When administered by a doctor for pain relief, opioids are safe to use. However, when misused, the drugs lead to overdose, addiction, and even death. The euphoria produced by the drug is the main reason most people continue to use it even after the prescribed time of use is over. As such, an epidemic arose as a result and is now a severe case of concern.
The Genesis of the Epidemic
Opioids are prescription drugs that doctors administer to patients to help in pain relief. Some of the most common types of opioids include hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, and methadone. However, there are other illegal opioids, such as heroin. The prescription of opioids started in the 80s and 90s to help with pain relief from surgery and advanced cancer.
There was a misconception that opioids as pain relief were not addictive unless used recreationally. As the prescription increased and the pharmaceuticals pushed for the sale of opioid products, drug use increased. As prescription medicine was far too expensive, people resorted to cheaper and illegal opioids like heroin.
How to Combat the Epidemic
The CDC has been collecting data, identifying outbreaks, and providing care to those affected. To address illicit opioid use, partnerships with community organizations and public safety officials have been there. There is sensitization to the public to create awareness for people to make informed choices about prescription opioids.
Treatment and recovery processes have been improving to help those seeking help from addiction. Other methods of addressing pain are being advocated for to reduce the use of opioids as painkillers. However, the effort is not only by people in high offices but also every individual should have a part to play in ending the epidemic.
Who Is At Risk Of The Opioid Crisis?
Most people at risk of the epidemic are youths who have no jobs or in less satisfying jobs. Military veterans are also at risk as they are more likely to die of an overdose than the general public. Due to the chronic pain most veterans face, they can become dependent on opioids.
Pregnant women using opioids could transfer the dependency of the drugs to their unborn children.
Effects of the Epidemic
Since most mothers who use drugs cannot take care of themselves, they cannot look after their kids, and they have to be taken to foster care. The economy has also greatly suffered because most of the deaths from drug overdose are of people who contribute to the labor market.
There is also an increase in transmitted diseases like HIV and hepatitis C due to individuals sharing syringes to administer the drugs.
Treatment and Prevention
Once an individual develops a dependence on opioids, it is necessary to seek help early. Failure to do so can lead to deaths due to an overdose. Some of the available forms of treatment include counseling, having a supportive family, and going for medication. This reverses the effects of an overdose and can help prevent death.
To prevent issues with prescription medicine, ensure you follow the doctor’s advice carefully. You should also not share your medicine with anybody else. If you have any questions concerning any prescribed medicine, be sure to ask questions before taking the drugs.