The United States is facing an unprecedented opioid epidemic in recent years. These drugs have spread throughout the country like wildfire, claiming thousands of lives each year due to overdose. If you’re facing opioid addiction, it’s time to take a stand against these powerful pills and get the help you need. Drug and alcohol rehab can help to get you back on track through a variety of treatment modules, including counseling, therapy, detox, medication management, and more.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids change the way that your brain works. You have opioid receptors in your brain. Normally, these produce certain neurotransmitters that cause euphoric and happy feelings during pleasurable activities, such as eating a good meal or having sex.
However, opioids overstimulate these receptors, causing a euphoric high. Eventually, this will overload your brain and cause you to develop tolerance and dependence, two of the building blocks of addiction.
There are several kinds of opioids that medical professionals commonly prescribe. These include:
How Did This Opioid Problem Begin?
Back in the 1990s, doctors began to prescribe more opioid painkillers to help patients manage chronic aches and pains. In fact, it was extremely easy to get a prescription. Because opioids are highly addictive, many people unwittingly developed a dependence on these drugs. To satisfy their intense opioid withdrawal symptoms, they continued to misuse the drugs and move on to more potent varieties, such as heroin.
Even today, doctors still prescribe opioid prescriptions, creating a new wave of addiction. In fact, pharmacies dispense more than 650,000 opioid prescriptions each day.
Opioid Epidemic Statistics
As of June 2017, research estimates that 90 Americans die from overdosing on opioids each day. That’s a number that’s quadrupled since 1999. This might be because 3,900 people each day start using prescription opioids for nonmedical uses. Even worse, 580 new people each day turn to heroin. In fact, this potent drug killed over 10,500 people in 2014.
The opioid epidemic is costing Americans more than lost lives. In fact, estimates show that the total cost of prescription opioid abuse in the United States alone is at least $78.5 billion each year. This includes factors such as lost productivity in the workplace, healthcare costs, criminal justice intervention, and addiction treatment.
Overall, research estimates that over 2.1 million people in the United States suffer from a substance abuse disorder, with a total of 467,000 addicted to heroin in particular.
What’s Being Done to Stop Opioid Abuse?
Luckily, the future isn’t entirely bleak when it comes to battling this opioid epidemic. Scientists, doctors, and government officials are starting to take a stand against these drugs in an effort to stop people from using them. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has created five priorities to help manage the opioid crisis, which include:
- Finding better ways to treat pain
- Helping patients get better access to treatment
- Promoting overdose-reducing medications
- Watching public health closer
- Conducting more research on pain and addiction
In addition to these efforts, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is educating primary care providers directly on abuse of prescription opioids and how to prevent it.
Get the Help you Need at a Rehab Center
Ready to overcome your addiction and get back to living a normal life? San Antonio Recovery Center can help. We offer the finest addiction treatment centered around a 12-step model. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you at our drug and alcohol rehab facility, call us today at 866-957-7885.