Taking A Closer Look At Opioid Abuse And Addiction In The United States
As any pain management doctor knows, the symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal are often incredibly brutal. Sometimes these symptoms, in cases of severe alcoholism, can even prove to be dangerous or life threatening. And some symptoms of withdrawal can lat for up to a year after the symptoms of acute withdrawal have long since faded away. And as any pain management doctor or detox doctor knows, addiction is a problem that is ravaging the entirety of the world – and particularly our country, the United States.
In fact, by the time that the year of 2015 was coming to a close it was estimated that up to twenty and a half million people were struggling with addiction to a substance, legal or illegal, in some way. And while the severity of addiction will certainly vary from person to person, there is no doubt about it that it is always something to be taken seriously. Opioid addiction in particular has skyrocketed, something that the average pain management doctor can attest to.
In fact, of these more than twenty million people struggling with addiction, people addicted to painkillers of various sorts made up more than two million of them. And heroin too is becoming more problematic in this country than ever before, with more than five hundred thousand – half of a million – people abusing heroin over the course of 2015. In the few years that have passed since, the average pain management doctor and even the average family practice doctor operating out of your typical family practice center is seeing skyrocketing levels of heroin abuse.
Unfortunately, heroin abuse is rampant across many different age groups. In fact, the year of 2015 alone saw more than twenty one thousand young people use heroin and today there are more than five thousand regular users, if not considerably more. After all, heroin has become highly accessible to young people (as well as to all populations, at that) and is providing a lethal alternative to prescription medications, which are known to preclude up to eighty percent of heroin addiction cases.
While some people start off by abusing prescription pain killers, others are prescribed them in a legitimate way, such as in the aftermath of a severe injury or for a chronic pain condition. However, far too many people end up getting hooked in this way, as just about every pain management doctor has unfortunately borne witness to. By the time that their prescriptions run out, they turn to illegal methods of getting the high that they are looking for and as illegally obtained prescription medications can be quite expensive, heroin is all too often the alternative that they seek.
And there is no doubt about it that regular drug usage and drug addiction have a wide array of consequences. For instance, drug abuse can change the very chemistry of your brain. It can also strain relationships with family and close friends, cause you to lose your job, and lower your overall quality of life by quite a considerable amount. And perhaps worst of all is the fact that drug usage all too often leads to drug overdose, which can too easily result in death.
In fact, drug overdose has become the top leading cause of preventable death, at least here in the United States. It has even been estimated that there were considerably more than fifty two thousand drug overdoses in the year of 2015 alone – a number that has only continued to climb, unfortunately, in the years that have transpired since. And more than twenty thousand of these deaths can directly be attributed to opioid use and abuse.
Fortunately, getting help is possible, especially with the help and support of a pain management doctor. Attempting to withdraw without professional help, however, is typically not particularly advisable, as it leads to high rates of relapse even just within the first few days of trying to get clean. But when you go through withdrawal with the help of a detox specialist and a pain management doctor, you are likely to have considerably more success that what you would otherwise be likely to experience over the course of withdrawal.