Opiates come in many forms, both in legal and prescribed medications such as codeine and morphine, as well as illegal forms such as heroin, also known as Brown, China White, Dragon, Gear, Horse, Junk, Skag, Smack.
Inspire offers support with both legal and illegal opioids, and can offer substitute prescribing of buprenorphine or methadone.
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What is methadone?
Methadone is a medication used in treatment to help you manage any withdrawal symptoms you experience when trying to stop using opiates.
Methadone itself is an opiate, and is usually prescribed as a once a day dose in an oral liquid – and for the first 3 months of treatment you will collect this daily from the pharmacy and take it under the supervision of the pharmacist. Methadone is taken orally, and starts to work within 30 minutes – reaching it’s peak effect after 2-4 hours. Your body can take a couple of weeks to adjust to methadone, meaning that it might take a couple of weeks to find the perfect dose for you to stop all withdrawals from opiates.
Once you are settled on a regular dose of methadone, your recovery worker will talk with you about the aims of your treatment, including how to reduce the dose and eventually come off treatment with methadone. This is known as detoxification (detox). The rates of reduction will be reviewed every 6 weeks and agreed with your prescriber.
What is buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine is a medication prescribed for dependence on opiates, such as heroin and other related drugs. It is an ideal prescribed opiate substitution medication for parents as it is not as fatal as methadone if swallowed by a child, as well as making more people feel clear headed than with methadone. Buprenorphine is often safer if taken in an overdose than methadone, and is known as being easier to detox from.
Buprenorphine is usually taken once a day, and comes in a tablet that dissolves under your tongue. As methadone, for the first 3 months of your treatment you will pick up your buprenorphine daily and take your medication supervised by a pharmacist.
Withdrawal symptoms may include: sweating, feeling hot and cold, runny eyes and nose, yawning, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, vomiting and feeling sick, restlessness, diarrhoea, poor sleep, tremors and general aches and pains.
Illicit benzo’s are normally used for their sedative qualities – similar to opiates – and also to enhance the high obtained from other drugs, particularly opiates. They can also be used to reduce the withdrawal symptoms of opiates, cocaine, amphetamines and alcohol.
What is Naloxone?
Naloxone is an emergency medication used to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose (e.g. heroin or methadone). Naloxone has an important role in reversing the effects of opioids and preventing death. Get your free kit in your local service today – you could save a life!
Naloxone takes 2-5 minutes to work when injected into a muscle, and the effects last for 20-40 minutes.
However, duration and type of effect from naloxone depends on which opioid was used, how much opioid was used, how the drug was taken and if any other drugs or alcohol have been used. Repeated doses of naloxone can be given every 2-3 minutes if needed.
Always call 999 if and when you suspect an opiate overdose. The ambulance will not bring a police escort except in certain circumstances e.g. if there is a marker on the address, or if a child is present.