Opioid Treatment Program in Florida

The opioid epidemic is a serious problem throughout all of the United States, and Florida is no exception.

This particular kind of medication serves a purpose in treating people, but when it is abused, it becomes deadly. The hard part about opioids is that they’re so easily prescribed, yet their addictive nature makes it difficult to stop taking.

This isn’t to say that all individuals who are prescribed opioids will suffer from addiction; however, the strength of this medication should not be underestimated. This is why opioid addiction treatment is imperative.

There are a plethora of opioid substance abuse treatment programs available at Ambrosia Behavioral Health in West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, and Singer Island, Florida.

opioid treatment center in Florida


Opioids are a highly addictive class of drugs that have been the cause of many deaths and crises around the world. They include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, like oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and others. They are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioids are generally safe when taken for a short time under a doctor’s supervision, but regular use can lead to dependence and misuse, which can result in overdose or death.

Types of Opioids

Opioids are a diverse class of powerful drugs used primarily for pain management. They bind to specific receptors in the brain, blocking the perception of pain. Different types of opioids include:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin

Morphine is a powerful painkiller that falls under the category of opioid medications. Clinically, it is used in the management of severe acute and chronic pain. Derived from the opium poppy plant, morphine works by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, blocking the perception of pain. While effective, its use can be associated with a risk of dependence and other side effects.

Codeine is a narcotic pain reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone. It acts on the central nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. In addition to reducing pain, it also affects the brain to suppress cough. Codeine is prescribed by doctors typically when non-narcotic pain relievers have failed to provide relief. However, given its potential for addiction and misuse, it’s classified as a controlled substance in many countries.

Hydrocodone is an opioid medication used to treat severe pain of a prolonged duration if other measures are not sufficient. It is also used as a cough suppressant in adults. Hydrocodone is often combined with other non-opioid pain relievers (like acetaminophen) in various prescription medications. This potent substance can be habit-forming and should be used with caution due to potential risks of misuse and addiction.

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid analgesic that doctors prescribe to individuals who are experiencing moderate to severe pain. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system react to pain. While effective in pain management, there is a potential risk for oxycodone dependence and addiction due to its ability to produce feelings of euphoria; because of this, oxycodone requires careful monitoring and regulation of its use.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally. Used medically, Fentanyl is often utilized to manage severe pain. It is particularly used after surgery or for patients with chronic pain who have developed a tolerance to other opioids. Illicitly produced Fentanyl has been a major contributor to the opioid crisis; it has also been a significant factor in overdose-related deaths worldwide.

What is Heroin?

Heroin is a highly addictive and illegal drug that is derived from morphine, a substance taken from opium poppy plants. It is typically sold as a white or brownish powder or as a sticky substance known as “black tar heroin”. The drug can be injected, smoked, or snorted, and it provides a rush of euphoria and feelings of relaxation and warmth. However, heroin is extremely dangerous and can quickly lead to physical dependence and severe health problems, including overdose and death.

How Do Opioids Work in the Brain?

Opioids function by attaching themselves to specific proteins called opioid receptors, found primarily in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. When these drugs latch onto these receptors, they block pain signals sent from the brain to the body; they then release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. The release of dopamine can strongly reinforce the act of taking the drug; this makes the user want to repeat the experience, thus leading to addiction.

Are Opioids Dangerous?

Opioids, while effective for managing acute and chronic pain, present significant risks if misused. These potent medications can cause physical dependence; over time, users may develop tolerance, requiring higher doses for the same pain relief. This escalating use can lead to overdose and potentially fatal respiratory depression. Misuse of prescription opioids can act as a gateway to illicit drugs like heroin, amplifying the dangers. In social contexts, opioid misuse can lead to job loss, damaged relationships, and significant legal issues. It’s crucial to use these medications under close medical supervision to mitigate these risks.

What is the Opioid Epidemic?

The opioid epidemic refers to the significant recent increase in the use of opioid drugs in the United States. This vast increase in opioid consumption has led to widespread dependency and a dramatic rise in overdose-related deaths; this has created a public health crisis with devastating impacts on communities across the country.

How Many People Are Addicted to Opioids in Florida?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Florida has been severely impacted by the opioid crisis. There have been approximately 4,189 reported deaths involving opioids, which equates to a rate of 19.7 deaths per 100,000 persons. It’s difficult to estimate the exact number of people currently addicted to opioids in Florida; however, it’s clear that the issue is significant and widespread.

Why are Opioids Addictive?

Opioids are highly addictive due to their powerful effect on the brain’s reward system. These substances interact with opioid receptors in the brain, triggering a flood of dopamine. This surge of dopamine not only produces an intense feeling of euphoria but also reinforces the action of taking the drug. This establishes a cycle of reward and reinforcement. Over time, chronic use of opioids can lead to physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms, further perpetuating the cycle of addiction.

The signs and symptoms of opioid addiction can range from behavioral changes to physical manifestations. Behavioral indications may include decreased social interactions, changes in mood, financial problems, and neglect of responsibilities. Physical symptoms often encompass decreased energy, slurred speech, constricted pupils, and unexplained weight loss. More severe signs, such as withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and insomnia, may also become apparent as the addiction progresses. If you suspect an opioid addiction, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately.

Opioid use, particularly misuse, is influenced by a variety of factors. Genetic predisposition plays a significant role, with individuals having a family history of substance abuse being at a higher risk. Environmental factors, such as peer pressure and the availability of opioids, can also contribute to misuse.

Emotional stressors, including trauma or major depression and generalized anxiety, can further drive individuals towards opioid use as a form of self-medication. This is extremely dangerous; regular use can lead to dependence and, when misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose incidents, and deaths. Additionally, the misuse of prescription opioids can occur in the following scenarios:

  • They are taken in a way or dose other than prescribed
  • Taken by someone other than the person they were prescribed for
  • Taken for the effect they cause – a feeling of being high

Why is it Important to be Aware of Opioid Addiction?

Awareness of opioid addiction is crucial due to its potential to cause serious harm to individuals, families, and communities. Opioids, while often prescribed for pain relief, carry a high risk of addiction and overdose. The consequences can be devastating, leading to physical health problems, mental health issues, financial strain, and even death. By understanding the risks and signs of addiction, people can intervene and seek appropriate treatment.

opioid addiction treatment

Diagnosis and Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Diagnosing opioid addiction often involves a comprehensive evaluation. This includes a physical examination, an assessment of personal and family medical history, and a psychological evaluation. The diagnosis can be confirmed with the help of certain criteria defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).

Treatment for opioid addiction typically involves a combination of medication, counseling, and behavioral therapies. Medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are often used to manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and prevent relapse. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)  helps patients manage triggers and stress, while contingency management provides positive reinforcement to maintain drug-free behavior. Treatment plans are tailored to individual needs, and long-term follow-up is essential to sustain recovery.

Our Opioid Treatment Center Can Help You Break the Cycle of Addiction

At Ambrosia, we believe nobody is too far gone to get help for their opioid addiction. We provide individualized treatment programs for those suffering from opioid addiction. If you or a loved one would like to find out more, you can contact us here.
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