You endured a medical procedure. It wasn’t anything major, but the doctor gave you a prescription for some painkillers just to keep you comfortable while you recovered. You could have healed up just fine without even a scar, but you didn’t — you developed chronic pain, and your doctor continued to prescribe you the painkillers. Soon, not an hour would go by without you swallowing another pill, or two or six. Soon, you started grinding up and snorting the pills, to get their mind- and body-numbing effects faster. Soon, you’ve lost your job and home, but you continue to get scripts from the doctor to “manage your pain.”
Or maybe it didn’t happen like that.
Maybe, you never had a medical procedure. Instead, you were looking for something new to try, and a friend slipped you some pills at a party. Soon, you found a dealer for yourself, someone who tricked a lousy doctor into writing the scripts, and you are downing pills left and right to maintain your high. Unfortunately, the story usually ends the same way: You lost your job and home, and you continue struggling just to get your hands on more prescription painkillers.
Painkillers are necessary drugs that help real sufferers endure the hardships of medical conditions — but whether you experience chronic pain or not, you are just as susceptible to prescription drug addiction. Colorado prescription drug rehab facilities are teeming with individuals recovering from this rampant disease, which neither doctors nor law enforcement officials could have foreseen.
The New Drug Epidemic
When most people think of drug abuse, they think of illicit substances seeping from ghettos of violence and decay. However, by far, the most abused drugs in America are prescription opioids, carefully developed and tested in sterile lab environments and approved by federal agencies. These days, anyone could be a drug abuser, from little old ladies to muscle-bound young men, and most don’t get their start in drug dens, but in corner pharmacies.
In truth, more than a third of Americans use prescription drugs every day, and at least 2.5 million Americans have developed a substance abuse disorder due to their use of narcotic painkillers. Some of those addicted to prescription opioids will find relief at a Colorado prescription drug rehab or a similar recovery center, but many won’t. Every year, more than 15,000 individuals die from prescription drug overdose. Perhaps worst of all, America seems to be alone in this drug epidemic: More than 80 percent of the world’s opioid painkiller supply is used in America.
The reason prescription painkillers are so dangerous is that they derive from the poppy, the same plant responsible for illegal drugs like opium and heroin. Originally, even those two substances were used medicinally, but today, only heavily processed opioids are considered safe for medical use. However, in the 1920s, doctors recognized the dangerous addictive qualities of these drugs, and both were outlawed. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of opioid use in America. In the 1980s, researchers began arguing that certain opioids — like the ones they developed in their labs — were safe and should be considered for use in medicine. Since then, a flood of prescription opioids have hit the market:
- Fentanyl, brand names: Actiq, Duragesic, and Fentora
- Hydrocodone, brand names: Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin, Hysingla ER, and Zohydro ER
- Hydromorphone, brand names: Dilaudid and Exalgo
- Meperidine, brand name: Demerol
- Methadone, brand names: Dolophine and Methadose
- Morphine, brand names: Astramorph, Avinza, Kadian, MS Contin, and Ora-Morph SR
- Oxycodone, brand names: OxyContin, Oxecta, Roxicodone, Percocet, Endocet, Roxicet, and Targiniq ER
All of these contain similar active compounds as heroin, and most generate the same effects. In addition to relieving pain, many provide feelings of bliss and a period of calm sedation. Unfortunately, they have negative effects as well, most notably physical dependence. Though not everyone who uses a prescription painkiller will become addicted, many do — and that’s when they need a Colorado prescription drug rehab.
The Effects of Prescription Drug Addiction
Addiction to opioids can be devastating. Though users might not feel unwell — due to the pleasure-causing dopamine filling their systems — overuse of opioids harms the muscles, liver, lungs, heart, reproductive organs, and nervous system. In the short term, prescription drug abusers tend to develop involuntary twitches and intense constipation; in the long-term, those afflicted by this dependence suffer from narcotic bowel syndrome (the slowing of bowel function), rhabdomyolysis (the deterioration of muscles), hyperalgesia (an increased sensitivity to pain), and early-onset dementia, among other devastating health problems. The sooner someone at risk for serious, long-term addiction reaches a Colorado prescription drug rehab facility, the better chance that person has at avoiding lifelong disorders as a result of opioid abuse.
Perhaps worst of all, many substance abusers who begin misusing prescription drugs progress to harder and potentially more dangerous drugs. Often, doctors will recognize the signs of abuse and cease providing prescriptions for painkillers, but that rarely helps to end an addict’s physical dependence. Only help from a recovery community, like that in Colorado prescription drug rehab centers, can have a lasting impact on opioid dependence.
Instead, many seek to avoid withdrawal and perpetuate their addictions with other drugs — most frequently heroin. Derived from the same source as prescription opioids, heroin provides a similar high, but because it is not regulated by companies or government agencies, it can be even more risky to a user’s health. Today, more than half a million Americans suffer from heroin abuse disorders, and many of them were introduced to opioids through legitimate prescriptions.
Get Help at a Prescription Drug Rehab Today
Colorado prescription drug rehabs provide a safe, comfortable place for those suffering from opioid abuse disorders to experience withdrawals and begin rebuilding a life separate from prescription painkillers. A welcoming community of fellow addicts in recovery will help users find social support for their new lifestyles that do not rely on codeine, oxycontin, and other narcotic drugs. Anyone can become addicted to prescription painkillers, but anyone can find salvation, as well, as long as they seek proper treatment at a Colorado prescription drug rehab. Here at Sober Times, we have an experienced and professional staff available 24-hours a day to help assess you or your loved one’s needs and locate a treatment program for them. Usually, we are even able to help guide you through the admissions process to make sure that getting help is as easy and stress-free as possible.