An opioid overdose requires immediate medical attention. Call 911 immediately if you or someone you know exhibits any of the symptoms.

Treatment and Recovery

Recovery from opioid use disorder is within reach. Every recovery journey is unique with a different set of hurdles to face. Here you’ll find a list of resources to help identify signs of misuse and learn about treatment and recovery options.

Yellow text that reads "Every batch is a mystery"



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 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. Fast-Tracker also identifies providers who offer virtual treatment services. Use the “search for services” drop-down menu on the website to narrow your options.

If you are having a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.

Opioid Withdrawal

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.

Early Symptoms

(6-12 hours for short-acting opiates, up to 30 hours for longer-acting)

Muscle fatigue


Racing heart / hypertension


Agitation / anxiety

Runny nose

Late Symptoms

(peak within 72 hours and usually last for a week)

Nausea and vomiting



Stomach ramps






Last Dose

Symptoms Begin

(short-acting opioids)

Symptoms Begin

(long-acting opioids)

Symptoms Peak


Relapse Prevention

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.”

Sources: (U.S. Department of Human Services);; (Johns Hopkins Medicine); (National Institute on Drug Abuse); (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Relapse and Overdose

Habitual use of opioids creates a tolerance in your body; as tolerance increases, so does the dosage. But once you’ve stopped use, your tolerance drops, making relapse especially dangerous. When the dosage you remember is actually well beyond what your body can tolerate, an overdose can – and too often does – occur.

NCBI; Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Jenny holding her wrist

Why Do Relapses Happen?

“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: (Partnership for Drug-Free Kids)

Keep Moving Forward

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.

Narcotics Anonymous

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.

Yellow text that reads "Every batch is a mystery"


Naloxone, often known by its brand name Narcan, is a lifesaving drug that reverses an opioid overdose.
Within minutes of it being administered, the affected person is able to breathe again. Naloxone is available as an injectable or nose spray. Naloxone is only effective with reversing overdoses caused by opioids.



Sharing drug injection equipment can spread infections.
Using new needles can greatly decrease your chance of getting an infection or serious disease such as HIV or Hepatitis C. Needle or syringe exchange programs provide non-judgmental access to sterile supplies and safe disposal. Those organizations also can provide referrals to treatment and community resources.
Yellow text that reads "Every batch is a mystery"

Syringe Service Programs (SSPs)

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.

Some Syringe Service Programs (SSPs) also provide resources including access to educational materials, medical care services, condoms, and Naloxone 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
Yellow text that reads "Every batch is a mystery"

How Can

I Help?

A strong support system can make it easier to achieve your recovery goals if you are struggling with opioid use disorder.
Keep these things in mind. The more you understand, the more love and compassion you can show.

The Decision Starts with the Person

That decision, ultimately, must come from the individual themselves, and until that decision is made, recovery attempts will not be effective. They need to want to recover for themselves not for you.
A lethal amount of fentanyl sitting next to a penny

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

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.

Injectable Naloxone

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.

Injectable Naloxone
A lethal amount of fentanyl sitting next to a penny

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.