Is Opioid Addiction A Problem In America?
Over and over again we hear the sad stories of celebrities who lose their lives due to an addiction to opioid prescription pain medication. While beloved rock stars and actors grab headline news when they succumb to the destruction of addiction, there is no fanfare for the more than 18,000 individuals who die each year in the United States because of an overdose related to prescription pain relievers. It’s a sad state of affairs that the epidemic of addiction is now largely being fueled by these legal drugs, and that the problem only seems to be escalating.
What Are Opioids?
We’ve all heard of the drug opium, and many often think that opium and opioids are synonymous, but they’re not. However, they both are derived from the poppy which also produces heroin. Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin, as well as prescription painkillers including oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine and fentanyl. Opioids work by interacting with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain to produce pleasurable feelings and to eliminate pain. They are also highly addictive.
Some Eye-Opening Stats About Opioids
When we think of drug addicts, we typically think of down and out people on skid row looking for their next fix. However, an increasingly large population of drug users are those who are lined up to pick up their prescriptions at their local drug store. Here are just a few of the latest facts and stats that highlight the dangers of this growing problem that is affecting individuals of all walks of life:
- Nearly two million Americans have a substance use disorder that involves prescription pain relievers.
- Of those who are addicted to opioid pain killers, nearly 25% of them will eventually develop a heroin addiction.
- Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
- Four out of five new heroin users got their start by abusing prescription painkillers.
- Prescription painkiller overdose deaths among women increased more than 400% from 1999 to 2010, compared to 237% among men.
Is A Loved One Struggling With Prescription Pain Medication Addiction?
Don’t let someone you love become another prescription painkiller statistic. With professional intervention for pain medicine addiction, you can help your loved one start the positive journey of recovery. Learn more about intervention and what you can do to help stop someone from spiraling out of control Call now to speak with an intervention specialist.