According to the National Library of Medicine, “When used carefully and under a health care provider’s direct care, [prescription opioids] can be effective at reducing pain” and will not cause addiction, overdose, and the other issues associated with opioid abuse. But what leads a person to abusing opioids and creating a dangerous problem in their lives that will need to be corrected with treatment?
Many people know that opioids themselves cause euphoric effects when taken in high doses. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Most prescription drugs are dispensed orally in tablets, but abusers sometimes crush the tablets and snort or inject the powder. This hastens the entry of the drug into the bloodstream and the brain and amplifies its effects.”
However, most people who start out taking their medication as directed are not looking for these effects. Individuals who do want to experience the euphoria caused by opioid abuse usually obtain prescription narcotics illegally or abuse heroin in order to cause this desired outcome. Unfortunately, though, those who do abuse opioids for their euphoric effects are likely to experience overdose, addiction, and many other serious effects.
Some people begin taking opioids in higher doses in order to combat tolerance. A person is bound to experience tolerance eventually, as the body will become used to the specific amount of the drug being used and require more in order to create the same effects.
Because many people are nervous to talk to their doctor about these results – or because they believe they can handle it on their own – they begin to take more medication than they should, which is a form of abuse.
These individuals may feel they are combatting the effects of tolerance, but they will only grow tolerant to the new dosage of opioids, causing them to continuously need more to create the effects they want. Instead of changing your dosage yourself, it is important to talk to your doctor.
They may decide to put you on a stronger opioid or make another change to your dosage. Those who change their dosage amount themselves without consulting their doctor, however, are participating in dangerous opioid abuse.
Combatting Dependence and Withdrawal
The NLM states, “You should not use a narcotic drug for more than 3 to 4 months, unless you are under direct care of your provider.” This is meant to minimize the chance of dependence occurring, but the issue can happen even when the individual has been taking the drug for several weeks.
Also, if the patient begins to experience withdrawal, they may take more of the drug or take it past the point when they should have stopped instead of consulting their doctor.
This issue can also be handled by your doctor who will likely wean you off the medication you are on to avoid your experiencing any withdrawal symptoms. However, some people take this into their own hands and try to treat their withdrawal themselves, which is also a form of abuse and a dangerous one at that.