Prescription drug abuse and addiction is a significant problem in the United States. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has declared it an epidemic.
Researchers estimate that as many as 36 million people worldwide abuse opioids. Estimates in the U.S. alone reached 2.1 million people in 2012. In 2014, six out of ten drug overdose deaths involved an opioid – including prescription opioids for pain relief.
Every day, 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose. As the Opioid drug problem continues to spiral further out of control, claiming more lives, people are looking for safer, drug free ways to relieve their pain. Chiropractic offers such an option.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are prescription medications that are intended for pain relief. They work by diminishing the intensity level of pain signals as they reach the brain. They also affect the areas of the brain that control emotion thereby weakening the perception of the pain as well. There are several very popular medications that are classified as opioids:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (Percocet, OxyContin)
- Morphine (Avinza, Kadian)
The most commonly prescribed opioids are hydrocodone products. They are used to treat pain from injuries, dental work, and typically moderate pain. Milder pain is often treated with codeine but it is also used to treat coughing as well as severe diarrhea. Overall, opioids are used to treat everything from cancer pain to post-op pain to osteoarthritis.
What are the Dangers of Opioids?
Opioids have a serious risk of abuse, addiction, and overdose. Even then they are taken as prescribed, opioids can have the following side effects:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Dry mouth
- Low energy
- Low testosterone levels that result in a diminished sex drive
- Itching Decreased strength
- Increased pain sensitivity
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