Opioids, more commonly known as opiates or painkillers, are drugs that react with the nerves in a person’s brain and body and with opioid receptors in the brain causing a feeling of euphoria and relief from pain. Opioids are extremely accessible as they are over prescribed in the form of oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentynal, hyrdromorphone, etc. The United States is currently experiencing one of the deadliest opioid epidemics it has seen and has caused the use of heroin to increase. Opioid addiction was responsible for almost half of all the drug overdoses that took place in the United States in 2014. In a recent survey, 94% of people surveyed that were addicted to opioids stated that they switched to heroin because “prescription opioids were far more expensive and harder to obtain.”
Dependency or addiction of opioids can have many different effects on a person’s mind and body. Not only are these opioids extremely addicting, but they also make users more susceptible to trying heroin for the first time. After abusing opioid medications for an extended period of time, users will become physically dependent and experience flu like symptoms and physical pains due to withdrawals. Since opioids are physically addicting, users tend to be more willing to commit crimes in order to obtain their next fix. Post-acute withdrawals from opioid usage can last up to 18 months, depending on the severity of the usage.