Three Myths of Opiates

Three Myths of Opiates

People fear that if they take opiate medication, they will get addicted to the drug

There are many different thoughts about opiate abuse. Some of these thoughts about opiates are perceived to be true but are really myths. One of the most common uses for opiates is in the area of pain relief. There are several kinds of prescription opiates such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, Kadian, and Avinza. One of the most well-known illegal opiates is heroin. Here are three common myths of opiates and the truth behind them:

Myth 1

One of the most common myths in our society is that individuals who use opiates always develop an opiate addiction. There is a definite distinction between short-term use of opiate painkillers and physical opiate dependence. Because of this, some fear that if they take the medication at all, they will get addicted to the drug. Patients are often stigmatized and called drug seekers simply because they use these specific medications. For this reason, chronic pain (in some cases) does not get treated. When opioid medications are used correctly they can be very beneficial for the patient. The key is to pay close attention to any side effects or symptoms and to communicate openly with your doctor. If you find that you are craving a stronger dose or are having any side effects at all, please do not hesitate to seek medical attention.

Myth 2

Another myth is that opiate addiction only affects young adults and those who want to get a high. The truth is opiate addiction can impact anyone. In fact, substance abuse, particularly of alcohol and prescription drugs, among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest growing health problems facing the country affecting up to 17 percent of older adults. Yet, even as the number of older adults suffering from these disorders climbs, the situation remains underestimated, under-identified, underdiagnosed, and undertreated.[1] Because many senior citizens are desperate for pain management, and insurance limits the use of physical therapy and more intensive treatments, many doctors prescribe painkiller drugs to older adults. Opiate drugs can lead to disorientation, sleepiness, and even accidents around the home. It is important to note that opiate drug dependence does not discriminate, and all ages are susceptible to the risk of becoming dependent on these drugs because of the way these opiate painkillers impact brain function and chemistry.

Myth 3

 A common myth in our culture is that for opiate addicts, methadone is an unsafe treatment for opiate addiction. Methadone does not provide the same kind of high provided by other opiates. In fact, Methadone is often used to prevent withdrawal symptoms in patients who were addicted to opiate drugs and are enrolled in treatment programs in order to stop taking or continue not taking the drugs.[2] It is often believed that methadone or other opiate blocking or opiate withdrawal prevention drugs may also prove to be the ideal choice for treating pain in those with drug abuse history. However, it is important to keep in mind that methadone can be readily exchanged and diverted easily on the street to obtain other drugs when needed.

Opiate addiction is a serious problem for many individuals, but the good news is that effective treatment is available right now. Call our 24-hour, toll-free number today to speak with a trained counselor who can help you move forward and move past substance abuse.


[1] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64422/ Substance Abuse Among Older Adults

[2] https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682134.html Methadone