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No More Fix: A Drug Addict’s Crisis

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As more and more parts of our nation move into “stay at home” orders and normal movement becomes difficult, law enforcement and National Guard presence become much more prominent, and all of the other bits of loveliness that can come along with a crisis, daily life and habits are thrown into disarray.

A favorite restaurant for Friday night dinner is no longer open. A little thrift store that always has amazing treasures sits dark and empty. A park that was great for a run or walk is roped off. Life as you know it is different right now, and there are a million examples of how different it is. Some of them not so savory.

Drug Supply is Diminished

For addicts who are in the grip of their addiction, these tighter controls, increased law enforcement presence, and new travel restrictions can mean that their sources for supplying their drug of choice have run dry as well.

When countries close their borders and crisis measures are put into place, suppliers in other countries may view that as too risky and choose not to take the chance, choosing instead to just sit on their supply until things loosen up again and the crisis passes. The same can be said for when states and cities place lockdown orders on their citizens and begin enforcing those orders. The movement of illegal substances drops dramatically, and that drop will quickly trickle down to the street supplier that an addict relies on for their fix.

Something very similar happens to legal substances. Medical supplies are diverted in times of crisis. Other legal substances can disappear in panic buying. An addiction that was once so easy to feed is suddenly unable to be satiated because a prescription cannot be filled, or a shelf lays bare.

While both of these situations showcase much deeper issues and problems, an addict isn’t going to care about that. Why? When a supply runs out, that addict cannot just do what you do when the store doesn’t have your favorite brand of cheese. They can’t just get a different variety or shrug their shoulders and think “ah well, maybe they’ll have it next week.” 

No. Without the substance to satiate the addiction, their body will begin to detox. This detox does not discriminate in its severity. It will hit someone just as hard and horribly inside their colonial mansion as it will someone hunkered down under an overpass.

Detox can be very dangerous if left unmanaged. This is especially so if detox is happening while the addict is alone and unsupported. A forced detox is even more dangerous. This is the reality that many addicts are facing right now.

How Soon Does Withdrawal Start?

  • Heroin: Withdrawal begins within 12 hours of the last dose, peaks within 24-48 hours, and lasts a week to up to a week (with some symptoms sometimes lasting months).
  • Prescription opiates (such as Vicodin, OxyContin, methadone, and morphine): Withdrawal starts in 8-12 hours for most prescription opiates, peaks in 12-48 hours, and lasts 5-10 days usually. Methadone withdrawal begins within 24-48 hours, peaks in the first few days, and lasts 2-4 weeks.
  • Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan): Withdrawal may begin within 1-4 days, peaking in the first two weeks. In some cases, protracted withdrawal can last months or even years without treatment.
  • Cocaine: Withdrawal starts within hours of the last dose, peaking in a few days and lasting from a week to 10 weeks.
  • Alcohol: Withdrawal usually begins between eight hours of last drink up to a few days after drinking, peaks within 24-72 hours, and can last a few weeks.

What “peaking” means depends on the severity of the addiction. Some peaks can be somewhat manageable, but most will be unbearable, with some being deadly.

During times like these, unwanted or wanted, detox is inevitable. It is incredibly important to seek out help with the impending detox as soon as you or your loved one becomes aware that you (or they) will no longer be able to feed their addiction. A cutting edge detox facility, like Compass Detox, will be able to guide you through your symptoms, take away their adverse effects, ensure that you are well both medically and mentally, and bring you out on the other side of the detox stronger and more well equipped to face your addiction and overcome it. 

Even if your intention is not to overcome your addiction, and your sudden detox is completely involuntary, Compass Detox is here to help you move through your detox in a safe and healthy way. And truthfully, many who do this come out on the other side with a newfound commitment to sobriety. That sober journey that happens after detox and rehab is something we also specialize in and are very happy to help you achieve.

A last note on this. Some addicts, when faced with these sorts of desperate situations, do things that they would have never thought themselves capable of doing. Robbery, violence, etc. An addiction is a horrid beast.

Help for Addiction

Call us today if your addiction is putting you into just such a crisis. We’re here for you with a safe, secure environment, free of judgment, full of hope. 800.26.DETOX.

Brooks V.
Brooks V.
Brooks has been a freelance journalist for the better part of two decades, as well as spending a decade as a crisis intervention counselor. Through his own work and researching the work of others throughout the many facets of the detox, crisis intervention, and mental health worlds he has been able to tell the stories of those worlds in an effort to help addicts and those with mental illnesses understand and navigate them.