America has been in the grips of an opioid epidemic for more than two decades, costing millions of lives and suffering for those who have lost loved ones to opioid use disorder. Addiction has long been misunderstood, and many have previously thought that it’s a simple character flaw or lack of impulse control despite evidence to the contrary. When opioid addiction first became a headline, it was mostly due to heroin misuse. Still, the normalization of opioid painkillers overprescribing in the late 90s and early 2000s spawned into a country-wide crisis.
Once opioid painkillers became the norm and were overprescribed, people affected by the opioid epidemic were no longer the character tropes seen on television or movies. They were everyday Americans who were prescribed opioid painkillers for an injury, surgery, or chronic pain, which then became dependent on the medication due to its highly addictive nature.
Effects of the Opioid Crisis
People from all different backgrounds were affected by the over-prescribing of opioid painkillers that fueled the devastating epidemic. Because of the nature of addiction, many of them faced legal and criminal issues resulting in prison time, homelessness, and other grave consequences no person with a chronic illness should have to deal with.
Opioid recovery for inmates is only a recent concept within the US prison system, despite a large chunk of the inmate population being incarcerated attributed to addiction-related issues. This reflects how deeply the opioid epidemic has impacted society, mostly resulting in people spending their lives in prison when they deserved a chance to recover from their illness.
Specialized Treatment for Substance Use Disorder
It’s never been more apparent that opioid addiction is not just a trend or phase; the effects permeate every socio-economic layer of society. This calls for specialized treatment to deal with the real science behind addiction, helping the people who need it most. However, the treatment for opioid use disorder is not so simple, and it requires specialized care for those who need it. Clinics that provide outpatient care can treat patients who can’t easily abandon their daily responsibilities and those who prefer to treat their addiction practically, combining substance use counseling and other beneficial programs provided by their treatment facility.
Opioid use disorder is a disease that should be treated like any other chronic condition. Those who suffer from the disorder should not be discriminated against regarding their personal health and wellbeing. With the help of addiction science, opioid use disorder treatment has become comprehensive, involving psychotherapy, medication-assisted treatment, and other forms of FDA-approved methods that can help those who have embarked on the journey of long-lasting recovery.
Opioid use disorder is not a life sentence. Addiction is a disease that can be effectively treated through specialized methods to help ensure success and wellness for all enrolled patients who are committed to the treatment process. A well-rounded treatment method that includes physical and mental health is most beneficial to all patients who seek long-term recovery.