Serenity Discusses the Dangers of Opiates During National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month

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Serenity Recovery Center promotes awareness of opiate use during NADAM

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As part of this important month of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) education, Serenity Recovery Center seeks to include as part of the conversation the dangers and risks associated with opiate use.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan named the month of November as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month (NADAM). Since that time, the designation has expanded, sometimes declared “Alzheimer’s Disease and Brain Awareness” and also “Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Caregivers Month.” Such designations seek to include increased awareness of not only the disease itself, but other forms of dementia as well as the weight of the responsibility placed on friends, family and other caregivers. As part of this important month of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) education, Serenity Recovery Center seeks to include as part of the conversation the dangers and risks associated with opiate use.

In the more than twenty years since the NADAM designation, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s Disease has, unfortunately, more than doubled (from approximately 2 million people to now more than 5 million). The burden of care often falls primarily on family members, friends, and state-sponsored facilities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. is estimated at more than 200 billion dollars, just for the year 2016. It is also estimated that more than 16 million Americans will have the disease by 2050, unless a cure is found.

Recent data suggests the use of opiates make complicate the matter. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that an estimated 2.5 million people in the United States are addicted to opiates (when you combine both prescription opioid pain reliever addiction and that of heroin addiction). So when the Oxford University Press publishes findings that opiate abusers have a predisposition to accelerated Alzheimer-related changes in the brain, the nation should take note.

Opiate addiction has its own alarming cost, an estimated 25 billion dollars just in health care costs (not including criminal justice costs or loss of productivity to the workforce). Opioids may lead to cognitive impairment, but this new research indicates that opiates may prematurely age the brains of users, as well as cause changes that resemble early Alzheimer’s Disease. Alcoholism has long been linked to forms of dementia, but since opioids are the most prescribed pain killers in the United States, a greater understanding of the risks is important.

Serenity Recovery Center is committed to drug-related education and prevention.

To learn more or to get help for yourself or a loved one, call 1-855-218-3775 or visit the Serenity Recovery website: http://www.serenityrehab.org

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Derry Hallmark
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