture of shock and sadness. The world was shocked we had a lost such an accomplished actor we all loved to addiction, but what the world missed is that Phillip Seymour Hoffman was no different than any other type of addict. Hoffman suffered from a progressive disease that when untreated can be fatal. Addiction does not discriminate.

If two good things can come out of this tragic story, it’s the increased awareness of addiction in general and the proof that even after years of sobriety, addiction can claim lives, because addiction is not curable and people have to fight everyday for their sobriety. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was a successful, respected man with a loving family.  Mr. Hoffman starred in over 50 films, won countless awards for his art and will be considered one of the most respected actors of our time. He had been sober for 23 years, but somehow the addiction reclaimed his life.  Underneath all this there was an addict and the addict in Phillip Seymour Hoffman was no different than the addict without a home you walk past on the street, the addict who makes your coffee in the morning or the addict who lives next door to you.

There is hope for those with addictions.  Many in Hollywood and elsewhere are urging people to speak out and better understand addiction as the disease it truly is.  Demi Lovato stated. “I wish more people would lose the stigma and treat addiction as the deadly and serious DISEASE that it is.” Addiction can be treated.  When it is not treated it can ruin and end lives.  If you or someone you know has an addiction, reach out for help.

New Hope Recovery Center is Chicago’s premier addiction treatment facility offering treatment for heroin, alcohol and other substances.  You can reach us at info@new-hope-recovery.com, 773-883-3916 or visit us at 2835 N. Sheffield Ave., #304, Chicago IL 60657.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about Heroin? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Chicago Heroin Addiction and Facts Heroin use in Chicago and surrounding suburbs has continued to escalate.  Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

Heroin Abuse Warning Signs Heroin has been receiving more attention in the news recently. CBS NEWS: Hooked on Heroin;  NY TIMES: Heroin in New England, More Abundant and Deadly; BBC News: Cory Monteith: The Heroin users that don’t fit the ‘junkie’ stereotype; USA Today: OxyContin a Gateway to Heroin for Upper-Income Addicts. Although it can be upsetting this is very helpful because greater awareness about Heroin and its warning signs can help save lives.   Sadly heroin use has increased all over the US, including in the Chicagoland area.

Parents’ Guide to Prevent Heroin Use and Addiction We previously discussed Chicago’s heroin epidemic and saw that the rapid increase in young adults becoming addicted to heroin is truly startling. There are steps that parents can take to prevent their loved ones from becoming a sad statistic of the heroin epidemic.

Chicago’s Heroin Epidemic – Parents Beware As an addiction treatment center in Lincoln Park, Chicago, we see trends in addiction first hand.  Although all addictions are heartbreaking, nothing has touched us as deeply as the current heroin epidemic among young people.  We have seen young adults in their late teens and early twenties struggling to recover from one of the most dangerous, addictive and life-threatening drugs.  It is a hard struggle – for both the addicts and their families.

Heroin (Opiate) Addiction – Suboxone vs. Vivitrol Medication-assisted treatment for addiction, especially opiates (such as Heroin, Vicodin, and Oxycontin), is not new nor is the controversy that accompanies it.  The most recent controversy involves the use of medications to aid in the treatment of opiate addiction, with Suboxone and Vivitrol receiving the most press.  There is an abundant amount of information available on the internet – unfortunately not all of it is accurate. Keep in mind the choice whether to use medication to assist in opiate addiction rehab is a personal decision best made with accurate information and support from an informed addiction health care team.

Perhaps the hardest part of drug or alcohol addiction treatment is actually getting there. The fears about entering an addiction treatment program or facility (rehab) can overpower the will to get sober and keep someone from getting the help they need. With so many unknowns involved, it’s not surprising many people initially decide against treatment for their addiction.

But how many of these fears are healthy and how many are irrational? It’s important to remember that fear or anxiousness surrounding addiction treatment and sobriety is normal and is something most people go through.

People have all sorts of fears about treatment that can range a variety of different questions.

  • Will I have to stop using/drinking forever?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Who can find out I went to treatment?
  • Will I be able to see my family?
  • Can I leave work to go to treatment?
  • Will I have to miss work to go to treatment?
  • How will addiction treatment impact my insurance?
  • How long will I be in treatment for?
  • What happens after rehab?

These are excellent questions.  But fear based on assuming certain answers can deter someone from getting help.  So get actual answers to these questions.  This will allow you to see what addiction treatment is like.

The best way to do this is to reach out to local treatment centers and ask them these questions directly. Most treatment teams have employees knowledgeable about almost all aspects of treatment.  Often you can make a confidential anonymous phone call or have an anonymous electronic chat to you’re your questions answered. Understand that the answers will vary based on different addiction treatment programs.  So be sure to contact more than one to make sure you find a treatment center that will fit for you and minimize your fears.

Another great way to get answers is to talk to others who have been through rehab. There is no better way of learning about something new than picking the brain of someone who has been there before. Have an honest conversation with someone who has been through it before, this can help alleviate your fears.

You can also ease some of your concerns and unknowns by doing do some research online.  Most treatment centers will have a frequent asked question page, or something comparable.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to change your life forever. If you’re thinking about going to treatment for an addiction, but are struggling with fears and unknowns surrounding it, do what you can to address those fears. Write down your fears down and questions and get answers.

New Hope Recovery Center would be happy to answer any of your questions.  Ideally we would love to answer the questions here, but because each person’s situation will be different, it is better if you contact us so we can fully understand your situation.  You can call us at 888-707-4673, email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com or chat with us online by visiting our website: www.new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

Want more information about seeking help? Check out our Journal for related articles or see below:

Intensive Outpatient: The New Standard? Drug addiction and alcoholism is a progressive disease, so there are many stages of the disease and many different levels of care in which you can treat them. Although the 28 day treatment programs are effective for the severe/chronic cases, Intensive Outpatient is a great alternative. Most people think of a 28 day treatment program when they think of rehab for alcoholism or some other substance addiction.

Residential Drug Rehab: The Inpatient Treatment Option: Finding the right drug and alcohol treatment center can be overwhelming with all the different types of programs available. With so many terms, acronyms and levels of care, many are overwhelmed before they even decide on a program. Residential Day Treatment, Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient, Inpatient are just a few of the more commons ones. The most well known, inpatient and residential is what has become synonymous when people think of “drug and alcohol rehab.”

Drug or Alcohol Addiction Rehab in Chicago: Seeking help for a drug or alcohol addiction is often an overwhelming and confusing process.  Deciding to get help is a huge step, but can often lead to feeling  overwhelmed wondering where to start.  With so many options (including self-help groups such as AA, NA, CA, CMA, etc.) available, it can seem like a daunting task.

How to Find the Best Treatment Center in Chicago: If you are seeking treatment for yourself or a loved one for the first time, searching the Internet can be extremely overwhelming. There are numerous treatment centers in Chicago, and even more throughout Illinois. Whether you are searching for yourself or a loved one, it is important to know the right questions to ask a drug and alcohol treatment center. It is also important to look at the needs of the individual and make sure you are preparing for long term care.

Insurance Coverage & Rehab – Will your insurance pay for treatment? The reason for having health insurance is to alleviate the large financial burden when dealing with any type of illness.  However, insurance providers are not forthcoming with all the information related to an individual with chemical dependency or substance abuse treatment needs. Insurance providers claim there are no “limits” on benefits for rehab, but all benefits are based on medical necessity. What often goes unstated, is the insurance provider is the sole entity determining what constitutes to be medically necessary.

Heroin use in Chicago and surrounding suburbs has continued to escalate.  Heroin is an extremely addictive opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.”

Heroin Use

Heroin can be (1) injected, (2) inhaled by snorting or sniffing, or (3) smoked. All three routes of administration deliver the drug to the brain very rapidly, which contributes to its health risks and to its high risk for addiction.  Repeated use of heroin causes changes in the brain, which frequently leads to uncontrollable drug-seeking no matter what consequences may occur.  For some people, heroin addiction begins after they are prescribed opiate pain drugs, but start misusing them.

Heroin Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms begin 6 to 12 hours after the last use, peaking within 1 to 3 days, and gradually subsiding over 5 to 7 days. However, some heroin users experience weeks or months or years of withdrawal symptoms.

Heroin Effects:

  • The heroin “rush” is usually accompanied by a warm flushing of the skin, dry mouth, and heavy feeling extremities.  It may also be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and severe itching.
  • After the initial rush, abusers often feel drowsy for several hours. Mental function is clouded by heroin's effect on the central nervous system. Heart rate slows. Breathing is also severely slowed, sometimes to the point of death. Heroin overdose is a particular risk because the amount and purity of the drug is not accurately known.
  • While using heroin and during withdrawal, the heroin user may experience:
    • Cravings
    • Mood Changes
    • Aches and Pains
    • Excessive Bodily Fluids
    • Diarrhea and Stomach Pain
    • Nausea and Vomiting
    • Fever
    • Restlessness
    • Sleep Problems
    • High risk of infections, such as HIV/AIDS
    • Collapsed veins
    • Infection of the heart lining and valves
    • Liver disease

Chicago Heroin Facts:

  • Heroin production and availability has grown significantly in the past decade. Reports from the National Drug Intelligence Center show larger yields from Mexico have led to purer, less expensive and more abundant supply heroin within the U.S.
  • In Chicago, nearly all heroin comes from Mexico via the Mexican drug cartels and is being distributed by Chicago street gangs, in what the DEA calls “the Perfect Storm”
  • For the past several years, Chicago has ranked first in the nation for heroin overdose emergency room visits.  Chicago heroin related visits are nearly double those of NYC and significantly more than 2nd ranked Boston.
  • From 2007-2011, mortality overdose/deaths increased by 115% in Lake County, IL, 100% in Will County, IL, and 50% in McHenry County, IL.
  • Heroin use in Illinois among white teenagers under the age of 18 has increased by 22%.

At New Hope Recovery Center, we have seen the increased use of heroin among Chicago area young adults first hand.  If you know someone who is using heroin, urge them to get help before it is too late for them.  You can contact us at 800-707-4673 or info@new-hope-recovery.com.

You may also be interested in reading other information about heroin use and addiction:

Heroin Abuse Warning Signs  Sadly heroin use has increased all over the US, including in Chicagoland area. How can you tell if someone you love is abusing heroin?  Look for these warning signs...

New Hope Recovery Center Review: Client Success Story When I first got to New Hope Recovery Center, I was no stranger to treatment. I had several attempts with inpatient treatment centers and detox units. At the time I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to be sober, I know I needed to be though. New Hope Recovery Center is where I learned “to want it.” At only 21 years old I was a daily heroin user and an alcoholic, I was not hirable and had burned up all but a few bridges with my family and ...

America's Failed Drug Policy The above Documentary: The House I Live In really pushes Americans to think about how we need to change our strategy when fighting the “War on Drugs.” Recently, Roosevelt University hosted the Third Annual Illinois Consortium on Drug Policy.  This year, the three main panels concentrated on (1) the opiate (heroin) epidemic in the Chicago area, (2) the potential Naloxone (an opiate antagonist that can reverse the effects of opiates) has to prevent overdose deaths and save lives, and (3) the future of drug policy in the United States...

Parents' Guide to Prevent Heroin Use and Addiction We previously discussed Chicago’s heroin epidemic and saw that the rapid increase in young adults becoming addicted to heroin is truly startling. There are steps that parents can take to prevent their loved ones from becoming a sad statistic of the heroin epidemic...

Chicago's Heroin Epidemic - Parents Beware As an addiction treatment center in Lincoln Park, Chicago, we see trends in addiction first hand.  Although all addictions are heartbreaking, nothing has touched us as deeply as the current heroin epidemic among young people.  We have seen young adults in their late teens and early twenties struggling to recover from one of the most dangerous, addictive and life-threatening drugs.  It is a hard struggle – for both the addicts and their families...

Heroin (opiate) Addiction - Suboxone vs. Vivitrol Medication-assisted treatment for addiction, especially opiates (such as Heroin, Vicodin, and Oxycontin), is not new nor is the controversy that accompanies it.  The most recent controversy involves the use of medications to aid in the treatment of opiate addiction, with Suboxone and Vivitrol receiving the most press.  There is an abundant amount of information available on the internet – unfortunately not all of it is accurate...

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

When people abuse alcohol or drugs, they are taking risks with their health.  With Drug and Alcohol abuse it does not take long for damage to occur to one’s brain, body, and mind.  Along with the substance itself, there are risks and dangers associated with the lifestyle of substance abusers.  Certain lifestyle risks include financial, relationship, security, career, and overall personal health. People who take risks with their sexual health will likely come into contact with sexually transmitted diseases which can prove to be quite dangerous.

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is any disease transmitted by direct sexual contact. Common types of STDs include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, Syphilis, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis.

Symptoms of STDs will depend on the type, but some of the most common symptoms people will experience include:

  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Discharge from the penis or rectum
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic Pain (menstrual like/female)
  • Testicular tenderness
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Warts at genital area
  • Itching at genital area

Due to the lifestyle, using addicts and alcoholics are more susceptible to STDs. There are a number of reasons for this, including when intoxicated, people are more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Alcohol/drugs lower inhibitions which may lead to promiscuity. Also, when intoxicated, physical symptoms will be less obvious and can easily be ignored. If on an Antibiotic to treat a STD, the use of substances may interfere with its effectiveness. Antibiotic compliance is less likely among substance abusers and the same goes for most medications.

Prevention is key, make sure to always use a condom for intercourse or dental dam for oral sex. Seek medical attention if any of the above symptoms are present. If unprotected sex has occurred, seek testing immediately. STD testing is simple, inexpensive or free, and confidential. Follow through with medical advice. (for example: repeat testing, full course of antibiotics, etc.)

If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol or drug abuse, seek help quickly. Alcoholism and Drug Addiction are diseases and gets worse over time. Seeking help or getting tested can be scary, but you don't need to do it alone. New Hope Recovery Center provides confidential assessments and treatment for substance abuse. We also have a nurse on staff who works closely with our Medical Director to handle medically related health concerns such as STDs. Contact New Hope Recovery Center by email or phone 773-883-3916.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center