This is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs. It is a disease that does not discriminate regarding age, sex, race, religion or economic status. It is progressive and chronic in nature and can be fatal if left untreated.
Over 4 million Americans are currently using prescription pain relievers (Opiates) non-medically. The abuse of pain relievers has increased at a much more rapid rate compared to other drugs of misuse. Opiate drugs are highly addictive and are used illicitly to achieve a state of euphoria or “high,” and/or self-medication to relieve depression, anxiety, and stress. Drugs classified as opiates are: Opium, Morphine, Codeine, Hydrocodone, Demerol, Dilaudid, OxyContin, Heroin, and other opioids.