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Litigation Blog.
The seasoned lawyers and litigators at The Rubinstein Law Firm are here to share their insights with you.

What causes opioid addiction?

In the U.S., opioid use is an epidemic. Many people begin their opioid journey because of prescribed painkillers or curiosity, without recognizing the risks. If you suffer from opioid addiction, you may act recklessly or against the law to obtain opioids.

According to Mayo Clinic, any person who takes opioids may develop an addiction.

Personal Risk Factors

There are various risk factors when it comes to addiction. The most common risk factors include:

  • Genetic
  • Psychological
  • Environmental

If you have family members who suffer from addiction, you have a higher risk of developing addictive behaviors. Not only do genetics play a role, but the people you surround yourself with can also impact whether you become dependent on any drug. For example, if your family has a history of substance abuse, you may have high exposure to illicit substances.

Opioid Risk Factors

Opioids are intensely addictive drugs. When prescribed for acute pain, patients should only take them as prescribed for a short period. Three days or fewer tends to be a safe dose. Most responsible doctors will provide the lowest dose for the shortest time possible to manage your pain.

Research shows that those who take opioid medication for more than a few days have a high risk of long-term use. Your risk of addiction increases after only five days on opioids. Often patients with chronic pain have a higher likelihood of developing an addiction. You may need medication prescribed to you over a more extended period.

If you develop a tolerance for opioid medication, it may increase your dose. To prevent further opioid abuse, you may taper off your dose.