The opioid epidemic refers the widespread use of extremely powerful prescription painkillers. Typically prescribed for extreme pain due to chronic medical conditions or post operative pain, opioids can be helpful in the short term to treat pain. However, opioids are extremely addictive and can lead to physical dependence.
What is an epidemic?
The Center for Disease Control typically uses the term, epidemic, when an infectious disease kills enough people; the death from opioids has reached that level, which is why it’s now referred to as the opioid epidemic. Opioid related deaths are higher than death resulting from AIDS/HIV and car crashes. According to the CDC, more than 33,000 Americans died from various types of opioid overdoses in 2015.
What are some of the treatment options?
Treatment typically requires long-term comprehensive care and may consist of the following:
- Medicated-Assistance Therapies: Certain medications are used in substance use disorders, including opioids and alcohol, to help ease the withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Two medications are primarily used are Buprenorphin and Methadone. Another medication called Naltrexone works differently in that it takes away the high that you would normally get when you take opioids.
- Counseling and Behavioral Therapy: Substance abuse and mental health disorders go hand in hand. One usually leads to the other and counselors can help a patient on the road to recovery.
- 12-Step Program: Narcotics Anonymous (NA) helps support those in treatment for substance abuse disorders.
- Residential and Hospital-Based Treatment. In patient facilities, such as Horizon Village in Western New York, can help treat the whole individual and set him up with support services after treatment.