Chronic disease and illness cost the United States more than $635 billion per year due to medical costs, disability programs, and loss of productivity in the workforce. One out of every five American adults reports living with chronic pain, which is equal to 50 million people.

Research from the University of Georgia found that preventing chronic illness from occurring in the first place could ease the opioid epidemic. The study examined hospitalizations due to opioid use and chronic disease and the relationship between these two growing epidemics. 


What Is Chronic Disease?

Chronic disease and pain are directly connected. Since pain is related to opioid use, opioid-use disorder or OUD could be considered a chronic disease. Over 25% of Americans are living with at least one chronic disease, and most of them are dealing with chronic pain, such as obesity or arthritis.

Results from the study found that over 90% of hospitalizations related to opioids occurred among patients with two or more chronic diseases. 


The Relationship Between Opioid Use and Chronic Disease

Hospitalizations occur because patients have issues related to taking pain medications while trying to manage their chronic disease pain. Therefore, there is a significant overlap between the two.

However, the opioid crisis response is to treat overdoses rather than identifying underlying issues that led to the addiction, such as chronic disease. Naloxone, a drug similar to morphine, is a medicine that blocks opiate receptors in the nervous system, allowing family and friends to stop a loved one who has overdosed on opioids from dying.

Since the response to the opioid crisis is to treat overdoses, naloxone is more available. Nevertheless, it is imperative that we identify the underlying issues of the opioid epidemic rather than providing only immediate interventions.


Looking for Help?

We need to prevent opioid misuse by preventing and treating the underlying epidemic of chronic disease and illness. Unfortunately, we are currently down the rabbit hole as opioid addiction is now a tragic epidemic sweeping the nation. Yet, there is hope for a better future and a life-long recovery.


At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.