FAQ » Opiates/Prescription Drugs

Opiate Addiction Treatment

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the U.S. is currently in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Since 1999, the number of opioid overdose deaths has quadrupled. Prescription opioid abuse has increased as has the use of heroin. Heroin-related deaths have more than tripled since 2010.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day, 91 Americans die from prescription opioid abuse and heroin. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by this epidemic.

Opioids, also known as opiates, are a class of drugs that include illegal and legal drugs derived from the poppy plant. There are three classifications of opiates: those that are naturally occurring, those that are partially synthetic, and those that are synthetic.

Some of the most commonly misused and abused opiates include:

  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone (including OxyContin and Percocet)
  • Hydrocodone (including Vicodin)
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine

Opioid pain relievers can be used safely, but when they are abused they produce a euphoric feeling. Any long-term use poses the risk of addiction. Many people who use these drugs will develop tolerance, which can cause them to use higher doses to achieve the same feeling. These individuals often develop a physical dependence, which means not using the drug or using lower doses can quickly cause physical symptoms.

Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse has become a growing problem in America. According to the National institute on Drug Abuse, about 54 million people over the age of 12 have admitted to using prescription drugs for nonmedical reasons. Misuse of prescription drugs is especially prevalent in adults ages 18 to 25.

Most prescription drugs have the potential to become dangerous if misused. They should only be taken with a prescription from a doctor and even then, only under extreme caution.  Even when taken with the best intentions, many prescription medications can become addictive. This is especially true for painkillers, as some can lead to physical dependence in as little as one week’s time. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse estimated that 2 million Americans misused painkillers in 2017 for the first time¹.

It is possible to become addicted to prescription medications when taking them exactly as prescribed by a doctor. Some people take prescription drugs without a prescription, either in an attempt to self-medicate or with the intention of getting high. The majority of abused medications that are seen at prescription drug rehabs fall into one of three categories:

  • Opioids/ Pain killers– prescribed to relieve extreme chronic pain from surgery or a serious injury. They are the most commonly abused prescription medications. Morphine, OxyContin, Roxicet, Percocet, Codeine, and Vicodin are common examples.
  • CNS Depressants– prescription medications that may be used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, or muscle spasms. Valium, Xanax, and Librium are common examples of depressants. Depressants slow the heart and are especially dangerous when taken in combination with alcohol because it is another depressant. The combined effects of the two can lead to cardiac arrest.
  • Stimulants– medications that are often prescribed to treat ADHD or narcolepsy. Popular examples include Adderall and Ritalin. They are often called uppers because of their stimulating effects. Because they affect blood pressure and heart rate, prescription stimulants can lead to heart attacks when abused.

If you or a loved one needs opiate addiction treatment, the counselors and addiction specialists at Destination Hope are ready to help. We can help you locate a medical detox so you can get take the first step toward conquering opiate addiction.

Call 877-771-1750 to speak with an admissions counselor.


  1. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/what-scope-prescription-drug-misuse

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