According to Canada Health, opioids are drugs with pain relieving properties that are used primarily to treat pain. Opioids can also induce euphoria which gives them the potential to be used improperly.
Opioids can be prescribed medications like codeine, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, hydromorphone and medical heroin. Opioid medications are intended to treat pain. Doctors may sometimes prescribe them for other conditions such as acute to severe pain, long term pain, moderate-severe cough. Prescription opioids are available in various forms such as syrups, tablets, capsules, nasal sprays, skin patches suppositories, liquids for injection.
Opioids should only be taken as prescribed and should never be taken with alcohol. Short term effects of opioids may include drowsiness, constipation, impotence in men, nausea and vomiting, feeling high, headaches, dizziness and confusion. Long term effects of opioids include increased tolerance, substance use disorder or dependence, liver damage, infertility in women, life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in babies born to mothers taking opioids.
The World Health Organisation reports that about 275 million people worldwide (5.6 per cent of the global population aged 15–64 years) used drugs at least once during 2016. Among them, there were about 34 million people who used opioids and about 19 million who used opiates.
There were an estimated 27 million people who suffered from opioid use disorders in 2016. The majority of people dependent on opioids used illicitly cultivated and manufactured heroin, but
an increasing proportion use prescription opioids.
Roughly 450,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015. Of those deaths, about 160 thousand were directly associated with drug use disorders and about 118 thousands with opioid use disorders.
Overdose deaths contribute to between roughly a third and a half of all drug-related deaths, which are attributable in most cases to opioids. The lifetime prevalence of witnessed overdose among drug users is about 70%.
The Edmonton Journal reported that in 2018, nearly 500 people died due to fentanyl overdoses in the first three quarters of 2018, but it’s possible Alberta has entered a plateau phase with fewer deaths on the horizon, says a provincial report.
The face of the crises is Roop Rai whose husband was addicted to heroin for years. The panel examined her struggle to keep her sanity, her marriage and her home. Recovery and rehabilitation took years for her husband. Now on the other side, Roop and her husband provide support to families in distress. She stresses that when a loved one is addicted, it takes time and work to get them unhooked. Just telling them to ‘sort themselves out won’t just work.
An interesting panel, let us know what you think.