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My Nephew Says He Uses Only Opium. Is Using Opium Not as Bad as Using Heroin? The Way He Looked Was the Same as When He Used Heroin. What Can We do?

Is Using Opium Not as Bad as Using Heroin?

ANSWER:

Opium and heroin, although not one in the same, are extremely similar in many ways. Opium is the highly addictive, all –natural sap that comes from the poppy plant. Opium is often used as the foundation for various other drugs known as opiates, such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain pills. The effects of using any opiate are going to look very similar. These short term effects could appear soon after using an opiate and disappear a few hours later. Some of these effects include, a drowsy state (nodding off), mental functioning becomes clouded, respiratory depression, constricted (pinpoint) pupils and nausea. Some effects you may see when someone is experiencing withdrawal from opiates look very similar to the flu( muscle aches, chills, vomiting, diarrhea, runny nose)

Many people who use heroin began by abusing opiate pain pills( Codeine®, Vicodin®, Oxycontin®). Typically, once someone becomes dependent on heroin they develop a higher tolerance and need more and more to get high or just to keep the withdrawal symptoms at bay. Many opiate addicts will say that prescription pain pills no longer gets them high because their tolerance is so elevated. It would be uncommon to stop using heroin and revert to using prescription pain pills or another opiate without that leading back to heroin use.

Something called cross addiction or substitution is also common with individuals who are dependent on drugs. Some individuals will stop using one substance, let’s say marijuana, but then begin drinking too much. Or someone is willing to stop using cocaine but then is smoking marijuana frequently. Other substances that are commonly abused include prescription stimulant drugs, such as those used to treat ADHD(Adderral®, Ritalin®) as well as prescription drugs used to treat anxiety( Valium®, Xanax®). Addiction is a brain disease and once someone is addicted to one substance it is very likely they could become addicted or abuse other substances. Remaining totally abstinent from all substances, including alcohol, is the safest bet.

Unfortunately, when you believe someone has a problem with substances and that person does not feel it’s a problem it can be difficult to get them the help they need. They need to be willing to seek help, you cannot force help upon them. You may be able to set some limits and based on those limits inform the person they need to seek help or there will be a consequence for their behavior. Many local agencies offer programs to treat drug addiction, ranging from one on one therapy, Intensive Outpatient and residential treatment. It is also important that family members get some help, through counseling or support groups like Alanon. Addiction is a family disease and if the person struggling with addiction is not willing to get help the family member can get help for themselves.

Beth Sack
Manager of Addiction Services
Linden Oaks Hospital
852 West Street
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 305-5500
bsack@edward.org
www.lindenoaks.org

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol, Heroin

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Why Are Kids Getting Hooked on Heroin?

ANSWER:

Bob Marshall, Police Chief, City of Naperville
1350 Aurora Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 420-6161

Why Are Kids Getting Hooked?

There is a huge problem in our community with young adults getting addicted to prescription drugs, be they prescribed after injury or taken from a parent’s medicine cabinet. Once hooked on these, they move on other substances. We are seeing this in younger people- late teens to early 20s. Heroin is highly addictive- one may become hooked after using it only 2 or 3 times. Once addicted, an individual needs professional treatment to treat their addiction.

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol, Heroin, Prescription Drug Abuse

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What is the Police Department’s Position on Addressing the Heroin Problem?

ANSWER:

Bob Marshall, Police Chief, City of Naperville
1350 Aurora Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
(630)420-6161

What is the Police Department’s Position on Handling the Heroin Problem?

Two positions:
1. Education: Educate the community on the impact of drugs. Educate both youth and parents on signs of drug use/abuse.
2. Enforcement: We are responsible to arrest those selling drugs. Most heroin in our community is from the west side of Chicago. We collaborate with other agencies to shut down the dealers.

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol, Heroin

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What is Narcan?

ANSWER:

Bob Marshall, Police Chief, City of Naperville
1350 Aurora Avenue
Naperville, IL 60540
(630)420-6161
 

What is Narcan?

Narcan is a prescription drug used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose, such as heroin. The Naperville Fire Department carries and uses it on all suspected cases of opiate overdose. It can be life saving. There is a pilot program in DuPage County among 5 police departments using the nasal form of Narcan. Naperville is closely watching this pilot and will make a determination in the future whether this program should be expanded into Naperville.

Posted in: Drugs & Alcohol, Heroin

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