By Bobby Gordon

Communities are scrambling to react. Even when individuals are prescribed painkillers for legitimate reasons, such as surgery, and injury, or other medical reason, they often and inherently have negative related consequences—including death. Here are a few facts:

· Opioids and opiates are in the same drug family as Heroin, Opium and Morphine. They are very strong and highly addictive due to the nature of how they reward the pleasure center of the brain. Some examples include Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin.
· Opioid substitutes are becoming increasingly common. For example, Fentanyl is nearly 50-100 times more potent than Morphine, and 30-50 times more potent than Heroin. Dealers often cut Heroin with Fentanyl to increase the affect, resulting in addiction and repeat business. These circumstances are resulting in increased overdoses by unsuspecting users.
· Synthetic opioids are becoming less expensive and more readily available due to new laws and cross-tracking with medical providers and pharmacies.
· Withdrawal symptoms are displaced by continuing to take pain-killers.
· Tolerance is quickly built up with opioid pain relievers, meaning that it takes more of the drug to have the same affect felt on a lower dose in a short amount of time.
· Mixing opioids with other drugs, like alcohol, can create a synergistic affect where the combined drugs’ affects can be dangerously multiplied. Combined with the natural side affects of opioids, like slowed breathing and heart rate, the risk of accidental overdose is significantly increased.
· Crushing up painkillers eliminates the time-release formula inherent to many opioids, significantly increasing the risk of overdose.

The negative related consequences are real when it comes to opioids. The pharmaceutical and synthetic opioid landscape has significantly changed over the past two decades. While opioids may have legitimate uses, they should only be used under the care and close supervision of a licensed medical professional.

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