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September 21, 2022
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Opioids are a class of strong addictive, inexpensive drugs (1). They are often referred to as painkillers, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl. However, Opioids are also found in street drugs such as heroin. Overdoses on opioids are an epidemic in the USA. Every year tens of thousands of people die in the USA due to misuse of these drugs.
Most people will start their Opioid journey out with little intention of getting addicted. In fact, most people who use Opioids had prescribed them by their doctors, someone they respected and believed they were doing them good. However, many people’s bodies can quickly become addicted to Opioids only in a matter of a few doses. This can quickly lead to an addiction that spirals out of control. This can lead to going from doctor to doctor to get more opioids. Because there is a huge problem, it has been given the name “Opioid crisis.”
To raise awareness among people and reduce the stigma around opioids every year, on September 21, “National Opioid Awareness Day” is observed. According to clinical guidelines, opioids should be patients’ last pain medication option if no other safe alternatives are found. Opioids have a lot of side effects, such as slowed breathing, constipation, nausea, confusion, and drowsiness. (2) Patients who use opioids frequently get addicted to them. Opioids themselves are not bad, but an overdose of opioids is what we need to be aware of.
You can spread awareness among your community. Some things you can do are:
Stop the Stigma: Simply spread awareness of the dangers of opioids and not take them for pain unless there isn’t another option. Let people know that you are safe to talk to if they should find themselves with a problem and need help. Stopping the stigma that these people have major problems is essential. An opioid addiction could happen to anyone, not just those that set out to find their next “high.” In fact, most opioid users were never into or ever thought they would be using street drugs. But, when the prescriptions ran out, and their doctor wasn’t helping them get more, they turned to the streets. This addiction is so powerful that it can affect not only the addict but everyone around them.
You can start a petition on your own for better drug management policies. You can also stop the stigma by just letting people know about opioids. By raising awareness, there is less likelihood of others getting these prescriptions when they are not necessary. Many doctors still prescribe them without trying any other pain reliever options. Also, some doctors will hand out prescriptions, knowing they could be getting their patients addicted. Regulations of these doctors are critical. Opioids should only be prescribed when all other pain medications are exhausted. Petitioning for better drug management policies would help everyone involved.
If you are looking for ways to make a difference during Opioid Awareness Day, try volunteering at a rehab facility. Here you, too, can learn more about the disease from those that have suffered. You can give back to your community and help those in it. While volunteering on this special day is a great gesture, you might find that you enjoy volunteering and want to do more. Rehabilitation centers are always needing extra hands and ears.
The USA has recorded 800,000 deaths since the opioid epidemic started. This “National Opioid Day” would raise awareness among people and help to prevent further cases. It removes the stigma from society about opioid overdose death. Moreover, this campaign can lead to better management of opioids.
Observing this day brings awareness to those needing help due to opioid use. It also helps to let others know about the dangers of opioids, especially if they haven’t ever heard of them. Many doctors still prescribe these drugs without seeking any alternatives for pain control. Knowing and understanding the dangers of opioids helps those needing pain control make more informed decisions.
Keystone Laboratories, a CAP-accredited North Carolina licensed laboratory and CLIA-licensed lab, is committed to helping you make important decisions that impact the safety and health of your patients with greater confidence. Clients in 48 states can get prescription drug and substance abuse recovery monitoring, specialized testing, workplace drug testing, screening, and program management services from Keystone. Contact Keystone Laboratories today to receive the industry-leading laboratory testing services!