According to the CDC: “Opiates” vs. “opioids” Although these terms are often used interchangeably they are different: Opiates refer to natural opioids such as heroin, morphine and codeine. Opioids refer to all natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids.
As the world became more aware of the dangers of opiate addiction, scientists began trying to synthesize compounds that would work similarly as opiate without the addictive and harmful effects. In 1874, chemists began working with morphine to create a non-addictive version. They failed at this goal and instead accidentally created heroin. By the 1920s, it was
clear that the abuse of heroin was on the rise and with little medical credence, the U.S. government made the drug illegal.
Attempting once again to make a non-addictive version of morphine, German chemists created both Demerol and methadone in the 1930s. Methadone began being used in the American medical community by 1947 and its use as a way to reduce opioid cravings were quickly discovered. By 1960, doctors began developing the ideas of methadone clinics to combat the growing heroin crisis.
Belgian scientists initially created fentanyl in the 1950’s as an anesthetic. It’s strength compared to other opiates allows it to be used to treat severe pain, but fentanyl remains an incredibly deadly drug even in small doses.
If you or someone you know is suffering from opioid addiction it is vital to seek help immediately. The opioid crisis is a dire situation in this country and across the globe. In 2015, 20,101 people in the United States died of an opioid overdose. That number is akin to one death caused by an opioid overdose every 12 minutes. Due to the opioid crisis, drug overdose is now the number one leading cause of accidental death in the United States.
While opioid addiction does not have a cure, it can be managed with proper treatment and support. The first step for anyone seeking help with an opioid addiction is to enroll in an opioid detox program. Due to the potency of opioids such as heroin and fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms for those attempting to quit opioid usage can be severe. Opioid detox programs allow the distribution of methadone to help combat withdrawal symptoms if need be, or at least medical professional support even if someone wants to quit “cold turkey”.
Different treatment options and centers exist based on where a person is at in their recovery process. It is important to learn coping strategies and work through the underlying issues that cause addiction problems. Group therapy, sober living facilities, and 12 step programs all exist for those looking for help with opioid addiction.
At AM Health Care, we can help build the foundations of a sober lifestyle in those facing opioid addiction. Since it is incredibly difficult for those facing addiction to control their impulses, it is important that they seek outside help and do not try to do it on their own. Even after formal treatment plans, we strive to continue building on the foundations of an individual’s sober lifestyle. Call us at 818-383-1297 to learn more.