When you picture opiates, you might think of the poppy plant or perhaps of heroin. While natural opiates like morphine, codeine, and opium continue to persist, man-made opiates like oxycodone, vicodin, methadone, demerol, and fentanyl may be even a bigger problem. Because these substances are often prescribed by well-meaning physicians, the risk of developing an opiate addiction has increased for thousands and thousands of people worldwide.
Opiate addiction is a growing problem throughout the world, but particularly so in the United States. In the U.S. alone, an estimated 2.1 million people suffered from prescription opioid substance use disorders in 2012, while an approximate 467,000 people suffered from heroin addiction. Furthermore, the consequences of the rise in opioid addiction are dire: the number of unintentional overdose fatalities from prescription paid relievers in the U.S. has more than quadrupled since 1999.
Although these substances can be useful for pain management, they are many times over-prescribed and are among the most abused and addictive substances that are readily available to the public. However, because they’re prescribed so often, many people downplay the severity of oxycodone addiction or oxycontin addiction. After all, if your doctor prescribed these pills, how could they possibly be bad? Unfortunately, it’s very easy to develop a dependence upon these substances — some people have reported that they’ve become addicted within three days — and their effects can be just as damaging as the initial pain.
Long Term Effects of Opiate Use
- Nausea and vomiting
- Bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Muscle cramping and twitching
- Hot and cold flashes
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Liver damage
- Brain damage
- Anxiety or agitation
Coupled with the side-effects of opiates — which include drowsiness and lethargy, paranoia, and respiratory depression — the use of these drugs can disrupt and derail your entire life. Many users end up stealing drugs or money in order to fund their habits, and many opiate addicts lose their jobs or sacrifice their relationships due to opioid use.
Scariest of all, you may not even realize you have an opiate addiction. If you are unable to get off the drug on your own despite its negative effects on your body and your personal life, you need to seek help through a treatment program. Don’t let your opioid use rule and ruin your life. By going through an oxycontin addiction treatment program, you can gain control of your life and make a brighter future for yourself and the people you love.