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Myths vs. Facts

Myth:  Whenever I wake up a Heroin overdose the patient wants to kick my butt because I ruined his/her high.

Fact:  An Opiate overdose causes a reduction in the central nervous system and the respiratory drive as a result, the patient becomes unresponsive and hypoxic.  When we “wake” them up with Naloxone – which temporarily reverses the effects of the opiate overdose – the patient quite suddenly becomes hyper-oxygenated and alert and is surrounded by strangers.  What would your natural reaction be?  Self defense until you know you are safe – hence the combative state.  This can be avoided with education and training of the rescuers.

Myth:  An opiate withdrawal will cause death.

Fact:   An uncontrolled opiate withdrawal is very unpleasant and can result in the person experiencing a wide range of very uncomfortable and sickening symptoms but death is not an inevitable result of an opiate withdrawal.    

Myth:  Alcoholics can just stop drinking and detox on their own.

Fact: A chronic alcoholic quite often requires a medical detox process.  There is a 10 to 15% mortality rate associated with a chronic alcoholic’s uncontrolled withdrawal process.  

Myth: An addicted individual must “hit bottom” before getting help and any efforts to get the person into treatment is futile until he/she hits bottom.

Fact:  An addicted individual will not change until the people closest to him/her take action and motive him/her into treatment.  Individuals who enter into treatment programs without a strong support network are more likely to fail.

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