The opioid epidemic has had an enormous impact, especially on communities in Washington State. And Demerol, one of the lesser-known substances of abuse, can be just as deadly as other heavy hitters like OxyContin, Vicodin, or Percocet.
Demerol abuse and addiction continues to be an issue for many Americans. Fortunately, it's possible to get treatment for Demerol addiction. Even so, there are so many people who simply don't realize how dangerous this drug can really be.
Perhaps you're one of these individuals. You may have started taking Demerol for medical purposes. However, now that you're on it, your use of it has gotten out of control. You'd be surprised how common that is.
It's also possible that you have been using this medication recreationally, and you can't see the harm in it. You may not be aware of the risks involved.
Either way, getting the information you need about Demerol can help you understand more about it.
In this guide to Demerol abuse, addiction, and treatment, we’ll take a closer look at this powerful opioid medication and how it’s influencing the opioid epidemic that’s spreading across the country.
Even if you've been taking or abusing Demerol for quite some time, there's probably a lot you don't know.
This drug is an opioid pain reliever. Only those with prescriptions should take this drug, and even then, instructions must be carefully followed. Demerol is very effective at treating moderate to severe pain.
Typical uses include:
It's possible to take this medication either as an injection or by taking a Demerol pill. Both are very effective, but there is a serious risk of addiction or dependence with either route.
Opioids like Demerol are commonly referred to as “narcotics.” These drugs tend to have a depressant effect on the body, leading to feelings of sedation, relaxation, and pain relief.
Opioids are particularly good at helping patients eliminate pain. That’s because they work on a cellular level to actually block pain signals at multiple levels. On top of that, opioids can also play a major role in combating the emotional changes that often come about as a natural response to pain (e.g., depression).
Have a look at the video below for a more in-depth discussion on how opioids work.
When opioids enter the body, they interact with specialized cells called opioid receptors. These receptors are located all over – in the brain, the spine, and even in the gut. And when these receptors are activated, they set off a cascade of reactions that lead to pain relief, sedation, and euphoria.
On the street, this medication goes by a number of additional names. It may be called:
No matter what you call it, this is a drug that should only be used under strict medical supervision. Most of the time, it's only given on an inpatient basis. However, it is possible to get a prescription to use it at home.
The opioid epidemic is one of the most serious health crises the United States has ever faced. And as an opioid itself, Demerol has played a role in the unfathomable damage that this epidemic has caused.
The opioid epidemic is out of control. And the problem is particularly bad in and around King County, WA. From 2008 to 2017, the number of heroin deaths alone increased from 23% of all overdose deaths to a whopping 59%.
In an effort to curb the spread of the epidemic, King County officials have taken numerous steps with resident health in mind. Training with and distribution of kits containing naloxone, an opioid overdose-reversing drug, have been at the front of the fight.
And on top of that, community education programs are helping to educate residents about the dangers of sharing needles and how to prevent an overdose.
Harm reduction proponents are also pointing to another step to reduce overdoses: safe injection sites.
Essentially, these stations are set up to provide areas where intravenous drug users can inject a drug without fear of a fatal overdose. Users are closely monitored by medically trained staff, and they will most likely provide clean needles to stop the spread of highly infectious bloodborne diseases.
And while this approach might seem like it would lead to worse outcomes, the science is behind it. Studies have shown that these injection sites reduce the risk of lethal overdose to practically zero, nearly eliminate transmission of diseases like HIV and hepatitis, and actually result in more drug users seeking out professional help.
But despite the Emerald City’s obvious problem with injection drugs like heroin, the new U.S. Attorney in Seattle, Brian Moran, says that he will not allow safe injection sites in Seattle.
Abusing Demerol is the foundation of addiction. What may start as a recreational habit can quickly lead to problems with money, health, self-control, and other consequences of a substance use disorder.
But many people tend to be confused about how pethidine is actually abused, especially because it’s technically a legal drug (with a proper prescription of course).
Ultimately, abusing this drug is defined as taking it in any way other than how it was prescribed.
No matter how you abuse it, you need to know the risks involved. Pethidine abuse can result in serious adverse effects, many of which can be dangerous. And on top of that, abusing it continually can very easily lead to a serious problem with addiction.
The Demerol high can easily be compared to that of oxycodone. When Oxy is not available, Demerol may serve as a welcome substitute.
One of the things that sets this drug apart from others is the fact that it can be energizing too. As the high evolves, users may feel inspired to create something or be active in some way.
Many Demerol abusers prefer to snort this drug or inject it. It's difficult to say how much of the medication it takes to get high. Everyone is different. Most people will begin with 25 to 50mg of Demerol at a time. They will then increase it, based on how they feel.
You don't necessarily need treatment unless you have an addiction to meperidine. However, abusers of this medication should consider counseling. This is because there must be an underlying cause behind the abuse. Some people may use it because it makes them feel good, or it helps them forget their problems. Others may suffer from a mental health issue that needs to be addressed.
Counseling will help to uncover the reason for the abuse. Understanding what the problem is before an addiction occurs can prevent it successfully.
You certainly can. As an opioid, Demerol can be especially dangerous when taken in high doses or alongside other drugs. This is particularly true when it’s used with other central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines, alcohol, or other “downers.”
In case of an overdose, it’s critical to get expert help immediately by calling 9-1-1. The professionals on the other end of the line will be able to instruct you on how best to treat a Demerol overdose while also sending an ambulance to your location.
If you do have to leave the side of the victim, even for a minute, be sure to place them into what’s known as the “recovery position.” This simple yet effective step is the best way to prevent potentially fatal complications like vomiting or choking.
The first step to successfully treating an overdose is knowing how to spot one. And that means understanding some of the most common symptoms. These include:
Naloxone, often marketed under the brand name Narcan, is a powerful opioid overdose-reversing drug.
It acts almost like a cure for the symptoms of an opioid overdose. And when administered quickly and properly, it can very easily save the life of an overdose victim.
It’s also freely available and cheap. Everywhere from hospitals and courthouses to campuses and even coffee shops may have a Narcan kit nearby, just in case.
While naloxone used to only be able to be administered via an injection, Narcan comes in the easy-to-use form of a nasal spray. And as a result, nearly anyone can successfully and properly use it to save someone’s life.
Abusing Demerol is very likely to lead to an addiction if the drug is not stopped. It may be avoided with counseling to determine the cause of the abuse. It's not possible to say how long a person can misuse this drug without becoming an addict. It may take years for that to happen, or it could take only a few weeks.
“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite adverse consequences. It is considered a brain disorder, because it involves functional changes to brain circuits involved in reward, stress, and self-control, and those changes may last a long time after a person has stopped taking drugs.”
A pethidine addiction is what occurs when you can't stop taking this drug. It involves a compulsion to use it regularly, and the inability to cut down as well. The addiction is the result of continued pethidine use. People tend to think that it's OK to use this drug, or even misuse it because it's prescribed. That simply is not true.
The longer pethidine is used, the higher the risk for addiction becomes. For this particular medication, the addiction potential is especially high because it's an opiate.
Like any other addictive substance, when the body becomes so used to the drug being in your system, it tends to make changes that require more of the drug to produce the same result. This is what’s known as tolerance.
And as that tolerance rises, users need to take more and more of the drug for a couple of reasons.
First, they will often want to feel the same pleasurable effects of the drug that they felt before. And in order to that, they’ll need higher doses.
And second, as the body changes to accommodate the higher levels of the drug in the system, it will actually depend on these higher levels in order to function normally. And without them, it will go through serious and uncomfortable symptoms known as withdrawals.
For many users, these withdrawals are so uncomfortable that they’ll often continue their substance abuse just to get relief from the symptoms.
Thus, a vicious cycle begins. Users take more of the drug to feel the same high as before and are unable to stop on their own because of the withdrawals.
Addiction also fundamentally alters the structure of the brain so that addicts cannot control themselves or their drug-seeking behaviors.
If any of the above apply to you, and you're using this drug, you could be putting yourself at risk. The best thing you can do is to inquire about a Demerol rehab center that can help you stop.
This is a drug that begins affecting you right away; even after your first dose. It can produce short-term effects, such as:
Of course, using Demerol along with alcohol or other drugs will intensify these effects.
The longer this medication is used, the more serious the effects are. Some of the long-term effects of Demerol include:
At this point, you may be most concerned about how to recover from your addiction to pethidine. Treatment is available for anyone who wants to stop using this medication. This is the best, safest and most effective way for you to experience the healing you need.
All opiate drugs are dangerous when they are misused or abused. When you form an addiction to an opiate drug, detox is needed to quit safely. The right drug detox program can help you in many different ways, including:
You should not attempt to go through pethidine detoxification on your own. It may seem simple for you to just take less and less of your medication over time. However, detoxing is so much more than that.
You need effective strategies that you can use to control your withdrawals from pethidine. Quitting on your own can also put you at risk for a relapse, which could be deadly.
The safest way to quit using pethidine is to do so in a facility where your progress can be monitored. Also, if you do have an emergency medical situation, you can get help right away.
Withdrawals from meperidine can be pretty difficult to deal with. They're even worse if you try to go cold turkey. Some of the more common symptoms of withdrawal from meperidine include:
These and other withdrawal symptoms are very difficult to handle by yourself. Even if you have gone without your medication in the past, you probably haven't experienced how severe withdrawal can be.
It's best to trust the experts to help you through this critical and challenging time. Doing so will give you the best chance of being successful in your recovery.
There certainly is. And it’s higher than most drugs.
According to the CDC, more than 218,000 people have suffered from fatal overdoses from prescribed opioids since 1999. Pethidine is included in that figure. There is a very high risk of Pethidine overdose. And a good portion of those deaths actually come from people who relapse after trying to quit Demerol.
What many individuals don't realize is how quickly their tolerance levels to drugs like this can change. In just a short time after quitting, Demerol addicts may quickly lose their tolerance to the drug. And that can be a serious problem during relapse.
They may attempt to quit using pethidine with the best of intentions. However, once the uncomfortable withdrawals set in, they often crave relief from the symptoms. And that often drives them to go back to using again.
When this happens, people tend to go back to taking the same amount they were taking previously when their tolerance was higher. This means that they're injecting, swallowing or snorting a higher dose of pethidine than their bodies can now handle. The result is an opioid overdose.
Fortunately, there are ways to help those who overdose on opioid drugs. Naloxone is a medication that has been approved for this purpose. However, there is always the risk that an overdose may occur, and no medical help is obtained.
At Northpoint Evergreen Bellevue, we understand how hard it can be to overcome a Demerol substance abuse problem alone. Not only is it incredibly difficult to tackle the constant cravings and unexpected triggers, but it’s also especially dangerous to go through withdrawal and recovery without the support of a professional program.
And we also know that putting your recovery in the hands of someone else takes an enormous amount of trust, both in the people behind the program and in the promise that you truly can kick this addiction for good.
That’s why we’re passionate about offering the highest quality Demerol addiction treatment services around Bellevue and in the Pacific Northwest. Our empirical intensive outpatient programs provide both an evidence-based approach to addiction treatment while also balancing flexibility and affordability.
We are proud to have one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the area. And we’re even nationally accredited by the Joint Commission – proof of our commitment to quality treatment.
An addiction to meperidine doesn’t have to be a lifelong struggle – for you or your family member. And at Northpoint Evergreen, we’d love to be a part of your journey towards sobriety.