Opioids are one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. A big part of the reason for this is that they are addictive. Some people will use them recreationally and others will use them in medical settings, but both of these people could be at risk of becoming addicted. This is what has led to the opioid epidemic, which causes overdose deaths and which is the reason the prescription medications are so strictly controlled.
Today, this fact is just taken in stride. There has been plenty of research showing how addictive painkillers are and how this has contributed to illegal use. But was this always understood? Or is this just a more modern interpretation?
Addressing pain in medical settings
The problem came in previous decades, specifically in the 1980s, when more emphasis was put on treating pain. This was the time at which opioids began to be used, and the general thought then was that they were not addictive and that they could be used safely. The danger of overdoses was not known, and entire papers were written about how addiction was incredibly rare.
It was certainly true that pain was an issue that needed to be addressed in American medical care, but everything else about opioids turned out to be wrong. For instance, studies claiming that it was not addictive generally didn’t provide any sources or evidence to back that up. Today, many studies have traced the use of opioids to addiction and they show just how difficult it can be to break.
Are you facing charges?
The problem this creates is that many people find themselves facing serious drug charges when the actual issue is that they are addicted to those substances. Maybe they were injured in a car accident or while serving in the military, for example. The painkillers helped at first, but now they can’t break the habit, and it could lead to illegal use. Those facing these types of charges need to understand all the legal options at their disposal.