The misuse of Opioid prescription drugs must’ve caught your attention lately. Its death toll has been quite drastic. This is where the irony lies. The people who should be aided by these drugs fall into the trap of addiction to it.
Opioid’s effect to the human body is a wonder. With a certain amount, it may slow down your breathing. When you overdose it, it can stop your breathing. According to NIDA, about 20,000 people die because of the opioid prescription drug overdose in this country. Sadly, 75% of them are teens.
This issue has caught the attention of the government. They tried to reduce the death toll and other effects of overdose. But as the government does its job, it’s also important to know how you can protect yourself from the dangers of opioid overdose.
How does opioid affect your brain?
Opioid is a general term for a particular kind of drug. Many of those drugs are prescription medications. They’re meant for pain relief like those you need after dental surgery.
Fast Fact! Heroin is also an opioid.
The opioid receptors on the cells in your brain and your body are responsible for harnessing the effects of opioid drugs. Some of those cells take charge of your digestion, pain, and other functions.
Your body has opioid chemicals. Like endorphins, they’re responsible for pain relief and good-feeling during exercise.
When you take opioid drugs, your perception of pain is flattened. You might see now how useful are opioids for people who need ease of going through a severe injury or surgery.
Also, the opioid may affect your brain’s reward system. It’s also called the Pleasure System since it’s responsible for making you feel euphoric or high.
This is where the threat lies. Some people take opioids just for the sake of feeling high. Those people are at risk for addiction and all other health problems.
To avoid the risk of addiction, you need to abide the doctor’s prescription in opioid pain medication. You need to use them so long as your doctor advises.
What is the difference between opioid prescription drugs and heroin?
Heroin is an opioid, but it doesn’t mean you may get a prescription for it. Why?
You may not have a prescription for heroin since this drug is either snorted or injected. This particular drug enters the body all at once. Because of that, the brain and the body produce an extreme euphoria that doesn’t last long. So you can’t consider it as a pain reliever, but you may get addicted to it easily.
Many opioid prescription drugs are intended to affect you gradually. Contrary to heroin, they may last over a more extended period. But sometimes, those people who seek that euphoria intentionally crush opioid pills. They inject or snort the powder. Through this, they attain a more immediate and stronger effect of opioid prescription drugs.
Over the time, some people who misuse the prescription pain reliever switch to heroin. Heroin is much cheaper and is more accessible. They may just buy it from the street instead of needing a doctor’s prescription.
How to treat opioid addiction?
Medications to treat opioid addiction have been a great deal for researchers. Certain drugs including Methadone and Buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex) are relevant in tapping opioid receptors just enough to prevent the opioid-addicted person from feeling cravings or withdrawal. The amount is just enough not to get them high.
This process helps to prevent relapse as their brains gradually heal.
Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is also relevant in blocking opioid receptors and may prevent the usual effects of opioid.
Also, counseling may help in getting people get back on their feet and continue with their lives.
Another medication called Naloxone is also crucial in helping people suffering from opioid addiction. They may also help in blocking opioids from connecting to the opioid receptors. These drugs are highly relevant since they can be used in emergencies like stopping a person from dying due to opioid overdose. This medication must be given as quickly as possible.
Since it may save lives, the Food and Drug Administration approved a user-friendly spray version.