Addiction to prescription painkillers (opioids/opiates) is one of the most critical health issues today in the U.S. It’s estimated that nearly 2 million people in the U.S struggled with opioid misuse and addiction in 2015. Since the 1990s, opioids have increasingly been the go-to prescription for patients recovering from surgery or suffering from chronic pain. In fact, sales of opioids have increased an estimated 300% in the past 20 years!
For 2016, it’s estimated that in the U.S., 42,249 deaths were related to opioid overdoses. It can take as little as a few days to create a dependency that leads to using opioids for more than a year. That’s pretty overwhelming since the average prescription is usually between 14 and 30 days. But what makes opioids so addictive? The chemical makeup of opioids is almost identical to heroin. In fact, by some estimates, nearly 80% of heroin users started by misusing prescription painkillers. Things have gotten so bad the opioid crisis has been declared a national health emergency. The U.S. Surgeon General doesn’t just want to fight opioid addiction; he wants to prevent it.
If opioids are so addictive and still the most common solution for those experiencing pain, how can you avoid opioid dependency? MyGenx® has the GARS® test for those that want to be in charge of their own life. The GARS® test analyzes your specific DNA to let you know if you have genetic tendencies that make you more vulnerable to addictive, compulsive, or impulsive behaviors. Why is this so helpful? Let’s say that you are about to have a surgery that requires an opioid prescription to manage pain after. If you knew your GARS® score was a 9 (out of 22), you would be able to tell your doctor that the chances of you becoming dependent on opioids are much higher than average and that a 30-day prescription is not a great idea. You and your doctor could find alternative ways to help manage any pain, or you could ask for a shorter prescription.
The GARS® test from MyGenx® is your personal GPS to navigate the risks associated with opioid use to help prevent a lifetime of addiction.