Thousands of people right now suffer from a drug addiction. People typically equate addiction to cigarettes, cocaine or alcohol, but there’s another epidemic that’s sweeping the nation. Opiates are the drug of choice for many people. These drugs are derived from the opium poppy, which is now a controversial plant to be sure. Get to know the details behind opiate addiction and what you can do to combat this disease.
Opiates Versus Opioids
Many people use opioid and opiate rehab terms interchangeably. In fact, these terms are similar yet strikingly different.
Opioids are the synthetic versions of the opium poppy. If you’ve ever heard of fentanyl, this drug is a man-made form of the opium poppy.
Opiates, in contrast, are entirely natural painkillers. For example, morphine is derived from the poppy because it’s a chemical compound found within the plant. It may have a synthetic appearance, but it’s technically an opiate.
With these facts in mind, both drug types are dangerous to use without a doctor’s prescription. Addiction stems from either one of these substances.
The Collective High
Opiates are designed to be painkillers. They were revolutionary when they were first introduced in the medical world. Patients recovering from surgery now had a real tool for comfort.
These drugs work by influencing the nerve receptors in the body. A person who’s feeling pain will have a constant signal supplied to these receptors. Opiates interrupt this signal by binding to the receptors instead. Pain becomes numb.
Chemical influences occur too. Dopamine and serotonin are suddenly produced in large amounts. The brain floods with good feelings and the collective high.
When a person is unfamiliar with how opiates operate in the human body, addiction often develops. The chemical changes in the brain aren’t temporary. In fact, the flood of good-feeling hormones becomes a drug itself.
The brain’s chemical activities start to change. It cannot produce the normal amount of dopamine anymore, for example. The body craves the opiate in order to create those good feelings.
The opiate epidemic in the U.S is serious because it grabs onto people with a fierce power. If the person tries to abstain from taking the drug, flu-like symptoms develop. To avoid the pain, the person takes the opiate as a way to cope.
An Ongoing Addiction
Opiates seem to be permeating the landscape because there’s a constant supply within society. Doctors regularly prescribe these drugs as pacifiers to chronic pain. In the past, there were no other options.
Currently, there are alternative drugs that can be just as effective against pain as the opiates. They’re non-addictive substances too. However, doctors refrain from choosing the alternatives because they feel obligated to offer a stronger medication in opiates.
How Substance Users Get Around
Another conundrum facing society is how opiates are getting to individuals. Doctors eventually cut off the person from any prescriptions. Patients quickly learn that they can visit different facilities in a given area in order to score a legitimate prescription.
To compound this problem, the prescriptions can sometimes be sold on the street for a higher value. Substance users who have no other outlet for their needs will seek out these individuals.
Admitting to a Problem
Anyone who’s dependent on opiates must come to a realization in order to move forward. The simple act of admitting that there’s a problem is freeing. Substance users may feel like they’re at their lowest point. An admission gives them a chance to start over.
You must talk to loved ones about the next steps in the journey. They can help with researching and contacting facilities to start the recovery process.
Rehab is a challenge for every person who seeks help. It’s worth the effort, however, because recovery and clean living are the result of your time. You start with a detoxification process. The body goes through withdrawal under careful observation.
Private and group counseling comes next as rehab continues for several weeks or months. When you have come to terms with your ailment, the facility offers outpatient treatment where you enter society once again. Clean living is your goal then.
Social justice and alternative medications must be the collective solution to opiate addiction. With education and rehab available to everyone, addiction numbers may have a chance to drop. Strive for a healthy United States where people help others with their struggles.