The National Institute on Drugs (NIH) estimates that over 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain does not just mean that the pain lasts longer than the time it takes for the body to heal; it is a considered a disease that impairs function, distorts the nervous system, migrates to other areas of the body, and can impact moods and decrease a person’s overall quality of life.
To curb these pains caused by post-surgery pain and/or illnesses, doctors prescribe opioids. Opioids have been very successful, when taken as prescribed, in treating pain and allowing people to function normally in their everyday lives. But, unfortunately, there has also been prescription opioid abuse and overdoses that is plaguing our country. Sometimes you wonder how did it all begin? How did it get this bad?
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Where do opioid drugs from?
Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some prescription opioids are made from the plant directly, and others are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure.
Opium Poppy Plants Have Been Around for a Long Time
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), The Sumerians in Mesopotamia were among the first people identified to have cultivated the poppy plant around 3400 BC. They named it Hul Gil, the “joy plant.” It eventually spread throughout the ancient world to every major civilization in Europe and Asia and was used to treat pain and many other ailments.
In the 19th century, it was realized that besides the effectiveness opioids had on pain; it was also recognized there was abuse and addiction-related as well:
- In 1803 morphine, an opioid analgesic was extracted from opium by Friedrich Serturner of Germany;
- Charles Wood, a Scottish physician, invented the hypodermic needle and used it to inject morphine to relieve pain from neuralgia.
- Eduard Livenstein, a German physician, produced the first accurate and comprehensive description of addiction to morphine, including the withdrawal syndrome and relapse, and argued that craving for morphine was a physiological response.
- Diacetylmorphine (brand name heroin) was synthesized and briefly promoted as more effective and less addictive than morphine. In the early 20th century, when heroin was legally marketed in pill form, it was used by young Americans to elicit intense euphoria by crushing the heroin pills into powder for inhalation or injection.
Opioid Addiction Often Just Happens
Addiction isn’t intentional, and no one wants to be dependent on any substance, but sometimes, it can happen if you don’t know the warning signs. Some warning signs of an opioid use disorder/addiction are:
- Taking more than directed dose
- Not being able to stop
- Thinking about taking the pain medication
- Continuing to take the medication even though it has caused troubling consequences
- Hobbies that brought joy are no longer a part of your daily activities
- Taking opioids while driving or during other dangerous situations
- Growing a tolerance where the normal dose does not provide an effect, therefore, having to take more.
If you find yourself having any of these signs, it can be alarming and freighting especially if you’ve never had this happen before. When we get prescribed painkillers there are usually only so many refills before the prescription is out. At this point the user, if dependent, finds ways of getting more. Sometimes, because it is cheaper than the prescription painkiller, resorts to heroin or fentanyl.
We Are Here to Help with Opioid Addiction
Having an addiction to opioids is not an easy thing to overcome. We all would like to go back and do it differently where we wouldn’t have gotten to that point of being addicted. For many of us who have gone through opioid addiction, the results have been nothing but horrific, but here at Garden State Treatment Center, we promise you can expect that you will emerge from it transformed, stable, and ready to begin a lifetime of recovery.
We are here to guide and support you with the ultimate goal of lifelong recovery from the moment you step through our doors. Every second in active addiction makes it more difficult to reach out for help. Break the barrier of substance abuse and begin healing from the underlying causes of your addiction. Contact Garden State Treatment Center today.