Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

A nurse standing.

Is It Common To Abuse Prescription Drugs?

Perhaps this goes without saying. But commonly abused prescription drugs cause a great deal of pain for people who become addicted. As human beings, we do not like pain. We do most anything we can to avoid it. And why wouldn’t we? Pain hurts! Naturally, we want to avoid it. Our brains can even adapt to motivate us to avoid pain. Prescription drugs can (and do!) offer relief from pain. If they didn’t, then people would not willingly break laws to acquire them.


In this blog, Midwood Addiction Treatment sifts through the following ideas:


  • The necessity of a prescription
  • Defining prescription drug abuse
  • Drugs most often abused
  • Treating prescription drug abuse
  • Getting help for yourself or someone else


The Necessity of A Prescription

Have you ever wondered why you need a prescription in the first place? You have ownership over your own body, after all. You ought to have access to the medication that you need…right? Perhaps that idea works in theory. But in practice it would likely prove disastrous.


Chemists develop pharmaceuticals in labs. These substances involve different kinds of molecules, compounds, and other chemicals. Before a pharmaceutical company can sell a new medicine, they must test it. But just because the FDA approves a medicine, that doesn’t mean the public has automatic access to it.


You’ve no doubt watched television (or your favorite streaming service) recently. You see the ads for new medications. The announcer always goes over the side effects. Side effects can adversely affect your health. Moreover, some medications react poorly when taken together. This can also harm you. For these reasons, we need prescriptions to help keep us safe. And alive. But the most commonly abused prescription drugs are a certain source of harm for many.


Defining Prescription Drug Abuse

Abuse constitutes breaking a boundary. To properly define it, we must understand these boundaries. Consider a person who visits their doctor for a certain problem. The doctor prescribes medication. The person must stick to the directions of their prescription. They ought to take the exact dosage on time. One must never exceed one’s dose. Also, your prescription belongs to you. Never give away or sell a prescription. When the prescription runs out, get it refilled. Take your medicine, and only your medicine. Anything beyond these guidelines becomes abuse.


Ways to abuse prescription drugs:


  • Taking more than the recommended dose
  • Giving someone else your medication
  • Selling your medication
  • Mixing your medication with alcohol or other drugs
  • Using your prescription recreationally, i.e. to have fun or get high
  • Consuming medication not prescribed to you


Drug Most Often Abused

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), these categories make up the most commonly abused prescription drugs:




Opioids come from the opium poppy. Historically, ancient societies used the “gum” from the poppy as a painkiller. In our era, we have derived medications from this plant. When reading opioids, you may also come across the word “opiates.” These words do have different meanings. “Opiates” specifically refers to natural substances: opium, codeine, and morphine. “Opioids” includes both natural opioids (“opiates”) and synthetic opioids. Synthetic opioids include drugs like fentanyl, heroin, Demerol, hydrocodone, etc.


CNS Depressants

Our brain and spinal cord make up the central nervous system (CNS). Brain impulses travel down the spine. From there, they venture out into the nerves. Then, our bodies respond. For people who struggle with anger, anxiety, or panic, this process happens very quickly. CNS depressants slow this process down. Benzodiazepines represent a frequently abused CNS depressant.



Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants. Rather than slowing things down, stimulants add speed to the brain’s processes. For this reason, “speed” has become a common slang term for stimulants. You may also hear the term “uppers.” Stimulants decrease the appetite and provide energy. This excess energy usually leads to insomnia or other sleep disturbances.


Cocaine, amphetamine, and methamphetamine represent common stimulants. However, everyday substances like caffeine, tobacco, and chocolate also belong to this category. We might also include alcohol as a stimulant. Depending on the circumstance, alcohol can also act as a depressant.


Treating Prescription Drug Abuse

Science has given us different treatment options for prescription drug abuse. Sometimes that treatment might include changes to one’s medication. Consider opioid use disorder. Medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) provides a possible treatment. MOUD can help mitigate cravings.


While medication gives us a valuable tool, one cannot merely medicate a problem away. All treatment plans ought to include some form of therapy or counseling. A counselor can give a client an outside perspective. They can offer observations that the client might not see. Then, the client can explore possible remedies to their unique situation.

Getting Help For Yourself Or Someone Else

Perhaps you struggle with addiction to prescription drugs. Or, maybe you care about someone who does.  Reading this article represented something new for you. Navigating to this page means you’ve come to a pivot. And now, you need to take action.


If you or someone you love struggles with addiction to prescription drugs, call Midwood Addiction Treatment now. Not ready to talk? No problem. Fill out our contact form instead.

Chasing The Dragon: Pain Pill Addiction


An Introduction To Pain Pill Addiction

Pain pill addiction is a major problem in the United States. Most pain pills are opioids.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 70% of the drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2019 were from an opioid. Over the past 20 years, pain pill addiction and overdose deaths seem to increase each year.

As restrictions tightened access to prescription opioids, some people turned to heroin, another opioid, to manage their pain. When synthetic opioids became more available, such as illicitly produced compounds like fentanyl, sometimes people who struggle with pain pill addiction turn to these options because they are more accessible. 

Despite being a major public health problem in the U.S. that affects a significant number of people, there are many misconceptions about pain pill addiction. In this article, learn more about pain pill addiction and its impacts on those that “chase the dragon.”

Types of Pain Pills

Opioid pain pills, sometimes called narcotics, come in a variety of options that doctors may prescribe for severe chronic pain or for short-term use after a surgery or injury. Popular opioid-based pain medications include:

  • Methadose and Dolophine (methadone)
  • Kadian and MS Contin (morphine)
  • Codeine
  • Olynvik (oliceridine) 
  • Hysingla and Zohydro ER (hydrocodone)
  • Fentora and Abstral (fentanyl)
  • Dilaudid and Exalgo (hydromorphone)
  • Demerol (meperidine)
  • OxyContin and Percocet (oxycodone)
  • Naloxone 

How Pain Pill Addiction Occurs

Prescription opioids are strong pain relievers that can offer a tremendous amount of relief in cases of severe pain. The problem arises with tolerance, when you may need to take higher doses of the pain medication more frequently to have the same pain relief. The longer you take opioid medication, the more likely you will experience dependence and will face adverse physical reactions if you stop taking the medication. This is called withdrawal.

People taking legally prescribed opioids are at risk of addiction because of how highly addictive these medications are. These narcotics cause people to feel pleasure when taken, as opposed to pain, by stimulating parts of the brain that release the neurotransmitter dopamine. This process can act as a reward system that encourages you to continue to take the medication. This can make it even more difficult to stop.

This unfortunate cycle can lead someone without a history of substance use or criminal behavior to take illegal actions to get more opioids to manage their pain. In some cases, this causes them to seek other strong opioids like heroin. 

Signs of Pain Pill Addiction

The signs of pill addiction are sometimes not obvious to friends and family members. In some cases, these signs resemble other acute medical conditions that might trouble a loved one. However, as the dependence on these medications and tolerance, more noticeable signs might be obvious.

Some symptoms of pain pill addiction include:

  • Constipation
  • Sleepiness
  • Changes in sleep
  • Weight loss
  • Cravings
  • Confusion
  • Poor coordination
  • Stumbling
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Depression
  • Poor hygiene habits
  • Slow breathing
  • Mood swings
  • Poor executive decision making
  • Additional emergency room or doctor visits
  • Doctor shopping
  • Increased pain levels
  • Arrests for theft, possession, or intent to sell

Risk Factors

Any patient prescribed opioid pain pills is at risk of becoming addicted. Some factors may increase the likelihood of addiction. According to the peer-reviewed research publication Anesthesia & Analgesia, patient risk factors include: 

  • History of substance use
  • Family history of substance use disorder
  • Easy access to opioid prescriptions
  • Not knowing about opioids and risks
  • Untreated or undiagnosed psychiatric disorders
  • Social environments that encourage misuse
  • Young age

Long-Term Effects of Pain Pill Addiction

Unfortunately, pain pill addiction can cause long-term effects that are adverse, such as low blood pressure. With opioids, in particular, tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal are serious, long-term consequences that should never be minimized. 

Additionally, overdose and death are concerns with the ongoing use of opioids, even after seeking professional treatment or detox. If you go back to taking the same dose as you did before stopping the medication, your body may not be able to handle the drugs in the same way. This puts you at an increased risk of overdose because you take more than your normal dose and it ends up being too much.

Pill pain addiction can also cause non-medical consequences that can cause even more challenges for everyday living. This includes:

  • Use of other recreational substances
  • Criminal activity
  • Car accidents from being under the influence
  • Difficulty keeping or getting employment
  • Relationship and family challenges
  • Failing out of school
  • Financial losses
  • Homelessness


Pain pill addiction can often be a precursor to substance use disorder. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 86% of the people that end up struggling with heroin reported a prior history of taking pain relievers nonmedically. They often access medications through prescriptions or from friends and family. Well-intentioned loved ones can accidentally start a person toward this cycle.

Prescription pill addiction is very common. The American Society of Anesthesiologists reports that nearly 2 million people abused or depended on opioid-based pain relievers in 2014. Most Americans know someone that faces pain pill addiction, whether or not they realize it. If you struggle with pain pill addiction or have a family member that shows the signs, you are not alone. 

Pain pill addiction can have a serious impact on your life and the people around you. It can be difficult to get the pain relief that you need from the original condition that led to your doctor prescribing opioid medication and to stop taking the pain pills on your own. We are here to help using evidence-based methods. Contact Midwood Addiction Treatment to speak with a representative to learn how we can help you along your journey to recovery. We are here to help you through every step of the way.

Risks of Using Imodium for Opioid Withdrawal

Imodium for Opioid Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Imodium (loperamide) is an over-the-counter medication treatment for acute and chronic diarrhea. When used in large quantities, however, Imodium can induce effects similar to opioids, such as euphoria. For this reason, some individuals suffering from opioid addiction abuse Imodium to get high or help manage withdrawal symptoms.

Loperamide works by reducing the flow of fluids and electrolytes into the bowel, effectively decreasing the frequency of bowel movements. The medication can be found in tablet, capsule, or liquid solution for oral consumption.

Imodium Side Effects

Using Imodium can help regulate bowel movements and reduce dehydration in people who are experiencing severe, acute, or chronic diarrhea. However, in addition to these desirable results, abuse of this medication has been associated with a variety of adverse and potentially harmful effects as well. These side effects can vary from mild to severe and may include any of the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Flatulence
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Constipation
  • Problems urinating

Why Abuse Has Become Prevalent

Like many drugs, the risk that adverse effects will occur is increased when the drug is abused, and an excessive amount is ingested. Abuse of the medication has risen sharply within the past decade, and health officials are blaming the opioid epidemic as the primary catalyst for this problem.

People have discovered that when used in very high doses, Imodium can cause effects similar to those of opioids. The medication is, indeed, believed to be an opioid agonist, and therefore, has the potential to induce euphoric feelings. Due to the drug’s chemical structure, it cannot cross the blood-brain barrier in low doses. Moreover, it will not produce a high unless used in excessive amounts or in conjunction with other drugs.

Also, the drug is widely available OTC at pharmacies and, when compared to both illicit and prescription opioids, it is very affordable. In fact, the cost of 200 capsules of generic loperamide can be as low as $10. People who abuse the drug may take anywhere from 50-400 pills in a single day to experience euphoria comparable to that of opioids like oxycodone and heroin.

Overall, Imodium’s accessibility, low cost, and legal status all contribute to its high potential for abuse. Additionally, many people use loperamide to relieve withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid use. Rather than utilizing loperamide to mimic the euphoric high of opioids, people use the drug to treat physical dependence on opioids. For this reason, loperamide abuse has been referred to as “poor man’s methadone.”

Unfortunately, using Imodium as replacement therapy for opioids also requires the user to take very high doses of the medication, which can result in an overdose. Consuming large and frequent amounts of loperamide places a person at a high risk of developing cardiac arrhythmias and profound central respiratory depression, which can lead to death.

Imodium for Opioid Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Signs of Imodium Abuse and Addiction

There is a popular misconception that because loperamide is available without a prescription, it’s safe to use or abuse. However, this belief is not true and can be dangerous. High doses of any drug that has psychoactive effects can lead to the development of chemical dependence if chronically abused. Even a person who has taken higher-than-recommended doses of loperamide due to gastrointestinal issues or diarrhea can become accustomed to the drug’s effects on his or her system and develop a dependence.

After a chemical dependence has developed, users will encounter unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit using the drug. These symptoms are similar to those related to opioid withdrawal and may include nausea, vomiting, depression, irritability, anxiety, cramps, diarrhea, profuse sweating, and muscle aches and pains.

Addiction is characterized by both dependence and compulsive drug-seeking behavior. People who become addicted will continue using Imodium despite encountering adverse consequences. They may also use it in combination with other substances to achieve a more intense high. Alcohol is often abused with Imodium because each substance amplifies the effects of the other.

Unfortunately, engaging in polydrug use significantly increases the chance of a life-threatening overdose due to the possibility of cardiac problems or profound central nervous system depression.

NOTE: When compared to Morphine, Imodium has been shown to be 40-50 times more effective at producing antidiarrheal and central nervous system (CNS) depressant effects.

Help for Imodium Abuse or Opioid Addiction

All drugs, even those that are OTC, can be hazardous when not used as directed. Using Imodium to get high or to relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms other than diarrhea is a form of drug misuse.

If you are abusing loperamide or are using the drug to treat opioid dependence, we urge you to call Midwood Addiction Treatment as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. We employ a comprehensive approach for the treatment of substance abuse and addiction that can help you get on the path to a clean, drug-free life.

Are you ready to take that first step? If so, we are here to help!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid Addiction Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Opioids are a class of drugs that includes both prescription and illegal painkillers. Heroin, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine are a few examples of opioids. Opioid addiction treatment is designed to help the person wean off the drug while working on overcoming the psychological effects of addiction.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

The signs of opioid addiction may be more evident in illicit drug users than in patients dependent on prescription medications. Nevertheless, the signs of addiction are similar for all opioids.

An addict may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Using more of the drug than prescribed by the doctor
  • Crushing pills and snorting or injecting them
  • Track marks or small sores on the arms, feet or other areas caused by injecting opioids
  • Slurred speech, sedation, sluggishness, a slow pulse, and difficulty keeping the head up
  • Complaints of pain and using medication to treat it long after the pain symptoms should have abated
  • Spending a considerable amount of time obtaining, using, and recovering from opioid use
  • Experiencing adverse life consequences related to opioid use, such as legal problems, financial difficulties, and strained interpersonal relationships
  • Refusing to acknowledge that a problem exists despite the aforementioned signs to the contrary.

Physical symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Constipation
  • Breathlessness
  • Bronchospasm
  • Chemical dependence
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain
  • Respiratory depression

When any of these signs or symptoms of drug abuse are present, it is time to start investigating opioid addiction treatment options.

Help for Opioid Addicts

Regardless of whether it takes place on an inpatient or outpatient basis, opioid addiction treatment begins with detox and addressing the symptoms associated with withdrawal. This treatment involves a process that can last for several days. According to statistical evidence, a detox program provides the best results if medication-assisted treatment is implemented.

All opioid addiction treatment programs should begin with some version of detox. Most individuals suffering from addiction need medical care during the process to prevent relapse, relieve withdrawal symptoms, and forestall any other complications that may occur.

Opioid withdrawal is very unpleasant, and heavy users may encounter the most severe symptoms. Fortunately, detox programs often include medications such as naltrexone and buprenorphine. These are drugs that attach to opioid receptors in the body and reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings without activating them or inducing euphoria.

In limited doses, these drugs help the body through withdrawal with minimal discomfort. Patients will continue the medical treatment through the next stage of recovery and beyond.

Opioid Addiction Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Inpatient Opioid Rehab

Opioid patients, like other drug addicts, receive psychiatric treatment in rehab. This process helps them get to the heart of their addiction, identify alternative ways to cope, and learn the skills needed to prevent relapse in the future.

Exercise, nutrition, mental health evaluations, counseling, and group support supplement the treatment. Medical providers also devise structured pain management programs to help prescription opioid addicts control any ongoing pain that contributed to their addiction.

Inpatient or residential treatment for opioid addiction may go beyond the typical month-long rehab. Opioids take longer to clear the body and require more coping mechanisms and monitoring than many other drugs do. The duration of a patient’s stay depends on the severity of his or her addiction and the underlying factors driving it.

Intensive Outpatient Rehab

People who choose intensive outpatient rehab may still receive medications to prevent withdrawal symptoms and to assist in the recovery process. They reside at home, go to work, and can spend time with friends and family. However, they also have scheduled clinic visits, ranging from daily to twice per week, to receive addiction treatment.

These patients also receive individual and group therapies. They are offered pain management assistance from a doctor and mental health assessments, as well. Individuals in this program can expect to go to the treatment clinic between two and seven days each week for a period ranging from several months to a year.


After completing the program, people can continue treatment with periodic group meetings and visits with a counselor. Some patients choose to stay in sober living homes that provide some level of supervision to help them transition back to society. All patients can take advantage of aftercare planning that will identify local counselors or therapies that can continue their treatment and other resources for long-term support.

Getting Treatment

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to prescription or illicit opioids, contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers a complete continuum of care from detox to aftercare.

We employ medical professionals who specialize in addiction and are trained to deliver therapeutic services with care and expertise. We aim to provide all clients with the tools and support they so direly need to overcome addiction and experience long-lasting sobriety and wellness!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Benefits of Addiction Medicines

What Is Carfentanil?

What Is Carfentanil? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

What Is Carfentanil? – Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid comparable in effect to heroin, but it is, incredibly, up to 5,000 times more powerful. It is an analog of fentanyl, another potent painkiller used to treat severe pain and in hospital settings for general anesthesia.

Unlike fentanyl, however, carfentanil is not approved for use in humans. In fact, it is only commercially used to sedate very large animals, such as elephants.

Carfentanil was developed in the 1970s by scientists at Janssen Pharmaceuticals. It is currently classified as a Schedule II substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Carfentanil is so powerful that those who handle it are required to wear protective clothing to avoid incidental skin contact. Indeed, human exposure to even a minuscule amount can easily prove fatal. Carfentanil has been related to hundreds of overdose deaths in the U.S. in recent years, due to dealers combining it with heroin and other drugs.

Of note, it is possible for a person to build a tolerance to opioids high enough to sustain the use of carfentanil. However, most who ingest it are unaware that this lethal substance has been mixed with or substituted for their drug of choice. The presence of carfentanil in illicit street drugs such as heroin and cocaine is an increasingly worrisome problem.

Side Effects of Carfentanil

Due to its potency, the most common and tragic effect of carfentanil use is death. Those who use carfentanil and do not die will encounter effects similar to those associated with heroin or fentanyl.

Besides a brief euphoric high and sedation, side effects of carfentanil may include the following:

  • Runny nose
  • Dry mouth
  • Slurred speech
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Impaired memory
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Depressed respiration
Street Names for Carfentanil
  • Apache
  • China White
  • China Girl
  • Drop Dead
  • Gray Death
  • Goodfella
  • Serial Killer
  • Tango and Cash
  • TNT

Carfentanil Addiction

What Is Carfentanil? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Carfentanil has a high potential for addiction when used. Addiction is hallmarked by tolerance and dependence, two conditions that develop over time with abuse.

Tolerance occurs because, with regular abuse, the brain stops responding as intensely at it once did—repeated exposure = diminished response. As a result of this reduction in effects, users are forced to consume an increasing amount of the substance to achieve the desired experience. For this reason, those who develop a high tolerance are also at a much greater risk of overdose and death.

Dependence occurs when the brain becomes used to the presence of a drug. When this happens, it can no longer function normally without it, and highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms onset when the person tries to quit. These withdrawal symptoms are not usually deadly, but in the most extreme cases, they can be.

Addiction also leads to many adverse behaviors that reflect its true nature. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences
  • Stealing or borrowing money to support one’s habit
  • Neglect of important obligations associated with work, school, or family
  • Engaging in drug-related criminal activity and encountering legal issues as a result
  • Financial problems
  • Family conflict and interpersonal problems


A carfentanil overdose can only be effectively treated with Narcan (naloxone). This remedy is an opioid antagonist that reverses the drug’s effects and halts life-threatening central nervous system depression.

Signs of an overdose may include the following:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Shallow or stopped breathing
  • Slow, erratic, or absent pulse
  • Pale or bluish skin and nails
  • Snore-like gurgling noise
  • Vomiting
  • Limpness
  • Clammy or cold skin

Treatment for Carfentanil Addiction

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers professional, evidence-based services for substance use disorders. Treatment for carfentanil abuse usually begins with a medically-supervised detox. During this process, the patient is monitored for several days to ensure his or her safety. Medications, such as Suboxone, can be administered to minimize withdrawal symptoms and ease drug cravings.

After completing detox, patients are encouraged to enroll in a comprehensive treatment program. During this time, they will receive corrective interventions, such as psychotherapy and counseling. Treatment also usually includes 12-step group meetings and holistic practices, such as yoga and meditation.

Many individuals begin treatment in our partial hospitalization program, then proceed to intensive outpatient treatment. Some reside at their private residence, and others choose to live at sober living homes while they visit our center several times a week to continue recovery.

After discharge, aftercare coordinators help the patient find other resources, such as counselors, psychiatrists, and group support programs.

Our Approach To Addiction Treatment
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Is Oxycodone an Opiate?

What Are Opioids?

What Are Opioids?

What are Opioids? Why are They So Dangerous? Opioids are synthetic drugs designed to replicate the effects of natural opiates (i.e., opium and morphine) from which they are partially derived. They are indicated to treat moderate-severe acute pain, such as after injuries and surgeries.

Types of Opioids
Opioids are commonly prescribed legally by health care providers and include, but are not limited to the following:

  • codeine
  • fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, etc.)
  • hydrocodone (Hysingla ER, Zohydro ER)
  • hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Norco, Vicodin)
  • hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • meperidine (Demerol)
  • methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)
  • morphine (MS Contin, Morphabond)
  • oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet)

How Opioids Work?

Opioids are chemicals that contribute to pain relief by attaching themselves to corresponding receptors in the brain cells of animals. Once bonded, the cells transmit signals that stifle feelings of pain and increase feelings of well-being.

However, opioids alter one’s perception of pain more than they actually numb or block it. This effect can lead to increased sensitivity to pain, also known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia.

Other possible side effects and dangers of opioid abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Heavy sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Skin rash

Tolerance, Dependency, and Addiction

What are Opioids? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Opioids have a high potential for misuse, dependency, and overdose. Their psychoactive properties impact a number of neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine that produce euphoria and feelings of reward.

Signs and symptoms of opioid addiction include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Continued opioid use despite unwanted physical and psychological effects.
  • Lack of interest or enjoyment in activities once considered important.
  • The use of opioids in dangerous or inappropriate settings.
  • Negative changes or problems in other areas of life such as work, school, relationships, and financial status.
  • General malaise, lethargy, or sedation.

When used long-term (more than a few days) opioids can become addictive. Addiction is fueled by dependency (withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation) and tolerance (increasing amounts of the drugs are needed to achieve the same effect.)

Dependency decreases one’s desire to quit or cut down, due to the unpleasant effects of withdrawal. The onset of withdrawal symptoms is a tell-tale sign that the user’s system has become compomised and less capable of functionally properly without the drug’s presence. These mental and physical symptoms often persist for several days after the user’s last dose.

Symptoms of opioid withdrawal may include but are not limited to the following:
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Appetite changes
  • Tremors
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Chills and shivering
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Runny/stuffy nose
  • Fever
On the other hand, tolerance drives users to take higher doses, which can lead to potentially life-threatening central nervous system (CNS) depression, a condition characterized by slowed breathing and heart rate.

Also, when combined with the use of alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other CNS depressants, an opioid’s impact is exponentially greater than when used alone. The effects of other substances can be enhanced as well, meaning the risk of overdose and death is significantly higher.

Opioids and Overdose

Opioid misuse, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol, can lead to life-threatening central nervous depression, overdose, and death.

Symptoms of an opioid overdose include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Restricted pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pale, blue lips and nails
  • Limp body
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Respiratory distress
  • Seizures
  • Extremely slow heart rate
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma and death

From Detox to Addiction Treatment and Beyond

Despite the dangers of opioid addiction, may who misuse prescription painkillers such as oxycodone downplay the seriousness of their condition. Refusal to seek help can result in chronic, life-threatening effects. Conversely, receiving treatment at any stage of addiction is absolutely crucial to long-term sobriety.


Treatment for opioid use disorder starts with our medical detox program, a process in which health care providers monitor patients around the clock and administer medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as needed to lessen cravings and mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal. MAT is a therapy that makes use of pharmaceutical drugs approved for the treatment of opioid use disorders, such as methadone and suboxone.

Upon discharge, most patients seek admission to one of our treatment programs, which include both inpatient and intensive outpatient therapy (IOP).

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Persons who choose inpatient treatment stay reside in our center 24/7, ideally for 30 days or longer. Those who require more freedom due to school, work, or family responsibilities can opt for IOP treatment, a program that requires the attendance of several scheduled sessions per week while the patient lives independently outside of the center.

Why Seek Our Help?

Opioid use disorder is extremely hazardous and even life-threating. It is an incurable disease that is best treated through ongoing therapy, counseling, and support. Those who receive treatment are given the opportunity to regain control of their addiction and well-being while enjoying long-term sobriety – hopefully for the rest of their lives.

Our Approach To Addiction Treatment
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.


How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

Tramadol can be identified in the body using the following tests:

  • Urine, which can detect use within two hours of use and up to 40 hours.
  • Hair follicles, which can detect use for up to 90 days, possibly longer.*
  • Saliva and blood, both of which can detect use for 24 hours.

*Duration is approximate. One study found tramadol in a person’s system after seven months.

The process of tramadol elimination begins in the liver, and it has a half-life of 5-6 hours. One metabolite created during this process has a longer half-life of 8 hours. A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for a person’s system to clear half of the consumed substance.

Individual factors can affect how long tramadol and its metabolites remain in the system, including the following:

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Metabolic rate
  • Hydration levels
  • Amount used
  • Duration of use

How Is Tramadol Used?

Like other opioids, tramadol works by attaching to and activating opioid receptors in the brain and body. When tramadol binds to certain receptors, a person’s perception of pain is altered, and, as a result, the person experiences pain relief.

Tramadol is also a monoamine reuptake inhibitor, which means that it increases the availability of chemicals in the body that induce feelings of well-being, such as serotonin. This effect is thought to contribute to its effectiveness as a pain reliever.

The effects of immediate-release tramadol will be experienced for about 4–6 hours. Extended-release tramadol can produce effects that last for about 12-24 hours.

Is Tramadol Misused?

When used as prescribed, tramadol is a relatively safe and effective medication that can help people who experience pain. Abuse of this drug, however, increases the risk of dependence and addiction.

The non-medical use or abuse of tramadol is hazardous and can result in an overdose. Abuse includes using tramadol more often, in higher doses, or for longer than directed. It also includes tampering with tramadol, such as crushing pills and snorting the residue.

Tramadol may also be a product of drug diversion. Moreover, a person may receive the drug from friends or relatives and use it without a prescription. It may also be purchased on the black market.

The Food and Drug Administration includes a warning label on tramadol packaging. It states that it has a potential for abuse and that use of this medication can lead to physical and psychological dependence. There is a higher risk of this occurring for those who have a history of substance abuse.


One of the most dangerous risks of abuse is an overdose, which can be lethal. Symptoms of a tramadol overdose include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Constricted pupils
  • Uncontrollable vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Profoundly depressed breathing
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Bluish tinted skin
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Stupor
  • Coma

The risk of a lethal overdose is increased if tramadol is used in combination with other depressant substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other opioids. An overdose is a medical emergency. If you witness signs of an overdose in someone, call 911 immediately.

Tramadol Detox

How Long Does Tramadol Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

Withdrawal symptoms will onset after about 12 hours after last use. These will peak in intensity within 1­-3 days after the last use then recede by approximately one week.

Withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Pupil dilation
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle pain

Medical detox may be beneficial for those with a tramadol dependence. In a supervised environment, the person undergoing withdrawal is monitored for potential health complications and can receive emotional support. Medication-assisted treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms, such as the administration of Suboxone, may be provided as well.

Getting Help for Tramadol Addiction

Fortunately, there are many treatment programs available to help those in need to navigate through the addiction recovery process. Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized rehab facility that offers treatment in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats.

Treatment is hallmarked by psychotherapy, counseling, and group support, and it may also include medication-assisted treatment. We also offer substance abuse education, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning, among other services.

Co-occurring conditions, such as mental illness or chronic pain, can also be addressed in a rehab program. This integrated treatment is essential to reduce the likelihood of relapse and improves the overall physical and mental well-being of those in recovery.

Our team of caring addiction specialists is committed to ensuring that each client receives all of the tools they need to fully recover from addiction. We believe that every person deserves a chance to be happy, regardless of their past mistakes.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to Tramadol, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today!

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Methadone Withdrawal and Detox

Methadone Withdrawal and Detox | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methadone is a synthetic opioid used in medication-assisted treatment to help people quit the use of heroin or other opiates. It should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment program that also includes counseling and participation in social support programs.

When used as directed, methadone can relieve the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and decrease opioid cravings. Less commonly, methadone may be prescribed for pain management to those who have been unable to find relief with other opioids.

Although methadone can help a person overcome addictions to drugs like heroin, it also has the potential for abuse and addiction. Detractors of methadone use contend that it is essentially like trading one drug for another. However, the truth is that methadone is effective at reducing the harm done from more powerful opioids, as long as it is used correctly.

Becoming dependent is common with long term methadone use. If a person with a dependency stops using it, they will encounter unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. The best way to manage withdrawal is through a gradual reduction in dosage or professional detox treatment.

Methadone Withdrawal at Home

When a person abruptly stops using opiates, the withdrawal process isn’t usually life-threatening. However, if a person uses methadone in large amounts or over a prolonged period, stopping the use of this drug can result in severe symptoms. These include depression and suicidal thoughts, which are most safely managed in a clinical setting.

Attempting to withdraw from methadone at-home is not only uncomfortable but potentially dangerous. Detoxing from methadone abruptly or “cold turkey” is not recommended, especially if the person is a chronic and/or excessive user. Medical supervision can ease withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, and reduce the risk of suicidal thoughts.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone Withdrawal and Detox | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methadone withdrawal symptoms can onset within 30 hours of the last use. Withdrawal from methadone is slow and may last for a few weeks or longer.

Symptoms associated with methadone withdrawal include the following:

  • Anxiety or depression
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes or a runny nose
  • Chills
  • Excessive yawning
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Drug cravings

The first signs of methadone withdrawal are frequently described as flu-like symptoms.

Methadone Withdrawal Timeline

Within about 36 hours following the last dose of methadone, many people begin to encounter withdrawal symptoms. This process can take days to weeks. The first few days of withdrawal is referred to as the acute phase.

Early symptoms of withdrawal likely to onset include rapid heartbeat, chills, and cold sweats. Shortly thereafter, some of the most unpleasant withdrawal symptoms may also occur. These may consist of physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, body aches and pain, and increased anxiety. Most of the worst physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea and vomiting, will have subsided after 7-10 days.

The stage after acute withdrawal is called post-acute withdrawal. Many of these symptoms are emotional and may include depression, anxiety, and irritability. Difficulty concentrating and fatigue are also effects likely to persist, as well as drug cravings.


If a tapering process is used, a person who has used methadone for a long period will need a slower, more gradual weaning process. Shorter, less severe addictions may not need an extensive tapering process. Tapering is a method used to gradually reduce drug dosages to promote a more comfortable and safer withdrawal.

While withdrawal will depend on individual factors, there is a standard process for weaning off methadone. It is not recommended to reduce dosages faster than 5 mg of methadone per week. Many methadone taper program will use a dose reduction of 10% every two weeks.

How Long Does Methadone Withdrawal Last?

The length of withdrawal from methadone depends on several factors. These include the length of time used, size of the dosage, and the preferred method of consumption.

A person who uses methadone as directed for three months will likely encounter a relatively short withdrawal process. Conversely, a person who has been abusing methadone for a year or more will be more likely to experience a more intense, extended withdrawal period.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Fortunately, there are several medications available that can ease the methadone withdrawal process.

Suboxone is a synthetic drug like methadone. Its use can decrease methadone withdrawal symptoms and reduce the length of the withdrawal process. It is designed to increase the comfort of patients during withdrawal, which in turn can decrease the risk of relapse.

Clonidine is another medication often used to reduce emotional symptoms that may occur during detox. Clonidine is approved for the treatment of high blood pressure, but it can also mitigate anxiety and agitation. It may also be helpful for physical symptoms like body aches and runny nose.

During the withdrawal process, Zofran is sometimes also used to treat physical symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. Managing these symptoms helps to avoid dehydration that could otherwise result from excessive vomiting.

Baclofen is a muscle relaxer that can be used to relieve muscle aches, pains, and spasms to make the patient more comfortable. By minimizing these symptoms, the patient is then more free to focus on the emotional aspects of detox and recovery.

Following detox, naltrexone may be prescribed to help patients continue with recovery. This medication reduces cravings and blocks the pleasurable effects of opioids.

Methadone Withdrawal and Detox | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methadone Overdose Symptoms

Those who are abusing methadone in high amounts face the potential for overdose. By some estimates, 5,000 overdose deaths occur each year as a result of methadone misuse. In 2014, methadone accounted for nearly one-fourth (23%) of all opioid-related deaths.

Methadone overdose often occurs because the drug stays in the body for a very long period. For this reason, those in treatment programs are only given a few doses per day. Accumulation of successive doses can have lethal consequences.

Signs of a methadone overdose include the following:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Very weak pulse
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Constricted/pinpoint pupils
  • Dizziness or sloppy behavior
  • Body spasms at irregular intervals
  • Absence of breathing or consciousness

A methadone overdose can result in profound central nervous system depression and death. If you witness someone overdosing on methadone, seek emergency medical help immediately.

Treatment for Methadone Addiction

Supervised withdrawal at a medical detox facility is the best way to ensure that the patient is supported and comfortable. By withdrawing from methadone in a clinical environment, people avoid the worst of the symptoms.

Often, other medications such as Suboxone can be used to treat opioid dependency. Addiction specialists can prescribe buprenorphine for people as they transition away from a methadone dependence. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid with much less potential for abuse.

Detox should be immediately followed by addiction treatment that features therapies essential for recovery, including the following:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual/family counseling
  • Peer group support
  • Health and wellness education
  • Aftercare planning
  • Dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive programs that provide clients with the tools and support they need to overcome addiction and prevent relapse. We believe that every person is entitled to receive the most effective treatment currently available.

If you or someone you love is struggling with the use of methadone, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today! Discover how we help people who need it most break free from the cycle of addiction for good!

>>>READ THIS NEXT: Snorting Oxycodone

Is Oxycodone an Opiate?

Is Oxycodone an Opiate? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller and is among the most abused prescription drugs in the United States. The terms “opiate” and “opioid” are often used interchangeably, but they do refer to some differences between similar drugs.

The term “opiate” is often used in reference to natural compounds in the opium poppy. Opium can be extracted from the plant and contains the chemical compounds morphine, codeine, and thebaine.

Semi-synthetic opioids are opiates that have been chemically modified and work by binding to the same receptors as their natural counterparts. Fully synthetic opioids are entirely manufactured in a lab and include drugs such as fentanyl and methadone.

Many people have moved away from distinguishing between opiates and opioids and use the term “opioid” to denote both natural or human-made substances. If the term “opiate” is applied, it is usually thought of as the naturally-occurring compounds within the opioid class.

Opioids are also technically classified under the term “narcotic.” But, due to the adverse connotations that the term has when associated with illicit drugs, it has largely fallen out of use in medical environments. It might be helpful to think of opiates as being a subclass of opioids, and opioids being a subclass of narcotics.

Oxycodone Definition

Oxycodone is made by altering thebaine, a chemical compound found in opium. It changes the way in which the body perceives pain and also manipulates neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feelings of well-being and reward. Under the Controlled Substances Act, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, indicating that it has a definite medical purpose but still a high potential for abuse.

Oxycodone is the potent main ingredient in many painkillers prescribed to those who are experiencing moderate to severe pain. Pills come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors depending on brand and dose, and oxycodone is also sometimes prescribed as a liquid. It is often found in a combination product with other drugs, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Although opioids are prescribed primarily to relieve pain, they can have adverse effects such as drowsiness and can lead to chemical dependence. Because opioids have a relatively high potential for abuse and addiction, the use of prescription opioids is strictly regulated in the U.S.

Not all opioids, however, can be prescribed for treatment. For example, heroin, a derivative of morphine, is a semi-synthetic opioid that is illegal and commonly abused by injection.

Common Oxycodone Brands

Among the most common brand names for oxycodone-based drugs include the following:


OxyContin is a controlled-release formula provides relief for chronic pain for up to 12 hours. Many people circumvent the time-release action by crushing and snorting the drug, or by dissolving the tablets in water and injecting the solution. Other modes of abuse include using more than the prescribed dosage, taking the drug for longer than the prescribed length of time, and chewing or injecting OxyContin.

Is Oxycodone an Opiate? | Midwood Addiction Treatment


Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen and is commonly prescribed for a number of painful conditions that range from mild to severe. Like OxyContin, crushing and snorting Percocet is a common method of abuse.


Percodan contains a combination of oxycodone and aspirin and belongs to a class of drugs called salicylates. It works in the body to reduce pain, fever, and inflammation. Although Percodan is not prescribed as often as Percocet, the drug has a high potential for addiction and has contributed to the epidemic of opioid addiction in the U.S.


Roxicodone is a rapid-release formulation of oxycodone that is used to treat moderate-severe pain. It is often administered to a patient before surgery to sedate him or her and for the management of around-the-clock pain. When abused, such as when a person crushes or melts down the tablets for smoking or injecting, the drug induces a very quick high.

Oxycodone Effects and Abuse

As noted, using more than the prescribed dosage, taking the drug for longer than prescribed by a doctor, or chewing, crushing then snorting, or injecting the pills are all considered abuse of oxycodone. Many people abuse oxycodone for its euphoric effects, which are said to be somewhat comparable to that of heroin.

The effects of oxycodone use include:

  • Intense feelings of well-being
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Confidence
  • Relaxation and calm
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

Because prescription opioid use is considered acceptable in our society, it can be challenging to identify or address abuse. Especially in the cases of valid prescriptions, it can be hard to distinguish the difference between an acceptable dose and misuse. Ultimately, it comes down to the adverse consequences the drug has on the user’s life and health. A definite red flag of abuse occurs when a person runs out of their medication too early before their next refill is available.

Common Drug Combinations

Alcohol and benzodiazepines are two of the most hazardous substances to mix with oxycodone. Because oxycodone, alcohol, and benzos are all central nervous system depressants, combining them can result in severe health complications, including death. This deadly cocktail can dramatically reduce breathing and cardiac function to the point of failure. Even if this combination doesn’t prove to be fatal, it can result in irreversible damage to the brain and major organs.

People dependent on oxycodone also frequently abuse marijuana and stimulants. These may be taken in conjunction to either intensify or diminish the effects of oxycodone.

Oxycodone has also been known to be a potential gateway drug for heroin use. When a person addicted to oxycodone cannot access their drug of choice, they may resort to using heroin as a less expensive, more accessible drug with similar effects.

Is Oxycodone an Opiate?: Overdose

Is Oxycodone an Opiate? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

When a person consumes a dose of oxycodone that overwhelms the body and impedes life-preserving physiological processes, such as breathing, they can experience an overdose. An oxycodone overdose can be a terrifying experience that includes a number of life-threatening symptoms. The sooner these symptoms are identified and addressed, the better the person’s odds are of surviving.

Oxycodone overdose symptoms include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pale skin
  • Bluish lips and fingernails
  • Limp body
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Profoundly slow heart rate
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slow or stopped breathing
  • Seizures

In addition to opioid overdose, as noted, many oxycodone products contain other drugs such as acetaminophen or aspirin, which can come with their own dangers. And, overdose on products containing acetaminophen, for example, can result in life-threatening liver failure.

If you witness any of these symptoms present in a user after consuming oxycodone, call 911, and seek emergency medical help immediately.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Opioid addiction can be a devastating and potentially life-threatening condition that dramatically and adversely affects the lives of those suffering as well as their loved ones.

Midwood Addiction Treatment specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction and offers both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. Our comprehensive programs feature clinically-proven services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, psychoeducation, group support, medication-assisted treatment, aftercare planning, and more.

We are dedicated to ensuring that every client receives all the tools, skills, resources, and support they need to foster a new, healthier life for themselves, free from the use of drugs and alcohol. Contact us today to discover how we help people free themselves from the powerful chains of addiction for life!

What Is Gray Death?

What Is Gray Death? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

“Gray death,” or “grey death,” is the name given to a street drug that began showing up in certain regions in the U.S. near the end of 2016 and early 2017. It contains a blend of opioids, including heroin, fentanyl, and U-47700 (Pink). Mixtures and potencies vary between doses, and the product is often so strong that use can result in rapid death by overdose.

The name of the drug describes both its color, which is cement-like, and incredibly lethal nature. Indeed, this drug’s extremely high potency can result in instant death—even in small doses with minimal contact, such as through the skin while handling it. This new drug has so far been found in several states in the eastern part of the country, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

What Exactly Is In Gray Death?

Gray Death can be found in a variety of textures, and it is either powder or rock-like in appearance. People who have studied the samples of this new drug cannot fully explain it’s strange, defining, gray color. Although there is no standardized recipe used to in the production of gray death, several opioids are likely to be found in any given sample, and may include the following:

Heroin – Most batches of the gray death drug will probably contain at least some heroin, a semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine that induces a strong and rapid euphoric high. An overdose of heroin can result in severe complications up to and including a life-threatening overdose.

Fentanyl – Fentanyl as a prescription drug is used in hospitals for general anesthesia and at home for severe pain. This legitimate use is usually in the form of a transdermal patch or lozenge, both of which administer the drug into the system in a prolonged and controlled manner.

Fentanyl is roughly 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin itself. An amount as minuscule as 0.25 mg can result in death when consumed and left untreated. Some fentanyl is diverted from legal prescriptions, but the vast majority is believed to be obtained through international drug markets from illicit labs in China or Mexico.

U-47700 (Pink) – Pink currently is not approved for human use, though it can be purchased on the Internet as a “research chemical.” The heroin-like effects of this drug make it a target of abuse, and it has caused several overdoses.

Carfentanil – Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid used as a tranquilizer for large animals, such as elephants. It is roughly 100 times more potent than fentanyl and about 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.

Exposure to any amount of carfentanil without the use of protective gear will likely result in death. Fortunately, at the time of this writing, carfentanil’s presence in the U.S. drug market appears to be minimal or non-existent.

Why Is Gray Death Increasing in Popularity?

What Is Gray Death? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Gray death’s prevalence is mostly due to the fact that it is powerful and inexpensive, both for buyers to purchase and manufacturers to produce. It can be purchased on the street for as little as $10, and drug makers can produce it with whatever ingredients they have available at the time.

Another reason for the sudden appearance of synthetic drugs such as gray death is that foreign labs producing drugs abroad and trafficking them to the United States will quickly change their formulations to evade U.S. drug laws. These ever-evolving analogs tend to be increasingly more potent, and with manufacturers constantly changing ingredients, users can never be sure exactly what they’re receiving.

Even with the known risks, some people who are addicted to opioids may be seduced by gray death’s ability to induce a high unlike other drugs out there. Using a drug like this is, in essence, like playing Russian Roulette.

Who Uses Gray Death?

Most users and victims of gray death are those who are addicted to opioids, particularly powerful ones. These individuals may intend to purchase straight heroin but accidentally consume gray death. Heroin use has become increasingly dangerous in the last few years, in large part because so many adulterants are being added to it.

Tragically, it is not only opioid users who can be affected. Those who treat victims of overdoses can become victims themselves. First responders such as emergency medical personnel and law enforcement are at risk if they come into contact with it.

Synthetic opioids can easily be absorbed through the skin or inhaled without the person’s knowledge. There have been reports of police and others experiencing an overdose from having minimal contact with the substance.

Just How Deadly Is It?

The inclusion of fentanyl, carfentanil, and U-47700 places gray death currently among the deadliest drugs on the street. Because a dose that can’t even be seen the naked eye can kill a person, someone trying to take heroin, as usual, can die within minutes. As it is, thousands of Americans are killed each year as a result of overdoses related to heroin, fentanyl, synthetic opioids, and prescription painkillers.

In the last two years or so, overdoses and deaths from gray death have been increasing. Unfortunately, exact numbers are difficult to determine, because toxicology testing and coroner reports do not always identify it as the substance consumed. Moreover, a person who has died after using gray death may have just “drug” (e.g., heroin) reported as the cause of death.


What Is Gray Death? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Fortunately, the same methods used to treat a heroin overdose can be used to reverse a gray death overdose, but the process may be more challenging. A person overdosing on gray death might require multiple doses of Narcan (naloxone), and some people may, in fact, need up to ten doses to recover. When this occurs, it can be a major problem because family members and first responders may not have that amount on hand.

If you are concerned that someone you know is getting too high, it is vital that you don’t leave them alone. If the person is still conscious, try to keep them awake and monitor their breathing. If they are lying down, keep them on their side to prevent them from aspirating their own vomit.

The following are signs of an overdose:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Stupor
  • Respiratory depression
  • Choking or gurgling
  • Vomiting
  • Body is limp and pale
  • Bluish nails and lips
  • Pulse is slow or absent

If a person high on opioids is making unfamiliar sounds while at rest, it is worth trying to wake him or her. Many loved ones of opioid addicts think the person is snoring, when in fact they are fatally overdosing.

These situations represent a missed opportunity to intervene as early as possible and save a life. If you suspect someone you know is overdosing on any drug or alcohol, call 911 immediately and stand by for their instructions while you wait for emergency help to arrive.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid abuse or addiction are devastating and potentially life-threatening disorders that require immediate professional help. Midwood Addiction Treatment center offers comprehensive treatment plans that include clinically-proven services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted therapy, aftercare planning, and more.

Our highly-trained staff provides our clients with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence, avoid relapse, and end their suffering once and for all. Contact us today to find out how we can help!