Across the nation, statistics report “Opioid addiction is driving [an] epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.” This staggering statistic is taken from a 2016 report released by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. More often than not, users do not make it out alive. Pinellas County, Florida, in particular, is suffering from this tidal wave of opioid addiction, reporting that almost every 32 hours someone dies from a drug overdose. In recent years, the Countywide Diversion Task Force worked with law enforcement agencies at all levels to make arrests, stop prescription fraud, and shut down pill mills in the area
What are Opioids?
Simply put, opioids are pain relievers. Hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine and codeine are some examples of prescription medications that fall in this class. Heroin is yet another drug in this category that is responsible for over six fatalities in Pinellas County in 2015, five in 2014 and four in 2013. Opioids are commonly prescribed for dental and injury-related pain
The Dangers of Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction is not easy to manage and even tougher to break. Statistics reported in this 2016 report from ASAM reflect that 94% of those participating in a 2014 survey of people who were in treatment for opioid addiction explained that they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were “far more expensive and harder to obtain.
The following dangers exist with opioid addiction:
- Respiratory Depression
- Heart Failure
- Sensitivity to Pain
- Issues during Pregnancy
- Gastrointestinal Issues
Educating yourself on the dangers of opioid addiction can help both users and loved ones affected by opioid use to treat and cope with the side effects of this addiction
Treatment and Recovery Options
The physical dependency of this addiction is the crippling factor, making it nearly impossible to quit cold turkey. Advantage Mental Health Center can help through the use of FDA-approved medications such as Buprenorphine, otherwise known as Suboxone®, to decrease opioid withdrawal symptoms and suppress cravings so a person can stop taking the opioid medication to which he or she is addicted. Buprenorphine is proven to be very effective and does not require daily clinic visits. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Seek help if you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, and keep hope alive. Contact us today.