Do you have a loved one with an addiction to opiates? If so, this article will help you learn ways that you can get your loved one help.
Opiate and heroin use has increased significantly over the last several decades. Opiates refer to a large variety of drugs, including prescription painkillers that are legal under a physician’s order, such as morphine, codeine and fentanyl. Opiates also include illegal drugs, such as heroin.
Opiate addiction and dependence is one of the most serious problems in the United States today. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, somewhere between 26 and 36 million people in the world abuse opioids.
The consequences of abuse are devastating to one’s health and include:
- Immune system impairment
- Irregular heart rates
- Sleep disorders
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Mood problems, such as depression
- Cardiac arrest
So, what can you do to help a loved one who you suspect has a problem with either prescription or illegal opiates?
Encourage them to get help.
Although it may be difficult to talk to someone struggling with an opiate addiction about getting help, it is the best thing for them. Opiate abuse and dependence is treatable.
The conversation is likely to be emotional and uncomfortable for both you and your loved one. They may become angry or defensive. Regardless of this, it is important to encourage them to get help. Here are some tips to get you started.
Find Out Information About Rehab
Before sitting down to have the talk with your loved one, do some research and find out about programs in your area. This can help you determine what is available, how much it costs and if it would be a good fit for your loved one.
Express Your Feelings Using “I statements”
Using “I statements” is a powerful approach to help you express to your loved one how their addiction is hurting you. Avoid blaming or becoming accusatory. Rather, simply express how afraid or worried you are about your loved, one for instance. Start the conversation with “I” instead of “you”.
Avoid judging your loved one. This will only lead to anger and defensiveness. Rather, let them know that you care about them and want to help them get the help that they need.
Get Help From a Professional
If you try to talk to your loved one and are not getting anywhere, consider enlisting professional help. Contact a local substance abuse treatment center or professional for assistance. They are specially trained to help people struggling with addiction get the help that they need. Do not be afraid to reach out.
Recognize The Signs of an Opiate Overdose
It is important to get immediate help for your loved one right away if you believe that they have suffered an overdose.
Do not wait to call for help if you notice that your loved one:
- Is unresponsive
- Has floppy limbs
- Is gurgling or snorting
- Has shallow or slow breathing
- Is not breathing
- Has a blue color to lips or fingernails
If you notice any of the above signs of an overdose in your loved one, it is imperative to get them help right away by calling 911 or your local emergency services.
If you know someone who is struggling with an opiate addiction, encourage them to get help. Getting professional help will provide them with the support that they need to beat addiction and live a happy, healthy life.