In 2016, over 62,000 people died in the United States from drug overdoses. This was more than the number of US soldiers killed in the Vietnam War. The amount of deaths is believed to have increased in 2017, and experts think it could continue to rise. The reason for the increase is thought to be due to the abuse of prescription opioids.
Prescribed too Often
Opioids were used by nearly 92 million American adults in 2015 in an attempt to relieve themselves of chronic or acute pain. A certain percentage of the patients misused the prescriptions and many of them became addicted.
Myths About Safety
Misuse occurred because too many people were unaware of the risks. Since it was a prescription people believe the drugs were safe. Opioids are safe, but only when used as directed. The same belief of safety was also what encouraged teenagers and adolescents to try opioids. The medication was considered less risky than street drugs and unlikely to cause overdose or addiction.
Addiction Happens Quickly
Opiates do not only take away the pain, they give the user a sense of euphoria. People that take the drug longer than expected become addicted to the feeling and can suffer withdrawal symptoms when they stop. Sufferers of chronic pain may discover that they must continuously take more medication to get the same level of relief they once felt. The habit of over-medicating makes addiction more likely and overdose possible.
Help is Available
Many people need help for their addiction and treatment for their pain. Doctors are now looking at natural pain management techniques that can reduce, or even eliminate the need for opioids or other drug therapies. Through the Community Ambulance and Health Network, there are many new resources available locally for people that need help with their addiction. There are low-cost, support programs that offer hope for people struggling with the issue.
Everyone is at risk of addiction to opioids. Both genders, all economic groups and people in all age brackets make up the shocking addiction and overdose statistics. Anyone that needs help or knows someone that is in trouble should seek out assistance from one of the many rehabilitation programs now available.