Opioid Abuse: The Growing and Deadly Public Health Crisis

Prescription drugs and opioids are used for pain management and are prescribed by a medical professional for short-term use. Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and many others (National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA).

Many people misuse the medication and take more than directed. Prescription drugs and opioids can be very addictive, and for that reason, doctors and pharmacists emphasize the importance of taking the medication as prescribed.

The Public Health Crisis

The staggering increase in opioid-related deaths is now a public health crisis. In 2017, the U.S. Department on Health and Human Services declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. In 2015, over 33,000 Americans died from an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and the illegally manufactured fentanyl (Opioid Overdose Crisis, 2018). The misuse of prescription drugs and opioids has led to a growing and deadly public health crisis.

Unknown Substances Added to Drugs

Opioid-related overdoses and deaths are occurring at an alarming rate as more people develop an addiction to opioids. The availability of ordering opioids on the internet creates easy access to the drugs. When a person buys drugs online from an illegal source, there is no way to tell what fillers are used in the drug. For example, some contain household chemicals, artificial fillers, and other more potent drugs, such as fentanyl and other substances. The medication can also be contaminated or counterfeit.

The in-person dealers are less likely to supply tampered substances because they want to keep your business. However, other addictive potent drugs could be added to increase the probability of the buyer returning for more. Many in-person dealers know their buyers personally and want the buyers to keep coming back. The online drug sources do not care about their buyers because they can easily replace them. Avoid buying illegal drugs anywhere and only seek pain management recommendations from a medical professional.

Treatment is Available

Medication should only be used as prescribed. Never share prescription medication or painkillers with anyone. Not only is it illegal, but sharing painkillers can also cause health complications and if the person is on other medications, it could interfere with its effectiveness. In addition, the person you share with may be struggling with opioid dependency and your medication might lead to a relapse.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, get help today. Take the opportunity to free yourself from the bondage of addiction. Treatment can be tailored to each person’s unique needs. Addiction is isolating, but you are not alone. While there is no cure for addiction, it is treatable and there is hope in recovery. Get help now.


Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.