Crack Addiction

Crack Addiction

Crack is considered the most addictive form of cocaine. The side effects and symptoms of addiction, including overdose, psychosis, and violent behaviour, also make it one of the most dangerous.

If an addiction to crack is affecting your life, we understand and we can help. Addiction to powerful drugs like crack makes it harder and harder to lead a healthy, normal life. When getting and taking a drug becomes the central focus of your day, it puts a strain on your family, friends, work, health, and finances.

In this article, we’ll explain the difference between crack and cocaine, the side effects and symptoms of problem use, treatment options for a crack addiction, and the help available for healing and long-term recovery.

As an accredited national leader in treating drug, alcohol, and food addiction for 50 years, Renascent offers intensive and personalized inpatient and outpatient programs that work.

We’ve helped almost 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

What is Crack?

Crack is a powerful stimulant drug. Also known as rock and freebase, crack is the smokable form of cocaine.

Crack is highly addictive. Like cocaine, it changes a person’s brain chemistry to produce feelings of euphoria (feeling ‘high’), being more alert, or energetic.

Crack Cocaine Addiction and Use in Canada

According to Health Canada, the chemicals inside crack reach the brain very quickly. This means that when used often and in higher doses, crack can be more addictive than regular cocaine.

In 2019, the Canadian Centre of Substance Use and Addiction reported that:

  • The percentage of cocaine use, including crack, in the Canadian population is considered low (about 2%).
  • The rate of cocaine and crack use by older youth (ages 20-24) is increasing.
  • Cocaine, including crack, is responsible for the highest costs to the Canadian criminal justice system of any drug in Canada.

Crack Addiction Symptoms and Side Effects

The signs and symptoms of a crack addiction are the same as problem use or addiction to cocaine. Intense cravings, depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, anger, mood swings, and sleeplessness are all warning signs of crack withdrawal and addiction.

There are also serious side effects from smoking crack and cocaine use; overdose, high-blood pressure, stroke, lung damage, and kidney failure are some of the serious physical effects this drug can have on your body. According to Health Canada, using crack for a long time can also lead to other serious mental and physical health problems including psychosis, seizures, and risk of hepatitis and HIV.

It can be hard to quit crack once you have started. With regular use, tolerance to the euphoric effects of crack increases. You need to take more and more to feel the same effects while becoming more sensitive to the negative side effects of this powerful drug.

The good news is that real healing and recovery from crack addiction is possible. If you think that you or someone you love might have an addiction to crack, we understand and we can help.

Crack Addiction and Recovery Stories

I arrived at rehab because of a problem with drugs. After decades of using various forms of “recreational” chemicals, which I had always been able to stop when things got too bad, I had finally met my match with crack cocaine.

I agreed to treatment mainly because I needed a rest. I’d been using heavily for well over a year, eventually holed up in my house trying to run my business by telephone and avoiding direct contact with colleagues, friends, and family.

Long runs of sleepless days and nights had left me exhausted. I felt hopeless.

Excerpt from Renascent Alumni post, July 2014

Renascent and our alumni are committed to creating a community for recovery: a safe social, educational, and spiritual network, which facilitates a lifetime of clean and sober living.

Members of Renascent’s alumni community carry this message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery.

Read more stories of hope and healing shared by our alumni community on our blog.

How to Overcome Crack Addiction

Like any addiction, crack can make you lose control over your use of the drug and life itself. Smoking crack, with its very rapid, intense, and short-lived effects, is highly addictive. Getting and taking it can become the only thing that matters.

With the right treatment program, however, thousands recover.

For example, Renascent offers comprehensive, person-centred Toronto and Durham region addiction treatment programs that take place in safe, caring environments. Our abstinence-based model integrates 12-step facilitation with other best practices in clinical and medical approaches, which are proven to make a difference in long-term recovery.

Our intensive in-patient cocaine abuse treatment program (28–42 day stays) provides around-the-clock counselling and support from our team of registered psychotherapists and certified drug and alcohol addiction specialists, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and long-term recovery.

How to Choose Your Addiction Treatment Program

It can be hard to decide what type of treatment program you need. There are a lot of options out there, and each person has different needs and resources for addiction treatment.

Our treatment option chart outlines some of the choices you have at Renascent, or through other healthcare providers. Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

If You Are:We Might Suggest:
Looking for one-on-one supportA one-on-one counselling session with one of our addiction experts
Seeking a community who understandsInpatient treatment with group counselling, or AA/NA/CA/OA meetings
Struggling with relapse42-days of Inpatient Treatment, followed by active participation in our Continuing Care program.
In recovery, but looking to connect with informal supportGetting involved with Renascent’s Alumni Care community. There are regular meetings, engaged committees, and events for everyone. We’re here for life!
Concerned how addiction in your family might be impacting your childrenSafe programs geared for kids and parents/caregivers, such as Children’s Healthy Coping Skills
Worried about your family member or loved one, including siblings, close friends, and partnersOur Essential Family Care Programs, particularly the Introduction to Family Care
A parent in active recoveryA weekend course like Parenting in Recovery, to help you boost your parenting skills
Concerned addiction is affecting your work or workplaceOur Corporate Complete Care Advantage, designed to support employees and employers as they navigate addiction and recovery in the workplace.
Worried about life after treatmentOur Continuing Care Program, to support you as you re-integrate into your daily home life.
Looking for housing after treatmentOne of our many Community Partners who offer post-treatment housing. Call us at 1-866-232-1212 and we can put you in touch.
Looking to get “clean” or detox.The ConnexOntario Helpline, 1-866-531-2600, can connect you with Withdrawal Management Services. If you are interested in treatment following detox, call 1-866-232-1212 and we’ll coordinate this.

How to Help Someone with a Crack Addiction

Addiction is a family disease. A person’s addiction to crack affects all the relationships in their life: spouses and partners, kids, friends, colleagues, and more.

Family members often know there’s a problem long before the addicted person does. But it can be a long and frustrating road to get someone with an addiction to admit they have a problem. Loved ones often feel confused, anxious, desperate, and alone.

That’s why Renascent offers extensive family programs to help adults and children cope with the effects of addiction. Our goal is to support and help families break the cycle of addiction, one person at a time.

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here

Your addiction recovery journey begins with “I need help.” In 2020, Renascent celebrates 50 years as a trusted, national leader in drug, alcohol and food addiction rehab programs and services in Toronto and Durham region, Ontario. We can help you too.

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery with compassion, respect, empathy and understanding. Our staff includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and recovery.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, call 1-844-244-4583 anytime, day or night, or Contact Us Today.

Protecting Your Mental Health During a Coronavirus Lockdown

Protecting Your Mental Health During a Coronavirus Lockdown

In these unsettling times of isolation and lockdowns due to coronavirus, it’s extra important to protect our mental health. Addiction is a mental health concern, and so part of recovery is being aware and supportive of one’s own mental health. Here are our tips for protecting and supporting your mental health and recovery during a coronavirus lockdown:

1. Stick to your routine. If you started every day with a shower and ended every day with a cup of tea, keep it up. If you went to therapy or counselling every week, maintain that schedule via phone or video chat. If you went to three meetings a week, keep going to three online meetings. Maintain a regular and healthy sleep routine, keep your fitness levels up, and make sure you’re getting three meals a day.

2. Limit your exposure to the news. Getting an update once a day is plenty; keeping your eyes glued to Twitter or the TV is overkill. If you’re feeling particularly uneasy, avoid the news altogether and ask a sensitive friend to pass on any important updates that would actually change the way you live your life day to day.

3. Stay connected. Talk to your friends, your family, your sponsor, your neighbours, anyone who is up for a chat and understands if you want to talk about something else today. Stay engaged in the text threads where friends are sharing memes and jokes. Do not let a day go by without having one good interaction with someone you like.

4. Get some exercise. If you used to go to the gym, find ways to modify your routine and do a similar workout at home. If you were never a gym rat, start with a brisk walk or a beginner yoga class on the living room floor. Exercise can make a real difference to your mood, and if your mind has been keeping you awake at night, being physically tired can really help with sleep.

5. Get outside. Even if it’s just onto a balcony or into a backyard, getting some fresh air and feeling the sun on your face will help you overcome the feeling of being cooped up. If you can, a long walk while catching up with a friend or listening to a comedy podcast can turn a day around. If that’s too ambitious right now, just sit in a sunny window for a few minutes and feel the warmth.

6. Remember Step 12. There are always ways to be of service. Send a text to your friends in recovery, particularly newcomers, and make sure they know about the online meetings. Check on elderly neighbours or overwhelmed friends, and offer to pick up groceries or medication for people who are struggling.

7. Stay grateful. When everything is so uncertain, it can all be a bit distracting from the facts. Take a moment each day to centre yourself and write down three things you have to be grateful for. Just the process of being grateful and expressing it has been show to improve mood.

8. Refresh your space. Keep your living space tidy, and if you’re craving a change, try moving some things around to make your space more calm and comfortable.

9. Reach out for help. If your friends and family isn’t checking on you, let them know that you are struggling and need support. If you feel like you don’t have anyone to reach out to, call a support line:

        • Toronto Distress Centre: 416-408-4357
        • Gerstein Centre: 416-929-5200
        • Distress Centres Ontario: 416-486-2242
        • Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566

10. Go easy on yourself. If all you can do today is read this, that’s a start. You’re doing research to support yourself, and that’s an excellent step in the right direction. You’re doing great. Set yourself a realistic and achievable goal for the end of the day.

How are you protecting your mental health during a coronavirus lockdown? Share your tips in the comments below!

Recovery and Isolation: Tips for Staying Safe and Sane

Recovery and Isolation: Tips for Staying Safe and Sane

Staying connected is such an integral part of recovery, which makes the current situation an especially tricky one for people in recovery. To support the recovery community, who has extra pressure to stay safe and sane, here are seven tips for staying connected and protecting your mental health during this time:

1. Pick up your phone. We’re so lucky to have all the communication tools we do today, so make the most of them! Group text threads can replace support groups, FaceTime calls can replace coffee dates, and video conferencing can replace meetings. Set up regular video chats with your sponsor and closest friends, and treat them like normal hang outs. Make a cup of tea and get into your favourite chair, or set out on a walk “together”, and focus on each other for a while.

2. Get exercise, however you can. It only takes 90 minutes of walking to reach 10,000 steps, so between an hour walk and your regular movements, you can easily reach 10,000 steps per day. Many gyms and yoga studios are offering online streaming of their classes, and there are thousands of yoga and exercise classes available on YouTube.

3. Focus on your self care. To stay safe and sane, take care of yourself in every way you can. Keep your living space clean and tidy, maintain your hygiene, eat and sleep regularly and well. Put on an outfit you feel good in every morning, and allocate time to do an activity you enjoy every single day.

4. Meditate, or try. It’s not for everyone, but in times like these that can really increase our feelings of anxiety or depression, it’s worth a try. Headspace has created a free collection of meditations, sleep, and movement exercises called Weathering the Storm.

5. Enjoy the #TogetherAtHome concert series and hashtag. The Together At Home concert series features some huge musical acts (Coldplay, John Legend, and more) performing concerts for us from their living rooms, and the concerts stay online so don’t worry about missing them. The hashtag on Twitter and Instagram are where people are sharing games, activities, and other ways to interact with each other from our homes.

6. Maintain your schedule. Keep waking up at a healthy time, keeping going to bed 7-8 hours before you want to wake up, and keep eating three meals a day at the usual times. Keep attending 12-step meetings online. If you have more time on your hands now than you used to, start filling up those hours with healthy activities immediately. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but have never had time? Whether it’s being able to run 5k or knit a sweater, there are online tools available to help you, so start working toward goals that will help you occupy your time and keep you focused on self-improvement.

7. Watch a TV show with your friends. Use a tool like Netflix Party to watch something together, or just agree to watch an episode per day or per week, and share your reactions in your group chat. Choose something gripping or hilarious, whatever works as a distraction from current events and gives you something to bond over with your friends.

8. Listen to podcasts that boost your mood and support your recovery. There are so many excellent comedy podcasts, and a number of amazing recovery podcasts, that can be great company while you’re taking a long walk, cooking, cleaning, or just relaxing.

Have you already been using these tips for staying safe and sane? How are they working for you? Share any of your own tips in the comments below!

 

Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone Addiction

The next four days without oxycodone were awful. My skin crawled. I felt as though I was going through the same mental and emotional turmoil I had endured when I stopped drinking alcohol 25 years earlier. The ferocity of the withdrawal from narcotics was surprisingly brutal, just like alcohol.

Excerpt from Renascent Alumni post, July 2015

In light of Canada’s opioid crisis, prescription pain medicines like oxycodone continue to be a risk for misuse and overuse. When prescribed by a doctor and used properly, opioids like oxycodone can safely help people with severe pain, but these powerful drugs can also cause addiction, overdose, and death.

In this article, we’ll talk about oxycodone use in Canada, the risks of taking these narcotic pain medicines, signs and symptoms of opioid addiction, drug treatment options, and how to find lifelong healing and recovery from oxycodone addiction.

As an accredited national leader in treating drug, alcohol, and food addiction for 50 years, Renascent offers intensive and personalized inpatient and outpatient programs that work.

We’ve helped over 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a pain medicine prescribed by doctors. It’s a powerful opioid drug, just like morphine, codeine, and methadone.

Opioids like oxycodone produce euphoria, or a mellow, relaxed “high”. At low doses as prescribed by a doctor, they can suppress the sensation of pain in your body and your emotional response to both short- and long-term pain, but these effects are also what makes opioids highly addictive and dangerous.

Oxycodone is taken by mouth as a pill or liquid. It should only be taken and used with a prescription and under the supervision of a doctor. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, oxycodone is found in several products in Canada:

  • together with other drugs in products like Percocet, Oxycocet, and Endocet
  • by itself in immediate-release products (IR), such as Oxy-IR
  • by itself in controlled-release products (CR), such as OxyContin (no longer available in Canada), OxyNEO, Apo-Oxycodone CR, and PMS-Oxycodone CR.

Oxycodone is a very strong drug: In Canada, one oxycodone controlled-release tablet can contain up to 80 milligrams of oxycodone (the same amount as 16 Percocet tablets). For someone with little or no tolerance to opioids, taking more oxycodone pills than prescribed can cause addiction, overdose, and even death.

Legal Status of Prescription Opioids in Canada

Most prescription opioids like oxycodone are classified in Canada as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Their use is legal only when they are prescribed by a licenced practitioner like a doctor, and used by the person to whom they have been prescribed.

It is illegal in Canada to take, have, make, or sell oxycodone not prescribed to you. It is also against the law to “double doctor” opioid drugs like oxycodone (i.e., getting a prescription for oxycodone from more than one doctor at the same time without telling each doctor).

Oxycodone and Opioid Use in Canada

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, opioid pain relievers, including oxycodone, are used by 13% of the Canadian population. More concerning though, is that among Canadians who use opioid pain relievers, about 2% reported using them for non-medical purposes.

Similarly, the 2017 Survey on Opioid Awareness reported that 3 in 10 Canadians aged 18 and over had used some form of opioids in the past 5 years. Of those, 1 in 4 were storing leftover opioid medicines in their home.

Oxycodone used to be available in Canada in the long-lasting pain relief product OxyContin. OxyContin was commonly prescribed to help patients manage severe pain, such as pain from surgery, cancer, and chronic health problems. However, because OxyContin was widely misused and has been linked to the opioid crisis, it is no longer available in Canada.

Risks of Taking Oxycodone

When used as prescribed by a doctor, oxycodone can be a safe way to relieve pain without overdose or addiction, but the dangerous risks for misuse are real.

Taking oxycodone when it is not prescribed to you, or taking more than is prescribed to you, can lead to overdose and death. The risk increases when people crush or chew a controlled-release oxycodone pill, or dissolve the pills for injection, causing all of the powerful oxycodone to be released into their bodies at once.

It is also very easy to become addicted to opioid drugs like oxycodone. Taking oxycodone without a prescription is a risk for addiction, and taking more or using it more often than prescribed can quickly build tolerance to the medicine. It can be very hard to quit oxycodone once addiction sets in.

Other serious risks of misusing oxycodone include getting HIV, hepatitis, and other life-threatening infections through shared needles. You can also be arrested, convicted, and sentenced to jail time for using oxycodone illegally.

There are also many common side effects from taking opioid drugs like oxycodone. In addition to withdrawal sickness, taking oxycodone can have side effects such as constipation, sexual problems, swelling, nausea, vomiting, sweating, itching, and sleepiness.

In their fact sheets on the opioid crisis, the Government of Canada outlines the many short- and long-term effects of taking both prescribed and illegal opioids, and how to take and store your prescription opioid medications safely.

If you are worried you are becoming tolerant or addicted to oxycodone, talk to your doctor or call Renascent today.

Oxycodone Addiction Symptoms

If you’ve been prescribed oxycodone for pain relief, you might be concerned about the risk of addiction. It’s important to take your oxycodone medicine as prescribed, and always talk to your doctor if you think you need to make changes to the amount or frequency you are taking these drugs.

You should also store your prescription oxycodone in a secure place away from children and teenagers.Never share your oxycodone medication with anyone else, and return any unused oxycodone to your pharmacist.

People with long-term pain can develop a tolerance to their prescription oxycodone. Your doctor can help you manage your symptoms and tolerance and adjust your prescription safely, or help you find other drugs or strategies for relieving your pain.

Similar to other opioid drugs, there are common signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction to watch out for:

  • Needing to use more oxycodone, and more often, to get the same effect.
  • Physical symptoms such as shakes, cramps, vomiting, muscle pain, trouble sleeping, and restlessness when you aren’t using oxycodone.
  • Spending more time and money getting oxycodone than with friends, family, and activities you used to enjoy.

It can be hard to admit you have a problem with drug use, especially with a drug that has been prescribed to you by a doctor. If you think you might have an addiction, we understand and we can help.

How to Beat Oxycodone Addiction

An accredited, personalized, and abstinence-based treatment is recommended for opioid addictions, including oxycodone. In our 50 years of experience treating drug, alcohol, and food addictions, we know that the right professional treatment can help people find life-long healing and recovery.

For example, our comprehensive, Toronto-region, opioid addiction treatment programs take place in safe, serene, and caring environments inside beautifully restored heritage homes. Our abstinence-based model integrates 12-step facilitation with other best practices in clinical and medical approaches, which are proven to make a difference in long-term sobriety.

A high-quality, comprehensive inpatient (residential) treatment program is the best way to overcome oxycodone addiction. For example, every treatment stay at Renascent drug treatment centres includes:

  • Education on your addiction and its physical, emotional, social, and spiritual effects
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy to understand and change your addiction behaviour patterns
  • 12-step facilitation
  • Personalized one-on-one and solution-focused therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Regular exercise, sleep, and healthy eating

Inpatient programs also have around-the-clock counselling and support from experienced, qualified staff who will provide you with tools and education in practical recovery and life skills that will make long-term recovery more successful.

How to choose your addiction treatment program

It can be hard to decide what type of treatment program you need. There are a lot of options out there, and each person has different needs and resources for addiction treatment.

Our treatment option chart outlines some of the choices you have at Renascent, or through other healthcare providers. Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

If You Are:We Might Suggest:
Looking for one-on-one supportA one-on-one counselling session with one of our addiction experts
Seeking a community who understandsInpatient treatment with group counselling, or AA/NA/CA/OA meetings
Struggling with relapse42-days of Inpatient Treatment, followed by active participation in our Continuing Care program.
In recovery, but looking to connect with informal supportGetting involved with Renascent’s Alumni Care community. There are regular meetings, engaged committees, and events for everyone. We’re here for life!
Concerned how addiction in your family might be impacting your childrenSafe programs geared for kids and parents/caregivers, such as Children’s Healthy Coping Skills
Worried about your family member or loved one, including siblings, close friends, and partnersOur Essential Family Care Programs, particularly the Introduction to Family Care
A parent in active recoveryA weekend course like Parenting in Recovery, to help you boost your parenting skills
Concerned addiction is affecting your work or workplaceOur Corporate Complete Care Advantage, designed to support employees and employers as they navigate addiction and recovery in the workplace.
Worried about life after treatmentOur Continuing Care Program, to support you as you re-integrate into your daily home life.
Looking for housing after treatmentOne of our many Community Partners who offer post-treatment housing. Call us at 1-866-232-1212 and we can put you in touch.
Looking to get “clean” or detox.The ConnexOntario Helpline, 1-866-531-2600, can connect you with Withdrawal Management Services. If you are interested in treatment following detox, call 1-866-232-1212 and we’ll coordinate this.

Life After Opioid Drug Treatment

Finding an after-care program, like the Continuing Care and Alumni programs offered at Renascent, extends your counselling support, peer support, and education following an inpatient or outpatient drug addiction treatment program.

The goal of an after-care program is to support you to maintain your abstinence, and help you re-establish it if you struggle with relapse.

After-care programs can be in-class or over the phone with a treatment centre, or group meetings and social events through organizations like Narcotics Anonymous. However you choose to continue your healing, the idea is to build a healthy, safe, and strong community foundation for your recovery and long-term freedom from addiction.

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here

Your addiction recovery journey begins with “I need help.” We’ve helped over 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

The staff at Renascent is passionate about helping people with substance addictions so they can reach their full recovery, with compassion, respect, empathy, and understanding. Our multidisciplinary team includes our counsellors, all of whom have lived experience of addiction and long-term recovery.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, call 1-844-244-4583 anytime, day or night, or Contact Us Today.

Meth Addiction

Meth Addiction

Meth, or methamphetamine, is an illegal, highly addictive, and dangerous drug.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, the prevalence of meth use in Canada is low compared to other drugs, but the availability of meth is increasing.

The risks of using and becoming addicted to this powerful drug includes overdose, psychosis, and violent psychotic symptoms — serious side effects that put users, friends, and healthcare professionals in harm’s way. It is easy to become addicted to meth, but with help, quitting is also possible.

In this article, we’ll explain the risks of using meth, the signs and symptoms of meth addiction, and how to get help for the whole family if you or someone you love is addicted to meth.

At Renascent, we know about addiction, and we can help. Your journey to recovery from meth addiction starts here.

What is Meth?

Meth, or crystal meth, are two common names for the illegal drug methamphetamine. Meth is also sometimes referred to as chalk, crank, and ice, as well as several other street names.

Meth is a type of amphetamine drug — a group of powerful stimulants or “uppers” that speed up the body’s central nervous system. Depending on the form it is sold in, it can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected.

Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug. It’s highly addictive and easy to overdose on. It’s made in illegal backroom labs with cheap and often dangerous ingredients, so the strength and safety of meth are often unknown to both sellers and users.

Meth used to be prescribed by doctors to treat obesity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). And while it can still sometimes be prescribed in the United States, meth is not a legal drug in Canada.

Meth Use in Canada

A 2012 study cited by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) estimated that there are roughly 52,000 methamphetamine users each year in Canada. This same study went on to say that the actual number of users may be much higher due to the nature of self-reporting drug-use surveys.

According to CAMH, the low cost and availability of meth means more people might be using it. In particular, more young adults are using it at parties and nightclubs, and cocaine users sometimes substitute meth for cocaine because the effects are similar for a lower cost.

Among students, CAMH also reports that a 2011 survey of Ontario youth in grades 7 to 12 found that 1% had used methamphetamine at least once in the past year. The 2017 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey more recently found that after peaking in the late 1970s/early 1980s and again in the late 1990s, meth use is at an all-time low among students in grades 9 to 12.

Sign and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Addiction can creep up until all of a sudden; what was once a choice becomes an urgent necessity.

And while the progression from use to addiction is different for everyone, a common pattern is how often the user denies, rationalizes, and underestimates their drug use, along with the consequences of the drug use on their lives, and the lives of people around them.

If you aren’t sure if you are addicted to meth, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Have you tried to stop using meth, and stay stopped, for an extended period of time?
  • Was your attempt to quit successful?
  • If you have never tried, do you really know you can quit anytime you want to?
  • How do you feel at your job?
  • Is your work being affected by your substance use?
  • Are you having problems with your family members, including partners and children?
  • Are you struggling to deal with your family’s concerns about your drug use or feeling defensive about their nagging to quit or cut back?

There are also some common signs and symptoms of meth addiction to watch out for. Do you find yourself struggling with:

  • Strong cravings for meth?
  • Using more meth, and more often?
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as stomach pain, hunger, headaches, shortness of breath, tiredness, and depression?

These are all common signs you, or someone you love, might have an addiction to methamphetamine. At Renascent, we understand addiction and how hard it is to quit, and we can help. We’ve helped over 50,000 people recover from substance addictions and we can help you and your family too.

Am I an Addict?

Yes, you might be addicted to meth. But don’t let the label “addict” stop you from getting the help you need to quit.

Addicts are always people first, just like anyone else. And there is treatment available to help you fully recover from your meth addiction.

Addiction is considered a chronic disorder by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5), a handbook used widely by doctors to guide diagnosis of mental disorders and addictions.

This means that if you’re experiencing problems as a result of your meth use, it doesn’t make you a bad person — it means you are a person with a psychiatric brain disorder or disease that can be treated like any other health condition.

And in Ontario, addiction is recognized as a disability in the Human Rights Code, so you are protected against discrimination based on your addiction from anyone you need to tell: at work, at school, with your doctor, or elsewhere in your life.

Remember, there’s a very good reason why the first step of the 12-Step Program to addiction recovery is asking for help. Admitting out loud that you need help, and that you have an addiction you are powerless over, is a hard step, but one that will truly set you on the path to freedom from your addiction.

Risk Factors for Meth Addiction

Science and medical guidelines like the DSM-5 handbook tell us there are underlying biological and genetic reasons people get addicted to drugs and alcohol, meaning addiction can be treated like any other health disease.

There are other social factors that can increase our risk for addiction too. Understanding these risks can make it easier to confront our addiction and ask for the help and forgiveness we need to recover.

The Effects of Meth on Your Body

Using meth can cause some unpleasant and unwanted side effects including racing of the heart, chest pain, dryness of the mouth, anxiety, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, overheating, and physical tension. Other negative effects of using meth are paranoid delusions, hallucinations, aggressive behaviour, and impulsive violence.

Once the effects of meth have worn off, sometimes as long as 12 hours after its taken, users often also feel tired and depressed, leading them to take more meth to feel better, or continuously using over a period of days or weeks, inviting addiction and overdose.

If you use needles to take methamphetamine, you also risk spreading or catching serious infections like hepatitis or HIV. People using methamphetamine are also more likely to make make risky decisions about sex, putting them at a greater risk of catching and spreading HIV.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health warns that regular use of methamphetamines over a long period of time can lead to amphetamine psychosis. The symptoms of amphetamine psychosis include hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and bizarre and violent behaviour. This is a dangerous state for users and the people around them. Meth users can become hostile and violent in their disconnect from reality. They may self-mutilate, attempt suicide, or attack others for no reason.

Long-term regular use of meth can also cause:

  • Severe tooth decay (meth mouth);
  • The feeling of bugs under your skin, leading to skin-picking and sores;
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss;
  • Trouble sleeping;
  • Increased risk of heart disease, stroke, impaired thinking, poor memory, and Parkinson’s disease.

Using meth even once can lead to overdose. Overdosing on meth can have serious consequences, including heart attack, seizure, stroke, and death.

Meth Addiction Treatment – How To Quit Meth

At Renascent, with our 50 years of experience, we believe that complete abstinence is the best meth addiction treatment if you’ve crossed the line from heavy use to addiction. With abstinence-based treatment, even those with the most serious of drug addictions can find renewed health and healing, and a truly transformative experience.

Choosing an accredited, personalized, and abstinence-based treatment is recommended for meth addiction. For example, our comprehensive, Toronto-region, meth addiction treatment programs take place in safe, serene, and caring environments inside beautifully restored heritage homes. Our abstinence-based model integrates 12-step facilitation with other best practices in clinical and medical approaches, which are proven to make a difference in long-term sobriety.

When you’re choosing your treatment program, make sure that these programs, like the ones offered by Renascent, are included in your stay:

  • Education on your addiction and its physical, emotional, social, and spiritual effects;
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy to understand and change your addiction behaviour patterns;
  • 12-step facilitation;
  • Personalized one-on-one and solution-focused therapy;
  • Group therapy;
  • Art therapy;
  • Meditation and mindfulness;
  • Exercise, sleep, and healthy eating.

How to choose your addiction treatment program

It can be hard to decide what type of treatment program you need. There are a lot of options out there, and each person has different needs and resources for addiction treatment.

Our treatment option chart outlines some of the choices you have at Renascent, or through other healthcare providers.

If You Are:We Might Suggest:
Looking for one-on-one supportA one-on-one counselling session with one of our addiction experts
Seeking a community who understandsInpatient treatment with group counselling, or AA/NA/CA/OA meetings
Struggling with relapse42-days of Inpatient Treatment, followed by active participation in our Continuing Care program.
In recovery, but looking to connect with informal supportGetting involved with Renascent’s Alumni Care community. There are regular meetings, engaged committees, and events for everyone. We’re here for life!
Concerned how addiction in your family might be impacting your childrenSafe programs geared for kids and parents/caregivers, such as Children’s Healthy Coping Skills
Worried about your family member or loved one, including siblings, close friends, and partnersOur Essential Family Care Programs, particularly the Introduction to Family Care
A parent in active recoveryA weekend course like Parenting in Recovery, to help you boost your parenting skills
Concerned addiction is affecting your work or workplaceOur Corporate Complete Care Advantage, designed to support employees and employers as they navigate addiction and recovery in the workplace.
Worried about life after treatmentOur Continuing Care Program, to support you as you re-integrate into your daily home life.
Looking for housing after treatmentOne of our many Community Partners who offer post-treatment housing. Call us at 1-866-232-1212 and we can put you in touch.
Looking to get “clean” or detox.The ConnexOntario Helpline, 1-866-531-2600, can connect you with Withdrawal Management Services. If you are interested in treatment following detox, call 1-866-232-1212 and we’ll coordinate this.

Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

Recovering from Meth Addiction

Sometimes real recovery isn’t perfect.

In this video by actor Dax Shepard, he talks about the experience of having many “rock bottoms” with his addiction and recovery, reminding people to not feel discouraged if hitting rock bottom isn’t the only motivation to quit for good.

Lifelong recovery from meth addiction starts with admitting you need help, getting the right treatment, and ensuring you have all the healthy support you’ll need for recovery and your new sober life. It also requires not giving up when your first tries at quitting don’t work.

Being part of an after-treatment care program, like the Continuing Care and Alumni programs offered at Renascent, can be the extra support you need to make recovery stick. After-treatment programs extend your counselling support, peer support, and education following your primary intensive inpatient treatment period. The goal of a program like Continuing Care is to support you to maintain your abstinence, and help you re-establish it if you struggle with relapse.

For example, the Renascent Continuing Care program is available to clients as an in-class format or over the phone, while our Alumni program takes the additional step of providing healthy, safe, and strong social community foundations for long-term recovery to thrive. From group meetings to social events and volunteer opportunities, an alumni program can be a vital part of your personal growth and long-term recovery.

Other peer support programs in the recovery community, like a 12-step meeting or other groups for recovery from meth addiction, are also built on drawing your power to stay sober from people who have walked the same journey as you.

Often, these kinds of peer-support and after-treatment care programs offer just the type of friendship you need with positive ways to celebrate and value your sobriety — key ways to stay connected to your support systems and your reasons for quitting opioids once and for all.

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here

Your meth addiction recovery journey begins with “I need help.” We’ve helped over 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, call 1-844-244-4583 anytime, day or night, or Contact Us Today.

Opioid Addiction

Opioid Addiction

The Opioid Crisis in Canada

Canada is facing a national opioid crisis. According to the Government of Canada, the growing number of overdoses and deaths caused by opioid drugs like fentanyl is now considered a public health emergency. The numbers* in Canada show that:

  • The national opioid crisis continues to grow.
  • 94% of opioid overdose deaths happen by accident.
  • Young Canadians aged 15 to 24 are the fastest-growing population requiring hospital care from opioid overdoses.

The September 2019 National Report sadly shows that the current crisis is not going anywhere. Approximately 12,800 lives have been lost since 2016, at an average of one person every two hours in 2018. Many, many other people are hospitalized each year because of opioid overdoses.

Opioid addiction is powerful and dangerous, but real recovery is possible. As an accredited national leader in treating alcohol, drug, and food addictions for 50 years, Renascent offers specialized intensive inpatient and outpatient programs for opioid addiction. We’ve helped over 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

In this article, we’ll help you understand the difference between prescription and illegal opioid drugs, the risk of opioid addiction, the signs and symptoms of problem use, opioid addiction treatment options in Canada, and how you can achieve lifelong healing and recovery from addiction to these powerful drugs.

Your journey to recovery from opioid addiction starts here.

*Source: Canada’s Opioid Crisis fact sheet

What are Opioid Drugs?

Opioid drugs, or opiates, are medications that relieve pain. When prescribed by a doctor and used properly, opioids can help people. But misuse and overuse of these powerful drugs can cause addiction, overdose, and death.

Some opioids like morphine and codeine are found naturally in opium poppies, while others are semi-synthetic (e.g., hydromorphone or hydrocodone), which means they are made by changing the chemical structure of a naturally occurring opioid. Synthetic opioids include methadone and meperidine, and are made entirely from chemicals in a lab without any naturally occurring opioid ingredients.

Opioids can be prescribed and used as tablets, capsules, syrups, solutions, or suppositories. Some people also inject opioids with needles or inhale opioids as a spray.

Types of medical opioid drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor for pain, or to sometimes treat coughs and diarrhea, but that can also be additive include:

Illegal opioid drugs, like fentanyl and heroin, are made in illegal labs or stolen and sold illegally on the street. Using opioids without a prescription from a doctor, or by getting a prescription for an opioid from more than one doctor, is also illegal.

Carfentanil — A Hidden and Dangerous Opiate

One of the most dangerous opioids right now is carfentanil, a synthetic drug very similar to fentanyl.

Carfentanil is an opioid that is used by veterinarians for very large animals like elephants. It is NOT made for human use. It is approximately 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and 10,000 times more toxic than morphine. This means carfentanil can be deadly even in extremely small amounts.

Carfentanil is being found in other illegal drugs like heroin and counterfeit pills and being made to look like prescription opioids. There is no easy way to know if carfentanil is in your drugs: you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it.

Its side effects are more dangerous than with other opiates: users are experiencing serious overdoses, and even brain death that requires them to live out the rest of their lives in nursing homes. Carfentanil is also currently the leading cause of opiate-related death.

Naloxone has been used to reverse carfentanil overdoses; however, greater than normal doses are required to revive those who have overdosed. If you are using illegal opioids, be aware of how to spot an overdose and how to help someone who is overdosing.

The Effects of Opioids on Your Body

Because opioids are a group of drugs that have morphine-like effects, they produce euphoria, or a mellow, relaxed “high”. At low doses as prescribed by a doctor, they can suppress the sensation of pain in your body and your emotional response to pain. But this is also what makes opioids highly addictive and dangerous.

Misusing and overusing opiate drugs can change your brain and body in ways that can make it hard to stop using. As your body gets used to a regular supply of the drug, you can experience withdrawal when you stop using them, or when you use less.

Also, when people take too much of an opioid, it slows down their breathing, often leading to unconsciousness and even death from overdose.

Opioid Side Effects

In their fact sheets on the opioid crisis, the Government of Canada outlines the many short- and long-term effects of taking both prescribed and illegal opioids.

In the short-term, using opioids can cause:

  • Drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, and confusion
  • Constipation
  • Impotence in men
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slowed or difficulty breathing

With long-term use, opioids can cause:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Liver damage
  • Infertility in women
  • Worsening pain or “opioid-induced hyperalgesia”
  • Life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in babies born to mothers taking opioids

Physical dependence, addiction, overdose, and death are also linked to using both prescribed and illegal opioids.

If you need help or someone to talk to about a possible addiction to an opioid drug, call Renascent for help. We can help you, your family, or friends deal with opioid dependence and addiction.

The Problem with Prescription Opiates

The opioid crisis in Canada means more and more people every year are misusing opioids, overdosing, and in far too many cases, dying from overdose. This includes people from every age group – from teens to older adults – and in every socioeconomic group. Canadians young and old, poor and rich, are being exposed to opioids and suffering from the effects of these powerful, dangerous drugs.

To combat this growing problem, the government has made problem opioid use illegal. This means that using opioids without a prescription from a doctor, or by getting a prescription for an opioid from more than one doctor, is illegal, just like selling or buying opioids on the street. Giving your prescription opioids to someone else, even for free, is also illegal.

It also means that healthcare professionals like doctors, dentists, and pharmacists are much more careful about prescribing opioid medicines to treat pain. You should feel comfortable talking to your doctor or dentist before taking any opioid medicine prescribed to you so that you understand the risks. And you can ask about other pain management options you might be able to use instead.

Spotlight on Tramadol, the “safe” opioid

Tramadol is a type of opiate prescribed by doctors to help their patients relieve moderate to moderately severe pain. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain.

The problem with Tramadol and other slow-release or long-acting analgesic (pain-relieving) opioids is that they are commonly touted as being a safer alternative to prescription narcotics. But, Tramadol is a narcotic opiate, and one that can be addictive with prolonged use.

If you’ve been prescribed Tramadol, don’t take any more of it, or more often, than you have been prescribed. If you think you might have a problem using Tramadol, talk to your doctor or call Renascent for a free consultation.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

It can be hard to admit you have a problem with drug use, especially one that has been prescribed to you by a doctor. It can be even harder to ask for help.

But recognizing the signs that your drug use is causing problems in your life at work or at home is the essential first step to accepting help and your successful recovery. This is why honesty is the first principle of every 12-step recovery plan.

You can begin by asking yourself if you are:

  • Craving opioid drugs.
  • Using opioids even when you experience harmful effects.
  • Feeling like getting and using opioids has become the focus of your thoughts and daily life.
  • Having withdrawal symptoms such as:
    • Chills or sweating;
    • Diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain;
    • Trouble sleeping;
    • Body aches;
    • Nervousness, irritability, and agitation.

These are all possible signs and symptoms of a drug addiction to opioids. At Renascent, we understand addiction and we can help.

And if you or someone you know is using opioids, there are also signs and symptoms of overdose you need to know about to stay safe.

Have you witnessed an overdose? Canada’s Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act can legally protect you when seeking emergency help in an overdose situation.

Am I an Addict?

Yes, you might be addicted to opioids, but it’s important to not let this label stop you from getting help to quit. Addicts are always people first, just like anyone else. And you can get the treatment you need to recover fully from your addiction.

It might help you to keep in mind that addiction is considered a chronic disorder by the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5), a handbook used widely by doctors to guide diagnosis of mental disorders and addictions.

This means that if you’re experiencing problems as a result of opioid use, it doesn’t make you a bad person, or any other label out there – it means you have a psychiatric brain disorder or disease that can be treated like any other health condition. And in Ontario, addiction is recognized as a disability in the Human Rights Code, so you are protected against discrimination based on your addiction from anyone you need to tell at work or elsewhere in your life.

People with addictions can and do experience recovery that lasts a lifetime. At Renascent, all our counsellors have lived experiences of addiction and long-term recovery, so you’ll have the understanding and support you need to ask for help, and at every step of your diagnosis, intake, and treatment.

Opioid Addiction Treatment – How to Quit Opioids

Quitting opioids and finding lifelong freedom from these powerful drugs is hard work, but recovery is possible.

An accredited, personalized, and abstinence-based treatment is recommended for most opioid addictions. At Renascent, we have found in our 50 years of experience, that this model means that even those with the most serious of drug addictions can find renewed health and healing, and a truly transformative experience.

For example, our comprehensive, Toronto-region, opioid addiction treatment programs take place in safe, serene, and caring environments inside beautifully restored heritage homes. Our abstinence-based model integrates 12-step facilitation with other best practices in clinical and medical approaches, which are proven to make a difference in long-term sobriety. Included in every treatment stay at Renascent:

  • Education on your addiction and its physical, emotional, social, and spiritual effects
  • Cognitive behaviour therapy to understand and change your addiction behaviour patterns
  • 12-step facilitation
  • Personalized one-on-one and solution-focused therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Exercise, sleep, and healthy eating

Also, many people with an addiction to opioids will benefit from an inpatient treatment program. These types of intensive, residential treatment programs are like a kick-start to your recovery. A quality program in a home-like residence that is grounded in evidence and a client- and family-centred approach will be like a reset button for your healing and success.

Inpatient programs also have around-the-clock counselling and support, and education in practical recovery and life skills that will make long-term recovery more successful. Plus, a good inpatient treatment program gives you the time and tools you need to get to the underlying issues of your addiction and empower you to manage your addiction.

How to choose your addiction treatment program

It can be hard to decide what type of treatment program you need. There are a lot of options out there, and each person has different needs and resources for addiction treatment.

Our treatment option chart outlines some of the choices you have at Renascent, or through other healthcare providers. Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

If You Are:We Might Suggest:
Looking for one-on-one supportA one-on-one counselling session with one of our addiction experts
Seeking a community who understandsInpatient treatment with group counselling, or AA/NA/CA/OA meetings
Struggling with relapse42-days of Inpatient Treatment, followed by active participation in our Continuing Care program.
In recovery, but looking to connect with informal supportGetting involved with Renascent’s Alumni Care community. There are regular meetings, engaged committees, and events for everyone. We’re here for life!
Concerned how addiction in your family might be impacting your childrenSafe programs geared for kids and parents/caregivers, such as Children’s Healthy Coping Skills
Worried about your family member or loved one, including siblings, close friends, and partnersOur Essential Family Care Programs, particularly the Introduction to Family Care
A parent in active recoveryA weekend course like Parenting in Recovery, to help you boost your parenting skills
Concerned addiction is affecting your work or workplaceOur Corporate Complete Care Advantage, designed to support employees and employers as they navigate addiction and recovery in the workplace.
Worried about life after treatmentOur Continuing Care Program, to support you as you re-integrate into your daily home life.
Looking for housing after treatmentOne of our many Community Partners who offer post-treatment housing. Call us at 1-866-232-1212 and we can put you in touch.
Looking to get “clean” or detox.The ConnexOntario Helpline, 1-866-531-2600, can connect you with Withdrawal Management Services. If you are interested in treatment following detox, call 1-866-232-1212 and we’ll coordinate this.

Don’t see what you need? Contact us anytime for a confidential assessment where we can match you with the support you’re looking for.

Freedom and Recovery from Opioid Addiction

Staying connected and finding healthy support systems for your new, sober life are key to lifelong freedom and recovery from addiction.

Finding an after-treatment care program, like the Continuing Care and Alumni programs offered at Renascent, extends your counselling support, peer support, and education following your primary intensive inpatient or outpatient treatment period. The goal of a program like Continuing Care is to support you to maintain your abstinence, and help you re-establish it if you struggle with relapse.

For example, our Continuing Care program is available to clients as an in-class format or over the phone, while our Alumni program goes an additional step by providing healthy, safe, and strong social community foundations for long-term recovery to thrive. From group meetings to social events and volunteer opportunities, an alumni program can be a vital part of your personal growth and long-term recovery.

Other peer support programs in the recovery community, like a 12-step meeting through Heroin Anonymous or other group for opioid addictions, are also built on drawing your power to stay sober from people who have walked the same journey as you.

Often, these kinds of peer-support and after-treatment care programs offer just the type of friendship you need with positive ways to celebrate and value your sobriety – key ways to stay connected to your support systems and your reasons for quitting opioids once and for all.

For Healthcare Professionals – Refer a Patient

If you’re a healthcare professional, you’re in the unique position of being able to help your patients and their families reclaim their lives from addiction. Renascent is pleased to partner with physicians and other healthcare professionals to facilitate your patient’s treatment and ongoing recovery.

Our accredited, abstinence-based treatment model results in treatment outcomes that are among the best in Canada. Referring your patients to Renascent is a decision you can trust.

Your Road to Recovery Starts Here

Your addiction recovery journey begins with “I need help.” We’ve helped over 50,000 people recover from addiction. We can help you too.

For a free and confidential consultation with one of our counsellors, call 1-866-232-1212 anytime, day or night, or Contact Us Today.