The drug opiates and addiction to prescription drugs

Opiates refer to drugs that are prescribed to relieve pain among patients. They are narcotic sedatives that work by reducing nervous system activity, inducing sleep and reducing the pain that patients are experiencing. The use of these drugs is on the rise among young people in the States. Although the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture these drugs cite that they have very low levels of addiction, many young people are becoming overly depended on them, turning into addicts. This paper looks into the abuse of opiates, and how different companies are working towards assisting the people who are addicted to opiates.
According to Elkins (2018), opiates are naturally occurring chemicals that are derived from the opium plant. Although about 20 types of opiates are available in opium, only six of them occur in large quantities. Only four of the drugs are actually used for medical purposes. These are codeine, morphine, thebaine, and papaverine. The widely known opiates are codeine and morphine. Thebaine is not useful as a drug in its natural state, it needs to be changed into other chemicals such as oxycodone before it is utilized.

Addiction to prescription drugs

According to the Recovery Centers of America (2016), about 30 million people in the United States use opioids, with about 2 million of this population being addicted to prescription drugs. Codeine and morphine are the most abused drugs, and they produce adverse side effects when the user is unable to get out of their addiction.

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Codeine addiction

Cough syrups usually contain codeine, and most countries such as the United States usually monitor the amount of codeine that is contained in each medication (American Addiction Centers, 2018). Men who are Native Americans and Hispanics have a higher rate of becoming addicted to codeine. Codeine is usually mixed with soda or alcohol before it is ingested, and it has even been referenced to in some music in South America. Young people have the highest probability of using codeine for pleasure purposes. Most of the people assume that codeine is less harmful since it is usually converted into morphine inside the body. In 2014, about 468, 000 adolescents were reported to use codeine for non-medical purposes, and about 168, 000 of them were already addicted to the drug.

Signs of codeine addiction

Some signs of codeine addiction include nausea, weight loss, mood swings, nodding off
and clammy hands. Those who are addicted to the drug have increased chances of suffering from lung infections, sleep disorders and damages to the brain (American Addiction Centers, 2018). Relationships and responsibilities also suffer because the person tends to neglect their duties such as going to work or school, and spends most of their time alone or with other codeine addicts. People who stop taking codeine suffer from serious withdrawal symptoms such as muscle pain and stomach cramps. An overdose of codeine can lead to death since it causes breathing to slow down, leading to deprivation of adequate oxygen to the brain.
Helix Inc. Biotechnology Company
This Biotechnology Company is working hard to ensure that it reaches out to a good number of those people who are already addicted to abusing opiates. Through the company’s medical education programs, Helix seeks to reach out to the millions that are already hooked to opiates (LinkedIn, 2018). It is also the company’s mission to reach to entire communities, including those that are not addicted to opiate so that they can create awareness on the negative effects of codeine and morphine use for a non-medical purpose. Their programs are usually organized every month, and they usually work in partnership with schools and other organizations so that they can reach out to students, the working class as well as other members of the community. The programs also ensure that those who addicted to opiates also get enrolled in rehabilitation centers so that their journey to recovery is taken care of by professionals.
What other companies are doing about opiate addiction
According to Canal (2017), the Braeburn Pharmaceuticals which is located in New Jersey manufactures Probuphine, an implant that is utilized by those who are addicted to opiates to acquire the supply of buprenorphine in small doses. Clinical trials conducted on this implant show that patients who use it have higher chances of refraining from these drugs as compared to those who take buprenorphine orally.
Triggr, a company that is located in Chicago works using an app to monitor people who are addicted to opioids. This app monitors the phone use of the addict so that they can they are able to find out when the person recovering from addiction is at high risk (Canal, 2017). The app has the ability to detect any influx of messages even at midnight and send a message to confirm whether the person is okay without reading the messages. The company is also able to identify the most effective therapy for fighting addiction by the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy techniques. Triggr also helps the addicts to find doctors who prescribe anti-addiction drugs and also checks in with them for the appointments that are scheduled with professional counselors.
How experts recommend addressing opiate addiction
The Chief Executive Officer of Ovid Therapeutics, Jeremy Levin also chairs a BIO group that has a priority in leveraging innovation that is aimed at mitigating the addiction epidemic (Newell, 2018). Dr. Levin cites the need to strengthen calls for actions on policies and involve other health experts in addressing the addiction issue. The BIO group seeks to ensure that patients suffering from pain or addiction access the best treatment. The group also works on stimulating Research and Development that is aimed at making innovations to treat pain, addiction and prevent abuse.
The Founder and Director of Better Life in Recovery adds that people need to look at the opioid addiction for painkillers, prescribed and illegal opioids through a harm-reduction lens. This means that apart from abstinence, it is important to establish healthy communities and offer support to those who are addicted to these drugs (National Association of National Workers, 2018).
My position on how the issue should be handled
The addiction to opiates and other opioids is becoming a huge challenge which needs to be looked into urgently. The best approach is reaching out to everyone so that we all can support those who are addicted. The road to recovery needs more than rehabilitation, it needs a community that is knowledgeable on the abuse of opiates and one that supports those who are going through the recovery stage. Working together with doctors, counselors, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology companies will be a major step towards eliminating this pandemic that is affecting millions of people.
From the research conducted during this essay, it is clear that the use of opiates for pleasure is on the rise, especially among young people. Although there are several companies that are working to deal with this issue, people need to join hands with these companies so that change can be realized soon. Innovations and awareness programs need ideas from diverse people, which is one of the best approaches that can be used to save those who are already addicted and prevent more addictions.

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