Don't know a lot about the opioid crisis and recovery efforts? Check out below for some fast facts!
Background on Addiction/Opioid Crisis
What is addiction?
Addiction is a chronic, complex brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences, and by long-lasting chemical changes in the brain which interfere with a person’s ability to think clearly, exercise good judgment, control behavior, and feel normal without using drugs. (National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction." July 2014).
What are opioids?
Opioids are a grouping of drugs including heroin, fentanyl (synthetic opioid), as well as prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone (otherwise known as Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many more (National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drugs of Abuse: Opioids. 2015.).
A majority of heroin users began using heroin after becoming addicted to pain relievers that were prescribed to them. In fact, according to a research study done in 2013, "nearly 80 percent of Americans using heroin (including those in treatment) reported misusing prescription opioids first" (Jones CM. "Heroin use and heroin use risk behaviors among nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers." 2013.).
How is New Hampshire being affected?
According to the CDC, in 2016, New Hampshire was ranked as having the 3rd highest rate of death due to drug overdoses in the country (CDC. Opioid Overdose: Drug Overdose Death Data. 2016.). Synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, have an even larger presence in New Hampshire, causing New Hampshire to have the highest rate of synthetic opioid overdose deaths in 2016 (CDC. "Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, Cocaine, and Psychostimulants — United States, 2015–2016." 2016.).
According to research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, "most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning" (National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)." January 2018.).
Since a substance use disorder is a chronic disease, relapsing is both possible and likely, like any other chronic disease. Successful treatment for addiction requires continual evaluation and modification as necessary. Failure is not indicative of failure, but signifies that the treatment is in need of readjusting or modification (National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)." January 2018.).