Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 12/17/2020

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at North Tampa Behavioral Health Hospital to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at North Tampa Behavioral Health Hospital.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Opiate Abuse Effects, Signs & Symptoms

What is Opiate Abuse

Understanding Opiate Abuse

Opiates are a class of narcotic drugs that are derived from opium or created in a laboratory. These central nervous system depressants are distributed in prescription form as morphine and codeine and are also found on the streets in the form of heroin. These drugs vary in the degree of how powerful the narcotic element is.

Many opiates are available through prescription from a licensed physician for the prevention of pain, to help with sleep problems, and to alleviate diarrhea. When used directly as prescribed, these drugs can be very effective painkillers, however due to the positive psychoactive aspects, opiates are commonly abused. Even if prescribed by a licensed physician, the potential for abuse and addiction is extremely high. Some individuals become addicted to the feelings of well-being and emotional numbing that these narcotics produce.

An opiate addiction is defined as an out-of-control need and craving that affects social relationships and daily obligations, such as work or school. Individuals who are addicted to opiates may crush up and snort the pills, mix them with other drugs and alcohol, or dilute the crushed tablets in water and inject them intravenously. Repeated use can lead to opiate dependence within four to six weeks, while psychological addiction can occur in as little as two weeks. Prolonged opiate abuse may lead to dependence upon opiates and the body will become unable to naturally produce opiates in response to painful stimuli. This means that when an individual stops using opiates, it will lead to an increased amount of pain, which is why many abusers relapse.


Statistics of Opiate Abuse

It is estimated that in the United States there is a prevalence rate of opiate use at about 0.37% in adults ages 18 and older. Gender differences have been shown with male prevalence rates around 0.49%, while women have a prevalence rate of only 0.26%. The highest rates of abuse are found in individuals under the age of 30 with a prevalence rate of about 0.29%, and the lowest rates are found in those 64 years of age and older (0.09%).

Causes of Opiate Abuse

What are the Causes of Opiate Abuse

Genetic: When an individual has a first-degree relative who has struggled with an addiction, they are more likely to develop an addiction themselves. Temperamental qualities, like novelty seeking and impulsivity, are considered to be inborn characteristics and have been linked to an increased risk for opiate addiction.

Physical: Individuals who are suffering with chronic health conditions or go through specific surgeries are given opiates as a means of numbing the pain. Sometimes, prolonged use of these substances causes an individual to become addicted to these substances. Additionally, opiate use alters pathways in the brain and over time leads to addiction.

Environmental: There are some men and women who are exposed to certain environmental factors which put them at a greater risk for substance use and addiction. Environmental factors such as abuse, lower socioeconomic status, having peers who do drugs, living in violent neighborhoods, or experiencing a traumatic event can all lead to the development of substance abuse and addiction. Additionally, some individuals have difficulty coping with negative moods states and they have learned that using a substance such as opiates is an appropriate means for controlling their emotions.

Risk factors:

  • Under the age of 30
  • History of mental disease
  • Being male
  • Improper use of medication
  • History of repeated drug or alcohol abuse and rehabilitation
  • Experiencing chronic pain due to illness or other cause
Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Abuse

Learn More About the Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Abuse

Behavioral Symptoms:

  • Excessive sleeping
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants even in summer to hide track marks
  • Borrowing money without explanation
  • Abandonment of important activities
  • Increased energy
  • Decrease in personal hygiene
  • No longer engaging in activities once enjoyed

Physical Symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Drastic weight changes

Cognitive Symptoms:

  • Lowered motivation
  • Psychosis
  • Increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Improved alertness
  • Over arousal and hyper-vigilance

Psychosocial Symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Improved self-esteem
Effects of Opiate Abuse

Understanding the Effects of Opiate Abuse

The long-term effects of constant opiate abuse can cause havoc in all areas of an addict’s life. The side effects experienced will depend on individual circumstances, but some of the common effects include:

Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Learn More About the Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose

Withdrawal: Opiate withdrawal sets in shortly after an individual who has become physically dependent on this drug abruptly stops using. Symptoms usually occur within twelve hours after the last use. Some withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal cramping diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

Overdose: It may be difficult to tell if someone who has taken opiates is simply high or is experiencing an overdose. If you are concerned and having a hard time telling the difference, the best thing to do it to treat the situation like an overdose and get help immediately. Some common signs associated with an overdose include:

  • Awake, but unable to talk
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Limp body
  • Breathing is slowed, erratic, or has stopped
  • Unresponsive to stimuli
  • Slow, erratic, or missing pulse
  • Pale and clammy face
Co-Occurring Disorders

Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

There are a variety of different mental health disorders that co-occur with opiate abuse and addiction. Some of the more common co-occurring disorders include:

  • Other substance abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Depressive disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
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  • StayWell
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  • Wellcare
  • and more...

My addiction to opiates was ruining my life. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't stop. North Tampa took me in and gave me treatment. They gave me life. Another chance. Now I have a job again, and am working toward being the kind of person I want to be. Not just some addict.

– Anonymous Patient
Marks of Quality Care
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Florida Agency for Health Care Administration
  • Florida Department of Children and Families
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval
  • The Jason Foundation

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