The Opioid Epidemic
Opioid addiction is an epidemic in the United States . While all opioids have similar impacts on the body and brain, there are prescription and non-prescription. An example of prescription opioids is pain killers, while heroin is an example of a non-prescription opioid.
While prescription opioids can be used safely for a short amount of time and if taken as prescribed, using these drugs regularly can lead to a substance use issue. This can eventually lead to addiction, overdose, or death. This type of drug produces euphoric feelings and pain relief, which increases the likelihood of addiction .
Naloxone and Other Protective Measures
The high rates of opioid addiction and heroin-related deaths have led to the development of other drugs that can help reverse the effects of an overdose and decrease the risk of addiction . One of these drugs is naloxone . In fact, the opioid epidemic has become such an issue that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has implemented new laws. The FDA now requires doctors to provide patients with information about naloxone when they are also prescribed with an opioid medication .
Naloxone is a medication that can reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose and can help treat addiction . This is important to be aware of so that patients or loved ones can advocate with their doctors to have access to this medication. Given that an overdose can be fatal, naloxone can save someone’s life.
It is important to be aware of the signs of an overdose so that someone knows when to use the medication. According to the FDA, symptoms of an overdose include slowed or difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, being unresponsive or unable to wake up .
It is recommended that if someone uses opioids, whether prescription or non-prescription, to let others know where you store your naloxone and how to administer it. This is important in case there are signs of overdose. This can help reduce the possibility of serious medical complications or death.
This medication is also shown to treat opioid addiction after someone has completed detoxification . Naloxone can help someone recover from the physical effects of opioid use. Prolonged use can result in withdrawal symptoms when someone stops using it. This can make it more difficult to stop using. Naloxone can help with this process.
It is important to be aware of the potential for opioid addiction and the resources available. Opioid abuse is a serious issue in America today, but with medications like naloxone, recovery can become more feasible.
 U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2020, July 23). Opioid pain relievers or medicines to treat opioid use disorder: MedWatch safety alert- fda recommends health care professionals discuss naloxone with all patients when prescribing. https://www.fda.gov/safety/medical-product-safety-information/opioid-pain-relievers-or-medicines-treat-opioid-use-disorder-medwatch-safety-alert-fda-recommends
 National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.) Opioids. https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids
About the Author:
Samantha Bothwell, LMFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, writer, explorer, and lipstick aficionado. She became a therapist after doing her own healing work so she could become whole after spending many years living with her mind and body disconnected. She has focused her clinical work to support the healing process of survivors of sexual violence and eating disorders. She is passionate about guiding people in their return to their truest Self so they can live their most authentic, peaceful life.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from multiple physical, emotional, environmental, and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published on September 23, 2020
Reviewed by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 23, 2020
Published on AddictionHope.com