Johnson, Frances

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The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic resulting to 40,000 accidental drug overdose deaths. In 2016, the number of deaths related to opioid overdose increased to 116 people per day resulting to $504 billion in economic costs. This research study explored the lived experiences of drug addicts having experienced opioid withdrawal symptoms. Phenomenology is useful in discovering the narrative lived experiences that cannot be obtained in quantitative approach. Six themes emerged to describe the lived experiences of opioid addicts who have undergone withdrawal: (a) Increasing desires that are hard to resist (b) Helplessness and hopelessness (c) It works (d) M.A.T helps (e) Believe and be strong and (f) The price. Further research is needed to examine the lived experiences of other populations that have limited access to M.A.T like inmates, who have abruptly withdrawn from using opioids and have no access to treatment.
Keywords: Addiction, cold turkey, counseling, craving, medication-assisted treatment, opioid analgesics, opioid dependence, relapse, physical dependence, and tolerance.