Prescription painkiller addiction continues to be a major problem in America, yet it’s hard finding non-opioid pain relief options.
Opioid addiction an issue that affects men, women, and teens; people of all ages and all walks of life. Prescription painkiller addiction can begin for a variety of reasons, such as young people experimenting with drugs, or drug addicts looking for a different kind of high.
But a growing number of individuals who are addicted to prescription painkillers got hooked simply because they needed the drugs for an injury or illness.
Necessary Pain Relief
It’s a sensitive subject–the prescription painkiller epidemic–because many people legitimately need these drugs for pain relief, and we don’t want to keep people from getting the relief they need.
Among the most effective and the most commonly prescribed painkillers are opiate drugs like oxycodone, Vicodin, and fentanyl. These medications offer fast and long-lasting pain relief and are commonly used after surgery, illness, or injury. They are also addicting.
Opiates are the family of drugs that heroin is a part of, derived from the Asian poppy plant. Just like heroin, prescription painkillers hamper the brain’s ability to produce its own dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter.
Therefore, the individual who uses these drugs over an extended period of time, or uses more than they should, quickly feels cravings for the drugs and withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit.
Curbing Prescription Drug Abuse
The situation gets tricky when people need non-opioid pain relief, and yet don’t want to become dependent on the medications.
There are a few things that have happened in recent years that will help deter more people from overusing and abusing these medications:
- Prescription drug databases now help monitor a person’s prescription painkiller history.
- Doctors who overprescribe opiates are being investigated by the government.
- There is better education and screening for patients that are on these medications.
These measures are helping keep prescriptions out of the wrong hands and helping those on the drugs to use them responsibly.
Non-Opioid Pain Relief Options
For those who have struggled with an addiction in the past, an injury or need for prescription opiates can put their recovery into jeopardy and cause them to relapse. There are other options besides opiates for pain management, and these should be considered in many of these instances.
Medications like buprenorphine or methadone, which are opioid replacement drugs, can offer some relief. Other non-opioid drugs, like anti-epileptic drugs and antidepressants, are also used for non-opioid pain relief.
Other methods can offer relief, such as psychotherapy and counseling. Exercise, acupuncture, massage therapy, and even things like meditation and mindfulness provide some relief for chronic pain.
However, in cases where opiates are necessary to provide the right level of relief, they should be used with caution. Doctors should closely monitor their patients for any sign of addiction, and patients should be fully educated about the risks of this type of medication.
Struggling with Opioid Addiction? Get Treatment at Citrus Recovery
If you are addicted to prescription opiates, we can help. Our opiate rehab program helps people just like you put a stop to the dependence, and our sober community is the perfect place for you to learn how recovery can be fun and fulfilling. Contact Citrus Recovery at (855) 478-1034 to learn more.