If you’ve been following the recent news stories and research, you know that Opioid use is becoming more and more rampant.
Here are some facts:
1 The US consumes more than 80% of the global Opioid pill production even though it has less than 5% of the world’s population.
2 In 2015, almost 40% of Americans were using prescription painkillers. 1
3 100 million people are estimated to suffer from chronic pain in the US. 2
4 Nearly ½ of all US Opiod overdose deaths are due to prescription opiods. 3
Why are Opiates addictive?
Opiates can be found in several widely-used drugs including: heroin, morphine, codeine and hydrocodone. Opiates create artificial endorphins in the brain -which produce in the early stages of use warm, good feelings in the user. But over time, opiates trick the brain into stopping the production of these endorphins naturally. At this point, the only way an opiate addict can experience positive feelings is by using the drug in question. This process is the reason why opiates are so addictive.
Why has Opiate addiction increased drastically in the last 10 years?
Here’s the generally accepted theory-
Starting in the late 1990s, a handful of pharmaceutical corporations promoted prescription opiates as the solution to America’s physical pain. Large numbers of people then started to take these drugs — and because Oxycontin and Percocet and the rest have such powerful chemical hooks, many found themselves addicted. Doctors in many parts of the world — including Canada and some European countries — prescribe more powerful opiates than their peers in the United States. If what we’ve been told is right, they should become addicted in huge numbers. But this doesn’t occur. The Canadian physician Gabor Maté argues in his book “In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts” that studies examining the medicinal use of narcotics for pain relief find no significant risk of addiction.4
Here’s a second theory that makes more sense to me –
Opiate use is climbing because people feel more distressed and disconnected, and are turning to anesthetics to cope with their psychological pain.
Addiction rates are not spread evenly across the United States, as you would expect if chemical hooks were the primary cause. On the contrary, addiction is soaring in areas such as the Rust Belt, the South Bronx and the forgotten towns of New England, where people there say they are lonelier and more insecure than they have been in living memory.
So if you agree with the second theory, opiate use is increasing because people feel more distressed and disconnected.
Wow! If this is the case, and you are faced with the choice of becoming more distressed and disconnected and becoming addicted to opiates OR choosing to become MORE connected and less distressed, which would you choose?
If your answer is #2, then please, if you know someone who is distressed and disconnected from an inability to adapt to their accumulated physical, chemical and emotional stress, let them know they have healthier options! You could very well help save the life of someone you know and care for.
Thanks for taking a major step towards becoming more connected and less distressed about your health and life.
1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. Results From the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed
2 Tables. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015/NSDUH-DetTabs-2015.pdf. Published September 2016. Accesssed March 27, 2017.
3 Opioid Data Analysis. Opioid Overdose. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Website. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/analysis.html. Accessed March 27, 2017.