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The Opioid Epidemic: What You Need To Know

6/26/17

methadone rehab center

In 2015, drug overdose was the leading cause of accidental death in the United States with up to 52,404 cases. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 33,000 of those lethal cases were caused by heroin and opioids, including those prescribed by doctors.

The addiction to opioids in the United States has been called an epidemic. Some have called addiction the fault of the addicted, yet analysis of the epidemic proves otherwise. While true that those who are addicted to opioids chose to take the drug, those drugs were often prescribed to them by medical professionals as pain-killers.

According to the CDC,
"The supply of prescription opioids remains high in the U.S. An estimated 1 out of 5 patients with non-cancer pain or pain-related diagnoses are prescribed opioids in office-based settings. From 2007 -- 2012, the rate of prescribing has steadily increased among specialists more likely to manage acute and chronic pain. Prescribing rates are highest among pain medicine (49%), surgery (37%), and physical medicine/rehabilitation (36%). However, primary care providers account for about half of opioid pain relievers dispensed."

Opioids become addictive because not only do they block pain-receptors in the brain, therefore treating the pain they were prescribed for, but they additionally create a relaxed, happy feeling in the body because they release artificial endorphins. The problem with opioids comes with the length of time in which they're prescribed. Doctors prescribing opioids to patients over a series of months to even years are more likely to create addictions in their patients.

Opioids' artificial endorphins make it difficult for the brain to produce natural endorphins because the influx of the artificial hormone tells the body it doesn't need to create the hormone, therefore achieving internal balance. When a patient stops taking the opioid over a prolonged period of time, their body goes into the withdrawal period which can be an intensely negative experience. So negative it results in the patient relying on the opioid and therefore becoming addicted to the drug.

However, doctors aren't entirely to blame for this epidemic either. The States of Minnesota, Ohio, and Tennessee have, since 2015 to the present, filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies for failing to inform medical professionals of the addictive nature of the drugs and for falsely marketing their products.

Whether the pharmaceutical companies will be found innocent or guilty is up to the court of law. However, as of present, methadone centers have proven to be 60-90% effective in the treatment of opiate treatment and heroin treatment. Methadone treatment centers utilize both methadone prescriptions as well as therapy in order to provide their patients with the best chance to recover.

Methadone works by blocking the pain-receptors of the brain while additionally blocking any pleasure-responses caused by the opioid or heroin. Therefore, the addictive drug loses its pleasurable effects on the patient while simultaneously preventing the awful side-effects of withdrawal from the drug. This enables methadone rehab center patients to receive therapy with focus and drive without the anxiety and depression that may cause them to return to opioid or heroin use later as may be the case with abstinence-only treatments.

A methadone rehab center is a safe place for those suffering from addiction. And, because the prescription is controlled by a medical professional over a short period of time depending on the progression of the patient's treatment, the patient will not have to worry about becoming addicted to methadone. If you or a loved one is addicted to opioids or heroin, know that there is treatment available to them at a methadone rehab center that is proven to work without the effects of withdrawal.


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