Naloxone for Overdose Reversal

How Naloxone Can Save Lives and Reverse Overdose

One of the biggest risks people take when they use and abuse drugs and alcohol is the risk of overdosing. An overdose occurs when someone ingests too much of a substance and the result causes the body to essentially shut down. While in the past, suffering from an overdose was basically a death sentence, thanks to advancements in modern medicine and science, there are now products that exist that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. One of the most popular, and widely accessible, of those products in Naloxone. In this blog, we will take a look at what exactly Naloxone is, how it can be obtained, and how it has been used to save thousands of people from dying as a result of an overdose.

What Are the Signs of an Overdose?

Before we talk more about Naloxone, it’s important to know what to look for in order to properly identify an overdose. As we mentioned in the intro, an overdose occurs when too much a substance is ingested and as a result, it prevents the proper amount of oxygen from reaching the vital organs. When that happens, the body will begin to shut down. It is important to look for the following signs when identifying an overdose:

  • The person’s face feels clammy or has lost color
  • Lips and fingertips have turned blue
  • The person is non-responsive to either their name or a firm sternum rub
  • Slow or erratic breathing or even no breathing at all
  • Deep snoring or a gurgling sound is coming from the person
  • A slow or even stopped heartbeat

If you see someone experiencing an overdose, it is important to immediately call 911 before beginning any potentially life-saving processes such as CPR or even Naloxone application. It is also important to know that an overdose can occur in as quickly as 20 minutes after the ingestion of a substance but can also take as long as 2 hours to occur.

What Is Naloxone?

Naloxone is a medication that works to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. It attaches to opioid receptors in the brain and reverses the effects of the opioids that the person who is overdosing ingested. Naloxone quickly restores normal breathing to a person that is either experiencing shortening of breath or has stopped breathing altogether. Since Naloxone attaches to opioid receptors, it can only reverse an overdose that is caused by an opioid such as heroin, fentanyl, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, among others.

How Exactly Does Naloxone Work?

Since Naloxone reverses the effects of an opioid-related overdose, it attaches itself to opioid receptors in the brain, essentially blocking them from being able to be accessed by the opioid that had been ingested into the system. In fact, Naloxone is so strong that it will overpower the opioid and essentially remove it from the receptor. There are 4 main areas of the body where opioid receptors can be found. Those 4 places are:

  • Brain
  • Brainstem
  • Spinal cord
  • Gastrointestinal tract

Naloxone targets the opioid receptors in all four areas in order to help reverse the effects of an overdose. It does not, however, completely wipe the body clean of all opioids. As a result, after Naloxone is applied there might be withdrawal symptoms that arise. That’s why, even with the use of Naloxone, it is vital to call 911 at the first sign of an overdose. While Naloxone will help reverse the worst effects of an overdose, medical attention will still be needed to be provided in order to increase the chances of a full and complete recovery.

In 2017, opioid overdose killed 47,600 people. But with medical attention and the help of technologies and resources such as Naloxone, these numbers can continue to decrease. 

How Do People Administer Naloxone?

There are multiple different ways to administer Naloxone to someone who is experiencing an opioid-related overdose. The FDA has proved three forms of intake. Those 3 forms are:

  • Injectable
  • Auto-injectable
  • Prepackaged nasal spray

It is important to remember that when administering Naloxone, the person doing so should be trained on how to administer it. Let’s take a deeper look at the 3 different ways that Naloxone can be administered.

Injectable – When it comes to an injectable form of Naloxone, there are several different companies that offer it. The proper dosage is drawn from a vial and is typically injected via a needle into the muscle. In some cases, the injection can be made either under the skin or even directly into a vein. 

Auto-Injectable – This method is most popular for those who are non-medical personnel. Similar to an automated defibrillator, auto-injectable Naloxone provides instructions on how to use the device and safely administer the Naloxone.

Prepackaged Nasal Spray – For those who prefer a non-needle method of application, the FDA developed a prefilled, needle-free nasal spray that requires no assembly and can be sprayed directly into the nostril of the person suffering from the overdose. This is another popular option amongst those that aren’t medically trained.

Can A Non-Medically Trained Person Administer Naloxone?

The short answer to this is yes. While it is recommended that anyone giving Naloxone to an overdose victim be properly trained in how to do so, it is not a requirement. You can keep Naloxone either on your person or in your home in order to administer in an emergency situation. For those that have a family member or loved one that suffers from an opioid problem, keeping Naloxone around could possibly save his or her life should they suffer from an overdose. It’s important to remember that, even if you have Naloxone around, it is still vital to call 911 the moment the overdose begins or as soon as you realize an overdose is occurring. After calling 911, you can then begin to administer the Naloxone while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive. 

Where Can You Get Naloxone?

While more and more emergency personnel are keeping Naloxone on them in order to administer in the event on an opioid overdose call, many people prefer to keep their own around their house, especially if they live with someone who suffers from an opioid addiction. As more and more states approve the selling of Naloxone over the counter, more and more pharmacies are beginning to carry it. Each state is different, so it is important to know the regulations in the state where you live. Some states offer it over-the-counter, while others require a doctor’s prescription in order to obtain it. Here in Florida, individuals can obtain Naloxone without a prescription and in many cases can be available at no cost, even without insurance

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know About Naloxone?

While Naloxone does work in reversing an opioid overdose, it does not act as a permanent reversal. That is why it is vital that you call 911 right away at the first sign of an overdose. Naloxone only reverses the overdose for 30 to 90 minutes and since many opioids remain in the body much longer than that, it is only one component of the overdose reversal process. In extreme cases, multiple doses of Naloxone may be necessary. This may be the case especially in situations where the overdose was brought on by a particularly strong opioid.

After Naloxone is administered, many people will experience withdrawal symptoms. In some cases, those symptoms can occur within just as little as a few minutes after the Naloxone has been administered. That is just one more reason why it is imperative to call 911 as soon as possible when an overdose occurs. Just like when going through withdrawal symptoms at a treatment center or hospital, it is important to be under medical supervision during the withdrawal process. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Change in blood pressure
  • Headache
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Tremors

While the side effects of Naloxone are not typically life threatening and are rare, they can exist. Some reported side effects of Naloxone include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Body aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Convulsions
  • Severe mood swings
  • Change in heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Want to Know More About Naloxone for an Overdose?

While Naloxone can be a great tool to help reverse the effects of an opioid related overdose, it does not help someone live a clean and sober life. If you or someone you know has experienced an overdose of any kind or find yourself abusing drugs or alcohol it’s important to get the help you need before it’s too late. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we offer a variety of different treatment programs to help those in need get on the path to recovery. Contact us to learn more about the programs we offer and how you can start living and clean and sober life today.

Opioids and Depression

Could Your Opioid Addiction be Caused by Depression?

Addiction is very complex. There are so many factors that can contribute to the development of a substance use problem. But, it’s very common to find that individuals who are dealing with an addiction problem are also suffering from a mental health disorder. In fact, it’s been reported that over 40% of those who have a problem with substance use also have a mental health disorder.

Depression, also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is one of the most common types of mental health disorders that affect people who have alcohol or drug addictions. This particular disorder impacts thousands, even millions, of lives every year. And it most certainly has made a name for itself amongst the population of those addicted to drugs.

In some cases, clinical depression leads to substance dependence and addiction. You see, many individuals use opioid prescriptions which are generally designed to treat moderate to severe pain. As a result of continued and excessive opioid use, some people become dependent on opioids. Some may also develop an addiction to these substances.

If you’ve been suffering from an opioid addiction problem, it’s possible that depression is one of the main causes of your struggle. If so, you’re not alone; there are many others who are suffering from the co-occurring disorders of addiction and depression. Thankfully, though, there is hope through professional treatment!

How are Depression and Opioid Addiction Connected?

Again, some people begin using opioid medication as recommended by a medical professional. After using these medications for a while, individuals may develop a tolerance for these substances. This means that their bodies become so used to the effects of the opioid medications that individuals need to use a higher dosage in order to get the desired result.

As people build tolerance for opioids, their bodies begin to depend on the substance. It becomes difficult for them to function or feel normal without using opioids. After a while, they may even become addicted to the drugs, having an uncontrollable craving for them.

In other cases, people may begin to use opioids to treat pain in their bodies and, after using these medications, develop clinical depression.

When a person is suffering from both depression and opioid addiction, the co-occurring disorders tend to impact one another, making the effects of each one even worse. In other words, people who struggle with clinical depression may become even more involved in substance abuse. And an individual who is suffering from an opioid addiction problem may become more deeply depressed over time.

The Challenges of Living With Depression

Unfortunately, people who are suffering from depression often feel hopeless and helpless. If you are dealing with the effects of major depressive disorder in your life, you know how difficult it can be to live with depressive disorder. It’s challenging to communicate what you’re experiencing and connect with your loved ones.

Depression deprives people of the happiness they deserve, often causing individuals to feel discouraged and downhearted for days, weeks, years, and even months at a time.

Sometimes, people who are dealing with clinical depression lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. The things they were passionate about seem to become completely unimportant to them as they feel overwhelmed by the effects of depression.

Individuals who suffer from clinical depression frequently have feelings of loneliness. They may isolate and distance themselves from the people who care about them. In most situations, people who are living with depression feel trapped, as if they can’t break free.

The pressure and discomfort of living with depression often cause people to turn to things that may give them at least temporary relief. Sadly, many individuals resort to alcohol use. Others may turn to drugs, such as opioids.

Many may become dependent on opioid medication, such as Vicodin or OxyContin. Other individuals may begin to use illicit forms of the drug, such as heroin.

It’s common to believe that illicit drug use and addiction are more harmful and dangerous than the problems people develop after using prescription opioids. But, the truth is that any type of substance abuse can lead to very serious effects.

So, whether you are struggling with an addiction to prescription medication or an illicit drug like heroin, it’s important to seek professional help right away.

When You’re Dealing With Depression and Addiction

On its own, the battle against depression is extremely overwhelming and challenging. Those who are dealing with clinical depression often struggle to find comfort and peace. Relief is extremely hard to find.

So, again, many people attempt to find it in drugs or alcohol. Opioid use is certainly a common problem amongst those who are dealing with depression. Even though these substances may seem to help relieve the pressures and symptoms of depression, they can be extremely harmful to those who abuse them and become addicted to them.

Opioid use can cause:

  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Breathing problems

If a person continues to use opioid drugs and become dependent on or addicted to them, he or she might lose control over the drug use. As a result of this uncontrollable use of opioids, many individuals find themselves at risk for overdose.

Opioids tend to slow down one’s breathing. So, after a person uses an excessive amount of opioids, the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain will decrease. This can lead to unconsciousness and a state of coma. It’s possible that the individual will suffer from permanent brain damage. But, the results can also be fatal. So, it’s important to end opioid abuse and addiction as soon as possible in order to avoid an overdose.

Help is Available at Our Pompano Beach Treatment Center!

If you are struggling with opioid addiction and depression, there is hope for you. You don’t have to feel bound by these issues any longer. Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we offer professional detox and treatment programs for those who are suffering from addiction.

If you want to become free from substance abuse, please contact us by calling (866) 319-6126.


The Opioid Epidemic Just Got Some Backup

A new study just came out telling us that drug overdoses have been down for the last six months. But we also learned recently that Fentanyl has some competition for deadliest opioid coming early in November 2018.Fentanyl is a kind of prescription, synthetic opioid. The drug  has been used for years for various medical reasons such as during the post-surgery phase of treatment. It is used in order to block pain. It can also be used prior to surgery in order to help patients sink gently into an unconscious state of being.

Fentanyl was developed in the 1960’s for use by surgeons as an anesthetic and pain reliever. At first it was well restricted to use by medical professionals. However, these drugs don’t often take long to get to the public market.

By 1990 the drug was produced in a subdermal patch form that was easily applied, easily distributed, and thus easily sold illicitly anywhere and everywhere.

Accessibility is everything in the fight against drug addiction. This is likely one of the reasons opioids are killing so very many people, they are everywhere. Since the patch was made, fentanyl use has skyrocketed in the USA so much so that fentanyl has been named as the cause for almost half of the drug overdose deaths in the US.  


“This Drug Offers No Advance”

Keeping all of that information about fentanyl in mind, it becomes more than clear as to why some physicians and specialists out there are uncomfortable with the fact that the US Food and Drug Association, FDA, are about to approve a new opioid for use in the United States. Dsuvia is an opioid that boasts a potentsy ten times more deadly than fentanyl and five hundred times the potency of morphine. Dsuvia was developed by AcelRx Pharmaceuticals.


Even among committee members, there is disagreement about the necessity of releasing another potent opioid to the public. Dr. Raeford Brown, the chair of the committee and a professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics at the University of Kentucky, expressed concern about Dsuvia, which he noted comes in a form that can be easily diverted—meaning someone without a prescription might still be able to access the drug. “This drug offers no advance, in my mind, over previously available opioid formulations, but provides great risk of harm to patients and the general public health,” Brown told Marketwatch in an interview.



Opioid Addiction Treatment through Detox, & Broward County Drug Rehab

South Florida is no stranger to the opioid epidemic and neither is 1st Step Behavioral Therapy. 1st Step has been offering the community in South Florida opioid treatment for years, like their heroin drug treatment. Broward County is just as at risk as the rest of the country. Opioids are some of the most addictive substances that can be taken because they grow tolerance in the user at a startling pace. This is why those who start by taking a prescription dosage unexpectedly end up looking for a stronger illicit form later.

If you are addicted to opioids, whether they are prescription or something like heroin or fentanyl you need to seek out help soon. These drugs are fatal. You can’t do it on your own. Call today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you come off of the substance safely so you can live a long, healthy, and sober life.

Naltrexone Treatment At Residential Drug Detox Facilities

Naltrexone, a non-narcotic medication, was created to treat people struggling with drug abuse, specifically those struggling with an alcohol or opioid addiction, such as someone going through heroin drug treatment. Broward county drug rehab facilities commonly offer medicinally based treatments like naltrexone. The drug is meant assist the person struggling with chemical dependence to reach sobriety so they can enter the maintenance stage of their disease.

It does this by blocking the opioid receptors located in the brain. These are the receptors that opioids cover, lessening and blocking pain, causing euphoric and content moods. They also slow the respiratory and cardiac rates of the user.  Naltrexone is revolutionary because if a user is taking it, if they then take heroin or any different type of opioid, the pain, pleasure, and addiction controlling centers of the brain will not feel the effects of the opioid.

The reason this is so important during the rehabilitation stage of recovery is because the drug helps to stave off the cravings of heroin withdrawal by making the patient uninterested in the drug via the capping of the opioid receptors after their heroin detox. After detox, having the drug naltrexone in a patient’s system allows the person struggling with addiction to focus more on the psychological work necessary to further their recovery.


Naltrexone is the generic version of the opioid treatment that also goes by the following brand names:

  • Vivitrol
  • Depade
  • Revia


Medication Assisted Treatment Program

Medication assisted treatment programs like those offered by at 1st Step Behavioral Health residential drug detox facilities are centered around using medications like naltrexone, and behavioral therapy to treat drug or alcohol chemical dependence and psychological addiction. While other medications like do indeed allow for a possibility that the patient may become dependent on them, Naltrexone is not an addictive medication. There is no potential to abuse Naltrexone. Because the drug is not addictive it is becoming one of the most recommended courses of treatment for addicts seeking treatment for an opioid addiction.


Inpatient vs. Outpatient Medication Assisted Treatment Program

Outpatient care is a good option for someone who is unable to get away from their normal everyday lives.But opioid addiction is one of the more dangerous substance addictions. It quickly builds tolerance and catches people in the claws of substance abuse and an intense chemical dependence. The tragic part is that four out of five opioid addicts start taking a prescription medication in an effort to lessen some form of pain. And yet from there they make it to drugs such as heroin and fentanyl which almost inevitably end in fatal overdose without proper treatment. That’s why the majority of addicts will find that an inpatient stay in a detox and rehabilitation facility is the most useful combination with naltrexone treatment. If you have questions about naltrexone treatment, contact 1st Step. We can answer your questions and help you find a treatment program that fits your unique needs.

Heroin, a Killer By The Thousands

The opioid epidemic is killing people by the thousands every year throughout Florida. It reaches all the way from Broward county to expand into the whole entire world. The crisis that is killing so many in Florida, throughout the United States of America and as the World Health Organization shows, throughout the whole world. 118 thousand people dying due to opioid related matters in 160 thousand is a jaw dropping 74% of the people who died due to a drug related incidents in 2016 who succumbed to death because of opioids.


Opioids are a real threat to humanity. For a long time the most commonly talked about, and one of the most dangerous, was heroin. It was a popular drug to start using after prescription opioids lost their luster due to an the way opioids skyrocket someone’s tolerance. After a while someone taking a prescription opioid, especially in cases where the person is misusing the prescription by taking more than they are supposed to or taking them more frequently than they are supposed to be taken will plateau with the medication, meaning the person’s tolerance will outgrow the medication potency.

Opioids are tenacious and brutal in their addictive qualities and withdrawal symptoms, and because a large amount of people who are addicted to opioids suffer from a dual diagnosis or co-occurring mental illness, it is virtually impossible to recover from heroin addiction without seeking help. But because there is such shame attached to the disease, and because mental health disorders and addiction feed one another, people who suffer from heroin addiction, especially those with a dual diagnosis, all too often do not seek treatment, or are unable to get it for whatever reason be it socioeconomic or availability.

Hundreds of thousands of people die every year because of lack of heroin drug treatment. Broward county drug rehab facilities are equipped to deal with heroin addiction and are increasingly affordable to the masses as insurances begin to cover more costs of substance abuse treatment. Florida residents who are suffering from an addiction to heroin should call 1st Step Behavioral Health to learn more about the programs available to help treat physiological addiction as well as psychological drug or alcohol addiction.  


What is Heroin?

Heroin is a narcotic analgesic in the opioid family. That means it is a drug that alters the mental state of the person taking it while it works to lessen pain. Usually the drug comes in a brown to white colored powder that people ingest either by snorting, consuming orally, smoking, or mixing with water to inject into the veins. Heroin therefore comes with complications not just from the drug itself but from the way in which the drug is taken. If injected into the veins it can come with a side effect of collapsing veins or blocking the blood vessel, smoking it can lead to a deterioration of pulmonary tissues, and snorting it can cause respiratory issues. Along with the risks of the way the drug is consumed,there is the possible danger of what the drug is composed of. Heroin is often cut by the drug dealer in order to make the drug stretch, therefore making more money from the stash. Heroin that is cut with more additives is less white and lends itself toward the more off white to brown coloration. Consequently, if the drug is cut with something the effects of the opioid will in fact be less potent. This however does not take away any of the danger because heroin is often cut with truly terrifying substances. Some more alarming than others, however, all there to accompany heroin which in and of itself is a brutal killer.


Heroin is usually cut with:

  • Talcum powder
  • Rat poison
  • Baking soda
  • Caffeine
  • Flour
  • Fentanyl
  • Laundry Detergent


You would think that being frequently cut with substances such as rat poison, laundry detergent, etc would be enough reason for this drug to stop being of interest to the drug scene, however it is still responsible for a substantial number of deaths every year.


Heroin vs. Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a true super villain of the opioid family, killing enormous amounts of people every year. It is really lapping heroin in the news these days as far as the opioid epidemic goes. Fentanyl is so scary that the United States Department Justice Department created and sent out an informational video telling first responders just how to react and manage in the face of a fentanyl exposure. Some first responders have come into contact with the drug on an emergency scene due to an overdose or a crime scene in which the drug played a part. Some of those respondents complained of symptoms or side effects from the exposure such as tingling, and respiratory issues. One group of prison guards and inmates were admitted to the hospital after they breathed in an airborne combination of heroin and fentanyl.


Fentanyl is even more deadly and potent than heroin and was recently used for the first time in carrying out one of the first government sanctioned death sentences in the state of Nebraska. Not only was it the first time Fentanyl was used for this purpose but it was the first death sentence carried out in Nebraska for years. There has been a lot of controversy over the last decade about how deaths are carried out in states that still allow the death penalty concerning the drugs used for lethal injection. Fentanyl appears to have quelled those concerns – at least in that state. The power of the drug is shown in its effortless effectiveness in this matter. And that power is especially disconcerting when you take into consideration that fentanyl was originally developed for the purpose of getting rid of someone’s pain. It certainly should not be doing that by also getting rid of the user’s life as well. 


Even though Fentanyl is having its time in the spotlight, heroin is still in the background with fatal overdose numbers continuing to be devastating. And as prescriptions for opioid painkillers trend upward it is almost sure that the world will see heroin’s fatal overdose numbers climb as well.


Treatment is The Only Hope

At 1st Step Behavioral Health we offer a comfortable setting. When a patient’s everyday needs are taken care of and they have no need to worry over the stressors of everyday life, they are more able to focus on their drug or alcohol addiction recovery. 1st Step also employs a talented and experienced group of licensed medical professionals and qualified therapists to work with a patient as they overcome chemical dependency on a substance during medical detox and then throughout rehabilitation as they learn the life skills necessary to start a new way of living.


Unlike many other modern rehabilitation centers found throughout the country and especially here in Florida, 1st Step Behavioral Health uses only the most effective methods for ending addictions to all manner of substances and a variety of behaviors.

We will work closely with you to determine the best course of action regarding ending your addiction to drugs or alcohol through a customized rehab program whether it be intensive inpatient addiction control with residential detox or outpatient care with occasional group meetings and cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. We’re ready to help you quit the moment you’re ready to quit. Call us today to see what programs can help you break free from substance abuse.

Oxycodone, A Common Killer in Florida and Across The Globe

These days oxycodone, sometimes called the brand names Percocet or OxyContin, is one of the most widely prescribed pain pills across the state of Florida. The Sunshine State is one of the easiest places to illicitly acquire opioid drugs, not only that, but they are widely distributed legally in the healthcare system in the state as well. This sort of availability has had devastating effects on the population; 16 people die in Florida everyday due to opioid related issues. That ends up calculating out to be almost 6000 Floridians a year lost to an opioid addiction that probably started with a drug like oxycodone.


Doctors may prescribe Oxycodone to the person who has been through surgery, has hurt their back at work, or gets a wisdom tooth extracted, all understandable reasons to need some form of medical pain relief. Oxycodone is prescribed for a myriad of different discomforts, chronic and acute in large number. According to CNN, “The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors steadily increased from 112 million prescriptions in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012, according to the market research firm IMS Health. The number of prescriptions dispensed has since declined, falling to 236 million in 2016.” 


Florida is at the heart of this crisis in a big way. That’s why local and state governments have been focusing so heavily on putting measures into place to lower the tragic number of overdoses, fatal or not, in Florida every day.  Recent legislation, that was passed and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in July 2018, was a direct response to the palpable opioid crisis in Florida. According to an article from the Associated Press, Mark Fontaine, Executive Director for the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association says that the law is “ a pretty comprehensive approach to addressing the epidemic, It has education programs and helps control the measures for availability.” The new law is striving to address all sides of the crisis including the availability of drugs such as oxycodone. It creates more rigid limits on pain pill prescriptions. It also funnels more money into treatment for those struggling with the drug addiction.


The opioid epidemic national and international effects are just as difficult to read about as Florida’s. Indeed, opioids are in the spotlight right now not only in South Florida, but throughout the US and across the world. The amount of deaths the drugs induces has spurred attention from world leaders and the healthcare world. In 2016, according to the World Health Organization, opioids were responsible for almost 75% of the world’s drug fatalities. So many people addicted to more powerful opioids began their addiction with an honest and legal prescription. Many people who are addicted to Heroin and end up at 1st Step’s Heroin Drug Treatment in Broward County by way of oxycodone or hydrocodone first. According to CNN’s Opioid Fact Sheet:  

“Hydrocodone and oxycodone are semi-synthetic opioids, manufactured in labs with natural and synthetic ingredients. Between 2007 and 2016, the most widely prescribed opioid was hydrocodone (Vicodin). In 2016, 6.2 billion hydrocodone pills were distributed nationwide. The second most prevalent opioid was oxycodone (Percocet). In 2016, 5 billion oxycodone tablets were distributed in the United States.”

With the common knowledge of the prescription to illicit opioid slippery slope, those numbers of opioid prescriptions should strike some alarm in everyone’s mind.


Where did Oxycodone Come From?

Oxycodone, sometimes also known as OxyContin or Percocet, was developed in Germany in 1916 as a semi-synthetic form of an opioid. It’s an opioid that is usually prescribed in a pill form, to be taken orally. When taken illegally it may be taken orally, but many addicts will puncture the capsule or grind up the tablet to take orally, sniff through the nostrils or even injected into the veins to experience the high more rapidly.

Oxycodone didn’t take long to become a popular street drug. The drug, like most opiates binds to the pain, pleasure, and addiction controlling receptors in the brain in order to reduce discomfort in the physical body, and induce a sense of relaxation and contentment in the mind of the person taking the substance. With side effects like that, oxycodone was almost destined to become a hot drug on the illegal markets. Many people who become addicted to drugs or alcohol are looking for a calming of a tortured mind or relief from chronic depression or chronic pain (which leads to depression). A drug that can offer relief to both a person’s physical and mental trouble is hard to resist for anyone with a propensity toward addiction.


Heartbreakingly, oxycodone is a silent killer that kills young and old alike. It’s the kind of drug that seems safe because people are often first introduced to it in prescription form, but if abused it can slip an addict easily into overdose, and even death. If it doesn’t come to that, the rate at which opiates engender growth of tolerance in their users is aggressive, and it’s not long before a user will likely have to seek out stronger opiates to retain the feeling of euphoria or contentment that the Oxycodone gave them when they started using the substance. All opioids will offer that feeling of contentment and relief and all opioids will build tolerance in the drug user at an exponential rate. The stronger the opioid, the more volatile and deadly it seems to be. Opioids are killing hundreds of thousands people worldwide every year.


Doctors may prescribe Oxycodone to the person who has been through surgery, has hurt their back at work, or gets a wisdom tooth extracted, all understandable reasons to need some form of medical pain relief. Oxycodone is prescribed for a myriad of different discomforts, chronic and acute. According to CNN, “The number of opioid prescriptions dispensed by doctors steadily increased from 112 million prescriptions in 1992 to a peak of 282 million in 2012, according to the market research firm IMS Health. The number of prescriptions dispensed has since declined, falling to 236 million in 2016.”


Even though these staggering statistics feel so disheartening, there is hope. Bringing issues like Oxycodone addiction to the forefront will help researching scientists, political leaders, and healthcare professionals to see the real danger and create more legislation to safeguard against the abuse of drugs like oxycodone. Measures like Florida’s recent legislation are being taken throughout communities across the world. 25 states had already passed a similar kind of law as Florida’s when Gov. Scott signed the law.  


Oxycodone Treatment in South Florida

The development of addiction to oxycodone or any other prescription opioid can be a slippery slope from something that seems so innocuous into something really devastating. And though legislation cannot save those who are already addicted to the drugs, they don’t have to slip through the cracks. Treatment is available for oxycodone addicts, and can be the difference between life or death.


1st Step Behavioral Health can help people struggling with withdrawal from oxycodone and are here to make sure that their addictions are taken care of in a safe environment in a healthy manner. Treatment available at 1st Step treatment facility locations includes medically supervised detoxification while the user is experiencing oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, addiction rehabilitation treatment that focuses on personal and group therapy, as well as aftercare relapse prevention therapy. Call today to learn more about 1st Step’s rehab options. 


Imposter Syndrome and Sobriety

So what is imposter syndrome? I bet you have more of an idea than you think. Have you ever been in a situation where you were with a group of people you thought were really brilliant? Maybe they acted like you were just as smart as they are. Maybe they felt like you were just as competent and useful as you believed them to be. Did you feel like you measured up like they thought you did? Or did you feel like any minute now, they would realize you aren’t as brilliant as they thought you were. Did you think you would be exposed as a fraud? Did you ever feel like your success was a fluke? Like you didn’t deserve something that you worked so hard for and got? That is imposter syndrome. It sounds like it’s not a big deal, but imposter syndrome can take the joy and hope of great success and turn it into misery – sometimes ruining lives.


After you get back from rehab I hope that you have no doubt that everyone deserves a healthy and sober life. Even if you come away from rehab knowing this, it can still be hard to live out in the face of complicated emotions like Imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome can haunt people, especially women, with the idea that they are just fooling themselves and everyone around them. That they can’t be successful at being sober, or at their career, or at being an amazing parent, or fulfilling lover. But it’s not true for anyone, including you.


You’re scared, but you can make it. Maybe before you went to rehab you were an opioid addict. Maybe you feel that societal stigma, and even though you’re off the pain meds, and you’re looking forward you still feel like any success will be undeserved. I’m here to tell you that you can win out over imposter syndrome. But how?

  1. Get a buddy. Make sure you talk to your friends and loved ones about your imposter syndrome. Have at least one friend who can remind you how strong you are and how far you’ve come. Looking back at how far you have come can be reassuring and help you keep going.
  2. One step at a time. When you start to feel skeptical of your own success. About deserving the benefits of good choices and hard work, remember to, instead of getting discouraged, remember that what is important is not how successful you feel, because you won’t always feel like a success, but what matters is that you keep stepping on the road of sobriety, one step at a time. Eventually you will feel that hope and believe in your own success again.


Maybe you’re not struggling with imposter syndrome. Maybe you’re still wrestling in the depth opiate addiction. We want to help. Drug addiction, particularly heroin and Oxycodone addiction is very scary and dangerous. But there is hope through our heroin drug treatment in Broward County. Don’t try to detox on your own. Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can make you very sick. When you go through withdrawal from oxycodone you need to have medical professionals to monitor your health and make sure you’re needs are met and that your vital signs are stable. We want to guide you to hope in recovery. Call us now at  (866) 319-6126


Prescription Medicines You Can Get Addicted To

The Hawaiʻian islands once had a major rat problem. To combat it, sugar cane plantation farmers imported mongooses to kill the rats. Unfortunately it did not work and now Hawaiʻi also has a mongoose problem. Similarly, a person who starts taking a prescription medication for a legitimate health concern may become addicted.


Understanding the Danger

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), “Prescription drugs are the third most commonly abused category of drugs, behind alcohol and marijuana and ahead of cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine.”

Nearly twenty percent of the US population has abused prescription drugs. Some of the common reasons include:

  • Misunderstanding them to be safer than what’s found on the street
  • For relaxation or appetite suppression
  • Falsely thinking it’s a legal way to drugs


Types of Medication to Be Careful With

NCADD provides a list of frequently abused medication including street name variants, intoxicating effects, and health consequences here. The most commonly abused abused categories include pain relievers, tranquilizers and sedatives, and stimulants.

Pain relievers include such opioids such as Vicodin and OxyContin. These drugs may cause drowsiness and euphoria. They are also highly addictive, can slow breathing to dangerous levels, can be overdosed, and are dangerous when combined with alcohol.


Tranquilizers and sedatives are depressants. A few common examples are Xanax and Valium. They are often used to treat common issues such as anxiety or sleep problems. They can also cause drowsiness and a relaxed feeling. Negative consequences of abuse include dangerous slowing of one’s breath and heartbeat and major withdrawals such as seizures.


A few examples of stimulants include Ritalin and Adderall. They are designed to increase alertness and can also provide a sense of euphoria. However, they are addictive, can overheat the body of a person who abuses them, and can result in a seizure.

Think you or a loved one might have a problem with prescription medication? Call us at (866) 319-6126 right away.

Why Broward County is Inundated with Opioid Addiction Treatment Cases

Although there has always been drug use and abuse within Broward County, you are much more likely these days to know someone who has been afflicted with or you have found yourself with an opioid addiction. Considering the national figures, though, it would likely be rarer these days if you are an adult who does not know someone, including yourself, who has an opioid addiction in Broward County. We might understand how bad the problem is and can be, but where did it come from in the first place and why has it corresponded with a huge uptick in heroin abuse and addiction?

Beginning of the Opioid Problem

The opioid crisis in Broward County mirrors that which the country as a whole is going through. Most people now addicted to opioids began using these narcotic drugs because they received a prescription from a legitimate medical practice sometime between the mid 90s and 2000s. The doctors aren’t to blame, though, as they were told that opioids are neither addictive or dangerous – that they should just throw opioids at any patient who experienced any pain, even if it was fairly minor.

And while doctors saw and reported individual cases of addiction take root, the pharmaceutical industry did nothing to dissuade over-prescribing these notoriously addictive medicines. It wasn’t until large numbers of people started dying from opioid medicines like fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and tramadol, among quite a few more that people started to take notice of how dangerous they are. By then, there was a legitimate crisis of addiction that’d spread nationwide.

The Real “Gateway” Drug

When politicians started to take notice of the opioid problem was when they realized how easily they led to heroin use, which has a massively negative stigma attached to it. That came about because heroin and opioid medications have very similar effects, but heroin has become substantially cheaper than its pharmaceutical relatives.

If you’re looking for help entering an opioid or heroin drug treatment program in Broward County, contact us for more information or to schedule a meeting with one of our addiction specialists.

Drug Addiction isn’t a Punchline

It’s easy to watch movies and laugh at the way drugs are portrayed. Sure, cheesy 70s and 80s movies and even the early 90s often showed people get high off of something, and the world is just twisting and turning, and everything is amazing and hilarious, and nobody can stop laughing. Or you’d have some goofy loser looking for their next fix, and they’d be off on crazy misadventures trying to do just that. The real world isn’t like that. When a person in the real world gets high, it can change their brain chemistry, and make them miserable without it. And that’s only what it does to the person themselves.


The Reality of Drug Abuse

It’s easy to forget the social impact addiction has on a person. A friend, or a roommate, or a family member, once drugs enter their life, will often change without realizing it themselves. They tend to grow distant, more moody and prone to fits of emotion, and will often make friends with people in circles around their dealers and other drug users. All of this is hard on those who care. It can be a mental struggle for people who care about their friends to confront them about their drug use. But no matter how hard it is, if someone is trying to get help for an addict, they’re fighting for that person’s life, and surrender is rarely an option to take.


Of course, the health impacts are bad too. Depending on the chemical substance, the person who issues it may have mixed in other chemicals for either additional effect or to dilute the amount they give out per dose. Unless it’s prescriptions being abused, there is no legal medical oversight involved. They have no duties to put the user’s health first when making their product. And even if it is prescription drugs like oxycodone or opioids that are being abused, the medical care involved will not protect someone who is using the drugs the wrong way.


No “Good” Illegal Drugs

Even worse, depending on the kind of drug used, there can be terrible physical repercussions. Methamphetamines are particularly notorious, quickly causing tooth decay and gum disease after only a few uses. There are many other drugs, with many different side-effects and withdrawal symptoms, but you will rarely find a drug that has a net good to a person’s body without some horrible consequence. Even society as a whole is hard to forgive those bearing the signs of being an addict, no matter how good people might be.


For more information on drug recovery and clinics near you, contact us at (866) 319-6126 or send us a message online.