Prescription Opioids: What You Need to Know
If you or a loved one suffers from opiate dependency, you may struggle with the stigma that opioid users are all abusers of illegal substances. A common misconception about opiates and their harmful effects is that opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin are less dangerous than heroin, because they have a prescription attached. In reality, overdose deaths due to opioid overdose are significantly more likely to be caused by prescription pills. While the rate of heroin abuse has increased significantly in recent years, the rate of prescription opioid abuse has increased even more so. But why are prescription opioids so harmful when abused? Learn more about why prescription pills can be just as harmful to you or a loved one as illegal opioids.
A slow and subtle dependency makes hydrocodone the most frequently abused prescription drug in the US – it’s easy for you or a loved one to feel you have control, when it’s long been lost. People who use hydrocodone experience feelings of well-being and the relief of stress and worry. These feelings of euphoria create an understandable but dangerous dependency – tolerance builds slowly but steadily, and by the time a user realizes they are dependent on hydrocodone, they’re already deeply entrenched in the addiction. Of all the deaths that involved pharmaceuticals in 2010, Vicodin (a brand of Hydrocodone) was responsible for 16,651 fatalities, or 44 percent of the total.
Oxycodone is another opioid frequently prescribed to relieve pain. It does so effectively, which contributes to its rise in popularity nationwide. In 2013, almost ten percent of people aged 18-25 reported they had abused Oxycodone in some form. The drug is available under several brand names, including Percocet and Oxycontin, both of which come with a significant danger of dependency if abused. In 2014, more than 40,000 people were hospitalized for overdoses of Oxycodone.
Morphine is prescribed orally as a liquid or tablet, and can be injected. It’s available under several names, including Zomorph and Oramorph. It is prescribed less frequently than either Hydrocodone or Oxycodone, but it is still a powerful and easily abused opioid. Strong feelings of well-being, combined with drowsiness and slowed breathing mean that morphine is as dangerous as it is enticing. In 2011, there were 38,416 morphine problems or complications that resulted in emergency room visits.
If you or a loved one struggles with prescription opioid abuse, it can be hard to recognize and seek treatment for dependency. A prescription does not prevent addiction from occurring, however. If you or a loved one is seeking guidance for a prescription opioid addiction, we’re here to help. Contact us and learn more about our scientific approach to healing.
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