Opioid abuse continues to be a serious public health issue in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of overdose deaths involving prescription opioids – drugs such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and methadone — has more than quadrupled since 1999. The CDC data shows that majority of drug overdose deaths involve an opioid and 91 Americans lose their lives every day from an opioid overdose.
Throwing more light on the existing fact are two new studies that provide an understanding as to how people get addicted to opioids. As per a study by the CDC, one of the ways of getting hooked on opioids is by taking prescription narcotics. According to the study published in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on March 17, 2017, the risk of transitioning from short-term to long-term opioid usage increases sharply in the initial days of therapy. The increase can be seen after five days or one month of prescribing opioids and it levels off post about 12 weeks of therapy.
It takes just three days
According to the report, for cancer-free adults receiving prescription for pain relievers, starting with the third day the likelihood of chronic opioid use increased with each additional day of medication. Researchers also observed the sharpest increase in opioid abuse post the fifth and 31st day on therapy.
The report shows that individuals who take opioids for one day have a six percent chance of using them a year later and the risk goes up to 13.5 percent after eight days of opioid use. Also, the risk for long-term use jumps to about 30% after using opioids for 31 days or more.
“The initial prescription a clinician writes has a pretty profound impact on a person’s (likelihood) for being a long-term opioid user,” said Bradley C. Martin from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Pharmacy, who is also the study author.
Children vulnerable to opioid abuse
Adolescents and children below five years are at risk for opioid exposure. According to another study published in the March 2017 issue of journal Pediatrics, keeping unsecured opioids at home proves to be a key point in drug exposure to children and teenagers.
As per the study, while it is known that opioids are heavily prescribed to the general population and have the highest overdose rate among all prescription drugs, there were 188,468 pediatric opioid exposures that were reported to poison control centers in the U.S. from 2000 through 2015. The study observed that there was higher prescription opioid exposure among 0- to 5-year-olds and teenagers.
As per Dr. Gary Smith, the study author and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, when adults bring opioid drugs into homes, they can pose a danger to their children.
Between 2000 and 2015, on average, there was more than 11,700 prescription opioid exposure among children and adolescents, says the study. Experts have called for a need for more public awareness about the dangers of opioid abuse, along with a need to store prescription opioids out of reach of small children.
Road to recovery
When used as prescribed, prescription drugs save lives. But when abused, they can lead to dependence, addiction and in some cases can be fatal. Notably, addiction to prescription medications can be treated. At Sovereign Health, we understand the plight of someone grappling with prescription abuse.
Sovereign Health of Florida offers a comprehensive treatment for prescription drug addiction that combines a traditional Detox Treatment Program followed by long-term treatment modalities including medications and/or behavioral therapy methods. To know more about our Residential Detox Treatment, call at 24/7 helpline number 866-269-2493. In addition to traditional detox, Detox Treatment Program Florida also includes an all-natural or nutritionally assisted detox treatment. You can also chat online with our representatives to know about the various addiction treatment programs offered at our treatment facilities.
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.