When the musical genius, Prince, died of an accidental opiate overdose, the world mourned. Every major news agency picked up the story. The star, who kept a low profile and lived a relatively quiet life, fell prey to a powerful opiate addiction. A few weeks prior to his death, Prince cancelled a show to receive opiate overdose treatment. With more thorough therapies, Prince’s outcome could have been radically different.
Many people, including Prince, turn to opiate medications for pain management. For anyone suffering from debilitating pain, it is easy to turn to opiates for relief. It is estimated that 1.9 million Americans currently struggle with opiate addiction.
Opioids are a class of drugs used to relieve pain. Morphine, codeine and oxycodone are a few of the commonly prescribed pain medications. However, the stronger drugs like heroin and fentanyl also fall into this drug category.
The Pleasure Activator
Opiates work quickly to alleviate suffering by blocking pain receptors in the brain. However, in addition to blocking pain, opiates also activate pleasure receptors that are generally triggered when a person eats or engages in sexual activities. The relief of pain coupled with feelings of pleasure can lead opiate users to seek drugs in pursuit of the euphoric high.
Chasing the High
People who have become addicted to opiates have a difficult time getting off the drugs without help. Opiate abuse causes changes in the brain requiring medical and counseling services for long lasting recovery. Powerful cravings induced by these changes make relapse more likely for opiate addicts.
It is easier than ever to fall into an opiate addiction. Patients seeking relief from chronic pain can quickly build a tolerance to these types of drugs and become dependent upon them. With constant use the brain insists upon more and more opiates to curb the insatiable desire. Further, pain transmitters can begin overreacting to send more pain messages, actually increasing feelings of pain and a need for the drug.
According to the Center for Disease Control, opiate overdose hit an all-time high in 2014. Doctors work to solve this health crisis by using drugs like naloxone, a drug used to counteract opioids during an overdose situation. Meanwhile, patients and families across the nation struggle with how best to end this devastating cycle.
Symptoms of Overdose
Anyone using opiates, along with family members and friends, should know what to look for with regard to opiate overdose. People who have developed a toxicity can exhibit the following signs and symptoms:
- Confusion or delirium
- Loss of alertness
- Extreme sleepiness
- Breathing difficulties
- Loss of consciousness
People experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention right away.
Prince’s fate can be a lesson for others suffering with opiate addiction. Beautiful, talented people can reach for help from understanding friends by calling 800-442-6158 Who Answers? . Call today to receive the best opiate addiction treatment available. You deserve a way off the dark and dangerous path of opiate addiction.
American Society of Addiction Medicine (2016). Opioid Addiction 2016 Facts and Figures. Retrieved: http://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf
Eligon, J. & Kovaleski, S. (2016). Prince died from an accidental overdose of opioid painkiller. The New York Times. Retrieved: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/03/arts/music/prince-death-overdose-fentanyl.html?_r=0
Hawk, K., Vaca, F. & Onofrio, G. (2015). Reducing fatal opioid overdose: Prevention, treatment and harm reduction strategies. Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. Retrieved: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4553643/
US Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit record numbers in 2014. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/
Heller, J. (2015). Opioid intoxication: Medline Plus. US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000948.htm