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Why Does Heroin Cause Vomiting

Posted on :  June 9th, 2019  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When people decide to take heroin for the very first time, they are unsure of the way it will affect the body. Usually, they expect that they will feel the euphoria that heroin supposedly gives to users. But, in many cases, users will vomit and not just once.

Drugs Changing the Way the Body Works

When heroin enters the body, it can seriously alter the way the body functions. So much so, that the only response the body can do is vomit. And vomit repeatedly. This happens because of the chemical structure of the drug. It is made in such a way that the drug actually attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain. This completely changes the way the body sends and receives messages about pain and pleasure. When the body does not know what it is experiencing, it can attempt to rid the body of the unexpected substance. Vomiting is the natural way for the body to do this.

Altering the Brain

Heroin confuses the brain because the brain thinks it is getting a natural chemical. The brain cannot distinguish between heroin and what the body produces when managing pain and pleasure. The brain does not understand that heroin is addictive, but the concentrated potency of the drug can be overwhelming at first.

Many users report that they usually throw up each time they take heroin. But, the vomiting session is often described as being a good one because when it is over, the user feels better. Once they are finished vomiting, the effects of the drug kick in and the mind begins to experience the euphoria that makes the substance so addicting. Users enter their own world.

Changing the Chemicals in the Brain

The drugs keep endorphins from entering the neuron receptors so dopamine levels rise and so do the feelings of intense euphoria. The body cannot produce euphoria like the one created unnaturally by heroin. Humans cannot control endorphin release in any other way, except by taking an opioid. So, they continue to take it. The high is several times more intense than anything experienced during sex or by eating an exceptional meal.

Cravings Begin

Just like the body can crave chocolate or a glass of water, the brain begins to crave the feelings associated with heroin use. When regular opioid users stop taking the drug, the body begins to feel pain. Since all opioids fight pain, the tolerance to them builds up and people need more of the drug to feel substantial relief and extreme highs. Prescription pain medications can solve the problem, but pain pills like Percocet and Oxycontin get expensive. It is actually cheaper to take heroin instead.

Frightening Facts about Opioids

The fact that heroin and other opioids can cause the body to vomit is not the scariest problem with opioids. The addictive quality is frightening, but more so is the fact that the drug can slow the respiratory system. Despite the fact that the brain develops a tolerance to opioids, the rest of the body does not. The respiratory system and central nervous system can become so overwhelmed that they simply shut down if the opioid dose is too big. People can become sleepy and they can stop breathing. They can die from hypoxia and from high levels of carbon dioxide.

Get Help from Towards Recovery

Along with vomiting and respiratory issues, the addiction to the drug can cause extremely painful withdrawal. The fact that the brain becomes used to the opioids blocking the endorphins makes the body feel pain when people stop taking opioids of any type.

With patient-centered treatment, the pain can be managed and the addiction can be stopped. At Towards Recovery Treatment Centers, we can help addicts work their way back to a healthy, addiction-free lifestyle. Our methadone treatment can help fight and recover from addictions.

Contact us at our main office at 905-527-2042.


Clinic, naloxone helping city’s significant opioid problem, emergency doctor says

Posted on :  January 9th, 2019  |  By :  Robby Breadner

Photo credit: www.themomentiscaptured.com

“Peterborough Regional Health Centre has third highest rate of ER visits for opioid poisoning in new study”

A report ranking Peterborough with the third-highest number of emergency department visits speaks to the city’s “significant problem” with opioid use, says a doctor who is leading harm-reduction efforts at Peterborough Regional Health Centre.

More overdoses are being seen from use of “fairly accessible” drugs like fentanyl-laced “blue heroin,” said PRHC emergency department doctor Dr. Jim McGorman, the lead physician at the hospital’s Rapid Access Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic.

Read more from this article originally printined in the Peterborough Examiner by staff writer, Jason Bain.


Affecting change in addiction medicine

Posted on :  September 18th, 2018  |  By :  Robby Breadner


Dr. Mike Franklyn ~ Addiction physician, Health Sciences North, Sudbury.

Dr. Michael Franklyn wears many hats in the field of medicine. As a family doctor in Sudbury for almost 25 years, Dr. Franklyn recalls fearing for the life of a female patient in 2002; she was using methadone and forced to travel weekly to Toronto for care. With only one addiction specialist in Sudbury at the time, the wait list for local treatment was about two years. “Then, I had no background in addiction medicine. But out of my complete frustration with the inability to get help for her in the north, I had to go learn about addiction care and it has since become a huge part of my life and my practice,” he said.

As a family doctor and Associate Professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), Dr. Franklyn says about 70 per cent of his time is now focused specifically on addiction medicine. While his home base is in Sudbury, Dr. Franklyn is one of several doctors who fly into remote northwestern Ontario First Nations to treat patients in their home communities, where no other treatment is offered. He also uses OTN to service 13 remote communities in northwestern Ontario.

In Sudbury, Dr. Franklyn is Medical Director of the local Rapid Access Addictions Medicine (RAAM) Clinic, one of seven in Ontario. As the only clinic of its kind in the north, Dr. Franklyn notes it as a “very successful model” where patients with any type of addiction can be seen by an addiction expert within 48 hours. The clinic, which opened in December 2015, was originally funded as a provincial pilot program to offer individuals dealing with addictions earl and assertive treatment, while alleviating burdens on other points of care.

Franklyn noted the financial benefits (of treating addictions) to the province’s health-care system. Treating patients at the RAAM Clinic has demonstrated reduction in their use of local ambulance services, emergency room visits, detox and in-patient admissions. “These are all very expensive interventions,” he said. “By addressing the underlying cause of addition, we dramatically reduce utilization of the system, and are actually doing something that is likely to help the patient.”

According to statistics from the Canadian Centre for Substance Abuse, addiction is a health issue that impacts millions of Canadians. It causes harm to individuals, families and communities. Conservative estimates (from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey) found that 4.4 per cent of Canadians met the criteria for a substance-use disorder. Dr. Franklyn adds that there are almost 50,000 people in the province on methadone, and that that only one in three people who are dependent on opiates are seeking help. “The situation is fundamentally worse and more complex than it was just two years ago,” he said.

In what Franklyn calls the current “opiate crisis,” it’s important now more than ever to jump in with both feet. While working in remote fly-in northern First Nations communities his team will spend an entire week with a group of patients addressing their addictions. People lives are literally transformed in the week that starts their recovery journey.

For Dr. Franklyn and his colleagues, seeing the impact they have on people’s lives is the most rewarding aspect of the work. “I love everything I do…but there’s too much to do,” he said.

When asked what keeps him going back to work each day, Dr. Franklyn says it’s the triumph. “There are times where this field of medicine is incredibly frustrating, but just seeing the successes is what keeps you going.”

Originally published on the Ontario Medical Association’s Spotlight on Health.


What it’s like being a methadone doctor

Posted on :  December 19th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner
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Written by Dr. John Crosby – November 28, 2017 for canadianhealthcarenetwork.ca

I recently had lunch with Dr. Andrew Worster, an old friend from my emergency days 25 years ago. He works at an opioid addiction clinic in Cambridge, Ont., and still does ER shifts at Hamilton General Hospital. He works in the ER one or two eight-10-hour shifts per week but doesn’t do night shifts any more so he enjoys the two jobs. He has been practising for 26 years and also runs a non-profit corporation called BEEM — Best Evidence in Emergency Medicine — which conducts evidence-based emergency medicine courses for emergency doctors worldwide.

Andrew works in the addiction clinic on Monday morning and all day Wednesday. It is a private business and they help patients get healthcare cards He says that 70% of the patients are functioning, with jobs and families.

Many patients start with chronic pain and about 50% work at physically demanding jobs, hence, they use opioids to get through the day’s work as their bodies are wearing out on the job. They start small and gradually require higher and higher doses for relief.

Andrew said he feels opioids are sometimes appropriate for short-term severe pain but not for non-cancer chronic pain.

Andrew noted that doctors and the patients have to accept that in life there will be pain. In the ER, he often gets patients who tell him that their GP has done nothing for their back pain. For ER patients with severe, debilitating pain, he sometimes uses ketamine (15mg I.V. over 15 minutes) to break the cycle of pain and spasm but does not prescribe opioids upon discharge… Click here to read the entire article.


Hamilton music community hosts overdose training as opioid crisis grips city

Posted on :  November 27th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner
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Photo credit: Google.

Event happened at This Ain’t Hollywood in downtown Hamilton tonight.

“Ace Piva knows the dangers of opioid addiction all too well.

He’s seen it up close — both as a tour manager across Canada, and as an addictions counsellor in Hamilton.

Now, as overdoses and deaths due to opioid use continue to mount across the city, Piva has launched an addiction and recovery nonprofit organization specifically for the music industry. It’s called Over the Bridge — a nod to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ breakout hit Under the Bridge, which was written about addiction, loneliness and dependency.

Tonight, Piva is hosting a naloxone training and overdose prevention awareness event at This Ain’t Hollywood, in an effort to save lives in an industry where the party rarely stops…”

By Adam Carter, CBC News – Read full story on CBC website, here.


CATC – partnering to improve lives of patients

Posted on :  October 15th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

CATC – partnering to improve lives of patients.

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Click the video or here to view.


Recovery Day to bring awareness, support and hope

Posted on :  October 2nd, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

Tara Edeh from the Ontario Addiction Treatment Centres and founder of Recovery Day, Annie McCullough shed light on Recovery Day dedicated to help out people coming out of any kind of addictions. – video courtesy of BT Breakfast Television.

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Toronto police issue safety alert after four suspected fentanyl deaths

Posted on :  July 31st, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

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Toronto police say there have been four deaths due to fentanyl and 20 incidents of fentanyl overdose since Thursday [within three days].

“Toronto police have issued a public safety alert after four deaths likely caused by fentanyl overdose in the past three days in downtown Toronto.

Police said there have been four fatalities and 20 overdose incidents since Thursday.

The most recent incident was on Saturday when a woman was found dead in a stairwell near Queen St. E and Trefann St.

A 27-year-old man died on Thursday in the area of Queen St. W. and Bathurst St., where he allegedly overdosed on heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that’s about 50 times stronger than heroin…” — excerpt from thestar.com, by Bryann Aguilar, Alanna Rizza. July 29, 2017.

Read the full article, here.

Mayor John Tory comments on “tragedy”.


A highly successful treatment for opioid addiction. But stigma is holding it back.

Posted on :  July 26th, 2017  |  By :  Robby Breadner

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“Medication-assisted treatment is often called the gold standard of addiction care. But much of the country has resisted it.

If you ask Jordan Hansen why he changed his mind on medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction, this is the bottom line.

Several years ago, Hansen was against the form of treatment. If you asked him back then what he thought about it, he would have told you that it’s ineffective — and even harmful — for drug users. Like other critics, to Hansen, medication-assisted treatment was nothing more than substituting one drug (say, heroin) with another (methadone).”  – Updated by German Lopez, Vox.com

Read the full article here on website: Vox…


Common Questions on Methadone Treatment Results

Posted on :  July 10th, 2017  |  By :  towardsrecovery

There are a variety of methadone treatment success stories that you can find all around. However, did you know that there are many factors that go into establishing successful methadone treatment results? This is perhaps the reason why there are many questions surrounding this question. Let’s take a look at some of them.

What is Methadone?

In the streets, you may hear it go by the names meth or juice. This particular drug belongs to the opioid family and has been designed for use with various opioid addictions like those of oxycodone, fentanyl, hydromorphone, and heroin.

Designed? Yes, because methadone is a synthetic opioid so it is made in the laboratory from chemicals. It was initially developed and used in World War II in Germany for pain relief. Its use in addiction treatment was first seen during the 1960s.

Canadian regulations on the prescription of methadone and its uses for treatment have remained widely restrictive. However, in the 1990s there was a need to address the harm of drugs so changes were made for those who wanted to avail of the methadone treatment.

It is vital to point out that it is not a cure, but a treatment. This means that opioid addicts require medical and social support to achieve stabilization in their lives. Staying in treatments longer is the only way to get sustainable and significant results.

Who are Methadone Users?

The majority of those classified as methadone users are those suffering from opioid addiction. Some of its users though are not addicts, but have issues with severe chronic pain or pain that is associated with terminal illnesses.

It is not impossible for methadone to be used in the form of street drugs, but most of the time it is for the prevention of withdrawal symptoms due to opioid dependency. For pregnant women, the use of methadone is often viewed as a protection of the fetus. This is because withdrawal from opioid is highly associated with increased miscarriage or even premature births. The combination of medical care and methadone maintenance will improve the chances of delivering a healthy baby without any known long-term effects.

The number of people receiving treatment in Ontario alone has risen from 6,000 to 38,000 from 2000 up until 2012.

How Long is its Effect?

On the average, an opioid dependent can expect at least 24 hours of being free from withdrawal symptoms using a single methadone dose. This is quite acceptable when you consider that using heroin or short-acting opioids to keep away the same withdrawal symptoms requires anywhere from 3 to 4 doses per day.

The daily treatments may go indefinitely, but, should a decision to stop the treatment be arrived at by the doctor and the user, gradual tapering down of doses will be done. This can extend anywhere from weeks to months until such time that the process of withdrawal has been eased.

It is essential to understand that abrupt stoppage of methadone treatment will have adverse effects with withdrawal symptoms being manifested in as short as a day.

Is it Dangerous and Addictive?

There are always accompanying dangers when taking drugs like methadone. However, if it is taken as it is prescribed, then it is considered safe and will not damage any internal organs or brain processes even with prolonged used. This is why the supervision of a medical professional is a must when administering the treatment. It is for this reason as well that careful monitoring and control is exercised during treatment.

As far as addiction goes, modern definition dictates that we look at several factors in the assessment. There is tolerance, need for increased amounts, physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, compulsive usage, and continued use despite negative consequences.

When you take these factors into account, methadone treatment does not meet the full definition of addiction. This is of course looking at the treatment as it is administered by a qualified professional or treatment center.

We also have to take notice that methadone treatment is offered as a form of medical treatment and only people who are opioid addicts are prescribed it. Methadone delivers a safe alternative to curb the dangerous and desperate routines of their addiction. With the goal of freeing them up from their compulsions and focusing on improved lives.

You can contact Towards Recovery Clinics to find out more about methadone treatment results and other holistic solutions to addiction.




Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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