Prescription Opioid medications are relatively easy to obtain, as a result, opioid abuse has become a major problem in the United States, with prescription addiction being one of the biggest drug problems today. It is estimated that over 200 million prescriptions for opiates alone were dispensed in 2010. What is not understood is that prescription opiate abuse is far more likely to develop a heroin addiction than non-opiate abusers, one of the many reasons is heroin is far cheaper to buy.
You may hear the terms Opiate or Opioid abuse, what’s the difference? Opiates are drugs naturally derived from the active narcotic components of the opium poppy, whereas Opioids are synthetic and semi-synthetic drugs. These are modified versions of the opiate chemical structure. Opioids usually reference prescription drugs. But the terms Opiates and Opioids are often used interchangeably.
Overusing these drugs whether prescription drugs or from the street can have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing. The hazards of overusing opioids, sharing needles for injecting heroin, or injecting pills that have been crushed have their own dangers. These substances and practices will affect almost every part of your body, leading to permanent damage to your health.
Here are some examples of Opiate/Opioids:
- Oxycodone (trade names include: OxyContin and Percocet).
- Hydrocodone (trade names include: Vicodin and Lortab).
Oxycodone is the generic name for a range of opioid painkiller medications. It is a prescription synthetic opioid now abused at epidemic levels. They are very potent and dangerous and it all starts in your medicine cabinet. When used improperly, these legally prescribed drugs have the same risks as illicit heroin sold on the street. 467,000 people in the United States have struggled with heroin addiction and over 2 million were estimated to overuse painkillers.
Statistics recently released on drug abuse.
Statistics released by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2016. These were broken down into different drug classes, an example of which are below:
- Deaths from Heroin overdose 14,000
- Deaths from Synthetic Opioids 20,000
- Deaths from Opiates 35,000
- Deaths from Benzodiazepine drugs 9,000
- Deaths from Cocaine 10,000
Video: Courtesy of NIDA
One solution to detect Opiate abuse is to use one of our recognized drug test kits. These are urine tests that will help to establish what drugs were found after testing. There are tests for unknown pills and powder as well, these are very useful to identify suspicious powder or pills found around the home or the workplace.