opioid epidemic

The Opioid Epidemic Facing The United States

Is anyone taking the opioid epidemic in the United States seriously? The news is full of gun-violence stories, with an average of 36 people dead from gunshot wounds every day (including murders, accidental shootings, and suicides). However, the daily death toll from opioid overdose is almost four times as high as that from gun deaths, and the number of young adults lost to overdose death each year will have a significant impact on their generation. Opioid addiction, however, is not merely for the young, poor, uneducated, or criminal members of society. Opioids are an equal-opportunity drug, willing to addict everyone.

VIDEO: Facts About America’s Opioid Epidemic

How Does Opioid Addiction Happen?

Children as young as 12 get prescribed opioid painkillers for a variety of ailments; young athletes frequently get introduced to opioids after sustaining injuries during high school sports. Surgical procedures, automobile accidents, cancer, and other medical issues prompt doctors to prescribe pain medication for their patients. At first, the opioid adequately controls the pain. Before long, however, the effect loses strength, and the patient is tempted to take a larger dose (or take the next dose sooner) than prescribed. At this point, the individual is in danger of becoming dependent on the feelings the medication provides. Recognizing this change in the body’s reaction is a warning sign that can alert an individual to the potential danger of the drug. That is the moment to inform the prescribing doctor of the problem. It seems like an easy thing to “just stop taking the pills, but it isn’t. If you are taking opioid pain pills and find yourself in this situation, it’s time to get some help from your doctor. If opioid dependence gets ignored, addiction will follow. Signs of opioid reliance include the following:

  • You are taking the prescription in a more significant amount than prescribed. 
  • You are taking the prescription more often than prescribed. 
  • You continue taking the pills after you no longer need them. 
  • You get the urge to take the pills when you are not in pain. 
  • You have borrowed pills from a friend or family member. 
  • You have lied to your doctor to get a new prescription. 

These are all danger signs, and you should not ignore them. Getting help when you first recognize a problem is a key to preventing full-blown addiction. Opioid addiction doesn’t care who you are. Pilots teachers, lawyers, school bus drivers, dentists, students, business owners, executives, and doctors are all susceptible to the wiles of opioids. Outpatient addiction clinics are highly successful in treating people suffering from opioid dependence. It’s not something to be ashamed of, and it’s not something you wanted. Your privacy is respected, and treatment program times are flexible to work around your daily schedule.


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When Dependence Becomes Addiction

When the symptoms of opioid dependence do not get taken seriously, an individual may find they can’t stop taking the medication without going through unpleasant and severe withdrawal symptoms. Strong cravings, missing work, stealing from family and friends, lying to those you love, and being will to skirt the law to get the drug you want are the signs of addiction. A person with an opioid dependence may start doctor shopping to gain access to a new prescription. That is illegal and can result in an arrest, court, and jail time. If that happens, the offender will most likely lose their job and suffer financial consequences as well. Addiction and illegal activities go hand-in-hand, whether it results in buying illicit street drugs (heroin) or stealing to get money for the purchases.

Addiction leads to overdose, and overdose leads to death. Don’t take chances with your life or that of a loved one. If you recognize dependence or addiction in yourself, a child, or another family member, today is the day to get help. Overdose doesn’t announce when it is going to occur.

You can obtain help for opioid addiction from the following sources:

  1. Your physician 
  2. Inpatient addiction treatment centers 
  3. Outpatient addiction treatment centers 
  4. Narcotics Anonymous 
  5. Addiction support groups 

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