History of Smoking and Drug Use Leads to Highest Risk for Opiate Addiction

Opiate Addiction | LakehouseRecoveryCenter.com

The Danger of Narcotics

One of the greatest dangers sweeping America is the use of narcotics to manage pain. The danger of these drugs is that they are highly addictive. When taken according to their prescription, however, they serve their purpose. However, thousands of teens and adults have gotten hooked on narcotic painkillers and have developed an addiction to opiates.

Because of the dangers and the risks that come with taking painkillers, researchers did a study to find out who is most vulnerable to such an addiction. The study found that those people with a prior history of drug abuse, or who were current or former smokers, were the most likely to go beyond their prescribed narcotic addiction and get hooked on long-term use and addiction.

The study was done at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Dr. Hooten tracked 300 patients who were given a first-time, short term prescription for narcotic painkillers in 2009. The research wanted to see which of these 300 patients would be able to stay with their short-term prescription versus which of them would extend their prescription, indicating possibly getting hooked on the drug.

The results of the study found that almost 25% of them got extensions for additional 3 or 4 months of narcotic use. And about 6% of them continued the medications for longer than 4 months. Those who extended their painkiller use beyond the original prescription tended to have a history of drug abuse and/or a history of smoking.

Smoking and Drug Abuse Increase The Risk Opiate Addiction

The results of the study indicated that those who have a history of smoking or drug abuse or both are at greatest risk for turning a short-term painkiller prescription into a long-term use of the drug, possibly leading to an addiction. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that those who already have a history of drug use, including use of nicotine, would tend to experience the dangers of narcotic painkillers.

However, it also solidifies to experts and other mental health professionals the group of people to focus prevention efforts on.

Physicians Taking More Caution With Prescriptions

It also makes clear to physicians how to be more careful when prescribing these drugs. There’s no question that there has been an opiate epidemic sweeping the nation, killing thousands of adults and teens who started out with a painkiller prescription and ended up with an opiate addiction.

Knowing the results of the study, doctors might take more caution with those who have a history of drug abuse as well as with those who have a history of smoking before prescribing opiate painkillers, such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Methadone, and others.

If you or someone you know is taking painkillers according to a prescription, be sure to stay in close communication with your doctor. If you find yourself craving more of the medication than prescribed, contact your doctor immediately. Getting hooked on opiates can be an incredibly challenging situation and can lead to a long-term opiate addiction. Contact your physician as well as a mental health professional for support.


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