As Heroin Use Rises, a New Drug Could Help Reverse the Effects of an Overdose

Approximately 2.5 million people in the U.S. are addicted to heroin and opioids. Although many users go through detox programs, it’s common for the same individuals to begin to use again. Why is it so hard for addicts to quit? Is it because of its powerful draw or does the addiction take control of a person’s brain?

How Opioid Addiction Works

Natural remedies such as lemon juice and honey work to relieve symptoms of a cold or flu without medication. But not everything can be treated using the natural gifts from Mother Nature. When it comes to drug addiction, detox programs can help wean a person if they follow through with the proper treatment methods. Opioid use began approximately 5,000 years ago. Close to 250 million prescriptions filled were for opioid pain meds in 2012. That’s basically enough for each person in the U.S. to have their own bottle. The number of heroin users has nearly quadrupled because it’s inexpensive and widely available. Research shows that the reason those who become addicted to opioids are more susceptible to abusing heroin in the future because of the similar brain reaction. Since opioids boost dopamine, the intense feeling of pleasure felt by the drug can drive a person to continue its use time and again. Breaking the dependence the drugs hold over a person can be challenging and sometimes result in overdose.

Kicking the Habit

To get the body used to living without the addictive drugs, users need to become involved in a detox program. Unfortunately, it can still be challenging to kick the habit if the detox isn’t done right. With the rate of addiction continually rising, the country is facing a shortage of good treatment facilities. Opiate detoxification programs help patients overcome opioid abuse in a peaceful and comfortable setting. By using the latest available techniques and medically treating and managing symptoms, patients can see higher success rates by as much as 98 percent. Detox isn’t enough to kick the habit. Treatment for addiction also includes other factors such as medication, job support, talk therapy and more.

Reverse the Effects of an Overdose

Users rarely remember much about the time after the needle has been inserted into their system. But their friends, family, co-workers or emergency response teams can tell a sordid tale. Between unresponsiveness and sporadic breathing, the road to overdose is quick. A new drug naloxone (Narcan) can prove lifesaving for those who overdose. Within a minute or two of injection, a user can awaken. Although they may experience extreme withdrawal and other violently ill symptoms, their families won’t have to plan their funeral. Drug users who OD on opioids or heroin won’t need doctors to wield a needle in order to save their life. Narcan will soon appear in over 35 states and available through major drug stores. It will also be in the form of a nasal spray. Adapt Pharma is the maker of the formulation and many feel that it comes at the best time. With the popularity of both the drug and death toll rising from overdose, naloxone is a major solution to a horrible problem.

Creating a Safety Net

Naloxone can help users who have accidentally overdosed. Although many have been pushing for its release country wide, there are others who are expressing reservations. Users who are addicted may see naloxone as a safety net and push the limits of their drug use. Imagine an addict having a heroin needle in one arm and naloxone in the other. This could produce an endless addiction cycle with no way out. Treatment experts aren’t worried and find the positives far outweigh any negatives.