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Who Is at Risk for Developing an Opioid Addiction?
An opioid addiction happens when an individual relies on opioids. This can cause many health and mental problems and can lead to death. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 21 to 29% of individuals who are prescribed opioids for pain misuse them. This can include taking more than prescribed. Read on to learn more about who is at risk.
Risks for developing an opioid addiction
Anyone who is taking a prescription that is an opioid will risk developing a tolerance to this medication. It only takes a short amount of time to become used to this type of medication. After the body has become used to the medication, the user will need to take more of the medication to get the same effect. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it only takes about five days of normal use of opioids before the risk for dependency increases.
According to the Addiction Center, there were more than 200,000 deaths from prescription opioids between 1999 and 2016 in the United States. During this time period, the deaths from prescription opioids increased by more than 500%. A few groups had the highest rates of overdose. These include:
- People between the ages of 18 and 25
- Non-Hispanic white people and Native Americans
- People who live in states such as West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, and New Hampshire
Many people who had an overdose first got the pills through a health care provider. However, others got the pills from friends or family members.
Reducing the risk of an opioid addiction
The good news is that there are ways that individuals can avoid opioid addictions, for both themselves and others. If possible, patients should avoid opioid medications in the first place. However, if these medications are necessary, then patients should only take the medications as prescribed by the doctor.
It is extremely important never to take more medication per dose than the doctor instructed. Patients should also never take the doses more often than instructed. Instead, patients should call the doctor if the pain is getting worse. The doctor can treat the underlying problem if possible.
Because opioid medications can cause serious side effects if the patient mixes them with other medications, patients should never mix these medications with other medications. This includes sleeping pills, alcohol, controlled substances or illegal substances.
Patients should store the medications in a safe place where pets and children cannot get to it. It is also important for patients to avoid sharing any opioids with others, even if the others are taking the same medication. Any unused medication should be quickly and properly disposed of.
Get help for an opioid addiction
Anyone who is taking a prescription opioid can be at risk for developing an opioid addiction. If you suspect that you or a loved one have an opioid addiction, it is important to seek medical attention. There are ways to fight an addiction, including medications and rehabilitation.
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