Opiates (also called narcotics or opioids) are a class of prescription painkillers with the potential to become highly addictive. Typically prescribed for post-surgical recovery or moderate to severe pain, opiate use has become an epidemic among young adults. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that the abuse of prescription medications is highest among 18 to 25 year olds.
It’s a Big Problem
In years past, the abuse of prescription drugs was swept under the rug and not discussed because “It’s medication, not illicit drugs.” It was the secret nobody talked about, but that didn’t mean the problem didn’t exist.
Statistics range widely concerning the use of opiates for reasons other than pain relief. Research suggests that “problematic use” (defined as misuse or abuse) occurs an average of 21 to 29% of the time. Physical addiction to narcotics occurred in 8 to 12% of cases studied. These numbers show the high frequency of opioid abuse, and the need for treatment programs that aid young men and young women who struggle with overcoming addiction.
Substance addiction can lead to potentially dangerous physical issues such as slowed breathing and irregular heartbeat. Addicts may also display poor judgment and are more likely to suffer from mental illness and co-occurring conditions, including depression. Poor judgment can take many forms, including sexual behavior.
Studies show that young adults who are dependent on opiates engage in high-risk sexual behavior such as unprotected sex and a greater number of partners than those who don’t have drug problems. Furthermore, research has proven that the young adult children of opiate-addicted parents are more likely to take sexual risks. These risks not only threaten personal relationships, but physical health, as well.
New Guidelines for Opiate Addiction Treatment
The vast problem of opiate abuse is no longer a dirty little secret, and that’s good news. Highly qualified professionals committed to creating effective treatment plans are now getting into the game to treat people who want to overcome narcotics addiction.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) recently announced the forthcoming release of new practice guidelines for the “Use of Medications in the Treatment of Addiction Involving Opioid Use.” The guidelines will explore medications that are designed to treat opiate addiction, as well as reference multidisciplinary treatment plans aimed to help patients kick the habit. This is a huge step, and a welcome one, in the medical community.
We’re Here to Help
Red Oak Recovery®’s substance abuse treatment facility combines clinical, evidence-based programs with innovative outdoor recreation and nutritional therapy in a holistic approach that gets you the help you need. Call 866.457.7426today to learn more about Red Oak Recovery®’s programs for young men and women. With treatment plans for those in early recovery, our credentialed treatment team is committed to supporting our patients’ physical health and emotional challenges in a compassionate, safe environment.