Opioids remain one of the most commonly prescribed medications in America. This is true because they are highly effective at serving the purpose they were designed for. However, opioids also come with some serious risks that have caused some states to place restrictions on their use. For now, some US residents are asking an important question. Should California join with some of the other states to limit opioid prescriptions? The information below will talk about the most pressing issues surrounding opioid use in America today.
What are Opioid Drugs?
Opioids are a class of drugs that have a profound effect on specific receptors located in the brain. As a result of binding with these receptors, opioid medications can effectively reduce pain and promote relaxation. This makes them very helpful in the treatment of illnesses, trauma-related problems, and other health issues that cause chronic pain to develop.
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What are the Dangers Associated With Opioids?
In spite of their usefulness, opioid medications carry a very high risk of physical dependence and addiction. In fact, they were not really designed to be used for an extended period of time. However, a lot of people who use opioids have conditions that result in continual pain that goes on for months or years. In these cases, continual use of opioids can cause a person to become used to the effects these drugs create. As a result, they need more and more of them to continue feeling the positive effects of pain control. This physical dependence is what can eventually lead to an addiction.
Understanding the Opioid Crisis Affecting America
To see just how serious the opioid problem is in America, we only need to look at a few basic statistics. According to recent numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control, the misuse of opioids costs the United States as much as $78 billion annually. Additionally, as many as 115 people die from opioid misuse on a daily basis. In spite of these sobering facts, we continue to see an increase in the number of opioid prescriptions that are given on a regular basis. These factors have come together to create an urge to restrict the use of opioids in some areas across the US.
Solving the Opioid Crisis through Increased Legislation
Many states have already jumped on board in creating laws that govern the use of opioid medications. In fact, seventeen states have already implemented laws to help limit the amount of these strong painkillers that doctors can authorize. Some states have chosen to limit the duration of each prescription to no more than seven days. States that have chosen this option include Ohio, New Jersey, Arizona, and a few others. Additional states have laws in place that limit the dosages of opioids that a person can receive. No matter which avenue is taken, it’s clear that lawmakers, physicians, and the general public are increasingly concerned about the growing problem of opioid abuse.
Effects of Limiting Opioid Prescriptions
Of course, the measures mentioned above are being taken to help prevent unnecessary injuries, overdoses, and deaths relating to opioid abuse. However, there are drawbacks to the laws mentioned above. For example, individuals who are being treated for serious illnesses like terminal cancer may face very different medical needs. For these people, access to prescription opioids for a few days is not going to be sufficient. Legal limitations regarding opioid prescriptions could make it more difficult for people who truly need these drugs long-term to actually get them in a timely manner. For now, most states are simply trying to weigh the pros and cons in an effort to make the wisest decision possible.
Should California Limit Opioid Prescriptions?
California legislators are considering joining with several other states that already implement more stringent rules regarding the use of opioid medications. According to the proposed legislation, there would be exceptions made for people suffering from diseases such as cancer. The main issue is that these exceptions would primarily be at the discretion of each individual doctor, meaning some may end up being more reserved in their prescription writing practices.
Many preliminary studies, however, suggest that an opioid addiction could pose a higher risk for the development of addictions to even more serious drugs. For example, reports indicate that many people currently addicted to heroin began by abusing prescription opioids. Due to developing a dependence on the opioids, they may be more likely to move on to more harsh drugs. All in all, statistics show that the number of those suffering the ill effects of an opioid addiction is far too high. Clear changes need to be made to protect people from long-lasting damage and the potential risk of overdose. Whether these changes should be through the process of increased legislation surrounding opioid use is still up for debate.
Getting Treatment is Important for Opioid Addiction Recovery
If you or a loved one is dealing with the life-changing issue of addiction, it’s important to realize you’re not alone. However, you must reach out for the correct support and help in order to break free from the damage that substance abuse and addiction can create. If you’re experiencing these issues, please contact a reputable treatment center today for professional assistance.
About the author:
Greg opened his home and heart to alcoholics and addicts in 2003. He is a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor (CATCI). Starting in 2009 Greg has fostered the growth of Ocean Hills Recovery into one of the most respected and effective treatment centers in the area and has been working with people with addictions since March of 2001. Greg believes in a holistic approach to recovery. His focus is on drug alcohol addiction treatment with a combination of 12 Step work, therapy and counseling, and the rejuvenation of the body through healthful eating and exercise. He has designed his program to foster a family-like atmosphere and believes that people in recovery are just beginning their lives. He encourages the people he works with to learn to enjoy life in sobriety. Greg is married to Nicole; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.