How to Approach an Opiate Addict

How to approach an opiate addict

Approaching an opiate addict

An opiate is a drug derived from the opium plant. The main opiates are morphine, codeine, heroin, thebaine and papaverine. Because morphine and heroin have the same chemical structure, a person taking morphine which has been prescribed to them may actually test as a heroin user. The primary differences between morphine and heroin are that heroin is more potent because it enters the brain faster and is not a prescribed medication. However, both drugs act as analgesics and sedatives and produce a relaxing effect. Signs of opiates abuse include the following behaviors:

  • Depression/suicidal thoughts
  • Unkempt physical appearance, including possible weight-loss
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lethargy and drowsiness
  • Having to take larger doses of the medication to get high
  • Constricted pupils and reduced vision
  • Focusing on obtaining the drug
  • Shallow breathing
  • Excessive perspiration, shaking, vomiting or chills

How to Approach an Opiate Addict

Even if you are planning an informal intervention with just a small group of friends and family members, it is important to plan the intervention to ensure its success. Some key parts of the planning process include the following factors:

  • Identify intervention members, as the people participating in the intervention have to be as follows:
    • Important to the addict; someone the addict respects and will listen to
    • Willing to commit the time, effort, and even financial support to the addict
    • Able to maintain a non-judgmental, calm, and candid demeanor with the addict
  • Hold a planning meeting. Just as you would create an agenda for a business meeting and assign tasks to team members, when planning an intervention you need to take the following actions:
    • Choose a person who is going to take a lead in the intervention and choose another person who is willing to document the process for the addict’s future reference.
    • Discuss an agenda including who is going to speak first, what are you going to speak about, and how are you going to deal with the addict’s reactions.
    • Prepare speakers, and it might be useful for each speaker to write a letter to the drug addict and then read it aloud to the group so that you can be sure it is clear and does not include anger or blame the addict. By putting the consequences of the addiction in a letter, the speaker will have a “script” to refer to should their emotions impact them when the addict is present.
    • Discuss results and come to a consensus on what the goals of the intervention are and get each member’s commitment to meeting those goals.
    • Research treatment resources. If the addict agrees to go to treatment as a result of the intervention, you have viable resources already identified, and the addict can transition into treatment. You may go as far as to answer intake questions about the addict or even schedule an appointment for admission.
    • Strategize responses to objections. The addict may have a variety of objections as well as a great deal of emotional reaction. You want to strategize how you are going to deal with these objections to keep the intervention on course.

Get Help for Opiate Addiction

Approaching an opiate addict can be difficult. However, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about opiate addiction treatment. We are here to help.