If you’re dealing with chronic pain, it can create a relentless challenge in your daily life. In an attempt to give you some relief, you may have been prescribed opioid painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, fentanyl, or others. These narcotic medications are very effective in managing moderate to severe pain, but come with a risk of addiction. There is an intricate relationship between chronic pain, prescription opioids, and addiction. However, it is possible to prevent or overcome dependence on opioid painkillers and rely on safer alternatives for pain control. A drug addiction hotline in Wyoming can help you find treatment programs that help you do just this.
The National Drug Helpline is a toll-free number 1-844-289-0879 that operates 24/7, 365 days a year, including weekends and holidays. Our goal is to give you fast access to updated information about addiction treatment in Wyoming. All calls to our helpline are answered by knowledgeable, empathetic, and helpful professionals who can help you find local treatment programs and offer guidance in a safe, non-judgmental space.
Call 1-844-289-0789 today to discuss your concerns and get answers to your questions about substance abuse and addiction. We guarantee complete privacy and confidentiality for yourself or your loved one. Call us to find drug and alcohol treatment facilities in Cheyenne, Casper, Gillette, Laramie, Rock Springs, and other communities in Wyoming.
WYOMING SUBSTANCE ABUSE RESOURCES
- Wyoming Department of Health – Substance Use Treatment Services
- Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings in Wyoming
- Wyoming Prescription Drug Abuse Toolkit
- Wyoming Drug Use Trends
SUBSTANCE ABUSE IN WYOMING
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports the following with regards to substance use in Wyoming: 
YOUTH AGED 12-17 YEARS
- Past-month marijuana use was reported by 7.1% of adolescents in 2017-2019 compared to 6.5% in 2002-2004. During a similar timeframe, the US national average decreased from 7.9% in 2002-2004 to 6.8% in 2017-2019.
- Past-month alcohol use was reported by 8.9% of youth in 2017-2019 compared to 18.4% in 2002-2004. The US national average also showed a downward trend from 17.6% in 2002-2004 to 9.4% in 2017-2019.
- Past-month illicit drug use was reported by 8.6% of Wyoming teens aged 12-17 years in 2017-2019 compared to 8.2% in 2015-2017. The US national average was stable at 8.2% during this time.
- Past-year initiation of substances (first lifetime use) was reported by youth as follows during 2017-2019: Alcohol 9.2% (US average 9.3%), marijuana 4.4% (US average 5.2%), and cigarettes 2.8% (US average 2.3%).
Marijuana and alcohol use among adolescents in Wyoming have shown positive trends with decreased usage in 2019 compared to 2002. However, illicit drug use has increased slightly from 2015 to 2019.
YOUNG ADULTS AGED 18-25 YEARS
The data for young adults aged 18-25 years in Wyoming is as follows:
- Past-year marijuana use was reported by 29.8% of young adults in Wyoming in 2017-2019 compared to 27.2% in 2002-2004. During a similar timeframe, the US national average increased from 28.7% in 2002-2004 to 35.0% in 2017-2019.
- Past-year marijuana use disorder was reported in 3.7% of young adults aged 18-25 years in Wyoming in 2017-2019, compared to 5.7% in 2002-2004. The US national average changed from 6.0% in 2002-2004 to 5.6% in 2017-2019.
- Past-year opioid use disorder was reported in 0.8% of young adults in Wyoming in 2017-2019 compared to 1.4% in 2015-2017. The US national average changed from 1.3% in 2015-2017 to 1.0% in 2017-2019.
- Past-year illicit drug use disorder was reported in 5.6% of Wyoming residents aged 18-25 years in 2017-2019 compared to 5.0% in 2015-2017. The US national average was around 7.2% to 7.5% during this time period.
- Past-month binge alcohol use was reported by 36.3% of young adults in 2017-2019 compared to 39.2% in 2015-2017. The US national average in 2017-2019 was 35.4% showing binge alcohol use in Wyoming is slightly more than the country as a whole.
- Past-year alcohol use disorder among young adults aged 18-25 was reported in 11.7% of Wyoming residents in 2017-2019, compared to 23.7% in 2002-2004. The US national average for 2017-2019 was 9.8%. Wyoming therefore has a higher percentage of young adults battling alcohol use disorder compared to the US average for all states.
- Past-year substance use disorder was reported in 14.3% of young adults aged 18-25 years in Wyoming in 2017-2019 compared to 14.1% in 2015-2017. The national average has hovered between 15.1% and 14.7% during this time.
WYOMING RESIDENTS 12 YEARS OF AGE AND OLDER
The Behavioral Health Barometer also found the following for 2017-2019 in Wyoming residents aged 12 years and older:
- Past-year tobacco use: 33.5% (US average 26.8%)
- Past-year marijuana use: 12.4% (US average 16.2%)
- Past-year marijuana use disorder: 1.0% (US average 1.6%)
- Past-year heroin use: 0.13% (US average 0.30%)
- Past-year prescription painkiller misuse: 2.9% (US average 3.7%)
- Past-year opioid use disorder: 0.6% (US average 0.7%)
- Past-year illicit drug use disorder: 1.9% (US average 2.9%)
- Past-year alcohol use disorder: 6.0% (US average 5.3%)
- Past-year substance use disorder: 7.0% (US average 7.4%)
- Number of people enrolled in substance use treatment (single day counts for 2019): 2,499
- Problems among people enrolled in treatment: 26.9% drug problem only, 32.4% alcohol problem only, 40.6% both drug and alcohol problems
UNDERSTANDING THE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PAIN MANAGEMENT WITH OPIOIDS AND ADDICTION
Prescription Opioids and Pain Relief
Opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, are powerful painkillers that are typically prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, thereby reducing pain perception and increasing feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
The Risk of Dependency
While opioids can provide significant pain relief, they carry a high risk of dependency and addiction. Even short-term use of these medications can lead to addiction. Use of these prescription medicines also puts you at risk of an opioid overdose. In fact, opioids are responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the United States currently. 
Opioid drugs activate the reward centers of the brain, which is what makes them highly addictive. Over time, your body can become tolerant to the effects of opioids, causing you to require higher doses to get the same amount of pain relief. This can ultimately result in misuse and addiction.
Addiction starts as something pleasurable and can quickly progress to a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. This can lead to cravings and compulsive use of the medication, ultimately resulting in harmful consequences.
Physical vs. Psychological Pain
Chronic pain is not just physical. It is also emotionally and psychologically taxing. Opioids temporarily alleviate the physical aspect of pain, but they may not address all the emotional and psychological components. This can contribute to addiction as you may take more and more of the medicine to try and get relief from your overall suffering.
Risk Factors for Opioid Addiction
People who take opioid pain medications in ways other than prescribed (at higher doses, more frequently, or by crushing, snorting, or injecting the drugs) are at a greater risk of developing opioid addiction. The length of time for which you take opioid painkillers is another risk factor. Taking these medicines for more than a few days is associated with a higher risk of abuse and addiction. After just 5 days of taking opioids, the risk that you’ll still be taking these painkillers a year later increases considerably.
Additional risk factors include a personal or family history of substance abuse, poverty, unemployment, mental illness, younger age, regular contact with other drug users, a history of criminal activities, a risk-taking personality, and life stressors.
PREVENTING OPIOID ADDICTION
Always take opioid pain medicines exactly as prescribed. Never use someone else’s medicine or give or sell your narcotic painkillers to others. These drugs work best for acute pain when taken for 5 days or less, for example, after surgery or a bone fracture.
If you are living with chronic pain, talk to your healthcare provider about other safer treatment options for pain management, such as:
Multidisciplinary Pain Management
This is a holistic approach that involves a team of healthcare professionals, including physical therapists, psychologists, and pain specialists. They can work together to address both the physical and emotional aspects of your chronic pain.
Explore alternative medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, or anti-seizure medications, which can effectively manage certain types of chronic pain without the risk of addiction.
Physical therapy can improve your functionality and reduce pain by strengthening your muscles, improving mobility and flexibility, and helping you learn techniques to keep pain under control.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a highly effective modality for managing chronic pain. It helps you develop coping strategies, change negative thought patterns, and reduce the emotional toll that pain takes on your mental state.
Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques
Mindfulness meditation and relaxation exercises are very useful in managing the emotional aspects of pain. These practices help to reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing.
Acupuncture and Massage Therapy
These are alternative therapies that can provide relief to some people with chronic pain. They are drug-free treatments that do not carry the risks associated with opioids.
Managing chronic pain is a complex task. If you are on prescription opioids, it adds an extra layer of complexity to your treatment journey. It’s essential that you work with your healthcare provider to develop a suitable pain management plan that meet your needs without putting you at risk for opioid addiction.
If you or a loved one has developed an addiction to prescription opioid painkillers, help is at hand. Call the National Drug Helpline on 1-844-289-0879 to find opioid addiction treatment programs in Wyoming.
- SAMHSA. Behavioral Health Barometer Wyoming. Available online. Accessed on September 29, 2023.
- Mayo Clinic. How opioid addiction occurs. Available online. Accessed on September 29, 2023.
Last updated: September 28, 2023