Why Are Prescription Opioids So Misused in the United States?

Prescription opioids are doctor-prescribed medications that minimize and control pain. All prescription opioids are addictive and must be taken as directed to prevent misuse. Not everyone who takes prescription opioids will get addicted to them. Still, anyone taking a prescription opioid to manage chronic pain will face the issue of physical dependence and tolerance. These situations are risky because as the person develops a tolerance to the effects of the opioid to treat their pain, they may develop an addiction not intending to.

In 2020, there will be more than 190 million prescription opioids dispensed in the United States. (CDC)

Why Are Prescription Opioids So Misused In The United States?

One of the primary reasons the United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic is the overprescribing of prescription opioids during the 1990s and early 2000s. Not long ago, several national pharmaceutical companies misinformed the medical communities claiming that prescription opioids did not pose a risk of causing addiction. Oxycontin, in particular, was promoted as safe and then overprescribed. It is one of the leading causes of why so many prescription opioids were, and still are, misused. The other reason is that the current drug trends have led younger generations to use heroin and prescription opioids, another facet of the ages-long problem of addiction in general.

What Is The Government Doing To Help The Prescription Opioid Addiction Crisis?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states a most devastating statistic representing the magnitude of the opioid epidemic involving prescription opioids. They reference the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services strategy to slow opioid addiction rates. About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids. In response to the opioid crisis, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is focusing its efforts on five major priorities:

  1. improving access to treatment and recovery services
  2. promoting the use of overdose-reversing drugs
  3. strengthening our understanding of the epidemic through better public health surveillance
  4. providing support for cutting-edge research on pain and addiction
  5. advancing better practices for pain management (NIDA)

What Are The Signs Of Prescription Opioid Addiction?

People addicted to prescription opioids are identified as having opioid use disorder, which is the same meaning as addiction to opioids. Some people’s opioid addiction is a result of a medical condition that causes pain. Signs that a person is addicted to opioids will include a noticeable change in personality and behavior. For example, people high on opioids will appear sleepy, their pupils constricted, and they will ‘nod’ off during conversations or when they smoke, watch TV, and even while driving. Prescription opioid addiction also prompts doctor shopping when addicts see more than one doctor get numerous prescriptions for opioids.

The biggest sign of addiction to opioids is the presence of withdrawal symptoms that occur when someone does not use an opioid every day. 

What Programs Are Available For Opioid Addiction?

A successful opioid addiction recovery program needs to start with medically supervised opioid detox that utilizes MATs—medication-assisted treatments to help people get clean from all opioids and then help them maintain their recovery. Suboxone is the preferred MAT provided in quality opioid treatment programs. After the patient is medically stable, they need evidence-based forms of treatment and therapy to help them establish a strong foundation for maintaining their recovery. Therapy will address the causes of their addiction, which will most always include emotional trauma and other facets related to their mental health and require in-depth treatment.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is the mainstay of opioid addiction treatment programs as it uncovers emotional trauma and provides coping skills. 

Call Now For Same-day Admission To Aria Florida Comprehensive Opioid Recovery Programs

We have helped thousands of prescription opioid addicts finally get free of this lifelong addiction for good. We begin quickly and medicate patients in detox upon arrival. Then they are entered into an inpatient or intensive outpatient rehab program that is personalized for them. Do not let opioid addiction take your life or your loved one. We have advanced addiction programs based on research, and they work. Call now for same-day admission or chat and email for more help.