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Are Opioids Dangerous?

Did you know that almost 75% of drug overdoses in 2020 were associated with opioids? It’s true, according to the Center for Disease Control. It’s no secret that teens are drawn to the calming, euphoric feeling associated with opioids. Whether teens misuse prescription pain relievers such as Vicodin or abuse illegal substances such as heroin, it is essential to understand the dangers of opioids, as misuse can lead to death. If your family needs help, our Southern California opioid addiction treatment program will provide you with various options to help your teen end their substance use disorder.

What Are Opioids?

Prescription drugs such as oxycodone, Vicodin, morphine, and codeine are all examples of opioids. The purpose of these drugs is to help users manage their pain. In addition, illegal drugs such as heroin are also opioids. These drugs also provide users with temporary feelings of pleasure. Opioids connect to opioid receptors located within the brain. The receptors have the power to control a teen’s feelings of pain and pleasure. While feeling relaxed is important to users, teens can develop a substance use disorder if misused. Therefore, when people are left wondering, “what are opioids?” it is easy to define the substance as a drug that provides a feeling of euphoria and is highly addictive. However, it is also important to define the signs of opioid use. Here are several signs your teen may be using:

  • Doctor shopping or going to multiple doctors to get new prescriptions
  • Finishing a prescription earlier than expected
  • Loss of appetite and rapid weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Mood swings
  • No interest in extracurricular activities
  • Nodding off
  • Participating in risky behaviors
  • Poor academic performance
  • Slurred speech
  • Stealing money or valuables to purchase opioids
  • Trouble with law enforcement
  • Unable to fulfill responsibilities related to home or work

These signs of opioid dangers can lead to long-term consequences for teens who are headed to adulthood. Therefore, as a parent, guardian, or loved one, you are responsible for discussing opioid use with your teen. These discussions will help you and your teen have an open dialogue about opioids and how you can support their recovery.

What Makes Opioids Deadly?

Medications that contain opioids are prescribed for their ability to treat pain effectively. However, their ability to help users manage pain also can make them deadly. According to the CDC, hydrocodone is the most misused prescription opioid. Most alarming is that 5.5 million Americans 12 years or older are abusing this prescription. Some teens can steal their family members’ pills, and others must resort to risky behaviors to get ahold of opioids. Prominent dangers of opioids include:

  • Low doses – Opioid prescriptions will make users feel sleepy and slightly numb. Yet as the dose increases, it has the power to slow down a user’s ability to breathe and their heart rate. Slowed breathing and heart rate can ultimately lead to a coma or death.
  • Misuse – Not following the prescription can lead to overdose as users do not know the dosage. This can be especially dangerous for teens who participate in pill parties where they dump various pills in a bowl and begin experimenting.
  • Stomach problems – Chronic constipation and other gastrointestinal issues include vomiting, nausea, stomach cramps, and bloating.
  • Heart problems – Heart rhythm abnormalities can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
  • Decreased fertility in men and women – For women, prolonged use particularly increases the opportunity for miscarriage or high-risk pregnancies.
  • Clumsiness – Decreased motor coordination and balance, leading to more falls and fractured bones.

It is hard to deny the existence of opioid dangers as they can impact your life in so many ways. In addition to the physical changes that will take place in a teen’s body is the presence of increased depression and anxiety.

Learn the Dangers of Opioids at Destinations for Teens

Opioid substance use disorder is nothing for parents to ignore. Teens misusing prescription drugs or abusing illegal drugs such as heroin need your help. At Destinations for Teens, our opioid addiction treatment program focuses on helping teens understand their emotional triggers associated with substance use disorder. We offer several treatment options to support your teen in learning to live without opioids. Most importantly, teens will realize that the dangers of opioids will lead to various physical and mental health changes that can sometimes not be reversed. Contact us at 877.466.0620 to begin your teen’s journey to living a healthier life.