It is an undeniable fact that opioid addiction has adverse effects not only on the primary users but also on the society. Concerns have been raised over the opioid crisis. It is considered that prevention measures can play a great role in reducing the rate of opioid addiction. This article provides great insights on the prevention of opioid abuse and addiction.
Understand what opioids are
The first step to the prevention of opioid abuse and addiction is having a clear understanding of what opioids are. Opioids are a form of drugs used in the management and relief of pain. They include some illegal class of drugs such as heroin, legal pain relievers such as morphine and codeine as well as synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Opioids should be used under the direction of healthcare professionals for them to be helpful.
Drug use and addiction
Usually, most people tend to take the initial drugs voluntarily. However, continued use of the drug can stimulate an individual’s mind, affecting their self-control, making it hard for one to deny the urge to take such drugs. In the case of opioids, a lot of care is needed even when under prescription since this class of drugs has diverse side effects.
Safe disposal of opioids
One of the significant contributors to drugs abuse and addiction is improper storage and disposal. As such, it is important to be careful with the disposal of unused, unwanted and expired opioids from the house. It reduces the probability of other people misusing them intentionally or accidentally. There are drug-take-back programs that offer safe disposal of any medicine that you do not use at home.
Alternatives to pain management
Prescription opioids are great for managing pain although they are not the only effective pain relievers. However, before the use of opioids for pain management, it is advisable to have clear information on the associated risks and benefits. Secondly, other pain management alternatives such as non-opioid treatments are safe and effective.
Safe prescription of opioids
Effective use of opioids starts with the medical professionals. There are laid out guidelines by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on appropriate prescription of opioids especially for use in chronic pain management. Such guidelines emphasize on the use of opioids for pain management and treatment only if it extends past three months apart from end-of-life care, palliative care, and cancer treatment.
Evidently, while opioids can be important medicines, their misuse can have adverse impacts. Undeniably, the opioid crisis is real, and its effects are spilling over to other sectors apart from the health sector. For this reason, there is a need for better prevention approaches. Presently, several efforts are being implemented to prevent the crisis. Awareness, as evident in the National Prevention Week, is one of the ways to prevent opioid abuse and addiction. Secondly, organizations should invest in opioids epidemic practical toolkits aimed at enlightening and helping affected people to heal and recover from opioid addiction. Thirdly, the government should focus on monitoring the prescription of opioids.