Understanding the harrowing throes of the opioid crisis

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The opioid crisis that is ravaging the planet is one of the most harrowing health epidemics of our time, even in our entire history. Opioids are drugs that are curated or otherwise created to treat symptoms or pains associated with health issues. These drugs tend to be addictive in nature, which is partially where the danger comes in. The other equal measure of danger comes in when one realises that the effects of opioids are designed to dissipate over time. Unfortunately, the dissipating nature of the drugs, coupled with their addictive traits, often leads to prescribed individuals opting towards stronger versions of their prescribed medication, in the hopes of getting the same – or even better, stronger – effects that their initial prescription successfully gave them. The nature of addiction is unrelentingly savage, and it quite literally destroys lives, tearing families apart and isolating the struggling individuals from everyone and everything they love. And herein lies the underlying issue: many (if not all) patients are not completely aware when they are initially prescribed the opioids, that their effects will not always stay the same over time.

Not entirely (if at all) aware of this fact, individuals move on to stronger doses or entirely different opioids altogether, hoping to bring on the same addictive experience. It is a dangerous cocktail in the making, and it is one that, unfortunately, quite often has devastating consequences. When an individual with a specific opioid prescription deviates from that prescribed medication and takes it upon themselves to use another opioid, they are often not aware of the safe dosage or how their bodies will react to it, being used to their prescription. This makes it quite easy to overdose, and unfortunately this is a continuously occurring problem. In fact, this is an issue that is so prominent that it is quite literally an epidemic that is ravaging the entire world. In the USA alone, upward of 130 people die every day from overdosing on opioids. That is a shocking statistic, and even more terrifying is the fact that it is growing more every other day. This is an international crisis that is only speeding up.

Opioid abuse is something that, unfortunately, is quite common. The relative ease in initial access through prescription is only made more problematic when it becomes obvious that the addictive traits of opioids are giving people false hopes of providing the same effects every time they use. This is not the case, and especially not for opioids. These drugs are designed so that their effects eventually stop altogether, as a natural way of weaning off the drug. However, by the point this happens, the individual is sometimes too deep in the throes of their addiction (often without even realising that it is a problem), and they break away from their medically prescribed opioid and into the darker depths of opioid use. This is how the devastating cycle starts, and it has proven time and again to have especially devastating impacts on the people that it draws in with false promises of comforting effects.

The discussion surrounding opioid addiction is becoming more honest, open, and supportive (and about high time, too). Finally, at long last, individuals suffering from opioid addiction are feeling more empowered and supported to make healthier life choices, and they are seeking out professional and personal assistance to work towards mending their health and wellbeing. Making the decision to go into sober living might sound simple enough to someone that has not had to battle with opioid addiction (or any type of addiction, for that matter), but for someone in the throes of the struggle, it can be an ongoing battle that is sometimes fought and “won” many times over before it is truly beaten. In saying all this, it is without a doubt a battle that is entirely and without exception worth fighting to beat. Lives literally depend on it.

Practically every form of addiction there is, is similar in that it is a harrowing experience for anyone going through it. In the case of opioid addiction, however, it is even more so, due to the nature of which most (if not all) struggling individuals fall into its reaches. Opioids are prescribed medications, given to individuals when they present with particular health issues or other complications, as a form of effective treatment at the prescribed dosage. When people first start taking them, they are doing so solely for their healing effects. However, over time the addictive nature of opioids makes them dangerously easy to become dependent on, and this, coupled with the fact that users often branch into using other, stronger opioids to get more powerful effects over time, makes opioids potentially lethal. It is not at all difficult to understand how the opioid crisis has come to be, but what we must do now is try to work towards a healthier future – no matter how much hard work that entails.

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