Opiates

What are Opiates?

Heroin and other opiates (such as morphine and many prescription narcotics) are highly addictive psychotropic drugs produced from the seed of certain types of poppy plants or are synthetically created in a lab. Opiates create a chemical dependency or addiction by stimulating the opioid neurotransmitters, producing feelings of euphoria. These drugs can be injected, or, in pure enough forms, ingested, sniffed/snorted or smoked. Because black-market producers have refined purification methods, allowing for non-injection delivery, the needle barrier has been diminished, leading to an increase in first-time users.

According to a 2006 National Drug Use and Health Survey, 3.8 million Americans reported having used heroin at some point in their life. In other words, because heroin can be snorted or smoked, it is now more appealing to those who would not ever use a needle. In fact, the majority of new users are between the ages of 15 and 21.

Abuse of prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Dilaudid, Codeine, Oxycontin, etc. has also been on the rise in the past few years. They are easy to access and a large number of users will switch to heroin use after becoming dependent, due to cost.

At the Fifth Avenue Psychiatry, we understand the dangers of drug use and can help if you or someone you love is suffering from drug addiction. We offer a range of treatment options, so please don't hesitate to call for more information or a consultation.

Prescription Painkillers Facts

Abusing prescription painkillers (Vicodin and Oxycontin) can lead to an abnormal mental state, which generally involved excessive sleepiness or unconsciousness. In some rare cases, abuse can lead to overdose symptoms including respiratory depression, seizure and coma.

Tolerance to the drug may develop rapidly because of abuse. This tolerance will cause users to need higher doses. Taking more of the drugs does increase its efficacy but it also increases its addictive properties. Thus, chronic use of these painkillers can cause physical dependence. When physical dependence has developed, withdrawal symptoms may occur it the person stops the medication.

Heroin Facts

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that is snorted, smoked or injected. If an injection is a preferred route, this usually occurs several times per day. A euphoria from the drug lasts between 45 seconds to several minutes and is followed by sedation and tranquility.

There are serious adverse effects associated with heroin. Infections from injection include HIV, hepatitis B and C and bacterial or fungal infections. It can also cause decreased kidney function and chronic constipation. Large amounts of heroin can cause fatal respiratory depression, thus many have died from fatal overdoses. The purity of heroin is rarely known, particularly that bought on the street. This means that the user may prepare what they consider to be a moderate dose while actually taking far more than intended.

Treatment for Opiate Addiction

There are a wide variety of outpatient treatments for opiate dependence. At Fifth Avenue Psychiatry, a comfortable, outpatient detox – whether rapid or long-term – is available in a private office. Ultra-rapid opiate detox (overnight detox with general anesthetic) is not available as it is unnecessary and risky. There is no proven advantage to ultra-rapid opiate detox. Like the treatment of all other addictions, recovery and "protected withdrawal" is supported through an ongoing office-based treatment program. Dr. Glazer will work with the patient to design a personalized and effective therapy program.

Contact Fifth Avenue Psychiatry

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3 East 85th Street
New York NY 10028
T. 212-734-0506

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