Opioid Abuse and Addiction in Orlando
Opioids are a class of drugs that act as central nervous system depressants. Opioids include prescription pain medications and illicit painkillers like heroin. Opioids act on the central nervous system in similar ways. Unfortunately, opioid abuse and addiction have led to significant increases in overdoses and deaths. The use of opioids has become so problematic in the United States that it’s referred to as a crisis and an epidemic.
What Is an Opioid?
Opioids bind to receptors throughout the central nervous system. Taking large doses of opioids can produce euphoria. The euphoric effects of opioids typically include pain relief, relaxation and stimulation.
There are naturally-derived opioids that come from the poppy plant. There are also synthetic and semi-synthetic opioids. The opioid definition is broad since it refers to all of these, and the term opioid can be used interchangeably with narcotic.
When someone uses opioids at low doses or as prescribed, the effects are typically minimal. When someone takes high doses of opioids, the effects can be dangerous. It is important to take opioids as directed to avoid these dangers. Taking high doses of any opioid can cause breathing to slow down to a dangerous level.
Some of the most common prescription opioids include hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin), oxymorphone (Opana), morphine, and codeine. Prescription opioid abuse occurs when someone uses these drugs in a way other than how they’re prescribed.
Examples of opioid abuse include:
- Using a higher dose than prescribed
- Using someone else’s medicine
- Using it only to get high
Fentanyl is an opioid that’s particularly dangerous and deadly. It’s a synthetic opioid that acts similarly to morphine, but fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger. Fentanyl is used medically to manage severe pain or post-surgical pain. In some cases, doctors may prescribe opioids to patients with chronic pain who are intolerant to other medications.