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Friday, June 24, 2016

Prescription Opioid Use Disorder

opioid use disorder
There is a fine line between taking a prescription drug as prescribed and abuse. Many of those who are prescribed narcotic medications may not be aware of how easy it is to cross that invisible line and just how dangerous that transition can be. The process is usually innocent in nature at first. A patient is prescribed a painkiller, and they take the pills as instructed on the side of the bottle. Having little knowledge of tolerance, that is when a resistance is formed to the drug's effects, many patients will justify either taking another pill at the same time or before instructed to do so.

Naturally, doubling up on one’s medication will provide the desired relief—at first. But, the effects are fleeting. Such is the slippery slope of dependence that commonly results in addiction. The prescription drugs in question are opioid painkillers. These are the drugs that the citizens of the United States have become over reliant on when it comes to pain management. If you are prescribed opioid analgesics and are not sure if you meet the criteria for a prescription opioid use disorder, please take a look at the National Institutes of Health symptoms below:
  • Taking the drug in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • The persistent desire to cut down or control use/unsuccessful efforts to do so.
  • Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school or home as a result of prescription opioid use.
  • Symptoms of tolerance and/or withdrawal.
As is evident by the opioid epidemic leaving its mark on the country, there is a large number of people who meet the criteria for a prescription opioid use disorder. In many cases, people move from prescription opioids to heroin, finding it more and more difficult to acquire drugs like oxycodone. Both prescription opioids and heroin are extremely dangerous with a high potential for overdose. If you feel that you meet the criteria for an opioid use disorder, we advise you to seek help immediately.

“The increasing misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers poses a myriad of serious public health consequences,” said Nora D. Volkow, M.D., director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in a news release. “These include increases in opioid use disorders and related fatalities from overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of newborns who experience neonatal abstinence syndrome. In some instances, prescription opioid misuse can progress to intravenous heroin use with consequent increases in risk for HIV, hepatitis C and other infections among individuals sharing needles.”

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