How to Deal with Opioid Addiction

08.02.2020 - By Ajal Upadhyaya

Opioids are medications given to manage pain.

There are different classes of opioids, here are the main ones:

Prescription Opioids: It is prescribed by doctors to treat up to moderate and severe pain. Can have serious side effects, and people can form addiction.

Fentanyl: A synthetic opioid pain reliever, very powerful and really helps with severe pain. Usually used for cancer pain, but illegal distribution has risen in the US. -

Heroin: An illegal, high addictive opioid drug. Mostly injected, but can be snorted. Its use has significantly risen in many age groups across the US.

Behavioral + Appearance Changes:

  • Has changed relationships with family members or friends
  • Cash Problems - Avoids eye contact
  • Goes out every night
  • Drives recklessly
  • Messy appearance
  • Smell of smoke, soot on fingers, track marks

  • Mood & Personality Changes:

Exhibits mood changes or emotional instability

Sullen, withdrawn, depressed

Silent, uncommunicative

Hostile, angry, uncooperative

Deceitful or secretive

Less motivated

Unable to focus

  • Health Issues:

Unusually tired, slow movement

Unable to speak intelligibly, slurred speech, or rapid-fire speech

Injuries, accidents, skin abrasions, bruising

Frequent sickness

Sores, spots around mouth



Excessive sweating

The best way to treat Opioid Addiction is Medication-assisted therapy (MAT).

It includes counseling, medicines, and behavioral therapies for recovery. It addresses the needs of individuals that combines the use of medication (methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone).

In 2013, about 1.8 million people had an opioid disorder. MATs have been proved very effective and has reduced the need for inpatient detoxification. MAT’s goal is for full recovery of a patient, it has:

Improved patient survival

Increase retention in treatment

Decrease opioid use and criminal activity

Allowed patients to gain and maintain employment

Medications Effects: Methadone and Buprenorphine has reduced opioid cravings and withdrawal, and stop effects of other opioids. Naltrexone prevents a person in relapse to feel the euphoric and sedative effects of the drug.

Naloxone is an anti-opioid medication that reverses the effects of opioid overdose.

What is opioid overdose?

When someone overdoses, the drug causes the central nervous and respiratory system to depress, stopping breathing and leading to death.

The injection of naloxone binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, which causes the opioid molecules to move and reverse the effects of the overdose.

In Virginia, REVIVE! Is a program where people can get training to inject naloxone. It allows people to recognize and respond to opioid overdose.

Due to the prescription overdose outbreak in the United States, the states have the primary responsibility to regulate prescription practices.

The CDC and PHLP created menus for legal strategies states have used to address drug misuse, abuse, and overdose. You can read the laws below for more information:

CDC - Prescription Drugs - Publications and Resources - Public Health Law. (2018, June 15). Retrieved June 01, 2020, from

Opioid Misuse and Addiction Treatment. (2020, May 22). Retrieved June 01, 2020, from

Medication and Counseling Treatment. (n.d.). Retrieved June 01, 2020, from

Look for Warning Signs of Teen and Young Adult Drug Use. Retrieved June 01, 2020, from