Opiate Addiction and Treatment Information
Opiate addiction is more rampant now than it has been in decades, possibly ever. Prescription opiates such as codeine, oxycodone and hydrocodone fill millions of personal medicine cabinets around the world, but many people with prescription pills use them nonmedically and become addicted.
Extremely Addictive Opiates Change the Brain
Opiates are extremely addictive, altering the brain’s reward center until the user can no longer experience pleasure without them. Many people don’t realize the high risk of addiction that comes with these drugs, and they don’t know where to turn once they have developed a substance abuse problem. Luckily, treatment is widely available.
What Are Opioids and How Do They Relieve Pain?
In the past, “opiates” referred to naturally occurring drugs that derived from the opium poppy. Meanwhile, the term “opioids” meant synthetic or semi-synthetic versions of opium. More recently, “opioids” has begun to be the term of choice for all types of opiates, whether natural, semi-synthetic or synthetic.
Opioids relieve pain by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for controlling feelings of pain, pleasure and movement. When attached to opioid receptors, opioid drugs reduce the brain’s perception of pain and produce a sense of well-being. Doctors around the country prescribe such painkillers for a wide range of ailments.
Some common brand names of prescription opioids you might recognize are:
Generic names include morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and tramadol. Each of these prescription painkillers has different strengths and side effects. However, they all have one thing in common: high risk of addiction.
Opioid Side Effects and Addiction
The side effects of taking prescription opioids can include:
- Mental confusion
Taken over a long period, opiates can cause liver damage, brain damage (due to loss of oxygen to the brain during overdose) and abdominal distension, along with addiction.
Opiates run such a high risk for addiction because users develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drugs. Users can become addicted to the euphoric feeling they often get from misusing prescription pills, and they may mix them with alcohol and other drugs, or crush the opioid pills up and snort them.
Costs Can Lead Users to Heroin
Symptoms of opioid abuse vary and may include lethargy, paranoia, nausea and respiratory depression. Stopping prescription opioid use suddenly after developing tolerance and dependence can cause severe outcomes such as:
Prescription opioid addiction can be expensive to the user, leading many of them to eventually transition to heroin, another opiate with similar effects, but much stronger and cheaper to obtain.
Many heroin users in the U.S. report being addicted to prescription pills first. Understanding why prescription pill addiction has become an epidemic takes looking at the country’s prescription system.
America’s Prescription Painkiller Problem
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sales of prescription opioids in America almost quadrupled from 1999 to 2014. Yet, the amount of pain Americans report has not increased.
In other words, people don’t appear to be experiencing more pain than they were in 1999, but pharmacies are selling four times the amount of prescription opioids. This discrepancy points to a major flaw in the way physicians are currently prescribing painkillers.
Data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports steadily increasing amounts of opioid pain reliever sales over the last 25 years. The number of prescriptions for painkillers in 1991 was around 76 million. In 2013, the number of prescriptions reached nearly 207 million.
The United States accounts for almost 100 percent of the world’s total hydrocodone prescriptions, and 81 percent of the world’s oxycodone prescriptions. Unnecessary opioid prescriptions and lack of addiction awareness have impacted the current state of drug abuse.
Additional Opioid Addiction Statistics
By the NIDA’s estimate, around 2.1 million people in the United States suffered from prescription opioid-related substance use disorders in 2012. Since then, prescription opioid abuse has only continued to increase. See how:
- The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimated that more than 1.2 million emergency department visits involved prescription medications and other pharmaceuticals in 2011.
- Admissions into substance abuse treatment programs for opiates other than heroin represented 19 percent of all primary opiate admissions in 2004, but 27 percent in 2014.
- Eight percent of admissions involving people aged 12 and older in 2014 reported opiates other than heroin as their primary substance of abuse.
In the face of rising opioid addiction statistics, the best chance prescription painkiller abusers have for recovery is through a professional treatment facility.
Treatment for Prescription Opiate Addiction
Appropriate supervision is necessary for withdrawal from opioid addiction. During withdrawal, patients may experience:
More severe withdrawal symptoms may result in seizures or death. To combat drug cravings and mitigate withdrawal symptoms, check into a treatment center.
Knowledgeable professionals in a reputable treatment center will create a personalized rehabilitation plan for you or your loved one to help overcome drug cravings and relapse. Expert help for prescription opioid addiction is available at The Treatment Center by The Recovery VDon’te
Don’t Let Opiate Drug Addiction Take Control of Your Life! The Treatment Center Will Work with You to Personalize Your Path to Recovery.