If you’ve taken opiates for more than 5 days following an injury, your body is likely already dependent on them quitting them will require a medical detox, not just a taper protocol.
DETOX AFTER INJURY
Opioids—including morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone and fentanyl—are extremely effective for treating acute pain following a serious injury or surgery.
However, it’s also true that they can be problematic when taken for prolonged periods because many patients develop tolerance to opioids. That means they need higher and higher doses to get pain relief and the higher doses increase the risk of side effects and harm.
To make matters worse, it’s very common for patients to become physically dependent on opioids - regardless if they have had substance abuse problems suffered from addiction in the past.
If the drug is stopped abruptly, or the dose is reduced by even a little bit, patients can suffer extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms—including increased pain.
Many patients experience persistent pain or important functional reductions for longer than a month after a small reduction in their dose and even worse symptoms when cut off completely.
To cope with withdrawal symptoms, some are turning to the underground narcotics market—which puts them at risk of consuming potentially deadly counterfeit medications or other highly addictive drugs. It is our goal to make sure that doesn't happen and that you have a way to detox safely and easily after your last dose.
There is a difference between people who are misusing opioids because they have a disorder such as addiction and patients who take the drugs to control pain so they can function day-to-day.
If you are simply trying to manage your pain and don't want to go through the additional pain of dealing with opioid withdrawals, we are here to help you through a simple, medical detox. Medical detoxification safely manages the acute physical symptoms of withdrawal associated with stopping drug use.
Mike grew up in a typical blue-collar family, playing street hockey and pickup football in local parks. He was always a good student and excelled as a three-sport varsity athlete in high school. During his senior year in high school, Mike had surgery to repair a broken wrist due to a hockey injury. Following his surgery, he was prescribed an opioid pain medication. Shortly after this, his wisdom teeth were removed, and he was written another prescription for opioids. Mike believes his use of prescription opioids transitioned to addiction within three to six months after first taking prescription opioids.
He did not realize how physically dependent upon opioids his body had become until he became very sick from withdrawal after forgetting to bring his prescription on a vacation. From then on, he continued taking prescription opioids not to treat any pain, but to avoid feeling these withdrawal symptoms ever again. As his addiction progressed, he recalls completely losing sight of his goals and the things he once loved. Mike eventually had to stop playing sports in college and drop out of his classes. He became depressed and described his addiction as “isolating.”
After multiple recovery attempts and a hard-won battle, Mike overcame his addiction and is now thriving in recovery. He returned to school, earned his bachelor’s degree, and is currently pursuing a graduate degree.
When she was 25, Brenda was in a car crash on her way to the grocery store. After the incident she needed to see numerous doctors and neurologists, and one of them gave her a prescription for opioid pain medication. Brenda doesn’t remember being warned about the risks of taking prescription opioids or the dangers of misuse. One day after she filled the prescription, she doubled her dose and, from that moment on, she never again took the medication as it was prescribed. She began going to multiple doctors for pills and eventually was buying and selling them in her community. She felt lonely and isolated, and was suffering. Everything else took a backseat in her life, including her friends and family. Brenda became addicted to heroin, a point that she never thought she would reach.
When Brenda discovered she was four weeks pregnant, “Part of me wanted to keep using, but more of me wanted to stop,” she said. Thanks to the help of her family, especially her stepfather, she was able to get into a treatment program for pregnant women and to detox. She entered a transitional living program and delivered a healthy baby. She has been in recovery for two years.
Sally was a 21 year old college student. She loved to ride her bike around campus, but one day she was hit by a vehicle. After several surgeries, her doctor prescribed her pain meds to handle the injuries. Unfortunately, once her injuries were healed and she no longer needed the pain meds, Sally’s withdrawal symptoms were too much for her to handle and she could not stop taking them. Sally was now stuck taking opioids not for pain, but to avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms she felt each time she tried to stop.
Unable to find a doctor that would prescribe her more, she turned to friends and family for medications, but fortunately one of her family members recommended a medical detox instead of giving her medications illegally.
Though medical detox, Sally was able to stop the opioids and return to her normal, healthy life. If her family member hadn’t told her about medical detox, Sally could be buying opioids off of the street and exposing herself to risk of overdose and serious legal implications. Had she stayed on the opioids unnecessarily, she would have had to deal with bad side-effects such as constipation and serious side-effects such as impaired thinking and major health concerns. During the detox, Sally was able to attend classes and keep up with her homework.
Sally is now opioid free and all of her injuries are healed. She looks forward to becoming a doctor so she can help patients like herself live happy, healthy lives.