The United States Has Declared an Opioid Public Emergency: Here's What That Means

Stars and Stripes  by rogerl01 via Pixabay ( CC0 Creative Commons )

Stars and Stripes by rogerl01 via Pixabay (CC0 Creative Commons)

In recent months opioid addiction in the US has reached critical levels, resulting in the Department of Health and Human Services declaring a public health emergency. Each year, around 60,000 die in America as a result of overdose and the problem is much more widespread than many people fully appreciate. This is because a lot of opioid addiction has its roots in prescription medicines, which gives the drug a more ‘acceptable’ face that belies the very real problem that currently exists.

Prescription Opioids Amplify Substance Abuse

Medications containing opioids are prescribed after serious injury or trauma to treat chronic pain and include Vicodin, Percodan, Demerol and OxyContin, among others. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), there are around 2.1 million Americans currently suffering from substance abuse disorder as a direct consequence of being prescribed opioid pain relievers and growing evidence to suggest a strong relationship between prescription opioids and their ‘street’ equivalents. In other words, more people are developing dependence to prescription painkillers before their addiction deepens and they feel forced to obtain illegal drugs to satisfy cravings.

Misconceptions around Opioid Addiction

There are many misconceptions surrounding addiction that has served to blind many of us to the extent of the problem in America. Addicts are perceived as being of a certain background and class, with little or no educational background, whereas in fact addiction is a disease that does not discriminate according to social class. Because of this negative perception of addiction, people falling outside the stereotype have a greater chance of their issues going undetected, which may prevent them from seeking help.

One of the main reasons opioid addiction has increased in the US is due to the rising number of prescriptions issued, up from 76 million in 1991 to an incredible 207 million in 2013, say NIDA. Because addictive pain relief drugs are now more available than ever before, we are now beginning to see the negative consequences play out, which have resulted in overdose deaths more than tripling in the past 20 years.

Capo Canyon Recovery offers Drug Addiction Treatment

Becoming dependent on pain relieving medications containing opioids is something that can very easily happen when a person is dealing with prolonged and chronic pain. It is natural for the body to build a tolerance to substances which can reduce their efficacy and push people to seek illicit alternatives. At Capo Canyon Recovery, we have a long history of providing drug rehabilitation and recovery in our specialist center near Mission Viejo, CA. If you or a loved one are experiencing issues with opioids, whether prescribed or not, contact us in confidence in Laguna Niguel, CA and you’ll be a step closer to getting the treatment you need.

Read More on the Blog: Effects of Prescription Drug Use on the Body