Opioids are classified as opium like compounds; some (ex. codeine and morphine) exist naturally in opium, which is a gummy substance derived from the seedpod of the opium poppy, indigenous to Southern Asia. Other opioids are of the synthetic category, such as methadone or fentanyl (opioidaddictionsource.com). Though the use of prescription opioids may be well intended, due to their effect on the brain chemistry, it is fairly common for one to become addicted to them; America is amidst a raging prescription opioid epidemic, in fact.
The United States of America has had a war against drugs since the 37th president, Richard Nixon, declared more crimination on drug abuse in June 1971. From mid-1990s to today, a crisis challenges the health department and government on opioid regulation, as millions of Americans die due overdoses of painkillers. Opioids are substances used as painkillers, and they range from prescription medications to the illegal drug, heroin. Abusing these substances can cause a dependency or addiction, which can lead to overdoses, physical damages, emotional trauma, and death. To ease the crisis, physicians are asked to depend on alternatives to pain management. Law enforcement cracks down on profiting drug-dealers and heroin abusers. People are warned against misusing opioids. The controversy begins for those who suffer from chronic pain, because they depend on opioids. There’s so a correlation to the 1980s cocaine epidemic, and people are upset over racial discrimination. Nonetheless, the best way to avoid this crisis is to recover the people at risk, reduce inappropriate opioid description, and have a proper response.
Opioid use in the US has increased over the years, and this has led to an increase in substance abuse. Substance abuse is not only associated with use of illicit drugs but also prescription drugs. In 2015, of the 20.5 million reported cases of substance abuse, 2 million had an abuse disorder related to prescription pain relievers and 591,000 associated with heroin.1 The increase in substance abuse disorder has led to an increase in opioid related death. In 2015 drug overdose was the leading cause of accidental death in the US with 52, 404 lethal drug overdoses.2
Weeks before my 12th birthday, I went to an emergency center thinking that I had an ear infection. Sitting in a hospital bed, I recall panicking, as I realized I could not move my legs. 2 years and a vast multitude of tests later, doctors were able to determine that I have an autonomic nervous system condition called Dysautonomia. Now, at 19 years of age, my doctor has just signed the paperwork so that I can become a medical marijuana card holder. After years of dealing with the dilemma that is prescription opioids, I have found myself opting for medical marijuana instead, and for good reason. Without a doubt, medical marijuana is a better alternative to prescription opioids in terms of overdoses, negative side effects, and psychoactive properties.
In Nolan and Amico’s article, “How Bad is the Opioid Epidemic?” they argue the opioid epidemic has become the worst drug crisis in American history. Heroin and other opioids overdose kill more than 47,055 people a year. Deaths caused from drug overdose has outnumber as much as 40 percent compared to the death caused from car crashes in 2014 (Nolan and Amico 3). Furthermore, in 1999 there were only 15000 people died from drug overdose. This number has tripled in 15 years. Also, in his article, “America’s Addiction to Opioids: Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse” Volkow also presents the fact that “with an estimated 2.1 million people in the United States suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers in 2012 and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin. The consequences of this abuse have been devastating and are on the rise. For example, the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has
"If we could sniff or swallow something that would, for five or six hours each day, abolish our solitude as individuals, atone us with our fellows in a glowing exaltation of affection and make life in all its aspects seem not only worth living, but divinely beautiful and significant, and if this heavenly, world-transfiguring drug were of such a kind that we could wake up next morning with a clear head and an undamaged constitution - then, it seems to me, all our problems (and not merely the one small problem of discovering a novel pleasure) would be wholly solved and earth would become paradise."
The opioid crisis has affected me personally. Three years ago, my biological father overdosed and died. He had been taking a lot of pills ( far more than what was prescribed) for quite some time. He had overdosed multiple times before it finally killed him. My youngest brother (whom my father raised), is unfortunately addicted to heroin now. He is only 21 years old, and sadly I feel he is following in our father's footsteps.
In America, the use of opioids is at an all time high, it has became such an issue nationwide, that it has became an epidemic. Because of the opioid epidemic, America is tearing apart, children all across the country are dying everyday, these children are dying from overdoses due to poisoning. The opioid problem is not just because of a person's decision to pick up a needle or a pill bottle, but it is because in the 1990’s doctors gave up on trying to treat patients for their overwhelming pain and discomfort, causing opioids to become over prescribed. Due to the carelessness of America, opioids are being distributed more and more everyday, causing the skyrocketing number of deaths.
Opioids are being over prescribed in the United States resulting in increased deaths by drug overdose. Pain medication strategies are being looked into as substitutes for pain management. Over decades, the amount of medicine being prescribed has more than tripled. State policies regarding the medication were implemented and who'd a small decrease in the likelihood of opioid prescriptions. Nationally, death rates are on the rise. Studies monitoring prescription drugs do not account for illegal opioids and manufactured fentanyl. While not mentioned in this article, there is a possible correlation between young people prescribed opioids and illegal drug use seeing that overdoses are common in patients already abusing their prescription medication, yet overdose death being most common after
To begin with, studies show that, “In 12 states there are more opioid prescriptions than people” (Brooks). Abuse and addiction of substances like opioids are becoming more of an issue with each generation. People are allowing for these substances to control them. When will people be satisfied with their life enough to not get dragged by this demon. But who are we to blame?
Opioid abuse in America is a current health issue, like any other, where we view the problem from an analytical standpoint. While the numbers are devastating my main motivation for choosing this study comes from an emotionally driven place. Personally, I’ve known people who have been sucked into the addictive effects of opioids and, for years, it has affected an entire family’s, that I am close to, life from one person’s abuse of opioids. An example that many don’t think of when they imagine opioid abuse is how a simple mother could go from being an ordinary housewife to an opioid abuser, where her children are too scared to bring friend’s back home due to their mother’s state, and how she’s devolved into a person who steals from her
According to the NSDUH data, women are prescribed abuse-prone opioid medications more often than men, but men are found to abuse opioid drugs non-medically at higher rates than women (Back et al. 2010). Alternatively, middle aged, 25 to 34 years old, have the highest rates of opioid overdoses. In addition, researchers have found that whites, American Indians or Alaska Natives, and people living in rural counties are also more likely to abuse prescription pain relievers (CDC, 2011). These racial trends demonstrate the disparity between races when it comes to health care, more specifically is it shown that race has a major impact on physician and patient care (CDC, 2011). In regards to socioeconomic status (SES), it is shown through research that people in higher SES areas are prescribed more opioid medications more often than those in the low SES communities (Galea & Vlahov, 2002). As well as, those with lower education are three times more likely to receive medical prescriptions for opioids than those in higher educational levels (Platts-Mills et al., 2012). Therefore, the opioid abuse epidemic has shown it’s effects in unique and harmful ways to those who are experiencing homelessness (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2016). A study in Connecticut revealed that 25 percent of homeless individuals had identified opioid, especially heroin, abuse being the main reason for their homelessness (National Alliance to End Homelessness,
There are three commonly abused drugs, and they are opiods, Central nervous system (CNS) depressants, and stimulants. Opioids such as Vicodin, Oxytocin, or Codeine, are taken for pain relieving. The side effects for opioids like oxycotin can be constipation. CNS depressants such as Xanex are usually taken for anxiety and sleeping disorders. Stimulants such as Adderall, are usually taken by people who have Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. They are taken usually to increase the level of nervous activity in the body. The side effects for taking Adderall is that it can raise one's blood pressure which makes the heart work harder (Hamilton, 2009). People don't usually see these medication over the counter because these usually have a strong effect, which is why they need to be prescribed. Prescription drugs always has risks to taking them, which is why doctors need to consider all the risks and benefits before prescribing the drug. Pharmacists take into account all the drug interaction, history of medications taken, and even the weight of whom they are about to prescribe the medication to. Doctors usually knows
Endogenous opioids such as dynorphin and enkephalin were found to be expressed at higher levels in the cerebrospinal fluid of FMS patients (Clauw, 2014). At the same time MORs have decreased availability in patients with FMS (Harris et al., 2007), likely explaining why opioid treatment has limited effectiveness in treating this disorder and may actually worsen the symptoms over time (Painter & Crofford, 2013). This may actually work to heighten pain as continuously elevated levels of dynorphin is associated with opioid-induced pain (Vanderah et al., 2001). High dynorphin levels combined with low MOR availability could lead to a state of hyperalgesia (Vanderah et al., 2000). Estrogens' effect on this
This goes back to the theory that most women turn to substances for self-medicating purposes due to unresolved traumas or events in their lives. Women’s addiction is also different because women not only self-medicate because of traumatic events, but also to function as a working mother/woman in a fast paced world. According to, “The DASIS Report (May 2005)” women were less likely than men to detoxify. One reason is because they are in denial and try to rationalize their substance abuse. So they are less likely to seek help unless it is court ordered because children were involved. SAMSHA, stated that as of 2008, 1/3 of the population being treated for substance abuse were women. According to SAMSHA’s November/December 2008 Newsletter, 6.9 million women are not receiving treatment. Approximately, 94% feel they do not need treatment. This has been a drastic increase over the past 10years. SAMSHA also revealed that women have more barriers when seeking treatment such as, young children, poverty, low-income, stigmatization and have the inability to pay for treatment. This goes back to pay in-equality and the Equal Rights Amendment.