Should I take an Opioid? 

You go to your doctor because of the pain you are struggling to get rid of with regular-strength painkillers and get prescribed an opioid. Most likely you have listened to the dangers of opioids on the news and are having doubts about whether you should be taking them. Well, the good news is that you’re already a step ahead since many people who are being subscribed opioids don’t have any knowledge regarding their addictive characteristics. Although, you may have heard of the dangers of these drugs you might still not have enough information about their traits. The American Society of Addiction Medicine provides the following general information regarding opioid drugs which everyone should know:  

  • “Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the licit prescription pain relievers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and others. 
  • Opioids are chemically related and interact with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and nervous system to produce pleasurable effects and relieve pain.
  • Addiction is a primary, chronic and relapsing brain disease characterized by an individual pathologically pursuing reward and or relief by substance use and other behaviors.
  • Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers, and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
  • It is estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop the opioid addiction.”

Therefore, the answer is no, don’t take opioid drugs if they can be avoided. Of course, there are specific instances when they are medically necessary, but this should be done under the supervision of a doctor and when all other nonaddictive remedies have been exhausted. In any other case when an opioid can be avoided, it should be avoided, since the stakes of developing an addiction are too high. Unfortunately, there are many cases when the prescription of the drug is not necessary, and it is still recommended by doctors.  

The American Society of Addiction Medicine also provides statistics regarding deaths due to Opioid overdose, the numbers are staggering: “Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 52,404 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015.”  

Therefore, don’t just blindly take all the drugs that are prescribed, and try to avoid taking opioids if possible. 


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