opioid epidemic in Arizona

The Opiate Epidemic in Arizona: 10 Startling Facts About This Addiction

Opiate addiction has become more common than most people are aware of, and it could even be considered a crisis in some states. In fact, the numbers regarding opiate addiction have become so alarming in the state of Arizona that Governor Ducey had to declare a state of emergency starting on June 5th, 2017, which only ended on May 29th, 2018. Although the number of victims and reported incidents have recently gone down, there’s still much to be done, as opiate addiction is still a major issue.

With that in mind, the Arizona Department of Health Services has done its best to track information on the opiate epidemic in order to treat victims and to be able to tell how much progress has been made. Since 2017, the numerous efforts made in the state include: updating the Arizona Opioid Prescribing Guidelines; implementing the Opioid Action Plan; conducting surveys in prisons and jails to find out more about interest in programs and programs already in an activity focused on opioid treatment and prevention.

By 2019, there was a clear decline in the number of prescriptions for opioids filled in the state of Arizona, which shows that promoting better monitoring of prescriptions seems to have been effective. The number of people who were prescribed opioids for more than five days (which is a risk factor for opiate addiction) also went significantly down. So, while prescription opioids are not the only issue in Arizona, they have certainly been more controlled. But as mentioned before, and as the facts point out, the numbers are not exactly good, and there is still a long way to go.

The Facts About The Opiate Epidemic

Most of the following facts about the opiate addiction crisis in Arizona only go as far back as 2017.

  1. Since June 15th, 2017, there have been over 21,000 suspected opioid overdoses, and while not all overdoses are fatal, over 3,000 suspected opioid deaths have been reported in the same span of time.
  2. In the first two months of 2019, there were 83 reported overdoses in the state involving fentanyl alone, 7 of which were fatal.
  3. Although most opioid overdoses occurred from ages 25-34, there are cases reported for all ages, from as young as 1-year-olds to people over 75. Most victims of fatal opioid overdoses, however, were aged between 45-54 as of 2018.
  4. The most common pre-existing condition reported for victims of verified overdoses linked to opioids are chronic pain in general, while the second and third pre-existing conditions reported were depression and anxiety, respectively.
  5. Fentanyl is overall the most commonly found opiate drug in overdose scenarios, the second one being morphine, and the third one is hydrocodone.
  6. In just the months of June through December in 2017, around 40% of those who had suspected opioid overdoses had up to nine or more prescriptions filled out for opioids, and 35% had opioid prescribed to them by 10 or more providers.
  7. In 2017, the Department of Health Services of Arizona started a program to properly train first responders as well as law enforcement on using naloxone, which is applied in order to reverse an opioid overdose.
  8. Since July 2017, over 19,000 naloxone kits have been ordered by law enforcement agencies, to be used by first responders helping victims of overdose.
  9. Benzodiazepine is the non-opiate drug most commonly found in opiate overdose cases where more than one drug was found in the victim’s system.
  10. Statistically, male victims of an overdose will more often have verified heroin, fentanyl, and morphine in their system than women; however, the number of cases where female victims overdosed on hydrocodone surpassed that of male ones.

While opiate addiction can happen to any and everyone, there are risk groups that need to be pinpointed in order to generate insights on what factors can affect potential addicts and what should be improved. For instance, the reason why inmates were surveyed is that they are 2.5 times more likely to be hospitalized for an opioid-related issue, and 4.7 times more likely to die from one.

A lot of other factors can play a role in opiate addiction, from gender to age to pre-existing conditions and family history. It is also important to be extra careful when choosing a provider, for instance, as many prescriptions for opioids can be made in haste. That said, without the proper medical attention, the use of medication can turn into an addiction. After all, a lot of reported cases involve prescription opioids, so it is important to be extra careful.

And what’s more, keeping yourself informed can help understand addiction, whether you suffer from it or not, and understand that it is not just about wanting to quit or not. It is about getting the proper treatment, finding the actual root of the problem, triggers, and everything that caused it, so that there’s a chance to put an end to it.

If You or a Loved One is Facing an Opiate Addiction

Just like any other illnesses, addiction is treatable, and there are many processes to go about making an addict get their lives back on track. If you or someone you know needs help, help is available at Granite Mountain Behavioral Care, where we can sit down with you and talk about all your options. We will have no rush, as it is a life-changing decision to be made. Book a tour or an appointment with us at your earliest convenience, and we’ll do our best to meet your needs.

Our Recover Strong program aims to help not just by providing the psychological help you need to change, but by also working and helping you physically as you go along in the treatment – because recovery should happen inside and out.

References:

https://www.azdhs.gov/prevention/womens-childrens-health/injury-prevention/opioid-prevention/index.php

https://directorsblog.health.azdhs.gov/new-data-dashboard-helps-to-identify-opioid-trends-in-arizona/

https://www.azdhs.gov/prevention/womens-childrens-health/injury-prevention/opioid-prevention/opioids/index.php#dashboard

Opioid Withdrawl

What to Expect When You’re in Recovery for Opiate Addiction

What are Opiates?

In more technical terms, “opiate” is used to describe drugs that are derived from opium, which in turn, are obtained from opium poppy seed. They are more popularly known as opioids and are prescribed to help patients deal with pain. Classified as what people call as “downers”, they work by suppressing the pain felt as the brain’s pleasure systems are controlled.

While prescribed opiates like morphine or hydrocodone can be perfectly safe in controlled doses for short periods of time, using it for too long and without the proper medical attention might put you at risk. It is not uncommon for addicts to start with legal, prescription drugs, and some even only take legal ones as their addiction gets worse. The main problem is how freely they can be prescribed in America, and how easily they can fall into the wrong hands because of that.

Other opiates besides prescription ones such as heroin are even more dangerous. For starters, when compared to morphine, heroin reaches the brain much faster and it is about three times more potent. And the fact that it is a synthetic drug makes its side effects less predictable, so taking any amount whatsoever could go horribly wrong.

Opiate Detox – Withdrawal Symptoms and What to Expect

No matter how you came about using opiates, opiate recovery is achievable, but it is not easy. Dependence of opioids is chemical and even physical, too. This means that, as you fight to get better, some of the symptoms you’ll experience through the process of opiate addiction treatment can make you feel physically worse. Some of the possible symptoms are:

  • Muscle pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sweats, chills, and tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

It is hard to tell which symptoms each patient will have to deal with during their recovery from opiates: it all depends on the drug taken, the dose, the frequency, and even the person’s own system. Those symptoms can last up to a week or even more, and may start in just a few hours after the last dose is taken. Dealing with withdrawal on your own is possible, but there is a higher chance of relapse.

Just like it is with the symptoms, opiate addiction treatments will also vary from person to person. There is not just one right way of getting the help needed, and everyone responds differently to each method. It is important to know all of the options out there because if one of them does not work, there is no need to despair – and much less to give up.

Long-Term Healing from Opiate Addiction

While you can take medication to help with withdrawal symptoms (which should also be done through a health care provider or clinic and not be self-prescribed), that alone will not be a permanent solution to opiate addiction, and shouldn’t be considered a full treatment. Opiates recovery is also not a linear process, it is full of ups and downs, and that is something important to keep in mind.

Just because one type of treatment did not work, this does not make someone hopeless. Being honest with yourself when picking an opiate addiction treatment is also vital, because limits and triggers are all personal, and play a big role into what method should work better. Of course, each kind of treatment will have its pros and cons, and will not be perfect. So finally, another factor to consider would be what your priority is in terms of daily life, medical support, financial options, etc.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment requires staying in the facility of the rehabilitation center chosen for opiate addiction treatment. This would mean 24-hour medical, psychological, and emotional support, which is quite recommended in worst case scenarios. Programs usually last at least around 28 days, but do not tend to prolong too much in most cases.

Outpatient Treatment

The outpatient programs for opiate addiction treatment gives the patient the possibility of keeping their routine as close to normal as possible, as they only have to go to the facility for treatment during the day for a few hours per week. However, this would mean that most support would come from social groups or would happen during the time the patient is in the clinic. Therefore, it is best for mild addicts, as more serious situations might require closer attention.

Recover Strong: How Granite Behavioral Health Retrains Your Brain

The Recover Strong program is part of the opiate addiction treatment and is offered as part of the transformational process at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare. It is based on the neuroscience of physical exercise as a way to stimulate neuroregeneration by improving the capacity to handle stress, cognition, and reducing anxiety and/or depression symptoms. Additionally, this is done in a group setting, which also helps with social engagement and interaction, while also helping issues with self-esteem and self-image.

We Are Here to Help You With Your Opiate Addiction

We understand how it can be scary to go through all of this, but what is important is that there is an option to not go through it alone. It does not matter where you are in your journey with addiction, or even if you have relapsed. At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, you can get all the medically recommended aid needed for opiate recovery and get to work on even more than that, in order to make this improvement a permanent one. Our philosophy is not just based on becoming independent, but also, on becoming empowered.

If our Recover Strong program – a differential between ours and others opiate addiction treatments – seemed like a great fit for your needs, do not hesitate to contact us. We will give you all the details about this program as well as all the information you might want about how we can help you on your journey to recovery.

You can reach us online by visiting our website or get all the other contact information you might need here. You could be just one click away from finally receiving the help you need and truly deserve.

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