How to Help Someone Addicted to Opiates: Intervention and Addiction Treatment Planning

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Intervention and Addiction Treatment for Opiate Addiction

Opioid/opiate addiction is one of the most serious addictions your loved one or family member can face. The dangers that addiction to opiates presents goes well beyond simply a chemical dependence. Opiate addiction has grown even more dangerous thanks to increased prescription drug monitoring – which make opiate prescription drugs harder to obtain, and often forces those who are addicted to turn to heroin and black market drugs.

When a loved one is addicted to opiates, families need to realize that that individual is already addicted to the same substance as heroin, and it only takes one desperate act during cravings for a person to switch from abusing prescription opiates to using heroin. This makes prescription opiates a dangerous form of a gateway drug.

Getting Help for Someone Addicted to Opiates

Where do you begin when someone you know and care for is addicted to opiates? You know they need addiction help, but how do you begin to help them? The best way to start is to look at the problem from the opposite angle. What are you trying to attain? You want the person you care for to stop using drugs and stay off them for good, right?

Yes, the ultimate goal of opiate addiction treatment is “long term opioid/opiate addiction recovery.”

Americans Addicted to Prescription Opioids or Heroin Statistic

Long Term Opioid/Opiate Addiction Recovery

Now that we know our overall goal for a friend or loved one who is addicted to opiates, we can set up a way to achieve that goal. Remember that the goal is long-term rehabilitation from opiate addiction, not just a short term solution. In order to ensure that our solution to the problem will be a long-term solution, it needs to have some safeguards in-place.

Primarily, we want our long-term recovery to be strong enough to prevent the individual from giving into any urges to use opiates during their recovery, and after treatment. Therefore, we want to make sure that the opiate treatment program utilizes treatments and therapies to promote relapse prevention.

Our Goal: Long Term Opioid/Opiate Addiction Recovery

Opioid/Opiate Addiction Relapse Prevention

Getting someone off drugs is just the first phase of opiate addiction treatment, and that phase is covered in the initial detox phase. Even after a person has been successfully detoxed and received opiate addiction treatment and substance abuse counseling, they will likely face many challenges in their recovery. Facing urges to use opiates, dealing with post-acute withdrawal symptoms, and dealing with stress and triggers can hamper recovery – if the individual has not been taught how to deal with these challenges.

Relapse prevention involves utilizing counseling and substance abuse therapy to get to the root reasons of why a person chooses to use opiates, even when they know the negative consequences associated with opiate abuse. Using forms of counseling and therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), substance abuse counselors can help individuals to identify the reasons they use opiates.

For example, if a person uses opiates whenever they feel stress, then stress is identified as the trigger, and behavioral therapies like CBT will teach you how to react to these triggers in more positive ways, rather than using drugs as a reaction. It is therefore important to have relapse prevention education integrated into the addiction treatment program, if we want to achieve our overall goal of “long term opioid/opiate addiction recovery.”

Our Goal: Long Term Opioid/Opiate Addiction Recovery

What is Needed to Achieve This Goal:
1.) Relapse Prevention

Successful Opioid/Opiate Addiction Treatment

Now we have our goal of long term opiate addiction recovery, and we know that an addiction treatment program will have to utilize relapse prevention education, if we are to achieve that goal. What else does the addiction treatment program need to include to bring us to our goal? There are a few other consideration we need to look at in order to select the best treatment program for opiate addiction:

Opiate Addiction and Mental Health Conditions: Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual Diagnosis Treatment StatisticsOne of the most critical factors in what makes a successful addiction treatment program is that program’s ability to treat underlying mental health conditions that could be contributing to the substance abuse. With opiate abuse, many addicts have an underlying condition of depression, anxiety, personality disorder, or other mental health condition. These underlying conditions need to be treated at the same time the individual is receiving treatment for the substance abuse and addiction issues.

If the individual receives only addiction treatment and not co-occurring disorders treatment, then the addiction treatment is less likely to be successful. In order to achieve our goal of long term opiate recovery, we need the treatment to be successful, and therefore utilize dual diagnosis treatment if an underlying mental health condition is present.

An Opiate Addiction Treatment Program That Offers Aftercare and Follow-up Care

Addiction treatment programs should be flexible in the help they provide after treatment. It is easier for someone to adapt to a life of sobriety when they are under careful supervision during rehab than it is after they have left rehab. Will the rehab program allow the individual to return for counseling sessions if they need help?

Will there be any aftercare program that helps ease the individual back into everyday life? If the individual has a relapse – and quickly regrets that decision and wants to get back onto their recovery path – will the program make them start over from the beginning, or is there a way to continue building off the success they have already achieved?

Even though the hope is that your loved one will have a perfect recovery, and will not relapse or have any slip-ups, will they be able to get back on track or will the treatment program force them to take a big step backward? Opiate addiction treatment programs that have some form of aftercare, offer ongoing treatment, and work with at every stage of your recovery journey are very much needed if we are going to achieve our goal of long term recovery.

Our Goal: Long Term Opioid/Opiate Addiction Recovery

What is Needed to Achieve This Goal:
1.) Relapse Prevention
2.) An Opioid Addiction Treatment Plan including Dual Diagnosis, Aftercare and Follow-Up Treatment Options

Find Safe Medically Supervised Opioid/Opiate Detox

The Benefits of Medically Supervised Opioid DetoxBefore an individual can even begin addiction treatment, substance abuse therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, or begin to recover from their addiction, they first need to stop using opiates. However, someone who is chemically dependent on opioids cannot quit “cold turkey,” they need to be slowly weaned off the drugs.

The safest way to detox from opiates is through medically assisted opiate detox. Opiate detox will look at your individual history of opiate use (how much/many opiate drugs you are taking, for how long, what are the half-lives of those drugs, and are you at risk for heroin use and intravenous IV opiate abuse). The detox program will also assess your needs for post-detox treatment, and may make suggestions for what your addiction treatment programs should include (i.e. they may suggest dual diagnosis treatment if they recognize an underlying mental health condition, or may recommend longer term treatment and aftercare if you suffer from especially heavy post-acute withdrawal syndrome).

Our Goal: Long Term Opioid/Opiate Addiction Recovery

What is Needed to Achieve This Goal:
1.) Relapse Prevention
2.) An Opioid Addiction Treatment Plan including Dual Diagnosis, Aftercare and Follow-Up Treatment Options Plan
3.) Opiate Detox

Opioid/Opiate Addiction Intervention

In order for an opiate addict to start their treatment and enter detox, they first must want the help and agree to accept treatment. Drugs like opiates are often much stronger than a person’s will to recover, so very often the first thing that is needed is an opiate addiction intervention. An intervention helps to get everyone on the same page, including family members and friends of the person addicted. At this point, the addiction treatment plan is explained, and the individual is shown what their road to recovery will look like. This is when we would explain to the individual our plan and everything we have covered up until this point:

“Your goal is long-term recovery from opiate addiction. We have identified the treatment plan that will best help you to achieve that goal – including dual diagnosis treatment, aftercare and strong relapse prevention education. We are asking you to please help yourself by accepting this opiate addiction treatment plan.”

Our Goal: Long Term Opioid/Opiate Addiction Recovery

What is Needed to Achieve This Goal:
1.) Relapse Prevention
2.) An Opioid Addiction Treatment Plan
3.) Opiate Detox
4.) Opiate Intervention


Opioid/Opiate Addiction Treatment Planning and Case Management

Family First Intervention puts a focus on helping family and friends of addicts create and implement an addiction treatment plan, just like the example above. Our family case management services put together a successful treatment strategy with a clear goal in mind. Starting with a call to our certified interventionists, we assess your family’s needs for treatment planning, and work closely with loved ones to create a clear path to the ultimate goal of long-term addiction recovery.

You – as a family member, friend, spouse, or loved one of an addict – know the goal clearly. You want the person that you care for to be able to achieve recovery, and stay sober. Getting to that goal is much more complicated, and families really do need the help of professionals to ensure that there is a clear and stable long term treatment plan.


Call us today and let us help you set up a treatment plan that has success as the long term goal for someone you care for. 1 (877) 728-1122

Mike Loverde

Mike Loverde created Family First Intervention with a primary purpose and that is to save your loved one before it is too late and to help the family that suffers waiting for them to change. Every day we hear families tell us that they were told that there is nothing that they can do if their loved one does not want help or that they need to hit bottom and that is frustrating to me.

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