The Problem

Opioid abuse has become an epidemic in the U.S. with both prescription and illicit opioid addiction and overdose on the rise for the last two decades. As opioids are misused, the drugs chemically interact with opioid receptors on the nerve cells, in the brain and in the nervous system. The drugs initially produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain, but over time opioids alter the chemical makeup of the brain, making the body dependent on the drug. Chemical dependence is a chronic and progressive disease that, if left untreated, can lead to physical, psychological and societal deterioration. Addiction can also be fatal.

The disease of addiction harms not only the individual but also impacts those closest to them – family, friends and loved ones. In addition, opioid addiction negatively affects countless aspects of one’s life including employment, finances, education, and community standing.

The Solution

Recognition of the problem is the first step. The national dialogue has shifted its language from opioid addiction to opioid use disorder and opioid dependence. Our colleagues in the pain management world have been tasked with reducing and removing opiates as a long term treatment for chronic pain. Family members have been urged to be involved in the care by preventing overdoses with naloxone. Working to solve the problem of opioid dependence requires a community effort.

Buprenorphine and naloxone have been approved by the FDA for treatment of opioid use disorder first and foremost because they save lives. We consider this as the preferred treatment for opioid use disorder simply because the medication targets the key goals of recovery: save lives and promote healthy improvements in personal, work and community lives. The medication has a risk profile that is lower than the substances it replaces, therefore the biggest downside is typically cost. Considering that even the cost of treatment is usually less than the cost of the disease, this is not necessarily a “downside”.

The outpatient treatment program at Serenity Oaks is designed to provide a practical, cost effective treatment for a long-term disease process. Unlike with alcohol and other substances, a “detox” from opiates will not remove the problem of dependence. Hospitalization may at some point be helpful, but it does not “cure” the changes in brain chemistry brought about by opiates. Unfortunately, no such cure exists. For those who are able, participating in our outpatient program can provide relief from withdrawals which leads to stability in our lives.

Start The Journey Toward Recovery


Which medications are considered to be opioids?
  • Opioids are drugs that act on the nervous system and are usually prescribed by a medical professional to relieve acute or chronic pain. When taken incorrectly though, opioid-only or opioid-combination drugs can become not only addictive but also deadly. The most common generic and brand-name opioids include, but are not limited to:
    • Codeine
    • Oxycodone
      • OxyContin®
      • Percocet®
      • Oxycet®
      • Roxicet®
      • Xartemis XR®
      • Tylox®
    • Hydrocodone
      • Vicodin®
      • Lortab®
      • Lorcet®
      • Anexsia®
      • Norco®
      • Zyfrel®
      • Reprexain®
      • Vicoprofen®
    • Morphine
      • Kadian®
      • Avinza®
    • Methadone
      • Dolophine®
      • Methadose®
    • Fentanyl
      • Fentora®
      • Actiq®
      • Lazanda®
      • Abstral®
      • Subsys®
      • Duragesic®
      • Sublimaze®
    • Tramadol
      • Ultram®
      • Conzip®
      • Rybix ODT®
      • Ultram ER®
    • Meperidine
      • Demerol®
What are the warning signs of opioid addiction?
  • If opioid abuse is occuring, a medication may be taken in a higher dose or more frequently than prescribed. The individual may also take someone else’s prescription or seek to use the medicine for its euphoric effect. Attempting to obtain multiple prescriptions from different doctors can be another telltale sign of abuse and addiction.
    • Physical symptoms of addiction may include: euphoria, drowsiness, slurred speech, confusion, insomnia, restlessness, loss of consciousness and / or slowed breathing
    • Emotional and behavioral symptoms of addiction may include: suddenly shifting moods, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, irritability and / or aggression
What are signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal?
  • If you or a loved one has attempted to end prolonged opioid use, the following withdrawal symptoms may have been experienced. If these symptoms are applicable, treatment for opioid addiction should be sought immediately.
    • Headaches
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Shakes
    • Sweating
    • Fatigue
    • Cramps / muscle aches
    • Anxiety
    • Insomnia
How effective is Suboxone®?
  • Physicians regularly use Suboxone® as a method of opioid addiction treatment. The FDA-approved drug contains the active ingredient buprenorphine and works by suppressing the debilitating symptoms of withdrawal. When taken as prescribed by a medical professional Suboxone® is effective in medication-assisted treatment and enables patients to engage in therapy, counseling and support. A customized Suboxone® dose is based on your medical history, drug history, weight and metabolism. Combined with the holistic therapies offered at Serenity Oaks, Suboxone® serves as a stepping stone toward positive, long-term changes, culminating in sustained remission.

Start typing and press Enter to search