Drug abuse and addiction is a global menace that no nation should handle on its own. The number of people dying from drugs every year is unimaginable. That’s why an urgent and long-lasting solution to this problem is necessary. Among the most commonly abused drugs are opiates – prescription drugs commonly taken to relieve pain. Opiate addiction is a major issue not only in America, but in many other parts of the world. These drugs are derived from opium plants that are a highly addictive; hence their tendency to cause serious addiction.
The commonly prescribed sedatives that belong to the class of opiates include fentanyl, dilaudid, oxycodone hydrocodone, and some illegal drugs such as heroin. No one is immune to opiate dependency as it is a behavioral health issue and the leading cause of drug overdose in the world. As painkillers, opiates are used on a daily basis and one may become an addict without sensing the danger posed by their extensive use.
The number of people using this drug has exponentially surged over the years. According to National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), millions of people are currently abusing opiates around the world. A lot of money is being invested on opiate addicts and in controlling the use of these pain relieving and killer drugs.
One of the best ways to handle opiate addiction is to understand the causes, effects, and symptoms. That way it will be easy to find a lasting solution to the addiction menace. Overdependence on opiates alters the way the brain reacts to pain stimuli. It then causes a “high” feeling by affecting the pleasure parts in the user’s brain lowering respiration rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Basically, prolonged use of opioids changes the way the user’s brain chemistry works, leading to addiction.
The side effects of opiates range from mild to severe depending on the level of dependency and addiction. The core symptoms that should get the user worried include:
- Slowed breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
A lot of things that are said about opiate are misleading as most of the people focus on short-term effects. Vomiting and diarrhea are short-term signs that may be as a result of delayed reaction to the use of opioids. Addicts should be aware of the long-term effects such as weakened immune system and gastric problems among others.
Opioid addiction treatment needs to be comprehensive. There are medications that help with detoxification by reducing the withdrawal symptoms and overdependence on the drug. These medications are an important component of the treatment process as they help prevent relapse. Opioid addicts can use methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone as they reduce the effects of opiate. Once the detoxification process is complete, opiate addicts have to continue with the addiction treatment.
They can also join rehabilitation centers where they can undertake medically-monitored detoxification, education on relapse prevention, maintenance therapy and counseling, as well as join support groups. Furthermore, there are opiate addiction centers that offer addiction information and help communities handle the opioid menace.
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