What is “Notes from the Field”?

“Notes from the Field” is your backstage pass to the challenges, triumphs, and transformative moments we witness firsthand in our community. At WakeUp Carolina, we are committed to sharing insights, information, and stories that resonate with the hearts of our community members. Our goal is to foster understanding, ignite conversations, and inspire change.

Welcome to the inaugural post of WakeUp Carolina’s “Notes from the Field” series. In this installment, we address a pressing concern within our community: ensuring that a detox center can meet your needs.

The Unforeseen Challenge

With the ever-evolving world of substances, we have found that the treatment industry is playing catch up on what medical protocols work for detoxification. Strands of fentanyl change depending on access and parts of the world that we live in. Cocaine, knowingly or unknowingly, can be laced with fentanyl and has had devastating effects throughout the tri-county area. Two people can take the same substance and have two opposite reactions. The times of purchasing narcotics through illegal sources have never been more dangerous than today.

The Domino Effect

The newer substances becoming available for consumption in our area, like kratom, “Zaza,” xylazine, and carfentanil, present a more complex detox for individuals wanting not to rely on substances to function. We have witnessed some treatment centers take the easier route of accusing the substance user of not wanting to get sober instead of digging deeper into the issue. A lot of these substances are so new that they make detoxing so unbearable that individuals can’t stand the amount of discomfort that they are facing.

What makes this challenge particularly concerning is the potential domino effect it triggers. Individuals leaving treatment prematurely may see a decrease in their tolerance for opiates and fentanyl during their absence. This diminished tolerance significantly raises the risk of overdose when they inevitably return to substance use upon exiting the program.

Remedy #1 – Honesty

Many who have entered treatment centers, willingly or unwillingly, have limited the amount of information they share with treatment providers for various reasons. It’s hard to justify irrational thinking when consumed with substance use. Trust us; this happens a lot.

We’re here to tell those who are seeking treatment that the only person you’re hurting when omitting or fabricating how much you use is yourself. Treatment centers create protocols to treat you as soon as you communicate with them. If you alter the truth of your use, they may not get you what you need.

Remedy #2 – A Qualified Treatment Center

WakeUp Carolina emphasizes the importance of comprehensive, well-informed questions to potential treatment centers. By conducting thorough examinations, healthcare providers can identify the presence of benzodiazepines, xylazine, or other dangerous substances in an individual’s system. This knowledge allows for customizing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) plans and appropriate interventions to ensure the safety of those seeking recovery.

When WakeUp Carolina refers an individual or a loved one to any level of care, we are confident in the facility or hold the therapists in high regard based on our experience. Navigating the behavioral health care system is more manageable through these established relationships. It can be challenging and overwhelming for someone seeking resources online with no background information. With many people struggling with substance use, the recovery industry has become booming for some, even resorting to Google Ads to get your “business.” Our role in this complex matter is to give you an unbiased opinion from a neutral party. The right fit for you or your family member is our only priority.

We understand that seeking help for substance use disorder is a crucial step toward healing and can be confusing when searching the wide web. To ensure that the unique needs of individuals and their loved ones are met, here are essential questions to ask a detox center admissions coordinator tailored for mental health issues and different substances, including drugs and alcohol.

For Alcohol Detox (It Is Critical To Be Honest; Detoxing Can Be Fatal):

  • Medical Evaluation: What medical assessments are conducted during the detox process, especially considering the potential complications associated with alcohol withdrawal?
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Is the detox center equipped to provide medications that can ease withdrawal symptoms and facilitate a safer detoxification from alcohol?
  • Monitoring Protocols: How closely are individuals monitored during detox, and what measures are in place to address urgent medical issues?

For Benzodiazepine Detox, e.g., Xanax, Valium (It Is Critical To Be Honest; Detoxing Can Be Fatal):

  • Tapering Protocols: What approaches are taken to safely taper individuals off benzodiazepines, considering the risk of seizures and other withdrawal complications?
  • Medical Oversight: How closely are individuals monitored by medical professionals during the detoxification process, especially given the potential severity of benzodiazepine withdrawal?
  • Long-Term Planning: What support and resources are available to assist individuals in managing anxiety or other underlying issues that may have led to benzodiazepine use?

For Opioid Detox, e.g., Heroin, Fentanyl, and Prescription Painkillers:

  • Withdrawal Management: Can you elaborate on the strategies employed to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms, and are MAT options like methadone or buprenorphine (Suboxone) available?
    • How long do you wait to administer buprenorphine (Suboxone) to avoid precipitated withdrawals?
  • Counseling and Support: What psychological and emotional support services are integrated into the detox process to address the mental health aspects of opioid withdrawal?
  • Aftercare Planning: How does the detox center assist in developing a comprehensive plan for ongoing treatment and support after the detoxification phase?
    • Is medication like Vivitrol, Methadone, or Buprenorphine something that you recommend to take after treatment ends in case a recurrence in use happens?
    • Certain MAT medications like the ones listed above can help prevent the effects of opiates after treatment ends. What is your philosophy?

For Stimulant Detox, e.g., Cocaine, Methamphetamine:

  • Psychosocial Support: What therapeutic interventions are in place to address the psychological effects of stimulant withdrawal, including potential mood disturbances?
  • Medical Monitoring: How does the detox center handle the medical complications associated with stimulant withdrawal, such as cardiovascular issues or severe agitation?
  • Relapse Prevention: Can you outline the relapse prevention strategies incorporated into the detox program to minimize the risk of returning to stimulant use?

Gas Station Drugs, e.g., Kratom and ZaZa:

  • Experience: Research is still being done on these substances. Understanding that they hit the receptors in the brain as opioids means that the individual can experience opiate withdrawal symptoms. Do you have any experience with kratom and detox?
  • Heavy Metals: Kratom has been known to have metals. How could this affect your detox?

General Questions for All Substances:

  • Staff Credentials: What are the qualifications and expertise of the medical and counseling staff overseeing the detox process?
  • Holistic Approach: How does the detox center address the holistic needs of individuals, including nutritional support, exercise, and mental well-being?
  • Treatment Modalities: What is your clinical philosophy, and what modalities do you use the most? (eg. DBT, CBT, ACT, REBT, etc.)
  • Recovery Pathways Available: Twelve-step meetings, SMART Recovery, Recovery Dharma, Celebrate Recovery, Religious Congregations
  • Family Involvement: How can family members or loved ones participate in the treatment process and contribute to the individual’s recovery?

Asking these questions ensures that individuals and their support networks receive comprehensive information to make informed decisions about their detox and subsequent recovery process. At WakeUp Carolina, we are dedicated to fostering understanding, initiating crucial conversations, and inspiring positive change in the lives of those affected by substance use disorder.

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