Substance Abuse Course is First Step in Staying Off Opioids

by: Mike Miller

Have you ever heard of Opioid Replacement Therapy? The odds are that if you or someone you know does not, or has not, had a problem with opioids you never have heard of this therapy.

What is an opioid?

Everyone knows about the most dangerous illegal substances out there and heroin is always at the top of that list. Heroin is classified as an opioid, which is a psychoactive chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors. Opioid receptors are found in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract, making them especially lethal.

Opioids have been around for a very long time due to their painkilling and sedation effects and are among the world’s oldest known drugs. Opioids are used for medicinal purposes. Codeine, Oxycodone, and morphine are a few of the most common painkillers used to treat acute pain and/or to wean users off more severe opioids.

The problem is that these medications are highly-addictive and are being used both by patients and addicts for un-proscribed purposes – namely to get high!

Since so many people become addicted to opioids each year, something known as Opioid Replacement Therapy has become increasingly popular.

Opioid Replacement Therapy is a medical procedure or replacing an illegal opioid drug, such as heroin, with a longer acting but less euphoric opioid. The substituted opioids are most commonly methadone and buprenorphine and are taken under medical supervision.

The primary objective of this therapy is to help an opioid addict regain a normal life. This is done while being treated with a substance that stops him or her from experiencing withdrawal symptoms or drug cravings.

Opioid Replacement Therapy has proven successful for those with a slight addiction to a prescription pain pill that had following a hospital visit. If they can nip the problem in the bud, perhaps it will never develop into a full-blown addiction.

There are also many addicts who find themselves referred to Opioid Replacement Therapy programs as a last resort to overcome a heroin addiction.

In addition to helping individuals, it also helps to lower the overall costs for society that are a result of drug-related crimes and subsequent prosecutions.