As technology advances further and further, humankind is also experiencing an increasing opioid addiction epidemic. The question is, are these two facts independent of each other or are they related in some way? Let’s explore the potential relationship between technological advances and the increasing opioid addiction epidemic.
How Technology Points to Opioids
No definitive, scientific evidence directly connects technology to opioid addiction, but it’s worth taking a look at some of the facts. Technology can potentially affect opioid addictions in these ways:
- Commercials and Advertisements for Drugs
Many people who get addicted to opioids start out with a prescription for a controlled opioid substance. There are many legal opiates, but they are controlled substances that require a doctor to provide a prescription first. It could be argued that constant exposure to advertisements for drugs containing opioids is influencing people to seek them out, which leads to higher usage and potentially higher numbers of addictions beginning.
- Influencing Culture towards Fast Solutions
Most technology is geared towards giving you a quick fix, an easy solution, and a faster way to do different tasks. This has created a change in our perceptions, where we want to look for the easiest and quickest way to solve any problems or discomfort. In the case of many diseases for physical discomfort, we quickly turn to strong pain killers, such as opioids (think hydrocodone and oxycodone). This desire for quick solutions, pushed forward by constant new technological innovations, could be driving more people to become addicted accidentally.
- Increased Access to Medical Information Online
Many websites written by pharmaceutical companies or uninformed people may recommend opioids too often for medical conditions. Or, wrong advice can be found online on how to take opioids safely. Increased access to medical information can help some patients take power over their treatment, but it also causes others to see a doctor and ask for a prescription they may not actually need for their condition. If a physician thinks any patient is having moderate to severe pain, prescription painkillers are often given.
- Advanced Production of Opioids and “Pushing” by Drug Companies
The strongest argument for the relationship between technology and opioid addiction is that greater access to advertisements and competition between pharmaceutical companies has led to push ads. These types of advertisements tell viewers to ask their doctor about a particular prescription medication to help improve your life, whether you truly need it or not. Push adverts focus more on the potential benefits and tell you to ask and look for a particular medicine, only briefly mentioning that there may be significant life-altering consequences.
An Argument Against Technology’s Role in Pushing Addiction
All of the points made above can be argued against. Many would say that these do not point towards technology playing a significant role in opioid addictions. While it may be true that we now have greater access, more information, or more exposure to potentially misleading advertisements, those are not direct causes of opioid addiction. Advancing technology may not really be responsible for people becoming addicted to opioids in any way.
Whether or not technology does bring people closer to opioid addiction, it can assist you in finding help for addiction. You can learn more about opioids, why they’re addictive, and how to get help by finding treatment centers online.