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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Becoming Addicted to Opioids Later in Life

opioid use disorder
Just as everyone is eligible for addiction, sadly everyone in recovery is eligible for relapse. Addiction recovery requires eternal vigilance when it comes to maintaining one’s program. While everyone’s program is different, there are a number of steps people take daily to ensure they do not pick up a drink or a drug. You may be interested to learn that some people who are treated for opioid addiction may be more at risk of relapse than others, important information if you consider the recent call for more medication assisted treatment (MAT) - such as methadone or Suboxone.

New research has found that people who become addicted later in life are more likely to relapse in treatment than people who started using earlier, Science Daily reports. What’s more, the researchers from McMaster University found that the older the person with drug abuse issues, the less likely they will relapse from treatment. The findings were published in the journal Substance Abuse Research and Treatment.

"We can improve our tailoring of treatment to each patient if we know who among patients taking methadone treatment is at high risk for opioid relapse," said Dr. Zena Samaan, principal author of the study and an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. "As well, health care providers can target more aggressive therapies to those at high risk." 

The study showed that people treated for opioid addiction with methadone for their opioid use that were IV drug users, were at double the risk of relapse while on treatment, according to the article. For every year increase in the age of becoming an opioid addict, corresponded with a 10 percent increase in relapse risk. For every day of benzodiazepine use in the previous month leading up to medication assisted treatment, there was a 7% increase in relapse.

"Since opioid disorder is chronic, remitting and relapsing, we wanted to find those factors that led to longer abstinence from illicit opioids," said Leen Naji, a student of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and first author of the paper. "There has been little research on this issue of how long a patient can go without the illicit opioid use."

While health officials are calling for greater access to MAT, residential addiction treatment continues to provide the greatest chance for patient success by way of long term recovery. If you are struggling with opioid use disorder, please contact Hope By The Sea.

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