Oxymorphone addiction and abuse have only contributed to the ongoing opioid crisis in Washington State. Because this is a prescribed medication, people are typically surprised to learn they need detox and rehab to stop taking it safely. Without getting professional treatment, people have a very high risk of relapsing if they attempt to stop using it on their own.
The opioid epidemic has plagued Washington State – as well as the rest of the United States – for several years. The estimated costs of it are $1 trillion and increasing by the day. Oxymorphone has played a major role in this problem, despite the fact that it was removed from the market in 2017. While it might not be as common as it once was, because of its euphoric effects, people still seek it out. It is usually purchased online from other countries that still manufacture it.
Oxymorphone is not a safe drug at all, even though it has that reputation because of the fact that it is prescribed. We want people to be aware of the risks of misusing it as well as how addictive it can be. We also want to make them aware of their treatment options right here in the Seattle area.
Before getting into what an oxymorphone addiction entails, let’s first take a look at what oxymorphone really is.
Oxymorphone belongs to a family of drugs known as opioids. You’ve probably heard of some these kinds of drugs: heroin, OxyContin, codeine, and the incredibly potent and dangerous Fentanyl.
These drugs (except for heroin) are generally used in the medical community for their pain-relieving properties. But opioids aren’t just used for any type of pain. In most cases, physicians reserve prescribing them for more severe conditions.
Alleviating the suffering of certain types of advanced cancer, treating chronic pain following surgery, and even easing non-cancer pain (e.g. from severe back injuries) are some of the most common medical applications.
Like all opioid drugs, oxymorphone affects the brain by interacting directly with the mind’s opioid receptors, namely the “mu” opioid receptors. These receptors are partly responsible for sedation, pain response, and mood regulation.
Opioids in general can be broken down into three types: full agonists, partial agonists, and antagonists.
Full agonists bind with the opioid receptors and activate them, causing pain relief, sedation, etc. Most opioids you’ve heard of are probably full agonists including OxyContin, heroin, and oxymorphone itself.
Partial agonists also bind with these receptors, but they don’t stimulate them quite as much as full agonists. Some examples of partial agonists are buprenorphine (used during opioid detox and rehab) and tramadol, also known as Ultram.
Antagonists, on the other hand, bind with these same receptors but instead of activating them, they simply block them off. When using an antagonist like naltrexone or naloxone, your opioid receptors generally won’t be able to be activated as a result, making these drugs incredibly useful during rehab.
As you can probably guess, the full agonists are often the most dangerous when it comes to addiction. And as a full agonist, oxymorphone is no exception.
Numorphan is used solely via injection while Opana comes in tablet form and is often the more highly-abused of the two types.
Opana also comes in two versions: Opana and Opana ER (extended release).
Opana and Opana ER both are formulated with oxymorphone being the active ingredient. However, Opana ER is designed to release the opioid over a much longer period of time compared to Opana.
As such, Opana ER usually contains more oxymorphone than its immediate-release counterpart. This characteristic led to it becoming highly abused and subsequently resulted in the drug’s removal from the market at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
When Oxymorphone was still on the market, it was being prescribed at very high rates. One of the doctors who mass-prescribed it was Dr. Joel Smithers. It was reported that he was responsible for patients accessing about half a million doses of opioids within two years’ time.
Dr. Smithers’ patients came from five different states to see him at his small practice. Some of them spent as much as 16 hours driving just to get their prescriptions. Drug enforcement agents finally stopped this practice in 2017. DEA supervisory special agent Christopher Dziedzic stated, “He’s done great damage and contributed to the overall problem in the heartland of the opioid epidemic.”
As the investigation continued, it was determined that Smithers was not operating a legitimate medical practice at all. He was actually heading up an interstate drug distribution ring. His medical practice did not have the basic supplies that would be necessary to operate. His receptionist lived in a back room, and many of his patients slept outside, waiting to see him. Some would wait as long as 12 hours.
The minimum sentence for Smithers would be 20 years in prison. But because of the scope of his actions and how many lives were impacted, it is expected to be much more.
We like to think that something like this could never happen in Washington State, but that is simply not true. It can and it has.
In 2019, the Drug Enforcement Administration began alerting the public about dangerous counterfeit pills in Washington State. The pills were being manufactured by Mexican drug cartels, and they contained fentanyl, which is a potentially lethal synthesized opioid drug. This drug has been found in illicit Oxycodone and Oxymorphone pills, among others.
Between January and March of 2019, 27% of counterfeit prescription pills were found to contain fentanyl in fatal doses. Just one pill could kill an adult. The DEA reported having seized more than 16 kilograms of the drug within the last year. That breaks down to more than 8 million doses.
Abusing oxymorphone can have some pretty dire consequences. Not only is doing so associated with a host of dangerous health effects, it can also put you at a greater risk of developing a crippling addiction to this potent medication – one that’s incredibly difficult to overcome.
But before getting into the addiction side, let’s first take a look at what Opana abuse is, what it can do to your body, and how to spot the signs of abuse in others.
Simply put, the Mayo Clinic defines prescription drug abuse as “the use of a prescription medication in a way not intended by the prescribing doctor.” And while this definition is both succinct and seemingly simple, there’s more to abusing prescription meds than most people may know.
For example, while crushing and snorting Opana is obviously one form of oxymorphone abuse, so is a relatively harmless act like accidently missing a dose and taking one later, even though your prescription explicitly says to wait for your next one.
It’s clear, then, that there is a wide range of abusive behaviors, some of which are more dangerous than others.
Of course, using prescription drugs like Opana for non-medical purposes (most notably to get high), is largely the most dangerous reason for abusing oxymorphone. It’s also particularly widespread.
In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that an astounding 54 million people (or 1 in 5 Americans) have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons in their lifetime.
And while doing so is surprisingly common, it is also especially deadly. According to NIDA, over half of all drug-related emergency room visits can be attributed to prescription drug misuse. What’s more, almost 40% of those visits were caused by prescription opioid pain relievers like oxymorphone.
The most commonly abused form of oxymorphone is Opana. As opposed to its solution-based counterpart Numorphan, Opana comes in the form of a tablet. As such, Opana is much easier to administer, transport, hide, and manipulate, making it the ideal form for abuse.
However, there are two types of Opana products: Opana IR (immediate release) and Opana ER (extended release). And while they both are formulated from the same oxymorphone base, Opana ER is far more dangerous than it’s short-acting alternative.
That’s because Opana ER simply has higher amounts of oxymorphone in it. For example, Opana IR comes in only two dosages: 5 mg and 10 mg.
As you can see, a single Opana ER pill may contain up to 8x as much oxymorphone as an immediate release Opana. And the reasoning here makes sense – extended release medications are meant to last far longer than their immediate release counterparts.
So, rather than taking six doses of regular old Opana, you can instead take two Opana ERs.
The problem, however, comes from the fact that it’s possible to bypass the extended release mechanism and inject, snort, or even smoke Opana, letting abusers get the full dosage all at once.
And given that oxymorphone is about twice as potent as OxyContin and three times as potent as morphine, bringing in that much of such a powerful drug can be incredibly dangerous.
Getting your friend or loved one help for their oxymorphone abuse is absolutely critical for overcoming their Opana abuse problem. But before you can do that, you need to be able to spot the signs of a problem in the first place.
And the clearest, most recognizable sign of abuse is if they are currently high on Opana. While taking opioids according to a prescription can bring at least some degree of the following symptoms, when they’re abused in order to achieve a high, these symptoms will likely be far more severe.
Oxymorphone is incredibly powerful and particularly addictive. As such, if your friend or loved one is coping with an Opana abuse problem, there are a number of other signs to watch out for other than just whether or not they are intoxicated.
Overdoses on opioids like oxymorphone are both incredibly deadly and increasingly common.
In fact, drug overdoses as a whole rose a whopping 21% in 2016. What’s more, the rate of drug overdose deaths involving natural and semisynthetic opioids like oxymorphone increase on average by 13% annually from 1999 to 2009 and by 3% annually from 2009 to 2016.
The problem, it seems, is getting worse – and it’s getting worse fast.
That’s why it’s so important to recognize the signs of overdose – getting professional help as soon as possible may just end up saving the life of someone you love.
If you think your friend or family member is overdosing on Opana and they’re exhibiting these signs, get help immediately. If they have collapsed or aren’t breathing, call 911. If they are still conscious and are breathing, you can call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.
One of the most promising defenses against death via opioid overdose is a lifesaving drug called naloxone. It can help reverse the deadly respiratory depression by essentially displacing the opioid molecules attached to the patient’s receptors and jumpstarting their respiration back to normal levels.
Without professional emergency treatment though, an overdose can be easily end in death.
That’s why it’s absolutely critical that you seek help. Do not wait. Do not assume it will all be okay. And do not under any circumstances hesitate because you’re worried about their legal repercussions.
This is, after all, a life we’re talking about.
As with many other types of drugs and medications, abusing oxymorphone too much and on a continuous basis can lead to a dangerous addiction that can have life-changing consequences both in the short-term and in the long-term.
That’s why it’s so important to know how to identify the signs of an addiction to oxymorphone in yourself. That way, you can get the professional help you need to overcome this destructive addiction.
Before jumping into what Opana addiction is composed of, let’s take a quick look at what addiction in general really is.
Contrary to the beliefs of many, addiction is more than just a physical dependency. After all, people taking medications according to their physician’s prescription can still become physically dependent and may build tolerance and go through withdrawals when that drug is removed.
Addiction, on the other hand, is characterized by a set of compulsive and detrimental drug-seeking behaviors as well as physical dependency.
As a result, an addict may have little to no control over their drug use and despite acknowledging the physical and psychological harmful effects that this abuse is clearly having, they may still be driven to continue using.
But don’t be confused – addiction is in fact a disease. NIDA is quick to point out that while the initial choice to abuse a substance is often voluntary, substance abuse quickly impairs a person’s ability to exert self-control. What’s more, it also causes physical changes in the brain that seriously alter judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control.
Addiction, then, clearly isn’t an unwillingness to stop using – it’s a disease caused by very real physical changes in the brain. With this information in mind, it should be given the same attention and care as any other chronic disease.
In the short-term, using and abusing oxymorphone has been associated with a number of side effects. Many of these are possible, even when taking oxymorphone according to your prescription. However, abusing it in large quantities can make these side effects even more severe and possibly life-threatening.
An addiction to oxymorphone also carries an increased chance of a fatal overdose, engaging in risky behaviors, and putting oneself in physically dangerous situations that might have otherwise been avoided.
In the long-term, habitually abusing oxymorphone can be incredibly damaging both to your physical health as well as to the course of your life in general.
In the first place, becoming addicted to Opana is associated with a higher chance of getting involved with intravenous drug use. This of course includes abusing oxymorphone itself intravenously, but studies have also shown that abusing prescription opioids may in fact lead to using heroin.
One study actually found that nearly half of young heroin users started abusing prescription opioids before making the leap to heroin. Some even claimed that it was easier to obtain and cheaper than prescription drugs.
And when you consider just how deadly of a drug heroin is, this risk alone makes oxymorphone a substance worth avoiding.
What’s more, researchers are currently looking into the long-term effects of the decreased respiration that is so common when taking prescription opioids like oxymorphone. When less oxygen reaches the brain than normal (a condition called hypoxia), it may lead to permanent brain damage and cell death.
Studies have shown that abusing opioids like heroin can cause a deterioration of the brain’s white matter which, in turn, could affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations.
Up until recently, one of the most common methods of abusing oxymorphone was using it intranasally (i.e. by snorting it). Abusers would often crush up the Opana pills into a fine powder and then snort the resulting powder.
However, there are a number of dangers specific to snorting oxymorphone, many of which can be particularly devastating.
That’s because snorting and injecting a drug circumvents natural bodily processes that help to break down the drug, making them less dangerous along the way. Without these defense measures, a much more potent version of the drug enters your bloodstream than if it were taken orally.
What’s more, snorting oxymorphone introduces an abrasive chemical into an especially sensitive area – your sinus cavity. After abusing Opana intranasally over a long period of time, this area can become extremely damaged, resulting in chronic nosebleeds, infections, and even the development of a hole in your septum.
Given the especially high potency of Opana and Opana ER, it isn’t any wonder that this drug has come under an unusual amount of scrutiny over the years.
Since its introduction onto the pharmaceutical market in 2006 by Endo Pharmaceuticals, Opana ER has been rife with abuse potential. Soon after its release, communities all across the country were reporting rampant abuse, overdoses, and deaths from addicts who were snorting gargantuan amounts of this powerful drug.
In an effort to curb this abuse potential (and to fend off generic competitors), Endo reformulated Opana ER to include a crush-resistant coating and released it onto the market in 2012 after FDA approval. Endo then began replacing the old models with the purportedly safer ones.
The company then filed a petition with the FDA to withdraw its approval of other non-crush-resistant versions of oxymorphone sold by generic competitors “for reasons of safety or effectiveness.” Essentially, Endo sought to cut out the competition and increase their market share by claiming other products simply weren’t as safe as their reformulated Opana ER.
However, it was uncovered during the FDA’s investigation that while the new formulation did prevent abusing Opana intranasally, it dramatically increased the likelihood of intravenous abuse via injection.
To make matters worse, it seems Endo knew about this increased potential for abuse the whole time.
One study, actually co-authored by an Endo medical director, found that before the reformulation, about 36% of abusers were injecting the non-crush-resistant Opana. Afterwards though, that number grew to an astounding 64% of users.
Unsurprisingly, the FDA determined that the reformulated Opana ER was actually not safer as a result. In fact, after a particularly terrifying health epidemic in Indiana caused by Opana ER, the FDA (for the first time ever) requested the complete removal of Opana ER from the market.
Endo complied a month later and removed Opana ER permanently in July of 2017.
While snorting crushed Opana is undoubtedly dangerous and especially lethal, injection still reigns supreme as the deadliest way to abuse Opana.
Similar to snorting a substance in that doing so bypasses the body’s natural defense systems and delivers a more potent high, intravenous drug use also carries with it a set of unique hazards that make it a much more dangerous form of abuse.
For example, the risk of developing an actual addiction to a drug may depend largely on how quickly it reaches the brain. Snorting, for example, can take several minutes to fully take effect. Injection, on the other hand, allows the drug’s effects to be felt almost immediately, making it more likely to cause eventual addiction.
But there are more dangers associated with injecting oxymorphone too. The potency and rapid transmission of this drug into the blood stream can put added pressure on the liver, heart, and kidneys, eventually causing permanent damage to these essential organs. And just like with injecting other synthetic opioids, collapsed veins, abscesses, and deadly infections are also par for the course.
And while this physical damage is startling and reason enough not to start intravenous oxymorphone abuse, one of the biggest dangers is the threat of contracting serious blood-borne diseases.
HIV, Hepatitis B and C, syphilis, and more are all transmissible via blood-to-blood contact. And if you are sharing needles when abusing drugs (an incredibly common practice), then you are dramatically increasing the risk of contracting such diseases.
And as the case of Austin, Indiana shows, the transmission of these diseases can be both rapid and devastating.
Few cases show how quick and distressing the spread of blood-borne diseases can be when it comes to needle sharing quite like that of Austin, IN. This small, rural community faced one of the worst HIV and Hepatitis C outbreaks in the country’s history, all thanks to needle sharing among Opana abusers.
It began in late 2014 when 11 new cases of HIV were identified between November to January 2015. On average, this southeastern Indiana county saw less than five infections annually, making this dramatic uptick a case for concern. By April 2015, that number jumped to 135 confirmed cases.
A Center for Disease Control and Prevention report showed that among the interviewed people who were infected, an astounding 96% admitted to dissolving and injecting Opana ER. An alarming 84% of those infected also tested positive for Hepatitis C.
In less than one year, this 4,100-person county saw a less than 0.1% HIV infection rate jump by almost 3,300%.
Then-governor Mike Pence actually doubled back on his personal beliefs and gave the county the freedom to open up needle exchange programs, one of the only measures that’s been proven to curb the spread of infectious diseases among intravenous drug users.
While this wildfire spread has since been controlled by dedicated medical officials, the number of confirmed HIV cases in April 2017 reached 215, making the infection rate for this small community an unheard of 5%.
Dr. Tom Frieden, former director of the CDC, called the spread of HIV in Austin “the largest concentrated outbreak ever documented in the United States.”
Injecting oxymorphone has life-changing consequences. And Austin, Indiana proves it.
Despite the enormous amount of study that’s already been done on this dangerous and life-changing condition, a lot about addiction is still relatively unknown. For example, researchers still aren’t 100% sure why some people get addicted to drugs while others from the same background are seemingly able to move on without them.
That being said, studies have shown that there are a number of risk factors for developing an addiction to oxymorphone and other drugs. And although it’s still impossible to say with absolute certainty whether a single individual will fall into the thralls of addiction, the factors below (pointed out by SAMHSA) can give a pretty good indication of the risk.
Again, it’s impossible to say for sure whether anyone is going to develop an addiction to oxymorphone. But knowing these factors beforehand can help you identify whether you are more at risk than others and can help you plan accordingly.
While it can be incredibly difficult to come to terms with the fact that your friend or loved one is struggling with an oxymorphone addiction, what’s even harder is acknowledging that same addiction in yourself.
It’s true – getting over your denial and facing the truth of your addiction is often the most troublesome barrier to seeking treatment for a substance use disorder.
That means that a whopping 95.5% of drug addicts are in serious denial about their substance abuse problem.
So, first thing’s first… how can you tell if you’re addicted to Opana?
One of the best and easiest ways of determining if you really do have an addiction to oxymorphone is by taking a look at your actions objectively. But since addiction is so deeply rooted in the brain and the way we perceive the world, doing so can be incredibly tough.
Thankfully though, there are a number of things you can do to help.
First off, you can take a short online quiz to help you evaluate whether your substance abuse has actually gotten to the point of an addiction or not. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes to complete and it’s an easy way to get a general sense of how bad your oxymorphone problem has gotten.
You can also get a bit more clinical by utilizing the same guidelines practicing physicians and psychiatrists use to diagnose a substance use disorder. These guidelines are part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and consist of 11 distinct scenarios. If you’ve experienced at least two of them in the past 12-months, you’re likely suffering from a substance use disorder and should seek professional help.
And finally, you can also reach out to Northpoint the Evergreen for a free phone assessment. It’s 100% confidential, takes only about 20 to 30 minutes, and will provide you with the guidance you need to determine if you have a substance use disorder and to evaluate what kind of treatment suits your unique situation.
No matter what option you choose though, the most important step of your recovery is choosing to get help. And it will likely end up being the best decision you’ve ever made.
Opana is not an illicit substance by itself. When used properly, it can actually be incredibly helpful in treating a variety of medical conditions.
But when it is used illicitly, it’s not only incredibly dangerous – it can also be illegal.
As with any other prescription medication, the simple act of possessing oxymorphone isn’t illegal as long as you have a valid prescription.
That means your prescription is provided by a practicing physician in order to treat a very real condition that you were diagnosed with. Committing fraud by claiming you are suffering from an illness, disease, or disability in order to obtain such a prescription is illegal and punishable by jail time, hefty fines, and/or community service, depending on the state.
The severity of your sentencing depends on a couple of factors, namely how the oxymorphone was being abused and whether it was your first, second, third, or higher offense. What’s more, your punishment for Opana abuse also depends on the state in which you’re prosecuted.
Like many other prescription opioids, Opana is also distributed on the streets to be used illicitly.
A DEA fact sheet on oxymorphone notes that illicit distribution of the drug is accomplished through a variety of means, including “fraudulent and forged prescriptions, robberies, thefts, and polydrug trafficking organizations.”
It also notes that the presence of oxymorphone on the streets is rapidly increasing. In 2008 just 139 seized street substances were identified as oxymorphone. By 2010, that number had grown to 851. In the first quarter of 2011 alone, there were 536 items that were identified as the powerful opioid painkiller.
It seems pretty clear, then, that addiction to Opana is on the rise.
Drug dealers and corner pill peddlers aren’t the only source of oxymorphone that’s feeding the national addiction to this dangerous drug. Sometimes all it takes is finding the right doctor.
While most physicians may have only the best intentions when handing out prescriptions, there are others that have made pill pushing an integral part of their clinic’s overall profits. Such clinics that tend to overprescribe prescription medications like Opana are often called “pill mills.”
Whether they hand out such drugs in order to receive illegal kickbacks from money-hungry pharmaceutical companies or they’re knowingly selling prescriptions to addicts just looking for another score, doctors can in fact play an enormous role in contributing to a more addicted America.
And the connection between these pill mills to street drug dealers can be quite intricate. One clinic that came under legal fire in January of 2018 would receive groups of patients that were actually sponsored by drug dealers for the visit. They’d foot the clinic fee and would give out a portion of the prescribed narcotics to the “patients” as payment.
All the while the clinic would not accept insurance, ordered unnecessary drug screenings, and laundered proceeds through shell companies.
While drug dealers may be handing you the oxymorphone then, they’re not the only criminals involved here.
Incarceration for drug-related crimes is not only incredibly common, it’s also particularly expensive.
For many states, criminal activity involving drugs often comes with especially harsh sentencing. And while this is meant to act as a deterrent, individuals who have committed drug-related crimes are overwhelmingly filling our national prisons.
In fact, drug offenders account for 46.2% of all inmates today – that’s more than the number of offenders who commit crimes like burglary, extortion, violent crimes (e.g. homicide, assault), robbery, sex offenses, or weapon-related crimes combined.
And that is costing the American taxpayers an enormous amount of money. In an effort to reduce this burden on our prison system, many states have created what are known as “drug courts.”
These special courts hear drug-related cases and, if the offenders qualify, they may be offered a chance at going through drug rehabilitation rather than serving time in jail.
The exact requirements of each state’s drug court vary. However, in Washington State specifically you can find more information about the numerous drug courts available by using the official Washington Courts directory.
Here you’ll find more details about drug courts like the Adult Drug Court, the Juvenile Drug Court, the Family Dependency Treatment Court, the DUI Court, and the Veterans Treatment Court.
Once you’ve decided to finally get help for your oxymorphone use disorder, it’s time to go through the first stage of the recovery process – detoxification. This phase is often thought of as the most difficult to get through, namely due to the especially uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that usually come about.
But as you’ll see, there are a number of resources professional detox centers can use to help you get through the most difficult withdrawals as easily as possible.
What’s more, choosing to partner with a professional for your detoxification from oxymorphone can actually end up saving your life.
Before jumping right into what to expect when detoxing from oxymorphone, let’s first go through what detoxification really is. The more you understand about what’s going on behind the scenes, the better you’ll be able to cope with the withdrawals and push through the worst of it.
There are two important functions of detoxification: to rid the body of the remaining substance of abuse and start physically adapting to life without the drug.
You see, as an individual becomes increasingly physically dependent on a drug like Opana, it actually begins to change on a cellular level.
The body, and life in general, tends to always want to move to a state of homeostasis. When you get high on oxymorphone, that throws your body out of whack a bit. As such, it develops physical adaptations so as to be less affected by the drug. Consequently, you eventually have to start taking more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same high as before.
This is what’s known as tolerance. The exact changes that cause this tolerance vary from drug to drug. It may be increasing the effectiveness of a certain neurotransmitter or changing the way your body processes a certain compound. For opioid addiction, researchers speculate that tolerance is achieved by reducing the number of opioid receptors while also making the remaining receptors less sensitive as well.
In any case, the painful symptoms of detoxification occur as the body tries to readjust these adaptations to the old way of functioning before you developed the addiction.
Despite what many people unfortunately believe, detox alone is not effective in treating addiction. It may rid the body of oxymorphone and get you through the painful withdrawals, but addiction also has lasting psychological effects as well.
In fact, the evidence is so clear on this fact that NIDA explicitly states in its 13 principles for effective treatment that “Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse.”
That’s because addiction also affects people on a behavioral level. Coping with stress, learning how to deal with recurrent cravings, coming face to face with emotional trauma, and more have to be relearned, rewired, and reinforced through intensive rehabilitation.
And while detoxing from oxymorphone can be an incredibly important step on your path to recovery, it actually might not be 100% necessary.
Rehabilitation alone may actually be all you need if your addiction is particularly mild and you can stomach the withdrawals. However, this decision is best left to the professionals. Be sure to get the opinion of a qualified addiction specialist before making any rash choices.
They may suggest that you should detox before entering a rehab program for Opana. Or maybe they’ll say you just need to enter into an intensive outpatient program to help you kick your habit for good.
The important thing to realize is that you should not go through your recovery process alone. And with a professional addiction center by your side, you’re bound to have a significantly better shot at sobriety.
To put it lightly, detox from a serious oxymorphone addiction can be tough. Ex-users often describe the process with words like “unbearable,” “excruciating,” or “hellish.” And when you look at the long list of symptoms, not to mention the extensive withdrawal timeline, it’s easy to see why.
In general, though, the symptoms of opioid withdrawal are often compared to an incredibly bad case of the flu. Your body temperature is consistently out of whack, you have stomach and gastrointestinal problems throughout, and you feel fuzzy, confused, depressed, anxious, and utterly exhausted.
To give you a general idea of how painful the process can be, below are a few opioid withdrawal stories that help capture some of the symptoms on a personal level.
It was the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done in my life… massive unbearable physical aches and pains, my legs Killing me, whole skeleton trying to escape my body, pouring in sweat, absolutely freezing cold… 100% awake, experiencing all this for 12 days 24 hours a day, not 1 wink of sleep at all in this period… ABsolutely NO energy, still restless cant sit down, cant stand up, can’t lie down. Cold, weak, achey, fluey, emotional, feeling of doom/despair. Eventually after 21 days starts to get a TINY bit better.
– oliphill via BlueLight.org
It would start with my body temperature being out of whack and I would get cold sweats constantly. It would then progress to aching pain throughout my body, especially my hips and legs. If it was night time, I was unable to sleep, even for days at a time. On a mental level I would pretty much break down. I would become *extremely* irritated with anyone and anything. I would skip classes and work due to exhaustion from lack of sleep as well as an overall bad mood. When I finally quit for good, I went through noticeable physical withdrawals for approximately two weeks and mental/emotional withdrawals for six months.
– User Name Here via BlueLight.org
If these experiences sound particularly frightening, there are two facts that you can take solace in. First, withdrawals from oxymorphone are much more bearable when you partner with a professional detox facility. They have both the medical expertise as well as access to powerful prescription drugs to make the process far less overwhelming.
And second, not everyone experiences Opana detox the same way. One individual may suffer through the process for weeks at a time while others will sail through it in only a few days. It all depends on your level of addiction, your personal physiology, and what detox method you are using (i.e. tapering, cold turkey, replacement therapy, etc.).
The symptoms of oxymorphone withdrawal are numerous and varied. However, not everyone will have the exact same experience when it comes time to detox and your individual withdrawals and their severity will depend on the factors listed above.
However, you can expect to go through at least some of the symptoms listed below, as provided by Mental Health Daily.
As you can tell, the list of symptoms is quite extensive. And when you’re going through the detox process, they can be absolutely overwhelming at times – so much so that you might feel like you’re losing your mind.
That’s why it’s so important to seek knowledgeable, professional help throughout the detox process to ensure you can get through this phase of recovery without relapsing.
Just as the exact symptoms you’ll experience throughout detox will vary based on your individual factors, so too will the exact length of your oxymorphone detoxification process.
That being said, there are a few specific factors that will directly impact the timeline of your addiction. The most important one is how you typically abused Opana. To explain, the opioid withdrawal syndrome is different for short-acting opioids and long-acting ones.
For short-acting opioids like heroin, the onset of withdrawal symptoms usually starts at around 8 to 24 hours and last for 4 to 10 days. For long-acting opioids like methadone, the onset is around 12 to 48 hours after the last dose and extends for 10 to 20 days.
Depending on whether you abused Opana in its extended release form (long-acting) or snorted/injected it to get an immediate rush (short-acting) then, your withdrawal timeline will vary.
Despite the long list of incredibly uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and the overwhelming cravings that are often associated with detoxing from opioids like oxymorphone, some habitual users still think that their best option is to detox from their addiction at home – no doctors, no professionals, no help at all.
This is not recommended by the vast majority of addiction researchers and specialists. Part of the reason is that a home detox not only keeps you from experiencing a number of treatments that often prove instrumental in future recovery, it also means you won’t have the guidance and expert knowledge of addiction professionals to make it as smooth of a process as possible.
However, another reason that at-home detox isn’t recommended is because withdrawing from opioids can in fact be deadly.
To explain, the symptoms of detoxing from oxymorphone by themselves are not often fatal. That being said, they are extremely uncomfortable. So uncomfortable in fact that individuals detoxing from opioids like heroin have a relapse rate of around 91%, 59% of which occur within the first week of detox.
Why is this important? Because opioids like Opana have a peculiar ability to build tolerance especially quickly. On the other side of the coin though, that same tolerance also drops much faster than most people anticipate.
As such, if an individual goes through a week of detox only to relapse on the same dosage of opioids that they were taking before, their body likely won’t be able to handle it. As a result, accidental overdoses are incredibly common among opioid users immediately after relapsing.
And these overdoses, as you likely know, can be fatal.
The takeaway here is that relapsing on oxymorphone can be particularly deadly. So, you may as well side with a professional detox facility. Your life just might depend on it.
Once you’ve muscled through the brutal symptoms of oxymorphone withdrawal you may be tempted to think that you’re completely in the clear. But your work is actually just beginning.
In order to ensure a full recovery and reduce your chances of relapse down the line, you simply must take part in an Opana rehabilitation program. These programs are designed to get at the core of your addiction and give you the tools to you need to overcome cravings, deal with emotional problems that led to your substance abuse, and teach you the skills to cope with a drug-free life.
And these programs are absolutely necessary.
While detoxification is often the first step on the road to recovery, rehabilitation is arguably the most important. That’s because without an effective rehab program, detoxification alone “does little to change long-term drug use” according to NIDA.
To explain, detox can be thought of as a way to cleanse the body of its addiction to oxymorphone while rehab is more about cleansing the mind. This is accomplished by engaging in behavioral treatments like 12-step programs and stress management along with counseling, group talk sessions, and coping strategies workshops.
Whether it’s a family history of abuse that reinforced your drug-seeking behaviors or it’s a past trauma that you’ve been using drugs like oxymorphone to cover up, your rehabilitation program will be instrumental in facing your problems head on rather than turning to drugs as a coping mechanism.
Ultimately though, rehabilitation is about changing the way you understand your own addiction and giving you the techniques, strategies, and tools you need to kick your Opana habit for good.
Finding the right facility for your particular needs can seem overwhelming, especially since there are often so many programs to choose from. One of the most important decisions in the process is finding out whether you need an inpatient program or an outpatient one.
Each has their own benefits and downfalls. And no one type will cater to the specific needs of every addiction sufferer. That’s why it’s so crucial to understand the distinctions between the two – so you can choose which is right for you and ensure the best chance of a full recovery.
Oxymorphone Inpatient Treatment – An inpatient treatment program requires patients to remain on the addiction facility premises at all times. They are not allowed to leave without a chaperone from the facility and must eat, sleep, and ultimately live onsite until the treatment ends.
This comes with a couple of benefits. In the first place, the separation from the outside world lets patients fully focus on getting sober rather than having to juggle their recovery with the obligations of their day-to-day life.
Patients also have around-the-clock care from the facility’s staff, making it ideal for individuals recovering from an especially severe addiction or who are going through particularly protracted withdrawals.
And finally (and perhaps most importantly), an inpatient program also ensures that you won’t be as tempted to use again, simply because being forced to live on campus makes it much harder to do so.
Outpatient Programs for Oxymorphone Addiction – An outpatient treatment program, on the other hand, is more like taking night classes. Patients can typically attend to their daily obligations like work or school and simply attend sessions that are only a few hours long several times a week.
Afterwards, they are free to return home and carry on with their lives as they please.
Outpatient programs are usually far less expensive than inpatient ones and also offer a degree of flexibility that allows patients to fulfill the life obligations that are so important to them.
And when you choose to partner with an intensive outpatient program (IOP) that features longer sessions that happen more often, you’ll get an even more effective level of treatment than traditional outpatient programs which simply might not work for your addiction.
Not everyone’s path to recovery is going to be the same. Some Opana addicts may find themselves free from withdrawal symptoms and cravings within a few weeks while others may actually struggle for months and even years at a time.
Those experiencing especially long-lasting withdrawal symptoms are most likely suffering from what’s known as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, also called PAWS. This condition is marked by a number of symptoms that don’t necessarily coincide with the drug-specific withdrawal symptoms.
And given the particularly long timeline associated with this condition, getting through PAWS alone can be incredibly tough and may be a primary cause for relapse.
However, these symptoms and the condition itself can be treated with the help of a professional addiction facility – just one more reason to enroll in an actual oxymorphone addiction rehabilitation program.
One of the biggest benefits of partnering with a professional addiction center is gaining access to a number of prescription medications.
These medications include opioid replacement therapies (ORTs) like buprenorphine and methadone as well as other medications designed to make the rehabilitation process more bearable as well as more effective.
However, many facilities only offer medications like these during the detoxification portion of recovery. That’s because long-term maintenance plans, while effective for some, may actually increase the likelihood of becoming addicted to another drug instead.
Buprenorphine – Also sometimes used during the oxymorphone detox process, buprenorphine (sold as Subutex and Suboxone) is one of the most effective medications for treating long-term cravings for most opioids. It can be administered via a sublingual film or in pill form.
However, given the addictive nature of buprenorphine, many rehab facilities do not use this drug for long-term maintenance unless the addiction is extremely severe. Instead, they may rely on non-addictive medications to help curb cravings and long-term withdrawal symptoms.
Naltrexone – Though the names are shockingly similar, naltrexone is not to be confused with naloxone, a powerful drug often used as an abuse deterrent and as an overdose medication. Instead, naltrexone is used to block cravings and even help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
But one of the biggest benefits of using naltrexone is the fact that it can help block the euphoria and sedation caused by abusing opioids like oxymorphone. As a result, people who take naltrexone during their recovery are disincentivized from turning back to using again since it won’t create the high they’re looking for.
Naltrexone is not habit forming and also comes in a once-a-month injection called Vivitrol. What’s more, this drug has an effectiveness that’s been shown to rival that of Suboxone, widely considered to be the gold standard of opioid addiction treatment.
Methadone – Once the go-to choice for treating opioid addiction with a long-term maintenance plan, methadone is a full opioid agonist that, when used improperly, can end in a very serious addiction, even more so than with drugs like Suboxone.
As a result, many physicians consider methadone to be inferior to buprenorphine due to its higher potential for abuse and increased risk of addiction.
Like buprenorphine, there are some pretty strict guidelines around which types of facilities can use methadone therapy when it comes to treating an opioid addiction and certification must be provided by SAMHSA in order to be legally compliant.
Branching off from the popular 12-step program Alcoholics Anonymous in 1953, Narcotics Anonymous (or NA for short) is one of the world’s largest drug-based addiction support groups in the world. It hosted 67,000 weekly meetings in 2016 taking place in 139 different countries.
While the name may imply it, Narcotics Anonymous is not just for people who are addicted to narcotic drugs. In fact, the organization explicitly states that it is dedicated to treating addiction in all forms, including alcoholism. Rather than concentrating on the substance of abuse, NA instead focuses specifically on the disease of addiction itself.
A lot of people don’t quite know what to expect when they attend their first 12-step meeting and are actually surprised when they do. You are not required to pay dues or sign up for a sponsor right off the bat and beyond that, you don’t even have to share your experience if you don’t want to. You can simply sit back and take in the information if that’s more suited to your tastes.
And since the only ultimate goal is to help others overcome their addictions, you’re bound to be welcomed into the group with fully open arms.
Narcotics Anonymous is one of the most effective methods of keeping your sobriety at top of mind both during your rehabilitation and afterwards when you may be more likely to slip back into relapse. And given that relapse rates for drug addiction in general are at about 40 to 60% (similar to other chronic diseases), it’s especially important that you do as much as you can to stay sober after leaving your oxymorphone rehab program.
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous aren’t the only 12-step meetings that addicts can attend today. In fact, there are a variety of programs available that follow the same (or at least a similar) model.
Similar to Al-Anon, Nar-Anon is specifically designed to cater to the needs of family members of addicted individuals. It can be incredibly difficult to watch a loved one succumb to a crippling addiction like oxymorphone dependency.
That’s why Nar-Anon offers guidance and support to family members of addicts to help them better understand their loved one’s addiction, overcome the unique problems that come from an addicted family member, and point them to the professional help they may need.
This group in particular might be especially helpful for recovering Opana addicts. Pills Anonymous was formed in 2008 as a result of the growing trend of prescription medication abuse and addiction. It follows a 12-step program similar to that found in both AA and NA and is founded on the same beliefs of support, anonymity, and healing.
As with other 12-step programs, there are no membership dues or fees and meetings are open to all who want to recover from their pill addiction.
For those who are struggling with a dual diagnosis (a mental disorder and a drug problem like oxymorphone abuse), Dual Recovery Anonymous helps members cope with and overcome the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual problems that are unique to this group of people.
Like other 12-step programs, this group is open to everyone and only has two requirements for membership: a desire to stop using alcohol or other intoxicating drugs and a desire to manage emotional or psychiatric illness in a healthy and constructive way.
While the 12-step programs can be incredibly beneficial when it comes to continuous support and developing the skills necessary to cope with cravings, they do have their roots in a bit of spirituality. For instance, one of the first steps of recovery is to recognize a “higher power” and to turn over your will and life to it.
For them, there is another type of aftercare support group called SMART Recovery. SMART Recovery is a popular support program that focuses on empowering individuals with science-based techniques and strategies for overcoming their addictions.
Meetings are run by trained professionals rather than by the members themselves and the organization is recognized by both NIDA and SAMHSA, making it particularly trustworthy.
So even if your particular beliefs don’t mesh well with those of the dominant 12-step support programs, there are still options available to help you stay committed to sobriety and keep off the oxymorphone for good.
Northpoint the Evergreen offers one of the best outpatient addiction treatment programs in the State of Washington. We work with a lot of clients who are addicted to opioid drugs like Oxymorphone. We understand how hard it is to recover, and we are committed to providing them with the very best care.
We have two facilities in Washington that offer outpatient services. They are located in Seattle and in Bellevue. We are also in-network with several health insurance companies to keep costs as low as possible for our clients.
As we mentioned earlier, we know the importance of treating both sides of the addiction – the physical and mental sides. This approach requires our clients to go through detox and rehab on the road to recovering. While we do not offer detox services, we do make sure our clients receive them by offering them referrals for programs we know and trust.
After detoxing, our clients return to us for additional services. Many Oxymorphone addicts will begin accessing our Vivitrol services to help them stay clean. At the same time, they enter our intensive outpatient program for rehab and therapy. Other services, such as family therapy, help us to offer as much support as possible during this important time in their lives.
At Northpoint the Evergreen, we want people to know that recovering from an Oxymorphone addiction is possible. Yes, it may be extremely difficult, but it is achievable when accessing the best drug treatment programs in Washington State. In choosing to work with us, they benefit from the most up-to-date treatment methods.
Of course, the hardest part is making the decision to get treatment. We want to encourage you to take that first step and ask for help. Our caring and qualified staff will provide you with the personalized care and attention you need to reach your recovery goals. We are here to help you as well as your family as you go through the healing process.