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Opioids and America: The Addiction Our Nation Can’t Shake

September 17, 2018

A number of high-profile celebrity deaths related to drugs, and specifically opiates, has led many Americans to question a lot. Why are all of these overdoses occurring? How and why have these drugs become so prevalent? But the answers to those questions are pretty murky, just like America’s relationship with these insidious drugs.

What Drugs Are Leading To Overdose?

It’s first important to understand chemically, what drugs are behind America’s overdose epidemics. The rise of opiates specifically, through both legal and illegal channels has created the deadly crisis we see today. In 2015, about 91 Americans died per day from an opioid overdose, with an annual mortality count of more than 33,000 deaths. This change happened rapidly, in conjunction with the introduction of such drugs as oxycodone and hydrocodone. These drugs were rapidly pumped into doctor’s offices, ER’s and eventually “pill mills,” often exploiting rural, or otherwise disenfranchised individuals. They grew rapidly in popularity- since 1999, the number of prescription opioids sold in the U.S. nearly quadrupled. During the same timeframe, overdose deaths involving prescription opioids, as well as heroin, also quadrupled. It’s important to understand that heroin and prescription opiates are chemically the same, leading many users who began with prescription painkillers to seek heroin, or otherwise anything, to squash the withdrawal that is so linked to opiates, whether they be oxycodone pills or heroin off the street.

The Introduction of Fentanyl

Unfortunately, America’s tortuous relationship with opiates hasn’t ended with heroin. More recent overdoses- and an alarming number of subsequent deaths- have been linked to the drug fentanyl, a drug used in rare medical capacities that is being cut and modified to be of extreme, extreme potency. In some cases, even simple contact (not ingestion) with the drug has been deadly. Fentanyl is without a doubt the number one reason for the increased spike in opiate-related deaths, which are now the number one killer for Americans under 50.

Unfortunately, the government and other institutions seem to be offering too little too late. Relationships with pharmaceutical companies, as well as socialized stigmatization have led the country to fuel the flames of the opioid crisis, creating the deadly behemoth we see today. Many Americans feel removed from the opiate crisis, because of lack of interaction with opioid drugs themselves, but opioids are really natural chemicals that occur in our body. Friendship and romance both require opioid metabolism to feel attachment and love. Opioids play an important role in mother-child bonding as well. With that said, it’s a conundrum we can all relate to, if not directly.

However, many individuals are directly affected by the opioid crisis. If you or someone you know is addicted to opiates, or any other drug, there are venues through which you can receive legitimate help. Recovery is possible through experienced addiction professionals with a wealth of knowledge on their side. Truth Recovery Center will help you or a loved one get off opiates, or any other drug, and allow you to lead the life that is waiting for you outside of opioids.