No doubt you’ve come across the term opioids, possibly from a doctor or maybe at a party when a friend whispered that you should try some. Opioids have become so popular that there is an ongoing opioid crisis. Nearly 189 people lost their lives daily in 2020 because of accidental opioid overdoses. An even higher number of people struggling with opioids land in the emergency department and addiction treatment facilities.
Beginning a job in addiction counseling can be a rewarding change in your career. You can find an open position by searching “substance abuse and addiction jobs near me” at Behavioral Health Jobs today. Create a profile and connect with job posters today.
What Is the Opioid Crisis?
The opioid crisis refers to the growing rates of addiction and hospitalization because of opioid use. It also encompasses the deaths that result directly or indirectly from opioid abuse.
People began using heroin, a natural opiate, centuries ago. Since then, pharmaceutical companies have continued to make new, successfully marketed opioid pain relievers. Doctors readily prescribe opioids, which unknowingly starts the addiction cycle for many of their patients.
The introduction of synthetic opioids such as fentanyl into the market complicates the situation. These opioids are just as addictive, and no one is ever sure of their manufacturing conditions. The possibility of dying from consuming such drugs is profound.
Treating the Opioid Addiction Cycle
Prescription opioids are excellent pain relievers and can help patients cope with their pain. But failing to follow the prescriptions can quickly lead to opioid dependence. People who become dependent on the drugs can quickly start spiraling down the cycle of addiction. The addiction cycle includes:
- Dependence – The body becomes so used to opioids that it cannot function without them.
- Tolerance – The person needs more and more of the drug to get the original effect.
- Withdrawal – If the person stops taking opioids, they experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Treating a person struggling with addiction often requires professional, medically-supervised detoxification. This type of treatment can help the person cope with withdrawal symptoms in a safe setting. Afterward, they can begin working on their sobriety in an inpatient or outpatient facility. Each of the stages in the addiction cycle can benefit from the help of a mental healthcare worker.
Mental Healthcare Workers Battling the Opioid Crisis
People working in jobs in addiction treatment are on the frontlines of the battle against opioids. It is their job to deal with patients who are addicted and those in danger of becoming addicted.
One way that mental healthcare workers help patients is by teaching them about the dangers of opioids. They work hard to show people how easy it is to become addicted and what the consequences could be.
Some common mental healthcare positions that help people struggling with addiction include:
- Substance use disorder (SUD) counselor
- Social workers
- Mental health counselors
- Case managers
In many cases, people with addiction also have a mental health disorder, which is called a dual diagnosis. Treating both the addiction and the mental health disorder can be difficult. But it is possible with the help of a team of mental healthcare professionals.
The opioid crisis is a complex problem that requires the help of many different types of people. From medical professionals to mental health counselors, everyone has a role in combating this epidemic.
Do Your Part, Find a New Job on Behavioral Health Jobs
If you want to do your part in the fight against opioids, consider a job in behavioral health. On our website, you can search for jobs that allow you to help people struggling with addiction. Just enter your zip code to find open positions near you.
Filter your search by experience level, facility type, and location so you can find the perfect fit to launch the next trajectory of your career. Whether you are a seasoned recovery specialist or are newly entering the mental health field, you can find an opening right for you.