Opioid Addiction: An Epidemic in America

Drug abuse can negatively affect your physical and mental health, as well as your work, social life and family relationships. Drug abuse and addiction causes numerous health problems that can have devastating consequences on your life. Without help from a Florida inpatient drug rehab, drug addiction can lead to serious illness and even death.

Opioid Addiction

Opioid and prescription drug abuse has created a dangerous epidemic that’s rapidly spreading across the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to half a million people died in America between 2000 and 2014 from opioid overdose deaths. This alarming epidemic that impacts all segments of our society is largely attributed to physicians who over prescribe opioid drugs and pain killers to patients who become addicted to the medications.

According to statistics from the CDC, there were over 250 million opioid drugs prescribed in America in 2014. Natural or semi-synthetic opioid pain pills like oxycodone and hydrocodone were the most commonly prescribed drugs and attributed to the most opioid overdose deaths. CDC records show more than 800 deaths from opioid overdoses in 2014, a nine percent increase from 2013. Statistics show that overall deaths from opioid abuse and heroin addiction have quadrupled over the last ten years in the U.S.

Addiction Awareness

To raise awareness of opioid addiction and heroin use, the federal government has intervened. As an effort to save lives, President Obama has suggested allocating over $1 billion to expand access to care for individuals affected by opiate addiction. The FBI and DEA have recently released a documentary called Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict. The film is a compilation of stories from addicts and their family members on the tragic effects of opiate addiction. It also shows clips of effects on prosecutors and police officers who typically confront opioid addicts while doing their jobs. The video is compelling and can be watched by people of all ages. It offers addiction help and advice by pointing out 7 Crucial Things to Take Away from ‘Chasing the Dragon’ such as:

1. Anyone can Become an Addict – The film profiles the lives of students, housewives and everyday people who are suffering from opiate addiction. Drug addiction affects all segments of the population.

2. Other Drugs Often Lead to Opiate Addiction – People who experiment with drugs like marijuana and cocaine often become psychologically addicted to opioid drugs because of the intense high they provide.

3. Addiction Promotes Dangerous Behaviors – Drug addiction often promotes dangerous behaviors like stealing, prostitution, and child abandonment. Drug addicts will do almost anything to get their next high.

4. Your Next High can Kill You – Addicts don’t expect to die from their addiction, but thousands of people die every year from accidental drug overdoses. Even if you have been using for years, the next fix could kill you.

5. If You Die, Your Loved Ones Suffer – If you die, your suffering is over, but it’s just beginning for the people who love you. Your family and loved ones are left to grieve your addiction and death for the rest of their lives.

6. Rehab is not a Magical Cure – Rehab helps to start the process of physical and mental healing, but it must be combined with ongoing therapy and continued support. Drug addicts often relapse without continued help and support.

7. There is Hope for Recovery – Opiate addiction is powerful, but there is hope for successful recovery. The film documents many addicts who strive to stop using drugs and get help through professional drug treatment centers.

The abuse of and addiction to opioid drugs such as heroin, morphine, and prescription pain relievers is a serious problem for many Americans. Prescription opioid drugs, as well as many stimulants and depressants present major possibilities for addiction. These drugs have contributed to an addiction epidemic because of the number of prescriptions written and dispensed by doctors, social acceptability of the medications, and aggressive marketing campaigns by pharmaceutical companies. In terms of abuse and mortality, opioid drugs account for the greatest proportion of the prescription drug abuse problem in America today.

Prescription opioid drugs are similar to heroin and morphine in the way they affect the brain. They present an increased addiction liability because of the intense high they provide. Although prescription opioid drugs often lead to addiction and overdose, the dangers of an overdose is more likely when pills are crushed and snorted to obtain a fast, euphoric high or taken in combination with alcohol or other drugs.