28 Dec Are Synthetic Opiates More Dangerous?
The United States is in the midst of an opioid/opiate epidemic, and Integrated Pain Consultants are committed to providing patients with a form of pain management that is safe and holistic. Opioids are a naturally derived pain relief drug derived from opium poppies. Opiates are a class of synthetic opiates that mimic natural opioids. Both can be highly addictive, but is one more dangerous than the other?
There are many avenues for creating the synthetic drug class of opiates. On the streets, illegal fentanyl, which is lab-made, is one of the most popular. Some patients who are prescribed legal, prescription opioids or opiates build up a tolerance and become addicted. When they no longer have access to their prescription medication, or when their prescription is no longer “working,” they might turn to recreational suppliers. This might mean heroin, or it could be a synthetic like fentanyl.
Fake It to Make It?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of all opioid overdoses in 2016 involved fentanyl. It’s a comment on the devastation of the epidemic, which President Trump just declared a crisis and public health emergency this month. Synthetic drugs can be exponentially strong, potent, and even more dangerous than their natural opioid counterparts—especially when lab-made illegally.
The CDC points out that the statistic also showcases that the deadliest of the opioid epidemic is stemming from the streets and not doctor’s offices. However, that doesn’t address one key issue: Some people are becoming addicted to illegal fentanyl and heroin because they were originally prescribed an opioid/opiate from a doctor.
While the CDC has released the very first report utilizing toxicology evidence, there’s still more work to be done. It’s a great step in figuring out exactly which drugs are causing deaths, thanks to blood test results from ten states. Now it’s up to professionals in a variety of fields to address what might be the seed of an opioid addiction, starting with prescriptions.
Opioids and opiates can be effective tools in pain management. Sometimes it’s the best option. However, it needs to be reserved for severe, short-term pain and only prescribed to patients with no history or markers of drug addiction. Being conservative is key, and it’s always best to start with an alternative, natural options. If you’re interested in a healthier alternative to pain management and conservative approaches, contact Integrated Pain Consultants today. We also invite you to learn more about Dr. Nikesh Seth and other providers including Dr. Anne-Marie Cosijns, Dr. Lisa Sparks, Dr. Michael Givens, and our team of Nurse Practitioners.