Tag Archives: Opiates

Prescription Drug Addiction: What Everyone Should Know

Photo of an overturned bottle of pills with the pills spilling out. Text: Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription Drug Addiction

According to Georgetown University, “More than 131 million people – 66 percent of all adults in the United States – use prescription drugs.” Many are older and regardless of age, a significant amount of people are using the drugs appropriately to treat medical conditions.

Not all prescription drugs have the same potential for abuse and addiction. Further, not everyone with a prescription to a higher risk drug will necessarily misuse it. Still, a large amount of people misuse and abuse prescription drugs. It is possible they are doing so with their own prescription, a prescription of a friend or family member, or buying from a stranger.

Prescription Drugs

Some of the more common prescription drugs that are abused include opioid painkillers, like Oxycontin and Hydrocodone, benzos like Xanax and Valium, and stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. 

The risk of abuse for drugs like these is higher than others. While the effects may vary by substance, for some they provide a euphoric feeling and are highly addictive. This makes it incredibly difficult for someone to stop using the substance on their own.

Tolerance and Overdose

As a person continues to use a drug, their body begins to build up a tolerance. This means they need to use a higher dose to experience the same effects. 

This is incredibly dangerous as it increases the risk of overdose and death. Overdose does not always result in death, but it can still leave someone with damaging long-term effects. 

Furthermore, if someone combines substances they are substantially increasing risk of overdose and death. Per the NIH, “In 2019, 16 percent of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines.”

Prescription drug addiction is difficult to overcome alone and potentially dangerous. It is best to seek professional medical guidance for the safest and most comfortable treatment.


Suboxone and Tramadol


What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone and one typically ingests sublingually (placing a dissolving strip under the tongue).  

Why the combination? Well, buprenorphine is a low strength opioid which is intended to provide the user with mild pain killing relief and can also induce a euphoric high. However, it’s effects will level off with higher dosages- meaning that taking more of it will not necessarily increase the level of high you may experience. 

Naloxone (sold individually as Narcan) on the other hand is an opioid antagonist which can block the effects of buprenorphine. If the suboxone is taken as directed (i.e. not altering the medication to be crushed, snorted or injected), the naloxone will remain dormant and will not prevent the opioid from working. However, if the drug is altered, the naloxone will be released and prevent the buprenorphine from activating. This mechanism helps prevent abuse of the drug. 

What is it Suboxone for?

Suboxone helps treat people who may be dealing with an opioid dependency. The opioid present in this drug is considerably weaker than some others such as heroin, and allows users to lower their dependence without having to experience painful withdrawals.

Suboxone abuse

Given that suboxone contains naloxone which will render the opioid useless if altered in any way, snorting, injecting or inhaling this drug would be pointless. Also, attempting to do so can produce strong withdrawal symptoms for someone who is using it to taper off a stronger opioid (as they will not experience anything). Further, taking any medication in a manner inconsistent with it’s directions can lead to permanent damage to the body and should be avoided.

What is Tramadol?

Tramadol is a mild opioid when compared to other narcotics such as morphine or heroin and treats mild to moderate pain in patients. It is sold under several brand names such as Ultram, Ultram ER and ConZip. Tramadol still possesses the same qualities as other opioids and can cause users to experience a euphoric high and elevated mood, as it promotes the release of dopamine. It is also a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) which causes a buildup of the chemical, similar to that of some antidepressants which could explain why some abuse the drug.

Tramadol can pose serious health risks when altered or abused. Chewing, crushing and snorting, or injecting the drug will cause a faster release of the drug into the bloodstream, rather than the controlled release one would experience if taken as directed. While this may provide a more instant effect and high, the sudden absorption of the drug into the body can cause an overdose and death in some severe cases. Tramadol is a central nervous system depressant which slows your heart rate and breathing, leading to an opioid induced respiratory depression and potentially death. Further, tramadol may cause serotonin syndrome due to it being a fairly powerful SRI.

What is the difference between Ultram, Ultram ER and Ultracet?

While all three drugs contain tramadol, their functions vary somewhat:

Ultram – This is your basic brand name tramadol.

Ultram ER – Ultram ER or ‘extended release’ is an altered form of tramadol which provides a slow ongoing release of the opioid into the body. This is commonly for patients experiencing chronic pain and those who need long term relief. 

Ultracet – Ultracet is a combination of tramadol and acetaminophen and typically treats patients after dental surgery or for individuals with moderate to severe pain. As expected, the tramadol will bind to the opioid receptors and prohibit the release of serotonin and norepinephrine while the acetaminophen actually increases the pain threshold of a patient. Combined, the drugs work to reduce the overall pain experienced. Ultracet can be very harmful if abused. Along with the addictive effects of the opioid, acetaminophen can cause severe liver damage if abused.

Can you take Tramadol with Suboxone?

Mixing suboxone and tramadol could have deadly effects. As we know, taking suboxone in its directed form will cause the naloxone to remain dormant and will only release the buprenorphine. The intake of two opioids at once can cause an overdose. If altered, suboxone does have the potential to completely negate the effects of both tramadol and buprenorphine making the mixture useless. Further, mixing naloxone and tramadol can lead to an increased risk of seizures.

Mixing any opioid with alcohol is incredibly dangerous as one drug will enhance the effects of the other substance. As mentioned earlier, opioids are a central nervous system depressant and alcohol is no different. Combining the two will further increase the depressive effects and can lead to respiratory depression and death. The intake of three or more drugs is categorized as polysubstance abuse and is even more dangerous. With more substances, treatment is more difficult. It’s not impossible, but it’s important to find help from a recovery center that is adequately prepared to treat each issue.


How long does Tramadol stay in your system?

Tramadol has a half-life of around 6 hours. This means it takes roughly 6 hours for the chemical to reduce to half its initial strength. Generally, it takes around a day or two for the drug to completely leave the body. However, this is also heavily dependent on the users body composition. The ability to detect Tramadol depends on length of use and dosage. Different tests will detect it at different times.

How long does Suboxone stay in your system?

The half-life of the chemical buprenorphine, a component of suboxone, is around 37 hours. This means it takes roughly 37 hours for the chemical to reduce to half its initial strength. The length of time Suboxone stays in one’s system varies by length of use and dosage.

What is generic Suboxone?

Generic Suboxone refers to any non brand name suboxone products. Generally users will purchase this to save money as it can be around 74% cheaper than brand name Suboxone.

What are some Suboxone withdrawal symptoms?

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression


What are some Tramadol withdrawal symptoms?

  • Sweating
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Cramps


Suboxone and tramadol both carry a high risk for addiction. Improper use can cause severe detriments to an individual’s health. If you or a loved one needs help, please reach out today.

If you are seeking treatment for drug or alcohol addiction and need rehab in Prescott, Arizona, please visit our site. Or go to men’s only drug & alcohol treatment in Prescott, Arizona through Reflections.

The Effects of Prescription Drug and Alcohol Abuse on Your Kidneys

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The Effects of Prescription Drug and Alcohol Abuse on Your Kidneys

It’s fairly common knowledge that excess alcohol consumption takes a toll on the liver and kidneys. But did you know that many pharmaceutical drugs put a strain on the kidneys, as well?

In this post, we’ll take a look at the toll that prolonged alcohol and/or prescription drug use can have on your kidneys. We will also touch on whether your kidneys can heal if you’re able to put a stop to drinking or prescription drug use.

The Kidneys’ Role in the Body

The kidneys are not only a cornerstone of the urinary system, but they are two of the most vital organs in the body.

Among the kidneys’ many functions in the body, here are five of their primary roles:

  • Filtering the blood to remove toxins and waste
  • Regulating the volume and concentration of the body’s fluids
  • Helping keep the body’s blood pressure balanced and under control
  • Releasing a hormone that impacts the body’s production of red blood cells
  • Maintaining the right amount of water in the body

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Kidneys?

Even casual alcohol use will put the kidneys to work, filtering the toxins out of the blood and trying to bring the body’s fluid back to normal levels. Alcohol also has a drying effect, which will lower the amount of water in the body, even if the person is sipping water in between alcoholic beverages.

While a drink or two won’t affect a person’s blood pressure in the long term, prolonged heavy drinking can lead to high blood pressure, which usually isn’t an issue among moderate and non-drinkers. More than two drinks per day increase one’s chances of developing high blood pressure. Furthermore, high blood pressure is one of the chief causes of kidney disease.

In the short term, binge drinking does run the risk of causing acute kidney failure, which is when the two organs essentially give up because they can’t keep up with the demand of filtering toxins from the blood. This usually doesn’t have long-lasting effects, so long as person survived the kidney failure, but repeated binge drinking episodes could lead to lasting kidney damage.

It’s worth noting that not only does alcohol use make the kidneys work much harder at the moment, but excessive, prolonged drinking can actually change the chemistry of the kidneys. This means they will no longer perform as efficiently as they did before the person started drinking heavily. The individual will be perpetually dehydrated, malnourished and lethargic if his or her kidneys ever reach that point.

How Do Prescription Drugs Affect the Kidneys?

Certain prescription and even over-the-counter drugs can make the kidneys work overtime. In some cases, it’s the active ingredient that comes into conflict with the kidneys, in other cases, it’s the additives in pharmaceutical drugs that pose a problem.

In fact, medications play a role in up to 25 percent of acute kidney injuries. Some doctors will even warn patients with kidney issues not to take certain over-the-counter medications.

According to GoodRx.com, these are some of the worst medications for your kidneys:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen, Motrin, Advil, etc.)
  • Vancomycin (an antibiotic that treats MRSA)
  • Diuretics (aka water pills, which help the body release excess salt and water)
  • Iodinated radiocontrast (a dye used in CT scans with contrast)
  • Jardiance (a newer diabetes medication)
  • HIV medications (antiretrovirals)
  • Zoledronate (aka zoledronic acid, used to treat osteoporosis)

Opioid painkillers are also known to be hard on the kidneys, especially ones like Vicodin and Percocet, which contain acetaminophen. Just as Motrin and Advil cause issues in the kidneys, acetaminophen-based medications like Tylenol can be nearly as damaging. Long-term use of drugs with acetaminophen can lead to renal failure or chronic kidney failure. If the condition gets severe enough, the person may have to undergo dialysis and, eventually, a kidney transplant.

Prescription opioid abuse can break down muscles and tissues in the body, releasing proteins into the blood. One of those proteins in myoglobin, which can cause obstruction and kidney damage. Excessive protein buildup in the organs and tissues can lead to kidney failure.

Can Alcohol Cause Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts inside the kidneys. As you’ve probably heard, or may know firsthand, passing a kidney stone is incredibly painful. Sometimes these stones can get stuck in the urinary tract, which could cause infections and require surgery.

Those who don’t drink enough water or who sweat a lot are at a higher risk for kidney stones. A diet high in salt and sugar can also increase one’s risk of stones. And if you’ve already had a kidney stone, you’re at risk of getting more of them.

So, can alcohol cause kidney stones? Quite possibly, but there’s not a clear answer. First of all, medical experts still aren’t 100 percent sure of many of the causes of kidney stones. They have only identified a few scenarios that seem to put people more at risk.

An Indirect Connection Between Alcohol and Kidney Stones

To be clear, drinking alcohol is not directly tied to kidney stones, at least at this time. However, alcohol may put several processes in motion that could lead to the development of kidney deposits. As mentioned earlier, alcohol dries out the body. And as you just read, not enough water in the body can be a precursor to a kidney stone.

People who drink a lot of alcohol may try to drink large amounts of water concurrently to try to avoid dehydration, but this is rarely the case. Alcohol is going to deplete the water level in the body regardless, so getting back to a normal hydration level is going to entail refraining from alcohol for a while. It’s also true that alcoholics tend to make poor dietary choices, and this often means sugary and salty foods, which can make kidney stones more likely.

And finally, it’s worth noting that beverages such as beer and spirits with grain alcohol have a heavy purine count. Purines are chemical compounds that have been tied to uric acid kidney stones. A high purine count in the body can lead to the accumulation of uric acid, which may result in a kidney stone.

What to Do If You’re Addicted to Alcohol or Prescription Drugs

If you’ve had kidney problems and become dependent or alcohol or a certain pharmaceutical drug, then it’s time to seek help to learn to abstain from the damaging substance. Especially if you’ve already had a kidney stone, then you’re at risk for developing and passing another. Stopping your alcohol or prescription drug use will help immensely.

The good news is that, like the liver, you kidneys can regenerate themselves to a degree – so long as you haven’t reached the point of kidney disease or other permanent damage. If you’re able to abstain from the substance you’ve been abusing, improved kidney health is possible.

Entering a professional rehab program will not only help you learn to let go of substance use, but many programs have nutritional counseling and therapy services to help you make wiser dietary decisions. Following their advice and staying sober will improve your health comprehensively, kidneys and otherwise.

Fight Addiction Now can help you find the right recovery program for your needs, no matter where you are in the United States. Contact us for expert guidance in your search for treatment.

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What you need to know about Narcan

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What you need to know about Narcan

In an effort to curb opioid-related overdoses, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies in many places around the country continueto scramble for strategies aimed at preventing overdose deaths at the “pre-hospital level”. A product called NARCAN Nasal Spray (Naloxone HCl), more commonly referred to as “naloxone” is a key contributor in the ability of first responders to save lives when arriving at the scene of a suspected overdose. Traditionally and still currently, naloxone is administered intravenously. At the most basic chemical level naloxone HCl is a substance that blocks opioid receptors in the body and actively (as well as quite quickly) reverses the effects of an opioid overdose when given to an individual.

Though many first responders now carry naloxone, including the easy-to-use intra-nasal delivery systems, the NARCAN nasal spray and naloxone’s other forms are unfortunately still prescription products and aren’t available for public purchase everywhere. However, we’ve included this important link, and included it again at the end of this post, that will allow to you find out if you or a loved one lives in a state that may have laws or arrangements in place that allow for the purchase of naloxone without an individual prescription.

If you do live in a place that allows you to carry naloxone, and you choose to do so, it’s important to be able to properly identify signs of a potential opioid-related overdose, know how to use your naloxone product, as well as important information regarding it’s use.

Indications that someone may be experiencing an opioid overdose:

– Slowed breathing, or not breathing at all
– Very small, pinpoint pupils in the eyes
– A slow heartbeat
– Extreme drowsiness and/or a lack of responsiveness
– Subject becoming blue in face or lips

Important information about naloxone:

 Depending on the administration device naloxone typically costs

  • $40-50 for boxed pre-loaded syringes
  • $5 for a nasal adaptor
  • About $15 for bag to make a naloxone administration kit

– Naloxone should be administered immediately in the event of a suspected overdose
– Naloxone may need to be administered repeatedly every 2-3 minutes if the individual is not responding, or until emergency assistance arrives
– Naloxone has been reported to cause withdrawal symptoms in patients following administration
– Administering naloxone DOES NOT alleviate the requirement for emergency care – calling 911 is always the first step in the event of any emergency
-Naloxone/Narcan has a short half-life and overdose still possible after the reversal has taken place
-Naloxone DOES NOT reverse the side effects of benzodiazepine overdose (Xanax, Valium, Klonopin)

Naloxone laws and availability by state

Source: PO