Opioid abuse is rampant in the United States. Currently, overdose is the leading cause of death in people under the age of fifty. The majority of those deaths can be attributed to opiates like heroin, fentanyl, and prescription medications. Many people are still shocked at the prevalence of abuse, but the truth is it is happening everywhere. It is almost guaranteed that someone in your immediate community is affected by opioid addiction, whether it be at work, school, in your family, or someone you interact with on a daily basis.
Opioid Abuse is a Slippery Slope
There is a direct reason for the current opioid crisis, and it starts in the doctor’s office. Prescription drugs like vicodin, percocet, and oxycodone are all opiates that are in the same family as street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. When you are prescribed one of these medications by your doctor, you are literally playing with fire.
Often, doctors don’t clearly state the extent of the danger associated with these medications, and they prescribe they more than they should. Often, they don’t even know a person’s complete medical history, let alone if they have had any issues with substance abuse. Because of this, many people go in for simple procedures and leave their doctor’s office with a prescription for an opiate. They take them for a few days, and before they know it they are hooked and looking for more when their script runs out.
If you think it can’t happen to you or someone you know, think again. Opiates are incredibly powerful and they affect the opioid receptors of your brain. Responsible for your happiness and pleasure, if you start taking opiates and suddenly take them away, it can leave you feeling terrible both physically and mentally. This can make you do almost anything to get your hands on more of the drug, even if it is illegal.
Many people turn to heroin after getting hooked on pharmaceutical opiates because it is often cheaper and easier to get. By then, the drugs have such a hold on their system that it is their main focus and all they want to go after. Clearly, most people don’t set out with the intent to become a heroin addict. Instead, it is a process, and it is often where opioid abuse leads.
Getting Help for Opiate Addiction
Opioid abuse leads to many horrible things. It can make a person lose their job, their family, and basically their entire life. Thousands of overdoses happen each month, and many of those people lose their lives also if they aren’t helped in time. These are wives, fathers, brothers, aunts, and children who are dying because of opioid addiction. It is especially dangerous for people who are clean for a long time to relapse because their bodies aren’t used to the drug and it can be much easier to overdose. Also, street drugs are often mixed with fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Even a tiny dose can kill.
People addicted to these drugs turn out homeless or in jail. They are also the people you hear about who were found dead in public bathrooms, in their car, or in their parents home of an apparent overdose. There is no beating around the bush when it is said that opioid abuse kills. And it kills a lot.
If you or someone you know if suffering from addiction to opiates, help is out there. Many people have been able to turn their life around with professional help, something that is incredibly difficult to do alone. Done correctly, you can safely detox in a medically-supervised environment, and learn the tools you need to live a sober, meaningful life. Opioid abuse doesn’t need to be a death sentence if you get help.