A current threat to society right now is the opioid epidemic. This refers to the growing number of deaths that have occurred as a result of people becoming addicted to the pain medications they are prescribed to. Even though awareness of the opioid epidemic came about around 2010, the start actually started several years ago.
How the Opioid Epidemic Occurred
In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies were looking for new painkillers, which led to pushing synthetic and less-synthetic opioids to doctors. Compared to morphine, doctors felt like these drugs had no habit-forming side effects and were not dangerous. Because of this, doctors had no problem with prescribing these opioids. The growth in the prescription opioid business began to boom to levels that remain to this day.
What Makes Prescribing Opioids an Epidemic
Many who develop an opioid addiction do so after receiving the prescription. Because these painkillers are so addictive, they will make the brain want to crave more and more despite the dangerous life consequences. Once their prescription ends, many users develop a dependency on these painkillers feeling that they cannot function normally without them. These can lead those with an addiction to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop which causes them not to want to quit or find other ways to get high. Opioids are very expensive which leads to users wanting to turn to heroin for their pain as it is stronger and less expensive.
How the Opioid Epidemic is Different Than Other Drug Problems
Many people were dying from accidental opioid overdoses more than any other drug. In 2015, there were 52,404 deaths from drug overdoses with over 20,000 of them from opioids. That number grew by nearly 10,000 the following year. This epidemic is more troubling than the statistics of illicit drugs that trusted doctors are giving these patients, medications that are fueling the disease of addiction and contributing to the number of deaths every year.
What Can Be Done
This is a problem that can affect anyone whether you are currently addicted, know someone who is addicted, or do not have a substance abuse problem. It is important to learn about the signs of addiction, the dangers, and the resources for treatment. By knowing the seriousness of the opioid epidemic, you can encourage others to go into treatment and get help for this disease before you or someone you know becomes part of these statistics.
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.