Opioid Painkillers Can Impact Professional Sporting Careers

Opioid Painkiller Addiction
Opioid Painkiller Addiction

Keep your sporting career on track and access the support you need with Turn to Help today. 

Athletes are widely acknowledged as the healthiest and fittest people in our society, with rigorous training schedules and meticulously created diets forming an important part of their lives. Naturally, one would assume that these individuals are unlikely to form an addiction to any drug, but this is not always true. Opioid painkiller addiction can affect anyone, including professional athletes.

In a study that analysed opioid use in athletes, it was revealed that high school athletes had lifetime opioid use rates of 28% to 46%.1 Therefore, athletes may face the risk of developing an opioid painkiller addiction.

Why Athletes?

In the modern day where millions of dollars rest on the performance of professional athletes, it’s only natural that a degree of stress is experienced by sporting professionals in the lead-up to competitive events. 

Additionally, athletes may experience greater exposure to the risk of injury than that of the average individual, either as a result of prolonged and intensive training and competition, or a consequence of sport-specific movements that place stress on the body. The combination of enhanced stress and the need to overcome or even play through pain means athletes may be prescribed opioid painkillers.

When an athlete uses opioid painkillers, an addiction has the potential to form as a result of the boosting feelings of pleasure that opioids offer.2 Furthermore, the regularity of professional sporting competition, the rigorous training regimes, and the constant expectation to perform at a certain level may put them at a high risk of using substances as a coping mechanism.3

What Are The Risks Of Opioid Painkiller Addiction?

While opioid painkillers offer euphoric and relaxing feelings initially,2 excessive use can expose athletes to the problematic physical side effects of opioid painkiller addiction that may inhibit their performance. Individuals may experience drowsiness, confusion, and nausea, as a result of prescription opioid use, and this may subtract from an athlete’s performance.4

Opioid painkiller addiction also puts the individual at risk of developing symptoms of anxiety,4 and it has been widely acknowledged that mental health issues can be just as debilitating for athletes as a physical injury.5 Other side effects of opioids involve the risk of developing insomnia,4 and this may be particularly unfavourable for athletes who depend on quality sleep for recovery and to give them the energy they need to perform.

How Can Athletes Avoid Opioid Painkiller Addiction?

While it’s important to recognise that not every athlete that uses opioid painkillers will become addicted, it’s crucial to identify the symptoms of opioid painkiller addiction early before they progress. Whether an athlete is concerned about their own opioid painkiller use or that of a teammate, they can speak to their doctor and utilise the self-assessment tool on the Turn To Help website. The self-assessment tool allows an individual to reflect on their opioid painkiller use, and learn about the support that is available to them. 

The chances of an opioid painkiller addiction developing are increased when opioids are taken at a higher dose or more frequently than prescribed.2 Therefore, an important step in preventing an opioid painkiller addiction from occurring is ensuring that the prescribed dosage schedule is adhered to. Education is also crucial, and understanding the risks of excessive use is important in preventing the development of an addiction. Discussing opioid painkiller addiction with a doctor can also help you understand the risks involved. Furthermore, notifying your doctor of any prior substance abuse or existing courses of medication will assist your doctor in prescribing a customised dosage schedule that can help the athlete use opioid painkillers effectively.  

Self-reflection is an important aspect in identifying an opioid painkiller addiction and ensuring it does not hinder a professional sporting career. Consider whether it has become difficult to stick to your prescribed dosage. Are strong cravings for opioid painkillers being experienced? Maybe a teammate has been using opioid painkillers outside of the recommended times? Has their behaviour changed, and is their emotional state becoming increasingly hard to predict? Perhaps they’re not getting enough sleep and have begun to miss training sessions. 

If the answers to any of these questions is ‘yes’, it’s a good idea for you or your teammate to contact a doctor, visit the Turn To Help website and use the self-reflection tool and read about the types of support that is available.

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today

The Turn To Help website can help you locate a nearby doctor for a confidential consultation to address your opioid painkiller addiction. You may find it very useful to utilise the Doctor Discussion Guide that is available on the website to prepare for your meeting. This guide can be used to direct the conversation with your healthcare professional.

References: 1. Sports Health – Opioid Use in Athletes: A Systematic Review. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32758077/. Accessed 13 July 2023. 2. Mayo Clinic. How opioid use disorder occurs. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372. Accessed 23 May 2024. 3. Sporting Bounce. The Psychological Impact of Substance ABuse on Athletes. Available at: https://www.sportingbounce.com/blog/the-psychological-impact-of-substance-abuse-on-athletes. Accessed 23 May 2024.  4. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 12 December 2023. 5. Cleveland Clinic. Athletes and Mental Health: Breaking the Stigma. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/mental-health-in-athletes. Accessed 12 February 2024.

Are You Worried About the Impact Opioid Injection Addiction May Have on Your Future?

Opioid Injection Addiction
Opioid Injection Addiction

It’s never too late to get things back on track. Reach out to Turn To Help for opioid injection addiction support.

It is estimated that more than 68,000 Australians inject drugs such as heroin each year,1 and opioid-related deaths accounted for 62 per cent of drug-induced deaths in 2016.2 These figures clearly illustrate the impact that opioids have had on Australians. While individuals may try opioids recreationally without the intention of using these substances regularly, the high they provide can lead to an addiction. This can be particularly harmful for young people who lack a clear understanding of the potential impact that an opioid injection addiction can have on their lives. 

If you are worried about the impact opioid injections are having on your social relationships, family life, health, education and career, there are a range of support options and resources available to assist you in your recovery and to help you take back control of your life.

Number of Australians who inject drugs

When Does Recreation Become Addiction?

Have you been relying on injecting opioids to get you through the day? Are you experiencing the side effects of withdrawal when you refrain from injecting opioids? If this sounds familiar, you may be dealing with an opioid injection addiction. Young people may try opioids for the first time, assuming it is just for fun, and it will be a one-time occurrence. They may also be influenced by their social circle, and this may be one factor that leads to consistent opioid use. 

When opioid use becomes more regular, there are some tell-tale signs that indicate recreational use has developed into an addiction. Signs of addiction include being unable to say no when someone offers you opioids, or consistently neglecting work or study responsibilities and healthy relationships to spend time using opioids. Furthermore, opioid injection addiction often sees individuals lose interest in things that they once enjoyed, such as sport or education.

The Impact of Opioid Injection Addiction

Opioid injection addiction can be extremely difficult for not only the addicted individual but also the people around them. If you are dealing with an opioid injection addiction, you may experience a range of side effects that can inhibit your social life and negatively impact your education or work. Long-term side effects include displaying symptoms of anxiety,3  and experiencing mood swings and a tendency to avoid contact with family and friends,4 all of which can contribute to the breakdown of relationships. 

When injecting opioids, you may also experience physical side effects including nausea, drowsiness, and shaky hands.4

If you are unsure whether your opioid injection addiction might impact your future, you may need to ask yourself: Is your opioid injection addiction impacting your performance at school, university, or work? Does your addiction have a negative impact on your relationships with your friends and family? These could be signs that injecting opioids is having a negative impact on your life and may negatively influence your future. It is never too late to reach out for help and support, to take back control of your life, and avoid the impacts of opioid injection addiction.

Help Is Available

An important step in accessing support and help is firstly admitting there is a problem, and this is often hard to do. If you are unsure if you have an addiction, you may wish to utilise the self-assessment tool on the Turn To Help website which provides several helpful questions to help you reflect on your opioid use. For many people, focusing on a goal they would like to achieve assists them in beginning their road to recovery and the journey that lies ahead. Your goal may relate to why you would like to make a change to your opioid injection addiction; be it the impact it is having on your health, your social relationships, or the impact it is having on your education and career. 

While the journey ahead may be daunting, it is important to understand that you are not alone. There are many support systems and resources available to help you. One such resource is seeking assistance from a healthcare professional – you can locate a nearby doctor through the Turn To Help website. By scheduling a confidential appointment, you can receive expert guidance tailored to your specific needs, helping you avoid further risks associated with opioid injection addiction and to protect both your health and your future prospects.

Consult a healthcare professional

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today

Accessing the support and guidance of a doctor for opioid injection addiction minimises the risk of experiencing side effects and helps to stabilise your emotions. By reaching out to these medical professionals, you can start your recovery and work towards improving your personal relationships, health, social life, and education or career.

If you feel that you are struggling with an opioid injection addiction, it is best to consult a doctor and access the support available. Various forms of support and resources are available at Turn To Help for those affected by opioid injection addiction.

References: 1. Larney S, et al. (2017). Estimating the number of people who inject drugs in Australia. BMC Public Health. 17, 757. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4785-7.  2.  Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Opioid Harm In Australia: and Comparisons Between Australia and Canada. Available At: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/opioid-harm-in-australia/summary; Accessed 19 July 2023. 3. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 3 June 2024.  4. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm. Accessed 3 June 2024.

Is Your Opioid Injection Addiction Having An Effect On Your Family’s Life? 

Opioid Injection Addiction
Opioid Injection Addiction

Contact Turn to Help today and get the help you need.

An opioid injection addiction is a problematic disease that can affect the life of any individual and their family. What often begins as a recreational activity to relieve stress and promote relaxation can instead develop into an addiction.

Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. 

Approximately 1 in 20 Australians battle an addiction or substance abuse,1 and opioids are identified in nearly 60% of cases of drug induced deaths.2 

Australian battling addiction or substance abuse

While the significance and severity of these statistics may be alarming, it’s important to remember that opioid injection addiction can be overcome. By identifying an opioid injection addiction early on and accessing the right support in a timely manner, you can restore harmony in your family life. Start dealing with your opioid injection addiction before it takes up any more of your family’s time and energy, and look forward to a brighter future. 

The Effects of Opioid Injection Addiction

An opioid injection addiction should not be taken lightly, because it has the potential to alter the course of an individual’s life. While the individual may encounter several serious and unpleasant physical and psychological side effects, the burden of an opioid injection addiction may not stop with them. The side effects of an opioid injection addiction are often shared by the family of the addicted individual. 

Your immediate family may suffer from a host of problems as they live alongside you in a vulnerable state. While you’re battling addiction and they’re doing their best to support you, they often face challenges in fulfilling their own responsibilities during this highly stressful period.

On top of strained family relations, it’s also likely that you’ll encounter some physical side effects, and these may include drowsiness, a decreased respiratory rate, and small pupils. 3 Witnessing these physical changes in their loved one can be difficult for family members and may also negatively impact their mental health. In addition to the physical effects of opioids, you may face various psychological effects, such as developing symptoms of anxiety.4 

Inconsistency and uncertainty within the home can pose significant challenges for children, significantly impacting your family’s future and diverting your attention from other crucial responsibilities. Once addiction takes hold, you may think that the only way to maintain stability is by continuing to inject opioids. However, the opposite is true, and continuing to inject opioids can impact your ability to care for your children, contribute to your household and fulfil job obligations, and maintaining personal relationships can become very difficult.

How to Identify an Opioid Injection Addiction

While an opioid injection addiction can impose a number of negative effects, you can take steps to minimise the impact and regain control of your future. By understanding the signs and symptoms of an opioid injection addiction and addressing the issues early on, you may be able to prevent your addiction from controlling your life and your family dynamic. By completing the self-assessment tool on the Turn To Help website, you can print your results along with a doctor discussion guide in which can be used to guide your consultation with a healthcare professional.

Beyond these online resources, self-reflection is an important step in overcoming an opioid injection addiction. Consider whether you regularly think about using injectable opioids. Are your personal relationships suffering because of excessive or frequent opioid injections? Perhaps you’re no longer able to feel normal without using injectable opioids. You might feel as though you’re unable to enjoy the things you used to take great pleasure in. This process of self-reflection can be confronting, but it can help you determine whether a change is necessary.

If any of these questions resonate with you, then reach out to a medical professional and start your journey toward rehabilitation. 

Reach out to a healthcare professional

There is Always Help Available

Even though opioid injection addiction is a worrying issue, your recovery does not need to be a lonely process. There are resources available to you on the Turn To Help website that can help you connect with a nearby doctor for a confidential conversation. You may find it helpful to consult the Doctor Discussion Guide on the website to prepare for your meeting. This guide can help you address your concerns, understand the role of counselling, and work towards creating a clearer pathway to recovery. 

Taking the first step and consulting a medical professional can offer you individualised advice, and ultimately give you the tools you need to overcome an opioid injection addiction.

References: 1. Health Direct. Substance Abuse. Available At: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/substance-abuse; Accessed 17 July 2023 2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Alcohol, Tobacco & Other Drugs in Australia. Available At: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol/alcohol-tobacco-other-drugs-australia/contents/impacts/health-impacts. Accessed 17 July 2023  3. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm Accessed 3 June 2024. 4. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 3 June 2024.

Are You Concerned About Relapsing During Your Opioid Addiction Recovery?

Opioid Addiction
Opioid Addiction

Secure the support you need to overcome opioid addiction. Reach out to Turn to Help today.

Opioid addiction is a condition that can have an impact on an individual’s life, but with a personalised recovery plan and the support of expert medical professionals, your addiction can be overcome. However, the chronic nature of addiction means that many individuals may relapse and recommence their opioid use at some point during their recovery. In fact, research has indicated that among individuals intending to abstain from using these substances, between 65-70% will relapse within the first year.1

A wide range of circumstances may see an individual relapse, but it’s important to remember that relapse doesn’t mark the end of your road to recovery. With the assistance of trained medical professionals and the range of support systems available through Turn to Help, your opioid addiction and relapse may be effectively addressed. 

opioid addiction relapse

Why Is Opioid Relapse Dangerous?

Of all substances consumed by individuals, opiates (in their various forms) and alcohol are viewed to be among the most addictive, and they cause significant risks to public health.1 This is because addiction to these drugs may impact an individual’s life, and opioids in particular are highly addictive.2 Upon use, opioids release chemicals in the brain that alter perceptions of pain and increase feelings of euphoria, making for a pleasurable experience.2

When an individual begins to use opioids consistently, the brain gradually becomes accustomed to the effects of the drug, known as tolerance.2 This means that in order to feel the same effects of the drug, a greater quantity will need to be consumed.2 However, when you begin your path to recovery and initially abstain from using opioids, this tolerance diminishes.3 
As a result, relapsing after a period without using opioids may expose you to a heightened risk of overdose, because your body might no longer be able to tolerate the same dosage of opioids that it is used to.4 Nevertheless, relapse is a normal process that individuals often face at some point in their recovery.4

Reasons People Relapse On Their Opioid Addiction

Opioid relapse is a complex issue that may occur as a consequence of several different factors, ranging from personal factors like mental health challenges to issues of a lack of support or overconfidence. Understanding these reasons can be instrumental in preventing relapse and providing effective support to individuals in recovery.

One significant factor that may contribute to a relapse is the presence of mental health challenges, such as anxiety.5 These conditions are often experienced at the same time, because opioid addiction has been recognised to have a bi-directional relationship with depression.6 

However, relapse may also occur if an individual is not receiving the support they need to overcome their opioid addiction. If you do not have a reliable support network you may lack the guidance and encouragement you need to tackle difficult moments, leaving you feeling isolated and vulnerable. This may be particularly problematic because social isolation and loneliness have been cited as strong predictors of depression, which is connected with a greater risk of opioid use and related addiction.7 

Nevertheless, your relapse may occur in a vastly different situation where a sense of overconfidence sets in. In the early stages of recovery, individuals may develop a feeling of control after successfully completing a period of abstinence. This may then lead them to an overly confident state in which they believe they have the ability to use opioids in moderation. These euphoric feelings may lead an individual to relapse, which may cause them to believe their opioid use is no longer as problematic as it once was. 

Conversely, some individuals may encounter difficult periods in which the feelings of withdrawal they experience result in physical and psychological discomfort. The fear of experiencing these symptoms may drive individuals to relapse, resulting in a troubling cycle where opioid use provides temporary relief that can only be sustained by continued doses.

How Can I Reduce My Risk of Relapsing?

It’s important to recognise the risk factors associated with opioid relapse, but remember that relapse is a normal part of recovery.4 There are a range of support systems available to help you overcome your opioid addiction, and you can engage in a number of proactive steps to reduce your risk of relapse. 

relapse

To start, you may wish to consider why your opioid addiction arose in the first place. Individuals often turn to opioids as a method to deal with mental health issues or escape from the stress they face. Alternatively, your addiction may have arisen as a coping mechanism to deal with loneliness or hardship, or perhaps it is a way of coping with unresolved trauma. Reflecting upon your initial opioid use can provide you with great insight, and the help of a medical professional may assist you in this process. 

The Turn To Help website can assist you in connecting with a nearby doctor who has experience assisting individuals with opioid addiction. With their specialist approach and ability to provide meaningful support, you can delve into the root cause of your addiction. Consultations with a doctor may also provide a helpful outlet to relieve frustrations and voice concerns, whilst also giving you actionable advice that’s personalised to your situation. 

The Turn To Help website can help you locate a nearby doctor who can assist you in creating an individualised plan of action that is designed to help you achieve your goals, reduce your risk of relapse and support you in overcoming your opioid addiction.

References: 1. Kadam, M., Sinha, A., Nimkar, S., Matcheswalla, Y., & De Sousa, A. (2017). A Comparative Study of Factors Associated with Relapse in Alcohol Dependence and Opioid Dependence. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 39(5). 627–633. https://doi.org/10.4103%2FIJPSYM.IJPSYM_356_17. 2. Mayo Clinic. 2023. How opioid use disorder occurs. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372#:~:text=Drug%20addiction%20is%20defined%20as,trigger%20the%20release%20of%20endorphins. Accessed 14 December 2023. 3. Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. 2014. National Guidelines for Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Dependence. Available at: https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/national-guidelines-for-medication-assisted-treatment-of-opioid-dependence.pdf. 4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2023. Treatment and Recovery. Available at: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery. Accessed December 14 2023. 5. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 24 May 2024. 6. Tumenta, T., Ugwendum, D. F., Chobufo, M. D., Mungu, E. B., Kogan, I., & Olupona, T. (2021). Prevalence and Trends of Opioid Use in Patients With Depression in the United States. Cureus, 13(5), e15309. https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.15309. 7. Christie, N. (2021). The role of social isolation in opioid addiction. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. 16(7). 645–656. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsab029.

Tackling Opioid Addiction In The Workplace

Opioid Addiction
Opioid Addiction

Find Out How You Can Support Your Employees Through An Opioid Addiction. Visit Turn To Help Today.

Opioid use and its accompanying harms is a pressing concern of public health interest, both in Australia and across the globe.1 It’s crucial to understand the scope of this issue to address it effectively.

Illicit drug use, including opioids, can have significant complications for both employees and employers. Studies have shown that illicit drug use is more prevalent among employed Australians than among the total Australian population, with 19% of them reporting its use.2  Further to this, among employed Australians, 7.5% admitted to illicit polysubstance use, which involves the use of more than one substance.2

The impact of opioid addiction in the workplace is complex. It affects not only the individuals struggling with addiction, but also their colleagues, overall workplace productivity, and morale. Therefore, it is essential to approach this topic with sensitivity. With a commitment to finding solutions that can support individuals struggling with addiction, employers can foster a safe and productive work environment.

Illicit drug use in Australia

Why Is Opioid Addiction An Issue That Affects Work?

Opioid addiction poses various challenges for both employees and employers. Its impact extends far beyond personal struggles, as it can have an impact on the smooth functioning of businesses and organisations.

One way that opioid addiction affects the workplace is through a decrease in performance among affected individuals.3 These individuals often find it challenging to concentrate on their assigned tasks throughout the work day. This translates into making more mistakes than usual, missing deadlines, and a general lack of productivity and efficiency, all of which can result in decreased job performance.

Absenteeism becomes another noticeable consequence. Employees struggling with opioid addiction are more likely to turn up late to work or miss days altogether.4 The financial toll is substantial, with an estimated cost of $2.9 billion attributed to illicit drug-related absenteeism.2

Sudden mood swings are another side effect of opioid addiction that can disrupt the workplace.4 These mood swings can have a ripple effect on coworkers and create an uncomfortable atmosphere.

Furthermore, opioid addiction poses risks not only to employee productivity but also to workplace safety. Their ability to perform their job safely may be compromised, putting themselves and others at risk. 

Opioid addiction is a condition that can impact every aspect of an individual’s life, including their work. It’s crucial for employers to recognise the signs of addiction and provide support and resources for affected individuals. Addressing this issue with empathy and understanding can help create a safer and more supportive work environment for all employees.

How Can Employers Help Employees Manage Their Opioid Addiction?

Employers have a duty of care, as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2011, which mandates that they are to ensure the health and safety of their workers.5 This legal framework underscores the importance of taking proactive measures to tackle opioid addiction in the workplace.

Understanding the profound impact of opioid addiction in the workplace is the first step in fulfilling this duty. It goes beyond just an individual’s health; it affects productivity, morale, and overall workplace dynamics. To combat this, employers can provide training to supervisors and employees to recognise the early signs of drug misuse and impairment.

Another essential aspect is employers reaching out to affected employees with compassion and understanding. Creating a supportive work culture is key, where employees feel comfortable seeking help without fear of judgement. Educating and engaging the workforce on the topic of opioids can break down stigma and increase awareness.

Implementing a comprehensive workplace substance use/misuse policy is crucial. Such policies should be more than just a set of rules; they should be comprehensive, addressing prevention, intervention, and support. Comprehensive policies have shown a substantial correlation with a notable reduction in the likelihood of drug use.6 They should be clear, accessible, and communicated effectively to all employees, outlining not just the consequences of drug misuse but also the available resources for help.

comprehensive workplace policies

These policies should also detail procedures for drug testing when necessary, ensuring fairness and transparency. Moreover, they should emphasise rehabilitation and reintegration into the workforce, supporting employees in their journey toward recovery.

Leveraging employee assistance programs and similar resources can be a lifeline for employees in recovery. Providing them with the necessary tools and support to return to work is vital.

By understanding the impact, providing education, offering support, and implementing comprehensive policies, employers can make a positive difference in the lives of their employees while ensuring a healthier, more productive workplace.

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today

When faced with the issue of opioid addiction in the workplace, it’s essential to provide a supportive environment and access to the right resources. One valuable resource that can truly make a difference is the Turn To Help website. Turn To Help is a platform dedicated to assisting individuals in overcoming addiction challenges. It offers a variety of tools and services that can be invaluable in this endeavour.

One standout feature is the self-assessment tool. It presents a variety of targeted questions for the affected individual. These results can be shared with their healthcare provider, ensuring that accurate information is available to make informed decisions about the best treatment options.

Moreover, Turn To Help makes it easy to find a nearby doctor who specialises in addiction treatment. This simplifies the process of seeking professional help, ensuring that employees can access the care they need promptly.

A workplace that supports employees in their journey to overcome addiction is a healthier and more compassionate one.

References: 1. Australian Government. Institute of Health and Welfare. Opioid harm in Australia: and comparisons between Australian and Canada. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/illicit-use-of-drugs/opioid-harm-in-australia/summary. Accessed 24 May 2024. 2. McEntee, A., Pointer, S., Pincombe, A., Nicholas, R. and Bowden, J. (2022). Alcohol and other drug use: A focus on employed Australians: Part 1: Prevalence and consequences. Adelaide, South Australia: National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction (NCETA), Flinders Health and Medical Research Institute (FHMRI), Flinders University. Available at: https://nceta.flinders.edu.au/application/files/5016/8723/8146/DOH-Workplace-Report-Part1.pdf 3. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm. Accessed 24 May 2024. 4. HRM. The opioid crisis and the Australian workforce. Available at: https://www.hrmonline.com.au/section/featured/australian-workforce-opioid-crisis/. Accessed 24 May 2024. 5. Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (NSW). Available at: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/whole/html/inforce/current/act-2011-010. 6. Pidd, K., Kostadinov, V., & Roche, A. (2016). Do workplace policies work? An examination of the relationship between alcohol and other drug policies and workers’ substance use. International Journal of Drug Policy, 28. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2015.08.017.

Is Opioid Injecting Disrupting Your Family? 

Opioid Injection Addiction
Opioid Injection Addiction

Find your nearest doctor to speak about opioid treatment with Turn To Help.

Although a low proportion of the Australian population report injecting drugs, people who inject drugs often experience numerous damaging health consequences, including the risk of fatal overdoses.1 Moreover, an opioid injection addiction is a problematic disorder that has the potential to impact an individual’s family life, taking their focus away from their responsibilities and personal relationships. When opioids are used intravenously, they offer short-term pain relief and feelings of calmness. However, the long-term effects of an ongoing opioid injection addiction can be difficult for the individual and their family to manage.

How To Identify Injecting Drug Use

If you suspect that a family member has begun injecting opioids, it can be helpful to know the tell-tale signs that indicate the use of opioids. A range of physical symptoms can indicate opioid injection use, such as nausea, drowsiness, and a decreased respiratory rate. 2 Behavioural changes, such as a change in attitude, or secretive behaviour, may indicate that your loved one has been using injectable opioids. 2 You may also notice miscellaneous objects lying around, such as syringes, spoons, resealable plastic bags or burnt foil. While it can be confronting to be faced with these potential signs of opioid injection use, identifying them early on often proves important in preventing an addiction from occurring. 

Opioid Injection Addiction Signs

An effective way to determine whether an addiction to injectable opioids has developed is to encourage your loved one to speak to a doctor about the issues they are facing. You may also show them the self-assessment tool on the Turn To Help website. This tool offers a number of targeted questions to help you consider the severity of your symptoms. You may find it beneficial to reach out to a healthcare professional to discuss your results and consider whether an addiction has formed.

Understanding the Impacts of Opioid Injecting

If your family member displays signs and symptoms of opioid injecting, it’s crucial for them to speak to a doctor and organise the support they need. The Turn To Help website can assist them in finding a nearby doctor.

People who inject opioids are at an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as hepatitis C and HIV.3 Injecting opioids also exposes an individual to psychological side effects such as restlessness and anxiety. 4 In some instances, the symptoms of opioid injection addiction are accompanied by financial worries, significant difficulty in carrying out work-related tasks, and consequent breakdown of relationships. Opioid injection addiction is never easy for the individual, nor their partner or children, and opioid injection addiction places great strain on these relationships. Childhood development may be negatively impacted in an environment where opioid injection addiction is present, and the potential of increased household conflict may inhibit a child’s confidence and their ability to focus on their education and social relationships.5

Support is Available

If your family member is suffering from an opioid injection addiction, you can initially show your support by speaking with them about your concerns. During this conversation, try to remain non-judgemental and encourage their honesty without issuing blame or demonstrating your frustrations. Patience and encouragement are important in helping your family member to open up, which may enable you to gain insight into why they inject opioids.

It’s crucial to help your family member feel comfortable by focusing the discussion on your concerns and expressing your commitment to helping them. A degree of positivity and ongoing encouragement is important in demonstrating your support and desire to help however you can. To help your family member begin their recovery, encourage them to visit the Turn To Help website to gain insight into opioid injection addiction and to locate a nearby doctor for a private consultation.

Opioid Injection Addiction

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today

If you feel that you or a loved one may have developed an opioid injection addiction, it is best to access the support available and consult a doctor. Various forms of support and resources are available at Turn To Help for those affected by opioid injection addiction.

References: 1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia. Available at https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol/alcohol-tobacco-other-drugs-australia/contents/priority-populations/people-who-inject-drugs. Accessed 31 July 2023. 2. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm. Accessed 24 May 2024. 3. Department Of Health. Opioids and Injection Drug Use. Available at: https://www.health.state.mn.us/communities/opioids/basics/intravenous.html. Accessed 24 May 2024.  4. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 24 May 2024. 5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Children Living With Parents Who Have A Substance Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/report_3223/ShortReport-3223.html. Accessed 8 November 2023.

Is Your Opioid Injection Addiction Impacting Your Family Life?

Opioid Injection Addiction
Opioid Injection Addiction

Talk to your doctor and visit Turn To Help to find out how you can break the cycle of addiction.

Many consider the battle against substance use, especially an opioid injection addiction, to be a deeply personal journey. However, opioid injections are common in Australia, with the Australian Needle and Syringe Program Survey (2018-2022) finding that heroin was the second most commonly reported drug to last be injected by respondents in 2022.1

When opioids are used in the manner that they were prescribed, they can be effective in managing pain. However, when opioids are misused and abused, serious health risks and harmful consequences may arise.

How Opioid Injection Addiction Occurs

When opioids are injected, they activate the release of endorphins, a type of hormone that assists in stress reduction and mood enhancement.2 When these feelings fade, one may want to experience those pleasurable feelings again.2

The more a person injects opioids, the more likely they are to develop a tolerance to opioids. Tolerance describes a situation where an individual requires higher doses or more frequent injections to achieve the same feelings of pain relief and pleasure provided in previous opioid injecting episodes. Tolerance can be one of the first signs that indicate that an addiction is developing.

Complications & Side Effects Of Opioid Injection

When an individual develops an opioid injection addiction, they may face a range of psychological side effects. Namely, they may begin to experience symptoms of anxiety and restlessness. 3

Along with these psychological effects, the individual may also experience physical side effects. This can often include muscle and bone aches, hot and cold flushes, and elevated blood pressure and pulse.4

This combination of physical and psychological side effects can be difficult for an individual to manage each day, along with their personal and professional responsibilities. However, it is important to understand that these effects are reversible when an individual seeks help and treatment from a healthcare professional.

How Opioid Injecting Can Impact Your Family

The difficulties that you face may result in a greater dependence on family members and loved ones, creating arguments and contributing to the potential breakdown of relationships. This can be traumatic for your family and may lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as engaging in codependent behaviours.

A study conducted by the Australian Government in 2022 revealed that parental substance misuse is a key risk factor for child abuse and neglect because it makes it difficult for parents to provide a stable environment and tend to their child’s emotional needs.5 Young children may also mimic the behaviour they are exposed to, so early exposure to a home where conflict is common can negatively influence their physical and emotional development. 

Parental substance abuse

Don’t let your opioid injection addiction take a toll on your family. Reach out to Turn To Help and talk to your doctor to secure the support you need to start your journey to recovery.

Find The Support You Need With Turn To Help

If you are struggling with an opioid injection addiction, specialised support is available. In your recovery, it is important to focus on the concerns of your family and the potential consequences that your opioid use has on them. Speak to your family members when you feel comfortable doing so and let them know that you are open to receiving support to make a change for the better. 

Turn To Help is always available to provide you with support to help you kickstart your recovery. The Turn To Help self-assessment tool can assist you in this process by helping you determine whether you have developed an opioid injection addiction. You can also locate a nearby doctor on the Turn To Help website for your own private consultation.

opioid addiction

Reach Out To Turn To Help

Acquiring support and advice from a doctor for your opioid injection addiction can help you avoid the side effects of opioid injection addiction. This can help you improve your relationships with your family members and friends, and help you keep your career on track. 

If you feel that you are struggling with an opioid injection addiction, you may wish to seek help from a healthcare professional and also access a range of resources available to guide your consultation.

References: 1. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Alcohol, tobacco & other drugs in Australia. Available at https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/alcohol/alcohol-tobacco-other-drugs-australia/contents/priority-populations/people-who-inject-drugs. Accessed 12 February 2024. 2. Mayo Clinic. How opioid use disorder occurs. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372. Accessed 24 May 2024. 3. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 24 May 2024. 4.  NSW Government – NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Clinical Guidelines: Treatment of Opioid Dependence – 2018. 2018. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aod/Publications/nsw-clinical-guidelines-opioid.pdf Accessed 8 November 2023. 5. AIHW. National framework for protecting Australia’s children indicators. Available at: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/child-protection/nfpac/contents/national-framework-indicators/3-1-parental-substance-use-drugs. Accessed 27 July 2023.

Are Opioid Injections Affecting Your Life?

opioid injection addiction
opioid injection addiction

Although an opioid injection addiction is a serious condition, it is never too late to get things back on track. Reach out to Turn To Help for opioid addiction support.

An opioid injection addiction can have a significant impact on an individual’s life, negatively affecting their health, family, relationships, and professional career. Those who inject opioids may face various adverse health outcomes, including the risk of overdose. Opioid-related harm has had an impact, and it is the most commonly identified class of drug in drug-related deaths in Australia.1 However, it’s important to note that with the right support and treatment, opioid injection addiction can be effectively managed, allowing individuals to regain control of their lives.

Has Your Habit Become an Addiction?

There are various signs and symptoms, both physical and psychological, that indicate if you have developed an addiction to opioid injections. Are you displaying signs of anxiety?2 Are you relying on injecting opioids to get through the day? 

While it’s unlikely that an individual will experience every symptom related to an opioid injection addiction, it is possible to experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, sweats, and shaky hands.3

The psychological side effects of opioid use can also have implications on an individual’s health and well-being. While euphoria and calmness may be experienced initially, a change in attitude, mood swings, and irritability can also occur.3

Factors Influencing the Use of Opioid Injections

It is important to understand the reasoning and factors behind why you are injecting opioids. Below are some questions to ask yourself regarding your opioid use:

●      Are you being exposed to opioid injections by the people around you?

●      Are you reliant on opioid injections to get the sleep that you need?

●      Are you reliant on opioid injections to get you through the day?

Some people may find themselves in situations where they might using them to cope with difficult circumstances, such as professional setbacks or social pressure.4 When dealing with opioid injection addiction, it is important to understand you are not alone and it is normal to feel overwhelmed.

If you have found yourself in a situation where you are using opioid injections after being exposed to them by people close to you, it can be beneficial to distance yourself from these individuals as a way to start your recovery from opioid injection addiction. 

If you rely on opioid injections for sleep or pain relief, there are other options available to help you manage these issues and regain control of your life. Reach out to a healthcare professional for expert guidance in creating an individualised recovery plan that addresses your unique needs and concerns.    

Over time, becoming reliant on opioid injections may have a negative impact on the most important aspects of your life which is why it is beneficial to reach out for the support you need.

Admitting There’s a Problem and Accessing Support

The first step to accessing support is admitting that there is a problem. Although admitting that there is a problem can be the hardest step in the recovery process, it is also crucial in starting your recovery. You may wish to use the self-assessment tool on the Turn To Help website. The results from this tool can be printed along with a Doctor Discussion Guide in order to guide your consultation with a healthcare professional. The website can also assist you in finding a nearby doctor who can assist you in your recovery and offer specialised support.

When starting your recovery process, it is important to consider why you would like to make a change. It may be due to the overall impact opioid injections are having on your life, the impact on your friends and family, the impact on your health or the toll it is taking on your professional career and social life. No matter what the reason, seeking help from a doctor is the best way to receive personalised advice about the next steps and avoid the potential health complications of an opioid injection addiction. 

Before attending your first doctor’s appointment, you may want to consider accessing the Doctor Discussion Guide on the Turn To Help website. This resource can offer a few factors to discuss with your doctor, such as why you inject opioids, how often you inject opioids, how ready and motivated you are to make a change and the status of your relationships, health, and career.

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today

If you feel that opioid use is negatively affecting your life, it is best to seek support and speak to a doctor. A doctor can help you avoid any side effects caused by opioids, which in turn can improve your energy, sleep and overall well-being.

Taking control of your opioid use will assist in improving your relationships with friends and family and allow you to take charge of your life once again. There is a wide range of support and resource options available at Turn To Help for those who are affected by an opioid injection addiction.

References: 1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Opioid-Induced Deaths in Australia. Available at: https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/opioid-induced-deaths-australia#:~:text=There%20were%20438%20heroin%2Dinduced,focusses%20on%20opioid%2Dinduced%20deaths. Accessed 31 July 2023.  2. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 23 May 2024. 3. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm. Accessed 24 April 2024.4. Alcohol and Drug Foundation. Relapse. Available At: https://adf.org.au/reducing-risk/relapse/. Accessed 12 February 2024.

Are You Adhering To Your Prescription Opioid Painkiller Dosage Schedule?

prescription opioid painkiller addiction
prescription opioid painkiller addiction

If you’re concerned about your use visit Turn To Help to access helpful resources and support.

Have you been prescribed opioid painkillers? A doctor may prescribe opioids such as fentanyl, codeine and oxycodone for a short period of time to manage pain following surgery or for the management of pain.

When taken according to your doctor’s instructions, opioid painkillers are an effective component of a short-term pain management plan. However, if these medications are taken in higher doses or more regularly than prescribed by a doctor, there is an increased risk of developing an opioid painkiller addiction.1 Misuse of opioid painkillers may have a negative impact not only on the individual’s health and well-being, but also on their family and their community.

Side Effects of Opioids 

When an individual takes opioid painkillers, the medication travels through their blood and attaches to pain receptors in their brain, which release signals that alter their perception of pain, and in some cases, increase levels of pleasure and positive emotions.2

Opioid painkiller addiction can see an individual experience a range of physical side effects such as nausea and drowsiness.3 An individual with an opioid painkiller addiction may experience various psychological side effects, including boosted feelings of pleasure,1 and over time these effects may evolve into more worrying side effects, such as mood swings and irritability,3 as well as the onset of anxiety.4 

With prolonged opioid use, an individual may be more susceptible to experiencing the effects of opioids, which can negatively impact their health.5 While one may not exhibit all symptoms associated with opioid painkiller addiction, it is possible to experience some side effects such as a raised blood pressure and muscle and bone aches.5 

Take Control and Gain Support

Have you been taking opioid painkillers that have been prescribed to somebody else? Have you been taking opioid painkillers more frequently or in higher doses than your doctor has prescribed? Are you taking your opioid painkillers to feel ‘high’? Do you believe you are taking more opioid painkillers than you should be? Maybe you believe that you are becoming dependent on opioid painkillers. These are a few indicators that you may be dealing with an addiction to opioid painkillers. If you are experiencing any of these issues or you believe that you are suffering from an opioid painkiller addiction, it is never too late to take control of your life and gain support. 

The first and often most difficult step in recovering from an opioid painkiller addiction is admitting that you have a problem. To assist you in this process, you may wish to complete the self-assessment questionnaire tool on the Turn To Help website. The results from this tool can be printed along with a doctor discussion guide, to facilitate your conversation with a doctor. Turn To Help can help you locate a nearby doctor who is available to assist you in making decisions that are best for you. These healthcare professionals will be able to provide you with tailored medical advice and support to help you create a personal treatment plan that addresses your unique needs. 

If you have not already done so, you may wish to reach out to a family member or a friend so you can talk about what you are experiencing and feeling. Surrounding yourself with loved ones who are both supportive and reliable, can assist you with your recovery. It is important to remember that anyone can be affected by an opioid painkiller addiction. It is not your fault, and there is support available to assist you in taking charge of your personal journey and health.

Reach Out To Turn To Help Today 

Gaining support and assistance from a doctor for your opioid painkiller addiction can not only reduce the risk of side effects from opioid painkiller addiction but can also assist in improving your emotional state, well-being, energy levels and sleep, as well as improving your relationships with family and friends. 

If you feel that you are struggling with opioid painkiller addiction, seek support and speak to a doctor. A range of support and resource options are available at Turn To Help for people affected by opioid painkiller addiction. 

References: 1. Mayo Clinic. How opioid use disorder occurs. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372. Accessed 23 May 2024. 2. Mayo Clinic. What are opioids and why are they dangerous?. Available At: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/expert-answers/what-are-opioids/faq-20381270. Accessed 12 February 2024. 3. New York State. Department Of Health. Opioids: Recognizing the Signs. Available at: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/opioid_epidemic/signs.htm. Accessed 24 April 2024. 4. American Psychiatric Association. Opioid Use Disorder. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/opioid-use-disorder. Accessed 23 May 2024. 5. NSW Government – NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Clinical Guidelines: Treatment of Opioid Dependence – 2018. 2018. Available at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/aod/Publications/nsw-clinical-guidelines-opioid.pdf Accessed 8 November 2023.