In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured doctors that patients would not become addicted to opioids. Physicians began prescribing them at higher rates. It became common practice for these companies to give doctors money and gifts to get them to prescribe pills.
This led to widespread misuse of prescription opioids, both by people who had prescriptions and those who didn’t. Up to 29% of people prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. The proliferation of opioid scripts means increased access for anyone with a propensity for addiction; for instance, teenagers can steal pills from a parent’s medicine cabinet. Prescription opioid use can also lead to non-prescription opioid use. 80% of people who do heroin began by taking prescription opioids.
In 2018, two million people had an opioid use disorder, and 46,802 people died of an opioid overdose. That same year, two out of three drug overdose deaths involved this type of drug. It is called the Opioid Crisis because it is considered a public health emergency.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)— the use of medication to help treat addiction, typically in combination with therapy—is often used for opioid use disorder. Meds like Suboxone and Vivitrol help prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings, so that people can work on the underlying reasons they used.
While opioids are powerfully addictive, recovery is possible. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, 1.27 million people are currently receiving MAT.
If you are struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder, there is help and hope. TruHealing Centers offers high-quality treatment for addiction and mental health disorders in facilities across the country. We offer MAT (Suboxone and Vivitrol) to help gradually free you from substances. To learn more, call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.