Opiate abuse in the United States has increased at an alarming rate in recent years, as more people are able to get their hands on prescription painkillers. Opiates such as codeine and morphine, and opioids such as OxyContin are in high demand on the black market. Diversion and theft of opiates and opioids have skyrocketed in recent years, and opiate addiction in this country is growing at a rate that is hard to contain.
Opiate abuse can cause a rapid deterioration in many aspects of life, from health to finances to relationships. This problem can quickly spiral and opiate addiction can take hold quickly. Most people can take these medications safely when prescribed for a legitimate problem with pain and taken within safety guidelines.
Signs of Opiate Abuse
Treatment is available for people who become addicted to opiates. If you suspect someone is abusing these drugs, there are certain signs to watch for. These include:
- A preoccupation with getting or taking an opiate
- Crushing, chewing or breaking up the medication so it is released rapidly into the system
- Running out of the medication before the prescription is ready to be renewed
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Decrease in appetite
- Lack of motivation
- Excuses for why patients are running out of their prescription medication early (prescription was lost or stolen; patient lent out medication to a friend in need etc.)
- Visiting multiple doctors, or "doctor shopping" to obtain more than one prescription
- Visiting various pain clinics to get large supplies of a drug
Opiate Treatment Can Restore Patients' Lives, Health
People who use these medications for legitimate reasons may begin a pattern of misuse or abuse if they develop physical and/or psychological dependence. This may happen quicker among people who use these medications recreationally. The "high" and euphoria that opiates can cause when abused is often very attractive to those who are addicted.
Opiate abuse is an important warning sign that someone is dependent. Opiate treatment programs are designed to help people overcome this dependence and may include detox, rehab, opiate replacement therapy and rapid opiate detox.
There is life after opiate addiction. Millions of people fall prey to this, but many are able to return to a productive, healthy life thanks to treatment. Choosing the right program is essential. People should look for a detox or rehab facility that offers a way to manage the opiate withdrawal symptoms in a supervised, compassionate setting.