What is the Opioid Crisis?

Opioid Crisis Explained

The United States is unfortunately in the throes of an unprecedented opioid crisis according to the CDC. Calls for action have been spurred to stop the increasing number of deaths, especially the many rural communities devastated due to the epidemic. The opioid epidemic is sweeping the nation at stunning rates. The truth is, there is an opioid epidemic, which has become a public health disaster. However, it being unprecedented is not very true. Remarkably, a similar crisis swept the nation about one hundred and fifty years ago. The past catastrophe does afford sobering lessons on addressing the current epidemic. So, what is the opioid crisis and what is the opioid epidemic?

Let’s answer the questions, what is the opioid crisis and what is the opioid epidemic? The opioid crisis definition can be summed up by the following information. The opioid crisis or opioid epidemic is the quick increase in the use of nonprescription and prescription opioids in Canada and the United States in 2010. Deaths due to overdoses, specifically from heroin and prescription drugs, have reached epidemic proportions, thus causing the current opioid epidemic the states are facing.

What are opioids?

The opioid drugs act on the nervous system to relieve and reduce pain. If a person continues to abuse and use opioids, they will potentially become physically dependent on the drugs, and if they stop use, they will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms. Opioids are available in capsules, liquid, and tablets, and, of course, heroin, which is a powder substance derived from the poppy plant.

Opioids are in a class of illegal and legal drugs; some included are, heroin, synthetic opioids like fentanyl, as well as pain relievers that are legally available through prescription only. Some of the doctor prescribed opioids include oxycodone/OxyContin, hydrocodone/Vicodin, morphine, codeine, and various others. Opioids are chemically related, and they interact with the opioid receptors found in the nerve cells in the brain as well as the body. Opioid pain relievers are safe if taken as prescribed and for a short period. Because they do produce effects such as relief of severe pain and euphoria, they are often misused; taken other than as prescribed by your physician, such as taking larger doses just to feel the same effects a person felt when they began taking the drug.

Opioid Use Signs and Symptoms

When a person is in the devastating grip of addiction, they will, at some point, begin to lose the ability to hide their problem. In this case, it is important to familiarize yourself with signs and symptoms associated with opioid abuse. First, let’s go over the opioid crisis definition one more time; the opioid crisis is devastating many areas and taking many lives due to misuse and abuse of opioid drugs. Death rates have reached unfortunate levels. With that in mind, let’s go over the symptoms of use.

Side Effects of opioid use:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Severe cravings which interfere with daily life
  • Sleepiness
  • Depressed breathing
  • Numbness
  • Slurred speech
  • Rashes
  • Flushed skin

When a person becomes dependent, they cannot control their use. All focus remains on getting their next hit, and all logical thought process is gone. A person will become distant and isolate themselves in efforts to hide their drug use. If you notice any sign indicating drug abuse, find out what you can do to get them help.

Getting Help

Now that you know the answer to the question, what is the opioid crisis, you can begin to expound on what you have already learned here. Know that there is help for addiction. Addiction is a disease that can be treated by means of drug rehab. White Sands Treatment Center in Fort Myers can help you regain control of your life. If anyone asks, what is the opioid crisis, you can tell them what you know and send them here for more information. Getting help is not something to be ashamed of, but something to celebrate.

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.