Over the last two decades, the U.S. has gone through an epidemic of overdose-related deaths. Every nineteen minutes, someone in America dies of a drug overdose. Today, legally acquired opioids are the second most abused drugs in the country, right after cannabis. This opioid epidemic is so widespread that more people die from an opioid overdose every day than traffic accidents and gun deaths combined.
Furthermore, addiction to opioids is now a major risk factor that can lead to heroin use, which is the most addictive opioid globally. When people cannot access these pain-relieving drugs anymore, they turn to heroin because it’s cheaper and more readily available. At Rockland Recovery, our opioid addiction treatment program can help. If you are struggling with opioid addiction, our addiction treatment staff has years of experience giving people the tools to end their dependence on opioids.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are drugs that occur naturally in the poppy plant. However, opioids can also be manufactured by scientists in a lab using the same chemical structure. In the medical field, opioids are pain-relieving drugs because their chemical makeup relaxes the body’s nerves from pain. Doctors prescribe opioids for chronic pain, severe injuries, persistent cough, and diarrhea. While these pain-relieving drugs can be very effective, they are not recommended for long-term use because of their highly addictive nature when misused.
However, dangerous illegal drugs like heroin and fentanyl are also opioids.
Some of the most commonly abused opioids include;
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
Understanding Opioid Addiction
How does legitimate prescription drug use turn into opioid addiction?
Prescription opioids are very safe when taken for a short while and as prescribed by a physician. Unfortunately, these prescription opioids can be misused and even abused. One of the common ways opioids are misused is by taking them contrary to what the doctor prescribed. For example, because the body becomes tolerant of the drugs with time, you may start taking more pills than prescribed to relieve pain. You may also continue to take the pain-relieving drugs long after the recommended time because the pain remains.
When this happens, you can open the doors to opioid addiction, where the drugs control you instead of the other way round. Opioids work by activating the opioid receptors on your body cells to block pain signals and release the happy hormone dopamine. The more drugs you put into your body, the more your brain starts to associate them with those good feelings and reinforce your desire to want even more.
How to Prevent Opioid Addiction
The first line of defense against opioid addiction is you. It’s essential to take the medication exactly as the doctor prescribes. Some of the guidelines you can use to prevent opioid addiction include:
- Never take more pills than prescribed.
- Never use someone else’s prescription.
- Use the lowest dose possible over the shortest period of time.
- Be aware of any signs of drug dependency that you may notice.
- Be honest with your physician about any drugs you are taking.
Doctors, pharmacists, and family members also have a responsibility to notice drug abuse or addiction signs. The signs include lying about losing their prescription, change in behavior, bloodshot eyes, moods, and financial problems.
Get Treatment for Prescription Opioid Addiction Now with Rockland Recovery
The most effective treatment plan for opioid addiction is medication to reverse the effects of the opioid and reduce craving or withdrawal symptoms. Rockland Recovery Treatment Centers in Massachusetts has two sober living homes where they take you step-by-step through recovery.