The Opioid Addiction Epidemic
In July, the CDC made a major announcement regarding the newest wave of opioid addiction sweeping the country, most of which have gone undiscussed in the public eye for years. Heroin rates have skyrocketed in the last ten years, and though they’re received fairly little media attention, have been tearing apart families across the country. Interestingly, it has been unfolding very differently than during past epidemics. Read on to discover more about the fraught history of opioid abuse, and how we’re treating this current opioid epidemic differently than in years past.
Created from the poppy plant, heroin does not have any medicinal purposes. It’s injected directly into the veins for a sharp high that fades, and causes painful experiences of withdrawal for those who stop using once addicted. It’s abused throughout the world and throughout the United States, with rising rates found everywhere from large cities to rural states including Indiana, Vermont, and New Mexico.
Prescription drugs are also classified in the CDC epidemic of opioid abuse, due to their devastating effects when abused outside of medical classifications. Drugs such as OxyContin, Dilaudid and Lortab are prescribed for pain control, but abused similarly to heroin and other drugs. They can cause addiction as well as overdose, and are not to be underestimated in the fight against drug abuse.
That Was Then:
Throughout the American history of opioid abuse, it’s been tied to wars through use for wartime injuries from the Civil War, to Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Justice Department has often dealt with these breakouts in a very no-nonsense attitude of providing harsh prison penalties for those who transport, sell, and use drugs.
This is Now:
For the first time in our history of opioid epidemics, there is no war upon which we can blame the drug problem. Heroin is cheaper and more readily available than ever before, and the over prescription in high level pain killers means more and more pills are finding their way onto the black market and into the hands of a person who will use them to get a higher fix. However, this is also the first time in recent memory that the country is taking a holistic approach to curbing drug abuse, rather than simply ‘cracking down’ with criminal procedures.
Treatment options are multiple; including working with recovery centers such as Discovery to help people suffering from drug addiction find a better life through their struggle. Scientists have created several FDA-approved medications to treat and reverse addiction to opioids, as well as community programs that have proven through extensive research to prevent the outbreaks from beginning in their communities to start with. Because of the stigmas and harsh legal approaches that have historically be forefront in our battles against drug use, these programs and medical solutions have been slow to gain acceptance, but are now making way into a greater audience, for the benefit of everyone.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an opioid addiction, Discovery Institute is here to help you through the process of recovery and beating addiction. Call us today at 800-714-2175 to begin taking the steps that will turn your life around.