Addiction is a condition where something that began as pleasurable or provides temporary pain relief has become something you feel like you need constantly. It continues to be on the rise and no one is immune. Gallia County has seen some success in the drug epidemic with a reduction of overdose-related deaths having moved from #2 in the state to #15. That information is exciting, but we have more work to do in providing prevention, education, and treatment. 

Addiction is a complex brain disorder expressed by the repeated use of substances or repetitive engagement of behaviors despite harm to self and others. During these activities, an abundance of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation) is released in the pleasure center of the brain. Dopamine plays a role in many important body functions, including movement, memory, and pleasurable reward.

Addiction is more about motivation than it is about the “feel-good”. The feel-good high may be attained on occasion but when in addiction you chase just not feeling pain, sick, and tired. That’s why it’s a cycle…addicts want out, but they just can’t. It no longer feels good, but the motivation is not there because they are just trying to live from one moment to the next.

Opioid Addiction

The CDC reports that between 1999 and 2020, over 500,000 people died from prescription and illegal opioids. This rise in opioid overdose deaths can be categorized into three phases.

Researchers have found that taking opioid medications for more than a few days increases your risk of long-term use…The odds you’ll still be on opioids a year after starting a short course increase after only five days on opioids.

The Mayo Clinic

An article written by Ronald Hirsch, MD, and published in the National Library of Medicine and Missouri Medicine states that one of the factors that have played in addiction was the overprescription of opioids. Dr. Hirsch states that the prescriptions are well-meaning because physicians do not want to see their patients in pain from injury or post-surgery. He states that because they are used to prescribing in multiples of 30 (for example, 30 days for a month’s supply for a once-a-day medication) but in reality, for opioids, a far smaller dose would have sufficed. According to the Mayo Clinic and their article titled How Opioid Addiction Occurs “Researchers have found that taking opioid medications for more than a few days increases your risk of long-term use, which increases your risk of addiction. The odds you’ll still be on opioids a year after starting a short course increase after only five days on opioids”.

The CDC provides data from both fatal and nonfatal opioid overdoses. They are divided into four different opioid categories.

Natural Opioids and Semi-Synthetic OpioidsMethadoneSynthetic OpioidsHeroin
Natural: Morphine and codeine
Semi-Synthetic Opioids: Oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, and oxymorphone
A type of synthetic opioidDrugs like tramadol and fentanyl (do not include methadone)Illegally made opioid synthesized from morphine and can be white or brown powder or a black sticky substance
Four Opioid Categories

There is Hope

While Gallia County has seen improvement in the number of deaths caused by overdose, the fight is far from over. It is through education and understanding of what causes addiction can we be proactive in prevention and helping those currently afflicted find recovery and hope.

Organizations such as Field of Hope and Gallia-Jackson-Meigs ADAMH Board work to try to help those who are lost in addiction and unsure where to go or who to turn to. At Field of Hope, we understand that there can be many obstacles when rebuilding a new life in recovery. You will not do this alone. We provide services for drug, alcohol, and gambling addiction recovery and mental health care. Caring staff will walk alongside you to help you put the pieces together from start to finish. Call us today at (740) 245-3051

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