CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. - According to a national survey on drug use, more than two million Americans misused pain relievers for the first time in the last year.
"These drugs are very powerful and can lead to dependency," said Dr. Michael Flicker, medical director of Same Day Detox in Coral Springs, Fla.
"In the past two years I've been on the pain pills and muscle relaxers every day," said a woman who asked to be known as Susan.
"I realized three months ago that I had a problem. I wasn't thinking as clearly, I was making small mistakes that I normally wouldn't do," she said.
When she decided she needed help, she turned to Flicker's Same Day Detox facility.
"I just wanted to get it over with an get on with my life," Susan said.
Utilizing a system known as anesthesia assisted rapid opiate detoxification, patients undergo withdrawal symptoms in a matter of hours rather than days.
"Basically we are flushing the system. We are giving them medications that take the opiates out of the receptors in the body and replace them with a receptor blocker," said Flicker.
Patients must recieve medical clearnace prior to treatment and submit to an in-depth psychological evaluation.
"Even though we're detoxing them, the person still needs to go to rehab, whether it be 12 step, group counseling, residential counseling, whatever they need to do," said Flicker.
Not everyone is a candidate for the process. Patients must have a strong and committed desire to detox.
"The danger of the receptor blockers is that if anybody goes back to their opiate use, they can actually overdose," said Flicker.
Now on the road to recovery, Susan knows the key is to finding alternatives to dealing with her pain.
"Be it acupuncture or physical therapy, non-narcotic medications, or anti-inflammatories, whatever," she said. "This is what I have to do."
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