Opioid Addiction Information and Resources in Colorado

If you live in Colorado and you’re addicted to opioids, keep reading. There are rehab programs in Denver and other cities that can help you get clean.

Thousands of Colorado residents struggle with opioid addiction. Drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and others destroy lives and families every day.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re addicted to these dangerous drugs, help is available. There are detox programs and rehab centers that can help you get sober.

If you live in Denver or another Rocky Mountain city and you want to turn your life around, read on. We’ll explain how a stay in one of Colorado’s opioid rehab programs could put you back on the right track.

The Difference Between Opioids and Opiates

Many people struggle with the differences between an opioid and an opiate. In fact, both words are often used to mean the same thing. While opiates and opioids are chemically quite similar, there are some small differences.

opiate addiction information

Chemically, both of these drugs are derived from opium. Opiates are chemical derivatives of the opium poppy. This means that it’s a natural product. Opioids are made in a lab, and are a synthetic creation.

Types of Opiates

As opiates are derived from opium, they are usually street drugs. Common types of opiates that Americans are addicted to include:

  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Opium

Types of Opioids

Since opioids are synthetic products made in lab, they are usually prescription medications. These medications treat moderate to severe pain. Due to their addictive nature, they are controlled substances. Popular types of opioids include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Methadone

Classic Signs of an Opiate Addiction

Opiates are some of the most addictive drugs out there. In 2015 alone, 2 million Americans had an opioid addiction. Unfortunately, these numbers are rising each year. More and more people are getting addicted due to pill mills and prescription misuse.

Some common signs of an opiate addiction include:

  • A craving for opioids
  • A strong desire to get high
  • An inability to control or even reduce use
  • Financial difficulties from buying opiates
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Risky and dangerous behaviors
  • Tolerance to the drugs
  • Withdrawal symptoms from quitting

It can be difficult for many addicts to come to terms with their addiction. Many people are in denial about the severity of their addiction. If you suspect that you have a problem, check out one of our addiction quizzes.

Opioids and opiates are both highly addictive because they alter neurotransmitter levels in the body. Neurotransmitters are molecules in the brain that cause feelings of pleasure and euphoria.

The main neurotransmitters affected are dopamine and serotonin. When opioids are injected, dopamine levels in the brain can jump 200% in only 8 seconds. This causes users to feel a rush of pleasurable sensations.

These sensations are responsible for the addictive properties of opioids. Addicts often chase the high.

Unfortunately, the body will develop tolerance to the drugs. Over time, the body produces less and less dopamine and serotonin. It relies more on artificial stimulation. This increases the body’s need for opioids. It is also the reason why addicts go through withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit.

Without opioids in their system, addicts begin to feel depressed. They need opioids to reach normal dopamine and serotonin levels.

Dopamine imbalances are responsible for a lot of side effects and symptoms. When dopamine levels in the brain are low, the body reacts by causing users to:

  • Experience depression
  • Feel fatigued
  • Get anxious or feel panicked
  • Have a poor memory or loss of memory

The larger the dopamine imbalance, the more difficult it is to get sober.

Opioids also cause a dip in natural serotonin production. This has a negative effect on memory, sleep, emotions, and learning abilities. Low serotonin levels can cause mood swings, confusion, and nausea.

It is much easier to recover from a dip in serotonin levels than a dip in dopamine levels.

Not sure if you are an addict? Take one of our free online assessments to get a clear answer:

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You’re Not Alone — Colorado Has a Massive Opioid Problem

If you’re addicted to heroin, fentanyl, pain medication or a similar drug, you’re not alone. Thousands of local residents struggle with the same problem…

Colorado’s drug rehab programs are important to the community, as many residents struggle with addiction. Here are some facts and figures that illustrate the scope of the crisis:

  • The number of yearly overdose deaths in Colorado has increased for 13 of the past 15 years.
  • The CHI’s 2017 Substance Use Report shows that only 15.7% of addicts who need treatment seek it out.

There’s no shame in seeking addiction treatment for a drug abuse problem. If you can benefit from attending one of the drug or alcohol rehab programs in Colorado, don’t wait any longer.

Learn more about drug and alcohol rehab options today!

The Health Risks of Opioid Addiction

Heroin and prescription opioids are dangerous drugs that attack the central nervous system. They can have severe effects on the body and brain. Here are just some of the long-term risks of opioid abuse:

People who abuse opioids are at a high risk of overdose. Even if you take a prescription medication like Vicodin, you can still overdose. These drugs slow down the heart, brain, and lungs, which is why overdoses occur.

Long-term opioid abuse can damage the respiratory system. This damage can make it hard for the addict to breathe. Even some people who quit experience lung problems after they get clean.

Opioid abuse causes people to be extra sensitive to pain. This condition is known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia. This may seem ironic, as many opioid drugs are intended as painkillers. But prolonged use can leave the user feeling worse than before.

Opiates generate massive amounts of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These are the chemicals that cause the user to get high. But too much of these chemicals can cause a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression and anxiety are the results of this imbalance.

Users who inject drugs are at a high risk of vein injuries. A habit of injecting chemicals can lead to a collapsing or clogging of the veins. If left untreated, both of these conditions can be fatal.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Opioid Abuse

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to deal with. They can be quite intense depending on the length of the opioid use, as well as the dosage.

Withdrawal symptoms can be so unbearable that addicts will turn to drugs once again.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Cold sweats
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dizziness
  • Goosebumps and chills
  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings
  • Muscle aches
  • Mood swings
  • Nervousness
  • Profuse sweating
  • Runny nose
  • Seizures

Medical detox is often recommended in both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. The detox will help lessen the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms. It can also curb cravings.

The withdrawal timeline for various opioids and opiates will differ. Due to the differing timelines, it’s best to seek treatment at a rehab center. Medical professionals will watch your condition and vitals to tailor your treatment plan.

For example, withdrawal symptoms of methadone will start to peak in 72 to 96 hours. These withdrawal symptoms can last as long as 14 days. Heroin withdrawal symptoms, on the other hand, will peak in 36 to 72 hours. These symptoms can last anywhere from 7 to 10 days.

In most cases, painkiller withdrawal symptoms will begin to emerge after 8 to 12 hours from last use. These symptoms begin to peak in 12 to 72 hours, and takes a total of 5 to 10 days to subside.

Even when the physical withdrawal symptoms subside, you still have to watch out for psychological ones. It takes months for psychological withdrawal symptoms to subside.

Psychological symptoms are also known as Post-acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). This syndrome affects about 91% of all addicts who are attempting to get sober. In short, it’s a common problem that many addicts face.

PAWS cause addicts to relapse. It is associated with psychological and emotional symptoms like:

  • Desensitized emotions
  • Intense depression
  • Sleep deprivation and disturbances

Addicts who are looking to get sober should seek a long-term therapy that addresses this issue.

As the symptoms are more mental than physical, learning how to identify triggers can help. Addicts should rely on a strong support group to get through these difficult times. Keep in mind that it can take months, if not years, for PAWS to subside.

Signs of an Opioid Overdose

As all opioids and opiates work in similar ways, they cause the same overdose symptoms. Heroin overdoses are eerily similar to hydrocodone overdoses.

During an O.D., the addict’s cardiac and respiratory system shuts down. They fall asleep and stop breathing.

This is what makes an opioid overdose incredibly dangerous. Often times, those nearby simply think that the addict is sleeping or taking a nap. They don’t realize that they are actually overdosing until it’s too late.

Common symptoms of an opioid overdose include:

  • Bluish skin around the fingertips and lips
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Respiratory arrest and depression
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting

Lack of oxygen to the body can cause permanent neurological damage even if the addict is saved.

It’s easy to overdose on opioids. That’s because the body builds tolerance to the drug. There’s a fine line between getting high and taking too much and overwhelming the system. In fact, the difference may only be several micrograms.

An overdose can appear anywhere from 1 to 3 hours after last taking the drug. If you are with someone who has taken opioids, pay special attention to him or her during this period of time. Make sure that he or she is conscious.

Fortunately, there’s an “antidote” to opioid overdoses. It comes in the form of a drug known as naloxone. This is an overdose-reversing drug, and is available in many pharmacies.

In fact, you can get naloxone kits for free in some states.

This antidote reverses the effects of an opioid overdose by blocking receptors in the brain. The drug molecules can no longer attach to the receptors and trigger a response. This essentially saves the affected individual, and gives him or her a second chance at life.

Naloxone comes in the form of either an injection or a nasal spray. Both are equally as easy to administer. This antidote should reverse the overdose effects within 5 minutes. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to administer a second dose.

Even if naloxone is administered, it’s wise to call 9-1-1. First responders can confirm that the addict is indeed safe. They can also take the addict to a hospital should their condition worsen.

Getting Addiction Treatment in Colorado

The Rocky Mountain State is home to several recovery programs. Colorado residents, and those who are willing to travel here for treatment, are very lucky. Whether you need detox treatment, rehab care, or another resource, we hope to provide you with information to point you in the right direction.

Let’s look at a few of the resources this region has to offer.

Opioid Detox in Colorado

Detox programs help addicts get through drug withdrawals. This is usually the first stage of recovery.

Drug withdrawals occur when an addicted person attempts to stop using their drug of choice. Because their body is dependent on the substance, it does not respond kindly when they try to quit. They experience many symptoms including nausea, anxiety, and insomnia.

Opioid withdrawals can be are especially uncomfortable. Addicts experience a wide range of uncomfortable symptoms. In some cases, opioid withdrawal can be very painful. (this says the same as the sentence before).

But, detox programs make the process easier. Medical Local detox programs are staffed with doctors who know how to treat withdrawal symptoms. They use medically-informed methods to ensure that the addict is safe and comfortable during detox. There may also be medications used to ease symptoms of withdrawal.

Some people try to quit cold turkey and detox at home. You may also be able to detox under the care of an Outpatient Program with professional oversight.

Opioid Rehab and Recovery in Colorado

After detox, rehabilitation is often the second step of recovery. During this stage, the addict learns how to transition back into a sober life.

Without rehab, this transition can be difficult. Recovered addicts must learn how to fight off cravings, avoid triggers, address mental health needs and cope with stress. In rehab, they’ll work with professionals who teach them how to do these things.

All the addiction treatment programs in Colorado are different. However, most of them offer some combination of therapy, counseling, and medical treatment.

There are a few different types of opioid rehab programs, which we’ll discuss below:

Inpatient Rehab

Colorado is home to a number of inpatient rehab centers. These are residential programs. In other words, the patient lives on-site at the facility during treatment. Usually, these programs last around 4-8 weeks.

Inpatient treatment is helpful for people who’ve tried to quit before but relapsed or who need to be away from their environment in order to heal. By checking into a residential program  and separating themselves from the temptation to use drugs, they’re able to focus on staying sober.

Outpatient Rehab

Colorado is also the home of many outpatient rehab programs. These programs are not residential. Patients don’t live at the facility during treatment. Instead, they attend therapy, counseling, and classes during the daytime.

This model is beneficial for many people. It’s great for mothers, for example. It’s also good for students and working professionals who can’t afford to take time away for treatment.

Sometimes, addicts must step away from their lives to get sober. But if you’re able to abstain from using drugs during treatment, then one of Colorado’s many outpatient programs could be perfect for you. 

Could You Benefit from Opioid Rehab?

Addiction is a treatable disease. If you’re dependent on heroin, painkillers or prescription drugs, there is hope. But, you must seek help ASAP to stop the problem before it worsens.

Below, we’ve listed a few signs of drug addiction. If you meet more than two of the following criteria, you might need help:

  • You use opioids to cope with stress or frustration
  • You need opioids to feel comfortable in social situations
  • You have isolated yourself from friends and family due to drug use
  • You use opioids while under the influence of alcohol
  • You get sick when you don’t have opioids in your system
  • Your dosage has increased over time
  • Your responsibilities have been impacted by your drug habit
  • Your habit has affected your schoolwork or employment
  • Your family has encouraged you to stop taking drugs
  • You’ve done illegal or unsafe things to get drugs
  • You’ve tried to quit using drugs but can’t

If you meet more than two of these criteria, don’t feel bad. You still have time to get your life back on track. Consider seeking addiction treatment in Colorado or another location.

Learn how our intensive outpatient rehab program can help you get clean.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many addicts struggle with mental illness. For example, some opiate addicts have an anxiety disorder or bipolar disorder. And some prescription pill addicts have a history of PTSD or ADHD.

When someone suffers from drug addiction and mental illness at the same time, it’s known as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.

Co-occurring disorders can be hard to treat. But, there are recovery  programs in Colorado that specialize in treating them. These facilities help patients overcome their addictions and their mental illnesses simultaneously.

Dual diagnosis treatment is a valuable resource. Any addict with a mental disorder should seek it out. But even those without may want to consider this type of programmatic support and therapeutic intervention

Gender Specific Addiction Recovery Program Options

Women’s Recovery is one of Colorado’s premiere single-gender recovery center. We help women of all ages overcome their issues with drugs and alcohol – with a program designed by women for women.

Our rehab program is unique compared to other outpatient treatment programs in Colorado. We offer dual diagnosis treatment. Our staff employs holistic methods to help patients heal from addiction and trauma. We’re focused on helping women move past addiction.

At Women’s Recovery, you can get more than just sober — you can get well.