Opiates – The facts are in, and the most addictive drugs in America are (prescription based) opiates. Legitimately used for treating pain, opiates produce a sense of wellbeing and euphoria that dull the senses, reduce pain, and induce sleep.
Since opioids have both pain relieving properties and euphoric psychological effects, opiates are among the most abused drugs that are currently available to Americans.
On average, 259 million prescriptions are written for opiates a year. That’s enough for every adult in America to have at least one bottle of pills! Because of the use of opiates, many Americans become tolerant and addicted to it’s euphoric effects. Staggeringly, the rate of substance abuse and overdose deaths on opiates has quadrupled in the past 15 years alone. Is there a coincidence?
Formally, opiates are a class of drugs that include heroin and prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and many others. Studies have shown that opiates are common in both genders, anyone above the age of 12 and in all ethnicities and races. Opiates do not see differences in people, they see users.
When opiates are prescribed for pain medication, patients tend to develop a tolerance that can only be cured by a higher dosage in order to get the same effect. Consequently, average American’s easily become addicted to the drug and start habitually thinking about getting more and more. According to The American Society of Addicted Medicine, 4 out of every 5 new opiate users started by abusing prescription drugs.
Signs That You May Be Addicted To Opiates
As with many drug users in the United States, addiction may not be so obvious, especially in cases where they are being prescribed to take the drug. So how do you really know if someone is addicted?
Some sure signs of addiction include:
- Increased use over time
- Using more than prescribed
- Making unsuccessful attempts to cut down usage
- Experiencing signs of withdrawals when not on the drug
Psychological effects include:
- Anxiety attacks
- Lowered motivation.
Symptoms Of Withdrawal
As mentioned before, a sign of addiction is experiencing signs of withdrawals when not using opiates.
These symptoms can include:
- Cold sweats
- Enlarged pupils
- Muscle tension.
When experiencing these symptoms, many start to think they need the drug to feel “normal” again, and so take more. The more they take, the more tolerant they become of its effects, continuing a circle of taking more once again.
Therefore, the dangers of opiates lie in the tolerance to the euphoric effects, as they develop faster than the tolerance for its dangerous effects. These negative effects of high dosages can then cause death from cardiac arrest or respiratory arrest.
Begin The Road To Recovery With A Recovery Plan
In extreme cases, an opiates overdose can be reversed in a hospital with intravenous naltrexone. But it most certainly should never come to that and it doesn’t have to.
The best way to ensure recovery is to have a recovery plan can save a person’s life with the support and help of people around them.
This road to recovery should include:
- Breaking the cycle of guilt and shame
- Going through recovery with other people who are going the same thing
- Programs such as a 12-step program
- Admittance into a recovery facility, like Transitions Recovery
- Honesty and openness to talking about it
Unfortunately, for many, the future is unclear as they will continue to use and abuse opiates. This future could involve crime, as at least 50 percent of major crimes in the United States were acted upon while the offender was using opiates or had an addiction to opiates. Or for 20,000 Americans in 2014, their future stopped when they overdosed on opiates. Working to stop these numbers from climbing is essential for those who know someone that is addicted to opiates. It is a battle we intend to keep fighting.
Being honest with oneself, sharing on you feel, and having a strong support system could prevent many Americans headed down the same path. Recovery is essential and can work. It starts with a simple call. If you or anyone you know is struggling with the use of opiates and may have an addiction, please don’t hesitate. We are here to help. 1-800-626-1980