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How to Help an Opana Addict

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How to Approach an Opana Addict

Opana is the brand name for oxymorphone, a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller. Over the past decade, increased availability of painkillers has fueled an epidemic of opioid abuse around the world. In the US, an estimated 2.1 million people abused prescription painkillers like Opana in 2011 alone (NIDA, 2014).

Someone abusing Opana should seek treatment immediately. If you or someone you know is addicted to Opana, help is available. Call us today at to discover how to take that first step.

How to Approach an Addicted Loved One

Confronting addiction is emotionally and physically exhausting, and denial is common not only in those abusing drugs but also in those to whom abusers are closest. A vital component in the substance abuse treatment process is convincing your loved one that they should terminate use and seek help.

There are a number of reservations someone struggling with addiction may have about this, including:

  • What people will think of them when they enter treatment.
  • What happens when they’re forced to stop using drugs (e.g. physical and psychological effects).
  • The cost of treatment.
  • That treatment hasn’t worked in the past.

These kinds of concerns are normal. It is important to be emotionally supportive and not simply dismiss them as excuses. However, while addicted individuals need emotional support, they also need the kind of advice and guidance that will convince them that treatment is the best option moving forward. A medical professional can provide compelling arguments that treatment is necessary, so taking them to see a doctor can help get them to accept the help they need.

Sometimes, addicts are unwilling to take even this initial step. A type of intervention may be a last resort in these cases. However, interventions like those you see on TV — emotional pressure applied by friends and family members — have not been proven to be particularly effective, according to NIDA. If you do plan to stage an intervention, consider hiring a professional interventionist that can facilitate meaningful, nonjudgmental, and productive conversation.

The most important thing to understand is that it is HOW friends and family members show support that is key.  One of the most effective methods developed thus far is called Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT for short.

According to the American Psychological Association, the purpose of CRAFT is to help family members develop skills like motivation building and communication skills training to increase their loved one’s willingness to accept and participate in treatment. Learn more about the principles behind CRAFT and how it works.

Addiction Treatment

drugabuse-shutter381282841-doctor-supervising-patientSeeking an evaluation by a medical or other addiction treatment professional can prove very beneficial in knowing your recovery needs.  The next step is entering a treatment program, of which there are many available. Some treatment centers provide their own supervised detoxification, but there are also standalone detox programs.

A supervised detoxification process from Opana entails support during the withdrawal process and may include the administration of medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawing from opioids can be very difficult, often times leading to relapse and sometimes overdose. Supervised detoxification helps prevent relapse and makes withdrawal symptoms more tolerable.

A number of supervised detoxification clinics are able to do this through the administration of medications in conjunction with various behavioral therapies, an approach called medically assisted treatment (MAT).  MAT is a proven method of treatment for opioids and is supported by a number of government agencies including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Once detoxification is complete, there are a number of treatment options available.  Inpatient treatment care entails around-the-clock care provided by government-run clinics, hospitals, or residential treatment centers. All of these options should offer up-to-date treatment methods and well-trained staff. Government-run clinics and hospitals are usually more affordable, but amenities are often times bare and the duration of stay may not be guaranteed. Residential treatment centers provide a broader set of amenities, specified treatment lengths (30, 60 and 90 days), and various treatment options (counseling, medication).

Outpatient treatment care is similar to inpatient treatment but care is limited to a specified number of hours throughout the week. Patients come in at their convenience, at least a few times a week, to receive medication and/or therapy.  This option is often sought by those with serious occupational or familial restraints and relatively less severe addictions.

Is Opana Addictive?

Opana is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic with roughly 5 times the potency of morphine. It is used solely for the management of moderate to severe, chronic pain but carries a high risk of being misused or abused.

Opioids are addictive not only because of their pain-relieving capabilities but because of their subsequent triggering of dopamine release in the reward centers of the brain. The combined effect of activation on opioid receptors and heightened dopamine activity gives the user a feeling of intense happiness and relaxation (euphoria).

Opana is taken orally and is available in immediate as well as extended release tablets. The extended release variety (Opana ER) is specially formulated to release the substance slowly into the bloodstream over time, decreasing the need for multiple doses throughout the day 4. The ER version is not always taken as directed, however. Recreational users may grind, crush or dissolve and next snort or inject the pills, releasing the effects immediately for a more intense high with a rapid onset.

Using Opana in alternate ways such as injection not only increases other health risks, such as exposure to HIV, but may also expedite the development of addiction.

What are the Signs of Addiction?

Addiction looks different in every individual.  Sometimes the signs are obvious; other times they are more subtle.  However, if you pay attention, there should be a number of changes to the person’s mood and/or behavior that indicate a problem.  These include 5:

  • Physical and psychological changes when use is terminated (withdrawal symptoms).
  • Taking more of the substance than directed.
  • Combining the substance with alcohol and other drugs to enhance the effects.
  • Spending a large portion of time thinking about using or obtaining more of the substance.
  • Difficulty managing responsibilities.
  • Failed attempts at terminating use of the substance.
  • Continued use despite awareness of the dangers and consequences of doing so.

Am I Addicted?

If you or someone you know is addicted to Opana, you may notice the signs of an opioid use disorder listed above.  You may also observe withdrawal symptoms common to many of the opioid painkillers.  These include:drugabuse-shutter267230012-man-nauseous

      • Nausea.
      • Abdominal pain or cramping.
      • Gastrointestinal distress.
      • Excessive yawning.
      • Sweating.
      • Watery eyes.
      • Muscle aches.
      • Anxiety and/or depression.

In isolation, the presence of withdrawal symptoms does not necessarily indicate addiction. Opana is a prescription medication, and some individuals still experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation, even if they use it as directed.  This highlights an important distinction between physical dependence and addiction.

Individuals can be physically dependent on a substance, but do not exhibit the other signs of a substance use disorder or, more classically, an addiction.  Should an individual who has used Opana as directed begin to experience withdrawal symptoms at the point that the medication is stopped, the situation should be monitored carefully to evaluate the potential need for supervised detox.

Those who have reached a point of compulsive use will most likely exhibit at least some outward signs of deterioration in their lives.  They may have abandoned habits they once enjoyed, are no longer capable of managing their responsibilities, and/or are dealing with psychological disturbances like anxiety and depression.

If you are noticing negative effects on your health and your life due to Opana use but find yourself unable to stop, you may need addiction treatment.

Call Our Hotline Today

If you believe you need help, don’t wait another day to reach out. Call American Addiction Centers (AAC) for free today at to learn how to take the first step. There are also free drug abuse hotline numbers you can call.

 How to Help Someone with Alcohol or Illicit Drug Addiction

Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

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Joe completed his Master of Arts in Psychology in 2013 at Boston University, focusing on clinical areas such as abnormal psychology, statistics, personality, neuroscience, and clinical psychology,

Originally from Texas, Joe moved to Boston in 2013 to complete his degree, at which time he was a teaching fellow and instructor at Boston University. There, he gave lectures on Psychology and Criminal Justice, Social Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and other topics.

His Master's thesis delved into the associations and mediational relationships among treated individuals with bulimia and co-occurring borderline personality disorder symptomatology.

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