Illegal opioids, whether on prescription or over-the-counter, are commonly abused due to the fact that they’re addictive to an extreme level. If you didn’t know what this does to your brain, you should be aware that Opioid medicines tend to bind towards the areas of the human brain which controls emotions like pain and drives up the levels of dopamine, which is the feel good hormone in the areas of the brain thereby producing a sense of euphoria.
As the brain simultaneously becomes habituated with the feelings, it tends to take more and more of the drugs to produce similar levels of well-being and pain relief, gradually creating a level of addiction and dependence. Before looking forward to the alternative solutions to the Opioid crisis, let’s take a look at the crisis.
The Opioid crisis
Experts in the United States are of the opinion that there is an Opioid epidemic and more than 3 millions of people in America have become badly dependent on such street drugs and pain pills. Opioids are drugs which have been designed to immitate the properties of reducing pain which is commonly found in opium. These drugs include morphine or legal painkillers, hydrocodone, oxycodone as prescribed by the doctors for patients who are in chronic pain. They even comprise of illegal drugs like heroin or fentanyl.
During the year 2016, there were almost 70,000 deaths due to overdose of opioids in the US and that stands to give you an average of 118 deaths everyday. As per a market research done by IMS Health, the total number of Opioid prescription given by doctors increased from 114 million to 287 million in 2014.
What are the common opioids?
Opioids tend to bind to the receptors within the brain and also the spinal cord thereby disrupting all sorts of pain signals. They even activate different reward areas of the brain by releasing dopamine, creating a ‘high’ feeling. These are derived naturally from opium plants which are mostly grown in Central America, Asia and South America.
Opioid use disorder is nothing but the clinical term which is used for Opioid abuse or addiction. There are people who become dependent on opioids might experience different symptoms of withdrawal while they put an end to taking the pills. This kind of dependence is seen with tolerance and this means the Opioid users require taking bigger doses of medication.
Therefore, if you’re someone who has known someone who is dependent on opioids, you should always help him recover from it by the help of a counselor.