Two-part series: Breaking the chains of opioid addiction

“Somewhere around eight years ago, we started seeing a bit of a switch and a lot of people switched to heroin. Part of that was… it’s cheaper to manufacture,” Coyer said.

“People don’t know they’re going to get addicted when they start, though. It’s really driven by three areas, biology, psychology and a person’s social environment.”

As the opioid issue continues to grow locally, programs such as Lakes Region and others in the community have been working to reverse the trends and help people break their addictions.

“As far as the pathway for treatment for opioids any other drug, it’s about dealing with the withdrawals first,” Lakes Region Treatment Director Amanda Longie said. “We have to make sure these individuals are comfortable so they can distract themselves long enough to stay sober. We’ve got to get some sobriety under their belt so they can learn some coping skills. The longer they have sobriety, the more the brain can do some healing in terms of calming down. That part of it can take a year at minimum.”

Because opioids are so addictive, though, Beltrami County Public Health Director Cynthia Borgen said some treatment includes a smaller dose of a different level opioid. For example, methadone and suboxone are common forms of treatment.

“From the outpatient setting, if we recognize that they can’t function without the drug, we usually make a recommendation for them to go to residential treatment so they can be monitored during the detox process,” Longie said. “For opioids and heroin, the stays can be longer than the 30 day average, though, with it being closer to 40-to-60 days.”

“One of the things about opioids that’s so destructive is how ill people get when they’re coming down from it. It’s like the flu, times a hundred,” said Amanda Rohloff, alcohol and drug counselor at Lakes Region. “People get shakes, sweats, aches and they can’t sleep. So, it makes it a little more difficult to treat, just because of the stronghold it gets on somebody. It makes your…

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