The opioid epidemic is a growing crisis in the United States, despite numerous efforts to help the situation. Families all over the countries are affected, and opioid abuse doesn’t discriminate against anyone. What was once thought to be an issue that only affects the poor or inner-city residents now spans across the entire country. Soccer moms, star students, ivy-league graduates, and hard workers are all affected, no matter their race, gender, economic status, or social status. It is a very real problem that is sweeping the country and causing a lot of unnecessary death and pain.
Sure, politicians and community leaders are trying to help solve the problem in their communities. Unfortunately, often times these efforts aren’t enough. The statistics speak for themselves. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the number of unintentional overdose deaths from opioids has more than quadrupled in less than 20 years. In 2012, it was estimated that 2.1 million people in the U.S. were addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and nearly 500,000 addicted to heroin. It is a complex problem that takes many lives needlessly and often can only be stopped at the individual level.
Education is Key to Battling the Opioid Epidemic
The more you and your loved ones know about the opioid epidemic, the better equipped you will be to fight back. A good place to start is making sure you are educated about prescription pills. Contrary to popular belief, a big part of the opioid problem begins with doctors. People aren’t aware of how strong and dangerous medications can be. Just because it was prescribed by a doctor certainly does not make it safe.
Prescription opioids include pain medicines like Vicodin, Percocet, and oxycodone. People often go into a common procedure and get these prescribed to them to deal with post-procedural pain. Unless you look up the dangers, you would think that it is a benign, harmless medication. If you have a history of any kind of drug or alcohol abuse, it is essential to ask for alternatives, because they do exist and can help prevent a major problem.
Ask your doctor questions about the medication they prescribe and the possible side effects. Also, do your own research, and if you feel as though it is necessary, consult another professional for a second opinion. The more you know, the better.
Keep Opioids and All Other Medications Out of the Wrong Hands
If you are a parent or have anyone in your home who may decide to dabble in your medication, it is essential to keep your pills closely guarded. Unfortunately, teens and other people often look for an easy way to get high, and their family’s medicine cabinets are the first place they head. This kind of experimentation may seem harmless, but it can prove to be deadly. People who aren’t aware of what they are taking are more likely to overdose. Also, they often mix pills with other medication or alcohol, and this can prove to be a toxic combination. It is essential to speak to everyone in your household about the dangers of prescription medications, keep them out of reach, and dispose of them correctly.
What to do if You or Someone You Love Becomes Addicted to Opiates
Opioid addiction can happen fast and be extremely intense. It is vital that it is taken care of early on so that it doesn’t continue to get worse or end up with an overdose. If you or someone you love are taking prescription opiates and find yourself taking them more than directed, stop immediately. If you can’t do it on your own, seek professional help. Opiate withdrawal can cause symptoms that are very uncomfortable and often cause people to take more medication. If this happens to you, it means that your body is addicted and you need professional help and medical supervision to get better.
By recognizing the issue, individually, we can each make a difference in the war against the opioid epidemic. The more people who are vigilant and educated will mean fewer people succumbing to opiate addiction. That means fewer overdoses and unnecessary deaths, and peace of mind for many families across the country.
For information on treatment programs for opiate addiction, call Willow Place for Women today at 1-888-651-4212.