Understanding Opioid Abuse – Part 1 of 2

Although opioid addiction is beginning to not be such a taboo subject, it still leaves a lot to be desired in the area of education. Let’s explain further: in order for people to participate in ending the opioid epidemic, they must first understand the extent of what is behind the numbers/statistics. Sometimes it takes knowing the “nitty gritty” details to really jumpstart others into helping prevent such a tragic epidemic from progressing any further.

 

WHAT ARE OPIOIDS?

Opioids are a class of drugs that are typically used to help relieve pain; these are pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others. This class of drugs also includes “the illegal drug heroin [and] synthetic opioids such as fentanyl” (drugabuse.org). Opioids can be legally acquired by prescription, or illegally acquired through drug diversion and/or other illegal means of purchase or acquisition.

WHAT IS OPIOID MISUSE?

Whenever a person uses opioids a) for a purpose it was not intended for; b) for a period of time longer than prescribed or recommended; or c) for minor rather than major symptoms (when the use can be avoided), it is considered misuse.

WHAT IS OPIOID ADDICTION/ABUSE?

According to the Mayo Clinic, “When opioid medications travel through your blood and attach to opioid receptors in your brain cells, the cells release signals that muffle your perception of pain and boost your feelings of pleasure”, making the desire to continue using them extremely strong. When opioids are used for too long [or for the wrong reasons] it changes the way nerve cells work in the brain (NIH). Your body grows used to having the opioids, and when they are taken away, that’s when the withdrawals begin. Many who are addicted feel the need for the opioid, complemented by strong urges known as cravings.

WHAT ARE SOME SIGNS OF OPIOID ABUSE/ADDICTION?

Signs of substance abuse and addiction are, first, the ability to not be able to control the urge to take them. Per familydoctor.org, other symptoms may also include poor coordination, drowsiness, nausea, physical agitation, abandoning responsibilities, slurred speech, sleeping more or less than normal, mood swings, feeling high, irritability, depressed, lowered or no motivation, and the list continues on. It’s often more difficult to spot drug abuse in others, even if they are close family members or friends. Knowing the symptoms of drug abuse can help others to point out the behaviors or help those addicted to seek the help they need.

 

This is only the beginning. In this Part 1 article, we want to make it clear that substance abuse has been studied over and over again, and it is only becoming more of worldwide issue as time goes on. Being knowledgeable about how you can help will only increase awareness and heighten your senses to being able to spot opioid addiction and abuse.

Be sure to follow up with our Understanding Opioid Abuse Part 2 article to learn more about opioid addiction/abuse, what it is doing to individuals and people involved in their lives, as well as how it has affected entire communities, states, and countries. For more information on what you can do to help diminish opioid addiction in your community, visit our website www.narcx.com or call us at (303) 434-1630.

 

Don’t wait. Be part of the solution today.

 

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs/summary

https://teens.drugabuse.gov/teachers/mind-over-matter/opioids/how-does-someone-become-addicted

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/prescription-drug-abuse/in-depth/how-opioid-addiction-occurs/art-20360372

Related Articles

Why You Need NarcX

Why You Need NarcX®Every day hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, and other healthcare facilities are facing drug diversion. Every day, communities, families, employees, and other individuals are facing the battles of addiction and deaths by overdoses. It is time that...

How We Got Here

How We Got HereWhen the opioid issue was confirmed as an epidemic in the U.S., many folks were surprised. The majority of people have been aware that opioid addiction and overdose were both becoming more common, but it appeared as though many had no idea as to the...

Addiction From All Backgrounds

Addiction From All BackgroundsAddiction can hit any household at any given time, often unexpectedly. Addiction might be found in a home filled with physical or emotional abuse; it might be present in the home of constant arguments or a broken home from a divorce; or...

Be Part of the solution

Contact us Today