Opioid Abuse and How It Affects You

MastHead Outline
August 17, 2017

Opioid abuse is a term that seems to be coming up more often now. Whether you yourself are struggling, a friend or family member, or you have just seen it in the media, it affects everyone. There is such a stigma around opioid abuse, or addiction, and we must all stand together and help those who are affected. We also need to stand against those who contribute to this growing problem.

How Did Opioids Come About?

Opioids have been around for millennia and have been known to be the most effective treatment for pain. In earlier times, opiates were derived from the poppy plant, which produces opium. This form of pain relief spread quickly across the eastern hemisphere. Fast forward to modern times, and now you have these pills manufactured in large amounts and high doses. You have doctors creating methods to inject it for more immediate relief or creating variations that are more potent. Pain always has and always will exist, but it has gotten to the point where things worse than pain are taking over a person’s life.

How Does Opioid Abuse Start

Dental procedures, sprained ankles, a broken arm; these all seem like obvious instances where people would experience a lot of pain and need some relief with pain pills. However, that sprain while playing a sport or those useless wisdom teeth coming out could lead to an unwanted way of life. The pain that lasts for maybe a few days or a week is sometimes being treated with a prescription that lasts a lot longer than the pain ever will.. How does this equate to abuse? Some people may just throw out the extra pills once their pain has subsided, but there are also some people who will continue taking them because they still feel a tiny bit of pain, they don’t want to waste them, or they enjoy the feeling of being on them. Rather than judge the people taking those pills, we need to stand up to the doctors who are overprescribing.

How Does This Affect Me?

Are you wondering how this affects you if you or someone you know doesn’t have an opioid use disorder? As of 2015, opioid abuse cost our society $55 billion. This includes health care costs, criminal justice, and lost workplace productivity. Unfortunately, this cost will continue to grow due to the upward trend of opioid abuse. If you feel like you have an opioid dependency, it is important to get help as soon as possible. There are many methods of treatment to help lessen the effects of withdrawal and help you live a healthier lifestyle. Long term opioid abuse can lead to severe side effects that affect many areas the body. Another factor that comes into play is the longer you take it, the more tolerance you build up, which requires more of the drug. This can lead to an overdose, which can lead to death.

Do I Have to Live With Pain?

There is a time and place for everything. Just because you are in pain doesn’t mean you have to suffer through it; it just means that you have to be knowledgeable about what you are putting into your body. Take the lowest dose possible and let your doctor know that you aren’t comfortable if they write you a high quantity of pills in a prescription. Opioid abuse is a serious issue that is continuing to grow at an alarming rate. Whether it directly affects you or not, it is important to be aware that this addiction can happen to anyone and we must all do the best we can to stand up for what is right.

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