Today opiates and opioids are one of the leading causes of deaths resulting from overdose. The term opiates and opioids are often used interchangeably, however, opiates are naturally derived prescription pain medications whereas opioids are semi-synthetic or synthetic drugs manufactured in a lab that resembles their natural opiate counterparts.
The body has it’s own natural pain relief system however when opioids are taken, they hijack this pain system creating a higher tolerance and preventing the natural chemicals known as endorphins from working appropriately.
Opiates can have a wide range of physical and mental signs and symptoms depending on the dosage, purity and frequency of use. The following are known side effects resulting from their use:
According to statistics, opioid dependence affects approximately five million individuals in the United States each year and is responsible for 17,000 deaths each year in the U.S. The abuse potential for opioids begins at a young age, usually during adolescence or early adulthood and continues into middle and late adulthood. Americans make up approximately five percent of the world’s population but is responsible for 80% of the consumption of the world’s opioid supply and therefore have one of the largest opioid crises in the world. Prescription opioids are majorly responsible for this crisis resulting in 46 deaths per day in 2012.