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How Many People Are Addicted to Opiates? - Addiction Advice Online

How Many People Are Addicted to Opiates?

Opiates are drugs that are derived from the poppy plant and are used to treat pain and other medical conditions. Unfortunately, many people become addicted to these drugs, and the number of those addicted is increasing. In this article, we will explore how many people are addicted to opiates and the dangers of opiate addiction.

How Many People Are Addicted to Opiates?

What is Opiate Addiction?

Opiate addiction is a chronic illness that is characterized by an individual’s compulsive use of opiates despite the negative consequences. It is a physical and psychological dependence on opiates, which are primarily derived from the opium poppy plant. Opiates are powerful drugs that can produce intense euphoria and relaxation. They are commonly prescribed to treat pain, but are highly addictive and can easily lead to abuse and dependence.

Opiate addiction is largely a result of the drug’s ability to activate the brain’s reward system. This reward system is responsible for reinforcing behaviors that are beneficial to survival, such as eating and drinking. When opiates are used, the reward system is activated and a feeling of pleasure is experienced. This feeling of pleasure reinforces the behavior of taking opiates and can lead to addiction.

People who are addicted to opiates often experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop using the drug. These symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sweating, muscle aches, and insomnia. Opiate addiction can also cause changes in behavior, such as aggression, impulsivity, and difficulty concentrating.

How Common is Opiate Addiction?

Opiate addiction is a growing problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 2 million people in the US were addicted to opioid drugs in 2018. This number is more than double the number of people who were addicted in 2002.

In addition, the rate of overdose deaths from opioid drugs has risen dramatically in recent years. The CDC estimates that more than 47,000 people died from an opioid overdose in 2018, which is a 10-year high. The majority of these deaths were caused by prescription opioids and heroin.

The increase in opioid addiction and overdose deaths is believed to be driven in part by the increase in the availability of prescription opioids. These drugs are often prescribed to treat pain, but they can easily lead to abuse and dependence.

Who is at Risk for Opiate Addiction?

Anyone who uses opioids is at risk for addiction. However, certain groups are at higher risk than others. For example, people who have a family history of addiction, those who have a mental illness, and those who have experienced trauma or abuse are more likely to become addicted to opiates.

In addition, people who are prescribed opioids for a long period of time are at greater risk for addiction. This is because these individuals are taking larger doses of the drug and are more likely to develop a tolerance, which can lead to dependence.

Impact of Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction has a significant impact on individuals, families, and communities. People who are addicted to opiates often experience strain in their relationships, financial difficulties, and employment problems. In addition, addiction can lead to health problems such as liver failure, respiratory depression, and heart problems.

Opiate addiction can also have a significant impact on the community. It has been linked to increased crime rates, homelessness, and the spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C.

Treatment for Opiate Addiction

The good news is that opiate addiction is treatable. Treatment typically begins with a medical detox, which involves gradually tapering off the drug and managing withdrawal symptoms. This is often followed by counseling, therapy, and support groups to help individuals address the underlying issues that led to their addiction.

Medications such as methadone and buprenorphine can also be used to treat opiate addiction. These medications bind to the same receptors in the brain as opiates, but they produce a milder effect and can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

In addition, lifestyle changes can help individuals recover from opiate addiction. Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and engaging in hobbies can help individuals manage stress, cope with cravings, and stay sober.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: How Many People Are Addicted to Opiates?

Answer: According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 2.1 million people in the United States had a substance use disorder involving prescription opioids in 2018. Additionally, around 948,000 people had a substance use disorder involving heroin in 2018. These numbers indicate that the total number of people addicted to opiates in the United States is around 3 million people.

Question 2: What Types of Opioids Are People Addicted To?

Answer: People who are addicted to opiates typically use either prescription opioids, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine, or illegal opioids, such as heroin. Prescription opioids are often used for pain relief, while heroin is an illegal opioid that is typically taken for recreational purposes.

Question 3: What Are the Effects of Opiate Addiction?

Answer: Opiate addiction can lead to a variety of physical and psychological effects. Physically, opiate addiction can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation, and slowed breathing. Psychologically, opiate addiction can cause feelings of euphoria, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, people who are addicted to opiates may experience cognitive impairments, such as difficulty concentrating and poor decision-making.

Question 4: What Are the Risks of Opiate Addiction?

Answer: Opiate addiction can be very dangerous, as it increases the risk of overdose and other serious health problems. Additionally, people who are addicted to opiates may also be at risk of developing an infectious disease, such as HIV or Hepatitis C, due to sharing needles or engaging in risky behaviors.

Question 5: Are There Effective Treatments for Opiate Addiction?

Answer: Yes, there are a variety of effective treatments for opiate addiction. Treatment options may include medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, as well as behavioral therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help people learn to cope with their addiction and develop healthier behaviors. Additionally, support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, can provide people with a safe and supportive environment to discuss their struggles and receive support from others.

Question 6: What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opiate Addiction?

Answer: The long-term effects of opiate addiction can vary depending on the individual and the severity of the addiction. In general, the long-term effects may include physical problems, such as liver damage, kidney damage, and respiratory problems. Additionally, people who are addicted to opiates may experience psychological problems, such as depression, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. Finally, opiate addiction can increase the risk of developing an infectious disease, such as HIV or Hepatitis C.

Descent into opioid addiction captured on video

The reality of opiate addiction is that it affects millions of people around the world, from all walks of life. It is a growing problem that is taking a significant toll on our society. While there is no exact number of people addicted to opiates, it is clear that the number is high and rising. As a society, we must work together to reduce the number of individuals addicted to opiates and help those who are struggling with addiction to overcome it and lead healthy, productive lives.

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