Addiction to opioids — prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl — is a national crisis. NIH-supported research has led to effective strategies that can be implemented right now to save lives and to prevent and treat opioid addiction. For example, NARCAN® Nasal Spray can revive individuals from opioid overdose. NIH is working with other federal agencies and the pharmaceutical industry to develop new medications and technologies to prevent and treat opioid addiction. Many of the genes that are thought to play a role in opioid addiction are involved in the endogenous opioid system, which is the body’s internal system for regulating pain, reward, and addictive behaviors. It consists of opioid substances produced naturally within the body (called endogenous opioids) and their receptors, into which opioids fit like keys into locks.
Opioids are safest when used for three or fewer days to manage acute pain, such as pain that follows surgery or a bone fracture. If you need opioids for acute pain, work with your doctor to take the lowest dose possible, for the shortest time needed, exactly as prescribed. It is many times more powerful than other opioids and is approved for treating severe pain, typically advanced cancer pain1.
Understanding the Opioid Overdose Epidemic
No, not everyone taking a prescription opioid becomes addicted to them. When prescription instructions are carefully followed, the chances of becoming addicted are decreased. What makes opioid medicines effective for treating pain also can make them dangerous.
Naloxone on its own is a medication used for overdose emergency situations. It can help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in just minutes. Drug use can have significant and damaging short-term and long-term effects. Taking some drugs can be particularly opioid addiction treatment risky, especially if you take high doses or combine them with other drugs or alcohol. The risk of addiction and how fast you become addicted varies by drug. Some drugs, such as opioid painkillers, have a higher risk and cause addiction more quickly than others.
People with substance use disorders may go to hospital emergency rooms because they are in crisis due to physical or emotional distress. Most hospitals provide an evaluation and assess the patient’s primary need, and then connect the patient to treatment. The hospital may admit someone who also has a significant medical problem in addition to the opioid use disorder. https://ecosoberhouse.com/ What should you do if your doctor prescribes an opioid drug for you? To lessen the chance of developing a substance use disorder, follow your doctor’s orders carefully, making sure to only take the medication as prescribed. If you are going to have a medical procedure, you should have a conversation with your physician beforehand about pain control.