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Narcotic Abuse (cont.)

Narcotic Abuse Treatment

Patient Comments
  • Overdose: An unconscious person suspected of overdosing on narcotics is given naloxone, a narcotic antagonist. When given intravenously, it is effective in one to two minutes in reversing the coma and respiratory depression caused by a narcotic.
    • Withdrawal: Treating people who are addicted to narcotics is difficult. The most common long-term treatment of the narcotic withdrawal syndrome is substituting methadone for the illicit drug, followed by a slow process of then weaning the abuser off the methadone. Buprenorphine (Buprenex) is another medicine that can be used in the process of detoxification, with the concept being to replace one opioid (for example, heroin) with another and then taper the second opioid slowly.
    • The drug clonidine (Catapres) has been shown to relieve some of the symptoms of withdrawal, especially salivation, runny nose, sweating, abdominal cramping, and muscle aches. Clonidine, when used in combination with naltrexone (ReVia), a long-acting narcotic antagonist, produces a more rapid detoxification.
    • Buprenorphine is also used in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms

Outlook for Narcotic Abuse

The first steps in remaining drug free are overcoming withdrawal symptoms and the physical dependence of narcotics. In addition, many treatment programs are available in the community to help addicts deal with usually intense, longer-term psychological dependence that goes along with being addicted to narcotics.

Narcotic Abuse Support Groups and Counseling

Programs such as Narcotics Anonymous and other detoxification programs emphasize abstaining from all narcotic drugs and other abused drugs by using a system of social support. Involvement in such a system has been shown to reduce a person's risk of returning to drug abuse. For information on Narcotics Anonymous meetings in your area, call 818-773-9999.

Medically reviewed by Marina Katz, MD; American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology

REFERENCE:

"Opioid use disorder: Epidemiology, pharmacology, clinical manifestations, course, screening, assessment, and diagnosis"
UpToDate.com


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2016
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