America’s Addiction to Opioids – It’s Not Your Doctor’s Fault

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Our Country’s History with Opioids

The United States has a very long and complicated history of opioid use that goes back much further than most people would expect or assume. In fact, its use goes back even further than even the founding of the US – laudanum (opium mixed with alcohol) was used as far back as the 1500s. Regarding this country, we have been using opioids since at least as far back as the early 1800s, where morphine was used as a painkiller during the Civil War.

Because of the intense addictiveness of morphine, research was conducted during the 1800s to find an alternative opium-derived painkiller. From that research, heroin ended up being created in 1874, which actually led to even more widespread use and addiction. This ended up being a pattern with opiates, which led to stronger and stronger drugs.


A Very Real Epidemic

With many opioids developed from opium through the last two centuries, it wasn’t until very recently that opioid addiction became a particularly widespread problem thanks to synthetic opioids, which first hit the market in 1984 as Vicodin. Like the way and why new opiates were created, these synthetic narcotics continuously led to even more powerful and dangerous opioid pharmaceuticals.

However, many of those medicines were believed to be non-habit forming, much less addictive. At least that’s what specialists (hired by the pharmaceutical companies, of course) said. Even the FDA was complicit in a number of these claims. Because of what they were told, many doctors believed these new opioids weren’t addictive and were told by their superiors to prescribe and continue prescribing these drugs with about as much thought as they put into giving aspirin. That being said, it’s easy to point fingers at our doctors as the culprit, but it was the manufacturers and the government who are really to blame for your addiction.

It wasn’t until around the mid-2000s that opioids were recognized as being a very serious problem in the US, and addiction -or at least reported cases of it- continues to rise all around the country.


There’s Hope – Opioid Addiction is Treatable

Thankfully, opioids are like many other addictive substances in that their addiction is treatable. However, the withdrawal symptoms and the severe addictiveness of opioids make rehab the best way to end an addiction and keep people from returning to the drugs.

To start down your path to rehabilitation, give us a call or contact us online and we will be glad to answer any questions and help to finally get those drugs out of your system for good.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky, MSW, LCSW

Brittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is the Assistant Clinical Director at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.