How bad is the Opioid Epidemic? Is There an End in Sight?

The Opioid Epidemic is Overwhelmingly Widespread

Much has been reported about the opioid epidemic, the epidemic proportions of the illegal and unprescribed use of opioid painkillers like OxyContin and fentanyl. Often, these addictions start out as a perfectly normal prescription from a doctor for a painful condition after sickness, injury or surgery, but quickly progress to addiction. It’s something not many people are aware of as even when these medications come with prescriptions, they are still not very different from street drugs such as heroin.

If you suffer from an addiction to an opioid, prescribed or not, there is hope. But you do need to take the first step — call WhiteSands Treatment and ask to speak to a professional who can give you the help and advice that you need.

Why has the opioid problem got out of hand?

The opioid epidemic, the problem posed by these medications, is unprecedented. For Americans of productive age — those under the age of 50 — drug overdose deaths lead every other death to every other cause. Opioid epidemic statistics make alarming reading — is the reason behind 2% of all deaths in the country, drug overdose deaths are in higher numbers than auto accidents and gunshot wounds.

While these drugs been available for decades, there are reasons why abuse is become epidemic now. Easy availability is one significant reason. Pill mills are an example. These are clinics run by shady doctors who hand out either prescriptions or painkillers to anyone who comes in with about $150 for a month’s supplies. With these clinics appearing in every town, these pills become available to patients even after regular prescriptions run out. Florida is particularly affected.

Sometimes, people begin to run out of adequate supplies of prescription pills, and in these cases, turn to street dealers. Prices of pure heroin have greatly dropped.

The availability of the painkiller fentanyl is another significant driving force behind the current opioid epidemic. A synthetic opioid, fentanyl is 50 times as powerful as heroin. It is more dangerous than heroin for another reason; it is synthetic. Heroin is derived from the poppy plant, and its availability is limited by the acreage of land dedicated to the poppy crop. Fentanyl, however, is synthetic and is produced in massive quantities in plants around the world. Since fentanyl is extremely powerful, minute quantities are all there and needed to produce a high. Smuggling the quantities needed into the country is less of a challenge.

How will the country control the problem?

Since prescriptions for opioids are the reason many people are exposed to the risks of opioid addiction in the first place, many wonder why OxyContin, fentanyl, and other prescription painkillers cannot simply be banned outright.

This cannot be done, however, because there are millions of people – those with cancer, AIDS, surgeries, injuries and other legitimate conditions — who do need it. Hospitals in America prescribe more opioid painkillers than doctors in any other country, however. Educating doctors to prescribe these drugs with care is the right approach.

The future of America’s opioid epidemic

Every state runs a prescription drug monitoring program to keep a close watch over opioid painkillers entering the state and dispensed through prescriptions. Strengthening this system to promptly catch all leakage is one possibility.

Many people who use illegal opioids actually do so not for recreational purposes. Instead, they do it to deal with the pain that they cannot afford medical care for. Endless toothaches, incorrectly set fractures, and other painful conditions afflict millions. Enacting laws that help people find better healthcare an important step to take.

Better education of the way addiction works is yet another direction to take. Most people simply have no concept of how opioid painkillers cause damage to the brain’s systems and cause serious addiction. Widespread educational programs that help people understand addiction can help them recognize the signs of an addiction in development, and take control.

Understanding that treatment is important

If you find yourself addicted, you should take note that this is not a condition that can be helped on one’s own. Even if you were perfectly mentally healthy to begin addiction is a mental disorder by itself, and requires the right psychiatric and psychological treatment in addition to addiction treatment. You need help from a qualified addiction center in dealing with the physical and mental aspects of the condition. If you would like someone to discuss your options with, all you need to do is to call WhiteSands Treatment.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.