Mixing Opiates With ‘Benzos’

Mixing Opiates With ‘Benzos’

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 200 people in the United States die due to opiate overdose every day.

That is of epidemic proportions! Despite various efforts by the federal and state bodies, the epidemic continues unabated.

One of the reasons the opioid overdose deaths continue to rise is because of the influx of fentanyl, which is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than heroin and individuals addicted to opiates spiking the opiate high through the use of another class of drugs called benzodiazepines or benzos.

Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs that have legitimate uses in treating a range of mental health illnesses such as anxiety and insomnia. The non-addictive, longer-acting benzodiazepines are also utilized to help individuals addicted to addictive, short-acting benzos and alcohol.

Like opiates, benzodiazepines are also central nervous system depressants. Both opiates and benzodiazepines are used by physicians to help people with genuine ailments. When used together, it can lead to overdose more quickly. Over one-third of all opioid or opiate overdoses happen when they are mixed with benzos.

This combination is dangerous because both drugs cause sedation and slow down breathing to a point where the brain forgets to breathe, causing overdose fatalities. Also, this prescription drug may lead to hard withdrawal symptoms that simply require medical and treatment.

People suffering from addiction often like to mix opiates and benzos because benzos spike the euphoric high caused by opiates. Opiates not only cause intoxication and make a person high but also affect the entire body, which can lead to other illnesses.

When mixing benzos and opiates, the person may experience decreased awareness, confusion, delirium, slow shallow breathing, and nausea and vomiting.

Even though people using both usually know that it is a dangerous combination, they still do it to intensify the high. When people use substances repeatedly, they build up a tolerance and need more or stronger doses to achieve the same high.

Dr Cidambi, a leading expert in addictions, said, “We need to find a way to reverse the growth trend of benzodiazepine abuse. I truly believe that, unless we do something immediately, our country is on the brink of escalating the national drug epidemic into a pandemic.”

Dr. Cidambi has some recommendations for limiting the co-abuse of benzos with opiates:

Patients being prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety need to be monitored closely and they should not be prescribed beyond a short period of time – say about 3 months. While many states are limiting the prescriptions for opiates, there are no limits on the prescriptions for benzos. The prescribing physician should be aware of the addictive nature of these medications and recommend the patient also address the issue through talk therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT. After three months the patient should be switched to non-addictive medications.

The prescription monitoring systems that most states currently have should be extended across state lines or made national. This is because Many people get prescriptions filled across state lines.

Utilizing alternative types of therapy like meditation and acupuncture should be considered, along with outpatient talk therapy and non-addictive medications.

For more information, please contact us.


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Recovery @ CNT: Brian’s Story of Addiction Treatment

Brian’s childhood was no different from a million other kids – he grew up in a quiet suburban town; he played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. In his teenage years, he found he had a talent for music and became adept at the guitar, the bass and the piano.

He first tried alcohol at 13 from a friend’s parent’s minibar. After avoiding pot for a while, he did try it finally, at a party and started drinking to the point of blacking out. Brian kept his grades up and he was smart, smart enough to get a full college scholarship.

He got his first pain pills as tips after he delivered pizza delivery job and he fell in love with the high it gave him- it made him feel more confident, and more creative, even though he would forget half of the songs he wrote when he was high. His frequency of use increased to the point where he was snorting pills before class in school bathrooms.

But soon he found out that it cost a lot of money to get high and someone told him there was a cheaper alternative, heroin. At first he started borrowing money, then started to steal. His parents kicked him out the house and he slept in motels and on strangers’ sofas. He was shooting 20-30 bags of heroin a day, smoking crack and snorting cocaine.

That’s when his mother and girlfriend at the time suggested the Center for Network Therapy, an addiction treatment center on Cedar Avenue in Middlesex, NJ to get a grip on his opiate addiction and get over his fear of withdrawal from opiates. He told them he would give it a shot, but he had no faith it was going to work. Brian was stoned for his first therapy session with Dr. Indra Cidambi and several other individuals with substance use disorder. And then Dr. Cidambi said goodnight, and everyone left. What was going on? No other treatment program let participants leave in the evening. Brian was terrified; he didn’t trust himself. Would he use the minute he walked out the door?

“That night I went to the movies with my girlfriend. I went to the bathroom and shot up. And I remember thinking, ‘Why am I doing this? This s–t is getting so old. I walked in the next day and announced to everyone, ‘I used last night. I’m ready to get clean.'”

A different kind of addiction therapy

“The thing is, we don’t view relapses as setbacks here,” said Dr. Cidambi, MD, who is board-certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine. “I try to make every relapse a learning experience: How did you relapse? What made you do this? We talk about it, and the patient often says, ‘I see how I could have stopped myself, I see that this was the trigger.’ If they learn from a relapse, they’ve achieved a step forward.” The Center, or CNT as its called, is also unique because it is not an overnight in-patient facility. At the end of each day, patients leave and are expected to return in the morning for more talk therapy. “You go back and sleep in your own bed. It gives you autonomy. That way, you make the decision every single day whether you want to come back again, whether you want to continue treatment or not,” Dr. Cidambi said. Brian called it “the ultimate test.”

“It made me realize if you’re serious about getting clean, you can go home and stay away from temptation. That’s when I finally realized I was really ready to get sober this time,” he said.

“These people really do not know how to be sober. Nobody recognizes this. I tell them they learned how to shoot drugs and they are smart enough to unlearn that behavior. They recognize, ‘I am not a bad person. I am just an addict. I can overcome this,” says Dr. Cidambi.

It worked for Brian. He’s been clean more than a year. You can hear the pride in his voice when he says the date he became sober. “CNT taught me you can’t get clean for your kids, your parents or your wife,” he said. “You have to do it for you. You have to get clean for yourself.”

Now 28, he works as a cable technician. He still takes 1 milligram of Suboxone a day, a drug that is supposed to control cravings and block opiate receptors in his brain. But he is trying to get off it completely. He attends twelve-step meetings several times a week, which he said really helps.

“I’ve built up a network of people who are staying clean,” he said. “I got back into writing music. I’m rebuilding relationships with people I hurt. I’m going on hikes. Little by little, I’m learning how to enjoy things in life that used to make me happy, and still make me happy.”

But the specter of heroin is never far away. Often, it’s right down the block.

“I would guess there are 5-6 heroin dealers in Middlesex right now. You don’t have to go to Newark or Bloomfield to get it anymore, because there are people who have it five minutes away. It’s getting more accessible and the kids are getting younger who try it,” he said. “It’s a virus.” Ambulatory Detox gives an individual an opportunity to learn to remain sober in their home environment rather than being isolated from it.

About CNT: The Center for Network Therapy (CNT), a seven-year-old substance abuse treatment program and ambulatory (outpatient) detox facility in Middlesex, NJ and it employs unique approaches to treat addiction and offers drug and alcohol detoxification – CNT offers alcohol detoxification, benzodiazepines (“benzos”) detoxification, opiate (pain pills, heroin, methadone) detoxification, as well as detoxification from buprenorphine. CNT offers a safe environment to deal with opiate withdrawal, alcohol withdrawal and benzo withdrawal. The program utilizes medication-assisted treatment, such as suboxone (buprenorphine), to help ease withdrawal symptoms.


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CNT’s Medical Director and leading chemical dependency expert, Indra Cidambi, M.D., helps individuals spot signs of painkiller addiction in a loved one. Fifteen million Americans misuse or abuse prescription painkillers every year almost 4 in 10 people surveyed said they knew someone who was affected by it.

Withdrawal Management Program

Withdrawal Management Program

CNT Therapy Center

Drug withdrawal is a severe state caused when individuals stop or dramatically reduce their usage on which they were heavily dependent for several weeks, months or years. The sudden withdrawal may result in symptoms that are difficult, severe or even can be life-threatening. The severity of withdrawal symptoms may also depend on its level of dependence. The person is at high risk if he tries to make it through withdrawal alone or by himself. It is advisable to seek help from Rehab Center or physician when it comes to the withdrawal management program.

You can ask for help for withdrawal management

Since every individual’s addiction varies it is advisable to take help from medical experts. That makes the medication for withdrawal more effective, safe and also personalized. A medical care focuses on individual requirement and thus designs the specific plan for every individual. Some medications which are useful in the addiction treatment are accessible to medical experts only. They can prescribe you this medication and help you come out of the situation.

If you are consuming drugs for a long time then you may develop resistance against side effects of the drugs. But suddenly stopping them can lead you to various side effects.

Like for instance, Effects of Opiate withdrawal would occur initially in two stages.

Stage one would have symptoms like

· Anxiety

· Restlessness

· Excessive sweating

· Running nose

· Yawning excessively

· Muscle ache

· Tearing eyes

· Sleeplessness

Stage two would have symptoms like

· Palpitation

· Nausea and Vomiting

· Cramps in abdomen

· Dilated pupils

· Diarrhea

Long-term symptoms have effects that are less physical in nature and individual may go through emotional or behavioral issues.

Effects of Alcohol withdrawal symptoms would include

· Nausea

· Tremors

· Insomnia,

· Vomiting,

· Hypertension

· Sweating,

· Tachycardia

· Seizures

· Agitation,

· Hallucinations

· Delirium

Benzodiazepines can reduce the effect of such alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Librium and Valium are two such benzos that help with withdrawal.

Individuals with mild symptoms would take home remedies like drinking a lot of water, fluids, and electrolyte in this process so that to avoid getting dehydrated. Using correct doses of counter medications and vitamins with acupuncture is also useful.

Stay Busy

You can occupy your mind with different things. Do not sit ideal. Engage yourself in some or the other work. People often meet other people, who are suffering from such condition and they talk out when they feel the urge to consume drugs.

We understand that it’s just not at all easy to go through the withdrawal process.

By overcoming its dependence slowly and steadily, you can head to a healthier and happier life ahead.


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Beware Withdrawal Symptoms – They can be Fatal!

Beware Withdrawal Symptoms – They can be Fatal!

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Upon abrupt discontinuation or decrease in intake of substances of abuse, an individual goes into a phase called “withdrawal”.

It happens after repeated use of opiates (pain pills/heroin), alcohol and benzodiazepines and buprenorphine (trade names: Suboxone, Bunavail, Zubsolv), a medication used to treat opioid withdrawal and cravings.

Withdrawal causes acute physical distress and, in the case of alcohol and benzodiazepines, it can cause seizures, stroke or even death. The symptoms may include excessive sweating, anxiety, depression, fatigue etc.

It is quite evident form the above that withdrawal symptoms need to be treated immediately in order to avoid negative medical consequences. Luckily in New Jersey, withdrawal management services are widely available whether you live in Plainfield or Plainsboro, Montclair or Marlboro
Toms River of Forked River, Clinton or Clifton, Far Hills or Cherry Hill, Howell or Wall Township.

Opiates (pain pills, heroin)

Opiates withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, and shivers.


Suboxone withdrawal symptoms include nausea and vomiting, muscle/body aches, insomnia or drowsiness, indigestion, anxiety, depression, and irritability.


Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include: sweating, anxiety, depression, mood swings, tremors, shaking, irritability, nausea, seizures and delirium tremens.


Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms include sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, diazepines, it can cause seizures or even death. Culty concentrating, headache, muscular pain, stiffness and dry wretching and nausea.


Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include agitation and restless behavior, depressed mood, fatigue, increased appetite, vivid and unpleasant dreams, and slowing of activity.


Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms include deep, dark depression, emotional lability (exaggerated changes in mood), night sweats, teeth grinding, anxiety, anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable), irritability, suicidal ideations, and suicide.


Spice withdrawal symptoms include: depression, headache, loss of appetite, headache, tremors, palpitation, confusion, psychotic episodes, restlessness, extreme sweating, hallucinations, and seizures.


Ketamine withdrawal symptoms include: nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, flashbacks, aggressive behavior, irregular and rapid heartbeat, seizures and, possibly, death.

As is evident from the withdrawal symptoms listed above, stopping drug and alcohol use abruptly has its own risks, Consequently, when an individual decides to come off of drugs or alcohol, it is important to do it at licensed detoxification facilities under appropriate supervision and care.


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