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Arizona Views: Many around us use opioids too

November 25, 2018

Many of us use drugs, many more of us than you realize — and it is not good.

I am not saying Grandma is lurking behind the corner store waiting for her supplier to arrive, shaking from withdrawal symptoms. Actually, she might be sitting in her rocking chair and her husband brings her some water along with the doctor’s prescriptions.

Arizona is experiencing a wave of abuse, overdoses and deaths involving opioids.

Fact is, there have been more synthetic opioid overdose deaths in this region than any other type of overdose death.

“Darn kids, back in my day …” you might say.

It is not only children, and it is not always overdose and death.

Let’s get back to the rest of us.

I had back problems recently, and one of the drugs my doctor had me take was an opioid. What are common prescription opioids?

• Hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet);

• Oxymorphone (Opana);

• Morphine (Kadian, Avinza);

• Synthetic opioids (Tramadol);

• Codeine; and,

• Fentanyl. (Note, some sources state fentanyl is used only in hospice situations.)

I know people in my extended family and friends here who take opioids as regular maintenance drugs; they cannot live without them, and do not abuse them. In other words, they do it to control chronic pain.

We must realize that a fine line exists between drug use and abuse. The state and our doctors are working to control misuse of opioids. I say get off the drugs as quickly as possible.

The killer is the dealer — who would be going to that corner store, meeting people you know in parking lots … or in their homes. They are not doctors.

Our children are dying. We must do something, and it is time we take a stand together.

If you know of a dealer selling drugs in our community, call the police. You can do so anonymously.

• MISUSE — Let’s not confuse the issue — how do people misuse prescription opioids?

Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by a doctor, but they can be misused, according to drugabuse.gov. People misuse prescription opioids by:

• Taking the medicine in a way or dose other than prescribed;

• Taking someone else’s prescription medicine; or

• Taking the medicine for the effect it causes — to get high.

Folks, opioids block pain signals sent from the brain to the body and release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. It is that release that can strongly reinforce taking the drug (addiction).

In other words, be careful with your meds. You may not realize the danger.

Funny, you never hear about someone who became addicted to leafy greens. If only diets were easier … sorry, different column.

Tim Wiederaenders, a former Lake Havasu City resident, is an editor at the Prescott Daily Courier.

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