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Mental Health Awareness - Opioid Use Disorder

Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of and addiction to opioids includes prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. Three out of five heroin addicts started out on prescription opioids. Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.

Substance use disorders are recognized as primary, progressive, chronic, relapsing, and as a treatable disease. Substance abuse is a mental disorder, and it takes advantage of the brain; addictions remold the brain, causing addicts to ignore health, work, family, and life itself. These conditions have a dramatic impact on the lives of individuals, their families and partners, and society as a whole.

  • More than 650,000 opioid prescriptions are dispensed daily.
  • On average, $20 billion is spent on emergency and inpatient care for opioid poisonings every year.
  • In 2015, 12.5 million Americans misused prescription opioids.
How to help yourself or a loved one battling opioid addiction
  • Provide ongoing support and encouragement for them to enter treatment but set healthy boundaries and do not help them to obtain or use drugs.
  • Only 10 percent of people seek treatment, so don’t be discouraged at first if they do not want help.
  • Medications can help – evidence has shown there are roads to recovery through medication.
  • Relapse is common – 40 to 60 percent will experience a relapse within the first year.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk about it or approach a friend or family member.
  • Recovery can and does happen
SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357); SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
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