Opiates are drugs that are derived from the opium poppy plant. These drugs are found commonly in pill form or injectable liquid, and have many different medicinal and recreational uses. Opiates are dangerous substances, and account for more deaths from overdose than any other substance.
Opiates are strong and helpful pain relievers. Some forms of these drugs, such as morphine and codeine, are regularly used in hospitals and clinics for pain relief. Heroin, a derivative of morphine, is an illicit drug that is abused throughout the United States. Prescription painkillers make up the largest group of opiates, and are also the most abused drugs.
Prescription Painkiller Abuse
More than 5.1 million people in America use prescription painkillers outside of a doctor’s care, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. These medications, taken properly and as prescribed by a physician, can be beneficial, providing effective pain relief. However, many individuals take these pills regularly in order to self-medicate pain symptoms on their own, or simply to experience the feeling of euphoria they provide.
Prescription painkiller abuse can occur for many reasons. An individual might legitimately need pain relief for an injury, accident, or illness. If used for a short period of time, and taken as directed, most people won’t experience a problem with addiction. In some cases, the individual becomes addicted, or they start using more pills because they feel they need more relief, and they cannot stop taking the pills. Other people are given prescription opiates by friends or family members that are trying to help by offering their own pain medication. Still others actively seek prescription painkillers because they are addicted to these drugs or they are addicted to other drugs and are looking for a different kind of high. Young people often abuse prescription painkillers for recreation, because they seem less dangerous than harder street drugs.
Dangers of Prescription Painkiller Abuse
Statistics show that prescription painkillers are indeed dangerous. In fact, more people die from prescription drug overdose than from any other type of drug, according to a recent report by the CDC. Nonfatal, but still serious side effects of abusing prescription opiates include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, impaired judgment, and addiction.
Opiate addiction controls the lives of millions of Americans every year. This addiction in particular can affect anyone of any age, race, or economic status. Recent trends have seen a rise in prescription painkiller abuse among older adults in their 60s and 70s, or the baby boomer generation. Businessmen and women, stay at home moms, grandmas, grandpas, and teens are all at risk for prescription painkiller addiction.
Reasons for Opiate Abuse
According to the CDC, more than 259 million prescriptions for painkillers were written by health care providers in 2012
The reason behind the widespread use of this type of drug is first of all the misconception of its safety. People think that because these drugs are prescribed by doctors, they are safe to use anytime. However, as the numbers show, this is not the case. Prescription painkillers, when not used properly, can cause a variety of adverse health effects, and because they are so addicting, can quickly cause dependence. Another reason prescription painkillers are so often abused today is that they are so readily available. According to the CDC, more than 259 million prescriptions for painkillers were written by health care providers in 2012, which is enough for every American adult to have a bottle of pills. These drugs are common, and are commonly given away or traded without a prescription.
Reasons prescription painkillers are so abused today:
- Not taking painkillers as prescribed
- Taking painkillers for a long period of time
- Replacement for heroin
- Low cost
- High availability
- Misconception of being safe drugs
Non-Fatal but serious side effects of abusing prescription opiates:
- Impaired judgment
- Nodding off
Prescription painkiller addiction impacts a person just like heroin addiction does. The user will constantly be looking for more drugs in order to satisfy their cravings. Over time, the opiate addict will experience financial troubles, problems with relationships, and even lose their job because they are more concerned about getting more drugs than anything else in their life. Family and loved ones often feel helpless when someone they care about has lost control to a prescription drug addiction, because of the toll this addiction takes on lives and families.
Opiate Addiction Recovery
My Recovery Helper provides support to families struggling with prescription painkiller addiction. We work with treatment facilities that can help individuals get their life back on track. The first step to treatment is detox, where the client will cleanse their body and life of the substance. The next step is rehab, during which time the person will take part in therapy and counseling sessions, in order to develop the skills needed to live without their substance.
Recovery from opiate addiction is possible, and we can help. Don’t let this dangerous addiction control your life any longer. Call us now for information on getting started in recovery 1.844.867.6835.