No one purposely sets foot on the path to addiction. Did you know it takes just 28 days to become physically dependent upon prescription pain medicine? Some addicts begin using pills legitimately for pain treatment. Using medication differently than the prescribed plan greatly increases risk for developing addiction. Other addicts start by trying prescription pills recreationally. One in four teens reports having abused or misused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime.
Synthetic opioids like some prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, and natural opiates like heroin and morphine are all derivatives of opium. Prescription drugs and “street” drugs are structurally very similar. This is why so many addicts move on from pills; heroin provides the relief addicts are looking for, at a much cheaper, accessible price as the pills. However, the strength of heroin is incredibly inconsistent, so it’s impossible to know how much pure heroin is in each dose, unfortunately making overdose a not so rare occurrence.
The solution to the opioid epidemic is much more complicated than cut and dry punishment of dealers and addicts. In order to scale back the scope and severity of the opioid crisis, we’ll need a comprehensive approach that includes better regulation of painkiller prescriptions, improved substance abuse treatment, more clinical research and education, and a shift in the current stigmatization of addicts. We all may have a certain assumption about what an addict looks like or acts like, but opiate addiction affects every community and people from all walks of life.
This video from Know Dope (http://www.knowdope.org/) shows how heroin can hit a lot closer to home than you think.
Do you or a loved one live with Opioid Dependency? Contact Segal Institute at 1-877-SEGAL-88 to see if they may qualify for our clinical research study for opioid dependency! OR sign up for a pre-screen below!