There is an opioid crisis in Missouri, and it’s been happening for a pretty long time. This isn’t just something that can be swept under the rug; hundreds of thousands of people are being affected by this, and in some cases the results are fatal. While those suffering from opioid and fentanyl abuse must get help, it is also important that those who aren’t aware of this epidemic educate themselves accordingly.
Opioids are a type of drug that is typically used to relieve pain. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which helps to decrease the perception of pain. Opioids can be either natural or synthetic (man-made). Natural opioids include morphine, which is derived from the poppy plant, and codeine, which is derived from the opium poppy. Synthetic opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl.
Opioids are generally safe when used as directed by a physician. However, they can be addictive, and misusing them can lead to serious consequences. Opioids should only be used as directed by a healthcare professional and never be taken more often or in greater quantities than prescribed. Opioid addiction is a serious problem in the United States, and misusing opioids can lead to overdose and death.
There are several different types of opioids, including natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids. Natural opioids include opium from the poppy plant and codeine from the coca plant. Semisynthetic opioids are derived from natural opioids and include drugs like heroin and oxycodone. Synthetic opioids are created in a laboratory and include drugs like fentanyl and tramadol.
Heroin is an illegal, highly addictive drug. It is a powerful painkiller and produces a sense of euphoria in users. Heroin is typically injected, smoked, or snorted. Short-term effects of heroin include a rush of pleasure, followed by drowsiness and slow breathing. Long-term effects of heroin use can include addiction, collapsed veins, abscesses, and death from overdose. Heroin is part of a group of drugs known as opiates, which also include morphine and codeine.
Morphine is a pain medication of the opiate variety. It is a natural product extracted from the seedpod of the opium poppy. It acts directly on the nervous system (CNS) to relieve pain. Morphine can be taken orally, by injection, or via an intravenous drip. A usual dose of morphine is between 10 and 30 mg, with the effects lasting for up to four hours. Higher doses may be required for more severe pain.
While morphine is an effective pain reliever, it also has a high potential for abuse and addiction. When taken in large doses or over a long period of time, tolerance to the drug can develop, requiring higher and higher doses to achieve the same level of pain relief. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if someone suddenly stops taking the drug after becoming dependent on it. These symptoms can include anxiety, agitation, sweating, muscle aches, and diarrhea.
Codeine is an opioid medication used to treat pain and cough. It is also used as a diarrhea suppressant and to treat opioid addiction. Codeine works by binding to the mu-opioid receptor in the brain, which reduces the perception of pain. It also acts on the cough center in the brain to suppress coughing. Common side effects of codeine include drowsiness, constipation, and shallow breathing. Serious side effects can include seizures, severe respiratory depression, and death. Codeine is available as a tablet, syrup, or injectable solution.
Hydrocodone is a pain medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a narcotic medication that works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. Hydrocodone is available in both tablet and liquid form. It is usually taken orally, but can also be injected. Hydrocodone should only be used for short-term pain relief. Long-term use of hydrocodone can lead to addiction, tolerance, and physical dependence.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a narcotic medication used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It is sold under a variety of brand names, including OxyContin, Roxybond, and Percocet. Oxycodone works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which reduces the perception of pain.
What is the Difference Between Natural and Synthetic Opioids?
Natural opioids are those that occur naturally, while synthetic opioids are man-made. Natural opioids include heroin and morphine, while synthetic opioids include fentanyl and tramadol. There are several key differences between natural and synthetic opioids. Synthetic opioids are often much more potent than natural opioids, meaning that they can have a greater effect on the brain and body.
This can make them more dangerous, as they are more likely to cause overdose and death. Synthetic opioids also tend to be longer-lasting than natural opioids, meaning that they can stay in the body for a longer period of time and cause more damage. Finally, synthetic opioids are often cheaper to produce than natural opioids, making them more accessible to people who want to use them for recreational purposes.
Natural opioids are derived from the opium poppy plant, while synthetic opioids are created in laboratories. Synthetic opioids are often much more potent than natural opioids, meaning that they can have a greater effect on the brain and body. This can make them more dangerous, as they are more likely to lead to overdose and death.
Synthetic opioids are also typically more long-lasting than natural opioids, meaning that they can stay in the body for a longer period of time and cause more damage. Finally, synthetic opioids are often cheaper to produce than natural opioids, making them more accessible to people who want to use them for recreational purposes.
What is Fentanyl?
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid analgesic that is similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a schedule II prescription drug and is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Fentanyl can be administered intravenously, intramuscularly, or transdermally (through a patch). It is also available in a lozenge (often referred to as a “lollipop”) form for oral use.
Fentanyl works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which results in pain relief. However, because of its high potency, fentanyl can also cause drowsiness, constipation, and respiratory depression.
Fentanyl is a powerful and potentially dangerous drug, and should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional. If you or someone you know is taking fentanyl, it is important to be aware of the signs of an overdose, which include slow or shallow breathing, extreme drowsiness, and cold, clammy skin. If you suspect an overdose, call 911 immediately.
Prevalence of Opioid Use in Missouri
The opioid crisis in Missouri is a devastating public health emergency. There have been 1,066 overdose deaths involving opioids in Missouri—a rate of 18.3 deaths per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national average of 14.6 deaths per 100,000 people.
Opioid overdose claims the lives of Missourians of all ages and backgrounds, but the crisis disproportionately affects young people. The age-adjusted overdose death rate for Missourians aged 25-34 is nearly double the national average for that age group.
The opioid crisis has also taken a heavy toll on Missouri families. In a year when there were 872 children in Missouri who were living in households where someone was using opioids, more than 400 of those children were age 5 or younger.
The opioid crisis has had a devastating impact on Missouri communities. There have been 812 drug overdose deaths in Missouri within a year – a rate of 13.4 deaths per 100,000 people, which is higher than the national average of 13.3 deaths per 100,000 people.
What is the Reason for the Opioid Crisis in Missouri?
There are several contributing factors to the opioid crisis in Missouri. Some of these include the following:
- The high availability of prescription opioids
- The illegal sale and use of opioids
- The use of other drugs in combination with opioids
- Poverty and lack of access to healthcare
Missouri has taken several steps to address the opioid crisis. In recent years, the state legislature passed a law that requires prescribers to check the state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP) before writing prescriptions for opioids. The law also limits the number of pills that can be prescribed at one time and requires prescribers to use the PDMP to track patients’ opioid use.
Missouri also has a “Good Samaritan” law that protects people who call 911 to report an overdose from being charged with possession of drugs. The state has also invested in programs that provide naloxone, an anti-overdose medication, to first responders and the general public.
What is the Good Samaritan Law in Missouri?
The Good Samaritan law in Missouri protects people who give reasonable assistance to those who are injured, ill, or in peril. The law does not require that the person render aid in a professional capacity, and it does not apply if the person is being compensated for rendering the aid. This law also applies if the person rendering aid believes that he or she may be sued for doing so.
Treatment is Available to Help You Today
The opioid epidemic is a sad reality that we have to face in this country. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t beat it. If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid abuse or fentanyl addiction and would like help, you can contact us here. You don’t have to walk through this alone.