With more than three out of five overdose deaths involving an opioid, it’s safe to say that misuse of these drugs has reached epic proportions. In fact, statistics suggest that the number of deaths from opioids has quadrupled since 1999. This data includes opioids that are prescribed and illegal heroin.
Understanding the ways in which opioids are most frequently misused by Americans may help to reduce these shocking numbers.
Opioid Abuse in America
Doctors prescribe opioids when patients are in pain. People take the pills until their condition improves. However, this does not necessarily mean that they do not have additional pills.
Experts recommend that these opioids be properly disposed of. However, many people report that they keep them in case they are needed later or with the idea that they can share them with a friend or relative.
While some people ask a friend or family member if they can use their prescription painkillers, others resort to a different tactic. Stealing medication is becoming increasingly common in households where prescriptions are not securely stored.
To prevent this from occurring, all medications, particularly opioids, should be locked in a secure location.
Mixing with Alcohol and Other Drugs
Before prescribing opioids, doctors carefully review the other medications the patient takes and counsels against the use of alcohol while taking prescription drugs.
Nonetheless, many people misuse their prescriptions when they mix them with liquor. This can lead to a host of medical issues that may require emergency treatment.
What begins as a habit with a prescription medication can soon spiral out of control. People who misuse opioids frequently migrate to the use of illegal substitutes like heroin as an easier, less expensive way to get high.
Ongoing heroin use can cause brain damage and physical impairments that may be irreversible.
ARCpoint Labs nationwide provide drug and alcohol testing for doctors, businesses, and individuals, including prescription drug testing and monitoring. For help or more information on our services, contact your nearest ARCpoint Labs today.