An epidemic occurs when a disease becomes so wide spread that it is affecting the function of society as a whole. It has been a very long time since one of these affected the United States. However, in recent years, the Centers for Disease Control have determined that opiate addiction has reached epidemic proportions. There are several things everyone should know about the epidemic of opiate addiction.
To understand how an opiate addiction occurs, you first need to know what addiction is. Addiction is defined as a disease that involves the inability to stop something despite negative consequences. So, how does someone get to that point with opiates? When someone takes opiates, they travel to specific receptor areas in the brain. Once there, they disrupt the brain’s chemical balance, resulting in reduced pain, depressed respiration, and feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
The euphoric feelings are what opiate users are after. Over time they need more and more opiates in order to get the same effect, known as tolerance. This continues until they need the drugs in order to function. This is known as dependence and leads directly into addiction after the user begins to suffer negative consequences.
Once someone has become addicted to opiates, they, and those around them, will experience a number of serious negative consequences. Some of these consequences are:
These are just a few of the consequences that opiate addicts are likely to face and demonstrate how damaging this disease is.
Opiate addiction has a much larger impact than that felt by the individual addicts and those around them. It also affects society in a number of destructive ways. This includes:
The opiate addiction epidemic damages society in all of these ways, making it a serious threat to the public.
Now that you understand just how destructive the opiate addiction epidemic actually is, it’s time to explore solutions to this deadly disease. The most effective and important solution is education. By making more people aware of the risks and dangers of this disease, fewer are likely to fall victim.
Another solution is opiate addiction treatment. When done by licensed professionals, this approach helps many people overcome their opiate addiction and return to productive lives. Whatever solution is applied, what remains true is that the opiate addiction epidemic is very real and very destructive.