We have all heard the commercials for pharmaceutical drugs with their lists of side effects. However, these advertisements do not expand upon the fact that many of these substances have addictive properties. When a patient comes in asking for more than the allotted amount of pills for their prescription or for it to be increased over an expanded time, physicians often have to say “No.” Unfortunately, by this point, many people are already hooked when it comes to narcotic pain killers. They then seek refuge in a street opiate: Heroin. Within a five-year span from 2010 to 2015, there was a 17 percent increase in heroin overdoses alone.
We have been saying we are at war with addiction for some time now. We harp on the dangers of opiates, especially heroin. We know how quickly we can go from experimentation to abusing substances to IV drug use. We keep implementing new options from needle exchange programs to educational programs, yet these numbers keep increasing. We are failing this war on drugs. It is up to us to help win this battle because the pharmaceutical companies are not going to stop making money off this war.
The DSM Definition of Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid Use Disorder has similar symptoms to other alcohol and drug use disorders. The indications that you may be suffering from this disorder include:
- Taking opiates more often and for a longer period than you first set out to do.
- Spending lots of time wanting, trying to use less, or attempting to stop using opioids.
- Having an intense desire to engage in the use of opiates.
- Continuing to use regardless of the drug’s interference with occupational or educational goals and work. Not stopping use when it begins to affect home life and your ability to complete responsibilities at home.
- Experiencing social or interpersonal troubles due to your opiate use. Regardless of noting this, you do not cease your opioid use.
- Reducing time participating in social, work, or leisure activities you once enjoyed. Your substance of choice begins to become your social, occupational, and leisure activities in a sense.
- Continuing to use regardless of seeing that it is causing harm. Using in hazardous situations or putting yourself in harmful conditions due to your use.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when the substance has left your system.
Big Pharma and The Opioid Crisis
We are not saying that pharmaceutical companies are pushing heroin nor that they are maliciously creating addicts. We are not saying that they are responsible for opioid overdoses. However, the number of individuals passing away from opiate use is startling. In 2017 there were 70,237 drug overdose deaths within the United States. Between the years of 1999 to 2017 approximately 218,000 individuals passed away in the United States due to overdoses of prescribed opioids. Prescription opioids include Hydrocodone, Morphine, Oxycodone, and Codeine. States that demonstrated statistically noteworthy heightened numbers of drug overdose death rates between 2016 and 2017 included Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Those are just the reported cases. The numbers keep increasing. Doctors have signs posted in their offices warning against addiction to narcotic pain killers and many schools employee guidance counselors to educate on the dangers of opiates. However, as a society we trust our doctors to prescribe our medications to heal us, not to harm us. That leaves it up to us to fight this war.
Stop Using Opioids Today
How do you begin to fight your own war regarding your opiate use? Seek help today. Burns, Tennessee is a beautiful city for you to get the help you need. Our trained professionals at Discovery Place are ready to help you this very moment. We have everything from an alternative 30-day residential program to continuing care for recovery for up to a year after finishing our program. Give us a call today at 1-800-725-0922.