The opioid epidemic began in the late 1990s when pharmaceutical companies stated the addiction risk for prescription pain medications like oxycodone and Vicodin was low. Based on this assertion, medical professionals prescribed opioids for pain relief to more and more patients. However, opioids proved highly addictive, leading to a profound level of prescription and non-prescription drug abuse and addiction. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) declared a public health emergency and unveiled a strategy to confront the opioid epidemic. However, opioid use disorder is still a major public health issue. Fortunately, facilities like Northern Illinois Recovery Center have the expertise to educate families and friends and provide the necessary treatment to help people heal.
Facts About the Opioid Epidemic
The statistics about opioid addiction reveal the highly addictive nature of prescription pain killers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), the following set of numbers indicate why there’s a public health emergency:
- Approximately 21 to 29 percent of patients misuse opioid prescriptions
- Between 8 and 12 percent of patients develop an opioid use disorder
- Around 4 to 6 percent of patients go on to use heroin
- 80 percent of heroin users first abused opioids
While deaths from opioid addiction are either declining or remaining unchanged, over 130 people still die from opioid drug use every day. As of 2018, 2 million individuals across the U.S. have an opioid use disorder. Also, approximately 81,000 transition to heroin use annually. Cooperation between the government and the medical community needs to remain strong to continue fighting the opioid epidemic.
Ways to Address Opioid Addiction
Government agencies like the HHS and NIH have come up with a nationwide strategy for confronting the effects of the opioid epidemic. The priorities within the strategy include:
- Improving access to treatment and recovery such as opioid rehab
- Increasing understanding of opioid addiction
- Promoting the use of overdose-reversing medication
- Finding ways to practice better pain management
- Providing research support for pain and addiction
On an individual level, outpatient or inpatient treatment programs are best for addressing opioid addiction. Since each person’s case and circumstances can differ, getting an evaluation from a medical professional or facility is important. A combination of medication for withdrawal symptoms and therapy is often necessary. Centers specializing in opioid rehab and substance abuse can customize a treatment program with the highest chances for success.
Prevention and Education Strategies for Opioid Addiction
Prevention is the best way to reduce the need for opioid rehab. Patients with acute or chronic pain can ask about alternatives to opioids, including over-the-counter drugs and non-addictive substances. If prescription medications become a necessity, talk to a doctor about monitoring for signs of addiction. Taking lower doses and knowing what medications can lead to opioid addiction can also be helpful. Morphine, Vicodin, and oxycontin are the most common prescriptions.
While prevention and patient education are critical, having a support system is just as important. Family and friends can help watch for signs of addiction, but an opioid rehab facility’s resources should not be overlooked. Watching a loved one go through opioid addiction can be challenging for family and friends, who may also need to reach out for outside support.
When Should I Seek Help from Northern Illinois Recovery Center?
Opioid addiction does not have to control your life. The opioid epidemic’s impact on individuals and families has been substantial, and often this is the case through no fault of patients. The need to take prescription drugs for chronic pain management should not be a source of shame or blame. You can overcome your addiction by seeking treatment from a quality opioid rehab facility like Northern Illinois Recovery Center. Our outpatient program, located in the Chicago suburbs, is affordable and effective. Contact us at 855.786.1978, and we’ll get you on the road to recovery.