Opioid Misuse

According to the National Institute of Health on Drug Abuse (NIH), “roughly 21 – 29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them”. Additionally, about 8 – 12% develop an opioid disorder. This issue has now become a public health crisis. This misuse and addiction to opioids include prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. This impacts the health of citizens and has become an economic burden and rising medical costs, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement. Common misuses of opioids come from individuals who steal from friends and relatives who are medically prescribed users.

What is Opioid Addiction?

Opioids are chemically related drugs that interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain. Opioid pain relievers are generally safe when taken for a short period of time and prescribed by a doctor for medical use. Opioids produce euphoria in addition to pain relief which is how they become misused. The misuse of opioids is taken in larger doses than recommended and not prescribed by a physician. When misused, opioid pain relievers can lead to addiction, overdose, and death.

An opioid overdose can be reversed with the drug naloxone when given the correct way by a medical professional. Once the treatment is initiated, full detoxification is required which can be challenging for a misuser.

Indicators and Risk Factors of Addiction

Some known psychological risk factors associated with opioid misuse include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Somatoform disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Atypical stress responsitivity

Some behavioral risk factors associated with opioid misuse include:

  • Inability to reduce the amount taken
  • A significant amount of time is spent obtaining opioid drugs
  • Unable to meet responsibilities
  • Avoiding important activities, loss of interest in enjoyed activities

Some physiological symptoms of opioid use include:

  • cravings
  • sedation
  • nausea or vomiting
  • itchy skin
  • small pupils
  • respiration depression
  • constipation
  • slurred speech
  • increased tolerance

How do we solve this crisis?

Northlake Behavioral Health System has been working to improve access to treatment and recovery services, providing support for pain addiction, and advancing better practices of pain management through drug detox, substance use, and intensive outpatient services.

It’s of great importance to continue to discover new and better ways to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid use disorders, and pain management. Northlake being a non-profit organization we are finding new safe, effective, and non-addictive strategies to manage chronic pain. Additionally, we are improving overdose prevention and reversal interventions to save lives and support recovery.

Northlake has made strenuous efforts in helping solve this crisis by offering additional support and adding recovery programs to help those in need. Additionally, our medical professionals are equipped to offer proper and safe detoxification methods and sober living quarters. Northlake being a non-profit organization, we have more flexibility to help our community to reach a solution.

If you or a loved one requires addiction or behavioral support, please don’t hesitate to contact our admissions team. We are here to help. 985. 626.6300