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A Blue, Blue World

Oxy, vike, percs are all slang names for Opioids. Opioids, its a synthetic narcotic not derived
from opium. They relieve pain signals from reaching the brain. Medications that fall in the opioid
category include hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Percocets. 1.9 million Americans live with prescription
abuse or dependence, while only 517,000 people live with heroin addiction. It can be found in any house
hold, hospital or school. Pain killers are readily available and easily accessed by anyone one from age 12
and up. These drugs are no respecter of persons, no respecter of economic class or education status. It
affects all people regardless of race or religion. Its a multi-million-dollar business. The biggest catch is
that its all legal in this big blue world. Van Wormer Katherine, and Diane Rae. Davis. Addiction
Treatment: A Strengths Perspective. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole--Thomson Learning, 2003. Print.

Pain killer addiction has and will continue to happen in our society. However, are we looking
strictly at the drug itself or is there more to it. We must first look at what opioids do to the brain. There
are a few ways to take these types of pain killers such as OxyContin.
The doctor recommended way is just take it orally. They can also be
crushed and snorted, or smoked. So, when the drug enters the body
it attacked the natural opioid receptors we have in our brains. These
are in the pleasure center that process endorphins. Endorphins have
a natural way to relieve pain. When an addict uses opiates over a
sustained period, the brain reduces or down regulates the bodys
natural production of pain killing neural transmitters to compensate
for the over stimulation. This drug is telling an addicts brain that the
drug is the most important thing of all, over eating, drinking water to survive and any social aspect of
their lives to be last on the list of things the addict needs. The drug hijacks the brain and the only way for
it to survive is to keep on using it. This is what is known as drug tolerance. The more you use of the drug
your body and brain then tells you to take more and at a higher dose because the dose that you have
been taking does not have the same affect from previous uses. http://www.webmd.com/pain-
management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications Addiction Treatment: A Strengths pg. 125

So then of course this could lead to serious consequences for an addict. They tend to lie or steal
from friends and family. They become numb when they are off the drug. They will lose the ability to
maintain a social life and in some cases, lose their jobs. In the worst-case scenarios, it can lead to death.
46 people die each day from opioid prescription over dose. Thats two deaths every hour, and about
17000 deaths annually. Prescription drugs are not very cheap either. A negative outcome of Prescription
opioid addiction is that it may lead 75% of prescription opioid addicts to use a cheaper drug as heroine.
Pain killers and heroine have very similar effects on the brain and body. It is also considered an opioid.
The difference however of course is that to buy heroine you must find it illegally as for pain killers, your
local family doctor can prescribe you the drug legally. This creates a problem for addicts. Addiction is
viewed as a will power type of problem. However, that is changing. More and more people are
beginning to understand addiction as a disease, but there is still that stigma. So, if the addict had the
needs and money to get his/or hers refills every month there is a steady supply to feed his addiction.
Its a quick fix to, the problem, instead of dealing with pain physically or emotionally. The pills
have taken over. Over 85% percent of the population takes
some type of pill daily. Whether its a prescribed medication
or some type of vitamin. The most prescribed medication in
the United States is Vicodin or vices, not only in pain killers
but of any medication. In the mid-90s the United States
started letting direct advertising for pharmaceutical drugs.
Its almost impossible in modern society to watch any type of
prime-time television to not see an advertisement for these
drugs. These companies than aggressively realized on the
money to be made and starting there aggressive and direct
advertisements campaign to increase their sales. So where
does it stop and what can we do to prevent more deaths
from prescription over dose.

In the state of Utah, possession of prescription drugs without a valid prescription from a doctor
is a serious offense. It is treated the same as someone getting caught with an illegal drug such as meth
or crack. Utah courts impose severe penalties for illegal possession. These can include jail time, fines,
community service, and drug testing and drug treatment programs.

Utah has implemented a law to help prevent the injuries and deaths from misuse of prescription
drugs. From 1999 to 2007 deaths attributed to poisoning increased by 500%, from 39 to 261. That was
about 300 deaths every year starting in 2007. Utah state legislator realizing that this can become more
of a problem and decided to intervene. They passed House Bill 137 and gave approved funding to the
Utah department of health (UDOH) to establish a program to reduce the deaths and other harm from
misuse of prescription opioids.

This helped produce guidelines for the state of Utah on prescribing prescription drugs. Some of
the guide lines were that Opioid medications should only be used for treatment of acute pain. When
opioid medications are prescribed for treatment of acute pain, the number is should be no more that
the number of doses needed. The patient should be counseled to store the medications securely and
not to share with others, and to dispose them properly when the pain has resolved. The use of opioids
should be reevaluated if persistence of pain suggests the need to continue opioids beyond the
anticipated time for acute pain treatment.

Sadly, the funding for the Prescription Pain Medications was eliminated in 2010 has shown a 4.2
percent increase in the state of Utah. Utah ranks eighth highest for drug over dose in the US with
downtown Ogden Utah having the third highest rate of prescription pain medication overdoses in the
So, to change this policy and health care professions to make changes to grapple this epidemic. Changes
need to be imposed and to
mandate and voluntary take
actions to approach the
increase of prescription abuse.
The biggest challenge is how
can you regulate and identify
those who are abusing the
drugs from those individuals
who benefit from opioid
therapy and medications. By
decreeing the amount of opioid
supplies may decrease the onset addiction in the future, but will not cure existing addiction. That
however can cause the increase of heroine abuse.

Further research needs to be made about this increasing problem. As individuals we can make a
small difference by seeking professional help for the ones we know who suffer from addiction. The most
people who are affected by drug addiction is the lower class. Utahs state legislators must step up and
allow the people with lower incomes to seek professional help by using a Medicare so that lower income
families can use their insurance to seek professional counseling. Until that happens the increase of drug
addiction will increase but in the meantime, we can make small steps towards a larger goal to help the
ones in need.

By Keeping our own prescriptions locked up and safe from others from using them. Notice any
changes and intervene if you suspect a friend or loved one over using these types of drugs. If you cant
afford a high prices treatment facility to help with your addiction, consider your community and see if
there are any free or inexpensive treatment programs to help you. Do more research on the drug that
you are using so you know how and when to use it. Let others know that you may have a drug problem
and if its affecting your daily life. We all need to work together to prevent more deaths and injury from
drug addiction not only from prescription medications but from any type of drug use.
Work Cited

1. Opioid overdoses still rising in Utah despite successes elsewhere By JAMIE LAMPROS (APRIL 22,
2015) http://www.standard.net/Health/2015/04/22/Opioid-use-still-up-in-Utah-despite-study

2. Robert Rolfs, PO Box 142104, Salt Lake City, Utah,


3. Van Wormer Katherine, and Diane Rae. Davis. Addiction Treatment: A Strengths Perspective.
Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole--Thomson Learning, 2003. Print.

4. http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications

5. The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment

6. Thomas R. Kosten, M.D.1,2 and Tony P. George, M.D


7. http://www.health.utah.gov/vipp/pdf/FactSheets/2012RxOpioidDeaths.pdf

8. http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf