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Talk About Your Medicines Month-2: Understanding potency of opioid addiction

The outlook of Americans towards prescription painkiller use has changed from that of awe to that of fear. The discovery of painkillers was once heralded as one of the most significant innovations in the history of medical science. However, statistics related to the number of Americans seeking professional assistance to get rid of their opioid dependence say otherwise.

While people continue to ask if one can get addicted to prescription opioids, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that more people die of opioid dependence than in road accidents in the United States.

Opioid production to be cut down by 25% in 2017

An increasing number of people are getting hooked on prescription opioids that have forced the law enforcement agencies to formulate policies regulating prescription of painkillers. The fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has decided to cut down on opioid production by nearly 25 percent in 2017 exhibits the havoc that has been created by either over prescription or misuse of opioids by people in the U.S.

One of the reasons behind such drastic measure is the overproduction of opioids during 2013-2016 which led to unprecedented deaths of Americans involving opioids in 2014 alone.

Apart from rules and regulations, various organizations are doing their bit to check the opioid menace through awareness campaigns and programs. In October, the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) is hosting its 31st annual “Talk About Your Medicines Month.” This year, the initiative focuses on medication safe use issue — polypharmacy, the use of five or more medications by the same person at the same time.

Opioid overdose can be fatal

Taking prescription drugs that are not advised by the doctor or in a manner and dosage as not prescribed can lead to adverse effects. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) indicates prescription drugs as the third most commonly abused kind of drugs next to alcohol and marijuana.

As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), an estimated 48 million Americans, aged 12 years and above, have used prescription drugs for non-medical reasons during their life. This is a cause of concern as misuse and abuse of prescription opioids have led to a spike in emergency room visits involving accidental opioid overdose, in recent years.

Recognizing signs of opioid addiction

People dependent on prescription opioids manifest following signs:

  • tendency to steal or forge prescriptions
  • consumption of opioids in doses higher than prescribed by doctor
  • unwarranted and uncontrolled mood swings
  • problems in sleep
  • marred decision-making ability
  • increased tendency to appear in a stupefied state
  • visiting multiple physicians to obtain more prescriptions for addictive substances

It is important to recognize symptoms as researchers from the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City have indicated that more young adults in the U.S. are likely to get dependent on prescription opioids than they were in the past. The findings published online in the journal Addictive Behaviors in September 2016 elucidated how an increasing tendency of prescription opioid misuse accentuates a growing health concern.

Helping in recovery

Recovery needs to be a matter of compulsion and not that of choice. The American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians highlighted that approximately 80 percent of the global opioid supply is consumed in the U.S. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers opioids to be a threat to the achievements of modern medicine.

It is unfortunate to be hooked on drugs but not impossible to get rid of the dependence. It is important to understand the need to take opioids as per the prescription and its non-adherence can wreak havoc by compelling people to seek satisfaction in drugs. If you are looking for professional help to rid your loved ones of addictive habits, contact the 247 Recovery Helpline. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-441-4405 or chat online with our experts to know about the treatment centers for drug addiction.

Read the other articles of the series based on the “Talk About Your Medicines Month”:

 Talk About Your Medicines Month-1: Know more about your prescriptions

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