© 2018 Saint Louis County Department of Public Health

#AnyoneCanSTL

“The thing is, I didn’t have a bad childhood or anything. I had everything I wanted. But I still became addicted. ” 

 

—  Ashley

Anyone Can be affected by addiction

Opioids are a type of drug used to treat pain. They can also make someone feel a “high”. There are many different kinds of opioids, including the illegal drug heroin, illegally-produced fentanyl, and pain medications prescribed by doctors such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, morphine, fentanyl, and others.

 

While opioids can treat pain, high doses carry health risks, including causing a person’s breathing to stop. Over time, people who use them can develop “opioid use disorder” (or “OUD”).  Sometimes called “opioid addiction”, it’s a chronic medical condition known for overuse of the drug, problems completing important tasks, the need for higher and higher doses to achieve a “high”, and difficulty controlling or stopping use because of withdrawal symptoms[1].

 

The opioid addiction and overdose problem has been growing in the St. Louis region, as it has around the country:

  • There were 203 opioid-related deaths in St. Louis County in 2017 – more than in any previous year.

  • More than 350,000 people died in the U.S. from an opioid overdose from 1999-2016[2].

  • Nationwide, 115 people were dying every day in 2016.

  • Opioid addiction and overdose can affect any member of the community, regardless of age, racial background, socioeconomic status, or other characteristics.

 

Whether you are struggling with the overuse of opioids, have a friend or family member who is struggling, or are simply interested in understanding more about the issue, it’s important to know this: Addiction is a disease. Treatment is available. Recovery is possible.

Learn more about opioids and addiction at:

 

[1] SAMHSA. 2015. Substance Use Disorders. https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders/substance-use

[2] CDC. 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html