You’re considering an opioid treatment program. You may say, “How did I get here?!” You aren’t alone. Millions – yes MILLIONS – of people take prescription pain killers or heroin. The fact that you’re considering an opioid treatment program in Baltimore means that you’re taking a stand and taking a step in the right direction to get life back on track.

Why you’re dependent on pain killers

Opiates decrease the sensation of pain. And when you’ve had an operation or been in a car wreck or any number of things that cause pain, a pain killer is absolutely necessary. But over time, it may seem like you have more pain, so you need to take more to get the same feeling of relief. Some people become addicted and some don’t. You are more likely to develop an addiction if you have a low tolerance for pain, have used painkillers frequently, or have a history of substance abuse (even if not related to pain).

Street drugs as a next step

When you run out of prescriptions, street drugs are the next step. You look for heroin or other drugs to satisfy your body’s cravings. Opioid addiction affects people in all walks of life. Rich, poor, black, white, brown. Drugs don’t discriminate. Anyone who takes opioids is susceptible to changes that take place in the brain. The drugs actually suppress the body’s natural creation of endorphins (those brain chemicals that make you feel good).

How an opioid treatment program can help

The people who work in an opioid treatment program know what you’re dealing with every day. You’re stepping into an environment where they are ready to help. They can tell you what to expect every step of the way in recovery. Most importantly, you’re not alone. You can have all the support you need. Next, medication assistance is highly effective in opioid treatment programs. Some people think that medication assistance is just trading one addiction for another. This is not at all true. Methadone is a legal substance that has a successful track record for over 50 years. Methadone treatments solve the body’s needs without generating a high. Without the high, people are able to work on and eliminate the psychological addiction.

Trusting the process of an opioid treatment program

You can’t rush treatment. Getting clean and staying clean from opiates is one step at a time. The first step is to say, “I need help.” This takes courage. You can do it. People in Baltimore and all over the country are asking for help every day. Next, talk with a counselor to get an assessment and set expectations. If you decide to move ahead with treatment, you’ll have a time of induction. This is the time of withdrawal. Don’t be afraid. You’re not alone, and you’ll have medication to ease the discomfort. This is ok. Without medication, it is almost impossible to get off opiates and stay off. The number of days that you’ll take to withdraw from the opiates depends on your body, how long and how much you were using.

After withdrawal

After your body is free of the drugs, you’ll still have a way to go to enjoy a new life. You’ll have counseling that helps you understand about creating healthy relationships and staying on track. Most important, you’ll have support. Even change for the good is stressful. Your counselor understands that. Wherever you are, in Baltimore downtown or across the U.S., let an opioid treatment program bring you hope for a better future.