Opioid drugs are those that are both naturally and synthetically derived from opium poppies. Drugs included in this class are oxycodone, hydrocodone, heroin, morphine, and codeine. These may be known by a variety of brand names. Addiction to these drugs is a terrible social phenomenon that spans modern history. Historically, opioid addiction wreaked havoc in China, leading to the Opium Wars between China and England. On a personal level, opioid addiction can lead to unfathomable havoc in a person’s life, and might even cause an untimely death.
How to Spot Addiction
An opioid addiction is devastating to the mind and body, but some addicts still maintain jobs, including many in top professions. There are signs to look for if you feel that a friend, family member, or co-worker may be suffering from opioid addiction. Here are a few:
- Extreme drowsiness at inappropriate times
- Financial troubles
- Recent surgery or other medical event requiring pain management
- Frequent doctor visits
- Persistent absence from work
If you are an opioid user and you are concerned about your use, consider these warning signs:
- Defensive about use
- Loss of interest in activities which once used to excite you
- Difficulties in relationships
- Loss of motivation
- Withdrawal form social interaction
- Problems and work
If you have a problem with opioids, note that these difficulties rarely get better on their own. If you have tried to stop and are having trouble, it might be time to consult with a professional addictions expert. In fact, note that most normal users don’t have to worry about when or how to quit. Please consult with a professional before the problem becomes too much for you and your family.
Overdose is a serious concern for any addict and opioid addicts are certainly no exception. If you witness any of the following symptoms in yourself or another, contact 911 immediately.
- Slow heart rate
- Labored breathing
- Cold, clammy skin
If you know of an opioid addict in your life, you might want to consult with your doctor about a prescription for Naloxone, also known as Narcan. That drug can immediately shut down the opioid receptors in the brain, thus halting an overdose in its tracks. The drug is very easy to administer in the intranasal form, so you can be available to help another’s life if necessary.
Addiction to opioids used to be less frequent and the most common picture of an opioid addict was a street-level heroin junkie. However, the proliferation of prescription opioids has spread the problem far and wide. In fact, one risk factor for addiction to opioids is a person who is on Medicare.
Opioid addiction is far more likely to strike in the form of prescription abuse than from illicit use of heroin or other street drugs. There are approximately 300,000 heroin users in the United States compared to 1.9 million people addicted to prescription medications. Despite the best efforts of drug companies to create pills that are slow-releasing, addicts have figured out how to maximize the impact of their favorite drug.
The good news is that there are solutions. There are many millions out there who have suffered opioid addiction and who have come through to the other side. There are doctors, lawyers, engineers, and even entertainment professionals who have all learned a better way of life on the other side of addiction. There are also people in your very town who have learned to get past their fondness for opioids. Your carpenter, banker, or waitress may be among them.
If you need help with your opioid addiction, reach out. An intake specialist is here to help.