Understanding the Opioid Crisis in the US

May 2020 Understanding the Opioid Crisis in the US

In the quest for understanding the opioid crisis, it’s vital first to learn more about this drug class. Opioids, which comprise of both heroin and prescription painkillers, are extremely addictive drugs. With just a few weeks of regular use, a person can turn into a physically dependent opioid user. 

In 2017, nearly 70,000 Americans died from a drug overdose, with opioids contributing to 70% of these cases. Furthermore, do you know that the US government can save about $78.5 billion yearly by eradicating opioid addiction, overdoses, and death? In understanding the opioid crisis, let’s look at how this epidemic affects the addict, society, and the nation’s economy. 

Instant Effects of Opioids on Users

Common prescription opioids (such as morphine and oxycodone) can lead to a myriad of immediate impacts on the user. The most common effects, even when following the doctor’s prescription, are flushing, dizziness, itching, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, and vomiting. 

Other short-term effects could signal a more severe case. Seek medical assistance immediately if you or a loved one exhibits warning symptoms, such as mental fog, lethargy, severe migraine, euphoria, or difficulty in breathing.  

Side Effects of Chronic Opioids Use

Continued abuse or use of opioids can lead to addiction and physical dependence. The user’s bloodstream becomes accustomed to the existence of the drug. But when you discontinue or decrease opioids use at this point, withdrawal begins.  

Initial withdrawal symptoms typically appear within the first 24 hours. For example, some signs to look out for include runny nose, anxiety and restlessness, muscle ache, sleeplessness, and excessive sweating. After the first day, the symptoms intensify. 

Advanced symptoms, which are usually more severe, set in after the first day. They consist of nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, hypertension, abdominal cramping, widened pupils, and perhaps unclear visualization and diarrhea. 

Understanding the Opioid Crisis’ Impact on the Economy 

Several aspects must be taken into consideration when assessing the impact of opioids use on the economy. This research might be an overwhelming task, given the enormous direct and indirect costs. One way of scaling down the problem is to measure the cost of this epidemic on the criminal justice system, treatment of the victims, and valuing the associated health complications. 

From 2015 to 2018, the police department, the courts, the prisons, and other correctional facilities spent an estimated $2.5 trillion in total to deal with the opioid epidemic. 

Did you know that the sum of expenditure on treatment for opioid-related disorders is about $2.8 billion every year? This amount is a big blow to the economy, considering that you can invest these funds elsewhere. 

Health Complications and Other Social Costs

Also, babies born to mothers who are abusing opioids show withdrawal symptoms like seizures, dehydration, indigestion, vomiting, and poor feeding. Furthermore, such babies tend to exhibit stunted growth and other developmental issues.  

Thus, the indirect costs of the opioid epidemic include a decline in the standards of living, emotional burden, loss of jobs, and inability to work, leading to fewer tax collections, and the depletion of family savings. 

Overcome Opioid Addiction at Phoenix Rising

Do you want assistance abandoning prescription opioids or any other addiction? Our mental health experts are ready to offer you effective opiate addiction treatment services. At Phoenix Rising, you’ll receive a personalized treatment plan with a variety of programs, such as: 

Overall, understanding the opioid crisis is the mandate of the entire society because the consequences of drug addiction are far-reaching. Don’t let addiction control your life, talk to a drug rehab expert in California today. So contact us at 8552328211, and we’ll gladly walk with you through your tough journey of recovery.