How can a drug rehab program help when you use heroin to manage chronic pain? This is really a question more about dual diagnosis substance abuse treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment means that there is more than the substance abuse that needs to be addressed. This is most often a mental health disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder but not always. Although a very high percentage of people who abuse drugs also have a concurrent mental issue, others became addicted through the improper use of opioids to manage chronic pain. This would apply to both prescription opioids and heroin.
Heroin is illegal in the United States. Some other countries do allow pharmaceutical heroin, but it has no accepted medical use here. People may use heroin for chronic pain instead of prescription opioids for any number of reasons. Perhaps they once took prescription opioids and then their doctor discontinued the medication. Sometimes, people in this position turn to prescription opioids sold on the black market. However, they are very expensive. Few people can afford any kind of reasonable amount of them for very long, let alone for an extended period of time. Street prescription opioids are also often counterfeit. They may look legitimate, but they actually contain inert ingredients that will not relieve pain. They could also be toxic or contain fatal amounts of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.
Heroin isn’t much better. It, too, can contain fentanyl, bacteria, toxins or other dangerous contaminants, but it’s far, far cheaper. This is the main reason why so many former prescription opioid users turn to heroin. In most areas, it’s also plentiful and easy to find. Although it’s a highly effective painkiller, heroin is a terrible choice for treating chronic pain. It could be contaminated. There is no way to know the strength, so death from overdose is a constant threat. It’s not purified or intended for injection, so intravenous use is very risky. It can cause abscesses, septicemia, heart infections and other vital organ damage.
How Can Rehab Help?
A drug rehab program can help eliminate this risk. They will explore other options for treating your chronic pain. You may not even need opioids at all. They will do all they can to find a way to manage your pain without drugs. This could mean holistic therapy, such as meditation or yoga, massage, or art and music therapy. They may try different forms of talk therapy and behavior modification. No one is saying that the pain isn’t real. The idea is to change the way you perceive it and handle it. If those methods fail, non-addictive medications may be tried. Depending on the kind of pain you have, these may be just as effective, if not more effective, than opioids. Most drug rehabs understand that your pain will probably require more than one kind of treatment. They will encourage you to try several at once. Sometimes, these alternatives work. In other cases, they fail. You won’t know unless you try them.
Just about anything is better than injecting impure heroin into your body. Even if you don’t inject it, snorting or smoking still carries a high risk of overdose. Much of today’s heroin supply is cut with fentanyl by greedy street dealers who do not have the slightest idea of how to do this safely. Fentanyl is some 30 to 50 times stronger than heroin. It’s cheap. It boosts profits tremendously. And it’s deadly. There are far better ways to control chronic pain than that.
A rehab will discourage any kind of opioid use for chronic pain. They will definitely not allow you to use an opioid for that purpose while you are there. The best thing to do is to let them try to help you manage your pain without opioids. Keep an open mind. If their methods fail, at least you’re no longer risking your life and health by using heroin. If the rehab can’t help you control your pain, you can always consult with a pain management physician after your release. These doctors specialize in treating people with both a history of substance abuse and chronic pain.
We Can Help
If you have chronic pain, and you’ve been self-treating it with heroin, give us a call. We deal with this kind of situation all the time. We will direct you to the best kind of rehab for you. Just call us anytime at 833-846-5669. We look forward to helping you.