Opioid Pain Pill Abuse in Georgia
Opioid pain pills are so addictive because they release large amounts of dopamine in the brain. This can cause feelings of euphoria, pain relief, and overall well-being. Not only do users seek out those effects, but the brain easily builds a tolerance and needs increased doses.
Currently, Georgia has secured a spot in the top 11 states that prescribes opioid pain pills to residents.
- Between 2016 and 2017: 541 million doses of opioids were prescribed to Georgia residents.
- In 2018, there were almost 500 overdose deaths in the state due to opioid prescriptions.
- 63.1 opioid prescriptions are written for every 100 patients
- In 2020, 67% of drug overdose deaths in Georgia were due to opioids
Stories of Recovery
Though it may seem hopeless, life without opioids is very possible. The following stories are told by real people who have struggled with opioid addiction and have recovered.
Physical Signs of Use
Signs of opioid use are often similar to those of heroin use. The severity of these symptoms is dependent on the amount used and for how long and can include:
- Weight Loss
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Loss of Concentration
- Mood Swings
- Slowed or Slurred Speech
- Depressed Mood
Symptoms of Opioid Pain Pill Abuse
Symptoms are once again going to depend on a variety of different factors such as the amount used and for how long. Knowing these can help you pinpoint whether someone you know (or yourself) is struggling with an opioid use disorder. Someone struggling with opioid addiction may:
- Change doctors multiple times to get new pain pill prescriptions
- Steal from friends or family members or ask for money
- Experience sudden problems at school or work due to missing or lack of motivation
- Develop health consequences such as heart infections and damage to the liver, kidney, or lungs
- Have increased pain in joints or muscles as the brain and body crave more medications
- Feel more anxious or depressed and experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not present in the system
- Overdose is also possible, and this may result in death or long-term damage
Because the continued use of opioids will cause an increased tolerance and require more to feel the same effects, individuals may experience withdrawal when they try to stop or when they no longer have the drug in their system. The brain is going to induce symptoms of withdrawal to prompt use. Symptoms of opioid pill withdrawal can include:
- Muscle Aches or Cramps
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Suicidal ideation
Seeking professional treatment for opioid addiction is the best and safest way to get sober, especially if detox is needed. Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and may cause a relapse.
Exercise is a critical piece in any treatment program for opioid addiction. When you exercise, you activate the brain’s natural opioid production. This can help minimize withdrawal effects and get the body back on track in a natural way.
There are several different medications that can help with opioid withdrawal and treatment from addiction. Those include:
- Lofexidine: an FDA-approved, non-opioid medication that treats opioid withdrawal. Also reduces cravings.
- Buprenorphine: an opioid antagonist that reduces cravings.
- Naltrexone: treats opioid cravings.
- Clonidine: treats opioid withdrawal and discomfort.
- Propranolol: anti-anxiety medication that reduces discomfort.
Opioid Support Resources
- ACCG: This page provides several different resources for opioid treatment, overdose, and withdrawal.
- Georgia Council on Substance Abuse: This organization provides many different resources to Georgia residents.