With stricter regulations on controlling pain medications, doctors and addiction specialists are now seeing a disturbing trend. People with chronic pain are turning to illegal and dangerous means and substances to alleviate their legitimate illnesses.
What the Evidence Suggests
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a review of 67 separate studies shows that only 14 percent of chronic pain patients become addicted to the opiates that they take to control the pain. When chronic pain patients were tested, only a small percentage of them had illegal or alternative opiates in their systems. When the opiates for chronic pain were taken away due to the risk of addiction, that percentage rose dramatically, indicating that chronic pain patients were turning to alternative and sometimes-illegal methods to self medicate.
Illegal Alternatives for Chronic Pain
When chronic pain patients are denied legitimate treatment, they often turn to illegal and illicit alternatives. Some of these alternatives are:
- Opiate pain killers cut with others substances and sold on the black market.
- Heroin, this highly illegal, highly addictive drug is one of the most powerful painkillers and a sister drug to morphine.
- Opium, a natural product of the poppy flower that is a pain killer when smoked or ingested.
- Kratom, a plant based pain killer that is now illegal in many countries.
- Other illegal nonopiates known to cause euphoria.
Unfortunately, all of these are illegal for a reason. When their use is not controlled they are highly addictive and very dangerous.
What are the Dangers of Changing from a Prescribed Opiate to an Illegal One?
The dangers of illegal opiates are well documented. These dangers include:
- Overdose – taking too much of a drug. Overdose carries the risk of coma and death.
- HIV – many of the illegal forms of painkillers are used by injection and this carries the risk of shared or dirty needles.
- Addiction – many of these drugs are highly illegal because they are dangerously addictive, heroin being one of the worst.
- Legal issues – arrest and incarceration is the punishment for being caught with these substances.
These dangers are very real. Many people find that the illegal versions of the prescription opiates are extremely dangerous and find themselves in deep trouble with addiction before they realize it.
Addiction to Illegal Opiates Destroys Lives
Addiction destroys your life. People who suffer from addiction, particularly heroin addiction, wind up doing things that they never thought they would do. Things like:
- Stealing from friends or family.
- Obsessing about the drugs.
- Finding ways around legal restrictions.
- Eventually spending money reserved for food and other bills for the illegal drugs.
Fortunately, there is an Answer
If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain and they turned to illegal drugs because their legitimate treatment was stopped, there is still hope. Opiate addiction of all types is highly treatable and with the right rehab, both the addiction and the chronic pain are correctable. For help finding a rehab that understands addiction due to chronic pain, call us at 800-429-5210.