Fast-Tracker is an excellent resource for finding treatment for opioid and other substance use disorders in Minnesota, allowing you to search by location or program service. Use Fast-Tracker or our treatment provider link to find your best option, including services focused on cultural communities, women-centered programs and LGBTQ identifying individuals.
If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
Do you suspect an overdose?
An opioid overdose requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know exhibits any of the symptoms listed below. Give a clear address and/or description of your location.
Signs of overdose include the following:
Face is extremely pale and/or clammy to the touch
Body is limp
Fingernails or lips have a blue or purple color
Person is vomiting or making gurgling noises
Person cannot be awakened from sleep or is unable to speak.
Breathing is very slow or stopped
Heartbeat is very slow or stopped
Signs of overmedication, which can progress to overdose, include:
Unusual sleepiness or drowsiness
Mental confusion, slurred speech or intoxicated behavior
Slow or shallow breathing
Extremely small “pinpoint” pupils
Slow heartbeat or low blood pressure
Difficulty in being awakened from sleep
Withdrawal symptoms can manifest in as soon as a few hours the last dose ingested. Please note that withdrawal can be done without assistance but without professional medical treatment, you are more vulnerable to relapse. Withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, and support is highly recommended. Detoxing in a safe medical setting is the safest and smoothest method.
(6-12 hours for short-acting opiates, up to 30 hours for longer-acting)
Racing heart / hypertension
Agitation / anxiety
(peak within 72 hours and usually last for a week)
Nausea and vomiting
Recovery looks different for everyone. While relapse can occur, it is not a reason to get discouraged or give up hope.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Addiction is complex and the journey to recovery often involves setbacks and relapse. Rates of relapse are between 40 and 60 percent, very similar to rates of relapse with other chronic diseases like hypertension, asthma or type I diabetes.”
“How many times have some of us tried to diet, exercise or quit smoking? It isn’t always one and done. Seldom is there one straight path out of the woods.” – Paul Kusiak, parent
Relapse happens for a variety of reasons and it may vary per individual. Some examples include:
Thinking “one last time can’t hurt”
An inability to cope with stress (often caused by conflicts at work, home or within a relationship) without the use of drugs.
Difficulty managing physical and/or emotional pain without the use of drugs.
Substituting one drug for another.
Difficulty addressing triggers (places, people and objects associated with former use) and cravings.
An intentional overdose to end one’s life.
Source: Drugfree.org (Partnership for Drug-Free Kids)
According to the American Psychiatry Association, “Preventing relapse from opioid use is more than merely saying ‘no’ in the face of temptation.” Your recovery journey will not always trend upward and that has nothing to do with your desire to recover or a reflection of your willingness to change.
As soon as relapse occurs, it is vital to get the help you need to make sure the behavior does not continue. Slip ups happen – do not lose your focus or give up.
A relapse prevention plan should start before the temptation sets in. Things to consider include: “What are my triggers? Are there places or people I need to avoid? What positive coping mechanisms can I utilize?”
For more information about relapse prevention, visit our resources page.
Stopping the harmful use of opioids is just one part of the recovery process. The whole person needs to be addressed. Things like removing toxic relationships or other triggers that could prevent recovery should also be part of the treatment plan. Surround yourself with supportive people—this will help you break the cycle of guilt and shame.
Fast-Tracker is the premier resource for finding treatment in Minnesota and can be accessed at sud.fast-trackermn.org. You can search by location or program service and Fast-Tracker will find the best fit for you. Also, you can use Fast-Tracker to identify services focused on cultural communities, women-centered programs and LGBTQ identifying individuals.
Some options for treatment include:
Opioid withdrawal is uncomfortable and painful and requires help from medical professionals to prevent immediate relapse and other side effects. In detox centers, you can receive medical observation and treatment while you go through withdrawal symptoms.
Often the most intensive level of treatment, as you can receive 24-hour observation and medical care.
Outpatient services where you commute to the treatment facility or counseling center for appointments.
If you live in an area without available care or cannot physically commute to a treatment facility, telemedicine allows you to receive services via the Internet.
12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous, peer support groups and recovery housing or other therapeutic communities.
To ensure you’re getting the most out of your coverage, contact your insurance provider before officially beginning treatment. Also keep in mind that not having insurance shouldn’t be a barrier to treatment. Your desired program may be willing to work with you to develop an appropriate payment plan.
Source: drugabuse.gov (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Relapse does not mean that you have failed. It can take time to effectively change behaviors and thoughts. If relapse does occur, return to your treatment plan as soon as possible.
Syringe Service Programs (SSPs)
Some Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) also provide resources including access to educational materials, medical care services, condoms and overdose reversal kits. In addition, when people participate in an SSP, they are five times more likely to seek treatment for a substance use disorder.
In 2018, MDH-funded SSPs served 6,815 unique clients.
These SSPs include:
Indigenous People’s Task Force (IPTF)
Just Us Health
Native American Community Clinic (NACC)
NorthPoint Health and Wellness
Ramsey County Clinic 555
Rural AIDS Action Network (RAAN) Duluth
Under the Minnesota Pharmacy/Syringe Access Initiative, it is legal to purchase and possess up to 10 new, unused syringes from pharmacies, without a prescription. A list of participating pharmacies by county is available through the Minnesota Department of Health.
Source: MN Dept. of Health
The Decision Starts with the Person
Opioid Dependence is Not a Choice
“Opioids produce high levels of positive reinforcement, increasing the odds that people will continue using them despite negative resulting consequences,” according to Psychiatry.org.
The key here is that the person will continue using even when they see the harm it is causing. People struggling with opioid use disorder may want to make a change but are unable to do so without help.
Opioid use disorder is not a reflection of a person’s character.
Express Your Concern
Talking to someone you care for who is struggling with opioid use disorder can be challenging, but it’s important to create an open line of communication. Express your concern for them, but make sure to approach the person with empathy and support. Focus your conversation on observations about the person’s recent behavior and ask questions to help guide the conversation. Most importantly, listen and allow the person to express what they are going through.
Have Reasonable Expectations
Keep in mind that recovery is a long process and looks different for every person.
Some require only one round of treatment; others may need multiple attempts. Relapses can happen, but this has nothing to do with the person’s desire for recovery. Real change does not happen overnight.
Support in the Best Way for You
Supporting someone with opioid use disorder is not easy.
Setting healthy boundaries and sticking to them are beneficial for everyone involved. You may be comfortable with visiting them in a treatment center but not with letting them stay in your home during withdrawal. The most important part is the person knowing that you support them in their recovery and that you care about their future.
Narcotics Anonymous offers a separate 12-step program specifically for families and friends of people with substance abuse disorders. The Twin Cities Nar-Anon Family Group meets Mondays at 7 p.m. Get more information.