Opioids are drugs used to offer pain relief. Doctors often prescribe opioid medications to patients suffering from acute or chronic pain. However, the blatant misuse of opioids (including morphine, heroin and fentanyl) has resulted in a worrying opioid epidemic in America. It’s estimated that about 38% of Americans have used prescription opioids.
When patients start taking opioids prescribed by their doctors, their perception to pain decreases. These drugs travel to your brain and attach themselves to certain receptors located inside your brain cells. Consequently, these cells transmit signals that not only numb your pain but also elevate your pleasure sensations. When taken for too long, these drugs could lead to opioid addiction among patients. Luckily, you can get your normal life back by checking yourself in the Drug Rehab Jacksonville FL facility.
Here are 4 things you should know about the opioid epidemic:
1. This epidemic affects the entire population
Opioid use isn’t restricted to a certain faction of people – it certainly can’t be termed as a teenage or urban problem. Opioid abuse is causing deaths of many middle-aged men who live in the Northeast and Midwest regions. Families are bearing the brunt of this epidemic, seeing as their dependency on pain medication is increasing each passing day. The sheer ignorance and misinformation being propagated by Health facilities across the country is partly to blame for the current opioid epidemic.
2. The opioid epidemic started in the 90s
Throughout the 20th century, doctors prescribed opioid pain meds to manage cancer pain and treat acute pain. However, it was only until 1995 that OxyContin, a powerful painkiller, was approved by the FDA. This approval sparked a countrywide opioid abuse that escalated quickly and caused the deaths of thousands. Since then, fentanyl and other pain medication have been approved by the FDA for cancer patients. After realizing that such legal opioids could cause one to feel “high”, people started crushing them up and injecting/snorting them into their system.
3. Taking prescription pain meds could lead to illegal opioid addiction
About 13% of opioid users who are hooked to hard drugs such as heroin started off by taking prescribed pain medication. Clearly, the opioid epidemic is quickly getting out of hand. Most aging individuals with chronic pain issues are prescribed with opioid painkillers to ease their turmoil. Over time, these individuals get the sudden urge to get more medication since it makes them feel better. Their prescriptions soon run out, forcing them to consider getting their daily fix from illegal channels such as heroin and fentanyl. If this epidemic isn’t nipped in the bud, more people will suffer.
4. There are opioid alternatives to manage pain
Next time you’re in pain, consider opting for healthier ways to manage your pain. Acupuncture, for instance, is an ancient Chinese therapy used by some individuals to ease pain and induce relaxation. Other similar techniques include biofeedback, electrical stimulation and massage therapy. If you must use opioid prescription drugs, be wary of their risks and always follow the correct dosage. More importantly, share this new-found information with your family and loved ones to avoid nasty episodes of opioid addiction in future.
These four facts about the current opioid epidemic should be an eye-opener. If you’re addicted to opioids, check yourself into rehab to get all the help you need.