Our Grandparents Are Addicted To Opioids

Times were so much better in the 1940’s and 50’s, people were friendly, things were so much more innocent, there was little crime and neighborhoods raised children. Things were just simpler and easier, back then, the movies were simple and had no fancy special effects. You could go to sleep with your doors unlocked and our grandparents were who we looked to for wisdom, encouragement, leadership, and direction.

With a desire to ease the physical pain of our fellow human beings, the use of opioids has evolved into a catastrophic epidemic: billions of dollars in lost productivity; unprecedented health care costs; crime; the destruction of lives, families, and communities; and a death toll that far exceeds that seen in world wars. Every eleven minutes an American die from an opioid overdose, according to the CDC statistic that 130 Americans die daily from opioid overdoses (CDC, 2018).

Prescriptions and sales of opioids in the United States have tripled since 1999 (Guy et al., 2017). While Americans account for less than 20 percent of the world’s population, they consume more than 80 percent of the world’s opioid supply and 99 percent of the hydrocodone supply (Manchikanti, 2007). Prescription opioids are the most significantly misused, doctor-prescribed substance, resulting in nearly 400,000 opioid-related deaths since 1999 (Scholl, Seth, Kariisa, Wilson, & Baldwin, 2019).

The enormity of this crisis has created greater need for treatment programs for the prescription- opioid-abusing population—ones presenting with novel challenges to recovery. Many patients struggling with opioid use disorder (OUD) began their troubled journey with a legitimate prescription for opioids; nearly 80 percent of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin (Jones, 2013). Whether postsurgical or injury-related, pain is the common denominator for countless OUD patients.

Matthew Taylor, AODC, MHRT, CCFP

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