Opiates such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl and morphine also kill more Americans than car crashes each year.

In 2015 27 million Americans used illegal drugs like heroin and/or misused prescription pain killers. Oxycodone and other opioid pain killers have been identified as the primary gateway drugs to heroin – something every person should be aware of.

Misinformation and manipulation of scientific facts by drug makers have led to a drug crisis of truly astounding proportions, with more Americans now using prescription opioids than those who smoke cigarettes.

Many of today’s addicts became hooked after being prescribed a narcotic pain reliever following dental surgery or a relatively minor injury.

Heroin use more than doubled as a direct result of prescription opioid addiction among young patients.

According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, while most opioid drug abusers obtain the drug from a friend or relative, individuals who are at greatest risk for drug abuse are just as likely to get them from their doctor.

Opioid painkillers work by interacting with receptors in your brain resulting in a decrease in the perception of pain – at least temporarily. As mentioned, over time they can result in increased pain perception, setting into motion a cycle where you need increasingly larger doses, making a lethal overdose more likely.

Oxycodone’s high rate of addiction is the result of the amount of time the drug stays in your system before you are left wanting more. Opioids also create a temporary feeling of euphoria, followed by dysphoria, which can easily lead to physical dependence and addiction.

The transition from prescription opioids to street heroin is an easy one. Physical addiction to the drug drives behavior to seek more of the same drug. Without additives, street heroin is as dangerous as oxycodone, and just as addictive. 

At present, only 1 in 10 drug addicts receive the help they need, and those who do get into treatment typically face long wait times. About one third of those who need treatment cannot afford it, or don’t have insurance coverage. There’s still an enormous amount of work that needs to be done to turn this epidemic around, but part of the answer is to become an educated patient, and to never fill that opioid prescription in the first place.

If you or a friend is struggling with drugs, contact Akridge Chiropractic and Laser Pain Relief for ways to get help.