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Written By Legacy Healing Center - Sep 6 2019
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Knowing about the side effects or the addictive nature of the strongest pain pills on the market is important, as millions of Americans see their doctors annually because of acute or chronic pain.
Pain can affect every area of our life, from making it difficult to tackle everyday tasks such as dressing ourselves or cooking to being able to complete a full workday. It can also take a toll on someone mentally and has the ability to affect our mood and our relationships with those around us.
To help with pain, it isn’t uncommon for doctors to prescribe medications that fall into the long list of opiates. But it is important to know how strong these medications are and the side effects, as some of the drugs can give the user a “high” which can be addictive.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it is this feeling of euphoria from opiates that can cause dependency issues. This euphoric feeling can occur if someone takes a higher dose than the doctor initially prescribed or if the medicine has been improperly prescribed in the first place.
The list of opioids strongest to weakest is extensive so let’s review the list of opioids strongest to weakest:
1. Fentanyl – Fentanyl tops the list, as it is considered to be 50 – 100 times more potent than morphine. This synthetic drug can be prescribed for people who have advanced cancer pain, which can often be excruciating. It can also be prescribed post-surgery for pain.
When prescribed, it most often comes in lozenge form or as transdermal patches. More recently in the news, we hear about overdoses and harmful side effects due to illegally made fentanyl that is being mixed with street cocaine or heroin. Street names for fentanyl include China White, China Girl, Goodfella, TNT, and Murder 8.
2. OxyContin – This drug is a prescription opioid pain reliever that is often prescribed by doctors who have patients that need around-the-clock relief from moderate to severe pain. Records from 2013 from the Drug Enforcement Administration show that 58.8 million prescriptions for the drug were filled just in that year alone!
The drug is typically prescribed for people who are recovering from surgery or an injury, have cancer or severe arthritis pain. Street names for OxyContin include Oxy, O.C., or Hillbilly Heroin.
3. Demerol – Also known in the generic form as meperidine, Demerol can often be used when someone is undergoing anesthesia, in active childbirth, or is in need of other moderate to severe pain relief.
The drug’s effects are similar to those of morphine or OxyContin. This drug is also considered one of the strongest pain pills and has a high risk of addiction. On the street, Demerol is often called Demmies and Pain Killer.
4. Hydrocodone – The popularity of Hydrocodone being prescribed may surprise you. For many years, this drug was the most prescribed drug in America – and not just in the pain-relieving class of drugs but of all drugs that can be prescribed! In, fact, records from just 2014 show 120 million prescriptions just in that year alone.
Because of how much it was prescribed, and at times improperly prescribed, there have been high rates of addiction to the drug. Hydrocodone brand names include Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, and Lorcet. This medication is often used for moderate to severe pain that can occur after an injury, if someone is living with a chronic condition, or is recovering from surgery. On the street, it can often be called Vike or Watson.
5. Morphine – Morphine is a natural opioid that is prescribed to treat ongoing severe pain, often from cancer or cancer treatment. It can be prescribed in immediate release or delayed release formulas depending on the type of pain. On the street, morphine is usually called M, Miss Emma, White Stuff, or Monkey.
The medications above on this list of opiates work in the body by altering how the brain perceives and responds to pain. The longer these medications are used, the more the body will adjust to them, and tolerance will build.
At this point, more of the drug will be needed to get the same effects that were initially felt. This is where abuse and addiction can occur.
If you believe a friend or loved one has crossed the boundary of using some of these strongest pain pills for pain relief and is now fighting with addiction, look out for these signs:
1. The person is using different amounts of the medication than was prescribed, or at different time intervals than is set by the physician.
2. The medicine is being used not to relieve pain but to achieve a feeling of euphoria or get anxiety relief.
3. More of the drug is needed to feel relief.
4. The person is going to drastic lengths to feel effects from the drug, such as snorting or injecting the medication.
5. Erratic or compulsive behaviors are being exhibited in order to get more of the drug.
The team at Legacy Healing Center understands the effects and addictive nature of this list of opiates. We offer a variety of programs and treatment options that help people break this cycle of addiction and allow them to move forward in a life of sobriety.
Call us today at 888-597-3547 to learn more about our addiction programs.