Prescription Opioid Abuse
Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD, explains why prescription Opioids are so addictive, and the role they play in the current Opioid epidemic.
Dr. Bhatt: Hi, this is Dr. Bhatt the medical content director at AddictionCenter.com. I wanted to take a brief moment here from Straight Talk With The Doc to talk about a topic that many people ask us about, and that is prescription Opioid addiction. So, what is it about Opioids, painkillers, that make them so notorious, and how are we seeing so many overdoses out there in the nation at this time?
Opioids have been around for hundreds of years. They’re used for legitimate pain conditions, without them we wouldn’t be able to get through many of the practical measures that we do when we talk about treating people surgically or medically. But, there’s a distinct property that Opioid painkillers have that many other medications don’t, and that’s propensity to develop physical dependence. That’s when the body becomes accustomed to and used to having that drug. There’s a statistic out there that many studies have shown that 50 percent of the average population can be become physical dependent on an Opioid, even at therapeutic dosages, in as little as two weeks. That doesn’t necessarily mean addiction, but that does set you up for probably and possibly becoming addicted if you have the following risk factors.
So, if your chronic pain disorder continues or you suffer from a mental health issue- anxiety or depression, or you’re using the pain medication to escape from real life or achieve that euphoria. These things on top of the fact that if you try and stop, you start to have that physical withdrawal, it becomes very difficult. Due to the physical withdrawal, often once they’re stopped or cut off and they’re no longer in legitimate need for using it, they go off and divert and often have to get these pain medications from the street or switch to higher, more illicit drugs like Heroin or Fentanyl. This is where we can often see that addiction develop, and often overdoses occur.
There’s a lot of help available on websites like addictioncenter.com, where if you or a loved one suffer with Opioid dependency or opioid use disorder, you can seek treatment where you can get help at a legitimate licensed medical treatment center which can help you in achieving recovery.