As we are all aware, there has been an onslaught of rules, regulations, directives, guidelines and outright impositions regarding the prescription of opioid medications in the United States. The roots of this forceful push are real.

According to statistics, between 100 to 150 patients on prescription opioids die every day in the US. While the immediate cause may be acute intoxication/overdose, this already horrible number fails to take into consideration the more subtle, shadowy underbelly of the same beast. Some of those overlooked but equally deadly contributors?

1.Impairment of reaction times (leading to traffic accidents),

2.impairment of balance (with an increased risk of falls),

3.decreased attention span and focus (creating the opportunity for work or household accidents),

4.chronic, slowly developing immunity impairments (possibly contributing to infections and facilitating the development of cancers), likely adding an untold number of victims to the tragic tally.

Why is this happening? Because these drugs are very good at what they do, at a cost. They can take away your pain. Physical, but also mental and emotional. They give us elation, and forgetfulness. They make us feel at ease. But when the effect is gone, they leave us with nothing. Or maybe worse. Now we’re 6 hours older, weaker and stiffer. And then we crave what we just had, and lost: the good feeling of comfort and warmth that came and left with them. And we want more of this. We like to go back to that place of lightness and freedom, to get up and do stuff. We like to be pain free. But free we’re not, anymore.

Come back next week for part 2: What do these drugs do to me, after all?