Rebuilding Lives and Overcoming the Opioid Epidemic

Rebuilding Lives and Overcoming the Opioid Epidemic

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Out of all the crises facing people in the United States today, the opioid epidemic may be the worst. The destruction that opioids cause to the lives of people is staggering and humbling. In the United States, drug overdoses are the number one injury-related death, and opioid overdoses comprise the majority of drug overdoses. Worse still, overdoses due to opioid use surged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent years, the increased use of synthetic opioids like fentanyl has wreaked havoc and continued to cause death and destruction. With public fear of this issue at an all-time high, it can be difficult for someone who uses opioids to come forward and seek help. However, it’s important to understand that continuing to use opioids is not a viable option. Unfortunately, even when overdose drugs are administered, many opioid overdoses still result in death.

Individuals who seek help for their opioid use show a tremendous amount of courage. Some of them may have kept their prescription drug addiction secret from family and friends. Nevertheless, these people are acknowledging that treatment is their beacon of hope on the road to recovery. The most important thing for someone who is embroiled in the opioid epidemic is to get help promptly. After all, the only way to avoid the death and destruction caused by the opioid epidemic is to find lasting recovery.

Impact on Families: Navigating the Fallout of the Opioid Epidemic

Perhaps just as much as those who use opioids themselves, families and friends of opioid users are continually victimized by the opioid epidemic. Like their loved one who is addicted, family and friends often watch as the person they knew disappears and is replaced by a stranger. Even though families often want to assist their loved ones in getting help, they cannot. Unfortunately, opioid users often believe they need their drug, and in many cases their original prescription was need-based.

Families and friends may also find other devastating changes in their relationships with a loved one who has been consumed by opioids. Once vibrant and healthy, people who use opioids will begin to undergo physical and mental health changes. Their behavior will become more erratic, both when taking drugs and during withdrawal. A person suffering from substance abuse can go through wild emotional swings. They may also nod out and slur their speech.

A person’s behavior toward family and friends may also change. The opioid becomes the most important thing in their lives, above everything and every person they previously cared about. Families and friends may notice money or items missing from their homes and personal spaces. Opioid users will do anything to get their fix, even if it means alienating those who love them and destroying relationships.

Understanding the Devastation: Opioid Addiction’s Toll on Families

Families and friends of opioid users may experience hurt that hinders them from supporting the substance user in treatment. Even so, loved ones need to know that by seeking help, the opioid user is taking the first step to mend the bridges they have burned. To heal the emotional, financial, and social damage wrought by the opioid epidemic, family and friends must embrace their loved one’s efforts.

The opioid epidemic is a devastating war being raged in our midst every day in the United States. Those who use opioids often do not notice the ripple effects of their substance use on their family and friends. These effects can include stress, loss of trust, and trauma. Similarly, families and friends may have trouble understanding that their loved one is also a victim of the opioid epidemic. Their loved one needs empathy and support to help them overcome these effects.

A Beacon of Hope for Families in the Opioid Epidemic

Families of those addicted to opioids should realize the importance of early intervention. When they become aware of their family member’s addiction, they should immediately attempt to intervene. Even some drugs legally prescribed can be addictive. Everyone must be vigilant about the possibility of becoming addicted.

When a person seeks help for opioid use, they need to find a care team that has the knowledge and experience to make a difference. Treatment leading to recovery is a transformative process. A person needs the support of their family and friends to help them make treatment a priority. When they do, they can embark on a journey of healing, resilience, and renewed connection together, hand in hand.

A Path to Long-Term Recovery Amid the Opioid Epidemic

Utilizing the most recent research and cutting-edge interventions may be key to success in treatment and recovery. At First Steps Recovery, we are committed to bringing our patients the best treatment possible to ensure their success.

Medication can be a lifeline during treatment for opioid addiction. It is important to know that withdrawal from drugs has risks. Medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone can ease many withdrawal symptoms. By participating in these interventions, our clients have the best chance of successful treatment and recovery.

Medication: A Lifeline in Opioid Addiction

One of the biggest questions people ask is: What are the risks of using medications during treatment? The answer is twofold. First, no matter the risk of using medications for withdrawal symptoms, substance use is riskier and more deadly. Second, methadone helps substance users gradually step away from substance use in a controlled environment. There are risks, but they are far outweighed by the reward.

Embracing Harm Reduction: Saving Lives and Supporting Recovery

Above all, harm reduction is the best way to overcome stigma and help opioid abusers seek help. Harm reduction means to provide means to prevent overdose deaths. This includes distributing naloxone to emergency services and other workers.

By embracing harm reduction, we at First Steps Recovery create safe environments for opioid users to seek help. We are waiting with open arms to receive clients in need. Together, we can overcome the opioid epidemic and end this crisis in America.

Facing the prospect of seeking help for opioid use can seem like staring down a long, dark, tunnel. Seeking help means facing your shame and the judgment of others. Even though your relationships with family and friends may have become frayed, there is hope for rebuilding those ties. You do not have to feel ashamed if you are doing what is right and getting help. At First Steps Recovery, we use cutting-edge treatments and achieve real results. We can help you break the hold of opioids and find lasting recovery. Let us help you find the light at the end of the tunnel. Call us today at (844) 489-0836 to learn more. 

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