Opiate Abuse is Up, Experts Agree

The experts say that more people are addicted to powerful prescription painkillers on a national and regional level. The federal statistics have clearly indicated that opiate abuse is up with nearly 2 million Americans under the grip of such painkillers which is more than the number of people hooked on cocaine and heroin. Susan Dalesandro, director of the Otsego County Mental Health Services department says, “These are medications being prescribed for legitimate reasons — at least initially — and we’re seeing more and more people getting addicted who normally wouldn't become addicted, because the medications are so strong.” Prescription painkillers work by binding receptors in the brain to decrease the perception of pain. The drugs create a feeling of euphoria, and in some people they lead to addiction. They also result in sedation and slow down a person’s breathing. When larger doses are taken, breathing can slow down so much that it stops, resulting in death, according to the CDC.

People at parties mix their pills with alcohol, which leads to death

There has also been an increase in accidental overdoses and fatal overdoses because people end up mixing them with other things, and they become a very lethal combination. Efforts to keep better track of the prescriptions that are issued, to prevent addicts from doctor shopping and loading up on more drugs than they should be able to access have been beefed up. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prescription drug abuse is the fastest-growing drug problem in the United States. Also, the rise in unintentional drug overdose death rates nationwide has been driven by increased use of opioid analgesics.

For some, the pills lead to harder more dangerous drugs

Local officials said that some people whose painkiller addictions become unmanageable resort to buying heroin on the streets if they can't access the prescription drugs. If the prescribed drugs are stolen, pharmacies will no longer refill the prescription unless a police report is filed. It's hard enough for some to get off of prescription medication, but if you fall into heroin, the task of quitting is much harder and has to be done under professional guidance. If you find yourself using more and more pills just to get your current fix, get help before you find yourself in the gutter or worse, dead.