If you look at the statistics on opiate abuse and addiction, it isn’t hard to realize that far too many people are becoming addicted to opiates on a daily basis.  For example, the following facts are reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Approximately 26.4 to 36 million people abuse opiates or opioids worldwide.
  • In the United States, an estimated 2.1 million people suffer from opiate or opioid addictions.
  • The number of opiate overdose deaths has more than quadrupled since 1999.
  • Prescriptions for opiates and opioids have reached over 207 million in one year alone.
  • The United States is the biggest consumer of opiates globally.

Currently, the US is struggling with the residual effects of an opiate epidemic that is spreading day by day.  For instance, the costs for treatment, hospitalization, law enforcement, and burial of opiate addicts is over $600 billion annually.

Why do People Get Addicted to Opiates?

Of course, a person does not make a conscious decision to become addicted to opiates. However, there are some people who choose to abuse the drugs for the euphoric effects they provide.  In many cases, these individuals falsely believe they can control the drug abuse and avoid addiction.  Statistics prove otherwise.

Opiates are similar to heroin and morphine in the way they affect a person’s brain and body.  This similarity gives opiates a high potential for addiction, especially when used for non-medical purposes.  People who choose to use opiates for the euphoric effects often crush the pills and then snort or inject the powder.  Also, they combine the pills with other drugs or alcohol to enhance the effects.

Unfortunately, some people who are taking opiates for legitimate medical reasons find they have become dependent or addicted to the drug.  Although the pills were prescribed, they are still dangerous and increasing the dosage or frequency of use can result in the same effects as experienced in illicit use.

How Opiates Affect the Brain and Body

Opiates have short-term and long-term effects on the brain and body, even when used as prescribed.  When used recreationally, the effects can be life-threatening.  Below are some of the ways opiates affect a person’s health:

Short-term effects:

  • euphoria
  • mood changes
  • dizziness
  • hallucinations
  • allergic reactions
  • nausea
  • unconsciousness
  • coma

Long-term effects:

  • contracting HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B from sharing needles
  • bacterial infections
  • collapsed or scarred veins
  • clogged blood vessels
  • infection of the heart lining and valves
  • liver, kidney, brain damage
  • death

Ultimately, the effects of opiates will alter, destroy, or end a person’s life.  However, there is a way to prevent disastrous consequences.

Seek Help Through Inpatient Rehab

Overcoming an opiate addiction requires the expertise of professionals in a comprehensive, residential treatment program.  In this type of setting, patients benefit from a controlled, secure environment which is overseen 24/7 by skilled, compassionate staff and counselors.  In this way, there is no chance of obtaining opiates or any other addictive substance.  Without drugs present, the person is able to focus more on healing and learning skills for relapse prevention.

If you would like to know more about becoming addicted to opiates or if you are ready to begin treatment for your opiate addiction, call our toll-free number today.