Prescription Drug Addiction
The abuse of prescription drugs has been rising rapidly across the country over the past decade. When abused, certain prescription drugs can alter the brain, leading directly to dependence and addiction. Medications prescribed by physicians are a useful and effective treatment tool. These prescription drugs such as sedatives, pain relievers, tranquilizers, and stimulants though also have a high potential for being abused. When not taken as directed, many of these prescription drugs can become habit forming.
Prescription drugs falls into several different categories when it comes to abuse; opiate derivatives, stimulants, and central nervous system depressants like barbiturates and benzodiazepines. Often treated lightly because they have been prescribed by a physician, these drugs are extremely dangerous and addictive. Their influence and power are the source behind numerous overdoses, suicides and criminal behavior. Numerous individuals begin abusing prescription drugs in a casual manner, then finding themselves sucked into a vicious spiral of addiction and fear as they discover their inability to stop. “In 1999, an estimated 4 million people – almost 2 percent of the population aged 12 and older – were currently (use in the past month) using prescription drugs: pain relievers (2.6 million), sedatives and tranquilizers (1.3 million), and stimulants (0.9 million).” (Health.Org Website) Without question, prescription drugs include some of the hardest substances in the process of withdrawal and sustained abstinence. They can be deadly not only when abusing them, but also during withdrawal, and trained professional help is essential to an addict’s success at finding recovery.
Any prescribed drug can be improperly administered but the most commonly abused are the opiates (prescribed for pain relief) the Central Nervous System Depressants (used for treatment of sleep disorder and anxiety) and Stimulants (prescribed to treat narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and hyperactivity). The most abused opiate drugs are Oxycontin, Vicodin, Darvon, Dilaudid, and Demerol. Central Nervous System Depressants that are frequently abused are barbiturates such as Nembutal, and Benzodiazepines including valium and Xanax. The prescription stimulants most abused are Dexedrine and Ritalin.
Indications of prescription drug abuse include sudden increases in the amount of prescribed medication required. Also frequent requests for refills before the prescription should have been finished. Prescription drug use is highly treatable. Stopping a long term drug usage though can have serious health consequences and should only be done under the supervision of a physician. In most cases, therapeutic inpatient and outpatient treatment is required. The most current surveys taken in 2006 indicate that hospital emergency room visits involving illicit use of prescription drugs especially Benzodiazepines and Narcotic analgesics have increased significantly. They also revealed that 2.8 million people aged 12 or older had abused the powerful pain killer Oxycontin, with over 415,000 receiving treatment for abuse of prescription pain relievers
As presented in the heroin section, opiate addiction is both brutal and extremely difficult to kick, but opiate withdrawal is not life-threatening. The prescription opiates have become prevalent throughout all layers of modern society. The medications that fall within this class include Oxycontin, Dilaudid, Vicodin, Darvon, Codeine and Demerol. Oxycontin has become particularly pervasive among addicts, both young and old. Among high school students, it has become the second most tried drug after marijuana. Many young people do not realize that Oxycontin is an opiate, and they become addicted before they even realize the extreme consequences. This unexpected addiction has led to an alarming rise in criminal behavior and failure rates in high schools and colleges due to the pressure of finding the money to acquire more. Symptoms of withdrawal from these opiates include restlessness, muscle and bone pain, diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, and cold flashes with goose bumps (“going cold turkey”). ONE80CENTER recognizes the difficulties inherent in opiate addiction, and we can help the addict manage their withdrawal process and find recovery.
As we illustrated in the crystal meth section, stimulants are America’s drug of choice as the success of coffee houses clearly demonstrates. Stimulants enhance brain activity, leading to an increase in alertness, attention and energy accompanied by elevated blood pressure and increased heart rate. Prescription stimulants such as Dexedrine, Ephedrine and Ritalin are commonly abused in the quest for weight loss and battling fatigue. Regular abusers exhibit the side effects of irritability, restlessness, tremors and sleep disturbance. High doses of these prescription drugs can result in cardiovascular failure and lethal seizures. When mixed with other medicine, including over-the-counter cold medication, they can cause irregular heart rhythms and a dramatic rise in blood pressure. Like all forms of speed, prescription stimulants are difficult to quit. At ONE80CENTER, our trained treatment team has direct experience with helping speed addicts maintain sobriety. Speed addiction is easy to acquire. Although quitting can be a challenge, ONE80CENTER knows the steps to take to aid an addict in recovery.
As the name suggests, pharmaceutical depressants are used to slow down brain functioning for the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders. There is perhaps no substance more dangerous to withdraw from on one’s own than CNS depressants, including the Benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax and Halcion, and the barbiturates like Phenobarbital and Nembutal. The highest rate of attempted suicide among addicts withdrawing from a substance is by far from Valium addiction. The process of withdrawing from Benzodiazepines takes an extended period of time, and if not handled correctly, can lead to fatal results. ONE80CENTER has years of experience with such cases, and we know how to ensure the safety and security of our clients. Nobody going through withdrawal from these drugs should ever try it on their own.
Although most people use prescribed medications as directed, the abuse of and addiction to prescription drugs has become a major public health crisis across America. ONE80CENTER understands that many clients become addicted to these drugs without a full awareness of the implications of their actions. We are ready to support you in the process of finding recovery from these dangerous medications while ensuring your health and safety.
Frequently Asked Questions regarding Prescription Pill addiction
What prescription drugs do people abuse most often?
Who are the biggest abusers of Opioids?
Chronic Pain Sufferers, Suburban Teenagers, Urbanites, Senior Citizens
Who are the biggest abusers of Benzodiazipines?
Urban and Suburban Housewives, Senior Citizens
Who are the biggest abusers of Methylphenidates (Ritalin, Concerta, Adderal)?
Teenagers, College Students, ADHD sufferers
Are benzodiazapines (Xanax, Valium, Ativan) addictive?
Prescription drug addiction to benzodiazepines is far more gripping and debilitating than addiction to heroin or cocaine. Withdrawal is recognized to be more difficult, more prolonged and can last months or years depending on the years of use, depending on dosage and the other drugs concurrent prescribed.
When was Oxycontin introduced in America?
Freund and Speyer of the University of Frankfurt in Germany first synthesized oxycodone from the baine in 1916, a few years after the German pharmaceutical company Bayer had stopped the mass production of heroin due to hazardous use, harmful use, and dependence. It was hoped that a thebaine-derived drug would retain the analgesic effects of morphine and heroin with less dependence. To some extent this was achieved, as oxycodone does not have the same immediate effect as heroin or morphine nor does it last as long.
The first clinical use of the drug was documented in 1917. It was first introduced to the US market in May 1939.
Of all countries, the United States had the highest total consumption of oxycodone in 2007 (82% of the world total of 51.6 tons) In addition, in 2007 the U.S. had the highest per capita consumption of oxycodone, followed by Canada, Denmark, Australia, and Norway.