HomeSponsored ArticleWho Caused the Opioid Crisis?

Who Caused the Opioid Crisis?

Drug Addiction is a chronic medical condition that is usually indicated by a patient’s inability to stop taking a substance. This often occurs in the face of overwhelming physical and social health effects, which most commonly include unemployment, homelessness, and a huge strain on a patient’s personal relationship. Drug abuse affects over 11 percent of the American adults aged over 12, and despite this staggering number, the rate of addicts who actually seek recovery as a rehabilitation facility, such as drug rehab Austin, can be as low as 30 percent in some states.

These substances produce their effects by acting on the reward pathways in the brain and altering the production and absorption of neurotransmitters in the synapses. These are both mechanisms that are involved in positive feedback when it comes to processes like hunger and sex drive. However, the effects they produce are many times stronger than is natural and produce the “rush” that users seek this way. Long-term intake of the drug can essentially rewire these pathways, making it harder and harder for patients to stop after consistent use.

Opioids are drugs that are usually used in the treatment of severe pain. They are usually used in post-surgery recovery, cancer, osteoporosis e.t.c. Given the legal nature of opioids, in the past two decades, Opioids have sky-rocketed in the news. This may be due to the fast spread in use and in cases of overdoses. In fact, Opioids were responsible for more than seventy percent of overdose deaths in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The opioid epidemic could be classified as a public health crisis, given the high risk of addiction and the increasing rate of death related to them. According to the National Institute of Health, by 2015, there were enough opioids prescribed to medicate every American around the clock (5mg of hydrocodone every 4 hours) for 3 weeks. Despite this, fewer and fewer people make it into a recovery program, like rehab Austin TX.

Who is to blame?

Overprescription of the drug has 3 main causes:

  • Overprescription by doctors: Oftentimes, well-meaning doctors who don’t want their patients to suffer from pain might over-prescribe. However, there have been multiple instances of registered professionals abusing their prescription pads and giving patients pills with only profit in mind. These “pill mills” don’t bother to keep up with patient history or risk and do not act in the latter’s best interest when prescribing.
  • Pharmaceutical Companies: These companies, namely Perdue Pharmaceuticals, have mounted aggressive sales tactics and campaigns to increase the sales of their prescription painkillers. These advertising campaigns sometimes targeted medical professionals instead of patients and led to misinformation about the addictive properties of their drugs. These companies have since been subject to several lawsuits and FDA warnings.
  • The American Pain Society: Started around 1995, this is an interest group that pushed to make pain a vital sign, despite the fact that there was no device to measure it, making it the only vital sign that cannot be measured. This led to the practice of stressing the measurement of pain, through a pain scale that you see in use today, and led to the overprescription of opioids, as a safe means of combatting this.

If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, do not give up. As hard as it seems with the right program, like drug detox Austin TX, and the right support system of family and friends who want you to succeed, sobriety is possible with tenacity.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay 

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