The United States has been seeing a growing opioid epidemic for many decades, and it’s an issue that’s been getting a lot of attention from the 2016 presidential candidates. From a young age, people learn that drug addiction is something that can become a potentially fatal situation so it’s baffling to try to understand how so many people are becoming addicted to drugs like heroin. One of the primary issues is that medications used to treat chronic pain and injuries are opiate-based medications, and they can become highly addictive. The opiate epidemic has become such a big discussion because the problem is no longer only limited to people in poverty. Those becoming addicted to prescription pain medications and heroin are blue- and white-collared people.
How Pre-Existing Conditions and Surgery Can Lead to Addiction
Opioid medications were created with great intentions, but they have the ability to completely take control over a person’s life. Several pain medications that have opiates include morphine, OxyContin, oxycodone and codeine. The medications are often prescribed for people when they need surgery or have some sort of chronic pain that can be related to an illness or injury. There are many people who are prescribed these medications and can take them as instructed, but others gradually develop dependence when they use the medication. Even if they take the medication as prescribed, there is still a chance of developing a dependence.
Those who are recovering from a surgery may be prescribed enough medication to deal with the pain for a month or two, but those with chronic pain may be prescribed the medications for longer periods of time. Those with chronic pain may be prescribed medications on a monthly basis. Often times, the pain itself isn’t being treated at all and the medications are simply provided as a form of pain management. This eventually results in the person abusing the medications due to addiction which can lead to using harder drugs.
Signs of Progressing Addiction
Prescription painkiller abuse is classified as taking the medications in any way other than prescribed. The person’s mind tells them that they need more than what’s prescribed in order to deal with the pain. Due to new restrictions, doctors and pharmacies won’t prescribe more refills. Because of this, the person may start going to multiple doctors and pharmacies. When this doesn’t work, the person may begin buying the medications illegally, which can be quite expensive. Heroin is a stronger, more potent opiate that’s a fraction of the cost as prescription pills. By the time a person is completely dependent to opiates, they’re no longer thinking about the dangers associated with trying illegal drugs such as heroin.
Addiction Treatment Can Help
Even if a person suffers from chronic pain, addiction treatment can help the man or woman regain control of their life. The first step in treatment is to go through medical detoxification. Then, through rehabilitation, they’ll learn how to live a life without the use of prescription medications. There are endless amounts of pain management techniques for those who need to step away from prescription opiates. It is important to always be mindful of pain medications and the effect’s on one’s body when managing pain.