Morphine. . . Codeine. . . Hydrocodone. . . the list goes on. All have the same main ingredient.opium. The potent ingredient, typically used to relieve various forms of pain is derived from the opium poppy plant, can be traced back to ancient times and is used frequently in modern medicine.
"We have natural pain controllers in our body to some degree, so there are receptors there, so when those drugs hit those receptors, as fast and as hard as they do, that's when you've got that feel," explained CEO of Muskingum Behavioral Health, Steve Carrel
Many people take opiates, as directed by their doctors, and the pills are effective in helping the person overcome a variety of aliments from broken bones to a persistent cough. According to one doctor, about a decade ago, physicians began to feel pressure to prescribe more of these drugs because patients were complaining their pain was not being managed adequately.
“As a consequence, more and more people are taking the opiates and we have created quite a problem in our society, said Dr. Vicki Whitacre.
According to The Ohio department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, the percentage of addicts in Muskingum County has jumped from 2.4% in the year 2001 to 7.6% by 2009 and that trend is consistent with the rest of the state.
"It cuts across every economic boundary, social, economic, it's everybody's kids who are at risk," said Ohio Attorney General, Mike DeWine.
"This drug epidemic, truly cuts across all of the demographic barriers, more than any drug I have seen," added Carrel.
The American Psychiatric Association's definition of addiction includes 7 criteria. A person only needs to have three of these warning signs to be considered an addict.
"We look at tolerance, if it takes more of the drug or drink to get the buzz than it used to, withdrawal symptoms, spending a great time in drug or alcohol related activity, giving up or reducing other sober activities," Denise Williams, a Behavioral Health Specialist at Genesis Recovery Center, explained further.
Williams says the number one telling sign of addiction is continued use despite consequences.
The Prescription for Addiction series will continue Wednesday with the medical misuse of opiates. Area professionals will discuss how one becomes addicted, the dangers of overdosing and the effects babies face of mothers who use while pregnant.