What are de dangers of Opioids abuse?

Opioids are a drug class that includes both prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine and illegal drugs like heroin. While opioids can be effective pain relievers, they also carry a high risk of abuse and addiction. 

Risk Of Abuse

When opioids are abused, they can cause nausea, drowsiness, confusion, and slowed breathing, among other negative side effects. In severe cases, opioid abuse can result in a fatal overdose. The possibility of addiction is one of the most serious risks of opioid abuse. Opioids produce feelings of euphoria and pleasure by binding to opioid receptors in the brain. However, repeated use of opioids can cause the brain to become dependent on them, resulting in cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not present. 

Opioid Epidemic 

Addiction to opioids can have serious consequences for both the individual and society as a whole. Opioid addiction can lead to a variety of negative outcomes, including job loss, financial difficulties, and strained relationships with family and friends.

Furthermore, opioid addiction can increase the risk of developing other health issues such as hepatitis C and HIV. In many countries, including the United States, the opioid epidemic has become a major public health crisis. Over 90,000 people in the United States died from opioid-related overdoses in 2020, according to estimates.

The epidemic has prompted a number of initiatives aimed at reducing opioid abuse and addiction, such as expanded access to addiction treatment programs and improved education and awareness campaigns. 

Close to Home

Age-delineated data for opioid use in CO youth are somewhat scarce. Across all age groups, CO had ~70% increase in fatal fentanyl overdoses from 2020 to 2021. Among persons aged 14–18 years across the US, overdose deaths increased 94% from 2019 to 2020 and 20% from 2020 to 2021.

Median monthly overdose deaths among persons aged 10–19 years increased 109% from July–December 2019 to July–December 2021; deaths involving illicitly manufactured fentanyls increased 182%. Around 90% of deaths involved opioids. Counterfeit pills were present in nearly 25% of deaths.

Two thirds of decedents had one or more bystanders present, but most provided no overdose response. Approximately 41% of decedents had evidence of mental health conditions or treatment.

With more widely available, accessible, and sensible education on these topics, we can help inform our community members of the dangers, warning signs, resources, and harm reduction techniques that could save lives.

To Summarize

The risks of opioid abuse are significant and far-reaching. Opioids are effective pain relievers, but they also have a high risk of abuse, addiction, and overdose. If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, it is critical to use opioids only as prescribed by a healthcare professional and to seek help. Opioid-related overdose deaths have significantly increased in recent years, demonstrating an alarming need for education, resources, and community interventions and support. 

Want to learn more? Check out our upcoming courses on Opioid Awareness and Education for Youth: