According to the Pew Research Center, about six-in-ten Americans (62%) say the use of marijuana should be legalized.1 But should more people be wary about its addictive qualities? And who is most at risk of developing marijuana addiction?
According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more nighttime weekend drivers in America are testing positive for THC and the number of people driving high has increased from 8.6 percent in 2007 to 12.6 percent in 2014.1 (more…)
A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that kratom is linked to more overdose deaths than previously thought. Previously, kratom was linked to 44 overdose deaths nationwide. However, this recent report from the CDC found kratom was the cause of 91 overdose deaths in 27 states.1 (more…)
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include synthetic opioids, prescription painkillers, and heroin.1 These drugs are all chemically related and interact with the same opioid receptors in the brain and body. Their effects result in feelings of euphoria, which encourages opioid abuse, dependence, and addiction.
The terms “opiates” and “opioids” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. An opiate is a drug that is naturally derived from the opiate poppy plant and an opioid is a broader term that refers to natural or synthetic substances that bind to the body’s opioid receptors.
Opioids are classified as controlled substances by the DEA and their current scheduling is as follows:
|Opioid Drug Scheduling|
|Schedule II||Demerol (meperidine)|
Other hydrocodone medications
Other buprenorphine products
|Schedule V||Some codeine medications (e.g., Robitussin AC)|
Side Effects of Opioid Use
When they are used responsibly as prescribed by a doctor, prescription opioid drugs provide effective relief from moderate to severe pain. However, when opioid drugs are abused, they can cause the following short-term side effects:
- Depressed breathing
Long-term opioid abuse may also result in:
- Physical dependence
- Opioid withdrawal
Causes of Opioid Addiction
If a person is addicted to opioids, he or she may feel like they are impossible to live without. An addicted person may also experience irresistible cravings for opioids and succumb to uncontrollable, compulsive opioid use. There is no single cause of opioid addiction, rather, the factors that contribute to opioid addiction often include a person’s genetics, environment, and lifestyle factors.
Researchers believe that many of the genes involved in the body’s reward and pleasure center also play a role in addictive behaviors and opioid addiction. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the genes that are responsible for making opioid receptors may vary, which lead to differences in the opioid receptors’ structure and function. In turn, this also influences how the body responds to opioid drugs.3
There are also several environmental and lifestyle factors that may cause opioid addiction. They include:
- A history of substance abuse
- Psychiatric disorders
- Childhood abuse/neglect
- Personality traits like impulsivity and sensation-seeking
- Associating with people who abuse opioids
Generally, a combination of all the factors listed above determines a person’s likelihood of developing an opioid addiction.
Opioid Addiction Risk Factors
Any opioid use, even short-term, can lead to tolerance, dependence, addiction, and overdose. Therefore, anyone who takes opioid drugs is at risk of becoming addicted to them. Although it is impossible to determine who will become addicted and who will not, here are some of the most common risk factors for opioid addiction:
- Personal or family history of substance abuse
- History of criminal activity and/or legal problems
- History of severe depression and/or anxiety
- Previous drug or alcohol rehabilitation
- Association with drug users or high-risk environments
- Mental disorders/psychiatric problems
- Young age
- Thrill-seeking behaviors
- Heavy tobacco use
- Stressful life circumstances4
Opioid Addiction Statistics
Opioid addiction is common in America and it doesn’t discriminate based on gender, social class, profession, race, age, or any other social standing or class. Here are some recent opioid addiction statistics that illustrate the growing opioid abuse problem in the U.S.
- More than 130 people die every day from opioid-related drug overdoses.5
- The estimated total economic burden of prescription opioid abuse in the U.S. is $78.5 billion a year.5
- 47,600 people died from opioid overdoses in 2017.6
- 886,000 people used heroin in 2017.6
- 81,000 people used heroin for the first time in 2017.6
- 15,482 deaths were attributed to heroin overdoses in 2017.6
- 11.4 million people misused prescription opioids in 2017.6
- 2 million people misused prescription opioids for the first time in 2017.6
- 2.1 million people had an opioid use disorder in 2017.6
- 28,466 deaths were caused by synthetic opioid overdoses other than methadone in 2017.6
- An estimated 23 percent of people who use heroin will develop opioid addiction.7
- In 2017, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids was 6 times higher than in 1999.8
Opioid Addiction: Treatment and Prevention
Opioid addiction can’t always be prevented, but there are several measures that individuals can take to protect themselves from the risks of prescription drug abuse and opioid addiction. A few strategies include:
- Closely following the directions or instructions provided by the pharmacist when taking prescription opioid drugs.
- Being aware of potentially dangerous drug and alcohol combinations and interactions.
- Talking to a doctor before changing prescription doses.
- Not taking anyone else’s prescription opioids or sharing yours.
- Storing prescription opioid drugs safely.9
If you or a loved one is addicted to opioid drugs, there is a way out and you can recover with the right support. Evidence-based treatment methods in detox, rehab, and aftercare can help ensure a full recovery from addiction while also initiating positive behavioral changes, attitudes, and healthy social interactions with sober peers.
Admitting you’re addicted and you need help is difficult, but it’s the first step to reclaiming your life. Call (512) 605-2955 to speak with a Nova admissions representative today to find out how we can help you take hold of a fresh start and begin your new life in recovery.
In a close vote, Denver became the first U.S. city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, or simply “shrooms.” Although mushrooms are not legal in Denver, the ordinance prohibits the prosecution or arrest of adults over the age of 21 who possess them.1 The ordinance also allows adults to grow mushrooms for personal use. (more…)