Heroin and prescription painkiller medications are addictive narcotic drugs that are classified as opioids because they either directly derive from or are synthesized to resemble opiate alkaloid substances originally sourced from the opium poppy.1,2Opioid addiction claims thousands of lives every year—research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that opioids were involved in 47,600 deaths in 2017 alone (67.8% of all drug overdose deaths).3
Opiate addiction hotlines are lifelines to many who feel their opioid addiction is out of control. Today, hotlines abound for good reason. Never have we needed opiate helplines like we do today given our nation’s current epidemic.
Many hotlines are operated around the clock and are able to offer compassionate support even if you need someone to talk with at 3:00 a.m. Depending on the hotline, the person at the other end of the line can:
- Talk you through a crisis.
- Provide you with people and places to contact for further help.
- Give you information about how to help a friend or family member. Opiate helpline calls are completely confidential.
What Questions Should I Ask?
Perhaps you would like to pick up your phone, but are unsure of what to say. These are some common questions that come through hotlines from people who are seeking help:
- How do I know if I am addicted to opiates?
- What kinds of treatments are available for opioid use disorder?
- Will I have go through detox?
- Can I do this on an outpatient basis?
- How long will treatment take?
- What if I have additional mental health issues?
If you are seeking services for a person other than yourself, you might ask:
- Would my family member or loved one benefit from treatment?
- How can I help my loved one find treatment?
- What types of treatments may be offered for specific substance abuse disorders?
- How long can treatment take?
Should I Call an Opiate Hotline?
If you are contemplating treatment for yourself or another person, getting information is the first step. Calling the hotline requires no commitment, but the information you receive could change your life. Remember, the hotline is completely confidential, and you will talk to someone who understand your struggles and will make no judgments.
The hotline can provide information about some of these issues:
- Types of therapeutic settings to choose from and how to find the right one.
- What might occur during detox.
- What medications, if any, might be prescribed.
- What various types of treatments may be offered.
- General information about opiate addiction.
I Am Too Afraid to Call
Your goal is simply to acquire information.
Sometimes when fear paralyzes us, a good question is: “What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?” With opioid addiction, perhaps a more important question is: “What is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t do this?”
Remember: Speaking to a hotline call taker requires no cost, no commitment, and is private and confidential. Your goal is simply to acquire information.
Knowledge is an excellent weapon when fighting addiction. There are many various government resources that can be easily accessed online. These organizations are an excellent source of information about opioid addiction and may answer general questions about drug addiction, available treatments, and when to seek professional help.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): 877-726-4727
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255
Additional Opiate Helplines
If you or someone else you know is in a genuinely life-threatening situation—such as opioid overdose—call 911 for emergency medical assistance.
But for non-emergency issues, you can reach out to several other hotlines for information about opioid use and opioid addiction treatment resources.
- Covenant House Teen Hotline: This organization has served the needs of runaways in crisis for many years since they may be more likely to encounter issues with drugs and alcohol because of fleeing an abusive home environment or even human trafficking: 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929).
- Crisis Text Line: The only national hotline designed for those in crisis who prefer texting as a form of communication: text CONNECT to 741741.
- The Trevor Lifeline: This hotline was designed for any member of the LGBT community—those with questions about their sexuality, or friends and family of these people—because of the disproportionately high levels of suicide and substance addiction within this community due to being targets of bullying, hate speech, and societal stigma: 1-866-488-7386.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Prescription Opioids.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Heroin.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018). Opioid Overdose: Drug Overdose Deaths.