Lower Opioid Overdose Risk May Increase Opioid Deaths
Stanford University researchers recently published information about a newer synthetic opioid. It is called PZM21, and it claims to minimize the chance of opioid overdose. This synthetic came from a team that includes Brian Kobilka, MD, a professor of molecular and cellular physiology and a Nobel Laureate.
But we can look at this recent innovation in a couple of different lights. Yes, it has the amazing benefit of not killing you from respiratory distress, the way most opioid overdoses occur. But does this completely eliminate the risk of opioid death and addiction entirely? I would highly doubt that.
If this drug were to reach the market, would it be the breakthrough that ends the opioid overdose crisis? Or, could it foster an increased use of opioids that are still addictive–albeit not as lethal? Might it even calm some users into a state of complacency, and increase the risk of opioid overdose when addiction forces them to turn to an illegal, more deadly supplier?
Enroll In A Rehab Program Today
Death: The Constant Threat
Right now, there isn’t very much information as the new drug is still in the animal testing phase of its development. Apparently, it’s not killing the mice. I guess that’s a good thing for the poor test mice.
While the drug is not suppressing breath until death, there is no word on other possible symptoms. Some opioid abusers die from a combination of other things, such as dehydration, malnutrition, or both. One of the unfortunate side effects of opioids is that you don’t eat and drink healthily. If these remain side effects, then the drug will not be as harmless to your body as implied. The lethal nature of addiction would remain a significant threat.
Synthetic Opioid Sickness
A while back I had a case of shingles and was prescribed Ultram. I was optimistic about that relief until I woke up suffering from a severe headache at 2 am. Sweating and vomiting, I didn’t grasp it was due to the Ultram.
The next day, I was sick after once again taking a dose of Ultram. This synthetic opioid cause more nausea than any other opioid painkillers ever did. Many users report similar problems. If this new “safer” drug delivers those same results, then it will not be the miracle cure that some people are predicting.
Opioid Addiction Without Dread?
A substance abuser is continuously chasing after that first high. They take more and more drugs to try to find it. This dangerous game leads to eventual opioid overdose and death. Sometimes a near lethal experience is what scares the substance abuser into recovery.
Even without death, there are negative consequences that result from addiction. DUI convictions, wrecks, illness, homelessness, money challenges, and loss of family and friends.
If the high is still there, a user still won’t be capable of holding a job or taking care of family matters. A substance user will still use whatever cash they have to chase that high and go through their day in a foggy high. This user might also go to this new synthetic drug thinking they can use it safely, but the effects of the drug are still present.
Solely removing the respiratory distress does not treat the other issues that result from opioid abuse.
Enroll In A Rehab Program Today
Using or Not, An Addict is an Addict
I no longer abuse drugs, but I know that I’m a substance abuser for the rest of my life. I will exchange one addiction for a new one if I’m not cautious: pills for cocaine, cocaine for liquor, liquor for credit card debt, credit card debt for gambling.
Currently, I’m in a sugar detox program. I have a “defect in character” as it is called in the meeting rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Additionally, I have a diagnosed but treatable mental illness. My addiction is not simply a substance.
Many people are not addicted to opioids until they get hurt or ill and are prescribed them by a physician. But rarely is the problem just the pill. The potential for addiction was already inside the core of that person. The addiction potential will be there as long as the high exists. I don’t believe that these new drugs will eliminate that.
Addiction Treatment Is The Only Genuine Solution
The genuine and lasting solution is addiction treatment. Taking away an opioid abuser’s high of does not cure the addiction. Help must be found in rehabilitation centers, with the help of professional mental health workers, and by attending a 12-step program.
If the user doesn’t commit to these changes, then they’ll just find another high. All the money wasted on legislation and replacement drugs do not help the situation. Until the American people see that legislation, incarceration, and new synthetic drugs don’t help, there will be no end to substance abuse
The only true, genuine, and long-lasting remedy comes when more money is spent to fund detox centers, rehab centers, mental health clinics, and intensive therapeutic outpatient programs.
These safe spaces must be accessible and affordable to all who struggle, not just those with wealthy families, insurance plans, or a high credit score. Until that time, these addictions will flourish.