All drugs in the opioid class have similar effects to heroin. Other opioids include opium, morphine, oxycodone, OxyContin, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine and carfentanil. The effects of these drugs include pain relief, cough suppression, a false sense of well-being, drowsiness, constipation, difficulty concentrating, slowed breathing, and apathy. Like heroin, all these drugs can lead to physical and psychological dependence, as well as fatal overdoses.
What are opioids and what are their differences?
Heroin – Heroin is made from the opium poppy and the process of producing it incorporates various chemicals and involves many steps. It is snorted, smoked or injected. Typically, many that became addicted to heroin started with prescription medication, opioids such as OxyContin or Percocet. Then at some point, the prescription medication either became too expensive or unavailable. Since heroin is typically cheaper and readily available on the street, it becomes the next best option. When an addict is dope sick, in desperation, they will do things they never dreamed of doing just to get well.
Fentanyl – Fentanyl is a second-generation synthetic-class opioid, highly addictive and 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl was initially intended to manage chronic pain in patients with serious health conditions such as cancer, or after an invasive surgical procedure. It is categorized as a prescription pain reliever sold in an injectable form, a lozenge or lollipop, or as an extended-release patch. It is also manufactured illegally and sold on the black market. This drug surfaced on the streets of New York in the early 1970’s and bore the label “China white”. Today, Fentanyl is cheaply made and commonly substituted for heroin or added to it to increase its effects. This is very dangerous and often leads to fatal overdoses.
Carfentanil – Carfentanil is structurally equivalent to fentanyl but much more powerful, literally 100 times more powerful. It has a similar chemical makeup but differs in some ways. This substance was initially licensed to sedate large animals such as elephants and can be up to 4000 times more powerful than heroin. Prior to 2017, it was considered a non-controlled substance in China and easily purchased through the mail. Similar in appearance to table salt, just 1 mg added to a half gram of heroin is powerful enough to kill 25,000 people.
If you suspect that someone you love or care about is using, abusing or addicted to opioids, there’s no time to waste. Please don’t wait until it’s too late. When in doubt, be sure to check it out.
It is very important to understand that these synthetic substances do not necessarily show up in your typical store bought (over-the-counter) test kit. They should be obtained and administered by a professional for certain accuracy.
We can help! Call 866.543.3361 today or visit us at www.newlifespiritrecovery.com for supportive resources and treatment options, including a free intervention book. We are leaders in Christ centered, clinically based addiction treatment for men and women since 2005. If we can’t help, we will find someone who can.
Addiction, in most cases, is less about pleasure-seeking and more about a person’s need to escape and dissociate from the pain of emotional isolation. We are made with a craving at the core of our being for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationships. This craving has been placed into us by our Creator to cause us to seek out the fulfillment of that relationship need with Him and others.
Typically, our first relationship connection experience is with other human beings before it is with God and we quickly learn through traumatic experience that others cannot be trusted to reliably meet our need for intimate connection. This in turn hinders or even prevents authentic connect with our Heavenly Father because we interpret our connection with God through the filter of our human experiences. So, the conclusion is made that if I get vulnerable with people, I’ll get hurt…and if that’s true in all of my human relationships, that’s probably going to be true in a relationship with God.
People Often Turn to Meth for Unmet Emotional Needs
So, we learn to fear emotional vulnerability and intimacy and we distance ourselves from other people and God…pushing away the very solution to our core need that we innately crave. With both God and people now at “safe” distance, we find ourselves turning to addictive substances and/or behaviors as a way to “not feel” our unmet emotional intimacy needs.
One of the most common substances that people turn to to relieve these unmet emotional needs for intimacy is Methamphetamine…also known as Meth, Speed, Crank, Tweek, Uppers, Chalk, Christina, Tina, Go fast, Cookies, Cotton Candy, Dunk, Gak, Go-Go Juice, No Doze, White Cross, Pookie, Rocket Fuel, Scooby Snax, Wash, Trash, or Garbage.
Despite the inherent dangers, meth is alluring to many people, especially those who are trapped in their emotional pain. Meth is a stimulant that profoundly affects the brain. It causes the body to release 10 times its normal level of dopamine, the brain’s pleasure chemical. It also prompts a rush of norepinephrine, or adrenaline. For those who are feeling down in the dumps, meth can make someone feel like Superman – like they can do anything. Meth can produce a high that lasts hours or even days. Users have an increase in energy. Meth use also increases sex drive and enhance body movement and mood. Meth is often preferred over other stimulants, such as cocaine, because it is much easier obtain and very cheap.
When meth hits the bloodstream, it creates an artificial pleasure sensation by sending pleasure impulses to the brain. Dopamine is the body’s ultimate “feel good” chemical. With sex, dopamine levels jump to about 200 and cocaine use causes them to reach 350. Several studies, however, report that meth use spikes these levels to 1,250 units. Even from the first time someone uses meth, the high is significant, and the brain registers that experience as a “hard-coded” memory. From that moment on, the brain tries to recapture those same positive feelings that were experienced with the first use, which is often impossible. Your brain adapts to meth use almost immediately, which means that more and more of the drug is required each time to “chase” that initial high. This chase leads to severe meth addiction, which has some startling and horrifying effects on your body and mind.
Eventually the brain shuts down the production of dopamine because it is getting more than enough from the meth. The user then cannot experience any pleasure on their own. They must use meth in higher and higher amounts in order to feel happy. Over time, meth use will cause decreased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter similar to dopamine. This may lead to Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Effects of meth abuse over time can be quite serious and some are even irreversible such as “Meth Mouth” (extreme tooth decay), seizures, impaired memory, psychosis and violent behavior, hallucinations, heart damage, kidney failure, STDs, coma and death.
How to Overcome the Need for Adreneline
Of course, the question we eventually have to ask ourselves is, “Is the short-term adrenaline rush that’s helping me avoid my hurt and pain worth the long term affects?” After all, when the “rush” has run its course…the problems, hurts and pains are still there beckoning for my attention.
The good news is that God sees us in our emotional isolation, self-made vices and addictions, and He not only engages us but He loves us and provides the way out. While most counseling and treatment focuses on behavior modification and creating new patterns that produce different results, we know from God’s Word that the only way to a new life is to turn away from the old life. The good news of the Bible is that God has the power and authority to give you a new heart: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26).
God does not see us in our self-induced sadness, depression, habitual sin, brokenness and addiction and just leave us there. HE PROVIDES A WAY OUT. He does not just modify the behavior…He fundamentally and profoundly transforms the heart. He does this by entering into the depths of our core need for intimate, dependable and empathetic relationship and reveals His heart’s love, forgiveness and grace to us. His love brings the inner healing that no human being can provide and the freedom and peace to our souls that goes beyond human expression and understanding. He proves Himself trustworthy in His love for us and we begin to experience “being loved”…maybe for the first time in our lives.
The adrenaline “rush” that comes from our surrender hearts to God’s love is like none that meth can provide…because it lasts and never stops! It empowers us to be strong in the midst of trials and tribulations! Instead of running into the arms of meth as our false comforter, we run into the arms of the True Comforter, Jesus Christ! It is He who becomes our strength to overcome and empowers us to walk in continued love, healing, peace and joy! Jesus is the TRUE “Adrenaline Rush” that leads to LIFE! Read more about the 4 things Jesus would do about addiction
At New Life Spirit Recovery, we want to help you overcome your addiction and help you realize the depth of God’s love for you! We would love to partner with you to become an overcomer and help you walk into your future free from your addiction and experiencing the greatest and truest adrenaline rush in all creation…God’s love!
As we engage in addiction, the enemy robs us of our “true self” with the many lies that we accept as truth. This happens because our addiction creates an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame, which in turn causes us to avoid and run away from God. As we drift further and further from God, unknowingly we also drift further and further away from who we really are. God is our “Identity Giver” and the longer and farther we drift from Him, the more of our “true self” we lose. It is God’s design for us to live in His identity for us. As we do, it is His intention for us to thrive as we bare and reflect His image to Him, to ourselves, and to the world around us.
This article is being written to highlight the importance and power that resides in living our lives in our “true self” as God intends and enables us to do. But to regain that truth within us, we need to be willing to go to battle. Not a battle against flesh and blood, but against the lies that keep our true identity hidden from us. The battle ground…our minds and what we choose to believe about God and ourselves.
We Are Who God Says We Are
The moment we understand the power of our minds and the individuality of our thinking and how we have control over how we think…we are truly able to experience true transformation. When we see ourselves the way God sees us…as His wonderful works and as a reflection of His image, then we see what is inside of us and begin to perceive ourselves and the world around us in a different way. (Ps. 139:14). Each of us is meant to bear His glory in our own unique way…we all have a beautiful way of stewarding eternity (Eccles. 3:11; Gen. 1-2). Seeing ourselves as we truly are…as God sees us…changes us from the inside out. Our “true self” is unlocked. This is much more that finding your “purpose”…it is about finding “yourself”…your “true self” that God created and sees.
We are created in and reflect His image. The world will lose out if you do not operate in your “true self”. You are a specific part of His reflection, the missing piece that brings a unique perspective and hope to the world. There is no one like you, which means there is something you can do that no one else can do. Because of who you are, your experience will enhance others around you. When you are not the “real” you, everyone misses out on knowing God better, because as His “Image Bearer” you reflect His image in a unique and beautiful way.
We Are Worthy
Only you can be your specific type of “self”. By operating in our God created “true self”, we celebrate who we are as God intended us to be! In a world where we are told that we’re not worthy or do not measure up to an expected standard, this celebration is very critical. We cannot truly live for God or transform our world around us if we hate what we see in the mirror. Your “real” self…as God sees you…is so deeply wired within us as bearers of God’s image…that when we recognize it, we develop an intimate awareness of, and desire for, the need to be “ourselves”. You become aware that you are fundamentally good (Gen. 1:31).
We Are More Than Enough
In addition, when we connect with our “true self” (as God sees us), we accept the truth that we are more than enough. As we begin to accept this truth about ourselves, we can walk in anticipation and freedom through life, rejoicing despite the circumstances that befall us. Operating in our “true self” brings satisfaction and contentment. It reveals our innermost qualities which are bound in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control (Gal. 5:22-23). It is hopeful…it never gives up, enduring through every circumstance.
Operating in your “true self” is the way you choose to see your world filled with love instead of fear. It is what we all crave, so that impatience and unkindness, irritability, pride and boastfulness, unforgiveness, wrong choices and trauma…all of which disrupt this fulfillment…cause us to seek to recapture this “true self” feeling in an attempt to restore order in our minds, bodies and spirit. Accepting our “true self” also removes us from the mindsets of shame and guilt. We can then enter into a mindset of hope of endless possibilities.
Your “true self”, when realized and accepted, will take you from missing the mark of being made in God’s image to stepping into who your truly are. In this way, you will move from trauma to freedom, from pain to peace, from indecision to action, from confusion to clarity, from envy to celebration, from frustration to anticipation, from being overwhelmed to being set free, from feat to courage, from suppressing issues to having the courage to face them, from numbing thoughts to capturing them, from passivity to passion, and from hopelessness to hope. It will help you understand what you are stewarding and how to remain a good steward of your life no matter what comes your way. If you understand your “true self”…your God given self…you will understand how you think, feel and choose and therefore how to renew your mind, enabling you to face life’s challenges (Ron. 12:2).
Our Identity Determines Our Recovery
For the recovering addict, what we accept about our identity can make the difference between true freedom and life…relapse or death. Our identity is fundamental to our nature, so we are always seeking after our “true self”. It is the core of who we are and it’s only when we find our “true self” in God’s identity of us that we will live in true hope, joy and love. Everyone is trying to identify us with all kinds of labels…and we all too often accept them and it usually isn’t good for us…or even true about us. God is combating those false identities and labels in your life with His truth about you really are to Him. Listen to that voice and live in peace and freedom!