The abuse and misuse of opiate narcotic medications and heroin continues to affect the lives of young people as well as adults throughout the United States and sadly, deaths due to drug overdose are extremely high. Opioid prescription pain relieving medications are widely prescribed to patients for legitimate medical reasons but they're addictive and also obtained illegally for non-medical use.
Opiate medications that are prescribed to alleviate pain like Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet and morphine are some of the medications that are intentionally abused today.
Opioid pain relievers in the past have been easily obtainable. For many years opioid pain relievers have been widely prescribed by healthcare professionals which are very powerful medications. Prescription painkillers have been easily obtained through doctor shopping which involves obtaining prescriptions from various health care professionals. This isn't the only way people have been easily obtaining painkillers to misuse, many people that abuse pain medications get them from relatives or friends. Opioid pain medications are also often obtained from illicit 'pill mills', the internet or from drug dealers too.
Fortunately states are beginning to crack down on individuals that use doctor shopping as a way of obtaining prescription pain pills and other prescribed medications in order to reduce the misuse and illegal sale of these drugs. It's illegal for healthcare professionals to prescribe pain medications to anyone without legitimate medical reasons but some do. There have been doctors, pharmacies and clinics investigated and even shut down because of this in the past.
Although it's true that many people who have to take prescription pain medications for long term relief of pain often become dependent, the misuse and abuse of painkillers among people today has rapidly increased throughout the U.S. Not only has the number of people abusing prescription opiate painkillers increased in the past few years, but so have opioid overdoses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), deaths that involve overdose from opioid pain medications have not only increased but actually surpass deaths associated with drugs like cocaine and heroin combined. Prescription opioid pain relievers aren't the only drugs associated with opiate overdose in the United States, the use of heroin is also an opiate that's increasingly being used and unfortunately linked to many overdose deaths.
Respiratory Depression Associated With Heroin Overdose
Heroin overdose often involves breathing problems which could lead to respiratory depression. If a person takes a high enough dose of heroin this could lead to a fatal overdose in which their breathing stops completely. Heroin overdose is unfortunately increasing for various reasons, for some people the heroin was much more potent than expected. Many people also combine alcohol or other opiate drugs with heroin and this leads to an overdose.
Narcan is the brand name for Naloxone which is a medication that can be used to reverse the effects associated with a heroin, morphine or other opiate drug overdose. The use of Naloxone has been responsible for successfully reversing the symptoms of opioid overdose many times according to an article on time.com.