The nationwide opioid epidemic has ballooned into a serious public health crisis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 115 people die daily in the U.S. from an opioid overdose, and more than three out of five drug overdose deaths are opioid-related. Now, three states – Florida, Tennessee and Michigan – have enacted strict new laws designed to make it more difficult for people to access prescription opioids.

Opioids help manage pain, but they also stimulate the human body’s built-in reward system. That makes them highly addictive drugs, and the longer someone uses them, the greater the likelihood becomes that he or she will develop a dependency and begin misusing the medication. However, people with acute short-term pain from surgery or an injury usually don’t need more than a seven-day supply of these drugs, according to anesthesiologist Dr. Nabil Sibai, chief of pain services at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital.

States Fight the Opioid Epidemic by Limiting Access to Medications

The opioid epidemic has become the deadliest drug crisis in American history, yet unlike with other addictive drugs, many people who become dependent on opioids begin using these drugs by obtaining a legal prescription for painkillers from their doctor. Indeed, the leading factor influencing the rise of the opioid epidemic has been the relative ease of access to these medications. That’s why these new state laws aim to curb the long-term use of these drugs by preventing doctors and pharmacists from prescribing and filling lengthy supplies.

For example, in Florida, the law only allows physicians to prescribe a three-day supply of these drugs for acute pain patients, unless the patients meet rigorous conditions for a seven-day supply. The new law also requires physicians and pharmacists to check each patient’s medical history using a statewide database.

Symptoms of Opioid Addiction

Though these drugs are effective pain relievers, they also can produce an intense, euphoric high. That’s why many users quickly become addicted to opioids without realizing it.

In general, signs of opiate dependence include:

  • Inability to quit using the drug, despite negative consequences
  • Withdrawal symptoms upon ceasing use
  • Stealing drugs or the money to buy them
  • Using someone else’s drug supply
  • Going to multiple different doctors in an attempt to get more drugs
  • Breakdown of personal relationships
  • Work performance begins to suffer

Compassionate Care From Guardian Recovery Network

If you or a loved one need help to stop using opioids, contact Guardian Recovery Network today. Our goal is to improve patients’ lives by helping them take meaningful and empowering steps toward recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. We offer a full range of treatment programs for every phase of recovery.