How the Opioid Epidemic is Affecting Today's Adults

In both the United States and across the world, opioid use is becoming an incredible problem. Here's what you need to know.

It's no secret that the opioid epidemic in the United States is getting out of control. Each year, between 70,000 and 100,000 people die from opioid use. Because opioids are such strong medications that are often obtained legally, it's important to understand exactly how they can affect individuals. Not only do opioids carry a number of physical side effects, they are also highly addictive, as well. In recent lawsuits, some individuals have claimed that their physicians are responsible for their addictions. If you are struggling with an opioid addiction and you're wondering what your next steps should be, there are a few things you should know about the opioid epidemic and how it is affecting adults in today's modern world.

Medical Care

When it comes to medical care, more and more medical professionals are choosing to prescribe alternatives to opioids. Even in cases where opioids would typically be prescribed, such as after surgery, many doctors and surgeons are choosing to offer non-opioid medications. Sometimes, a medical professional may decide to issue an opioid to a patient; however, the medication is typically only able to be refilled with the physician's express permission. Additionally, the doctor may limit the number of pills the patient is able to obtain at once. Medical professionals are also more likely to issue warnings to their patient if an opioid is prescribed. This can help reduce a patient's chance of developing an addiction to a medication.

Addiction Treatment

Treatment centers for alcoholism and addiction are seeing more and more patients admitted who struggle with opioid addiction. Often, an addiction begins after a patient uses a prescription medication issued by a doctor. Addition to opioids often occurs after a patient experiences a serious illness or even a surgery that requires pain management with opioids. In some cases, after a patient uses their medication, they seek alternatives. Many times, these are illegal substances that carry drastic side effects that are both physically and financially draining. Addiction centers also treat patients who have a dual diagnosis of an addiction and a mental illness. Patients who already suffer from a mental disorder, including depression or anxiety, are more likely to struggle with addiction.

Social Lives

For many adults, there is still a stigma associated with seeking help for addiction. This can cause patients who are struggling with addiction to resist seeking treatment. They may feel afraid or worried that addiction treatment will cost them their job or their friendships. They may worry that therapy will cause their friends to think less of them. Fear of social stigma is one of the primary reasons adults who are addicted to opioids resist seeking treatment.

If you have questions about the opioid epidemic and how it has affected you, it may be time to talk to an attorney. If you have become addicted to opioids and you believe that your medical provider or pharmacist is the root cause of your addiction, meet with your attorney to talk about your options for moving forward.