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Opiate Detox in Boulder, Colorado

Opiate addiction has emerged as a significant public health crisis in Colorado, affecting individuals and communities across the state. The misuse of prescription painkillers such as morphine, codeine, and heroin has led to devastating consequences, including increased overdose deaths and straining healthcare systems. Throughout Colorado, including the small town of Boulder, thousands of residents are experiencing the severe impacts of opiate dependence. The need for opiate detox in Boulder, Colorado highlights a growing demand for specialized detox centers statewide, focusing on addressing these critical issues.

What Exactly are Opiates?

An opiate is a type of drug that is naturally derived from the opium poppy plant. Opiates are some of the earliest pain-relief drugs, like morphine and codeine, popular during the Civil War to help with severe pain. 

Opiates work by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord to reduce the perception of pain while also producing feelings of euphoria, which can lead to misuse and addiction.

Common brand names of opiates often prescribed by doctors include:

  • Morphine: Available under brand names like MS Contin, Kadian, and Roxanol.
  • Codeine: Often found in combination products like Tylenol with Codeine (Tylenol #3 and Tylenol #4).
  • Hydrocodone: Available as Vicodin, Norco, and Lortab, usually combined with acetaminophen.
  • Oxycodone: Marketed as OxyContin, Percocet (combined with acetaminophen), and Percodan (combined with aspirin).
  • Hydromorphone: Known by brand names such as Dilaudid and Exalgo.

Doctors prescribe these medications for moderate to severe pain management. However, due to their potential for addiction, they come with warnings of the dangers of misuse. 

Opiates vs Opioids

An opiate is not the same thing as an opioid. While the terms are often used interchangeably, there are some important distinctions: 


  • A naturally occurring compound derived from the opium poppy plant.
  • Common opiates Include drugs like morphine, codeine, and heroin.
  • Often used historically and medically for pain relief and anesthesia.


  • A broad category of drugs that includes both natural opiates and synthetic or semi-synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of natural opioids, but often more potent and addictive. 
  • Synthetic opioids are manufactured in labs and include drugs like fentanyl, oxycodone, and methadone.
  • Semi-synthetic opioids: These drugs are man-made, but they start from natural opiates. Doctors commonly prescribe them for severe pain after surgeries or serious injuries. Examples include hydrocodone like Vicodin and oxycodone like Percocet or OxyContin.
  • Fully synthetic opioids: These are the newest and are entirely artificial; they don’t come from opiates. Two examples are fentanyl (which has been a major factor in opioid overdoses) and methadone (used to treat addiction).

In summary, while both opiates and opioids interact with the same receptors in the brain to produce pain-relieving effects, the key difference lies in their origin. Understanding the distinction between the two drugs is crucial for determining their uses, risks, and the necessity of targeted treatments like our holistic opiate detox in Boulder, Colorado.

How Addictive are Opiates?

The regular use of opiates can lead to tolerance, where the user requires increasingly larger doses to achieve the same euphoric effect. This escalation exacerbates the risk of addiction and overdose.

According to a report from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System (SUDORS), between July 2019 and December 2022, Colorado recorded 5,210 drug overdose deaths, 98.1% of which were unintentional. Nearly 75% of these deaths involved an opioid.

Opiates are highly addictive substances due to their profound impact on the brain’s reward system. When a person consumes an opiate, the drug binds to opioid receptors in the brain, leading to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure. These pleasurable feelings often lead to repeated use.

Over time, the brain starts to rely on these external substances to maintain normal function, diminishing the effectiveness of its natural dopamine production. This dependency creates a cycle of use and withdrawal, making it challenging for individuals to stop using opiates without professional help. Detoxing from opiates through a specialized program like our opiate detox in Boulder, Colorado, offers crucial support to break free from this cycle.

A young man talking to his doctor during opiate detox.

Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction is a serious condition that can develop quickly due to the potent effects of these drugs on the brain and body. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of opiate addiction is crucial for early intervention and treatment. 

Opiates, whether derived naturally from the opium poppy or synthesized in a lab, have a high potential for abuse and dependency.

Here are some key indicators that someone might be struggling with opiate addiction:

Physical Symptoms:

  • Noticeable euphoria or intense relaxation
  • Constricted (pinpoint) pupils
  • Drowsiness or heavy sedation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching or flushed skin
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech
  • Decreased coordination
  • Respiratory depression (slow or shallow breathing)

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Increased secrecy or isolation
  • Doctor shopping (visiting multiple doctors to obtain prescriptions)
  • Sudden financial problems or stealing to fund drug use
  • Neglecting responsibilities at work, school, or home
  • Unexplained absences or frequent trips to the bathroom
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving under the influence

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Mood swings, including increased irritability or anxiety
  • Depression or a general sense of apathy
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Cravings for the drug and preoccupation with obtaining and using it

Undeniably, opiate addiction is a medical condition that requires comprehensive treatment, including detoxification, counseling, and ongoing support to achieve and maintain sobriety. 

Recognizing these signs is often the first step toward seeking help. Early intervention and addiction recovery significantly improve outcomes and help individuals reclaim their lives from addiction.

What to Expect from Opiate Detox in Boulder, Colorado

Undergoing opiate detox is the first crucial step toward overcoming addiction. The detox process involves clearing the opiates from the body, which can be challenging due to withdrawal symptoms. 

While detoxing from opiates, individuals can expect a medically supervised detox to ensure safety and comfort throughout this phase. The medical teams closely monitor patients during our opiate detox programs in Boulder, managing withdrawal symptoms and preventing complications. 

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Physical Symptoms:

  • Muscle aches
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Tremors
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Intense cravings
  • Depression

Flatirons Recovery, one of the best opiate detox centers in Colorado, offers a holistic opiate detox that addresses not just the physical effects but also the mental, emotional, and spiritual needs of each individual. This comprehensive care includes therapies such as counseling, yoga, meditation, and nutrition planning, which aim to heal the whole person. The goal is to provide a supportive environment that encourages long-term recovery and well-being.

At our opiate detox programs in Boulder, Flatirons Recovery combines beneficial holistic practices with medical supervision to support individuals in establishing a solid foundation for long-term sobriety. The combination of these methods can significantly improve the chances of successful detoxification and rehabilitation, leading to a healthier, more balanced life free from the grip of opiate addiction.

Group therapy during opiate detox in Boulder, Colorado.

Break Free From Addiction With Opiate Detox in Boulder, Colorado

If you or a loved one is struggling with opiate addiction, effective and compassionate help is available. As one of the top opiate detox centers in Colorado, the team at Flatirons Recovery understands the challenges that you face. We know that the journey to sobriety often seems unreachable and overwhelming. We’re here to offer you support and guidance as you go through opiate detox, and every step after that as you navigate the road to recovery. 

We provide medically supervised detox to safely manage withdrawal symptoms and offer holistic care that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of addiction. 

Contact us to learn more about our opiate detox in Boulder, Colorado, and begin your journey to healing today.