There is no doubt you have not heard the term “Opioid epidemic”. It is a national catastrophe that has been all over the news channels. It has been a hot button all over the news but some you might not know this crisis is.
The opioid epidemic is referred to as the growing number of deaths and hospitalization because of the overdose of opioids, including prescription drugs, and analogues. The data collected all across the country have shown that the death rate by these drugs has ramped up to over 40,000 a year, or 115 a day. Leading cause of the accidental deaths in the United States is drug overdose and mainly because of the opioid epidemic.
An opioid is a drug given to the patient mostly as a painkiller derived from, or a synthetic version of, opium. Morphine was used as the painkiller earlier, but it was found that people start to get addicted to it. So, we found a way to replicate the effects of morphine to make it stronger or weaker depending upon the need. Some common examples of the opioids are:
How the opioid epidemic started
It all started in the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies gave the medical community assurance that the people will not get addicted to the opioid pain relievers, and the healthcare providers began to prescribe them at higher rates.
But there was a widespread increase in the intake of these prescribed drugs as well as non-prescribed drugs. Later it became clear that the people are getting addicted to these drugs, which is a significant problem to handle.
Understanding the crisis
There has been a significant increase in the number of drug abuser related to opioid. The misuse of these drugs has increased the cases of a drug overdose and accidental deaths. There is also a rising case of newborn facing the withdrawal syndrome due to the misuse of the opioid during the pregnancy.
There is a continuous increase in the cases of opioid addiction, even though there are permanent campaign is going on to create awareness about it.
Some cases were found where the doctors were over-prescribing opioid painkillers, which was also creating a problem for us. Since 2010, the US government has been cracking down these cases even to control the addiction.
How it is different from other drug addiction
The deaths due to the opioid overdose are more than the accidental deaths by other drugs every year that are why the term epidemic was coined.
The most part is that most of these deaths are because of the prescribed drugs only. These people were not using any illicit drug like heroin. They were following the medication procedure given by the doctor.
The opioid epidemic has touched all the demographics and from all walks of life, including seniors, teens, veterans, and the LGBTQ community.
A person who gets affected by the opioid addiction is not alone to suffer the consequences as the whole family and friends have to feel the effect of this problem. The economic and emotional burden put on the families has been dragging them down.
What can we do?
A problem like this can happen to anyone, not just the weak. The best way to tackle opioid addiction is by talking openly and creating more awareness about it. If you found your loved ones to be addicted to it without knowing, then make them realize.
The best way to get rid of this addiction is by reaching out to the nearest rehabilitation centre.