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What's all this talk about opioids really mean?

John and DeniseJohn and Denise Perry, Co-Founders, Clean & Sober Recovery Services, Inc.

These days, we’re seeing an overwhelming amount of information about the opioid epidemic. And you may be wondering what the opioid epidemic means to you, your family and your community.

Chemical-dependency on opioids takes a huge toll on the entire family. Our free and confidential Family Support meetings and our FREE Recovery 101 eBook can help everyone understand how we got here.

But first – what is an opioid, anyway? In a nutshell, opioids are man-made versions of opiates, the narcotic substance that originates with the humble poppy. Opioids can take the form of legitimate pharmaceutically-produced pain medications like Norco OR they might be street-manufactured illegal look-alike medications that include deadly synthetic formulations.

While the number of pain pill prescriptions has declined in recent years, the number of people consuming synthetic formulations or heroin has increased dramatically. As a result, the number of people who die from opioid overdose continues to climb. And that increase does not seem to be slowing down: A study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that estimated drug overdose deaths for the first nine months of 2016 were higher than the first nine months of the previous year, which had already reached an all-time high of 52,404.

Many people become chemically-dependent on doctor-prescribed pain pills after a surgery or injury. (Or their naïve kids snitch their pills and become unwittingly addicted.) As they develop a physical tolerance for their medication, they will need increasing amounts of their drug to get relief from their pain and to avoid intense flu-like withdrawal symptoms that can last for weeks. The desperation of withdrawal can drive people to the streets, where they resort to illegally-manufactured black market pills or even heroin.

In the Sacramento region, we saw that pattern take a deadly toll when a cheap synthetic, fentanyl, was swapped into medications that were mislabeled and sold on the street as a bona-fide prescription medication. If national patterns hold true in our region, most of the victims of last year’s fentanyl epidemic likely began their desperate journey with a prescription from their doctor for an injury or surgery.

The residential and outpatient treatment programs at Clean & Sober Recovery Services can help families and their loved ones reclaim freedom from opioids and other drugs. Call us  at 916 990-0190 to learn more.


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