When you think of addiction, what comes to mind? Alcohol? Cigarettes? Illegal drugs? For many people, addiction happens to others; it’s not something that could ever happen to them. But the truth is addiction can happen to anyone. Opioids are considered one of the effective treatments for pain, but they also come with a high risk of addiction.
Because of this, they are legal and available only by prescription. However, the emphasis on their effectiveness has led to their over-prescription, and this has, in turn, led to a rise in opioid addiction. While some realize the effects the addition can impose and head for Mcshin Foundation treatments, others find it hard to cope with.
Here are some reasons why opioid addiction is a problem:
1. It can lead to overdoses and death
It all starts with painkillers. You may get them legitimately after an injury or surgery, but you can quickly become addicted. Once your body becomes used to painkillers, you need more and more to get the same effect. And as your tolerance builds, you’re at risk of overdosing. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over half of all opioid overdoses involve a prescription painkiller. Once the patient is addicted, they may turn to illegal drugs like heroin to get their fix. And these drugs are often laced with other dangerous substances, which can further increase the risk of overdose.
2. Risks to unborn babies if mothers use opioids
One thing that a doctor won’t do is prescribe opioids to a pregnant woman. Why? Because opioids can cross the placenta and reach the fetus. This can cause many problems for the unborn baby, including the reliance on opioids when they’re born. It’s something that’s called neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Babies with NAS go through withdrawal when they’re born because they’re no longer getting the opioids they’ve become used to in the womb. NAS can cause various symptoms in newborns, including tremors, irritability, and problems feeding. In severe cases, it can even be fatal.
3. Opioids Can Lead to Other Types of Drug Use
According to the CDC, “people who misuse prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to start using heroin.” This is likely because taking other drugs like heroin gives them a similar high as prescription drugs but at a much lower cost. Additionally, people who misuse prescription drugs are more likely to abuse alcohol or use other illicit drugs like marijuana.
4. Criminal Activity
People addicted to drugs often engage in criminal activity to get money to pay for their habit. This might include activities like theft or prostitution. In fact, according to NIDA, “about half of the young adults aged 18–25 who inject heroin reported being involved in some type of criminal activity in the past year.”
5. Employment Problems
People addicted to opioids often have trouble holding down a job because of their habit. They may call in sick frequently or be unable to perform their job duties properly because they’re under drugs. Additionally, they may miss work because they’re in jail or treatment centers. As a result, people with opioid addiction often have trouble maintaining steady employment.
6. Relationship Problems
People addicted to opioids often have difficulty maintaining healthy personal relationships. This is because their drug habit takes up so much time and energy that they don’t have anything left for family and friends. Additionally, opioid addicts may engage in criminal activity that strains relationships or become abusive toward loved ones due to their drug use.
7. Health Problems, Chronic and Acute
People addicted to opioids often suffer from various health problems due to their drug use. These might include chronic conditions like liver disease or HIV/AIDS (if needles are shared). They might also suffer from acute conditions like overdoses or infectious diseases like hepatitis C (if needles are shared). In addition, people with opioid addiction often have mental health problems like anxiety or depression, which contribute to their overall decline in health.
8. Treatment Can Be Expensive
One final reason opioid addiction is the problem is that treatment is expensive—and often not covered by insurance companies. According to one estimate, the average cost of treatment for an opioid addict is $15,000 per year. This includes costs like detoxification, medication-assisted treatment, individual counseling, group therapy, and 12-step programs. For many people struggling with addiction, these costs are too high. As a result, they never get the help they need, and their addiction only worsens.
There are many dangers associated with opioid addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to opioids, it’s vital to seek professional help as soon as possible before the situation gets worse. Remember, there is no shame in asking for help – you are not alone.