Opioids are a class of pain relieving drugs that include oxycodone (e.g., OxyNEO, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), codeine, and some other related drugs. These highly effective painkillers have many useful applications, from relieving post-operative surgery pain to relieving the pain associated with cancer. They are also useful for stopping pain from dental procedures, certain chronic pain conditions, and moderate to severe pain from traumatic injuries.
Opioids can be safe when used as directed, but many people become dependent on them. They wrongfully assume that since these drugs are approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and available to the public through a prescription, that they are not harmful. However, according to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, at the National Institute of Health, approximately 5 to 10 percent of individuals who take opioids on a regular basis become addicted. Furthermore, those with a personal or a family history of alcohol or drug abuse are the most vulnerable to dependency.
When taken as directed, a drug like OxyNEO provides pain relief for up to 12 hours. People who abuse opioids alter the way it is ingested to obtain a more intense concentration of the drug for a stronger, immediate high, by snorting, chewing or injecting the drug. People can become addicted to the drugs by unethical physicians overprescribing or by abusing the method by which the drug is introduced into their systems. When these addicts need more drugs, they resort to extreme measures to obtain them.
The Scary Crimes that Opioid Addiction Encourage
January 13th, 2012, Littleton, Colorado - in an all too common scenario, a suspect armed with a knife and a gun, demanded OxyContin from the Rite Aid pharmacist and fled the scene.
Meanwhile, a doctor in Los Angeles who had earlier been accused of recklessly prescribing habit-forming painkillers, is now linked to the deaths of several patients, and may face criminal prosecution. This physician would prescribe potent narcotics to them with little or no examination involved. The patients would pay cash for their prescriptions and have them filled at pharmacies outside the city.
Across the entire united states, users of opiate medications are gravitating toward injecting street heroin – which ultimately provides the same sensation as OxyNEO and other opioids – at a fraction of the price. Heroin addiction is responsible for an unbelievable amount of crime and drug overdose.
Opiates are the New Face of Drug Addiction
Although there has been a significant decrease in the use of certain illegal drugs such as cocaine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified the abuse of prescription drugs as epidemic. According to a recent Monitoring the Future study (the Nation’slargest survey regarding drug use in young people), prescription drug use is second only to marijuana use as the most frequently abused drugs. Additionally, a 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health states that of more than 70 percent of individuals abusing prescription opioids acquired them from friends or family, and 5 percent received them over the internet or from drug dealers. Despite the risk of addiction and the increasing incidence of death, the abuse of opioids continues, seemingly unabated.