OPIOID CRISIS: Understanding opioids and the side effects
What is an Opioid? - Where an opioid originates may surprise you.
Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. They work in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including the relief of pain.
Opioids are best known as prescription medications often referred to as painkillers.
The bone-chilling facts - The CDC says from 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose. 70,000 of those people died in 2017. In Georgia, just over 1,000 people died from overdoses in 2017 but that number nearly doubled in Tennessee at 1,700.
Side effects - These stats from the CDC show serious risks come with taking opioids even if prescriptions are taken as directed.
The side effects can include addiction, overdose, vomiting, depression and physical dependence. Anyone who takes prescription opioids can become addicted.
In 2016, more than 11-million Americans misused their prescription opioids.
The opioid epidemic can be shown in three waves. it started in 1990 with a spike in opioid prescriptions.
People were taking more prescription pills during the first wave. The second wave hit in 2010 with an increase in overdose deaths involving heroin.
In 2013, synthetic opioids involving fentanyl hit an all-time high. Fentanyl can be used in a combination of heroin, pills, and cocaine. It's one hundred times stronger than morphine.