Every month new data seems to be surfacing on the harmful effects of the American opioid addiction epidemic. This crisis, aptly referred to as a national public health emergency, continues to grow in harm and danger, not only for addicts, but also for the family members, loved ones, friends, neighbors, and co-workers of addicts.
A recent study highlights an entirely new (and very worrying) effect of opioid abuse.
Loss of vision.
The study results
Published in JAMA Ophthalmology, The study found that the incidence of drug addicts developing harmful eye infections quadrupled between 2003 and 2016. According to the researchers, the infections are caused by bacteria, fungi, and other contaminants that enter the bloodstream through the use of dirty needles.
“It is quite common for patients to lose sight.”
Quote from Dr. David Hinkle, An Associate Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the West Virginia University School of Medicine at Morgantown: “For some reason, these infections tend to often approach the good visual center. It is quite common for patients to lose sight. Even if you can successfully treat and remove and eliminate the infection from the eye, patients are often left with scars that can prevent them from fully regaining their eyesight. Often, when abusing intravenous drugs, people are using the same needle that others used or they are reusing those needles. They don’t clean their skin when they inject. Any bacteria or fungi that are on our skin, and we all have them on our skin, can get into your arm very easily. ”
Hospital data have shown that between 2003 and 2016 there were nearly 57,000 hospitalizations for endogenous endophthalmitis, an infection of the blood that spreads to the eye. Among drug addicts in the hospital, the incidence of such infections rose from 0.08 per 100,000 people in 2003 to 0.32 per 100,000 people in 2016.
But why the eye? Why does the eye suffer such damage from blood infections? According to experts, the eyes are something of a litmus test for the health of several parts of the body. Because the eyes are often one of the first organs to be noticeably affected by a blood infection.
Dr. Richard Rosen, a retinal surgeon for the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in New York City, quoted: “We see it early in the eye because a person will notice a decrease in their vision, but it is an indication that a too infection occurs elsewhere on the body. The eye has a very high blood flow. Measured by weight, the eye has the highest blood flow of all parts of the body. It is very common for infections to get to the back of the eye. The retina is very sensitive. It’s a thin membrane, about the thickness of a piece of paper, and it’s really brain tissue. You don’t have to do a lot to lose the function. ”
If opioid addiction is not brought under control in the United States, it is reasonable to believe that addicts will continue to experience eye-related health problems, even loss of vision.
Opioid Addiction – The list of harmful effects is long
Vision damage is just one of the many harmful effects of opiate consumption. And as one of the fastest growing drug problems in the country, opioid addiction is not only widespread; it is also extremely dangerous. The list of harmful effects alone is enough to paint a picture of the dangerousness of this drug crisis.
Opioids, just one type of drug, are responsible for most of the drug-related deaths in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Almost 70 percent of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in 2018 were from an opioid.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 128 people die in the United States Every day of opioid overdoses. And it’s not just the deaths that weigh heavily on the lives of the American people. The macroeconomic burden from opioid addiction is also high. Prescription opioid abuse alone costs the United States approximately $ 78.5 billion each year. These costs come in the form of healthcare costs, lost productivity, treatment, criminal justice, collateral damage, theft, crime prevention, incarceration, and so on.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine has also compiled many studies on the opioid crisis in the USA. According to their data, the rate of increase in opioid addiction was particularly worrying. For example, the opioid overdose rate in 2008 was four times as high as it was in 1999. Why such a sharp increase? Partly because of a congruent increase in prescription. Sales of prescription pain relievers also increased four-fold over the same period. A few years later, in 2012, more than 259 million Prescriptions were issued for opioids, enough for any American adult to get their own bottle of pills.
In addition to being addictive and potentially fatal, opioids have a long list of harmful side effects, including physical, psychological, behavioral, and emotional effects. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Some of these effects include:
- Nausea, vomiting
- Brief euphoria
- Slowed breathing
- HIV / AIDS and other infectious diseases
- Muscle and bone pain (withdrawal symptoms)
- Sleep disorder
- Cold flashes with periodic goosebumps
- Uncontrollable leg movements (restless legs syndrome)
- Strong cravings for opioids
Addiction treatment – saving your life and eyesight
Opioid addiction causes harm far beyond impairing the eyesight of drug users. Potential vision damage is a serious problem and dangerous side effect of opioid use, but it is by no means the greatest threat in opioid addiction.
The greatest threat from opioid abuse is your death from such abuse, usually in the form of an overdose. As mentioned in the statistics section, this is unfortunately all too common. If you know someone who is addicted to opioids, please do everything possible to get them help before they overdose.
Dormitories for drug and alcohol rehab centers offer the safest, most effective ways to get around out Drugs for good. A reputable treatment agency will use a proven and workable approach to helping people overcome their drug use and seek a new life. Through a proprietary program of drug withdrawal, detoxification, unique processes, life skills courses, and other modalities and approaches, helping people previously believed lost to society. Please contact an addiction treatment specialist today to take the first step in helping your loved one get their life back.