Opioid addiction is a growing problem across the country, even in smaller states where you might not imagine opioids are a problem. Many people are struggling with addiction, and because of the danger opioids represent, it often leads to overdose and death.
Overdose Statistics in Vermont
The Vermont Department of Health keeps track of the opioid statistics in the state. At the end of August 2022, 151 opioid-related accidental and undetermined deaths occurred. This is concerning because it increased over the previous year’s deaths. The highest rate of deaths occurred in Essex County, and Windham County has a higher rate than Vermont overall.
The problems have been increasing significantly since 2011, when there were 56 opioid-related deaths. 2021 saw 217 deaths, and 2022 is on track to be even higher. The number of trips to the emergency room for opioid overdose was higher in the first two months of 2022 compared to previous years. The rate of visits to the hospital for opioid overdoses is highest in men between 30 and 39 years old.
As you can see from the statistics, this is a growing issue in the state. A lot of people are taking these drugs and overdosing. For those who are using these substances, it is likely only a matter of time before the unthinkable happens.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs, including heroin. However, many of the opioids used today are pain relievers that were provided to someone through a prescription. They are often used for people who are suffering from chronic pain, injuries, after surgery, etc. Some common types of opioids being abused include oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and fentanyl.
These types of drugs can help with pain, but they carry with them a lot of danger. The risk of addiction is high, even for those with no intention of taking the drugs for anything other than pain relief after an accident or surgery.
Why Are People Using Opioids?
A lot of people wonder how someone could become addicted to opioids in this day and age when just about everyone knows how dangerous they are. Addiction might happen because someone is looking for a thrill or a new way to get high. They don’t think that they will become addicted, but it can happen faster than they realize.
However, many people get hooked because of prescription medications. They like the way it makes them feel and they use it for more than just pain relief. Before long, they want to take more and more, so they can continue to have that feeling. When the prescription runs out and they can’t get more, they look for other means of procuring the drug. It might be stealing meds, faking injuries, or buying illicit drugs on the street.
Signs of Opioid Abuse
In the early stages of this substance use disorder, it is often possible for people to hide their abuse. Over time, though, certain signs start to become more prevalent.
People may start lying about pain to receive prescriptions for opioids, or they might make appointments with several doctors to get more prescriptions. Their mood can change when they don’t get the drugs they want, and they may start to have poor performance at work or at school. They might start taking a lot of absences, and they could start to isolate themselves from friends and family.
There could be changes to the person’s appearance. They might lose weight or have changes in hygiene. They may suffer from nausea, constricted pupils, and poor coordination. Substance abusers could also have impaired judgment, slowed thinking, and other cognitive issues. Some individuals may become depressed or paranoid, as well.
Signs of Opioid Overdose
Anyone who uses opioids is at risk of an overdose. Some of the most common signs of an overdose include slowed or stopped breathing, gurgling sounds, cold and clammy skin, discolored fingernails or lips, and unresponsiveness or unconsciousness.
If someone has overdosed in your presence, such as a loved one, you will want to call 911 immediately to get them the help they need. If you are unsure whether they have overdosed, it is better to err on the side of caution.
Find a Drug Rehab Near Vermont to Help
Vermont residents who have an opioid substance abuse disorder and who are ready to take the steps needed to get healthy contact a quality drug rehab facility. Find an addiction treatment center that can provide you with medical detoxification and various drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs. Everyone is different and will respond to different types of treatment and plans. You want to work with a facility that understands this and that can present you with a plan that works for your needs.