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How to Prevent Drug Overdose

Do you know what happens in a drug overdose? Do you have any idea how you can help if someone overdoses on a drug? Overdose is a common risk with people who suffer from drug abuse. Here is important information about a drug overdose and what you can do to help in case it happens to someone you know.

Drug Overdose

An overdose involves a person taking too much of a drug. Overdose amounts are levels of the drug that a person’s metabolism cannot detoxify the drug fast enough, causing serious medical symptoms, including death. The severity of a drug overdose depends on the type of drug, the amount taken and the individual.

What to Do if someone is experiencing a Drug Overdose

  • Call 911 if someone has stopped breathing, lost consciousness or is having seizures.
  • Don’t let the person fall asleep while you wait for help to arrive. Even if the person gets irritated, keep them awake by shaking them or talking to them.
  • Watch their breathing closely. Begin CPR if the breathing stops.

Prevent a Drug Overdose

If a loved one has become addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, prevent overdose by overcoming the addiction with treatment at the best rehab center. Skilled and experienced addiction specialists at leading rehabs, such as Pacific Bay Recovery, help you choose the right treatment program.


4 Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

Drug addiction doesn’t always begin with recreational drugs. Many people, especially chronic pain patients, become addicted to prescription drugs even when they’re taking according to a doctor’s prescription. The most abused prescription drugs are opioids, depressants, and stimulants.


If you have heard of OxyContin, that is what Oxycodone is. Since it is a time-release tablet used to manage pain, experts assumed that the potential for abuse is low.

But many users snort or inject the medication to bypass the time-release. This increases the likelihood of addiction because some brain chemicals may rise and fall more rapidly.


Hydrocodone is similar to oxycodone and available in direct-release form. This is the drug that is used to make lean, a drink with soda and hard candy. Since there is no control over dosage, it is dangerous to take the medication in this form. And increasing the intake can quickly cause a drug overdose.


Benzodiazepines slow the nervous system down to reduce anxiety, so that you can calm down and/or sleep. Common benzodiazepines are Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium.

Many people combine benzos with alcohol which can cause a dangerous drop in heart and respiration rates.


Ritalin and Adderall are stimulants that boost levels of dopamine (the feel-good chemical) in the brain. Some people may use prescription stimulants to help them concentrate or focus or pull an all-nighter. Since stimulants can also make you feel more social and confident, a large number of people are now using them recreationally.

Treatment for Prescription Drug Abuse

Leading rehabs, such as Pacific Bay Recovery in San Diego, can help you get rid of your prescription drug dependence with non-drug pain management. You can select from the following programs:

  • Intensive outpatient program
  • Inpatient program
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy


The 3 Stages of Addiction

Drug addiction change the brain and these changes continue for a long period of time even after the person stops taking the drug. Addiction progresses through stages and here is a look at those stages.


Initially, when a person consumes a drug or alcohol. s/he feels euphoria. Majority of American adults consume alcohol in varying degrees. A large number use marijuana.

For most people, substance use stays at experimental or recreational use, without disrupting their lives. But for some people, there is a risk of developing substance abuse disorder.


In some people, repeated drug or alcohol use leads to changed neural connections in the brain. without using the substance, the person becomes unable to function or feel normal.

Without the drug or alcohol, they experience physical and psychological distress or withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can range from discomfort to being potentially fatal.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Irritability/anxiety/depression
  • Nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Severe muscle pains and cramping
  • Chills, alternating with excessive sweating
  • Confusion and hallucinations
  • Seizures

Preoccupation with the Substance

With initial withdrawal, the person realizes that the easiest way to relieve the distress is to use the drug or alcohol. This can soon become a vicious cycle of cravings and drug-seeking behavior.

The prefrontal cortex in the brain regulates self-control and decision-making. Addiction changes this part of the brain, disabling the person’s ability to think rationally, decision making, and resist the urge to consume the drug or alcohol.

So, addiction has nothing to do with lack of will-power, as is commonly believed. It is a disease involving changes in the brain and if left untreated, substance abuse disorders turn chronic, progressive, and eventually fatal.

Fortunately, there is hope with the right substance abuse treatment. With help and time, the person can recover completely and a return to a productive, drug-free life.

Detox or Rehab?

Seeking treatment is the biggest step in addiction recovery and the treatment program you choose can make a big difference to your recovery. There are so many treatment options available that it may become confusing. The most common question is whether you should simply detox or go to a rehab.

Are they different?

Most people think of detox and rehab as the same thing but detox and rehab each have their own purpose. While detox is only about addressing the physical effects of substance abuse and withdrawal symptom management, rehab is all about all-round recovery and ensuring relapse doesn’t occur.

Let’s have a look at both the programs.

Drug and Alcohol Detox

Detox is the process in which your body is weaned off the toxic substances. Since withdrawal can range from discomfort to dangerous, it should only be done under medical supervision.

You may be required to stay at a medical detox facility for a period of about one week, on an average.

The benefits of detox are –

  • It cleanses the body of toxins
  • It reduces pain and discomfort
  • It helps you regain your ability to control behavior
  • It manages your withdrawal symptoms
  • It reduces drug and alcohol cravings

Drug and Alcohol Rehab

Rehab focuses on helping you recover from your addiction completely. It involves physical as well as psychological recovery.

A rehab may range from 30 to 90 days. Detox should ideally be followed by rehab, for full recovery and eliminating the chances of relapse.

The benefits of rehab include –

  • You receive personalized therapy.
  • You receive psychological counseling.
  • You learn life skills and relapse prevention tools.
  • You engage in wellness therapies.
  • You cultivate a drug-free life.

To maximize your chances of recovery, speak to a counselor at a reputed rehab.

15 Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic pain. While pain medicine now offers minimally invasive interventional treatments to manage and treat pain effectively, many pain sufferers become dependent on Opioids.


Opioids are a class of drugs typically prescribed to manage moderate to extreme pain symptoms.

Examples of opioid drugs are –

  • Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetaminophen)
  • Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
  • Fentanyl
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Morphine
  • Heroin

Opioid Withdrawal

With time, the body becomes tolerant to the pain-killing effects of opioids. This creates the need for larger doses of the drug to achieve the same effect. This can lead to overdose, even death. Gradually, your brain thinks it cannot function without the drug. Those dependent on the drug may not even realize it, mistaking withdrawal symptoms for something like the flu.

Even if you or a loved one is taking opioids as prescribed, it is possible to build tolerance to them.

Opioids flood the brain with dopamine, the happy hormone. This overstimulation produces euphoric effects. People who misuse drugs seek this euphoria repeatedly and become addicted. The absence of the drug creates a dopamine deficiency in the brain, forcing the person to seek the drug again. Alternatively, if the opioid or prescription pain med use is stopped abruptly, the person would experience drug withdrawal.

Common Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms include –

Early Withdrawal Symptoms (start within 6-12 hours)

  • muscle aches
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
  • runny nose
  • excessive sweating
  • sleeplessness
  • frequent yawning

Later Withdrawal Symptoms (start after the first day)

  • diarrhea, nausea and vomiting
  • abdominal cramping
  • goose bumps on the skin
  • dilated pupils and possibly blurry vision
  • rapid heartbeat
  • high blood pressure

To safely come out of withdrawal, recover from the addiction and any other co-occurring disorders and have your pain treated without using prescription medication, seek help at a drug detox and pain management center, such as Pacific Bay Recovery in San Diego.

Can I Detox from Heroin at Home?

Heroin is highly addictive and it may not be easy for you to detox and recover. If you’re wondering whether you can detox from heroin at home, instead of a rehab, think again. Read on to understand why heroin detox on your own is not a good idea.

Those who are addicted to heroin would experience withdrawal as the drug begins to leave your system. Heroin withdrawals range from very unpleasant to extremely dangerous. The severe symptoms of heroin withdrawal can easily drive you back to using the drug.

Some common heroin withdrawal symptoms are –

  • Flu-like symptoms – fever, muscle pain, chills
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Tremors, fast pulse, and enlarged pupils
  • Increased restlessness and anxiety

Potential Complications of Detoxing from Heroin at Home

Despite claims from other people that it’s possible to detox from heroin at home, here is why heroine detox at home can be potentially dangerous.

Heroin detox can make any pre-existing health conditions worse. If you suffer from hypertension, detoxing without medical supervision can prove life-threatening.

Even if you are healthy, severe symptoms, like vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, which can be fatal. Detoxing at a rehab under medical supervision ensures that your withdrawal symptoms are managed and/or treated before they become intense.

Home heroin detox has a very high failure rate. Your withdrawal symptoms will make you feel miserable, it’s tempting to start using the drug again for instant relief. Detoxing at a medically supervised rehab includes support of skilled and compassionate professionals who know how to help you stay you on track through the hardest part.

Detox is Only the Beginning

Many people think of addiction treatment as detox and are afraid of it too.

Yes, detox is an important first step in recovery, yet detox is only the first of a series of steps and changes you need to make to complete recover from addiction.

When you wean yourself off the drug or alcohol, the body (which is dependent on the substance by now) undergoes withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms may be physical, such as nausea and diarrhea or psychological, such as mood changes and depression. Most abusers dread these withdrawal symptoms. While detox can be a trying experience, it has a reasonably predictable – and relatively short – duration. Leading drug detox facilities, such as pacific Bay Recovery in San Diego, offer medical detox that is carried out under the supervision of doctors and addiction specialists.

It is important to remember that detox is just the beginning of a long process of sobriety and recovery.

Detox can bring change but that would only last a short duration. You need to follow it up with inpatient or intensive outpatient treatments that help you recover and cultivate a drug-free lifestyle.

Detox signals the beginning of your treatment but it isn’t the entire treatment. There is lot of work to be done. Check with your rehab center about addiction treatment programs available. You can choose from inpatient and intensive outpatient programs.

Heroin – The Ultimate High

Heroin gives a high like no other drug. But the sense of empowerment doesn’t last long. In fact, it leaves you worse than before. And most importantly, the drug slowly destroys every cell in the body.

Heroin and the Brain
Heroin is an opiate. It gradually alters brain structure and function. The drug itself goes through many chemical reactions in the brain and changes into morphine. It quickly binds to the opioid receptors, mimics endorphins (natural “feel-good” chemicals) and relieves pain and anxiety, producing a euphoric state. This is what makes heroin so addictive.

Heroin and the Body

  • Intake
    The person takes heroin.
  • Heart
    Heroin enters the bloodstream quickly.
    The heart pumps the blood with the drug in it.
  • Brain
    The drug passes through the blood-brain barrier and reaches the brain to undergo chemical reactions and binds to opioid receptors.
    Causes euphoria, pain and anxiety relief
  • Liver
    The drug undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver.
    The liver produces specific enzymes for this purpose.
    The drug enters the body’s circulation.
  • Kidneys
    Heroin has an extremely rapid half-life of 2-6 minutes.
    About 7% is excreted as unchanged morphine and 50-60% as glucuronides.
    Within 72 hours up to 90% is eliminated in urine.

How Heroin Destroys the Body
Heroin use can cause –

  • suppressed breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • hormonal imbalance
  • impaired decision-making
  • kidney failure

Timely treatment for heroin addiction can help prevent further damage.

Addicted to your Pain Medication?

If you are struggling with a problem related to prescription pain medicine, you are not the only one.

Many people start taking opiates or pain medication under prescription but slowly, the addiction may outweigh the benefits of the medicine.

If you wish to know whether you or a loved one has developed an addiction to opiates, read on.

What are Opiates?

Opiates are psychoactive drugs that have been derived from extracts of the poppy plant – morphine and codeine. The best known opiates include heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Some opiates are prescribed for the medical treatment of pain.

Opiates are safe and can alleviate pain if used as directed by a pain management doctor. Painkiller abuse can cause dependence and addiction.

Types of Opiates

The most widely used opioids (generic and brand names) are –

  • Codeine
  • Morphine (Kadian, Avinza, MS Contin)
  • Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)

Signs of Opiate Addiction

There are signs to tell if you or a loved one has a problem with opiate drugs. The biggest sign of opioid addiction is continuous use opiates despite negative consequences.

Here are some of the key ways you can recognize a problem with an opiate.

Physical Signs and Symptoms

  • Abusing opiate medication
  • Signs of use include dilated pupils, sedation, or slowed breathing
  • Craving for opiates
  • Increasing dose amounts or frequency to get the same initial effect
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms

  • Running out of medications much before refill date
  • Visiting different doctors just to obtain prescriptions
  • Drug use takes priority over home, work, school responsibilities
  • Buying opiates through illegal means, online or on the street

Not-so-Obvious Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addicts often don’t want help. They hide their problem as well as their struggle. Hiding allows them to go on drinking. Without professional help, the drinker can go on for long till s/he hits rock bottom. The longer they drink at dangerous levels, the higher is their likelihood of addiction.

So, how can you know if a loved one is hiding a drinking problem?

While denial is common among alcoholics, a person with a drinking problem will often rationalize the amount they drink; convincing themselves and others that it is no more than a drink now and then. When someone drinks in unhealthy amounts and pattern, it can involve clever ways to obtain and hide alcohol, including

  • travelling to places they may not be recognized, to buy alcohol
  • hiding alcohol around the house or office, for example, in non-alcoholic drink containers
  • using a hip flask
  • mixing alcohol in soft drinks

Hidden Signs of Alcoholism

There are various signs that may indicate a drinking problem.

  1. Denying or lying about the amounts they are drinking
  2. Drinking heavily while alone
  3. Passing out due to too much drinking
  4. Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities as a result of drinking
  5. Drinking alcohol first thing in the morning
  6. Experiencing cravings for a drink that affect mood or concentration levels

If you recognize these signs in a loved one, seek professional help so that they can work towards the best possible solution.