The opioid drugs have brought relief to many people that were suffering severe pain enough to even disable them. The use of these drugs however should be done with extreme caution as this is like a double aged knife. We talk of collateral damage here with this I mean that these drugs should be used in a manner that they are safe enough not to cause myriad problem such as addiction and dependence on these records. Today there are millions of Americans who depend on these opioid drugs to overcome what might otherwise be agonizing, crippling pain. However, each year, the numbers of people who have become addicted to these drugs rise. The very same drugs that help them to overcome the pain are poising a great danger in their lives needless to mention the use of these drugs has led to death of many Americans. The main cause of these deaths is overdose. Prescription opioid overdoses caused more than 16,000 deaths in the United States in the year 2010 alone. This is for times the number of deaths that were recorded in 1999 to have been caused by prescription opioid overdose. In the past it was not easy for both private and public health facilities to act on these unpleasant statistics but slowly they seem to lay strategies to curb the use of these opioid drugs and so far these strategies have shown positive results as very many lives have been saved not only in America but also in other continents.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has cited Florida as one of the cities where the deaths have dropped owing to these strategies that have been employed by the health sector. The deaths dropped from 3201 as was in 2010 to 2666 in 2012. The report clarifies that most of these deaths were reduced due to reduction in prescription of these drugs to pain patients. There were fewer prescriptions to these opioid drugs as a result of in the policy that regulated the flow of these drugs. These policy changes led to a close of 250 of the state’s pill mills that were considered high volume pain medication dispensaries.
The United States remains far and away the world’s largest user of prescription opioids, with 259 million prescriptions written in 2012, according to the CDC — twice as many, per capita, as the next-largest consumer, Canada. A separate CDC report issued the same day as the Florida update showed that prescription rates vary widely among states. Now, when we take America out of the picture and we begin to find reasons why there are problems with the opioid medications we learn that one of the causes of these problems is;
Every patient entrusts his with the doctor, however in some situations this dependence may be abused either intentionally or unintentionally. Some doctors are opiophobiac and hence reluctant to give right doses to the patients while in some scenarios a patient may be handled by a doctor who is not experienced in pain treatment hence may either overdose or under dose the patient. Cases of overdose are a major cause of deaths from use of these pain drugs.
Another source of complication is, the patient may be afraid of these drugs as they are often portrayed negatively by the media. The fear of addiction and dependence may make a patient not to use the drugs as prescribed.
Due to the problems that were faced by both doctors and patients in dealing with the opioid medications, the universal precautions were developed to offer a structured rational approach to pain patients and serve “as a guide to start a discussion within the pain management and addictions communities. They are not promoted as complete precautionary measures but as a guide to opioid medications.
The difference between physical dependence, addiction and PSEUDO-ADDICTION
These three have different meanings. However they have always been confused causing fear among patients using these drugs. Physical dependence is the case that arises when a person has been using these drugs for some time. The body physically becomes dependent on these drugs so much that when you stop using them you will show signs of withdrawal. This is normal and happens with other medications not only with opiates.
Addiction on the other hand is a case when a person losses control of the drugs. He no longer can maintain the doses as prescribed but begins to take much more than the prescribed doses. In most cases those addicted to a drug will not accept that they are but will go through all hustles to satisfy their craving for the drug.
When a pain patient on opioids begins behaving in a manner that most addicts do but in real sense he is not addicted, this is called pseudo-addiction. The patient will demand for more drugs because the doses he got have not settled the pain. They will even use more than the prescribed doses in a bid to cool the pain and are often early to request for more drugs since they overused the ones they were given to cool the pain . The difference between pseudo-addiction and addiction is the reason behind the need for more drugs; an addict needs more drugs to satisfy his craving while in pseudo-addiction a patient needs more drugs because of the pain.
You need more information to stay away from dependence on alcohol and drugs as these have crippled societies and that is why here at AWAREmed we are dedicated to finding the best solutions to addiction and dependence on substances. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is always in the mood of helping any patient to be addiction free. Do not hesitate to call on her for help in managing any sort of chronic pain or any type of addiction as well as other diseases.