What to Do When Opiate Addiction Takes Over a Colleague

Here’s one thing that we never, ever want to see in our lifetimes. A colleague, co-worker, associate, loved one, spouse, family member, friend, child, or anyone that we know for that matter becoming addicted to opiates. Having been very involved in recovery and rehabilitation for addiction myself, I know how bad opiates are and how intensive and terrifying opiate addiction is. It is the worst type of drug out there as far as addiction goes and as far as the difficulty of getting off of it goes.  It is terrible, and I have known lots of good people who have other lost their own lives or who have lost someone else because of addiction.

Just to provide you with some insight as to just how bad these issues are in case this is a problem that you are not so familiar with, I’ve included some facts and statistics below that highlight some of the opiate issues in this country:

  • Opiate addiction has become a global epidemic that affects all nations. It’s not just the United States. This is a worldwide crisis, if not a full-on epidemic.
  • True, the United States is affected the most when it comes to opiates on a per capita basis (five percent of the world’s population yet we consume eight percent of pills), but other countries like France, Iran, Afghanistan, and Brazil suffer greatly as well.
  • To shed some light on this, it is estimated that a full thirteen and a half million people in the world abuse opioids (or opium-like substances), including over nine million alone who use heroin alone.
  • Heroin abuse is on the rise again in the United States after a period of low use. After lying almost completely dormant for over two and a half decades, heroin abuse has skyrocketed in the U.S. in tandem with increases in opiate pain reliever abuse.
  • The two drugs are almost identical, hence the tandem increase in use and abuse.
  • To get the rough numbers on it, the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that there were approximately 2,153,000 current heroin users in the United States in the year 2007. Other estimates by other unofficial institutions give figures as high as 3,900,000, and it is certainly higher now than it was then.

What to Do if a Colleague is Addicted

If you think that someone you know or care about is addicted to opiates, then you need to do everything that you can to try to help them. Opiate addicts are living on borrowed time, and this rule applies to them more so than to any other addict. If you know someone who is addicted, you need to inform their family members and loved ones and engage that person in an intervention to try to get them to agree that they have a problem and to try to get them willing to do scenting about that problem and to stop abusing the substance. Now more so than ever before, you need to act fast, as the average life span of an opiate addict in this country gets shorter and shorter every year.

Opiate addiction is not something to mess around with. It is also not a passing fancy either like some drugs are, as opiates create a powerful and gripping physical dependency issue that keep people coming back for more even when they know they should hang it up. No, with opiates the best thing to do is to intervene and to put a stop to it before it can get any worse.