We have seen the popularity of many recreational drugs rise and fall with the times...crystal meth, heroin, cocaine... but the one turning out to be the most deadly of all is one we least suspected: the opioid, such as Oxycontin.
Last year, more people died from the effects of opioids than from all national auto accidents and gunshot wounds together, says the Reverend Dr. Jan Brown, an expert in addiction and recovery. An ordained Deacon in the Episcopal Church, now serving at Bruton Parish in Williamsburg, she co-chairs the Addictions and Recovery Commission for the Diocese of Southern Virginia, and serves on many other such concerned bodies.
Opioids are prescribed as pain remedies, but within a few doses the recipient has incurred a drug dependency. Without the regular administration of the drug, the person "feels sick and awful", and is quickly driven to score another. If the dose changes, he or she may die.
The unfortunate conclusion of opioid addiction is too often death. Overdoses are sometime to blame, and they can be deadly unless the only known antidote, naloxone, is administered in time. Police are starting to carry vials of the antidote with them on 911 calls, as the medics may arrive too late to save the life.
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