Stark County’s Heroin epidemic
Treatments for heroin addiction
A variety of effective treatments are available for heroin addiction, including both behavioral and pharmacological (medications). Both approaches help to restore a degree of normalcy to brain function and behavior, resulting in increased employment rates and lower risk of HIV and other diseases and criminal behavior.
When people addicted to opioids first quit, they undergo withdrawal symptoms (pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting), which may be severe. Medications can be helpful in this detoxification stage to ease craving and other physical symptoms, which often prompt a person to relapse. Medications developed to treat opioid addiction work through the same opioid receptors as the addictive drug, but are safer and less likely to produce the harmful behaviors that characterize addiction. Three types of medications include:
- Agonists which activate opioid receptors
- Partial agonists which also activate opioid receptors but produce a smaller response
- Antagonists which block the receptor and interfere with the rewarding effects of opioids
A particular medication is used based on a patient’s specific medical needs and other factors.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Research Report Series-Heroin, April 2014
StarkMHAR Care Network
Substance abuse prevention, early intervention and treatment services are available to residents of Stark County through a network of qualified, caring service providers. Learn more about services from the StarkMHAR Care Network »
- Crisis Intervention and Recovery Services | 330-452-6000 | www.circstark.org
- CommQuest Services | 330-455-0374 | www.commquest.org
- Domestic Violence Project | 330-453-7233 | www.DVPI.org
- Coleman Professional Services Access/Emergency | 1-877-796-3555 (24/7) | www.colemanservices.org
- Stark County TASC | 330-479-1912 | StarkTASC.org
Withdrawal symptoms of heroin
When the person stops taking the drugs, the body needs time to recover, and withdrawal symptoms result. Withdrawal from opiates can occur whenever any chronic use is discontinued or reduced.
Some people even withdraw from opiates after being given such drugs for pain while in the hospital without realizing what is happening to them. They think they have the flu, and because they don’t know that opiates would fix the problem, they don’t crave the drugs.
Early symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Muscle aches
- Increased tearing
- Runny nose
Late symptoms of withdrawal include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Dilated pupils
- Goose bumps
Social stigma affects quality and outcome of addiction treatment
Stigma impacts not only the person with the substance use disorder, but the family and the community. People in recovery can face social stigma in a variety of ways from being denied employment, housing and losing relationships.
The Anti-Stigma Project characterizes stigma as a “pervasive and damaging influence on the quality of services, treatment outcomes and therapeutic, professional and personal relationships.” (The Anti-Stigma Project, 2012). Learn more about #StepInStepUp, StarkMHAR’s anti-stigma campaign »
The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) describes five key points about stigma:
- Addiction-related stigma is a powerful, shame-based mark of disgrace and reproach.
- Stigma is generated and perpetuated by prejudicial attitudes and beliefs.
- Stigma promotes discrimination among individuals at risk for, experiencing or in recovery from addiction, as well as individuals associated with them.
- Addicted people and people in recovery are ostracized, discriminated against and deprived of basic human rights.
- Individuals who are stigmatized often internalize inappropriate attitudes and practices, making them part of their self-identity.
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