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Opiate addiction.

Problems:

From: MARDI2GRAS.aol.com
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2003 00:36:02 EST
To: herb.lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [Herb] need info please for drug detox

have a friend that is addicted to opiate drugs. what can I advise him to do and take to detox and help with the pain of coming off these drugs. Has been doing them for about 6 months. snorting oxi cotton, up to 20 crushed pills a day. second bout with addiction, quit for 4 months and started up again. your compassion and knowledge would be appreciated.


From: Herbgrow30.aol.com

Hello ~

While there are protocols and supplements that assist (and I use the word loosely) in helping with addiction, my suggestion is that your friend needs to go through a 30-60 day treatment program.

We, who treat addictions, see it as three-fold: a physical, mental, and spiritual addiction. While many at-home addicts try to do-it-themselves, they cheat themselves of the mental and spiritual counseling they need. Plus, if your friend is not ready there is no herb one can take to help them quit.

Oxy-contin is a very potent drug to withdraw from and this definitely should be done in a professional setting.

Mary L. Conley, ND


From: Dan dan.awherbals.com

> have a friend that is addicted to opiate drugs.

Avena and Eschscholzia are two herbs that can be helpful in a program. Also there is an herb i have been experimenting called Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) that apparently hits all the opiate receptors and can help with withdrawl.

Good luck with this and make sure before you invest the time and energy into this that they are asking for your help. Trying to help someone who has not reached out can be very hard on both of you.

If you get a chance look up any info you can find from Donna Odierna, she has a lot of experience in the Oakland Free Clinc with opiate addictions.


From: "jim mcdonald" multiflorum.hotmail.com

>have a friend that is addicted to opiate drugs...

My heart goes out to you. One of my best friends, as well, has fallen into heroine and cocaine, together, intravenously. The simple truth is that its going to be ~entirely~ up to your friend whether he can recover or not, and if he can, what the cost to himself and his relationships will be. While I understand, very empathetically, your deep desire to help him out I'm also going to offer you the practical and important advice of being very careful about what you let him bring into your life. People who are drowning often take with them the people who try to rescue them. Drug addicts steal, lie and are wrapped up in such a severe form of self abuse that they really don't have the perspective to understand how badly they can hurt the other people in their life... all they care about is getting back to that numbed out place where they can escape their pain. They're delusional... when they start getting clean they'll often think that they can use again, but they'll just do so "less often"... really believing they could. In counseling my friend, whom I've known literally all my life, he said to me that he really didn't even care about dying... that it'd just be a release. Not much to work with, eh?

Using herbs as an adjunct to treatment needs to consist of addressing the affects of withdrawl and on nourishing the body. Alteratives and adapteogens such as Burdock, Siberian Ginseng, Astragalus, Nettles and Milky Oats will help to nourish him and rebalance metabolic functions. Something bitter, like Dandelion or Oregon Grape, may help to reestablish an appetite, if he's lost that. DON'T Colon clease, DON'T go on a detox fast, DON'T do ANYTHING to the body that isn't gentle.

For the withdrawl symptoms, herbs like Arnica, Boneset, Blue Vervain and Black Cohosh will help with the aches & pains, and Cramp Bark and your choice of antispasmodic nervines. Use other herbs as symptoms indicate.

Again, though, all the helpful plants in the world won't do anything unless your friend chooses to deal with whatever is pushing him into these drugs. While we western herbalists like to look at drug addiction as a chemical process, I think its much, much more influenced by the desire to escape from emotional pain. If your friend fears the drugs less than whatever that pain is, the best you can do is pray for him.

I absolutely agree some sort of professional help would help immensely, whether that be a detox program or private therapy.

Again, I'll urge you to be VERY cautious with him. Don't let him know where the key to your house is. Very little sucks as bad in life as when your friend steals from you or screws up your life when you're trying to help him.

my prayers to you and your friend.


From: Henriette Kress hetta.spamcop.net

>For the withdrawl symptoms, herbs like Arnica, Boneset, Blue Vervain and Black Cohosh will help with the aches & pains, and Cramp Bark and your choice of antispasmodic nervines. Use other herbs as symptoms indicate.

Agreed on the most part, but on the aches and pains: they only show up if you don't do the vitamins (and EFAs, and zinc, and...).

I _like_ getting phone calls that say "your herbs are miraculous - I forgot to take them this morning, and boyo what a shitty day, and then I took them immediately when I got home, and was fine about 10 minutes later".

And "Wow, your herbs are fabulous. None of my friends had it as easy as I did."

Note, I credit the vitamins (and zinc, and other things found in a good multivitamin complex) as much as the herbs, here.

Also, caution is probably prudent on things like house keys; still, users aren't necessarily abusers, no matter how deeply they're stuck.

(And agreed, Dan: Esch is specific for opiate withdrawal - it binds to the same receptors in the brain as the opiates do, without the addiction or other side effects, therefore doing away with the cravings little by little. Avena is another excellent choice. Opiate addicts tend to have _severe_ constipation, too, but that goes away on its own, in time. Or perhaps a tad faster with lots and lots of plums ...)

Henriette


From: Herbmednurse.aol.com

>and do vitex for when the cravings get to be too much.

in what way does vitex help the cravings?


From: Henriette Kress hetta.spamcop.net

> in what way does vitex help the cravings?

It stops them.


From: Henriette Kress hetta.spamcop.net

> have a friend that is addicted to opiate drugs.

You want to get Phil Rasmussen's articles on opiate (and benzodiazepine) withdrawal - they were published twice, once in the European Journal of Herbal Medicine, once in The Modern Phytotherapist. The EJHM articles are online (alas - no longer. -Henriette, Jan 2009) -- see my links page if you don't have the EJHM site bookmarked. You could also look for anything written by Donna Odierna, who is perhaps _the_ expert on herbal drug withdrawal, these days.

You want vitamins - LOTS of vitamins. Do a double dose of multivitamins, add a double dose of a good B-complex, and in addition to that, do C-vitamin to bowel tolerance - every day, for a few months.

Herbs - do liver herbs according to constitution (I call this "detox tea"); do silybum (this also helps the liver); do high quality kava for the anxiety; and do vitex for when the cravings get to be too much.

Essential fatty acids won't hurt, either; try evening primrose oil - double the dose given on the package.

In addition, and this is _very_ important: ask why he got addicted. What did the drug give him that he couldn't get in other ways? GIVE him that particular thing, or do your very best to do so. One of my clients said heroin (which is an opiate drug) gave him a clearness of mind he'd never had before ... the closest herb I could think of which would address this was gotu kola, so I gave him that.

If you don't address this your friend will be caught again very soon - because that drug gives him something he can't get elsewhere.

He'll also need to disconnect from his friends, the ones who got him the drugs... moving a few hundred miles away should be extremely helpful.

And note, it's par for the course to slip back once or twice, even during detox, especially with hard drugs. Don't get upset, just start over.

Henriette


From: elementalclay.webtv.net (Roxanne Brown)

Henriette,

Does vitex reduce cravings for other addictions such as tobacco or alcohol or just opiates?


From: Henriette Kress hetta.spamcop.net

> Does vitex reduce cravings for other addictions

... try it.


From: elementalclay.webtv.net (Roxanne Brown)

Okay, Henriette, I'll give vitex a try for smoking. What do you think for dosage?

Ground in caps or tincture or?


From: Henriette Kress hetta.spamcop.net

>What do you think for dosage?

10-15 drops of tincture whenever you can't resist the urge. Or chew on a seed whenever you can't resist the urge.

I wouldn't do caps - waste of good herbs, you need much less than is found in a capsule for it to work.



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