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By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

By Australia Drug Testing / November 10, 2023

Understanding Opioid Addiction: Causes, Effects, and Treatment

Opioid Addiction Treatment Australian Drug Testing

The alarming rise in opioid addiction and related mortality rates is a grave concern in today’s society. Opioid addiction, often accompanied by harrowing stories of struggle and loss, affects countless lives. In Australia, a staggering 150 hospitalisations and 14 emergency department admissions occur every single day, as a result of opioid harm, and 3 people die from drug-induced deaths caused by opioid use.

In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of opioid addiction, exploring its causes, effects, and the available treatment options. If someone you know is grappling with opioid addiction, this article aims to provide you with a better understanding and the necessary information to seek help.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that encompass various forms, including natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic. They are widely used for pain management and include legal prescription drugs like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. On the illicit side, there’s heroin, a highly dangerous and illegal opioid, along with synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.

Causes and Risk Factors

Opioid Dependence Treatment Australian Drug Testing
  1. Brain Changes

Opioid addiction often begins innocently with a legitimate prescription for pain relief. These drugs interact with the brain’s receptors, altering the way we perceive pain and pleasure. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of opioids, creating a strong painkiller addiction to maintain that feeling of euphoria.

  1. Genetics

Research suggests that genetics can play a significant role in one’s susceptibility to opioid addiction.2 Hence, some individuals may have genetic variations that make them more prone to develop substance use disorders.

  1. Mental Health Issues

Coexisting mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can increase the risk of opioid addiction. People often turn to opioids as a means of self-medication, attempting to alleviate emotional pain.

Effects of Opioid Addiction

Dependence: One of the hallmark signs of opioid addiction is dependence. This means that your body has become reliant on the presence of opioids to function normally. When you try to reduce or quit opioid abuse, you experience unpleasant opioid withdrawal symptoms like cravings, sweating, and anxiety.

Tolerance: With continued use, your body develops tolerance to opioids, requiring higher doses to achieve the same opioid effects, just as with other painkiller addictions. This escalating pattern can quickly lead to dangerous levels of opioid consumption.

Withdrawal Symptoms: Attempting to quit opioids can be a daunting task due to the onset of opioid withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are physically and emotionally distressing and often include nausea, muscle aches, diarrhoea, and depression. The fear of these symptoms can keep people trapped in addiction.

Impacts on Health, Work, and Relationships

The consequences of opioid addiction ripple through every aspect of a person’s life. It can lead to deteriorating physical health, damaged relationships with loved ones, and significant disruptions in professional life. Therefore, understanding these opioid effects is essential for encouraging individuals to seek help.

Impacts of Opioid Addiction on the Workplace

Opioid addiction’s reach extends into the workplace, and the consequences are profound. As addiction tightens its grip, individuals find it increasingly challenging to maintain their professional responsibilities. Here’s a closer look at how opioid addiction can affect work:

  1. Decreased Productivity

One of the earliest signs of trouble in the workplace is decreased productivity. As individuals grapple with opioid effects, they often struggle to concentrate on their tasks, complete assignments on time, or meet performance expectations. This decline in productivity not only affects the addicted individual but also places extra burdens on colleagues and supervisors.

  1. Increased Absenteeism

Opioid addiction can lead to increased absenteeism, with individuals frequently calling in sick or missing work altogether. The unpredictable nature of addiction-related symptoms, including opioid withdrawal, can make it challenging to maintain a consistent work schedule.

  1. Financial Impact

The financial impact of opioid addiction is twofold. Firstly, the addicted individual may experience financial strain due to the cost of obtaining opioids. Secondly, employers may incur losses through decreased productivity and the need to hire temporary replacements during periods of absenteeism.

  1. Strained Workplace Relationships

Workplace relationships can become strained as colleagues and supervisors struggle to understand and cope with the addicted individual’s behaviour. This can lead to isolation, resentment, and conflicts in the workplace, further exacerbating the addict’s emotional distress.

  1. Risk of Job Loss

In severe cases, opioid addiction can lead to job loss. Employers may terminate individuals whose addiction affects their job performance, particularly in safety-sensitive positions. Losing one’s job not only intensifies financial strain but can also lead to a sense of hopelessness.

  1. Legal Consequences

Opioid addiction can sometimes lead to legal trouble, especially if the individual engages in illegal activities to sustain their addiction. Legal issues can have devastating effects on an individual’s professional reputation.

Treatments for Opioid Addiction

Opioid Addiction and Dependence Australian Drug Testing

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) combines medication with therapy to address opioid addiction. For example, medications like methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can help manage cravings and opioid withdrawal symptoms, making recovery more achievable.

Behavioural Therapy and Counseling

Behavioural therapy and counselling provide essential tools for understanding and managing painkiller addiction. Additionally, these therapies help individuals identify triggers and develop coping strategies to prevent relapse.

Inpatient and Outpatient Programs

Treatment for opioid addiction can be provided in inpatient and outpatient programs. Inpatient rehab options offer a highly structured environment for individuals who require intensive care, while outpatient programs provide flexibility for those with milder painkiller addiction.

Opioid Addiction: Navigating Workplace Realities

Compromised Performance: The Intersection of Opioid Addiction and Job Functionality

Opioid addiction can significantly compromise job performance. It can lead to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and a decline in overall work quality. Understanding the impact on job functionality is vital for both employees and employers.

Safety at Stake: Identifying Risks Posed by Impaired Employees

In safety-sensitive workplaces, impaired employees can pose severe risks. Jobs that involve machinery or critical decision-making demand alertness, and opioid addiction can jeopardise not only the user’s safety but also that of their colleagues.

The Logic Behind Workplace Drug Testing

Workplace drug test, such as the MicroScreen 10+2 Panel, InnoScreen urine test, or DrugWipe® 6S, are vital tools for detecting opioid usage. Implementing these tests can help ensure a safer working environment and prompt employees to seek help if needed.

Conclusion

Understanding opioid addiction is paramount in combating this public health crisis. It is not merely a matter of willpower but a complex interplay of brain chemistry, genetics, and life circumstances. However, there is hope. Combining various treatment approaches, such as medication-assisted treatment, therapy, and counselling, can lead to lasting recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, remember that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Recovery takes commitment, but it is possible. Together, we can work towards a future where the devastating opioid effects on society are reduced, and individuals can regain control of their personal and professional lives.

Compromised Performance: The Intersection of Opioid Addiction and Job Functionality

Opioid addiction can significantly compromise job performance. It can lead to absenteeism, reduced productivity, and a decline in overall work quality. Understanding the impact on job functionality is vital for both employees and employers.

Safety at Stake: Identifying Risks Posed by Impaired Employees

In safety-sensitive workplaces, impaired employees can pose severe risks. Jobs that involve machinery or critical decision-making demand alertness, and opioid addiction can jeopardise not only the user’s safety but also that of their colleagues.

The Logic Behind Workplace Drug Testing

Workplace drug test, such as the MicroScreen 10+2 Panel, InnoScreen urine test, or DrugWipe® 6S, are vital tools for detecting opioid usage. Implementing these tests can help ensure a safer working environment and prompt employees to seek help if needed.

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