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Behavioral Health and Recovery Services

Department of Community and Human Services

Behavioral Health and Recovery Division
Chinook Building
401 Fifth Ave., Suite 400
Seattle, WA 98104

Jim Vollendroff, Dir.
e-mail us
Phone:  206-263-9000
Fax:   206-296-0583
TTY:   711 Relay Service

Employee Directory

Department: Community and Human Services
Adrienne Quinn, Director

Opioid Abuse and Addiction Treatment

About five percent of the U.S. population misuses opiates, including prescribed opiate pain medications. Mixing opiates with alcohol can be life threatening, as can combining opiates or mixing opiates with other drugs.

Opiates include heroin, morphine, codeine, OxyContin, Dilaudid, Vicodin, methadone, and other pain medications or painkillers. Opiates can cause a physical dependence and addiction.

With physical dependence, the body gets used to the drug or adapts to the drug. If the drug is taken away, the individual has withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may be mild or very severe. Severe withdrawal from opiates may be life threatening, especially when there are other medical problems present or, or the opiates are mixed with other drugs or alcohol.

Withdrawal symptoms include shaking, sweating, headaches, drug craving, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, insomnia, agitation and depression.

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Opiate addiction treatment options include Methadone , Buprenorphine, and Behavioral Therapies.

Methadone has proven very successful for people addicted to opiates. Methadone is a synthetic opiate that blocks the effects of opiates and stops withdrawal symptoms.

Other medical treatments, such as buprenorphine, are also used to treat opiate addiction. Buprenorphine is a new medication and different from methadone. It has less risk of addiction and can be prescribed by specially licensed physicians.

There are many good behavioral treatments. In treatment, patients build skills to change their lives so that it is no longer centered around drug use. They learn to replace drug-using activities with drug-free activities, improve problem-solving skills, and learn relapse prevention skills. Behavioral treatment may be even more effective when used with medication treatments.

Get more information on heroin and other opiates abuse and addiction, and medication assisted treatment.

Get more information on the principles of drug addiction treatment.