Prescription Opioids Facts, Addiction and Treatments

Prescription Opioids Facts, Addiction and Treatments

Dangerous prescription drugs are powerful medications used to reduce pain. Typically, they are prescribed after surgery, during recovery after a serious injury, for certain chronic pain conditions, or during certain cancer treatments. They include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine. While they can be helpful for the people who need them, they also come with serious risks. Keep reading for more information about prescription opioids facts, addiction, and treatment.

Prescription Opioids Facts

Common prescription opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®) oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
  • Oxymorphone (Opana®)
  • Morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Facts and statistics regarding prescription opioids and addiction include:

  • In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses
  • Also in 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the United States is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal justice involvement
  • Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them
  • Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder
  • An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin
  • About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids
  • 1.27 million Americans are now receiving medication-assisted treatment

Prescription Opioids Addiction

Opioids are extremely dangerous prescription drugs and addictive drugs that can cause a user to become addicted after just one dose. In order to understand how this happens, it is important to know how opioids work in order to achieve such substantial pain relief.

Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on cells located in many areas of the brain, spinal cord, and other organs in the body, especially those involved in feelings of pain and pleasure. When opioids attach to these receptors, they block pain signals sent from the brain to the body and release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. While this can help ease pain symptoms for the user and allow for a comfortable recovery, it also can strongly reinforce the act of taking the drug, making the user want to repeat the experience.

In addition, with such large amounts of dopamine being released, the user is left feeling withdrawal once the high is over. This can cause the individual to use again in higher doses in an attempt to achieve the same high. This cycle will keep repeat itself over and over until the user has become so tolerant and so chemically dependent on the drug, that an overdose can occur.


Opioids are a depressant, which means the body slows down and sleepiness is a very common side effect of opioid use. However, when too much is taken, the body slows down too much. The brain “forgets” how to perform essential functions such as beating the heart or breathing, which leads to respiratory depression and death.

Prescription Opioids Treatment

Luckily, treatment for opioids is available to stop the addiction cycle before it leads to a deadly overdose. Treatment for prescription opioids includes:

  • Medicated-assisted detox. When addicted to prescription opioids, the body is chemically dependent on the drug, and severe (and potentially dangerous) withdrawal symptoms can occur when stopping use. That is why it is so important to take advantage of medicated-assisted detox, where the individual is able to gently taper off the drug and experience little-to-no withdrawal symptoms during the detox process. Relapse rates are the highest within the first 90 days of sobriety, so getting past that comfortably and under medical supervision is the best way to ensure long-lasting sobriety.
  • Therapy. Therapy is essential in prescription opioids recovery, so that the user can learn their triggers and how to live a sober life. Getting to the bottom of the underlying causes, having group sessions with like-minded peers, and involving the family are all essential in recovery.
  • Aftercare. Going through detox and receiving therapy is only part of the recovery process. Ongoing aftercare is essential — maintaining meetings, having a strong support system, eating a healthy diet, exercise, a daily schedule, and maintaining hobbies are all equally important.

About Seasons in Malibu

If you or a loved one are addicted to prescription opioids, help is not too far. Even if you are still suffering from chronic pain and feel as if you “need” prescription opioids, recovery is possible. Please reach out to us for help — our admissions team is always ready to talk on the other end. Whether it is help with logistics, to learn the entire process, or just some quick information, we are here to help.

Treatment at Seasons in Malibu is one of best drug rehabilitation centers in the world located in Malibu. Our philosophy is grounded in the understanding that in order for the client to heal, the entire system needs the opportunity to heal along with them. It is a priority for us that our life-changing drug and alcohol treatment be available to the people who need it. We are fully familiar with how much strength and courage it takes to pick up the phone and ask for help. Our counselors are invested in your well-being and are ready around-the-clock to guide you or a trusted friend or family member through the initial steps of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction.

With our superior team of clinicians, we are able to succinctly pinpoint those areas of focus which will give the client the most advanced opportunity for success. Our approach towards healing is collaborative, comprehensive and committed.