What Are Opioids? 7 Facts You Don’t Know

what are opioids

You might have heard about something called the “opioid crisis” throughout the United States. If you aren’t too familiar with the substance, that’s okay. The good news is that you have come to the right place by reading this article.

Opioids have become a serious issue for many American families, so hopefully, yours isn’t one of them. If someone you know and love does suffer from opioid addiction, don’t worry. There are steps you and your family can take.

It’s important to consider such options, too. Studies show that around 115 Americans die from opioid overdose every single day. As unfortunate as that is, one of the best ways to combat such a statistic is by staying informed.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know. The article will answer questions like “What are opioids?” and “Can opioid addiction be overcome?”. Keep reading to find the answers you need.

What Are Opioids?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the classification of opioids include a few different substances. There is the illegal and dangerous drug called heroine, that is similar to the controlled version of morphine. Plus, there are synthetic opioids like fentanyl and prescribed pain medications.

Though the class of substances seems wide and varying, they all have underlying characteristics. They all bind to opioid pain receptors in the brain, blocking any feeling of pain in the user.

When used in large doses, the extreme lack of pain can create a feeling of euphoria or a “high.” Thus, many users tend to become addicted to the thrill or pain relief, causing all kinds of long-term problems.

Using Prescription Pain Relievers

If you have never been prescribed opioid pain relievers, then someone you know certainly has. Perhaps a friend or family member has broken a limb or gone through a painful surgery. Chances are that they were prescribed pain-relieving medicine that falls into this class of substances.

You and your loved ones should take extreme care when using these pain medications, though. Many patients find a hard time kicking the pills when the time is right. It’s smart to slowly decrease the amount of medicine used over time until the natural pain in the body is gone.

There’s no need to be terrified of these medications, though. If you are aware and preventative beforehand, there’s no reason for you to generate an addiction to them.

Effects of Long-Term Use

Sometimes, though, people have a hard time giving up pain medications they were prescribed. In fact, a lot of times, they start to think they need an even higher dose.

That’s because, with long-term use, the pain relief starts to wear off. Patients might start feeling aches and pains on their normal dose and think they need an increase.

This is the point, though, to be careful about. As difficult as pain is to manage, it’s healthier to handle it naturally sooner rather than later. Increasing the dose of opioid pain relief might only lead to more trouble.

Certain People Are More Likely To Be Affected by Opioid Addiction

It’s unfortunate that many people throughout the United States struggle with opioid addiction. It might surprise you to learn that studies show certain demographics struggling with it more than others.

These studies show that young adults aged 24 to 35 suffer from the addiction more than older generations. This was evident by the high number of deaths caused by overdosing. Plus, these same studies show evidence of men struggling with the substance more than women.

Withdrawals from Opioid Addiction

There is a reason that opioid addiction is difficult to overcome. Not only does the substance block pain receptors in the brain, but there are withdrawals to also consider.

After continued use of these pain relievers, the body becomes quite used to them throughout its functioning systems. When a user decides to decrease or stop the use, the body isn’t too happy with the process.

Basically, it becomes a painful process of trying to realign the body to a natural state of pain-free living.

Why Are Opioids Considered a National Crisis?

The root of the national opioid crisis can be traced, for the most part, back to the 1990s. Around that time, not a lot of research was done regarding the dangerous level of addictive properties within opioid pain medications.

Pharmaceutical companies assured the public that there was nothing to worry about along those lines. Thus, opioid prescriptions began to climb and climb. Everyone was comfortable with that because a lack of pain seemed like a great alternative to managing pain on a natural (and healthy) level.

Eventually, the negative addictive effects of these medications created the crisis we deal with today. Overdose deaths continue to be a significant problem, but the prescriptions are still written every day. Sure, new pain medication laws are being enacted, but we still have a long way to go to ensure this crisis is put to rest.

Opioid Addiction Can Be Overcome

If you or a loved one suffers from opioid addiction, there is plenty of hope if the proper steps are taken. After this article, you should have a pretty good idea of the answer to the question, “What are opioids?”.

Still, though, you might not know where to start when it comes to recovering from such an addiction.

We know how important opioid addiction can be for a family, and we’re here to help. There are plenty of testimonials of patients finding the peace they need to stay away from the dangerous substance.

Often, that peace is found in the form of a rehabilitation center. There are hundreds and hundreds of these centers throughout the United States, and you need to find the best one for you and your family.

We encourage you to check out our blog for more information on opioids and where you can find rehab centers. It’s important to take these situations seriously.

We look forward to helping you find the path to a healthy, happy lifestyle for everyone you know and love.

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About the author

Dr. Michael Carlton, MD.

Leading addictionologist, Michael Carlton, M.D. has over 25 years of experience as a medical practitioner. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and returned for his MD from the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona in 1990. He completed his dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics and his Fellowship in Toxicology at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

He has published articles in the fields of toxicology and biomedicine, crafted articles for WebMD, and lectured to his peers on medication-assisted treatment. Dr. Carlton was a medical director of Community Bridges and medically supervised the medical detoxification of over 30,000 chemically dependent patients annually.

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