When you have an addiction to opioids, it can be helpful to know that many potentially lifesaving resources and tools are available to help you. In most communities, you can find recovery programs, support groups, protection against overdose, and needle exchange programs.
How to Find Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
If you want treatment for opioid use disorder, a trusted regular primary care doctor is one place you could start. Ask your doctor if they are able to help you with this. If they are not the right fit, ask for a referral.
Another option is to look for an addiction specialist yourself. Addiction specialists are doctors trained to help people with substance use disorders. There are thousands of them in the U.S.
Look here for online directories of addiction specialists, opioid treatment programs, and other useful information about where to get help:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)
- The CDC
Many local health centers offer services for substance use disorders, too. If you’d prefer to talk to someone who can direct you, call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 800-662-HELP.
How to Find Out What Type of Program You Need
Treatment for substance use isn’t one-size-fits-all. Online resources and tools can help you think through what you might need. The American Society of Addiction Medicine offers an online assessment of treatment needs.
A primary care doctor or addiction specialist can also help you determine the right level of treatment. Your options include:
- Outpatient care with medications that can help with withdrawal and cravings or block the effects of opioids
- More intensive outpatient care including several hours of treatment services each week
- Residential treatment programs in a home-like setting
- Hospital inpatient treatment for a greater level of care
How to Find Support Groups for Opioid Use Disorder
They aren't a replacement for treatment, but support groups are a good source of encouragement during treatment for substance use disorders and afterward. Your treatment team will likely recommend that you get involved in a support group. They can help you find groups, too.
You may also find support groups at:
- Local hospitals
- Treatment centers
- Faith-based organizations
It's important to find a support group that’s a good match for your personal beliefs and needs. Don’t be afraid to shop around.
These are a few national organizations that can point you toward groups:
- Narcotics Anonymous
- Virtual Narcotics Anonymous
- SMART Recovery
A simple online search for “opioid addiction recovery groups near me” also typically returns a lot of useful information.
How to Find Support for Families of Opioid Users
Family and close friends of opioid users may also benefit from a support group. Recovery treatment programs can suggest family groups. You may also find family groups in some of the same places you find groups for recovering addicts.
These are a few national organizations where you might look for family groups:
- Partnership to End Addiction
- Allies in Recovery
- Families Anonymous
- SMART Recovery
How to Find Naloxone Treatment for an Opioid Overdose
Even when the goal is treatment and recovery, it’s important to be prepared for an opioid overdose. Naloxone is a lifesaving medicine opioid users (heroin or prescription painkillers) or people who live with an opioid user can have on hand to stop an overdose.
You should have naloxone available and know how to use it if you:
- Take opioids for pain as prescribed.
- Misuse opioids.
- Have an opioid use disorder or a history of one.
- Have a friend or family member with an opioid use disorder.
- Are around people who may be at risk for an opioid overdose.
You can get naloxone without a prescription at any CVS in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. Walgreens offers it with and without a prescription depending on the location.
If you do not have easy access to these pharmacies, several organizations can point you toward naloxone in your area:
- Get Naloxone Now
- Prevent & Protect
- Naloxone Exchange
You can learn how to use naloxone wherever you pick it up or online at:
- American Red Cross
- Harm Reduction Coalition
- Prescribe to Prevent
Needle Exchange Programs
If you or a loved one with an opioid use disorder is using and reusing needles or syringes, this comes with a risk of serious infections including HIV. Many programs provide clean needles and get rid of used ones.
Try the following to find a needle exchange program near you:
- Visit the North American Syringe Exchange Network online.
- Search online for your county and “needle exchange” or “syringe exchange.”
- Check with your local health department.