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Opioid Epidemic 2020: It’s Real and It’s Happening

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If you pay attention to the news, you know that the United States continues to face an opioid crisis.  Data from 2018 shows that 128 people die from overdosing on opioids in the United States every day, and sadly, we continue to face an opioid epidemic in 2020.  The 2020 opioid epidemic effects are not limited to public health but reach over into social and economic welfare.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total financial burden of prescription opioid misuse in the United States exceeds $78 billion each year.  This cost does not include illicit opioid use. If you have found yourself misusing opioids that have been prescribed to you or have made the switch to illegal opioids such as heroin, Thrive Treatment is here to help.  

What Are Opioids?

The word opioid is a term describing a class of drugs that includes both legal and illegal drugs. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine are examples of prescription opioids. These medicines may be prescribed for different reasons, but the most common reason is to treat pain. Fentanyl is a prescription opioid but is also made and sold illegally.  Heroin is an illegal opioid.  All of the opioids are chemically related and work on the body in the same way.  Opioids don’t just treat your pain; they also release dopamine, which produces feelings of pleasure. Long-term opioid use can change the brain’s pathways as the user develops a tolerance from long-term use. 

Why Is There an Opioid Crisis in 2020?

The opioid epidemic in 2020 has resulted from years of the pharmaceutical industry inaccurately representing prescription opioids to medical professionals. Companies such as Purdue Pharma assured physicians that prescription opioids were not addictive.  Having been reassured and, in some cases, incentivized, healthcare providers prescribed opioids freely. Most people can indeed take prescription opioids for a short time without developing an addiction.  It is also true that there is a risk of addiction. 

Because of the euphoria that comes with the pain relief, there is a risk for misuse. Too many patients were not educated about the dangers of taking opioid pain relievers and the critical need to store these drugs properly.  By not securing the opioids safely, many adults provided their teenaged children with access to opioid drugs to misuse. The pharmaceutical companies’ misrepresentation and the lack of education provided to patients contributed significantly to the current opioid epidemic in 2020. 

In some cases, patients found themselves switching to illegal forms of opioids such as heroin or illicit fentanyl.  A doctor’s refusal to prescribe more opioids, the cost of prescription medicine, and increasing tolerance to opioids can all lead someone to turn to illegal opioids. Much of the research shows that the misuse of prescription opioids often leads to heroin use. It is the use of heroin or illicit fentanyl that is even more deadly.  With no marked dose, the risk for overdose is significant.  

How to Get Help With Opioid Abuse

Finding the right fit for treatment is a critical part of getting clean and sober. At Thrive Treatment, we believe in treatment that blends modern and traditional practices rather than one specific modality. We integrate relational and behavioral therapies, along with holistic, medical, and psychiatric interventions, to put you on the path to sobriety, emotional health, and overall well-being.  

We have what is needed to provide you with an individualized plan to help you succeed in sobriety, both during your inpatient treatment and beyond. Our intensive outpatient program in Santa Monica can help you manage the delicate work-life-sobriety balance you’re looking to find.  Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

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