America is currently in the grips of an opioid epidemic in which 130 people nationwide, die daily from opioid overdoses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains that opioids are “a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and many others. When used correctly under a healthcare provider’s direction, prescription pain medicines are helpful. However, misusing prescription opioids risks dependence and addiction.”
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, “Opioids can make your brain and body believe the drug is necessary for survival. As you learn to tolerate the dose you’ve been prescribed, you may find that you need even more medication to relieve the pain or achieve well-being, which will lead to dependency.” Possible signs of opioid misuse and addiction may include:
- A loss in interest in activities.
- Avoiding time with friends and family and choosing to spend time alone instead.
- An increase or decrease in appetite.
- Erratic speech patterns and being overly energetic.
- Poor hygiene such as not bathing, changing clothes, or brushing teeth.
- Getting in trouble with the law.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, get help before it is too late. Discuss your treatment options with your healthcare professional or reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to find a drug treatment facility near you at 1800-662-HELP (4357). For a substance abuse or addiction medicine referral or annual physical, you may walk-in to any of our convenient Primary Medical Care Center community clinics, or you may schedule an appointment by visiting our website at www.primarymed.com, or call (305)751-1500 for our Miami-Dade clinic, or (954)289-0000 for our Broward clinic.