Opioids are among the most dangerous and addictive drugs available throughout the United States, including Tennessee. While any opioid rehab in Tennessee can treat a person for this addiction, these facilities cannot solve the problem of prevalent opioid abuse in the state on their own. Fighting the opioid crisis requires the help of every Tennessean, but first, one must understand why opioid abuse is so common in Tennessee.  

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a type of drug that comes in many forms, but in any variation, the primary ingredient is opium. Although opium can be obtained naturally from certain kinds of poppy plants, it can also be created synthetically in a laboratory. Once consumed, opioids have several effects on an individual. The primary effect of opioid use and abuse is pain relief. Opium has a powerful ability to block pain signals sent between the brain and body, providing relief and often euphoria for a user.

However, opioids are also a depressant. Drugs within this category will slow bodily functions. Because of this, individuals consuming opioids often feel relaxed, slower, and sometimes even numb. While these effects can be desirable for users, they can also be dangerous. Opioid use can slow a person’s breathing. If their breathing is slowed too much, it can lead to hypoxia, which can result in brain damage, a coma, or even death.    

What is Opioid Abuse? 

Opioid abuse occurs when an individual consumes opioids in excess, not as intended, or illegally. This means any time a person consumes their prescription opioids in excess or not as prescribed that their opioid use has become opioid abuse. It also means that any time a person consumes an illegal opioid like heroin that it is opioid abuse.

Why is Opioid Abuse so Common in Tennessee?

There are a number of reasons opioid abuse is prevalent in Tennessee. However, three reasons are the most notable. These include: 

Availability of Opioids

As previously noted, opioids come in a variety of forms. The most common forms of opioids available in Tennessee are prescription opioids like oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl, and heroin. Unlike other commonly abused drugs, there are several options available legally and illegally for opioid abusers. Because of this availability, opioid abuse is sadly common in Tennessee as well as dozens of other states in the U.S.  

Highly Addictive Nature of Opioids

Whether natural or synthetic, opioids are extremely powerful and highly addictive drugs. Part of the reason for this is that opioid addiction damages the brain, specifically the brain’s vital reward system. Once damaged, a person essentially becomes rewired for addictive behavior, making them more likely to engage in activities and behaviors that provide immediate pleasure. In doing so, the brain reinforces a person’s mental and physical desire to continually abuse opioids. 

High Opioid Prescribing Rate

Another important factor in the prevalence of opioid abuse in Tennessee is the result of the rate at which opioids are prescribed in the state. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2018 Tennessee providers wrote around 81 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people. This rate is higher than the national average of 51.4 opioid prescriptions per 100 people. In fact, it was the third-highest prescribing rate for 2018 in the United States. 

Searching for an Effective Opioid Rehab in Tennessee?

The best way to combat opioid abuse is through treatment at an opioid rehab in Tennessee. If you or a loved one is currently living with opioid addiction, help is available near you! At Knoxville Recovery Center, our team of addiction specialists offer numerous opioid abuse treatments and therapies. Contact us for more information!

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