What is the Difference Between a Halfway House and an Oxford House?

Are you or a loved one looking for living arrangements following a rehabilitation or treatment? It can be helpful to know the options. Two popular options are Halfway houses or Oxford houses. Know the similarities and differences so that you can make the best choice for you!
Major differences are the presence of professional staff and prescribed length of stay.
What is a Halfway House?
A halfway house is a place for people to live when they are preparing to re-enter society after living in a full-time facility. These are recognized as treatment facilities.  A halfway house is often for people recovering from addiction or people returning to society after time served in prison. Halfway houses are also helpful for people looking for stable housing after a mental health treatment program.  They are called “halfway” houses because those living in this sort of environment are transitioning halfway between a full-care facility to permanent living in society.
Halfway houses dedicated to sober living are sometimes referred to as sober houses.  Other names include dry houses, community-based residential facilities, recovery residences, transitional living environments, residential re-entry centers, or community release centers.
One benefit of a halfway house is the additional professional support. Often, a halfway house will have staff present for monitoring and support. This provides a structured environment to support people working to prevent relapse.  A halfway house will follow structured programs such as AA.  Different halfway houses will have varying degrees of supervision and support.
Halfway houses are not permanent housing. People living in a halfway house are only permitted a certain length of stay. This can vary, but often range from 6 month to 2 years.
In Pennsylvania, licensed halfway houses follow particular rules and systems approved by the state’s Department of Drug and Alcohol programs.  To find a licensed halfway house in Pennsylvania, click here.
 
What is an Oxford House?
An Oxford house is also a housing program designed to support people committed to a sober lifestyle. However, there are many differences between an Oxford House and a Halfway House.  A major difference is that an Oxford house does not include supervisors or paid staff.  An Oxford house is self-run by the people that live there. The residents elect officers to 6 month terms.  The goal is to build self-help, self-efficacy, and a sense of responsibility through this democracy system.  The philosophy focuses on ownership of one’s own recovery.
An Oxford House is not a facility with a staff or a specific building. An Oxford House is simply a normal rented house for a group of at least six individuals. Any group of recovering people could start a new Oxford House. They can apply for a charter from Oxford House, Inc. for free. Once a charter is established, the house members are responsible for maintaining to home, the bills, and the Oxford House rules.
One rule of an Oxford House is that the residents cannot drink alcohol or use drugs of any kind.  Anyone that breaks this rule is required to leave the house. Another rule is that the resident must pay equal share of house expenses. Everyone shares the responsibilities and chores. Responsibilities include holding each other accountable.  Instead of staff members to supervise and support recovering residents, the group works together to encourage and support each other’s sobriety.
Oxford Houses are typically single-sex adult houses, but some allow residents to live with their minor children.
Another difference between an Oxford House and a Halfway House is the length of stay.  A halfway house allows for stays of a specific program duration. Oxford Houses allow residents to stay for as long as they like. The average stay is for about one year, but there is no rule that requires someone to leave.
 
The right living environment will depend on an individual’s needs and goals. Be sure to do research and contact any potential living environment with questions for committing to a choice. The more comfortable a person in in their living situation, the better the transition into a healthy lifestyle. Both options can provide great support.
Resources
https://www.halfwayhouses.us/
https://www.drugrehab.com/recovery/sober-living-homes/halfway-houses/
https://www.halfwayhouses.us/state/pennsylvania
https://www.ddap.pa.gov/Get%20Help%20Now/Pages/Find-a-Halfway-House.aspx
https://www.oxfordhouse.org/userfiles/file/questions_and_answers.php
 
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What Are the Effects of Bath Salts?

Bath salts have been discussed more and more in the media. However, “bath salts” no longer just refers to soothing salts, like Epsom Salt, put in bath tubs. “Bath salts” is a phrase used to describe a mind-altering drug. The name bath salts might sound harmless, but the drug is actually quite dangerous. Knowing more about bath salts can help clear up any confusion.
What are Bath Salts?
Bath salts are man-made chemical stimulants. The real name of bath salts is synthetic cathinones. Cathinone is a substance found is the khat plant. People have used them as cheaper substitutes for stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine. This substance is a central nervous system stimulant that also inhibits the dopamine-norepinephrine reuptake system in the brain. Bath salts are categorized as new psychoactive substances (NPS). These are dangerous as they are unregulated psychoactive mind-altering drugs. There is no legitimate medical need or use for this substance.
Other street names bath salts may go by include bliss, bloom, blue silk, charge plus, cloud nine, drone, energy-1, hurricane Charlie, ivory wave, flakka, lunar wave, meow meow, ocean burst, plant fertilizer, plant food, purple sky, pure ivory, purple wave, scarface, sextasy, snow leopard, stardust, vanilla sky, white dove, or white lightening.
Bath salts are usually white or brown crystal-like powders. People may swallow, snort, smoke, or inject synthetic cathinones substances.
They are often sold in small plastic bags or foil packages. These packages are typically marked with labels that say “not for human consumption.” People have reported seeing synthetic cathinones sold in packages labeled as bath salts, jewelry and electric cleaner, or plant food. This has been a major public concern for health officials.
Bath salts are dangerous and can be addictive.
What are the Effects of Bath Salts?
People that use bath salts may experience a high similar to an elated, delirious, out-of-body experience. The high has been described as a rush similar to one caused by speed (methamphetamine). However, there are some dangerous side effects.
Short Term Side Effects
agitation, irritability, or uncharacteristic changes in mood
clouded thinking or an inability to problem-solve
delusions or hallucinations
depression or suicidal thoughts
dizziness
insomnia
panic attacks
paranoia
Physical Side Effects
brain swelling
chest pains
decreased muscle and body control
excess sweating
feeling sick and throwing up
heart attack
increased blood pressure and body temperature
irregular heartbeat
muscle spasm or tremors
nosebleeds
reduced appetite
seizures
stroke

Long Term Side Effects
addiction
dangerous, out of character, risk taking behavior
psychosis
This includes hallucinations, hearing voices, paranoia, and more. This side effect may resemble schizophrenia behaviors or symptoms.

severe panic attacks
intoxication from this drug can and has led to death

Withdrawal Side Effects
Withdrawal from bath salts could cause the following side effects:
anxiety
depression
paranoia
sleeping issues
shock
tremors
in extreme cases, Death

Bath salts can be very dangerous and potentially fatal. Seek medical attention or ask for help from a medical professional for any questions or concerns. While no medications are currently available to treat addiction to synthetic canthinones, help is still available and therapy treatments have been successful. Addiction can be overcome with the correct support and professional guidance, helping people to lead a successful life.
Resources
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/synthetic-cathinones-bath-salts
https://www.drugs.com/illicit/bath-salts.html

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How Do You Help Someone Who Doesn’t Want to be Helped?

Helping someone who doesn’t want help seems like a losing battle, but is it? When someone you know has a drug or alcohol problem, but isn’t willing to get help, do you just stand by and watch them slowly kill themselves? No. Many people feel powerless over this situation and in my opinion you don’t necessarily have to feel this way. You can help someone who doesn’t want to be helped, but it may look different than how you think it should.

Showing Support
Helping someone who is struggling with an addiction can look different for many reasons, but the bottom line is that if you know someone who is struggling and not willing to stop using drugs or alcohol, then showing support is the best thing you can do at that time. Showing support for a friend or loved one that is struggling with an addiction is a great way to help them while they may not be ready to stop.
Supporting a friend or loved one doesn’t mean that you have to help them kill themselves though. Here are some examples of showing support to someone who may not be ready for help. Supporting someone means being ready to help them when the day comes that they are willing to stop drinking or using drugs. It means letting them know that you are a friend and want to help them when they are ready. It means listening without judgement, when they want to talk. The ways to show support for someone are not always going to be the same, because everyone is at a different place in their life and with their willingness before they get sober.

Setting Boundaries
There are some things to keep in mind when trying to show support for someone who isn’t ready to get sober. Setting boundaries is very important, so make sure that showing support for someone does not mean giving them money or enabling them to drink or use drugs. You can show support by clearly drawing a line with the person and letting them know that you are not comfortable with their decision to drink or use drugs, but you are their friend and as long as they are not using substances while they are with you, then you can spend time with them. You can also set the boundary that you will not help them get drugs or alcohol. These are just some of the boundaries that should be clearly stated when trying to show support for a friend or loved one who is not ready to stop using or drinking. Other boundaries that you feel are important should be clearly explained to the person you are trying to help as well.

Helping Yourself
When the time is right, you will be able to help the person who was not ready to get sober before. Keeping yourself safe physically and mentally is an important part of this journey. What this means is that if you do not feel comfortable trying to help someone in the way that they say they need help, then don’t. You have the right to tell them that you are not comfortable with what they may want and you can suggest another way.
Showing support and trying to be available for someone who does not want help can be very frustrating and time consuming, so if you need support for yourself then you should definitely find it. Attending Al-Anon or Nar-Anon support meetings is a great way to get feedback and feel support if you are struggling with helping a loved one who does not want to get sober yet.

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What are Signs of Meth Use?

Meth use has risen in the United States, raising the alarm about addiction and overdose. In 2018, data shows that nearly 1.9 million people used meth. According to the National Institute on drug abuse, meth overdose rates quadrupled from 2011 to 2017 alone. Due to the rising concerns about the drug, knowing how to recognize the signs of use can be helpful.
What is Meth?
Meth is a shorter name for a substance called methamphetamine. People also call meth by names like blue, crystal, ice, and speed. There is no legal use for meth.
Meth is a very addictive stimulant drug. It interacts with a person’s central nervous system and increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. This chemical interacts with a lot of body and brain functions. These functions lead to a high and the “reward system” part of the brain. This is part of what makes meth so addictive.
Methamphetamine is a white powder or pill. It has been described as bitter tasting. Crystal methamphetamine looks like shiny, glass-like fragments. Sometimes, crystal meth looks like blue or white rocks.
People take methamphetamine by swallowing, smoking, snorting, or injecting it.
Effects and Signs of Use
Short-Term Use Effects
These effects are similar to other stimulant drugs.
Decreased Appetite
Increased physical activity or less sleep
Fast breathing
Rapid or irregular heartbeat
Increased blood pressure
Higher body temperature
Long-Term Use Effects
Emotional and Behavioral Effects
As methamphetamines affect the brain, someone taking meth will have different emotional responses, reactions, and behaviors than usual. These reactions are a possible sign of meth use:
Anxiety
Paranoia
Hallucinations
Memory loss
Confusion
Sleeping problems
Violent Behavior
Uncharacteristic risk-taking behavior
Physical Effects
Methamphetamine use can change someone’s appearances. These physical effects are a possible sign of meth use:
Intense itching, dull skin, sores
Severe dental problems (this is known as “meth mouth”)
Extreme weight loss
Reduced coordination or sudden clumsiness
Impaired verbal learning (slurred or difficult to understand speech)
Dilated pupils and rapid eye movement
Other Possible Signs of Meth Use
Sudden changes in a person may suggest drug use. The presence of these signs does not guarantee that a person is using meth; however, these signs and behaviors have been observed in many meth users.
Unusual reckless behavior
Easily agitated, irritable, aggressive, or defensive
Picking at skin, hair-pulling, or twitching
Not eating for many hours or an entire day
Not wanting to sleep
Not caring about physical appearance or grooming
Financial and legal problems
Borrowing money or stealing

Having paraphernalia like needles, aluminum foil, or glass pipes
Additional Concerns
Meth is an illegal drug that is of great concern because it is so addictive. The high or rush someone feels from meth contributes to how addictive it is, as people may want to immediately feel this sensation over and over again. The more often a person uses meth, the more tolerant they become. This means that a person needs higher doses to achieve the same effects.
Additionally, people that take meth through injection are at increased risk of getting an infectious disease. A person can contract a disease such as HIV and hepatitis through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. This contact can happen through shared needles. This leads to other serious, potentially fatal, consequences.
Meth addiction may be difficult to overcome, but treatment success is absolutely possible with the correct support, medical attention, and rehabilitation drug treatment program. Seeking help is the best thing one can do. Please seek a trusted medical resource for any questions or concerns you may have about meth or addiction.
Resources
https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/atod
https://www.healthline.com/health/signs-that-someone-is-using-crystal-meth#how-to-help
https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/crystal-meth-what-you-should_know#1
https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/methamphetamine

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What are the Side Effects of Vicodin?

Vicodin is a brand name combination of the drugs Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen. Vicodin is prescribed by doctors to treat patients with severe pain. Knowing the potential side effect of Vicodin before taking the medicine can be helpful!
What is Vicodin?
Vicodin is a very strong pain killer. It is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is an opiate which helps with the pain relief. However, it is important to note that any opiate substance has the risk of leading to dependency, withdrawal, or addiction. Acetaminophen is a substance that reduces fever and is a mild pain reliever.
Side Effects
Some side effects of the drug are intentional. These include:
Less feeling or perception of pain
Euphoria-like feelings (some describe this as a high)
Relaxed or calm feelings
Suppression of cough
Vicodin can also cause undesired side effects. These include:
Dizziness
Lightheadedness or fainting
Drowsiness
Low blood pressure
Nausea
Body or muscle weakness
Impaired judgement or confusion
Some other side effects are less common, but can cause long term medical issues. These side effects may occur in people with preexisting medical conditions or if the drug interacts with another substance (other drugs or alcohol) that is shouldn’t. These side effects include:
Liver complications
Troubled breathing, decreased lung function, or partial collapse of airways
Allergic reactions
Abnormal heartbeat
Vision issues
Side Effects of Withdrawal
Withdrawal is the body’s response to no longer receiving the substances in a drug. The body responds this way as it becomes mentally or physically dependent on the drug. This can occur even when the medication was taken exactly as directed by a doctor, and is especially common in painkilling medications like Vicodin. Due to this, doctors will often prescribe a plan to help patients ween off of the medication by gradually reducing the dosage. Withdrawal symptoms are not typically life threatening, but can be more damaging to individuals with certain medical conditions. If you or a loved one are feeling extreme discomfort from any withdrawal symptoms, seek the guidance of a medical professional.
Possible withdrawal symptoms include:
Mood swings, often characterized by anxiety or irritability
yawning and insomnia
runny nose and other cold-like symptoms
sweating and chills
muscle aches and cramps
diarrhea
nausea and vomiting
Symptoms of Addiction or Overdose
Vicodin, as an opioid, can be highly addictive. Addiction means that a person compulsively continues taking the drug, regardless of any negative consequences. The combination of the “high” the drug causes and difficulties of withdrawal can cause someone to become especially susceptible to addiction. If taken in an unsafe matter at too high of a dose, a person can overdose on Vicodin. Signs of this can include:
Seizures
Bloody, cloudy urine or a sudden decrease in urine
Sweaty, cold and clammy skin
Lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
Extreme drowsiness, decrease responsiveness or consciousness
Chest pain, discomfort, or slow/irregular heartbeat
Low or no blood pressure or pulse
Not breathing
Unpleasant breath odor

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, please call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. Overdose on Vicodin can lead to coma or death.

If a doctor has prescribed this pain killer, he or she has made the assessment that the benefits of Vicodin outweigh the potential side effects. When taken as directed, Vicodin is very helpful in treating severe pain. However, this drug can be dangerous is not taken under doctor supervision. If someone takes too much of the drug, or takes the drug without prescription, potentially deadly results can occur. If you or someone you know is struggling with any of the side effects listed above, please seek medical attention immediately. If addiction is a potential concern, rehabilitation centers care great resources to provide the knowledge, support, and treatments necessary.

Resources
https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/hydrocodone-and-acetaminophen-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20074089
https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-3459/vicodin-oral/details/list-sideeffects
https://www.healthline.com/health/symptoms-vicodin-withdrawal
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Is Adderall Dangerous?

Conversations about opioids have become more common as media has been covering rising numbers of opioid abuse. With this in mind, people may wonder what opiates and opioids are. People may also want to know if a painkiller they have been prescribed, such as Percocet, is considered an opiate or opioid.
Percocet is in a class of drugs known as opioids.
What is the Difference between Opiates and Opioids?
Opiates and opioids sound similar because they are both drugs used to manage pain by interacting with the opioid receptors in the brain. However, these words are not interchangeable because they refer to different substances. Opiates only refer to substances that are derived naturally from the opium poppy plant. Opioids refer to all-natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids. Synthetic means that the substance is man-made.
What is Percocet?
Percocet is a prescription drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. They typically come in oral tablets and contain oxycodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen. Oxycodone, a morphine-like substance, is a synthetic opioid. This classifies Percocet in the opioid family of medicine.
Side effects of Percocet
Percocet leads to feelings of euphoria, calmness, and reduced perception of pain. However, there may be some unwanted side effects.
Side effects of Percocet include:
Nausea and vomiting
Constipation
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Drowsiness
Dry Mouth
Blurred vision
Sweating
Other side effects may be more serious. Immediate medical attention should be sought after if the following side effects occur:
Difficulty breathing
Low blood pressure
Shock
Symptoms of Withdrawal
Symptoms of Addiction
Allergic reactions
Withdrawal
When taking an opioid, the body and brain may develop a tolerance. This means that an increased dosage is required to feel the desired effects. Physical dependence can occur if the body and brain require the drug for normal functioning. Therefore, when someone suddenly stops taking an opioid, like Percocet, there can be adverse symptoms. This is called withdrawal. In order to prevent withdrawal symptoms, doctors typically will advise their patients to gradually decrease the amount of the drug taken.
Early symptoms of opioid withdrawal may include:
Feelings of agitation or anxiety
Muscle aches
Restlessness
Insomnia
Exhaustion
Cold-like symptoms (runny nose, sweating, fever)
Racing heart
Hypertension
Later symptoms of opioid withdrawal may include:
Stomach cramps
Nausea and vomiting
Irritability
Diarrhea
Depression
Opioids and Addiction
Opioids are known for being a high-risk drug for addiction. As Percocet contains an opioid, patients taking the medicine should know about the risk. Even when a patient takes Percocet exactly as their doctor prescribes, the drug can be habit-forming. Opioids are highly addictive due to the euphoria-like high, the physical dependence, and the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. With this in mind, it is important for patients and doctors to carefully and gradually end an opioid treatment.

Percocet is a painkiller medication that includes opioid substances. If you or someone you know shows serious or adverse side effects while taking Percocet please seek medical attention immediately. For questions or concerns about opioids or addiction, a rehabilitation or addiction treatment specialist is a great source of information and support.

Resources
https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/opioids/terms.html
https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2006/040330s015,040341s013,040434s003lbl.pdf
https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids
https://www.rxlist.com/percocet-side-effects-drug-center.htm
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What is Experience, Strength and Hope?

In recovery there are many clichés and phrases which are repeated often in 12-step support meetings. You may also hear these same phrases in a group setting typically found in an inpatient or outpatient treatment center. These clichés are often used frequently in recovery, because they mean a lot to the recovering person and are concepts that are believed to be easily grasped when repeated in settings like meetings or group therapy.
The simple phrase “Experience, Strength and Hope” refers to a topic or guideline that is typically delivered by a person who is speaking in a 12-step meeting or group therapy session. Using the topic of “Experience, Strength and Hope” for a meeting or group is a great way of keeping the focus on a positive message and can be interpreted in many different ways.
What “Experience, Strength and Hope” really means in a recovery setting can be broken down into a three-part message. The person who is speaking on this topic will typically give their experience in recovery, and then they will share what gives them strength in their recovery, followed by sharing some hope in recovery. The concept of sharing a message of “Experience, Strength and Hope” will likely sound different for most people, but it will give the same effect most of time.

Sharing Experience
An example of someone in recovery who is sharing their experience, strength and hope in a group may try and focus on first just giving their experience. This may be a story that shares about how the person got to a place where they were able to start their own journey of recovery. They may talk about what some of the consequences of their active addiction were or even some of the progression of their substance use. This concept of sharing experience in recovery is important to the newly recovering person, because it can show them that others who have been where they have been, are also able to get through their struggles.

Sharing Strength
After the experience part is shared in a recovery message, comes the strength part. This is typically where someone would focus on what gives them strength in their recovery so that others can learn how to do it for themselves. A recovering person who is sharing about their strength in recovery may talk what they do on a daily basis for their recovery or how they have gotten through tough times and not resorted to using drugs or alcohol during those tough times. A recovering person’s strength may look very different from person to person, but typically it can be very helpful for a newly recovering person to hear when someone shares how they can continue on in their recovery daily without using substances.

Sharing Hope
Lastly, after someone in recovery has shared their experience and strength, then comes when they share the hope part. This is typically when someone in recovery tells others about the positive changes that have come about in their life as a result of living a life in recovery. This may be when the person talks about physical, emotional and spiritual gifts of recovery, but they may also talk about goals and aspirations that are coming true for them now. People who are new in recovery can really benefit from hearing messages of hope, because at one time they may have felt completely hopeless about their own life.

Sharing Experience, Strength and Hope
The topic of “Experience, Strength and Hope” makes an ideal message for recovery group settings because the person speaking shares about their life in recovery in a format that takes the listener through a story of where they have been, what they are doing now and what can happen for anyone else. When people share their “Experience, Strength and Hope” it puts a message of recovery into a format that not only helps the listener, but also helps the person sharing.
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What Does OxyContin Look Like?

OxyContin is a medicine often prescribed by doctors to help patients manage pain. The painkiller has gained more attention in the media in connection to prescription overdose. Knowing what OxyContin is and what it looks like can be helpful.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is the brand name of a prescription medication containing oxycodone. It is in the opioid class of drugs. Prescribed for chronic or long-lasting pain, OxyContin is a time-release tablet of oxycodone.
What Names Might it be Called?
Although OxyContin is a prescription medication, you may hear people refer to it with other names. OxyContin has been referred to as:
Oxy
C.
Killer
Ox
Oxy Cotton
Kicker
Blue
Hillbilly heroin
What does the Drug Physically Look Like?
OxyContin is a pill tablet. Someone abusing OxyContin may crush the tablet to ingest or snort it. Someone may also mix it with water in order to inject it. These are both very unsafe, as OxyContin should be taken only in the pill form.
OxyContin tablets come in different dosage sizes: 10 milligram (mg), 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg. Rarely, 160 mg pills may be prescribed. They vary in color, but will always have the letters “OC” printed on one side and the number of milligram dosage on the other. Usually, these pills are round circular tablets, but higher dose pills may be an oblong oval shape. For an example of this, see the image below.

What Behaviors or Symptoms Might I See in Someone taking OxyContin?
Early Side Effects
OxyContin changes how the brain reacts to pain. Someone taking OxyContin may describe a euphoric, “high” feeling. Someone on this pain killer may also experience sleepiness, calmness, or constipation. A person taking OxyContin may seem “out of it,” “silly,” or react and speak slower than normal.
Withdrawal
Pain patients, however, sometimes develop a physical dependence during treatment with opioids. This is not the same thing as an addiction. With more tolerance of OxyContin, patients may require higher dosages to feel its effects. Doctors can help these patients find the best plan to manage pain. This will likely include a withdrawal plan with a gradual decrease in the medication.
Withdrawal can occur in patients even when they follow dosages exactly as prescribed. When going through withdrawal, behaviors may change again. Mood swings or anger can occur, especially as someone craves the medicine and its effects. Other withdrawal symptoms could include sudden changes in personality or behavior, restlessness, trouble sleeping, anxiety, watering eyes, runny nose, sweating, muscle aches, nausea, or diarrhea.
Please seek medical help when observing withdrawal symptoms, as doctors can create plans that ease these symptoms and make patients more safe and comfortable.
It is important to remember to properly dispose of any leftover OxyContin tablets after your treatment is complete. It can be dangerous to leave them in your home, as opioids should not be taken without physician prescription and supervision. Others may take medicine, possibly leading to dangerous consequences.
Addiction
Doctors have reported that OxyContin is a high-risk drug for addiction or overdose. If a patient continues to use the medication after pain management is completed, they might be addicted. This means that they are so compelled to take the substance that they are no longer thinking about the harm it could do to them or the potential mental, physical, or social consequences.
Possible signs of addiction may include:
Change in personality
Change in social circle
Difficulties with friends and family
Financial struggles
Missing important appointments or obligations
Loss of interest in favorite things
Neglecting self-care or hygiene
Suddenly over-energetic and erratic
Eating more or less than usual
Strange sleeping habits
Please seek a health professional’s help if you or a loved one is ready and in need of assistance with any opioid difficulties, especially when symptoms of withdrawal or addiction are present. Treatment and recovery are a great source of support in helping someone successfully maintain and secure a healthy lifestyle.
Resources
https://store.samhsa.gov/product/OxyContin-Prescription-Drug-Abuse-2008-Revision/sma08-4138
https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs6/6025/index.htm
https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-2798/oxycontin-oral/details
https://www.thinglink.com/scene/774811199874269184https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html
https://easyread.drugabuse.gov/content/what-are-some-signs-and-symptoms-someone-drug-use-problem
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Does OxyContin Make You Angry?

Have you or a loved one been prescribed the painkiller OxyContin? Have you noticed a change in mood? Know what to expect! Typical side effects of OxyContin may differ with side effects of OxyContin addiction or withdrawal. Most often, anger is only a side effect of OxyContin withdrawal.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is the brand name of the medication Oxycodone, from the opioid class of drugs. Doctors may prescribe OxyContin to help relieve patient’s moderate to severe pain. It is essential to take OxyContin exactly as prescribed by your doctor, as opioids are known to be high-risk for addiction.
Typical OxyContin Side Effects
Changes in mood can occur, but anger and aggression is not a typical side effect of OxyContin (See the full list of side effects below).
Nausea
Vomiting
Constipation
Dry mouth
Weakness
Sweating
Lightheadedness
Dizziness
Drowsiness
Seek medical help right away for any of the following symptoms:
Interrupted breathing during sleep
Changes in heartbeat
Severe stomach/abdominal pain
Difficulty urinating
Unusual loss of appetite
Unusual tiredness
Weight loss
Fainting
Fever
Allergic reaction (rash, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing)
Mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations)

The effects of this painkiller are more likely to make a person feel euphoric or high, not angry. If aggressive mood swings occur, please seek the advice of a medical professional immediately.
Of course, people are prescribed this medication due to physical pain. Small initial moments of frustration or agitation could be a natural response to that physical pain, not the drug.
OxyContin Dependence, Addiction, and Mood
Mood swings could occur in someone struggling with dependence or abuse of OxyContin. The more the opioid is consumed, the more the body becomes dependent upon it. This could cause someone to experience unusual behavior or bursts of aggression. The FDA warns that OxyContin is a high risk drug for addiction.
Other possible psychological side effects of OxyContin abuse include altered perception of reality, depression, anxiety, negative self-esteem, paranoia, confusion, or drastic changes in personality. Doctor switching and anger due to difficulty getting the opioid has also been reported.
OxyContin Withdrawal and Mood
Anger or mood swings connected to OxyContin is most often caused by withdrawal. If you notice strong personality or emotional changes, it might be a sign of withdrawal. Withdrawal is the body’s initial reaction after suddenly stopping the use of a substance. For many, withdrawal can begin within 8 hours of the last dose and last about 2 weeks.
Early withdrawal symptoms include the following:
Mood changes
Agitation, irritation, aggression
Anxiety, Restlessness

Sleep changes or insomnia
Muscle aches
Cold-like symptoms (runny nose, sweating)
Late withdrawal symptoms include:
Nausea and vomiting
Diarrhea
Abdominal cramps
Reduced appetite
Dilated pupils
Blurry vision
Chills
Rapid heartbeat
High blood pressure

Withdrawal symptoms are typically non-life threatening, but can be difficult to manage without proper medical guidance. Medicines, detox programs, and support from therapy and rehabilitation facilities can help!

Remember that medicines will interact with everyone differently. However, significant aggression or personality changes could be side effects of OxyContin dependence, addiction, or withdrawal. If you are concerned with your reactions to OxyContin, whether they are mood swings or other symptoms, please speak to your doctor. Therapists are trusted sources for guidance, especially if there are any concerns about possible opioid problems. With knowledge and support, you can overcome OxyContin addiction or withdrawal safely and successfully.

Resources
https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-2798/oxycontin-oral/details
https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20010726/fda-issues-new-warnings-on-painkiller-oxycontin#1
https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000949.htm
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851054/
https://store.samhsa.gov/product/OxyContin-Prescription-Drug-Abuse-2008-Revision/sma08-4138
The post Does OxyContin Make You Angry? appeared first on Steps to Recovery.


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Does Pennsylvania Medicaid cover Methadone?

Methadone is one of three legal, long-acting medications approved by the FDA to treat opioid use disorder. However, coverage of this medicine varies by state and insurance. Pennsylvania does cover methadone treatment services. For individuals and loved ones seeking recovery, work with a treatment professional to find the best options for you!
What is Methadone?
Methadone is a drug used to treat Opioid Use Disorder. Methadone, a medication-assisted treatment (MAT), helps people by reducing opioid craving and withdrawal symptoms. Methadone treats heroin dependence by normalizing body and brain functions and hormones that are impaired by heroin use. Methadone is a replacement therapy medication that leads to reduced drug use, reduced risk of HIV, improved physical health, improved psychological health, reduced criminal behavior, and improved social adjustment. By law, methadone is only dispensed through certified opioid treatment program facilities.
Individuals in treatment receive a daily oral dosage of methadone as an element of a full treatment plan, whether that plan be short term detoxification or long term maintenance. This drug is an important part of an addiction treatment plan that helps people have long term success. It is most effective when paired with counseling, education, and support.
What is Medicaid?
Medicaid is a health coverage program that covers eligible low-income Americans. It is also known as Medical Assistance, or “MA.” Medicaid is administered by state, but also receives federal requirements and funding. As of March 2020, 64.1 million people were covered through Medicaid. Learn how to apply for Medicaid in Pennsylvania here.
Pennsylvania Medicaid and Methadone
Yes, methadone treatment is covered in the state of Pennsylvania, through MCOs.
The PA Department of Public Welfare released the following statement about why methadone is a covered treatment:
Methadone treatment services are included in the Pennsylvania State Plan as a covered service under Medicaid because they are effective in treating heroin and other opioid dependence. Methadone treatment consists of either short term detoxification or longer term maintenance and is offered in conjunction with counseling and other supports. PA is among 43 states that provide methadone treatment services under their Medicaid Program as a treatment option for opioid dependence.
The Pennsylvania Department of Human Services functions through HealthChoices. Mental health and drug and alcohol services, which could include methadone treatment care, are provided through your county’s contracted Managed Care Organization (MCO). For methadone coverage approval, individuals need to first be in a treatment program.
For individuals eligible for services under the Fee-For-Service program, see this list for county assistance contact information.
The Medical Assistance Transportation Program (MATP) often will pay people to transport themselves to methadone treatment centers. Typically, methadone is administered daily and in-person onsite clinical treatment locations. However, physicians can authorize specific quantities of take home doses once an individual is stable and successful meets responsibility and education requirements. The goal is to safely provide as much support as possible.
Since methadone is provided in conjunction with step-treatment plans and therapy, the most important first step is seeking help from a medical provider. Methadone treatment services, dispensed through certified opioid treatment programs, will help you correctly navigate program eligibility and the right steps towards recovery and a stable, healthy life. Treatment programs will guide you through the process, aiming to lead you to long-term success.
Resources
https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/treatment/methadone
http://matp.pa.gov/PDF/MethadoneFAQ.pdf
https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-methrev-toc~drugtreat-pubs-methrev-4
https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/index.html
https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/Medical-Assistance.aspx
http://www.healthchoices.pa.gov/
https://www.dhs.pa.gov/Services/Assistance/Pages/CAO-Contact.aspx
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