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Opioid Epidemic

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that come in many forms. Opioids can be natural (morphine, codeine), semi-synthetic (heroin, oxycodone), synthetic (methadone, fentanyl), and illegally made (heroin). They bind to receptors in the brain’s reward center producing pain relief, relaxation, and euphoria. Recently, we have been seeing overdose deaths increase due to synthetic opioids as prescription opioid rates decrease.

Click on this image to learn more about the overdose crisis.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic disorder that leads to negative long-term patterns of behavior. Over time, drugs can alter the way the brain works, causing a physical dependence on substances. Addiction can be treated successfully with proper resources and support.

Why Does this Matter?

Drug overdoses are a leading cause of accidental death in the United States for people under 50. Drugs have claimed over 750,000 lives since 1999. Two out of three drug overdose deaths in 2018 were opioid related.

The opioid epidemic is a nationwide problem, and Alabama is currently the number one opioid prescriber in the United States per capita. It greatly impacts the economy, local businesses, healthcare system, education and government in Jefferson County, as well as all over the United States. Being aware of the trends and data around you can really make a difference in understanding the obstacles and tools we have to fight this epidemic. We must all come together and work towards healing in our community.

This concept map shows the different impacts opioid use can have in the community.

Opioid Related Harms

Addiction to opioids can lead to other related harms to health. Listed below are some frequently associated conditions to opioid addiction. Click on them to learn more.

Pregnancy Complications

Using opioids during pregnancy can cause many negative effects on mothers and their babies. Learn more about these health outcomes such as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.

Infectious Diseases

As the use of opioids increases, the risk of transmission of blood-borne infections rises steeply. Using contaminated injection equipment, sharing, and misuse of syringes and needles causes the spread of infectious diseases. People who inject drugs are at higher risk for these diseases, such as HIV and viral hepatitis.

Mental Health

There is evidence suggesting that the use of opioids can contribute to mental health problems. Using opioids can increase the risk of developing depression.
Central Health Center
(Guy M. Tate)

1400 Sixth Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35233
(205) 588-5234

(205) 933-9110
Eastern Health Center
601 West Blvd Roebuck
Birmingham, AL 35206
Programs and Clinics
(205) 588-5234
Western Health Center
631 Bessemer Super Hwy
Midfield, AL 35228
Programs and Clinics
(205) 588-5234
Hours of Operation:
All Centers are open 7:45am to 4:30pm. Phone lines for clinic appointments open at 7:00am Monday through Friday.

If this is a Medical Emergency call 911.
If you are a patient and need to reach your health care team after business hours for non-life threatening conditions, call (205) 588-5234. For Medical Emergencies dial 911.

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