Opioid Addiction can Happen to Anyone

Opioid use disorder (opioid addiction) is an epidemic in the United States. The most common sources of opioids are prescription pain medications and heroin. Many cases of opioid addiction start out with a legitimate prescription for pain medication from a doctor. Other times, individuals may first be introduced to pain pills through friends or family members. Over time, occasional use turns into more regular daily use. More medication is needed for the same effect, and withdrawal appears when the user attempts to stop or decrease use. Some users will switch from pills to heroin as the cost of pills becomes prohibitive. Compulsive use of the drug often leads to problems at home or at the workplace. The most feared complication of opioid use disorder is overdose. Overdose occurs when an excessive dose of opioid is taken resulting in a slowing of breathing and sedation that can result in death.

Symptoms of opioid addiction

  • strong cravings
  • trying, or failing, to cut down or control use
  • struggling to complete tasks at work, in school, or at home
  • risky behaviors (eg. driving impaired)
  • building a tolerance
  • withdrawal symptoms when stopping opioids

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