Opioids and Opiates Abuse & Addiction in Ohio

In the state of Ohio – including cities like Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati – there has been a significant increase in the use of opioids. In 2018, a report from the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy at Ohio State University found that opioids cost the state anywhere from $6.6 billion to $8.8 billion.

However, Ohio is not the only state facing this issue, and the opioid epidemic is destroying the lives of many people throughout the country. Let’s take a look at opiates and opioids. What are they? Why are they so addictive?

Expanding Access to Addiction Treatment

In 2018, the Dayton Daily News reported that there were 17 counties in Ohio where there is not a single provider to treat opioid addiction. As treatment is essential in fighting this battle, it is clear that the state needs providers and treatment centers in both rural and urban areas.

An article from Ohio State University shares the need to help those people in rural areas, noting:

One effective way to combat Ohio’s growing opioid crisis is to prioritize treatment in underserved areas across the state because those are among the areas struggling most with opioid abuse, says an analyst with the C. William Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy at The Ohio State University.

This report states that the most effective method for reducing opioid addiction, abuse, and overdose death is medication-assisted treatment. This involves working with doctors, hospitals, and treatment centers across the state to offer the needed services.

Understanding Opioid and Opiate Abuse

Opioids and opiates are used interchangeably to describe a class of drugs that are used to reduce pain – such as Vicodin, morphine and codeine – as well as the illegal street drug, heroin. These drugs are often grouped together because they act on the central nervous system and the brain of the person who has taken them in a similar way.

Some of the most popular legal prescription opiates that are typically abused include morphine, fentanyl and codeine, and the most commonly abused illegal opiate is heroin. Name brands of these drugs that are typically abused include Vicodin, Lortab, OxyContin and Percocet.

Technically, the terms opioids and opiates are not interchangeable as opiate refers to a drug that is naturally derived from the opium poppy where opioid are drugs that are synthetic. However, it is common for these terms to be used interchangeably.

In Ohio, opiate addiction is a significant problem. This is also true of the entire country. While the prescription opiates do have medical uses – to treat pain – the potential for abuse and addiction is tremendous. For many people, an opioid and opiate addiction may begin with a legitimate prescription from their doctor. Once they get hooked, many of them turn to heroin, which is cheaper.

Understanding Opioid and Opiate Addiction

Opiates and opioids are highly addictive drugs. Many people consider them to be the most additive substances that exist. Regardless of if you are illegally abusing heroin or taking prescription painkillers legitimately, the potential for addiction is high.

One of the reasons that people have such a problem with opioid and opiate addiction in Ohio is because there is the issue of physical dependence and tolerance. Even if you don’t become psychologically addicted to opioids, if you take them for two weeks or longer, you will become chemically and physically dependent on the substance. This means that if you stop taking the medication, you will experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

People who are addicted to opioids and opiates will continue to take the drugs in spite of negative consequences. In many cases, the drug no longer even gives the user pleasure. They simply take it because they have become physically dependent and are afraid to go through the withdrawal symptoms.

How can you tell if you or someone you love is addicted to opioids? Some other signs of opioid and opiate addiction can include:

  • Changes in behavior or mood
  • Changes in relationships
  • Pill bottles in the trash frequently
  • Doctor shopping or pharmacy shopping in an attempt to get more than one prescription
  • Making up symptoms in an attempt to get prescriptions
  • Isolation
  • Financial problems
  • Poor work or school performance
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to interest you

Why Are Opiates So Addictive?

What is it that makes opioids so addictive? Well it has to do with the ways in which they affect the brain when they are taken. When opioids are taken, they bind to the opioid receptors that are in the brain. This then triggers the release of feel-good chemicals, which causes the brain to seek out these substances again.

An addiction to opioids can occur even after someone takes them just a few times. The chemical makeup of your brain can begin to shift. Fortunately, if you are struggling with an opiate or opioid addiction, there is hope. Facilities like The Recovery Village Columbus can help you.


Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.