The United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. Drug overdose deaths due to prescription painkillers are at an all-time high and there is a record number of illegal opioid abusers. These drugs are highly addictive, making it easy for this epidemic to spread to all walks of life. With opioid abuse becoming more prevalent, it’s that much more important that people are educated on how devastating these drugs can be.
Whether you’re talking to high school students or adults, the “Opioids” presentation display will be a valuable resource. It begins by explaining exactly what opioids are. They are used therapeutically to manage pain and they’re abused because of the feelings of euphoria they cause. Common prescription opioids include morphine, codeine, and oxycodone. In the U.S., about 2 million people are addicted to prescription opioids. Heroin is the most common illegal opioid and every year, approximately 150,000 people try heroin for the first time.
In addition to the exhilaration that opioid users feel, they will also experience short-term effects like difficulty coordinating their movements, a lowered heart rate, impaired vision and speech, and slowed breathing. Coma and death can also arise from opioid use, even if it’s the first time an individual has used. With long-term opioid use comes hormonal imbalances, osteoporosis, brain damage, and addiction.
Opioid abusers cannot easily conceal their habit. They may gain or lose a significant amount of weight, sleep excessively, have track marks on their arms, fail to maintain their hygiene, or exhibit a drastic change in appearance.
Opioid addiction may come with as little as one or two uses. Addicts will develop cravings for the drug and will be compelled to use even if they know that it will cause negative consequences. They will not be able to control their drug use and after time, they will build up a tolerance to the drug. Once a user becomes addicted, he/she will spend $150 to $200 day to maintain their habit.
The display goes on to describe the real dangers of an opioid overdose. When individuals take too much, their breathing and heart rate will slow down and potentially stop and they may have seizures or muscle spasms. In the U.S., there is an accidental opioid overdose death every 18 minutes.
Users who seek recovery will experience a painful withdrawal and detox process that includes anxiety and agitation, vomiting and stomach cramps, and muscle and bone pain. But the display points out that while beating an opioid addiction is difficult, it can be achieved.
To see a full PDF version of this opioids and heroin abuse tabletop display, click the Instant Preview tab above.
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