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Opioid Epidemic Examined


Much of the time, when it is revealed that someone has become physically dependent on opioids, the victim, along with their friends, family, and counselors, want to initially attempt to sustain the persons sobriety without the use of any “addiction management” medications. For whatever reason, these medications (ex. Methadone, Soboxone, Subutex, Vivitrol), are viewed as a last resort, or a secondary option, after pure abstinence. This methodology is not only inaccurate, it can be dangerous.

People tend to underestimate the power of an opioid dependency. It is absolutely impossible for an opioid addict to articulate what it is like to go through withdrawal symptoms and to have an ongoing physical and neurological addiction to this substance. An addict may vigorously want to stop taking the opioiod. They themselves are often more passionate about their mission to stop then those around them. However once they are presented with the reality of the physical and psychological symptoms that arise after stopping the opioids, all reason and self control is thrown out the window.

This is why the post-detox period for a recovering addict is one of the most dangerous times for the individual. Accidental overdose is an extreme risk during this particular point in the recovery process. If the individual had simply had access to a medication like methadone once they had completed detoxification, the severe physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms that can arise and trigger them to use and then overdose, could have been completely avoided, saving the person’s life.

An opioid addiction is not something that can be beaten back with pure will. A person’s chemical composition of their brain is permanently modified from the use of the opioids. This needs to be accepted once deciding to move forward with a specific post recovery addiction management treatment program.  There are too many counselors out there who think they know best and erroneously advise against the use of these addiction treatment medications. This is professionally irresponsible and should be condemned universally within the profession.

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