Most people who need prescription painkillers are able to stop taking it after only three days. Even in extreme cases, painkillers aren’t supposed to be taken for more than one week, so continued use can be a sign of opioid addiction.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are defined as a certain class of drugs, some of which are legal and others of which are not. In addition to prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and OxyContin, other classes include fentanyl and heroin.
Certain types of opioids, such as heroin, are considered narcotics. They may treat pain but are never recommended by doctors. Classes that are prescribed by doctors are often used to manage pain in patients who have recently undergone surgery.
Any opioid one encounters is designated as one of three possible groups. Group one is referred to as Opiates, group two is known as Semisynthetic, and group three is synthetic.
Of the three Opiates are the only ones that occur in nature. They include drugs such as thebaine, morphine, and codeine. Semisynthetic have many features in common with Opiates. They are synthesized using opium.
The most well known of these types of drugs are heroin and oxycodone, but the classification also includes hydromorphone and hydrocodone. Synthetic opioids are those that are engineered in a lab. Some examples of this type are methadone, fentanyl, and tramadol.
Why Take Opioids?
Taking a prescription drug is common among those suffering from pain that can be moderate or severe, and is often chronic. Used correctly, opioids can improve quality of life by dulling many of the pains associated with numerous medical conditions.
What Are The Symptoms Of An Opioid Addiction?
There are many symptoms that surface in people who are addicted to opioids. They include losing the ability to control oneself, especially when it comes to taking pain medication prescribed by a doctor. Other opioid addiction symptoms include resorting to any tactic, no matter how dangerous or illegal, in order to obtain their drug of choice.
When they do gain access to the drug, they often take more of it than they were originally prescribed. Otherwise, they don’t get the euphoric feeling that they are chasing after. An addiction may become so advanced that rather than swallowing a pill, the person crushes, injects, or snorts their drug of choice. Those that choose injections often contract Hepatitis B or C, as well as HIV.
Facts And Figures On Opioids
Though many people can take opioids safely, not everyone can. In fact, according to AION Health Group, by the end of 2018, there were 67,000 fatal drug overdoses.
A reported 70% of them died after becoming addicted to opioids, both prescription and non-prescription. These deaths stem from the incorrect use of prescription drugs or the abuse of illegal drugs. AION Health Group has also reported that as many as 29% of patients with an opioid prescription do not take their medication as their doctor instructed them to.
There is no doubt that opioid addiction is an ongoing problem. It is essential to recognize the signs an addict displays.
Featured image credit – Madrolly/Shutterstock
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