Opioid Abuse – The New American Plague

Nearly 2 million Americans live with and suffer through opioid abuse on a daily basis. Opioid drugs include:

  • Prescription medications such as Oxycontin, morphine or Hydrocodone
  • Heroin
  • Methadone

The blame for the recent dramatic rise in opiate abuse has been placed primarily upon prescription painkillers. In the past decade, opiate pain reliever prescriptions rose an astounding 11 percent in comparison to years past. As more and more people succumb to this pernicious addiction, families, individual lives and communities are being torn apart and devastated.

How Opioid Abuse Happens to Everyday People

The new face of modern opiate addicts are not those of perceptions past: a homeless junkie endlessly searching for their next hit of heroin. Most opiate abusers begin using prescription drugs legitimately and innocently at the behest of their doctor in order to treat acute or chronic pain. However, by their very nature, opiate drugs are extremely addictive. With an action nearly identical to that of heroin, these drugs directly affect the pleasure-center in the brain, causing feelings of euphoria.

Signs and symptoms of an opioid abuse include:

  • Uncontrolled drug use
  • Feelings of euphoria and painlessness
  • Sedation
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Flushed and itchy skin
  • Slurred speech
  • Confusion

From Prescription Pills to Heroin

As more people have begun abusing prescription pills, there has also been a correlative rise in heroin use, which has nearly doubled, over the past few years. Many people who began abusing prescription pills turned to heroin in order to satisfy their ever-increasing urge to get high. Since users quickly build a tolerance to these drugs, they require larger and larger amounts in order to get high. Heroin is much cheaper than prescription pills, and users are not constrained by a monthly prescription allotment. This dangerous switch to street drugs has resulted in drug overdoses becoming the leading cause of accidental death among U.S. adults. Cheap and easy to procure, too many opioid abusers are losing their lives to street heroin in their quest to get high.

Inpatient Treatment for Opioid Addiction Offers Hope for the Future

Opiate addiction is notoriously difficult to overcome, but inpatient treatment is one of the best options to help treat this condition. Some studies have suggested that people who attend an inpatient drug treatment program may have up to a 20 percent higher likelihood of achieving and maintaining sobriety than those who do not. Inpatient treatment offers the following benefits:

  • Safe, secure and drug-free environment
  • Medically supervised detox
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Continuation of care after completion

There is hope for those suffering from opioid abuse. Recovery is possible, and finding an appropriate inpatient treatment facility is the first step on the road to recovery.

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