Treatment and Recovery

Getting Help

If you or someone you know needs help immediately because of a potential overdose, call 911 now.

To seek treatment for heroin or prescription opioid abuse or addiction, use the "Locate treatment" resource available through Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 

To learn more about naloxone, a drug that can be used to block or reverse the effects of an overdose, click here.

Indicators for Persons with Addiction

Opioids, when used appropriately, can be very effective for treating pain.  Some people develop tolerance. He or she might begin to think obsessively about getting drugs and will exhibit uncharacteristic behaviors (lying, stealing, etc) and do anything to obtain the drug. They also may need more of the drug to feel high.

Tolerance to the effect of opioids and heroin develops faster than tolerance to the dangerous effects. This means people can take too much. High doses can cause respiratory arrest and lead to death.

Answering yes to at least three of the following questions means you or someone you love could be suffering from an addiction to opioids and/or heroin and should seek treatment: 

  • Has your use increased over time?
  • Do you use more than you would like, or more than is prescribed?
  • Have you experienced negative consequences of your using?
  • Have you put off doing things because of your drug use?
  • Do you find yourself thinking obsessively about getting or using your drug?
  • Have you made unsuccessful attempts at cutting down your drug use?
  • Do you experience any of these withdrawal symptoms when you stop using?
    • Low energy, irritability, anxiety, agitation, insomnia
    • Runny nose, teary eyes
    • Hot and cold sweats, goose bumps
    • Yawning
    • Muscle aches and pains
    • Abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea

How effective is treatment?

Treatment can save your life. But addiction is a chronic disease like diabetes or high blood pressure, so long-term treatment is usually needed.

There are a variety of ways to treat an addiction. Trained health care providers specializing in treatment can go over the pros and cons of each method to treat addiction and build a recovery plan that works.

**Content adapted from State of Alaska/Department of Health and Social Services.  http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Director/Pages/heroin-opioids/default.aspx, accessed 10/6/2017