Opiate addiction is a huge issue in modern society, with professional treatment often needed to break the bonds of dependence. Commonly abused opiates include the illegal drug heroin and the prescription medications codeine, morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl among others.
Opiate drugs are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, with these highly addictive substances capable of causing both physical-somatic and emotional-motivational withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use. Opiate addiction is a significant problem with young people, some of whom turn to heroin after first getting hooked on prescription painkillers.
How to Prevent Opiate Addiction in Young People
In order to tackle opiate addiction, it’s important to reach out and engage with people before dependence develops. Here are some ways that you can prevent opiate addiction among youth.
Understand Prescription Opiate Abuse
Prescription opiate abuse is a growing problem across the world, especially in the United States. While illicit drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine get most of the media attention, prescription opiates are responsible for more deaths than ever before. Prescription opiates and other drugs are abused whenever they are taken in a different way than intended by a medical professional, with people regularly taking larger doses than prescribed or combining medications for a more potent effect.
Identify Problematic Drugs
A wide range of prescription painkillers are abused on a regular basis, including the naturally occurring opiate alkaloids codeine and morphine and the semi-synthetic substances Vicodin and Oxycontin. Prescription opiates are legal and widely prescribed for acute and chronic pain, with physical dependence and addiction, often developing as a result. For example, opiate addiction can begin at a young age when drugs are prescribed for sports injuries or chronic pain conditions.
Look at Links Between Prescription Opiates and Heroin
The long-term and habitual use of prescription opiates can lead to overdose and addiction. People who abuse opiates on a regular basis are likely to become addicted over time, with some people turning to the potent illicit drug heroin as a cheaper, and more widely available alternative. The easy availability and affordability of heroin attracts it to many, especially those people who are unable to source expensive prescription opiates after developing a habit. The links between prescription opiate abuse and heroin addiction are incredibly worrying, with dedicated medication and behavioral therapies needed to break the bonds of heroin addiction.
Engage With Education as a Form of Prevention
Education is key when it comes to preventing opiate addiction, including dedicated systems that teach young people the dangers of prescription drug abuse. In order to prevent opiate addiction among youth, people also need to become more aware of alternative ways to treat pain without relying on opiate medications. Access to drug educators and responsible doctors is of vital importance, as is behavioral therapy and other psychotherapy systems as an alternative to psychoactive drugs.
Find Appropriate Opiate Addiction Treatment
If you’re worried about friends or family members abusing opiate drugs, it’s important to find professional help as soon as possible. Treatment for opiate addiction normally begins with medical detox to enable the cessation of drug use, followed by cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and individual counseling systems. Access to aftercare programs is also important, including sober living communities and 12-step support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).