Substance abuse is one of the most exceedingly growing problems currently plaguing society. Even though raising awareness of the problem is terribly important, exposure to drugs can come in so many different forms that it sometimes seems impossible to cover them all.
In recent years, opioids have proven to be some of the most aggressively addictive substances in circulation. They are mainly consumed in two different forms: pharmaceutical pain medication, or by injecting heroin. An estimated 1.9 million Americans are suffering from opioid abuse or dependence, with another 517,000 living with a heroin addiction.
So how does someone come to be addicted to opioids? Here are a few situations that are commonly associated with opioid use disorders:
- Prescription pills: Pain relievers are prescribed for any number of reasons, including physical injuries or as post-surgery pain medication. As effective as they may be at dulling pain receptors, it’s easy for those taking them to develop an opiate dependency. Each day, as many as 2,500 young Americans abuse a prescription pain reliever for the first time.
- Secondhand prescriptions: Even without any personal prescription pain medications, there is no guarantee that someone won’t be given them by a person who does. If someone has a friend with an opioid addiction, there’s a chance they could offer their pills to those around them. Currently, more than 50% of individuals as young as 12 years and older have used pain relievers they received from a friend or relative for non-medical use.
- Social pressure: Peer pressure from others to try a drug is always a prevalent concern, but it is only a portion of the social issues that can drive someone to drug addiction. Serious anxiety and depression that can stem from school or social situations can even propel some to seek out pharmaceutical help. And without a prescription, they will often turn to acquaintances with their own prescriptions for help.
Avoiding the temptation of substances can be a constant battle for some, but one that must be waged. What can you do to prevent opioid dependence in the ones you love?