Understanding the Opioid Crisis


If you're taking an opioid to control pain, your doctor may have warned you about misuse. That's because opioid misuse leads to addiction. And opioid addiction has become a widespread problem. Let's learn about this public health crisis.

How did it start?

The opioid crisis began in the 1990s. That's when doctors were encouraged to prescribe opioids more often. These drugs work well for short-term pain. But we didn't know the dangers of long-term use. Many who used them for chronic pain became dependent. Those who misused them did, too. Over time, people became addicted.

Spreading crisis

Opioid addiction is hard to beat. It affects people in cities and rural areas. It affects the old and the young. It leads to the spread of diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. And, prescription opioid addiction can lead people to use illegal drugs, such as heroin. Most heroin users start out by misusing prescription opioids.


Fortunately, we now know more about the dangers of opioids. Doctors prescribe them less often. But there are no easy solutions for the opioid crisis. So don't become a statistic. Use opioids only as directed. Be safe and responsible. Talk to your doctor for more information.