Over two million U.S. citizens have been affected annually by opioid misuse using prescriptions. That equates to over 130 people dying in America due to an opioid overdose and puts the United States in a serious national crisis. What exactly is opioid abuse? Any time someone overuses heroin, prescription pain relievers or synthetic opioids including fentanyl, economic and social welfare as well as public health stands the chance of suffering from addiction and opioid overdoses.
How Did the Opioid Crisis Begin?
Prescription drugs that were released by pharmaceutical companies were guaranteed not to cause patients to become addicted in the late 90’s. Those prescription medications included opioid pain relievers. They were prescribed at great rates causing a widespread misuse of medications well before it was understood that they are highly addictive.
Opioid overdose rates continued to increase with over 47,000 people dying in 2017 alone. Nearly 1.7 million people were already suffering and battling opioid dependence related to opioid pain relievers. What has become painstakingly clear is the opioid crisis in America is out of control.
The Facts about Opioids
Up to 29% of patients that were once prescribed opioids started to chronically misuses them. That left 8% to 12% developing an opioid use disorder. A lot of times, 4% to 6% of users transitioned to heroin. This caused many people to suffer from an opioid overdose with an increase of 30% from July of 2016 until September of 2017 in fifty-two areas of 45 states.
Why Is There Such a Crisis for Opioid Dependence?
The human body and brain begin to believe that taking opioids is absolutely necessary in order to survive. It is easy to learn to tolerate doses that have been prescribed, which can lead to taking more medication to relieve pain. This, in turn, leads to opioid dependency. Once the addiction has taken place, it affects the human brain in many ways. Opioids are very complex and very unforgiving and abuse often turns into an opioid overdose.
You Can Avoid an Opioid Addiction
If you are currently taking opioids to manage pain, it is essential that you speak with a pain medicine specialist or a physician anesthesiologist. They can assist you in exploring better options to control pain and inform you concerning how to use them in a safe manner. The ultimate goal is to ensure that you don’t become another negative number when it comes to opioid overdose statistics.
Know the Signs of Addiction
Drug addictions, especially to opioids can change normal behavior. There are possible signs including mixing with groups of people that are different and changing friends, losing normal interest in favorite activities, spending more time alone to avoid friends and family, being very sad and tired, not changing clothes, bathing or brushing teeth, eating less or more than usual, sleeping odd hours, being cranky or nervous, talking fast and speaking nonsense, being overly energetic, getting in trouble with the local law, quickly changing moods, missing appointments that are important and experiencing financial hardship. Those are a few of the signs associated with addiction that can make it clear if a loved one or family member is suffering from opioid addiction.
It is imperative that you help people seek help if they are showing signs of an addiction. The very first step is finding a health professional or physician that can give a referral to other medical professionals that treat addictions to medicine. Seeking opioid treatment can help when it comes to recovery and regaining a normal life.