According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths related to drug overdose are at the highest they have ever been in the country. Moreover, many of these deaths involve the use of opioids, which are often overprescribed and abused. In fact, it is estimated that more than 11 million individuals abuse prescription opioids, resulting in serious life-altering mental and physical negative effects. These types of drugs are often prescribed to those who might experience either moderate or extreme pain in the aftermath of a surgical procedure or to alleviate pain after sustaining an injury. However, opioid drugs, such as oxycodone, morphine, and fentanyl are extremely addictive and, when not handled properly, can cause one to develop an addiction.
Becoming Addicted to Opioids
Not everyone is prone to developing an addiction to opioids, of course. However, the CDC estimates that 1 out of every 4 patients who use opioids as part of long-term treatment will end up developing an addiction to them. The more these drugs are misused and abused, the higher the likelihood is of the individual becoming addicted.
Why do people become addicted to opioids? Users have to repeatedly take their choice of opioid to relieve their pain, relax, or experience a high. This activates the part of the brain that is typically referred to as the reward and pleasure center, which users will continuously crave. However, the more frequently a user takes opioids, the higher their tolerance for them will be. To continue to feel the effects of the drug, the dosage will have to be increased, again and again, to accommodate each new level of tolerance their body develops for the drug.
The Serious Consequences of Opioid Addiction
Abusing opioids can affect a person in a multitude of ways, both mentally and physically. These drugs pose such a danger to the overall health of an individual that many stand a high chance of overdosing. Even those who take opioid drugs for medical purposes should be wary since it is still possible for them to become physically and psychologically dependent on them.
The mental effects of opioid usage include:
- Reckless behavior
- Thoughts of suicide
- Anxious feelings
- Extreme mood swings
- Inability to feel pleasure
The physical effects of opioid usage include:
- Organ damage
- Heart failure
- Trouble breathing
- Low blood pressure
Moreover, opioid users might develop a decreased tolerance for pain, rendering them unable to cope with pain on their own.
Opioid Litigation in Alabama
If you or a loved one developed an addiction to opioids, resulting in serious negative health effects, you should consider seeking skilled legal guidance. At Elizabeth A. Citrin, P.C. in Alabama, our skilled attorney is committed to holding opioid manufacturers liable for this growing epidemic that affects millions of patients.
Begin the first steps toward obtaining compensation today and reach out to our law firm at (251) 202-3374 to schedule a consultation.