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 Pacific Grove 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 Pacific Grove 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

Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Addiction

Pacific Grove Hospital is a nationally recognized 68-bed acute psychiatric and chemical dependency treatment center offering inpatient & outpatient services for psychiatric illnesses, addictions & co-occurring disorders.

Understanding Opioid Addiction

Learn about opiate addiction and substance abuse

Opioids are narcotic painkillers that work by reducing the intensity of pain signals that reach the brain in addition to affecting areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation. Opiate narcotics are known for their ability to bind to and influence naturally-occurring opiate receptors on cell membranes throughout the body. There are three distinct types of opiate narcotic classes:

Naturally-occurring opiates are derived from the opium poppy and include morphine, codeine, and thebaine.

Semi-synthetic opioids are chemically synthesized using compounds isolated from natural sources, such as plants, as starting components. Semi-synthetic opioids include heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone.

Synthetic opioids are made using total chemical synthesis and include buprenorphine, methadone, and fentanyl.

All three classes of opiates produce varying levels of analgesia for people who are experiencing pain that is not controlled by over-the-counter painkillers. As these drugs cause feelings of euphoric bliss in addition to pain management, prescription narcotics are rapidly becoming a drug of choice for many. While most people go to the doctor for a legitimate pain-related diagnosis to obtain a prescription for opiate narcotics and take the medication for the intended duration, then stop when the medication runs out, others may not. The pleasurable feelings cause by opiates can lead some people to begin to abuse these powerful, controlled prescription medications. While addiction to opiate narcotics can change virtually every facet of an addict’s life, there is hope. With proper detox, treatment, addiction recovery techniques, and long-term recovery planning, people addicted to prescription opiates can learn the tools necessary to maintain a life free of painkillers.


Opiate addiction statistics

In a shocking twist, the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) discovered that next to marijuana, the nonmedical abuse of prescription opiate narcotics is the second most common form of illegal drug abuse. SAMHSA reported that in 2007, 5.2 million people – or 21% of people over the age of 12 – admitted to having used an opiate narcotic for a nonmedical purpose; the United States DEA believes that number to be closer to 7 million people. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) found that in 2006, about 324,000 visits to the emergency department involved opiate narcotic abuse.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for opiate addiction

Addiction is a complex disease that is characterized by an ongoing pattern of drug abuse, including opiates, despite the negative consequences. Researchers in the field agree that addiction is not the result of a single root factor, rather it is the product of environmental, genetic, and physical risk factors working together. The most commonly cited causes and risk factors for opiate addiction include:

Genetic: It’s been long understood that addiction is a family disease; people who have a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, who struggles with addiction are at a higher risk for developing addiction themselves. However, there are a number of individuals who develop an addiction without a family history and, conversely, there are a number of people who have a significant family history of addiction that do not develop an addiction.

Physical: Ongoing use of opioid narcotics changes the structure and function of the brain, which can lead to addiction. As opiates saturate the brain, the levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and GABA are affected, which can lead to physical dependence and addiction to opiates.

Environmental: People who grow up in homes in which addiction was present learn through modeling that using drugs or alcohol is the way to handle life stresses. In addition, people who first experiment drugs at younger ages are more prone to addiction than others.

Risk Factors:

  • Being male
  • Co-occurring, comorbid mental health disorders
  • Peer pressure
  • Lack of familial involvement
  • Anxiety, depression, loneliness
Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of opiate addiction

Signs and symptoms of opiate addiction vary among individuals based upon genetic makeup, amount used, frequency of abuse, method of administration, and usage of other drugs. The most common signs and symptoms of opiate addiction include the following:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Frequent trips to the ER for pain maladies
  • “Losing” prescriptions for opioids
  • Sudden financial problems
  • Borrowing or stealing narcotics from friends and family
  • Lying about amount of narcotics used
  • Hiding opiates in various places around the house, car, and office
  • Doctor shopping, or visiting a number of doctors to obtain more prescriptions for opiates
  • Compulsive use and abuse of opiates despite negative consequences
  • Slurred speech
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Risk-taking behaviors

Physical symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Difficulties urinating
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Withdrawal symptoms if drug discontinued
  • Itching
  • Flushed skin
  • Liver disease
  • Jaundice
  • Pupillary constriction
  • Sleepiness
  • Analgesia
  • Coma
  • Death

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Poor judgment
  • Decreased ability to pay attention
  • Short-term memory loss

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Elation
  • Relaxation
  • Psychological dependence
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Addiction
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal ideation

Effects of opiate addiction

Long-term opiate abuse will wreak havoc lead in almost all areas of an individual’s life. Complications of opiate abuse will vary depending upon the length of abuse, route of administration, frequency of use, individual genetic makeup, and abuse of other drugs. Common effects of opiate abuse include:

  • Liver disease
  • Dehydration
  • Abscesses
  • Infection of cardiac valves
  • Pneumonia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Cardiac dysrhythmias
  • Increased respiratory infections
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Addiction
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Overdose
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Coma
  • Death
Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of opiate withdrawal & overdose

An opiate overdose occurs when a person consumes too many opioids at once or combines prescription narcotics with other drugs or alcohol. Opiate overdose is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate medical attention. In the United States, opiate overdose is responsible for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Common symptoms of opiate overdose include:

  • Decreased level of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Decreased or slowed respiratory rate
  • Cyanosis of lips and nails
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Coma
  • Death

Withdrawal occurs after an individual who has become physically dependent upon opiates suddenly reduces or discontinues their opiate habit. Withdrawal symptoms can be highly unpleasant and, upon occasion, dangerous, so it’s recommended that withdrawal from opiates is performed under the supervision of a trained medical professional. Common symptoms of opiate withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Strong drug cravings
  • Respiratory acceleration
  • Goosebumps
  • Lack of appetite
  • All-over body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramping
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Confusion
  • Tremors
  • Paranoia
  • Restlessness
  • Malaise
  • Seizures
Co-Occurring Disorders

Opiate addiction and co-occurring disorders

Many people who are addicted to opiates struggle with other substance abuse problems or co-occurring mental illnesses. The most common co-occurring, comorbid mental illnesses include:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Abuse of other drugs
  • Alcoholism
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
Unsure of the help you need?
Marks of Quality Care
Why does this matter?
  • The Joint Commission (JCAHO) Gold Seal of Approval
  • The Jason Foundation

Everyone at Pacific Grove Hospital, from my assigned physician to the social workers were absolutely wonderful to work with. Groups were informative and useful- I learned and reinforced a lot of different coping skills.

– Brooke C.
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