Xray is faced with having to support his son detoxing at home from opioids. How on earth can they support this, and how long will it last?
"Our son is struggling with opioids, even though he has giving up his stash willingly and says he wants to detox, he wants to do it at home with a follow up plan of using low dose magic mushrooms to get his mind straight. We have advised we don’t support this plan and would prefer he go to a detox clinic with a follow up to rehab. So far we have been unable to find placement in a detox and he has started the process here at home, how on earth do we help him through this and how long will it last."
Thank you for this question, Xray. You have been put in a difficult, but potentially hopeful, position of helping your son withdraw from opioids at home.
His chosen course of action is to micro-dose (low dose) on psilocibin mushrooms. If you search on using mushrooms or other “plant-based” drugs for opioid withdrawal, you’ll see that Ibogaine is another natural substance that is being used for opioid withdrawals.
We have written other posts on the topic of detoxing at home, which could be helpful to you (see topic: detoxing). One thing that stands out from my learnings working in a jail environment is that young people may look better and feel less awful while withdrawing from opioids than their older counterparts. This leads to the danger of serious life-threatening dehydration. One jail medical director I heard speak at a conference supplies Gatorade on demand throughout his jail.
He'd like to use psilocibin to help the process
How long will your son’s withdrawal last? It depends partly on his makeup, how physically sensitive he is, how well he can handle depressed feelings and insomnia. I’ve always been a wimp, personally, and have plenty of experience detoxing from all manner of opioids. The quickest one to detox physically from is natural opioids, so heroin, as well as short-acting opiated pills like codeine. I am sympathetic to your son’s desire to use psilocibin. Psilocibin can help with momentary relief. The problem, though, is that the relief, if you are one of the lucky ones to feel some, wears off quickly and then you need more. Psilocibin also has an associated withdrawal. So, not a perfect solution.
We are not experts in medical withdrawals so you will want to decide for yourself if your son is medically and emotionally safe during this period. That’s a tall order for a mom.
This is what your son wants and is motivated to try, so yes, we suggest you go with it and support him as best you can.
Here are general guidelines from a reliable source for a home detox: https://www.chop.edu/centers-programs/poison-control-center/opioid-withdrawal-management-acute-care-setting-quick-treatment-tips
You’ll want to let your son manage his micro-dosing with the psilocibin. Withdrawals from the opioids can be miserable, but they shouldn’t be dangerous if he stays well hydrated. The minute you start to worry that this is not the case, get him to urgent care. Also, you cannot be sure what else he's been using. Should you have any doubt whatsoever, get him in front of a professional.
Treatment options just in case
In the meantime, let’s back him up with a list of treatment places. If he starts to fail with home detox, you could quickly provide him the list of programs that are available (open, affordable, etc.). You should include a medical detoxification option on your list.
Detoxification units function on a 24-hour cycle. Admissions are rolling and depend on that morning’s discharges. Typically, the person needing detoxification is asked to call in every morning to see if a bed has opened up. It is worth your asking the detox unit whether you can make those calls on behalf of your son. Tell them you are working on an intervention with an interventionist.
At the top of the list — and the easiest way out of a tortuous withdrawal — is getting on another opioid, one that is medically supervised like Methadone or Buprenorphine (brand name: Suboxone). See the topic: MAT on the right-hand sidebar.
Also, you can discover little-known ways of finding treatment by reading our Resource Finding Methodology.
How long does withdrawal normally last?
This will differ for the reasons mentioned above. Also, I have no idea of his tolerance.
Withdrawal from natural heroin and short acting opioids like codeine cause 3-7 days of physical distress, and a longer lasting emotional piece (depression, emotional flatness), lasting possibly months.
Longer acting opioids like methadone cause longer periods of physical distress, as long as a month (sleep coming back last), with the emotional part taking longer and depending on your son’s ability to sleep.
So you’re in this for a while. Your son wants to come off drugs, what a gift that you’re willing to help. It is discouraging that our system of care puts you in this position and makes writing this post even necessary. I am rooting for you both. Please let us know how it goes.