What’s on your mind?
These guides may help.

What are the signs of opioid addiction? When should I start talking about treatment? Can I do something to support my loved one in recovery? Why is addiction so hard to overcome? Is there help for the rest of the family? Here are tools to start the conversation.

For Everyone
  • We now know that opioid addiction is a recurring brain disease. Yes, a disease. It's not a personal weakness or lack of willpower. It's important to remember that. This guide includes facts to help you better understand the disease yourself, explain it to others, and combat the stigma of addiction.

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  • You sense that something isn't right with your loved one and you can't help worrying about what is causing it. This guide may help. Turning your fears into positive action is a good first step. Opioid addiction is a recurring brain disease affecting millions.1

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    1. American Society of Addiction Medicine. Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts & Figures. www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf. Published 2016. Accessed August 10, 2016.
  • Opioid dependence is a chronic disease. As with other chronic diseases, relapse can occur. Don't give up, don't lose hope. Relapse can be considered an expected part of the recovery journey.

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For Caregivers
  • You're the caregiver for a loved one thinking about opioid dependence treatment. Maybe it's their first treatment, or they could be struggling after a relapse. Maybe they're ready, or maybe they're unsure. Whatever the situation, it's good you're looking ahead.

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  • You're seeing the effects opioid use is having on your loved one. During opioid use, it may seem like their life is spinning out of control. You may be angry and frustrated, but you're also worried. And, you may feel helpless. Don't wait for a crisis or "rock bottom". Encourage and support your loved one to enter treatment today.

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  • When you're walking the recovery path with someone you love, challenges are part of the journey. You're a caregiver for someone with a disease. Recovery takes time–treatment plans and duration of treatment are different for everyone, and relapses may occur.1 Your caregiving efforts may also extend to other family members. You may be anxious about the unknown future.

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    1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition). National Institute on Drug Abuse. Rockville, MD: National Institutes of Health; 2012. NIH Publication No. 12-4180.
For Patients
  • That's a hard question. And it takes courage to ask it. So, you're already stronger than you think. You want to know the truth. You're in the right place. We are here to help you learn more.

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  • You've decided to talk to a healthcare professional about treatment for opioid addiction. That means you're already on the path to recovery. And together, you and your healthcare professional can determine what treatment plan is right for you to help you stay on the path to recovery.

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  • Opioid addiction is a complex disease, affecting both the brain and behavior, and each person brings individual needs to treatment.1 That's why a comprehensive treatment plan should be developed with a healthcare provider. Different treatment programs may have somewhat different approaches, and there's no one "best" way. Still there are important principles of effective treatment to keep in mind.1

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    1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A research-based guide. Bethesda, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health; 2014. NIH publication 14-5605.