the american Opana epidemic

what is opana?

Opana is a brand name for oxymorphone hydrochloride, a benzodiazepine drug listed among a class of drugs known as tranquilizers. Since as far back as 1977, these types of drugs have remained the most often prescribed medications in the world.

According to a recent article in the New York Times, benzodiazepines were involved in 6,973 overdose deaths in 2013, which is roughly 30 percent of all the prescription drug overdoses occurring that year. All of the other deaths by prescription drug overdose involved opioids. Overall, nearly 44,000 prescription overdose deaths were reported in 2013.

According to an article found on drugs .com, it is estimated that roughly 5 percent of adult Americans (that's one in 20 people) fills a benzodiazepine prescription during a one-year period. Benzodiazepines are most often prescribed for anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia. Powerful benzodiazepine drugs that are commonly prescribed include Ativan, Valium, and Xanax.

Opana is the common brand name for oxymorphone. It is a semisynthetic opioid drug that has been used in the United States as a painkiller since the 1950s. It is often prescribed for long term use, with treatment lasting up to 12 weeks or more. Opana is commercially legal with a prescription. Unfortunately, it is also widely available without one.

Opana is classified as an opiate analgesic, and is available in immediate or extended release form. When used as directed, Opana is indicated for the relief of moderate to severe physical pain and/or severe apprehension.

Opioid drugs are central nervous system agents, most often used in clinical settings to relieve extreme pain, such as in cancer patients, for example. According to the American Academy of Neurology, opioid drugs are also used for treating migraines.

Partly because of its long term indications, and partly because Opana is known to produce a feeling of euphoria, the drug is considered a highly addictive substance. Opana abuse is frequent among recreational users and prescription users alike. Unfortunately, recreational use is all too common, especially among people who suffer from heroin addiction and other opioid dependencies.

According to, Opana is readily available as a recreational drug, and is widely used illegally. Popular street names for Opana may include Blue Heaven, Drugstore Heroin, Mrs. O, Octagons, Pink Heaven, Pink Lady, Stop Signs, and the O-Bomb, to name just a few.

what are the adverse affects of opana?

According to info posted on, adverse reactions occur in roughly 2 percent of clients who take Opana, even as prescribed by their doctors. Side effects may include any of the following conditions: 

  • Sleepiness
  • Itching
  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Anorexia
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Breathing problems
  • Seizures
  • Constipation
  • Addiction

Serious allergic reactions are rare but not unheard of. If you have any very serious side effects, such as shallow breathing, fainting, dizzy spells, or seizures, get medical help immediately.

Opana is contraindicated (i.e. not recommended) for people with brain disorders resulting from head injury, tumor, or seizures. Opana use is also discouraged for people who suffer from breathing problems such as asthma, sleep apnea, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-COPD).

Other contraindications include people suffering from kidney disease, liver disease, and mental or mood disorders such as confusion, depression, and thoughts of suicide. Opana is also not considered safe for people with pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, intestinal problems, or a personal or family history of substance abuse.

is opana addictive?

According to standard research results, Opana definitely fits the description of an addictive substance. 

Not only does Opana Addiction exist, but it is not at all uncommon. According to an article from the L.A. Times (Girioin; Haely, September 11, 2013), more than 16,000 deaths from opioid overdose were reported in 2010. Of these, more than 200 were specifically blamed on Opana abuse. 

There are two types of addiction: Substance addiction and behavioral addiction. Both involve a compulsion to engage in seeking a sensual reward. Both types of addictions are characterized by the persistent search for a feeling that is inherently desirable, despite persistent adverse consequences. In fact, addiction can be generally defined as a fixation on a feeling.

Sometimes, addictive substances are commonly used in conjunction with other addictive substances, as many people are found to have more than one drug in their systems. In these cases, the sufferer may experience reward cross sensitization. This is a process by which exposure to either stimulus increases the desire for both. 

Any deliberate behavior that is exhibited for the purpose of producing a desirable feeling within oneself can become an addiction. The factors that contribute to addiction can be social (such as peer pressure and mass media), psychological (such as a perceived need to “feel better”), and/or genetic (as with Alcoholism, Autism, and other mental disorders). 

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control, more than 12 million people in the United States currently use opioid drugs. 

According to an article in USA Today, Opana first hit the market in 2006, when it was approved in oral form by the FDA, and made available in 5 mg or 10mg tablets. The tablet strengths indicate the concentration of active ingredient per tablet.

Despite its relatively recent appearance as a street drug, the underlying problem is nothing new. Before there was Opana, there was OxyContin. 

OxyContin is a timed release medication whose whose active ingredient is oxycodone. The effects of OxyContin are said to last for at least 12 hours. For years, OxyContin was the preferred drug of choice for people suffering from opioid addiction, or attempting to wean themselves from heroin. 

However, Opana's dangerous new popularity arose in recent years, when OxyContin's manufacturer changed its formula to deter the abuse of the drug. The medication was modified so recreational users could no longer crush, break or dissolve the pill. After that, there was no easy way to snort or inject OxyContin to achieve a high. This, and the fact that Opana costed less on the street, caused Opana to replace OxyContin as the leading illicit drug of choice for people suffering from opioid addictions. 

According to all reputable sources, Opana is a powerful and addictive drug, categorized in the same class with morphine, methadone, and oxycodone. 

how do people become addicted to opana?

People who take Opana only and exactly as recommended and prescribed by their doctors, are extremely unlikely to develop an addiction problem.

However, there seems to be an alarming trend toward doctors prescribing these powerful painkillers for the treatment of normal psychological problems such as bereavement.

Unfortunately, this robs people of the opportunity to experience what is known as the normal grieving process. The underlying problem stays put for as long as the client stays medicated.

This trend seems to have led to an increase in addiction problems among America's senior population. 

That being said, Opana addiction can occur in any of the following ways, to name just a few. 

  • The client takes a higher dose of the substance than prescribed.
  • The client takes more frequent doses of the substance than prescribed.
  • Non-approved administration, such as snorting.
  • Non-medical administration, such as using Opana to try cure insomnia, to achieve a feeling of euphoria, or to alleviate normal unpleasant feelings such as bereavement.
  • Purchasing the product illegally for recreational use.
  • Taking someone else's prescription.
  • In some cases, even prescribed doses can lead to addiction, although these cases are rare.

Opioids are primarily misused due to their ability to produce a feeling of euphoria. The effects of Opana abuse are already showing an alarming increase in certain parts of rural America, such as Southern Indiana, where deaths by opioid overdose have seen a sharp rise in recent times, and where an HIV outbreak was recently reported. At the time of this writing, ten people in the area have been arrested for illegally distributing Opana. 

Signs and Symptoms of Opana Addiction

The signs of Opana addiction are similar to the signs indicating other types of substance addictions. According to, people who are addicted to Opana may exhibit a number of different behaviors. Symptoms of Opana addiction may include irritability, evasiveness, denial, loss of friends, loss of jobs, lack of enthusiasm, lack of energy, and diminishing integrity, which often involves theft. 

Attempts at resolving the problems faced by people suffering from Opana addiction may include family intervention, among other things. However, it is highly recommended that you enlist the help of a licensed therapist before trying the intervention technique. 

how is opana addiction treated?

Although people who are recovering from Opana addiction may experience some unpleasant symptoms and side effects, it is important to keep in mind that these feelings are temporary, and are a crucial part of the recovery process. 

Opana withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, mood swings, physical pain, insomnia, hallucinations, and flu-like symptoms. If you think you might have an addiction to Opana (or any other substance), you are strongly encouraged to arrange a visit with your doctor. 

Clinical research indicates that Opana addiction is best treated by way of various types of therapy. All over America, outpatient addiction recovery services are available to clients who are either unable or unwilling to interrupt their day to day routines, while residential treatment is also available for clients requiring more personalized attention. 

In addition to outpatient services and residential treatment programs, other recovery options include family therapy, sober living support, networking with others in recovery, and medical detox. According to most treatment programs, medical detoxification is the crucial first step in the recovery process. 

There are many types of therapy programs for people who suffer from addictions. In general, therapy programs assist the client in recovery from addictive, compulsive, and other chronic behavior issues. Outpatient services are available everywhere. In some neighborhoods, community organizations such as churches offer group therapy programs that follow the same (12-step) traditions as AA does. 

It is generally accepted that all addictions share certain common features. The two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli are that they are reinforcing (increasing the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure) and that they are intrinsically rewarding (resulting in the receipt of something perceived as being positive or desirable). Regardless of specific preferences, those who remain addicted tend to experience a continuous decrease in the quality of life, accompanied by deepening despair. 

Fortunately, many types of addiction therapy are currently available throughout the United States, and many addiction treatment programs are known to be successful. 

All the help you need is just a phone call away.


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