Addiction occurs when opioid abuse becomes compulsive and self-destructive. Nearly 1 in 4 patients who receive opioid therapy long-term has an opioid addiction. Almost 2 million people abused or were dependent on opioids in 2014.
People may develop a tolerance to opioids if they take them for an extended period of time. They then develop a tolerance and require higher doses for the opioid to have an effect. Tolerance can lead to physical dependency, addiction, abuse, and overdose. People may also turn to heroin to feed their addiction.
There are signs to look out for if someone is abusing opioids, which include:
- Noticeable euphoria
- Changes in mood
- Obtaining prescriptions from multiple providers
- Taking high doses of prescription opioids
People are at higher risk of becoming addicted if they:
- Have a mental disorder or a history of alcohol or other substance abuse
- Live in rural, low income areas.