Opiate addiction is becoming more and more common across the U.S. This is a serious national problem affecting people of all ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. The three main types of opioid addiction include pain reliever addiction, heroin addiction, and methadone addiction. All three types of addictions require detox and addiction treatment.

Opiate painkillers are usually prescribed for moderate to severe pain resulting from surgery or an injury. They work by binding to different receptors in our brain, reducing the perception of pain. Some examples of opioid pain relievers are fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone. Over time a tolerance builds up. A tolerance means you need a higher dose of the same medicine to provide the same level of pain relief. Doctors limit how much they prescribe, so some people turn to snorting their medication, mixing it with other medications, purchasing them illegally on the internet or on the street, or doctor. shopping. Doctor shopping is an effort to try and get multiple prescriptions at once.   to meet their ever increasing needs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that an estimated 1.9 million people were suffering from opioid pain killer disorders in 2014. The numbers continue to rise.

Another opiate addiction is heroin addiction. Although usually injected, there are other ways to do heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 586,000 people suffered with heroin addiction in 2014. Heroin brings many risks including overdose leading to death as well as infections at injection sites called endocarditis and abscesses. HIV and Hepatitis C are other risks from heroin addiction, caused by infections from sharing needles. In recent years we saw one of the quickest spreading outbreaks of HIV since its inception in a small southern town.

Methadone is also a type of opiate addiction. Methadone in liquid form has been prescribed to treat recovering heroin addicts to aid in the worst withdrawal symptoms. Once a popular treatment, now experts are questioning if this is just switching drug dependence from one drug to another. Methadone can also be prescribed in pill form for pain. Despite not being recommended by the Food and Drug Administration as a painkiller, over 4 million prescriptions were written for methadone in 2009. Methadone is often less expensive than other opioid pain relievers and as a result insurance companies are more likely to cover it than a brand name like oxycodone.

Opiate addiction is a serious health issue that warrants medical intervention. In addition to needing support to deal with withdrawals, additional support is needed to return to normalcy. Life after opiate addiction is possible.


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