The opioid epidemic in the United States is currently claiming about 91 lives per day. Until we begin understanding this epidemic and why it’s happening, it will continue to get worse.
How the Opioid Epidemic Began
In the early 20th century, heroin addiction was a problem, but it began to slow down for many decades. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when OxyContin hit the market with a false advertisement that we saw a new problem. Opioids are a synthetic form of opiates, and although a major pharmaceutical company advertised OxyContin as a non-addictive pain reliever, this was incorrect. Even though the makers of OxyContin were sued, many of the opioids are still being given out to this day.
Some of the most common opioids include:
These medications do a great job of blocking the pain receptors in the brain for those who are injured. The problem is that they trigger the part of the brain that releases dopamine. Eventually, the person is no longer trying to treat the pain, but they’re trying to satisfy a craving of the mind and body. This craving can result in the person taking potentially lethal amounts of the medication.
How an Opioid Addiction Progresses
It wasn’t until recently that some parts of the country are seeing people go straight to heroin as a drug of choice. In most cases, people don’t begin by using a dangerous drug like heroin, but they eventually try it. This happens because the body builds a tolerance to opioids, and the person needs something more potent. Heroin is also a cheaper alternative for getting high than buying the medications illegally or without health insurance.
Will it Ever End?
Addictions will continue to be a major issue in the United States until more people are educated about the opioid epidemic. There’s a stigma about addiction that makes people believe that those who are addicted are bad people. The reality is that those who struggle with an addiction are suffering from a severe mental illness. The War on Drugs punishes those who have an addiction rather than giving these people the treatment they need.
One of the primary issues when it comes to opioids is how the United States treats people who experience pain. We’ve known for many years that opioids can be highly addictive, but they’re still prescribed at alarming rates. According to recent numbers, the United States prescribes 81% of the world’s entire supply of opioids. This means that hundreds of other countries are treating pain in a way that doesn’t involve these addictive medications.
Begin at an Opioid Addiction Treatment Center
If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, contact Serenity Lodge in Lake Arrowhead, California today. Our programs include the following:
- Residential addiction treatment program
- Intensive outpatient treatment program
- Partial hospitalization treatment program
- Outpatient treatment program
Call today at 866.379.4365 to begin our program and end your chances of becoming part of the opioid epidemic. Our team is ready to help.