We are seeing more and more people in our cognitive therapy program who are here because of opioid addictions. This isn’t something that is exclusive to the clients here at The Ranch PA. This is the result of the opioid crisis in America. Little did we know when doctors first started prescribing opioid painkillers in the 1990s that it would start an opioid crisis in America that would reach proportions unheard-of with other drugs.
What is an Opioid?
Opioids are a class of drug that blocks the pain signals in your body, not allowing them to be felt. These come in both legal prescriptions such as Oxycontin and Vicodin or they can be in the form of illegal street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. Opioids are extremely addictive. Before the opioid crisis in America started, pharmaceutical companies denied that prescription opioids were addictive. By the time it was discovered that they were misleading us, doctors were prescribing them frequently. When people began to experience the symptoms associated with addiction, many doctors stopped the prescriptions. This caused withdrawal symptoms that sent many prescription users to the street in search of a substitute. There they found heroin and fentanyl. The opioid crisis in America grew rapidly.
Opioid Crisis in America: A Look at the Numbers
It is estimated that over 130 people die every day from opioid-related overdoses. That adds up to over 47, 600 a year. In 2018, there were an estimated two million people with opioid use disorder. Of those 808, 000 used heroin. Over 10.3 million people misused prescription opioids that year. The trouble we are having in controlling this opioid crisis in America is that:
- So many people who first start on prescription opioids end up switching to heroin and other street opioids when they are no longer prescribed the medication
- When tolerance for the medication increases, doctors won’t increase the medication and people look for other ways to fulfill their cravings
- As addiction increases, many seek less expensive ways to provide the needed high
The numbers back up this overlap between prescription and street opioids. An estimated four to six percent of those who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin. In addition, 80 percent of heroin users first misused prescription opioids. Opioid addiction and overdoses are now seen in all areas of the country, not just large cities.
What Can We Do About the Opioid Crisis in America
We are now in a position where something has to be done immediately about this crisis. Emergency responders are now being provided with free Narcon, the one known response to counteract opioid overdoses but what is needed is an end to the use. No longer prescribing opioid pain killers would be a start, but we need to educate opioid users on the hazards of this growing trend. We need to be more proactive in treating opioid addictions, and to do this we first must get rid of the stigma surrounding addiction. Until we can get a handle on the growing crisis, treatment, and prevention of overdoses is our only hope of lowering the death rate. Making addiction rehab centers more appealing and necessary action.
If you have found yourself a part of the opioid crisis in America, or have any other addiction. we can help you find your way back to sobriety. Our experienced staff will guide you through a combination of traditional and new therapies to help you regain your health and mental wellness. You need to take that first step and we can stick with you for the rest. Take that step today. Contact The Ranch PA at 717.969.9126.