Substance Abuse – Opioid | Pacific Solstice


Opioid Use Disorder

At Pacific Solstice Outpatient Rehab, we know that many people who suffer from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) did not set out to be addicted or abuse these drugs. OUD does not mean you are “a druggie”. OUD does, however, keep you from living your life, the life you intended to live. As you read, please know at our rehab we know you are a unique and special individual, not just the OUD you or your loved one is experiencing. Lastly, please note that as well educated, trained and experienced mental health and substance abuse clinicians, we borrow our information and research from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th Edition (DSM-V) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to define the different types and descriptions of OUD.



In 2013, it is estimated that 1.8 million people had an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) related to prescription pain relievers and an estimated 517,000 had an (OUD) related to heroin use. As many of you know, opioids reduce pain by reducing the perception of pain. Opioids also cause drowsiness, mental confusion, and euphoria, which are more positive experiences often. Some negative effects of opioids are nausea, constipation, mental confusion and can depress respiration. To intensify the high associated with opioid use, some individuals snort or inject the drug, which also increase the risk for health problems, including overdose. Some individuals who started using pain relievers (oxycodone or hydrocodone) prescribed by their doctor, switch to heroin as a result of availability and/or economics. Overdoses associated with heroin on the black market increase due to variables to purity and other drugs mixed in with heroin. Many of our clients at Pacific Solstice have OUD as a result of their oxycodone/hydrocodone prescription drug use. Some of these clients with OUD never would be addicted to opioids if it were not for the over-prescription of these drugs.


According to the DSM-V, there are 11 symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder and in order for a person to be diagnosed with AUD, he or she must have two of the following symptoms in the past 12 months.

  • Larger amounts of opioids are used over a longer period of time than the individual originally intended. (“I can’t believe I need another prescription.”)
  • Although there is a desire to control the use of opioids, efforts usually prove to be unsuccessful and do not last. (“I am only going to take four pills today.”)
  • More and more of an opioid user’s waking hours are either used to get high or recover from its effects. (“I have to find a new doctor who will prescribes me more.”)
  • A person experiences an intense need to use. (“If I don’t get more heroin, I am going to lose my mind.”)
  • Opioid use interferes in a person’s ability to function at home and in work. (“I forgot to pick up the kids.”)
  • Someone continues to use opioids even though their using has caused personal problems, such as marital problems, conflicts with children or parents, and peer problems. (Your partner says, “It is either me or the drugs!”)
  • Activities in the workplace, at home or with friends are missed as a result of using. (“I was so high I just couldn’t get there.”)
  • Using causes an individual to be in harm’s way. (“What happened last night?”)
  • A person continues to use even though they have physical or psychological issues with drinking. (Your doctor says, “If you don’t stop using…”)
  • A person needs more and more of the drug to get high or a person appears less high when using the same amount of the drug that previously caused them to be high. (“I need more…”)
  • There are symptoms of withdrawal, such as depression, nausea/vomiting, muscle aches, eye watering/nasal congestion, sweating, diarrhea, yawning, fever, or insomnia. Or the drug is taken to relieve these symptoms of withdrawal or avoid the symptoms of withdrawal from even beginning. (“I have to have more oxy or I am going to lose it!”)

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