When it comes to the overwhelming struggle that is addiction of any kind, it is fair to say that it is a battle that is both unforgiving and unrelenting. While every type of addiction is brutal and harrowing, there is something decidedly unique about opiate addiction that makes it especially dangerous. Opiates are medications that are initially prescribed as a medical means of dealing with pain or other physically debilitating illnesses. An individual is prescribed the opiate as a medication. As is the usual case, the individual takes the opiate as prescribed. It sounds safe, but the nature of opiates is that they are quite addictive. This can obviously result in an individual becoming addicted to the medication without even realising.
Opiates also have a renowned trait of having diminishing effects, meaning that over time they become less and less effective. While this is partially designed to help the individual prescribed the medication to naturally “wean” themselves off the medication, it sometimes has the opposite effect, with the individual realising that they are reliant on the opiate when they begin to feel its effects diminishing. It is at this point that they begin to seek out stronger opiates and other pills (not all, if any, of them being legal), and the road into addiction becomes more and more entrenching. So, to overcome such an addiction is a challenging task, but it is possible. Before anything else, one must acknowledge addiction in its full form.
Acknowledging that addiction does not discriminate
There has been a toxic stigma attached to addiction that suggests that addiction is, more than anything else, a behavioural issue. While this may be the case in the beginning, addiction (and especially opiate addiction) is a genuine illness, and should be approached and treated as such. Addiction does not discriminate; it can befall anyone, anyplace, anytime, anywhere. Rather than continuing to treat opiate addiction (and any type of addiction, for that matter) as a behavioural problem, we should all be working harder to treat it as more of the health struggle it is. In the case of opiate addiction, especially those who struggle with it are put in a position of feeling alone and harshly judged, and this can be just as (if not more) dangerous as the addiction itself.
Understanding the opiate crisis
The opiate crisis is one that never seems to let up. In fact, over the years it has come to be known as one of the world’s most formidable epidemics. Overcoming opiate addiction is no easy feat, with some affected individuals trying once, twice, three times (or even more) to overcome their addiction. Opiates are so dangerous because they often start out as a prescribed form of genuine medication, and many individuals are not made adequately or entirely aware of their dangers at the time of their prescription. Upwards of 110 people die of opiate overdose every day in the United States alone. This makes it a crisis of epidemic proportions, and we must change our collective and individual attitudes towards opiate addiction to incite positive change.
Taking the steps to overcome opiate addiction
Overcoming opiate addiction is no easy feat. In fact, many times an affected individual will walk the road to recovery more than one, with some of them never successfully making it to the other side. It is a harrowing reality, and it is one that the world is finally taking active and consistent steps to change. Overcoming opiate addiction starts with being more honest, open, and supportive towards the nature of opiate addiction, as well as what it does to family and friends, and of course the individuals directly affected. Through this drastic and necessary change in attitude towards opiate addiction and those it impacts (on all levels), we can begin to change the tide and the way that it devastates and impacts those affected.