Opioid use is a growing concern in the United States and around the world. As you can imagine, combating this heroin epidemic isn’t an easy task. While education and awareness are keys to the puzzle, treatment may be most important. Quality treatment is vital so that patients don’t relapse in the future.
Understanding the Heroin Epidemic
It isn’t an overstatement to say that heroin use in the United States has become an epidemic. Nearly 700,000 Americans use heroin every year, and that number is on the rise. Worse still, heroin accounts for more than 30,000 overdose deaths each year.
There are many factors that combine to create this epidemic. One common factor is the rise of prescription opiates. More patients than ever are receiving prescriptions for opioid painkillers. It’s easy to develop an addiction to these medications.
Over time, patients may not be able to access these prescription medications. This happens because doctors want to wean patients or because the costs are too high. If this occurs, patients may turn to other sources of opiate drugs. Heroin is often the most accessible and cheapest choice for those with opioid addictions.
The Need for Treatment
The only way to effectively combat a heroin addiction is through professional treatment. That may start with a detox, but treatment goes beyond just the physical treatment of the disease. Treatment is critical to understanding the root causes of addiction. Heroin’s withdrawal symptoms are enough to prevent many from finding successful recovery, however, seeking addiction treatment at a drug rehab center that understands this is important.
Many people have mental health concerns that either sparks their addiction or result from heroin use. Staying sober is tough if individuals don’t properly address and treat mental health issues. The same applies to patients who may have a history of trauma or an unresolved issue in their past. Rehab treatment focuses on personal issues and highlights how to stay sober for a lifetime.
Exploring the Risk of Relapse
To truly fight the opioid epidemic, patients need to be able to maintain their sobriety. Otherwise, relapse creates a cycle of ineffective treatment. Quality rehab programs focus heavily on relapse prevention.
For some patients, preventing relapse might be avoiding risky situations. Spending less time with drug users, for example, is key. For others, avoiding relapse might require getting pharmacological treatment for mental illness.
In treatment, coping mechanisms may be a focus. When patients are in stressful situations, these strategies can help.
Focusing on Aftercare May Make All the Difference
Patients aren’t immune from temptation or relapse once they walk out of treatment. For that reason, aftercare is an important option. Having a plan for continuing care ensures that patients are able to maintain their sobriety.
At Soledad House, we offer a range of options for aftercare. These include the following:
- Extended care options
- Sober living residences
- Outpatient programs as a step-down from residential treatment
- Alumni groups for peer support
- Relapse prevention education
Addiction treatment is a critical part of fighting the heroin epidemic. At Soledad House in San Diego, California, you can fight your own addiction with evidence-based treatment plans. Call 866-314-3222 if you’re ready to take the next step to a healthier, happier and sober life.