An addiction to opioid drugs may cause several short-term and long-term problems due to the addiction alone. But did you know that addiction can cause other problems that can be just as bad and just as fatal?
Opioid addiction may cause several health problems. It may lead to several diseases and health conditions, including
- Hepatitis B and C
- HIV and AIDS
- Infections of the heart, soft tissue, and skin
These diseases and conditions relate to the way that people use opioid drugs and how they act after they use them. That is, many people using opioids such as heroin or morphine consume them by injecting them. Injecting drugs requires needles, and people may share used needles, which increases the risks that they may exchange bodily fluids and transmit diseases.
Drug use also changes behavior. People under the influence of opioids may be more willing to take risks or feel so good that they feel that nothing bad may happen to them. On the other hand, drugs and alcohol may make them so depressed that they don’t care about their welfare. Or, they could be depressed already and drugs and alcohol are just intensifying their depression.
Not caring about their own welfare or feeling invincible may lead people to take dangerous risks such as engaging in unprotected sex or driving recklessly. But, like sharing needles, unprotected sex may transmit bodily fluids that cause diseases.
Studies have shown that these conditions are on the rise because opioid addiction is also on the rise. If more people have infectious diseases, more people are at risk of contracting them.
Widespread drug addiction, then, is much more than an individual concern that only affects individual people and their immediate family and social circles. If left unaddressed and untreated, widespread drug addiction may pose a public health emergency. That’s yet another reason why it’s important to acknowledge and address drug addiction instead of ignoring and stigmatizing it.