By now, everyone knows there is an opiate epidemic in the United States. Hydrocodone, which is an opiate narcotic painkiller, is the most prescribed medication in the country. When people go to their doctors when they are sick or in pain, they expect a prescription medication. With health insurance rates high, and expensive co-pays, many patients do not want to hear from their Dr that they should just go home and rest. Patients spend money, and expect to receive a prescription medication. Doctors are trained to treat symptoms by prescribing medication so it is no surprise that our country is now heavily medicated.
With this mindset of receiving a prescription from your doctor, many people are being prescribed medications that are too powerful for their ailment. Many patients who would never abuse illegal drugs, are finding themselves addicted to their painkillers. When their Doctor cuts them off, many make the switch to the black market. Either buying pills illegally or using heroin. People who would never been affected by dependence or addiction fall victim to opiates. It's a shame because many people shouldn't have been prescribed opiates in the first place. Remember, opiate painkillers used to only be prescribed for cancer pain. They are know commonly prescribed for any aches and pains. The patients take the medication as directed and feel the rush of euphoria for the first time. They enjoy the way the painkillers make them feel, and continue to take them. Tolerance builds quickly, and many soon find themselves taking an extra half or an extra pill to feel the euphoria. It is sad to say, but that is the start of an addiction because once that feeling is wanted and the action is repeated, a seed is planted in the brain that yearns to feel the the euphoria again. Soon they start making excuses as to why they need to take their medication and justify their use over and over in their head until they realize they are addicted.
If you are a friend or family member of a someone addicted to opiates, it is extremely hard to sit back and watch them deteriorate. They will slowly lose little parts of their lives and their personality will start to change. Their motivation and desires will change and they will become a shell of the person they used to be. They may become anti-social and never want to leave their house. Many addicts are also always out of money because their habit gets expensive fast. Their mindset on life will become very negative and they will not want to be bothered by anyone. Yet you still know that the person you love and care about is still in there. You want nothing more than to help them escape the hell of a life they have created. No one knows this more than a recovering addict themselves, and seeing your friends that are still using is heartbreaking.
If you want to help your friend or family member, let them know that you are concerned. They may not be open to you saying this but it is worth the try. If they accept, take a Friday and Monday off from work. Tell your friend to take their last dose on Thursday night and by the time they wake up in the morning of Friday they will start to feel the acute withdrawals set it. Stay with them the whole weekend up until you have to return to work on Tuesday. After that point it is up to them to stay clean but you will have a clean conscience that you did what you could to help them.