How to End Opioid Use DisorderDid you know that 75 percent of drug overdose deaths in 2021 were due to an opioid? This is based on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) research. One of the reasons why opioid use disorder (OUD) has become such an epidemic is because powerful synthetics like fentanyl are 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioids, you may feel like you’re in the dark and that there’s not even a glimmer of hope. Despite the darkness and the difficulties, the Psalms shed light and offer this hope: “You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness” (Psalm 18:28, New Living Translation). Here are 6 ways to end OUD.

1. Identify the warning signs of OUD.
Denial keeps many individuals stuck in OUD. Watch for these common signs of opioid use disorder:

  • Takes an opioid in a way not meant by the healthcare professional who prescribed it
  • Uses opioids even when not in pain
  • Focuses daily activities on how to get opioids
  • Experiences extreme mood swings
  • Borrows medicine from others or “loses” medicine to get more prescriptions written
  • Seeks the same prescription from multiple healthcare professionals

2. Never try to white-knuckle it or quit cold turkey.
One of the most dangerous times of overcoming an OUD is withdrawal. No one should try to quit on willpower alone. Go to a treatment facility; if that’s not possible, go to the hospital or schedule an appointment with a doctor. Finally, meet regularly with a New Life Counselor who specializes in addiction. No matter what, don’t go it alone—get connected to professional help.

3. Recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose.
By spotting the warning signs of an opioid overdose, you could save your life or that of a loved one. Here are a few signs:

  • Constricted pupils
  • Losing consciousness
  • Slow or weak breathing
  • Limp body
  • Cold and clammy skin

If you see these signs, call 911 immediately. There are life-saving drugs that can be taken; talk to a doctor first before taking—or giving—any medication.

4. Overcome the stigma of taking medication to help with recovery.
There is still a stigma of taking medication to avoid opioid relapse. When used as part of treatment programs, these medications address the symptoms of cravings and physical withdrawal without providing the euphoria of illicit drug use. If you or a loved one struggles with OUD, there is no shame in taking medication to help you recover.

5. Remember that taking it one more time could be the last time.
Struggling with OUD can make someone think that they can take it one more time and then go into treatment the next day. One more time, though, might kill someone. If you or someone you know has OUD, keep in mind that time is of the essence to stop using opioids and get into treatment.

6. Have an intervention to help a loved one who refuses to get help.
If you have a family member or friend who has OUD but won’t get help, consider having an intervention where friends and family come together to motivate them to get into recovery. Enlist the services of a New Life Counselor, Coach, or professional interventionist. Though OUD is dangerous and has become an epidemic in recent years, “there is safety in having many advisers” (Proverbs 11:14).

If you struggle with OUD or have a loved one who does, please know we are here for you. Call us at 800-NEW-LIFE to find a counselor, Life Recovery Group, treatment facility, or professional interventionist to help you.

by Kimberlee Bousman

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