Substance Abuse Prevention Services—
Opioids & Endorphins

How much does a pirate pay for corn? A buccanear.

Eden Morrison
Eden Morrison, Substance Abuse Prevention Services Program Manager

If you laughed at my joke, your body released some endorphins–which are feel good chemicals in your brain. If you didn’t laugh at my joke, could you laugh now–it’s good for your brain and my ego.

Jokes aren’t the only thing that release endorphins. Good thing too, because my comedic skills could use some work. Perhaps I can make up for it by encouraging you all to eat chocolate, which also releases endorphins.

There is a movie, Legally Blonde, in which an athletic trainer is accused of killing her husband and her defense is that “exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands.”

Now, I don’t know about the third one, but the first two are definitely true.

It is precisely this endorphin happiness pathway that opioids interfere with.

Opioids interfere with the reward system of your brain. Endorphins are what fancy people call a neurotransmitter. In other words, if your brain were a post-office, endorphins would be the key for opening each individual box so information (mail) can get where it needs to go.

Opioids fit in these key holes, just well enough to jimmy the lock, which thinks that it has been opened.

This means that a person with an opioid addiction doesn’t get a jolt feel good chemicals when I tell a sub-par joke or they eat chocolate. That system in their bodies is—for all intents and purposes—not functioning.

This causes the body to crave more of those fake endorphins increasing the demand for opioids. Increasing the likelihood of addiction and thereby death.

Which means as we see our society advancing and less people are dying from cancer and heart disease, one of the few causes of death that is increasing in prevalence is death from drug overdose which according to the DEA 129 people a day. USDA estimates that this number will add up to 650,000 over the next decade. We want to see as few of those deaths as possible to come from our area.

Communities that are resistant to the opioid crisis require a threefold solution including better prevention, intervention, and recovery efforts.

Over the next few weeks, we will be covering those topics right here.

Hope you come back to check it out.