The number one reason why people younger than 50 die in the US is opiate overdose. Number two is suicide; Number three is medical errors. Opiate drug abuse ravages the United States for many reasons, ranging from easy access to opiate medications and drugs compounded by depression, poor general health, hard physical work, and lack of social support networks. Chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other alternative medicine health practitioners need to work with the medical community to help reduce the use and misuse of opiates in our country to alleviate the suffering caused. Television shows like ‘The Pain’ strive to portray the problem that so many US citizens already recognize. Natural healing practitioners like Dr. Lisa Oskardmay hope to help as they reduce pain naturally. . Learn more about the role of alternative medicine in reducing the scourge of addiction and abuse in the US.
The Poppy Plant is the source of morphine, a substance that fits into the same receptor in our body as endorphins, the body’s natural opiate. Natural opiates, or endorphins, are created, as their name suggests, naturally in the human body in response to invigorating exercise, sexual release, laughter, or feeling happy. We naturally strive to feel good and engage in behaviors that result in the release of endorphins. ‘Runners high’, ‘orgasm’, Nonetheless, sometimes we obtain drugs or medications that simulate this ‘high’ good feeling to overcome pain; overuse of opiates can have devastating results.
People worldwide have used opiate drugs in some form or another for 60,000 years. They report that the pill makes them feel physically good, reduces anxiety, and helps them not to care about everyday problems. Nonetheless, the happiness and pain relief offered by opiates quickly turns into unhappiness and increased sensitivity to pain as the drug soon changes the opiate receptors and serotonin relaxation response. Bliss turns to hell.
The US is a leader in opiate use and abuse. The problem has worsened since the Covid pandemic for many reasons, but the causes are multifactorial. One speaker at a recent seminar on opiate abuse told how, at 15, he broke his arm and took opiates for pain. At first, the drug felt so good, but he quickly went from oxycontin to other pharmaceuticals on the streets. He stopped after eight years but shared a list of 13 names of friends and family who have died of an overdose. A female EMS provider discussed the mental health of first responders like herself who must see the effects of opiate addiction. She related that her 26-year-old sister, school teacher, and mother of 2 died of fentanyl use. A police officer discussed Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) programs the State of Florida uses to help reduce the overuse of opiates. Still, he feels his work is just a drop in the bucket in a growing problem.
On an average day in the US, 500,000 prescriptions are written for opiate drugs. An additional 4,000 people start opiates for non-medical use, and 600 start heroin, frequently because they are addicted to opiates but cannot obtain or afford the drugs anymore. There are more than 3,300 ER visits every day in our country due to reactions to opiates. Two thousand overdoses are reported, and two hundred people die of opiate overdose every day in the United States. One hundred deaths daily are related to Fentanyl. Ninety babies are born addicted every day in our country.
The CDC, FDA, and the alternative medicine community hope to help reduce the number of prescriptions written for opiates for back pain and other neuromuscular disorders. The number one reason for people to go to the hospital is their birth; then the second one is back pain. The number one reason medical doctors prescribe opiates is back pain.
Studies show that people with back pain who go to a chiropractor, acupuncturist, or physical therapist are much less likely to take opiates. One study showed that 1% of workers’ compensation claimants who utilized chiropractic care ended up with opiate prescriptions versus 10.3% of claimants who received medical care. At Acupractic Natural Healing Center, the chiropractic and acupuncture offices of Dr. Lisa Oskardmay, we hope to help people get well without addictive pain medication use.
From a CDC Study on Dependency, many do not realize how short it takes to become addicted to opioids. After one day of use, there is a 6% risk of using it one year later; 2.9% are still using it three years later. After 12 days of use, 24% were still using it a year later; after 21 days of use, that number jumps to 35%, and after 30 days of use, 43% were still using it a year later. The risk of opiate abuse rises with each day of prescription opiate drug use. The author of this post was prescribed a 30-day supply of opiates for an uncomplicated tooth extraction recently; getting rid of the unused pills was a problem in itself. One cannot just throw new drugs in the trash or flush them. Thieves break in to steal from the medicine cabinet, and easy access to opiates in a household is never a good thing.
Research ‘National Take Back Day’ to find out when you can get rid of household medications and opiates in your house. Better yet, promote natural drug-free healing methods first to reduce the need to use opiates and risk the addiction problem. Ignore or turn off pain medication advertisements when you see them- the US and Iceland are the only countries in the world that allow this type of drug advertising.
There are several reasons why the US has the highest rate of drug abuse globally. If we work together we can help to reduce the scourge of opiate addiction that hurts us all.