In 2017, more than 72,000 Americans died from an overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Of those deaths, at least two-thirds were linked to opioids. In late 2017, in response to these staggering numbers, the United States Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national epidemic.
What is an Opioid?
Opioids are a classification of narcotic that includes both synthetic and natural drugs as well as legal and illegal. Prescription pain relievers such as Oxycodone and Vicodin as well as heroin and fentanyl all fall under this category. All opioids can be addictive and cause overdose, regardless of whether they are legal or not.
Opioids bond to the opioid receptors in the body causing feelings of dreamlike euphoria and a dulling of pain. They are prescribed for serious medical conditions such as cancer, bodily injuries, and dental surgery. When used as prescribed, an opioid will relieve pain and discomfort. When misused, opioids are severely dangerous and can lead a user to become addicted. This is how the opioid crisis developed.
What Led to the Opioid Crisis?
According to the NIDA, one theory for the upsurge in opioid addictions begins in the late-1990s when prescription pain medication was said to be nonaddictive by pharmaceutical companies. Because of this, doctors wrote prescriptions for opioids at an increasing rate.
Consequently, the misuse of opioids rapidly spread before awareness of how addictive these substances were. Currently, 115 people die per day from an opioid overdose in the United States, according to a NIDA report.
How People Overdose
An opioid is a depressant, which refers to a substance that suppresses the central nervous system. The body is naturally equipped with opioid receptors. When an opioid is ingested, either by swallowing, smoking, snorting, or injecting it, the opioid will attach itself to these receptors, flood the brain with dopamine (a “feel good” chemical), and cause pain to be muted.
At higher doses, a person might experience intense feelings of euphoria, sedation, or a dream-like quality that dulls out reality.
A NIDA study reports:
- Around 21-29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them
- Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder
- An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin
- About 80 percent of people who use heroin, first misused prescription opioids
- Opioid overdoses increased 30 percent from July 2016 through September 2017 in 52 areas in 45 states
- The Midwestern region saw opioid overdoses increase 70 percent between July 2016 and September 2017
- Opioid overdoses in large cities have increased by 54 percent in 16 states
Unfortunately, during the opioid crisis, overdoses are more common than ever.
Having an addiction to opioids is a life-threatening condition. If you or a loved one is dependent on prescription medication or heroin, don’t wait any longer to reach out for help. No one needs to live a life of self-incarceration. In order to best ensure a successful recovery, finding a treatment center that goes beyond just a focus on abstinence of a drug is critical.
Addiction often develops in tandem with one or more other mental health illnesses. Heroin and opioid addictions are commonly diagnosed alongside depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
First Step Center of Arizona
In addition to offering addiction treatment for opiates, First Step Center of Arizona provides individualized care for each client at its inpatient residential treatment center. With only 10 beds, our all-male clientele benefit from receiving a personalized program tailored to meet specified needs.
We offer programs and therapies like:
First Step Center also offers:
The opioid crisis and addiction are serious problems that are devastating American families nationwide. To find out more about the opioid addiction treatment program at First Step Center, don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Call us now at 866.832.6398.