There’s a lot of talk about the opioid crisis in the media. So much, in fact, that a lot of people have tired of hearing about it. However, media coverage of the opioid epidemic is essential to spread awareness of how dangerous these drugs can be. Seeing the statistics and consequences is the only way that some people understand. And then they will need addiction treatment programs to get sober.
Opioid Epidemic Statistics
The opioid crisis started in the 1990s when doctors began prescribing high quantities of these potent pain relievers. It didn’t take long for the drugs to become the most-prescribed medications in the country. The prescription numbers even exceeded those for heart medications and antibiotics.
Although drug makers promised that people wouldn’t develop addictions to opioids, the potential for abuse is high. By 2016, 2.1 million people had an opioid use disorder, and over 42,000 people died from an overdose. While 11.4 million people misused the drugs, 81,000 people started using heroin for the first time. This behavior became an issue because heroin is a cheaper alternative to prescription pills.
Because of these statistics, the US Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in 2017. It also announced a strategy to overcome the crisis, which includes better pain management and prevention and recovery services. And a heroin addiction treatment center, like Gateway Foundation locations, will address both heroin and opioid addiction.
Understanding the Dangers
Opioids are a category of medications that interact with receptors in the brain. This interaction muffles the signals that neurotransmitters send to indicate pain.
However, opioid epidemic statistics clearly demonstrate that misusing these drugs has devastating consequences. Even when people don’t abuse them, they can produce a sense of well-being and pleasure. After prolonged use, the brain adapts to these feelings and can’t function properly without opioids.
At this point, people develop addiction and can’t control their cravings or need for the drugs. Their thoughts and behaviors revolve around using. In the beginning, they might go “doctor shopping,” which involves seeing multiple doctors to get opioid prescriptions. They could also lie to or steal from loved ones while they neglect their daily duties.
In a lot of cases, people suffer from opioid overdose too. It often happens because they increase their dose too much as they try to achieve a stronger high. However, this behavior has serious consequences, including respiratory or cardiac arrest, which can lead to death. And although naltrexone can reverse the effects of overdose, it can’t cure opioid addiction.
Instead, people with an addiction need a full spectrum of treatment that starts with Withdrawal Management. It’s important that if you’re involved in the opioid epidemic, you visit a treatment center for help to get through withdrawal safely. Then, they must continue their treatment to learn how to manage addiction.
Get Help for Opioid Addiction Now
Do you or someone you know have an opioid use disorder? Gateway Foundation Chicago Independence can provide the help that you need. Our prescription drug addiction treatment center in Chicago offers a range of rehab services, including:
- Men’s and Women’s programs
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Mindfulness-Based Sobriety
- Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Don’t become another statistic in the opioid epidemic. Get the help that you need at Gateway Foundation Chicago Independence. Call 773.826.1916 for more information.