By Brian N. Talleur, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Aegis Treatment Centers, a Pinnacle Treatment Center Network
Opioid abuse has become an epidemic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), data from 2018 revealed that every day 128 people in the United States alone die from an overdose on opioids. Not only are these deaths tragic and heartbreaking but many of these people leave behind spouses, children, parents, siblings, and friends who suffer indefinitely from the loss. Addiction impacts more than just the person with the substance use disorder (SUD).
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the estimated cost in the United States for opioid misuse is around $78.5 billion dollars. This includes costs for healthcare, addiction treatment, institutions, the criminal justice system, and more. And the economic burden continues to rise as do the overdose rates.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs. Heroin, fentanyl, and pain relievers like Oxycontin, Vicodin, codeine, and morphine are all opioids. The opioid crisis began in the 1990s when pharmaceutical companies assured the healthcare industry that these prescription pain killers were not addictive and physicians began to heavily prescribe them. Unfortunately, as we now know, these drugs are highly addictive and many individuals have become addicted to opioids.
Today, nearly everyone knows someone who has used opioids or has used them themselves. And for many people who begin using opioids, opioid addiction follows. Addiction does not discriminate. People from all walks of life can find themselves struggling with a SUD including one to opioids.
If you or someone you love has an opioid addiction problem, remember there is help and there is hope. Every day thousands of people take the first vital step and seek help for their SUD. There is support available for you or your loved one.
Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
Before you seek treatment for an opioid problem, it’s vital to know if there is a problem. Most often, if you are asking yourself whether or not you or a loved one has an issue, the answer is yes. However, it’s important to learn a bit about opioid misuse and the signs of opioid addiction:
- Opioids are taken for longer than intended or in greater amounts.
- Attempts to stop or cut down on usage are unsuccessful.
- Time is spent trying to get the drug or in recovering from use of it.
- You or your loved one experiencing cravings for the opioid.
- Using the drug causes issues in fulfilling responsibilities at home, work, school, etc.
- Relationships and social interactions are negatively impacted by use.
- Activities once important are given up as a result of using the substance.
- Continuing use of the opioids despite negative physical or psychological consequences.
- Repeating use even in dangerous situations.
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using the substance.
- Showing tolerance and needing to use more of the drug to get the same effect.
According to the CDC, if an individual shows two of the above signs of opioid addiction during a twelve month period then a diagnosis of an opioid use disorder (OUD) can be given. It was estimated in 2016, that 2.1 million Americans had an OUD.
Treatment Options for Opioid Use Disorder
Every day people seek treatment for an OUD. And there are also millions who live in long-lasting recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that those who seek treatment for a SUD or alcohol use disorder (AUD) not only are more likely to stop using the substance but also stop engaging in criminal activity, decrease drug and alcohol-related medical care and at the same time increase their employment and income.
Taking the first step is often the most important and most difficult one. However, it’s a step that will lead you to a life of freedom from opioid addiction and the pain it brings. There are many reputable addiction treatment centers offering a variety of programs. From co-occurring mental health disorders and alcohol issues to programs using evidence-based therapy and art therapy, there is a program that is right for everyone who wants to recover from addiction and live a happy, vibrant life.
If you’re ready to learn more or take the first step, we are here for you. Contact us online 24/7.
Headquartered in New Jersey, Pinnacle Treatment Centers is a recognized leader in comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment serving more than 28,000 patients daily in California, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. With more than 110 community-based locations, Pinnacle provides a full continuum of quality care for adult men and women which includes medically-monitored detoxification/withdrawal management, inpatient/residential treatment, partial hospitalization/care, sober living, intensive and general outpatient programming, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. For more information, visit pinnacletreatment.com or call 800-782-1520.
Aegis Treatment Centers
1947 North California St., Suite B&C
Stockton, CA 95204