Addiction and Opiates

Western Washington | Opiate Addiction Treatment

Addiction and opiates

Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that affects over seven percent of the population (National Institute of Drug Abuse). Compounding the problem, over the last decade there has been a dramatic rise in the use of opiates. The word epidemic has been used to describe the rising addiction rates involving prescription drugs and heroin. The rapid and horrific impact of opiate use by those addicted has had a devastating impact on individuals and families. Federal data shows the numbers of death by accidental overdose now exceeds the number of citizens that die in car accidents.

Recovery is possible

With time the body, brain included, can recover from the negative impacts of drug use. Withdrawal from opiates is an uncomfortable and often painful process. While the primary withdrawal symptoms of opiate dependence is rarely fatal, proper medication and medical supervision is vital in the withdrawal management process. This combined with counseling makes it more likely that the patient will engage in treatment and achieve the goal of abstinence. As the patient begins to clear, the clinical staff at Lakeside-Milam helps the patient build a foundation for life long recovery. Education about the disease helps the patient understand the specific impact on their life. Lectures and process groups help the patient understand the biology of their illness and the impacts of cross addiction to other chemicals. An understanding of the need for life long abstinence from dangerous mood altering chemicals is developed. Rational Emotive Therapy is taught and utilized so that patients have a cognitive behavioral technique to help address the negative social and behavioral impacts of their illness. During their time in primary treatment patients will also be oriented to Twelve Step Recovery. Patients are encouraged to use the fellowship and opportunity for spiritual growth to bolster their recovery.

Medication Assisted Treatment

Our Medical Staff draws upon our 35 years of experience treating substance use disorders, evidenced based method of care and industry best practices to develop our medication assisted treatment protocols.

Lakeside Milam offers naltrexone and buprenorphine for all patients with an opioid use disorder as clinically appropriate. The decision between the use of naltrexone (Vivitrol) or buprenorphine (Suboxone) is patient centered and always combined with therapeutic and wellness programing.

Lakeside Milam views medication-assisted treatment as an important tool in addressing and treating the chronic and progressive disease of opioid addiction. It is important to stress that medication alone is not a cure all. Medication must be used as just one part of a comprehensive program.

Opioid overdose and naloxone

Addiction is a chronic disease and relapse can occur. Relapse on opiates is particularly dangerous. Unlike other drugs, tolerance to opiates is lowered after detoxification. Amounts used previously may be lethal. Combination with alcohol or other drugs can also be fatal. Naloxone is a medication that temporarily reverses the deadly effects of opiate overdose. This potentially live saving medication is available for patients and families through your primary care providers and some pharmacies without prescription. If you have a loved one in treatment for opioid addiction you can learn more about this at

We encourage you to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Lakeside-Milam clinical team and make an informed decision in regards to your treatment and the foundation of your life long recovery.

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