Understanding Addiction with Reflections Recovery Center

What Families Need to Know About Painkiller Withdrawal

Painkiller addiction (addiction to opioid-based prescription drugs) is a very real concern in the United States, and has been for over a decade – as the opioid epidemic grew and claimed more lives. Because abuse of prescription painkillers and painkiller addiction is deadly – yet can start off in a seemingly harmless way – it’s extremely important for parents and families to be educated on painkiller addiction, withdrawal and the need for painkiller addiction treatment

Painkiller Withdrawal is Dangerous and Can Be Deadly without Medical Detox

The number 1 most important thing that families need to know about painkiller withdrawal is that quitting suddenly can be dangerous, and the withdrawal symptoms from painkiller addiction can be deadly, if not treated with medically supervised opioid detox.
We cannot stress this enough, if you have a loved one that is addicted to painkillers and opioid-based prescription drugs. Do not let them quit cold turkey, get them into proper care with medically assisted painkiller detox.

Why Painkiller Addiction is So Dangerous

Prevent Prescription Opioid Abuse in Your Home

According to a study on “Association of Household Opioid Availability and Prescription Opioid Initiation Among Household Members,” dangerously addictive prescription painkillers prescribed to one person in the family can easily wind up in the hands of others in the house.

Not only are family members likely to take prescription opioids to get high if they are easily accessible in the home, but the study also shows that when a person in a family gets prescribed opioids, other members are more likely to get a similar prescription filled within 12 months.

When one family member takes prescription opioids that were meant for another member of the family, this is called drug diversion and opioid initiation. The risk is that the person taking the opioids may become addicted, and quickly seek out new sources of opioids.

“When opioids are prescribed to one family member, there is a 12% risk that other family members will consume those drugs, and be ‘initiated’ into opioid abuse and addiction through this exposure.”

75% of heroin users in treatment admit that their addiction started with prescription painkiller opioids, and many of those that developed a substance abuse issue with prescription painkillers admit that they started taking the pills from their parents’ or other family members’ prescriptions. This makes the prescriptions painkillers that are not locked up and are easily accessible to other family members the #1 root cause of heroin addiction.

When you look at the heroin epidemic today, having killed of 65,000 Americans in 2016, drug diversion from unsecured medications in your family’s home is dangerous and 100% preventable. Parents especially should not leave any prescription medications accessible to children or any other family members.

The Risks of Opioid Addiction with Chronic Pain, Injuries and Illnesses

Opioid medications and painkillers really do serve legitimate medical purposes, and are often the best medical option for treating illnesses associated with pain and chronic pain. If a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic pain issue or illness that causes pain, they need medications to control the pain and preserve quality of life. However, families should remember that that problems with medications can arise, and families should be looking out for the best interest of their loved ones when it comes to opioid medications and any other prescription drugs.

We are not saying that you need to take away your loved one’s painkillers at the first sign of a problem. We are simply saying that – for the benefit of your loved one’s health and safety – you should be aware of what medications your loved one is taking, the risks of those medications, the doctor’s recommended dosage, and the symptoms and signs that an addiction is forming.

Painkiller Addiction Among Athletes

Prescription Painkiller Addictions in the Young and Elderly

Those that are in their formative years (12-25), and those that are elderly (55+) are especially prone to opioid use disorders and misuse of painkillers. If your children are prescribed opioid painkillers for injuries or illnesses, you as a parent should immediately educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of addiction, withdrawal and overdose.

While it may feel like an invasion of your child’s privacy, or an overstepping of your boundaries to count and monitor how many pain pills your child is taking after being prescribed opioids, it is needed for their safety and wellbeing. So many that have lost their lives in the past decade due to the opioid epidemic were originally prescribed painkillers by a doctor, and their lives may have been saved – if only family members intervened into the problem sooner.

Withdrawal FAQs

FAQs about Painkiller/Prescription Opioid Withdrawal

There are a great many questions that individual addicted to opioids and their family members may have about painkiller addiction – specifically about detox, withdrawal and recovery. We have gathered some common questions below, and given answers that will be beneficial to the loved ones of those suffering from opioid use disorders and addiction.

How Long After Taking Prescription Opioids will Painkiller Withdrawals Begin?

This depends on how much of an opioid a person has been taking, how long they have been taking the drugs, and what form of opioid painkiller they have been using. Different brands and types of painkillers have different half-lives.

The half-life of a drug is how long it takes for 50% of the dosage taken to be metabolized and released from your body. For example, morphine’s half-life is 2-3 hours. Opioids can also build up in the system, and if a person is taking a large amount of opioids, or a combination of different types of opioids, the half-life of the total amount of drugs in a person’s system can be compounded.

Generally, opioid withdrawal timelines state that – in most cases – opioid withdrawal begins within 6-12 hours, peaks at about 72 hours, and a person should be through the painkiller withdrawal within 7 days.

My Loved One Is Addicted to Painkillers and was Arrested. Should I Let Them Stay in Jail to Get Off Drugs?

No. A person in jail is not going to receive proper medically assisted detox, or the medical care they need. Families need to realize just how serious a condition opioid addiction is, and that a person can die from painkiller withdrawal.

There have been numerous cases of families not posting bail for a loved one, or allowing them to stay in jail for an extend period of time, to give them time to “sober up.” Many of these cases have ended in death or serious injury to the addict due to painkiller and opioid withdrawals.

The proper way to deal with this situation is to make sure that they get medically assisted painkiller detox to get them stabilized and out of the danger zone of acute painkiller withdrawal. After they have been stabilized, it is fine to leave them to pay for their mistakes through incarceration, or any other penalty the courts and law enforcement decide upon. However, getting an addict stabilized through medical detox is essential to their life, safety, and wellbeing.

I’ve Heard Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Detox is Just Using One Drug to Replace Another. Is This True?

No, medication assisted treatment for detox is not replacing one addiction for another. MAT detox is clinical treatment to safely stabilize a patient that is addicted to a drug or alcohol, and remove the last of the drugs and alcohol from their system, before they can receive substance abuse counseling and work on staying sober.
MAT detox for does use medications similar to painkillers, heroin and other opioids to stabilize the patient, but it utilizes these medications on a taper and titration schedule (slowly decreasing the amount of the medication down to zero). This is the safest way for a person to stop using drugs, and will prevent the deadly withdrawal symptoms seen if detox is attempted cold turkey.

Opioid replacement therapy, is likely what you have heard arguments against – calling it replacing one addiction for another. This is used in cases of extreme addiction, where relapse is likely to end in a deadly overdose.

Suboxone and methadone clinics are examples of facilities that offer opioid replacement therapy – where a patient goes daily, weekly or monthly to receive medications that keep withdrawal symptoms from appearing. This type of treatment is not for everybody, and we recommend MAT detox that has the goal of getting the patient completely off drugs, by the end of the schedule.

Painkiller Addiction Detox, Treatment, and Recovery

Reflections Recovery Center offers a full continuum of treatment in our painkiller addiction treatment programs for men. We assist families who need help and immediate assistance for a loved one addicted to painkillers, opioids, and/or heroin – offering intervention services, medically assisted opioid detox, evidence-based and proven clinical and therapeutic addiction counseling and treatment, as well as aftercare and family support throughout recovery.

We urge parents and family members who don’t know where to turn with their loved one’s addictions to contact us for an addiction assessment and recommendation for long term painkiller addiction recovery.

Family Support for Painkiller Addiction

Oxycontin Detox at Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona
What real clients have to say about Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona
Reflections provided me with the tools that got me where i am today with 14 months sober.
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Reflections gave me a life and an opportunity to become part of society. They challenged me and shaped me into the man I want to be.
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