When he was found recently asleep in his car in Florida, it was learned that the golfer was reportedly high on prescription pain medicine, also known as opiates. Even though he was not actually driving the car, he still had allegedly broken the law. Unfortunately, his fame and the media made this a very embarrassing event for him. His opiate problem is a common story in the U.S. and the statistics behind it are scary.
Opioid and opiate abuse is becoming a wider and more dangerous epidemic every year in America. To demonstrate the growth of opiate abuse, it is known that in the 60’s, 80% of users began their addictions with heroin, but currently 80% start with prescription pain medication instead.
The number of people abusing them is stunning. Five % of Americans used opiates illegally in 2010, reports the NY Times. In 2015 almost as many people died from opiate overdose as in car crashes. Also, opiate abuse was called by the Times “the worst drug crisis in American history”. More people died from heroin (one form of opioid) abuse than from gun violence in 2015. 18 to 25 year olds were the worst abusers of these prescriptions statistically in 2011, per HHS.gov. Even 11 % of 12 to 25 year olds also used them non-medically!
Other opioids include codeine, morphine, methadone and many other pain medications. Oxycontin is a synthetic version of opiates, as well as Percocet, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl and Dilaudid. You may have used one of these yourself, as they are commonly prescribed.
Abuse often results in dependence on these drugs. Withdrawals from opiates are severe and include pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures and hypertension. This makes them very addictive, since users are lulled into an increasing level of higher use to avoid these side effects. Dependence is easily reached and the ugly cycle starts. Liver and brain damage can also develop over time.
So it is not surprising that someone such as Woods has the problem so many others suffer from.