Saint Agnes Medical Center

Winter 2018

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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6 Mental Health When someone you love abuses opioids All in the family : Opioid addiction is on the rise, so chances are high that you know someone impacted by abuse of these drugs—perhaps even someone in your own family. I n 2016, 2.1 million Americans had an opioid use disorder, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and more than 41,000 people died from an opioid overdose in that year alone. Even when prescribed by a doctor, regular use of opioids—which include prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin) and synthetic opioids (fentanyl), along with illegal heroin—can lead to addiction, overdoses and deaths. It can affect everyone from teens and young adults who begin using opioids after having their wisdom teeth pulled, to young parents and busy business executives. And it can be painful to witness. "It's almost like a war where nobody is untouched – almost everyone has a loved one or knows someone affected by this epidemic," says Saint Agnes Medical Center Emergency Physician Michael N. Habibe, MD. Aside from court-ordered rehabilitation, you can't force someone into treatment, even if it's desperately needed. And even court-ordered rehab may not help in the long-term. If an addict isn't ready to quit, he or she can return to the same cycle. In the meantime, however, you can help both yourself and the addicted person. Here are some of the most effective ways to cope when a loved one is in the grips of this frustrating disease. Be proactive. You never know when your loved one will say he or she is ready to enter treatment. In case it's today, have an action plan that's ready to execute on a moment's notice. You can even enlist his or her help by saying, for example: "If you were to seek treatment, where would you like to go?" Dr. Habibe suggests informing them about the H E A LT H Y S P I R I T W I N T E R 2 0 1 8 w w w . s a m c . c o m 6 increasing availability of Medication Assisted Treatment (i.e., MAT) with methadone, naltrexone or buprenorphine, which can mitigate the horrendous withdrawal that can deter the motivation for recovery. Ask your loved one to give you permission to work with his or her insurance company to see which inpatient detox and residential treatment options might be covered, and what the procedure is for getting professional help. If he or she doesn't have health insurance, find out what their treatment options are by contacting the U.S. government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration helpline at 1-800-662-4357. In addition to witnessing the devastating effects of opioid addiction as an ER physician, Dr. Habibe has personally had friends and family members affected. "I was involved in an intervention

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