Opiates are drugs derived from the opium poppy plant and are used to treat pain. Opiates work by binding to the receptors in the brain to decrease the perception of pain. They have been in use for centuries, and over time some social stigmas have developed about opiate addiction. A few common examples of opiates include: heroin, morphine and oxycodone.
Opiates are considered Schedule I and Schedule II drugs by the Controlled Substances Act. This means they are considered highly addictive or have a high potential for abuse. As a result, opiate addiction is officially acknowledged as a medical condition that requires intervention and treatment. Some social stigmas plague opiate addicts as they are often viewed as weak-willed or even immoral individuals who deserve the consequences of addiction. Contrary to these attitudes, many opiate addicts are upstanding people. No one desires a life of opiate addiction, and these individuals do not have the power to stop using drugs on their own.
Stigmas Surrounding Opiate Addiction
When stigmas are in place, it becomes more difficult to get help for your addiction. When there are not stigmas attached to opiate addiction, it becomes easier to seek treatment and there is not a worry placed on the role opiate addiction will play in one’s professional and personal life.
Stigmas about opiate addiction and addiction in general often include the following:
- Opiate addiction is associated with criminal behavior. Many studies have shown the correlation of addiction and crime, which leads many people to falsely believe that all addicts are immoral and even dangerous people.
- Opiate addicts are weak-willed. It is a commonly held belief that opiate addicts allowed the addiction to develop intentionally. This viewpoint takes away empathy for the consequences from substance abuse.
- Opiate addiction does not require treatment. Many people believe that ending opiate abuse is merely a choice, and opiate addicts can quit using through their own willpower.
The increase in the availability of prescription opiates over the last few decades has brought many patients relief but the abuse of these opiate drugs has also torn many lives apart. There are many individuals who do not understand or respect the addictive attributes of the drug and the damage it can cause.
Who Becomes Addicted?
Opiates are sometimes given as treatment for pain from chronic illnesses, injuries, or surgery. As a result, these are the individuals most likely to become addicted. Others who use opiates use them to numb painful emotions, or even to enjoy a recreational high. Opiates must be handled responsibly in accordance to a physician’s instructions or an addiction to opiates is likely to result from repeated opiate use.
Who Is Able to Recover?
No matter how great a hold opiate addiction has on an individual’s life, recovery is possible. A professional treatment program including detox and rehab will address a patient’s physical and psychological needs and equip him or her with the skills and resources to live free of addiction. If a patient requires pain management, addiction treatment professionals must consider the need for medical treatment. While opiate addiction treatment involves unique challenges, these can be overcome with a personal evaluation of the addict’s needs and individualized care.
Help for Opiate Addiction
Opiate abuse is a very serious matter. The Center for Disease Control reports that nearly three out of four prescription drug overdoses are caused by opiates. So if you or a loved one is struggling with opiate addiction, please call our toll-free helpline to speak with an admissions coordinator about your treatment options. We are available 24 hours a day to find you the help you deserve. Please call today.
 http://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml Drug Schedules
 http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/08/31/facts-about-prescription-opiate-abuse/ Facts about Prescription Opiate Abuse. White, Donna.