Opiates have been the subject of much criticism over the past 20 years. They have been over-prescribed and have been the cause of thousands of overdoses. They change the way the brain works and disrupt certain chemicals from being produced, effectively changing the chemical make up of user's brains. Over time, whether you are prescribed them or are abusing them, you may eventually become dependent on the drug to not get sick.
Opiates are widely abused around the world because of the euphoric feeling the drugs give. Because of the pain relieving capabilities, prescription painkillers were created from the works of scientists over the past hundred years. Opiates were not prescribed very often until the late 1990's when everything changed. There was a push for more liberal prescribing of pain medication for people with chronic pain. Opiates were originally only prescribed for cancer patients but in the late 1990's they began to be prescribed heavily for all types of pain. This was right around the same time that Oxycontin was introduced to the market. Before we knew it, the market was flooded with painkillers. Today, the most prescribed medication in the United States is a painkiller known as hydrocodone.
Opiates have been in newspapers every day for the past decade because of the terrible amount of overdoses and crime associated with them. People frequently become addicted to painkillers and switch to the cheaper and more dangerous heroin as their tolerance builds. The progression is one that is seen quite often. Addicts are also committing crimes to afford their habit.
What if opioid painkillers were no longer addictive? Well according to scientists from Cara Therapeutics, they say they are closing in on creating medicines that can relieve severe and chronic pain without getting people hooked. The Connecticut-based business, Cara Therapeutics, recently released research showing its opioid drug is far less likely to cause patients to feel high than a "control" medicine considered to have a low potential for abuse.
Currently there are at least 12 other medications that are in the research phase that have the same goal. This tells us that scientists truly believe that they have the necessary ingredients to relieve severe pain but not get people addicted to the medications. The effects of having such drugs would put a decline in the amount of abuse from prescription painkillers which will have a positive effect on future numbers for heroin as well.
The thought of having these medication hit the market is a breath of fresh air. It may end the prescription painkiller addiction era and put an end to the pain and anguish that addicts cause to themselves as well as their friends and families. It may also help those that have legitimate pain and make them more comfortable with taking their medication. This could be a huge step in the right direction and a win-win for everyone involved.