Why are more people overdosing on drugs? It happens to be the number one killer of Americans under the age of 50. Most of the overdoses are from taking opioids, prescribed painkillers or heroin. Heroin is being laced with fentanyl, which increases the risk for overdose. Drug users are typically unaware of the “bad” heroin being sold on the streets. The high potency of fentanyl can cause breathing to stop, resulting in death. According to The national Drug Institute, Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times stronger.
Fentanyl mimics the function of natural opioids in our bodies helping to decrease panic and anxiety, as well as, pain. Individuals suffering with general or social anxiety are attracted to opioids for calming their nervous system. Others become addicted from a prescription for pain following an injury or surgery. Recently, physicians have been prescribing less. As a result, addicted individuals will get their opioids from the streets. This is a dangerous cycle that continues to plague particularly the younger generation.
What is the Solution?
Opioids come from the brain stem when we get a hug. Mother’s milk is also rich with opioids. Children and adults play, laugh, and socialize more from a dose of natural opioids. Our opioid release allows us to feel safe and to trust one another. Isolation and stress will decrease the amount of opioids we produce.
Educating parents and teenagers of the deadly outcome opioids can have is a starting place. Have an open dialogue with your teen about substance abuse. Keeping teenagers and young adults participating in activities with others is important for socialization. Group support is vital for anyone in recovery from drug use,as well as, those using substances. The group provides accountability and interaction. Look for signs that a loved one is abusing substances ( see blog Signs and Symptoms of Addiction). Hug this person and become the safe, trustworthy individual he or she needs.