Opioid Epidemic

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Opioid Epidemic

In recent years, the opioid epidemic in the United States has gotten out of control. Although most people know that these drugs can be fatal, the death rate continues to rise. Opioids are a synthetic form of opiates that include heroin and prescription pills. To understand the epidemic, you must first understand the prescription drug problem in the United States.

The Opioid Epidemic and Prescriptions

The War on Drugs has been highly ineffective when it comes to reducing addiction rates. This failure is largely because the focus of the initiative is wrong. It focuses on stopping drugs from coming into the country and criminalizing drug users. The reality is that opioid prescriptions come from physicians, and the United States prescribes over three-quarters of the world’s supply. Some of the prescription opioids that doctors most often prescribe include:

  • OxyContin
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Dilaudid
  • Fentanyl

While doctors may prescribe these medications with the intention to alleviate pain quickly, opioids can quickly become addictive.

How Opioids Lead to Heroin

While many people understand the dangers of heroin, they don’t always understand why people turn to heroin. Most of the people begin using heroin started out abusing prescription opioids. Heroin is a much cheaper, more potent form of opioid drug. Once individuals develop a physical dependence, getting ahold of heroin is often easier than finding more pills. The other main issue that our country is facing today is that those who produce heroin often mix it with other dangerous drugs.

Drug dealers often cut heroin with Fentanyl. This drug is a prescription opioid that’s 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times more potent than heroin. Without even realizing it, people may use heroin that’s been cut with Fentanyl, which can be fatal. In some parts of the country, heroin is cut with carfentanil, which is even more powerful than fentanyl.

Combatting the Opioid Epidemic

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that 91 people die every day from opioid overdoses. On top of that, many more people overdose each day but are able to survive due to Narcan. This medication acts by counteracting the effects of opioids and has saved thousands of lives. The problem is that without drug addiction treatment, many people who live through an overdose will go right back to opioids.

1st Step Behavioral Health is a drug treatment center that can help you overcome your addiction. Through addiction therapy, we’ll teach you how addiction works and how you can take steps to recover. Long-term recovery from addiction happens as a result of learning new, healthier ways of living. Our facility has a passionate staff who will help you create a solid foundation for your sobriety.

First Step Behavioral Health has 120 beds, and we work with different insurance policies. Find out more about opioid and heroin addiction treatment by calling us today at (866) 319-6126.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician 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.