The opioid should not be confused since it is not derived from opium. These substances are usually found in medicine such as analgesics (painkillers) or antitussives (cough suppressants). Giving the many side effects of opioids like respiratory depression, constipation, sedation and especially the strong euphoria is a cause for concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) heroin use has increased in the United States (U.S) along with a strong risk factor for prescription use disorder.
Among the key findings was the sudden increase by groups that had historically low rates of heroin use. Specifically, women and people with higher incomes that included private insurance provider. In other words, the gaps that existed between men and women including low or high incomes, or people with Medicaid or private insurance the gap has essentially narrowed in the past ten years for heroin use.
Elsewhere, people who abuse or are dependent on prescription opioid painkillers are more than 40 times likely to abuse or become dependent on heroin. So as the heroin abuse or dependence continues to grow so have the unfortunate heroin-related overdose deaths, as reported by the CDC in collaboration with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The withdrawal symptoms caused by the strong addicting effects of opioids differ, but practicing abstinence is challenging for patients. Treatments used towards opioids can be, for example, short-term buprenorphine (Suboxone or Subutex). In other words, there are rehabilitating or ambulatory Opioid stabilization programs designed to gradually ease patients towards detoxification.
“Heroin use is increasing at an alarming rate in many parts of society, driven by both the prescription opioid epidemic and cheaper, more available heroin,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “To reverse this trend we need an all-of-society response – to improve opioid prescribing practices to prevent addiction, expand access to effective treatment for those who are addicted, increase use of naloxone to reverse overdoses, and work with law enforcement partners like DEA to reduce the supply of heroin.”
In the U.S it is nothing short of an epidemic. In a news report by the Northwest Indiana Times (NWI) opioid is skyrocketing. In the analysis it was asserted the U.S alone consums more than 80 percent of the opioid painkillers on earth.In addition, approximately 65,000 babies born in America annually are addicted to opioids. In other words, as surprising as it may sound more people are dying from drug overdoses in Indiana than in car crashes.
Insights, Stats, Treatments and Trends for Opioids
Depending on where you live in the U.S the possibilities of being prescribed painkillers or in this case an increase dosage is not uncommon. Why? As it turns out healthcare providers in some states are prescribing far more than they did compared to other states back in 2012.
The infographic below breaks down the healthcare providers for different states and the varying prescription levels.
Infographic Source Link
What the illustration above shows are varying levels of painkillers prescribed by states. From descending to ascending order you can check out what are the averages by state. This is one of the factors that has led to the recent rise in usage of opioids in the form of prescription medicine. To put into perspective what is happening the CDC compiled some additional eye-opening stats around opioid painkiller prescribing.
They are as follows:
- 46 people die daily from overdose of prescription painkillers in the U.S
- Health care providers prescribed painkillers to 259 million people in 2012
- 10 of the highest prescribing states for painkillers are southern states
Treatments and takeaways
It has become clear the epidemic is not due to a sudden and dramatic shift for people seeking these medications. The underlying problem is health care providers are prescribing too much opioids or painkillers when there are effective treatments which exist. Specifically, there is alternative medicine and treating the illness or disease is really the heart of the matter.
A lot of the over the counter or prescription medicine contains a lot of side effects that lead to more health complications including addictions. Aside from legitimate diseases contracted by people it should be encouraged to have a healthy lifestyle along with a good balanced nutrition.
Earlier in February of this year the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH) came up with encouraging new clinical trials to treat patients addicted to opioid painkillers. Dr. Stacey Sigmon and University of Vermont staff enrolled 70 adults who were addicted to opioid painkillers in a double-blind and random clinical trial. The treatment is a three step detoxification process that compared to detoxification regimens it obtained higher abstinence rates.
People are not getting sicker, but their immediate surrounding and the health care providers are not helping with eliminating the problems with addictions to prescription medicine. It looks as though we are in need to reexamine how we’re treating a bit sick patients and with try to reduce the amount of painkillers prescribed.