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Addressing the Opioid Crisis in America

Education is the first step.

We hear a lot about the devastating effects of the opioid epidemic in America. We’ve seen an unfortunate rise in death from an accidental opioid overdose, a greater prevalence of misuse of prescription drugs, and an increased number of doctors prescribing opioids before understanding the dangerous addictive qualities of some of these substances. Here, we will explore the opioid crisis in America, some causes of the increased use and misuse of these drugs, and some of the staggering statistics. The first step towards resolving any issue is awareness. From there, it’s vital that we get informed and educated about the crisis.

What are opioids?

Opioids are substances that act on the brain in such a way as to create effects similar to morphine. With continued use, opioids will actually trick the brain into minimizing the production of endorphins, or the chemical in our brains that makes us happy, altogether. The individual becomes more and more reliant on the drug for a baseline level of feeling “normal.” Examples of opioids include heroin and opium, as well as prescription drugs such as oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine, and fentanyl, among others. 

What caused the crisis?

While there are many potential causes of the rise of opioid use in our country, the origins can be traced back to the 1990s, when the pharmaceutical industry assured doctors that prescription opioids were not addictive. This led to a greater increase in prescribed opioids, including Vicodin and Oxycontin, and a general social acceptance around these legal prescription drugs. This, in turn, let to a greater misuse of non-prescription opioids. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency with regards to the opioid epidemic. 

What are the numbers?

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, over 130 people die each day from opioid-related overdoses and 11.4 million people have misused prescription opioids. There are many other educational resources available if you want to more fully understand the scope of the epidemic. 


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premiere men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at (855) 202-2138

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