You may have used this or someone you know has used this substance before. Your doctor may have said to only take the prescribed the amount no matter what. This substance has both significantly benefited the medical world and harmed society significantly. That’s right, this substance is opioids.
Opioids are drugs made from the opium poppy plant. The opioids are either made directly from the plant or made by a chemical formula in a lab using the opium poppy plant. Opioids are the base ingredient for a number of very addictive drugs. This substance can serve as a painkiller for surgeries and for certain painful illnesses. The cons for opioids outweigh the pros. Let’s talk about the darker side of opioids and how to hopefully prevent them.
Let’s examine Canada as an example for country facing an opioid epidemic. Canada between April to June 2020 had 1,628 deaths due to opioid use. This was the highest quarterly count since the national surveillance on the issue began 2016. All together starting from January 2016 to June 2020 there have been 17,602 deaths linked to opioids. This means that from January 2016 to June 2020 around 326 people died every month. This is too many lives lost to a drug that is supposed to help us, but is also harming us. Though, some people survive the opioid over doses the drug can leave them scarred mentally and/or physically. Even people that haven’t overdosed on the opioids are still going to be scarred mentally and/or physically.
The opioids scar people with both short-term and long-term effects. The short-term effects are nausea, drowsiness, constipation, confusion, euphoria and slowed breathing. Some other major signs for addiction are more frequent-use of opioids and/or possibly faking the pain to get more opioids. If someone you know or yourself are experiencing these symptoms then call an addiction helpline, Sign up for cognitive behavior therapy, and/or speak with a family member or friend. Some long-term issues are permanent brain damage, coma or even death. To stop these effects from happening, measures must be put in place to prevent the addiction of opioids.
One possible measure would before pharmacists to prescribe smaller doses and for a short amount of time in general for everybody. This is because the smaller the dose of opioids and the shorter the amount of time the opioids are taken, the less likely the person will develop an addiction to them. Another possible measure is to not take large doses of opioids after taking a break from taking opioids for a period of time. The large amount of opioids and the lack of feeling of well-being from the opioids can cause an addiction again. The final way, is to dispose of any unused opioids, by contacting the trash service, recycling service or Drug Enforcement Administration to properly dispose of the drugs.
Another problem with opioids are the cases of accidental overdoses. These accidents can happen if a child mistakenly takes the opioids or an elderly person accidentally took the wrong medication or too much of their prescribed medication. To prevent the children from getting the opioids, put them on high places such as, shelves and cabinets where the child can’t reach. For elderly, have people with better sight give them the right drug and the right dose.
Overall, I believe that opioids, especially in Canada need to be regulated more carefully. Some of those thousands of people that died from opioid use could have been saved if proper measures had been put in place such as, prescribing smaller doses in short amounts of time, not take large doses after taking a break from opioids, and disposing of opioids properly. Even though opioids harm many people they also save hundreds and thousands of people with surgeries. If these precautions are put in place, hundreds or thousands of peoples live can be saved. Then the world can be a better and safer place for all.