Opioid Abuse and Addiction


Opioid use disorder is an intense desire to use opioids that results in increased opioid tolerance. It includes dependence with addiction, the most critical form of this disorder. 

At Rain Recovery, we offer a wide range of opioid use disorder treatments and opioid replacement therapy using methadone or buprenorphine to reduce the risk of mortality and morbidity.


Opioid Abuse & Addiction

The dangers of pain pills can become apparent quickly and escalate into opioid addiction in just five days of use. Once stricter guidelines came into effect regarding how medical practitioners can prescribe these drugs as a part of opioid use disorder treatments, many people were denied refills, forcing them to seek pain relief elsewhere. Some obtain illegal opioids manufactured by the drug cartel and mixed with more potent and deadly opioids, such as fentanyl and carfentil, while others have turned to heroin. Opioid abuse and addiction increase the rates of accidental opioid overdose and death, exponentially.

Substance Use - Opioid Abuse & Addiction


Codeine is an opioid (also known as a narcotic), that is used to assist with pain reduction and act as a cough suppressant. It is derived from Morphine and effects the same neuroreceptors other opioids do. As a cough suppressant, codeine was widely available for public consumption; however, with the rise of the opioid crisis and addiction rates skyrocketing, cough syrups containing codeine have been removed as an over the counter medication and either require the individual to be 18 years or older and present a valid driver’s license to a pharmacist behind the counter prior to purchase or is only accessible through a prescription by a licensed healthcare practitioner.


Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent than fentanyl. Carfentanil is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act and is used as a tranquilizing agent for elephants and other large mammals. The lethal dose range for Carfentanil in humans is unknown as Carfentanil has no medical use for humans because it was never intended for human use. Carfentanil is a fentanyl-related substance that has not been approved for use in humans. It was first synthesized in 1974 to sedate large animals and was sold under the brand name, Wildnil. It works in the same way that opioids do on humans, activating the neurotransmitters in the brain known as opioid receptors in order block pain signals from reaching the brain and increase dopamine levels for a sense of euphoria and relaxation.


Demerol is the brand name for an injectable form of meperidine, an opioid painkiller that is also referred to as pethidine. Classified as a narcotic analgesic, the drug is used to treat moderate to severe pain, with effects similar to morphine or oxycodone. Although Demerol is only one-tenth as potent as morphine, it is short acting and has a high risk of abuse. As classified by the Controlled Substances Act, Demerol is a schedule II controlled substance—it cannot legally be obtained without a prescription


Dilaudid falls under the class of drugs known as opioids or narcotics. Dialudid is 7-8 times more potent than Morphine and has a rapid onset. It has the potential for abuse and the development of an addiction. Dilaudid is legally manufactured and distributed in the United States. A prescription from a licensed healthcare practitioner is required; however, individuals desperate for the drug obtain it through other means such as forged prescription, “doctor-shopping”, theft from pharmacies or parents who have a prescription, and knowing others who sell the substance illegally. However, users can obtain Dilaudid from forged prescriptions, “doctor- shopping,” theft from pharmacies, and from friends and acquaintances.


Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid medication used for anesthetic purposes and pain relief. It acts quickly and is short-lasting. Fentanyl is extremely potent, as it is 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 40 to 50 times more potent than 100% pure heroin. A prescription from a medical professional is required to obtain the substance; however, Fentanyl has been synthetically created to be sold for recreational purposes which have become a growing epidemic in the United States.


Heroin is a highly illegal and addictive drug processed from morphine, a naturally occurring substance that is extracted from the seed pod of certain poppy plants. Heroin has become a major focus of the opioid overdose crisis in the United States. Due to the similarities to prescription opioids, heroin has become a more affordable way to obtain similar effects.


Hydrocodone is classified as an opioid analgesic drug that is included in the formulation of many narcotic prescription painkillers that are commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. As an opioid drug, it is in the same family as Oxycodone, Morphine, and various other opioid substances. Hydrocodone is frequently combined with Acetaminophen, which is classified as a non-narcotic analgesic, simply meaning it blocks pain. Vicodin is a common example of a combination of Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen. Besides diminishing pain, it is also used to reduce fever due to its antipyretic properties.


Methadone is considered a legal narcotic prescription pain reliever used to treat moderate to severe pain. Methadone acts on the same opioid receptors that other opioids like Heroin and Morphine do. Methadone is also used to help diminish the severity of withdrawal symptoms from opioids such as Heroin. Physicians prescribe methadone to stabilize their patients and help minimize the withdrawal symptoms in the case of a dependence or addiction problem to heroin or other opioids. Methadone blocks the high or euphoric feelings individuals seek from other opioids such as Heroin, Oxycodone, and Hydrocodone, making it easier to taper the individual off of these drugs.


Morphine is a non-synthetic narcotic with a high potential for abuse and is derived from opium. It is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.


Oxycodone is a generic semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic and historically has been a popular drug of abuse among the painkiller abusing population. Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, a constituent of the poppy plant. Oxycodone is most commonly prescribed to post-surgery patients. Oxycodone is one of the most abused prescriptions due to its Heroin-like effects and addictive quality.


The common symptoms of opioid use disorder that required opioid use disorder treatments are:

⦁ Unsuccessful efforts or persistent desire to cut down opioid use
⦁ Problems fulfilling obligations at home or work
⦁ Using opioids in hazardous circumstances
⦁ Reducing or giving up various physical activities because of opioid use
⦁ Continued opioid use despite having interpersonal or recurring social problems
⦁ A strong desire to use opioids
⦁ Spending more time obtaining or recovering from the effects of opioids
⦁ Taking larger amounts of drugs over a longer period than required
⦁ Having drug-seeking behavior including, generalized pain, intense cravings, restlessness, cramps, insomnia, dilated pupils, diarrhea, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, etc.


Effective opioid use disorder treatments are available at Rain Recovery including MAT (Medication-assisted treatment). It involves the use of a combination of various medications along with behavioral therapies and expert counseling to help:

⦁ Modify one’s brain chemistry
⦁ Relieve withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings
⦁ Block the common effects of opioids

The treatment typically involves cognitive-behavioral approaches—education about treatment & relapse prevention and encouraging motivation to change. The treatment options for opioid abuse often includes participation in self-help programs.

Three FDA-approved opioid use disorder medications are generally used to treat opioid addiction:

⦁ Naltrexone: Naltrexone blocks the effects of other opioids limiting the feeling of euphoria. It is available from office-based providers in a monthly injection or a pill form.
⦁ Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine limits the effects of other opioids, reduces cravings, and eliminates withdrawal symptoms. This maintenance or detoxification opioids treatment is provided by qualified and specially trained nurse practitioners, physicians, and physician assistants in office-based settings.
⦁ Methadone: Methadone reduces cravings and prevents withdrawal symptoms in people addicted to opioids. It also limits the feeling of euphoria once the patients become tolerant to its effects.

If you or a loved one is considering opioid dependence treatment for addiction to various stimulants, please call (818) 208-9446. Or you can contact us with any questions you might have.