Opioid Addiction & Treatment

What is Opioid addiction?

Opioids make changes to the chemistry of the brain as they bind to the opioid receptors, lessening the release of natural “feel good” hormones such as dopamine. Individuals who have used opiates for any length of time have unknowingly trained their brains to not only expect, but rely upon those chemicals to make them feel normal. Feeling normal does not just mean feeling euphoric, but can mean feeling well enough to perform basic tasks and functions in life. Without the opiates, individuals experience painful physical withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings for more opioids to ease the pain.

In 2016, more than 11.8 million Americans misused an opioid and 1.8 million had an identified opioid use disorder. 1

On Average,

0 Americans

Die Every Day from an Opioid Overdose. (2)
As of 2018, Only


of Americans received specialized treatment for opioid addiction. (1)
The opioid epidemic costs the country an estimated

$0 Billion

Every Year. (3)

What are Opioids?

Drugs classified as opioids include opiates such heroin and morphine which are derived from naturally occurring opium poppy plants, as well as synthetically manufactured opioid pain relievers.

All opioids bind to one or more of the three opioid receptors in the body and produce an anesthetic, euphoric effect. Both prescription pain relievers and illegal opioids can be used illicitly to “get high”.

What medications are Opioids?



Duragesic®, Fentora®



OxyContin®, Percocet®,
®, Roxicodone®



Vicodin®, Lortab®, Norco®,
® ER, Lorcet®



Ultram, Ultram® ER, Ultracet®



Tylenol with Codeine® 3 or 4



Avinza®, Kadian®,
®, MSIR®



Dilaudid®, Exalgo®



Opana®, Opana® ER

What are the symptoms of Opioid misuse or withdrawal?

It can be difficult to determine if someone is misusing opioids, especially if they were prescribed by a physician for pain from an injury or illness. Opioid use symptoms can be both physical and psychological, and can be identified if you know what to look for.

Opioid withdrawal can occur very quickly after someone stops taking opioids for any length of time. Experiencing withdrawals symptoms is a very strong indication that someone may be misusing their medication.

Physical Signs of Opioid Use

  • Drowsiness, lack of energy
  • Nodding off or losing consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Restricted pupils
  • Slowed, shallow breathing
  • Constipation
  • Constant scratching
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • “Track marks” or scars from use of needles

Behavioral Signs of Opioid Use

  • Unusual elation or euphoria
  • Sudden, dramatic mood swings
  • Isolation
  • Dishonesty, secrecy
  • Sudden financial problems
  • Issues with work and family
  • Legal issues, arrests
  • Not keeping commitments
  • Noticeable changes in routine
  • Taking more medication than prescribed
  • Visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions for opioids

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Aches/pains
  • Chills
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety/restlessness
  • Insomnia

What is psychological addiction?

An addiction can begin after an illness or medical procedure, or with the recreational use of drugs. No matter how an addiction began, most individuals who struggle with opioid use disorder began to, at some point, depend on their drug of choice to help them deal with the challenges of life. Using opioids as the solution to problems, stress or negative situations is the psychological part of addiction. The feelings of euphoria help people to forget their troubles, and when these things pop back up in life, the reaction is to use more of the drugs to control those negative feelings.

Addiction can often seem impossible to conquer because of the powerful combination of physical and psychological aspects of the disease, but with the right treatment program and support system, recovery is possible.

Does medication-assisted treatment work?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, in combination with substance abuse counseling to treat the disease of addiction. Approved medications can help people stabilize while they make the lifestyle changes necessary for long-term recovery. MAT has been thoroughly studied over more than fifty years and is widely considered the most effective way to treat opioid addiction.

MAT medications reduce withdrawal symptoms and control cravings.

Medication, supported by counseling and recovery services, reduces the possibility of relapse.

Outpatient programs allow patients flexibility to continue participation in school, work and families while in treatment.

The structured nature of a MAT program helps patients stabilize early in their recovery.

At a therapeutic dose, methadone and buprenorphine do not create the “high” that illicit drugs produce.

Eliminating the use of illicit opioids reduces the risk of contracting diseases or experiencing other health risk factors associated with their use.

Patients involved in a medication-assisted treatment program typically decrease their involvement in dangerous or illegal activities.

BAART Programs Can Help

In practice for almost 40 years, BAART’s medical, clinical and administrative staff clearly understand what a patient in treatment needs to successfully overcome opiate use disorder and live happier, healthier and more productive lives. That experience is shown through individualized treatment plans, offering each patient an effective dose of medication alongside proven tools such as motivational interviewing and group counseling. With this harm reduction approach, BAART has helped patients nationwide to reclaim their lives.

Comprehensive medical assessment including a social and drug history

Methadone or buprenorphine maintenance in clinic 

Suboxone® by prescription

Opioid detoxification utilizing methadone*

Individualized substance use counseling

Group therapy*

Addiction education

Life skills education

Referral services

HIV/HCV screening

Coordinated treatment during pregnancy

Random urinalysis and breathalyzer testing

Relapse prevention and discharge planning

Integrated primary healthcare*

Case management*

Behavioral healthcare*