doctor pointing to a bottle of pills and explaining what makes prescription opioids so dangerous

What Makes Prescription Opioids So Dangerous?

The issue of prescription opioids, their ready availability, and their rampant abuse is common in American news and public health discussions. The problem of prescription opioid addiction is so bad in the United States that it has been called an epidemic and national crisis.

The need for opioid addiction treatment resources has never been greater. Despite the constant attention in the media, many people don’t understand just how dangerous prescription opioids can be. If you or a loved one are struggling with prescription opioid addiction, call The Right Step Houston at 1.844.768.0169 or contact us online. We are ready to help you reclaim your life.

Dangers of Prescription Opioids

Here are some of the key dangers associated with prescription opioids:

1. They Are Highly Addictive

One of the most dangerous aspects of prescription opioids is that they are highly addictive. It’s estimated that around 1 in 4 people who use them will develop an addiction.

This high addiction potential is due to how opioids work on the brain. Opioids bind to receptors in the brain and produce a feeling of pleasure or euphoria.

Over time, the brain becomes used to the presence of opioids and starts to produce less of its own natural feel-good chemicals. This creates a need for more and more opioids in order to feel normal.

2. They Can Be Deadly

Another key danger of prescription opioids is that they can be deadly. In fact, they are one of the most commonly involved drugs in overdose deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 47,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the United States in 2017. This is more than double the number of deaths just a decade earlier. And things are only getting worse. The CDC reported a 38% increase in deaths by opioid overdose from December 2019 to December 2020. 

Opioid overdoses can be deadly because they slow down breathing and heart rate to dangerous levels. In some cases, an overdose can cause a person to stop breathing altogether and die within minutes.

3. They Can Have Serious Side Effects

In addition to being addictive and deadly, prescription opioids can also have other serious side effects. These include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoria
  • Slow heart rate
  • Shallow breathing

These side effects can be extremely uncomfortable and, in some cases, dangerous. For example, a slow heart rate and shallow breathing can lead to a lack of oxygen in the brain, which can cause seizures or coma.

4. They Are Often Misused

Another key danger of prescription opioids is that they are often misused. In fact, studies have shown that as many as 1 in 3 people who are prescribed opioids will misuse them.

There are a number of ways that opioids can be misused, including:

  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Crushing and snorting pills
  • Dissolving and injecting them
  • Taking them for non-medical reasons, such as to get high
  • Mixing them with other drugs or alcohol

Misusing opioids can increase the risk of overdose and other serious side effects. It can also lead to addiction.

5. They Are Often Abused

In addition to being misused, prescription opioids are also often abused. Opioid abuse is defined as taking the drugs in any way other than how they are prescribed.

This might include taking them more frequently than prescribed or at higher doses. It can also involve using them for non-medical reasons, such as to get high.

Abusing opioids can lead to many serious consequences, including addiction, overdose, and death.

If you or someone you know is abusing prescription opioids, getting help as soon as possible is crucial. There are a number of treatment options available that can help people recover from prescription opioid abuse and addiction.

Reach Out to The Right Step Houston for Prescription Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one are caught in the web of prescription opioid addiction, it may seem impossible to break free. However, proven and effective treatment is available.

At The Right Step Houston, our professional, compassionate staff uses evidence-based therapies to address each individual’s needs through a personalized treatment plan. Call 1.844.768.0169 today to get started and let us help you regain a life of sobriety.

Scroll to Top