Guest writer is Ellen Brezovsky LCSW of Silver Hill Hospital, director of community relations and RPC adviser.
How do we begin to make sense of the terrible impact of opioid addiction on our communities? The highly addictive nature of opioids, prescription pain medication or heroin makes them dangerous. The increased availability of prescription opioids puts them in reach of young and old. Illegal or legal prescription medication use can lead to heroin use when access to the medication is limited. The suffering from opioid withdrawal is intense, and feeling better becomes the No. 1 priority. The search to secure the drug grows, and can lead to unknowingly acquiring synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is much more potent than oxycodone or heroin. Negative consequences are overridden by the need to relieve the suffering. The risk of overdose also increases when opioids are mixed with alcohol or other medications.