1. Many Opioids Are Prescribed As Painkillers
Painkillers are perhaps the most commonly abused type of opioids. These drugs can include drugs like Vicodin (hydrocodone), Percocet, Oxycontin, and codeine. Many people who become addicted to opioids are first introduced to the drugs because they are prescribed to them by a doctor for a legitimate use such as for the management of severe pain after an injury or surgery. Some experts speculate that the rise in opioid dependence is due in part to the fact that a population of people who would otherwise not have been introduced to them may become exposed to the drugs after having been prescribed them by their doctor.
2. Opioids Are Addictive Because of the Side Effects They Cause
Opioids can help a patient to feel less pain, but they also have the effect of bringing about feelings of euphoria, numbness, or a sense of calm. In this way, opioids are very similar to heroin. This pleasurable feeling can be extremely addictive and the brain's reward system may very quickly become dependent on this sensation of euphoria. This pleasurable sensation only lasts during the drug's peak effects, however. Once the peak effects have worn off, a user will experience withdrawal symptoms that can include depression, nausea, and anxiety.
3. Individuals Who Are Addicted to Opioids May Become Very Good At Finding More Prescription Drugs
As with any other type of addiction, when a person is addicted to opioids, their brain becomes singularly focused on finding and using more drugs. This is why addiction has such a damaging impact on a person's life. Once they are addicted, they will place finding more drugs above other important priorities in life, including work and family life. When a person is addicted to prescription pain killers, they will often visit a number of different doctors in an attempt to find one who will prescribe them a drug. Luckily, in light of the nation's growing prescription drug problem, many doctors are communicating with one another and advancements in electronic health records are helping doctors and pharmacists to identify a patient who is "doctor shopping."
4. Most Addicts Need the Support of Some Type of Treatment Center
Because opiate addiction is such a difficult disease to recover from, most addicts will need to enter a treatment center in order to get sober. Withdrawing from opiates is a very uncomfortable process and may cause symptoms like nausea, extreme anxiety and depression, and hallucinations. Many addicts who attempt to detox without support find that they relapse. Detoxing at a treatment center ensures that a staff of trained professionals will be there to help a recovering addict through their symptoms. After detox, an addict works with counselors and treatment professionals to identify the roots of their addiction and to find ways in which triggers can be dealt with without the use of drugs.
5. The Opiate Epidemic and Heroin Epidemic May Be Related
As opiate abuse continues to be on the rise, so does the abuse of heroin. Many substance abuse experts believe that individuals who are addicted to opiates may turn to heroin when opiates are not available and vice versa. For this reason, both epidemics must be addressed if usage is to decrease.